Tag Archives: specialty foods

The Grand Tasting, NYC Wine & Food Festival – Pier 94, Manhattan

The Grand Tasting, NYC Wine & Food Festival – Pier 94, Manhattan – October 17, 2015

Inset Photos Clockwise from Top Left: Thai Taco and Pork Belly Slider from Barcade, Pralines from Bernard's Pralines of New Orleans, Eggplant and Pepper Puree from Between the Bread, Lamb Slider from Pergola, and Shrimp Ceviche with Cricket Salt from Ofrenda Background: Grand Tasting Banner with Shop Rite Logo

Inset Photos Clockwise from Top Left: Thai Taco and Pork Belly Slider from Barcade, Pralines from Bernard’s Pralines of New Orleans, Eggplant and Pepper Puree from Between the Bread, Lamb Slider from Pergola, and Shrimp Ceviche with Cricket Salt from Ofrenda      Background: Grand Tasting Banner

Today was a very exciting day for me, and I got out of bed with a great deal of enthusiasm! My husband and I were fortunate enough to attend The Grand Tasting at the New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF). This was our first time attending the NYCWFF. The NYCWFF website described this event best:

NYCWFF invites you to spend the day exploring our signature Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite – our 130,000-square-foot culinary wonderland and the centerpiece of our Culinary Campus.

Nowhere else can you meet the greatest food stars in the country, sample food from local NYC restaurants representing cuisines from around the world, taste the most sought-after wines and spirits alongside up-and-coming labels from the Southern Wine & Spirits of New York portfolio and take part in exciting interactive experiences with your favorite brands and foodie products – it is truly a food and wine lover’s dream!” (http://nycwff.org/mcgtsat, 2015)

(To view more videos and photos of the NYCWFF beyond those featured here, including two short videos of chefs Aarón Sánchez and John Besh cooking together, visit my Instagram.)

The event had a plethora of food and drink to try, and try we did. We ate everything from lamb sliders to quinoa salad to grasshopper cotton candy. Yes, grasshopper as in the insect. Since we sampled so many things, I will feature the highlights here.

Barcade offered two phenomenal samples: Thai Tacos and Pork Belly Sliders with Beer Cheese. The tacos (seen in the photo below) were on tiny flour tortillas. The standout flavor was the nutty peanut sauce which made these a great departure from traditional tacos. I removed the cilantro before eating the taco. The sliders were so rich and unctuous from the pork belly and beer cheese, that the flavors filled my mouth instantly. These sliders would be a hit at any event.

Thai Tacos from Barcade

Thai Tacos from Barcade

Magnolia’s booth offered their Southern Sundae, and this was a decadent masterpiece. It consisted of dark chocolate buttermilk cake, pecan pie ice cream, bittersweet fudge sauce, salted caramel sauce, bourbon brown sugar chantilly cream, and pecan brittle. This sundae had salty, sweet, and bitter flavors along with a mixture of textures: creamy, smooth, crunchy, fluffy, and crispy. It did live up to its name by bringing southern flavors to the forefront: pecan, bourbon, and buttermilk.

Magnolia's Southern Sundae

Magnolia’s Southern Sundae

Hank’s Oyster Bar offered a magnificent smoked oyster spoonbread. The buttery spoonbread melted instantly on the tongue giving up the briny, smoky flavor from the oysters. While I am not one who loves raw oysters, I could eat this dish for days.

Main: Hank's Oyster Bar Logo Inset: Smoked Oyster Spoonbread

Main: Hank’s Oyster Bar Logo      Inset: Smoked Oyster Spoonbread

Chopin Vodka gave samples of Dorda Double Chocolate Liquer. They infused their Chopin rye vodka with dark chocolate to produce this luscious liquer. To me, it tasted like I was drinking a perfectly rich chocolate pudding. Completely delightful and indulgent!

Dorda Chocolate Liquer Bottles

Dorda Double Chocolate Liquer

We had to sample the grasshopper cotton candy from Black Ant. The cotton candy was sweet, as expected. The whole grasshopper inside the cotton candy was crunchy, similar to eating soft crab shells. While many describe the flavor as nutty, I found it to be more acidic. I can now say that I have tried it, but it was not a flavor I would seek out again.

Grasshopper Cotton Candy from Black Ant

Grasshopper Cotton Candy from Black Ant

As my regular readers know, I have a huge sweet tooth. So coming across the MarieBelle Chocolates table made me happy. Their packaging was colorful and gorgeous! They gave us samples of their chocolate chips, truffles, caramels, and ganaches. The chips packed a chocolate punch. While it was the simplest thing they gave out as a sample, it really was wonderful! When a chocolatier is able to make their simplest thing great, you know all of their other products will be fantastic! This was the case for the truffle, the caramel, and the ganache. Each succeeded in balancing the sweet notes with the chocolate’s bitter flavor.

Left: MarieBelle's Chocolates and Ganaches Right: MarieBelle's Chocolate Bars

Left: MarieBelle’s Chocolates and Ganaches      Right: MarieBelle’s Chocolate Bars

Finally, who knew that chocolates from Japan could be mind blowing? Royce’ Chocolate from Hokkaido, Japan makes exceptional chocolates. Their ganaches melt smoothly in your mouth, coating it with indulgent chocolate flavor. I adored their green tea ganache. The white chocolate base is blended with grassy green tea to produce a vibrant and creamy ganache that is decadent. I cannot wait to visit one of their stores here in New York City.

Left: Royce's Nama Chocolate Ganache Right: Royce's Green Tea Ganache

Left: Royce’s Nama Chocolate Ganache      Right: Royce’s Green Tea Ganache

I left the Grand Tasting stuffed and satisfied. Thank you to Shop Rite, Food Network, Cooking Channel, and all of the other sponsors for putting on such a marvelous event.

Accessibility Rating for The Grand Tasting, NYC Wine & Food Festival

I used my wheelchair to visit The Grand Tasting, NYCWFF.

  • Entryway – 3: First, I must apologize that I did not get a better photograph of the entrance. In my excitement, it completely escaped me. The entrance and exit doors were wide. There were no stairs. The only problem I encountered was that the transition upon exiting was so bumpy that it actually jostled my wheelchair wheel out of proper alignment to the point where it would not work correctly. We had to remove the wheel, and put it back into proper alignment.

    Pier 94 Pavillion

    Pier 94 Pavilion

  • Bathroom – 4 (Men’s): There are two grab bars around the toilet. I was able to get close to the sink. The faucet was tall, and it had an automatic sensor. The accessible stall was quite dark due to the overhead bulb being out. I was able to make a 180º turn within the space while in my wheelchair.
  • Walkways/Space – 4: The space is enormous. I was able to navigate quite easily, with the exception of the crowds which were to be expected at an event like this. Almost every booth had tables that I was able to easily reach over. The event space was brightly lit. It was very noisy due to loud background music and a great deal of talking.

    Scenes from The Grand Tasting (Clockwise from Top Left): Wine Gems Room, Mexico Booth, Walkways through Grand Tasting, and Colorful Mural with NYC Street Scenesat the North Stage

    Scenes from The Grand Tasting (Clockwise from Top Left): Wine Gems Room, Mexico Booth, Walkways through Grand Tasting, and Mural at the North Stage

  • Staff – 3: Upon our arrival, a staff member was very kind. He escorted us to the front of the line so we could enter before it became too crowded. He left us to the side of the front of the line, and instructed a volunteer to make sure we got in ahead of the crowd. The volunteer appeared to have forgotten about us as they began to let people in. We spoke up to another staff member, and we were immediately allowed inside. Beyond this experience, we had no interactions with staff from the group running the event. People at most tables were nice enough to me, but no one went out of their way to help me or ask if there was a way to improve my experience or assist me.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Treat House – Upper West Side, Manhattan

Treat House – Upper West Side, Manhattan – October 3, 2015

Ah, Unique Sweets on Cooking Channel! One of my resources for finding all of the latest and greatest dessert venues to review. Treat House is the latest place that I have discovered as a result of watching this show.

Treat House makes unique flavored rice cereal treats using their own homemade marshmallow. They also make breakfast treats. As per their website:

“Treats are always made with the customer’s health in mind. All Treats are certified Kosher Dairy; and unless specified otherwise, are gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. Our Homemade Marshmallows are made using raw cane sugar — never corn syrup. Breakfast bars contain brown rice, oats, flax, dried fruits, and seeds (some contain nuts.)” http://treathouse.com/philosophy/, 2015

The rice cereal treats cost $2.50 each or you can get four treats for $9.00 or twelve for $26.00. I ordered a birthday cake rice cereal treat to eat in the shop. I also ordered four treats to bring home (chocolate pretzel, salted caramel, coconut, and butterscotch (seasonal flavor)). As of the writing of this post, I have not had the chance to try the treats I brought home. The treats are small. They are just two to three bites each.

I really enjoyed the homemade marshmallow in the treat. I was immediately able to taste the difference in quality between this treat made with homemade marshmallow and those made with store-bought ones. This treat did not have any artificial flavors or textures, which was great! The birthday cake treat was topped with blue marshmallow frosting and rainbow sprinkles. I was not able to detect was any birthday cake flavor. Additionally, the treat I had was a bit stale.

Clockwise From Top Left: Birthday Cake Rice Cereal Treat, Seasonal Flavor Butterscotch Rice Cereal Treats with Candy Pumpkins on Top, Treat House Bag, & Display Shelves with Rice Cereal Treats on Display

Clockwise From Top Left: Birthday Cake Rice Cereal Treat, Seasonal Flavor Butterscotch Rice Cereal Treats, Treat House Bag, & Display Shelves

Accessibility Rating for Treat House

I used my wheelchair to visit Treat House.

  • Entryway – 4: There is one somewhat narrow door at the entrance. I was able to get through the door itself without a problem. There is a ramp that is part of the sidewalk that goes up to the door. There are no stairs at the entrance.  The transition from the ramp to the inside of the shop is not smooth because the floor inside the shop is not flush with the end of the ramp. As a result, there is a large bump that actually tipped me backwards in my wheelchair as I entered. That was a bit frightening.

    Entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom – Not Applicable: The shop does not have a bathroom available for customers.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The space between the service area, counter, and wall is narrow but passable. The seating area was only passable when the employee working there moved furniture out of my way. The space is brightly lit. The shop was silent when I was there. I was the only customer in the shop at the time I was there, and there was no music being played in the background. I was able to fit comfortably underneath the table with my feet resting on the footrests of my wheelchair.

    Left: Seating Area (with main area plus another area up three steps) Right: Service Area & Counter (Narrow space between display shelves and wall)

    Left: Seating Area      Right: Service Area & Counter

  • Staff – 5: The employee was helpful once she noticed me. She offered me a choice of tables to sit at, and she moved a bench and other furniture out of the way so I could access the table I chose. She offered me water to drink, which I politely declined. Upon leaving, she held the door open for me, and she answered my question about where I would be able to find a bathroom in the area. She went beyond normal service expectations.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Treat House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Atlantic Antic – Brooklyn, NY

Atlantic Antic – Brooklyn, NY – September 27, 2015

The Atlantic Antic:

“is (the) oldest and largest street festival in New York City!…

The Atlantic Antic™ is a living tribute to the myriad of heritages that coexist in Brooklyn. Spanning four neighborhoods (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Downtown Brooklyn) from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue, the Atlantic Antic™ brings together people from all ages and diverse backgrounds to celebrate in the heart of Brooklyn!…

Comprised of local Atlantic Avenue Merchant’s trendy restaurants and boutiques and vendors from all over the country, the Atlantic Antic™ features live music stages that showcase free outdoor performances from various cultural genres. Families can enjoy an entire block dedicated to kids! …Best known for its eclectic delicacies up and down the 10 blocks, the Atlantic Antic™ has been given the saying “Eat it at the Antic, Walk it off on Atlantic!” (http://atlanticave.org/atlantic-antic/about-the-antic/, 2015)

And eat and explore is exactly what my husband and I did. We started off with three tacos and rice and beans from the Palo Santo stand. They were making their tortillas fresh at the event, and we ordered chicken, lamb barbacoa (pronounced bar-bah-coh-ah), and pork. Each one was delicious, but I really loved the gamy lamb flavor. The chicken had a vinegary bite to it, while the pork was definitely “porky”, but not my favorite. The rice and beans were mildly seasoned and flavorful, and they were not salty as rice and beans can be, especially in this type of setting. Of course, the freshly made tortillas were delicious. This platter cost $12.00. To see a video on my Instagram account of the tacos and tortillas being made click here.

Palo Santo Tacos Clockwise From Top Left: Chicken, Lamb Barbacoa, and Pork with Rice and Beans

Palo Santo Tacos Clockwise From Top Left: Chicken, Lamb Barbacoa, and Pork with Rice and Beans

After tacos, we stopped by a Brooklyn Soda Works stand for a Blueberry Lemon soda. For $5.00, for a small cup of soda, albeit artisanal and natural, I felt cheated. The cup could not have been much more than eight ounces, though I did not measure the volume exactly. The soda had a vegetable-type flavor to it, which I did not enjoy. This was a disappointing experience.

Foreground: Cup of Blueberry Lemon Soda Background: Brooklyn Soda Works Stand

Foreground: Cup of Blueberry Lemon Soda      Background: Brooklyn Soda Works Stand

Next, we stumbled upon the Red Star Sandwich Shop stand. We split their Korean fried chicken sandwich with twice fried chicken, gochujang (pronounced go-chew-jang) sauce, pickled daikon (type of radish) and dill, lettuce, and mayo. According to Wikipedia 2015, gochujang is:

“a savory, spicy, and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt.”

This was a great sandwich! Spicy, sour, sweet, crunchy, crispy, and savory. The chicken was crunchy and crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The roll was wonderful: it had the perfect texture – fluffy and with just the right amount of chew to it. All in all, this was a really enjoyable sandwich. It cost $9.00.

Foreground: Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich Background: Red Star Sandwich Shop Stand

Foreground: Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich      Background: Red Star Sandwich Shop Stand

Finally, I was very excited when I spotted the Cannoli Queen stand. What was even more exciting was what they listed as “exotic flavors.” Let me write a disclosure before continuing that yes, I do jump on the pumpkin flavor bandwagon every autumn. I really enjoy the warm, spicy flavor. That was the “exotic flavor” that immediately jumped out and grabbed my attention.

For $6.00, I got three mini cannoli: plain with lemon zest, pumpkin, and almond joy. I am sad to say that I was disappointed by all three. The plain cannoli was unremarkable, and I have had plain cannoli that have blown my mind, but this was just not one of those. The pumpkin cannoli had hints of autumn spices and pumpkin, but it was not enough. Finally, the almond joy cannoli came in a chocolate covered cannoli shell. The almond and coconut flavors tasted artificial.

Foreground: Cannoli Background: Cannoli Queen Stand

Foreground: Almond Joy Cannoli on top, Pumpkin Cannoli underneath in front, and Plain Cannoli with Lemon Zest underneath in back      Background: Cannoli Queen Stand

Accessibility Rating for Atlantic Antic

I used my wheelchair to visit Atlantic Antic. We walked from Atlantic Avenue and Court Street to Atlantic Avenue and Fourth Avenue. Due to time constraints, we were only able to walk these seven out of the ten blocks that the event encompassed.

Various Street Scenes from Atlantic Antic showing street, tents, vendors, and crowd

Various Scenes from Atlantic Antic

  • Entryway – 5: As the event is a street fair extending from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue on Atlantic Avenue, and there is no official entrance, they scored well because it was accessible from many points along the entire route.

    Atlantic Antic Map showing Atlantic Avenue and how the Atlantic Antic goes from Hicks Avenue to 4th Avenue and how The Disabled Foodie went from Atlantic Avenue and Court Street to Atlantic Avenue and 4th Avenue

    Atlantic Antic Map with The Disabled Foodie’s Route

  • Bathroom 3: Along the route we traveled, we found port-a-potties along one sidewalk, but none of them were wheelchair accessible. I am unsure whether these were provided by Atlantic Antic or another organization. (September 29, 2015 – I received a Tweet from the Atlantic Antic organizers stating, “ADA portable restrooms were located at Smith/Atlantic.”)
  • Walkways/Space – 4: The outdoor street setting made for an easily passable space. Beyond the crowds, I had no problem getting around. At points, the event was quite noisy due to the crowds and music being played and amplified through speakers. The lighting was natural outdoor lighting.
  • Staff – 3: None of the staff members I encountered, either from Atlantic Antic or at vendor’s tents, reacted to me at all. I did not receive any offers of help at this event, but I did not have many expectations that I would.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


The Disabled Foodie and Words I Wheel By’s Wafels & Dinges Factory Tour Event & Ample Hills Creamery (Gowanus, Brooklyn)

The Disabled Foodie and Words I Wheel By’s Wafels & Dinges Factory Tour Event & Ample Hills Creamery (Gowanus, Brooklyn) – September 19, 2015

September’s exciting event involved teaming up with Emily Ladau from the popular blog, Words I Wheel By, to tour the Wafels & Dinges factory in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Wafels & Dinges are the popular food trucks around New York City that serve phenomenal authentic waffles in true Belgian style. I want to thank Emily for co-planning this event with me. I also want to thank everyone who attended. It was great to finally meet Ron from the drool-worthy food blog, Gratuitous Foodity, and Taylor from Zomato, a restaurant review website. I appreciate Stephanie from Wafels & Dinges for arranging everything for our tour. Thank you to Tyler for taking us on the tour of Wafels & Dinges, and for making the delectable Liège (pronounced lee-ehzh) waffles for us.

David and Emily

David and Emily

Prior to hearing an episode on The Sporkful about Belgian waffles, I, like most Americans, did not know that there is no true Belgian waffle, as each town in Belgium has its own waffle made in its own way. Wafels & Dinges (W&D) makes Brussels waffles (made from batter) and Liège waffles (made from dough filled with pearl sugar). After listening to that episode, I immediately visited the W&D website, and I learned that for $10.00 a person you can tour the factory and enjoy a freshly made waffle with unlimited toppings.

The W&D factory is in their food truck garage. In the rear of the garage is the kitchen where employees make both Brussels waffle batter and Liège waffle dough. Check out videos (including Liège waffle dough being made and Tyler making Liège waffles) from the tour on my Instagram (Click here to visit Instagram).

After the tour, Tyler made each member of the group a Liège waffle. I topped my waffle with spekuloos (pronounced speck-you-lohs) spread on one half of the waffle. This is a spread made from caramelized gingerbread cookies. Emily described the spekuloos spread accurately when she said, “It tastes like magic!” It’s spicy and sweet, and is exactly what it sounds like, spreadable gingerbread cookies. On the other half of my waffle, I asked for their seasonal pumpkin pie topping, walnuts, strawberries, whipped cream, and crumbled spekuloos cookies. The waffle itself was light, fluffy, and sweet from the pearl sugar in the dough, which caramelized beautifully. The entire thing was a decadent treat and the perfect indulgence.

Liege Waffle with Spekuloos Spread on Front and Pumpkin Pie Spread, Walnuts, Strawberries, Whipped Cream, and Spekuloos Cookie Crumble on Back

Liege Waffle with Spekuloos Spread on the Front Half and Pumpkin Pie Spread, Walnuts, Strawberries, Whipped Cream, and Spekuloos Cookie Crumble on the Back Half

Accessibility Rating for Wafels & Dinges Factory

I used my wheelchair to visit the Wafels & Dinges Factory.

  • Entryway – 5: There is one large garage door, which was open while we were there. There are no stairs at the entrance.  The transition from the sidewalk to the inside of the factory is smooth.

    Entrance to Wafels & Dinges Factory

    Entrance to Wafels & Dinges Factory

  • Bathroom – 2: The doorway to the bathroom is narrow. It took some maneuvering on my part to get inside. The toilet does not have any grab bars around it. I was unable to get close to the sink in my wheelchair as the sink had a cabinet underneath it. The faucet has short handles. I was able to make a 180º turn while in my wheelchair inside the bathroom. The bathroom is well lit with outside light from windows. I was unable to find the light switch while inside, but the ambient light was adequate for me, but I could imagine this being difficult for a person with a visual impairment.
  • Walkways/Space – 4: The interior is spacious and passable, with the exception of the bathroom door and some cracks and divots in the floor. The space is moderately lit, with the kitchen being the most brightly lit part. Most of the noise came from vehicles passing outside since the garage door was open.

    Interior Photos from Wafels & Dinges Factory (Clockwise from Top Left): Pearl Sugar, Entrance to Kitchen, Wafels & Dinges Cart, Waffle Making Station, Breakfast Special Sign, and Tyler, Our Tour Guide Center: Wafels & Dinges Guiding Principles (We Aspire, We Take Pride in our craftsmanship, we own our actions through integrity, responsibility, & accountability)

    Interior Photos from Wafels & Dinges Factory (Clockwise from Top Left): Pearl Sugar, Entrance to Kitchen, Wafels & Dinges Cart, Waffle Making Station, Breakfast Special Sign, and Tyler, Our Tour Guide      Center: Wafels & Dinges Guiding Principles

  • Staff – 4: Upon our arrival, the staff that was there was unaware that we had a tour scheduled for that afternoon. After describing that I had spoken with Stephanie to arrange the tour, everything was sorted out. Our tour was scheduled for 1:00 PM, but Tyler did not show up until almost 1:30 PM. This made our time schedule tighter, as I had Access-a-Ride scheduled for our return trip at a specific time from the Ample Hills Creamery Gowanus location. This made the experience feel a little more rushed, but it all worked out in the end. The staff did not react to the users of mobility assistive devices at all, which is great to be treated equally, but we also were not asked if there was any way to meet our needs to make for the best visit possible.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus at the factory, but Tyler described everything in detail to the entire group.

Following our visit to the Wafels & Dinges factory, I could not resist visiting the nearby location of Ample Hills Creamery in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Having been to their Prospect Heights location (Click here to read the review of that location), I am a huge fan of their ice cream. I, personally, believe it is some of the best ice cream that I have had in New York City. I had not been to this location before, but my husband had ordered and picked up a cake for my birthday (It was divine!) from this location last year. Ron joined us on this part of our visit to Gowanus.

I ordered one scoop in a cup of a flavor they only offer at this location: It Came From Gowanus. It is a salty dark chocolate ice cream with hazelnut crack cookies, white chocolate pearls, and orange-scented brownies. Naturally, I had to have rainbow sprinkles on top. After all, I am an overgrown five year old when it comes to ice cream. The flavor was deep and complex with bitter and salty flavors from the ice cream itself. The other components added chewy texture and the flavors of nuts and oranges. It was a unique flavor experience that I completely enjoyed.

Cup of It Came From Gowanus with Rainbow Sprinkles

Cup of It Came From Gowanus with Rainbow Sprinkles

 

Accessibility Rating for Ample Hills Creamery (Gowanus)

I used my wheelchair to visit Ample Hills Creamery (Gowanus).

  • Entryway – 5: There are two wide doors at the entrance. There is a ramp that goes up to the doors. There are stairs at the entrance.  The transition from the ramp to the inside of the ice cream parlor is smooth.

    Foreground: Top Right - Entrance Doors, Bottom Right- Entrance Ramp Background: Ample Hills Creamery Building

    Foreground: Top Right – Entrance Doors, Bottom Right- Entrance Ramp      Background: Ample Hills Creamery Building

  • Bathroom – 3: There are two grab bars around the toilet. I was able to get underneath the sink with ease. There are short handles on the faucet. The bathroom is dimly lit. I was able to make a 180º turn while in my wheelchair inside the bathroom.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The interior space is largely passable, but the area at the ice cream case where orders are placed was quite crowded while we were there. The space is brightly lit. There was loud music playing while we ate. The table area is tight for someone using a wheelchair because there is no convenient area where I would have been able to sit at a table (They were all banquettes) and not have been sitting in the middle of people walking past.

    Interior of Ample Hills Creamery (Clockwise from Top Left): Ice Cream Case, Kitchen Where Ice Cream is Made, Ice Cream Case, and Interior Seating Area

    Interior of Ample Hills Creamery (Clockwise from Top Left): Ice Cream Case, Kitchen Where Ice Cream is Made, Ice Cream Case, and Interior Seating Area

  • Staff – 1: The staff did not acknowledge me at all. There was no offer of help, nor was there anyone who asked how they could accommodate me to make my visit better.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Ample Hills Creamery-Gowanus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aroma Brazil – Jackson Heights, Queens

Aroma Brazil – Jackson Heights, Queens – September 3, 2015

Aroma Brazil is a welcome addition to the Jackson Heights food scene. Brazilian food is a new cuisine to an area dominated by restaurants serving either South Asian food or food from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

The food is served buffet style. In addition to the buffet table, there is a window where patrons can order from a list of barbecued meats. If you only take food from the buffet table, it costs $5.99 a pound. Barbecued meats are $6.99 a pound. There are also options available for dessert, including a passion fruit mousse for $4.00. I did not try it this time, but I may have to go back for it in the future. You can dine in or take food to go. We picked up food to bring home, but I still did a full review as if we dined in.

I only took food from the buffet table: shredded greens, roasted vegetables, quinoa, roast chicken, breaded fish, sausage, and black beans. It came to just over $8.00 for all of that food. Overall, the food was quite tasty. The greens were bright green, and had a pleasant garlic flavor. They were a bit tough to chew. The roasted vegetables were cooked just right. The quinoa had the surprising addition of raisins, which I thought I would not like, but I did. The beans were a hearty and savory complement to the sweet quinoa. The chicken was a bit dry, probably from sitting in the warmers on the buffet. What I liked very much was that the food was not too salty, as food from a buffet can sometimes be.

Background: Window with Aroma Brazil Logo Top Left Inset: My Meal Bottom Right Inset: Buffet

Background: Window with Aroma Brazil Logo      Top Left Inset: My Meal      Bottom Right Inset: Buffet

Accessibility Rating for Aroma Brazil

I used my wheelchair to visit Aroma Brazil.

  • Entryway – 5: There are two wide doors. There are no stairs at the entrance.  The transition from outside to inside is smooth.

    Entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom 3: The bathroom was difficult to enter and exit at the time we were at Aroma Brazil. The reason for this was that there was a table and chairs for four placed directly in front of the door. While the door was quite wide, the table and chairs had to be moved quite a bit to allow me to enter and exit. There are two grab bars around the toilet. I could not fit underneath the sink while in my wheelchair. The sink has short faucet handles. I was able to make a full 360º turn in the bathroom in my wheelchair. The bathroom was brightly lit.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The interior space has some tight spaces where I had to be very careful not to bump into objects. I almost burned my elbow on the buffet counter because it was quite hot and at the height of my elbow while in my wheelchair. I got too close to it, and I immediately felt the heat and quickly pulled my elbow away. This is something the owner(s)/manager(s) need to consider to prevent injuries. Additionally, had my husband not been with me, it would have posed an additional challenge in terms of serving myself from the buffet. The space is brightly lit, and while there was some background music, it was relatively quiet at the time we were there. I was unable to fit underneath the tables, even with my footrests lifted up.

    Left: Looking Toward Rear of the Restaurant Right: Looking Outside From Dining Room

    Left: Looking Toward Rear of the Restaurant      Right: Looking Outside From Dining Room

  • Staff – 2: There were no offers of help from any identified staff members. I hoped that the staff would have offered to help me get food from the buffet table, but this did not happen. The gentleman who helped my husband move tables and chairs so I could access the bathroom appeared to be either a manager or owner, but we were not sure. That is why I gave a rating of a 2 instead of a 1.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Click to add a blog post for Aroma Brazil Restaurant on Zomato

The Disabled Foodie and Words I Wheel By September 2015 Event

The Disabled Foodie and Words I Wheel By September 2015 Event

This event is a collaboration with Words I Wheel By, a blog I admire. It features a visit to the Wafels & Dinges factory. Wafels & Dinges food trucks sell Belgian waffles around NYC. On the tour, we will tour the factory and eat fresh waffles afterwards. The tour and waffle cost $10 (Paid in cash at the factory on the day of the tour).

Wafels & Dinges Event Digital Flyer with Illustrated Waffles & logos from The Disabled Foodie & Words I Wheel By

When: Saturday, September 19, 2015 from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM (2:30 to allow enough time for Access-a-Ride users to schedule)

Where: 264 Butler Street, Brooklyn, NY

RSVP to thedisabledfoodie@gmail.com with “W&D RSVP” in the Subject Line by Wednesday, September 16, 2015Please note in your email if there are any accommodations you require, and include a phone number should the event be canceled. Make sure to RSVP so we do not start without you.

 

The Disabled Foodie’s First Anniversary Celebration at the Queens Night Market

The Disabled Foodie’s First Anniversary Celebration at the Queens Night Market – August 15, 2015

The Disabled Foodie is one year old! Thank you for a great first year and your unflagging support. To celebrate, I went with my husband and our friend, Matthew, to the Queens Night Market (QNM). The market is New York’s first Asian-style night market featuring vendors selling food from around the world, art, and merchandise.

I have to thank John, the founder of the QNM, for working with me to make this a successful celebration. He was kind enough to allow us to skip the line to enter the event earlier than the rest of the crowd. I also need to thank Karl and Tammy, from Karl’s Balls, for their hospitality, and taking some of their valuable preparation time to speak to me about their food.

Karl, from Karl's Balls, with David, The Disabled Foodie     Photo Taken by Tammy from Karl's Balls

Karl, from Karl’s Balls, with David, The Disabled Foodie      Photo Taken by Tammy from Karl’s Balls

Additionally, I want to thank my friend Matthew for joining my husband and I at this incredible event. Finally, thank you to my husband for his never ending support on this amazing journey through food and disability.

I must begin by stating that QNM quickly became one of my favorite food venues because it is highly accessible, and the variety of food from around the world is a foodie’s dream come true. John, the founder of QNM, has curated an incredible selection of foods from around the world to rival the selection found at Smorgasburg. John told us that he hopes the QNM serves as a place where the community comes together, and it showed last night through the hundreds of people, including entire families, who came out. John and his team provide activities at the QNM for all ages: music and dance performances for adults, and games and temporary tattoo artists for children. Furthermore, there is no entrance fee, and most food items that we tried cost between $2.00 and $5.00 each. We shared almost everything we ate.

Karl’s Balls makes takoyaki.

Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi). (Wikipedia, 2015)

Karl prepares all of the octopi himself to be “sashimi-ready”. He and his team prepare all of the ingredients by hand, and the takoyaki are served in Karl’s “Man Mayo” and his “Ball Sauce,” which is smoky, fruity, spicy, and sweet. Forget any thoughts of rubbery octopus. Karl’s octopi are tender. The takoyaki were vibrant in flavor, wonderfully gooey on the inside, and were a fun way to start a great evening.

Takoyaki from Karl's Balls

Takoyaki from Karl’s Balls

Our next stop was the Burmese Bites booth where we tried the Burmese shaved ice dessert. This was another completely new experience for me! The shaved ice was combined with grass jelly, palm seeds, agar agar (gelatin made from seaweed), crushed peanuts, sweet syrup, and condensed milk. My friend, Matthew, said it best when he described the dessert as tasting, “like a frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” Not only did it taste delicious, but it was visually impressive.

Burmese Shaved Ice Dessert

Burmese Shaved Ice Dessert

The eating just kept going, as there were so many great things to try. At the Pancake Rolls booth, we tried both braised beef and honey pork pancake rolls. Both came on a freshly made scallion pancake with scallions, cucumber, cilantro (I asked for that to be left out of the honey pork roll), hoisin mayo, and pickled carrots. The pancake was perfectly flaky and had a great toothsome bite! There is a video on my Instagram account of the pancakes being prepared. (Click here to view that video.) I preferred the beef roll to the pork. While the sweetness of the pork was nice, the beef’s savory notes against the vegetables provided a satisfying contrast.

Inset: Pancake Roll with Beef Background: Pancake Roll Booth

Inset: Pancake Roll with Beef      Background: Pancake Roll Booth

At the Chiflez (pronounced Chee-flayz) booth, we had roasted, grilled corn with Peruvian sauce and seasonings. The corn was sweet and smoky from being charred on the grilled, The sauce was piquant and just slightly spicy. Finally, it was sprinkled with cheese and salt to add savory and salty notes. It was the best corn I have had so far this summer.

Inset: Chiflez Booth Background: Peruvian Corn from Chiflez

Inset: Chiflez Booth      Background: Peruvian Corn from Chiflez

And it just kept coming. At the Flauteria (pronounced Flau-teh-ree-ah) booth, they prepare Mexican food and drink. I had a cup of tart, sweet hibiscus tea, and we shared flautas (pronounced flau-tahs) filled with chicken. Flautas are similar to tacos, but they are formed into  cigar-like rolls. The chicken was so tasty and moist!

Top Inset: Jar of Hisbiscus Tea at Flauteria Bottom Inset: Chicken Flautas at Flauteria Background: Flauteria Booth

Top Inset: Jar of Hisbiscus Tea      Bottom Inset: Chicken Flautas      Background: Flauteria Booth

I am a huge fan of duck, and CBao did not disappoint with their mind-blowing Peking Duck Bao.

A baozi or simply known as bao, bau, humbow, nunu, bakpao (Hokkien), bausak, pow, pau or pao (Hakka) is a type of steamed, filled, bun or bread-like (i.e. made with yeast) item in various Chinese cuisines, as there is much variation as to the fillings and the preparations. In its bun-like aspect it is very similar to the traditional Chinese mantou. It can be filled with meat and/or vegetarian fillings. (Wikipedia, 2015)

The bao was fluffy and light. This worked beautifully with the tender, gamy duck that was carved at CBao’s booth right in front of me. The scallions and cucumbers added crunch, and the house sauce added a touch of umami flavor.

Inset: Peking Duck Bao Background: Cook at CBao Carving Duck

Inset: Peking Duck Bao      Background: Cook at CBao Carving Duck

The savory duck bao was followed up with a delectable Portuguese treat, Pastel de Nata (pronounced pah-stehl day nah-tah) from the MoNata booth. This small egg custard filled puff pastry tart packed luscious, creamy, sweet flavor into a bite-sized dessert. My friend, Matthew, who has been to Portugal twice, told us that he was able to find these all over his travels there.

Inset: Pastel de Nata Background: Sign at MoNata Booth

Inset: Pastel de Nata      Background: Sign at MoNata Booth

Finally, we tried a mango and raspberry crêpe from T-Swirl Crêpe. These rice flour crêpes are served with fruit and pastry creme. The fruit was fresh and juicy, and they did not overload the crêpe with the creme. (Click here to watch a short video of crêpes being made.)

Mango and Raspberry T-Swirl Crepe

Mango and Raspberry T-Swirl Crepe

Accessibility Rating for Queens Night Market

I used my wheelchair to visit QNM. This was the QNM’s last night at this location near the New York Hall of Science in Corona, Queens. QNM will be moving to Jamaica, Queens starting on September 5 for the remainder of this season.

  • Entryway – 5: The QNM is held in a parking lot. Since this is the case, the entry is smooth, and there are no stairs. It is the most accessible entrance a person with a disability could desire.

    Inset: QNM Welcome Banner Background: Aisle with Booths at QNM

    Inset: QNM Welcome Banner      Background: Aisle with Booths at QNM

  • Bathroom 4: There are wheelchair accessible port-a-potties in two locations at the QNM. There is a grab bar that wraps around the toilet. QNM provides stand-alone sinks with faucets that operate by using a foot pump. The foot pump is difficult for those who have limited or no use of their feet, but the fact that there are sinks at an outdoor venue is great! I was fortunate enough to have my husband help me with the sink.
  • Walkways/Space – 5: The aisles are wide and spacious. Even with hundreds of people all around, I had plenty of room to move around. During the daylight hours, the QNM was well lit, and due to humongous flood lamps, the same could be said for the night hours. The closer we were to the musicians and performers, the louder it was. But, overall, the noise level was not loud considering the size of the event and the number of attendees. (For a short video of the QNM click here.)

    Views of Booths and Aisles at QNM

    Views of Booths and Aisles at QNM

  • Staff – 5: The staff was welcoming and I encountered no issues. John was kind enough to allow us to enter the QNM a few minutes early to explore and meet with Karl and Tammy. Staff and security were available throughout the event to help people with any questions or concerns they might have.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Doughnut Making Class at The Brooklyn Kitchen – Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Doughnut Making Class at The Brooklyn Kitchen – Williamsburg, Brooklyn – July 26, 2015

Clockwise From Top Left: Gabi mixing doughnut dough, Frying doughnuts, Raw doughnuts, and Peeling apples for apple fritters Background: Wallpaper from The Brooklyn Kitchen with illustrations of produce

Clockwise From Top Left: Gabi mixing doughnut dough, Frying doughnuts, Raw doughnuts, and Peeling apples for apple fritters      Background: Wallpaper from The Brooklyn Kitchen

Doughnuts are one of the latest (and maybe I’m so behind that they are already passé) artisanal baked good trends. With my love for baking and desserts, I dove head first with my husband into a doughnut making class at The Brooklyn Kitchen.

The Brooklyn Kitchen (TBK) store sells food, cookware, utensils, cookbooks, and a range of small kitchen appliances. TBK offers many cooking classes ranging from doughnut making to knife skills to tomato canning to cooking Cambodian food. (Before you book a class, call ahead to ask which classroom will be used for the class as there is an upstairs room that is not accessible to wheelchairs or those with other mobility issues.)

Our class was led by Gabi who taught us how to make beer battered apple fritters, chai spiced cake doughnuts, and coffee glazed yeast doughnuts. The class consisted of 15 students, and the room has several tables for students to work. The instructor’s station has an adjustable mirror above it so students can watch what the instructor is doing. Gabi prepared the dough for the chai spiced cake doughnuts and the yeast doughnuts. We peeled, cored, and cut the apples, prepared the fritter batter, rolled out and cut the doughnuts, and fried the fritters and doughnuts.

The apple fritters were lightly battered and deep fried. They were delicious! Crispy, juicy, sweet,  with a slight malt flavor from the beer. The chai spiced cake doughnuts were dense and exploded with the flavor of cardamom, which is one of my favorite spices. The coffee glazed doughnuts were lighter and airy in consistency, but the glaze did not have a strong coffee flavor.

I enjoyed the class, but it felt a bit crowded. There were some accessibility issues, as I detail in the accessibility review below.

Top Left: Apple Fritters Bottom Right: In front - Two coffee glazed yeast doughnuts, In back - Chai spiced cake doughnut Background: Wallpaper from The Brooklyn Kitchen with illustrations of produce

Top Left: Apple Fritters      Bottom Right: In front – Two coffee glazed yeast doughnuts, In back – Chai spiced cake doughnut      Background: Wallpaper from The Brooklyn Kitchen

 

Accessibility Rating for The Brooklyn Kitchen

I used my wheelchair to visit The Brooklyn Kitchen.

    • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one set of wide doors with a smooth transition from the sidewalk outside. There are no stairs. Once inside, there is a large ramp that leads up into the store.

      Entrance

      Entrance

    • Bathroom 3: The accessible bathroom is small. There are two grab bars around the toilet. I could get close to the sink while in my wheelchair. The sink has a long handle on the faucet. It is a well-lit room with the light turned on. There is a changing table for infants in this room which takes up a good deal of space, so I was unable to turn my wheelchair around while in the bathroom. The staff had to remove the garbage can from the bathroom in order for me to get inside.
    • Walkways/Space – 3: The store is spacious, though some aisles are more difficult to negotiate than others. This is due to having items and baskets being displayed on the floor. The classroom is large and easy to negotiate, though when it had 15 students in it it became a little more difficult. The store and classroom are brightly lit. There was some soft music playing in the background. The classroom was not set up when we entered to accommodate me in my wheelchair. TBK had been given prior notice that I would be using my wheelchair during the class. Upon entering, I noticed that there were no tables that I would be able to fit underneath while in my wheelchair. As I will detail in the staff evaluation, they adjusted the room, and added tables in the back of the room that I was able to fit underneath. Once this was done, I could not see what Gabi was doing in the mirror above the instructor’s station. The staff adjusted the mirror to fix this problem right away.

      Clockwise From Top Left: Interior of The Brooklyn Kitchen (TBK), Interior of TBK, Produce Case, and Meat Case Background: Wallpaper from TBK with illustrations of produce

      Clockwise From Top Left: Interior of The Brooklyn Kitchen (TBK), Interior of TBK, Produce Case, and Meat Case      Background: Wallpaper from TBK

    • Staff – 4: The staff adjusted furniture in the classroom, fixed the mirror in the classroom, and helped take the garbage can out of the bathroom so I could get inside. They had to shift the tables in the room and brought another table inside. I did not fit underneath that one. So, they pulled some tables away from the rear wall, and I was able to fit underneath it. I need to take a point off of this area because they were not properly prepared for me in my wheelchair even though they were informed of this ahead of time.
    • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

 


The Disabled Foodie’s Port Morris Distillery Event

The Disabled Foodie’s Port Morris Distillery Event – July 18, 2015

Group Photo

Group Photo

Pitorro (pronounced pee-torr-oh)? What’s pitorro? Well, today was the day to find out. For July’s monthly food and drink event, The Disabled Foodie and friends took part in a tour and tasting at Port Morris Distillery (PMD). I am grateful to my event attendees, Ralph (one of the co-owners), and his PMD family for making today’s event fun and successful.

“Pitorro is a distilled spirit from Puerto Rico, referred to as “moonshine rum.” Pitorro is usually much stronger than commercial rum. At times, its alcohol content surpasses 100 proof. It is often homemade, and a part of traditional Puerto Rican holiday celebrations…Pitorro is an integral part of Puerto Rican culture, and musical odes to it or its production are part of local folklore.” (Wikipedia, 2015)

While I have been fortunate enough to sample fantastic pitorro made by my husband’s family while we visited them in Puerto Rico, PMD is the first and only licensed pitorro distillery in the United States. As per PMD’s website:

“Originally from Manhattan’s upper Westside and residents of the Douglass Housing Project, childhood friends Ralph Barbosa & Billy Valentin decided to take a plunge into the moonshine business. What better way was there to do it but legally and with the help of a one time moonshiner and now the master distiller behind PMD, their uncle “Tio” Rafael, from Guayama, Puerto Rico. Without a business plan or any idea on how to get started they decided the first piece of the plan was to convince Tio to make the move from Puerto Rico to NYC.” (http://www.portmorrisdistillery.com/about.html, 2015)

Ralph thoroughly explained the entire process involved in making pitorro at PMD. He proudly informed us that they use New York State apples and honey to make their pitorro. We were shown their original distillation machine and their new copper machine. The room has oak barrels where PMD is aging pitorro añejo (pronounced ahn-yay-ho), which means aged pitorro.

Left: New Copper Distillation Machine Right: Original Distillation Machine

Left: New Copper Distillation Machine      Right: Original Distillation Machine (Near the Window)

We sampled three types of pitorro: Shine, Añejo, and Coquito (pronounced coh-key-toh). All three were delicious and smooth. The Shine is their clear, 92-proof liquor with a sweet and pleasant flavor. The Añejo had an oak-infused flavor due to the liquor being aged for one year in oak barrels. The Coquito, like the namesake holiday Puerto Rican eggnog-type drink, was infused with cinnamon and coconut flavors, and it was absolutely delectable.

Many people stopped in for a drink and to purchase bottles in the tasting room while we were there. We stayed for a drink after the tour and tasting. I enjoyed an “I Love Coco,” which was made with Coquito and pineapple juice. It was a taste of Puerto Rico in the Bronx. I could definitely write a lot more about the tour and the process of making pitorro, but if you are in the New York City area you should go visit PMD for your own tour and tasting. It was a fun and enriching experience.

Left: I Love Coco Drink Center: PMD NY Logo Right: Bottles of Coquito

Left: I Love Coco Drink      Center: PMD NY Logo      Right: Bottles of Coquito

Accessibility Rating for Port Morris Distillery

I used my wheelchair to visit PMD.

  • Entryway – 4: The entrance has one wide door. There are no stairs, and while there is a ramp at the door, the transition from the sidewalk onto the ramp is rough. I needed help getting my chair onto the ramp from the sidewalk.

    Entrance with Photographer inserted text indicating lip at the base of the ramp to the entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom 5: The bathroom was very spacious. Ralph informed me that they purposely made it 7 feet by 7 feet, instead of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) size of 6 feet by 6 feet. I was able to turn my wheelchair around in it without bumping into anything. There are two grab bars around the toilet. The sink has a long faucet handle, and I was able to get close to the sink while in my wheelchair due to all of the space in the room. It is a brightly lit room.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The distillery is spacious, and there is plenty of room to move around in no matter what kind of mobility assistive device one uses. All but one door is wide enough to fit a wheelchair through, but Ralph immediately acknowledged this, and he told us how they will be widening that door. The tasting area space is dimly lit, and there was loud background music to help create a celebratory atmosphere. I imagine they would adjust the music, if requested. The distillation room is brightly lit. The bar itself is standard bar height, so I was able to reach it being that I use a higher wheelchair. Those in lower wheelchairs might find this to be difficult. There are other seating areas in the tasting room.

    Clockwise from Top Left: Tasting Room Wall Done to Resemble Color Buildings in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, Entrance to Distillation and Bottling Room, Bar in Tasting Room, and Oak Barrels for Aging PMD Pitorro Anejo     Center: Bottle of PMD Pitorro Shine

    Clockwise from Top Left: Tasting Room Wall Done to Resemble Colorful Buildings in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, Entrance to Distillation and Bottling Room, Bar in Tasting Room, and Oak Barrels for Aging PMD Pitorro Anejo Center: Bottle of PMD Pitorro Shine

  • Staff – 5: The staff was incredibly considerate and helpful. They were welcoming, and what was very positive was Ralph’s aforementioned proactive attitude toward making sure the space is not only ADA compliant, but comfortable for people with disabilities. This attitude is to be commended because I have not come across it often.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus, but Ralph was open to having a conversation about possibly getting one.


Cheese and Gin with Brooklyn Gin at Bedford Cheese Shop – Gramercy, Manhattan

Cheese and Gin with Brooklyn Gin at Bedford Cheese Shop – Gramercy, Manhattan – July 10, 2015

Each summer, I take lots of fun classes to learn things ranging from languages (I am taking Beginner’s French this summer) to food (Later this month, my husband and I are taking a doughnut making class (Post to come)). So while perusing Coursehorse (my online resource that compiles class listings all over New York City), an unusual course caught my eye:

Cheese and Gin with Brooklyn Gin

“This is a class that you should be really excited about. We’re joining forces with the hand crafting gin makers over at Brooklyn Gin. They’re all about small batch production, local ingredients and selling only the finest product to you. We’ve got that in common with them!

This class will focus on using Brooklyn Gin in three drinks and pairing each drink with some of our finest cheeses. Not only that, but the guys from Brooklyn Gin will be teaching the class alongside our wonderful cheesemonger, Pippa, as she talks cheese and they talk gin.

This class can only be a great time!” (Coursehorse, 2015)

Cheese and wine? Yes! Cheese and beer? Sure! Cheese and gin? Now, I was intrigued. I immediately signed up.

The class took place at Bedford Cheese Shop. I review the store’s accessibility below, but in this section I review the class and tasting. The store has a separate classroom in the back. The classroom table was beautiful. Each taster had their own cheeseboard and glasses for the drinks.

Table with cheese boards & drinks

Table with cheese boards & drinks

The cheeseboard had five cheeses presented in order from the mildest flavor to the strongest. The first and mildest cheese was a goat cheese called Westfield Chevre. It was fluffy, light, and very creamy. The suggested gin pairing was gin and tonic. The bubbles from the gin cut through the creamy texture of this cheese.

Cheese Tray (Mildest flavored cheese to strongest from left to right: Westfield Chevre (goat), Arzua Ulloa (cow), Gouleroy (sheep), Gruyere Nosotros (cow), & Point Reyes Blue)

Cheese Tray (Mildest flavored cheese to strongest from left to right: Westfield Chevre, Arzua Ulloa, Gouleroy, Gruyere Nosotros, & Point Reyes Blue)

As an aside, Brooklyn Gin is an American-style gin. They hand crack the juniper berries, and not only do they include juniper berries in their gin’s flavor profile, but they also distill it with citrus, lavender, and coriander. It was interesting to learn that the majority of the world’s juniper berries are imported from Albania. To me, this gin had a more complex flavor than the in-your-face traditional gins which slam you with juniper flavor. Brooklyn Gin benefited from the bright citrus and floral lavender. I am eager to purchase my own bottle. They have a map on their website where you can locate stores that sell it.

The second cheese was Arzua-Ulloa, a regional cow’s milk cheese from Spain. I found this cheese to be very mild in flavor while creamy. Of all the cheeses, this was my least favorite, as I tend to prefer strong flavors. Again, the suggested gin pairing was with a gin and tonic to cut through the cheese’s creaminess.

The third cheese was Gouleroy, a raw sheep’s and cow’s milk cheese from the Midi-Pyrenees region of France. This cheese was salty and rich with a slight floral taste. It was paired with Brooklyn Gin straight up. The gin’s floral and citrus flavors balanced the cheese’s salty richness.

The final two cheeses, which were my favorites, were paired with a drink called The Bee’s Knees. This drink consisted of gin, honey syrup, and freshly squeezed lemon juice garnished with a lemon wheel and a spring of fresh thyme. The drink was bright and sweet. This was my favorite of the three drinks. The fourth cheese was Gruyère Nosotros made from raw cow’s milk. This nutty and salty cheese had a bit of a crunch to it due to the way the amino acids degrade during the cheese making process. It added a delightful component to this cheese.

Finally, the fifth cheese was Point Reyes Blue. The flavor profile was pungent, salty, and funky, as every good blue cheese should be. This cheese paired beautifully with The Bee’s Knees resulting in wonderful contrasts of sweet, salty, funky, and clean flavors.

The class was thoroughly enjoyable, and I learned a great deal about cheese and gin. I hope to attend a class there again in the future.

Accessibility Rating for Bedford Cheese Shop

I used my wheelchair to visit Bedford Cheese Shop.

  • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one wide door. There are no stairs, andthe transition from the sidewalk to the store’s interior is smooth.

    Entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom 3: The bathroom seemed to only be available to staff and those taking a class at the store. There is one grab bar that wraps around two sides of the toilet. I could not fit underneath the sink while in my wheelchair. The room is a decent size once I was able to close the door, but that was difficult to do once I was inside with my wheelchair. The same can be said about exiting the bathroom while in my wheelchair.
  • Walkways/Space – 4: The store is spacious and has easilypassable walkways. The store itself is brightly lit. While I was there, there was moderately loud background music, but beyond that there was not much background noise. The classroom was a tight fit for me in my wheelchair. There is a large table withapproximately 15 chairs in the classroom, which made for less space for my wheelchair. I had to transfer from my wheelchair to a regular chair because the table was too low for me to fit underneath it comfortably in my wheelchair.

    Four views of interior

    Interior

  • Staff – 5: The staff was very helpful. In the store, they allowed me to purchase my cheeses and two delicious preserves (Rare Bird Preserves) while I took the class. This let me shop first, and leave right after so I could catch my paratransit ride home. Pippa let me enter the classroom before everyone else. She helped me access the bathroom by moving chairs out of my way, and then, she aided in my transferring from my wheelchair to a chair at the table.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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