A six episode series airing on BRIC TV
Cooklyn is what happens when a bunch of drinking buddies are asked to make a cooking show – really an excuse to explore Brooklyn, get into trouble, and talk to normal or famous or homeless people about good food. And drink and cook. Doing the cooking is Matt, who also makes guitars. Hannah Kirshner is Jill of all trades in food: media—writer, recipe developer, and food stylist. She’s been throwing fabulous dinner parties since she was too young to drink, and travels to Japan as often as possible to study culinary crafts and eat okonomiyaki. Artist/filmmaker Sam sings a little, breaks things, and enjoys making life harder for everyone else. Bryan directs and produces and runs sound and edits and drives everyone around. He's also made a bunch of critically acclaimed indie films that have never really made any money. We’ve also never made a TV show, and it shows.
In the first episode we’re going to make a cassoulet with duck confit, which means we’re gonna need a duck. We’ll ask around about ducks. Maybe the folks fishing off the piers have hooked a duck, maybe the boat captain has. Maybe someone keeps ducks as pets nearby, we’ll see.
We’ll then get some garlic sausage from that butcher everyone loves on Smith St., Paisanos maybe? and bacon and pancetta and I think they even sell duck fat. And maybe even a duck if we can’t find a duck anywhere else.
At this point we’re thirsty and need a drink. Sunny’s bar opens at 2pm and we’re gonna hang there for a while. Hopefully folks can offer their opinions about French cuisine. Maybe our foodie fixer Mira and hour host Matt will have it out about some stupid detail about the recipe. Hopefully it’ll be happy hour.
Now we have to look for the god damn beans. There’ll probably be a long and boring discussion about flageolets vs. Great Northern Beans. Or the idea of just using any white bean that’s easy to find because no one’s really gonna care. Anyway, we’ll get some beans somewhere and whatever else we need and be done with it.
Now we really need a drink, so we’ll head over to the Bait & Tackle. It’s a great bar, the bartender used to be a dominatrix, and the owner’s a real asshole. They’re also open in the afternoon so we’re all good there. They have a Buck Hunting video game in the back that we all hope to play instead of working on the show. Hopefully some drunks want to come home with us for a free meal, even if it is some pretentious French shit no one’s ever heard of.
So now we’ll head home and cook. Matt really shines in the kitchen, and the stresses of the day have been buffeted by all the booze we’ve consumed. He’ll throw in a lot of useless tips about how he likes to make this, and we’ll nod or argue or just tune out because we’re all starving.
Then we’ll all sit down and eat the food.
Who doesn’t like Mexican food! People with digestive issues that’s who. But we’re all good “down there” so we’re off to Sunset Park to this small Mexican enclave up and down 5th avenue to explore what they have to offer.
First breakfast at Tacos Matamoros with our guest Danny who owned some restaurants in Mexico and knows what he’s talking about. We head to a bakery and have some gusano (which means maggot) and discuss insects in cuisine, but like, using them on purpose. Sam sings a song about Mexico.
We soon eat home made potato chips in the back of a bodega that come in a plastic bag covered with Valencia hot sauce and talk to those folks about the 500 tamales their about to make that day.
Sam stops off and gets a ten-dollar shave from Tony.
We go get some crazy ice cream with mango and tamarind and fill it with booze. We go get some groceries. We visit a butcher for the pork ribs and feast on some dried salty grasshoppers (Chapulines).
We then go the venerable Soccer Tavern, an Irish Pub smack dab in the middle of Brooklyn’s Chinatown, which is sort of near the Mexican enclave where we bought all that food. We talk to the patrons, meet a retired exterminator, Sam sings a song, and it’s lovely.
Then we go home and cook and talk about our various experiences with adultering parents and bipolar depression and Asperger’s and wilt some cilantro for the meal.
In episode three we go to Jackson Heights, Queens even though the show is called Cooklyn and claims to be about Brooklyn. But Jackson Heights is where all the good Indian stuff is and that’s what we’re cooking, Crab Masala dry fry. We meet Chitra who runs Brooklyn Dehli and is our special guest whose going to show us around and tell us what’s up with dosas and chutneys and all that.
First big trip is to the Indian Grocery mecca of Patel Brothers, which is a place that if you haven’t visited yet you need to stop reading this and go. They have everything Indian, most of which white people have never heard of, and it’s cheap. Sam is so happy he sings a song in the store about dal muth.
They we run into our pal Jeff Orlick who does momo tours in the area. A momo is just a dumpling from Nepal but they’re all the rage right now for some reason. We hop in the back of the Momo truck that won his competition the year before and they show us how the sausage gets made.
And because we’re cooking crab we need to get some crab. Luckily there’s a Chinese grocer nearby called Pacific Supermarket and they don't’ seem to mind the cameras because there was no one there who spoke English to ask. We got five big crabs from a tank in the back and Mira tells us all what to look for when buying such creatures to eat.
Then the bar of course, and this time it’s a real shithole called Café 75. The bartenders are all young tightly clad Columbian women, and Matt’s very happy about this. We talk to the owner and one of these Columbian bartenders about the history of the place. Then we grab a booth in back and shoot the shit with Monihan and Monica, who come back to our place for some free food. We try some Pan to try and get high because it’s some kind of banned stimulant but it tastes like a scented urinal cake and doesn’t really get anyone high.
At home, Mira pries the top off of a live crab and it’s brutal. Sam sings the crab a lament. Sam thinks crab is stupid and too much work. We all have a big feast with it anyway.