The Weekend - Mostly Outside Westfield

Besides an early morning workout at the Westfield Y and a visit to the Farmer's Market this weekend we haven't done a lot in Westfield. At the Farmer's Market the little pies from the Amish Country Bakery looked pretty good. So we got the strawberry rhubarb one. For my taste, it is far too sweet and has a very "cooked" taste. Instead of the fresh, zesty combination of strawberry with a bit of sourness from the rhubarb that I expected, the filling tasted extremely sweet with a jammy berry-ish note and only hints of the essence of strawberry. For the rhubarb, if you didn't know it was supposed to be there, you would not notice it. For me, a rather disappointing experience.

For the rest of the weekend, on Saturday we went to New York. First we visited the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg. On Saturdays the brewery is open for tours and beer tasting. The tours are every hour on the hour and you get a 30 minute introduction into the amazing (and at times bizarre) history of the Brooklyn Brewery. In addition there is a bar where you can sample pretty much every beer they have for $3 per glass. There are enough tables and benches and lots of people bring pizza or other food from a restaurant nearby. Although it is a bit crowed I actually like the atmosphere which reminds me a bit of a Germany beer hall, just the music is better here.

For a late lunch we went to Fornino on Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg's main street. They tout themselves as a gourmet upscale pizza place, however IMHO they are only partially succeeding but there is room for improvement. The idea is great, the menu items sound innovative, interesting and invite to explore. Just the execution of the idea is a bit inconsistent and this despite the fact that it was not very busy at all.

The ambiance in general is nice, upscale (inside) and the patio in the back of the building is a great place for a relaxed time to eat and hang out during the summer month. You can also see all the fresh herbs that they're growing there.
Service is friendly and trying hard to accommodate the customer although not always competent. Overall the food is pretty good. We ordered a polenta, mushroom, blue cheese appetizer which turned out to be a very rich and pleasant taste experience. I had similar dishes before, but from the intensity of the flavors and the smooth but not creamy texture, this is probably one of the best interpretations of this concept I have had so far.
The pizzas are thin crust with a reasonable amount of toppings, certainly not too much but also enough to have a full flavor experience so the pizza is not reduced to a flat bread. Instead of allowing you to select your own toppings they have (seemingly skillfully) arranged combination of toppings that promise interesting flavor profiles. Some are classics some are quite creative. I had a pizza with different mushrooms, cheeses and truffle oil. The flavor profile was - as expected - pretty intense and refined, I really love truffle. However, the pizza was in the oven for a bit too long so some areas of the crust were black and burnt and tasted accordingly. It required some manual intervention to separate this area from the one that was good.
My wife's pizza with prosciutto (which turned out to be rather bland), some cheeses and asparagus was not burnt but it was missing the asparagus. After we finally got the attention of our wait person, the response from her was a somewhat puzzling "That has happened before". (?!!?). Later the chef came over and offered us another free pizza to go in exchange (which we declined as we didn't want to schlep it back to New Jersey). Instead, my wife asked for blue cheese to be added to the rest of her pizza and after some more minutes in the oven it came back as requested.

On Sunday we went shopping around New Brunswick and when we felt a bit hungry and in the mood for a late lunch we decided to check out New Brunswick downtown and we found Piquant Bread Bar and Grill. It is one of those modern Indian fusion places that promises to be much more than it can deliver and execute and so ultimately disappoints its customers. An innovative sounding menu, stylish plates, an above average food display and rather high prices are not enough to pass for a real upscale restaurant. Overall not a bad Indian restaurant, with average service and good but not spectacular food. But in IMHO a bit overrated and seriously overpriced. Compared to one of their Manhattan influencers (which is way cooler (Bread Bar at Tabla)) I feel they are priced even higher. Good Indian food but at these prices not enough reasons to come back.

For this Weekend: Signing Off - The Westfield Blogger

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