Monday, August 31, 2009

If you LOVE yogurt, and I know you do...

My brother tipped me via text yesterday to try Siggi's Icelandic Yogurt. I took his advice, dropped by Whole Foods after work, and bought the blueberry and vanilla flavors. It's a strained style yogurt, apparently made as it is in Iceland, but is from NY. It is only sweetened with Agave and has 0% milkfat. It's quite good, a little pricey, but a nice special treat. The combination of fruity flavor and light sweetness is especially nice and unique. So, the tanginess comes through with the fruitiness. They had some other interesting flavors as well. Check it out. Thanks to Chris for the idea.

Scones? Yes please.

When we were in Paris, my favorite place we went to was a small restaurant and bakery called Rose Bakery. It is owned by Rose Carrarini and her husband, who are from England, but moved to Paris to open this wonderful place. They have a big white counter to the right, just as you enter the door. It has the day's pastries, bowls of salads, pizzettes, and other stuff, all piled and stacked to choose from. Lots of people carried it out or ordered and ate there. They also have a menu to order from in the restaurant with things like pancakes, granola, toast, pastries, yogurt, smoothies...etc. for brunch, plus lunch items as well. The design was simple, clean, modern, but so cozy and warm too. We had breakfast there. It was delicious, and since it looked so good, we also had a piece of carrot cake to share, which was AWESOME. They cut them into cylinders with about a half inch layer of cream cheese frosting on top. Absolutely perfect.
The point of this story, other than to make your mouth water for some cake, is that I received the Rose Bakery cook book for my birthday from my brother, and I've just made a recipe out of it.
I decided to try the blueberry scones, because I haven't made scones since I was a very small kid- maybe four? They also looked fairly easy to prepare, and yummy, of course. They are lighter than most scones, with only 1/2 cup of butter, and call for an egg, plus enough milk to make 1 1/4 cups (measured with the egg.) I decided to use lowfat buttermilk, because Tyler Florence told me that buttermilk should be substituted for milk in any baking recipe. There are only 2 tablespoons of sugar, 3 1/3 cups of flour, plus a handful of wheat flour, 2 heaping tablespoons of baking powder, the zest of a lemon, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 handfuls of blueberries. I mixed the flours with all the dry ingredients, then the lemon zest, and accidentally added the blueberries before the butter. This made for an interesting situation as I added cubes of cold butter, since I had to try to avoid squeezing berries as I incorporated the butter with my fingers. I was somewhat successful, but lost about 8 blueberries in the process. It was similar to the process of making pie crust, as I pressed butter into flour between my fingers, until it was course and bread crumb-like. I beat an egg, then added buttermilk to it, until I had 1 1/4 cups combined, as Rose instructed. I made a well in the center of the dry mix, then poured the milk/egg into it, and incorporated wet into dry with a fork. I abandoned the fork far too soon and went straight to using my hands, which was VERY sticky and difficult to manage. Next time, I'll continue with a fork until I've added enough extra flour to make the dough workable. I floured a surface, and plopped the dough onto it, patted it into a circle lightly, and use a knife to cut rough little triangles or squashed squares (I don't have any biscuit cutters). I brushed the tops with a beaten egg, and placed the pan in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. They were golden and very shiny and pretty. I did not put any light brown sugar on top, as Rose suggests, before I baked, because I didn't have any and I forgot.
I ate one warm, with some blackberry jam, which was great, but the recipe says to serve with Creme fraiche. Greek yogurt might be good, with honey too, but the jam was really delicious. So, scones are good, and pretty easy to make, and you probably want to try some.


I was inspired by an article in the NY Times by Mark Bittman, The Minimilist, to make some frittatas emphasizing veggies rather than eggs. Although I did plan to do that with my egg dishes, I'm not really sure if there was a higher vegetable to egg content. Oh well, they were both delicious, and still very vegetable-y.
The first was a Red bell pepper and zucchini frittata. I started by sauteing the peppers and thin slices of zucchini in a little olive oil, with some salt and pepper, until nice and soft. I also put in some chopped fresh Italian parsley, right before the eggs. While that was happening, I whisked 3 eggs together, and proceeded to pour that right in with those veggies. The heat was on fairly low at this point. Keep in mind, I used a rather large pan for the amount of eggs - a 10 inch non stick one, to make a thin frittata. I let that cook for a couple minutes, until it was set on the bottom, then popped it all in the oven with the Broiler on high. Oh, first I topped it with about a table spoon of goat cheese - sprinkled around. I watched it as it got golden brown and bubbly and the cheese melted, for approximately 2 minutes. I took it out of the oven, then sliced it into wedges, and ate it with a tomato on the side. Delicious.
The second frittata I made followed the same process, although the veggies of choice were red pepper, red onion, and about a cup of frozen sweet corn. All that, sauteed, and for the eggs - 2 whole and one white. Topped again with goat cheese, and broiled up! This was very tasty. It was like a southwestern corn egg form! I think the first frittata I made tasted better as left overs. For some reason, the onions didn't do so well after another day in the fridge. The other one, however, was great as lunch the next day.

Frittatas for everyone!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Last night I baked a batch of wheat pita breads up - just for kicks. It was the recipe out of The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. They are TASTY. I'm very excited about my new forays in baking. They were chewy, puffy, golden brown, and tasted a lot like the pillow-y breads I had in NYC at Taim. Homemade bread is hard to beat. I just filled it with Hummus and had some crudite on the side for dinner. Awesome.

Summer Dinner Party

I made a few dishes the other night for some friends. The food turned out well and we all had a good meal.

Here's the menu for you:

Zucchini Patties- a Burwell family signature recipe (taken from some Mediterranean cookbook years ago).
Corn Slaw- a recipe, which I slightly modified by using broccoli slaw instead of regular cole slaw mix. The slaw was tossed with green onion, red bell pepper, 4 ears of corn cut off the cob, and 2 carrots, really finely chopped. The dressing on these was delicious-1/3 cup OJ concentrate thawed, 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, and 1/3 cup canola oil, plus some salt and pepper.
Caprese Salad- stacks of tomatoes, mozzarella, shredded basil, and a drizzle of EVOO and balsamic vinegar
Some fresh and crusty wheat bread
Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Cooking Light magazine) on top of vanilla frozen yogurt

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics of everything before it was all eaten, but we got a few that captured the fun and some food.


Photographs of Food in Paris - Spring 2009 trip with Mom and Brother.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dinner Lately

Back to Seattle and back to making simple dinners for myself. I picked up just a few groceries when I got into town, so I've had the same thing two nights in a row.
Greek Salad is the name of the game, flavor-wise, at least. My lettuce is probably not traditional, nor are the carrots I added to my salad tonight. 
I use large chunks of each veggie that I put in the salad, to get a good bite and flavor from all the components. 

For a big dinner salad:
1 small-mediumish tomato 
About 1/4 cucumber
About 1/8 red onion
A few handfuls of torn butter lettuce

I toss all that and throw in some crumbled feta on top. For a dressing, I whisk together the juice of one quarter of a lemon, about a 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of dijon, a few splashes of red wine vinegar, and a drizzle of EVOO, plus salt and a few grinds of pepper. 

I ate this salad last night with a piece of seedy whole wheat bread that I sliced fresh off the loaf, with a spread of hummus.
Tonight I added carrots and skipped the feta for the salad. I had a side of quinoa in the bowl I used to make my dressing, so it had nice flavor too,  plus I stirred in about 1/2 teaspoon of a fresh tomato, basil, and garlic sheep's cheese I got at the farmer's market yesterday. Delicious. An alternate idea for this would be to toss the quinoa right in, with some toasted pine nuts, even some chick peas or other beans, and finally the feta or flavored sheep's cheese on top.

For dessert, I stuck with the Greek theme, simply by having a mix of berries topped with a few spoonfuls of greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey. 

The Greek salad paired with fruit for dessert is a light and easy supper for summer. For lunch, maybe try the salad in a split pita spread with hummus.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Good new summer recipes

Here are a few things I've been cooking up during a week of vacation at home. Summery, light, mostly grilled, and just plain delicious. 

First, spinach bean dip by Giada De Laurentiis with a sweet balsamic note and garlicky spinach mixed with cannelinni beans. 
Wilt 2 salad bags of spinach with a couple cloves of minced garlic and a little EVOO, let it cool, then food process it with a can of rinsed cannelinni beans, 1.5 T of balsamic, 1.5 T of lemon juice, salt, and pepper until thick and smooth. Eat with pita chips, toast, crudite, on a sandwich, with some roasted potatoes, on a get the idea.

Next, grilled veggies.
I chopped bell pepper in half, zucchini in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise to make quarters, red onion into eighths, baby potatoes into 1/4 inch slices, yellow squash  the same as zucchini, and grape tomatoes left whole.
I tossed all on a sheet pan with some EVOO, a liberal drizzle of balsamic, salt, pepper,and herbes de provence. I heated the grill to medium high, then threw the veggies on the grill. I kept the tomatoes together in one corner of the grill, because they need to come off the grill first. After just about a minute or two, turning over to grill marks all over the tomatoes, I took them off. I turned the other veggies after about two or three minutes, then closed the lid to let them soften a bit for roughly 5 minutes. Get all the veg nice and charred, then take them off the grill. I served these with a green salad topped with white bean salad, similar to the one I posted about earlier this spring. 

Last night I made grilled salmon, rubbed with cumin, coriander, herbes de provence, and salt and pepper. I put that spice mix in a dish, onto which I placed the salmon, skin up, then let it sit for 30 minutes in the fridge. I heated the grill to medium, then oiled it well to prevent sticking, which was mostly successful. I grilled the fish, skin side down first, for about 4 minutes, flipped it with a spatula, then let it grill another 4-5 minutes. I took the skin off, and served this with grilled artichokes. The salmon was still rare in the middle and nice and juicy. I've read that salmon should be cooked 10 minutes per inch of thickness, which is a good reference. The artichokes were quartered, de-choked, and trimmed, then boiled for about 10 minutes prior to grilling. I seasoned those, grilled them for a couple minutes a side, and made a sauce for dipping. The sauce was made of juice of half a lemon, about 3 T chopped parsley, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1/3 c roughly of plain yogurt, and 1 t. EVOO, all combined well.

Tonight, I'm planning an asparagus and sundried-tomato-basil-chevre fritatta, plus a side of fresh tomatoes with basil. All this inspired by ingredients found with my mom at a farmer's market this morning-asparagus, farmstead chevre, tomatoes, and basil. Gotta do it local, Southern Oregon style.  


Good Afternoon!
Since it is summer and the produce is plentiful and ripe, I decided to make a pie to celebrate the season. Surprisingly, I had never actually made a pie before. I decided to do it all from scratch; no food processor, no pre-made crust. I'd been dreaming about the combination of blueberries and peaches, so I started searching for recipes. I looked up my desired combo on the food network website and chose Tyler Florence's recipe. It was relatively basic and simple and didn't take long at all. The filling had plenty of the fruit, lemon juice, sugar, and corn starch. The crust was made of butter, a little sugar, flour, a few table spoons of ice water, and lemon zest. The lemony flavor throughout the pie really added a nice extra touch. I prefer blueberries in this pie to raw ones on their own. I've posted the link, and I definitely recommend trying this combo of fruit out. It's a winner. 

Go make some pie, people!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beans: It's What's For Dinner Tonight

Hey All,

While I eat my dinner of a tasty Cannellini bean salad, I thought I would share the recipe. It's a simple and light dish that really just punches the flavor of the beans up a bit. I was inspired by a recipe in the New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen called "Just White Beans". She uses a different variety of bean and adds pickled onions and a few other herbs that I didn't have, as well as dry beans; whereas, I used a can for sake of time and ease. It would be good with more herbs or maybe more veggies added, but is nice as is. I would serve it with some toasted slices of baguette rubbed with a garlic clove and drizzled with EVOO. I'd say it is a versatile model and definitely one to be played with to fit different ingredients on hand. Here's my version:

Cannellini Bean Salad
1 can Cannellini Beans: drained and rinsed thoroughly
Handful of chopped fresh basil
1-2 Cloves of minced garlic
1-2 t Red Wine Vinegar
1 t EVOO (more if you want-would be good)
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste (Use a lot of pepper for really good flavor and plenty of kosher or sea salt) 

Bon Appetit! 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lentil lunch recipe

Homemade Lentil Burgers: Lunch experiment for April 7, 2009.
Enjoy this recipe, tweak it, experiment...I thought it was a nice alternative to a black bean burger.

bell pepper-1/4 cup finely chopped

onion-1/4 cup finely chopped

carrot-1/2 grated

zucchini- 1 grated

garlic- 1 clove minced

lentils-about 1 cup cooked


whole wheat flour (enough to bind, not wet, but sticky burgers)

seasoning salt-pinch

pepper-4/5 grinds

paprika- ½ t

cumin-1/2 t


thyme- pinch


lemon juice- ½ lemon

salt to taste


Combine all ingredients, except egg, taste for seasoning. Add more or less of any veggies and spices as desired.

Add egg, then more flour if necessary to reduce wetness of mixture and bind.

Form into medium sized patties-I found the best way was to form into a ball, like a large meatball, then press lightly on the plate to form a round patty.

Refrigerate for later or Heat nonstick skillet with olive oil spray to medium.

Cook 2 at a time in small skillet, reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on first side, then flip, cook 4 or more minutes to desired color-brownish gold and hot.

Spread with tomato chutney or other salsa and add slice of buffalo mozzarella (this can be done while cooking to melt cheese). Eat on a bun or toast with desired accoutrements or alone with a side salad.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sippin' Strawberries in Seattle

Back to Seattle and back to homemade food. 
I recently made a delicious beverage/ snack that I believe is one of the best fruit smoothies I've ever made (maybe even ever had). Cold, smooth, creamy, just sweet enough, and with a nice tang, due to lime that just makes all the flavors pop. 

Strawberry Banana Smoothie:
5 FROZEN Strawberries (frozen= key to a cold, non icy/watery smoothie)
1/2 banana, sliced
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 Tablespoons plain yogurt (make these generous scoops, not leveled Tablespoons)
splash of Skim Milk
About 1 teaspoon, or just a drizzle of honey

Pulse in the blender a few times, then puree for approximately 15 or so seconds until drinkable. DON'T ADD ICE OR'll just be watery. 
This makes 1 large or 2 small smoothie servings.
Keep in mind, if you use a flavored yogurt, you should probably omit the honey, but that could be delicious too. 


Monday, March 23, 2009

calexiville taverna

Three restaurants/ food places on my radar for the last bit of time here in NYC, and some additional places of note:

Snack Taverna

#1 Calexico is a taco cart in Soho (they have a couple other locations) on Wooster and Prince. It's run by a few guys from Southern California, was delicious Mexican. It's only open for lunch, starting at 11:30, until they run out-about 3 or 4. Caley and I visited this tasty spot for lunch a couple weeks ago, and I managed to get back for another meal by myself. We had burritos-mine was black bean, cheese, shredded cabbage, vegan avocado crema (probably just mashed up avocado), and pico de gallo all wrapped in a big tortilla, then grilled on the cart. Caley had the carne asada burrito with beans, rice, cheese, salsa (she claims it was "NOT chunky", because it lacked "gross tomatoes"). These were delicious burritos, definitely one of the best I've had in a really long time. I love the fact that it was grilled post-assembly to make it a little crisp and nicely pressed together. I highly recommend Calexico. Get there as early as you can, because the second time I went they were out of everything but bean tacos or burrito bowls-out of flour tortillas. The tacos were also excellent. 3 bucks a pop, and about 4 or 5 bites each, with the same fillings as burritos. They also make rolled quesadillas, grilled corn on the cob, and sides of beans, rice, chips, and salsa. I would go for the burrito again if I could. 

#2 Westville is a tiny West Village restaurant on W 10th and Bleecker that serves Market fresh American classic type food. Burgers, fish, salads, sandwiches, and a huge list of side dishes that change seasonally. My favorite part of this restaurant, especially as a vegetarian, is the option for a dinner made of sides- 4, to be precise, for $13. The regular menu is printed out and offers some easy standbys: caesar, cobb, greek salads, steaks, veggie burger, grilled cheese, salmon sandwich, etc. etc. The exciting part of the menu is a photo copy of a hand scribbled menu of specials, which includes at least 15 side dishes made of seasonal ingredients. The first time I went to Westville, I ordered the Market 4: roasted beets with goat cheese, grilled asparagus with lemon and parmesan, mashed sweet potatoes, and soy glazed green beans. The mix and match is fun, because the meal is less of a focused and straightforward experience, and more like a tasting or tapas kind of thing. I love having 4 different things that share no common thread, but are just plain good. The market 4 is perfect for a person who, like myself, can never choose between the items on a menu that all sound too good. Although I would have expected loving the beets or asparagus most, the soy glazed green beans were my favorite. They were sweet and salty, nice and crunchy, and perfectly cooked. No stringyness to be found. The mashed sweet potatoes were a little too mushy and sweet for me. This may sound odd, since it was mashed sweet potatoes, but they just weren't seasoned properly and over pureed- a little like baby food. Despite that drawback, I was excited to go back to Westville again, and repeated the beets and green beans, then added roasted zucchini with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes and one other side...that seems to have not been memorable enough. I did thoroughly enjoy all of it. 

#3 Snack Taverna is a Greek restaurant in the West Village on Bedford and Morton. The food here was fantastic. I spent at least an hour before having dinner there looking at the menu online to narrow down my options for the meal. For an appetizer, we shared scordalia, which is a roasted garlic and yukon gold potato puree with olive oil and lemon juice. It was garlicky, creamy, tangy, and delicious on warm grilled pita bread. Two of my other compadres shared a special lamb phyllo triangle appetizer and some kind of fried cheese appetizer-it was conceptually the same as a mozzarella cheese stick, but made of a Greek cheese, and fried in a thin flat disc. The bite I had was bubbly hot cheesy goodness. For my meal I had fava, another meze, made of yellow split pea puree atop a tangy and robust tomato sauce. This came with more grilled pita, and was a favorite of the table. I also had the Greek salad- crisp cucumber and sweet red onion with a bite, fresh chunks of tomato, kalamata olives (which I proceeded to remove), and a big brick of feta topped with some fresh ground pepper and a lemony dressing. Two people had calamari for their main and another diner enjoyed some kind of meaty pasta casserole (Patitsio). This restaurant had a great atmosphere and was a fun place for a small group dinner. It was absolutely one of my favorites in NYC. 

Additional places:

Grey Dog Coffee- I've gone here for breakfast-free coffee refills in the cafe, delicious melon and berry salad, nice staff, cool place, all around yummy food.
Yaffa Cafe- Really delicious, lots of veggie options. I had a homemade veggie burger that was on top of a warm pita with cheddar. It came with a salad with an awesome carrot ginger dressing. Perfect sized portion. I had a really hard time deciding what to eat with so many good sounding things. 
Doma-Eastern European cafe in the West Village. I've had breakfast here- good coffee, really good toast and scrambled eggs. 
Sacred Chow- Vegan restaurant with lots of good menu items: daily special hummus, grain, protein, soup, plus their usual options of salads, sandwiches, rice and bean dishes, meze type appetizers, and other excellent veg food. I had a salad with greens, beets, carrots, apples, and crunchy yuba strips. Very tasty. 

Tomorrow I'll be leaving NYC to head back to the west coast and resume my normal college routine. I will continue my blog from the NW, hopefully shifting focus to more cooking from home and experimentation, with the occasional restaurant post. There maybe more New York content to post, after I look through my stash of take-out menus and think through all my meals. I hope you've enjoyed. 
Stay tuned for more.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Peanut butter and more.

Greetings Readers,
It has been awhile since my last post, fortunately not for lack of material. My focus of this evening's blog will be two meals that stick out the most in my recent memory. 
1) Cowgirl: A restaurant in the west village with southwestern/ southern style food. The portions here were bigger (Texas-sized) than an average NYC meal and the menu had quite an expansive selection. I ordered the veggie trio, which consisted of a baked potato, veggie chili, and a fantastic southwestern Caesar salad. The salad had some corn, tortilla chip strips, red peppers, and a peppery caesar dressing. The main dish was very enjoyable at Cowgirl, but the dessert is what sticks out the most prominently in my mind. 
I had read up on Cowgirl before attending to learn that they have one of the best brownies in the city. I don't know if it's true, because it's the only brownie I've had in the city, but I know that it was incredible. It was hot and fudgy and dense, not cakey at all, and amazingly chewy. It came with a huge dollop of homemade whipped cream on the side that was as thick as yogurt. Three of us split this brownie along with another dessert- red velvet cake. I've never been much of a red velvet cake eater, but I'm glad that Caley ordered this piece. It was OUTRAGEOUS. The frosting was perfect- cream cheese, not overly sweet, and spread in a perfect layer that didn't weigh the whole cake down. The cake was moist and light and had a good crumb to it. Those desserts sent me into a sugar high/ coma that lasted a good hour and a half. I would go back for more, but decided to give up sweets for lent. I feel good about this decision, mostly because these desserts were my last before the lenten season began. 

2) My next eating adventure was one I had been excited to try since I'd heard about it: Peanut butter and Co. I ordered the Elvis- a grilled concoction on wheat with creamy PB, sliced bananas, and honey. Pretty much my favorite things altogether in one jumbo sized sandwich. Caley ordered the Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Sandwich. This one has cinnamon raisin peanut butter (One of the company's signature varieties) with vanilla cream cheese and crispy green apples. We traded halves and had both. Peanut butter lover's heaven right there. Although I don't think I could've eaten a whole cinnamon raisin sammy, due to the sweetness of the vanilla cream cheese. It was delicious, do not be mistaken, but very rich. If we get PB and Co. again, I might go with the standard PB & J, Ants on a Log (not a sandwich, but the traditional celery), or Jerry Seinfeld's special: toasted bagel with PB, honey, and cinnamon. PB & Co. even has a special weekly sandwich. If I wasn't on a dessert break, I might go for a PB brownie or Death by peanut butter Sundae. This combo of "3 scoops of ice cream on a bed of Cap n' Crunch, topped with peanut butter, whipped cream, Reese's Pieces, peanut butter chips, and peanut butter sauce" really does sound like a heart attack. Probably best to stick with my favorite sticky stuff on my morning english muffin. 

Next food excursion is TBD, but be on the lookout. More to come soon enough. 


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So 'snice, I've tried it twice

As promised in my previous post, my last culinary adventure took me to the little west village veg spot, 'snice. I had a terrible time deciding what to eat because everything sounded so good. This is a recurring struggle for me, especially at Vegetarian friendly restaurants. 
I ended up going with a quinoa salad that was excellent. It had black beans, corn, red onions, cilantro, avocado, tortilla chip strips, and an avocado dressing. Yummy south western quinoa heaven. It was fantastic. The dressing was light and creamy, with just the right amount of acidity. I love these flavors, especially the sweetness of the corn. The quinoa was fluffed and airy, with a good al dente bite. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this salad on Friday evening. 
On Saturday, I worked and then spent a couple hours roaming the west village for another new restaurant to try. The majority of which were crowded or too expensive. I walked past Taim and was barely able to resist the temptation of warm falafel. The lure of the comfortably worn wood tables and tall glasses of fresh coffee, all very Seattle-esque, brought me back to 'snice for the second night in  a row. 
On this trip, I went for a hummus sandwich (Are you seeing a theme?). It had sprouts, roasted red peppers, hummus, and lettuce on whole wheat toast. I didn't know when I ordered that it would be a triple decker, a la club sandwich, and come with a side salad. I deconstructed both halves and created 3 halves with the bottom toasts and excess filling, thus yielding a half-sandwich/ salad dinner and a doggy bag of a whole sandwich. Not a bad deal. It was very tasty, but I still give my vote to Tiny's for one of the greatest sandwiches my whole life. 
I'd choose the quinoa over the sandwich for the more satisfying and unique meal. If I go back, I might try the bueno burrito or a bowl of soup. 

I also stopped by The Peanut Butter and Co. Restaurant this weekend, for a peanut butter smoothie. Ice, skim milk, banana, honey, and peanut butter make a very refreshing and wonderfully peanut-y drink. I definitely will go back here for a PB & somethin fancy. Perhaps the Elvis (Grilled PB, honey, and banana) or a fluffernutter...or a PB & J...that decision could take a very, very long time. 

Friday, February 13, 2009

hummus hummus hummus hummus hummus

Last weekend I went to a really great restaurant in Greenwich Village (71 7th Ave S.), The Hummus Place. It was yet another Mediterranean place with some of my favorite flavors and dishes on the menu. I ordered their 3 appetizer meal, which was about $9. I resisted the falafel appetizer. That was a pretty big step for me, since falafel is just SO good. I had the "health salad"- chopped tomato, cucumber, parsley, and onion. This dish was really nice. Everything was diced very small, which allowed all the juices and flavors to marinate and blend very well. I had their hummus, which was a traditional, creamy, tahini-laden bean spread. It was fantastic. It was pungent and smooth. My third appetizer was Lebane, which I'd never seen before. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It's strained yogurt cheese, like a really thick Greek yogurt, topped with Za' atar and olive oil. The Za' atar is what I assume is a blend of spices. I ordered a fluffy whole wheat pita on the side for .75 cents. The fact that it didn't come with the appetizer special was a little disappointing, until I got over it. The pita was a fresh, airy, and nutty little pillow. My favorite way to eat this meal was to use a little piece of pita, spread with hummus, lebane, and a spoonful of my health salad to create one perfect bite. It all went great together. I could also just eat the lebane with a spoon. It was tangy and rich. 
Overall, this was a great Mediterranean feast, with reasonably sized portions and a good price tag. The service was excellent too- very friendly people.
My next restaurant to conquer is 'snice, a vegetarian sandwich, salad, bakery, cafe type place. They're at 8th Ave and W 4th Street. Everything here looks delicious. 

Enjoy your breakfast, folks. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Oh, Whole Foods.

I think everyone can agree, Whole Foods is amazing. There's not much to dispute here. I really enjoy a good Whole Foods salad bar lunch. I get one of those cardboard boxes and fill it with fresh baby spinach and mixed herbs and greens, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, celery, shredded carrots, a hard boiled egg, and a few beets. The only thing I can think of to describe this salad is Alton Brown's infamous phrase...good eats.

(I really enjoy Alton Brown, and at the same time, I just don't understand him. His knowledge of food is RIDICULOUS.)

Friday, January 30, 2009


This week was mostly uneventful on the food front, until dinner today, when I tasted one of the most satisfying meals...ever.
The restaurant: Taim.
How I discovered it: Once again, The food network taught me a valuable lesson. I look to the food network for recipe inspiration, entertainment, and general food faq's. Whenever I have access to cable television, I choose food network over almost any other show. Except perhaps top chef.
The main point is, I saw Taim on the Bobby Flay show Throwdown. The theme of the show was falafel, so Bobby went to the place that is deemed to have the best in America. I actually have not tried a very wide variety of falafel places, but in my experience, this was the best, by a mile.
Taim is located in Greenwich Village, in the heart of a foodie paradise. It's on 222 Waverly Pl, and probably cannot hold more than 7 or 8 people at a time. There is only counter space for about five to eat. I stood up at the counter next to Emily and ate.
The menu is cheap, with a really good sized falafel pita at about $5. There are three flavors of falafel to choose from- harissa (tunisian, mildly spicy), red (roasted red pepper), and green (parsley, cilantro, mint- the traditional). I had green, in a homemade whole wheat pita, which was so fluffy and perfectly chewy. It was definitely the best pita bread I've ever had. It came stuffed with about 6 falafel balls that were lightly crunchy and literally melted in my mouth. The flavor was perfect- not overly garlicky or loaded with tahini, but nicely seasoned and herb-y. It was a bright, round, and full taste...if that makes sense. It's hard to describe, other than just deliciously balanced. With the falafel itself was hummus, Israeli salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and lemon-mint dressing), green cabbage and tahini sauce. The salad was great too, not big watery chunks of vegetables, but nicely cubed and coated in the tangy dressing. The crunch added a cool contrast to the warm and soft falafel and fluffy pita. The tahini wasn't dripping out of the pita, but it wasn't dry by any means. Once again, this sandwich couldn't have had better proportions of any one element.
The "falafel and smoothie bar" also has, well, smoothies, made with fresh fruits. There's a small selection of other items, such as sabich sandwiches and platters, eggplant salad, moroccan carrot salad, marinated red beets, tobouli, and a soup du jour. The other most enticing item was the side of homemade french fries that came with a saffron aioli. It was a big portion of golden frites for $4. If you're not a falafel person, or want to stay away from fried stuff, you can still get the pita sandwich, but stuffed with hummus and two of the salads and tahini sauce instead.
I highly recommend Taim. And, if you're gonna go, call me. I want to go back ASAP.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So far...

My restaurant experiences have been great so far. A few stick out as exceptional places. One is Becco, an Italian spot on 46th street, between 8th and 9th. 46th is Restaurant row. I went there for Sylvi's birthday party during my first week working here. Sylvi characterized it as a place that's very swanky, for a price that's better than the usual swanky eatery. What's so unique about Becco is their pre fix dinner option, where you get either a caesar salad or a antipasti tray (AMAZING) and all you can eat of the three pasta specials of the day. seriously. The antipasti was great- an Italian white bean spread, selection of bread, olives (not a fan), fresh mozzarella, marinated tomatoes, some kind of marinated beans, and a few other things. It was really fresh and good. Then the three pastas. The waiters come by your table, each with a huge steaming pan of one of the pastas. I'm normally not a pasta person. I just think it's usually really heavy and not that exciting, but this was incredible. One was a flour-based gnocchi, with a light tomato sauce, one was spaghetti in a tomato sauce, and one was a farfalle with an amazing sauce...I can't remember what it was, and it was my favorite. There were just really great flavors and textures that made this pasta meal really worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Besides Becco, Sylvi has been my go-to guide for some of my favorite restaurants in NYC.
Silver Spurs was a great brunch spot. It was fast, packed full of people, cheap, and simply delicious food. Nothing fancy, just plain good. I had an egg white wrap with mozzarella, spinach, and tomatoes. I could eat that everyday.
Karen's on Astor, right near NYU, was a really cool cafe. They make a lot of vegetarian and vegan stuff- sandwiches, burritos, wraps, soup, baked stuff, salads. It's simple and fresh and cheap. A great veggie spot for a student budget. I originally got a veggie red bean chili, then realized that it had soy in it (allergic), and switched to a shitake mushroom and barley soup (free of charge for the switch- super nice). That was delicious.
The next meal I had with my favorite one yet. It's funny, because it was just a sandwich. Calling it just a sandwich is hard, because it was SO GOOD. It was Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop on the lower east side, between Norfold and Essex on Rivington. They maybe had 7 tables. They serve meat sandwiches and salads, but everything can be made veggie to order-with a meat replacement (like chick'n or fake bacon). I don't particularly enjoy fake meat products, plus they're usually soy filled. I ordered a create-your-own sandwich on 7 grain bread (toasted- this was key), sprouts, spinach, tomatoes, cheddar, green herb mayo, and hummus. It was so delicious. I can't get over it. Usually when I make or eat a sandwich with hummus, it's spread on the bread like a condiment, for a little flavor and moisture on the bread. At Tiny's, they PILE on the hummus. It was about 1/2" thick between all the veggies. It made the hummus the focal point. It literally changed how I think of hummus on sandwiches- it is the protein after all, not just an afterthought. The combo of fresh cold veggies, the herb mayo, and a fantastic homemade hummus, with toasted bread, was unbeatable. I encourage anyone to try this one out- just make the sandwich yourself, seriously. If you can go to Tiny's, do that too. I definitely intend on visiting this place again.
The problem with NYC restaurants is, almost everytime I go, I want to go back. At the very same time, I want to try some new place. There's so much to try, but so much that's worth a second trip. Decisions, decisions.
There have been more delicious places, but this post is far too long already, so I won't drag on any more.
Until next time.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gastroblog: A Foodie in NYC

Welcome, friends and family, to my first blog ever.
I have never been a blogger or blog reader, but I've had sudden inspiration from my older brother, Chris, to try it out.
"Why a blog?" you may be wondering.
Well, I'm a student in Seattle, but I've taken a leave from the ordinary routine of classes, clubs, rain, and general college life to work as an intern for a theatre company in New York City.
Although my original reason for coming to the big apple was obviously the internship, the foodie in me is overwhelmed by the utter incredibleness that is the New York City restaurant scene.
This blog is meant to record all the delicious (and not-so-delicious) encounters I may have while on the East coast. Although, I'm not so sure I'll really be paying much attention to non-delicious things, so the latter will probably not appear as frequently. I'll write about the places I eat it, how I found out about them, with whom I attended them, and what I think about them.
What other unique and significant things should you know as an occasional or frequent reader of my blog: I am a vegetarian. So, don't expect any gushing reviews of the filet mignon at Tom Colicchio's Craft Steak or carnitas at Bobby's Mesa Grill. (I don't actually know if these things are on the menus, but I can assure you that I will not be eating them, even if they do exist. I also just wanted to throw in some NYC celebrity chefs to hold your attention and remind you of my excellent reserve of important chef-y knowledge. In theory, this should coerce you into believing my taste is very good, if not highly refined, and my blog, well worth reading.)
So for now, that's all. I must consider my other task while in NYC, working in the morning.
There is much to look forward to, friends. Descriptions of tasty food, including the meals I eat while saving money for restaurants, lists of restaurants I've eaten at, lists of restaurants I can't wait to eat at, and fancy multimedia digital pictures!
I'll leave you all with an amuse busch of what's to come, with a description of my latest meal.
Salad of mixed baby greens and herbs with broccoli slaw, alfalfa sprouts, and rice wine vinegar dressing.
Toaster-oven broiled whole wheat tortilla, spread with Trader Joe's creamy Mediterranean hummus and shredded mozzerella.
Tomorrow, I'll probably eat out, so that little homemade meal will have been completely worthwhile.
p.s. Tasty D-Lite had peanut butter as a flavor of the day, so I definitely had a cup of half dutch chocolate-half PB while I walked to the subway (the long way) on my way home today. Even with all the amazing food around, Froyo is still near and dear to my heart, and will probably always top my list of delicious things. (Plus who can think of anything better than the combination of peanut butter and frozen yogurt? Nobody.)