Thursday, June 28, 2007

Apparently New York has burger madness. I've been reading about it for months now. Tons of new burger joints are opening and there is a constant debate over the best burger.
I can't say that I've been to that many burger places since I got here, but I thought I would add my two cents on the ones that I have been to.
Shake Shack's "shack burger" is fantastic. I'll go so far as to say that it is better than In-N-Out, and that's a big deal seeing how I'm a native Californian and all. They have the waffley fries, which really aren't my favorite, but then I wouldn't call myself that big of a french fry fan anyway. Their shakes are the best thing that ever touched my lips.
New York Burger Co. - Ug. Their bar of fun sauces and toppings does not make up for the fact that their burgers suck. Usually I am the kind of person who will give a place a second chance, but my burger here was so dry and tasteless that I just don't think they can ever recover. I know we had fries here too, but I don't remember how they must have been the shock of getting such a bad burger.
Brgr - I went here today for lunch. I had the #5 burger, which came with cheddar cheese, bacon and horseradish. Rarely do places ask me how I want my burger cooked...and the ones that ask rarely ever listen to me. Everything comes out medium to medium well. Today at Brgr when they asked, I said rare, because that's how I like my meat, RARE. I know there are some health concerns with that, but I don't care. Today at Brgr they actually gave me a rare burger. I mean, we're talking rare as in barely warm. It was delicious. I will go here again and again...but then I will be heavy.
Pianos - Okay, this isn't really a burger place, but they do have burgers. I had one with goat cheese that was pretty good. Not fantastic, but good.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cancel my trip to Japan.
I was going to go, but then I read this article about the tuna shortage in Japan. Now chefs have to find horse. The article goes on to say that horse is a delicacy there, but I'm going to have to refer to the eating pig conversation in Pulp Fiction. Granted Samuel L. never said that he couldn't eat an animal because it had personality, but I think if you take the conversation one step further, you could rationalize that you wouldn't want to eat an animal with personality either.
Now, I know what you are thinking...doesn't a cow have about as much personality as a horse? ...And I eat cow. Well, I've never spent a lot of time with cows...but I did spend some time with horses, and they grew on me. It's for this very reason that I avoid spending time with cows. What if they started to grow on me? I wouldn't want that. I can't undo the bonding experiences that keep me from being open to eating horse, but I can avoid fraternization with cows in an effort to keep my meat eating alive.

Monday, June 25, 2007

This post will be sung to the tune of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" (if you need help, the video is at the bottom)I told them beets I've never cooked you before, I don't know how its done, I've gotta learn some more. I'm gonna take you home, gotta settle this score, so beet it, just beet it.

I'm gonna roast you in the oven, oh yeah! You'll taste much better than out of a can. You are so red, now there's stains on my hands, just beet it!

Oh, there's red on my hands!

Beet it! Beet it! Go on roast your beet and eat it!
They are so tasty, they are so good, got them at the market that's in the hood. So Beet it! Oh, beet it.
Beets are so tasty, they are so good, why are they always misunderstood? Just beet it!

Okay, well, that's all the song that I had in me, but you get the idea.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Coney Island Mermaid Parade
Al and I went to the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island on Saturday. There were far too many people. I'm not a fan of crowds, and I can't say that I've ever had a special place in my heart for mermaids either. Needless to say, I didn't last too long there. Just long enough to get a churro and some Italian Ice for Al.
He picked lime. Ug. I am not down for the lemon or lime ice. Give me a cherry or a coconut any day, but lime? Yuck. I don't eat the green or yellow skittles, nor do I eat the green or yellow sour patch kids...I barely even eat the orange ones. Once the red ones are gone, it's all down hill from there. I say, "Let's get some Italian ice," and he orders lime. Good lord man, why don't you just spit in my face and tell me that you don't love me?

BesoThere is a little restaurant on 5th Ave in Park Slope called Beso. I've walked by it before late at night, and it was packed.
This last Sunday Al and I walked down to the Greenmarket, but we were so hungry, that shopping just wasn't going to happen. We started walking, and before I knew it, there was 5th Ave. Surely there would be a wonderful breakfast spot here...5th Ave has never let me down before. Across the street was Beso. The doors were open and it seemed pretty crowded. Al suggested we try it. Now, you know how sometimes you get a restaurant in your head as a dinner place, and it's hard to think of it as a breakfast or brunch place? Well, that's where I was with Beso. Since I had only ever really noticed it at night before. It took me a couple of minutes to accept the idea, but then I agreed that we should try it.
There is one thing that I haven't quite caught onto in NY yet...and that is when you order juice at a restaurant they bring it to you in what can only be considered a shot glass. It's everywhere, not just Beso. Al and I were joking about it one morning at the breakfast place by our house. He was like, "Yeah, and that's the large."
"Wow," I said, "wonder what that small looks like."
To that he just held up one of those little containers of creamer.

I ordered the huevos rancheros. It was delicious. The eggs were fluffy, the salsa was good. Al ordered the pan dulce french toast. I thought it was going to overtake him. It was two huge, thick mini-loaves of bread that were both filled with chocolate. It didn't come with syrup, but it did come with caramel sauce and rum. Wow. I dind't know if Al was going to make it. He ate half of one piece and then gave up. It was good, but wow. If you are going to eat this for brunch, you might as well just go straight home to slip slowly into your diabetic coma.
On the menu they also had hot chocolate served with a churro. The little girl next to us ordered it and it looked delicious. Al has a soft spot in his heart for churros, and I suggested we get one, but he just looked at me like I was the devil.
Dean and Deluca
Prior to moving to New York, my only experience with Dean and Deluca (click to shop for delicious things) was some baked goods that we received as Holidays gifts at my last job. There were pretty good, but I wasn't privy to the awesomeness that is Dean and Deluca.
When I first got to New York and it was still really cold I found myself at the Dean and Deluca in Soho. It was the most magnificent place I had ever seen. I got a latte and a lemon muffin. I was pretty much in heaven. All of their coffee and baked good are fantastic, but it's the rest of their market that really astounded me. They had everything I could ever want, except low prices.
When other people win the lottery, their first thought is buying a house or a car...but I'm just taking myself on a shopping spree at Dean and Deluca. Smoked salmon and gourmet olives for days. Ah.....
This peanut butter brownie was pretty delicious too.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Burgers and Cupcakes
Never has a place with such a fabulous name let me down so much. The burgers were fine, but I've had a lot better...and for $9 I've had a lot better. The fries were pretty decent, but the cupcakes were an abomination. They were terrible. The frosting was too thick, the cake wasn't moist, they were terrible. Worst of all my lettuce wasn't clean. They served me a burger with gritty lettuce. If I can't even trust you to wash your lettuce thoroughly, clearly we should not be friends.
This just in...
I will be consuming my first ever White Castle Burger tomorrow in honor of Martin's birthday. I'm very excited. Expect an update.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

We just can't help ourselves when it comes to Max Brenner's. It's too delicious.
Here again, for your viewing pleasure, are the waffles. Dee-licious. Their milk chocolate ice cream tastes like deliciously frozen Nestle Quick out of the bottle. There is a big difference between mixing up your own Nestle Quick, and drinking it from the bottle. They always get the perfect creamy to chocolaty ratio...and that's hard to achieve on your when I say that this ice cream tastes like frozen Nestle Quick from the bottle, you can be sure that means that its pretty much the best chocolate ice cream in the whole world. Look at this fantastic cup of hot chocolate. It is probably the best hot chocolate I have ever had.
Work for your food
People might disagree with me on this, but I like it when I have to work for my food. I don't mean like do dishes in the back room or anything, but when eating is a more interactive experience. I love fondue. I love eating crab legs...although I usually get a little carried away cracking them by hand and usually end up needing a band-aid or two.
This is why I like shabu shabu. You cook your own meat and veggies in a boiling pot of water. Since the meat is so thinly sliced, it only takes a couple of seconds to cook, and it is delicious.
Last weekend, Ed, Chris, Al and I went to Shabu Shabu East. I have to say though, that the times I have shabu-ed in the past, I have had my very own boiling pot of water, and I like that better. There was no confusion about which items belonged to which person.

I think my final verdict is that while this was fun, it wasn't as good as our California Shabu-Shabu place. It was fun, because frankly everything we do with Ed and Chris is fun, but I don't think I'll be going back any time soon.
Street Food
New York Magazine has a great article up today about street food. It leads you to all the best street food in the city.
Street food is the one area where LA could almost hold it's own. I mean, LA doesn't offer nearly the variety of street food that New York does, and you have to travel to get it, but if you know where to go, LA street food is pretty fantastic. There was the taco truck by our old apartment in Venice, fantastic churros on Olvera Street, and those fantastic bacon-wrapped hot dogs in West Hollywood around 2am. Delicious.
I'm looking forward to using this article as my guide to discovering all the wonderful street food loveliness that NY has to offer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Five PointsLast night Jeff (my boss), Danielle (my co-worker/neighbor) and I went to dinner with our totally awesome and fantastic friends from Broadway video.
We ate at Five Points on Great Jones Street and it was pretty fantastic.
We started with oysters and mussels that were melt-in-your-mouth fantastic. Then I had the beet and goat cheese salad, delicious. The bread was fantastic, the butter was sweet.
For my entree I ordered the porgy. It came with applewood smoked bacon and spinach (although the menu said broccoli rabe, but I wasn't about to complain). Here's a link to a little more info about porgy. Another person at the table also ordered the porgy, and we both found surprisingly few bones. Usually I'm against fish with bones...but how often do I get the chance to order porgy?
Jeff ordered the duck confit, and having proclaimed myself as a foodie, he asked me what confit actually means. I wasn't 100% positive, and that made me a little ashamed. I went straight home and looked it up (here is the link). Since it basically means "cooked in it's own fat and juices" I'm kind of sorry that I did, but oh well.
For desert I ordered the chocolate brioche bread pudding with salted caramel ice cream. If there were words to describe the overwhelming deliciousness of it, I would write them here, but there just aren't.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Treats Truck I'm not sure how I feel about this new trend of mobile goodies in New York. I mean, at first it seemed like a fun idea, but I'm not sure my sweets should be so illusive. Do I really want to have to track you down, Treats Truck? I mean, what if your cookies aren't worth it? Or worse, what if they are, and I get the craving every so often, and then I have to go online and hunt for you?
I mean, the menu doesn't seem like anything special, but I could be talked into ordering a Mexican brownie, even though the name is a little redundant. ha ha ha. Whew...and then everyone stopped reading my blog.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I moved here because it's a food town. People love food, and they're not ashamed of it. On average, New Yorkers are thinner than the rest of the country. It must be all the walking, because it certainly isn't all the eating.

Events like today's Taste of Times Square make me so happy I'm here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More Food Jewelry

After my initial post on food jewelry, I saw an article about Carrie Weston jewelry, and she has hot-dog cuff links, steer necklaces (which, I don't know if a steer necklace really counts as food jewelery, but given the recent BBQ explosion in NY, I'm sure there are some foodies who would covet the steer necklace), and all kinds of awesomeness.

My favorite is the sandwich ring.
I miss my Canadians.
One of my bosses, and my co-worker at my last job were both from Montreal. They are both pretty fantastic. They both told me about this Canadian tradition of going "sugaring-off," and while I know that initially that sounds dirty, what is really is sounds pretty fantastic.
I can't find a ton of sites about this sugaring-off thing...and maybe that's all a part of their evil Canadian plan to keep me from my ultimate goal of someday going sugaring-off myself, but apparently they take you to cabins (cabanes à sucre) in the woods, for a meal based entirely off maple syrupy foods (ham, baked beans, pancakes, donuts, etc). You get to see them tap the trees for syrup and eat maple syrup snow candy (Tire sur la neige).
Their stories of sugaring-off have led me to forever associate them with maple syrup.
Last night I made this Maple Cream Pie from this month's issue of Bon Appetit.
I wish I could send them some in California.

Maple Cream Pie (8 Servings)
1 Frozen deep-dish pie crust (I made my own because I rock)

2 1/4 Cups whole milk
2 cups Grade B maple syrup
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream
1 tbsp. sugar
Toasted chopped walnuts

Bake and cool pie crust.
Whisk milk, syrup, and yolks in large bowl to blend. Whisk flour and cornstarch in medium bowl. Gradually whisk 1 cup milk mixture into flour mixture. Gradually whisk in remaining milk mixture. Transfer to large saucepan. Whisk over med. heat until custard thickens and boils. (8 min. or until your arm falls off)
Whisk in 2 tsp. vanilla. Pour into pie crust. Chill until cold (about 3 hours).
Beat cream, sugar, and remaining vanilla in med. bowl until peaks form. Spread cream over pie and sprinkle with walnuts. (I skipped the nuts)
Overall, I feel the same way about this that I feel about most things with maple syrup. It is a little too sweet...and yet my desire to go sugaring-off remains.
This is not fair.
"Make the biscuits according to the package instructions."

"OOh, there is a variation on here for garlic and parmesan biscuits."
"Show me the box...yeah, we don't have either of those things."

Al searches the cupboard.
"We have parmesan goldfish crackers. Maybe I will just break those up and put them in."
"That sounds like fun," I say, but I'm secretly thinking, "you're going to be eating all of those yourself."
After a little confusion over what, "drop batter onto baking sheet" meant, we emerged with these. They are actually delicious.
I don't know why, but I'm a little offended every time one of Al's crazy ideas turns out to be great. I get all snobby and think, "there is no way that should be good" but it almost always is.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

"Why are you trying to feed me salad for breakfast?"
"It's not breakfast, it's brunch, Al."
"Salad doesn't go with eggs."
"It does when you don't get out of bed until 11."
"You're making this up."

Friday, June 08, 2007

Delicious Jewelry
I would like to urge all of you to check out Shana Logic. It's all totally awesome independently made accessories, etc. I found the awesomest jewelry in the whole world jewelry.
I'm going to have to start my collection now.

Here is just a brief sample of all the awesomeness that they have to offer.

I will also be investing in the sushi earrings and perhaps the soda can bracelet.

I have some serious online shopping to do.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Chelsea Cottage Chinese
We went to a little Chinese restaurant on 9th Ave. last night that was pretty decent. It seemed like a lot of the customers were regulars and they all called the host by name.
It was pretty delicious.
A couple of tables over there was an elderly white woman in a kimono-style top. "I'm glad she wore her "going to get Chinese food" top." And then I laughed and laughed.
Man, I crack myself up.
I've Got Your Number Starbucks.....and the number is $0.54. That is how much they will charge you to refill any hot or cold coffee or iced tea. This is the best news I have ever received in my life. If someone told me that I won a bunch of money right now, my response would be, "I don't need money, when coffee is just 54 cents."
When I first moved to NY, I thought I had it all figured out. There are so many little delis that serve great coffee for $1 a cup that I was sure I was going to save a fortune on my coffee habit. Until I found out this most fantastic of news. Admittedly, I feel better supporting the little guy, but I have to weight that against my desire to save 50 cents, which I'm sure will someday add up to a huge fortune.
This whole 54 cent this is not common knowledge. It's kind of like a super-secret club. You are now in the club.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Edible Audio at The Food Section
Check out this post over at The Food Section.
They came up with 100 songs about food. I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of the list. And any time you refer to "Pour Some Sugar on Me" as cheesetastic, you've pretty much made an enemy of me.
There are some good songs on here, but a bunch that I would scrap. Where is Cherry Pie? Where is Sugarshack?
Clearly I should have been consulted.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Holy Chocolate Overload Batman!!!!
These are the waffles from Max Brenner's, the chocolate palace that apparently only exists in New York and Australia.
My brother and sister ordered this. Al and I ordered the Urban Smores. I've never seen Al so happy before in my life. He was actually dancing while he ate.
This is a picture of the little burner that comes to the table with the Urban Smores, and inevitably leads to unimaginable bliss.