I Think I’m Turning Japanese

…See you on the other side of the world, readers!

I’m headed to Asia for the next two weeks and can’t wait to give you all the delicious details! Posting will be sporadic until May 4, but don’t worry  – when I come back, it will be with tales of sushi, ramen, and dumplings!

Sayonara!

Sugar and Plumm – Better than Ever!

It’s so much easier to access than that-which-shall-not-be-named (it rhymes with “hairendipity”), the food is great, and the cocktails REALLY are delicious. Don’t miss the macaron ice cream!

 

Holy Schmitt’s Horseradish is the SCHMITT!

First off, the things that I ate and drank the SECOND that Passover ended:

20150410_133006 Kouros

Our wonderful neighbors from the house I grew up in came to visit us in NYC this week. These are neighbors you dream of having next door – kids the same age as you, fences unlocked so you could always go freely between backyards, and a mom with Middle Eastern background who makes THE GREATEST food on the planet. She introduced my family to all natural fruit leather, gourmet mint tea, and these amazing meat pies. Kouros. Of course, as soon as she got off the plane, we set her straight to work and made her cook them for us. Soft, yeasty dough filled with a spiced meat and onion mixture that is curried, fragrant with cumin, and generally addictive. It tastes like home, and this is the best recipe that I can find to duplicate them. Of course, unless you are my old neighbors, who make the OG awesome kouros. In which case, I love you G family, and not JUST for the kouros. 

20150411_190833 Home brewed beer for a wedding

Ukuleles, tofu pastrami Reubens, and exposed beams…I went to a wedding this weekend that was so Brooklyn, it was almost an episode of “Girls.” It was touching, funny, hip, and incredibly stylish. It was also stocked with home brewed beer. SO cool.
20150411_102520 Holy Schmitt’s horseradish

HOLY SCHMITT…THIS STUFF IS INCREDIBLE. I love horseradish and this is, hands down, the best I have ever had. Superior to any restaurant or commercially available variety. Nose searing, earthy, almost woodsy horseradish. The beet version is sweet and the mustard version would be GREAT on a grilled cheese or roast beef sandwich.
20150411_102736 They both kicked up our classic Passover pate about a mile. I can’t wait to buy more of this stuff stat. 

See ya tomorrow!

First Nights of Passover Eats

Happy (belated!) Easter and Passover, y’all!

I am not having my seder until next weekend (best part about Passover is multiple nights to celebrate!), so here is what I enjoyed this weekend:

20150402_123531 Schwarma eggroll from Olympic Pita

Don’t worry, I had this before Passover. And it’s awesome! Spiced, tender beef inside a flaky, crunchy, old fashioned NYC style egg roll wrapper. Dip it in the creamy tahini served alongside and prepare to be in heaven. The portion is huge – one of these and a side of Moroccan carrots and you’re good to go.  20150403_191933 Cheese platter from Ardesia

No bread for me this week. But that cheese is WONDERFUL. Nutty goudas and creamy triple cremes and truffle honey…it’s a cheese lovers delight. It changes all of the time and the portion is really ample. Plus, the night that I went, there was a special bottle of wine open and they were selling glasses – how fun! I would never spend enough money to buy the bottle, but a glass – sure! I love Ardesia and don’t know why it isn’t on more “must visit” lists.  20150405_092045 Matzoh Brei at The Smith

This place can do no wrong. Gotta love a joint that knows that you can’t eat waffles and has this as a special. A bit more matzoh and less egg than I prefer, but still delicious – sweet onions, fresh herbs, cool sour cream. Highly recommended.

Now I’m off to buy all of those 75% discounted jellybeans!

Makin’ Matzoh Candy

The title says it all. I’m up to my elbows in butter and sugar, and I’ll see ya back tomorrow!

Oyster Omakase with In a Half Shell

Julie Qiu is an oyster enthusiast.

No, make that an oyster-pedia.

Oyster-tainer?

Well, she is the coolest, most interesting, passionate oyster lover I have ever met. And now – great news – her business, In a Half Shell, hosts pop ups! Yes!

Each pop up includes 6 oysters total (3 differet types), 2 wine pairings, all of her information about how the oysters are grown and how they shoudl taste and…well, I’ll just let the appisode guide you:

I can’t highly enough recommend attending one of Julie’s oyster omakase classes. I mean…she had me loving an oyster from ALABAMA!

Have an awesome weekend, all! See you on Monday!

Chopped Caesar Salad at Odeon and Other Weekend Eats

This weekend was a mish-mosh of snacks, eating out, and cooking at home. There may have been the undocumented bowl of cereal or sample of Australian cheddar cheese at Fairway (sharp and VERY good), but here are the highlights:

20150320_133916 Chopped Caesar salad at Odeon

I can’t believe that I hadn’t ever been to this Keith McNally classic. I can see why it has stood the test of time. It has a broad menu, excellent staff, and really delivers. My favorite course at lunch was this chopped Caesar. Wonderfully cheesy and savory without being too fishy. Lacy crisps of croutons, well chopped lettuce, and – thanks, Chef! – enough dressing. I would totally come here if I was in the ‘hood. 20150320_200841 BLAT with turkey

Sometimes, simple is best. From the bottom layer up:

sourdough bread

mayo (don’t be stingy here)

bacon (diced and cooked until VERY crispy)

tomatoes (sungolds are always the best, even in the winter)

butter, iceberg, or red oak lettuce (just one leaf)

2 very thin slices honey or maple roasted turkey (nothing too smoky – with the bacon, you don’t want a smoke overload)

1/2 mashed avocado, about 3 seconds away from being too ripe

mustard (honey dijon or horseradish, depending on if you want a sweet or a spicy edge)

sourdough bread

Did I mean simple? What I meant was exact precision is sometimes best. 
20150321_084353 Fake out indulgent drink

1 double expresso

1 layer of whipped cream right out of the can

Sweet, thick, frothy, bitter. So amazingly good that I can’t believe that it isn’t a “thing.”
20150321_184704 Marzullo’s rainbow cookies

The only rainbow cookies that I enjoy. These are less cookies and more cakes. Tiny, hand cut, freshly baked cakes. Layered with cherry and apricot jams. With soft, almondy, spongy layers of cake. And a thick, dark, fudgy layer of chocolate on the top and bottom layers. No gross fake cherry flavoring or stale, crunchy layers here. Wipe up that drool and get yourself some of these treasures.

And how was your weekend?

Delivery Diaries: Topaz Thai

I see an eventual end to this never-ending stream of delivery food! There is SUN today!

Anyway…

The lower part of the UWS of Manhattan has a dearth of good Thai food. There’s great stuff in the 90s, great stuff in the 40s, but not a lot of worthy pad see eu and curry puffs here. Which is a disappointment because I am a pad kee mao KILLER.

This is how our latest delivery venture went with Topaz Thai Restaurant:

20150307_195311 Curry puffs

The standout of the meal. These are exceptional, even at the slightly above room temperature at which they arrived. The chicken and potato mixture inside is soft, buttery, and intricately spiced. It’s fragrant with coriander, anise, and just a touch of curry. The pastry is rich and flaky. Any slight grease of the dish is cut by the sweet and tangy vinegar sauce served alongside. I would get 2 orders of this as a main dish and call it a day. 
20150307_195319 Pad Thai

Never my favorite dish, but this version just isn’t good. The noodles are sticky and dry, the chicken pieces are too large and thus rubbery, and there aren’t enough bean sprouts or green onions. Worst of all, it’s tasteless. I can take it if my pad Thai is too sweet or salty, but to have no taste at all is just a waste of good noodles.  20150307_195338 Dancing chicken

Very good, if one note. This minced chicken and chile dish totally delivers on the spice front. It makes your tongue tingle and your lips buzz. The greens in it are sliced thinly and provide a snappy, vegetal aspect to the juicy chicken, fragrant jasmine rice, and that excellent heat. But it’s missing a sour, fresh aspect. Some additional fish sauce, some lime, perhaps some fresh basil at the end…any of these would have elevated the dish to a memorable level. As it is, it was satisfying, but not craveworthy.

For the price, I wouldn’t order from Topaz again. The food was good but not great and though they delivered true to their delivery time, the price just didn’t justify the mediocre meal.

I’m not concerned though…like I said, the sun is shining and soon, I may even be able to go outside after 4 pm without being in pitch black!

Snowed Out

My plans to go out to eat or cook yesterday got completely snowed out.

I ate a cup of canned tomato sauce, 8 girlscout cookies, enough tortilla chips to choke a horse, and this:

A bright spot in an otherwise depressing eating day.

See you Monday for some actually delicious eats!

Delivery Diaries: Oaxaca Taqueria

I have been to Oaxaca Taqueria before, but not when it was snowing.

In March.

When it snows in March, I order in. And I drink white Russians.

Let’s just say that my alcohol tolerance has really increased this winter, mkay?

Anyway, let’s see how Oaxava delivers on the delivery front:

20150301_171808 Salad with pulled chicken

The salad that really eats like a meal. The lettuce is dressed in a light, zippy lime dressing and is tossed with fresh pico de gallo and piquant pickled onions. The chicken is juicy and well spiced with cumin and garlic. Guacamole is creamy and rich and the sour cream is…well..w.ho doesn’t love sour cream? I do miss a crunchy element here, but an order of fresh, well salted tortilla chips fixes that problem right away. This isn’t soggy or overdressed. It’s also not an afterthought, like so many salads at other Mexican places.
20150301_171811 Quesadilla

Tasty, nothing more. Crispy tortilla, melty cheese. It would have been improved by some jalapenos or pickled onions – they should jazz up the quesadilla offerings a bit.

20150301_171816

Carnitas torta

Yeah, this is what I want when it’s snowing. All day, every day.

20150301_172059 The juiciest, porkiest carnitas. Spicy jalapeno and cumin-spiced beans. Shredded lettuce, tangy cheese, and the bread…oh the gbread. The bread just makes this sandwich. Thick but very soft, threatening to fall apart but holding together through the smoky chipotle spread. This is definitely on the spicy side of things, but I love that. This is a LARGE sandwich and you could easily split it with someone for lunch, as long as a side of chips and guacamole is also involved.

Oaxaca Taqueria delivers on all fronts. It comes promptly, the price is fair, and the food is really good. As in, you don’t feel like you have killed your cholesterol when you are done eating.

It’s so tasty that I will almost be sad when spring finally arrives, because I won’t be able to order in as much any more.

Keyword: almost.