Friday, January 22, 2010

Bits and Morsels visits a Haitian respite

Maud Pamphile of Krik Krak.

Everyone is aware of the heartbreaking and frustrating situation in Haiti. We have all watched and listened in horror to the countless stories of lives lost told by survivors and their family members. We must keep the people of Haiti in our hearts and minds for a very, very long time.

This past weekend I went to Krik Krak, a small Haitian restaurant located at 844 Amsterdam Avenue (between 101st and 102nd streets). Krik Krak, besides being the name of the restaurant, is the title of a book by Haitian author Edwidge Danticat. Loosely translated, it means 'once upon a time.' Krik Krak serves up Haitian specialties ranging from spicy conch to fried pork and fresh, delicately flavored fish (Haitian food is a blend of Spanish, African and French cuisine). I took notice that all of the food is lovingly prepared and quite wholesome, accommodating plenty of vegetables and spices.
Passion fruit juice. Rice and beans.
I had the chance to talk to Maud Pamphile, one of the owners. She is from Cap Haitian, which is in the north of Haiti. There wasn’t a lot of damage in that region as most of the devastation took place in Port au Prince. Everyone from Haiti has been affected by this earthquake. And everyone knows a few people who did not make it. You would think business would be strong right now with all the interest in Haiti. However, Maud told me that 50% of her customers are Haitian and they are all in mourning; so they have not been out. Maud is passionate about promoting Haitian cuisine and she is always in the restaurant. She is a genuinely lovely lady with a good heart and soul. If you find yourself on the Upper West Side, pop in for some passion fruit juice and a bite. And say hi.

Krik Krak
844 Amsterdam Avenue (between 101st and 102nd streets)
Tassot cabri (goat).
Griot (fried pork).
Red snapper cooked with sea salt and plantains.
Conch cooked with cashew nuts.
I’m proud of all the restaurants that are contributing a percentage of their profits to Haiti relief. Here's a list of some of the restaurants that will donate 10% of their profits to aid Haiti on Sunday, January 24th and Monday, January 25th. [Citysearch]

We will all dearly miss Albert Capsouto,
who just recently passed away from a brain tumor. He is one of the three brothers of Capsouto Frere, located in Tribeca and opened in 1980. Albert Capsouto was an advocate for small business and did much to boost New Yorker's interest in Tribeca when it was once considered the boonies.
Capsouto Frere's chocolate souffle.
Capsouto Frere serves classic French fare, but they are known far and wide for their souffles. Go for lunch when they offer savory cheese souffles that are out-of-this-world good. I happen to have been there for dinner last week and could not resist the raspberry souffle. You won't either. [Diner’s Journal]

Capsouto Frere
451 Washington Street
Clockwise from top left: French onion soup; Butternut squash soup; Crispy french fries; Raspberry souffle.
Wednesday night I went to a cocktail party at the recently opened Bar Pleiades in the Surrey Hotel. The evening benefited Citymeals-on-Wheels. I’m a big fan of Bar Pleiades and it is a welcome addition to the Upper East Side.

The event was hosted by Daniel Boulud and featured food from the very talented chef Gavin Kaysen of Café Boulud and guest chefs George Mendes of Aldea, Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of L.A.’s Animal, and Nate Appleman of Pulino’s Bar and Pizzeria (opening in the next month or so). Cameron Bogue of Bar Pleiades was responsible for the fantastic cocktails.

Citymeals-on-Wheels is a vitally important organization that provides meal to homebound elderly New Yorkers.

Bar Pleiades

20 E. 76th St.
Surrey Hotel
Cameron Bogue dishing out the fig nog, which consists of rum claro, solero rum, mission fig puree and vanilla cognac.
Cafe Boulud Chef Gavin Kaysen with Scott Kaysen. Chef Nate Appleman. Vinny Dotolo and Kate Krader.
The Opulent Orange, - gin- fennel , mandarin, lime and orange bitters Beet Meringue with caviar.
Chef George Mendes cooking and plating Shrimp Alhinho.
The next time you plan on eating fish at a restaurant ... look it up on It’s a new site and not many restaurants are registered yet, but it’s a step in the right direction. People need to pay more attention to the environmental effects of eating fish and should know if a restaurant serves sustainable fish or not. This resource makes it very easy to do just that. [Eater]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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