Wednesday, September 2, 2009

tales of the tiger brooklyn food safari Day 1

Tales of the Tiger Food Safari's is an ongoing family tradition and often involves out of town visitors and family members.

This summer our son Ben and his girlfriend Hong Mei spent a few weeks with us while they were teaching at the New York Urban Debate League's High School Summer Debate Camp otherwise known as CITI - of course they were thrilled to have good home cooked meals organized by chef dad and chef mom - which ranged from gourmet to down home cooking.

A few times we prepped a feast of garlic infused fresh mussels - prepared in a few different styles - all delicious, fresh and enjoyable. This was everyone's favorite meal that had us all mnnning and groaning with delight. But Ben had a request that we take Hong Mei to DiFara's for Pizza - so what's a mom to do - but organize a food safari to the BK for world class pizza.

Those of you who know and love DiFara's Pizza - Avenue J and 15th Street in Midwood, Brooklyn probably realize that this is a fleeting experience that could disappear in the blink of an eye if something ever happened to Dom - the amazing pizza artisan.

Dom hand snipping a fresh basil shower onto a pie

Recently the New York Times reported that DiFara's raised their slice price to $5 a slice, making it one of the most expensive slices in NYC - and the pies are now $25 for the round and $30 for the sicilian pie (9 slices). And to top it off the wait for a pie is anywhere from a quick one hour up to 2.5 hours - but oh is it worth it... both in terms of money and time.

So the Sunday Ben was leaving to return to Baltimore for the fall semester we trekked off to Brooklyn on a Tale of the Tiger Food Safari.

First stop was actually White Castle - not planned but Hong Mei had never tried White Castle she requested we stop (she's a native of Singapore who has lived in Baltimore since High School and now goes to the New School/NYC) . While White Castle is certainly not gourmet cuisine, it is a long time player on the NY food scene - and as sliders are more popular than ever - not bad for a quick bite, but not our ultimate destination either.

We always stop and get something to eat before going for DiFara's Pizza - 'cause as I mentioned the wait can be quite long and if you are not starving when you get there certainly the aroma and the visual show of standing at the counter watching Dom make these beauties will cause you to get more and more anxious if you come in with an empty tummy.

So before hitting DiFara's (and they weren't answering the phone to place an order before we got there - not that that always works either ) we stopped in Brooklyn's Sunset Park Chinatown, and wandered down the long strip in search of some delicacies. We ended up sharing a big bowl of hand pulled noodles with beef "stew" as we watched the man behind the small counter swinging the dough around to stretch the noodles.

Walking back to the car, we encountered lots of asian fruits and veggies, like our favoriterambutan (hairy cousin to the lychee), fresh lychee & dragon fruit to name a few.

Hong Mei who is fluent in Mandarin & Cantonese,
helped to buy a taro root cake stuffed with bean paste
off a lady selling them from a granny cart
in the middle of one of the crowded blocks
- a bright orange concoction that had a pleasant
not too sweet somewhat starchy chewy taste.
The color is amazing!

Dom signed a pizza box - for Grace's birthday Pie
- she didn't want chocolate she wanted DiFara's Pizza
and her lovely husband waited on line
and then got Dom to autograph the box!

this is the flour encrusted hand of a pizza genius