what not to miss.
how not to miss it
the last bite
this catalan outpost on manhattan ave is a destination for authentic tapas, old world wines and new age cocktails, and is quite simply my favorite restaurant in
brooklyn the entire city. the name el born references the edgy and colorful neighborhood in the south of Barcelona that relentlessly attracts artists, musicians, and dreamers to its narrow streets, quaint bars, and unsuspecting restaurants… not unlike our own burgeoning northern point of Brooklyn. is it a coincidence that the coordinates on my wrist point exactly to a park in the very barrio of el born in barcelona, and that this restaurant opened on my block the week I moved back from Spain? nope. I was (el) born to exist in this restaurant at least weekly while my heart resides daily across the pond.
the charming dueña elena, a barcelona transplant, has built an exemplary staff led by head chef alberto “talento” and a handful of dashing camareros with heavy hands, kind smiles and who are particularly easy on the eyes. her husband playing flamenco guitar makes the whole operation feel like a quaint family affair.
this restaurant embodies everything about food and culture of Barcelona that I can’t get enough of, plus has madrid‘s beer on tap, all day and all night. add to that a killer brunch deal on the weekends, live flamenco guitar on sundays and wednesdays, paella specials on mondays, two-for-one gin and tonics on thursdays, and every single day a friendly staff, perfect ambience, and patatas bravas that kick sergi arola’s out of the water, and i can personally attest to that.
so vamos, ahora. (I’m probably already there)
a lot of talk or activity showing that people are excited about something
isn’t that why you came here anyway? to hear my voice talking excitedly about places, events, movement, people, life, burrata.
4 tsp cumin
4 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp saffron threads (optional)
5 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp saffron threads (optional)
for the spice, grind all spices together with a mortar and pestle.
you have now done the spice.
for the sofrito, chop peppers and onions and blend together in a food processor. heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in pan. add garlic and saute until slightly browned. add pureed veggies and paprika. let simmer and stir frequently. add white wine and 1/4 tsp of saffron if using. simmer 15-20 minutes or until it has reduced by half. (you can make this ahead and keep for 2 days in the fridge.)
in a separate sauce pan, heat the stock and add 1/2 tsp of saffron threads. let this simmer on low.
this is the part when you should preheat the oven to 450F, but resist the urge to use it.
heat the paella (pan) on medium to med-low heat. (ps this should measure 12″ across, or you’ll be swimming in paella.) add the remaining 3 Tbsp of oil and 3 Tbsp of garlic. saute 2-3 minutes. add the chorizo. smellin’ real good now, huh? cook for 4-5 minutes or until the fat is rendered and chorizo is slightly browned.
VERY important – constantly turn the pan IF heat isn’t evenly distributed. do not stop doing this the entire time.
season the fish (cut into chunks) with salt and pepper. add to pan and saute 2-3 minutes, on all sides.
ok, take a deep breath. add the rice. stir well and saute for 2-3 minutes until you see the outside getting just slightly translucent. look through the rice, into its soul. ask it, silently- what do you want, rice? what is it that you want from me?
no matter what it says, give it the spice next. all of the spice. stir well and coat. now add the sofrito. stir enough to spread evenly and let it all settle in before bringing to a boil. let it boil for a few minutes before reducing the heat and keeping the paella at this almost boiling point. bring your face close to the paella often. do not burn the paella. do not burn the paella. do not burn the paella.
keep turning the pan.
arrange your chosen mariscos (seafoods!) in a pleasing pattern. this might be the only satisfying part of your experience, so enjoy it. they should resemble synchronized swimmers in a pool of wonderous sofrito beauty.
keep turning the pan.
cook until it feels right. all water should be absorbed. the paella should be thick, the rice healthy. the mariscos opening their hearts to you. IF you must, put into the oven. regardless, just before you are ready to turn the stove off, turn up the heat to medium high. listen for the crackling rice on the bottom to crystallize. this is a HUGE risk but it is the most sacred part of the paella, the socarrat. you must try.
it’s springtime. and that means that as temperatures rise our waking hours get a little later and our non-waking hours get a little nonwakier and we all have to go to work and pretend to be human beings. while listlessly gazing out the window into the sunshine and wishing we were napping in mccarren park.
because of this hot heat and no sleep and desperate need for caffeine phenomenon that is rapidly rising with the temperature, my coffee budget is also on the up and up. the hot percolator coffee from my stovetop or drip drip americana from the community office pot just isn’t refreshing. and while i’m proudly funding a new back patio at konditori on manhattan ave with my daily $4 cold brew purchase, it’s been eating into my budget for everything else.
and thus, enters, the you-do at home cold brew.
what you need
1/2 lb whole bean coffee (highly recommend gumpy’s, oslo, or stumptown)
bean grinder (or you can get it freshly ground when it’s purchased as long as you use right away)
a large bowl
cheese cloth (i had a little trouble finding this but they sell it at the garden on manhattan ave)
grind beans to a medium-course grind.
dump into bowl
fill bowl with water- water to coffee ratio should be about 3:1.
put the bowl in the refrigerator over night and wait. (you can sleep too if you want.)
remove bowl and strain liquid through cheese cloth.
enjoy, my friends. and now let’s go spend your savings on fun.