Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yucking my yum.

Remember me? Like you could forget! My days have been completely consumed by the Chilean-miner saga and now that NASA has rescued them I've found myself with entirely too much free-time. Lucky you.

OK so where to begin? I had planned to write about my adventures with Anthony Bourdain and 'No Reservations: Season 8' last week but a sinus infection got in my way. I found the majority of the season fairly uninspiring but a few episodes stood out among the fever dreams. In one of the final episodes of the season Tony makes the trek to Maine and uncovers the past of his Emmy-award-winning cameraman/cinematographer dude Zach Zamboni. It's supposed to be about food and all but it's mostly about Zach and Tony; a modern-day love affair! And if you know me, you know I love me some bro love. They do eat something called a "bean supper" and I recall something about some moose meat. Apparently moose meat isn't as gamy as you'd think. Go, moose!

Other than a really bizarre episode venturing up and down the Hudson River the only other on that stuck in my head was an episode entitled 'Obsessed'. Basically Tony slaps around a pig head for 45 minutes and when he's not slapping he's talking about food bloggers and the drama that they bring.

Which brings me to my point! Didn't think I had one, did you? Tony's big point when he's yucking it up with these blogger dudes is that by definition the discussion of food takes away the pure pleasure of it. In other words, it yucks your yum. Now, in general, I have to agree with Mr. Bourdain and his assertion. Food is experienced. It's carnal. It's not to be fretted over. But I also have to say I took offense having spent the last few months writing about, well, FOOD.

What to do! I don't want to go against my Tony but I don't want to forsake my foodies either. So the question is, can the two worlds exist as one? The carnal and the cerebral?

While you're marinating on that, I think I'm going to go marinate on some chocolate chip cookies. We'll circle back next week and see if we've come to any conclusions.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Dirt Candy Disappointment

My friend Natasha visited this weekend so we could go to one of the SIX Pavement shows at summerstage on Thursday. It was a short, but sweet weekend since she was leaving Saturday morning, so I decided to make some reservations at Dirt Candy in the East Village for Friday night. It opened about a year ago, but I hadn't been yet. Natasha is vegan and eating in the city with her almost inevitably takes us to the East Village. Everything good AND vegan is there! When she comes to town I get to test my vegan/vegetarian palate.

The place did not even have a sign out front! How is that for trendy! Also, it was so dark in there that I couldn't get ANY good pictures, but I will post one of the jalapeno hush puppies and maple butter below anyways. I went into the restaurant thinking that the goal was to take one veggie or fruit and create a dish inspired by that. So, if you have a sweet potato you could make a sweet potato glaze, and then a mash, too. But it turns out that I was a little off base. Only a few options were like this.

I have to say the food was OK, but seemed wildly overpriced for what it was. Also, the menu did not have many options. I know the idea is to simplify the menu and have it be market fresh, but one more option would have been nice. We started with the jalapeno hush puppies. Then, I had the tofu broccolini and even though the tofu was perfectly crisped and the orange sauce was delicious, the broccolini and tofu were sadly a little bland.

The place was great for a date and the atmosphere was impressive (complete with a mini-bathroom that is AH-dorable!). However, with all the other great options in EV, it seems unlikely that I will go back. Unless I meet a sexy vegan who hasn't heard about this place yet. The aesthetic definitely makes a good impression.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Free falling.

9/15/10 - 7AM. I discover a crick in my neck. I'm guessing it has something to do with being used as a certain someone's body pillow, but I've never been one to point fingers. Regardless, after spending the workday having to turn my entire body everytime I went to butt into someone else's conversation, I opted for an emergency appointment with my chiropractor, Dr. Stein. Of course, Dr. Stein was busy with another patient once I arrived so I got shoved off onto another doc who thought my name was Shara. After my 15 minutes of whatever it is they do, I was walking a bit taller and ready to attack my afternoon.

Here's where my plan hit a snag. I get on the waiting elevator, press L and get into my elevator stance just as the door closes. I wasn't really paying any attention until we hit floor number 9, when all the sudden the elevator started to shake. What happened next can only be described as something between a sliding shake and a free-fall. For 9 floors I thought that this might be it. Somehow between the terror and anger I had a few fleeting thoughts. I thought of my parents. Of my boyfriend and of the Gatorade I was supposed to be bringing him. I thought of our dog Quincy. And somewhere between floors number 3 and 2, I thought of cheese. No one type of cheese per say, but more of an assortment. Hard cheeses. Soft cheeses. Runny cheeses! I love them all.

After a few choice words with the elevator operator and a few more trips up and down the 16 story building, I was finally freed. I walked out in a daze, confused about what had just happened to me, and into the loving arms of a nearby Duane Reade Look Boutique. I picked up a few essentials. Mascara. Shampoo. Conditioner! They've got it all. As I wobbled to the register, something familiar caught my eye. A cheese tray; simple and perfect, and waiting just for me.

Moral of the story? Life is short, eat cheese.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

L'Shana Tova

Hi, my name is Sarah and I'm an asshole. Not only did I FORGET to blog last week, but I also LOST my copy of Everyday Food. FAILFAILFAIL. But luckily for me, I'm writing to you on Yom Kippur. I'm not exactly sure how this whole High Holiday thing works but I'm sure forgiveness has a place somewhere in the festivities. 'Tis the reason for the season!

I really wish I had more to share with you. A sensational steak or a crostini or a croque madame! But between sneaking into the Empire State Building (entirely too easy to do PS but that's another story for another day) and learning an entirely new career, all I had time for was a quick dash into Chipotle at 9PM tonight.

Hunched over a chicken burrito bowl and large Mr. Pibb Xtra (who knew!) with only my huffingtonpost to keep me warm, I managed to somehow feel like myself again. So my darlings, please remember this. No matter how stressed out or crunched for time you may be, make time for yourself. And when you're done with that, treat yourself to some melted cheese.

L'Shana Tova, y'all!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday's Takeout

This takeout actually comes from Friday, when a long weekend led to happy bosses and my leaving at noon. Hooray long weekend!! So in attempt to diversify from ordering Posto yet again, and still score a cheap lunch special, (the highlight of getting out early) I walked across the street to grab some thai at Lantern. A sizeable appetizer and entree is $8, and I went with shrimp Pad See Ew and spring rolls. I added the Thai iced tea, my fav hot day drink, and they served it to me in a giant soup bowl, which was nice to sip all weekend long.

Lazy Coffee Monday

OK, with this being my second post about coffee you may be starting to realize that I LOVE COFFEE! I drink probably 4 cups a day. We can all debate about how healthy that is, but I think it is safe to say that it is just a necessity in my life. With this Monday being a holiday I had to forego my usual ING Cafe coffee and pick a more laid back destination. I love Monday holidays because I get an extra day to take care of laundry, go grocery shopping, and then spend a good couple of hours at a lovely coffee shop.

One of the reasons I started loving coffee was when I studied abroad in France. It was such a social event, but it was also completely acceptable to sit at a cafe all day with a paper and your tiny espresso cup. An activity that can be enjoyed alone or with company! By god, no wonder I love it so!

Today on my day off I found myself wanting to head down to my fave coffee destination, Irving 71. I would not recommend this place for an all day solo event because sadly the place does not include wifi on their menu which IS a major disappointment. However, if you just want to slowly enjoy your coffee and people watch I have to say it is a perfect solo place to kill a couple of hours. BUT my favorite time to go to the cafe is with friends, sitting outside in the nice weather and slowly sipping coffee and chatting. It really is a great lowkey activity and lends itself well to company.

via Flickr

Now onto the coffee. One of the things that surprised me the most about New York's food scene when I arrived was the lack of good coffee shops with good food. How can this be!! What is a coffee shop without a bagel?? So I was so pleased when I found Irving, who not only have excellent bagels, but a huge menu of breakfast or lunch options. Today I just feasted on a sesame bagel, but the salads are delicious, too.

I think what I like about it most though is it is the laid back coffee shop environment that I miss about all the other cities I have lived in. I always had my spot! And while this one doesn't meet ALL criteria, it will work as my loungey, lazy coffee shop for now.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eight at Eight

Last night I met some friends at Von Bar for happy hour. We had a reservation at a tiny tapas restaurant for dinner, but had to change it at the last minute as more people kept joining and the restaurant could not accomodate the large group. Only in nyc would it be next to impossible to make a reservation for 8 at 8. After about 10 phone calls I finally landed a reservation at Barbossa. This is a cute little Brazilian place in Soho. We were seated at a big table in the back nook behind the tiny kitchen which separates the front and back of the restaurant. It has a really chill ambiance. I highly recommend going and drinking the sangria. We ordered appetizers and entrees to split amongst the table and everything was so tasty. Cheese rolls, sauteed calamari, fennel sausage. Steak and polenta, spicy shrimp and avocado curry, more sausage. Try it all. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


After an impossibly long day, we came home tonight to find a surprise in our mailbox. Next to my friend Rory's wedding invitation lay the newest edition of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. A gift from my mother, it's her latest (and most obvious) attempt to try and turn me into the domestic goddess she believes I was born to be. In the three months since I've moved in with my boyfriend, we've received china patterns to review, two Cook's Illustrated books and countless handwritten notes & tips for how to turn last night's dinner into today's lunch.

I can polish silver. I can set a lovely table-scape. But I cannot, cannot(!) seem to get the whole dinner thing down. Call it lazy. Call it undiagnosed hypoglycemia! Whatever it is, once the hunger's set in, it's all over.

So in an attempt to take back my life, I'm pledging to try at least one recipe from the newest Everyday Food in preparation for next week's post . It's going to get ugly, but as the old proverb goes 'that which does not kill us makes us a better chef'.

Stay tuned!


Tapas y mas brunch

While Zoe was having her huevos rancheros at Esperanto, I was devouring the same dish at Pipa, just down the street from our apartment. Pipa is tapas for lunch and dinner, but serves an amazing brunch, although with no bells or whistles to speak of. Coffee and mimosa's not included. The huevos rancheros were the best I have ever had, with creamy black beans spread on a puffed up fried tortilla lying in sweet yet spicy tomato sauce. My only problem was that I woke up early to go jogging with the intention of rewarding myself with a satisfying brunch, and though it was delicious, too small. Next time I will definitely order sides, or the amazing looking calamari appetizer that I saw pass by...
Pipa's decor happens to be done by my favorite home store, ABC Carpet and Home, and there are hundreds of chandeliers dripping from the ceiling- with price tags telling you to dream on.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Brunch Days

Brunch is a sacred thing in NYC and I certainly take part in worshiping it. Every weekend you can walk around the city and see lines outside all of the restaurants. Big groups, small groups. Old and young. Brunch is a beautiful thing. It brings people together. However, as is true for most wonderful things, there is a flip side. It is easy to down FIVE mimosa's at brunch and then realize you are $50 in the hole. How are you to financially keep up!

Don't you worry fellow foodies. I have a solution! My friend Sarah moved to the East Village recently and was dying to try Esperanto, a Brazilian restaurant on the corner of 9th St. and Ave C. I begrudgingly said yes as my bank account is soon to be in the hole. Imagine my surprise when I get there and the sign outside proclaims that brunch in $9.99, including coffee, an alcoholic beverage, and an entree. Woohoo!

On top of being affordable, the whole thing was delicious. I had the huevos rancheros, a staple of mine at brunch, and it was the perfect size and crunch. The entire table of people agreed that the home fries were some of the best they had ever had! Something in that seasoning was just divine. Below is a photo of the eggs benedict and you can see the yummy home fries.

via Flickr

So, moral of the story is, check this place out. The food won't suffer with the affordable price. Stay tuned next week for a birthday report. That's right, I'm turning 26 in 6 we come late 20s!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Once you go black, you never go back

I’ve got one word for you. Actually one letter, even: Ñ. Pronounced en-ye, this Soho wine/tapas bar is small, dark and sexy. Not to mention mysterious—there is no website, no photos of it to be found, and its not listed on And it turns out the small-plates menu is equally as intriguing.

I went for the first time last night with two of my besties and laughed as they seated us in an exclusive alcove that would be great for date-night, but not a catch-up session with the girls. So we opted for a seat at the bar, where the single girl of our trio could scope out the guys.

We ordered 6 or 7 small dishes, from pan con tomate to cheese plates to octopus. Everything we ordered was delicious, but for me, the star of the evening was the Black Pearls—tender meatballs doused in a squid ink sauce, complimented with a few pieces of calamari on the plate.

Upon first inspection, it doesn’t look all that appetizing, in fact it looks downright scary. Like a culinary tar pit or something. But the black ink sauce gives the meatballs a certain “smoky” flavor that every meatball I’ve had up until now has lacked.

It was unique and different, but at the same time, made complete sense once you tasted it. Like this epiphany of why aren’t ALL meatballs served in ink sauce?! The pairing is a perfect combination, but be warned--I just don’t know if I’ll ever be satisfied with ordinary meatballs again.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shrimps, subs and snacks

This week I revisited one of my fav restaurants, Gemma, in the Bowery Hotel, and discovered that I actually do like zucchini- when done right, as their taglioni with shrimp in a light sauce with fresh tomatoes was. I've been wanting this meal again ever since.
Defonte's is around the corner which is scary for my scale considering how much I love their stacked thinly sliced fried eggplant subs. Friday I tried the breakfast sandwich which is basically a tortilla espanola with with ham, cheese and fried eggplant piled on a sub. I know!! It sounds crazy but was delicious. And large enough for me to share...which I did of course...

Finally, we get to my favorite snack- Stacy's pita chips and hummus. I go through bags and tubs of this, alternating flavors as the mood strikes. Right now I'm on a multigrain/ garlic addiction kick. Yummmm.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Brunch, Bed, Bath and Beyond

I'm a little tardy for this posting party, but who's keeping track (besides the always punctual Monday blogger! Kidding, Zoe!)? Anyways, I had a surprisingly domestic Saturday afternoon with my husband, complete with trips to Home Depot and Bed Bath and Beyond. Cheesy, I know, but it was completely necessary. But before the errands began, we partook in my favorite weekend pastime: BRUNCH.

I couldn't make up my mind on where to go and was really looking for outdoor seating on this gorgeous New York summer day. But when we wandered by Northern Spy Food Co., one of the latest restaurant additions to the East Village, I wanted to try it after hearing so many great things about the food. And so we did.

The verdict? The food is definitely tasty and the brunch cocktails are ahhhmaaazing and refreshing.

I mean, who wouldn't want wheat beer and lemon soda shandy or a Fuji apple mimosa?!

For our entree's, we got the Slow-whisked scrambled eggs (with sausage and carmelized shallot flatbreat) and the Griddled ham and eggs.

The latter of the two might have LOOKED more appetizing (and the ham was predictably delicious), but for anyone who loves soft scrambled eggs, Northern Spy does it amazingly well. My only regret was not ordering the griddled cornbread with sweet onion yogurt as an appetizer. When it landed on the table next to us, I had a serious case of food envy. Oh well, it gives me a reason to come back. Who wants to come with me?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Restaurant Tour

This week I was fortunate enough to have family in town visiting me. My aunt has been here several times and loves the culinary adventures I take her on. This time she was accompanied by two of my girl cousins - 13 and 17. They are all native Texans, and this was the girls' first time on an airplane. Needless to say it was a bit of a culture shock. Keeping this in mind, I had to be more selective in choosing the restaurants.. I was trying to find a balance between something they would consider "normal food" and also getting them to try something new. I am going to be one of those parents who forces my children to try EVERYTHING, no matter the struggle.

So, here's the restaurant run down.

Monday for lunch we were meeting in midtown before they went shopping on 5th Ave. I wanted to take them to get something simple, but thought the concourse at Rock Center would be too overwhelming for them. So, I sucked up my pride and met them at the Heartland Brewery on 51st Street. The food isn't bad, per say, but the service definitely is. I think it lives up to it's stigma of an overpriced tourist trap. The 13 yr old ordered a chicken caesar salad and the 17yr old ordered a philly cheesesteak. We split the buffalo spring rolls because they were so intrigued, and they liked them.

Monday for dinner I chose In Vino. This is an intimate Italian restaurant in the East Village (shout out to Friday blogger and her husband, one of their go to date night spots). I love the cavernous structure and dim lighting. The meal began with me ordering the following appetizers for the table: Prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella, polpette in ragu sauce, and a cheese plate. There were mixed reactions to these. The 13 yr old decided she liked 'fake' mozzarella, like string cheese, better than fresh buffalo mozzarella (gasp!). She also thought the cheeses on the plate smelled bad. My aunt on the other hand experienced nirvana. She had the waitress write down all the cheeses so she could have them again in Texas. She also discovered that she liked marinara sauce for the first time! She raved about the marinara sauce for the next few days.

Tuesday I wanted to show them some New York thin crust pizza. I chose Pulino's because I had been dying to go back. Not to mention Keith McNally is my favorite person. We got the burrata appetizer - my favorite cheese. Then we split two pizzas - Salami Piccante (house made pepperoni and olives) and Pesto with pinenuts. My aunt and I found them both to be delicious, but the girls seemed unimpressed yet again.

Wednesday we went to China Grill. This was the girls favorite meal which made me really happy as it was new food to them. The Crackling Calamari Salad is my all time favorite salad ever. Love love love it! If you have not had it, run fast and eat it immediately! We also got Sashimi Tempura, which is not the most attractive dish. When it came out to the table I was thinking oops, they're not going to touch this. They had never had sashimi, or any type of sushi. At first they were shy, but then I saw them sneaking more pieces onto their plate. Success!

I had a great time with my family, and can't wait for them to come back. I bought my aunt the Frank Spuntino Kitchen Companion cookbook as a thank you gift for taking me out to all of these meals. She was thrilled.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lowest common denominator.

First things first! I can't even begin to tell you how inspired I've been by the lovely ladies who make up the Tacos to Truffles runnin' crew. With each new post I've found myself humbled, inspired and more importantly starving. Individuals to their very core, each possesses a similar ability to focus on the bigger picture without losing sight of the delicious details that truly make a meal. And as I've sat in awe of my darling friends over these past few weeks, I've come to realize that this is one gift I almost certainly do not share.

I'll be the first to tell you that I don't have the most refined of palletes. Born the child of food snobs, I spent the better half of my formative years rebelling against almost anything they put in front of me. I'm ashamed to say that at the tender age of 13, on the front leg of a month-long European getaway, I turned down a trip to the newly opened Balthazar. All I needed to know about food was that it tasted better when fried.

While most of me would kick my 13 year-old self today, my penchant for crap food remains intact. I am by no means a food snob. If it comes deep-fried and dyed I'm happy. Afterall, I'm the girl who all too recently spent an evening wrapped in a mink coat while chowing down on some buffalo wings. Oh and I was in bed at time! And worse yet, I'm not the tiniest bit embarassed by it.

I use food just like I use everything else in my tiny world; strictly for my pleasure. Maybe I watched Auntie Mame a few too many times as a kid, but as far as I'm concerned, life is to be enjoyed. So if it's 10am and I have a hankering for chicken fingers, guess what's for breakfast?

It's getting late but before I go I'd like to make a promise to each of you. I vow that on each and every humpday I will lead you on a quest to find New York City's guiltiest of pleasures. Since I'm useless to you in practically every other way, I hope you'll have me as I am. Slow-cooked, deep-fried and most decidedly smothered with cheese.

Love you mean it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nina’s Argentinian vs. Motorino

I don’t ever tire of pizza because there are so many different styles in NY, as Katie and Jessica wrote about recently. We're spoiled. I’ll even admit I used to eat the deep dish at UNO’s before the calorie posting started- don’t look!! This week, though, it was classic Neapolitan style from Motorino in Williamsburg, and an Argentinian spin from Nina’s Argentinian Pizza on the Upper East Side.

Round 1: Toppings -
I ordered the special of the night at Motrorino with slabs of fresh mozzarella, salty black olives, spicy soprassata, and cremini mushrooms, and while the tastes went together perfectly, the pizza was 35% crust so there weren’t nearly enough. At Nina’s the recommended pies were the Piola, with ham and parmesan, or Con Chorizo, so we went with the Piola and a Classic. I have to give Motorino this round; I’m not sold on the ham/pizza combo, though I devoured the Classic.

Round 2: Dough/crust -
At Motorino, you get bites of great charred crust and pockets of air, making it chewy and light but doughy enough to soak up the flavors of the toppings. Nina’s is pillowy, and baked so that cheese and sauce reach to the edge and the crust is crisp but never overdone. Tie.

Round 3: Overlooked condiments -
Nina’s gives you bread along with a dipping sauce of soft eggplant soaked in olive oil that I want spread on everything. I neeeed this recipe. Motorino has a spicy crushed red pepper oil to dip all that extra crust in, and their regular olive oil is excellent quality on its own, but I’m giving this one to Nina’s.

Okay, so that was a tie, but all the better reason for you to check both out!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Food, Work & Calories

I'm at work right now. And I'm hungry.

Every day I dutifully eat my Kashi for breakfast and drink my coffee. I either eat my lean cuisine and baby carrots or hop down to one of the healthy lunch options, like hale & hearty,  within a few blocks of work. Usually, I control any hunger with an afternoon cup of decaf and some almonds, but today it seems unbearable. I already decided that I am not going to the gym. I have a paper due this week for school and I need to get home and get at it. This leaves no room for error.

On the days that I don't go to the gym I find myself struggling to eat within my calorie boundaries. On days when I do go to the gym it seems difficult to stay in control AND eat ALL my calories. I could just go splurge on a piece of cake or some mac n' cheese, but I don't want to do that, no matter how tempting. No need to eat it without a reason, right?

I spend a lot of calories on liquor every week, but the past two weeks, with the help of fellow blogger Lynsey,  I have made a conscious decision to cut most of it out (at least during week nights). It's been pretty revelatory to see how many calories are left over when I don't have that extra beer! I mean, WHO struggles with needing more calories in their day...apparently now I do.

Anyways, I realize this might not be in the exact spirit of the blog, but struggling with food is just as important as talking about good food to me. Believe me, I have no problem eating the good stuff when out with friends or celebrating, but there are all those days in between that are worth mentioning. And are a lot harder...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fashionable food

The funny thing about fashion events (have I mentioned I'm a fashion editor by day?) is that there are almost always hors d'oeuvres served. I might be the only one eating them, but I'm ok with that. And I've gotten quite good at strategically putting myself in the direct path of the food servers, so as to not miss a bite of anything offered.

So Tuesday I had several events to go to and had dinner along the way--who said dinner had to be one big meal?

The evening started with mini cheese burgers and champagne at the Guess eyewear party. Not the usual food and beverage pairing, but it hit the spot.

A miniature cheese pizza with arugula passed by me and I couldn't resist nabbing one of those next. It was a bit too much greenery for such a small sampling, but hey, they can't all be perfect.

Next stop: The Seven for All Mankind holiday preview. Next bite: curry chicken salad sandwich sprinkled with paprika.

The trick is to eat these quick (thank god they are small) because you are juggling eating, drinking and snapping pics of the entire clothing collection. But I paused to eye the melted parmesean on tiny crostinis and these steak bites. Yum!

And then I couldn't resist the ginormous chicken sates that circled. That and the cheese platter sent me over the edge.

By the time I got to Ivanka Trump's party for her debut shoe collection, I was stuffed. But when you are having cocktails with Donald Trump, who cares about the food anyways?!

That's all for now from this Friday Foodie. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Get your Moto runnin.

OK I'm just going to come out with it. Humpday girl here on a day that is most definitely NOT Wednesday. But in the immortal words of Stephen Colbert/Chuck Noblet, "It doesn't matter when you get here, just what time".

Since nothing says congratulations for busting out of your mother's uterus better than a candlelit dinner underneath the JMZ, my boyfriend and I headed to Moto last Friday to celebrate the start of his birthday weekend. We arrived in the middle of a bluesy jazz trio's nightly performance and were seated just next to the door. And when I say just next I mean outside. When I wasn't staring at subway riders on the platform above me, I was fixated on a tween boy who kept trying to inch away from the violin player hovering above him. I think we can all agree that nothing's worse than a 40 year-old man shaking violin sweat above you as you try to eat your salmon. I felt for the little dude!

I ordered the rotisserie pork ribs and while they were definitely interesting something about them just didn't make sense. I kept expecting chicken with every bite and after awhile I think my taste-buds just sort of gave up. The salmon special was a big hit at our table as was the chilled chocolate pudding. But more than anything, the spirit of Moto is what made the meal. With its sky-high ceilings, skillfully hung lighting and antique mirrors, it's easy to forget that you're resting in the shadow of the JMZ line. A former motorcycle shop, Moto lacks the sort of pretension Williamsburg is known for. All in all, a diamond in the rough.


*Photo courtesy of


As I mentioned, last week I went to Momofuku Ko, one of David Chang's empire. In order to dine at this 12 seat restaurant, you have to endure a tedius reservation process. Reservations have to be made on their website, exactly 7 days in advance, at exactly 10:00:00am. There are two staggered eating times every night, and all seats are booked by 10:01am. Our reservation was for 9:10pm, the first seating time in the second seating. (if that makes sense).

The fun of Momfuku is that you have no idea what you are going to be eating, you just know it's going to be the best thing you've ever tasted. There is no menu and no set number of courses. You sit at a wooden bar, watching the chefs create everything right in front of you. As soon as each dish is prepared, they place it in front of you and explain each ingredient and where it was from.

The dish that sticks out in my mind the most is the shaved foie gras on lychee and reisling jelly. By looks alone, you could probably never guess what it is. It kind of looked like very fine flakes of chocolate fluffed up in a bowl. As soon as you put a spoonful in your mouth, it melts immediately. If you touch it, it also melts together. It tastes as delicate as it looks.

Shaved foie gras and lychee/Riesling jelly courtesy of scaredy kat's flickr stream

Other things that stick out are:

Honey biscuit - and being from the south you know it had to be damn good to be the best I've ever had!

Soft boiled egg with caviar, sautéed onion and homemade fingerling potato chips. When you cut into the soft boiled egg the yolk spreads over the other pairings and perfects the flavor.

Egg course courtesy of scaredy kat's flickr stream

Another thing I loved about the experience is that while the chefs are meticulously designing each artful dish, they are also experimenting with the ingredients to perfect future meals. It was interesting to talk to the chefs about their innovations and inspiration.

Albeit one of the most expensive meals I've eaten, it was worth every penny.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dallas Delicacies

I am very much not from Dallas (Houston born and raised) but ended up in college a short drive from it around the same time I started actually trying foods outside of my Tex-Mex/ Chick- fil-a/ pretzel high school diet. This was a phase we went through where we ate soft pretzels, honey mustard and Nacho Cheese Doritos for lunch daily…there’s the school cafeteria for you. I was back recently for a wedding and sampled a few of my old favorites, and made a new one.
The best Lebanese restaurant I have ever eaten at is actually in Dallas, called Ali Baba. Somehow in a place as diverse as New York I’ve never found another as good. The zataar pie is fluffy, hot pita bread spread with an herb mix with olive oil oozing off the sides and sesame seeds sprinkled across it.

Café Brazil has several locations there and serves everything under the sun which is great when you want breakfast in the middle of the day, as I always do. I tried the Migas; scrambled eggs, tortilla strips, chorizo and cheese…so hearty and filling but not the prettiest dish to look at!

Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen surprised me as an excellent Texas BBQ and home cooking restaurant that was all about local farms, dairies, and wineries. I love that Texas has embraced this movement, and the smoky cheddar cheese grits with big kernels of fresh corn will make anyone a believer.

But you didn't think I'd actually leave Texas without some Tex-Mex did you? Thank goodness the rehearsal dinner was at Mattito's where chicken fajitas, refried beans and queso quenched my cravings.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday Morning Coffee

Happy Monday everyone! I woke up with a little bit of a cold this morning so let's just say it was rough. I also canceled a date with this guy last night and was feeling kind of crappy about it. Let's not get in the habit of me saying the word date or anything. This was a rare occasion, but it just added to the already difficult morning.  And I'm usually such an earlybird so when I say rough morning chances are I mean it. There is only one cure for these mornings and that is coffee.

Generally I try to drink the crappy coffee that is provided at work, but today I needed something extra. I'm just going to let you in on a little midtown Manhattan secret. There is a place called the ING Cafe on 58th and 2nd ave. Even though it is close to where I live I was always a little hesitant to go in because it's owned by ING the financial firm. But one day my curiosity got the best of me and I walked in. A little starstruck and confused, I was greeted by the super friendly staff who let me know that they carry all Peet's coffee products. Peets! I was in heaven. One coffee for $1.50 later and I was ready for my full week of work...Below you can see a photo of the futuristic decor and one of their faithful employees I snapped with my phone this morning. There isn't too much ambiance with ING being advertised all over the store, but you still can't beat good, cheap coffee without the line of Starbucks. It's my go-to place!

In the summer time the work week is so much harder to get through. Unless it's a scorcher, and we've had quite a few of these this year, I just want to get outside and stay there. Unfortunately, there is zero visible sunlight from my cube. Most days, when it's nice out, I walk the 20 or so blocks to work with my Peet's iced coffee in hand and I swear the day is a teeeeny bit easier.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's not a party without pizza

Friday night, girls night! Fellow bloggers Lynsey, Zoe and myself gathered for a boozy, MUNCHIE, catch-up fest, complete with diet-friendly vodka drinks, Triscuits and Wheat Thins. So far, so good. Remember, its my redemption day.

But around the 2 hour mark, dieting no longer seemed important. PIZZA did! So with a quick phone call to Gruppo (my neighborhood fave), we had these to feast our eyes and mouths on.

Garlic cheesy bread, complete with marinara sauce.

The most divine thin-crust cheese pizza.

It might have been an impromptu calorie splurge for my normal Friday, but I have to say, it was well worth it!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Spoiled Fresh

I'm writing a day late and a dollar short(er). This week I was celebrating my boyfriend's birthday which at his request involved lots of fancy eating. We had the pleasure of eating at 3 of the top rated Zagat restaurants in NYC. I'll get to the most exciting 2 in the weeks to come (Le Bernardin and Momofuku Ko), but today I want to write about Sripraphai.

After hearing rave reviews of this authentic Thai restaurant, we found ourselves there about 4pm yesterday. Being such an odd time, we had the restaurant to ourselves. This is a rare occassion, as there is typically a line out the door and down the street. Despite our hunger, we took time to read thru the thick menu. It is about 50 pages, each item including a picture. I cannot tell you how much I love picture menus! We ended up ordering a bottle of pinot gritio and the following:

Fried pickled pork spare-ribs
Chicken curry puff
Steamed dumpling with chicken & shrimp
Sauté sliced catfish in spicy curry sauce w. Thai eggplant
Whole red snapper topped with chili, garlic & basil

Those big round disc shaped pieces above look like sliced eggplant. False! They are the fried catfish. Bone in. I don't recall ever having fish in that shape, and I cannot say I was a fan. Although the eggplant and the sauce were very good. It came with some amazing coconut rice.
Huge dumplings, mi amore.

Pickled rib tips. Wish we had ordered the honey ribs on the bone.

Ah, whole fish, head on. I haven't had this since I was in Turkey 3 years ago. So fresh, so delectable. Love it.
I would say the meal definitely lived up to expectations, and I am already planning my return.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Good evening my little nuggets. Due to unprecedented events, I regret to inform you that I must forgo my planned humpday post. I'm terrible, I know. But I promise next week's will make up for my indiscretion and then some. But before I go, I'd like to leave you with a little something something for the week ahead. This vision of cheesy delight is known as 'The Alpine' - gruyere combined with slab bacon - from Sarita's Macaroni & Cheese at 345 E. 12th Street. The kids call it S'mac, and after your first bite, you'll know why. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Baguettes and Brandy

Previously, I worked in the garment district where your lunch choices are limited and chain-run, until a magical place called Macaron Café opened. Within a week, the entire office was out midday getting coffee and crunchy- edged, chewy-center macarons and chatting with the charming French staff. They just opened a location by my office uptown, and I couldn't wait to grab one of their baguette sandwiches and enjoy it in the park, where I pretended to be in Paris and prolonged going back to work.

Saturday, we crossed the bridge to DUMBO and tried for Vinegar Hill House, but it was a two hour wait, so we walked over to Superfine, a seasonal restaurant housed in an old loading dock. The menu changes daily with local deliveries of produce, so they just bring a big dry erase board over to your table with the options. The cinnamon sugar rimmed sidecar was fantastic and fantastically strong.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Vacation on the Other Coast Part Deux

I just returned from vacation. Vacations are always pretty awesome, but I have to say this one topped most of mine (if you don't count my semester abroad). I started out in Seattle and blogged about my awesome restaurant experience there last week. Then I moved on to the rural Pacific Northwest. There was a ton of seafood that I didn't eat, but it seemed to be mostly halibut and salmon. I'm not huge on seafood, but my friend Julia seemed a little disappointed. We learned that the best seafood according to the Canadians that we met came from the east coast in Nova Scotia.

When I was in Vancouver I checked out a bar called Six Acres. It was recommended by a friend of mine. It was a great gastropub with small southern inspired plates and TONS of beer. Apparently the whole southern food thing is new and trendy in Vancouver. Everyone seemed to have it on the menu. Also, the microbrew scene is pretty great. I tried Red Racer, Granville Island Lager, and Piper's Pale Ale. All were light and delicious. I liked Six Acres a lot because of the patio. It was absolutely stunning weather (mid-70s) and surprisingly there were few places with outdoor seating. It made all the difference. Below is a picture of the place.

Next week I will be back in New York with a local blog post. Get ready!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Date Night!

My husband and I work opposite hours. Actually, he just works many hours. So Mondays and Tuesdays are our designated date nights. With only 2 evenings to fit everything in, it's a constant struggle to pick between going out or getting couch time. This Tuesday date night, going out won.

We decided on dinner at Pranna, an asian-fusion restaurant on Madison and 28th st. Not an area I normally frequent for dining, but my husband suggested it, so I figured why not?!

Part restaurant, part lounge, the space is huge--almost too big in my opinion. It felt a tad impersonal and definitely not a quaint, romantic spot for date night at all. But the food was delicious, so I'll forgive the lack of ambiance.

We started with steamed lobster dumplings and roasted duck spring rolls. They were an impressive presentation (sorry, the spring rolls were eaten before I had time to snap a photo!) and impressed our taste buds even more.

Note: Please forgive the quality of my photos. Food and fashion I'm good at. Photography, not so much. I'll improve though, I promise!

Anyways, back to the important stuff. The dumplings were light and refreshing and helped balance out the heaviness of the duck. A perfect pairing, if you ask me!

For our entrees, we got the Chili-glazed Prawns with snow peas and shitake mushrooms and the Mussels Hot Pot.

Seafood overload? Maybe, but we didn’t care. The prawns were my favorite. The chili glaze was just the right amount of subtle sweetness mixed with spice. And there was nothing small about these prawns. In fact, I couldn’t even finish them (which almost never happens).

For dessert, we were about to order the chocolate soufflé, but then the waiter informed us that it would take at least 20 minutes to prepare. That was the deal-breaker. Blame the Yankees game in progress. But with or without the sweet ending, date night was still amazing. Thank you, Pranna. And my husband.

Here's your Friday Foodie signing out. Have a great (and delicious) weekend.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pizza Crawl

So, everyone has heard of a pub crawl, and hopefully all of you have been on one. I have a friend who is great at organizing these events. Last time, however, she chose to take the art of prancing from place to place for sake of indulgence in different sceneries to a whole new level. Enter: the pizza crawl. The mission: gorging on old school brooklyn pizza.

We met on a Saturday at 1pm. Our group of 16 stayed eager in spite of the humidity induced sweatfest. First stop: Grimaldi's. After waiting in the infamous line for an hour, we were finally seated. Our server was quick to dole out beers as we pondered the menu. And by ponder I mean take 2 seconds to spit out our order of 4 pies- 2 plain and 2 pepperoni. The pizza was amazing. Thin crust but with just the right amount of doughiness. Sauce sweet, cheese smooth, pepperoni slightly spicy. Drool.

After gorging at Grimaldi's we hopped on a subway (or 2) and headed deeper into Brooklyn. Second stop: Di Fara. This was a complete change of pace. Imagine a typical slice place with only a few tables. The mood is get your pizza and get out. Well, atleast a group as large as ours. So 2 people went in and ordered 2 plain pies, 2 other people ran across the street to buy a case of Coronas, and the rest of us mingled on the sidewalk. The pizza was ready rather quickly and came out piping hot. The most memorable aspect of this pizza was the giant puddle of grease in the center oozing out in all directions. You couldn't even pick up a slice without the grease dripping down your arm. Regardless, once most of it dripped off, it was pretty tasty. The cheese was completely melted and scattered with large leaves of basil. Scrumptious.

Once again, a hop, skip, and a jump in the general direction of brighton beach. Third stop: Spumoni Gardens. A welcoming place with a large outside seating area filled with red picnic tables. When sitting outside at Spumoni there are no waiters. You simply walk up to the take out window and order. We slowly but surely consumed a tray of sicilian cheese. It was delicious. Substantially thick and fluffy, lots of sauce, and a thin layer of cheese which did not cover the entire pizza. We washed it down with some delectable italian ice. The perfect refreshment to wrap up the day.

My favorite slice was (drum roll...) Grimaldis. It was soooooo tasty and perfect. I tried it again last night at another location and must say it was not near as good as the original. But man oh man, I would absolutely wait in that line again for another savory slice of pie.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

These are the meals of our lives.

*Photo courtesy of Bacaro NYC and the World Wide Web. Thank you Al Gore!

Your trusty humpday correspondent here. In preparation for my trip to Texas I had planned on delivering an ode to all things Tex-Mex. Fajitas. Tacos. Chimis! You name it. But it looks as though my favorite newlywed beat me to the punch! Don't fret. I'll come at you next week fresh off of a queso binge and itching to talk about it.

[enter non sequitur here] I recently relocated to Bushwick from the LES and while the transition has gone better than expected I've found myself longing for my old friends - Bacaro, Broadway East, Barrio Chino & Lil' Frankie's. This was my wolf-pack. My fat, fatty, fat-fat wolf-pack. And while I'm certain I took for granted the immediacy of each I'm worried that I may have overlooked something else all together. The subtly of Bacarao's mushroom gnocchi. The depressing elegance of Broadway East's dining room. And the terrifying drunkenness of Barrio Chino's jalapeno margarita. Together these form the hazy memories of the past two years of my life. The birthday dinner, the out-of-town friend, the impromptu brunch & the drink drank drunk - my entire social life was built around my dinner plate - and I can't say I'm the worse for wear.

So stay true to your favorites my little foodies. You never know when an amazing apartment might come along and tear your dining life asunder!

Yours in food,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sketchy Sustenance

One of the hardest things we’ve all had to adjust to, in moving from Texas to New York, is the lack of proper Tex-Mex food. Luckily, we found a go-to for when we need a good chile con queso fix. El Rio Grande is conveniently located in between our work and apartments, and happens to have the best queso and margaritas in the city, not to mention the fact it’s the only restaurant in New York I’ve found to serve “green sauce,” a cool, addictive concoction of avocado, cilantro, jalapeños and tomatillos. I’m such an enthusiast that I found myself there twice last week.

My husband and I used to live on the UWS and had the best Italian restaurant right across the street from us, Celeste, intimate and inexpensive enough for a great dinner any night. We moved downtown and had been missing it for a year, before finding out that they also owned Fiore, a mere subway stop into Williamsburg with a similar menu but roomier space. Ah, the wide open pleasures of Brooklyn.
I’m Lynsey and every Tuesday I’ll be drawing the things I love to eat.

Seattle, Restaurant Zoe, & Vegetarianism

I am on vacation right now so I have perfect inspiration for food. There’s nothing like freeing yourself from your daily routine to get inspired by what you eat. My friend, Julia, and I decided it was time to take a trip together before she started grad school in the Fall and fell off the face of the universe. We decided on a Pacific Northwest trip featuring Seattle, Vancouver Island and Vancouver. I should mention that she lives in Boston and I’m obviously in New York so we rarely see each other anymore. It is pretty amazing that we have managed to stay as close as we have over the past 2.5 years. And yet, maybe it isn’t. She is the perfect bubbly to my overt cynicism and she puts everyone in a good mood. But enough about friendship. Let’s talk food!

First our trip took us first to Seattle (where I am now). I was searching the web for weeks trying to find the perfect restaurant there and the problem mostly had to do with narrowing down all of my options. I have been fairly strict with my vegetarianism for EXACTLY one year to date, but lately have been finding myself questioning the decision. I should mention that I was a vegetarian for two years in high school basically because it was cool. This time around there really was a reason. I found myself intrigued by the whole local food movement. I have been a locally grown, organic person for years now, but once I saw Food, Inc (YES, I am one of those!) I realized that I had to try and make a difference, too. So I took meat off the possible choices of food. However, now I think I need to go back to the meat. At least a few times a year.

Why, you might ask? Well, not all meat, I will respond. Just meat from locally focused restaurants. Or, local meat that I buy from the farmers market. Meat that meets my high expectations (hah!). We will see how this goes. The truth is I never ate much of it to begin with so I don’t think it will be too hard. And my beliefs about local food are still just as strong as they were a year ago.

So, what does this have to do with vacation, you might ask? Well, everything that I just explained to you was circling through my mind as I looked for restaurants in Seattle. My searches always led me back to one place: Restaurant Zoe.This was a restaurant a friend of mine recommended to me for obvious reasons: our shared name. It turns out that it fits right in with my beliefs, too. Locally grown food. Although a little on the pricey side comparitively, Julia and I set out for an adventure in Belltown.

Restaurant Zoe was downright amazing. Our waitress was awesome and even gave us some live music recommendations for later. The fig sauce that was on my crispy chicken dinner was delicious. It made me realize how long it had been since I had a REALLY good meal. There were amuse bouches between each course and we started with excellent cocktails. I had a twist on a mimosa, but instead of orange juice it had pomegranate juice. Julia branched out a little more with a delicious gin based drink. If anyone is in the Seattle area check this place out.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Redemption day

Hello Friday! You've been a long time coming. LONG TIME.

Fridays are usually my day to repent for my epicurean sins of the week and fast for the indulgences (brunch, anyone?) of the weekend to come. Catholics have confession and Lent. Jews have Yom Kippur. And in the religion of food, this devout follower has Fridays.

So what counts as my "fasting" Friday? Coffee in the cab, a small cup of chicken soup in my freezing office and Laughing Cow cheese on the couch during a Mad Men marathon.

While it might be good for the soul (and scale), my food atonement doesn't exactly make for a good read. But have no fear. The remaining six days are filled with a mixture of delicacies, comfort foods and general deliciousness that won't disappoint. Champagne and lobster. Truffle mac & cheese. Tacos. Pizza. Mmmm PIZZA.

I digress. Anyways, as we embark on the weekend, I leave you with these parting words that I like to think are sorta this blog’s mantra:

“One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.” —Laurie Colwin

See you same time next week. Jessica.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pig Out

There is finally justification for my obesity. Fine, maybe I'm not categorically 'obese', but I definitely relate to the feelings described in this article.

Today I was "forced" to go to Virgil's BBQ for lunch in times sq with co-workers. This place is the poster child for health. The hung over guy next to me proceeded to order appetizers for the table.. onion rings, hush puppies, chicken wings, train wreck fries. If you have not had the pleasure of train wreck fries, let me describe. A steaming skillet is placed on the table with a mound of french fries smothered and covered in cheddar cheese, bacon, scallions, and jalepenos all drenched in ranch dressing. It's amazing. After everyone filled up on the appetizers, we decided instead of ordering individual meals, we'd just share entrees for the table. So we ordered the Pig Out Special (ribs, brisket, pulled pork, Texas sausage), 2 plates of ribs, and 6 sides. I am so thankful (for America's sake) that this food was not eaten. Don't worry, it wasn't wasted. We brought it back for the interns.

Too bad it's 3 hours later and I still feel myself expanding. It's just too hard to say no to food.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just like mom used to make...

Hello my foodies. Wednesday girl here. I had been planning to write about how I had $83 to my name and how I had been dreading my first post for fear it might send me over the edge and into the loving arms of Artisanal's $18 mac & cheese. But a funny thing happened on my way to the poor house; life got in the way. And since we only just met I'll spare you the boring details and skip straight to the part where my life partner saved the day with a delicious homemade dinner. Baked chicken with stuffing and spinach. It might sound simple but believe me friends it's anything but.

So in honor of this particularly wretched day, I'd like to give a shout out to the home-cooked meal. It doesn't always get the respect it deserves but when the going gets tough, the tough get cooking.


Monday, July 12, 2010

And so it begins...

It's the beginning of a beautiful thing you are witnessing (I'm speaking to the nonexistent fans out there! That means YOU.). Five Girls One Plate has been brought on by the relentless discussion that the five of us have had over the years about food. We are not foodies, we are not really qualified. But when re-reading the majority of our work email chain conversations it became clear that this has been a main focus in our lives.

What you need to know:
  • We are five girls originally from Houston, TX who were bffs in high school
  • We all, over a 3 year period, found ourselves living in New York
  • We all have totally different professions, different styles, live in different neighborhoods, some are married, some are single, some are happy, some are chronically on edge. You get it, right?
  • We meet up once a week after work to eat and we generally have a lot to say about these meetings.

This blog will focus on food and our lives surrounding food. It will not always have to do with all of us being together, but sometimes it will. It will be varied. That's the plan. I think that food has a lot to do with my general outlook on life. Whether I am on a cleanse that will de-bloat me or on a vacation "diet" that could rival a 500 lb man. It speaks a lot about my life in these moments.

I'm going to be the Monday lady. Zoe. That is all you need to know for now I think. The details will come out slowly. It's better that way. I've heard they tell you the best way to form a healthy relationship is to let the crazy out just a little at a time.