Chowing down in NYC

                    

                   

On a recent trip to NYC to visit family, my husband and I had to nosh at every eatery we could belly up to, of course. We tend to go for the restaurants that are well known for their chefs and food but not pretentious. My husband, a lover of all Asian cuisine, had his heart set on Sushi Nakazawa (the apprentice to the famous Jiro Ono of Japan). He requested reservations exactly 29 days before our visit since reservations are only available at 30 days out but alas, we were not able to get in. We settled for lunch the same day at Izakaya MEW. Ramen bowls hit the spot after a morning of traveling and empty stomachs. The Saki and Sapporo didn't hurt either.

We took a little time in Bryant Park to enjoy a coffee....and a mean game of Guess Who.

It was Thursday night in NYC and nearing 5pm by the time we decided on Bobby Flay's, Gato. We were able to get reservations with such short notice and were oh so glad we did. After 2 rounds of bright and flavorful drinks at the bar, we ordered appetizers and entrees at the table along with wine. We indulged a bit. I had the best vegetarian paella with wild mushrooms, toasted rice, kale, crispy artichoke and a sunny side up egg. My husband had large red prawns in a Meyer lemon (my all-time favorite ingredient) sauce. The apps ranged from crispy artichoke with uni to brandade (salt cod) croquette. We were not disappointed. I hope to replicate some of these soon....as well as the cocktails. Since we were indulging, I could not pass up dessert. My husband does not care for sweets but even dove into this one for a few bites. It was a walnut brown butter cake with Armagnac (brandy) gelato.

The next day we had an assortment of eats including shrimp dumplings, fresh oysters, fresh Uni, bacon and maple doughnuts, vegan sushi (my husband tackled that one), and IPA-Wheat beer. These fabulous edibles were all at the Chelsea Market. Highly recommend a stop here if you are ever in NYC. It is an indoor market with every type of fresh meat, seafood, cheese, and ready made delectable you could dream of. There are spices, teas, salts, wines, clothes....the list goes on. For a foodie, you will be amazed.

 The Lobster Place.  The freshest seafood.  They shucked oysters and opened and cleaned Uni right in front of us as we stood there and ate it.  It will really make you think twice about ordering Uni anywhere else.

The Lobster Place.  The freshest seafood.  They shucked oysters and opened and cleaned Uni right in front of us as we stood there and ate it.  It will really make you think twice about ordering Uni anywhere else.

                                                                              Fresh Uni for lunch

                                                                             Fresh Uni for lunch

I should add that when we stumbled out of the market like two college students after an all night rage, disoriented from our food coma, I realized that I was standing underneath the Food Network building (or what I believed to be the building, maybe it was just loading) but I was super excited. What are the odds?!

We rounded out the trip spending the day at the Chelsea Market before meeting my husband's brother to take the bus into New Jersey to spend the rest of the weekend with family and friends. It is hard to beat NYC food but the family cooking was not too shabby either.

Dinner 3.30.15

I realize the "no meat Monday" is now a trend. I have always said, "I could do without meat". Well that is not completely true. I mean let's be honest, I am from the South, and meat is a staple in our diet. However, fish and shellfish have so many wonderful health benefits and we as Americans do not have enough of it in our diets (yes I am throwing facts at you but they are backed by the research done in my Nutrition class). With that said, my husband and I have latched onto this "no meat Monday" trend and have been inspired to see how it goes. Two weeks in a row and this is what I came up with last night:

Round one:

Mussels in Coconut Curry

serves 4, cut recipe in half for 2 people

  • 2 pounds of mussels, placed in cold water for 10 minutes to release dirt/sand, cleaned, beards removed. Discard any that are open and cannot be closed and remain closed
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1-2 Thai chili diced, seeds intact if you want the heat
  • 3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1.5 tablespoons curry powder (I use a mild yellow curry powder)
  • 1 can coconut milk (I like Aroy-D brand)
  • 1/2 cup shrimp stock (I made my own and keep frozen in containers-instructions to follow)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • Kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • lime wedges
  • chopped cilantro
  • kosher salt for seasoning (or pink Himalayan if you have it)

  • Heat oil in a large skillet with straight sides (I used my dutch oven) over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent and soft but not browned. Stir occasionally.

  • Add the chili(s), ginger, and curry powder. Stir and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp stock and reduce the mixture by half (cook down until there is less liquid in the pot than you began with). Add the coconut milk, a pinch of salt, and Kaffir leaves if using. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the drained mussels to the pot. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 6 minutes so the mussels can open. Discard any unopened ones after about 7-8 minutes.
  • Spoon delicious mussels into a large bowl and don't forget to drizzle the flavorful coconut curry sauce over the top. Garnish with cilantro (if you like cilantro-can use flat leaf parsley as alternative) and lime wedges. *I had a half loaf of rosemary sea salt bread leftover from Sunday brunch that I smothered with herb butter and toasted in the oven. We soaked up our curry sauce with the bread. Highly recommend this with any mussel dish!
currymussels.jpg

Shrimp Stock Simple as this: Take the shells off of 1.5 lbs of shrimp. Put the shells along with 3 carrots, cut into chunks; 3 celery stalks, cut into chunks; 1 yellow onion, cut into chunks; 3 garlic cloves sliced; all into a stock pot with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Saute all it on medium high for about 12 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine and 1/3 cut of tomato paste, 8 sprigs of fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning; 1 tablespoon black peppercorns; 1 tablespoons kosher salt; 1 tablespoon smoked paparika; and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Strain all of the solids off and cool your stock in containers. Once cool, place in freezer to use in future recipes. Don't buy when you can make your own.

Keeping it simple, fresh, and healthy. Welcome to my blog!

me vegas.jpg

I feel passionately about a lot of things but fear not, I will not spit them all at you at once during my first blog entry.  In fact, I will not really spit them at all.  You will instead pick up on the things I live by and the views that I have.  Not to worry, I don’t talk politics and I do not talk religion.  You will get insight into my life and recognize my passion for food.  This is somewhat of a new passion. I loved food before; it was great.  But I never had an appreciation at the level that I do now.  I have never had a fire inside of me pushing me to learn about something more, study it, prepare it over and over.  Now I do and at 31 years old, I strongly advise that you do the same.

I realize while on a domestic flight, of all places, how food is involved in our lives.  And trust me, I am not referring to the terrible overpriced food airlines provide these days.  The Southwest flights offer free wi-fi on certain flights.  As I scrolled through the channel option (free live tv), I noticed repeat season episodes of Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay, Unique Sweets, Cutthroat Kitchen, Man Fire Food (haven’t seen that one yet), Brunch at Bobby’s, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman, Restaurant Redemption, Guy’s Grocery Games, and Food Network streaming at all times.  That means that out of 20 live streaming channels and 37 repeat episodes available, 10 of these are food related.  The other channel options range from children’s shows, national news, sports, and your typical realty show featuring a so called housewife of a well known city. 

This concept seems crazy to me.  I mean, I love food, lots of people love food, but who knew that it actually plays such a dominant part in our lives…even on flights from STL to Vegas (tagging along for husband's conference).

As this is one of the many reasons I choose this career.  I choose this field and I choose to contribute to the way we as humans view that vast genre of “food”.  It is constantly changing in form, preparation, flavor combination, and the way we appreciate it.  Food is viewed not as something that provides us with ability to move and function everyday but instead a type of delicacy if you will.  We are developing more and more of an appreciation for the 5/6 food groups we put into our mouths.  That is the exciting part. 

Now I have just a mere few minutes before I hop off the free wi-fi food network stream and into a city full of cuisine that excites the taste buds and the senses.  I will report back to let you know what the Sin City has offered.  Until tomorrow, enjoy your food!

burgr

chanterelle mushrooms + arugula + figgy-onion jam burger compliments of BURGR Planet Hollywood Las Vegas