On Saturday, after shooting 6 of the 22 dishes I had to shoot this week, a new friend at a dinner party asked me if I ever get sick of food. She asked if I really love what I do and if I still had a passion for food after long days like this one. Yes, of course, I absolutely love food. But words are words and I always prefer to give concrete examples…like what I did the very next day…
…I woke up to prepare 6 more dishes…propped, styled and shot each of them. Yes, it’s my job and this gives no true indication of just how much I actually love food, so the proof is really in what I did next…
I invited a friend over to eat what I shot and of course I also prepared a few more things I thought would go nicely with 5 different fritattas and a chickpea soup. We then piled into my car and went to several midtown flea markets to look for dishes and props for my next shoot. We, of course, eventually got hungry again and the adventure was on.
Somebody suggested Brooklyn for coffee and pie. We landed in the amorphous neighborhood being called Lower Slope or Gowanus depending on who your real estate agent is. Here on 3rd Ave. and 8th Street we visited Four & Twenty Blackbirds. The sweet and savory pie shop being run by sisters Emily and Melissa Elsen is an incredible oasis in the still emerging Gowanus area food scene. The room is unpretentious with an open kitchen behind the counter and only well worn classic cookbooks on their shelves. We had the salted caramel apple and salted honey pies and were blown away by the perfection of the crusts and tightrope balance of salty and sweet. We resisted the urge to order every pie on the menu but we still had stops to make.
Next on our impromptu food crawl we popped into Brooklyn Larder on Flatbush Ave. We bypassed the incredible meats, cheeses and prepared foods for a bit of their house made almond gelato and pumpkin brittle. It was difficult to resist the impulse to just set up camp here but Bark was calling to us from around the corner. Bark is the creation of chef partners Joshua Sharkey and Brandon Gillis specializing in lard-butter basted all beef hot dogs. We tried the Bark Dog with sweet pepper relish, onions and mustard and some baked beans. Woof!
So, by now you may be thinking, “Ok, I get it, you really love food” but hold on, I’m just warming up. We took a little break to scour some of the antique stores on Atlantic Ave. before setting sail for Williamsburg for the capper…dinner at Fette Sau. Chef Matt Lang heads Kim and Joe Carrol’s conceptual BBQ joint that lives in a former auto repair shop. The deliriously decadent slabs of beef, pork and homemade sausages are sold by the pound and served on metal trays lined with butcher’s paper. Get a growler of local brew, some pickles, slaw and baked beans, a roll of paper towels and you are ready to rock at the picnic table seating. You leave full, sticky from sauce and smelling like roasting meat and oh, so very happy.
We rolled back over the Williamsburg Bridge and onto Clinton Street discussing the vast differences between the Manhattan and Brooklyn food scenes. We love the vibrancy, innovation and spirited ingenuity of the Brooklyn shops and restaurants that feel so viscerally different than their big brothers over the bridge. It’s a feel and energy that has long passed the Manhattan scene. It’s where people who really love food above all else seem to gravitate.
So, Veronika, when you asked me the question, I gave you an answer but next time come out for one of our regular food adventures and you can see how much I really love food.
PHOTOS by Andrew Scrivani, Pichet Ong and Soo Jeong Kang