not pictured: coffee & a bloody mary with copious blue cheese olives.
not pictured: coffee & a bloody mary with copious blue cheese olives.
We woke up early with the sun in our eyes. Every year I forget how little sleeping I do in the summer, the long light making dinnertime feel like mid-afternoon and the sun high in the sky at six a.m. like it’s ten o’clock. Without fail, these drawn-out days somehow make it harder to fit things into them: the warm air gets under my skin and all the extra energy makes me want to stay at work well into evening, then go to the gym or for long walks by the water and fall asleep past midnight only to find myself wide-eyed again hours later.
This morning at seven, awake already anyway, we headed to the Bagel Smashery, one of my favorite breakfast joints: they’ll put basically anything you want on a bagel (really, anything, including cherry pie or meatball parm), wrap it in foil and pop it in a panini press. We ate them warm, sitting on a bench in the sun by the water.
poppyseed bagel smashed with sun-dried tomato cream cheese, provolone, bacon, and broccoli
cinnamon raisin bagel smashed with scallion cream cheese, lox, onion and extra tomato
I had the opportunity recently to guest blog for Recipe Relay, and made quinoa spaghetti with locally produced roasted beets, asparagus and goat cheese.
Check out the posts for more information and the recipe:
Again at Dirty Bird for lunch yesterday.
Amazing pastrami sandwich at CitiField.
Ham, genoa, roasted red pepper, marinated mushroom and mozzarella sandwich. The pastrami won, but then again, so did the Phillies.
Our not-cooking streak was finally broken, and I can’t take any credit. My boyfriend made soup twice this week. I tend to stop making soup when the weather gets warm, but both of these meals made me rethink that stance. My boyfriend, who reads a lot of Mark Bittman, cooks with a sort of austerity and simplicity that I really admire. Here is his soup recipe: ”Cut everything up, put it in a pot with some water, boil it, turn it down, cover it, and wait.”
chicken soup (beginning from a whole boiled chicken) with carrots, onions, potatoes and rice.
vegetable soup with asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, green beans, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, summer squash, tomatoes, and zucchini.
When I was five I wrote a poem about soup that I can only remember some of, including the line, “the children are slipping on their slip-on shoes,” which leads me to believe I must have always imagined soup as also a summertime food. My writing has only gone downhill since then.
Dirty Bird is exactly the kind of brilliant idea that great restaurants are built on. Marketing themselves as “fast slow food,” Dirty Bird offers up cheap and finger-licking tasty buttermilk-fried chicken, slow-roasted rotisserie, mac n’ cheese, southern veggie sides, wraps, salads, cookies, and literally the best cornbread I have ever eaten. The catch is that everything is fresh, local, sustainable and organic and their chickens are humanely raised, vegetarian fed and antibiotic-free, sourced from Pennsylvania Amish Country.
“finger-licking good” is not a meaningless phrase.
A disproportionate percentage of my food blogging seems to be about chocolate chip cookies, but these are the definitive one-and-onlys. Made recently for a work potluck themed around childhood nostalgia, this is the cookie off the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag, which my mom used to make and which is virtually impossible to execute with anything less than perfection. I use my mom’s edits: a little bit less sugar than called for, and a little bit extra walnuts and vanilla.
Chocolate chip cookies:
guacamole & chips
corn & couscous salad
We had a really lovely overnight vacay at Shelter Island (which is apparently the Brooklyn of the Hamptons.) The pictures largely speak for themselves.
Xi’an Famous Foods has been on my to-eat list for months. In my mind, incredibly cheap, unique and fantastically good food is what eating in New York is supposed to be about, and besides, Anthony Bourdain loves it. But for the past few weeks, every time we’d meant to go to Xi’an, we’d ended up somewhere else instead - Takahachi, or DBGB, or Arturo’s. Yesterday we finally made it to Xi’an on St. Mark’s, where I was expecting excellent, delicious, greasy noodles for under ten bucks. I got all of those things. But I couldn’t have predicted just how much of all of those things Xi’an is.
The hand-ripped spicy cumin lamb noodles are the item to order and have reached a certain celebrity status, for good reason. “OHMAGAPHNFHDJ,” I said through my first giant mouthful. “Have you ever walked into a place you’ve never been before and felt like you’re coming home?” That’s how this dish tastes. Entirely familiar and entirely unlike anything I’ve eaten in New York or anywhere. The noodles are steaming hot and fresh and tender, not at all mushy, and the sauteed lamb is incredibly flavorful and generously portioned (I hate to say it, but it tastes like the best taco meat you could possibly imagine). But it was the crunchy cabbage, which holds the majority of the heat, that I really fell for.
I expected the savory cumin lamb burger to be pretty much the same thing, just minus the noodles, but it wasn’t. The meat is sweeter, almost reminiscent of a sloppy Joe, sauteed with onions and jalapenos and scallions. The flatbread “bun” tastes accurately homemade, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, perfect to soak up any remaining sauce from the noodle dishes. We ordered one burger to go with each plate of noodles, and the varying flavor profiles couldn’t have meshed better.
I loved the Liang Pi vegetarian cold skin noodles just as much, for different reasons. Full of lime and cilantro, bean sprouts and strips of sauce-absorbent zucchini, the chewy wheat noodles are topped with cubes of wheat gluten that are lighter and more delightfully textured than I’ve eaten at any vegan restaurant.
Writing this, I want to go back again today. I want to eat the hand-pulled beef noodles and the pork burger and the lamb spine and the spicy soft tofu. I want to eat tingly lamb face and lamb treasures soup (“”what is a lamb treasure?” that is one of the most frequently asked questions. our general response is: “it is mr. lamb’s treasures,” or, “mr. lamb only has two of these treasures.)
I haven’t been this excited about a restaurant in a while. My only regret is having taken so long to get there.
There are very few things that make me as happy as eating dinner outside on a warm day. I’ve been known to veto perfectly good restaurants just because they don’t offer outdoor seating. Yesterday it was eighty degrees, and I had dinner outside with my friend Dylan at Petite Abeille, near my office.
Dylan had prix fixe appetizer-entree-dessert, which included a nice salad, two pounds of fantastic mussels in white wine and garlic sauce with belgian fries, and chocolate mousse that tasted like chilled, puddinged hot chocolate (just the right amount of salt).
I had this gorgeous and spot-hitting niçoise salad, with albacore, green beans, roasted red pepper, a delightful pickled tomato, fingerling potatoes, black olives, hardboiled egg and anchovies.
I know I haven’t been cooking anything lately…I promise to make up for it this weekend!
My favorite pizza in this city is not Lombardi’s or Ray’s or Motorino. I adore Artichoke, but it’s practically a different food type altogether. My favorite pizza is at Arturo’s on W. Houston: a large mozzarella pie with extra sauce and extra garlic, well done.
Garlic bread with mozzarella and a side of marinara is a must - the pre-pizza pizza, that first taste of the incredible tomato sauce is unforgettable. Don’t worry about ruining your appetite. It’s worth it.
This time (the first time in a little over six months I’ve had my favorite pizza), we tried to improve on perfection by adding anchovies. It worked.
This is actually brunch on Sunday: silver dollar pancakes, bacon and eggs over easy. Not pictured: boyfriend’s pancakes and hash browns that I ate half of.
Dinner on Saturday at DBGB, Daniel Boulud’s bar/restaurant on Bowery & Houston:
This is a fantastic burger. It has the smokiness of a backyard barbecue and the juiciness of really great beef. Medium means it’s actually cooked medium, not medium-well, and the sesame bun is not mindblowing, but more than adequate. The fries are addictive and crusty with salt and beef tallow.
The DBGB dog left as many questions unanswered as the Lost finale. Why would a signature hot dog here include radishes and frisee? Why did the ‘ketchup mustard’ taste so much like mayo? How did the sauteed onions manage to be overpowered so badly? Why didn’t the sausage itself taste like pure beef or have char marks from grilling? In true picky-child fashion, we DIY’d it, scraping off the existing toppings and bathing it instead in spicy dijon and stoneground mustards and DBGB’s really fantastic ketchup. An improvement, but still not at all worth the $9 price tag.
I did not order or try this matzoh ball soup, but I hear it’s as good as grandma’s.
Made for a brunch party yesterday that also featured incredible grits, smoked mackerel, caviar cream cheese and baked french toast. I mostly ate the rum-soaked watermelon, since, you know, the rapture was coming anyway.
Post-apocalyptic cheddar quiche:
It’s official: I’ve been at my new office long enough to have a favorite lunch spot (not counting the Whole Foods a few blocks away, which was sort of a shoo-in). Tribeca’s Takahachi has a fantastic lunch special, my favorite version of which is the blackened grilled salmon marinated in an incredible miso sauce. I decided to give Takahachi a try for dinner on a recent date night, and was bummed to find they didn’t serve the salmon at dinnertime. Our waiter suggested I try the black cod, marinated in the same miso sauce.
I wasn’t aware until writing this post that black cod is also known as ‘butterfish’, for its succulent texture and rich, buttery flavor. That unctuousness dominated the character of the dish (I was convinced this sauce actually had butter in it), overpowering the miso sauce, but it was still delicious.
The lunch special version, with salmon:
My boyfriend ordered the Taxi Driver (tuna, yellowtail, salmon, cucumber, and avocado rolled in soybean paper) and Godzilla (soba noodle, avocado, cucumber and salmon skin) rolls. The crunchy salmon skin was the best part.
I discovered a really neat food blog project recently by chef, cookbook author and food writer Tony Rosenfeld. It’s called Cook Angel, and the idea is that you submit a picture & description of what ingredients you have available, then Tony writes back a detailed suggestion for what you might make. I wrote in with the contents of the Hoboken pantry: over the months I’ve lived here, I’ve accumulated some impressive food stores. Tony was kind enough to give me suggestions for all of the eclectic items, as well as two full recipes that required little outside of the supplies we already had on hand.
Believe it or not, I’ve never had cornflake-crusted chicken before, but as those named Tony tend to be kind of experts on flaked cereal, I trusted him. I made a few modifications to Tony’s recipe: I’m not a cilantro fan, so I left that out, and I ended up coating the chicken in standard egg wash (my boyfriend is stringently anti-mayo). Other than that, I stuck to the instructions, and I was impressed! It wasn’t exactly a dish I would’ve thought to put together on my own, which is exactly why outsourcing meal planning to a pro is such a neat idea that you should definitely try.
This is ingestibles’ 100th post! I’ll admit it: I’m a little bit of a quitter sometimes, and I’ve impressed myself by having stuck to this project so consistently. It’s helped a lot to know that I have readers, so here’s a present for you, readers:
Guess where this pizza is from. Correct identification wins a prize, as yet to be determined.