Today’s news:

Tasty restaurant gossip

The Brooklyn Paper

Who will be the biggest cheese in Brooklyn? On Sunday, Stinky Bklyn, the Smith Street cheese emporium, will host its second annual cheese-eating contest, in which fromage fans will chomp as much Cantal as possible in two minutes for the championship belt — and the glory, of course.

And as much as we all love the stuff, it takes real dedication to win this contest. Last year’s champion, Red Hook resident Oliver Butler, ate almost half a pound of the semi-hard French cheese to secure his victory and the coveted winner’s belt, but he didn’t stop there.

“I ate cheese for dinner the night I won,” he told GO Brooklyn. “It was one of the prouder days of my life.”

And while Butler will be competing again this year and didn’t want to reveal too many of his secrets, he did have this advice for would-be contestants.

“The biggest thing on your mind when you’re eating cheese fast is at what point you can’t swallow anything down,” explained Butler. “It’s not about how big your stomach is, it’s just getting a sense of how the cheese is in your mouth.”

Think you’ve got what it takes to compete? Register with Stinky at (718) 522-7425. Spectators should converge in front of Smith & Vine at 3 pm on June 22 at 268 Smith St. to watch the event unfold.

• • •

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray is coming to Brooklyn to host a hot competition between New York’s best beef-grillers at the Burger Bash, part of the Food Network’s “New York City Wine & Food Festival.” Chefs David Burke, of David Burke Prime, and Michael Lomonaco, of Porter House New York, and others will be firing it up at the Tobacco Warehouse in the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park on Oct. 10. Tickets are $200 and are available at www.nycwineandfoodfestival.com or by calling (866) 969-2933.

• • •

Autour du Monde in Clinton Hill is welcoming a new chef and a new menu just in time for the summer. Chef Frank Coe — a Cork, Ireland native who has cooked around the world from London to Singapore — will be showcasing his twist on international flavors with a completely new menu that stresses fresh, local produce and savory spices.

“People were crying out for something with flavor,” said Coe, who said that he uses only “honest” ingredients and spices, but never butter, cream or heavy sauces.

Beginning last week, Coe started offering a “tropical fruit ceviche,” a vegetarian cold soup with mango, papaya, pomegranate and passion fruit, flavored with basil oil, lime juice and a hint of chili, as well as a “Brooklyn version” of fish and chips — fillets of boneless cod with a Brooklyn Beer batter, served with homemade mayonnaise.

But don’t get too attached to any one dish. Everything Coe makes is based on seasonal ingredients, so “menus change frequently depending on the weather.”

• • •

Meanwhile, having conquered Brooklyn Heights, Chinese mainstay Lichee Nut has opened a second location at 8321 Fifth Ave. in Bay Ridge.

Offering the same specialties that made the restaurant a hit in the Heights, like “fire-fighter shredded beef” and a large selection of vegetarian dishes, owner Jerry Shen thinks Bay Ridge will embrace his latest outpost.

“Bay Ridge really needs a good Chinese restaurant,” said Shen. “There are some Chinese restaurants, but not as good as Lichee Nut. I think Bay Ridge is a very good community. The people are nice, very friendly, so I try to make better food for them.

“All the [customers] say that they never had such good Chinese food in their life — they move away, sometimes to another state, but every time they come back to New York, they come here.”

• • •

Last week, Prospect Heights eatery Abigail added brunch to its menu of high-end comfort food. Featuring dishes like baked eggs with asparagus, roasted tomatoes and Bellwether cheese and chocolate-almond brioche bread pudding, the eatery gives locals and folks visiting the nearby Brooklyn Museum an excuse to linger in the neighborhood just a bit longer.

• • •

If 25-cent cones from the corner deli aren’t slaking your thirst for frosty treats, check out ICY NYC. Formerly located in the East Village, this Popsicle stand is known for using unusual and top-notch ingredients — the ginger-apricot ice is a big crowd pleaser — and has just opened its first outpost in the borough, at 905 Church Ave. in Kensington.

• • •

Fort Greene legend Cake Man Raven is having a party in honor of you! The Eighth Annual Family & Friends Appreciation Day is Sunday, July 20, at the store at 708 Fulton St., and the confectionery is promising stilt walkers, marching bands, giant slides and celebrity drop-ins, among other attractions.

That all sounds nice, but we never need an excuse to gobble down a slice of that famous red velvet cake!

• • •

Brooklyn will be well represented at the Fancy Food Show, a gathering of over 2,300 food vendors that will take place on June 29 and 30 in Manhattan. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the “Real Brooklyn” booth, featuring locally made products like Brooklyn Fudge, Brooklyn Petro hot sauce, frozen treats from Wine Cellar Sorbet and King of the Sea tuna fish.

“[‘Real Brooklyn’] is an initiative dedicated to celebrating and promoting Brooklyn made food products,” said Jill D’Amico, from the Chamber of Commerce. “It is all locally produced and locally available — that’s kind of a big trend in food. Brooklyn’s got amazing cache right now.”

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Reader Feedback

Joel P from Boerum Hill says:
25 cent cones are gone by us! Up to 30 cents several months ago and now 35!
June 20, 2008, 5:09 pm

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