Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brooklyn eating

Photos of picnic: Main Man

aka Not Enough days in New York.

Prospect Park on a cold and clear Saturday. A picnic of red wine secreted in Vince's backpack, and a wonderful collection of charcuterie and cheese from the peerless Stinky on Smith Street.

I have missed the old Cobble Hill Foods on Court Street ever since the owners hoofed it to Smith and opened Stinky across from their wine store, Smith and Vine (where I've always felt like an intruder, hence avoid), and I never got it together to visit, just longed for what once was.

So my first visit was with Vince and we were mesmerized. On one counter stood a huge ham on the bone covered with a clean dishcoth, and well sliced-into. We stared. It said it came from Kentucky. First Vince asked whether he may squeeze the saucissons, lying in a basket beside the ham. The counter girl squeezed it for him. The Frenchie suffered. In France one would not think of buying a saucisson without having squeezed it first...then I asked for some prosciutto, and it was sliced like tissue paper. At this point we thought we may have chosen too much, already laden with two cheeses.

Ode to the Pig from Kentucky:

Just have a taste as a gift, said the girl and cut a hunk o'pig for us. No tissue paper here. At first it was disconcerting because one is not used to cured meat being thick in the mouth. Hush, ye gutter snipes...But once chewing began, a delicious, smoky, creaminess spread and we smiled and groaned...we had to have it. At only $9 a pound it's a steal. So we got a pile of Kentucky pig, too.

A walk through Carroll Gardens, down Union, over the canal, up Union into the Slope, and at last at Prospect Park, but not before buying two cups of steaming apple cider from the farmers' market and a couple of apples. Vince looked balefully at the boxes and boxes and boxes of fresh, never-seen-a-factory New York apples: more varieties than I could count and said, I don't see the ones I like... Not an apple man.

Found a park bench looking over the little hills that Olmsted designed; the soccer players, the walkers, the kid learning to ride a bike with his patient father, and unpacked our bounty.

So cold I had to put hands in pockets inbetween bites. The wine chilled itself. Two toddlers in the middle of wet and hiccuping tantrums were pushed past in strollers and both stopped crying long enough to stare at our spread and turn their heads as they were wheeled beyond it, momentarily forgetting the sorrows of being small and feasting their eyes on what made sense...

The backlit saucisson. I would never have met Vincent if he had never written about a backlit saucisson against a field of lavender.

We walked home shivering and warmed up with coffee and hot chocolate on 7th Avenue before returning to the hood by way of Los Paisanos to pick up a leg of lamb that Pedro had put aside earlier. He kindly cut it almost in half when he realized it was just for the two of us.

.... with anchovy, garlic and rosemary, with lemon and white wine, and it was superb.

Hack, hack, hack.

We dressed for dinner.


  1. Sigh. And sigh again...

    Now about the saucisson squeezing issue, let it be known that it also applies to cheese, bread, fruits and... bokkies. Well, one of them. ;-)

  2. Bokkies do especially well if they are massaged and larded with bacon, too. Very good for bokkie pie...

  3. Am I that predictable? I DID start laughing before you even mentioned the fact that I would probably be laughing. Thank god we share a sense of humor. What would life be like if we didn't laugh with each other??


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