Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jorge and Jazz at Teddy's

The good news if you missed previous shows by Cafe Drake's old friend and former upstairs neighbor Jorge Manahan and his music crew is that they'll be playing Teddy's Bar and Grill on Wednesday nights though July 30. We're partial to the cool jazz stylings of Jorge and Company and to Teddy's burgers and nachos.

Teddy's Bar and Grill
(in Williamsburg off Bedford Stop L Train)
96 Berry Street at North 8th


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Liquid Lunches and Dinners (yes, again)

We've been swilling all along yet not posting cocktail features on the Cafe Drake blog for many a moon. Summer seems the ideal time to wet your internet whistles once again with two of our most beloved aperitifs, re-discovered in the 1990's and appearing on Cafe Drake coffee tables weekly now. Their 1920's pedigree strangely coincides with our current passion for music of the same glorious era, so cue up on iTunes (or the wireless, as the case may be . . . or just YouTube search) songs from below and get those stainless steel shakers cracking.

Rudy Valle - I'm Just a Vagabond Lover
RV - Deep Night
Ray Noble and His Orchestra
- Midnight, The Stars and You
Edith Day
- Alice Blue Gown
Art Hickman
- Hold Me
Paul Whiteman
- Wang Wang Blues
Fanny Brice
- Second Hand Rose


Fill a tall champagne flute with 2 oz. apricot brandy (we use our homemade and infused at Cafe D.) and top with bubbly. What could be easier? Also works with cherry brandy but only a sweet version; kirsch is too dry).


Never goes out of style. Legend has it that Cafe Drake's grandfather Carl made one of the best in his day.

So simple yet so good: combine at least 2 oz. of good whiskey with 1 sugar cube (or a small teaspoon of sugar) and a dash of bitters in an old-fashion glass (or small highball). Mix well. Add a twist of lemon peel, an oragne slice and mix well again, careful to not "bruise" the whiskey. Add some ice and a T. of water and serve with a cherry.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lloyd Naps (all day long)

2010 Backyard BBQ Season Begins at Cafe Jenifer

Jen and Jen

Jen Ruske really knows how to throw together a quintessential summer meal.

Jen and Jen Again

A mixed grill of Merguez sausages and turkey burgers.

Anthony fans the flames.

An impressionistic still life of Bread, Goat Cheese and Olives.

Having returned from a weekend in Maryland, Jen and Anthony came home with self-picked cherries.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cumin-Coriander Patties with Vegetable Sides


Peel then slice into matchsticks 4-5 large beets. Easier than it sounds but beware of purple staining! Set aside.

In a blender puree 1/2 cup grated coconut (unsweetened) with about 2/3 cup of warm water. Set aside as well.

Now heat 1-2 T. oil in a large and deep skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add: 4 curry leaves, 1 minced jalapeno chili and 1 minced shallot. Cook for 2 minutes then add the beets to the pan. Add 1 T. rice vinegar, a t. of salt and a t. of sugar. Stir well for 2 minutes.

Add most of the blended coconut "milk" to the pan and boil for 2 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Check the liquid now and then to make sure nothing burns.

Add the remaining coconut milk and 4 more curry leaves. Simmer uncovered, stirring now and then, until the beets are almost dry. Remove from the heat and add more salt to taste.

Serve at room temperature.


Grate 5 medium-sized and peeled carrots and set aside. This is easier with a food processor.

Heat 2 T. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 t. of black mustard seeds. When they begin to pop (keep a cover handy for this) add 1/2 cup minced onion and 1/2 t. turmeric and cook for a minute. Now add 1 T. of minced ginger, 3-4 sliced green chilies and 10 curry leaves. Fry until the onion is soft (about 5 minutes).

Add the carrots to the pan along with salt and pepper. Stir-fry for another 5 minutes taking care not to burn. You may need to reduce the heat a bit.

Remove skillet from the flame and let sit for 30 seconds. Stir in 1/2 cup plain yogurt and mix well. Do NOT let the yogurt boil.

Serve at room temperature or cold. Keeps in fridge for 2 days.


In a large mixing bowl combine: 1 lb. of good ground beef or turkey, 1/2 cup minced onions, a t. of dried ginger, 1/2 t. of cayenne pepper, 1-2 t. salt, 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1 t. ground cumin, 1 t. ground coriander, 1/2 a bunch minced cilantro and 1 t. white vinegar. Mix well with your hands and let sit for 30 minutes in the fridge.

When ready to cook the patties you may grill or broil them. Pan-frying works as well.

Speedy Sri Lankan Supper

You may balk at any meal featuring an entree cooked for 1 1/2 hours being labeled as fast, but the genius here is that once you get the beef curry simmering you can almost entirely abandon the dish until it's finished. This should leave plenty of time for making the rice (white basmati cooks quickly compared to many grains) and assembling the salads. The blessing of leftovers also means you'll have an even speedier meal in your near future.


Cut 1-lb. of beef stew meat into 1" pieces and set aside. In a large saucepan or deep skillet, in 2 T. vegetable oil, saute for 3 minutes: 1 sliced onion, 8 curry leaves (if you have them), a t. of turmeric, a T. of ground coriander, 4-6 dried red chilies, 3-4 cardamom pods, a t. of ground cumin and a 1-2" cinnamon stick. Cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat.

Increase the flame and add the beef to the pan. Get a quick sear on the meat then add 1/2 cup of coconut milk, the juice of half a lime and a t. or so of salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes, boiling away, then add 2-3 cups of water. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and just walk away.

Check back now and then to make sure there is enough liquid so as not to burn the curry.
After 1 1/2 hours the meat should be tender and the liquid almost entirely cooked away, leaving a rich and savory sauce. If this is not the case, remove lid and cook on a high flame to reduce the liquid further. Check for seasoning as you may likely need more salt.

A nice touch is the addition of a bunch of snipped chives or 3-4 chopped scallions just after the curry has finished cooking.

Serve with basmati rice, a green salad and the bean sprout salad as below.


Though spicy this salad is nevertheless cooling thanks to the combination of honey and coconut. It's also quite perfect with any hearty meat or vegetable stew, Sri Lankan or not! Large bags of mung bean sprouts are available in most supermarkets and at all Asian groceries.

Start with 4 cups or so of fresh mung bean sprouts. Rinse very well then drain and set aside while you make the dressing. If the sprouts seem overly large or unwieldy chop them roughly.

In a blender combine: the juice of half a lime, 2 T. of water, a T. of oil, 3-4 T. chopped shallots or onion, a T. of honey, a t. of salt, 3 T. of grated coconut and 4-5 minced green chilies. Whir it all up until the ingredients are combined and mostly pureed.
Toss the dressing with the sprouts and serve soon after.

If you're making ahead toss at the last moment to avoid a soggy salad.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Products We're Loving This Summer

Polish Rose Petal Jam
(appropriately pictured with Lloyd, as his rescuer and foster Mom Eva gifted and introduced us to the stuff, great on French toast!!)

Anardana Powder
(or dried and ground pomegranate seeds - perfect anytime you need to add a slightly sweet and very tart note to an otherwise lacking dish . . . Cafe Drake utilizes the anardana in everything from cocktails to vindaloos)

Perhaps the name says it all.

Ultra-fresh unpasteurized honey from Rochester's Backyard Honey Company (courtesy of Jen Lazzaro). And yes, we use ALOT of honey at Cafe Drake.

Jasmine-flavored extract: perfect for homemade ice cream and Thai Creme Brulee.

2 oils from our Mother: the lime olive oil is refreshing in summer salad dressings and the chile oil we use on . . . everything.

And Even More . . . Lloyd Page

Monday, June 14, 2010

Weeknight Supping with the Divine Miss R

Jen Ruske always has a knack for bringing out the most hedonistic and decadent side of Cafe Drake, not a particularly difficult task we freely admit. A weeknight dinner borne of a too long cocktail hour with far, far too many Pineapple Gimlets led us down a dangerously glamorous path. While dinner was largely liquid we also managed to quaff Cafe D's famous Hoisin Pork Egg Noodles, Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage (with apples, red bell peppers and shallots) and a warm-weather Green Mango Salad dressed with a vinaigrette of Thai fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice and mirin. The devil's in the details but Heaven resides in such relaxed meals with dear old friends who don't balk at unpressed napkins.

Recent Chili Deliciousness with Sharon M

Jenna allowed her recently baked Angel Food Cake to cool on a "wine" bottle. Jenna is the Cake Queen!

Cafe Drake's delightful Greenpoint neighbor Sharon M always keeps a well-stocked bar.

Superb chili with all the fixings . . . scallions, cheese, sour cream . . .

Reading for a Cause

Cafe Drake joined the nation's largest ever library demonstration on Saturday by lending our voice to the We Will Not be Shushed 24-hour "Read-In" on the steps of Brooklyn's Main Branch Library in Grand Army Plaza. While there may have been a few less palatable notes to our broadcast excerpt from Jean Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers, the public reading whetted our appetite for community-based activism and humbled us with the hard work of so many volunteers and dedicated organizers. With a complete 24-hour live video/audio webcast and massive media coverage, may our city's leaders hear us loud and clear!

Where You Should Be This Month

If you're in the NYC area head over to Leo Castelli Gallery for a group exhibition (June 14 - July 30 2010) including the photos of Diana Kingsley. According to the press release Diana will be unveiling some provocative new work - such as seen above - and described as such:

"Diana Kingsley is exhibiting three new photographs from her recent travels. Ms. Kingsley’s spin on the nature shot includes a nonsensical picnic of two peaches, a tomato and a snail’s shell; a buttoned-up navel orange amid gooey fungi; and a pink golf ball nestled in what looks like its own custom-made mushroom. Kingsley’s photos, all shot in the Blue Ridge Mountains, combine rustic allure with fastidiously arranged absurdity."