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Megan Blocker

eG Foodblog: Megan Blocker - Food and the City

307 posts in this topic

So far, that interactive map isn't working for me, so I don't know whether I'm asking a ridiculously easy or ridiculously broad question. At any rate, here goes:

My friends and I will be in Jersey City for a few days, next month. If we make it over to Manhattan for dinner - or lunch - or terrific food/kitchen gear shopping - where would you recommend we go? Can you show us? Photos? Ideas? Where would you take a guest if you only had 1 day to show off your adopted home?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Oh Megan I'm so glad you're blogging! You have such a warm, inviting writing style and you're doing a terrific job of showing us around the city. I'm going to really enjoy this week. :smile:

I only went to NYC once, when I was 4. I can't wait 'til I can return for a good long holiday and really experience it. I don't remember anything from that trip long ago except that my Mum kept the back of a chair pushed up underneath the doorhandle to our hotel room so nobody could break in and kill us in our sleep. But then, my Mum's always had a way with kids.... :hmmm:

But YOUR New York sounds MUCH better! :biggrin:

Feel better soon........

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Hi Megan, although you mentioned you were off this week I wonder if you might elaborate on what you do when you are working.  I'd also love to know where you picked up your cooking skills, at what age, and any "defining" moments in your culinary adventures if that's not asking too much!

Prepare to snore, Jake! I work in vendor management for a management consulting firm. Basically, my job is to help manage the firm's relationship with the vendors they use to outsourse their IT development work, both here in the U.S. and abroad (India and Europe). I have nothing whatsoever to do with the technical stuff, but am pretty involved in all the management, legal and financial stuff. Boring, I know.

I'll be back at work on Monday, so we'll have two days of my normal life (bad midtown lunches and all) before this is done with! :laugh:

As for where I picked up my cooking skills - mostly, from my mother and my au pair, Lori (who came for a summer and stayed for 11 years, so "au pair" doesn't really do her justice). My mom has always been an excellent cook, but didn't have a lot of time to use her skills when I was little. I saw her cook on weekends (when I wasn't at my dad's house) and holidays, but Lori did the cooking most weeknights. She taught me to bake, which was what really got me interested in cooking. It seemed almost like alchemy to me - why do the cookies come out better when I do this instead of this? I loved it, and I couldn't get enough. From there, I just watched and listened and learned.

About six or seven years ago, I spent a day with my grandmother, learning to make pie crust. Nonie is not a big cook - everything she makes is good, but her repetoire is pretty limited. Her apple pie, though, is out of this world. When my grandparents sold their Connecticut house this fall, I took the rolling pin I learned on with me. That afternoon was most certainly definitive for me.

And someone asked about Artisanal - I think it was Lady T! I am not a huge cheese eater, and so have never made a visit to Artisanal. However, I have heard mixed reviews in recent days, whereas a couple of years ago the feedback was almost universally positive.


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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About the head cold...ever try a neti pot?  There's a very scary video here.  It looks horrible, but it works really well for clearing out congestion!

I'll second that recommendation! I know, it looks scary, but the feeling of getting the gunk out is just wonderful and it helps increase circulation and healing in the sinuses. And, to keep this food related, a clear nose means you can actually taste what you're eating :wink:.

I'll third the neti pot recommendation - you will instantly be able to smell, taste (and even hear) better. And, it uses salt - keeping it food related.

:hmmm: Hmmmm...we shall see, ladies. I can actually see how it would be really cool. I have a history of ear troubles, so I'll need to run this one by my ENT doc before proceeding. I love anything that involves salt!!! :laugh:

Megan, do you like Two Little Red Hens? I love to go there whenever I'm in the area. Great bakery specializing in American sweets (New York cheesecake, brownies, lemon squares, etc.), and I don't think out-of-towners know much about it. The only drawback is that it's small and it might be hard to take photos without getting in the way.

Thanks for the healthy vibes, Pan! There really are some nasty bugs going around...this is the second bad cold I've had in a month, and I rarely get sick.

As for Little Red Hens - again, you people are reading my mind! I really like it there - it's a cute little place, and the sweets are pretty good. I sampled something ridiculously good there the other day, some sort of tea cake with a maple frosting. I was planning on stopping there for a VERY healthy snack or breakfast treat tomorrow morning. I'll do my best to snap a few photos - it shouldn't be too busy on a Thursday morning, so we may be in the clear!

I don't remember anything from that trip long ago except that my Mum kept the back of a chair pushed up underneath the doorhandle to our hotel room so nobody could break in and kill us in our sleep. But then, my Mum's always had a way with kids....

Well, for both good and ill, the New York I live in is a very different one from the place I visited as a child. I don't know how old you are, but this is pretty much the case for anyone over the age of 20, I would suspect. Though I doubt you were in much danger in the hotel room :laugh:, there was a time when being mugged on the street in NYC was a rite of passage for all New Yorkers, something they just expected to happen at least once. These days, the city has an incredibly low crime rate (we're ranked something like 220 for crime per capita in American cities), which makes things feel more comfortable, but also somewhat sanitized.


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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:sad:

Awwwwww fooey. Cheese is one of my favorite things in the entire Western universe (along with fondues and souffles and all the other glorious things one can do with cheese!), and I really wanted the concept of Artisanal to work, and work sensationally well.

I wanted it, at least, to get better. When last I was at Artisanal, the staff were working their gracious and conscientious tails off to offset an inconsistent kitchen, and I hoped that that would improve.

Nuts. Drat. Unwashed diapers.

:sad:


Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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So, tonight I went to the Metropolitan Opera to see Camille Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila. The tickets were a very generous Christmas gift from my friend Louisa and her husband Nick, and I had a wonderful time. I brought my little (ok, he's 23) brother with me - he'd never been to the opera before, so it was really fun to see his reactions. He's in grad school, getting his MFA in theatre management, so he's no stranger to various kinds of performance - but this was his first full-on opera.

We were originally going to meet up for dinner, but since our mom was here over the weekend, we were both a little restaurant-ed out, and decided to eat at our respective apartments before meeting up at Lincoln Center.

I wasn't that hungry, so I decided to go for a cup of tea (Celestial Seasonings' Sleepytime) and a thick slice of that bread I bought this morning. I spread half the slice with blueberry preserves and the other half with raspberry. I could just barely taste them both, and they tasted gooood.

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Now, it's off to bed. See you all in the morning - sleep tight!


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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As a native Californian now living in LA, I'm willing to give NYNY chance. Mind you, do you know how much food you can buy for a one-night's stay in a decent NY hotel? I just might have to visit New York vicariously through your blog! So, keep blogging ...

Do get better from your cold, Megan. It's not fun being sick on your vacation ...


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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The Upper East Side, huh?

I lived in the UES for 2 years and I have to say that while I was living there, I never associated it with food. Most of my fondest memories involved traveling from the East Side to other parts of the city for culinary adventures. In the middle of the night, I'd walk across Central Park to get to still warm H&H bagels. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it. One Sunday a month it would be pierogies in the basement of a building across from St. Georges church in the village. If you haven't had a homemade pierogy prepared lovingly by a Ukranian grandmother, trust me, you haven't lived. Are there cheesecakes in Manhattan? I can't imagine it ;) Back when I was worshipping cheesecake, Brooklyn was Mecca. And then there was Ethiopian food in Hell's Kitchen. I use to be covered in the stuff until I watch the locals and learned how to eat without making a mess. When I wasn't getting my bagel fix in the middle of the night, I'd be walking down Columbus to Little India and cavorting with surly cabbies while feasting on clouds of the puffiest naan and choice of 3 veggies for $4.

This was a few years ago, so I wouldn't be surprised if the East Side had evolved into it's culinary own. Megan, I'm ready to have my preconceptions obliterated.


Edited by scott123 (log)

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megan,

I'm so glad you are blogging! You have such a relaxed way of writing and drawing people in. Anything, anything from NY would be wonderful!


If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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:hmmm: Hmmmm...we shall see, ladies.  I can actually see how it would be really cool.  I have a history of ear troubles, so I'll need to run this one by my ENT doc before proceeding.  I love anything that involves salt!!! :laugh:

Good idea. I have a history of inner ear infections, too. So far, so good, but sometimes (I'm still new at it) the water shoots to the back of my brain and gives me something like a brain freeze.

About the salt--make sure it's sea salt or kosher. No iodine allowed.

Has anyone asked you to go to Jacques Torres' chocolate shop, yet? I'd like to see that if it's anywhere near anywhere you'll be.

I'm now going to back to see if there's any mention of pets we should be seeing pictures of... :biggrin:

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Megan, lovely to see you blogging! Pegu definately please since I have to vicariouslyy live through others visiting that marvelous . That garlic soup is on my list to make as well. What is your very favourite thing to cook?

We'll be back in NY in March with my 13 year old son. Suggestions on where to take him to eat? He likes spicy things and is branching out in being willing to try new things. We'll probably do one fine dining experience with him but the rest will be more casual. As he's 13, places that serve large portions are particularly welcome :biggrin:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I'm in love with the idea of the little cheese shop and the Italian deli with the real Italian meats/cheeses/products.  Are there any of these convenient to you that you can work in?  Also, is frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity too "touristy" these days?  Any chances of gaining kitchen tours of your favorite eateries?

Don't know about kitchen tours, but I'll do my best!

As for a little Italian market - there certainly are places like this in the city! My neighborhood is historically German/Austrian/Hungarian, so we don't have a whole lot of Italian spots. But an ethnic market is definitely on the schedule. :smile:

As for Serendipity, yeah, it's pretty touristy. The lines can get absolutely ridiculous. While the sandwiches are pretty good, and the frozen hot chocolate is tasty, it's just not worth the hour's wait, most of the time.

I'm sensing a groundswell of support for a visit to Jacques Torres, my dears. :laugh:


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Woke up this morning to a rather gray, gloomy day outside of my window. :sad: However, that doesn't change the fact that I am headed out for a day o' fun. I woke up this morning and gradually realized that my entire apartment REEKS of garlic. Most days, this would be an unpleasant revelation, but today, it just means that I can smell again! :biggrin:

I also realized that I have not done the ritual bowing at the altar of caffeine. There are two reasons for this. The first is that I rarely make coffee at home - I'm not much of a morning person, and so I don't leave extra time in my routine for a cup of coffee. Mostly, I grab a cup at a coffee cart on the way to the office. For those of you who may never have seen one, the coffee carts in New York look like this:

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Even when I'm on vacation, I'm more likely to run across the street for a cup of coffee from a cafe than I am to make a pot at home.

The second reason is that I try to stay away from coffee and alcohol (and if you know me, you know that ain't easy - I love my java and my vino) when I'm sick. However, I feel on the mend, and feel safe saying that tomorrow morning will definitely include at least one coffee run.

Prasantrin, you also asked about pets! Sadly, my building does not allow pets. I'm very attached to my family's dog, Buster, who now lives in California with my mom and is approaching 17 (!) years of age. I am a huge dog person, and a cat person when the right cat is involved, but I don't have a furry friend at present. :sad:

I will be out and about for most of the day, collecting experiences and photos for your viewing enjoyment. I'll be going uptown, downtown, all around the town - Upper East Side, SoHo, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, maybe even a bit of Little Italy. So, sit tight, and I'll be back late this afternoon with a fresh installment!


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Marlene and Smithy, I am thinking about recommendations for both of you! I will keep you in mind today and see what I can come up with. I'd also like to solicit the help of my fellow New Yorkers with this one...anything they can contribute will be very welcome, I know!


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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I really like the way you frame your photographs. This bread & jam looks more like bread&jam than it would on my plate! Its like a photo of the Ur-B&J.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Megan,

this blog is great and makes me a bit homesick! i just moved to northern california from 78th and York about a month ago. just in time to miss the blizzard and also in time to start reading your blog and to think about all the places i never went to or meant to go to when i had the time and now i'm gone!!!!! sooooo sad. my first homesick moments.

have a great time bloggin'...we're all enjoying it...both the people getting their first real glimpses of nyc and those of us who need reminding of everything we've left behind!

regards,

alana

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[...]Are there cheesecakes in Manhattan? I can't imagine it ;)  Back when I was worshipping cheesecake, Brooklyn was Mecca.[...]

Two Little Red Hens' flagship store is in Park Slope.

Marlene, for your spice-loving son, you definitely have to go to Grand Sichuan, though if you have plans to go out to Flushing, I'll give you some other recommendations. One or more trips to Korean restaurants are also a good idea, if you like that cuisine. There are several good Korean restaurants in the West 30s. If you want an inexpensive diner-style place, go to Han Bat. Otherwise, consider Kang Suh, Seoul Garden, Woo Chon, and Cho Dang Gol. And then there are Indian restaurants. My standby is an East Village Madrasi vegetarian place called Madras Cafe, and I recommend it. But it depends what you're looking for. At the high end, there are two places I haven't been to: Devi and Tabla, both extensively covered on the New York forum. And in Jackson Heights, Queens, there's the Jackson Diner (don't get the buffet if you go on a weekend) and various other places. And then, for Thai food, Sripraphai in Woodside, Queens is most recommended. [Edit: I left out Malaysian. So far, in two trips, I'm liking Skyway, on Allen St. just south of Canal.]


Edited by Pan (log)

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At some point, I realized how much money I could save and how much better I could treat myself if I actually started cooking for myself.  I always had the skills (I used to throw brunches and cocktail parties), but just never cooked for myself on a regular basis.

Well, that's changed, and if I'm still not the most accomplished home cook I know (and certainly not anywhere close to it here on eGullet), I am one of the happiest.

Megan, could you tell us a bit more about what you like to cook for yourself and what inspires you? Cookbooks, shops, things you ate in a restaurant?

And one other question. What place in New York makes you the happiest - foodwise? Is there a cafe, restaurant or shop that will always bring a smile on your face when you visit it, a place that never lets you down because it serves or sells the exact right thing? I would love to hear about that.

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Thanks, Kouign!

To give credit where it's due, I think that photo benefits from the ridiculously beautiful bread, but I'll take my compliments where I can get 'em! :wink:

Megan,

this blog is great and makes me a bit homesick!  i just moved to northern california from 78th and York about a month ago.  just in time to miss the blizzard and also in time to start reading your blog and to think about all the places i never went to or meant to go to when i had the time and now i'm gone!!!!!  sooooo sad.  my first homesick moments.

have a great time bloggin'...we're all enjoying it...both the people getting their first real glimpses of nyc and those of us who need reminding of everything we've left behind!

regards,

alana

Sorry to hear that you're feeling homesick, Alana...the blizzard was pretty great, but things are all back to normal now. :sad: Northern California is a pretty excellent place, too - but I can understand why you'd miss NYC!


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Sorry to have abandoned you all this afternoon, but I hope the trip I'm about to share with you will make up for my negligence! :wink:

I think doing a foodblog must be good karma, because I had excellent train and bus luck today - they came quickly each time I needed them, and I got a seat every time - even on the Lexington Avenue line at rush hour! :shock::biggrin:

I started out this morning by stopping in at Two Little Red Hens, a bakery based in Park Slope that has a small outpost here on the UES (85th and 2nd). When I popped in around 11:45, there were a few customers in the shop, and when I asked permission to take some photos, the staff was very excited about it, and had me write down eG's address to check it out themselves. So, if they're reading this - thanks, guys!

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As Pan mentioned above, the bakery specializes in traditional American treats. Here's a look at their display case:

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It being (sort of) breakfast time, I steered clear of the very tempting cupcakes and went for a maple wheat scone. It was delicious!

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I ate the scone while waiting for the 86th Street crosstown bus, which I took over to the West Side to meet my friend Lisa. We then headed down to 14th Street to check out Chelsea Market...

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The Chelsea Market building houses several shops and bakeries as well as the Food Network and New York 1 (our local cable news channel) studios. The shops range from clothing mixed with food to a produce market to a branch of Bowery Restaurant Supply. It can be crammed at lunchtime with local office workers, but we put the actual lunch bit off to about 2 PM and managed to avoid any ridiculous crowds. In the meantime, we explored.

First up, Eleni's Cookies! These cookies are famous in New York for actually having tasty icing, and for being the socialite's favorite gift not to eat. :laugh: I've gotten a few boxes of these for work-related thank you's, and they're quite good. Their current display is all about the Oscars:

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After that, we stopped in at FatWitch, where they sell delicious brownies. Knowing we were headed for loads of chocolate later in the day, I decided to sample and then buy a blondie - Lisa went for the traditional, fudgy brownie.

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From there we went to Amy's Bread. Walking into that shop made me so thankful to have some semblance of a sense of smell back. It was like walking into the middle of a warm loaf of bread - the scent was warm and just sort of enveloped you in its arms. So good.

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Some of the merchandise in the shop at Amy's Bread:

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And some biscuits doing their thing in the attached, windowed bakery:

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Next up, finally, was lunch. Hallelujah! Lisa is a big fan of all things Asian-food-related, and I was looking for something to blast open my sinuses, so we decided on Thai. Chelsea Thai has a tiny counter where you order, and a few shelves of Asian groceries (including Pocky!). I bought some rice fettucine and sriracha in addition to my lunch.

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That's my lunch in the foreground and Lisa's in the back. I got the Pad gra prow (chicken with chili paste, basil, red and green pepper, scallions and onions), and Lisa got the Pa kee mow, a fried noodle dish with garlic chili, basil, onion, peppers and tomatoes. Both were delicious, and mine definitely took care of my sinuses. :laugh:

The next spot we passed was a bakery called French Oven - we didn't go in, but their display case was too gorgeous not to photograph. The fruit tarts in particular looked unbelievable.

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Across the hall from the Thai place was an Italian market full of goodies. Cheeses, meats, prepared foods, and all sorts of Italian biscuits and sweets. The oil section is huge:

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The cheese section takes up two walls (this is the smaller one!), and they also have quail eggs (for 50 cents apiece):

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Lisa's favorite here was the display stacked with 3 kg jars of Nutella. That is a HUGE amount of chocolate and hazelnut spread, my friends. My favorite was the assortment of meticulously crafted marazapane - a whole platter of fish and shellfish. Weird, and amazing.

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From the Italian market, we paid a visit to the Manhattan Fruit Exchange. It went on and on, full of beautiful and reasonably priced produce, but it was so cold in there that we both got headaches, so we only managed to snap a picture of the colorful heaps of peppers before turning tail and running out.

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Our last stop at Chelsea Market was the Bowery Restaurant Supply, where I flirted briefly with purchasing a stick blender. They have shelf after shelf of cutlery and glassware, like these standard wine goblets.

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Finally, we emerged, victorious and sated, into semi-sunlight (the eG foodblog karma also extended to the weather, which behaved itself and did not rain on us). We then turned southward...where did we go? More on that shortly! :smile:


Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Megan, could you tell us a bit more about what you like to cook for yourself and what inspires you? Cookbooks, shops, things you ate in a restaurant?

And one other question. What place in New York makes you the happiest - foodwise? Is there a cafe, restaurant or shop that will always bring a smile on your face when you visit it, a place that never lets you down because it serves or sells the exact right thing? I would love to hear about that.

Good questions, Chufi!

Things I like to cook for myself...generally, I prefer to cook foods that adapt well to a home kitchen - I'm a big fan of Italian home cooking for its overall simplicity and breadth of ingredients. I love the way it highlights the flavors of its main elements with the other ingredients, and I love the robust, rustic flavors traditionally associated with Italian food. Obviously, Italian food can also be quite subtle, but one of the things I love about its bolder flavors is how easy they are to replicate at home.

Along those same lines, I also love a lot of the classic French dishes, especially the stews and the stew-like...cassoulet, boeuf bourgignon, coq au vin, and so on. These are especially good for a single gal like myself, as one big pot made on Sunday can last for three or four dinners during the week.

Since I work fairly long hours and pretty much deprive myself of any convenience options by not having a microwave (a conscious decision which really does help me eat better), I have to plan my meals in advance. An easy way to do this on a week-to-week basis is to prepare meals based on similar ideas, and to supplement my weekly shopping with an occasional return to the store to buy a special vegetable or cut of meat. This is one reason you see me make a lot of green salads on the Dinner thread - I don't get tired of them, and I buy the same ingredients for them each week.

Inspiration I get everywhere - a lot of inspiration for my pasta dishes has come from my experiences at Paola's, a little Italian place around the corner that I love for its pastas and its salads. I read Gourmet each month, and will regularly return to my cookbook collection for ideas or when I know I want something with X, but have no idea where to start. Sometimes, though, the idea for a meal just comes from seeing something in the market - a glorious piece of meat or a beautiful vegetable...especially in the summer and fall, I try to cook as much as possible from what I can find in the farmers' markets, which in these parts leads to a lot of tomato salads, apple pies and corn risottos.

And, like all of us, I gain inspiration from what I see in the eGullet forums - I've made your butter-braised chicken and Susan's champagne vinegar chicken, and have been spurred to make my first puff pastry and carbonara by what I've read here.

As for your second question - I have a few places like that! One is Saigon Grill, a Vietnamese place that I order delivery from once or twice a week, at least. Their food always hits the spot and kills my cravings, plus it's cheap!

Another place like that is somewhere I'm planning to bring you all sometime this week...Java Girl, a little coffee place on 66th Street. It's warm and cozy, and they make an incredibly good cup of coffee. You can sit in one of the tattered chairs and read a book for hours. I love it there.


Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Dear Megan, Cheery Girl of NYC, and Blogger of The Week,

Please eat lots of solid food for me, as I am on a liquid diet this week(yum, broth :sad: ), and am living vicariously through my eGullet friends :biggrin: .

Yours in cheer,

Rebecca


More Than Salt

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So...back to the rest of my day downtown. After leaving Chelsea Market, Lisa and I headed south on 8th Avenue to Chocolate Bar, a great chocolate shop between Horatio and Jane Streets.

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I first tried their chocolate at the Chocolate Show last year, and fell in love with their dark chocolate bar filled with raspberry jam, one of the items that is part of their "Retro" line. You can bet your butt that I bought one of those today. It was all I could do not to buy the whole shelf-ful.

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Lisa bought one of these, the Milk Salty Pretzel bar.

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Chocolate Bar is known for their delicious hot chocolate (they call it "Liquid Chocolate"), and it definitely didn't disappoint. I ordered a small, thinking there was no way I could down a larger cup if it turned out to be as rich and sinful as promised. It was divine. With a consistency somewhere between your usual watery hot cocoa and pure melted chocolate, it was velvety and slightly frothy, and not overly sweet or rich. I will definitely be back for more, and soon.

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Leaving Chocolate Bar, we turned southwest to head for Hudson Street, and decided to stop in at Li-Lac Chocolates, where the ambience is decidedly more old-fashioned and flowery than the hip, modern Chocolate Bar. The treats looked good, though, and I've never been able to resist marshmallow, so I grabbed a couple of fluff bars - marshmallow covered in dark chocolate.

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Finally, after a bit of a walk down Hudson Street, Lisa and I arrived at the final destination of our chocolate pilgrimage: Jacques Torres' Chocolate Haven. At this point, we were running out of time - I had a hair appointment at four, halfway across SoHo. But, we dashed in to do a bit of reconnaissance for all of you!

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The bar and retail area is surrounded on all sides by the chocolate-making magic - Lisa said it was like walking into Willy Wonka's!! On our way in, we spotted these molds:

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Inside, there's a retail counter with loads of truffles - they also sell the chocolate bark here that we saw at the Chocolate Show.

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There's a beautiful bar where you can get hot chocolate and coffee, and lots of little tables at which you can sit and enjoy...this guy decided to stay at the counter.

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After our quick stop in Jacques' shop, Lisa and I parted ways...I headed to Mercer Street to have my hair done, and Lisa headed uptown to get some work done. :smile:

However, after my hair appointment, I could not resist a quick peek into Sur La Table, which was on the way back to the subway in any case!

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I managed to avoid a lot of pricey stuff, but got really psyched over these creme brulee dishes, which were less than $2.00 each - I bought six, and also picked up a Microplane zester, something I can't believe I don't already own.

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SoHo is very pretty, with mostly low-rise buildings graced with huge, loft-like windows. Anyone who's fought their way down Broadway between Prince and Spring knows how ridiculously crowded the neighborhood can be, but it was pretty calm tonight. Here's a view down Broadway, looking toward Chinatown and the Financial District beyond.

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Finally, one last peek into a food spot before hopping on the subway. I still have half a loaf of my Eli's bread to get through, but I couldn't resist a little window shopping at Balthazar.

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Finally, it was back to the subway and up to 86th Street and home...

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Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Dear Megan, Cheery Girl of NYC, and Blogger of The Week,

Please eat lots of solid food for me, as I am on a liquid diet this week(yum, broth :sad: ), and am living vicariously through my eGullet friends :biggrin: .

Yours in cheer,

Rebecca

Rebecca, I'm so sorry! You can bet on my consuming loads of solid foods, but I also hope you get better and back to the solid stuff yourself sooner rather than later! :biggrin:

Dinner tonight was, per Karen's request, spaghetti carbonara. Well, farfalle carbonara, because I am out of spaghetti. :laugh: I made my first carbonara sometime late last fall, and promptly became addicted. This incredibly fast meal is made even faster by the fact that Schaller and Weber, a German market just down the street, sells bacon cut into 1-inch lardons. :shock::biggrin: From start of cooking to the washing of dishes, this dinner took less than an hour. SWEET.

Here's the aforementioned bacon (drool, bacon), first in the bag, then crisping in the pan:

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I mix the cheese and egg together first, put the crisped bacon in the bottom of a medium mixing bowl, and wait for the pasta to be ready...

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I mix the whole lot together, add loads and loads of black pepper, some more cheese, and serve that baby up in a bowl. After my pasta, I have a small salad of cucumber, tomato and red onion, dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. I'm just happy to be able to taste...I don't need anything fancy tonight! :biggrin:

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Phew. Now it's time to watch the figure skating!!!!


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Megan,

That was a FANTASTIC!! chocolate tour. I've seen the Chocolate Bar featured on tv for sure (foodtv? not sure). Thanks for covering so much ground, so many shops and stores.

This has been great. Thanks for all your hard work, cooking , eating and tour guiding.

eta: found the website http://www.chocolatebarnyc.com and am going to order the retro bars and I'm sure a little somethings else as well :wink:


Edited by monavano (log)

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