Friday, April 30, 2010

Outdoor Bar Crawl

It's finally starting to feel like summer! The sun is out, it's about to be Spring Weekend and I can finally go outside without worrying about a sweater. I just found out that I'll be living in Hell's Kitchen this summer and I'm really excited to spend some time exploring the city like I haven't been able to do enough of this year. Time Out magazine has a lot of great information to offer about things to do in NY and I found this week's issue to be a great introduction to what there is to do during the summer in the city. The issue features "Great Walks of NYC" and has 10 different themed walks, such as "$1 food walk" and "30 Rock walk". The walk that I want to try the most is the "Outdoor Bar Crawl Walk". Spending a Friday afternoon outside drinking with friends sounds like the perfect summer city day to me. And hey, you're gonna walk almost 2 miles so you don't have to feel as guilty about all the drinking & eating!

Here it is:

Start: 7 Rivington St between Bowery and Chrystie St
End: 215 Ave A between 13th and 14th Sts
Time: 2 hours
Distance: 1.9 miles

1 One key to a successful pub crawl is to let all parties involved booze at their own pace. At Loreley (7 Rivington St between Bowery and Chrystie St; 212-253-7077, loreleynyc.com), more than a dozen German beers come in a variety of sizes—from 0.2-liter ($3) whistle-wetters to sturdy liter steins ($14–$16)—so that everyone can ease into the afternoon comfortably. Grab a picnic table in the well-shaded biergarten and order a crisp, bubbly Reissdorf K├Âlsch ($3–$14).

2 Don’t be fooled by the generic pub facade of Stanton Public (17 Stanton St between Bowery and Chrystie St; 212-677-5555, stantonpublic.com)—once you’re through the doors, you’ll find a mind-boggling beer selection (including 17 drafts) and a graffiti-covered backyard kitted out with mini picnic tables.

3 Now that you’re good and loose, trot up Orchard Street to The Sixth Ward (191 Orchard St between E Houston and Stanton Sts; 212-228-9888, sixthwardnyc.com). The patio out back is no Central Park—it’s made of concrete and decorated with silhouettes of an Irish lad from New York’s gangland days. Still, it’s spacious and convivial, with a solarium boasting a pool table. A standard tap lineup is similarly utilitarian, but it does offer just what the doctor ordered: fortifying pints of vitamin G (Guinness) for $6.

4 By now you’ve added another member to your crew; his name is Drunkenness, and he’s threatening the integrity of the tour. Keep him in check with a snack at Tuck Shop (68 E 1St between First and Second Aves; 212-979-5200, tuckshopnyc.com), home to one of the world’s most perfect booze sponges: Australian meat pies that are filled with meat and veggies. Opt for the $5 “chook” version (chicken, ham, leeks).

5 Next up is beer-and-whiskey haven d.b.a. (41 First Ave between 2nd and 3rd Sts; 212-475-5097, drinkgoodstuff.com). Pick your poison from more than 250 beers (all $1 off from 1 to 7:30pm daily), including two cask varieties, and relax in the most gardenlike of gardens: Its hanging flowerpots, rustic stone wall, real trees and wooden furniture draw a mixed and unpretentious crowd.

6 Refreshed and inspired, resume your bender at Bavarian beer haunt Zum Schneider (107–109 Ave C at 7th St; 212-598-1098, zumschneider.com). The sidewalk tables are hotly contested real estate among day-drinkers, so circle like a hawk until you can swoop in on one. Inquire about the seasonal brews on tap, or play it safe with a summery Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier ($4–$12).

7 Keep it moving to The Sunburnt Cow (137 Ave C between 8th and 9th Sts; 212-529-0005, thesunburntcow.com). In addition to a patio with a glass roof and garden view, this Down Under party spot offers two hours of all-you-can-drink boozing for $20. The fruity, beach-themed cocktails ($7–$9) pack a punch, but Aussie brews like Coopers and Tooheys ($6 each) might be wiser choices for the long haul.

8 It’s likely still early in the evening, but you’re on pub-crawl time, meaning you’re going to want to crash soon. First, a nightcap: Pop into thesummitbar.net), where mixologist Greg Seder has created a cocktail menu divided into “classic” and “alchemist” drinks. With all the liquor sloshing around in your stomach, it’s probably best to err on the familiar side. Order a perfectly smooth old-fashioned ($9) and carry it to a cabana on the small but handsomely appointed back patio.

9 It would be a miracle if you weren’t feeling queasy at this point. Your antidote is the delicious, greasy Mexican food at Zaragoza Mexican Deli & Grocery (215 Ave A between 13th and 14th Sts, 212-780-9204), a hole-in-the-wall bodega that dishes out some of the East Village’s best—and cheapest— tacos ($3 and under). Choose from meat options like chorizo, beef or whatever’s on offer that day. Trust us, it’ll taste good—and not just because you’re three sheets to the wind.

10 Anyone still standing? Something worth noting: That gaudy sign down the street marks the entrance to Superdive (200 Ave A between 12th and 13th Sts; 646-448-4854, superdivebar.com), and the doors below it lead to a boisterous faux frat house, where a game of beer pong or flip cup is a lot easier to find than your better judgment. We’re just saying.…

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Local Spot: Umai Sushi

As you probably have gathered already, sushi is my ultimate vice. So of course I was keen to try out the new sushi bar on Arthur Ave., Umai Sushi. First of all, in the four years that I have attended Fordham, there has never been one sushi place in this neighborhood. Now there are two! The first one to open was Sake II on 187th St. near Camberling Ave. I have to say that I do love this place and their sushi is pretty decent, also their prices are great-bento boxes are $12.95! You can even make a delivery order online. (They take 10% off your first order!) The only problem with Sake II is it is incredibly small...There are only two tables in the whole restaurant. So if I wanted to make a delivery order, Sake II is the way to go. 

If you're looking for an evening out with friends or a date, Umai is definitely the way to go. It's a bit pricier than Sake II, but the quality is definitely worth it. Another great thing is that it's BYOB so you can grab a cheap bottle of wine from Mt. Carmel and share it with friends. The decor is quaint but trendy...you almost forget for a second that you're not in Manhattan. 

I actually ended up going to dinner here TWICE this weekend; that's how good it was. Both nights they gave us a free vegetable spring roll as an appetizer...The staff is incredibly friendly and grateful to have you there. We ordered a few rolls; I would recommend the Y2K roll, and the Spicy 2 in 1 Roll, although everything I tried I loved. Also, both nights I went they even gave us a FREE dessert- Oreo Tempura which is exactly what it sounds like, Oreos fried in tempura batter. They were absolutely delicious. If you haven't been to this place yet....GO! 

A few people I talked to were questioning whether or not a sushi place in the Bronx could be decent, but give our neighborhood a little more credit! New places are opening up all the time and a lot of them are here to cater to Fordham students so take advantage of them. Although the Italian restaurants on Arthur are unbeatable, if you want a change of pace try Umai Sushi. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fresh & Local: Saturday Wine Tasting

If you're a Fordham student, I'm sure you're familiar with Mount Carmel Wine & Spirits on 187th St. BUT, did you know that they have a wine tasting every Saturday from 1-5 pm? I've said in the past that I've always had trouble choosing wine, which is why a wine tasting is pretty ideal for those of us who have trouble telling the difference between a Cabernet and a Merlot.

Today's wine tasting featured three Italian wines, all within the $20 range. I was actually looking for a wine to give my parents who are on a flight home from South Africa as we speak. Out of the three wines, I ended up choosing a red wine from Tuscany called "Argiano". It's a full-bodied Rosso Toscano that tastes kind of like a mix between a Cabernet and a Merlot, according to the knowledgeable sommelier who administered the wine tasting. It costs $21.99, which I think is a reasonable price. Wine tastings are a great way for the non-winos to figure out which types of wine they prefer and t0 experience a variety of different wines before buying one just based on the label...which I tend to do a lot!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fresh & Local Weekend: Oyster Bar

This weekend, I plan on staying in the Bronx and appreciating what my neighborhood has to offer. Because in less than a month (yikes!) I won't be living here anymore and I want to take advantage of it for as long as I can.

Today was a BEAUTIFUL day and my friend Steph and I went for a stroll down Arthur Ave. One of our favorite things to do in the spring is to go to Cosenza's Fish Market and share a dozen oysters at their clam & oyster bar. I know that oysters are an acquired taste, but I absolutely love them. They are so refreshing and delicious....eating an oyster is like tasting a little part of the ocean, which may sound weird but it's true! If you've had doubts about oysters in the past, you should really give them a second chance.

Cosenza's has a variety of different clams & oysters on the half shell to choose from. We went with the Delaware Bay oysters, $1 each, which is pretty inexpensive for oysters. The other popular ones are the Blue Point oysters, $1.50 each.

There are so many sauces to choose from to accompany your oysters. I would recommend the Shark Bite Garlic Pepper Sauce or Cosenza's homemade cocktail sauce. With a squeeze of lemon, of course.
Our Delaware Bay oysters...yum!
Soo delicious...
"Eat Fish, Live Longer" I like that!
All done!

*Cosenza's Fish Market is right next to Umberto's Restaurant on the corner of 186th and Arthur Ave.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A settle for The Fireplace

Yesterday was a sad day. My friends and I drove all the way to White Manna for a deliciously indulgent meal and it was CLOSED. We all teared up a little when we had just missed the last servings of sliders by only 10 minutes. When you're craving White Manna, nothing else will remotely compare or come close to satisfaction.
But, because my roommate Carly and I wanted to show our Massachusetts friends that Jersey CAN have little gems that make the state what it is, we took them to the next best thing we could think of: The Fireplace. Also a burger joint, The Fireplace is an old classic, the kind of place that has been a hidden gem for Jersey natives for decades. It sits along the truck-heavy highway of Route 17 and looks like it hasn't been redone since the early 50s. The Fireplace has a bizarre patriotic theme and the inside resembles an old log cabin. The walls are covered with Civil War memorabilia that seem like they have hung there since the war started.
The food is decent. The milkshakes are perfect. There are three different ordering stations: The Burger Station, the Chicken Station, and the Pizza Station. Weird, I know. But the Fireplace is one of those places that you visit for the atmosphere, the coziness of it all. Not necessarily for the food. It's a family place, where you went with your parents after a baseball game or with your class after a field trip. And sometimes these kinds of places are worth the mediocre food to have the childhood memories come flooding back.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wait! Don't eat that...Let me document it first.

Ok, I love to read cooking & dining blogs...but can you imagine keeping track of every single thing you put in your mouth, and then posting a picture of it online? This concept seems pretty bizarre to me, but apparently it's becoming pretty popular. 

This guy posts pictures every week of EVERY single thing he eats. There are no explanations as to why he does what he does on the website, just pictures. 

Then there is a Flickr group dedicated to people sharing pictures of their meals, and I have to admit that I found this website way more appealing. Some of the pictures, like the ones below, are pretty fantastic, not to mention make stomach growl. 
There is also a website called "Tweet What You Eat" which helps people keep track of their food & calorie intake. I admire the originality of this website and how it makes people feel as though they are part of a community of others who are trying to lose weight. Keep in mind how much you would have to stick to this website for it to actually work though...which is where I would get lost and most likely be unsuccessful. 

The world of food blogging is rapidly expanding and it's pretty exciting! And the idea that food photography is taking on its own art form is pretty cool. I think I might need to start taking more pictures... and possibly join that Flickr group! 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What I'm reading...

I started reading Julia Child's My Life In France this past summer, and I'm finally getting around to finishing it (although probably not until I finish the 3 research papers due in the next two weeks...yikes). Everyone knows that Julia Child was one of the most accomplished chefs of all time, and an inspiration to American women who wanted to pursue their dreams of becoming professional chefs. The book is a memoir of her early years learning to cook at La Cordon Bleu in Paris, and falling in love with her husband Paul. Not only do you see how she learned to cook, but you also see how her love of food was born when she moved to France. The descriptions of the food she both cooks and eats are mouth watering, so you might be in a constant state of hunger while reading, but it's definitely worth it. She writes in a way that makes the reader feel like Julia is right there with you, telling the story of her life...maybe while she's cooking you an amazing meal...I wish!

Monday, April 12, 2010

2,000 calories for an omelette?

After posting about Jamie Oliver and his "food revolution" I stumbled across this. A list of the 20 worst sit-down restaurant foods. I'm really not one to count calories but this is a little sickening. I know I've probably had a lot of things on this list too...How does a grilled chicken & avocado sandwich come out to 1,752 calories?! Check it out for yourself.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jamie Oliver-Food Revolution

Most people know that America is considered the most unhealthy country in the world. Our eating habits aren't exactly admirable when fast food is the cheapest and most accessible option for meals. I've started watching Jamie Oliver's new show "Food Revolution" and I've been shocked to say the least.

Jamie Oliver is a famous British chef who has done a lot of work in Britain to change school lunch menus to be healthier and for kids to become more educated about eating healthy.

In the show, Jamie travels to Huntington, West Virginia which is considered the most unhealthy city in the US. His mission: to improve the eating habits of this town and educate people about healthy foods.

The first place he visits is the elementary school, where it was shocking to see that the kids' breakfasts were comprised of "breakfast pizzas" and chocolate milk. Then the kids would proceed to have another pizza for lunch; never any fruits or vegetables. I feel as though most people would agree that their experience in elementary school was similar to this. When I think about what I ate for lunch at school, chicken fingers, french fries, hamburgers, and soda fountains come to mind.

The problem seems to be that these kids just knew nothing about healthy eating habits. In this clip, Jamie goes to one of the classrooms to test the kids to see if they could even identify different types of vegetables.



Pretty shocking, huh? The show is actually kind of a tear jerker (okay, so I cry during every episode) but it's actually pretty scary how many people in America die of obesity simply because they don't know how to cook and eat healthy. I obviously don't think that Jamie Oliver can single handedly change the people eat in the US but I think it's great exposure and a huge reality check as to how many people are killing themselves because of the way they eat. It also really makes me want to try one of Jamie Oliver's recipes...which I'll post when I do. But definitely check out the show...I watched all the episodes on Hulu but the show is on every Friday night.

Friday, April 9, 2010

YOU'RE WELCOME

My mom's infamous cupcake recipe. You WON'T be disappointed, trust me. I probably shouldn't even be posting this because the recipe is so valuable, but I'm feeling generous. Cupcakes are meant to be shared and enjoyed by all! So here it is! (BTW...you kinda need a food processor)

Mombard's Famous Cupcakes

You'll need:
6 oz. butter
6 oz. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
6 oz. self rising flour
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Place butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, & vanilla in bowl. Process for 15-25 minutes until well mixed. Cook at 325 degrees for 15 minutes or until ready.



*Okay, so that's kind of the easiest recipe of all time. But aren't the best recipes always the simple ones?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tilapia w/ Black Beans and Kale

I made another great recipe from Women's Health last night and it was a big hit with my roomies! I feel like we never cook fish in our apartment, probably because we never buy it. But I really do love seafood. So, on my way back to the BX yesterday I picked up some tilapia fillets and some kale...one of new favorite vegetables. If you've never had it, it's kinda like a mix between spinach and broccoli and you can sautee it in about 5 minutes. I recommend trying some, its delicious and sooo good for you. Anyway, the recipe took about 15 minutes to make in its entirety and I served it up with some brown rice! Here it is....

Skillet Tilapia w/ Black Beans and Kale
You'll need:
-A few fillets of tilapia
-1 cup of chopped kale
-1 cup of black beans, rinsed and drained
-1/2 cup of chopped red onion
-2 tbsp of tomato paste
-1 tbsp of olive oil
-red pepper flakes
-salt & pepper to taste

1. In a skillet, combine onion, oil, and salt to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add kale and stir to coat with seasonings. Cook until kale starts to wilt, about 2 minutes. Stir in beans and tomato paste. Set tilapia on mixture. Dust lightly with red pepper flakes.

2. Cover and cook until tilapia is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve with lemon.

*I apologize for not having pictures, I forgot to take them...It is a beautiful looking dish though!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Paella for all!

Happy Easter everyone! For me, holidays are always about spending time with people you love...but also about sharing an amazing meal as well. Last night, in celebration of the beautiful weather my family had a little bbq at our house in Jersey. It seriously felt like a summer night, I almost forgot that I would be going back to school in a couple days and worrying about research papers and getting ready to graduate (a scary thought). My parents are huge foodies as I've mentioned in the past and they love trying new things. So they decided to make a huge paella on the grill for all of their guests. If you don't know what paella is (you should because it's delicious) it's a Spanish dish that consists of a mixture of saffron infused rice, seafood, chicken, and chorizo sausages. And it looks something like this: 


You basically put the arborio rice, along with mussels, scallops, shrimp, and calamari into a HUGE skillet along with chorizo, chicken,  tomatoes, chicken broth, onions, and peppers and season it with saffron, garlic, and parsley. It's seriously one of the best things I've eaten in awhile and it was so easy to make. I'm actually really upset I didn't take a picture of the final product but it was a beautiful sight, not to mention it smelled amazing. Unfortunately I don't have a grill in the bronx, but you can just as easily make this recipe on a stove top. Ours fed 8 people. I don't have the exact recipe because this was kinda a improvised trial run but I found this recipe that looks almost exactly like the one we had.