Thursday, January 31, 2013

Les Foodités Talks to Mystery Meet

Warning: the following post contains shameless self promotion. Proceed with caution.

That being said, I am pleased to share my recent interview with Seth Resler, Founder of Mystery Meet, an innovative social dining group. Each week, Mystery Meet produces a Find Dining Podcast, where Resler interviews different food lovers from around the country to discuss restaurants, food trends, and renowned chefs from their city. 

I am honored to be the trail blazer who represents Manhattan. Within the interview I outline some of my favorite dining districts, chefs whose work I admire, and share my love for The Mermaid Inn. Additionally I partake in the Out of the Frying Pan rapid-fire challenge where I name some of my favorite restaurant spots for New York City views, cocktails, soups, and other fun food-related adventures. Without further ado, here is the podcast Where to Eat in Manhattan. You can also listen to the interview while viewing a slideshow here. I hope you enjoy. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

National Blueberry Pancake Day

Did you know that today is National Blueberry Pancake Day? Let me know how you plan on celebrating. I'm hoping to dig into Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands To Yours cookbook, which I received at Sarabeth's Tribeca this morning at a breakfast event celebrating National Blueberry Pancake Day thanks to Driscoll's Berries!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Restaurant Review: Sushi Yasaka, Upper West Side, NYC

One of my favorite sushi restaurants--which happens to be in my neighborhood on the Upper West Side--is Sushi Yasaka, a modest Japanese restaurant that has an authentic feel. No neon lights or sushi happy hour appetizers. Just simple white walls, wooden tables, and an L-shaped sushi bar, run by Japanese sushi chefs.
Sushi Yasaka may not be the place you come to for the ever-so popular Dynamite Roll. As I mentioned, it's more authentic. I have been there several times and always order the Mini Omakase ($24), an assortment of the chef's recommendation. Don't expect your typical tuna, rather think of buttery yellowtail with a delicate slice of jalapeño, or Japanese snapper with crispy garlic flakes, or Californian sea urchin.
Other dishes we love are the Spicy Scallop Roll, which is chock full of raw baby scallops and a spicy mayonnaise concoction that you could die for. 
Other sushi favorites are the simple rolls, like the Salmon Avocado Roll, which is a marvelous mix of richness. One roll that was a disappointment was the  Geisha Girl Roll, a huge hand roll with a tempura crust and a tuna fish salad-like filling. Go for the Spicy Tuna Roll instead. 
In terms of appetizers, I'd recommend the Small Salad, a $4 bowl of mixed greens and a sharp ginger dressing--no iceberg lettuce here. I also love the fried Pork Gyoza.The outer skin is fried to a perfect crisp, and when gently dipped into the dipping sauce, a combustion of salty goodness explodes in your mouth. My only complaint was I wish there were more pork filling. 
The Toro Tartare is a tuna appetizer featuring a dish full of toro tuna with a quail egg on top that you gently fold in. Fried nori chips are served on the side to scoop up the rich goodness and there is a little side of wasabi tobiko mayo to finish off the dish. This appetizer just needs more nori chips to even out the proportions.
 Next time you're looking for quality sushi, venture up to the Upper West Side. To me, Sushi Yasaka is more than a neighborhood sushi joint, it's a jewel in the crown. Or the ginger in my soy sauce.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Recipe: Eggs Grandpa Manny

Ever since I was a little girl, my mom made me Eggs Grandpa Manny, a hearty egg breakfast that her grandfather made. It was--and still is--one of my favorite comfort foods. And it is so simple to make:

Serves 1

1 slice of sandwich bread (any variety works)
2 slices of bacon
1 egg

Set a pot of water to boil. Once water boils, gently place an egg in the water and let it cook for 3 minutes. Carefully take the egg out and cool it to the touch under cold water. Peel egg and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook two slices of bacon until crispy. (You can also cook bacon in the microwave on a microwave-safe plate with plenty of paper towels, about one minute per slice).

While egg is cooking and bacon is crisping, toast a slice of bread. Once the bread is toasted to satisfaction, butter the bread.

In a bowl, break up the toasted bread and cut into bite size pieces. Place the soft boiled egg over the bread, and smash so the yolk oozes over the bread. Break the bacon into small pieces and mix into the bowl. Finish with salt and pepper.

I love how the buttered bread soaks up the yolk and the bacon adds a smoky and salty flavor. Legend has it, my mom was the one who added the bacon--nice work, mama. (Don't you just love Jews who like bacon? I know I do).

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Restaurant Review: Pain D'Avignon, Hyannis, Cape Cod

Happy new year! I try not to commit to resolutions but my husband and I are actively trying to not dine out for dinner in January (oh, and to drink less, too). Our goal is to cook in more, save some money, and be relatively healthier. Knowing the challenge ahead, we prepared and dined out a lot in DecemberOur New England holiday break was really our last hurrah and I can't complain because we ate like kings.
One of my favorite restaurant meals was at the relatively new Pain D'Avignon in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Pain D'Avignon is a local breadmaker on Cape Cod. Anyone who has spent time on the Cape has most likely seen their delivery trucks driving around the area. A few years ago, the owners created a cafe in their warehouse, which has become quite popular.

During our three-day stint in the Cape, we ate at Pain twice. The lunch menu has the basics: salads created with local greens, tasty sandwiches on homemade breads, soups, and pizza--there is even a well curated french wine list to complement your meal. At first glance, the menu is simple, but upon further inspection, seeing items like banh mi is a nice touch.
I also like that the tuna melt has gruyere cheese instead of the usual cheddar or Swiss (I'm a sucker for gruyere), which is why we also ordered the French onion soup. Obviously, I liked the cheese part and of course the hunks of homemade bread, which sponge up the broth. The flavor of the soup was right on but unfortunately the broth wasn't that hot. 
Other dishes we tasted included the salade locale--plate full of local bibb lettuce tossed with a lemon vinaigrette and crispy shallots. (I will now attempt to include crispy shallots in salads whenever possible.) We couldn't resist the burrata salad served with prosciutto, greens with shaved fennel, and a side of baguette.

Sandwiches included bahn mi, curried chicken salad, and of course the tuna melt. The banh mi was pretty good--you can't go wrong with homemade pâté  paired with pulled pork, garlic aioli, pickled jalapeños,  and cilantro and carrots. The curried chicken salad was chock full of cashews, raisins, and a curry mayonnaise sandwiched within a buttery homemade croissant. It was very decadent. My only critique is that I wished we had ordered two. The tuna melt was also great with the aforementioned gruyere and local tomatoes melted on homemade pumpernickel bread. 

Next time you're on the Cape and need some carbohydrates, check out the Pain D'Avignon cafe. Cozy up at the bar and eat away!