I need to vent about some of the new developments in my life. Mostly, my gluten allergy. I may come back here someday. But, for now… onto the next one.
The weather has finally cooled down, the leaves are changing and it’s downright blustery some days. Autumn is the best season in New York, closely followed by the spring. I could do without our humid summers and cold winters.
This is one of my favorite autumn pastas.
-fresh gnocchi (Make it or buy it. I live near an authentic pasta shop in Williamsburg, suckas.)
-1/2 of a butternut squash, peeled & cubed
-4 sage leaves
-2 tbsp of butter
-dash of truffle oil
-sprinkle of parmiggiano reggiano
1. Boil water, add salt.
2. Sauté 1/2 butternut squash peeled and cubed in a bit of olive oil
3. When butternut squash is halfway cooked, melt 2 tbsp of butter in the pan. Watch carefully so that it doesn’t brown too much. Should have a nutty aroma. Add a bit of salt.
4. Add diced shallot, 4 chopped sage leaves. Take pan off of heat. Mix and set aside.
5. Carefully add gnocchi to boiling water. They should start floating to the top shortly. As they come up, scoop up with a slotted spoon and transfer to the butternut squash pan.
6. Mix it up. Top with cheese and truffle oil. Enjoy!
It’s no secret; I LOVE CARBOHYDRATES.
I would probably do alright in prison as long as I had bread, water and books… Fine, maybe not. But, I’d be okay for a little while.
In my latest attempt to reduce carbs, I’ve been trying to find some quick and easy recipes for breakfast. This mini-frittata is super easy and you can basically make any combination of meat/veggies that you wish. Leftovers can live in your fridge for a few days so it’s perfect for grabbing on your way out the door.
Makes 6 small frittatas
-green vegetable (spinach, kale, broccoli)
-meat/mushroom (sausage, ham, portabello)
-cheese (parmesan, asiago, cheddar)
-2 tablespoon sour cream
-garlic & herbs (oregano, basil, chives)
Heat oven to 350°F
Spritz olive oil on muffin pan
Toss herbs and green veggie with a spritz of olive oil. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat six eggs. Add sour cream. Mix in veggies and meat/mushrooms.
Pour into muffin tins. Top with cheese of choice.
Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes.
Optional: toss some Sriracha or other fun hot sauce on this and you have a partayyyy.
…unless you’re me and sometimes your diet goes to total shit while you’re eating stuff like this at brunch. I love you, Daniel Boulud.
Proper blog post to come soon…
I literally spent weeks trying to decide on a restaurant in LA to celebrate a big milestone birthday. Living in New York for the last 7+ years has made me a raving lunatic when it comes to food and I admittedly scoffed at the idea that there could be BETTER restaurants here. Even as I walked into this fine establishment, I braced myself to be ever-so-silghtly disappointed.
435 North Fairfax Blvd. (near Beverly Blvd.)
Los Angeles, California
Dear Animal, you have single-handedly restored my faith in the LA dining scene. I apologize for having any doubts about my homeland. Could I please have some more piggies and Tres Leches?
Hamachi Tostada with Herbs, Fish Sauce Vinaigrette, Peanut
Waiter recommended, perfect texture combinations, very light and a great way to start the meal. It was like having a very well-organized tartare.
Potato Agnolotti, Caramelized Onion Butter, Parmesan
Imagine the ideal bite of mashed potatoes but enveloped in a beautiful pasta coated in caramelized onions, butter and cheese. Yeah… Mind. Blown.
Melted Petit Basque, Chorizo, Grilled Bread
Technically, it’s melted cheese on sausage with toast. But, the best melted cheese on sausage with toast you will ever put in your mouth. This was recommended over the burrata and we did not regret our decision. Salty, crispy, crunchy, gooey, awesome…
Bone Marrow, Chimichurri, Caramelized Onions
I love bone marrow. But, I’ve never had it with chimichurri. It should always be served with chimichurri. Forever. I just drooled on my keyboard.
Foie Gras, Biscuit, Maple Sausage Gravy
Our waiter said that when he eats at the restaurant, he orders two so that he could eat one and the rub the other one all over his body. He added that the first time he took a bite, he immediately punched the chef in his face. Those sentiments rang true for the entire table. The foie was seared perfectly. The biscuit was possibly one of the best that I’ve ever had. The gravy was complex without compromising its integrity – it still tasted like gravy. Just really awesome gravy.
Barbecued Pork Belly Sandwich, Slaw
I didn’t expect much from this dish. If you’ve had one BBQ pork slider, you’ve had them all, right? This is completely untrue. Crispy, tender pork belly with barbecue sauce containing the perfect balance of sweetness, salt and vinegar. Even the bun was good. I was completely floored.
Heirloom Tomato, French Dressing, Olive, Hard-boiled Egg, Garlic Croutons
We needed a palate cleanser after all that delicious food. This was light and did the job. It was a touch over on the olive but the textures and flavor combinations were lovely.
Bacon Chocolate Crunch Bar, S&P Ice Cream
Party. In. Your. Mouth. This was stunningly good. Also, salt and pepper ice cream is amazing with bacon chocolate candy bars.
Sticky Toffee Pudding, Marscapone, Orange
I love sticky toffee pudding. If it’s on the menu, I’ll order it every time and this one was sublime. The orange was a nice touch. Really well done.
Tres Leches, Dulce de Leche
It’s hard to find good tres leches. Tears welled up in my eyes after the first bite. Hell, I wanted to punch the pastry chef. Definitely one of the best tres leches I’ve ever had. Ever.
Once every few years, I have a meal that literally makes me curse after every course. This was definitely such an occasion. “Holy sh*t, that’s effing good.”
Service was seamless. Our waiter was knowledgable and spent just the right amount of time at our table. One of my dining companions is a chef and he went back to personally thank the kitchen. If I still lived in LA, I would spend all of my money here.
I have had quite a few friends who were born and raised in New York question whether or not I am really from California. The stereotype fits: I can go from zero to sixty raving lunatic mode in mere seconds because someone decided to stop walking in the middle of a busy sidewalk, I almost always wear some variation of black clothing and $50 worth of groceries fits into one bag without me batting an eyelash anymore. But then, “dude!” comes out of my mouth and all bets are off. More recently, I have wondered if perhaps I am also somehow a displaced
Southerner… err Southern Belle. I tend to say “y’all” and “darlin’” often, praising Jesus during Sunday morning service at the Second African Baptist Church in Savannah, GA was the most enjoyable church-going experience I have ever had, and I am pretty sure that I have consumed more fried chicken and biscuits than is recommended by the surgeon general.
That said, it makes me quite happy (and scared for my health) that Brooklyn Star is just around the corner from my apartment.
593 Lorimer Street (between Conselyea and Metropolitan)
O’Sully and I went to Brooklyn Star for dinner on a recent Friday night. I had previously enjoyed a delicious meal with my girlfriends there but was happy to return as the menu had plenty of dishes I had yet to try. The menu is sustainable and seasonal American Comfort Food. Staff is super friendly and attentive. The space is quite lovely. The decor is inviting and almost like being in someone’s very extended kitchen. They sat us in a big booth which was oddly the same one that I’d sat in comfortably with four friends on my last visit.
In actuality, I was on a mission. I had one specific dish that I really wanted to try and almost slid to the floor when the waiter arrived to talk menu by saying, “Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that we’re out of Country Fried Foie and Waffles (with Black Pepper Honey) but everything else is good.” Complete. Devastation.
Alas, the show must go on…
Kool Aid (Spiked)
Old school Dr. Pepper (so silly that finding real sugar in a soda is such a foreign concept) and Kool Aid grace the beverage menu at BK Star. Um, awesome?! They take it to another level with the Dr. Pepper Cocktail: gin, Dr. Pepper syrup, grapefruit juice, and soda. But, after O’Sully ordered a regular Kool Aid, I sheepishly asked the waiter if I could have the same but spiked. He assured that they’d done it plenty of times and it wasn’t a problem. He delivered my Vodka Kool Aid shortly thereafter and I stifled a giggle as I drank my naughty punch. Seriously? Who drinks spiked Kool Aid? THIS GIRL! And, I’d do it again!
Bacon Jalapeno Cornbread
What’s not to like? Cake-like cornbread flecked with bacon and jalapeno, accompanied by honey and butter is pretty awesome. It’s even better when it comes straight out of the oven in its own mini-cast iron skillet. Sizzling!
Mac and Cheese with Bacon
Kool Aid (Virgin)
Rich, creamy, salty, smokey with crunchy toasted breadcrumbs on top. Now, that is some TASTY mac and cheese!
Grilled Veal Sweetbread Tacos, Fried Hominy, Pickled Onion, Pineapple Salsa, Lime
Country Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Hot Slaw
Sweetbread Tacos were delicious. How could something with the words “SWEET” and “BREAD” in its name NOT be? (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo so just made sure O’Sully modeled his half-eaten taco while I was snapping the country fried steak.) I’m usually a taco purist but these were really nicely done.
And then, there was a miss.
Look at that photo! If it doesn’t scream, “Yummy Southern Fried Goodness!” to you, then we have nothing further to discuss. But, I assume that it does, loyal food blog reader, so I shall continue. When the dish arrived at the table, I definitely gasped. Chicken Fried Steak doesn’t look much better than that. As we dove in, I was disappointed to find that the breading was so thick, it felt like we were eating fried batter with a bit of meat. It was just fine but for something that looked so amazing, it wasn’t. It’s like meeting a ridiculously attractive person and then finding out that he/she sounds like Donald Duck. I don’t even remember if we finished it; I just wanted to pretend it didn’t happen.
Overall, we had a really nice meal. Brooklyn Star had originally been in a different space but a fire in February 2010 shuttered them out of 33 Havemeyer and they came back to life after spending most of that year building in the old Lazy Catfish location. Most of the food is solid (Jess and Scott were there just the other night and apparently had an epic takes-45-minutes-to-cook steak) and I’m still not sure how to feel about the “meh” chicken fried steak. I WANT TO LOVE YOU, BROOKLYN STAR! I intend to return for the elusive Country Fried Foie and Waffles (with Black Pepper Honey) and… Vodka Kool Aid.
Just over a year ago, the New York Times published an article about an Uzbek-Korean cafe in Brighton Beach. I was intrigued but ultimately filed it away, under the assumption that an hour-long ride on the Q train wouldn’t be one of those things I just did on a whim.
But, after a barely palatable stop at the new Brooklyn outpost of The Meatball Shop on Saturday, I found myself on the train and ready for a real culinary adventure. Side note: If the name of your restaurant has the word “meatball” in it, said meatballs should evoke feelings of pure ecstasy or do what crack does to Tyrone Biggums. Hey guys, your meatballs suck balls!
But, I digress.
During the 1930′s, the Soviet Union forcibly moved most of the entire population of ethnic Koreans from the Russian Far East to unpopulated areas of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Read about it. I’ll shamefully divulge that I barely knew where Uzbekistan was, nor could I name an Uzbek dish. Seeing the Korean-influenced food was fascinating and despite not quite being able to place their level of authenticity, the food itself was absolutely delicious.
ELZA FANCY FOOD
3071 Brighton 4th St (between Oceanview Ave & Brighton Beach Ave)
Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
Bright orange awning greets you as you walk into a small, neutral-colored dining room. Everything is super clean and you can catch a glimpse of the little kitchen as you’re being seated at one of the eight tables. We sat down and stared at the menu blankly. Drawing reference from the Times article, we ordered as follows:
This dish totally reminded me of one of my favorite Korean dishes, yuk gae jang. Topped with lamb that basically tasted like awesome corned beef, the fragrant broth was not as spicy as the picture would make it seem. The noodles were perfectly cooked and had a nice texture – almost chewy but in a good way.
Hye of Eggplant
When the waitress put this plate down, I did a triple take because it just looked like kimchi. It’s eggplant. It was cold and delicious and not soggy. Loved it!
I LOV PLOV. The lamb was so flavorful and tasty while the rice was ever-so-slightly undercooked and had wonderful texture. I would’ve eaten the whole plate had I not taken up space with crappy meatballs.
As a dumpling enthusiast, I was thrilled to find that not only were the morsels of tender lamb in the filling rich and flavorful but the dumpling skins were light and airy. AMAZEBALLS. Literally.
Go to Brighton Beach. Eat at Elza. Go to the boardwalk. Stroll. Get back on the train and think to yourself, “Wow, that was super delicious fun time…”
5 out of 5 Stars