THE BITE: Of all the columns I write each year, this one has to be my favorite. This is the column where I break my silence on what’s happening behind the scenes of Brooklyn’s greatest food fest, A Taste Of Sheepshead Bay!
First off – GO BUY YOUR TICKETS. Online ticket sales end very soon, so don’t delay. Yes folks, I want you to save some money and buy your tickets on line. Tickets online are $25, a savings of $10 from purchasing them at the door. Once you’ve bought your tickets, you can then use the $10 you saved on libations at the event. Or just give it to me, no one’s getting rich working at Sheepshead Bites, y’know.
Now, why should you attend A Taste of Sheepshead Bay? Well, apart from all the good food you’ll be eating, it gives you a chance to come out and support the local businesses of our community. You won’t find any restaurant chains or corporate shills pushing their food here. All of our participants are small, local, business owners who are working hard to make Sheepshead Bay and the surrounding neighborhood a great place to live. Some have been here for generations, some are just opening their doors. It doesn’t matter; they are our neighbors and one of the great creeds of Brooklyn has always been, “We take care of our own.”
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at who’s coming and some of the food we’ll all be enjoying…
We’re only 10 days away from A Taste of Sheepshead Bay 2012, hailed by some as “the biggest tasting this side of the East River.”
Sponsored by Il Fornetto, A Taste of Sheepshead Bay features favorite dishes from 20 local restaurants, giving neighbors, foodies and city media a place to try out the best foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay on Thursday, October 11 at 7 p.m in the Baron DeKalb Knights of Columbus (3000 Emmons Avenue).
And now were proud to present the full slate of participants, a perfect blend of the community’s food offerings, from old school Italian restaurants and bakeries, to gourmet chocolate makers, to Uzbeki staples and Asian fare!
What’s more, the as-yet-unopened Chayhana Salom at 1652 Sheepshead Bay Road is debuting at A Taste of Sheepshead Bay 2012. The family-owned Uzbeki restaurant will feature kababs and homestyle Uzbeki foods and is looking forward to celebrating its grand opening with our readers at the event.
The other first-time participants are:
Cevabdzinica Sarajevo II
T & D Bakery
Those returning are:
Jimmy’s Famous Heros
Maria’s Ristorante Italiano
New Cats Cafe
Turkish Cultural Center
Tickets have been flying out the door, and we’ve limited the event to just 250 people – so be sure to get yours now!
Admission is $25 online, or $35 at the door. Find more information at the link below.
THE BITE: I’ve been hearing about Taci’s Beyti for years. Last time – actually, just about every time – I get into chatting about restaurants with my friend Suleyman from the Turkish Cultural Center, he tells me about Taci’s Beyti (1953 Coney Island Avenue, between Avenue P and Kings Highway). He claims it’s one of the best Turkish restaurants in Brooklyn. I’m not about to take that on; I’m sure he is has much more expertise than I do, but I will tell you about one very interesting and one very good hot appetizer: hummus with pastrami.
The New York Daily News has been steadily compiling their annual Best of NY places to chow down. The voter-submitted eateries are located all over New York and range in categories from best sandwich to best Thai food.
Luckily for Sheepshead Bay — and I say ‘luckily’ because what kind of marina would we have if we did not offer the best seafood – the lobster rolls at Jordan’s Lobster Dock, 3165 Harkness Avenue, have taken home the prize for Best Lobster of NY.
Here’s what the folks at the Daily News wrote:
The lobster business is not something you just jump into. It takes years to claw your way to the top. Located on the banks of Hook Creek just off the Belt Parkway, Jordan’s Lobster Dock has been slinging large marine crustaceans since 1938, making it the oldest lobster purveyor in New York City. Owner Bill Jordan keeps over 10,000 pounds of lobsters under the floorboards in the back of his no-frills restaurant/store. The lobsters, all from Maine and Canada, are then purged of impurities for 48 hours before being steamed for eight minutes and served piping hot. Much like Jordan, who’s been in the business for over five decades, the lobster rolls ($18.99) don’t mess around. A quarter-pound of fresh lobster meat, all claw and knuckle, is placed on a toasted and buttered roll. Condiments come on the side. There’s no filler at this Brooklyn gem, just tons of rich lobster meat for a reasonable price.
That’s right folks, there’s no filler here, just tasty, lobster-y goodness. Congrats to Jordan’s Lobster Dock!
THE BITE: Ah, the bourek, an unsung culinary character of Sheepshead Bay that’s probably as prevalent in this neighborhood as beef patties are to Flatbush, or roasted pork buns are to Sunset Park.
We owe thanks largely to the area’s dense population of Turkish Americans living in the area, but also to those whose cultures historically took well to this Turkish pastry, including Eastern Europeans and nations of the Caucasus regions – as well as to Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry.
For the uninitiated, a bourek – or, more traditional, a börek – is a baked or fried filled pastry made of phyllo dough. It comes in several shapes, sizes and stuffings, and is often finished off in the oven with a nice wash and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
THE BITE: I’ve always considered Sheepshead Bay as having particularly discriminating tastes, but rather than preferring bougie “artisanal” branded organic tofu made by a Wisconsin native in skinny jeans, we prefer practical food: delicious food priced just right.
Half-price sushi, anyone? I kid!
I guess it’s also my Russian sensibilities that attracts me to this type of food, whether Uzbeki samsa, Japanese takoyaki, various forms of street meat, foods born out of necessity, or good ol’ New York pizza.
Mexico is a treasure trove of this kind of food but New York, as it seems, has a reputation for lacking good Mexican food. While Ned keeps his favorite Mexican place a secret, one seems to have popped up serving fresh made Mexican fare that might just shut up any whiny Southern California transplant.
A last-minute entrant took the top prize at Top Brgr’s first annual Burger Eating Competition on Sunday, gobbling down more hamburgers than his younger, more experienced opponents.
Sheepshead Bay resident Mike Gordin, a barrel-chested, keg-stomached plumber, scoffed down six-and-a-half burgers in 10 minutes, defeating regulars on the amateur competitive eating circuit, other locals, and even neighborhood champion Alex Mamutin, who won a local cupcake eating contest last year.
At least one contestant made a run for the garbage can, tapping out less than halfway through the competition. When we asked the champion if he needed to join him after the contest, he laughed off any suggestion of such a ventral vulnerability.
Gordin won a $150 gift certificate to Top Brgr (2267 Emmons Avenue), two tickets to a Yankees game and a big ol’ trophy. Gordin was a surprise entrant, volunteering to join the competition after two scheduled competitors failed to show.
THE BITE: I’m down with a nasty summer cold this week, so I haven’t been eating as much as I normally do. That means I don’t have a new restaurant or foodstuff to rave about today. But, I do have a couple of questions.
The second annual A Taste of Sheepshead Bay is scheduled for October 11, 2012. And, we want it to be better than the original.
What restaurants do you want there this year?
How can we improve the eating experience?
What more can we bring to the table?
If we bring in additional entertainment during the event, what would you like it to be?
What can we add/remove from the menu guide (look to the right)? Should we make a mobile version available?
How about a limited number of “VIP tickets?” This will involve a separate admission charge, but provide additional goodies not available to the general public?
Help make this event one of the best in the borough by making it the best for you!
I have all sorts of ideas – but I want to make you guys happy. This is your chance to help shape the greatest community event in the Bay. Help me out here!
New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.
The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.
The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.
… The mayor, who said he occasionally drank a diet soda “on a hot day,” contested the idea that the plan would limit consumers’ choices, saying the option to buy more soda would always be available.
“Your argument, I guess, could be that it’s a little less convenient to have to carry two 16-ounce drinks to your seat in the movie theater rather than one 32 ounce,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a sarcastic tone. “I don’t think you can make the case that we’re taking things away.”
He also said he foresaw no adverse effect on local businesses, and he suggested that restaurants could simply charge more for smaller drinks if their sales were to drop.
Om Nom Nom! Ned want! Ned want now! (Source: Top Brgr)
The following is from our friends at Top Brgr (2267 Emmons Avenue):
We all know you know about the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island. Now there is a new challenger on the block;
Introducing the 1st Annual Hamburger Eating Contest held at Sheephead’s Bay renowned place, Top Brgr, where you can get the juiciest 100-percent Kobe beef burger. The competition takes place on Saturday, June 2 from 1pm-2 p.m. at Top Brgr, 2267 Emmons Ave. in Brooklyn, NY.
Top Brgr, which has become a New York-area destination since it opened in 2011, with a second Top Brgr location opening soon in NYC, wants to test the skill of some of the top local competitive eaters.
“It’s one thing to say that you’ve eaten the most hot dogs or wings, but how many people can make a claim to eating a good number of burgers?” said co-owner Steve Rakhmanov. “We offer a fun, friendly experience focused on a great place to spend with your family/friends as well enjoying some sensational burgers…. we wanted to do something enjoyable for the community.”
The public is invited to join us at this beautiful and fun waterfront dining experience, in a look of a classic 1950s soda shop. While the restaurant offers a traditional high-quality burger, it also adds flair with toppings such a caviar and pico de gallo.
“Nothing says summertime like the smell of grilled hamburgers, kids laughing and a bunch of nuts trying to outdo each other in an eating contest by the water,” said co-owner Ron Raykin. “We wanted to give this neighborhood a gathering spot for casual dining that is more than another chain with no character. Both Steve and I are from Brooklyn, so this business represents us and our love for Brooklyn.”