Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wassailing with Richard Blais

Wondering about large, shiny, and expensive gifts for the holidays?  Chef Richard Blais was on the ready to demonstrate a few things you might add to your list for Santa this year.  Even better, he took a little time out of his day to show me how to make Eggnog ice cream in minutes!  If you remember how much I love ice cream, you know he has my heart. 

If you watch Top Chef (you should), you'll remember Richard Blais from Season 4: Chicago, and from Top Chef Masters.  What you might also remember, is that he a gadgety, and sciencey guy.  Also, very lovable and down to earth.  Nothing egotistical or arrogant about him.  His first culinary position might surprise you.

So, sit down.  Take a load off, and watch Chef Blais perform some magic.  (and enjoy his caught off guard expression with my last question)

And a quick cheat sheet for your convenience:  

:28    How to make ice cream/gelato using dry ice?

4:35  What do you like to cook around the holidays that isn't as traditional, or different?

5: 48 What do you recommend if you don't have a double oven and are preparing meals for the holidays?

7:30  There is a mixed attitude with fast food in the food world.  Some What are your fast food guilty pleasures, if any?  (spoiler - he loves the McRib!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Enchiladas

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband REALLY loves turkey.  Or at least, right before Thanksgiving he thinks he does, which means even though we have ten plus available homes to attend and eat turkey at on Turkey Day, we still must make our own a few days later.

While on my journey to find creative uses for the oodles of leftover turkey (two people are not really a match for a 14 lb turkey) I found another usable recipe.

Enter my easy chicken enchiladas recipe.  Simply substitute your leftover white meat (chopped) for the chicken and you have another possibility in the month long journey of finishing off a large bird.

Good luck to you!  We're down to a bag of turkey.  Maybe another recipe or two and we'll be down to 0.  Curry turkey perhaps?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Shepherd's Pie

My husband loves turkey.  What does this mean?  Even though we attend Thanksgiving at any one of five family dinners, we have to make our own turkey to truly satiate his turkey addiction.  I suppose I'm lucky this isn't a year-round obsession.  Two people attempting to eat a 14 pound turkey?  I'll leave it at, we have leftovers.

So I'm passing along to you, an incredibly fast and easy way to get rid of your Turkey Day leftovers (without using the garbage or compost).

What you will need:


Turkey:  approximately 2 1/2 cups of turkey, shredded by hand
Mashed Potatoes - approximately 3 cups
Gravy: 1 cup
Stuffing (optional):  1 1/2 cups

Additional Ingredients:

1 large carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp Thyme
1 cup shredded Irish cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

If you don't have leftover mashed potatoes (I didn't) then you will also need these:

5 medium potatoes
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter

If you're missing the mashed potatoes, start here.  If not, you can move to the next section:

Peel and chop five medium potatoes into quarters.  Toss into a pot of boiling water and cook until tender.

Drain, add one cup of milk, two tablespoons of butter (I honestly just pour milk in and glob some butter in to my own merriment) and salt and pepper to taste.  Get out your hand masher (you can also use a food processor for super smooth potatoes) and get your best Popeye arm muscles out and start mashing.  Once this is done and you've tasted the potatoes several time to deem this delicious, you can move on.

Life is pretty simple from here.  Take your sliced carrots, celery and chicken stock, and dried Thyme and add them to a deep skillet.  Simmer these together until the carrots soften, about twenty minutes.  If your liquid gets a bit low, feel free to add more chicken stock.  You won't need to add salt to this part of the dish as the chicken stock should contain plenty for just about anyone.  

You can now add your turkey.  I shred mine by hand as I throw it in.  You could also chop it if you prefer to keep your nails turkey free.

Your turkey should be nice and juicy now.  This is where, if you have leftover gravy, you will stir it in.  If you don't, no worries.  Just add a little more chicken stock, maybe a little butter, and a little flour and let it simmer to create a cream sauce within your mixture.  You'll want a little excess sauce so that if you picked up a scoop with a slotted spoon, gravy deliciousness would be dripping through.

Layering time.  Get out a baking dish and dump your mixture in.

If you have leftover stuffing, layer this on next.  After the stuffing, add the mashed potatoes.

Final step, add the shredded Irish cheddar cheese to the top.  Toss into the oven at 375F for 20 minutes.  At the end, change your oven's setting to broil and watch closely as the cheese turns a lovely bubbly brown.  You'll want to watch closely because this will happen quickly and if you decide to step out of the room to do something else, you may return to flambé.  Once you see the level of browned cheese you desire, pull out of the oven.  Can be served immediately.  Enjoy your turkey Irish style!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Easy Sunday Dinners: Healthy and Easy Vietnamese Spring Rolls

I recently discovered an amazing Asian market located not too far from my home in Salt Lake.  What this translated to was that I was going to begin making more dishes that I typically would lack the ingredients for.

My first simple venture?  Delicious, fresh Vietnamese spring rolls.

The best thing about Vietnamese spring rolls is  that they work as a quick snack or as a meal.  And they're diet friendly and gluten-free friendly if either of those are a concern.  I also think they're fun to make.  And the ingredients are nearly identical to make gyoza or potstickers so you can make that a simultaneous project or a next project.

What you will need:

Cellophane noodles (also called Rice Vermicelli)
Grated carrots
Napa Cabbage
Ground Pork (cooked with sesame oil)
Scallions (Green Onion)
Ginger (grated)
Garlic (crushed/chopped fine - I used a garlic press)

Hoisin Sauce

Rice Paper

Okay, ready?  This is seriously very simple.  I had a woman ask me while standing in line what I was doing with my rice paper.  I should point out that I may have been the only white person or non-native Asian in the store.  When I told her I was making spring rolls, she encouraged me to buy the larger size as native Vietnamese typically use these.  Why?  Because they're much easier to roll.  I like the smaller size and once you've made them once or twice, it's really not hard at all. But there's a quick tip for you if you're feeling unsure.

First, cook your ground pork (or you can also use ground turkey if you prefer) with a bit of sesame oil.  I find this lends a lovely roasted sesame flavor to the meat.  While that's cooking, you can start boiling water on the stove (or microwave).  You'll need the boiling water for both the rice noodles and for the rice paper.  Once the water is boiling, break off a cake or two of the rice noodles.  Turn the heat off and toss the noodles in.  They'll soak for a few minutes to soften.  If only Italian pasta was this fast...

The rest of your prep work is just in getting your veggies ready.  I like to keep things simple - and a little fast and loose.  I don't necessarily use much in the way of measurement.  This way you can customize what you like for each delicious, healthy bite.  You'll want roughly 1-2 grated carrots, 1 cup of chopped Napa cabbage, chopped scallions, and four or so cloves of garlic and three or so knobs of ginger pressed with a garlic press.

Once your meat is browned, your noodles soft (and drained), and your vegetables chopped and ready, you'll need a large bowl.  I would recommend tossing the meat and veggies together first.  Then, at your discretion, begin mixing your noodles in.  Be careful not to mix too many - remember you'll be wrapping  this all in rice paper and you don't want to only have a bite of rice noodle/paper each time.  You can always use the leftover noodles for a separate noodle dish - perhaps even tossed with your leftover spring roll innards.  You can leave the spring roll stuffing as is or you can kick it up a notch with a splash of soy sauce or rice vinegar.  I like to dip my spring rolls so I like my spring rolls au naturale.

Using your leftover water from the rice noodles (or boil some new hot water), soak ONE piece of rice paper.  Do not toss the entire stack in.  I did this once, thinking I was being efficient in my prep.  Nope, you will just lose the whole stack.  Once it becomes workable and looks like plastic wrap floating in the water, pull it out.

Place a small amount of filling in a line form on top of the rice paper.  Fold one of the long ends over filing.

 Using your fingers, pull the paper that is over the filling back to make it taught.  You will then fold each of the two sides over this.

 From here you will simply continue your original roll, keeping the paper taught.

After you repeat this with the rest of the paper and filling, you can enjoy now or refrigerate for later.  Eat naked or serve with 3 tbsp hoisin sauce and 1 tbsp chopped peanuts mixed together.  Or better yet, peanut sauce (mix 1 c peanut butter, 1/4 c soy sauce, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, 1/2 c hot water, chopped peanuts).

Try not to eat them all at once.  This will not actually be a problem if other people happen to be around.  My boss polished about half of the fifty I made in about ten minutes.  People with Celiac disease are so deprived - but I guess this makes them feel less so.  Stuff your face!  After all, it's actually pretty darn good for you!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Childhood Favorites: Umpqua Ice Cream

Umpqua Ice Cream

A new store came to Salt Lake City recently.  Some were excited at the promise of co-op low prices.  I, on the other hand, left my cheapness at the side.  Nostalgia was what had me on this one.  Dreams of Tillamook cheese and Umpqua ice cream was where my mind had floated off to.  I'm sure you've heard of Tillamook cheese.  If you haven't, I feel for you.  You have missed out on life.  But I don't expect you to have heard of Umpqua Dairy.

Umpqua Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

I've mentioned before that I used to have a habit of eating entire cartons of ice cream (the 1.75 qt size) in one sitting.  I can't really explain that ability except that maybe if you tried this ice cream you'd do the same.  That, and I firmly believe ice cream has a special ability to melt and find any open space that normal non-melty food couldn't.

My two drugs of choice were Umpqua's Peanut Butter Chocolate and their Ol' South Fudge Pie.  I ventured to this new store to see if in fact, I was still addicted.

Deliciously salty chocolate peanut butter ice cream

Verdict?  Yeah, I think I pretty much still am.  The ice cream was delicious as remembered.  Creamy and smooth intermingled with smooth salty ribbons of peanut butter and medium hard pieces of peanut butter chips.  Why is this so freaking delicious?  Personally, I'm a sucker for just about anything containing a combination of peanut butter and chocolate.  At the Serious Eats office, we were pretty much always in agreement that if you added salt to something sweet it was a winner.

If you're not fond of the harder bits, allow the ice cream to soften for a bit before serving.  I found if you let it roll around in your mouth for a an extra moment, the ribbons of peanut butter would melt in your mouth.

This carton was gone in less than a week.  Consumed pretty much by me.  The husband never had a chance.

Check out some of Umpqua's other addicting flavors here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And the Winner is....


Thanks for commenting/reading y'all!

Sharon, try not to burn yourself anymore.  But if you do, at least you'll be numbed : )

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hot Diggity Delicious Dog

One day at Serious Eats, we got into a discussion about the food in Utah.  The conversation went something like this.  "And then we'll check out Finn's..."  I interrupt, "Don't bother, they're not that great.  Better ambiance than food.  What you should check out is J Dawgs."  The conversation continued into other arenas - such as the Utah Scone.  Did you know, apparently, that people have heard of the Utah Scone and Sconecutters?  Shudder.  Now, that would be embarrassing.  To have a Serious Eater fly all the way across the country to eat at Sconecutter's? Yikes.

J Dawgs Original Hot Dog Stand

What I'm really trying to say though, is that Utah has their own set of delicious things and a growing food scene.   And one of my favorites of those is J Dawgs.  Jayson Edwards, of J Dawgs fame, came up with the idea after coming home from serving an LDS mission in Toronto.  Hot dog carts were abundant in Toronto and when he returned to Utah, the lack thereof planted the idea of what was to be J Dawgs. 

So, why is J Dawgs so special?  The real winner for me is Jayson's "special sauce," a recipe that was passed down from his grandmother.  Jayson has made a few tweaks of his own, but the sweet barbecue sauce hits the salty dog just perfectly.  It's not terribly thick or gooey but more so an ambrosia glaze that trickles down the cross cuts in the dog.  Which leads me to the dog.  While J Dawgs doesn't create their own dog, they do reinvent the 100% all beef or Polish dogs on the grill.  The difference from a regular dog comes from the cross cutting which allows a bite burst with a little char on the side.  It's wonderfully delicious.  And to catch all that tongue pleasing juice?  Homemade buns from Provo Bakery made fresh every day just for J Dawgs.  They are pillowy, supple, and create the perfect cradle for the perfect innards of a hot dog.

J Dawgs Delicious Secret Sauce Hot Dog

If you want to get crazy, you can add banana peppers, onions, and sauerkraut.  I like to keep it simple.  Which, honestly, don't you want to keep it simple when the key ingredients are that good? 

J Dawg's is a steal at four bucks for a meal.  They have recently expanded from their cute roadside stand (which still operates) to the building aside.  Decor is retro inspired with silver tin lining the tables, barstools, and chairs.  A soda fountain offers supreme choices including beloved apple beer.  It would be interesting to see the level of caffeinated soda sold since this is one of the closest locations to offer caffeinated libations (BYU is a caffeine free campus.  Students have to brown bag it.) 

J Dawg's is like Christmas morning.  Excitement with a side of giddy when it arrives.  Only, your gifts are wrapped in tinfoil and the present inside is supremely biteable and tummy pleasing.  Merry Christmas.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Crave It Giveaway! Burn Cream MD (for your owies)

To Win:  Leave a comment about how you've burned yourself.  And follow me while you're at it.  

After having been in some professional kitchens, it is easy to see why you would keep Burn Cream MD around.  Leaning once on a hot burner taught me to be a bit more careful.  And left a funny ring shaped burn on my palm.  Roasting marshmallows and then plunging my fingers into the sticky, hot mess.  Also, very, very painful.  I pretty much burn myself regularly. 

Let's be honest, freebies rock. Even more so when it's free stuff worth over a buck. (although, honestly, I could get excited about a free chicken burrito from Taco Bell).  In this case it's more in the realm of $29.99.  And Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali both keep it in their kitchens!  Burn Cream MD was developed for use in the kitchen or wherever you might burn yourself.  It has lidocaine to take the sting away.  I could have used this a few times in my past.  Like when the flaming marshmallows would not shake off of my fingers no matter what I did.

Courtesy of Healing Skin, I am giving away your choice of Burn Cream MD in lotion form or handy wipe form.   The New York small world thing?  This awesome cream was developed by my old boss, Dr. Diane Madfes, spokesperson for Garnier Nutritioniste and dermatologist extraordinaire.


So, friends, if you would like to win this celebrity endorsed, dermatologist created burn cream, please leave a comment about a kitchen burn (or whatever you want to comment on - let's be honest - we're free flowing here) and become a follower of the blog.  Entries will close at 5:00 pm MST next Monday.  I'll announce the winner soon after.  After all, we all need something to ease the burn of "a case of the Mondays." 

Good Luck!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Twenty Restaurants, Twelve Hours

Oh Twitter, I've grown to love you.  I judged you once, as many do, to be superficial and spacey.  I was wrong.  Well, mostly.  You satisfy the ADD in me better than just about anything out there...what?  Oh, well, almost.  Sometimes, you're still kinda slow.  But you also bring me wonderful news.  A week and a half ago a saw a little something on Twitter that made my heart happy.  Carey Jones, of Serious Eats fame, had let the possibility of a stop in Salt Lake City slip.

I was delighted.

Emails were exchanged, flights confirmed, and a restaurant list compiled.   And the day arrived.  Stretchy pants were worn.  My heart and stomach squealed with excitement and terror with each new edible encounter.  It was a fantastic day.  I was elated that I got to hang out with Carey for the day and assist in Serious Eats' success.  They are the best work family a girl/guy could ask for.  I'm providing the list of eateries we frequented that day.  Descriptions for each would result in an online novel so I'll spare you for now.  I will do you the honor of marking my top five* of the day.

Bon Apetit!

(Disclaimer: We ate at places that fit the chapters going into the Serious Eats book.  So don't be saddened that some of Salt Laker's favorite places are left out.  Also, we only had one day and we each only one one stomach.  A few bites or more at each place times 20 - you do the math.  10,000 calories?)
  1. Banbury Cross
  2. Les Madeleines*
  3. The Park Cafe
  4. Finn's
  5. Eggs in the City
  6. Tulie Bakery*
  7. Tony Caputo's Market & Deli
  8. Bruges Waffles & Frites*
  9. Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana
  10. Capo Gelateria
  11. Chow Truck
  12. Dolcetti Gelato*
  13. The Back Door Deli
  14. Cows
  15. Maxwell's East Coast Eatery
  16. Cafe Rio
  17. The Cotton Bottom Inn
  18. Busy Bee
  19. The Copper Onion*
  20. Nielsen's Custard

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shiny New Product Review: New Oreo Fudge Cremes

Curse you impulse buying!  I've done it yet again.  Well, truth be told, this was my husband, yet again.  He's a sucker for Oreos.

I fortunately am not as obsessive as I once was with my sweets eating.  I used to go through a full 1/2 gallon carton of ice cream in one sitting.  On a regular basis.  But age has seemingly toned down my sweet tooth.  However, I was willing to revisit my old haunting grounds in order to try a "new" product.

They weren't quite as expected.

Don't ask me why.  I apparently just don't pay attention.  But why am I paying more per box and per Oreo for half of an Oreo?

Here's your after bite shot:

They are horrible.  The chocolate is waxy, even by American standards.  And regardless of whether you are an Oreo creme lover or cookie lover of the Oreo you will be disappointed.  The box has sat around our house uneaten for the last two weeks.  I finally threw it away.  And in my house where we are cheap and engage in mindless eating - that is saying something.  So save yourself a couple bucks and buy something quality - like a lovely Cup o'Noodles.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Scorching Symon: An impromptu interview with Michael Symon

When you think of an Iron Chef, do you picture a grown man that still fears his petite 4'11" mother?  If you do, you've got Michael Symon in mind.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Michael, of The Next Iron Chef, Iron Chef America, Cook Like an Iron Chef and soon to be Food Feuds, this week.  I can truly say that of the big fish in the food world that I have been fortunate enough to interact with, he is a favorite.  Michael is totally down to earth and charming.  I adore his passion for cooking and the culinary creations that result from it.

So here's the actual interview for your viewing/listening pleasure.  The duration is approximately ten minutes so I've placed time markers below for your convenience.  The new season of The Next Iron Chef airs this coming Sunday, October 3rd, at 9 pm/8 pm CST.  Food Feuds will follow on Thursday, October 14th.

1:00:  Any feared ingredients for Iron Chef America?

1:57:  How have your family's dishes have affected your own? (Spoiler: the man loves goat.  Also, how to say shut up in Greek)

4:24:  Have you ever been out to Salt Lake and do you have a dining memory?

4:41:  Michael asks me if we have a food feud they could feature on Food Feuds. 

5:46:  Any food feuds from your hometown of Cleveland?

6:39:  Does all the eating you have to do ever get difficult?

7:38:  With Food Feuds, have you had to deal with any bias you might have had with a restaurant?

8:50:  When you're on Iron Chef, how much advance notice do you get on your secret ingredients?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Scorching Symon: Interview to Come with Iron Chef Michael Symon

Exciting news!

I was contacted by Michael Symon's (Iron Chef extraordinaire, chef/owner of Lola and Lolita, and Food Network star) PR agency to see if I would be interested in an interview with him.  Um, yeah.  I would be stupid to say no.  Not only is he an incredible chef but he is one of the most down to earth, friendly, and entertaining ones out there!  Being cute doesn't hurt either.

So, stay tuned.  I'll be interviewing him this afternoon.  His next food ventures will be on "The Next Iron Chef" and "Food Feuds."  The Next Iron Chef premiers on Sunday, October 3, at 9 pm and Food Feuds premieres Thursday, October 14th at 10pm ET/PT.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Can't Stop Thinking About Them Carnitas

Problems I have:  Diet Coke, Travel Channel, Peanut Sauce.

New problem.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Kenji, from Serious Eats, posted a recipe for "No-Waste Tacos de Carnitas with Salsa Verde."  Someone in the SE office mentioned that Kenji was bringing the leftovers by (which he often does since he is constantly cooking).  I began to salivate immediately.  Pretty much anything Kenji makes is tastebud gold.  However, when Kenji stopped by, there were no carnitas in tow.  My heart was heavy.  My stomach empty.  (Okay, the last bit wasn't true - I was at the SE office - my stomach was never empty or even half empty)

So, when I got back to my lovely little kitchen in Salt Lake, the first thing I did was purchase the ingredients for my own carnitas.  

What you will need:

  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 pounds boneless pork butt (shoulder), rind removed, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium orange
  • 6 cloves garlic, split in half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into three or four pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 medium tomatillos (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and split in half
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, split in half lengthwise, stem removed
  • 3 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta
  • 24 corn tortillas

They didn't have boneless pork butt (shoulder) at my local grocery store.  Don't ask me why it didn't occur to me to ask the butcher for the cut.  No, I bought bone-in pork shoulder.  Yeah, it was an experience.  A good one to have but not really one I feel the need to repeat.  Save yourself the effort and if you don't see it already packaged, then don't be shy.  Ask your friendly butcher man or lady to do you a solid.  

Now that you have your lovely hunk o'pork.  Cut the rind off (the white gross skin).  Pretty sure you don't want to eat it.  Cut the pork into big ol' chunks about 2 inches.  I guess you should probably have a hot place to put it so turn the oven on at 275F.  Get a 9X13 casserole dish ready to dump your goodies in.  Season the pork chunks with 1 tbsp salt and throw in your 9X13.  Arrange so there are no spaces.

Split orange into quarters.  Squeeze juice over meat and then nestle remains amongst the meat.  Add one onion split into quarters, 4 cloves of garlic, bay leaves and cinnamon stick to casserole (you can cheat and add ground cinnamon in a pinch).   

Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven. Cook until pork is fork tender, about 3 1/2 hours.

While your little piggy is cooking, cut one onion into a fine dice and combine with cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to use.  

Set large fine-meshed strainer 1 quart liquid measure or bowl. Using tongs, remove orange peel, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves from pork. Transfer pork and liquid to strainer. Let drain for 10 minutes. Transfer pork back to casserole. You should end up with about 1/2 cup liquid and 1/2 cup fat. Using a flat spoon or de-fatter, skim fat from surface and add back to pork. Shred pork into large chunks with fingers or two forks. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Transfer remaining liquid to medium saucepot.

To serve: Place casserole dish with pork 4-inches under a high broiler and broil until brown and crisp on surface, about 6 minutes. Remove pork, stir with a spoon to expose new bits to heat, and broil again for 6 more minutes until crisp. Tent with foil to keep warm.

To eat, stack two tortillas on top of each other. Add two to three tablespoons carnitas mixture to center. Top with salsa verde, chopped onions and cilantro, and queso fresco. Serve with lime wedges.

If you're not lazy like me, then you can make the tomatillo sauce instead of leaving the ingredients to rot in your fridge.  Just add these directions before the serving ones.  Add tomatillos, remaining 2 onion quarters, remaining 2 garlic cloves, and jalapeños to saucepot with strained pork liquid. Add water until it is about 1-inch below the top of the vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until all vegetables are completely tender, about 10 minutes. Blend salsa with hand blender or in a stand-up blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Allow to cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

You can also heat the tortillas.  Preheat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Working one tortilla at a time, dip tortilla in bowl filled with water. Transfer to hot skillet and cook until water evaporates from first side and tortilla is browned in spots, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook until dry, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer tortilla to a tortilla warmer, or wrap in a clean dish towel. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Yeah, they're pretty much to die for.  I've been obsessed ever since.  I dream about carnitas and corn tortillas now.  It's a sickness.  But one I thoroughly hope to be infected for life with. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Heaven in a Pita: Taïm

Today I fell in love. I didn't mean to, it just happened.

You'd think that after a long day of eating 48 different types of ice cream, a red velvet cake from Amy's Bread (also freaking awesome), and having a full Schezuan lunch that I might be averse to another meal.
But that's where you'd be wrong.

I stopped at Taïm on my way home from work. Granted, it was a little out of the way from my apartment but in the vicinity of Joe's Pizza on Carmine where I'd been commanded to pick up a pie for my husband, who was patiently waiting in Salt Lake City for a New York slice. Today, karma won. I did something nice for my husband so karma did something nice for me.

It took me a second to find, as they are located on the west side of 7th ave and I apparently was brain dead. (In my defense, it was a Friday after work.) Taïm is located on Waverly Place next to residential buildings. The tip off that you're walking to the right place is in the bench outside and people hovering around with satiated smiles on their faces. I walked in the small shop front and analyzed the menu. As I was only there for something portable and walking friendly (and classic) I decided to go after the Falafel sandwich.

Don't worry - I still shook things up as I happen to enjoy doing. The "Harissa" which employs Tunisian spices sounded right up my alley. It was described as mildly spicy (which I don't actually believe nor does my heartburn) which I knew would be balanced by the soft pita, Israeli salad, hummus, and white cabbage. This equated to heartburn friendly.

All I can say is, this could potentially qualify to be my last bite on earth. The impossibly creamy hummus made my heart skip a beat and the Israeli salad added just the right level of fresh crunch. My Falafel balls were perfectly crisp and brown. And the Harissa spices were so elegantly flavored in a lower level "boom" but not "bam" in your mouth kind of way.

Once again, as with many good street foods in New York, I dripped my handheld treat onto my shoes. But I didn't care. I changed my stance to free falling falafel mode and continued the impolite chow down on 7th Ave without any concern of appearances.

Yum. The End.

Taïm on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Olio E Piú

Things that are amazing about my job.

1.  Eating
2.  Eating
3.  Eating

Did I mention it's amazing and awesome that I get to eat for "work?"  Sure, it gets a little rough.  Like when you end up eating 120 cupcakes over three weeks in pursuit of New York City's greatest cupcake.  Honestly, I think that is one of the most difficult things I've had to make it through.  I'm not kidding.  I thought I was going to ralph more than once.

So, moving on from that last positive note, today's awesomeness came in the form of checking out a new pizza place.  Olio E Piu opened on Sunday in the West Village.  It took over Go Sushi's old locale.  The vivid grass green exterior is hard to miss.  At first glance, I was loving the colors of the interior.  First off, for a New York restaurant, it is rather spacious.  Secondly, the mixture of woods, a few vintage pieces, high ceilings, wood ceiling beams, and bright, creamy walls was visually appealing.  After I'd spent some time there though I reconsidered my original evaluation and felt, perhaps, the place was a bit stark.

Everyone in the restaurant was most certainly friendly and passionate about the subject of pizza.  Giulio Adriani, the owner, is fresh off the boat from Italy.  His oven is as well, straight from Napoli, capital of delicious and fresh pizza.  I enjoyed watching him work the oven while preparing our pizzas.  I also had amazing lunch companionship in the form of Adam Kuban, Ed Levine, and Nick Solares.  Very entertaining lunchmates indeed.

We ordered four different options:





The Margherita was the best which normally is your indicator that the rest will be good as well.  The Amalfitana seemed promising and interesting with "lemon slices."  It seemed the acidity would be a potentially amazing contrast with the mozzarella and Parmesan.  Unfortunately, the lemon slices were much too thick to work.  Because they are so newly opened, I'm going to give some allowance on this one.  Giulio came over to my table to check on me and my companions and sought our opinions.  He said he is using the changes for improvement.  The crust definitely has a decent chew on it and the Margherita will leak yummy sauce all over your plate that you'll have no choice but to sop up with said crust.

So, if your pizzas are more pizzalike than salads with a little crust under them, thank me.  Or if your lemon is shaved super thin.  I'm sure it was all my doing.

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