Category Archives: FavoriteThings

Favorite Things: Shabu-Tatsu’s Green Tea Ice Cream

Green tea ice cream? I know. They probably don’t even make it there, but I’ve never found anything close to the green tea ice cream they serve at Shabu-Tatsu. It has a particular bite on your tongue that delivers the bitter tea taste like  no other green tea ice cream I’ve tried. I would go back just for the ice cream if only they didn’t have a minimum order!

I did try to figure out where they get their ice cream, and a waiter told me the brand was Mister Green Tea. I’ve tried Mister Green Tea and it’s good, but still nothing like Shabu-Tatsu’s, so the next time I was there I told the waiter that Mister Green Tea doesn’t taste like their ice cream.

He said, “Oh, really?” and I proceeded to say that maybe the company delivers them a restaurant-grade batch? I thought that was a good explanation.

He answered, “I don’t know, but if you find out where we get it, can you let me know? I really like it too.”

Stumped. I love the stuff. Maybe it’s a blessing that the wholesale blend is not available in stores.

Favorite Things: House Marinated Feta from Brooklyn Larder

The tub was unremarkable, but the contents were not to be dismissed. Our friends the adobo makers raved about it when they lined it up among their treasures for our magical Vermont weekend.

 Brooklyn Larder is one of those specialty food stores around the corner from where I live. (Maggie Gylllenhaal is a frequent visitor and once touched R’s arm in gratitude for letting her cut the line. True story!) It has its arsenal of breads, pastries, cheeses and charcuterie, sweets and desserts. It houses the most delicious pistachio gelato I’ve known, and is also where one can get amazing ice cream sandwiches whose cookie sides are so richly chocolatey that you’ll forget its hefty $6 price.

The Larder makes it known that good food does not come cheap. At $9 a tub of marinated feta you can’t really complain. Four squares of Bulgarian feta soak in their rosemary flavored house olive oil. The oil is of a quality good enough to use on its own. In fact one only has to bust out a baguette along with the tub and you’d be all set for pre-meal grub.

I’m glad to have sampled it from friends because it’s not something I would have tried on my own. Ah but I did, so how can I turn back? The feta is not as salty as most but that doesn’t mean the taste isn’t long. It’s longer than a weekend line at the store.

Tomatoes, rock salt, feta and rosemary.
Feta, tomatoes, basil.

Don’t you love food discoveries? I’m going to add this to my list of local favorites which include The Big Gay Ice Cream Choinkwich, Uncle Louie G’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter, Chocolate Room Banana Split, and Sottocenere Al Tartufo,

What are your favorite things?

Favorite Things: Vermont Cultured Butter

I love being wowed by simple things. For instance, a butter so rich and tasty it makes you wonder why you wasted your time on all the other “ordinary” butters, watching out for special sales to get them even cheaper, dousing or smearing your food item with so much of it because you can’t seem to produce the taste you’re looking for. It’s not you. It’s it.

Vermont Creamery Butter at the Food Coop – $3 cheaper than retail is not bad at all!

Enter the world of cultured butters. Often called “European style butters,” cultured butters undergo the step of fermentation, where the cream that has accumulated on the top during milking is allowed to ferment (naturally or artificially through bacterial strains) into the popular creme fraiche before churning it into a butter.

As a result, cultured butters have a little bit of tartness to them, owing to a process that has been omitted in the production of mainstream “sweet cream” North American butters, rendering them still rich in fat but
lacking in the distinct taste produced by fermentation, one that allows that knock-your-socks out buttery taste all within the first minor swipe.

Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter is one of those butters that produce that flavor explosion. Typically selling for $6-7 retail for a half pound, the Food Coop brings it to members for a ridiculous steal at

It comes soft so it is easy to transfer into tiny butter ramekins for use at the table, or to grease a baking dish. In cooking it would be a first great touch when searing meats for stew or steak, or to saute garlic and onions for sauces and soups. It apparently has a higher burning point than regular butter sticks, so have a ball with the searing and sautéing!

The package says it is best used on plain bread. With its distinct and powerful taste, the word sparingly might actually (and finally) make sense.

Favorite Things: Sweet Fire Pickles and Peppers

I was on a Labor Day Weekend fishing trip in Delaware and was spending an afternoon in town looking for a present to bring home for my significant other. Not being a fan of anything touristy or souvenir-like, I had difficulty finding anything at the Boardwalk, which was packed with stores selling the usual variety of t-shirts, hoodies, flipflops and fridge magnets. I gave up after a few minutes.
On a chance stop for gas, I gazed upon a gourmet shop and decided to try my luck. I found this jar of pickles and peppers I was sure would be just your run-of-the-mill jar of salty green things, plain and forgettable. Upon opening the jar at home however, we were greeted with the most wonderful combination of sweet and heat I haven’t encountered in any other bottle of pickles or peppers to date.

The juice was good enough to drink, which I did until I was stopped by the gift’s recipient. Was she trying to save me or to save some for herself? I’ll never know. But these pickles and peppers have been such a crowd-pleaser that anyone we’ve served them to has fallen ravenously in love with them and insists on ordering their own batch. I ordered a dozen bottles and split it amongst friends. Sweet Fire Bread & Butter Pickles and Peppers are available for purchase here
The pickles and peppers come in a regular mason jar and might look ordinary, but don’t be fooled. It’s a taste experience like no other. It is great with sandwiches, as an appetizer with cocktails, or served alongside meatloaf and other hearty dishes.
As for the contents, they lack the crunch of regular jarred pickles but that’s because the heat and flavor have seeped all the way through each piece. Incidentally, these are awesome threaded through a long toothpick in Bloody Marys along with some olives. This is a fantastic product from Delaware. No wonder it’s a National Champion!
 Sweet Fire Pickles and Peppers with DopamineJunkie’s Quinoa Meatloaf.
Photo by Kanako Shimura.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...