Tuesday, January 30, 2007

All Over the Place

I have completed my membership application and have fully joined the mac cult. I was a little frustrated with blogger lately because when I was at home I couldn't really post with all the features and I haven't had much time at work to post using a PC. But, I went for one of my brainwashing sessions --- I mean tutorials --- that come with the purchase of a new mac (and a donation of $100 to the needy mac folks). They taught me how to use blogger on my new computer - so here I am, blogging happily at home. On to something about food...

On Friday night I made French Onion soup, fitting for the ridiculous cold day we were having. I sauteed 3 large onions in butter for about 45 minutes until they were nice and brown. Next, I added 1/2 cup of wine, a few splashes of brandy, 3 cups of beef stock, and a cup of water, some salt and pepper. All was left to simmer for 30 minutes. I got a bunch of saffron for the holidays (my family knows me well) so I added some of that as well.

The best part of FO soup of course is the cheese and crouton. I toasted a few slices of French baguette. As they were toasting, I ladled soup into my FO soup bowls (you know the brown ones with the little handles on the side). I layered the toast on top, and the best part, put a few slices of Gruyere and a sprinkle of Parmesan and placed for a few minutes in the broiler.

Delicious if I do say so myself, although I am going to experiment a little with the soup - I think I want a little more depth of flavor.

Because soup always needs a salad, I made a chopped salad with roasted beets, radishes, arugula, watercress, carrots, and celery. A little Dijon vinaigrette and we were good to go.

And having enough veggies for two more meals of salad is always a plus.

I'm sorry not to have pictures, the camera is out of batteries. I got a $5 coupon from Duane Reade today so I am going to buy a camera battery tomorrow and I'll be back with some photos.

I am also looking for a new, inexpensive, small camera that has a rechargeable battery since the one I have is pretty big and I feel weird bringing it to restaurants. Any suggestions? It doesn't need to be fancy, because the one I have has a lot of functions. This would just be supplemental.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

No eye deer

I have no idea what to write about today. I am stumped. Let's see the most exciting thing food wise this week - I bought honey wheat english muffins yesterday and I'm heating water right now for Mariage Frere tea. One of my resolutions, eat breakfast before work. Sadly, I had to miss my train to do this.

Hopefully, I'll have something a little more interesting tomorrow.

This might be the worst post ever.

While I have nothing to post about and as I dream for the Farmer's Markets to return and for time to actually start cooking again, here are some photos that have been waiting patiently to make the blog.





Monday, January 22, 2007

Boston Highlights

Back from Boston. Swamped at work. So quick post.

1. Friday night in Boston, checked into Westin lounged on heavenly bed. Had to drag myself off for dinner. Friend and I went for a Guinness at an Irish bar nearby. For some reason, Guinness always tastes a little better in Boston. Then on to a splurge at Abe & Louie's for steaks. I love having a girl friend who isn't afraid to eat steaks with me....and creamed spinach. I had a rib eye which is hard to mess up - and they didn't. The spinach was as good as I have ever had. The grilled asparagus was also good, but as you know creamed vegetables go down a little easier for me. A highlight was the bottle of Flora Springs Cabernet that we split. Delicious, but pretty much everything I've had from this vineyard is great.



2. Saturday went to dinner at cousins in nearby town. Loved the cream cheese, wasabi, and soy sauce hors d'ouvre that she had out. And the "ugly cake" for dessert (her description, not mine) was lemony and sweet and a great topper to a great meal.

3. Sunday I came home to a houseful of football fans just in time to partake in their order of Carl's steaks. I need to buy more Frank's hotsauce - it really is the best for steak sandwiches. As you probably know, this is what makes Buffalo chicken wings taste as fantastic as they do. Which reminds me, I haven't had wings in ages. Who's up for wings this week?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Follow Up

My crappy day cocktail last night: Old Fashioned.

Food to make me feel better: Pork Soup Dumplings and Gui Zhou Spicy Chicken from Grand Sichuan.


It all worked. I'm off to Boston. Hope you all have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Vacation in NYC

I took a mini vacation from work last week and took a trip to...

New York City.

There is nothing better then living in a city where you can actually take a vacation and not go anywhere.

Here are a few highlights from my "trip"

1. You already heard about Paquito's - that was Friday night

2. Saturday night I discovered the best semi-cheap way to feel like you are going to an expensive restaurant. The husband and I went to Keen's Steakhouse and ate in the pub. The room is dark, white tablecloths, thousands of pipes on the ceiling just like in the main dining room. A fireplace off to the side. It is a true old New York room. We started with a Cesar Salad for me and Cream of Mushroom for the husband. The salad was perfectly dressed, a few hidden anchovies, and a great start to a steakhouse meal. The mushroom soup creamy with fresh mushrooms, and Gruyere topped croutons. This was washed down with two pints of stout beer. We moved on to a burger with Roquefort cheese and prime rib hash with a fried egg. There is nothing good for you on these plates, which makes them that much better. The cheese was the expensive stinky kind. The burger was great, although the bun wasn't my favorite, it was a little big. The hash was crispy, loaded with pieces of prime rib, and perfectly laced with onion. No dessert for us. Just another beer. All this for $90. Not cheap, but for the feeling of eating in an expensive old school steakhouse, it isn't bad.

3. Sunday I achieved one of my resolutions. Trying a new recipe. This one came from the Silver Spoon cookbook, although I really only used it as a guide. My new recipe was Lasagna Bolognese. I achieved another resolution by bringing leftover lasagna to work this week. I liked the recipe, which called for a Bolognese sauce, a b├ęchamel sauce, and Parmesan as the key ingredients. I added a bit of mozzarella - but otherwise followed the recipe. I would try again, but would add a little more tomato sauce. I also made sausage and peppers and a quick salad - not bad for a Sunday of crossword puzzle solving, football watching, and more poker playing.

4. Monday morning I was off to the Guggenheim with a stop for brunch at Sarabeth's on Madison and 92nd. I have to be honest, the clientele wasn't my favorite - a little snooty upper east sidey. But, I had the best soup in recent memory. Note to all of you and to self - go to Sarabeth's often for the tomato bisque. I know, it sounds boring, but it is so rich, creamy, and delicious that it is worth the fake smiles, disapproving looks, and elbows in the side while waiting for a table. The spinach and goat cheese omelets wasn't bad either.

5. Monday night I was treated to dinner at db Bistro. I've wanted to go here for a while and it didn't disappoint. First, the breadbasket was impressive with the highlight being a great pretzel stick. Basically the taste and texture you always hope for and never get with a pretzel on the street. We had a crab and lobster bake with saffron potatoes and a beet salad to start. The beets were sliced so thin they looked like tuna sashimi and were so delicate. They were scattered with baby lettuces and varied nuts with an abundance of hazelnut. Ideas were popping around my brain for how to use my hazelnut oil as I savored all of the flavors. The bake was ridiculous good. Creamy, cheesy, saffrony, crabby, lobstery, etc. For dinner, I ordered the suckling pig - this continues my trend of ordering whatever challenges me a little. I didn't really understand the waiter when he described the dish so was surprised when I was faced with a charcuterie. Pleasantly surprised. It was almost too much pork...almost. The others at the table had the chicken with artichoke and mushrooms and the venison ragu with orichietti. The chicken laughed loudly at my rule not to order chicken for fear of boringness. The ragu was delicate and heavy at the same time. Finally, perfect coffee and a chocolate mouse cake with passion fruit cream. A perfect topper.

So that was my weekend.

I know, I am spoiled.

But I was on vacation.

I'm off to Boston tomorrow. Trying to decide what to order for dinner. I'm rewarding myself after a tough day. Maybe cheesesteak...maybe Chinese.... I’ll let you know tomorrow what I order. I'm also going to Campbell Apartment tonight to celebrate my crappy day. I'll let you know what my cocktail choice is as well. I should have more crappy days....

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Shocked!



Is this really true?!?

Do you all not care what I had for lunch?

By the way, I had leftovers from lunch on Arthur Avenue yesterday. Chicken with mushrooms, peperoncini, and a white wine sauce. I also had a bag of Doritos - spicy buffalo and ranch flavor - and a can of gingerale that I got for free the other day at the deli near me.


Do you care now?

If you only knew how much I care about what you all have for lunch....

What DID you have for lunch?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Burrito

Lat night I finally found a good burrito in New York. In California, eating a bad burrito is almost unheard of but in NYC, I had almost stopped trying - Chipotle was sadly the closest thing I found to good.

Last night I was in a pinch because I needed to pick up dinner quickly before a poker game that I was already late for.

Across the street from where I was going was Paquito's (1st between 8th and 9th). Despite my hesitation, it looked like the real deal so I took a gamble.

I got a chicken burrito and it came with sour cream, guacamole, rice, cheese, black beans, and cheese. It was very similar to the mission burritos in San Francisco. Perfect amount of meat (well flavored), enough sour cream without overwhelming the rest of the ingredients, great beans and rice, plenty of salsa fresca on the side.

I won with the burrito and lost with poker. I feel like it was an even trade...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Quick Restaurant Review

Have you ever been to a restaurtant where the food is good, the service is good, the ambience is good and yet something didn't click - leaving you with a mediocre experience? That's what happened this Saturday night at Taralluci e Vino on 18th between Broadway and 6th (this is the 2nd location, the first is in the East Village).

The husband and I were looking for something new, inexpensive and Italian. T e V fil the bill. We also wanted someplace that felt like we were going to a much more expensive restaurant - i.e. nice ambience, creative menu. Again, T e V seemed like the perfect choice.

We walked in and immediately the decor and vibe seemed perfect. Very New York City without being too trendy. We were seated quickly at a table right next to the waiters station - not ideal, but not the worst.

The wine list was good, but compared to the prices of the food, it seemed a little expensive, though certainly not unreasonable. We ordered a bottle of Italian red, something called Fontaveccio somthing or other. It was great.

For starters we had "Screppelle m'Busse" - parmesan cheese filled crepes with hen broth (or chicken soup). This restaurant is known for this soup and it didn't dissappoint. The crepes were so delicate they melted as soon as you put them in your mouth and the soup made you sort of wish you had a cold to cure.

We also had "Vitello Tonnato con Caramello al Limone" - cold veal roast with tuna-caper cream and lemon caramel sauce. Our waiter highly recommended this, so we ordered it even though it wasn't really popping off the menu to us. It was ok, the flavors didn't make any sense to me. The tuna was very canned tuna-y. And the veal didn't have much flavor. I have no idea what the lemon caramel sauce was doing there.

On to the entrees. "Capriolo Ripieno ai Pistacchi e Pinoli con Spatzli alle Castagne e Pere al Forno" - pistachios and pinenuts stuffed venison, chestnut spaetzle and roasted pear. This was delicious. The venison was so tender and the pistachios and pinenuts really shone through the other flavors. The only complaint here was the small portion size. It wasn't like a french restaurant where the flavors might warrant it, it just seemed like that was how they kept the price down.

We also shared "Ravioli al Guanciale Affumicato con Brasato di Coniglio e Scaglie di Grana Padano" - house smoked pork cheek tortelli with braised rabbit and grana padano shavings. Again delicious, but small portions. The sauce was very light and you all know how I love anything braised. So we were fine with the flavors.

The thing is, I felt like the chef didn't really believe in what he or she was cooking. That sounds like the most ridiculous foodie thing to say, but that's the only way to describe why this restaurant didn't work. All the other pieces were there.

We got out of there for a cool hunny ($100) and stumbled home a bit lighter on our feet from the wine. It was that really warm Saturday night and unlike the restaurant, the city clicked for me.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Food Related New Year's Resolutions

I haven't had too much time to think about these so I might amend them later this week, but here they are for now -

My Ten Food-related Resolutions



1. Eat breakfast at home not on the way to work, and don't skip breakfast. (Is that 2?)

2. Don't eat dinner on the coffee table, sit at the regular table and try to not turn on the TV (I say try, because let's be realistic here.)

3. Record the recipes I've tried and liked into my recipe book.

4. Plan for and try one new recipe each week.

5. Bring lunch to work at least 3 days a week.

6. Try recipes from cuisines that are outside of my comfort zone.

7. Use the crockpot and panini maker more regularly and for more interesting recipes.

8. Make a list of restaurants and food items to try this year - and then try them.

9. One for friends - have more dinner parties.

10. And one for mom - eat more fruits and vegetables.

What are your food related resolutions?