New York city part 3: our first night-Marlow and Sons

Before getting to Tuesday’s food debauchery, I must mention our Monday night dinner at Marlow & Sons, in Brooklyn.

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While at Kinderhook farm, the owners mentioned that what kept them economically afloat was a popular movement towards comfort food and local eating. The majority of their clients have established their businesses in the cultural stirring pot that is Brooklyn. With the help of communities concerned with the source of food in today’s globalized world, smaller farm producers, such as Kinderhook, that offer ethically friendly and diverse produce are able to make a(often meager) living. Until larger chains that support sustainable farming really establish themselves in the North American social landscape, these farms will be kept afloat by the support of individuals and restaurants.

a moving chicken coop at Kinderhook

With a better understanding of large corporate farming comes a consciousness that should lead to action. Sefi and Mark, from Lawrence, are an extreme example of what we can do to promote sustainable farming and healthy eating. They have stopped consuming meat at restaurants where the source of the meat is a feedlot or industrial farm. Their perspective is that this meat is “dirty” and that they will not eat it unless forced to.
The whole corporate farming industry is undeniably a dirty businesses and while I haven’t made the changes they have, I admire their determination in avoiding such produce. Where I personally draw the line is when I go out. I am usually more forgiving of restaurants, and will eat what interests me, but the truth is that given my thoughts on the issue, I am not being consequential with my opinions. I support wholeheartedly what they do, but I would miss exploring the ethnic diversity of restaurants that frequently can’t afford to spend that much on quality meat. Ideally however, my goal is to follow in their footsteps.

Our amazing hosts

Upon arrival at my cousin Regine’s and her husband Daniel’s apartment on Monday night, after a long day of driving and visiting the farm, they suggested we eat at Marlow and Sons, which was rather ironic being that Kinderhook is the supplier of much of their meat, and that one of the “woofers” spending time on the farm this summer used to help run the butcher that is associated with the restaurant; Marlow and Daughters.

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Carolina and I happily agreed to that idea! This took place over 3 weeks ago, so my memory isn’t quite up to par, but I remember being enamored with a very pleasant decor and a well priced food and wine menu. Excited about being with family in NY, I ordered a bottle of red wine from Jura, a region Carolina and I have been obsessed with for some time now, and ordered a mix of appetizers for dinner. I had a skewer of duck hearts served with a dill creme fraiche and a lightly seasoned quinoa salad; a country terrine and finally a pasta of duck and morels. I picked at a number of other dishes that were ordered and enjoyed them all. The food was simple and comforting; a mix of seasonal vegetables and good quality meats and fish. Carolina enjoyed a porc milanesa for dinner that she loved, which a good sign being that she’s a milanesa master, and I remember that Daniel had roasted chicken that I thought was particularly well cooked and flavorful. We ordered 3 desserts, 2 of which unfortunately weren’t very good, and one, a chocolate, caramel and sea salt dessert that was to die for…

The service was casual and friendly and we had a great night. It was nice to see that the place was busy. There’s a buzz in the food world about places like Marlow and Sons, their diner and their butcher shop, that put so much emphasis on quality ingredients instead of the tasting menus of wacky and elaborate food mixes that were so popular over the last decade. Both are to be enjoyed on their own merits but, in my mind, only one of them is down to earth and can change the way food is grown and consumed in North America … I don’t think that this movement is a trend. Sure, in the media, as more of these restaurants pop up, the novelty will fade and they will find some other theme to wax poetic about, but this kind of eating is here to stay.

Mark, from Lawrence, preparing a part of the pig he buys whole
In order to use the whole animal, and to avoid waste, charcuterie is prepared

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