Posts tagged “video

passion beat: chef david z. @ boqueria, flatiron

Boqueria's David Z. piles on the charm (photo courtesy Lyana Fernández)

When chef David Z. fell in love with cooking at the age of 10 in his native Veracruz, Mexico, he had to do it in secret – in those days, hanging out in the kitchen wasn’t considered manly.

He went on to open his own restaurant before coming to the US 12 years ago and landing a job at Midtown’s splashy Brasserie 8½. Today, David’s unabashed flare for food is evident at Boqueria, the popular tapas destination in the Flatiron District.  Looking much younger than his 50 years, you can spot him right by the window doing his craft; and if you’re smart, you’ll sit right in front of him at the bar.  That’s where I decided to chat him up in Spanish while I was waiting for my friend Lyana (whom you can hear perusing the menu during the video).

It was Labor Day weekend, and while nearby sidekick Sala One-Nine (a good choice for mid-week lunch specials) looked hungry for customers, Boqueria was buzzing as usual.  And there was David, turning out plate after plate of tortilla Española, manchego, and pan con tomate (his secret touch: a pinch of sugar).  He’s a natural comedian and could easily have his own cooking show – as he told me joke after joke, I noticed these weren’t ordinary tapas.  David is a master plater:  he smears aioli into fluttering fans reminiscent of Seville (“for the summer,” he says) and piles rounds of bread onto cheese boards as if they were miniature monuments.  I was mesmerized.

Above all, David is a passionate man.   He talks about his love for gastronomy as if he were serenading his beloved, and when I ask him about his effortless artistry, he tells me it’s all in the feeling: “Even though you’re doing it for others, you have to do it for yourself first.”

And he’s definitely muy manly.  Check out those Michelangelo-esque hands…


cheese duet – vermont country store

In the postcard-pretty town of Weston, Kathy and Lenora serve up samples...and smiles.

As I handed over $3 for a tiny bottle of Vermont Grade A Medium Amber maple syrup, the cashier flashed me a giant smile.

“Has anyone ever told you that you look like…Janeane Garofalo!”

It wasn’t a question.

Oh, dear.  I had finally come to terms with the whole Sally Field thing…and now this?

Perhaps I shouldn’t pooh pooh it;  maybe it’s the girl-next-door thing that makes people feel like they can talk to me and my iPhone.

So here’s another improvised interview – straight from the land of sugary sap, marvelous music, and lush landscapes.

Photo courtesy of HCK


durianrider’s first bite of the big apple

Raw romance: Durianrider and Freelee outside Whole Foods Union Square

Once upon a short period of time, I was a raw vegan.  I got really into it.  And then I discovered there were other people who were really, really into it.  That’s how I came across Durianrider.

The 34-year-old Australian athlete takes his healthy-living mission around the world with his partner Freelee and is known for his, shall we say, colorful videos.  So when I saw him standing next to his bamboo bike in Union Square, I recognized him instantly.

Turns out Durianrider (Harley Johnstone) had landed in our metropolis only 12 hours before.  Breaking news!  In this meaty interview (pun intended), he reveals what he eats in a typical day, where he thinks you should get most of your calories, and which New York landmark really made his jaw drop.


cuban quickie: bongo brothers food truck

Bueno, bonito, y barato: Bongo Brothers NYC Cuban food truck

I had just finished the breakfast special at Café Orlin when I spotted it:  a Cuban food truck.  ¿Que?   Sí, right on 5th Avenue between 18th and 19th streets.  I eyed it suspiciously – not just because I’d never seen it there – I’ve been burned by wannabe Cuban food before.

I grew up in a Cuban household.  My mother’s name is Lucy.  I have a right to be picky about these things.

And yet I’m not the best judge of what you might think of as Cuban cuisine:  instead of the usual meat dishes like lechón asado (slow-roasted pork) and ropa vieja (stewed shredded beef), I get intense cravings for plátanos maduros (sweet, ripe plantains) and tostones (salty, green ones).  And when I do, I don’t want to sit at a restaurant or hit the kitchen.  Or pay over the odds for something that’s never going to top mi familia’s.

Enter Bongo Brothers Cuban food truck.  $1 for an order of tostones or maduros.  $1!  So, even though I was full, I had to get a bite.  That’s after I interviewed Danny Teran – one-half of the Bongo Brothers team – who was very excited to talk to me and tell me his story, even while I held up his line of hungry customers…and despite the humming of the truck.  Gracias, Danny.  As you can see from the photo at the end of the video, I didn’t get very far down the street before I tore open the steamy parcel bearing memories of salsa steps, sunny skies, and sandy shores.  Hasta la próxima.


fab find: chozen “ice cream with chutzpah”

Chozen co-founder Meredith Fisher shares the flavors she grew up with

There are countless ice cream companies vying to cool you off under the summer sun.  How do you choose?

You don’t.

Chozen.  It has to be the most clever concept for ice cream I’ve come across, and I knew I needed to get an interview – and a taste – the second I saw it at Smorgasburg last Saturday.

With flavors inspired by traditional Jewish desserts and based on family recipes created by local bakers using all-natural ingredients, this is “Ice Cream With Chutzpah.”

Watch the video below to get the full story from co-founder Meredith Fisher, then make sure you check out the neat descriptions of all the flavors on their site.

This video is fudged – I was so smitten by my scoop of Apples & Honey that I forgot to take a picture of it, so I ran down to Whole Foods yesterday to try out Chozen’s bestselling Coconut Macaroon.  Those are the pictures you see at the end.  I don’t usually buy ice cream to keep at home, but I had a very good excuse this time.  Now there’s no telling how long that pint’s going to stick around the freezer.  And the Chocolate Gelt is calling my name – I can hear it all the way from Union Square.

In case you’re keeping score – yes, I did indeed have two desserts in a row on Saturday.  Actually, three.  But one of them, as you know, was raw bananas.  So it doesn’t count.


fab find: rob & anna’s “it’s just bananas”

Who are these people? Watch the video below to find out

I’ve always loved coming up with names (“name generation,” as they say in the ad world.) And so I get especially excited when I run into an example of both why-didn’t-I-think-of-that branding and I-want-to-eat-that-now brand.

This week, I want to rave about two vendors who caught both my eye and my taste buds during my first visit to Smorgasburg – the all-food market happening every Saturday throughout the summer on the Williamsburg waterfront.

First up:  Rob & Anna’s.  It’s really only one person – or not the people you’d think.  You’ll see what I mean in this video when I introduce you to Emma Schwartz, the brains behind the one-month old enterprise.

Frozen bananas masquerading as ice cream is not a new idea, but nobody’s found a way to make it mainstream…until now.  I really want to help out Emma and her gang.  They’re completely unpretentious and have a rocking idea that’s so simple, healthy, and fun, it’s bananas nobody’s done it like this before.

Rob & Anna’s Frozen Banana Soft Serve.  Every Saturday at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Go!  Or at least get their numbers up on their Facebook page.  Liking this post helps us all out, too.

And come back Wednesday when I’ll showcase two other ladies churning out another cool – and saucy – idea.


time to make the blintzes

“While Moses was giving the Ten Commandments to the men, the women were making blintzes.”

So says Lynn Kutner at the beginning of our 2.5 hour Blintz-A-Thon at a West Village synagogue. The author of two cookbooks, Bountiful Bread and A Pocketful of Pies, Lynn, like me, has Russian heritage – and a love of the kitchen – in her blood.  I am so grateful to her for being so generous with her time and culinary flair in anticipation of Shavuot, the joyous (dairy) holiday.

Watch as she shows us the tricks of the trade…and I make an attempt.  Note:  I asked Lynn how to maximize small kitchen space when making these.  Answer:  cook four, roll four.

All recipes © Lynn Kutner

Blintz Batter

Makes about 10 crêpes

3 eggs
2 tablespoons melted, cooled butter or 2 tablespoons (sunflower) oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour (unbleached all-purpose, i.e. Hecker’s)
1/2 cup water

1.  Break eggs into bowl.  Remove white “strings” using two spoons.
2.  Beat in next four ingredients.
3.  Beat in milk and flour very well to make sure batter is smooth.
4.  Beat in water.  Cover and refrigerate at least two hours, preferably overnight.

To cook:

Fry one test crêpe in a hot, buttered nonstick pan.  If it is too thick, thin batter with a few drops of water.

The technique for making a thin, even crêpe is to pour about 3 tablespoons of the batter onto one spot on the very hot pan.  Immediately swirl the pan so the batter coats the bottom evenly.  When the first side is nicely browned, turn and cook the second side.  The whole process takes 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

It is the second side (the less pretty side) that is filled, so that the better side shows.

Lynn’s Healthy Crepes

2-3 eggs
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, honey, or molasses
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup (soy) milk
1/4 cup water

Blueberry Filling for Blintzes

(Fills about 8 medium)

One 12-ounce bag frozen blueberries or 1 pint fresh blueberries
1/4 to 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon cinammon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon water
Small squeeze of fresh lemon

1.  Mix all ingredients except the blueberries in a saucepan.  Stir in the blueberries.
2.  Bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly.  Boil 2-3 minutes.  Put in an ice bath to cool.  May be made a day or two in advance.  Recipe may be doubled or tripled.

Cheese Filling for Blintzes

(Fills 10)

Mix together well:

2 packages Friendship farmer cheese (with salt, 15 ounces)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons apple juice

While it’s not expressly noted here, fry the blintzes on both sides until golden.


mango magic, union square

Peeling and slicing the succulent mango can be tricky business.  Take in the street action on the SE corner of 14th Street and University Place; then watch as Luz, a local vendor, shows us how it’s done.  This was taken before I figured out you need to turn the iPhone, but I wanted to share it anyway.


improvised interview: hally’s top 3 iPhone apps

This would have worked better in reverse, but it was completely off the cuff.  Watch as my friend Hally reveals the one thing she thinks every woman must have at her fingertips.  And now it’s your turn: what are your top 3 iPhone apps?


improvised interview: at the brooklyn flea (part 3)

Charlie of People's Pops shows us some muscle

After posting this photo as a video teaser on Facebook, I got a flurry of comments, including this email from a male friend: “A friend of mine once told me it doesn’t matter if a guy has a pot belly, as long as he has strong arms and shoulders. Apparently, that’s what triggers googly feelings in women. What’s you’re take on that?”  He was writing in response to my friend Cat’s comment that the guy had nice arms.

What’s my take?  I have to agree.  I remember being especially drawn to the arms of the guy I had my biggest teenage crush on.  He was a photographer for the school newspaper, and I just loved the way the veins poked out of his forearms when he held his camera.  Make of that what you will.

Today, there’s just something (not sure I’d call it “googly”) about watching a man’s sinewy arms grip a steering wheel…or feeling a strapping shoulder under your hand on the dance floor.  What do you think?  Methinks this post is going to stir up some trouble.

Meanwhile, scroll down to check out the muscle that goes into making all-natural shaved ice at People’s Pops – one of the coolest stops during my virgin visit to Fort Greene.

p.s.  In case you missed them, here’s part 1…and part 2.


improvised interview: at the brooklyn flea (part 2)

Next up from my Saturday afternoon in Fort Greene:  those cheesy guys I told you about.  Todd and co. behind forthcoming restaurant Speedy Romeo (with forthcoming website) talk fresh formaggio…plus a zesty flavor combination to set your tongue aflutter.  Make sure you watch the very end for a zealous taste test from the stylish and single (listen up, Romeos) Andrea.  Grazie, signores.

p.s. This is a three-part series of short videos.  Missed the first one?  Watch it here.  And make sure you come back tomorrow to see the muscles that are melting hearts…with ice.


improvised interview: at the brooklyn flea (part 1)

Andrea capturing the fabulous foliage in Fort Greene

Oh, how I wish I’d gotten an iPhone sooner!  Shooting that video with Taylor the ukulele player made me feel so in the zone, I knew I had to do more of it.  And now my only regret is that I could have taken really great videos starting in October when I moved back to New York and was rediscovering my old city with new eyes.  But I’m making up for it now – I can’t put the camera down!

Listening to and learning from people’s stories is one of my favorite things – it’s the reason I went to journalism school when I first came to New York in ’97.  And having the ease of video in the iPhone makes it possible for me to taste my old broadcasting days whenever something interesting pops up.  Which is often.

This Saturday, I met my long-time friend and fashion maven Andrea for a jaunt around the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene.  I found Fort Greene charming – great architecture, leafy, laid back – although Andrea and the locals tell me it’s getting to be just like the city they’ve tried to escape.  The market was very cool with unique food stalls I haven’t encountered anywhere else, so out came the camera.  I recorded three short on-the-spot interviews, and this is the first.  I wanted you to meet Andrea – my tour guide for the day – before I take you around to some of the delights I discovered.  Here, she talks Brooklyn, shows us her latest scoop, and tells us why she thinks the British do it better.

Tomorrow, I’ll introduce you to two Romeos getting fresh and saucy…with formaggio.


improvised interview (video): taylor and his ukulele, greenwich village

I was instantly enchanted by this 14-year-old hanging out on 8th Street with his ukulele.  Turns out he was keeping watch outside Electric Studios, where a famous recording artist is putting together his latest CD.  I wish I could tell you who it is, but Taylor swore me to secrecy.  Still, he very graciously agreed to my filming him.  Watch as he talks about what drew him to the “uke,” what he likes about New York, and his big dream.  Then listen to him play.  I love the way he can’t keep himself from strumming while he’s talking.

Note: after checking in with the Apple Store, I now know I need to hold the iPhone horizontally to get full picture.  Next time.  Oh, and please leave comments below for Taylor – he’ll be reading!


friday video: nyc subway dancing guy

On the number 3 Uptown train last night, this guy was lost in his own private disco.  Shame I was so close to him that I couldn’t get a wider angle.  You can hear me talking with my fellow giggling passengers all the way up.  Boy do I love my new iPhone…and this city.  Unfortunately, I’ve hit a snag trying to remove the black bars from the video – can anyone help?