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.