The Perks of Eating at Fancy Restaurants

Gramercy Tavern BreakfastThe Next Morning:
Coffee cake from Gramercy Tavern, enjoyed with an espresso.

One of the best things about going to fancy restaurants is the takeaway breakfast you get at the end of dinner. I’ve had sweet brioche from Daniel, lemony madeleines from Alain Ducasse, nutty granola from Eleven Madison Park, and, from last night’s meal, cinnamon-laced coffee cake from Gramercy Tavern.

The treats are always delicious, but my favorite part about them is the thoughtful implications behind them. Someone has gone out their way to spoil me. They have given thought to what I’m going to have for breakfast in the morning, and they’ve made sure that it will be a meal that is reminiscent of the impressive one I ate the night before. That is hospitality at its best.

Bona Eats: A Review of Black Seed Bagels

Beet Lox at Black Seed
Black Seed’s everything bagel with beet-cured lox.

The only thing more “New York” than a bagel is a bagel with a following, and Black Seed offers just that. When I went to the Nolita bagel joint for the first time last weekend, I was excited by the appearance of two types of salmon on the menu: smoked and beet-cured. As a New Yorker, I’m all about keeping things real. That said, the prospect of adding anything pink to any part of my day is always an attractive one. So I decided to go for the beet-cured lox. Here’s what I thought:

Continue reading “Bona Eats: A Review of Black Seed Bagels”

The Art of Gastronomy: Ferran Adrià’s Sketches at the Drawing Center in Soho

Mushrooms and bananas, by Ferran Adria.
Mushrooms and bananas.

Ferran Adrià, the 51-year-old head chef of the now-closed El Bulli restaurant in Spain, approaches cooking as a scientist would approach a series of experiments. His kitchen is a lab where he analyzes and deconstructs flavors, serving them in mystifying and unconventional forms such as dirty martini spray, popcorn clouds that shrink dramatically when you touch them, spices in the form of pills, and ravioli that disappears before your eyes.

Continue reading “The Art of Gastronomy: Ferran Adrià’s Sketches at the Drawing Center in Soho”

Easy Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

I especially love lazy Sundays when Alex decides to make lunch… and as luck would have it, today was one of those days! It’s cold and rainy outside so he decided on tomato soup and grilled cheese. He thickened the soup with some ciabatta bread, and smoothed it out with the Cuisinart hand blender that we got as a wedding gift. It was super quick and easy and the only thing that was missing was the fact that we weren’t eating it by a warm, cozy fire.

Easy Tomato Soup

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 slice bread, crusts removed, roughly cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat until shimmering. Add onions, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently until onions are softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, bread, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
  2. With a hand blender (like this Cuisinart one from Crate and Barrel), blend at low speed until the soup is smooth with a few chunks. Add grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
  3. Serve with grilled cheese for dipping. Enjoy!

Holiday Gifting: The Fashionable Foodie

Gifts for Fashionable Foodies 3

Chef whites may reign in the kitchens of fancy restaurants, but at home fashionable food lovers prefer accessories with flair. This season treat the stylish cooks in your life to colorful treats of the edible and visual varieties.

Start giving:

  1. Maison 24 White Purse Cutting Board, $38. maison24.com
  2. Antico Frantoio Muraglia Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tin, $14. deandeluca.com
  3. At The Meadow Himalayan Pink Salt Cooking Block, $10-$56. atthemeadow.com
  4. Milk Bar Karlie Kloss Perfect 10 Kookies, $22 for a tin of 6. shopmilkbar.com
  5. Missoni Home Kitchen Apron, $97. yoox.com
  6. Sugar Paper Raspberry Recipe Binder, $48. sugarpaper.com
  7. Cath Kidston Daisy Rose Kitchen Scale, $40. cathkidston.com

No Fuss Granola: A Thoughtful Gift for the Holidays

Granola 3 with writingIn the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I wracked my brain to think of a thoughtful food gift to bring my in-laws. We were going to be staying with them in Connecticut for four days and I wanted to bring something extra special to thank them for hosting us. We usually bring wine/cheese/salami/hors d’oeuvres, but this year I wanted to be a bit more creative. Plus, those gifts are always appreciated but never last after Thanksgiving day!

As I fixed myself an easy bowl of cereal before work one morning, a light bulb lit up in my head. The morning of Thanksgiving, we’re always too stressed about the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and pie to focus on breakfast. The morning after Thanksgiving, we’re too tired of cooking to make a big breakfast. So, I decided to prepare some easy breakfast foods for us to enjoy all weekend long. I baked a banana bread (recipe here), and also made some granola.

Granola is insanely easy to make, and there are so many different variations to play around with. My favorite recipe is a simple one that’s enhanced with pure maple syrup. The recipe is below.

No-Fuss Homemade Granola

Makes 6 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup of shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and salt together. Drizzle the maple syrup and oil over the dry mixture, and toss with a wooden spoon, evening out any clumps.
  3. Bake, tossing twice, until golden and crisp, for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and add the cranberries. Toss again and let cool in the pan.
  5. Store for up to 3 weeks in an air tight glass jar such as this one from Container Store. Enjoy!

Granola 1 with writing

 

Broadway Bites: An Outdoor Food Court in Greeley Square

Sign 2

One of the best things about New York is the way the city seems to sprout new gems over night. This week, one of those gems is the Broadway Bites by Urbanspace food market in Greeley Square. My oldest childhood friend, Ashley, emailed me yesterday to tell me about how she had unexpectedly stumbled upon the outdoor food market during lunch. She told me she had just eaten the best pretzel EVER and that there was a ton of other food we had to try, and could I meet her for dinner?? This was an invitation I could not refuse. Continue reading “Broadway Bites: An Outdoor Food Court in Greeley Square”

Perfect Banana Walnut Bread

Baker's Delight: Classic Banana Walnut Bread
Baker’s delight: a classic favorite.

Banana walnut bread was one of the very first foods I ever baked from scratch on my own. It was a weekend during the summer—I think I was about 12—and I  remember wanting to try making the quick bread as a variation to one of my mom’s favorite breakfast treats, banana muffins. I used bananas that weren’t ripe enough though, and the cake came out tasting a little bland. It was also very dry. I was determined to keep trying.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed playing with different recipes Continue reading “Perfect Banana Walnut Bread”

Pretzel Pork & Chive Dumplings at Talde

Must-try dumplings at Talde, Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Must-try dumplings at Talde, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

My husband and I went to Talde last week while on a quest to find the best dumplings in the city. The restaurant’s pretzel pork chive dumplings were named best dumplings in New York by NYMag in 2012, and now we know why. The filling was salty, flavorful, and packed with oniony chives. The wrappers were chewy, crispy, and glistening with Continue reading “Pretzel Pork & Chive Dumplings at Talde”

Bid Farewell to Summer with Cookies from Elenis

Too bad they don’t serve these on the Jitney.

With summer coming to an end, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my next Hamptons beach day will not be until 2014. Alas, I must remind myself that this was an amazing season, filled with sunshine and family time. I’ll even miss those torturously slow trips on the Jitney! Lucky for me, I’ve found the perfect treats to help us bid adieu to the warm weather. Above, Hamptons cookies from Elenis. Pick them up in Chelsea Market, or order them at elenis.com.