Delivery Diaries: Hummus Place

It’s time for another edition of Delivery Diaries.

This time, it is a simple lunch special for one from Hummus Place

For $10, I got a fresh, tasty, wholesome falafel sandwich and some slightly less healthy but still delicious fries.

Let’s take a look:

20150225_122433

Fries

Plentiful, obviously freshly made, and – shocker of shockers – not at all soggy. I mean, how many times have you had soggy, moist delivery fries. Gross. These are delivered so quickly that hey don’t have enough time to get soggy. They aren’t salted, which I LOVE – it’s pure potato-ey flavor. Not gourmet, but an indulgent and delicious sandwich accompaniment. 

20150225_122429

Falafel sandwich

A good delivery option, though nowhere near as satisfying as my favorite salad bar laden version at Maoz. The falafel does suffer a bit from sog factor, though it is well spiced with herbs and salt. The toppings are very good, and the tahini-heavy hummus is outstanding. It’s creamy and rich in a silk, olive oily, almost sweet way. It’s really superior. So is the green hot sauce, laden with cilantro and red pepper flakes -it’s no joke, so apply it sparingly unless, like me, you are a hot sauce masochist. Some pickles are all that’s missing to really bring this sandwich to the next level – that bright, acidic flavor would round this out well. Additionally, the portion is satisfying but not huge or messy, which makes this easy to eat while emailing or working.

Hummus Place is well priced and delivers well ahead of its projected delivery time. It’s not anywhere near my favorite falafel place, but for a quick lunch or dinner while working, I completely endorse it.

Mid Week Break!

Hi all!

Last night was my dear husband’s birthday. Instead of going to Shake Shack like he really wanted, I bought us a joint birthday present and took him out for an awesome sushi bar experience. However, no photographs were allowed. And there may have been 2 cocktails and a bottle of INCREDIBLE sake.

And, of course, to prepare for the meal, all I ate yesterday were 7 peanut butter Reese’s eggs, a piece of cheddar cheese, and a handful of dill and salt Triscuits.

So, I’m taking the day to nurse my hangover and eat some food that is blog worthy – I promise to be back tomorrow with more crave-worthy eats!

Delivery Diaries: Legend 72

This is a new idea where I will be posting about my takeout/order-in meals. What travels well, what arrives in a timely manner, etc.

Because there are, like, 3 months every year that I ACTUALLY never leave my house.

 So here’s Legend 72. NOT the cheapest delivery Chinese on the UWS, but it’s true to the time estimated and it’s absolutely, without a doubt, the best tasting. 20150221_192848 Cold sesame noodles

Nutty, chewy, creamy. A little ambient spice but nothing too WHAM BAM. It’s comforting and familiar but also complex and pitch perfect in its flavors.
20150221_192917 Sichuan cucumbers

The star of the meal. Tender-crisp, peeled, and served in a slightly garlicky, very verdant, thick, slick dressing. Cools you down without being bland. The perfect, fresh counterpart to an otherwise carb and fat heavy meal. 20150221_193001 Ma po tofu

This is just damn good ma po tofu. Jiggly, velvety cubes of tofu that are molten and soft but not mushy. Savory ground pork in a fiery, bubbly sauce laden with Sichuan peppercorns and red pepper flakes. A smattering of fresh chives and a spoonful of chile oil on top. This is everything I want in the winter. And it makes my nose run from its intense spice, so…booyah!

20150221_193038 Chongqing chicken

The best delivery version of this dish in the city – no question. Salty, meaty, juicy, ma la all OVER the place, and more than just a little bit of garlic. The peppers tickle your tongue with heat right before the peppercorns provide that weirdly pleasant numbing effect. It’s as close as you can get to a high without hopping on a plane to Colorado. If you are acquainted with heartburn, best to skip this. But if you, like I, love strong flavors and can handle the heat, get this in the kitchen. 20150221_193103Juicy pork buns

Okay, so soup dumplings dont transport well. My bad. Still juicy and delicious, though the skin is woefully thick and that luscious broth was all over the container by the time it got to my home. Luckily, I just spooned it over rice and called it a day.

Legend 72 is the greatest Chinese delivery on the UWS. Yeah, I called it. You need to order about 90 minutes before you want to eat, but they are on Seamless and they are timely. The food is beyond delicious – it’s downright craveworthy. As in, it’s better than many dine-in Chinese meals that I have eaten. It’s not cheap, but you aren’t getting frozen shrimp and mystery meat beef with broccoli here. You are getting the real deal and it’s worth every penny.

Sweatpants, the couch, and some amazing sesame noodles. What’s wrong with that?

Weekend Eats: Slush Edition

This weekend was cold, slushy, and there were, like, NO good movies out.

Did anyone else eat almost entirely crap this weekend?
20150219_105349 Cadbury Creme Egg Biscuits

Duty free shopping at Heathrow isn’t about expensive moisturizer and gargantuan sized bottles of booze for me. Nope, for me it’s about potato chips and cool candy. Oh, and the greatest cookies since the first Girl Scout came to town. Buttery shortbread topped with that wonderfully sweet Cadbury Egg creme and enrobed in thick milk chocolate. These are sweet, rich, and the perfect afternoon snack. Or breakfast. Whatevs.
20150221_092733 Dunkin Donuts

VOM! Was this place always so repulsive? Cottony, sticky, stale, tasteless balls of crapola stuffed with phosphorescent jam. UGH. 20150222_110408Avocado toast at The Smith

Again with the avocado toast, again with The Smith. I regret nothing. This is a delicious, savory, filling breakfast is a symphony of clean tastes and textures. Crunchy, seeded bread. Smooth avocado. Creamy poached eggs. Sharp scallions and bright, vinegary frisee. A healthy dose of red pepper flakes. Sunday morning and a cup of coffee are perfect accompaniments.

Birds and Bubbles

Birds and Bubbles isn’t somewhere that I would go of my own accord. It’s a schlep, we didn’t have reservations (though they do take resys), and it’s fried chicken. I don’t normally love fried chicken.

Fried chicken doesn’t normally taste like this.

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Sarah Simmons, acclaimed City Grit chef, houses her chicken and champers emporium in a tiny, subterranean space with a bar space that also serves the entire menu. Don’t come here with more than 3 people at the bar or maybe 4 people at a table. It’s small – not cramped – but that’s part of the excellent service and charm.

20150217_185834 Simon Selosse Extra Brut

The by the glass list is fabulous – not cheap, but varied and interesting, with actual champagne, not just sparkling wine. The super dry champers cuts straight though the butter and fat in the rest of the meal and is the IDEAL counterpart to fried chicken20150217_193307 Bread basket with Steen’s cane syrup butter

Don’t be a chump – pony up for the bread basket. The biscuits are among the best that I have ever eaten – light, flaky, warm, and buttery. The butter fairly melts away with just a touch of sweet cane syrup complimenting the nutty sesame seeds in the benne (sesame seed) roll. The cornbread is the lone straggler – a little dry and cottony for me.
20150217_194026 Fried chicken

The piece de resistance. I am so sorry that I didn’t get a picture of the juicy, tender meat within. I just inhaled it too quickly. This isn’t quite the level of Hominy Grill’s chicken, but it’s close. So juicy within and crispy without. Nothing soggy or leaden. So hot that it might burn the roof of your mouth. Even the white meat is incredibly moist and flavorful 20150217_194149 Don’t forget to drizzle some Mike’s Hot Honey on top. Simmons really know how to mix sweet and savory. The touch of hot pepper with the sweet honey and savory, salty chicken is out of this world. 20150217_194234Crispy potato salad

The sleeper hit of the night. I have been dreaming of this for 72 hours straight. This is reminiscent of patatas bravas – crispy smashed potatoes in a salty, tangy, garlicky aioli. It’s so craveable. Strong with the shallots and a little on the salty side, but if you like strong flavors, then you will LOVE THIS. I certainly do.

Birds and Bubbles is fun, fairly priced, and delicious. It would be a great date night or solo meal at the bar with just you and a magazine or friendly bartender. Good things come to those who venture outside of their neighborhoods.

Especially in the polar vortex. Ugh. 

Happy Lunar New Year! Let’s Eat Shrimp Toast!

Happy Lunar New Year!

In honor of this important day in some of my most favorite food cultures, I’m posting one of my all time favorite recipes.

Well, I’m RE-posting it.

Because who the hell was reading here in 2011, after all?

Shrimp Toast Recipe


INGREDIENTS:
1/2 lbs. shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
1/2 loaf white bread (stale or lightly toasted)
1/2 onion, chopped into large chunks
1 clove garlic
1 small piece ginger, peeled
4 cups vegetable or peanut oil
1 egg white (don’t forget how to separate the eggs)
1 cup cilantro, cleaned
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. lime zest

 1. Cut off crusts of bread.

2. Cut bread slices into triangles. Set aside.

 3. Throw the onions, garlic, ginger…

cilantro, and shrimp into the food processor.
4. Pulse until it is a pretty smooth paste
5. Add soy sauce, lime zest, and
egg white.

 6. Spread mixture on bread in about 1/8 inch thickness.

 7. Place bread on spatula, shrimp side down.

 8. Slide bread into boiling oil CAREFULLY (it will splatter if you drop it from too high).

 9. Cook 2 minutes per side, or until lightly golden, then drain on paper towel.

10. Eat this golden piece of toast. Topped with a springy, firm layer of sweet and salty shrimp, laced with the heat of ginger, the fragrance of cilantro and the zing of garlic, this is might be my new favorite way to eat shrimp. I like mine with a dipping sauce made of 1/2 soy, 1/2 rice wine vinegar and a few diced Serrano chiles, but you might like yours plain. Or you might like yours with a spritz of lime and a few water chestnuts.  And if you don’t like yours…
send them to me.
And I’m sorry you have no taste buds. 

Colicchio and Sons Delivers on Black Saturday: Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day rocked.

Not because of cards, jewelry, or even candy.

It was dinner.

Dinner was on POINT.

Colicchio and Sons has been on my list forever, but we didn’t get around to eating there till last weekend. For Valentine’s Day. Black Saturday. Ugh. How fair is it to judge a restaurant by its most difficult, busiest, overpriced day of the year?

Even with those prejudices, Colicchio and Sons still delivered.

The restaurant is high ceilinged and beautiful – chic and trendy with a grown up, elegant feel. A perfect date night.

20150214_190600 The Collins

Tomato infused gin, mint syrup, and lemon. Tasty but not amazing. It lacks that earthy, sweet tomatoey taste and the mint syrup is too sugary-sticky for my taste. I wouldn’t rush to get this again – it sounded so promising but failed to deliver. 20150214_192053 Parker house rolls

Warm, soft, and slick with butter and salt. Even better, after we ate 2, they were replaced with an entire new, hot pan. Excellent service on this front. I ate 2 and should have eaten more.
20150214_192104 Crab and cannellini bean fonduta

The warm crab dip of my dreams. Rich, buttery, and creamy. Hunks of sweet crab and soft cannellini bans. Garlicky, salty, and magnificent. This plus the Parker house rolls is quite the combo.
20150214_192849 Egg with caviar and garlic chips

Another winner – light but rich. This is the perfect way to start a meal. The tastebuds are awakened, the senses are aroused, and there are a million textures going on. Soft, crunchy, popping, smooth, salty, eggy, savory…this had it going ON. What’s more, no one could eat more than a few spoonfuls of this, so the serving size.
20150214_192918 Oh yeah. Egg on egg. Just the way I like it. 20150214_193712 Hamachi with citrus and yuzu-ginger emulsion

Wonderful. The hamachi is excellently butchered – entirely smooth and buttery with no unsightly or sinewy pieces. The citrus is vibrant and juicy and that ginger emulsion is cool and spicy – the combination of flavors and execution of this dish is pitch perfect.

(need I say that it was aca-awesome?)

20150214_195536 Squid ink campanelle with whipped lardo and piment d’espelette

The best dish of the night. I was shocked at how fantastic this was – better than any NYC pasta in recent memory. Squid ink occasionally has a bitter or “off” taste to me. This was so subtle. The pasta itself, obviously house made, with a toothsome, chewy bite. The sauce is soft and light, with the unmistakable taste of sweet and earthy pork. the piment d’espelette is spicy but not overpowering, and the sprinkle of breadcrumbs is just perfect – crunchy and sharp against the lush sauce and thick pasta. Colicchio and Sons does pasta RIGHT. 
20150214_195706 Agnolotti with black truffle

Less inspired than the campanelle but no less delicious. Pillows of soft, buttery pasta laden with cream and the heady scent of black truffles. I mean, this is just damned delicious. 20150214_201624 Sea bream with bok choy, coriander blooms, and spiced beets

By this time, I was filled to the brim, but I powered through. The sea bream is fantastic – seared with a crispy skin and moist, flaky meat. The beets are an unexpected and delicious twist on sea bream. They provide a minerally, super earthy counterpart to the fish – soft but not mushy and sweet/fragrant with the coriander blooms. I wish I could have eaten more of this!

20150214_203446 Coconut doughnuts

GOOOOOOD!!!! Macadamia nuts, passion fruit sorbet, and some sort of cherry gastrique. Like the pineapple upside down cake I always wanted, but with coconut. Coconut>pineapple. It’s simple math. 20150214_203452 Lovely mignardises, including an awesome passion fruit chocolate. 20150214_204634 Treasure chest20150215_144524Filled with tasty chocolate red velvet bar. For breakfast. Because Colicchio and Sons just gets me.

This was a fabulous Valentine’s Day meal. The food was wonderful, the surroundings are lovely, and the service was a little slow, but for Valentine’s Day, fantastic. I can’t wait to come back on a normal day and try more of the pasta.

Valentines Day 2015 – you win.

Zuma – Bring the Black Card and Expect Fabulous Food

I have been to Zuma in London and Hong Kong, so I knew what to expect.

Basically:

1)Wear your trendiest duds.

2) Have a reservation.

3) Leave your cash at home, just bring your credit card and prepare to pay a LOT.

4) The vibe is sexy. The drinks are really well made. And the food is mother-freakin’ fabulous. This is the perfect place for a blow out birthday meal or bachelor/bachelorette experience.

20150209_191953 Old fashioned

Whistle Pig bourbon and an entire shaved iceberg in the glass. I don’t even like old fashioneds and this was excellent. Side note – they need to stock their bar with all of the booze that’s on the menu. The one murky spot in otherwise awesome night. 20150209_195543 Soft shell crab

Where the hell do they get soft shell carb so great in the off season?  Creamy, crunchy, and buttery with the slightly salty taste of the sea. Flash fried and greaseless, well salted and served with a tangy yuzu dipping sauce. 20150209_202229 Wasabi scallion scallop sashimi

Light, soft, velvety and punctuated with sharp scallions and a tiny hit of wasabi. One tasty sashimi dish. 20150209_202647Negitoro maki

Excellent, though for the price, I would get another fusion dish, like the excellent miso black cod. This is really great, don’t get me wrong – I just prefer to do my sushi eating at the bar. I know, I know – I’m snobby and I like it that way.
20150209_204303Ginger-ponzu asparagus

Oh yeah, this was the night’s sleeper hit! Who would have thought that some simple, char-grilled asparagus could be so satisfying?! Meaty, fresh, crispy, and topped with a tangy-sour-sweet sauce that was so good that we ended up drizzling it all over everything else at the table.
20150209_211208Steak

A HUGE portion and a really satisfying steak. Grilled to a succulent medium – totally pink with no bloody red or overdone gray. Cut into bite sized pieces and served in a sweet teriyaki marinade. This really satisfies those red meat cravings.

Zuma is super pricey but also super beautiful with great service and an interesting, utterly crave-worthy menu. Think Morimoto with a location that’s more convenient to uptown with a sexier, darker decor. I would come here again as soon as I could either apply for another credit card or at least justify the expense.

How does tomorrow sound?

Gradisca – Ideal for the Thin and Rich

I haven’t always been a food blogger, but I’ve always been a foodie. One of my favorite things is to go back to restaurants that I haven’t visited for many years to see if my fond memories are because I always had good taste or because the past is always seen through rose colored glasses. Let’s see how Gradisca fared:

20150207_191513The small Greenwich Village restaurant oozes charm. It’s all exposed brick and cozy tables with a small bar in the middle of the restaurant. It’s loud and buzzy, but can feel a little cramped. It’s really only good for 4 people or fewer – any more than that and you might start to feel a wee bit like sardines.
20150207_194158 Bread

Sadly, unremarkable. Okay at best – don’t waste stomach space here. 20150207_194900Caprese salad

Excellent! The mozz must be homemade or well sourced, because it has the thick, bouncy texture of mozzarella with the creamy, fatty richness of burrata. Truth be told, I prefer this mozzarella to some lesser, weaker burratas that I have eaten. The pesto is garlicky but sparingly applied so that it compliments the tart, juicy tomatoes. For the middle of winter, this is a damned good caprese salad and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again.
20150207_194906 Meatballs

Surprisingly good. They are expensive and very small, but wow – the flavor is there. It’s flavor packed and bold in a really bright, herbaceous tomato sauce. Nothing about this is soft or muted. This dish is bold, in your face, and filled with flavor. I just think it’s a little too pricey for the serving size.

20150207_202737Spaghetti carbonara

My all time favorite pasta dish. I just love carbonara. It’s rich and bacony and peppery and everything wonderful. This is a fantastic version. The homemade pasta is chewy and the bacon is crispy and thick. The eggs are rich but not at all gooey or cloying, and the pepper is freshly ground. It cuts right thought the fat and the salt, making the dish sharp and vibrant. This is a craveable rendition of my favorite pasta – the portion is just so damned tiny.

20150207_210228Berry panna cotta

Not necessary. The jiggy, lightly vanilla scented panna cotta is served in a puddle of jammy blackberries and raspberries. It’s light and sweet but still indulgent. We mostly ordered it because we were still hungry.

I remembered Gradisca as charming and delicious, which it is. But did I used to be a lot richer and a lot thinner? I mean…how much more money could I have had that I didn’t see how expensive this was? How tiny could I have been that I didn’t think that the portion sizes were positively toddler sized? The vibe is neighborhood date night, but the prices and portion sizes are more model-appropriate fashion week. Though, to be fair, we did enjoy a few very nice drinks. Next time I would come for just a soda and that carbonara.

And maybe fit into my skinny jeans the next morning.

Molly’s Cupcakes – Peach Cobbler is the Greatest Cupcake Ever

Because a little Friday cupcake never hurt nobody.

20150210_141632Molly’s Cupcakes is the cutest little cupcake joint you ever did see – albeit one that has won countless awards and is a Cupcake Wars champ. It’s large and well laid out, with a few tables, a large display of treats, and swings at the counter.

That’s right…you get to eat cupcakes on swings. Your inner 9 year old is very happy.

20150210_141701I may or may not have added these to my coffee. Don’t judge.

20150210_141746Chocolate raspberry cupcake

Excellent! Thick, dark chocolate ganache that’s the texture of satin with a very thick, almost chewy texture. The cake itself is moist and sweet, with none of the dusty dryness that chocolate cake sometimes gets. It’s layered with a judicious spread of sweet, tart raspberry filling Chocolate and raspberry is a match made in heaven – don’t you agree? This is also a good sized cupcake – one is enough for a very generous dessert.

20150210_141751Peach cobbler cupcake

Simply the best cupcake I have ever had. It blows my beloved red velvet out of the water. The cake is almost like cornbread – it’s vanilla-y and sweet but with that sticky, earthy flavor of corn muffins. It’s filled with a thick, syrupy peach pie filling and topped with freshly whipped cream, streusel, and a stewed peach slice. This is as homey and comforting as grandma’s house, and is better than many a fresh peach pie I have made in summer. This is huge and rich, but really delicious.

Molly’s is destination worthy – there, I said it! Relax with one of the many board games and a few friends, with at least one cupcake per person. Maybe 2 if you’re feeling frisky.

And when it comes to cupcakes, it’s easy to feel frisky.