Walking along Orchard street, I was intrigued by the name of the shop and sizes. So I popped in and met the owner Cindy. She and her partner opened The Little Shoe Store a week ago. “My small story is that I have very small feet and have always had trouble finding shoes so the only way to get shoes for me was to develop a brand..a store”. I am glad I popped in, Cindy opened the shop last Saturday.
While at the Carlos Campos store opening, I filmed one of NYC’s most liked paparazzi. Unlike most paparazzi, Mr. Nunez is well respected and loved. The one person who has captured hip-hop celebs at their best with full access to their lives is photographer Johnny Nunez. His story is much like the rags to riches tales of the stars he captures on film. Nunez, 36, who is chinese and black was adopted by a Puerto Rican family, got started as a photographer by not wanting to work at soup kitchens for the rest of his life and asking God to give him one good idea that would help him succeed.
I was having my usual sorrel & ginger beer at Spur Tree catching up with owner/chef Sean John and I see a Maxim magazine on the bar. The Braised Oxtail is the 2011 #2 Best Dinners in America according to Maxim. And reggae artist Sean Paul wrote the review “When I’m in New York, I like Spur Tree down on the Lower East Side for authentic Jamaican food. It’s a small restaurant, but the taste of the food is huge. It keeps me coming back, especially when I’m homesick. They do an oxtail Jamaican-style, so it’s braised and stewed down. The meat’s really tender, and it’s served with a really thick sauce and rice and peas covered in gravy. It’s bone-lickin’ good. I was home recently and thought, Lemme make some oxtail. I did, but it wasn’t as good as theirs.”
I coax Sean outside and ask him the small story with Maxim, new items on the menu, we happily sample the new Jamaican-asian mini-jerk steam pork buns..so good….so good..u cant go wrong. ..and where the name Spur Tree originates. 2011 is Sean’s year. He was also selected by MACY\’s as 1 of the Top NYC Chefs.
14 NYC stories in 14 minutes. A thread of conversations beginning with a new New Yorker who is proof that people move to NYC from all over the world; a man roller skating w the bottom of a mannequin on his head in soho; Freedom Bradley Dir-City Parks Foundations on what else “NYC Parks”; Founder of cleanplates.com the online healthy version of zagats; Guy wearing airtrekkers on Park Avenue; Iesha of Street Corner Resources, anti-violence teen protest @129 & Lenox; DJ Moma on going from engineer to DJ and “escaping the rat race”; Abby & Tori on the call that sent them to Haiti; Footwear designer Yusef Sirius El on 5 and 10 year business plans; Opera singer Joanna Bergin on the day she knew opera was her calling; Stylist Jason Rembert@Rocawear pop-up store on how he got his first internship at Elle; my first Yankee game, in the parking lot I get schooled on Yankee culture by my host and former Yankee exec onYankee branding..but he has a World Series ring, I LOVE NYC; Cinematographer/producer Shawn Peters on what is Weeksville.
Spur Tree was selected by MACY’s Culinary Council as one of NYC’s hottest restaurants and Owner/Chef Sean John was asked to prepare a dish for Black History Month @ MACY’s department store’s kitchen studio. He is preparing a Jamaican national dish with coco bread: Ackee and Cod Bruschetta. I included the recipe for us all to try at home. Visit Sean at 76 Orchard Street (btwn Broome & Grand Streets) http://www.spurtreelounge.com/
1 lb (500g) of salted cod
2 dozen fresh ackee pods or 3 cups (12 oz/350g) canned ackee
1 scotch bonnet or jalapeno chili, deseeded and sliced
2 spring onions
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 loaves of coco bread
4 cherry tomatoes (for garnish)
1.Soak the salted cod in cold water for 3o minutes, then drain and place in a pan with 4 cups (1 liter) of water. Bring to a boil, drain, then break the fish into flakes with a fork. Set aside.
2. If using fresh ackee, romove them from the pods. Discard the seeds and gently remove the pink membranes with a sharp knife. Parboil the pegs of ackee by covering them with salted water in a medium saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, drain and set aside.
3. Set up a large skillet over medium heat and heat oil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the chili, sring onions, and onion and sute until tender. Add the salted cod, ackee, tomato and black pepper and cover low heat for minutes.
4. Open coco bread loaves and cut into 4 triangles. Warm in the oven for 1-2 minutes and plate.
5. Spoon the ackee and cod onto bread triangles and top with a halved cherry tomato.
Serves 4. Preparation time: 45 minutes, Cooking time: 15 minutes.