Bravo Kosher Pizza

By: Shoshana Blum

Broadway @ 37th Street – (212) 268-4499

Over the summer I worked at a local camp as a counselor.  One of my friends who had been working at the camp with me came to my house for Shabbos. Sitting around after Shabbos, we decided we should go out to eat because we wanted to please our food blog audience. Actually, more because we were hungry.  Though teenagers may work hard all summer, we don’t get paid much.* So we did what all self-respecting, low-paid employees do, go for pizza. In honor of motzaei Shabbos, we decided to try out, upscale pizza, aka Bravo.

So Esther, my friend Chaya and I took the train to 42nd street. We got out of the subway unnamed-10station, and I couldn’t figure out which direction to walk toward Broadway. Common story for many, but as a native New Yorker, I was admittedly ashamed of myself.  We walked a few blocks to 37th, wondering if we would find the restaurant. While walking, we talked about a lot of things because when you put teenage girls together (happy birthday to Esther who is now a teenager) the weirdest topics come up. On our topic list came the numa numa song, shoes, and wondering if it was even possible that while trying out a new restaurant we would NOT run into somebody we knew- probably on a date.

Never mind all that, back to the food. We walk up to the restaurant and see a massive line of Jews and non-Jews (becauunnamed-8se, of course, we can just tell the difference!?) at 11pm waiting for some really good pizza.  The window outside displayed about twenty plus different pie combinations I had never even thought to make. They looked really tempting and fresh, having been prepared soon after Shabbos ended.  We spent most of our time there on line, saying things like totssupcool and taking selfies.
After about a twenty minute wait, we were right outside the door when I noticed there were no french-fries on their menu (which dear readers you likely already know, is a pet-peeve of mine).  Seriously?!  It’s a pizzeria. There has to be fries. I was thinking this as we got pushed through the door. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful ceiling. Copper colored with individual square panels that looked rustic and like I was unnamed-11eating in a café in Italy. Not that I have been to Italy, but you know what I mean, quaint.  Not so quaint is Bravo’s counter that runs all the way down the side of the restaurant when you walk in, so there is about a lane and a half of space to walk along side it.  This space was taken up by crowds of people ordering their food.

We were standing at the door at the back of the line, and I looked around for a paper menu. The man behind the counter, who looked frazzled and hot from the amount of work and stress that night, came up to us and yelled over the noise, “What can I get you?”  I took the unnamed-6hint and guessed there were no menus…oooookaay…if I wanted food, this may be my only chance. Chaya and Esther ordered a baked ziti to share. I, still a little confused about the lack of menu, just pointed to the first slice of pizza I saw and asked the man behind the counter, “Hey, Dude? Is that slice good?”  He didn’t even answer–just put the slice on a plate and pushed it down the counter like in an old Western bar scene.  The people in line whom we had been talking to for a few minutes started laughing. I guessed I would find out soon enough if it was good or not.  We were all laughing really hard at the situation.

 

When I got to the end of the counter, a woman asked me what I had ordered, and I told her I didn’t know.  She figured out I had gotten a stuffed vegetable pizza.  The serving of baked ziti was massive. So with our food in hand, we took our seats at the back of the restaurant. The baked ziti was delicious. It was like an Alf redo and baked ziti hybrid. It was great. Not too much

Very Large Very Good Baked Ziti

Very Large Very Good Baked Ziti

sauce and the flavors were excellent. Honestly, we haven’t tasted such good pasta anywhere this good yet in Manhattan.

Stuffed Vegetable Pizza

Stuffed Vegetable Pizza

The pizza was interesting. It was also a very large portion, and I had to eat it with a knife and fork, which was a first for me since I was two and my mother spoon-fed me pizza (or did I just dream that?).  It was a not-so-crusty crust filled with vegetables and cheese. To me, it tasted like regular vegetable pizza–just messier.  It was still very good.  Unfortunately, it was right about the time that cheese fell out the side of my pizza and landed on me that the lights turned on and the much-enjoyed ambiance died.

unnamed-3We had an interesting time at Bravo Kosher Pizza. I think I would go there over Café Roma on the West Side, …because the train ride and roaming around 42nd street was way more exciting than Amsterdam at 102nd street.  On the way home, we stopped for slurpees at 7/11 and got a super sugar rush! We got home and rolled into bed with full bellies.

The next day at work I was sitting in the playground with my adorable campers.  One of my co-counselors walked over to me an told me she was on a date the night before, and driving past Bravo Pizza she saw us!  We didn’t see her, but it goes to show, it really is impossible to go out on to eat and not see someone you know.unnamed-9

*  Now that we have completed our tween years, we might need to change our domain name to kosherTEENS.  Stay tuned.

 

My Most Favorite Food – Pesach Edition

                                                          B”H

My Most Favorite Food – Passover Edition

W. 72nd Str.

Pesach: cleaning, shopping, cooking, guests.  For many people this is the most active time of year.  And when Pesach actually arrives, the results may not be as productive as you had hoped for. At our house on Pesach, we keep everything to the extreme! No peels, no liquid may touch the matzah, frying in chicken fat instead of oil (ahh!), you get the drift.  So before Pesach arrived, we decided to experience how other Manhattan dwellers eat during the holiday, at a restaurant, and share it with all of you.

 

My mother decided to take us on a girls outing.  Esther, Chana, (my sisters) and I all went with her to My Most Favorite Food.  My Most Favorite is one of the few dairy restaurants in

My Most Favorite Food

My Most Favorite Food

Manhattan to go kosher for Passover.  A few years ago, someone brought our family a kosher for Pesach cake from My Most Favorite during chol ha moed.  As young kids, the switch from our regular diet to even just a few days of a strict Pesach diet was shocking.  So without asking our local Rabbi (our father), my siblings and I tore into that cake!  It was the most delicious food we had eaten in days!  Of course, my father reminded us about our customs when he found out, but from that time, I was intrigued by how others ate on Pesach.  Thankfully, this trip was before Pesach.

 

We showed up around noon for brunch.  Just past the entrance, you pass a long display case of their tempting chocolate cakes, cupcakes and desserts.  They looked beautiful!  The selection was almost the same as before with the exception of a lot of new varieties of meringues.

 

My Most Favorite has two seating areas. One right when you walk in surrounded by glass walls which is great for sunlight and beautiful.  The larger seating area is in the back, where we sat; the set-up reminded me of Tavern on the Green.  There was a little less sunlight, and there were couches instead of metallic chairs and marble tables from the front.  We were seated

immediately and offered a bowl of matzah and butter.  [Note: It is our custom not to eat matzah 30 days prior to Pesach.]  As we were looking at the menu, a group of ladies came in and sat at the table behind us.  As soon as they looked at the menu and saw it is was kosher for Pesach, they got up to leave with the waiter calling after them that the menu would be back to normal in just two weeks.  We gave each other looks, wondering if this was a hint of our food to come.

 

When the waiter came to take our orders, we inquired if it was common for people to respond the way those ladies did. He told us most people didn’t really want this food unless they had to eat it. We ignored this because we had come specifically to taste Pesach food.  Chana and I ordered from the children’s menu (which of course comes with fries).  She got a grilled cheese on a popover, and I got fish fingers.  Esther was not too big on experimenting with Pesach food because she ordered an omelet and salad.

My most favorite pesach 4

Kosher for Passover Grilled Cheese

 

Esther's omelet

Esther’s omelet

Our food came very quickly, as there were not a lot of people in the restaurant.  Esther’s eggs were very good and so was her salad. The eggs had herbs, peppers, onions, and cheese. The salad was simple but with a very flavorful balsamic dressing. Chana’s grilled cheese was interesting.  It came on a piece of “bread” (aka popover) that looked more like a waffle and tasted like chickpeas; it was very dry.  She only at half of it.  Thankfully, her plate also came with fries, a small piece of chocolate cake and a small fruit salad.

 

Fish Fingers With a Side of Fries

Fish Fingers With a Side of Fries

I think according to Pesach standards my meal was the best.  People really underestimate the kid’s menu.  Sometimes a restaurant will give kids something you just know came out of a grocery-store bought, freezer bag, because hey, kids don’t care to have fresh, real food, right?  Wrong.  My fish and chips were delicious!  The fishsticks were made from a fresh whitefish inside breading fried and cooked to perfection–juicy and not oily.  The fish was a little bland and it could have used ketchup or some such sauce.  I was disappointed that they didn’t bring any ketchup (or syrup).  If they had made so many things kosher for Passover why couldn’t they have ketchup.  So we asked for some, wondering if they would bring me regular ketchup.

 

My most favorite pesach 7The waiter approached with syrup and ketchup; we thanked him and looked at it wondering if it was ok to eat.  The dips looked normal, so we tried them.  It was definitely not what we were used to.  The ketchup was so, so, so tart with vinegar!  Instead, we tried dipping the french fries in syrup and decided that tasted better.  We just ate our fries like that, in syrup!

 

When we were done, we each had a small piece of brownie that came with our entrees.  The brownie was a thick, creamy chocolate feel with powdered sugar on top.  It was very good, sweet and flavorful.  From all of their different types of desserts:  apple cakes, chocolate, cupcakes, brownies, meringues and more, we chose one each for the boys back home.  Their review were not as good.  We had passed on the chocolate cake pops, but maybe that was a mistake.  The chocolate cupcake with a gorgeous yellow flower on top was totally dry and hard to swallow except for the small squirt of chocolate cream inside.  The apple cinnamon cupcake was sweet and edible.  My father said the mandle ‘bread’ was more delicious than usual.

 

Overall, I can make three observations.  One: My Most Favorite has the best looking and tasting desserts all year around. Better than even their regular food.  Two: They did very well with a Pesach menu using the ingredients they had, even though they were obviously making-do.  Three: I think I now know why meat restaurants go kosher for Passover more often than do dairy ones.

My Most Favorite

My Most Favorite Food

By: Esther Blum

 247 W 72nd St, New York- (212) 580-5130

           The other day I went to My Most Favorite with the KFC (Kosher Foodies at Chabad).

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese

I ordered the grilled cheese on the kids menu. The choices were grilled cheese, tuna or egg salad.  It also came with fruit, potato chips and a sugar cookie. The sugar cookies were so good, and very family friendly,  they come in a lot of different, fun shapes like flowers or cars. All the

SUGAR COOKIES!!

SUGAR COOKIES!!

desserts are really delicious at My Most Favorite (thats why they used to be called My Most Favorite Dessert).  My favorite dessert is the strawberry shortcake. Sadly there was none ready that afternoon, so I couldn’t order it.  I ate all the food on my plate except for the crust because I dislike crust.  My father said I should just taste it, so I did.  I still don’t like crust.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

When we were ordering the food, I was thinking of ordering macaroni and cheese, but my sister, Chana, ordered it first, so I said, ‘I get to order the macaroni and cheese.’  Then my father said don’t fight about it, and Chana gets to order it because she said she wanted

Kosher Foodies Chabad Members

Kosher Foodies Chabad Members

it first.  Then when my father was ready to order his salad, he realized that JP ordered the same salad so my father had to get something else.

By the way the other day was really a long time ago.

We Kids Do NOT Like the Crust.

We Kids Do NOT Like the Crust.

Mason and Mug

B”H

Mason and Mug

708 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn

Now that I have gotten used to all of the fun aspects of high school, I rarely have the opportunity to get to a new restaurant (though Sushi Spot and Sweet Expressions are often-visited), I appreciate the times my father took us to  restaurants.  Thankfully, now that I am getting the hang of high school, I am finding it is actually a pretty fun place. There are really cool after school programs, learning and non-learning activities, and we are also putting on a theater production! Now that I have my social and academic life all sorted out, the urge to write for the food blog has taken precedence.

Our new destination: Mason and Mug.  Esther was busy with a friend, so she wasn’t able to join.  I decided to bring along my even younger sister, Chana, who my parents say has a very mature palette and who is also the KosherTweens food blog heiress.

A friend of ours, Chef Sasha Chack, (say his name 3 times fast!) had just opened this new restaurant in Brooklyn with a partner.  We were so excited to go try out the food.  The outing was also an official send-off to a friend of ours (we’ll miss you, Seren) who just left to study for three months in Israel!  So combine all that with the Chabad at Columbia University KFC Kosher Foodies at Chabad event, and we were having a whole party!

After school, we had theater production auditions. I was nervous I would miss out on Mason and Mug, but I would try to do it all!  At auditions, I sang and acted my little heart out, then ran to yoga class (to stay extra fit). Then Tatty who had Chana in the car with him, came to pick me up.  We all drove to Mason and Mug.

We had arrived. Mason and Mug is located on the first floor of a small building between several old-looking brownstones. We walked inside from the winter cold. The décor is unique and beautiful. When you walk in, your eye goes to the right hand side where there is a brick wall covered in a colorful graffiti mural. On the other side is a long counter with an array of pickles on shelves. The rest of our group was not there yet, so we sat down at the long wooden bar. There were only little stools in the restaurant, no chairs.  In the back of the room there were absolutely gorgeous wooden farm tables made by local workers. If I could have tables like that in my house I would just stare at them all day. They were really works of art!  If I had a phone with internet access, I would have put it on my very active Pinterest boards.

Saki! SO GOOD!!

Saki! SO GOOD!!

While waiting, we ordered a spicy chickpeas appetizer and my father bought saki that they added some ingredients to–we all got a sip. I am not usually a fan of really spicy foods, but the chickpeas were amazing! Also, even that slightest taste of that special saki was so good! It had a tang and sweetness and cinnamon, which was perfect with the spicy chickpeas!

Chef Sasha Chack

Chef Sasha Chack

While we were sitting down, I spoke to Sasha. I knew that before this restaurant he had had a pop up restaurant, so I asked him if the money from that went to pay for Mason and Mug. To my surprise, he told me that there was a kick-starter website where he wrote about his dream. He raised more than half the needed amount online from people who didn’t know him. This made me feel like anything is achievable in today’s world even writing a food blog as a tween! That people who don’t know you can care enough to take time and donate money and really invest in another person’s dream is just inspiring.

Soon after, we went to the very back of the room and pushed two tables together just as our entire posse showed up. As soon as everyone got there, we all ran up to the counter to order our food.  I was shocked by what I saw! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first KosherTweens food blog with no french fries review! I was shocked.  But then my eyes scrolled down the menu, and I saw all of the interesting flavors! The new things to try, things I had never heard of! (I was also very excited because now that I am dorming, I am also babysitting and making my own money.  Now I finally got to join the adults and pay for my own dinner!)

It got very hectic when everyone tried to order at once, so I had to wait a good ten minutes before I actually got to place my order. I ordered for my father, my sister and myself. I got the classic Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwich and a cardamom hot chocolate. Chana ordered the potato and leek soup and my father got the fish taco.

A man and woman we know who are currently engaged were sitting next to us. They ordered the cheese platter and the fish platter and offered to share with us. As we waited for our food, we wanted to hang up our coats.  Unfortunately there was a lack of coat racks, hangers, and only a few hooks and we were all sitting on stools with no backs so most of us sat on our coats or put it on the floor hidden somewhere.

The food came in different orders. Sasha would make a pot of soup and bring soup to everyone that ordered it. Then he would make a bunch of Bahn Mi’s and bring them all out. Finally we got our food, and we dug in.  My father promised to share his fish taco with me but by the time I came back from the bathroom it was gone, so I take it that it was delicious! Diana and Paul Appelbaum,
Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine & Law Director, Division of Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry, Dept. of Psychiatry, Columbia University Director, Center for Research on Ethical, Legal & Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic & Behavioral Genetics, faculty advisory board members for Chabad at Columbia, and close friends of ours, went to Mason and Mug a few days after us. They ordered the Fish taco and said, “The fish taco was wonderful, crunchy, lightly pickled cabbage, with avocado, jalapeno mayonnaise and fish wrapped in a soft taco.   4 bites (the size of the

Bahn Mi

Bahn Mi

taco) wasn’t enough.” My Bahn Mi was half a sub made with tofu, fresh cilantro, cucumber, carrots, and fish sauce. It was really delicious! The bread for the sub was really amazing and when I took a bite the flavors actually exploded in my mouth (I had never understood that saying until I tasted Mason and Mugs Bahn Mi!). There were so many combinations! The sweet carrots, the bitter herbs, the sour pickled cucumbers, the sauce! And overall there was a sort of delicious sour taste. And I also had gotten the cardamom hot chocolate.

We waited a few more minutes, and Chana’s soup came.  We all dug in with her. It was amazing. The soup was creamy and rich and bursting with flavor for a soup made of potatoes. After we had all finished our food, we looked at the couple next to us who half an hour later still did not have their platters. So we went to the counter to ask for it, and they told us it was almost ready. So we waited.  Soon the platters came and we were a little disappointed the fish and

Cheese and Fish Boards

Cheese and Fish Boards

cheeses were pretty regular fish and cheese and only about six pieces of each for about fifteen dollars. Well on the side of the fish platter came a red slaw that was amazing and really complemented the fish. The cheese platter had small crackers with nuts on the side I took an almond and bit into it. The first thing you experience is overwhelming sweetness but almost as fast it turns into pleasantly spice. It was really very enjoyable and I kept eating them for a while.

After we decided to bring Esther and my Mother something to eat. So we wanted to bring another fish taco but only after an hour of us arriving they were already out of fish. And they told us that most of

Deviled Eggs and Kale Salad

Deviled Eggs and Kale Salad

their food didn’t travel well so we settled on a deviled eggs kale salad, and a delicious piece of milchig carrot cake. The Appelbaums also ordered the kale salad and they thought that “The deviled kale salad was memorable: deep notes of umami in the spicy dressing, the kale perfectly mated with roasted winter squash, topped with a boiled egg still lusciously soft in the center.  We’ll be back.”  After we left, I was dropped off back at the dorm for another week of school. I had a really fun time at Mason and Mug, and Chana had a great learning experience taking notes on food. The experience was quick, affordable, and casually pleasant. We hope to go back soon and recommend it to all kids out there ready and willing to try great new things!

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Prime Sandwich

Prime Sandwich

…with friends

377 Kingston Ave, Brooklyn, NY- (718) 576-6665

 

            As (hopefully) all adults know, high school is a stressful, strenuous, tiring and torturous place! And that place is where I am at this moment in time. Fortunately it’s not all bad. Through everything, you always have good friends to keep your spirits up. So when my dorm-mates noticed that we were at midterms and all stressed out, we had an emergency morale-boosting meeting.

We met in Perel and Chaya’s room which happens to be right next to mine. We all sat there in our pajamas with coffee and homework clutched in our hands at around 1am. I suddenly started to speak about my blog, and how I had to start adding new things to it so that people would read it and comment on the blog site (um… hint, hint!). All the girls read my blog and commented on it.

Then, when I finally got to bed that night, I had a wild idea! Why couldn’t I bring my dormies on a kosher tweens adventure here in Crown Heights? So in the morning, I proposed the idea to everyone. They thought it was a really great idea and a good way to relax little.

On Monday night, we all arranged ourselves by the door ready to go. Menucha, Chaya, Perel, Chana, Manya, and me. We finally headed out the door, an hour late of course because that’s what happens when you try to organize a group of teenagers. Fortunately, I had this in mind, so we said we would leave at six thirty and really we wanted to leave at seven thirty. My plan worked great, and we left the house and walked down Kingston Avenue towardsPrime Sandwich.

2013-11-24-5  As we were walking down the street, we were very excited about going out to eat but also to relax and just hang out as friends. We arrived at Prime Sandwich, which has a huge orange sign on the front with a shwarma on it. We went inside and looked around. The restaurant had a bunch of metal tables and a big deli/ salad/ ordering counter straight in the back. The décor was a little strange: bright orange walls with the occasional black light and a mirrors all around the joint.

We sat down to order and just as we were about to I saw my friend Chaya outside. (No not the same Chaya. When you go to Beis Rivkah and live in Crown Heights, be prepared to know a lot of Chayas!) We ran out to say hi, and we had a little chat. I invited her to come and sit with us, and she came and sat for a while.

You might have picked up on it by now that we are not the fastest people in the world of teenagers (ergo the early schedule) and we took about fifteen minutes to order.  We decided to share a few things–of course! We ordered a classic burger, a pastrami- hot dog sub, Chinese schnitzel salad, New York schnitzel salad, and a roasted chicken salad. For sides, we ordered, of course!, french fries and onion rings.

2013-11-24-13

Chinese Schnitzel Salad

2013-11-24-14

New York Schnitzel Salad

2013-11-24-6

Roasted Schnitzel SaladPastrami Hot Dog SubPastrami Hot Dog Sub

            When we went to the counter and ordered our food it came within ten minutes. We all took a lot of pictures, not just of the food, and really got to know each other much better.

2013-11-24-1

Classic Prime Sandwich Burger

The burger did not taste very good. It was thin and dry and a little frozen. The pastrami hot dog sub was something we had never thought to try or make, but it tasted pretty good!

Onion Rings

Onion Rings

French Fries

French Fries

            We spent about an hour there talking and laughing. Finally we took a group picture and decided to go. We were walking up the street at about eleven o’clock and it was cold and dark out. As we were walking a man came up behind Manya and tapped her on the

Chaya, Menucha, Chana, Manya, Shoshana, and Perel

Chaya, Menucha, Chana, Manya, Shoshana, and Perel

shoulder. She screamed really loud, and then we all got really scared and screamed really loud. And then we just stood there and screamed really loud, freaked out of our minds. It was Manya’s big brother who lived in Crown Heights. He had surprised her. That’s why she screamed. We thought some random person was touching her, and we were freaking out!

In the end, we figured it all out and laughed over it. We went home very full and decided we needed to do this again.

 

 

My Surprise Birthday Party

            Sunday November 10, 2013 was my Hebrew birthday. I was at a new school and no one knew it was my birthday. I didn’t get a ‘happy birthday’ from anyone the whole day. When I came home from school I was a little upset and decided to spend the rest of the day in my room.

Manya and Shoshana at Shoshana's surprise Birthday Party

Manya and Shoshana at Shoshana’s surprise Birthday Party

When I got home, I went to my room. Then on the house intercom one of the dormies called me from downstairs, “Your friend is here.” I was really excited! Maybe someone remembered my birthday! I ran down, and there were all the girls from the dorm and a big table set with pink trim and pancakes and a big cupcake with a happy birthday pin stuck into it.

I was so happy! Someone remembered my birthday and it was remembered by the very closest friends people could ever have! I feel I should mention it on this blog because the food was so good! There was an amazing salad and blueberry pancakes with homemade caramel! It was the most wonderful feeling! They made a special card and gave me a tiara. I just want to say thank you guys for an amazing birthday party!

Basil

B”H

Breakfast at Basil

friTATTY

By Esther Blum

270 Kingston Ave, New York, NY 11213(718) 285-8777

          Sometimes when I go to Crown Heights with Tatty or Mommy, I go to eat at Basil with them. The last time I went, I went for breakfast with Tatty.

Esther at Basil

Esther at Basil

I ordered pancakes. The pancakes had some fruit on the top and a scoop of something pink that i thought was strawberry ice cream and some strawberry syrup on the side. I took a bite of the pancake; it was simply delicious! Then I tasted some fruit. The strawberries were ripe and good, but the rest of the fruit wasn’t that ripe and not that good. Finally I took a big bite out the pink ice cream scoop and realized it was strawberry flavor (or just looking) butter which is a huge unpleasant surprise when you think you are about to eat ice cream!  My father said, ‘I think that’s butter.’ But he told me too late.

I also ordered a smoothie called Jump Shot; it was truly scrumptious. It had mango and some other fruits in it.

Tatty ordered a frittata (not in spell check, so I hope I spelled it right). It came with a salad. Tatty let me have a bite of his frittata. It tasted like there was cheese inside; I liked it so much. I’m sure Tatty did, too. One because it tasted so good and two because frittata sounds like friTATTY.

Goodbye Lunch at Basil

By: Shoshana Blum

            I recently moved into my new dorm room for high school. My parents drove me and helped me set up my room and settle in. I was really hungry because I woke up late that morning and had to quickly finish packing.  So I had not gotten around to breakfast that morning. I did bring a bag of cookies in the car with me to eat, but of course, when I got out of the car to return my library book, my brother had eaten all the cookies!

So once we were done unpacking, my father got us all in the car, and we went for a goodbye lunch (even though I would be back home in two days for the weekend) at Basil.

Basil is a beautiful restaurant. The décor is really very nice. There is a dark brick wall with a mirror that stretches a long way. The tables are small and the lighting is cool looking and well-lit but still with a good ambiance. The food is cooked in a huge oven behind the open bar-area counter that covers the whole length of the restaurant.  There is also an outdoor eating area so they say, but we didn’t get to see it.

When we pulled up to the restaurant, I brought Gavi, my little brother in while my parents parked the car. I asked the waiter for a table for four but he told me they had none and I should leave. It was a kind of rude but just then my parents came in and they made them give us a table.

We ordered a small lunch of Basil fries (you can see our favorites by the trend of orders), rosemary pizza with feta cheese, and a strawberry-blueberry-banana shake.  My mom ordered a healthy sounding salad with beets in it I think, and while I generally love salad, Basil is known for its pizzas and fries.

Delicious Basil Fries

Delicious Basil Fries

The drink came first.  It was dark in color and had milk and honey added to it.  It was creamy and delicious, and we immediately ordered a second one to share. Then the fries came; they were AMAZING fries! Some of the fries still had the skin on them and they had parsley and cheese sprinkled on top. They were amazing. So amazing. Although there were two dips, one ketchup and one mayonnaise, the mayonnaise dip was really thick and tasted like it was just pure mayonnaise. Not so good.

Then the pizza came. It was delicious! It was simple yet tasty and all of the flavors balanced out – nothing overwhelming. It also wasn’t very oily which was good. Even my little brother who can be picky about what he likes ate some. Meanwhile we had already waited about half an hour for the second berry shake. It was taking a very long time. Finally it arrived, and we had it put in a to go cup. As soon as it came we left.

Croissant

Croissant

We have been to Basil many times and some of the food is good and some is not. I once ordered a croissant for breakfast and a hot cocoa.  The hot cocoa was really bitter and the croissant was hard and not made from a croissant pastry; it was really hard to eat. I don’t know if it was old but it was really not good. Plus there were a lot of big sugar crystals on top of it, which didn’t really help with the flavor. But all the other times we have been to Basil, we have had really good experiences.

Now that I will be in Crown Heights, Brooklyn more often, I hope I will have a chance to eat at Basil more often. I will also get a chance to write about many more kosher restaurants located within walking distance of my new room!

(A short while later…)

School/ Jail Break

High school is so hard! I have work all the time. I sleep fifteen hours a week, and if that was not enough, to top it off, I have school on Sundays.  Well if you lived my life you would also be relieved when you hear that your dad is going to take you out of school the next day for lunch (that is-after that appointment mom scheduled for me)! That means two hours of freedom and possibly a six and a half minute nap in the car from school to Basil.

So when my name got called on the loudspeaker to come to the office, I was pretending to act all surprised because we strictly are not supposed to leave school for anything! So I hid my excitement as I practically ran down the stairs. I jumped in the car. I was really excited to see my dad since I hadn’t seen him in so long! When we drove to Basil, I managed a four-minute nap on the way.

Once we parked the car and figured out the whole parking meter, and after my purse broke (while I was spinning it around because I was so excited), and we got it from under a car that was parked across the street, (whoo!) then we went inside.

This time we were seated right away, and we had excellent service. (hmmm…adults get taken very seriously) We ordered the arugula and beet salad, the seasonal soup and Quebec tempura eggplant. I hope I got all that spelled correctly; I will try to check the menu for exact spelling next time I am there.

Tempura Eggplant

Tempura Eggplant

So you are thinking, ‘That is what her father ordered.  What did she order? Because kids don’t eat food with those kinds of names.’ Well maybe he did, or maybe it was mine… Our food came right away and with great service. We ran out of ketchup and before I could turn to ask the waiter for more he had put some on the table. The arugula beet salad was served with a Arugula Beet salad with goat cheese 2-12mix of arugula, beets, mixed nuts, with a few small disks of goat cheese. The combination of texture and flavor in the salad was amazing! The sweet dressing with the salty cheese and the soft beets and the crunchy nuts complimented each other perfectly. (Kids don’t get scared by foods with new names.) The Quebec tempura eggplant was good although the sauce the entire plate was very, very acidic! Besides for that it made the tempura part of the eggplant get all mushy. The potatoes really evened it out, but it didn’t help that much. And of course, we have expressed our feelings about the Basil fries. Cooked perfectly with the skins on to keep them extra crispy and not too oily with parsley and cheese sprinkled on top.

Over all the times we went to Basil have evened out between the service and the food quality. We really recommend Basil as a great place for dinner and lunch (just please be careful with breakfast!), and if you are ever just in the area with a small hunger pain, the fruit smoothies at Basil are amazing!

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Hakadosh BBQ

HaKadosh BBQ – Pop Up Restaurant

            I was working all morning with a friend and Columbia alumna, on a Chabad House beautification project (thank you Jennifer!). Once we were done I was really tired and was ready to take a nap. Yes, just because we are young, doesn’t mean we have endless amounts of energy.  I was about to do just that when my father told us that he was going to take us all out to our old friend Ari White’s pop-up restaurant.

Ari WHite in front of his portable truck where he smokes his meat for days at a time.

Ari WHite in front of his portable truck where he smokes his meat for days at a time.

Books have pop-ups. Cool birthday cards have pop-ups.  But WHAT is a pop-up restaurant?! Our dad spoke up Ari’s “awesome pop-up restaurant” so even though we kids had no idea what food would be on the menu, we all got just as excited to go try pop-up food.

Ari is better known to us for his Gemstone Catering and “Got Cholent”; he’s also a real foodie and gets along great with our father.  Ari has catered some of our Chabad House events and family simchas, and his food is always amazing! So I changed my dirty clothing, and we got on the train to go eat. On the ride there, standing-room only,  people on the train were looking at me in a very funny way, so I looked into the reflection of the train window and saw I had black spray paint all down one side of my face. I was so embarrassed!  How could no one have told me!?

When we got to the ‘pop-up restaurant’ which turns out to have been more of a food

We arrive at Hakadosh BBQ

We arrive at Hakadosh BBQ

stand at a street fair, my graffitied face was quickly forgotten among the swarms of people and the delicious smells of BBQ.

I ordered a lamb shank bone.  In my life, I have never had a shank bone. It was the biggest thing on the menu and after all my work that morning, I was hungry! It was delicious! Ari’s crew steamed it for twelve hours, and the outcome was amazing. It was juicy, sticky, and HUGE. Like a huge dinosaur bone! (Ok not that huge, but pretty huge.) Esther got a pulled BBQ chicken sandwich. It was a massive helping and extremely flavorful, but she couldn’t finish the whole thing (kid-size portions next time?).  Everything we ordered came with a plain but perfect coleslaw and pickles (good if you are into pickles which a lot of my peers are).     

Esther with her large delicious pulled chicken sandwich! yummy!  Hakadosh BBQ

Shoshana getting her lamb shank bone
Shoshana getting her lamb shank bone

We were all really messy so we went to sit down on a stoop to finish eating. I guess lack-of-seating would be a not-plus for pop-up restaurants with large helpings of somewhat messy-to-eat food. I was having some regrets at this point about my order because with my braces and TMJD, I couldn’t fit my mouth around the meat! While we were eating, Ari came over to us and told us that if we wrote about him on our blog, we should quote him, but he didn’t say what to quote so I just did. We also met an elderly Jewish lady who expressed over and over again how delicious the food was and talked about her kids in Monsey. She was very expressive, and my siblings and I all hid behind the massive lamb shank bone and laughed a ton because we felt awkward! Our father, expert communicator, took over.

Eating our amazing food on the stoop.

Eating our amazing food on the stoop.

We had a great experience at Hakadosh Barbeque. Ari, we hope you do it again either during the year, or for sure next summer.  We had a fun few hours at the fair, the food was amazing, and the best of the whole deal–it was a great time for family bonding. Thanks Tatty, again, for taking us out!