Saturday, July 30, 2011

Insect Cocktails at White & Church

Grasshoppers at Toloache was just the beginning of our insect exploration. Once again, we challenged our fears and common sense at White & Church (281 Church St), a TriBeCa newcomer that is already generating buzz for its cocktails with grasshoppers, spicy worms and scorpions.

Their cocktail menu includes:

Summer: Batilda de Coco, oatmeal milk, sugar, and dried grasshoppers carefully placed in a weaved bamboo leaf sphere. This cocktail was delicious, gorgeous and certainly bizarre. To get over the fear of eating bugs, WFC member Alex convinced herself that the grasshoppers looked cute on its cotton-ball-soft foam, "as if they died and were now sitting on clouds in heaven". Perhaps a bit of self-hypnosis is necessary in this kind of situation!

9/10 for taste, innovative presentation and weirdness factor

Rosemary: cinnamon flavored rum, apple juice, lemon juice, with toasted honeybees and a sprig of rosemary. Unfortunately, White & Church's supplier discontinued honeybees, so Rosemary is now served with grasshoppers. While we were disappointed that honeybees were no longer available, Rosemary was actually our favorite by taste.

8/10 wins points for taste and weirdness factor

Why not? consists of Don Julio tequila, Cointreau, sugar, lime and avocado topped with Mexican dried spicy worms. This bland frozen margarita inspired cocktail would not exist without the exciting spicy worms. The combination of avocado and citrus was just not working, and thus left us disappointed. The spicy worms tasted like fish food, and were seriously overshadowed by their companions grasshoppers and scorpions.

5/10 wins points for worms, loses points for taste

Blue Velvet is a dangerous mix of Crème de Menthe and Sambucca, rimmed with black sesame seeds and topped with a scorpion.

7/10: wins points for scorpion and presentation, loses points for mouthwash taste and inconsistency (we ordered 2 and they were different in taste and color.)

Watch WFC member member Mike trying "Blue Velvet" scorpion cocktail:

... and a grasshopper.

Most cocktails at White & Church are in the $12-14 range. Note that White & Church runs a happy hour on ALL BUT insect drinks Tues - Sunday 5-7pm, when you can try their other amazing concoctions half off.

Also of note were some dishes at White & Church: zucchini blossoms, literally tempura fried flowers of the zucchini plant (beautiful but not exactly a meal), and artichoke croquettes.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dusseldorf weird foods

Here are a few bizarre food items I picked up while in Dusseldorf, Germany:
  • candy that tasted like cardboard with sour poprocks-esque filling inside
  • caviar spread in a toothpaste tube
  • deer terrine
  • Killepitsch, a local liquor that tastes like cough syrup and sounds like "Kill a b*tch"
  • pistachio spread that got taken away by airport security
  • bubble gum in a tube
  • chocolate with absinthe filling
  • chocolate pasta that tasted a lot like regular pasta
  • candy cigarettes (there were rumors these were banned in the US, but in fact it was real candy/fruit-flavored cigarettes that were banned)
  • candy that looks like eggs -- so much fun!
Other items not pictured:

I also had the opportunity to attend a cooking class with Frank Petzchen Cooking School where my coworkers and I learned how to make Mustard Soup with Blood Sausage Ravioli.

See recipe posted further.

Recipe for Dusseldorf Mustard Soup with Blood Sausage-Apple Ravioli

Ingredients for 4 people

200g celery
60g onion
30g butter
500ml chicken stock
20g roux (1:1)
200ml cream
80g mustard

80g black pudding (blood sausage)
30g apple
30g onion
8 wan-tan leaves
1 egg
chip/ French fry fat


Mustard Soup:
Cut celery into fine slices.
Cut onion into slices, melt in butter and fill up with chicken stock.
Cook celery until tender, puree and strain it.
Boil the broth and use roux to thicken it.
Add cream and season to taste.
Before serving add the mustard with a blender.

Black pudding/apple ravioli:
Chop blood pudding, apple and onion into small cubes and then fry in a pan
Season with majoram and let it cool
Apportion the mix on the wan-tan leaves and glue the sides with egg
Deep fry the ravioli in chip fat and place two ravioli in each soup bowl.