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Kaz An Nou: Welcome home

Kaz An Nou (map!) is a restaurant I had heard about for awhile, but never got a chance to visit. When it was featured as a nominee for “Best New Brooklyn Restaurant” in TimeOut New York’s 2011 Food and Drink Awards, I knew I had to check it out.

So off to Prospect Heights we went!

Did I just step into someone's apartment?

(I have to mention the fact that when DH and I stepped out of the Bergen Street subway stop, we saw none other than John Hodgman eating a hot dog in the window at Bark! The man himself later confirmed this via Twitter. Hooray for random Brooklyn celebrity sighting!)

But back to Kaz An Nou. This delightfully cozy BYOB restaurant, with a name meaning “our house” in French West Indies Creole, made me feel like I was being welcomed into someone’s dining room. The decor is incredibly homey, with only a couple dozen coveted seats and jazz records decorating the walls. The co-owner/chef S├ębastien Aubert was also our host and server that night, and I could hear the French language peppered throughout the small space. Customers were hugging the waiters as they left. Wow, this place is the real deal.

The French-Caribbean cuisine also did not disappoint. In fact, it was probably the most unique meal we had at a restaurant all winter. Having waited a long time and luckily being the last customers of the night, we got a bottle Budweiser to share, on the house (since we did not know it was BYO), and settled in for an amazing dinner. Onto the photos:

Tatin D'Apricot et Fois Gras - Tart with apricots, caramelized onions, and fois gras

The taste of dried apricots and fois gras is a marriage made in heaven. I loved the presentation too!

Poire et Blue - Maple roasted pear with bleu cheese

Another terrific mix of flavors. The sweet pear gently waves hello, and then gives you a soft smack with the bleu cheese. YES.

Magret et Maracudja - Smoked duck breast with passion fruit glaze

Quack quack quack. Yum yum yum. So tender and homestyle.

Ratatouille Exotique - Squash, zucchini, and eggplant in spicy pineapple tomato sauce, served with plantains

Oh my goodness. Do you know that scene in the movie Ratatouille where Anton Ego eats the ratatouille? Well, I didn’t flashback to rural France, but the dish was just as powerful. The addition of pineapple gave it just the right spin, and I loved eating every single bite!

For dessert, S├ębastien just surprised us:

Blueberries and custard

I can’t recall the exact name of the dish, but it was a simple little crustless blueberry tart with custard and sugar on top. PERFECT.

I really didn’t want to leave. This is the sort of restaurant where you can linger a little, talk to the owners, listen to great music (I want this restaurant’s playlist), and fulfill a foodie’s dream. You really do feel at home, and it is definitely a place you can return to again and again.

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The Way Station: A TARDIS Lands In Brooklyn

Last Friday, I went to Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. My primary objective: to visit THE WAY STATION, a new bar that had finally opened.

Why the excitement? Because this bar has a TARDIS inside!

For all the Doctor Who fans out there, this needs no explanation. For everyone else, read the wiki link and just know that a TARDIS is really really really cool. As a result of my strong need to see this icon of geekery (and in a place that serves drinks!), I resolved to make my way to The Way Station post haste, with DH in tow.

Fast forward many hours later, after walking in the cold, late into the night, among ridiculously long stretches of quiet and creepy sidewalk near abandoned lots, getting lost in a panic with the smartphone batteries almost dying, worrying about getting mugged of said smartphone while looking at Google maps, and getting barked at by a guard dog behind a fence (“bark bark bark! I’m a dog! I’m a dog! Stranger! Stranger! Are you coming to steal the tires from this auto shop? Go away! bark bark bark! I’m a dog!”)…we finally made it.

The glow of that police box never looked more beautiful.

If only it made the whirring sound too.

I immediately parked myself on the comfy red leather banquette and sort of just stared at it. Meanwhile, the DH got a cocktail to soothe my jangled nerves (“The Train Wreck” – Tanqueray gin, muddled cucumber, ruby red grapefruit juice – $9). Not bad, maybe a little heavy on the grapefruit though.

A hastily-captured image. Why, look at that delightful hand model.

As the TARDIS actually concealed the bar’s restroom, a small line started to form in front of it, which I thought was kind of funny (what is this, auditions for a new companion?). I finally made my way in there too, and yes, was highly amused by the fact that it was bigger on the inside. There is a true fan at work here.

I took a picture of the interior, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you (ok, fine, a no-brainer spoiler: there’s a sink and toilet inside). You’ll just have to pay a visit yourself.

There’s not much I can say about the bar’s supposed steampunk theme (which wasn’t very noticeable to me in the decor or patrons; still all very nice, regardless), but in the end, isn’t the world is a better place for having a bar with a TARDIS in it? I’m sure the Doctor wouldn’t mind having a drink here. Give it a try, and watch out for that guard dog on the way.