I have a lot of friends that call me a "foodie."
The truth is, I just like to eat.
Sadly, I have been lactose intolerant since I was a child. But sometimes, that doesn't stop me; so thank you Lactaid.
I have a lot of friends that call me a "foodie."
The truth is, I just like to eat.
Sadly, I have been lactose intolerant since I was a child. But sometimes, that doesn't stop me; so thank you Lactaid.
A trio of fish tacos from my dinner break at Haru sushi, near Union Square.
Tuna, Salmon and Yellowtail in a Yuzu apple marinade with avocado, peppers and shallots. Just the right amount of sweet and salty with crunch. They were a little pricey for a break, but delicious.
Yes, social media helped me find Cha Cha Matcha! So, when I walked by it on the way to Seamore's, I knew where I was going for dessert!
Although the matcha soft serve sounded amazing, I thought it would be best to skip the dairy for this meal. I opted for their version of a cronut, a doughssant, filled with matcha cream and perfectly flaky.
For my drink, I chose a soy match latte, iced, of course! I was also amused by the number of other Asian girls in the shop, taking photos of their drinks and food...there's not a blog called "Asians Taking Pictures of Food" for no reason!
I made the mistake of thinking Seamore's opened earlier for brunch, so I had to sweat it out in Little Italy for about 15 minutes before settling in to eat. (Usually, not a problem, but it was over 90 degrees and super humid.)
It had been awhile since I had been to Seamore's, but I knew I had to get something on their brunch menu. I went for one of the "bagel stacks." Consisting of an Everything bagel from another one of my favs, Russ & Daughters, avocado, roasted tomatoes, poached eggs and chili flakes. I opted for a side of Seamore's greens instead of fries (who am I?), which was a smart choice in the heat.
At first, I was puzzled when the waiter brought me a steak knife, but once my food arrived, I realized it was a smart idea. There was no way you could pick up the bagel and eat it...it was best cutting it up into manageable bites.
After a few delicious meals at Pizza Loves Emily in Brooklyn, I knew I had to try their newest restaurant, Emmy Squared. My first attempt was thwarted by a late June monsoon, which flooded the kitchen and forced them to close for the evening. However, I was able to score a reservation and went back with my friend, Kristi, to catch up on life and enjoy some Detroit-style slices.
I chose the Deluxe: sauce, mozzarella, sausage, green peppers, mushrooms and added those little crispy pepperoni slices. Something about that crispy, burnt cheese crust made it everything. I'm drooling a bit, just thinking about it.
I can't wait to go back and have another pie!
When I was little, I thought pistachio ice cream sounded gross...but as I've gotten old and my tastes have expanded, I realized that I actually really like it!
So, this was my first time trying a real Spumoni ice cream and what better place to try it than at L&B Spumoni Gardens!? I got a cup of the swirled vanilla, chocolate and pistachio and it was dreamy! Even a few bees couldn't stop me and Christina from enjoying our ice cream before heading to Coney Island to see New Kids on the Block!
For my first time at Spumoni Gardens, I chose a traditional square cheese slice and a Pepsi. The thick crust on this slice was particularly tasty and it held up all the sauce and cheese well.
Of course, like a true Nebraskan, I can to get a can of Pepsi. No Coca-Cola for this girl.
Since I've been working near Union Square for almost 5 years, sometimes it's hard to find something new that I like to eat during my break. Recently, Republic has had some great lunchtime bento box specials. I think they change up every now and then, but this has been my favorite set for a bit.
Three cubes of crispy tofu in a peanut sesame & mustard sauce (even though I'm not usually a fan of mustard, this sauce wasn't too tart), a bowl of wonton soup with shrimp & pork in a clear broth with vegetables and shallots and the main entree, a large bowl of glass noodles with sauteed chicken, carrots, celery, garlic and cilantro (which I promptly picked out). All of these dishes set me back just under $20, which isn't too bad, considering their usual entrees can run $15-$17 anyways.
I decided to spend the last day of my staycation uptown and FINALLY visiting the Isaac Mizrahi exhibit at the Jewish Museum. Luckily, there's also one of my favorite restaurants connected to the museum.
The wait was a little long for a table for one, so I took my order to go and sat in Central Park to eat it. I chose the Gaspe Nova smoked salmon on an everything bagel with a side of bagel chips and a Dr. Brown's Black Cherry Cola.
I can't help but dream of that deliciously smoky salmon...and the saltiness of that bagel...
I spent part of my staycation in Flushing with Christopher, shopping, finding wonderful Asian treats, checking out all sorts of Korean beauty products and eating.
Luckily, we stopped into Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao for lunch before a downpour started! Several families around us found themselves trapped by the monsoon, but we just sat and enjoyed our meal.
I got a plate of fried rice cakes with shredded pork and a fried bun with chives and egg.
It's hard to believe that this was my first time trying the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery (What's wrong with me?)! It was the perfect treat on a hot day in the city.
I got a small of the classic banana pudding - layers of vanilla wafers, fresh bananas and a creamy vanilla pudding; served chilled.
I also got a slice of the peanut butter Icebox Pie - a vanilla wafer crust layered with caramel and peanut butter whipped cream with a cream cheese filling and topped with Reese's peanut butter cups. No photo of this one, as it melted a bit in my bag before I got home to enjoy it.
I was happy to spend part of my staycation out at brunch with a friend and some of her theatre buddies! (In fact, one of them and I were talking so much about Hamilton, that his boyfriend offered to switch seats with me.)
The boys had chosen Barraca in the West Village, which I had never been to, but the menu looked amazing! I got some crispy potatoes, but the best part was this "Coca e Kale" - a flatbread with crispy kale, manchego cheese, caramelized onions, chili flakes and fried egg.
I would easily come back here again for the food and company.
After a few stressful weeks, I met up with my friend, Christina, to catch up on life and enjoy some tacos at Tacomi in NoLita.
Of course I had to get the chorizo breakfast taco & a crispy fish taco. We wanted to try the special tostadas, but somehow ended up with chips & guac instead.
Oh well, the meal was still delicious and just what the doctor ordered to help clear up those blues!
Another sweltering New York City day and I decided to swing by the Midtown location of Xi'an Famous Foods for some noodles and a burger.
Since I'm not the biggest fan of spice, but I can't get enough of those chewy, hand-pulled noodles, I got the N4: stewed pork noodles and B1: stewed pork burger with a jasmine tea.
If only I could make noodles this good at home!
After a little bit of hiatus from Shake Shack, I checked the ShackCam on this sweltering NYC day and saw a short line; so I rushed up the 4 blocks to Madison Square Park.
They were featuring the "Bacon Cheddar Shack" - a Shake Shack burger with Niman Ranch bacon and Wisconsin aged cheddar cheese sauce. Of course, I had to get a side of cheese fries (Yes, I ordered the cheese sauce on the side, but it still came ON the fries!) and an iced tea.
Who knew that by getting the special, I would wait almost 50 minutes from the time I ordered until when I got my food!? Oof. And in 90+ degree weather, it wasn't fun. I watched order after order come up & finally asked where my food was.
Luckily, my co-workers were understanding and let me take an extra 10 minutes on my break to enjoy my food! And, thanks to the power of Twitter, I got an apology from Shake Shack for the crazy wait!
Bring on the summer heat wave! Yes, I walked up 4 blocks vs. down 2 blocks to the Dig Inn on 23rd Street! They have a different menu than the other location and I can't get enough of their charred chicken over brown rice.
With the change in seasons, comes the change in sides: so, I chose broccoli & tomatoes with cantaloupe and an iced passion black tea.
After a rough week, I treated myself to dinner at the Meatball Shop. Not exactly a #fatfriday indulgence, but straying a bit from my "healthier" track of eating.
Even though I chose my standard of chicken meatballs with mushroom gravy, I decided to top my balls with "the family jewels" or more widely known as a fried egg. Of course, I needed my carbs, so TMS' buttery, smooth mashed potatoes won out as my side of choice.
If you haven't been to City Kitchen near the Theatre District, you should go. It's a great place to eat before/after a show or to grab a snack when you're having a two-show day, like I often do!
After seeing a matinee of "An Act of God" with Sean Hayes, my friend, Adriane & I stopped by City Kitchen. Once inside, I quickly noticed that Dough had a Horchata doughnut as their special of the day; so, naturally, I had to get one!
Something about that mixture of cinnamon, sugar and rice milk, makes it an easy favorite of mine!
After running some errands on my lunch break, I decided to walk to the other side of Union Square and eat at Dorado.
I got two of their Baja fish tacos - beer battered Atlantic whitefish with cabbage, pickled onions and salsa fresca with a side of rice and a Masala Chai tea from Plan Tea.
Usually, I'm not a big fan of beer battered things, but these tacos hit the spot with just enough rich flavor and crispiness.
My friend, Emily, was also raving about the ice cream sandwiches at Nowadays. From "It's It" in San Francisco, where they are a tradition; this ice cream sandwich consists of two oatmeal cookies and a selection of ice cream flavors & then it's dipped in dark chocolate and frozen.
I chose the traditional vanilla for my first experience, but will have to try all the flavors eventually.
After a day at the beach with friends, we went to Nowadays in Ridgewood for dinner & drinks. My friend, Emily, kept going on and on about their grilled cheese, so I knew that was what I had to get.
Since it was also the 4th of July Weekend, I had to get a hot dog too...#fatsaturday, anyone?
Their hot dog is a beef frank served "mash style" with sweet spicy ketchup, chips and caramelized onions. Their grilled cheese is made with American cheese and Munster cheese with arugula and a side of potato chips.
This meal totally hit the spot after getting really sunburned at Brighton Beach!
Another month of a delicious "dumps of the month" with Whitney! This month, Mimi Cheng's featured a pork & beef meatball dumpling in marinara sauce. I got a side of their Taiwanese street cart greens with fried shallots and an iced mint tea.
The thin marinara sauce was a nice addition to the richness of the meatballs in the dumplings with their crispy, fried bottoms. Not as great as their Thanksgiving dumpling or brunch dumpling, but I would easily come back to get these if they were a special again.
Post #fatfriday meal at Juniper, Emily and I walked to Van Leeuwen near the water to get some ice cream. Unlike me, Em isn't a big sweets person, but I convinced her to try some of their unusual flavors.
For myself, I opted for a scoop of their Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and a scoop of their Vegan Matcha Green Tea in a waffle cone.
We sat at their beautiful counter top, similar to one you might have found in an old malt shop & enjoyed our scoops while talking about boys.
It had been a few months since I had the chance to catch up with my friend, Emily, so we decided to meet after work to eat and drink. Since the restaurant was BYOB, she even brought a bottle of pink Moscato (since it's my fav)!
On the way into the restaurant, we ran into an old coworker of ours; which started off the great night of stories filled with laughter and fun.
I settled on the chorizo burger, where the sausage was blended into the ground beef to make the patty! I chose regular fries and a mixed green salad. Em got the truffle burger with mushrooms and truffle oil with a side of spicy fries.
Since I'm such a lightweight, the moscato quickly made me chatty and we kept talking, while walking through Williamsburg towards our dessert destination.
It had been awhile since I had been to Hill Country Chicken for a #fatfriday! So, I made the 6 block hike up 5th Avenue to 25th street for some Texas Tenders, with a buttermilk biscuit, a side of cheesy fried mashed potatoes and a Cowboy mini pie cup.
I love the coating on the Texas Tenders, but they are almost too big! I ordered two tenders (when I used to get three), but could only finish one and a half! The addition of french fries into the mashed potatoes only made it a better #fatfriday and then I needed something sweet; so that fountain Boylan's Black Cherry soda hit the spot.
I saved my mini pie for later...
I love pasta! I was hoping for some garlic olive oil & broccoli rabe, but opted for some orrechiette with Genovese basil pesto, roasted tomatoes, shrimp and grated parmesan cheese.
Going to Al Vicoletto is on the pricier side for my meal break, but it's nice to sit down in a restaurant every now and then. They always have great bread and usually I'm one of few customers in there, which makes for great people watching of their staff. It's like my own episode of Top Chef or Waiting!
A few months ago a new place to eat popped up near my work. Union Fare showcases a coffee bar, gastropub, bakery and some food stalls where you can get pizza, burgers, tacos or poke.
For my first time, I wanted to try something on the "lighter" side and opted for the salmon e poke bowl. Tossed with shiitake mushrooms, edamame, brown rice, mixed greens & shallots the meal was a bit pricey and the sauce was a little too sharp for my tastes.
Also, I seemed to have stopped by during the turnover of their lunch to dinner service. They haven't found the best way to shuffle customers out, so they can flip tables...it was awkward at best.
Next round: definitely a burger or pizza!
After checking out the "Egg Rolls, Empanadas & Egg Cream" Festival on the Lower East Side, I was still hungry. My friend from high school, Shannon and her husband, Lapo had come into the city from White Plains for the day. We met up with another high school friend, Jonathan, and my date, Nolan, to see what was going on at this festival.
While walking through Chinatown, my clumsy self tripped over a curb and banged up my knees pretty badly. Shannon & Lapo graciously helped me clean up my wounds and Nolan took me to get bandages, while Jonathan waited to meet up with us all.
The festival was pretty cool and there were lots of activities from these three cultures that inhabit the LES; but the food was not plentiful. Luckily, Jonathan and Nolan knew of a great place within walking distance for brunch.
We grabbed a table in the back, ordered some food and talked for a few hours. I had a hard time choosing what to get, but ended up ordering the breakfast burrito: scrambled eggs, chorizo, potatoes and cheddar cheese with a mixed greens salad and a ginger ale. I would definitely come back here again!
After running some errands, I had some time to kill and figured why not grab a burger at Umami Burger before heading into work? Having burgers used to be an almost daily occurrence for me until I learned that I had really high cholesterol about two years ago.
I went cold turkey off of fried foods (for the most part) and now give myself #fatfriday as a cheat day for burgers, pizza, fried chicken, etc.
I got the "Umami" burger, which consists of parmesan frico, shiitake mushrooms, roasted tomato, caramelized onions and umami ketchup with a side of thin fries and a real cane sugar Pepsi. It totally hit the spot.
I've been working in the Flatiron District for almost 5 years, so every now and then I start to run out of places that I feel like going to eat. Luckily, a new location of Paris Baguette opened up on 23rd and Park Ave S., so I walked up there.
They have this great Pesto Chicken Salad and a wonderfully refreshing fresh fruit sangria. The weather was just right to eat outside and watch some kids play around in the park, before heading back to work.
Their version of this salad comes with orecchiette in pesto, cubes of white cheddar cheese, grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes and croutons on a bed of romaine lettuce.
I hardly ever get a Sunday off, so I try to have a "proper" brunch when I can. I met up with my college best friend, Phil, at Upland on Park Ave South.
We talked about the Tony Awards, like any good gay boy/straight girl couple and caught up on life. I was excited to share my last good date story with him, while we waited for our food and consumed a mixed bread basket as an appetizer.
My brunch meal consisted of two poached eggs, arugula, smashed potatoes, bacon and a slice of charred bread. I should have ordered a mimosa to make it more "proper," but opted to save some money instead.
After a busy afternoon of playing tour guide for some friends from LA, I needed sustenance and quick. We had been shopping around Herald Square, so naturally, Koreatown was my first thought for dinner.
I was craving something salty, so when I looked at Shanghai Mong's menu and found that I could get noodles AND rice; I knew it was where I was going to eat.
I got an order of the fried "Home Dumplings" and beef japchae with white rice. Plenty of carbs to please my heart (but maybe not my arteries...)!
Even a little rain couldn't keep me from eating a meal outside on a cool NYC day. I got the trofie al pesto - pasta with homemade Genovese basil pesto, potatoes, string beans and pine nuts.
Delicious and just the right amount of food for fuel before heading back to work for the evening.
I hadn't been to Pies 'n' Thighs in Williamsburg for years, which is sad, considering how much I love fried Southern food and how close it is to my apartment.
Since I already knew the chicken biscuit sandwich was great, I opted for the "Rob Evans" - a split biscuit, with soft scrambled eggs, cheese and sausage gravy. I also couldn't resist ordering a sweet tea to help wash it all down. Then I walked across the Williamsburg bridge into the city, which definitely helped burn off those excess calories!
After many months of wanting to go together to Matchabar, my coworker, Alison & I finally made it on my birthday! We both love matcha, so it was hard to decide what kind of drink to get!
I finally decided on a coconut milk chai matcha, which was perfect for this warm, muggy day!
I decided to take a long weekend to attend the Vulture Festival and to celebrate my birthday, which fell on a Tuesday this year. So, I had a Monday off and spent it in the city and grabbing lunch at Veselka.
The weather was beautiful, so it was a great day to sit outside, people watch and enjoy some great food. I got the meat combo plate with a meat-stuffed cabbage covered in mushroom gravy with two potato & two meat pierogies.
It's the closest thing to a Runza that I can find in the city, just minus the bread.
After my salty lunch, I was craving a sweet snack. Fortunately, I'd already taken some Lactaid with my chicken pot pie from Tuck Shop, so grabbing gelato sounded like a great idea.
I chose two flavors: amarena varigato (sour cherry) & chocolato al latte (milk chocolate) and sat in a park across from Chelsea Market before heading back to the Vulture Festival.
In between panels at New York Magazine's Vulture Festival, I stopped into Chelsea Market for lunch. I was really craving some mashed potatoes from Tuck Shop, but they were out. So, I took a quick spin around the other restaurants to see if there was anything else I'd want and ended up back right where I started.
I grabbed a chicken pot pie and a Coke and found a small table amongst the crowds of tourists to stand and eat before heading back to another panel.
Several years ago, I stumbled upon Boba Guys in San Francisco. Flash forward to 2015 and they have opened up a store in NYC. It might have taken me months to finally make it here, but it was worth the wait. They don't call them "Grade A balls" for no reason!
I got the jasmine green tea with soy milk and boba and now I hear that they have larger sized cold drinks...guess this won't be the last time I trek to the lower east side for this tea.
Well, I was short on cash and my Mom had sent me a $25 gift card to Red Lobster...so, before going to see She Loves Me, I stopped by the Red Lobster in Times Square for a meal.
I got the parmesan-crusted tilapia with a side of sauteed broccoli, mashed potatoes and of course, cheddar bay biscuits!
The most awkward part: they sat me at a table for 4, by myself. Oh well.
After a failed attempt to meet up with some friends for dim sum in Chinatown, I decided to grab lunch at Cha Chan Tang. Introduced to me by my high school best friend and old roommate, Jim, they have all sorts of delicious noodle & rice dishes.
For this meal, I chose the Portuguese style baked chicken with potatoes and carrots in a yellow curry over a bed of white rice. Rich, creamy and super hot; I had to get an iced tea to help combat the heat.
Just a little snack of a few horchata doughnut holes and a chocolate creme doughnut on a long Friday. I was trying to get the matcha special, but didn't check my order and wound up with the chocolate creme when I was back at work.
It ended up being ok, but those horchata doughnut holes were to die for!
I'm not really a morning person, but if I have to be up early, you can bet you'll find me with a breakfast sandwich in hand. This particular morning, I found myself in Dumbo & early for an appointment...luckily I found Le Bagel Delight and grabbed a sausage & egg (no cheese) on a plain bagel, t8o save my morning!
Bonus: This Gossip Girl-y shot of the Manhattan Bridge.
After checking out the new Pintrill store in Williamsburg, I still had some time to kill before going into the city and into work. So, I hit up one of my favorite Williamsburg spot: The Meatball Shop.
I usually get their biscuits & gravy, but after a so-so experience the last time, I decided to try their Balls Benedict. I chose the breakfast sausage meatballs and they came with two poached eggs on top of a slice of thick cut brioche bread and bacon, which was then covered in Hollandaise and green onions. Another solid egg dish to add to my list of favorites.
Just about 10 minutes from my apartment is this lovely brunch spot, Cafe Ghia. They have some great weekend-only specials, so I figured why not spend this weekday trying out something new.
I got their "Potato Bowl," which was pretty much made for me. Diced, roasted potatoes topped with white cheddar, a fried egg, scallions and bacon. I added a side of roasted broccoli and an iced tea.
The restaurant is small, but being there on an "off" day and time and dining alone, helped me get at the bar..
One of my favorite places to eat when I worked at the office was Glaze Teriyaki. It had been awhile since I had eaten there and they had remodeled slightly. It's only on the other side of Union Square, but it's sort of a challenge to get that far away on my break, eat and get back to the store in less than an hour.
So, I chose wisely and got the teriyaki combo with salmon & tofu over brown rice with a side salad and carrot ginger dressing.
Jack's Wife Frieda is one of those notorious brunch places in NYC with lines always outside of the restaurant. Tempestt's husband, Rem, had picked Mercer Kitchen for his birthday dinner, but they changed their mind to Jack's Wife Frieda, which was a tad more kid-friendly.
I was coming straight from work, so they went ahead and ordered for me & based off the menu online, I think I did a good job with choosing the right meal.
The Madame Frieda: a pressed sandwich with duck prosciutto, cheddar bechamel, gruyere and a sunny side up egg. Served with fries. Definitely a knife and fork sandwich though.
Tempestt & I finally got to meet up with a former co-worker, Karen & her baby, Ryan! Since she was coming from Long Island and Tempestt is in Jackson Heights, we chose a place in Astoria to meet for lunch.
We had some great appetizers and I got this mouth-wateringly good panini. Berkshire smoked ham with truffle aioli, dirty chips and aged cheddar cheese. Yes, I would travel back to Astoria for this sandwich, but luckily, they just opened a location in the city.
My first trip to Burger & Lobster was to try the burger in a slider version, made with Nebraska beef! It just so happened that the Governor of Nebraska was there, along with someone who knew my Dad and a sister of one of my high school friends!
This time, was craving a burger on my #fatfriday excursion and decided to finally go and eat a whole burger.
The corn-fed Nebraska beef patty is served on a sesame bun with lettuce, tomato, American cheese and pickles. It came with a small side of fries and a house salad. Just a bit of home in the city!
Whenever I'm craving a sweet treat, but don't want the hassle of dairy or taking Lactaid, I'm lucky that Chloe's is right near work! All of their "frozen fruit" is served like fro-yo and is great for lactose intolerant people, like me!
One of their best creations is this one, the "Crunchy Salty" Sundae. Swirled banana & dark chocolate soft serve, topped with bananas, dark chocolate chips, pretzel sticks and covered in peanut butter sauce.
After spending a day off at the new Whitney Museum, I trekked up to Doughnut Plant to grab some of their monthly specials.
I always prefer a cake doughnut to a yeast doughnut and was glad that I was still able to get a matcha green tea cake doughnut and a banana pecan cake doughnut.
The weather finally turned in the city and it was nice enough to sit outside on my lunch break. Thankfully, Mom has supplied me with several gift cards to Chipotle, so it made for an easy lunch choice.
I got a chicken burrito bowl with some fajita veggies, corn salsa, tomatoes, loads of cheese and lettuce. The bag of chips was a nice addition for a sort of plate of nachos.
One of my favorite places to go for dinner after work is Vapiano just off Union Square. You might have to wait a bit for your fresh pasta to be prepared, but you can watch one of their chefs toss everything together right infront of you.
They also have a unique card ordering system, so each item that you select gets added to your card & then swiped upon exit, so you can pay.
I have a slight addiction to their bolognese - a tomato sauce with pork & beef and some sliced carrots. I rarely waiver from this choice and the one time I did, I regretted it. I almost always choose the campanelle as my pasta selection, since it's all fresh pasta, it's the perfect al dente texture; just a little bit chewy.
After celebrating a friend's birthday, a few other friends & I ventured over to Genuine Liquorette for their signature "Cha-Chunked Cocktails" - mini cans of soda with mini bottles of liquor on top.
I got an Absolute Mandarin/Sprite and Brynn got a Jameson/Seagram's Ginger Ale.
Sometimes I luck out on a lunch break and a #fatfriday & there's no line at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park! This Friday was one of those days, so I ran the 4 blocks up to 23rd on my lunch break and grabbed a single cheeseburger, crinkle cut fries with cheese sauce and the special concrete, malted marshmallow milk chocolate.
I usually have a craving for pasta or some sort of carb, so this pappardelle really hit the spot! It was served with short rib ragu, fried sage, parsley and pecorino. I also got a side of Brussels sprouts topped with bacon, parmesan and malt vinegar.
Overall, a solid meal, even if the service was a bit spotty. A great addition to the KC dining scene.
On my last day in Kansas City, I met up with some high school friends for dinner and to catch up on life and their move back to KC from the West Coast.
We split the deviled eggs appetizer with 3 bacon eggs and 2 cured smoked salmon eggs over egg yolk with dijon & capers. The salmon ones were definitely better than the bacon, if you can believe that!
Another old co-worker reunion, when I grabbed lunch with Kristen (a former Manager with me at Urban) and Charity. We met up at Unforked in Overland Park and had some great food and caught up on life and her three kids!
I tried out the Akaushi beef burger with lettuce and a roma tomato on an egg bun with a side of truffle fries with truffle salt & parsley.
The burger was a little tasteless, but the fries were delicious!
I finally got to catch up with my bestie, Jenn and her son, Isaiah! We watched some movies and went out to dinner at Taco Republic. With the gorgeous weather, we chose to sit at a table outside.
I got a bowl of fundido - melted chihuhua cheese with roasted poblano peppers, chorizo and flour tortillas. Jenn chose some tacos - vegetable and shrimp. We shared some chips and guacamole with salsa.
We let Isaiah run around the outside tables and play a little cornhole, until he got hit in the face with a bean bag by one of the other kids. Whoops.
Yes, it's true; some of the best KC BBQ comes from inside a gas station! However, I found myself in a weird predicament as all of my KC-based friends are now vegetarian or vegan.
So, I went with my cousin and her 3-month-old baby to get my BBQ fix. She sat out in the car and nursed the baby, while I got a pulled pork sandwich and some dirty rice.
It totally hit the spot, but would have been much better with a partner in crime to eat with me!
Sometimes a trip to Kansas City gives me enough time to drive home and back, but not on this trip. Still, I can get a little piece of home by eating a Runza in Mission, Kansas; at least until I go home at Christmas or "Taste of Nebraska" comes back to NYC again.
I got my usual: a #1 with an Original Runza (ground beef, cabbage, spices baked in a bun), Frings! (crinkle cut fries with double battered onion rings) and a Pepsi.
When I worked on the Country Club Plaza at Urban Outfitters with Charity & Christian, we used to go to Latte Land for coffee, tea and the super sugary wedding cake cookies. Well, now Latte Land has been replaced with Kaldi's Coffee, it was good, but just not the same.
We got an assortment of drinks and when we sat down, I noticed the nice ombre effect of all our drinks, so I had to line them up and take a photo.
From the left to right: chocolate chai, soy chocolate chai (mine), vanilla chai and an almond milk vanilla coffee.
Of course, when you're in the Midwest you have to load up on carbs! My friend, Christian, his husband, Aiden and their son, Alexander drove in from St. Louis to meet up with me in Kansas City.
However, since they are vegetarian/gluten-free, I had to find a place to satisfy all of our cravings! From some helpful photos on Yelp, I found The Big Biscuit, which was only a few minutes drive from my friend, Charity's house, where I was staying.
We split a sticky bun and I chose the "Country Benedict" composed of biscuits topped with sausage patties, poached eggs and country gravy. Of course, it came with a side of hashbrowns and was called a "The Big Biscuit Specialty!"
Big Daddy's Diner is one of my favorite #fatfriday places to eat and a bit of a guilty pleasure, since it was shown in the background during an episode of "SMASH!"
For this meal, I tried out the Sunday Brunch Benedict: two hashbrown patties topped with Canadian bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise with a side of tater tots.
Since my friend, Michelle, moved to Seattle, I'm rarely in this part of Williamsburg anymore, but when I am, I love stopping at Grass Roots Juicery for a smoothie.
This one is the PB&J: vanilla soy milk, peanut butter, purple grapes, flax seeds and agave. Delicious!
When my friend, Jasmine and I heard that Ben & Jerry's was giving away free ice cream in Union Square, we immediately went over to try and get a bowl. However, it turned out to be a marketing/campaigning ply from Bernie Sanders. We were there a little too late and they ran out of ice cream.
In order to satisfy our craving, we walked over to Amorino for some gelato. The best part? They build your cone into a flower of various flavors!
I clearly had a hard time deciding, but stopped with four flavors: pistachio, chocolate, vanilla with cherries (aka amarena) and speculoos! I quickly snapped this photo, before my phone died. Oops.
After our Easter dim sum, Whitney and I walked to Ice & Vice for more ice cream & Pie Felicia!
This time I got a scoop of "Crack O'Lantern" - pumpkin seed oil with crystallized ginger topped with a scoop of "Shade" - smoked dark chocolate with caramelized white chocolate ganache in a The Konery vanilla cone with funfetti sprinkles!
For the past few years, my friend, Whitney and I have been celebrating Easter with dim sum in Chinatown. This year, we decided to try a new spot, Dim Sum Go-Go, a slightly more modern take on the traditional dim sum carts at Jing Fong and Golden Unicorn.
We ordered lots of plates, but here's the more colorful of the two photos: Three-Star dumplings (in a pink wrapper), lotus leaf with sticky rice, shrimp shui mai and rice rolls with beef.
This restaurant was a lot of fun and they had some non-typical dishes and it was nice that we could order straight from a menu vs. guessing when the food we wanted would wheel by on the carts.
I've liked eating at Paris Baguette ever since I went into their location in Korea-Town. I stumbled upon a newer location on 23rd and Park Ave. South, easily walkable from work and with some great food & most importantly, bubble tea
This day, I opted for their Pesto Chicken Salad: grilled chicken, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, orecchiette with pesto, black olives and white cheddar cheese.
It may have had dairy in it, which I usually try to avoid as much as possible, but this salad was so good, I'm sure I'll be back soon for another.
Although I'm not usually one for vegan treats, I DO love ice cream and the less times that I have to eat more and more Lactaid, I'm in!
This time I got two flavors: a scoop of peanut butter chip and a scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough.
Seriously, Van Leeuwen has the best vegan ice cream I've ever had (except for that store in Denver...), but I digress. They have a solid rotation of great flavors and the consistency of the ice cream is the closest thing to "real" ice cream that I've eaten.
On a random weekday off, a high school friend of mine, Shannon, came into the city from White Plains for some food and a show. We were walking down 3rd Avenue, towards a healthier meal of sushi, when we passed by Sticky's Finger Joint.
I got some of the poppers (aka nuggets) with a side of gravy and some truffle parmesan fries. I definitely got my money's worth! There were SO many nuggets, I couldn't finish them all!
I've been a fan of Russ & Daughters Cafe in the Lower East Side for awhile, so when Tempestt & I found out they were opening another location inside the Jewish Museum, we knew we had to go there.
I opted for the smoked salmon eggs benedict over a piece of challah bread and Tempestt got the "Fancy Delancey" board with smoked yellowfin tuna, horseradish & dill cream cheese and wasabi microgreens and a bagel.
We also made friends with a woman & her mother, who were seated at the table next to us. She even told us all about her own children when they were Ellie's age, although they were both grown and in college now. The mother seemed to care less.
After our large brunch, Lily & walked around the Lower East Side in search of a good place for dessert. Immediately, my mind went to Spot Dessert Bar on St. Mark's Place. They have great conceptual desserts, which are fun to eat and tasty!
This time, I got their "Green Tea-Ramisu." Layers of green tea chiffon cake, mascarpone cream and candied crispy rice. It also came with a green tea "injection" which I got to squeeze into the cake.
A friend's Snapchat lead me to Root & Bone for brunch on a day off with Lily. We split a side of their mac & cheese with a bread crumb topping.
I chose the biscuits & sausage gravy with what I called "semi-poached" eggs and she got the fried chicken & waffle sandwich with pickled green tomatoes, baby kale and cheddar on a buckwheat waffle with whiskey maple syrup.
The meal was tasty, but it wasn't my favorite plate of biscuits & gravy and the loud group of teenage/early 20's girls next to us made the meal a little less enjoyable. At least it photographed well.
When my friend, Daryl, got a new job pretty quickly; I decided we were well overdue for a catch-up date and what better way to catch up than over lots of BBQ? One of my favorite places for BBQ in the city is the Justin Timberlake-owned, Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen.
We split some fried pickles, sides and black pepper smoked brisket and pulled pork shoulder. Of course, the sides are some of the best part of getting BBQ, so it's good to have a friend to share with. We chose cornbread with honey butter, mac & cheese and the tater tot casserole with cheese & bacon.
#fatfriday for sure!
I finally got to catch up with an old friend from work over cheesy quesadilla at Calexico in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Filled with mushrooms, caramelized onions and Jack cheese, Calexico's quesadilla was perfectly toasted on the outside and I added a side of Mexican rice with pico.
When work sent me on an errand in Soho, why wouldn't I stop by Egg Shop for a meal?,
I got one of their "Cruiser Bowls" with poached eggs, Black Forest bacon, a gluten-free English muffin that was diced up and super crispy, topped with a Meyer lemon citronette. Of course, I added a side of hashbrowns!
I met up with a college friend before going into the Flower Show for my first and only closing shift. We grabbed some sandwiches and caught up on life and our love of art.
On my way out, I grabbed a piece of this pound cake, because I'm a sucker for desserts and because the purple rock candy topping matched my nails. How could I resist?
Last year, I fell in love with the variety of whoopie pies at Flying Monkey bakery in Reading Terminal. This time around was no exception, but I got a few cupcakes too.
They made a special "Death Valley" cupcake inspired by this year's Flower Show. Basically, "death by chocolate" as it was a chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache and chocolate swiss meringue buttercream!
One of my friends, Mandy, from home works in Philly, so we agreed to meet up on our lunch breaks for a quick catch up. Apparently, I just missed Philly's Benjamin Franklin impersonator eating at Jake's Sandwich Board before I arrived!
We chatted about our mutal friends and our love of theatre; and some hometown friends who are now making their own impact on Broadway! (Lincoln, Nebraska...who knew?)
I grabbed the "Skinny Turkey" with roasted and pulled turkey, roasted veggies and baby spinach on a wheat roll. Of course, I had to get the side of "mini potato pancakes" which were really just like the hashbrowns you can get at any Dunkin' Doughnuts. Anyways, it was a delicious meal that I got a cherry soda with.
Luckily, I got another chance to share a meal with Michael, while I was in town. This also worked to our advantage, as I was craving some fresh pasta and there were two dishes that I wanted to try.
The top is a photo of Brigantessa's black chick pea pappardelle with whey braised lamb and fennel pollen. The pappardelle was a bit grainy, but the lamb ragu was delicious and the first time I'd ever had lamb (hard to believe, right?).
The bottom is a photo of their special semolina flour gnocchi, but it was baked in their wood-fired pizza over, so it was more like a block of polenta, topped with a pork ragu and parmesan. This was my favorite dish of the night! If it's on their list of specials, I would recommend it.
On my first meal break, I wasn't sure where to go in Reading Terminal. I walked by a few places and just walked myself back for another burger at Hunger Burger.
This time I chose the Fun Guy Burger: a beef patty with cheddar cheese, grilled mushrooms, onions, green leaf lettuce, tomato and HB sauce with a side of scalloped potatoes.
I kind of missed out on the fried egg from the Yo!lk Burger from last year, but I figured I should try new things, right?
Hunger Burger's slogan is also "Patties with a Purpose," as they use part of their profits from each burger sold to help feed a child in need. If you're in the Philly area, I would suggest you check them out!
My train got into Philly around 7pm, so my friend, Michael, picked up me up at the train station and then we went out to dinner. He always knows the good places to go, so we stopp by Cheu Noodle Bar; a recently opened restaurant by the same guys who own Bing Bing Dim Sum; where we ate last year, when I was in town for the Flower Show.
We placed our order and about 20 minutes later, our waitress came over to say that she had forgotten to enter in our order. (WHAT!?) Well, we did get some free appetizers, but so many that we were hardly hungry enough to eat the rest of our meal.
The highlight for me: these pizza dumplings! Pork dumplings with chile oil and parmesan cheese. I can't remember what the crispy topping was, but I could have eaten a bunch of it!
Not pictured: our free caramelized onion ragoon made with goat cheese and brown butter sweet & sour sauce and my bowl of fried chicken tantan served with collards, a sweet tea egg and cornbread furikake.
Before heading to Philadelphia to work at the Flower Show, I met up with some friends in the Meatpacking District to celebrate Aly's birthday! We got a few tables in the back and enjoyed Paradou's "bottomless" brunch drinks until I had to head to the train station.
I can't pronounce eggs in French for the life of me, but Christopher saved the day and ordered for both of us; the Oeufs Paradaou. Which was really just a fancy way of saying the smoked salmon benedict. However, instead of English muffins, the salmon & eggs were on top a slice of brioche bread.
I did take a photo of my whole plate of biscuits & gravy from brunch at Sweet Chick, but when I sliced into this poached egg and the yolk didn't break...I couldn't resist this photo.
After stopping by the Opening Ceremony Sample Sale in Brooklyn with a friend, I decide to treat myself to a little brunch at one of my favorite places in Williamsburg.
The biscuits & gravy with mushroom gravy and a gorgeously poached egg definitely his the spot.
I can never pronounce Le Pain Quotidien right, but they do have some great food! I was set to get a smoked salmon tartine, but then I saw this grain bowl.
Quinoa, heirloom black rice, roasted broccoli, sweet potato with spiced pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds over a bed of kale & argula with grilled chicken.
Filling and delicious, but as always, I ate all the toppings before I got through all the greens. Whoops.
Bonus! The extra day for Leap Year, meant I had one more chance to get the special doughnuts at Doughnut Plant. Although the guy infront of my got the last pistachio cake doughnut, I was able to score a pistaschio yeast doughnut and a coffee cake cake doughnut.
I met up with my friend, Laurel, her boyfriend and a few of their friends after work for some Korean BBQ. Between the six of us, we easily split the "large pork set" and an order of bulgogi.
We were almost overwhemled by the amount of plates that came out, but the food was good. Certainly a fun way for Laurel & me to experience our Korean roots together!
Yes, I only knew about Ice & Vice from Instagram, but I'm so glad that I did! Post #dumpofthemonth, Whitney and I went to the "ends of the Earth" to try out Ice & Vice. She was obsessed with their Pie Felicia and I wanted to try a few flavors and a Konery flavored ice cream cone.
I chose "The Drop" sorbet - banana, peanut butter, smoked serrano and peanut crumb on top of "Milk Money" - toasted milk, sea salt, dark chocolate ganache in a chai spiced dark chocolate cone.
Seriously, I could eat this ice cream and cone all the time...except for all of the lactose.
Another edition of #dumpofthemonth with Whitney! This time, Mimi Cheng's was serving up the Chicken Pot Pie dumpling! Organic chicken with fresh carrots, caramelized onions, celery, peas, sauteed cremini mushrooms and thyme. I got them with a side of sauteed broccoli for some greens, before we headed to dessert!
Among some of my favorite "dumplings of the month" from Mimi Cheng's, but I'm still craving those brunch dumplings!
It's fair to say that I spend most of my days off at the theatre, but a special two-night only performance of The Secret Garden at Lincoln Center meant going Monday night, after I woke up from an overnight shift at work.
After waking up around 4pm, I got ready and trudged up to Lincoln Square. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to eat, but figured I could get some food at The Smith, which is right across the street from Lincoln Center; however, the wait was really long.
I found a seat at the bar and ordered some pasta. I chose the Tagliatelle, which was black pasta with sauteed shrimp, scallions and grumbled garlic bread on top. It was delicious and hit the spot before the show. If only I could afford to go to The Smith more often.
As you might know, I almost always am craving pasta or noodles. Well, I met up with Lily after work and we headed to our usual pasta spot, Vapiano, just South of Union Squre. However, their pasta line was crazy-long; we opted for pizza.
I got the Ham & Funghi: Italian ham with fresh mushrooms on homemade tomato sauce with mozzarella. It was probably more cheese than I needed to eat, but it was a good subsitution without having to wait in the pasta line.
It's always nice to have a #fatfriday where I'm at work, so I can run to all my old haunts for my meal break. This #fatfriday, I was training with a new manager on how to close the store, so of course, we checked out the ShackCam! Luckily, it was a bit brisk outside, so it was easy to see the short line.
We quickly walked the four blocks up to Madison Square Park to grab dinner. Finally, the Chick'n Shack is available at all Shake Shacks, so I knew I had to get that one! The Chick'n Shack is a 100% all-natural, cage-free chicken breast fried super crispy with lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo.
Since I had already taken my Lactaid, I got a side of cheese fries and their Concrete of the Week, which was "Golden Sponge Cake," aka Twinkie. I feel fatter just writing about this.
I guess one benefit to working on Sunday is getting a chance to grab brunch on your break. I've become a fan of Al Vicoletto on 17th Street, even if it replaced one of my favorite cafes to grab breakfast at.
I got the smoked salmon eggs benedict with hashbrowns, which were really more like potato latkes. Either way, the meal was still delicious.
My friend, Aly and I had been talking about going to see On Your Feet! for several months. We finally found a time when we both weren't working to check it out. And where else to go before a show than Steak 'N Shake!
Well, that mostly had to do with my Mom sending me around $75 in Steak 'N Shake gift cards. So, a free meal for both of us!
I got the Signature Double Steakburger with cheese and grilled onions vs. raw ones with a side of their fries. They also have one of those soda machines where you can mix in all sorts of flavors, so I went with a cherry flavored Dr. Pepper.
Sometimes I forget what it's like to have a normal weekend day/night off. That's why I was glad when I few of my co-workers and I got the chance to hang out, outside of work.
We met up for drinks and then went to Extra Fancy for dinner. Even though they're known for their seafood, I went with their patty melt. Dry-aged beef with cheddar and onions on rye bread with a side of fries. I'm not much of a beer drinker, so I got a Downeast Cider.
After a long week of work, I finally had a weekend day off and met up for a brunch date in Bushwick. I don't think my date knew it, but it was only a 10 minute walk from my apartment. Surprisingly, I had never been to Cafe Ghia before. They serve brunch all week long, but on weekends they have some specials.
Everything on the menu looked amazing and I eventually chose to go with the weekend only biscuits & gravy over the "potato bowl." I opted for the mushroom gravy with bacon & scallions, which was really more like shredded pork. I added a fried egg and a side of roasted cauliflower to my meal. The gravy was rich and savory, but a bit soupy for my normal gravy tastes. Sounds like I"m going to have to come back soon and try out that potato bowl!
I had been craving a burger for awhile, so for my next #fatfriday cheat day, I walked over to New York Burger Company for dinner.
I got a cheeseburger with portobello mushrooms, grilled onions, American cheese, lettuce and tomato. The burger also came with a little bag full of Idaho fries and my own custom cherry Dr. Pepper from their fancy soda machine.
I have my friend, Lily, to thank for introducing me to the beauty that is Vapiano's pasta bar. There's something about watching it being made and prepped right infront of you that makes is all the better.
This time, I chose the campanelle pasta (which reminds me of flowers) and the bolognese (their classic pork & beef sauce) with some shredded parmesan on top.
The pasta is always al dente and the sauce is so rich, that it's been easy for me to take the leftovers home and make more pasta to eat with it later.
All the girls at work have been raving about Sweetgreen. Now, I'm not usually one for salads all the time, but their grain bowls are certainly of interest to me.
For the winter, they're featuring a Bento Bowl: roasted chicken, organic wild rice, baby spinach, cucumber, shredded cabbage, tomato, nori furikake and miso sesame ginger dressing. I got an iced jasmine green tea and a some bread, which looks a little bit like a napping bunny (can you see it?).
It had been over a year since I had been to Pizza Loves Emily (aka Emily Pizza) in Brooklyn. After months of talking about going, I finally met up with an old coworker and friend, Brynn, to catch up on life and eat all my daily calories in one sitting.
Only a few of the Emmy Burgers are made each day, so we patiently waited for over an hour for a seat at the restaurant. The Emmy Burger is Fleisher's grass-fed dry-aged beef, on top of a Tom Cat pretzel bun, Emmy sauce, caramelized onions, Grafton cheddar cheese and cornichon with a side of thin fries.
We also got an Emily Pizza (white pie with mozzarella, pistachios, truffle sottocenere and honey) to share, but this burger photo takes the cake.
Chick-Fil-A may have popped up in Lincoln, Nebraska while I was away, but it was quite a big deal when one opened up in NYC, just on the edge of Koreatown.
Although I find some of their business practices a bit shady, I can't resist that juicy chicken sandwich. It was also another chance to meet up with Tempestt & Ellie and introduce the kiddo to her first taste of chicken nuggets and waffle fries.
Even if the line looks long, there's a waiter that walks with you in the line, while entering your order into a mobile system. Then, by the time you get up to the register, your food is ready and you can pay. Genius.
I got the #1: original chicken sandwich with waffle fries and a Dr. Pepper. I might have wanted some ice cream or a milkshake, but being this close to Koreatown, I had to get a bubble tea, instead.
It was mine & Ellie's first time trying the Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3. She was a little bit fussy, but the sweet chocolate drink seemed to do the trick.
Tempestt, Ellie & I had a great lunch, watched Ellie dance around in a giant mirror at the restaurant and strolled along the Upper East Side until it was too cold for us to be up and about.
It's like The Meatball Shop knows the way to my heart: hearty meatballs in flavors I can't resist. This stop, I sat at the kitchen bar and watched the chefs prep & cook all the meals, while jamming out to some Tupac.
I grabbed two of the special balls, Shepherd's Pie, as sliders with mushroom gravy. And how could I resist the risotto of the day? Especially when it was butternut squash with fried sage?
I spent another #fatfriday at Hill Country Chicken, but this time I got their chicken pot pie. A flaky, buttery pastry crust with a little star cutout and filled with spicy chunks of white meat chicken and vegetable stew.
It's still a bit on the spicy side for me, but too delicious to resist!
Granted, I was a little bit sad when GoodBurger close and then turned into Clarke's Standard. Then, Clarke's closed and turned into a Roast Kitchen.
I'd been to another location, on the other side of Union Square before where I was a bit underwhelmed. However, this new location looked more appealing and I think I may have found a new favorite lunch spot.
I got one of the hot grain bowls with basmati rice, kale, roasted corn, sesame seeds and edamame (which I subbed in for the bean sprouts). Topped with ginger scallion dressing and shio koji marinated pork, it was just the spicy, semi-healthy meal I craved.
If you haven't heard of Pat LaFrieda, maybe you're not a meat lover. This butcher makes some of the best cuts of meats that are supplied to restaurants in the city. They also make the blend of meats for my favorite Shake Shack burgers!
So, when my friend Christina wanted to meet up at the Pennsy before we went to see O-Town, this was a no brainer. The Pennsy just opened in the old Borders Bookstore space, next to Penn Station. There are several vendors inside the fancy food court, but I was immediately drawn to Pat LaFrieda.
I got the country ham, truffle & cheese with a bag of fresh kettle chips. The sandwich had truffle cheese spread and gouda on a crispy, crunchy cibatta roll. It was seasoned with dijonnaise and peppadew. It was a bit too cheesy for my taste, but the ham was delicious!
One of my favorite places to drop by when I'm on the Upper West Side is Parm. They're known for their chicken parmigana sandwiches, but sometimes I don't need a whole hero. After watching the last episode of Aziz Ansari's Master of None, I knew I had to go and satisfy my pasta craving.
I was sad to find out that the orecchitte with garlic & olive oil with broccoli rabe & sausage wasn't on the menu anymore. It was always one of my non-dairy go to's.
However, I got the fusili with bolognese and meat gravy. The noodles were super sized for the fusili that I've grown accustomed to eating.
Another successful "Dumps of the Month" with Whitney! For January, Mimi Cheng's was serving up a brunch dumpling! Each dumpling was filled with maple breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and topped with everything seasoning. They even came with a small jar of Sir Kensington's ketchup!
If only it was still January...
For my first time at Korilla BBQ's store front, I had to try a little bit of everything. I chose the Rice Bowl with purple rice, marinated chicken, spicy string beans, pico, broccoli and mushrooms. Of course, I had to add a fried egg. I also grabbed a bottle of their housemade Korchata: rice milk with cinnamon, malt and honey to help tame the spicy in my main dish.
I keep missing the Korilla BBQ truck when it's outside of my work, so I'll just have to keep an eye out...I'm still craving that purple rice!
I figured there's no better way to start the New Year, than to stop by The Meatball Shop for brunch. I got their special brunch ball, the breakfast sausage, with biscuits, mushroom gravy and fried eggs.
A delicious meal and now I'm craving eggs.
Before meeting up with Tempestt, her husband, Rem and Ellie, I stopped into La Colombe for a snack and drink. I got an almond milk mocha, since they don't have soy milk, and a peanut butter cookie.
While they look pretty, I think I must have some sensitivity to almond milk, because I felt disgusting later that day. The cookie was good though.
Before going out to some of the bars downtown, I met up with my gay husband, Eric and our friend, Kent for dinner at Leadbelly. I was more interested in the Huskers Football bowl game, but they just wanted to get drunk and smoke.
At least I had this amazing burger to keep me company! A 100% ground chuck patty topped with Mexican tastee (Greta's gourmet chorizo seasoned with housemade salsa), chopped romaine and a fried egg. The crinkle cut fries weren't as good as Shake Shack's, but they were just the carbs I wanted.
Another great college hang out was Yia Yia's Pizza & Beer on "O" Street. I grew up in a mostly Valentino's and DaVinci's pizza household, so I didn't start getting pizza at Yia Yia's until I was in college.
I met up with one of my high school friends, Bryan and his boyfriend, Chris. We grabbed a few slices and some cheesy garlic bread to catch up on life.
I got some sliced potatoes, mushrooms and beef on my slice. If only more places offered slice potatoes for their pies!
One of my favorite places to eat in college was Bison Witches. The company's logo is a small bison with a witches hat flying on a broom. Plus their name is a pun! (Buy sandwiches, get it?)
I crave their chili con queso and have yet to find a place in NYC that makes queso this delicious. Since I only get back here about once a year I had to get the soup & sandwich special. A bread bowl of potato bacon soup with a club sandwich on wheat (sans mayonnaise) with a side of tortilla chips & CCQ. It definitely hit the spot. And further proof why I could never be gluten free!
After having a late lunch with my Mom, I was still hungry. I saw this dessert on the menu for $2.45 and figured it couldn't be too much food. I was wrong.
A gooey brownie easily the size of a large bagel, covered in a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. No wonder there are so many overweight people in the Midwest! Maybe we all need a little portion control!
Another usual stop on my trips home is The Oven: Indian Restaurant. It might sound funny to find a quality Indian restaurant in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska but it's been one of my Dad's favorites for ages.
I almost always get a pile of Basmati rice with the Reshmi Kabab. It's boneless pieces of chicken marinated in a ginger garlic paste and cooked in the tandoor oven. I'm drooling just thinking about it.
It might not look like much, but to a true Nebraskan driving through a Runza Drive-Inn and getting an almost too hot to eat Runza sandwich is everything.
It's always been my first stop for food when I go home. I have to get the #1 with the Original Runza (ground beef, cabbage, onions and spices baked in bread) with a side of Frings! (crinkle cut french fries and double batter dipped onion rings) with a Pepsi.
It just tastes like home.
The one plus side to a super early morning flight to head back home for the holidays; breakfast pizza. Combine that with Wolfgang Puck, and it was pretty easy to suck me into buying a pie.
This pizza featured scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese and scallions on a pizza crust. I couldn't finish the whole thing, but it was well worth it.
My last meal in NYC, before I head home for Christmas. Since it was Sunday, I was trying to grab some brunch, but also going on break from work around 3pm.
I stopped by Coffee Shop Bar for some arepas, but they were sold out. Thus, I got the smoked salmon benedict with home fries. A solid way to satisfy my egg craving.
When I lived in St. Louis for the summer of 2004, I ate a lot of Steak 'n Shake. It's not as delicious as Shake Shack, but with those thin, cripsy fries and two steakburger patties, it's still hard to resist.
So, before a two show day, I met up with an old friend, who went to college in St. Louis and we made great use of the gift card my mom had given me ages ago.
I got the classic cheeseburger and fries with a cherry Dr. Pepper, since they have one of those fancy soda machines where you can customize your drink with various flavors.
On a day off, I was walking through Williamsburg, finishing up my Christmas shopping, when I noticed the new-ish Van Leeuwen shop. It was a little bit cold out, but nothing keeps me from a dairy-free ice cream treat! Van Leeuwen has lots of vegan ice cream flavors and I was stoked to see that they had match and pumpkin!
On another lunch/play date with Tempestt & Ellie, we stopped by Alice's Tea Cup on the Upper West Side.
I got a pot of chocolate chai tea and Tempestt got a pot of Alice's Tea. We split the ham & cheese scone and I got a Black Forest ham sandwich with gruyere cheese. The savory ham & cheese was balanced with a golden raisin semolina and a tasty mixed greens salad. (Seriously. I liked the salad!)
The last few times that I've eaten at Republic in Union Square, I must have just missed out on their Bento Box lunch special. I went in with a craving for rice/noodles/dumplings, as usual and found the perfect solution: Bento Box #4!
It came packed with everything!
Fried Wontons: minced shrimp, Chinese mushrooms, baby corn, celery, carrots, watercress in a pimento-plum sauce.
Peanut Noodle Salad: cold wheat noodles, bean sprouts, carrots, peanuts, mint, fried shallots and jicama in a peanut sauce.
Chicken and Mushrooms: Broken rice, shiitake & woodear mushrooms, broccoli, snow peas, carrots, cabbage, Asian basil and bean paste.
I left full, satisfied and all that for only $17!? A great deal, when their entrees are usually $15.
When one of my friends quit working at Madewell, earlier this year, we kept chatting about catching up. Finally, I had a weekday off where we decided to meet up and grab lunch.
I chose Cookshop in Chelsea, which is right by the art gallery that she works at. I got the roast beef sandwich with grilled balsamic onions, fontina cheese on rye with a mixed greens salad and fries.
I'll definitely be back there another time, to check out more items on their menus, since everything looked so good.
When I used to work in Soho, Delicatessen was one of my favorite spots to grab a meal. A coworker introduced me to their neighboring restaurant, MacBar, a macaroni & cheese concept and I was instantly in love.
Although I have tried many of their flavors, I keep coming back to the Cheeseburger Mac. So, when I had a random day off in Soho and realized that Delicatessen was now carrying MacBar items on their menu, the choice was easy.
The mini cast iron skillet was still bubbling as my waiter sat it down on my table. Filled with cheddar & American cheeses, ground Angus beef and macaroni noodles, it totall hit the spot on a rainy, dreay day.
After our Thanksgiving Dumpling excursion, we walked a few blocks down to Momofuku Milk Bar for the return of their Thanksgiving Croissant! Whitney and I must have been the only ones "in the know," as everyone else was lining up for cookies and cereal milk soft serve.
We got two toasty croissants, filled with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Delicious! Another reason to look forward to November each year.
My friend, Whitney, is a great buddy for all my random eating adventures. After our success with the Emmy Burger dumplings a few months ago, we had to return to Mimi Cheng's Dumplings for their "Thanksgiving" dumpling!
Just as delicious as it sounds, the dumplings were filled with Pino's free-range turkey, sage cranberry stuffing, housemade gravy and cranberry sauce. I also got a side of fried rice with carrots, scallions and free-range scrambled eggs.
I probably would have gotten the larger dumpling order, but there were still more Thanksgiving treats to be had!
When a former co-worker of mine was in town for Thanksgiving, we decided to meet for a pre-Black Friday feast at the Meatball Shop in Chelsea.
I got my standard order, chicken meatballs with mushroom gravy, but this time I got it over a bowl of rigatoni and with a side of sauteed broccoli. Khadiyjah opted for the beef meatball hero with mozzarella and marinara with a side salad.
Totally energy fuel for the crazy shoppers out and about, looking for deals.
Ever since I moved to NYC, I've spent Thanksgiving at my best friend, Jeffrey's apartment with an assortment of friends and other NYC orphans for the feasting holiday. Jeffrey always cooks a feast and we watch Clueless.
So, on our 6th Friendsgiving together, nothing else would be any different. Of course, I had to load my plate with side dishes: mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, green bean casserole, stuffing, brussels sprouts and a pasta dish that Jeffrey's boyfriend, Allan, brought. Sure, there was a little bit of turkey and ham, but the side dishes make the meal.
Two years ago, I altered a vanilla cupcakes recipe to make Bailey's Irish Cream cupcakes for Friendsgiving at Jeffrey's apartment; then only 6 of the two dozen were eaten. Last year, I didn't make them and I disappointed many gay boys.
So, this year, I brought them back in full-force, all while humming "sugar...butter...flour" from the upcoming Waitress: The Musical by Sara Bareilles.
I mixed some Irish Creme into the batter and filled them with cherries from a can of pie filling. Then, I made the frosting from scratch with a whole lot of confectioner's sugar and some more cherries blended in for texture, taste.
I have to say, these were even better than the ones from years' past!
One of the many benefits of working only 4 blocks from the Madison Square Shake Shack is taking advantage of the "Shack Cam" on rainy days. When you pull up the Shake Shack website, you can see the view of the line at MSP and this day there were only three people in line!
I ran up 5th Avenue and scored a cheeseburger, cheese fries and a chocolate peppermint milkshake. Dairy overload? Maybe, but it was totally worth it and nothing a few Lactaid pills couldn't help fix.
My first time trying dosa (rice/lentil crepe) and I chose the goan fish with coconut curry. It also came with pickled onions, tawa masala spices, coconut and coriander pestos over romaine lettuce. Plus, I got a side of samosas.
Lots of food, with just the right amount of spice. Definitely left me feeling full for the afternoon of work!
One of the perks of working across the street from Dough's newest location is fresh doughnuts and a rotating menu of seasonal flavors.
I stopped by one evening after work and picked up an apple tart doughnut for a #fatfriday treat.
The apple filling was a nice surprise and I hope that this flavor will be back next fall/winter! Usually, I'm not the biggest fan of Dough's yeast doughnuts, as they can be a bit greasy on the bottom, but I'm hoping as they introduce more cake doughnuts into their menu, they'll be less greasy.
One of the perks of having random weekdays off, is being able to meet up with one of my closest friends, Tempestt, and her adorable baby, Ellie. We usually plan a fun activity and a great place to eat.
For today's adventure, we chose to go to Umami Burger, since Tempestt had never been there. We both got the Umami Burger: parmesan frico, shiittake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelized onions and umami ketchup.
Ellie was not interested in the burger, but really was happy about all the thin french fries, as evidenced by this photo!
After watching Consumed on CNBC earlier this year, I was anxiously waiting to go and try out Michael Chernow's new restaurant concept, Seamore's in NoLita. I was fascinated how Chernow developed this restaurant, sustainable fish, and how the concept came about after working at The Meatball Shop (one of my favorites) and deciding to divest from that brand.
I enlisted two of my other favorite foodies/Instagrammers, the Hoshikawa Twins and we met up for dinner after work.
Many dishes were ordered and all were delicious. Here, you can see the remains of our poke: tuna with avocado, crushed peanuts and ponzu sauce with blue corn tortilla chips. I got a pair of the crispy fish tacos, which on this night were dogfish with kale, guacamole and chipotle mayo on corn tortillas.
I also got a cone of the Oddfellows pumpkin ice cream, since it was vegan (thus dairy free) and covered in toasted pumpkin seeds. Delicious!
As a fan of Eddie Huang, cooking, book & TV show, I always love grabbing some bao from Baohaus. After walking around in the city with a friend, we stopped by for a quick bite.
I got two bao: the Uncle Jesse Bao (L) organic fried tofu with haus seasoning salt, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, cilantro and haus sauce and the Birdhaus Bao (R) all natural fried chicken, brined for 24 hours with haus seasoning salt, lemon-garlic aioli, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar and cilantro.
Hit the spot for sure.
I don't know why I ever change my usual order at Num Pang. Anytime I don't get the peppercorn catfish sandwich, I leave a little bit disappointed. Now, if only they would put this catfish into one of their noodle or rice bowls, that would really make my culinary dreams come true!
This break, I stuck with the usual, even if I'm not a big fan of the chili mayo that comes on the sandwich. I got an order of the charred corn, which is slathered in the chili mayo, coconut flakes and black pepper. All of the salty was easily complimented by a black cherry Boylan's Soda.
Even months after Shake Shack had introduced the Chicken Shack at all of their Brooklyn locations, I had yet to try it. So, when a day off coincided with a #fatfriday, I made my way to the location right by Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
After having the Fuku spicy chicken sandwich, the Chicken Shack was a welcome cooling off point for my tastebuds. I'm usually not a big fan of sauces, but the buttermilk mayo on this sandwich was great and complimented the chicken and lettuce well.
Of course, since it was almost the end of October, I had to get the special custard. This month it was the "Pumpkin Pie Oh My!" and consisted of a slice of pumpkin pie blended into vanilla custard with whipped cream. I'm drooling just thinking about it and reliving that taste!
It's a good thing that my Dr.'s office is right down the street from Melt Shop, right? So far I've tried two different grilled cheese sandwiches there, but have yet to find one that's my absolute favorite.
This time I got the Burger Melt, which was a hamburger patty with pepperjack cheese, pickles, caramelized onions, cheese sauce & burger sauce on sourdough. I complimented this with a stack of cheesy tots; which I'm still thinking I should have just gotten plain, as I'm not a fan of tart, crumbly cheeses.
Sure, I had to be into work by 9pm at night, but I figured I could still stop by the Hello Kitty Cafe truck in Times Square! It was pretty rainy & dreary out, so the line wasn't too long to pick up treats from the truck, which was parked just outside of the Sanrio Pop-Up Store in Times Square.
I chose to get a set of Hello Kitty macarons, petit fours and a bottle of "bow water."
Apparently, Cevich had been open in Union Square for over a year before I walked by and "discovered" it.
I decided to try one of their signature rice bowls, the Cali Fresh. White fish ceviche, avocado, lettuce and mango covered in a chipotle garlic sauce served over a bed of coconut rice.
It was delicious and I'm sure I'll be back for more soon.
One of the benefits of working for a big company is that sometimes they ask you to go and work in another location. I volunteered to go help in White Plains, NY at our store at The Westchester Mall, because I liked going out there and that also meant that I could take the 7:12am train and get a breakfast sandwich at Shake Shack, which opens at 7am.
The nice guy at the counter even took my order before 7am and "dropped' my order in, so I got it right at 7:01am and was on the platform to wait for my train with plenty of time.
Now, while it didn't bring me back to my breakfast sandwich euphoria at Eggslut in Los Angeles, it was a good sandwich. Something about that Martin's Potato Roll and the slightly sweet taste of the sausage patty was just right.
There are so many places in the city with monthly rotating specials, but the Doughnut Plant is one that I hit up regularly. Even since my friend, Michelle, introduced me to the Doughnut Plant, I've been a fan. And sorry, their cake doughnuts are just SO much better than Dough (and much less greasy)!
Candy Corn: Not the best, but certainly cool to look at! Something about the corn pudding stuffed inside that just didn't sit well with me.
Apple Cinnamon: Sweet and delicious with small pieces of apple covering the doughnut.
Pumpkin: Perfectly sweet glaze with pumpkin seeds on top.
On a random day, I was in Williamsburg and decided to stop into The Meatball Shop for lunch. Little did I know that their Daily Special was going to be a Chicken Pot Pie meatball!
I decided to top mine with some mushroom gravy and a side of sauteed broccoli with some red pepper flakes. Both were delicious and hit the spot before I had to head into the city and into work.
The hometon ice cream shoppe, Ivanna Cone. They have a rotating selection of flavors and make them all in house.
I choose to get two scoops: cinnamon and Dutch chocolate. It was the perfect Fall day to sit outside and have some ice cream with my bestie, Eric, who indulged in the Roca Pumpkin Patch with me earlier in the day.
My Mom's side of the family are creatues of habit, so it was nice that they changed their Sunday breakfast spot to Cracker Barrel for me!
Unbeknownst to me, Cracker Barrel had just introduced mini chicken biscuit sandwiches to their menu, so of course, that's what I had to get!
I chose to get poached eggs with my meal and a nice heaping side of their hashbrown casserole, which makes my mouth water, just thinking about it now. I was pleasantly surprised that my Aunt, who usually only gets oatmeal, opted for these sandwiches too!
One of the stops on Bryce's list was Di Fara Pizza, known in some circles as "The Best Pizza in Brooklyn." All the pies are still made by Dom Di Fara in one small oven in his shop in Midwood. Usually the line wraps around the block and people have been known to wait up to 3 hours for their pies.
Due to the rainy weather, there wasn't much of a wait, so we ordered a pepperoni pie and lurked, waiting for a table to open in the seating area for about 20 customers only. We watched customers come and go, some with several pies and some with slices.
After a little over an hour, our pizza arrived, and while colorful and tasty, I'm not sure it was worth the wait. Well, at least I can say that I've had the experience now.
A whirlwind day, while playing tour guide to my high school friend, Bryce and his friend, John, who were visiting from Denver for a short weekend trip of eating and sight seeing; our first stop, brunch at Sweet Chick on the Lower East Side.
I got their version of Eggs Benedict: two poached eggs on buttermilk biscuits with shredded chicken, smoked ham, gravy and hollandaise. Both the boys decided to go sweet with their meals and got waffles and pancakes, but they needed to save room for all the other food they wanted to consume during the day.
After I posted this photo of my sundae on Instagram, Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit picked me as the winner of their #MyChloesCreation contest!
I still have yet to redeem my prize, since I need to round up 3 friends, but here's what won me some free sundaes:
Dark chocolate & banana twist soft serve fruit with slicd bananas and granola.
After a long day of adventures and learning how to boogie board in the ocean with my cousin, we walked over to the California Pizza Kitchen right by their apartment. I figured that even if there are CPK's in NYC, the least I could do was get a healthier pizza or California option.
Thus, the "California Club" pizza! Roasted chicken, Nueske's applewood smoked bacon, mozzarella baked in CPK's hearth oven, before being topped with avocado, arugula, basil & romaine tossed in a lemon-pepper mayonnaise.
Another recommendation from Maggie, the brunch at The Cottage in La Jolla. I had some time to kill and this place is so popular, even on a Thursday morning, that I had to wait about 30 minutes.
Since the weather is always beautiful in Southern California, I walked around the shops in the neighborhood while waiting for my table. Once I was seated, I glanced at the menu and settled on the "Eggs La Jolla."
A nice version of Eggs Benedict, they were two poached eggs on top of an English muffin with Canadian bacon, mushrooms, spinach, roasted tomatoes topped with balsamic & Hollandaise. Served with a side of home fries and pineapple. Definitely worth the wait.
No wonder the employees wear t-shirts that say "I Love Carbs!" This place was a dream! Thanks to a recommendation from my friend, Maggie, I went to this place in San Diego, before meeting up with my cousin to stay at her place in Solana Beach.
Devine Pastabilites is known for their "Torpasta" sandwiches, which were based off the owner's love of spaghetti sandwiches. They take a sesame roll and hollow out the inside, toast it and fill it with a variety of pasta and sauces. I went with the classic spaghetti & meatballs with a side of "bread holes," which as the insides of these rolls that are toasted and covered in butter and garlic.
I definitely felt disgustingly full after eating these, but they were worth it.
I will always be a Shack Shack loyalist, but I couldn't go to Southern California and NOT get a burger from In-N-Out, especially since I didn't grab one when I was in Las Vegas in January.
On my last day with Courtney in Encinitas, we went to the In-N-Out just down the street from her apartment and grabbed some lunch, before she went into work.
I got a Double Double with some cheese fries and a chocolate milkshake! Ooh, that shiny, yellow cheese! Killer.
After Courtney's dog got sick, she wasn't able to make the drive up to Disneyland with me. However, I was lucky that my friend Molly, who lives in Los Angeles, was able to make the drive down and meet me at Disneyland.
We decided to spend the day in California Adventure vs. the Disneyland park and had a great time! The lines weren't too long and this park was a bit less full of children.
Of course, I had to get a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar and come up with the perfect photo opportunity!
While Courtney had to work, I met up with Joe, who also works at Madewell, but at University Town Center. He had just finished their store's rollout, so we met up at Fashion Valley Mall and he took me on a tour of the Gayborhood/Hillcrest.
We went to Urban Mo's (the home of Chad Michaels from RuPaul's Drag Race fame), where I was accosted by several of the servers, but all in good fun.
Then we walked around the neighborhood in the rain; checking out vintage shops and stores. We stopped at Babycakes to grab a cupcake. I picked out beautiful pistaschio cupcake and iced tea.
Did you know a "California Burrito" has French fries inside it? Even if I wasn't that hungry, I had to try one! Courtney took me to Juanita's Taco Shop in Encinitas to devour one. It doesn't look like much, but it was delicious.
Another benefit of this West Coast vacation was getting to meet several of my Madewell friends for the first time, in person! Since I heard Din Tai Fung had opened at South Coast Plaza Mall in Costa Mesa, CA; I knew I had to make it one of my food stops.
My friend, Abby, had recently become the Store Director at SCP, moving from the Twin Cities, which is where I thought we would meet first; and Isabella, the Regional Operations Coordinator for the West Region is also based at SCP.
I didn't know it at the time, but one of them is a Vegetarian and the other one doesn't eat pork, so that meant that all 10 soup dumplings were for me! (Hello, sodium!)
We found a great spread and were able to try a bunch of things. Besides the pork Xiao Long Bao, we got a plate of vegetable dumplings (green wrappers), vegetable fried rice, vegetable fried rice cakes (those thick round, rice noodles) and some strings beans with garlic.
I was so full, but kept eating, because I had to save room for dessert before making my way South to San Diego and Encinitas to meet up with Courtney, another Madewell friend, at the store in Carlsbad.
All weekend long, I would pass through Koreatown on my way back and forth to my hotel. I remembered seeing a really cute, chubby penguin as the logo on one of the storefronts, but I couldn't for the life of me, remember their name.
Well, Google definitely helped! When I decided that I needed a bubble tea before driving down to Costa Mesa to meet a friend for dinner, Boba Story was my last stop with Jared.
It was there that I got the largest "medium" bubble tea I have ever seen! In a container that was basically a pint of tea, I got to see the chubby penguin up close on my mint chocolate bubble tea with a side of popcorn chicken.
I can't remember when I started following Eggslut on Instagram, but I KNEW I had to go there and eat when I was in LA. Luckily, my friend Jared (who recommended Milk from last night) was available that Monday and we drove downtown and got in the relatively short line for some eggs.
As mouth-watering as the egg sandwiches looked, I was intrigued by the dish they were calling "The Slut." This consisted of an egg coddled in a small glass jar over smooth potato puree. The jar was then poached in hot water, while in the jar and served with a baguette. I was instructed to mix the egg into the potato and I'm drooling just thinking about now.
Jared stuck with the sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. Now I want some mashed potatoes, great.
It's good to have friends in other cities that have great food recommendations! My friend, Jared, said I had to go to Milk and try their ice cream sandwiches. The line for this ice cream shop is usually around the block, so I lucked out that I was only the second person who had to wait outside the doorway.
They had lots of different flavors for their giant macaron ice cream sandwiches: Peanut Butter & Jelly, Rocky Road, Cookies & Cream, Jasmine Tea, Blueberry Crumble, Grasshopper, Vanilla Bean and Meyer Lemon. I figured since I'd probably only get to eat there once on this trip, I should go for the most "untraditional" flavor and got the Thai Tea sandwich. (I didn't mind that every other Asian person in line was getting it too...)
I also grabbed a Snickerdoodle and a Molasses cookie for snacks later, but I can't stop thinking about that Thai Tea sandwich...
After my brunch & Matcha, I decided to check out the current exhibits at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). While in the sweltering heat, there was a street lined with food trucks serving all kinds of treats. I took a brief glance and told myself to work up my appetite while I was at the museum.
When I was leaving, I stopped by The Pudding Truck, since they had a vegan (lactose-free for me) chocolate hazelnut pudding! I topped mine with some fresh banana slices and it was the perfect afternoon treat.
After brunch, I noticed a small shop called MatchaBox just down the street from Quality Food & Beverage. Since I love MatchaBar in Williamsburg, I figured it was worth grabbing a drink from here.
I spoke with the owner, who just opened up the shop a few months ago and she makes all the drinks in house, by herself. I was intrigued by the "Matcha Bitch," which was an iced Matha green tea with a shot of ginger and topped with a maraschino cherry. It was super spicy, but delicious and refreshing!
A great thing about spending time on the West Coast, besides the sun and the beach, is getting a chance to catch up with old friends who have moved out to the other coast.
I was lucky enough to grab brunch with my friend, Erin, before she headed into work over the weekend. We met up at Quality Food & Beverage and had a great time catching up over some wonderful food.
I got the kale & butternut squash hash with a pair of beautifully poached eggs and an amazingly flaky buttermilk biscuit. I figured I needed a little detox after yesterday's Mexican fiesta!
After a long day or so of traveling and wandering around Los Angeles, I wound up at the Universal City Walk. I was thinking that I could take the studio tour without having to pay admission to the theme park, but I was wrong. Naturally, I went in search of food before heading back to my hotel to get ready for my friend's wedding.
I was craving some Mexican food and there was a Mexican restaurant at Universal City Walk. I couldn't decide what to get, so this "Cinco de Mayo" appetizer platter seemed like a good idea.
I think I only finished 1/3 of it.
Nachos with Jack cheese, black olives, tomatoes, refried beans and sour cream. Potato taquitos. A mini chicken chimichanga. A cheese quesadilla. Lactaid was definitely my friend.
After housing one of my favorite pizzas at Nicoletta, I had to leave room for their creamy vanilla custard with some crushed Oreos. So simple, but so delicious.
On a nice day off work, I met up with and old co-worker, Ashley and her son, Jax. We wanted to pick a kid-friendly restaurant, so she picked Sugar & Plumm on the Upper West Side.
Filled with candy in the lobby and a glass case full of macarons, there were plenty of things to look at and purchase after our lunch.
These mini grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup and side of roasted fingerling potatoes, which they called the "marbled potato hash," were the perfect meal.
One of the many benefits of having a friend that lives in Astoria is the proximity to Flushing, Queens. On a day off, I met up with Tempestt & Ellie to grab some hand-pulled noodles at the Xi'an Famous Foods restaurant, Biang!
I love coming to this place, but it's quite a commute without having an occassion to go there for.
We split some stewed pork burgers and I got the stewed pork noodles (mild, of course). Ugh, my mouth is watering, even as I post this photo...
Before my friend Jonelle moved back to Columbus, OH; we had to make one last stop at Shake Shack together before a show.
I tried the "Roadhouse Shack": a cheeseburger with bacon caramelized onions, crinkle cut fries with cheese sauce on the side and an iced tea.
We inhaled our food, then strolled around Times Square one last time before going to see Finding Neverland! Which I was stoked to see again, since Amy Yakima (Season 10 winner of So You Think You Can Dance) was taking over the role of Peter Pan!
When I heard that Emily Loves Pizza in Brooklyn had a to die for burger, I knew I had to try it soon! Then, Mimi Cheng's announced that their special for the month of August was the "Emmy Burger" dumpling, so I knew I had go right away!
I enlisted my friend, Whitney to come on this eating adventure and we devoured two plates of the special dumplings!
Just like the "Emmy Burger," the dumplings contained dry-aged, pasture-raised beef, Grafton cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and "Emmy" sauce. I also got a side of sauteed broccoli with garlic and an iced tea.
It's pretty dangerous having a Dough doughnuts across the street from work. This shelf of doughnuts is an obvious reason why.
I left rollout at work around 6:30am, so it was a perfect time to walk across the street, pick up a fresh doughnut and take it home before going to sleep.
My friends, Phil & Andy are probably the most "foodie" people that I know. They've never been one to turn down appetizers, entrees and a dessert; and I love them for that.
When I had a Sunday off, we met up at Resto (a Belgian Gastropub) for brunch and to catch up on life. I don't remember much about my entree, but the appetizers were mouth-wateringly good.
Top: Avocado toast with arugula pesto, olive oil and pistachios.
Bottom: Deviled eggs on pork loin toast points with charred scallions.
I had about an hour to kill before my haircut on the Upper West Side, so I popped into Parm for one of their infamous Chicken Parm sandwiches. I wish I would have been hungrier, because their sides are killer too and I always have a craving for pasta.
This was the perfect size for a quick bite, although I would love to come back here with a dining companion, so I could try out more of the menu and have some things to share.
While hanging out with my friend, Tempestt & her daughter, Ellie, we made a quick stop into Sprinkles Cupcakes on the Upper East Side. Mostly, we wanted to use the cupcake ATM out front, but while we were checking out the assortment of cupcakes we also looked at their party space for Ellie's 1st Birthday.
I walked away with the August Special Cupcake: Matcha Green Tea (on the left) and a S'mores (on the right). While not the best matcha green tea-based dessert I've had, it was still delicious. The S'mores was the best of the two, with the toasted marshmallow top. You can't be that!
I'd been wanting to try out Snowdays for months, and not just because my name-sister, Eva Chen, is always going there!
Snowdays is great, because they take blocks of ice cream and shave them down, so it has the consistency of a snocone and then you can add lots of toppings to your ice cream, similar to Pinkberry or any run of the mill frozen yogurt place.
I chose to get the green tea shaved "snowcream" with mochi (duh!), blueberries, waffle cone pieces and chocolate sauce. Of course, I had to add the heart-eyes smiley face emoji macaron too!
For this installation of #fatfriday, I convinced some friends to meet me at one of my favorite pizza joints in the city, Nicoletta. I love their little pepperonis and thin, crispy crust.
We ended up getting half of my favorite pie, the Calabrese, with thick cut pepperoni, fennel sausage, pomodoro, red onions and mozzarella with half of the Classica, pomodoro, whole milk mozzarella, aged parmesan and basil.
I probably could have eaten about two more slices, but we still had dessert afterwards to look forward to.
I was talking about Portland with my cousin and happened to mention Voodoo doughnuts and how I had never been there, but really wanted to go. Then, she blew my mind when she mentioned that a location had just opened in Denver. Of course, I made her take me there and got a box!
Top left: Mexican hot chocolate cake doughnut. - Delicious & spicy! My mouth was tingling after that one for a few minutes.
Top right: Cinnamon sugar cake doughnut. - Classic, sweet and not to greasy. I really do like cake doughnuts better than yeast ones.
Bottom right: Grape Ape yeast doughnut. - I love purple, so I thought this would be a good one, but it was pretty disgusting. I mostly ate the purple sprinkles on the corner, but the grape sugar dusting was really odd.
Bottom left: Voodoo dool yeast doughnut. - I got this one more for the novelty and wasn't a huge fan of it, since I'm not a big chocolate doughnut fan anyways.
For my second day in Denver, we went to City, O'City (which sadly, was all vegetarian/vegan, so no bacon for me), but this waffle more than made up for it.
A banana waffle with peanut butter anglaise, house made jam & a potato chip garnish. I ordered some eggs on the side, because I can never get enough of eggs.
On a quick two day trip to Denver, my cousin & her fiance lead me around the downtown. After dinner, we stopped by Union Station to check out Milkbox Ice Creamery inside the station.
There were so many vegan flavors (which is great for a lactose intolerant person, like me) and it was hard to decide. I finally settled on a scoop of horchata (which tasted just like the drink) and banana chip (sweet, fruity and fragrant).
I can't remember all the other flavors, but I hope this means that non-dairy ice cream treats will be more widely available soon!
How could I resist a bowl of noodles called the "CPR?"
All-natural chicken and potatoes stewed in an aromatic gravy over nice noodles with a roasted pork bun and some iced tea. This is from one of the best Chinese restaurants in the Denver/Boulder area and came with high recommendations from my cousin.
I wasn't a fan of the dark meat, which proves that I'm definitely more American than Chinese, but the soup was good and the pork bun was definitely delicious.
After a long day of running errands and traveling, I had a super late night meal in Denver with my cousin, Joyce and her fiance, Janelle. They took me to D Bar in downtown Denver, where I had some mac & cheese with a fried chicken cutlet and this amazing dessert.
Two rock sugar waffles with vanilla ice cream, cherries, almonds and whipped cream. If you look on my Instagram page, you can see how happy I was, taking a photo of this dessert.
After running some errands on a day off, I finally made it to Fuku for David Chang's twist on a fried chicken sandwich. The menu might be small, but the taste was big.
As anyone who knows me understands, I have a very low tolerance for anything spicy (blame it on my Mom's bland tastes growing up); but have learned to try newer things as I've gotten older. This sandwich was great, but pretty spicy for my liking and that's without the Ssam sauce!
The chicken was nicely fried and juicy, but as you can see, WAY too big for the bun!
After a delicious burger at Umami Burger in Williamsburg, a few friends & I stumbled upon the soft opening of Davey's Ice Cream on Bedford Ave.
I figured, I already had cheese on my burger, so why not make use of my Lactaid pills and get an ice cream cone?
I chose a scoop of the speculoos chocolate chip and wasn't disappointed!
I might work across the street from Dough doughnuts, but I really prefer cake doughnuts from Doughnut Plant. I happened to be wandering around in the city near their location by the Chelsea Hotel and stopped into to grab their July flavors of the month.
I really preferred the blueberry one over the lavendar flower. Yes, I was attracted to the purple shades of both (which is my favorite color), but the fragrant flavor in the lavendar wasn't my cup of tea.
Usually, when I can't decide what to get to eat on break I end up at Hale & Hearty Soups or Lenny's. This time I got a "Novie" on an everything bagel, but without the cream cheese (of course).
Something about that Nova smoked salmon with red onions, tomatoes and lettuce is so good, every time.
I had been craving ice cream since arriving in Chicago & went with another recommendation from Joanne, to try out Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Wicker Park. (I should have known with all the dairy I'd been consuming all day that this probably wasn't the best idea...some Pepto Bismol saved the night later!)
Now, I'm a sucker for anything cherry and when I saw this sign upon walking into the store, I knew what I was going to get.
Made with Boylan's black cherry soda, it was perfect.
Boylan's black cherry soda, Ndali Estate vanilla bean ice cream, honey whipped cream & Amarena cherries. Perfection.
I'm really surprised I didn't gain 10 pounds when I was in Chicago! One of the restaurants on my list when I go back is always Ann Sather's. They have AMAZING cinnamon rolls (I did bring a few back with me to NYC) and brunch!
I met up with an old friend from Nebraska and we indulged in some great food. Is your mouth watering from the photo alone? Can I present "The Southern Decadence?"
Perfectly poached eggs over sausage patties & hot buttermilk biscuits topped with country sausage gravy. Of course, I got the hashbrowns on the side & since I was already taking some Lactaid, why not add American cheese on top?
After living in Chicago from 2007-2008, I tried to come back and visit every year. This time, I had not been back to visit for almost 2 and a half years, so there were plenty of new places to try out and some favorites to return to.
My bestie, Joanne, said I should try Velvet Taco on State Street & it was amazing!
There were so many unique and interesting tacos to try out. I wasn't that hungry, but I got two:
#19: The Brunch Taco - bacon over an egg fittatta, crisp tater tots, chili butter, smoked cheddar, ranchero sauce and micro greesn in a corn tortilla.
#2: The Chick - rotisserie chicken, white queso, roast corn pico de gallo and smoked poblano salsa in a corn tortilla.
I'm still dreaming about that brunch taco, naturally.
Post-Taylor Swift concert, I promised to help a friend find an outfit for an upcoming interview. So, here I was before 11am on upper 5th Avenue with all the tourists, waiting for stores to open on a Sunday.
I was starving and just intended to pop into Momofuku Milk Bar for a treat & tea. What I left with was this amazing bagel bomb: an everything bagel stuffed with bacon-scallion cream cheese. It totally hit the spot!
Do you sense how much I love eggs in all these latest photos? Another great day off, where I grabbed brunch in Williamsburg with a former co-worker.
Even though Sweet Chick is known for their chicken & waffles, I couldn't resist trying their biscuits & gravy (especially after my less than stellar experience at Egg for brunch). I paired mine with the mushroom gravy & it didn't disappoint.
After the Qdoba closed on 23rd Street and in Union Square, I've been lacking in a Mexican fast food place to get killer queso. That was until I decided to try Oxido on 23rd, between 5th and 6th Ave.
I tried out two types of tacos: a grilled garlic steak (which was a bit too chewy for my liking) and a chicken poblano (which was a refreshing taste, after eating so much Chipotle over the years).
I paired it with a bag of chips & their queso blanco. The queso was a bit runny, but the flavor was amazing & just what I had been craving.
After a little adventure in Williamsburg for this day off, I stopped into Bakeshop on my way back home. Since my #dietordeath days, I've developed a real liking for iced teas & got a cup of Earl Grey.
Woops has so many flavors of macarons, it's hard to decide! Eventually, I picked out three: white chocolate cherry, mint chocolate chip and cookies & cream.
I'd been wanting to try out the House of Small Wonder for awhile, but had never stopped by; surprising, since I live within 10 minutes of the restaurant.
I chose to try the Okinawan Taco Rice, which was was a fried egg over chopped vegetables (tomato & avocado), with ground pork in taco seasoning over a bed of white rice. My mouth is salivating just thinking about it now!
On a random day off in June, I tried to check out David Chang's new restaurant, Fuku; famous for it's spicy fried chicken buns. No luck, since they were closed that day.
So, I walked down the block to Momofuku Noodle Bar and lucked out! Their daily special was the fried egg bun! A fried egg over a slice of spicy pork loin, hollandaise & chives.
I paired these with my favorite, their soy sauce egg & some of their "Trail Mix" soft serve for dessert. Heaven.
I'd been wanting to try the brunch at Jack's Wife Freda for awhile. And what better opportunity, when I was up at the crack of dawn? A friend from San Diego was in NYC for a long layover, so she popped into the city & we met up for brunch.
I choose the green shakshuka which was 2 baked eggs in a green shakshuska sauce with challah toast. Delicious!
Sometimes on my break from work, all I want is a sweet treat. If I've already had dairy, then it's easier to get a dairy-based dessert.
I stopped by the YoGo truck, that was parked outside of the AMC on 19th & Broadway and got this one. Just some vanilla frozen yogurt with mochi and rainbow sprinkles. Yum!
San Loco is one of my favorite Mexican places to eat in the city. Their cuisine is described as "Gringo-Mex" and in my opinion, it's delicious!
I decided to go all out this #fatfriday and I got their "Macho Nachos" with ground beef chili. The chili is layered over the tortilla chps, then covered in cheese, pico de gallo and guacamole (I always hold the jalapenos & sour cream).
Then, I added on one of their "Queso Loco" tacos with ground beef. It's a hard shell taco covered in cheese and wrapped in a flour tortilla. Fat Friday, indeed.
Thank you to my high cholesterol for making me love smoked salmon. Sometimes I forget that Le Pain Quotidien is so close to work, but when I do the smoked salmon tartine is usually my meal of choice.
Slices of whole wheat sourdough bread topped with thinly sliced smoked salmon, avocado, scallions and dill. This day, I chose to have it with a pain aux raisins and some iced tea.
When my best friend, Jenn, was in town, she wanted sushi, so we stopped by East Japanese Restaurant in the Gramercy area. All of their sushi comes on a conveyor belt, so you can just pick and grab what you'd like.
I saw that their dessert special was a "waffle cookie ice cream," so naturally, I wanted one. I picked the green tea ice cream with chocolate sauce and for $3, it didn't dissapoint.
I've been following Uma Temakeria on Instagram for awhile, but I finally decided to stop by for lunch, before a closing shift. This was right before the company launched their sushi "burrito," so I'll have to go back and check that out.
I got the two roll special:
L: salmon with white rice, crisp green apple slices, avocado lime sauce and tempura crunch.
R: marinated tofu with brown rice, carrots, avocado lime sauce and tempura crunch.
The next time I'll pass on the green apples, but otherwise, this was a great meal and a new restaurant to add to my list of places to eat near work.
After a ridiculously long wait (for my friend and for the table), I finally got to enjoy the biscuits & gravy at Egg's updated space in Willilamsburg. The housemade buttermilk biscuits were good and I chose to pair them with sawmill gravy & pan-seared mushrooms.
For all the hype, the wait and the Yelp! reviews, I wasn't that impressed with their food or service. I'd happily go back to HIll Country Chicken for their biscuits & gravy over this place any time.
After waiting for a friend for brunch, I decided to help beat the hot summer sun with a stop at MatchaBar. The last time I got a drink here, it was freezing, so it seemed like the perfect time to try an iced drink.
Having already tried the matcha chai, I went for the fuji apple ginger matcha and didn't regret my decision at all.
One of my favorite places to take a lunch break is Edo on 17th Street. It's a quick walk from work and they have great prices on their lunch specials.
I got one spicy salmon crunch roll and a sweet potato tempura roll. Of course, with a big side of soy sauce.
I almost forgot to use my birthday reward at Pinkberry! Luckily, after I went to the SNL Exhibition, I had some time to spare and walked through Koreatown.
I also got the change to try their new chocolate churro flavor with just the right amount of spice & cinnamon. I always get plenty of mochi on my frozen yogurt and topped that off with some dark chocolate crisps & a waffle cookie.
The newest Dig Inn: Seasonal Market right by Madison Square Park is trying out a new, updated menu, so I decided to walk up there & try it out.
I got the wild sockeye salmon with brown rice and sides of roasted cauliflower & their "upstate mac" & cheese. I really enjoyed the salmon & cauliflower, but the mac & cheese wasn't great enough for me to take the Lactaid to eat it. I'll come back for the food, but just skip the upcharge on the mac & cheese.
I always try to go and see the Costume Exhibit at the Met each year, around my birthday. This time, my day off coincided with another friend's day off, so we went up to the Upper East Side.
On our way to the Museum, we spotted Petite Shell and decided to stop in for a snack. I got a delicious iced soy chai & a pretzel croissant. Both were delicious, but I think I prefer City Bakery's preztel croissant just a bit more.
I ordered an ice cream sandwich from The Meatball Shop at my birthday brunch, a few weeks ago. I got the snickerdoodle cookies with brown sugar ice cream.
My friends must have stealthily told the waiter that it was my birthday, because my dessert game with a little candle, too!
When the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park closed in October of 2014 for a remodel, I was super sad. It was always fun checking out the Shack Cam onlilne before my break and if the line was short enough, running up the four blocks to grab a burger and fries. (Of course, this was all pre-lower cholesterol diet.)
So, I kept tweeting @ShakeShack and low and behold, they opened just before Memorial Day Weekend and my birthday! Since I was working the Saturday before my birthday and Shake Shack was serving up limited edition corn dogs for the long weekend, I met up with my friends, Emily and Jonelle and grabbed a meal.
It had been awhile since my last Shake Shack burger and it was every bit as good as I remembered. The corn dog wasn't as good as what I remembered from the Nebraska State Fair days, but the cheese fries we great! I might have cheated on #fatfriday, but it was well worth it!
As most New Yorkers know, it's pretty hard to get a table at Roberta's in Brooklyn. It just happened that I had a #fatfriday at work when Madison Square Eats was going on in the park. Roberta's had a booth and there was less than a 10 minute wait for a pie!?
I jumped at that chance, added pepperoni & mushrooms to my pizza, took a stroll around the other booths and by the time I walked back, it was done!
On a two-show day, I ended up walking from Times Square after seeing Finding Neverland to the Upper West Side, where after a futile attempt to stop at a Chinese restuarant and charge my phone, I walked by Parm. I'd been wanting to try out this restaurant for some time and they have a table near an outlet, where I could sit and charge my almost-dead phone before going to see On the 20th Century.
I was served a plate of fresh mozzarella in olive oil with a side of bread. I got some amazing roasted sicilian cauliflower with onions & peppers to go along with my main dish, orecchiette classico with garlic broccoli & sweet sausage.
For my first experience, I had a good time and the environment was fun and my waiter was friendly. All in all, well worth the 30+ block walk for this meal.
It's a blessing and a curse that my doctor is in Midtown and within walking distance of Melt Shop.
Yes, I went and got a grilled cheese sandwich and "shop tots" after my annual check-up. But I did get great news that my uber-high cholesterol was much better and my BMI was finally in the "normal" range. Here's to keeping up all the good work from last year! And for the chance to dine outside in a nearby park, instead of sitting alone in a restaurant for the thousandth time in my life.
Since I've limited my super-fatty, high-cholestorol meals over the last year, sometimes on a #fatfriday, I have to go all out. On this occassion, I walked for 1.5 miles on my break to the nearest Two Boots Pizza in the West Village for a few slices.
I got a pepperoni slice and a "Super Newman," named after the character on Seinfeld and topped with soppresata and sausage. And, because I'm a true Nebraska girl, an ice cold Pepsi. (Not pictured: giant garlic knots, which were also devoured.)
It's hard to believe that you could get tired of eating at all the restuarants in the Flatiron/Union Square area, but sometimes I have a hard time finding a place to eat on my break. After about 4 years working in the area, it's easy to get bored with the same old meals.
When I saw that one of my employees had noodles for their lunch, I decided that i would set out to find some noodles for myself. I have a weird thing with meats in soups, so I just went for the tofu udon at Ennju and it totally hit the spot for my dinnertime meal choice.
After I went to see Fun Home on Broadway, I stopped into the City Kitchen on 8th Avenue. There weren't many quick snacks that were dairy-free, but I did spy the Sigmund's Pretzel cart.
I got the churro pretzel and it was everything I expected it to be! Soft and chewy, with the usual churry dusting of cinnamon and sugar.
My high school friend, Julie, came into NYC to surprise her brother. I wasn't able to go and see his play, but at least we got to catch up over pierogies at Veselka in the East Village.
Of course, I had to get some potato and meat pierogies with a side of potato latkes. (Yeah, they aren't as good as the ones at Russ & Daughters Cafe, but I've never met a potato I didn't like!)
On my way back to work, I needed something sweet. So, why not stop at the Mister Softee truck and get an ice cream cone?
I've always loved chocolate soft serve with a cherry dip, but the customer infront of me asked for a "Merlin," as it's got the "hat" made of the dip, but a sprinkle bottom. And why not have some rainbow sprinkles?
The last time Dad came to visit, my roommate, Jim and I took him to Flushing for a real Chinese experience. He was super excited and the second we got off the 7 Train in Flushing, he shouted "It is like I am in China!"
So, I figured this trip he would want to go back to Biang! in Flushing and get the hand-pulled noodles he'd been talking about for at least a year. Little did I know that there would be a Falun Gong Parade and he'd spend most of the meal out on the street, watching the parade.
At least I enjoyed my food! I got some of the stewed pork buns which are made up of minced stewed pork belly served in crispy, crunch flatbread buns; like an Asian version of a burger. I also had to get an Apple Sidra soda, because they're delicious and hard to find.
My Dad comes to visit me in NYC. I try to plan out what kinds of food we're going to eat, but no matter what, it always ends up being mostly Asian food. So, I figured why not introduce him to Filipino food, since it wasn't something he could get back in Nebraska.
He really enjoyed the Lumpia, but wasn't a big fan of the salted beef he ordered, since it was "too salty."
I enjoyed my meal though, which was a Filipino version of corned beef hash with garlic fried rice and a fried egg; "cornsilog."
Yes, I did go out of my way on a day off to go back to Russ & Daughters Cafe. I had been dreaming about these potato latke's since I went in late March.
This time, I got the "Eggs Benny," where they put the poached eggs, Scottish smoked salmon and hollandaise on a thick slice of challah bread. It was heavenly.
And, yes, I ordered a side of potato latkes.
One of my favorite burger restaurants in the city, Umami Burger, opened up a location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They have some location specials, but I had to try the "Sunny Side" (aka Truffle Especiale) burger.
This burger has their signature parmesan fico, a fried, egg, truffle thyme compond butter, truffled arugula and truffled aioli. I got it with a side of their "thin fries" and their signatures sauces, including my favorite, their umami ketchup.
It was delcious. It's really a shame that my dinner date cancelled on me. But this was the best dinner for one.
On a Friday off work, I met up with a former co-worker and friend of mine, Melissa. She works right near Hill Country Chicken and until Shake Shack reopens in Madison Square Park, it's my #FatFriday place of choice.
This was my first time trying their chicken pot pie, which was delicious, if a bit too spicy for my taste. (I think there was a little bit too much pepper in it.) Still, it's a good size vs. the chicken pot pie at Boston Market. The Hill Country version is about 2/3's the size of the pie at Boston Market and it's crust is not as flaky, but has a richer, buttery taste.
Of course, I had to add a side of the cheesy fried mashed potatoes and a buttermilk biscuit! I also love that Hill Country has Boylan's fountain soda, but the last two times I've been there the black cherry wasn't mixed properly. Oh well.
Just a little dim sum brunch in Chinatown with my friend, Whitney, on Easter Sunday.
We went to Nom Wah Tea Parlour, the oldest dim sum establishment in NYC. Their dim sum isn't rolled out on carts, but you can pick and choose from their extensive menu, so you can get exactly what you want.
We had much more than these three dishes, but these were what came out first and were quickly photo-ed, then devoured.
Pork shu mai, spring rolls and rice noodles with beef. All delicious.
It's always a good time trying out a new place for brunch and catching up with friends. For this weekend excursion, my college friend, Kristi, picked Martha's in Fort Greene in Brooklyn.
They're known for their Asian-influenced faire, but this morning, I opted for their special of the day; which was peanut butter-stuffed French toast with berry compote. It was a delicious choice!
Kristi opted for the cast iron pancake with apple compote & ricotta and, of course, we had to split the duck fat biscuit with apple butter and apple compote.
That makes two trips to Fort Greene in the last few weeks, so working on my "explore more of Brooklyn" New Year's Resolution is shaping up well.
I'm still drooling over those potato latkes!
The "Lower Sunny Side" from Russ & Daughters Cafe on the Lower East Side. Sunny side up eggs, Gaspe Nova smoked salmon and potato latkes.
I'd been wanting to go to Russ & Daughters Cafe for awhile and this meal pretty much ensured that I'll be back again soon.
Indulging in brunch is one of my favorite eating & NYC past-times. I don't get the opportunity to part-take in it often, as retail keeps me working on weekends. However, on a Saturday off, I met up with a former co-worker to gossip about work and try out a new place in Fort Greene.
We sat at the bar and had a good time wtih the bartender. (He didn't even charge us for our drinks!)
I got the huevos rancheros, which were delicious and just the right amount of food.
I'd been wanting to try out Melt Shop for awhile. When my friend, Christina, suggested we visit some museums on our day off, we went to the 53rd & Lexington location before visiting MoMA.
We decided to split the classic grilled cheese and "The Big Skinny," which was mozzarella, grilled mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, red peppers, arugula & sherry vinagarette on sourdough.
We also had the housemade iced tea and "Arnold Palmer" with a side of "Shop Tots," which were tater tots tossed with parmesan cheese and scallions.
Overall, I liked the classic better than "The Big Skinny," because the sauce made everything slide out of the bread! But, yes, I'll be back to try more sandwiches sometime soon.
I rarely get the change to enjoy brunch, so when I had last Sunday off, I took advantage and hit up a local spot with my friends, Caitlin & Emily.
We've been a few times to Ltauha Restaurant in Ridgewood and the food is always consistently great and the staff is friendly. It's an easy 10 minute walk from my apartment, so once the weather turned, it was a natural choice for brunch.
In the past few months, I've discovered that I really like smoked salmon. This benedict was excellent, even if I skipped the fatty hollandaise sauce. The home fries were seasoned perfectly, and presented with a simple salad.
while working at the philadelphia flower show, i had to grab lunch from reading terminal at least one of the days.
hunger burger (http://www.hungerburgerpa.com) came highly recommended,
the "YO!lk" burger consists of a beef patty, american cheese, a fried egg, onion ring & chipotle ketchup. i was debating between their regular french fries or their seasoned fries, until i saw the mac & cheese.
i'm not a fan of the creamier mac & cheese receipes, due to the lactose problem, but this batch was excellent. not too creamy and a mild cheese sauce. i could have done with a dash of salt & pepper, but overall, it was a winner.
while in philly, i tried to meet up with several friends for a meal and to catch up on life, since i'd moved in 2009.
my friend, michael, suggested a new dim sum restaurant, bing bing, in south philly that had been getting rave reviews.
this turnip cake with a fried egg was one of the many things that we tried and was delicious! we also sampled the soup dumplings, which i would say are on par with joe's shanghai in chinatown, the congee, pork ribs and bubble waffle for dessert.
the atmosphere of the restaurant it also fun, with cartoon dumplings all over the walls, and communal seating, as long as someone at your table isn't crying over a breakup, like the girl across from us.
dough doughnuts had some limited edition "babkas." i got a mexican hot chocolate & cinnamon one and it was delicious.
finally tried out matchabar in williamsburg. there are SO many things that i want to try here. guess i'll have to go back soon.
mushroom & white cheddar burger. french fries. chocolate malt ice cream cup. dr. pepper. another #fatfriday success!
catching up with my bestie, jeffrey, after work. we stopped by campeon for some tacos & nachos.
when you can't decide between pastrami and corned beef, why not get both!? jonelle and i grabbed a sandwich to share before seeing emma stone & alan cumming in cabaret.
post #fatfriday lunch at carson kitchen, i picked up a doughnut at o face.
when i was in las vegas, my friend, james took me to carson kitchen for lunch. this is only one of the several plates we ordered and everything was delicious.
after work drinks & desserts with some madewell friends.
sal sal chicken strips over a bed of rice & lettuce. soy sal sal dressing.
catching up with haske over lunch at the meatball shop in williamsburg. i had the special pizza ball (sausage, pepperoni & focaccia) with tomato sauce. the rest of our meal:
mashed potatoes. rigatoni. mushroom, roasted tomato & thyme risotto. chicken meatballs with tomato sauce. sweet tea. aviation cocktail.
After another day of adventures and errands with Tempestt & Ellie, we wandered around in Flushing, looking for something good to eat. We stumbled upon Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao, which we had walked by on our way to Snowdays, many months ago.
Even though Ellie was a little bit cranky, we managed to finish our meal and make our way over to Target. We shared an order of pork soup dumplings (aka xiao long bao), pan fried udon with beef, vegetable fried rice cakes and scallion pancakes.
after a scare last year with high cholesterol, i've been trying to eat a bit healthier. follow my accomplishments on instagram with the #dietordeath tag.
chicken & avocado salad from pret with cherry tomatoes, walnuts, cranberries and extra virgin olive oil dressing. green tea.
deviled eggs with proscuitto bits. delicious!
from jonelle's birthday at the tippler. it came with two sauces, but was good on it's own.
trying out the january pancake of the month: hot chocolate with phil. yeah, we also got some chili cheese tater tots & a small mac & cheese.
macaroni salad with spinach & tomatoes from whole foods. peach blueberry muffin from variety coffee roasters in bushwick.
on a freezing night, i went with my friend, aly, to see michael c. hall in hedwig & the angry inch. we stopped by this restaurant to warm up and grab something to eat.
i got the salted chocolate caramel.
finally tried out the brooklyn star's brunch with my college friend, kristi. scrambled eggs. pancakes. hashbrowns. pork belly.
grabbing a soy mocha to make it through inventory.
Ok, so it took my almost 9 years of living in NYC to finally make it to Prince Street Pizza for their classic square slice with crispy pepperonis…and then, I ate it so fast that I forgot to take a photo!? Very off-brand of me.
Well, after pizza, I convinced my friend and fellow foodie, Matt to go to Ba Pa Tea with me. I’d seen these bubble tea soft serve photos popping up on Instagram and knew that I had to go. How could ice cream and bubble tea go wrong!?
I choose the black milk tea & oolong milk tea swirled soft serve with boba; on the bottom and top! It was the perfect cool, creamy compliment to the chewy salty pizza slice.
A lilac bubble tea!? A summer limited edition treat from Boba Guys at the Canal Street Market. Although I usually opt for a chai or matcha something, this one sounded too good to pass up!
A little ube with coconut milk and those “Grade A Balls”!? Thanks Boba Guys for making my day of running errands that much better.
While our team Director was traveling, the rest of us headed to Eataly for a team pasta lunch TB! While the wait wasn’t too bad, the pasta took awhile to come out…but I’d say mine was totally worth it!
Just look at that agnolotti in a beef reduction sauces with parsley!? Perfectly al dente, I could have eaten another bowl or two.
It’s nice to get out of the office for lunch a few times a week and Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place is a nice escape. Up until today, I'd mostly ordered dumplings at Northern Tiger…but today the char siu pork bowl looked too good.
BBQ char siu pork with a fried egg, napa cabbage and a delicious ginger scallion sauce over rice. Next time, I’ll be sure and order it on Ritual, so I can just pick it up and not have to wait in line!
Well, I guess I didn’t eat anything photo worthy for a few weeks…I found myself back at Mimi Cheng’s for the September #dumpsofthemonth!
Mac & cheese dumplings from a partnership with Kat O’Dell - 3 cheeses with garlic breadcrumbs (glad they were back) and a side of creamy CBD oil sauce.
I wasn’t particularly fond of the sauce…and I didn’t know what CBD oil was before this meal, but the dumplings were delicious!
I’ve been to Cha Cha Matcha numerous times, but this was the first time that their soft serve ice cream machine wasn’t broken or sold out!
That sweet matcha green tea swirled with vanilla soft serve hit the spot on this humid NYC afternoon for sure! (Yes, plenty of Lactaid was taken.)
I convinced my coworkers to hit up Mimi Cheng’s with me, so I wouldn’t miss the August #dumpsofthemonth!
This month, it was a chicken parmigana dumpling with basil, mozzarella, garlic bread crumbs and a side of marinara sauce.
Let me just say those breadcrumbs hit the spot!
I think this was right after my Dad & I got into a fight, where he told me to “shut up,” but at least the cake was delicious.
I wish I had another slice RN.
It’s hard for me to believe that my cousin’s son is already in middle school and that he’s going to the same school that I did in 1994-1996. Where did the time go?
So, when I told him that I was going to Runza with some of the other Chen cousins, he was quick to ask to come along. I drove across town, picked him up and we caught up over lunch.
Even just looking at this photo, I can’t wait to be back in Lincoln again for one of these meals…
Another stop at Goldenrod Pastries when I was back home in Lincoln, NE. This time, it was for my Dad’s 70th Birthday and I specially ordered a cake for his milestone year.
Granted, the trip was spoiled with an surprise guest…the treats were still good!
It’s been awhile since I had caught up with my friend and former co-worker, Melissa. So long, in fact that she is halfway through her pregnancy with twins! So, when she suggested we get dinner in Park Slope at Talde, I couldn’t refuse.
Of course, we got the pretzel dumplings, but also tried these two new dishes:
Hong Kong noodles with minced chicken and shrimp & chicken wontons and the Korean pork ribs with stonefruit & mint.
The food was so delicious and even looked so good that Talde re-posted my photo on Instagram!
After a long day at work, I met up with my co-worker, Diane, for pizza in the East Village before going to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
We’d been talking about pizza for awhile, so I knew it was time to take her to Nicoletta for their Calabrese pie - thick cut pepperoni, fennel sausage, red onions, pomodoro and mozzarella.
Although there was no longer table service, the pie still came out quickly and we had plenty of time to indulge in the crunchy pepperonis and chewy crust before heading to the theater.
One of my Chicago “Must Eats” is always Ann Sather! If you love a good mix of sweet // savory, then this is the best brunch place!
I’m normally a biscuits & gravy gal, but this visit I opted for The Swedish Sampler: a Swedish pancake, a Swedish meatball and a Swedish potato sausage. Yes, it also came with two eggs (poached), hash browns (added American cheese) and two biscuits or cinnamon rolls (I chose one of each).
I almost finished it all…but I made sure to savor that cinnamon roll. Who knows when I’ll be back in Chicago again?
One of the main reasons that I wanted to go back to Chicago was for their annual food festival, The Taste of Chicago! Dozens of local food vendors setup shop just off Grant Park and sell their best items out of tents and trucks.
One of my favorites from when I lived in Chicago was the Original Rainbow Cone, a Chicago tradition since 1926! I did have to buy another set of tickets to purchase this cone, but it was well worth it!
A layer of chocolate ice cream, topped with strawberry, then Palmer House vanilla with walnuts, then pistachio and orange sherbet! Luckily, we got to the festival before the rain, heat and humidity kicked in.
As soon as I landed in Chicago, I saw that a college friend of mine was also in town. (She had gone to HAMILTON the night before and I was going that night.) So, through the miracle of social media, I met up with her for lunch at Velvet Taco.
While our conversation might have been awkward at first (we hadn’t seen each other in person since 2004), we quickly found enough to chat about.
I knew I had to get one of the brunch tacos (I’d been thinking about them since the last time I was in Chicago), so I got the #19: bacon, an egg frittata, crisp tots, chili butter, smoked cheddar, ranchero salsa and micro greens in a corn tortilla. I added a side of their tots, topped with a fried egg. It might have been too much food, but when you’re only in town for a few days, some sacrifices have to be made!
For my last day in Boston, I found a nice bakery near the hotel that had lots of press & good looking food. As soon as we walked into the restaurant, I spotted Sonya Tayeh (from So You Think You Can Dance fame & the choreographer for Moulin Rouge, which was having it’s out of town, pre-Broadway tryout in Boston), sitting at a table with her girlfriend, Jo Lampert (Joan of Arc: Into the Fire and Orange Is The New Black)!
Of course, Jim ha no idea of who either of them were…but was happy, because I was happy, I guess…we were both happy when our food arrived.
I picked Tatte’s Jerusalem Bagel Egg-in-a-Hole. A large bagel, covered in sesame seeds with two baked eggs, a chopped salad and added Vermont Ham. Although it was a little hard to cut into, it was still delicious.
I made my first trip up to Boston to visit my bestie, who was in town for work. While our first meal was seafood-based, his next request was to go to Chinatown and get dim sum. After a little Yelp research, we settled on Hei Lah Moon and plucked our first few dishes from the metal carts.
Here’s a photo of round two: pork buns, taro cake and shrimp & pork shu mai. I’m drooling just thinking about all the deliciousness of this meal!
When Dad said that he wanted to get pasta for his Father’s Day Dinner, I found a great place in Little Italy, Aunt Jake’s, that had a variety of pasta types and sauces for you to create a dish. So, after taking in the matinee of The Book of Mormon (in which, Dad fell asleep and we were in the third row), we headed down to dinner.
I got cavatelli with carbonara, but little did I know that the meal would take a turn when I asked him about his current “lady friend.” Turns out, maybe he wasn’t ready to share that information with me and kept telling me how he should have married a Chinese woman instead of my Mom; so great.
Needless to say, the pasta was great, but I found myself with a little appetite to eat.
Every since I took my Dad to Flushing, he’s almost enjoyed going there more than Chinatown to eat and shop. The first time he exited the 7 train, he got onto the street and exclaimed “I am in China!”
So, after grabbing dinner at the food court (he had an assortment of meat skewers and soup; I had dumplings & fried rice), we went in search of dessert.
He chose a durian-based ice cream, while I went with a coconut milk based, red bean, jelly and green tea ice cream treat.
Anytime my Dad comes to visit me in NYC, it’s almost a test to see how many different types of Asian food we can eat in a small amount of time. After I took him to see my new office in Tribeca, we walked to Chinatown and grabbed lunch at Hong Kong style eatery, Cha Chan Tang.
He picked a shrimp and rice dish, while I went for the baked spaghetti with ham and cream sauce; basically the Asian version of a Midwest casserole.
After my last visit to Ozi, I couldn’t stop thinking about their “potato twirl,” which was basically a spiralized potato that was fried. Sadly, upon my second visit, I was told that it was a “seasonal” dish, but there were french fries.
New to the menu this time: dumpling combos. 9 pieces of 2 styles of dumplings with a side. I chose the chicken teriyaki and the char siu pork with a side of rice. Whitney opted for the cheeseburger and the crab with blue cheese and a seaweed salad.
Overall, they were very tasty, even if they can’t beat the Emmy Burger dumplings at Mimi Cheng’s for #dumpsofthemonth!
My cousin, Sarah, was visiting NYC with her husband, Scott and their kids, Owen & Reese. I met up with them on a Summer Friday, to explore and to eat. After walking around, visiting some kid-friendly stores and giving them my own mini-tour of Times Square, we walked to find pizza.
I wanted to make sure it was going to be a good pie; so we walked up Broadway to Angelo’s, right next to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, a bonus for Scott.
We got one red and one white pie; pepperoni & mushrooms on the red and grilled chicken & mushrooms on the white. While both were delicious, I preferred the red pie (too much ricotta on the white one)! Ew.
Sometimes I think office culture is weird, where people eat at their desks all the time or never go outside in a 9+ hour workday. Well, this day, I convince my friend, Andre, to go get food with me. After our attempt to get Japanese food was thwarted (they looked closed), we walked to Bubby’s.
I chose the salmon eggs Benedict with home fries & an iced tea. We spent some time playing with the children’s activity menu and I finally got my t-shirt that says “PANCAKE” on it!
After showing my friend, Tempestt, Taiyaki’s unicorn ice cream cones, I knew her daughter, Ellie, would want to get one. So, after lunch in Soho we ventured into Chinatown to pick up a cone.
I opted for the custard-filled “fish cone” with chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup, chocolate powder and a waffle stick.
While Tempestt was trying to setup an adorable Instagram shot with Ellie, her cone tipped and all of the ice cream fell onto the floor! Luckily, we escaped any panic attacks and were able to get a new cone! (The second time around, we were all much quicker at taking the photo!)
I already was a fan of the chorizo tacos from The Deep End, so when I had the chance to try their breakfast version (i.e. filled with scrambled eggs), it was an easy choice.
I met up with my friend, Ololade, to catch up on our lives over a good meal. He has frequent shows at The Deep End (check him out on Instagram @lae.d.boi), but hadn’t tried their brunch and it’s close to both of our apartments, easy choice.
The tacos were so delicious, but so large, I had to share and then run off to see “Boys In The Band!”
In the last year or so, I’ve tried to up my cooking skills by trying out a few various meal delivery kits. For about a year, I cooked meals with Plated, but I made the switch to Blue Apron a few months ago. I’ve learned more about the prep steps in cooking and a few new skills.
By far, this crispy potato & kale hash with baked eggs was one of the favorite things I’ve made so far. Now, just to work on my plating/presentation…
When I heard my friend, Phil, go on about he loved Dough’s greasy yeast doughnuts, I knew I had to take him to Doughnut Plant and make him try one of their cake doughnuts.
Sadly, since we went kinda late on Memorial Day, they were sold out of a lot of the flavors. He still bought a yeast doughnut from Doughnut Plant, but at least I got this killer coffee cake doughnut!
Yes, my birthday falls exactly 7 days from the end of May; so it’s almost always around Memorial Day Weekend and it’s made celebrations and meeting up with friends hard over the years.
Luckily, two of my best friends, Caitlin & Emily, live right by me in Ridgewood, Queens. So, we met up on a rainy Sunday for brunch, to exchange gifts and catch up on life at Father Knows Best.
I choose the mushroom hash - cirispy potatoes, smoked oyster mushrooms, pickled beets, arugula, toasted seeds with poached eggs and a side of cheddar scallion biscuits with honey chipotle butter.
I’ll definitely go back here again, not only was the food delicious, but my friend, Ricky, also works there.
After a failed attempt to eat at ABC Kitchen for my birthday last year, I was finally able to go this time around! After seeing Animaniacs Live! at The Public, Barbara and I went for a late dinner to celebrate at one of Jean-Georgers Vongerichten’s more famous establishments in the NYC area.
When we had a hard time deciding between the pizza and the pasta, we opted to get both & share.
A whole wheat pizza with mushrooms, parmesan, oregano & a farm egg and then homemade casarecce with spicy fennel sausage, broccoli rabe and shepherd’s basket cheese.
I also indulged in the chocolate cake with malted chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow icing, but couldn’t get the best photo in the light of the restaurant.
As a special deal for my birthday, my roommate, Jordan, arranged an option to cook deal at Maialino, where he works for me & a few friends. We had a four course meal with dessert and lots of champagne.
The highlight for me was the first pasta course (seen here) with squid ink pasta, a slightly spicy red sauce and a perfectly buttery white sauce.
I took a lot of photos, but they really don’t do the food justice. You’ll have to taste it yourself!
I was looking for something sweet to eat after dinner, when I popped into Food Gallery 32 (a sort of food court in Koreatown), when I saw Sweet Churros.
They had several different types of churros or you could get mini’s and try a few flavors. I opted for one regular one, based around S’mores - melted marshmallows covered in toasted marshmallows and chocolate syrup. It was missing the cinnamon sugar was a little on the greasy side, but I’d definitely go back and try another flavor another time.
Years ago, I found photos of the most delicious looking egg sandwiches on Instagram. Enter Eggslut and their perfectly crafted sandwiches and other egg-centric concoctions.
When I finally made it to LA after this discovery, a friend took me to eat one in Grand Central Market. This time around, I wasn’t able to get a sandwich there, so to my surprise, when I decided to kill time at the Americana shopping center; there was an Eggslut!
However, “The Slut,” was calling my name! A coddled egg on top of a potato puree with chives & gray salt, complimented with slices of a toasted baguette. How could I resist?
And, yes, I took a freshly made biscuit to go.
There was so much delicious food at my friend, Nan’s wedding; but I only managed to capture this photo of dessert. Blueberry cheesecake on a graham cracker crust with a white & milk chocolate straw.
You can see some of the menu to the left: my first time having clam chowder (really!), the fish & risotto were delicious; but I had to also save room for wedding cake!
Although Shake Shack will always make my favorite burger (there’s something about that Pat LaFrieda patty…), when I’m on the West Coast, I have to get to an In-N-Out.
Luckily, Chung humored me, and after walking up and down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and searching through stacks and stacks of albums at Amoeba Music, we went to get lunch.
Only we must have arrived when school was just getting out, because it was PACKED! I think we waited almost 45 minutes for our food, but at least we found a seat and made some friends with a pair of teenage boys who were visiting from Canada (never mind that I could have been their teen mom).
Chung opted to get an “animal style” burger, but cut in half, while I just went with a classic cheeseburger and cheese fries.
I spent a long weekend in the Los Angeles area, as one of my high school friends was getting married, to do some touristy things and to catch up with some friends.
For day one, I met up with Chung, who used to work with me at Madewell in NYC & recently moved back home to SoCal. She suggested Porto’s Bakery for our breakfast/brunch and it was the perfect spot.
I got a bacon & egg “omelette” sandwich and iced soy chai, while she opted for a cheese omelette & an iced coffee.
My consistent life-struggle with brunch: sweet or savory? Luckily, this Dutch baby at The Dutch in Philly covered both tastes.
Diced smoked sausage, scallions and topped with a little powdered sugar. That savory sweet spot!
To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never eaten at a restaurant that was nominated for or received a James Beard Award for excellence in food. So, leave it to Philly to get me to one and an Asian one, at that.
My friend, Mike and his friends had come to Sate Kampar before, so i kinda let them take the reins with the meal; even if I was the only Asian one at the table.
I resolved to try everything, even if might have been too spicy for my tastes. Sauteed meat. Curried vermicelli noodles. Beef rendang. The whole fish special. Mee hoon goreng.
Everything was delicious, but bring a more “adventurous” friend with you, when you want to eat there.
Yes, I finally made it to Philly! And on my friend’s list of things to try out was Poi Dog, a Hawaiian restaurant that was fairly new. I joked that if they had Loco Moco, I would totally be into it and low and behold, they did!
I remember when I was in Hawaii and first heard of Loco Moco; which was basically me asking “what’s that?” and them saying “a hamburger patty on garlic rice with gravy and a fried egg!” If my face could have turned into an emoji it would totally have been the cat with the heart eyes!
So, here’s the version I had in Philly: a brisket patty with two fried eggs over rice with miso gravy & furikake. And those heart eyes came right back!
Somehow every time I go to Sweet Chick, I luck out with their poached eggs and get a sweet (and tasty) photo.
These flaky, buttery biscuits with mushroom gravy and these beautiful eggs; I could go back again and again!
After a thwarted attempt to visit Philly over the weekend (weather forced Amtrak to cancel/delay all their NE trains), I booked a trip for next weekend and treated myself to the March special at Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings: Philly Cheesesteak!
I got the pan fried version made with grass-fed beef, caramelized onions, peppers and housemade cheese whiz for dipping! Not quite Pat’s or Geno’s, but it hit the spot.
After hearing and talking about Dekalb Market for awhile, I finally decided to meet up with my friends, Melissa & Jesse to get lunch.
First off, I didn't realize how easy it would be for me to get there by busy; why had I waited SO long!? Jesse & I took a little tour of the area and decided on splitting an order of potato & cheese pierogis and chorizo arepas (not pictured), before hunting for dessert.
These little boiled pierogis were nice and full, a little larger than the usual ones I get at Veselka, and almost a meal in themselves.
For dessert, I opted for ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery (might as well get the worth of my Lactaid) and Jesse opted for a key lime pie on a stick.
We were just finishing our desserts when Melissa finally arrived with her husband, Ben. We tagged along while they got some sushi and then all ventured into Trader Joe's before heading our separate ways. I know I'll have to go back soon!
After indulging ourselves in the "Emmy Burger" dumplings at Mimi Cheng's, I finally convinced Whitney to accompany me to Pizza Loves Emily at their new-ish West Village location.
It worked out perfectly, since we wanted a pizza AND a burger; why not split both!?
The Emmy Burger even came with a side of curly fries! So, we gorged ourselves on that and the Detroit Style "Pig Freaker" pizza with bacon, kimchi, sesame and miso queso. Slightly spicy, but if you're like me, you can't get enough of that crispy, cheesy crust on the sides!
We both almost needed to be rolled out of the restaurant, but managed to make it to the subway and home in one, very full, piece.
One of the best parts of working in Tribeca is the proximity to so many good places to eat! Also, Arcade Bakery is in the same building as my office. So, just order a pizza online and in 10-15 minutes, walk downstairs, through the double doors and they'll just hand you your order.
The last time, I split a red pie with my boss, but this time I got a white pie all to myself - smoked ham, broccoli rabe and chili oil; on top of a perfectly chewy & dense crust.
After a little volunteer shift with God's We Deliver's prep kitchen, I couldn't resist swinging by Dominique Ansel Bakery, just down the block.
Even though they were out of cronuts, these little "Blizzard the Bear Religieuse" were too cute to eat! I settled for some DKA's to go.
Ever since Serafina opened a few blocks from my office, I'd been wanting to go and try their pasta. (Yes, other people's Instagram photos were an influence.)
Perfectly al dente rigatoni with Bolognese a sprinkling of shaved Parmesan and a sprig of Sage. I could have had another bowl or two...
I always promise myself that I will start to eat more "healthy" meals in order to try and lose some of the weight I put on since starting an "office job," but it's easier said than done!
I'm still like a big kid in the sense that I'm not a huge lover of vegetables (other than potatoes), but I can usually find something that will fill me up.
Luckily, I had some errands to run near Union Square, so I stopped into Glaze for their teriyaki combo. I chose the salmon & tofu with brown rice and a side salad with carrot ginger dressing. And, oh yeah, a black cherry Boylan's soda.
Since reinvigorating my Broadway fandom, one of the shows that I enjoyed the most was Green Day's American Idiot, so when I heard that some of the Original Broadway Cast and the Touring Companies were getting together at 54 Below to sing songs from the show and other Green Day hits, I knew I had to be there.
However, any time you go to 54 Below, there is a food & drink minimum. Somehow, I wound up with the 5:30pm dinner seating for a 7pm show; so there was quite a bit of time to kill.
I went with the pan-seared Arctic char over black pepper & lemon spaetzle (one of my favorite pasta/noodle types), baby artichokes, olive oil & thyme roasted tomatoes. That along with "The Big Apple" - apple cider, cranberry juice & ginger ale with a cinnamon dusted apple slice, easily made up my F&B requirements.
The show was almost like a short rock show and it was fun getting to be up close to the action & befriend other "idiots!"
It had been a hot minute since I'd been down to Chinatown/Little Italy, so I decided to hit up one of the new off shoots of Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown; Nom Wah Nolita.
Now, while I really had a craving for beef rice rolls, I didn't know what the atmosphere would be like for this location. I soon found out that there was a much more limited menu at this location and settled for a scallion pancake and an order of chicken & chive dumplings.
Dim sum should really be done with other people or a group to get the true experience, but these two dishes were plenty for me and kept me fueled throughout my day downtown.
When my friend's said I could choose a restaurant for our belated Christmas gift exchange, I suggested Ozi Dumplings, which just opened up in Bushwick. Now, while Mimi Cheng's always has a special place in my heart, I was ready to see how these unique dumplings would compare.
I ordered the Cheeseburger dumplings with a "potato swirl." The dumplings were made with ground beef, onions, cheese and lightly fried before a drizzle of cheese sauce and pickles were added. I can't say that they were better than the "Emmy Burger" dumpling special at Mimi Cheng's, but since I can only get those once or twice a year, these are a great second place.
The "potato swirl" was nice and crispy; a nice addition to the dumplings. However, the highlight for me was the Ikezo peach sparkling jelly wine. Almost like a Jell-O shot, but with the fizz of my favorite Moscato.
In short, I would go back for the peach sparkling jelly wine and probably try another type of dumpling for round two.
Running errands in Union Square & Chelsea and I saw someone walk by with a Matchabar cup, so I knew they must have a location nearby.
Instead of opting for Starbucks for an afternoon pick-me-up, I went for the caffeine in a Matcha Chai with soy milk, always with ice, unless it's below zero.
Ask anyone who knows me and you'd know I can never turn down a good pastry. Today's special at the Gap-eteria (Cafe at work), was a chicken pot pie with a nicely sized piece of puff pastry on top.
Not as heavy or creamy as a chicken pot pie, say from KFC or Boston Market, but delicious and with some purple potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Bonus: When the Cafe was going to throw away the excess puff pastry, the Cafe Manager gave me a bag of them to take home! Woo hoo!
I'm pretty sure that carbs will always be my first love and Bison Witches is one of my favorite places to load up on them.
Sometimes I change what sandwich I get (opted for a grilled ham & cheese on wheat this time), but the tortilla chips with CCQ (chili con queso) and bread bowl of potato bacon soup are always my standards.
And, yes, I'm fully aware of how much "brown food" is in this photo and I'm okay with that.
All of my other Nebraskan friends in NYC agree: why can't we find an Indian restaurant as good as The Oven in the city? Were we spoiled by really good Indian food in Nebraska and we never knew it?
Well, it's always a stop when I go home, for sure. I got a little taste at Thanksgiving, when I stopped by The Cellar for a little after drink snack, but this was going to be my meal - chicken tikka madras biryani. Yes, it was a "treasure of rice" - chicken tikka marinated in a spicy coconut milk sauce with rice, raisins, cashews and a sliced egg.
After an underwhelming trip to the Valentino's Buffet, I knew I had to get back to Yia Yia's for pizza before I went back to NYC. So, I met up with my friend, Adam (who I've known since elementary school) and we caught up over some slices.
In the summer, I got ambitious and ordered two slices, so I opted for one this time and some garlic herb bread. "The Atlantic" is a delicious white sauce based slice with grilled chicken, bacon, potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms with mozzarella cheese. Pretty much what would have been on a custom slice, if I had made one, but cheaper.
Imagine my surprise when Dad suggested that we go to Cracker Barrel for lunch!? Usually, it takes some prodding to round up the family and encouraging them to go here.
I always know that I want hashbrown casserole; something about that cheesy, onion-y, potato goodness always gets me, but I was pretty happy that their mini chicken biscuit sandwiches were back!
My only regret, getting medium poached eggs vs. soft. Do those even look like eggs (on the left)?
Always a must-stop on my trips back home, Goldenrod Pastries, is owned and operated by my friend, Angela. She and her team of wonderful ladies make all sorts of delicious treats and you can't beat the Nebraska prices!
I made sure to load up on some of these colorful macarons, especially since they're only $1.90 each!
Of course, my first dinner with Dad would be Asian food! He chose Yami (which he pronounced as "yummy") in South Lincoln. (I had to start to get reacquainted with my hometown, since Dad was now living on the opposite side of the city.)
I was anxious to see how the Korean food in Lincoln held up with some of my favorite places in K-Town. I chose the dolsot bibimbap, so it was in a hot stone bowl and some fried dumplings. Dad ordered off their newly added Thai menu and asked for it to be spicy, "on a scale of 1 to 10, I want an 11!" Phew!
The food was good and seem fairly traditional, but nothing can ever compete with the sukiyaki bibimbap from Gyu-Kaku!
I'm not sure how I worked just a few blocks from Ootoya for so many years, but never went to eat lunch there. Oh well. I was lucky that my flight back home for Christmas wasn't until the evening on the 20th, so I was able to grab lunch with my friend, Lily, while she was back in NYC.
She picked Ootoya and I quickly found out why. Wow. The food was spectacular and there was plenty of it! I opted for the mini Oyako Don (grilled chicken and onion simmered in broth and with a layer of egg on top), which also came with a plate of cold soba, miso soup, seaweed and savory egg custard.
One of my coworkers helped us plan our Holiday team outing, so we went to The Bar Room in the Beekman Hotel for food and Happy Hour. We were given a bottle of prosecco and while everyone ordered fancy drinks and food, I opted for the Baked Alaska.
However, I did sample this amazing onion dip, which I should have known was going to be amazing, since Top Chef's Tom Colicchio oversees the menu. The onion dip had caramelized onions in it, fried onions on top and came with housemade Gaufrette potato chips! I'm actually drooling thinking about this now...
Just before I was about to go home for the holiday, I made the trek up to Jackson Heights to make Christmas cookies and exchange gifts with my friend, Tempestt and her family.
Her daughter, Ellie, is 3 and it's so adorable when she calls me "Chenny!" We had several colors of icing and load of various sugar candies to decorate with, but I kinda think Ellie used most of them, piling them up on about 3 or 4 cookies.
I ended up making some "gingerbread men" looking like Sesame Street character or Muppets with my candies. We ended up making a few dozen cookies, which worked out nicely when I went to a holiday party right after and the guests gobbled them up.
For the past few years, my friend, Whitney & I have made a tradition of getting soup dumplings and going to view all the holiday window displays on 5th Avenue. After our November "dumps of the month" excursion, my friend, Deirdre, asked to come along to more of our outings.
We met up after work and went to Joe's Shanghai, where we split two orders of pork xiao long bao, some fried rice cakes, scallion pancakes and some broccoli beef. It was great to load up on some salty goodness before wandering around 5th Avenue in the chilly weather.
I finally got a ticket to see M. Butterfly before it closes, so I quickly looked up a place to eat on Yelp, which pointed me to Sapporo, just a few blocks from the theatre. I knew I wanted something hot, since it was freezing outside and the show was the only reason I went outside at all today.
However, I underestimated the size of the portions! I got a miso soup and order of pork gyoza. What I wasn't ready for was how large the chicken katsu curry was going to be! And it's definitely not the type of meal I could take into the theatre, even if I wanted to.
As the holiday break quickly approaches, I realized how much I need a break from the city. I got a nice break from the day to day, when my boss suggested that our whole team go out for a lunch break.
Now, while trying to find a place for all of us to agree on may have been a challenge, but once I suggested Two Hands, it seemed like everyone could find something there to suit their palates.
I opted for the "breakfast roll" sandwich, which I had the last time we were here, but this time with a shittake mushroom vs. bacon. A nice whole wheat roll topped with avocado, watercress, pickled shallots, a fried egg and homemade spicy ketchup; it was messy, but delicious! (And all the handsome Australian waiters didn't hurt either...)
It's funny how I've waited SO long to have regular weekends off and now that I do, sometimes I struggle to find something to do. Sundays have been particularly lonely, since they were usually occupied with talking to my Mom on the phone, after she went to church & breakfast with the family.
I didn't have much motivation to go into the city, so I walked the less than two blocks to Sally Roots for some brunch. A little smoked salmon benedict to help clear up my Sunday Blues (which is what I should call them now). I'd only ever been here for dinner, which is mostly Caribbean food, so a more typical American-style brunch was a pleasant surprise on their menu.
As I've never been a fan of side salads, that was my least favorite part of the meal, but everything else was delicious and only a few minutes from home.
I was also fortunate that when I was home, there was also a home football game in Lincoln. Now, while the Huskers haven't lived up to their late 90's/early 00's glory, there's always something special about home for a football game. In this case, it mean that a lot of my high school and college friends were also home for the Holiday.
After the game, (which we embarrassingly lost to Iowa) I met up with one of my Youth Leadership Lincoln friends, Bryce, at The Other Place; a hidden speakeasy, where it was nice to get away from all the usual football game patrons. We posted up at the bar, caught up on life and chatted with the bartender, who ended up being my high school choir's piano accompanist.
Since I had recently gorged myself on a burger at Brewsky's, I wasn't too hungry, but offered to go to The Oven with Bryce to eat and partake in one of Lincoln's best restaurants. We ended up going to the wine bar below the restaurant, The Cellar. While Bryce picked out some food and wine, I opted for a lighter course of mulligatawny soup and garlic naan. But you can rest assured that I will be back at Christmas time for a full meal!
A usual stop on any trip home: Goldenrod Pastries! With a rotating selection of gluten & dairy-free snacks, I always load up a box to eat while I'm home and bring a few things back to NYC!
I picked out 3 macarons: vanilla, hibiscus and an apple cider (which didn't make it into the photo, before I ate it), a cherry almond cookie and a devil's food cake loaf.
I'm alreadying thinking about what I want to get for my trip home at Christmas...
As my first really "retail free" Thanksgiving in ages, I took the opportunity to fly back home to Lincoln, Nebraska and spend some time with my family. (Since my brother & sister-in-law rotate Holidays, we usually only see each other every other year. I knew I didn't want to miss out this year, so I took a 4 day trip back to the Midwest.)
The only downside, I forgot how early everyone eats in the Midwest! While I might have been expecting a 2pm Thanksgiving lunch, I got an 11:30am Thanksgiving meal! My flight didn't get into Omaha until almost 11:30pm, due to delays, so I made it out to my Dad's new house, just after 1:00am on Thanksgiving Day. I did not get up in time to help prep, but did get to watch some of the parade (I had to see Dear Evan Hansen perform, after all)!
All the usual suspects were at this meal, so I heaped my plate full of all the best things: mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green bean casserole, a croissant and, oh yeah, turkey. My brother made some great poultry gravy, which I put on everything.
Ever since Whitney & I have enjoyed the "dumps of the month" at Mimi Cheng's, we usually look forward to getting the November special - the Thanksgiving dumpling.
This time around, I brought a long a new friend and co-worker, Deirdre, to revel in the experience of the dumplings and a Thanksgiving croissant at Momofuku Milk Bar afterwards.
Besides the Emmy Burger dumpling and the Brunch dumpling, the Thanksgiving dumpling rates as one of my favorites. Fresh turkey, stuffing and gravy in a pan fried dumpling with a side of cranberry sauce. I'm drooling just thinking about it! Is it November 2018, yet!?
Can you tell that our head chef at the Gapeteria (i.e. our office Cafe), loves Halloween? The staff whipped up some great treats for our Halloween party at the office!
Here are some ghostly risotto balls, covered in little pieces of cheese!
It's still hovering in the 50's/60's and it's almost November!? Makes sense that I would still be craving ice cream, then. In between shifts for Broadway Cares, I swung by Ice & Vice's pop-up truck in Times Square.
They were serving some new sundaes and regular scoops of their best selling flavors, along with some basic soft serve (literally, it's vanilla soft serve and it's called the "basic bitch"). After convincing a mom & her daughter that they should get the "Milk Money," I opted for a scoop of "Justice is Sweet" - chocolate ice cream with a szechuan peanut butter shell in a dark chocolate chai cone from the Konery.
The I SCREAM booth was also sponsored by Waitress and was there to help raise money for charity, so double the goodness!
Ever since I saw Yo! Sushi open up on W. 23rd Street, I'd been thinking two things: 1. This has to be better than the last conveyor belt sushi place I went to and 2. When can I go? So, when I got the chance to catch up with a former Madewell buddy of mine, we went to Yo! and perused all the choices.
I got a few plates, but these salmon nori tacos were hands-down the best part of the meal! Pieces of nori (seaweed), fried in tempura batter and molded into taco shapes, then filled with salmon, siracha mayo, yuzu salsa and tuzu tobiko. Slightly sweet, slightly salty and nicely crunchy; maybe I'll get two orders next time!
I'm consistently surprized by the variety of food around my office, so whatever my craving, it's easy to find something to satisfy it; albeit to my wallet's despair. So, my weekly TB with my manager took us downtown, towards the Financial District.
And that's where I was cheating a bit on #fatfriday with some cheesy tots and a patty melt grilled cheese from Melt Shop. My sandwich didn't look the prettiest, but oh boy, was it tasty!
I couldn't begin to count the number of times that I've walked by B Bar & Grill near my old office by NYU/Astor Place, but I had never eaten there. So, when my college bestie, Phil, suggested it for brunch, I was all in.
While my main brunch struggle is debating between sweet or savory and my almost constant craving for eggs; I went the sweet route for this meal.
These thick-cut slices of French toast with blueberry compote and maple butter were delicious! Not to mention the perfectly tangy fresh squeezed orange juice and getting a chance to eat outside.
Um, excuse me!? Veselka has BRUNCH PIEROGI!? I was expecting them to be like the breakfast dumplings at MImi Cheng's and perhaps I should have ordered them boiled instead of fried, but I was a little disappointed.
8 Varenyky filled with bacon, scrambled eggs, Vermont cheddar cheese and potatoes with a side of chipotle ketchup. They were slightly chewy and a bit bland.
As much as I love Veselka, this didn't give me much faith in coming back for brunch, nor did my waiter who kept interrupting my friend and me to say we were his last table and he wanted to leave...oy.
A brunch date at The Little Owl, which is situated right below the exterior shot of Monica & Rachel and Chandler & Joey's apartment on Friends! Oddly enough, I'd never been to this spot and it was amusing while waiting for my date and seeing all the tourists come by to take photos (I bet I'm in a bunch of them).
We got a nice corner table and chatted. I chose the special - soft scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on toast and my date got the sunflower seed salad. We didn't get the chance to order some of the more "famous" dishes - beignets or the meatball sliders, but that could be for my next visit.
I love having weekends off, after working more than a decade in retail (which meant - one weekend off a month, overnights every three weeks and a consistently rotating schedule), but sometimes I forget to just chill out. This weekend was no exception: RuPaul's DragCon all day Saturday and Sunday, then off to the 92d Y for a screening of the season four finale of Younger with the cast and Executive Producer.
So, was this deep dish pizza well deserved? Yes. Something about that thick, crunchy crust was everything. I went with the "Numero Uno" - sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers, mushrooms, chunky tomato sauce, mozzarella and romano cheese.
I'd been wanting to try out Chef's Club Counter, so when a date suggested that we meet at Jack's Wife Frieda for dinner; I suggested Chef's Club Counter instead. I was pleasantly suprised when my date showed up, as he was more handsome in person that I expected, but quite nerdy than my usual "type."
I'm not the type of girl to debate on what to get, so I was dually impressed when he suggested we get a few things that I wanted to try and share them. Done and done!
Our spread: Spicy Pepperoni Pizza from Chef Magnus Hansson, a Roman-style thin crust pizza with organic tomatoes and organic flour; Hash Nugges from Chef Alvin Cailan - shredded potaotes, seasoned with sea salt & onions, then fried twice; and Belle's Hot Chicken Sandwich by Chef Morgan McGlone - crispy hot chicken tenders, American cheese, lettuce, onion, Belle's Good Good Sauce with some Old Bay seasoned fries.
Delicious! And a promising meal for a first date, let's hope there's more!
After we parted ways with Jacob, Jim & I went in search of something sweet. While we were thinking about Ruimilk (which relocated to the City, oops), we then found a newly opened Spot Dessert Bar on Prince Street.
While we probably only needed two desserts, the price for three was too good of a deal to pass up. We got the chocolate green tea lava cake and the Yuzu Eskimo - frozen Japanese citrus ice cream bar, chocolate ganache, strawberries and Oreo crumbs; but the highlight was this giant creme puff with vanilla ice cream, honey, honeycomb wafer and corn flakes.
For the next day of our eating adventure, Jacob took all of us for dim sum in Flushing. His pick: Asian Jewels Seafood Restaurant. Where his knowledge of multiple languages was very helpful in getting us our dim sum.
I am not the most adventurous dim sum eater, so I was content with my standard spinach dumplings, egg rolls, turnip cake, etc. The boys went with their more traditional plates of durian pastries and chicken feet.
My old roommate and best friend, Jim, came back to NYC for a short trip over Labor Day weekend. Since he'd recently gone through a break-up, his friend, Jacob, had lots of good food in mind to help him recover. When mentioned it was a little "secret Japanese spot," I joked that it was Hagi...and guess what, it was!?
I only knew about Hagi from eating there several times with a high school friend of ours, Nan, who used to live in New York. While the wait is always a bit long, the food is worth it.
A plate of takoyaki - deep fried octopus balls, pork belly, bacon wrapped asparagus, quail eggs; were just the beginning. I got some yaki udon wrapped in an egg and we caught up on life, theatre and boys.
It's funny when I think about how often I used to eat pizza and now it's become a "special treat." I guess that's the downside of aging and high cholesterol. It's much tougher to get under control when you've grown up eating fast food, though.
For today's treat, I went to Two Boots in the West Village and got a "Newman" slice; named after that omnipresent mailman/neighbor on Seinfeld, featuring mozzrella, sopressata and Italian sausage. Then, instead of getting a second slice, I chose a little chicken parmesan slider on a garlic knot.
It's a little amusing that the first time I was able to try Thai rolled ice cream from 10 Below was at a work event! However, even I knew that the matcha green tea with crushed strawberries was the way to go!
I added a few little Teddy Grahams to my rolls and some Fruity Pebbles. Yes, the lines for free ice cream before Labor Day were nuts, but luckily, the team saved a little for me!