eater's digest: brooklyn crab

I've always been the type who is eager for fall, who looks forward to long pants, chilly outdoor evenings and the chance to take a bike ride without breaking a sweat. That said, since the temperature dropped 20 degrees (overnight), I've been mourning the loss of my New York summer. And, in specific, craving a return to my favorite seafood shack, Brooklyn Crab.

Luckily, the crab shack is open year-round, given the happy heating of the upstairs deck. So now seems as good a time as ever to get a bit nostalgic. To lean back into the not-so-long-ago days of 'yore, when we biked, boozed and bean bagged away our steamy Sundays in Red Hook.

...And to imagine another side of Brooklyn Crab. A hood-and-boots, hot toddy game of corn hole. Followed, of course, by a round of whole bellies and the impressive Brooklyn Crab Royale.

recipe: purple cabbage summer slaw

When the weather heats up, I prefer to spend as little time slaving over a hot stove as possible. And when I've got a bunch of people to feed, I prefer quick, easy recipes that can sit worry-free in the sun. I came up with this colorful slaw last summer, when my mom happened to have nothing but half a head of cabbage and a well-stocked pantry/freezer to pull from. It has since become one of my family's go-to beach day eats.

Purple Cabbage Summer Slaw

Ingredients
  • 1 head of purple cabbage (medium sized)
  • 1.5 cups of frozen peas
  • 1 cup of shelled, frozen edamame
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • Dressing:
    • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 2 tsp honey
    • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
    • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
    • 1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • Optional:
    • sunflower seeds
    • pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Instructions
  1. Wash and de-core cabbage. Shred in food processor, or finely chop by hand.
  2. In a large bowl, mix peas, edamame, dried cranberries and golden raisins with cabbage.
  3. Mix together vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour over slaw and mix well.
  4. Let sit until peas and edamame are properly defrosted (10-15 minutes).
  5. Top with seeds and serve.
Notes You can also serve this slaw over mixed greens (pictured) as a light, but filling, vegetarian salad.

eater's digest: tacombi

Photos by Lauren DeFilippo

"What's your favorite New York taco?" Any self-respecting food writer should have had one, if not a few taco suggestions. Yet just six months ago, I embarrassingly realized I had never so much as eaten in a single Mexican NYC restaurant.

Like all foodie subjects on which I am lacking sufficient authority, I accepted, then attacked this challenge with gusto. From Mexicue on the Lower East Side to Toloache on 82nd Street, I ate at easily a dozen taco-wielding establishments.

Some were excellent, others so-so, but there was none that truly stole my heart...that is, until Tacombi.

Admittedly, I'm not just talking about the food - though Tacombi's al pastor de puerco is reason enough to rave. Rather, it was the garage-turned-block-party vibe of the indoor/outdoor space that truly won me over.

Ideal for a chilled-out Saturday brunch, an inventive first date or a rowdy round of afterwork cervezas, this is high-concept, low-fi feeding at its best.

We started off with crunchy homemade totopos and avocado-rich guacamole, balanced with smoky chili powder and salty cotija cheese. From there we shared a large serving of esquites, a exquisite, creamy cup of toasted corn comfort food.

Admittedly, there was a bit of a lunch rush, and our taco order got lost in the fray. Digesting from our appetizers, we sipped on the house Lupita sodas - the orange was excellent, but the pineapple far too sweet. It took a bit of inquiring after the demure, day-dreaming bus girl, but eventually arrived the grand finale.

Meaty - almost gamy - and rich with slow-cooked sauce, the al pastor de puerco was truly a taco lover's delight. The lighter, seared fish featured almost Italian flavors - capers and tomato versus the fruity salsa I anticipated - but it was cooked impeccably, so no complaint could be filed.

Perhaps that's the grand appeal of Tacombi. It's a dive (that's not really a dive) which leaves you smiling even when the service screws up or your taco comes topped with a strange assembly of ingredients. In short, exactly what your favorite little taco shop should be.