I was in NYC for the last two weeks – damn, I had the awesomest time being back in the city. I don’t know what the hell happened to 2012, I didn’t head back at all so it was a very long overdue trip for me. The moment I stepped off the plane, I was grinning ear to ear and I couldn’t wait to fling myself right into the hustle and bustle of New York. I shall not go on another long sentimental spiel about why I love the city so much, all you need to know is that the energy of the city makes me feel alive (ie. not give a fuck about anything that shouldn’t matter – which is very liberating and euphoric).
Spring is supposed to be a relatively pretty season to be in the city, but I sorta got punked by the weather during the first few days (one weekend it hit 4•C with wind chill factor! Wtf.) I did get my share of warm weather after that though. The lovely warmth sans humidity and with the sun gently roasting your bare shoulders. All my friends remarked that it’s been a really strange spring season, one with too many low temperatures and denied from a pleasant gradual transition, suddenly everyone’s thrusted into summer. I didn’t mind it of course, as warm weather means one thing to me = meat on fire. The delicious kind, not the sunburnt kind. ;)
When it comes to American BBQs I’ve been told that there are a few major kinds: Texas, Kansas, Carolinas and Memphis. They each have their own individual styles, similar yet different, but for the most part all of them use some form of rub (dry and/or wet) and smoking. For the longest time, you couldn’t find great BBQs in NYC (I say this particularly after I’ve had the best experience ever at The Salt Lick in Austin, TX circa 2004). Thankfully with the ever-burgeoning food scene in NYC that always gets more and more exciting for foodies, the city now has a handful of excellent BBQ joints and one of the notable players that everyone raves about is Fette Sau.
I have bookmarked Fette Sau for nearly three summers now – I first heard of it via one of Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” segments. Even though it’s in Brooklyn, there was no way I’m gonna let this slip by me on this trip. When I finally was heading there, I was surprised that it’s at Williamsburg, the north side of Brooklyn (for some reason I had imagined it to be at Dumbo.) I used to drive over weekly to Williamsburg to fetch my exhb after his studio rehearsals and there wasn’t much of anything in the area. If only Fette Sau was already in biz at the time, I’m pretty sure we’d have been stuffing our faces with BBQ often.
A typical BBQ joint, the interior of Fette Sau is pretty raw and industrial-looking. This ain’t a place for fine dining after all, it’s for the meat-loving cowboys and cowgirls to congregate at communal wooden tables + benches, and tear into large chunks of juicy smoked meats served on metal trays (lined with wax paper). There is a steady queue to order and the offerings are displayed on a black board – Pork and Beef. You order by telling the guy behind the counter how much meat you want and everything is charged by weight. It is easy to overspend or over-order here if you’re not careful, after all you don’t know how much that one piece of beef rib with a huge bone really weighs. Rather than, “Give me half pound of the ribs, one pound of the pulled pork, quarter pound of the beef brisket”, it’s best to say you want “a small scoop of this, two links of that, two pieces of this and another piece of that”.
I ordered the Berkshire St. Louis Style Pork Ribs, Beef Brisket, Hand Pulled Berkshire Shoulder and Berkshire Sausages. Even though not all the meats were juicy or bursting with flavor, I enjoyed them regardless – particularly the sausages (I don’t get grilled sausages like that in SG). To accompany the grilled meats, there are four different BBQ sauces: sweet, spicy Chipotle-based, mustard-based, and vinegar-based. My fave was the vinegar-based sauce with a squirt of the sweet mixed in; I doused my pile of pulled pork with it as the pork was kinda tasteless and dry without. There are also hearty sides available, I ordered Burnt End Baked Beans and Cora’s Broccoli Salad. The Broccoli Salad was outstanding and I enjoyed it tremendously. Heck, I could even eat them on its own! It’s so simple – blanched broccolis seasoned with olive oil, vinegar, salt and chille pepper. *Making mental note to recreate this at home soon*
All of this washed down with a nice cold pint of pale ale – Capt. Lawrence Liquid Gold (that’s the name) for me.
354 Metropolitan Ave
(between 4th St & Roebling St)
Brooklyn, New York 11211
There isn’t anyone in NYC who isn’t a foodie, I think. Everyone has a list of bookmarked places in their phones and always eager for the first chance to check it out with someone who hasn’t been. New Yorkers celebrate food. I ate my way through the city ferociously in the last two weeks and catching up with my good pals at the same time. Great food, great company, great conversations. It was awesome, I went to bed happy every single night and I’m excited to be recording it all down in this blog. So hang tight and come back to this space again soon – uhm, I take no responsibility if it induces hunger and wanderlust. ;)
Food and Travel. Two of the best discoveries that need to be experienced together, always.