Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas miracle

Today, in an office raffle, I won a tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream (chocolate fudge brownie). I really, really deserved this.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy birthday, Sweet Potato Friends!

Our darling little blog is one year old today!! We've come a long way from testing, testing, eating shitty sushi; and though we've had our dry spells, SPF remains a vital force on the New York food scene. Shine on!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Brussels sprouts pasta

I know the first post-Thanksgiving post probably ought to talk about the awesome stuffing-muffins that Z's mom made. Oh well. Here's a picture of a delicious Pasta Z helped me make.

Adam made this dish for me once when I stayed over at his place. (He also made a delicious delicata squash, so that meal won by a long shot). It's pretty simple. While the campanelle is boiling sautee garlic & pine nuts in oil. Add BsSs (just the leaves) and mushrooms. When the pasta is a little underdone drain it and toss into the pan with the rest of the stuff. Add a little Romano and you're done: gourmet tasting meal in 20 minutes and 6 ingredients.

I've also always mistakenly called them brussel sprouts, not brussels sprouts.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fall into the pumpkin

Happy fall, all. We are over half-way through the the -bers, so I figured it was damnabout time to make pumpkin bread.
pumpkin bread, chillin' in the late afternoon autumn sunlight

I used this recipe, substituting canned pumpkin for the "real" variety. Now, I was mostly eyeballing the dry measurements (at which I am surely not good) so who knows, but I'm finding the loaf somewhat dull. Is pumpkin not a partularly thrilling bread theme, or would using the real deal have made all the difference? It does smell just wonderful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

hello my babies!

in the spirit of eLs's recent discovery of and irrational love for the G train, i'd like to pass along this G-train-related activity courtesy of Brooklyn Based:

A G-Train Tour Through Pumpkinland!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fette Sau: Worth taking the G Train for

It's inevitable that eventually my deep love for the G train would become a topic of conversation on a blog about food and restaurants. Well, maybe not. But I talk about it all the time, so I decided to incorporate it here.

I. Love. The G Train.

I do. I really do. I can't help it. Never, ever has it disappointed me the way it disappoints so many others. Last time I took the G, it graciously waited for me to walk to the center of the platform at a normal pace, and the moment I arrived and turned to face the track the G came speeding (well, crawling) into the station. No one else has the relationship with the G that I have. The G is everyone else's bad boyfriend who finally shapes up for the love of his life. I'm a lucky girl.

That said, I don't mind taking the G train, and that's good news for when I want to leave me home in Queens to meet my Brooklyn friends (like K and C, for example) without taking a long, roundabout trip through Manhattan. This was precisely the case last Friday night, when I met my friends J and A for barbecue at Fette Sau (which translates as "Fat Sow" from whatever language that is...probably German). According to one of my coworkers, this place is relatively famous, but I'd never heard of it before J suggested it. He had never been their either, but one of HIS coworkers vouched for its deliciousness, so we decided to give it a shot.

Fette Sau is located on Metropolitan Avenue, quite close to Lodge (one of my favorite Brooklyn restaurants, as K and mwr know), so I knew approximately where I was heading. It also makes me pretty proud when I can navigate around Brooklyn, considering I have a pretty good mastery of Queens and Manhattan already. Brooklyn is my final frontier, and understanding that I needed to get from the G at Union and Metropolitan to Fette Sau by passing Marcy and Havemeyer made me pretty proud. Baby steps.

There's a neon sign outside of the gate announcing that you've arrived at Fette Sau, and immediately inside are some outdoor wooden picnic tables. They were mostly empty, despite Friday being unseasonably warm. The inside, also littered with picnic tables, was packed. I also noticed that one wall was adorned with illustrated depictions of meat, which was a nice (if weird) touch. We joined the short line and waited to order.

Fette Sau has a unique setup, in that you stand in line deli-style and order your meat by the pound. You're provided with buns and several types of sauce, and side orders of potato salad, baked beans and the like are available.

We decided to split a half pound of brisket and get a pork sausage each, plus a side of potato salad and a side of baked beans to share. J and I perused the list of whiskey options as well, which the place is apparently famous for. They had several tasting menus, in which you could pay anywhere from $11 to $30-something and get three different types of whiskey in one-ounce portions. We ultimately decided not to do this, but I'd definitely be up for trying it next time.

We headed outside to sit, and as we were exiting I heard a man in line explaining to his friend that he had NEVER seen the place so empty, and by this point the inside crowd had already begun to spill over to the outside picnic tables. I had a sneaking suspicion we might be sharing our picnic table with a few strangers after all, but if what the man said was true we were getting off easy.

Four types of sauces and a roll of paper towels adorned each table, so we chose an empty one and sat down. Although the brisket was delicous and the sausages were delectable, I still felt hungry afterward. Note to self: next time, I need more meat! (That's what she said...)

The potato salad didn't really do it for me, but the baked beans were good and had chunks of beef in them, which I had never experienced before (and was told it was weird that I hadn't). I could have definitely gone for whiskey to wash it all down though, and the sauces were tangy and hot and wonderful. We were eventually joined by other people at our table, but it wasn't so crowded that we were forced to make friends with them. Phew!

Overall, the food was yummy and the place boasted a nice, rustic vibe. I'm not usually a big BBQ person, but I definitely enjoyed this. Brooklynite meatlovers, I urge you to check it out. You might want to go on off hours though, if the rumors about it typically being ultra-crowded are true!

And now, a really ambiguous photographic representation, courtesy of my phone:

Making the Magic Happen with Paradou

Alright, it's about time I stopped TALKING about reviving SPF and actually did something about it. I started to feel overwhelmed about all the delicious places I was eating and finding a way to post about it all, so instead I'm going to scrap that for now and just post about my most recent dining experience. I'll hopefully have time to do a Retroactive Roundup sometime in the near future to clear my guilty conscience.

Yesterday I planned to brunch with my friend L, and we wanted to go somewhere new instead of hitting up old standbys. I asked around, and one of my coworkers directed me to Paradou, located on Little West 12th Street in the Meatpacking District. I am rarely in this area (although I recently attended a birthday party on Washington that was quite fun), so I thought it would be a nice change of scenery. I called the day before and made a reservation for 2:15 p.m. (day after Halloween, people).

The entrance is easy to spot, but a little difficult to navigate (I had trouble opening the huge pastel blue wooden doors, but eventually figured things out). We were seated promptly in the back outdoor dining area, which was covered with a tent and boasted a heated floor. It's beautiful and has great lightning, so I think it would also be a totally gorgeous place to eat at night or even on a chilly winter day. They also had Christmas lights up, so that's probably not an impossible option.

My coworker touted this place as having the best brunch she'd ever eaten in the city, and part of the reason was their champagne brunch option. Unlimited champagne plus an entree for a mere $29. Did I hear unlimited? Yes please!

The best thing about this option is that it doesn't have to be straight champagne; the brunch applies to champagne cocktails as well. I had two bellinis and they were perfectly blended, just strong enough to keep me pleasantly buzzed for a few hours. If you choose not to do the champagne brunch, the menu items are reasonably priced at $11-$16 with $6 sides. If you choose carefully, you could definitely have a great brunch here for under $20.

For my entree, I chose the "Sassy Sausage Sandwich," which featured spicy andouille sausage with grilled onions and a sweet chestnut spread. I also got a side of potato gratin. L ordered French Toast with a side of bacon.

Our waiter was friendly, although they didn't keep an eye on our drinks as well as I would have liked (I had to flag someone down to get a refill after my glass had been empty for awhile). Besides being slightly inattentive though, the staff was great and very polite. Plus, brunch is a meal where you like to linger anyway, so it didn't really bother me. They didn't try to hustle us out either, which was nice.

The food was also delicious. I wasn't as over the moon for it as I expected to be after my coworker built it up (or as over the moon as I am about Elephant & Castle or Sarabeth's), but it was DEFINITELY amazing. The sandwich was great and the potato gratin was especially good, cut kind of like a slice of pie with several layers of potato that were perfectly flavored. The potatoes that came with my meal, however, were sparse, if tasty. I would have liked to have been advised that the meal came with potatoes, because it was not indicated on the menu. I probably would have chosen a different side had I known this. Although maybe that's a bad thing, since the potato gratin was so good...

I tried L's French Toast, and that was good as well. The bacon was crispy without being burned, and the blueberries tasted fresh with a hint of added sweetness that I thought added just the right taste.

So, the moral of the story is that I would definitely recommend this place. I'm even thinking of going back this weekend with my sister, so that's a good indication if I'm already craving it again. The atmosphere really makes it a great choice as well, and the friendly service helps! It's also kind of out of the way, so it feels more private and leisurely. Plus, tons of great (expensive) boutiques offer post-brunch shopping just around the corner. Great place!

Next up (hopefully): an entry about Fette Sau, the BBQ place in Williamsburg. I ate there on Friday and it was divine!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Put that away, Rachael Ray

So, Forbes published this list of top earning celebrity chefs (though serious eats did it better). Thoughts?

Camp Cuisine

Ever find yourself stranded in the woods with nothing but peanut butter, cheez-its, alfalfa sprouts, and wraps?? Don't even worry! The ole peanut-butter-cheez-it-sprout wrap is an ancient snack of the mountain men. Check it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Idiocy is sometimes brilliant

So I'm not sure what sort of defective muse smashed into our heads this evening, but Z and I made a high-heat dish in this awful weather. Happily, it was the best eggplant parmesean either of us have ever had. The thing that did it most for me was the fresh basil in the sauce. I feel like a a whale bloated on the krill that's extremely high in saturated fat, though. Uggghhhh

Friday, July 31, 2009

cider surprise

there's nothing like picking out a fancy beverage and settling down with it at home after work. unless that fancy beverage is doc's hard pear cider:

as soon as i took a sip of this seemingly delicious drink, i realized that it tasted familiar. it did not taste like cider... nor did it taste particularly like pear... no, it tasted exactly like a mcdonald's cheeseburger:

i'm not crazy. casey agreed with me. are the taste profiles of pear cider and cheeseburgers supposed to be at all similar? something tells me no. do yourself a favor and spring for the chimay like i wish i had.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Taco Truck Tuesday Remix

So, after my Epic Friend Fail last week (in which I told Eric I would meet him for lunch and then got stuck in a meeting), Eric and I set up a remix of what would have been Taco Truck Tuesday if I had my act together.

Central Park + Taco Truck on 60th and Third = Delicious lunch

I had chicken enchiladas and Eric got a chicken burrito, which is unfortunately not pictured. As usual, I swore to everyone in the vicinity that I was too full to ever eat again, but obviously that truth became a lie come dinnertime. Mmmm, street food!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A new Anella

Anella is a recent addition to my nabe, on whereelsebut Franklin Street in g'point. As Kendall and I were lucky enough to have a very special houseguest this past weekend, we were treated to delicious dinner at the new italianish restaurant. THANK YOU MRS. HOLLAND!

The space is divided into two narrow dining areas, one of which houses the bar (which does indeed have its liquor license now). It is dark and rustic in that italian restaurant sort of way, but with a cleaner, fresher feel to it. Unfortunately, I am unable to comment upon Anella's garden at this time, but I'm sure it's fantastic.

We sat at a window seat, where we were able to gauge a considerable amount of interest from passersby in the menu taped behind us. And we don't blame them. After receiving some white bean dip action courtesy of the chef, we all thoroughly enjoyed our eggplant bruschetta appetizer. Mrs. H ordered a pesto pasta dish of some sort, which was probably my favorite thing consumed at Anella. Kendall's arugula & pear salad looked good, but she didn't share. I got a beet salad, because I can never resist such a thing. I really liked it, but couldn't finish the disproportionate amount of beets involved, and lamented the lack of cheese.

All in all, dinner at Anella was wonderful; however we still have some unfinished business. Called Brunch.

Monday, July 27, 2009

You'd think they'd never been to a pig roast before

There isn't much to say about 3rd Ward's second annual pig roast that hasn't already been said, photographed, and probably betamaxed somewhere. But watching Marlow & Sons' Tom Mylan hack up a 200 pound pig is always a nice way to spend a summer Sunday afternoon, even if the line for pork tacos turns out to be far too long and then it starts raining and you give up and go to Fette Sau.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sweet and cheap in SoHo

It's been a while guys. Thanks for holding the fort down.

Let's cut straight to the chase: This place is awesome! I mean it. I have been there twice in the past week. Well, Z works near there, so it hasn't been without cause.

So you walk in and there's some gelato on your right. Then you look around and are like, man this is some fancy-ass chocolate. I'll bet if Tim Burton had been reading a lot of Fitzgerald and were less insane this store would have been has adaptation. After the initial awe-struck confusion (which, to be honest doesn't last too long since they're mostly truffle's with picture on the outside and there are other truffle places in this city) you notice there's a back room with tables, which gives you some direction as you meander and look at all of the confectionery delights. The back room is cute enough, with some tiny tables. In the corner furthest from the entrance there's a mini chaise for a chair and that's cool. There's also a really silly chandelier with fake flames in the candles. I didn't do an adequate job explaining what's going on, but I'm rusty and don't feel like revising so it'll have to remain as it is.

So the first time Z and I went after a lunch and the waiter asked if it was our first time there. He then suggested we get the aztec, which he claimed all the Europeans visit to get, and that we get it European style (which means with water rather than milk) so that we would have a better taste of the chocolate. Z immediatly went with his recommendation and, after looking over the menu for a few moments I did the same. We both got mediums which was a huge delicious mistake. They were basically an entire mug of melted rich fudge. It was amazing. I had so much will power afterward it would blow your mind (that's a joke that no one will get, sorry).

We went back after eating dinner at this place which is also amazing, and I decided to get gelato. Z got the spicy hot chocolate--this time a small which she said was about the right size--which was tasty, but not quite as good (we both agreed). They were almost out of everything, so I got the plumb sorbet and holy eff was it good. Lots of plumb-skin action to make it de-lish.

So, you should check it out. And probably before you go you should eat at that mooncakes place I linked above. In addition to being cheap, innovative, and delicious, they played about 4 Pearl Jam songs when we walked in.

I had the buckwheat noodle salad with chicken and ginger cilantro-pesto. It struck a nice balance between greens, noodles, and sauce and was not too heavy. Also the noodles were not warm, and the chicken was, which was fun.

Z had a seared tuna with soy something vinaigrette dressing salad. It was darn tasty also. Both of them were 8.80 each! The chocolate cost almost that much! Insane value and nice staff! woo!

Okay, I'm out. Sorry the tone of this is so scattered.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Late-Night Zucchini Lovin'

Every so often, I get really obsessed with a particular fruit or vegetable. I then proceed to cook a bunch of things with that fruit or vegetable or order it in restaurants until I get sick of it. I've recently been through asparagus, arugula and sweet potatoes, although SPs are exempt because I NEVER GET SICK OF THEM. Currently, the vegetable of choice is zucchini.

Last time my friend L and I were at Westville, we ordered a zucchini appetizer. It was served with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, and it was absolute heaven. I always say that Westville has the best vegetables in New York, and this zucchini dish validated my claims.

After this experience, I was consumed by anything zucchini-related. Several of you may remember my zucchini bread with chocolate chips from the potluck, and I gave it an encore later in the week by baking another loaf for euchre night.

Not surprisingly, I realized that the best way to satisfy my endless desire for zucchini was to recreate the Westville dish. I returned home at 11 p.m. after chugging down a milkshake this evening only to realize I'd never had dinner, so I set about some late-night cooking.

With a little help from a recipe I found online, which I modified a bit to fit my needs, I made a pretty delicious rendition. Basically, I just sauteed the zucchini in olive oil, then added garlic and the cherry tomatoes. I didn't have the fresh basil the recipe called for, so I just threw in some basil and garlic seasoning and a bit of salt and pepper. After I spooned a helping onto my plate, I added a few chunks of fresh mozzarella as well.

Mmm! Zucchini at midnight! Nothin' wrong with that.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happiness is...

Because Nobody Likes Rotten Veggies.

Yep, the title pretty much sums it up. I'm not sure if I posted this before, but I still swear by it so there's no harm in throwing it up here again...thanks to T for this:

Monday, July 6, 2009

perch perfection

sometimes it's important to take a break from our fabulous new york city lifestyles and play some skip bo, drink some root beer, and eat some cinnamon buns.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence, from played-out holiday traditions

Oooo, it looks like good things are about to happen here!

Last night, I bought a bunch of beef, anticipating the desire to cook up burgers for the Fourth. I ended up making tacos, anticipating having plenty of meat leftover for burgers, and that tacos are delicious. I was right 2 out of 3 fronts. When today (the fourth of july) rolled around, all I could think about were those damn tacos! So yeah, I made more tacos in honor of fireworks day. Hope everyone is having a happy holiday weekend, even if you settled for lame ole burgers.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cream cheese

So, I basically go to Bagelsmith (north 7th and bedford) every effing morning these days. Bagelsmith has great bagels, a friendly staff, and is right by the train - so it is a pretty logical thing to do i think. They also have some interesting cream cheese options that you just don't see everyday (today they were advertising a new "chocolate chip CC", which honestly sounds disgusting to me but I support innovation). For quite some time, my staple has been an everything bagel, toasted, with jalapeno cheddar cream cheese. The JCCC is phenomenal, and often featured at bagel brunch. But just when the bagelsmiths had started remembering me and my order, something enticing caught my eye. That's right: bacon scallion cream cheese. This is a really brilliant idea for a combo, and the ratio of bacon to scallion to cream cheese is just right. It almost makes going to work in the morning worthwhile!

Also, it is currently 9pm on a friday night. Will someone please hang out with me?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Found art

I am forever grateful to the artist who saw fit to photograph this delicate arrangement of fruit, nut, and flower, as well as to whomever left this piece on the street for the next foodart connoisseur to enjoy.I do love when art mimics life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

food fight

This is a fascinating story about street vendors that will make you look at those nice ladies you get coffee from every morning in a whole new light.

Friday, June 26, 2009

D.C. THIS, New York

I've had quite a few pleasant food experiences over the past month or so, and only now has my life calmed down to such a degree that I can share them with you. The next few posts will probably be a bit random, and we can forget chronological order. I'll just write whatever I'm motivated to write until I run out of things to talk about. I hope everyone feels good about that.

So, let's talk for a second about Washington, D.C. I visited some dear friends from college there last weekend, and that meant a bit of exposure to the food scene in the District (not to mention the drink scene). And before you ask, NO, I did not go to Ben's Chili Bowl, although the bar across from it is quite nice.

A few (some of them sadly nameless) highlights include a delicious wine and cheese bar near the Braddock Road stop on the Yellow Line in Alexandria and an Ethiopian restaurant called Madjet Restaurant located on Avenue U in what I'm told is an area known as "Little Ethiopia" in D.C. My meal at the wine and cheese bar included a delicious sandwich and salad for a pretty reasonable price, as well as some wonderful red wine. I'd never eaten Ethiopian food before, so that was quite a treat. We ordered a beef dish with a veggie sampler, and we were supplied with some sort of bread-like substance (almost like a cross between naan and a pancake) that we used to pinch up the veggies and beef, upside-down-taco-style. Mmm. I'll try to get the name of the wine bar from my friend R and post it in the comments later.


As far as dessert goes, I made sure to hit up Cake Love, a fairly popular cafe where they serve AMAZING cupcakes. The frosting is not my traditional favorite, buttercream, but it's pretty much the best cupcake you could ever imagine eating times infinity. I can't even describe the frosting, it's something you must experience for yourself. The cake is moist, the frosting is great, so it's an all-around winner (as compared to places like Magnolia in NYC, which has great frosting masking an ultra-dry cake). I've been told to try Georgetown Cupcake, but I'm pretty sure it will probably be over-rated the same way Magnolia is, and since I don't get to D.C. that often I would rather not cheat on Cake Love. This time, I got a caramel vanilla version. Mmm, coffee and a cupcake.

The real treat, however, was the D.C. brunch I consumed on Sunday at a place called Acadiana, a Southern restaurant that serves Louisiana-style cuisine. It's located near where New York Avenue and K Street intersect with 9th Street, which was perfect because my bus was transporting me back to New York from 10th Street and Avenue H in Chinatown.

I arrived at the restaurant before my friend J, toting a duffle bag and huffing breathlessly, the very model of a sweaty and harassed tourist. The place was huge and relatively swanky, with a cool vibe. There was a jazz band playing in the back, and the wait staff looked pretty official in their uniforms. However, they were wonderful and courteous and seated me before my friend arrived, which would never, ever happen in New York in a million years. They even offered to store my duffle!

After my friend arrived we decided on the Prix Fixe brunch, a $32 three-course affair that included a free mimosa. We had a choice between many, many options, and eventually my friend J settled on the roasted sweet corn and blue crab soup appetizer, shrimp and grits as her entree, and beignets for dessert. I opted for fried green tomatoes, eggs acadiana (which were described as "two poached eggs, louisiana crawfish crabcakes, tasso ham hollandaise" and also included home fries) and raisin bread pudding. We toasted to our fabulous choices over blood orange mimosas.

Suffice it to say, the food was AMAZING. The fried green tomatoes were about what you might expect, but they were also topped with shrimp in a tangy dipping sauce, which really added a lot to the crispy tomatoes.

I'm not a huge seafood person, so the fact that I adored the crabcakes is pretty important. They were perfectly seasoned, still retaining a seafood taste without being overpowering. Pairing it with the eggs and ham hollaindaise was a really unusual combination, and one I definitely appreciated.

As far as the raisin bread pudding, words simply cannot express the deliciousness of it. Good things I have a photograph:

Another really, really important thing to mention is that the wait staff at Acadiana is SUPERB. Not only is the atmosphere wonderful (jazz band, huge windows, spacious), the waitress was very friendly and attentive. They must have brought out new silverware for every course I had, my water glass was never empty, and she stopped by randomly just to make sure things were going well. The place is huge and very busy, but she never seemed frazzled or annoyed at our requests. She brought us things we didn't ask for (like new silverware) and things we did ask for (more delicious cheese biscuits with a swirled jelly-and-butter sauce) with a smile. They let us stay as long as we liked, even though the place was rapidly filling up.

So basically, I would encourage anyone heading to the D.C. area to try this place, especially if you're in the mood for a super-filling Southern brunch. J and I walked around the area for nearly an hour, and I was still full to bursting when I arrived home in New York seven hours later at 8 p.m. I guess if you're eating for a full day, $32 isn't so bad. It also doesn't hurt that the food was out of this world and the employees were so hospitable. DEFINITELY a great pick by J!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


So...I've been a little neglectful of SPF lately, and I apologize from the bottom of my food-lovin' heart for that. However, the simple truth of the matter is that I honestly don't have the time to rectify that problem right now.

What I CAN do for you is promise that I will be penning a plethora of posts in the very near future. I have a LOT of food-related fun to share with you all, most notably the Indian food I inhaled on Monday night and a superb brunch I ingested while in D.C. last the weekend. Alas, though the timing is not right at the moment, my devotion to SPF will not, can not, shall not waver.

Don't give up on me, my SPFs!

To be continued...

Sunday, June 21, 2009



Thursday, June 18, 2009


So, I guess Queens is going to win the best borough poll. That's cute, guys.

Friday, June 12, 2009

imposter sandwich

this post is about shortcomings. we all know that no one is perfect, so when i decided to recreate curly's santa barbarella sandwich, i knew not to expect the real thing. the approximation, however, was ridiculously good.

it consisted of inglehoffer sweet hot mustard, mesclun mix, monterey jack cheese, morningstar fake bacon, broccoli rabe sprouts, red onion, and tomato all on seeded wheat bread.

i may not have pumpkinseed pesto or whatever other things they use to make their sandwich so delicious, and i may not be able to figure out how to rotate this picture, but this sandwich was pretty good.

*edit* picture rotated

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Counter Culture Cuisine

So, those of you acquainted with us in person know that Z and I are among the most subterranean sub-culture people out there. As a testament to this, we have started cooking all kinds of hot soups right when the weather is heating up. Take that you 'normal' cuisinies.

So yeah, Z cooked us another new soup tonight! For those of you thinking, 'gee whiz mwr, Z does an awful lot of cooking for you,' I will say this: thanks for paying attention to my posts.

Anyway, Z and I went through a bunch of soup recipes and picked out ones that sounded interesting, were quick to make, and that pleased the ever credulous internet message boards, and we came up with a list of things to try. This one made the list because it was a black bean soup with feta (though the feta ended up playing a smallish part in the overall soup experience).

As far as evaluation goes, this soup is ALL about the garnish. I started mine cautiously with minimal raw jalapeno and inadequate ciantro. It was okay. The blending gave it a texture thick enough to feel while you ate it without feeling like you're eating hot bean-dip. The carrots and onions, whenever they crept up, added as nice bit of variety to the taste without 'showing off.' I was happy with it.

However, when I added more raw fresh green things and it improved vastly! The jalapeno quickly spread throughout and gave a very mild kick that didn't mask any of the other flavors. The real treat, though, was the cilantro. Now, I am not one of these people born with the alleged cilantro tastes like fetid chum gene, but I do think that it's a bit of a prima donna in most dishes--either demanding to be the star of the dish or fading away into the untastable. I generally try to stay away from it. In this case, though, it remained subtle while still retaining its presence in the dish. This increase in garnish moved this from a sort of standard black bean soup that I wouldn't want to call a standby due to it's lack of corn to a noteworthy and above average treat.

This brings me to another thing worth mentioning: the soup had only one dry spice in it: cumin. Now, sure, some of you read this and think "okay mwr. I get what's going on and don't trust anything you have to say about this soup anymore." You're probably not entirely mistaken in your dismissivness as since the cumin is an obvious presence that I think adds a lot. Still, just one dry spice. That is impressive! I think I am going to try to reduce the number of spices I use while cooking and up the fresh herbs, garnishes, and other things. This should be extra fun since I just tried reducing the sauces I used for in order to focus on dry spices. That turned out to be a blast and helped me make better sauces.

One last note: it didn't make an awful low, so if you're going to make it for guests be sure to increase the quantity or have a hearty side.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Night on Diamond Street

The endless possibilities of food continue to amaze me. Tonight, thanks to part genius and part pure proximity of ingredients, kendall created this wheatthin-with-spaghetti-and-easycheese-ontop. Obviously, it is a beautiful thing!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Soupy summer

Yum guys.

Z made this delicious soup just now (she subbed in chicken stock & olive oil).

I will now list some of the virtues of this soup:
1. It was beautiful to look at; the picture doesn't do it justice. Once K and I made this 'yellow' themed soup to celebrate Lance Armstrong that should have looked like this (which was much more vibrantly yellow). The bits of green and red added a lot of nice color, and the rice & chickpeas gave it a lovely visual texture (even if chick-peas kind of look like butts half the time you're eating them).

1a. Hell, it was sensational on all accounts, the smell, the texture, the sight. I even think I heard the little chick-peas singing a beautiful melody as I ate them.

2. It's a creamy soup, but it's not diary cream. This is particularly rewarding for the less tolerant among us.

3. The taste was the closest to awesome thai's tom kha I've had outside of awesome thai. DO YOU HEAR THAT KENDALL? Seriously, it had so much of that flavor to it. It wasn't 100% there, but it shouldn't have been. Also, the jalapeno added a good kick.

4. It was new. Hooray!

5. It was fast and cheap.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ladies who lunch later

as part of our concurrent quests to 1) eat every cheese plate in williamsburg and 2) make sure everyone thinks we're lesbians, casey and i went to roebling tea room on roebling and metropolitan.

rtr's cheese plate is modest, but to be fair so is its price. for $10 you receive a bunch of delicious bread, fig paste, capers, and two generous portions of cheese (which i'm assuming are not always the same, but i could be wrong). they also have some sort of weird unadvertised happy hour deal, so i'd ask about that so you don't order the one thing that isn't on it like i did.


I wish I didn't work in the 50s...

This would be so helpful:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stuff I eat at work

Working on a Saturday is sad.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Summer is here, meaning it's time for a new favorite meat (right?)! I'm going to go with shrimp, pictured here with spaghetti. This was a really satisfying meal, actually. My apartment smells pretty gross, but at least it's no crab fiasco.

Alright, I'm off to the hamptons. Peace.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

You CAN Go Home Again...Just Be Sure To Get Drunk First.

New York City has always seemed like a culinary epicenter to me, a hub of gastronomic pleasures one would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. However, I grew up in Ohio, and as far as food was concerned we had to make do with what we had (I actually think that's actually the state motto, come to think of it).

It's natural to assume that Ohio has little to offer in the way of food satisfaction, but I reaffirmed during a Memorial Day trip home that this is simply not true. I'll spare you the details of home-cooked meals and perfect burgers straight from the grill and focus on the most important thing: pizza.

Everyone in the Midwest eats pizza, just as everyone in New York eats pizza. Granted, Midwesterners don't seem to be as...inventive as New Yorkers in this arena (I'm talking about YOU, Artichoke), but there are a ton of superb pizza joints near my hometown. One of the best: Danny Boy's.

I was craving it pretty intensely as soon as my plane landed on Thursday evening, and I finally got it on Monday night. A calzone bigger than my face stuffed with cheese, mushrooms, green peppers and sausage plus a $4 glass of wine pretty much made my evening. Sure, I spilled some of my wine on the table, but what else is new?

I couldn't finish the calzone, so I did something I consider pretty heroic. I took it home, put it in a ziploc bag, and stored it in the refrigerator. The next day, I dropped it into my purse and took it on the plane.

I had to whip out my calzone (that's what he said?) at the airport and put the accompanying pasta sauce in its own ziploc bag in its own little tub to send through security. The man working there, amusingly, seemed completely unfazed by this production. I guess maybe he's used to people loving Danny Boy's calzones enough to bring them back through airport security to New York? In any case, I had a delicious Tuesday evening meal that reminded me of home, and it was totally worth it. Totally.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


OH MY GOD GUYS SOOO AWESOME. So yeah, no one can hate poutine until they've had this. This place, La Banquis, is open 24 hours a day and has a bazillion different kinds of the delicious gravy covered fresh-curd-cheese fries. We got the veggie kind, which had onions and peppers in it. I swear to god I would die of obesity in about 8 months if I moved to Montreal because this stuff is so amazing. I am not expressing how awesome this is well at all. Imagine some triumphalist story about an explorer, nearing the end, climbing some mountain top and discovering the paradise s/he'd been seeking the past decades accompanied by a choir of angels singing and playing awesome trumpets and you'll be close to understanding.

Not just a follower

Hi Guys,

Job freak out, excuses etc. aside.

I'm waiting on the picture for the post I want to make so badly, but in the meantime: eggspectation.

That is the name of a breakfast chain that I went to with about 25 people who like to listen to loud industrial-y music. They have a lot of egg-pun named breakfast dishes that looked really good. I wanted to try the poached eggs over latkes (oy vegg), I'm from Florida so I had to eat the boca raton benedict. Think the normal benedict but replace ham with guacamole. I gotta say, it was delicious.

The home fries were cute too. The drinks, though, were awful and overpriced.

That's all I've got until I finish the last half of the jar of peanut butter or I get a picture.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Asparagus Fail

So sure, I love asparagus. It stands to reason that a food that perfectly compliments such classy meals as burgers and pierogi would make a very sophisticated late-night snack.


Especially when you cover it with shredded cheese (which seriously doesn't make any sense, for a lot of reasons) and dip it in a measuring cup full of melted butter. I dirtied no less than 5 dishes for this disaster. Sad stuff.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And then K and I went to Curly's...again.

This beautiful photo depicts the much-lauded Santa Barbarella sandwich with the now-legendary sweet potato fries. Also, we sat by the window! And we got sangria! Of course.

Spike the Punch

I like Punch. Let me just start off by using that very bland description of my feelings toward the place. What I mean to say's nice. A banal adjective to match a bland verb. Both of these things are true. But while niceness and feelings of "like" can often be used to define casual friendships, they are not the stuff of great romance. Thus, it follows that Punch fits that same category.

Let me clarify. I would definitely recommend eating here. The food is quite good, and if you choose carefully the prices are reasonable. I suppose the point I'm trying to convey is that it's an agreeable dining situation, but I wouldn't rave about it and force everyone I know to eat there immediately (SEE: Curly's, Last Stop, Awesome Thai).

I had a lovely brunch experience there last summer with my friend R, so when she suggested a return trip for dinner last week I was all in. Most of the entrees were a little pricey, but since I'm easy to please so I went with a turkey burger and (you guessed it) sweet potato fries for $12. The turkey burger was juicy and quite meat-alicious and the fries were good (although I finally satisfied my SPF craving at Curly's a few days later, which obviously blew Punch's version out of the water).

Two mild annoyances: the wait staff basically ignored us, so we had to sit around for quite awhile and then flag someone to take our order even though there were only a handful of people in the restaurant. The second issue was with the dessert. Although it was a good concept (ice cream sandwiched by two chocolate chip cookies) with a lovely presentation (which included strawberries!), the cookies seemed to be a bit stale. Maybe they were supposed to be hard rather than soft, but when we had difficulty chipping them apart with a knife, it became evident that there was an issue.

Still, overall the food is good and affordable if you choose wisely. It's true I didn't fall head over heels, but Punch and I certainly have a nice platonic relationship developing. I feel like I should punch it (pardon the pun) on the arm and call it dude. Or explain to it that we're just friends and nothing more can ever happen between us. Or tell it I'll be really busy with other restaurants for awhile, but we should definitely try to get together in a few months when things settle down. Okay, stop typing, eLs. Stop typing.

New Summer Outdoor Food Market!

At South Street Seaport on the weekends:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ninth Avenue Food Festival 2009

Ninth Avenue International Food Festival and Street Fair: May 16-17, 2009

This is apparently called a mozzarepa, which to me sounds like an offense for which you might do 20 years in a maximum security prison. In actuality, it is pure amazingness: melted mozzarella between two grilled cornbread patties.

Crepe with chocolate and strawberries. Thank GOD for Ninth Avenue, food, street fairs, fruit, chocolate and the person who invented crepes, because all of that led up to this wonderful moment.

Ring-a-ding-ding: Rangdhonu Cafe

I'm sure there are a lot of great things about living in Manhattan. Everything you need is at your doorstep, there's always some variety of hustle and bustle, and commuting can take the form of walking a few blocks instead of riding the rails from the outer boroughs.

However, there are also a few great things about living on the fringe of city life in Astoria, Queens. The rent. The beer garden. Tiny old Italian and Greek people waddling around sweeping doorsteps or shaking newspapers at you. And the FOOD.

Obviously the restaurants in Manhattan deserve a pretty important gastronomic nod here, but as we all keep reading, Astoria is quickly becoming an almost-cool neighborhood. This means that not only are places like the unsurpassable Kabab Cafe, countless Greek restaurants, Telly's Taverna, Neptune Diner, Last Stop pizza, and Watawa sushi cropping up, they also remain hidden outer-borough gems. If you live in the neighborhood, these places are enough to make you want to stay. At least, until the advent of gentrification (or hipster-ification) in a few years.

The point of this post is the discovery of another fabulous new addition to the Astoria Foodie Landscape: Rangdhonu Cafe, a Bengali restaurant on 36th Avenue that opened so recently it doesn't even have a Web site.

After reviewing options that included a Brazilian buffet and yet another Venezuelan arepa bar, my friend Eric (it's pointless to use an initial at this point, since he's all over this blog) and I stopped into this place, which has a sort of fast food restaurant decor. Eric wanted to try it out because it reminded him of his old neighborhood in London, which was predominantly Bengali. As he pointed out, the restaurant is located on a "South Asian stretch of 36th Avenue, complete with Bengali grocers and a sari store. The barber across the street has its signs in sanskrit, too."

Rangdhonu is awesome and weird in a really cool, important way. In addition to the aforementioned fast food atmosphere, the place was populated entirely by what appeared to be Bangladeshi (I hope that's proper usage, Eric) men. I was the only female patron in the entire place, except for a mother with her baby and husband at the table behind me.

After we arrived, a waitress brought us plastic cups and a miniature pitcher of water, which we poured for ourselves. The menus were presented to us by a completely different person, a round man with a heavy accent and an appealing gap-toothed smile. He explained to us that the menu actually changes every day depending on what they make, and he patiently showed us which items were available before bustling off to allow us to mull things over.

When he returned to take our order (beef curry for Eric, chicken tikka from the tandoori menu for me), he informed me that Americans generally found the Chicken Tikka to be too spicy and suggested the Chicken Tikka Masala ("pieces of chicken tikka cooked in creamy masala sauce") from the curry menu instead. We ordered an appetizer of Mughlai ("Light pastry filled with spiced eggs, vegetables and chicken"), and the waiter actually laughed at me when I had to clarify that I wanted a side order of naan IN ADDITION to the rice that already came with my meal. Somehow, instead of finding his slight mocking mildly offensive, I was mildly charmed. It was kind of nice to feel so welcome by such a helpful employee, as opposed to the usual displays of indifference common to restaurant staff in this city.

The waitress brought us a small basket with plastic utensils a few minutes later, even though the waiter had warned us that our mughlai would take at least 10 minutes to prepare. When the mughlai arrived, we were given a backup basket of utensils.

The mughlai was totally delicious, wrapped in flaky pastry and reminiscent of a chicken b'steeya dish served at the Middle Eastern restaurant I loved in my college town. It was huge and flat and cut into manageable squares for us. It was also served with two types of sauce in thimble-sized containers, one that was ultra-spicy and one that had hints of what Eric called out as parsley. I'm not entirely sure what types of vegetables were encased in the pastry shell, but I'm pretty sure I ate more than my fair share.

Within a reasonable period of time, our meals were served. Both the appetizer and the meal were served on ceramic plates with an elaborate floral design, despite the fact that we were eating with plastic silverware. Another element of strangeness, certainly, but it somehow lent itself to the overall amazingness of the place. We received plates piled high with more rice than I've ever seen in my life, as you may notice. I poured my delicious curry over it and went to town.

It was DELICIOUS. Now, I enjoy spicy food, but I can't take anything too spicy. This dish was, surprisingly, not spicy at all. It's a good choice for someone like me, especially when I already had leftover spicy panang from Awesome Thai awaiting me in the refrigerator. Eric's was also delicious, and it's important to me at least that I could distinguish the flavors of his beef curry from my chicken. It's a bit worrisome when the meat all tastes the same (which has happened to me before, to be sure). The tandoor sauce was a bit sweet, and it complimented the chicken quite well.

My only problem was that the chunks of chicken were HUGE and had to be cut into manageable pieces. Also, the chicken-to-rice ratio was a bit off, with the chicken weighing in on the sparse end of things. Still, I was only able to eat a little less than half of it before I called it quits. The naan, which was delivered after the meals, was a delicious, doughy, perfect side. Plus it only cost $1.

And on that note...Eric and I got a can of soda, a shared appetizer and two entrees for $21 total. With tip, my meal was $13 and I finished off the rest of it for lunch today. Plus, there was no indication of any sort of ethnic food stomach issues (if you know what I mean) at any time, which always earns extra points in my book. I will probably go back to this place on every possible occasion, so get ready to be dragged there if you live in the area and enjoy Bengali food. We will be going.

So Manhattan, you may have the Empire State Building, but I have cheap and easy Bengali food. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Strangely appetizing...and horrifying...I'm so confused!

I keep forgetting to post this, but I am MESMERIZED by it. Is it wrong that so much of this actually appeals to me?

Thank GOD for six-inch bagels.

Portion size comparison...what the hell would you do with a three-inch bagel?

awesome thai got awesomer

as i think we've all expressed, it would be a huge undertaking to write an spf post about sripraphai (or as i believe mike dubbed it - awesome thai). but i noticed a new component to the menu last night that i am excited about sharing.

in the very back of the menu there are two fluorescent green pages containing a vegetarian menu! i have only run into a couple of problems with their menu in the past: 1) it didn't say which dishes are not offered with tofu/without meat and 2) there was no galangal soup without chicken. both of these problems have been remedied by this new menu, and it seems that they've started offering more of their dishes sans meat. which means i can have my own bowl of galangal soup. and that someday i might go there and order something other than panang curry with tofu. it's not likely though.

note: i also noticed that the panang curry off of the vegetarian menu includes baby corn and thai eggplant. i'm indifferent about this addition, but thought it was worth noting.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Skin Deep

I'm sorry, but when one of the most emailed stories over at the times is titled "Confused by SPF? Take a Number," my heart skips a beat.

Don't get too excited, we're not all that confusing. Well, maybe mwr.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It all comes down to BRUNCH


You say sil-ANT-ro, I say sil-AHN-tro...

And now the question do YOU feel about cilantro?

My New Diet

So, anyone who knows me also knows that every Spring I complain about winter pudge. Everyone who knows me also know that I flip out about money irrationally. Well, now that I'm going to be unemployed in about two months I've decided to pit my faults against one another in a struggle to the death from which only one can survive, am I'm banking on my flipping out about money taking the title.

Excess aside, here is how I eat now. It's been working for about 7 days, so I think I've got a thing going.

Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal, 1 banana, and some cinnamon.
Lunch: 1 package top ramen, 1 PBJ sandwhich
Dinner: I go all out for this one. Sometimes it's curry, sometimes it's more oat meal, and sometimes it's kale-tempeh salad. I give myself a $3 budget for this meal, since the other two are about $2 combined.

Even then, $5 a day X 30 days a month and you're looking at 150 clams to keep me minimally fit, and that does not include the excessive coffee and tea I drink. Still, it's under the $200 a month I can get in food stamps if I don't find a job before August.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A couple of things

So there's a pizza place on the corner of 14th and 6th that I had to pass a lot going to school on Thursdays. It's good, but not good enough to justify the inflated prices. However, they did have one thing I've never seen before and was pretty happy with. They took one of their garlic knot things, which were pretty big and sliced it in half. In the middle they had a slice of mozzarella cheese, a slice of tomato, and a basil leaf. They heated it enough to make the role warm while keeping the cheese cold. It was delicious.

I also went to Curly's the other day with Z. She had that fake crab cakes, which were good but not at all crabby...and kind of not filling enough. There was a blackbean-corn salad in the middle of the plate that looked pretty awesome though. I had the fake Philly cheese-steak and I was disappointed with it, just like I was with the Quantum Leap version. Maybe I just don't like that dish.

Finally, sweet potatoes work will in green curry too! This is exciting because I thought they might only be a red-panang thing. Curry is totally an affordable dinner for a soon-to-be-unemployed person to eat. white rice, potatoes, and onion all cost basically nothing! So if you keep it simple and don't add any fancy pineapple or pepper then you're basically only paying for coconut milk and spices, which come to 2.50. $3 for at least 3 meals and usually for? sounds good to me!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"I mean, it's no Sweet Potato Friends, but..."

A few other allegedly great foodie Web sites, probably far inferior to this one, that were called out by Entertainment Weekly:

Foodie Sites

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The best things start with a B

Stoop Special

I love you, pierogi and asparagus dinner.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Il Bagatto hits the spot-o...sort of.

My friend L is an Italian food junkie (and won't eat much else), so she chose this place, Il Bagatto, for her belated birthday dinner last evening. A small group of five diners braved the V train to the Lower East Side, and we arrived at around 5:45 p.m. to begin the festivities.

The first, and perhaps most accurate, thing that I need to say about this place is that it's weird. First of all, the restaurant's Web site doesn't even include a regular menu, just a takeout menu. And, as it turns out, they only had half the items listed on the menu provided by Hello, "fusilli served with sausage, mushroom, peas, fresh tomato and a touch of cream"...where were you?

The restaurant itself is actually very pretty, with the standard "we're a rustic Italian trattoria" decor of exposed brick and white linens and candles. The strangeness began when we were ushered downstairs to wait at the bar while they "got our table ready," despite the fact that we were the only people in the restaurant at 6 p.m. on a Wednesday. The downstairs bar, which is pictured on the Web page, is actually pretty cool, and the back rooms are beautiful and private and would probably be quite romantic if you were hiding away with someone. However, we were not hiding away. We were loud, loud people who planned to celebrate a birthday in a drunken haze.

After five weird (there's that word again) minutes talking to the bartender and trying to decide what to order, they informed us that our table was ready. Upstairs. So, we all trooped back up there and plunked ourselves down. We ordered a bottle of wine (obviously), and listened to the list of specials, which seemed to have no end. It seemed strange that the list of specials was longer than the menu, but there were quite a few great choices, so there were no complaints. I ended up ordering fusili with eggplant in a tomato and ricotta sauce, and after everyone had selected their dishes we dissolved into drinking, witty conversation, and tearing apart the delicious hunks of bread varieties in the basket, including one with kalamata olives.

This is where a few more weird details make their appearance. L isn't a fan of eating bread dipped in olive oil (I'm pretty sure she's faking her Italian heritage), so she always asks for butter. When she requested this from the waiter, he informed her that they don't serve butter with the bread.

Silence. Crickets.

We know they have butter. They know they have butter. Why won't they just give us a pat of butter to humor us? Are they cutting back on their butter usage so much that they can't let the poor girl use a smidge of it for her damn roll on her BIRTHDAY?

A similar issue arose when we were served our meals. The waiter offered to drizzle a bit of parmesan on my pasta (which I OBVIOUSLY accepted), but when L asked for cheese on her meal she was told that they couldn't put cheese on her choice. I'm not sure exactly what she got, but it was PASTA, for heaven's sake. They can't spare a spoonful of cheese? My friend A, naturally, spoke up and asked if she couldn't please have the parmesan cheese anyway, despite their ludicrous policy. The waiter apologized and said that no, she could not, but he might be able to get her some pecorino romano cheese instead. She declined.

It must be said at this point that the food was pretty sensational. The bread was great and the fusili was pretty delicious too. I'm not ashamed to admit that I wolfed down the entire plate! Also, they agreed to serve the same fusili dish to A, who is vegan, without the cheese, so in their defense they were at least accomodating in that respect.

After dinner, I wondered quietly to A if I should bother telling the wait staff that it was L's birthday, and she whispered back that she'd already told them. However, if we were expecting some kind of fuss to be made, we were mistaken. No slice of cake with a single candle. No singing. No discount. No mention of her birthday whatsoever from the employees, not a peep. However, they did manage to write "Happy Birthday" on the BILL. Happy birthday INDEED.

So all in all, I suppose I would recommend this place again considering the food is decently priced and pretty good, plus the decor is cute. However, do not make any perfectly reasonable requests for things like butter or cheese in this ITALIAN RESTAURANT. You will be DENIED.

Good thing we left and went to a bar.

Side note: I also have a few Italian restaurants that I'd like to try at some point: Fresh Basil, which didn't get a great review from but which was highly recommended to me by a coworker, and Baraonda, which L found while walking to meet me for dinner elsewhere the other day. They had me at "semi-weekly dance party..."

Sweet surprise

Good news! Our vegetarian friends at Maoz have introduced a new dish that is dear to our hearts here at SPF. That's right kids, sweet potato fries (pictured here with a healthy dousing of tahini) are now available alongside your exploding falafel. Veg out!