Today is Labor Day, my last day off on a 2.5 week vacation from school. Char No. 4 is Justin’s all time favorite restaurant/bar, featuring a generous amount of bourbons and some really tasty foods. So when he – one of their email subscribers – got an email about $1 oysters, and Labor Day specials, it was kind of a no-brainer that that’s where we’d be spending our holiday. We sat at the bar, and were met with fair/good service from the bartender throughout the meal. We started off with a chipotle bourbon bloody Mary, a “freebie” during brunch hours, if you were eating. I usually hate bloody Marys, particularly because celery is my single most-hated food, and that’s the usual garnish. But today’s bloody Mary was light and spicy, and garnished with a tomato and cucumber – right up my alley. It won my approval.
Next, we did a dozen oysters for $12. It was a good deal, but the oysters were extremely briny. They were served with only the shallot mignonette, which definitely saved them as the vinegar cut the saltiness of the oysters’ liquid.
After the oysters and bloody Marys, Justin and I moved on to one bourbon/beer pairing, each, which we shared. As a newer fan of bourbon, I really wanted to try two side-by-side so that I could compare the flavors and strengths of each. I went with the Black Widow (1 ounce of Widow Jane bourbon and a Session Black Lager), and Justin went with the Big Horse (1 ounce of Pinhook bourbon and a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale). While I am, by no means, an expert on bourbon (in fact, I barely know anything), my vote goes to the Pinhook. While any bourbon is tough for me to drink by itself, especially sober, the Pinhook had a much smoother finish and aftertaste. And while I was only sipping, the Widow Jane made me make that really ugly face that girls often make after a shot of something too strong. I loved both beers, but again preferred Justin’s, the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale over the Session Black Lager.
During the beer/bourbon tasting, Justin and I were also tasting the Smoked Pork Nuggets (below). I think these amazingly delicious little balls went perfectly with the booze we were tasting. Every bite of the nuggets made the beer taste better. They were crispy on the outside, and soft and smoky on the inside – a strange but perfect combination of hot dogs, pulled pork, and mustard. They were the highlight of the meal, for me.
We then placed our actual brunch meal order, Jason going with the BBQ Brisket Hash, and me choosing Mama’s French Toast. Both had great flavor. Justin’s was a little heavy – something that would have been perfect for an intense hangover. It was greasy and delicious, but hard to stomach more than a few bites. My french toast, served with peaches (which I thought were cinnamon apples) had great flavor, but the toast itself was a little too dry and crunchy. So crunchy that it actually sliced the roof of my mouth when I over-zealously tried to stuff it.
After our meal, we headed out for a walk around Cobble Hill. As we walked past Stinky Bklyn, Justin insisted we take a quick look in. While it did really stink, I was instantly in love. The amount of cheeses and meats was overwhelming, and the staff was friendly and offered tastes of anything (free samples are the way into my heart). Plus, the variety of random accoutrements was really exciting, from unusual bitters to coffees to honeys and syrups. I could have easily spent an entire paycheck in this place.
Our walk through the neighborhood ended at Momofuku Milk Bar, somewhere I had always heard about but had never been. By the time we got here, I really had to pee (come on, I had a few glasses of water, a beer, some bourbon and a bloody Mary), and was horrified and infuriated to find the only toilet out of order. Don’t worry, I held it together and managed to still find room for dessert. Justin got the birthday cake shake and I went with the crack pie – the item I had always heard of in reference to this place. I found the pie delicious for the first bite, but almost disgusting after that. It tasted like a sugar coated stick of butter with some oaty crust at the bottom to keep it together. I was obsessed with and stole most of Justin’s shake. For some reason the confetti sprinkles were my favorite part – I loved how crunchy they stayed in the shake, giving you something sweet to chew on with each sip.