Tag Archives: new york

Weekly Menus: Week of 10/6/2013, Travel Prep Edition

Gentle Readers, this week I must start with a mea culpa. I was traveling last week, and forgot what day it was until I was back, and thus missed the Wednesday publishing cycle. From the amount of mail I received on the topic (none), I can tell there was a public outcry. So I will publish said Smoothie article this week. Meanwhile, look what I got to eat last week:

Biscotti and Cookie Platter at Babbo in NYC. OMG good.

Biscotti and Cookie Platter at Babbo in NYC. OMG good.

Yes, it was that delicious. A tip for anyone who is in NYC and hasn’t been to Babbo. If you go when it opens, right at 5 pm, you can snag a seat at the bar and eat. Highly recommend the pasta tasting menu or just eating around the menu at your leisure. Don’t skip the Brussels sprouts and the biscotti.

The Beer Festival Tasting Glass. Durham, NC

The Beer Festival Tasting Glass. Durham, NC

But I digress. My real life is quite a bit less glamorous but equally delicious. This week I went to my first beer tasting. I learned that there are many horrific beers in the world that taste like fruits and lawn clippings. I also found quite a few local brews that were delightful, and an interesting Pecan number that I’ll need to investigate. Shockingly, my favorite part was the food, especially the pairings, such as provided by my friend Carrie from G2B Gastropub. The andouille sausage with a little mustard was ideal beer food.

The inimitable Chef Carrie from G2B Gastropub in Durham, NC!

The inimitable Chef Carrie from G2B Gastropub in Durham, NC!

Okay, enough, I actually do cook sometimes too. The tasting of all the pumpkin things continues. A full report is coming soon.

Pumpkin Cake Doughnut with Latte Glaze from Rise. Hellooooo nurse.

Pumpkin Cake Doughnut with Latte Glaze from Rise. Hellooooo nurse.

Fried Green Tomato with Pimento Cheese Biscuit from Rise in Durham, NC. Just because.

Fried Green Tomato with Pimento Cheese Biscuit from Rise in Durham, NC. Just because.

 

Here’s what’s happening on this week’s menus:

Weekly Menus: 10/6/2013

Weekly Menus: 10/6/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery list (a little lean as I use up what’s here and plan to shop more heavily next week before  I travel):

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/6/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/6/2013

Which all translates to:

Sunday: Steak and potatoes
I’m feeling red meat today, and the weather is a little autumnal. Perhaps the potatoes will be sweet or an acorn squash instead. If you’re not tossing winter squash in your cart regularly, you’re missing out!

Monday: Veggie Chili
This keeps getting delayed in lieu of other fast meals that don’t generate leftovers, but I’m making it this time, even if I have to freeze it for later!

Tuesday: Omelets
These were such a huge hit the other night, complete with quick sauteed spinach and portobello mushrooms that we’re doing it again. TPCs Jr are huge mushroom fan, and we’re committed to trying all of the types. That’s our schtick.

Wednesday: Pizza!
We’ve got a social to attend, and well, we all love pizza. Honestly, I could eat it 3 times a day. In fact, I’ve had to add it to my things not to leave unattended in the house list, as I will eat cold pizza until I founder. It’s a different food group that hot pizza, and I actually prefer it.

Thursday: Salmon and Couscous
We have to get more healthy fat in our diets. Plus I need to try to stay smarter than my offspring. I plan to tell them this and serve myself the largest portion. I’ll keep you posted on the results.

Friday: Mexican!
Probably burritos or quesadillas to accommodate the braced on, but we may be able to pull off nachos. Yum!

Saturday: Dine out!
So many possibilities, we often lament we only have 3 stomachs between us.

What do you do to prepare for a trip? Buy easy prep food, eat down the supplies? Share your tips in the comments area  below!

Send your make-ahead food ideas, chocolate covered peanuts, and pumpkin-themed whatnot to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Wednesday, Smoothie Recipes and Tips (I Promise This Time)

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New York in Review: 10 Restaurants, 3 Days

Gentle Readers, a birds gotta fly, a fish has gotta swim, and The Practical Cook has to eat everything that’s not nailed down. During a recent journey to New York, a journey focused on eating, much ground was covered in 3 boroughs.

Smile if you like a 3-course dessert menu. (ChikaLicious: Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream)

Smile if you like a 3-course dessert menu. (ChikaLicious: Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream)

Here’s the list. Special thanks to Buttercup for tour directing and not stabbing me with a fork when I shot innumerable pictures.

Set your GPS to "Hipster" and head to Brooklyn Star in Williamsburg.

Set your GPS to “Hipster” and head to Brooklyn Star in Williamsburg.

10 NYC Restaurants, 3 Days

1. Joseph Leonard: Highlights include great atmosphere, pork permeation, but strong veggies. The Brussels sprouts dish, and the cauliflower, are still in memory. Split a cassoulet that fulfilled all of my omnivorous dreams.

The cassoulet from Joseph Leonard included pork 3 ways and a whole lot of delicious.

The cassoulet from Joseph Leonard included pork 3 ways and a whole lot of delicious.

2. ChikaLicious Dessert Bar: I’ll let the pictures speak here. Get something to wipe the drool from your screen. I’ll wait.

Cranberry Poundcake with Butternut Squash Ice Cream, Candied Pecans from ChikaLicious.

Cranberry Poundcake with Butternut Squash Ice Cream, Candied Pecans from ChikaLicious.

Final course from ChikaLicious: chocolate, coconut, caramel, the dessert trinity.

Final course from ChikaLicious: chocolate, coconut, caramel, the dessert trinity.

3. Taishu-Izakaya Kenka: The crazy menu and specific rules aside (there’s a fine for barfing), the salted cow tongue was the perfect random snack. It was so perfect in fact that I ate without shooting it. Oopsie. The gratin was like the south and Japan had an unfortunate food baby.

The Menu at Kenka, Viewer's Choice

The Menu at Kenka, Viewer’s Choice

Pumpkin Gratin with Floppy Bacon on Noodles from Kenka. Not a winner.

Pumpkin Gratin with Floppy Bacon on Noodles from Kenka. Not a winner.

4. Bouchon Bakery: I would walk on hot rocks to get to this blueberry muffin, and nearly had to, subbing in Hot Rockettes, who were performing at the time.

The Most Delicious Blueberry Muffin Ever from Bouchon

The Most Delicious Blueberry Muffin Ever from Bouchon

5. The Brooklyn Star: Fantastic brunch spot for hipsters in Williamsburg, these people take a swing at biscuits and actually connect. I would not put cheese on biscuits for sausage and gravy, but still great. The masa cakes with chorizo, in a word, nom.

Biscuits with gravy topped by eggs, with juice. And a beer. Because it's Brooklyn Star!

Biscuits with gravy topped by eggs, with juice. And a beer. Because it’s Brooklyn Star!

Masa cakes with black beans, eggs, and chorizo, I think I love you. Brooklyn Star.

Masa cakes with black beans, eggs, and chorizo, I think I love you. Brooklyn Star.

6. Num Pang Sandwich Shop: I want to eat here for every pre-dinner snack for the rest of my life. I loved the skirt steak bahn mi, until I tried the pulled pork with a touch of extra Sriricha. This will require retesting.

Skirt steak bahn mi from Num Pang. It is a beautiful cacophony of flavor and texture.

Skirt steak bahn mi from Num Pang. It is a beautiful cacophony of flavor and texture.

Pulled Pork Bahn Mi from Num Pang. It's like Cambodia meets the South plus Sriracha.

Pulled Pork Bahn Mi from Num Pang. It’s like Cambodia meets the South plus Sriracha.

7. Joe the Art of Coffee: This made the list because of the salted peanut butter cookie. It was essentially a big lump of peanut butter with some flour and butter making a passing acquaintance. Yes, please.

Salted peanut butter cookie with raspberry rugelach. Peanut butter jelly time!

Salted peanut butter cookie with raspberry rugelach. Peanut butter jelly time!

8. Forcella: Great pizza, I just coveted the one I didn’t order. I think there’s a grass is greener analogy here. But I digress. If the pumpkin pizza is on the menu, order it. Because it was dark and I was hungry, I also failed to shoot anything here properly. Apologies, guess I’ll have to go back. (Thinly-veiled excuses, party of one!)

9. Olea: Order the merguez and almond-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates as sides, and then split some other dishes. The green eggs are a pass. The dates are not optional. Seriously. The almonds aren’t just paste, but chunks. Run, don’t walk. All found in my old hood, Fort Greene. I have missed you Brooklyn.

Bacon-wrapped almond-stuffed dates at Olea in Fort Greene. Worth the trip.

Bacon-wrapped almond-stuffed dates at Olea in Fort Greene. Worth the trip.

A good merguez is hard to find. This is that merguez. Olea in Fort Greene.

A good merguez is hard to find. This is that merguez. Olea in Fort Greene.

10. Roti Boti Restaurant: When I die, if I’m taking a taxi, I’m asking for a stop here en route. For real, this is the land up in Queens where you either live there or drive a cab, and it took planes, trains, AND turning on “location services” to find this pot of gold. Order anything you like plus bread. Die happy.

The largest, fluffiest naan I've ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

The largest, fluffiest naan I’ve ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

Half of the dishes at Roti Boti. Get the chicken tikka masala, but risk never wanting it anywhere else again.

Half of the dishes at Roti Boti. Get the chicken tikka masala, but risk never wanting it anywhere else again.

BONUS, Not Food But Still Awesome, The Parlor: Located in the back of a barber shop (naturally), I drank caffeine for the cause, though tempered with milk. This was one fine latte.

One shot latte from The Parlor. It was dreamy.

One shot latte from The Parlor. It was dreamy.

 

Who wouldn't want an espresso with their fauxhawk?

Who wouldn’t want an espresso with their fauxhawk?

SECOND BONUS: Doughnuts, Peter Pan Bakery: Pitched as one of the best doughnuts ever, I’ll admit that walking around  Brooklyn eating it, I did have a moment. As a Krispy Kreme girl, that’s saying a lot for the cake-style. I would hold the Apple Cider doughnut from the Carrboro Farmer’s Market up against it. I plan on hosting a taste showdown at some point in the future. But when someone says, do you want to split a doughnut (immediately after brunch mind you, and en route to more food), the answer is “yes, please.”

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry: Because I could not stop long enough to photograph the actual doughnut.

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry: Because I could not stop long enough to photograph the actual doughnut.

What’s your favorite hidden spot in New York? Post a comment below, tweet my way, join the conversation! You name it, and if it won’t kill me, I’ll eat it. 🙂

Send your Metro cards, actual questions, and food challenges to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Sunday, Weekly Menus or How Not to Eat Turkey.

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Never Say Never: Except for Hazelnuts and Licorice

Gentle Readers, clearly this is going to be the season of confessions for The Practical Cook. They say it’s character building. Lean in close. You see, though I’m very willing to try most any food that won’t kill me, I have entire categories of beverages I won’t touch. Or I swore I wouldn’t touch. Or taste. Ever. Never say never, particularly out loud.

Coffee Unadulterated: Better Bitter Than Sweet

Coffee Unadulterated: Better Bitter Than Sweet

I do not like sweet drinks; I do not viscous drinks. I have no desire to sip a sugary colloid through a straw. This stance has kept me way far away from mixed drinks and hard liquor in general. The cocktails category is replete with things that can most generously be described as fruity, less generously called barfalicious.

Raspberry Martini, Spotted in the Wild

Raspberry Martini, Spotted in the Wild

But alas, I do try not to be hypocritical, and I become a zealot when people say “I hate curry,” (me: “what, what do you mean, how much have you eaten, what did you try, define curry, have you had XYZ, I need to cook for you”). So was the reaction of some wonderful experts in the field of cocktail creation, who also happen to have a keen sense of culinary adventure as well, that sometimes I even agree with. More on that later, let it suffice to say I’ve found the Waldorf to my Statler.

Love the Glass, Fear the Contents

Love the Glass, Fear the Contents

So let the record show, though it doesn’t happen often, I was wrong. There are cocktails I would drink in this world. Here’s the tally, based on early and somewhat limited research. Note that this was a taste test, not a drinking contest. Flavor, people, flavor. The Practical Cook does not advocate downing a forty for research purposes.

1. Licorice. I still hate it. Really and truly I do. One item was a shot of something that screamed “anise” to me, and not in the good way. I smelled, sipped a wee bit, and reaffirmed my loathing.

Licorice: My Sworn Enemy

Licorice: My Sworn Enemy

2. Really good dark rum. Wow, it does taste like molasses. Who knew? Not sure I want to drink it, but I do want to cook with it more.

Let there be rum.

Let there be rum.

3. Really good vodka. Whatever I tasted made me think of coconuts, though it was NOT a flavored item. It has the disturbing quality of being water-like in appearance, but not in taste and texture. This messes with my mind. It was good though.

4. Vermouth-based drink, contents unknown. This was the winner. Served with an orange slice, it made me think of Ruby Red grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed. This is why cocktails can be so dangerous! It was sharp without being bitter, not nose-hair burning with alcohol, and clean. Fascinating.

Mystery Vermouth Drink: Tasted Like Grapefruit and Sunshine

Mystery Vermouth Drink: Tasted Like Grapefruit and Sunshine

5. Scotch, in a Rob Roy. I can still taste the smoke, in the please make it stop way. Aficionados tell me to keep trying, and I may, but wow. For the record, I’m not a huge fan of smoked anything: cheese, salmon, liquid, etc. It’s a face-punch type flavor for me, so blunt I can’t taste around it.

Special thanks to the good people at Peccadillos in Carrboro, NC, for the opportunity to expand my palate and my horizons. It’s a fantastic spot for anyone with a sense of adventure.

Got questions? Email practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today to stay current on all of The Practical Cook news!)

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Next up, Think Outside the Cereal Box: Combining Cereals for All-New Taste Sensations.

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