what makes a nice dumpling

I walked into my friend Winnie‘s apartment last Friday night to the sounds of dumpling creation.

making dumplings in Winnie's kitchen

Winnie explained why the dough should be thicker in the middle:

and the dough was busily being folded, crimped, and sealed.

filling the dumplings

sealing the dumplings

There were food writers to recognize (including this former Gourmet staffer rocking a yellow apron),

work that apron

lively shrimp,

beautiful shrimp

and pans at the ready for dumpling magic.

placing the dumplings in the pan

The dumplings nestled close in their pans,

before the momentous flip and a tap.

And we all passed the scallion sauce and the beautiful dumplings along the long table of colorful plates.

the homemade dumplings and a scallion sauce at winnie's

dumplings at winnie's

I had to duck out of Winnie’s to head over to Kombit restaurant on Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn, meeting Daryn (not pictured), Dave, Jessica, and Nick for the energy of this Haitian gathering place—we were taken aback by the happy noise and prodigious amount of food.

Dave, Jessica, and Nick and quite a bit of food

Goat, pork, beans and rice, and sweet potato cakes are only part of the appeal—there was a band we had to try and talk over, a film crew, and a really nice sense of community at the bar and with the staff.

Saturday morning, I stopped to congratulate the Waffle Truck (@waffletruck) on their win over Bobby Flay during the week, and I ordered my usual: a Li├Ęge wafel with spekuloos.

the liege wafel (that beat Bobby Flay!) go, @waffletruck

Meeting up with my friend Jenne, she chose an Asia Dog from the Brooklyn Flea vendors after we had a Red Hook Lobster Pound roll, of course,

Jenne and her Asian dog at the Brooklyn Flea

and someone from the new Milk Truck (@milktrucknyc) staff held their “classic with a twist” sandwich for me; with its champagne-soaked onions, two kinds of cheese, and homemade mustard, I cannot wait until their truck opens at month’s end.

classic with a twist sandwich from milk truck

classic with a twist grilled cheese sandwich from milk truck

For now, I’ll content myself with their sandwiches at the Brooklyn Flea near the new Greek food vendor, Anthi, who tempted me with his Galaktobounko. “It’s like flan,” he assured me; in fact, with a beautiful creme middle with a crispy baklava-like top and a soft dough on the bottom, it might be better. And it may have brought me luck as I happened upon a birthday party for a friend of a friend that night.

Anthi's Galaktobounko

Sunday morning began with a blindfold walk with Rosie and Faris from Union Square to Times Square full of misadventures (adore these two) as a group of us meandered toward our destination with burgundy blindfolds and tentative steps crossing streets,

Faris and Rosie on the blind walk

and continued with Jessica reading her honest poetry (“I want poets to have something at stake”) at Zinc Bar that night.

Jessica reading at Zinc Bar

This afternoon, I cooked skate wing with the bone (it’s really cartilage, but referred to as “the bone”) in duck fat for a few minutes on each side, then reduced wine and thickened the reduction sauce with butter, before blooming capers to sprinkle atop the skate and the baby sprouts from Evolutionary Organics at the farmers’ market. I find a Gavi white wine perfect for this classic dish.

skate wing

With newfound knowledge about dumpling dough, inspiration from visiting friends (it’s always so nice to see Dave) and their artistic proofs (Jessica, congratulations again on the reading, and Jenne, good luck as this MFA semester begins), I feel ready to begin the week…

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