Saturday, July 19, 2008


I'M ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS as to what inspired this present obsession of mine, but about four weeks back I arrived at the realization that muffins were a brilliant idea and I should make many of them. I sought out a basic non-dairy recipe and went to work on my first muffin-making attempt: blueberry. The results were a bit flat. They tasted great, especially topped with a quick roll in some cinnamon and sugar, but they were literally flat-topped, which for a muffin I find to be entirely unacceptable.

Attempt two was banana nut. I added more mix per muffin in the baking tray and yielded larger, more rounded muffins. I'm not a baking expert by any stretch of the imagination, so I'm always pleased to find that basic principles such as "add more batter, get more muffin" hold up at 350-degrees.

The latest round were lemon poppy seed. I guessed the juice of four lemons required extra flour to offset the added liquid. I guessed a bit high on exactly how much. The muffins were the right size, but a little too firm. Live and learn. I'll pass along the recipe when I get it right, and I've got a great idea for a muffin flavor combo to perfect. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mike (Almost) Eats Wingnut

Post has been updated below.

IT'S NOT SO much that I narrowly escaped losing my teeth to chomping down on this little guy as is was head-shaking to have found it where I did: buried in an order of Brooklyn Label french fries. And while it's far from the most unsanitary thing I could have found hiding my food, it's also, you know, a freaking wingnut in my french fries.

I've made four or five visits to Brooklyn Label (180 Franklin St, Greenpoint, Bklyn; 718-389-2806) over the past two moths, each to some degree of disappointment. There was the unlabeled, uneatable hot sauce. The tempeh ruben just isn't what it used to be. No more onion rings or mac n' cheese. The menu is half its previous size and scope. BL's brunch seems to still draw a sizable crowd, but I can't bring myself to pay for another halfhearted meal just to find out if its worth the trip.

The elusive Wingnuti brooklynlabelus in its natural habitat.

The wignut fiasco has closed the door for me. I'm not refusing to eat there ever again, but I've no reason to seek it out. There are just too many other options around, ones that make the same stuff just as well, and certainly ones with kitchens that take the time to keep hardware out of the fries.

MIKE EATS NEXT TIME: Probably not.

Note: Attempting to check the address for this post I stopped by BL's website. Yeah, when I talked about a 'halfhearted' effort, that's exactly what I was talking about. It's the little things, people.

Update, 7/23: BL has offered it apologies for the incident and weighed in on the website malfunction over on the comments page. I've also been informed that BL's new menu has been released, so despite my ambivalence, perhaps you should, in the words of the sage LaVar Burton, "don't take my word for it" and check out the new goods anyway.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Best Quote Ever - 07.10.08

Jason Giambi's batting average dropped to futile depths in mid-May, when Giambi grew a mustache to "break the monotony" of his slow season. Since sprouting the whiskers, Giambi's batting average has bounced back and was recently the inspiration for All Star Game fan voting.

Aaron Perlut of the American Mustache Institute:

“Baseball has a thick, rich, luxurious history with the mustache... And we’ve tried to be as visible and supportive as we can of Giambi. Not only do we think he’s a great baseball player, but he’s also a great ambassador of the labia sebucula — which is Latin for lip sweater.”

Dinner And A Movie: Hellboy II & Habitat

CAUGHT A SCREENING of Hellboy II last night with Sir Hitchcock and Mr. Golden. Considering that Pan's Labyrinth is likely the standard-bearer for Guillermo del Toro's work of late, a couple things stood out: First, the go-bump-in-the-night imagination on this guy is something special. The death of a plant God and, later, an incarnate of Death itself are breathtaking. You gotta think del Toro has a leg up on Burton these days, at least as far as creepy-crawly ghouls go.

Second, speaking of stories, Pan's Labyrinth was an exceptionally carefully wrought fairy tale. Del Toro makes good use of his dramatic flair in Hellboy, too, but he's not nearly as meticulous about it and I suspect it's because the characters and plot lines aren't wholly his own. The best ones in Hellboy are the ones he brings to life himself. The mechanization of the golden army is good, but the everyday, otherworldly interactions in the troll market are great. Kinda makes you wonder what's gonna he's gonna do with the Hobbit.

And after the movie I finally paid a visit to Habitat (988 Manhattan Ave; Greenpoint, Bklyn; (718) 383-5612).

Kevin has been raving about this place for weeks, as have several other Greenpointers I've bumped into. The decor is something like a backyard patio tucked away inside what appears to be minimalist concrete facade, but given the suburban overtones of the interior, maybe it's just the basement foundation. It's all very inside-out (and with Planet Earth DVDs constantly playing above the bar).

There's food to be had (though, does one really want to eat while watching Planet Earth?). Pairs of sliders, baskets of waffle fries, mac n' cheese, ham and swiss, etc. I had the black bean and cheese empanadas, a term usable for any fried, pastry-encased food classier than a Hot Pocket. I'm not saying they were bad, they were actually quite good, reasonably priced at $6 for a pair served with mixed greens. The beer list was interesting if not ambitious, $5-7 a pint.

MIKE EATS NEXT TIME: Perhaps. The wood slabs served up as coasters are neat.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Mike Eats What?

After a long absence, I've decided it might be time to revisit this poor little un-updated site. The mission won't be refocused as much as it will be less focused, less attention paid to my every meal and more attention turned on my immediate surroundings: Greenpoint.

Lots of factors have played into this decision, not the least of which is the simple fact that I now have an occasional spare moment. Sure, I've missed writing and blah blah, but I've also found myself as of late, as I told Mint last night, "uninspired" making meals, to which Mint responded with a rather defeated, "awww." So, let's just call that moment my tipping point. Fitting, really, as she was the tipping point the first time, too.

But there was also a moment last weekend which drew this decision quite a bit nearer. You'll hear about it soon enough. It involves the subject of my last post (some four months ago), a box of fries and a rogue wingnut. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out the plot, but it definitely deserves its own post.

So, stay tuned! Mike Eats Food is back, but this time it's Greenpoint.