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Megan Blocker

eG Foodblog: Megan Blocker - Food and the City

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Thanks for those recommendations, Megan! And thanks for the wonderful tours. I'm so impressed with your cookery and your energy! It sounds like you and your friends have tons of fun over food.

So, how's your Sunday going?


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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Thanks for those recommendations, Megan!  And thanks for the wonderful tours.  I'm so impressed with your cookery and your energy!  It sounds like you and your friends have tons of fun over food.

So, how's your Sunday going?

Thanks, Smithy! I've really been blessed to be surrounded by friends who are either just as interested as I am in food (my friend Louisa called yesterday while I was de-membraning the sweetbreads to tell me about a new cupcake recipe she just tried) or very willing to indulge my obsession.

Miles made a good point the other day - he said that food is the primary mode of socializing in New York, and is therefore of primary importance here. I don't know if that's so different from anywhere else, but it's definitely true here. You meet friends for dinner or a drink, you have people over for dinner or cocktails, both for small gatherings and large parties, people are always talking about the new "hot" (or not-so) restaurants...it's very central to our culture as a city. Part of it may be that so many of us are single, and eating is such a communal act...we are hungry not only for the food, but for the experience of eating with others, and so our minds automatically turn to it as a social activity when making plans.

Sunday is...going. I've just sorted my laundry and am heading out the door. Back soon with full report on the coffee I consume during that trip. My stomach is growling, so there may be some food involved, too. :wink:


"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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Great blog, Megan! I have just now been able to catch up with it. It is always good to get another's perspective on the City. I love Chelsea Market too, but you missed my favorite spot there - The Lobster Place has excellent seafood and is super for getting fresh-shucked clams and oysters to snack on while shopping.

For chocolates, I think Kee's on Thompson is the coolest shop in the City. It is tiny with the truffles hand-crafted right in front of you - and they are soooo good.

Great job!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Hey, Marlene!  I've been thinking about this, and I definitely agree with Pan's Grand Sichuan recommendation.  If you need a good lunch place in a somewhat touristy region, I would also recommend Chelsea Thai, where Lisa and I went on Thursday - the food was awesome and cheap, and the portions were pretty big.  Plus you've got all those bakeries and markets to fill the rest of his gapingly large teenage appetite. :wink:

Of course, if you're going to be in Chinatown, I'm sure people have loads of suggestions...I have to admit that I haven't spent huge amounts of time there, so I'll let my fellow New Yorkers guide you...

Another place that I love is Kasadela, which is a little Japanese izakaya in the East Village.  It's sort of like Nobu-lite - the chef/owner used to work at Nobu, and the dishes reflect that.  As for Ryan's appetite, this place serves small plates, which seems counter-intuitive, but you can just keep ordering until you're full! :laugh:

For the finer-dining experience, I might go for Hearth.  I just love it there, and have never been disappointed in a meal.  I also feel like it has a typical New York sensibility, sort of upscale, downtown casualness.  Smithy, this would also be a place I would send you!

And, of course, you should all check out Katz's for a sandwich and a pickle.

ETA: Another more upscale option is Etats-Unis, which is in my neighborhood (on 81st just west of 2nd Avenue).  It's very good - a tiny French place with a small, ever-changing menu.  I love it there, and they also have a small wine bar across the street where you can get some of the same menu items in a more casual, boisterous atmosphere.

Thanks Pan and Megan! I think Katz and Grand Sichuan are definately on the list as will Hearth be We'll probably also take the train out to Long Island and go to Peter Luger's there. Yes, we could go to Brooklyn for that, but one of our friends plays for the Islanders and lives on Long Island so we can go visit them.. I'd like to take Ryan to one really fine dining experience as we always try to do that when travelling, so we can teach him to broaden his food horizions. Besides, Hearth, where would you send us for that?


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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Megan , i love this blog. I naver been to new york but is it on my travel list.

I have to contact you when i am there. Keep the pics coming.

By the way i love all your pasta dishes.... maybe because i make it like that..simple and delicious.

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Megan,

You are the WOMAN!! Wow, hungover and you hit the ground running. I enjoyed the recap of your shopping on Sat, and of course the pics and descriptions of the Babbo dishes were just fabulous.

It's been too long since we've been in NYC. My in laws lived in Montville, NJ which is only a half hour to the Weehawken Ferry, so that meant we usually got into the city when we visited them. Now they live in Jackson NJ, and well, it's a lot further away.

None the less, I'm seriously thinking of planning a long weekend trip. Amtrak, here I come!

Really enjoying the blog.

Cheers :biggrin:

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Megan,

You are the WOMAN!!  Wow, hungover and you hit the ground running.

Cheers :biggrin:

Who said she was hungover? She may have taken this. :raz:


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thanks Pan and Megan!  I think Katz and Grand Sichuan are definately on the list as will Hearth be  We'll probably also take the train out to Long Island and go to Peter Luger's there. Yes, we could go to Brooklyn for that, but one of our friends plays for the Islanders and lives on Long Island so we can go visit them..  I'd like to take Ryan to one really fine dining experience as we always try to do that when travelling, so we can teach him to broaden his food horizions.  Besides, Hearth, where would you send us for that?

If you can get in, Per Se. If not...maybe Jean-Georges? Can I come? :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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[...]Another place that I love is Kasadela, which is a little Japanese izakaya in the East Village.  It's sort of like Nobu-lite - the chef/owner used to work at Nobu, and the dishes reflect that.  As for Ryan's appetite, this place serves small plates, which seems counter-intuitive, but you can just keep ordering until you're full! :laugh:[...]

I'm not familiar with this place. Maybe you could post either here or in a separate thread in the New York forum about what dishes are their specialties, how many of them you figure are needed for a meal, etc.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Megan, I'm sorry I haven't been around more these past few days.. I'm just catching up now.. thank you so much for taking us to all those wonderful shops and your favorite places.. I wish this blog had been around before my trip to NY 3 years ago, I'm I sure would have had a better time then, food-wise.. Allthough I did get to eat at Babbo and had the same beef cheek ravioli!! :biggrin:

Diet Coke, eh? I could have used some of that myself this morning.. I'll buy some to keep as an emergency stash..

I'm so glad you took a picture of your sneakers, I mean I already guessed that only the fictional Carrie Bradshaws are able to walk all over Manhattan in high heels, but now I know it's true: real women are kind to their feet!

Oh and one more thing.. I'm going to buy a madeleine pan this week. I must have orange madeleines!

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Are you kidding me, Klary? I'm impressed you're even able to type today after the huge, fantastic meal you made last night! :wink:

Yes, most real New Yorkers are kinder to their feet than Carrie and Co. would have you believe...I wear heels every day at the office (5'3", remember :wink:), but I wear trainers to and from work (a la Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, though minus the black stockings), mostly because it's easier than carrying them (I go to the gym on the way home, and trainers are HEAVY!).

I went a few blocks uptown to do my laundry, and once everything was in the machines and safely on its way to the spin cycle, I took a quick walk to get some coffee. On my way to the shop where I like to buy my coffee on laundry day, I passed this landmark of New York's literary culture, though its culinary status is not quite as revered.

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Elaine's is famous as a gathering place and watering hole for the literati, and they host an annual Oscars party for New York-based celebs. I used to live in this block, and it was always great fun to walk to the bodega during a commercial break in the Oscars show and run smack into random celebrities out for a smoke or some fresh air. Especially when you run into Chris Noth (aka Mr. Big) in your pajamas, flip-flops and trench coat. Classy, Blocker. Real classy. :wink:

I grabbed a cup of coffee at Martha Frances Mississippi Cheesecake, which is just a few storefronts north of Elaine's. When I lived in this block, I used to come here some weeknights to read a book over a cup of decaf and a slice of cheesecake...these days, I visit only on laundry days. As my rising hour has gotten earlier and earlier, I've spent less time here, because they open at 11:00. But, today I procrastinated about my laundry, so they were open! :laugh:

gallery_28660_2588_8709.jpg

I'm almost positive that their prices have gone up in the last year, though I wouldn't stake my life on it. A (generous) slice of cheesecake will now set you back $5.75. :shock: I've had a lot of sweets in the past couple of days, and didn't feel like cheesecake today. Theirs is very good, but it's not New York-style. It's definitely a bit more Southern in feel - a bit sweeter and slightly lighter in texture, with a sour cream frosting on most varieties.

I did, however, buy a slice of their apple cake. I'll probably eat it tonight after dinner, so stay tuned!

I finally got home from doing laundry around 2:00, and I was starving. I didn't feel much like putting lunch together, so I ordered in from Saigon Grill, a Vietnamese place a few blocks away. I got my usual comfort food, the bun xao with chicken, which is a noodle dish with rice fettucine, veggies, and egg. Served with extra nuoc cham sauce and some chile paste. Yum.

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So, now I've folded and hung the laundry, made the bed...and am thinking I may spend a few hours in a favorite coffee shop of mine, once I digest my lunch. I only ate about half the noodles, but I'm plum stuffed. :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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So, I went out and braved the very cold (25 degrees and blustery) weather to go have a coffee at Java Girl on 66th Street, one of my very favorite places. Unfortunately, they were very busy and I didn't get to hang out and read my book :sad:, but they were nice enough to let me take some pictures of the shop in any case!

Here's what the shop looks like from the outside:

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In addition to their excellent prepared drinks, Java Girl sells tea and coffee by the pound (or ounce, if that's your pleasure). They also sell a variety of beautiful and/or cute coffee accessories, like the Yiddish-word mugs below. They had ones saying "mensch," "oy vey," and "Bubeleh." :smile:

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I got a decaf cafe au lait, and they put a little bit of cinnamon on top. I'm usually more of a full-caffeine kind of gal, but I tend to have trouble sleeping on Sunday nights (always too well-rested from being able to sleep for a decent number of hours), so Sunday afternoon caffeine is a no-no.

gallery_28660_2588_8966.jpg

If I'd been able to sit down, I would have been in here:

gallery_28660_2588_767.jpg

But, instead, I was outside looking in :laugh::

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This place is positively steeped in its product - I spent less than fifteen minutes inside, and I can still smell the coffee on my clothes more than an hour later.

A fellow patron saw me snapping the pictures, and asked me what I was working on...we had a quick chat about Java Girl and food on the UES in general. She said she loves Java Girl because it doesn't feel like a place that people would expect to find in our neighborhood - instead of being stodgy or a place for the upper crust, it's down-to-earth, warm, eclectic, and completely without pretense. More and more, I've found the UES is full of places like this - you just have to know where to look.


"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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Great blog, Megan! I have just now been able to catch up with it. It is always good to get another's perspective on the City. I love Chelsea Market too, but you missed my favorite spot there - The Lobster Place has excellent seafood and is super for getting fresh-shucked clams and oysters to snack on while shopping.

For chocolates, I think Kee's on Thompson is the coolest shop in the City. It is tiny with the truffles hand-crafted right in front of you - and they are soooo good.

Great job!

Thanks, John!

I did see the Lobster Place - we actually flirted with the idea of getting chowder for lunch, but then decided on the head-clearing power of the Thai food instead. Oysters while shopping, though - that's an excellent idea for next time.

I've never been to Kee's, but I'll definitely put it on my list of things to check out...


"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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And...dinner. I made a childhood favorite of mine tonight: leftover salad. We always took whatever was left in the fridge at the end of the week (meat, corn on the cob, salad veggies, etc.) and threw it into a huge salad bowl with some homemade dressing.

Tonight I had the rest of that leftover steak from dinner with Mom, some tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and romaine lettuce, and tossed it all together with some of the leftover sherry-shallot dressing from last night. Added some black pepper and kosher salt. SO GOOD.

gallery_28660_2588_23211.jpg

When I make a tossed salad like this, I usually do it like a chopped salad - I cut everything up into bite-sized pieces, and even chop the lettuce instead of ripping it like I normally would. I just love being able to put a little of everything on my fork. :smile:


"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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Thanks Pan and Megan!  I think Katz and Grand Sichuan are definately on the list as will Hearth be  We'll probably also take the train out to Long Island and go to Peter Luger's there. Yes, we could go to Brooklyn for that, but one of our friends plays for the Islanders and lives on Long Island so we can go visit them..  I'd like to take Ryan to one really fine dining experience as we always try to do that when travelling, so we can teach him to broaden his food horizions.  Besides, Hearth, where would you send us for that?

If you can get in, Per Se. If not...maybe Jean-Georges? Can I come? :laugh:

Jean-Georges I think! Sure you can come! :smile:


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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And...dinner.  I made a childhood favorite of mine tonight: leftover salad.  We always took whatever was left in the fridge at the end of the week (meat, corn on the cob, salad veggies, etc.) and threw it into a huge salad bowl with some homemade dressing. 

Tonight I had the rest of that leftover steak from dinner with Mom, some tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and romaine lettuce, and tossed it all together with some of the leftover sherry-shallot dressing from last night.  Added some black pepper and kosher salt.  SO GOOD.

gallery_28660_2588_23211.jpg

When I make a tossed salad like this, I usually do it like a chopped salad - I cut everything up into bite-sized pieces, and even chop the lettuce instead of ripping it like I normally would.  I just love being able to put a little of everything on my fork. :smile:

Oh yum!!! That looks awesome Megan - I also love chopped salad.

I think that's my dinner tomorrow night - I even have a lovely leftover steak.


Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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Oh yum!!! That looks awesome Megan - I also love chopped salad.

I think that's my dinner tomorrow night - I even have a lovely leftover steak.

Thanks, Danielle! Awesome - you definitely should. Your little ones probably love it as much as I did!

I'm also psyched because I have two leftover lamb chops from last night...I sense another leftover salad in my future.


"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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Hi Megan:

Thank you so much for letting me vicariously experience your New York culinary adventures. It's great!!

Best,

Bill


Bill Benge

Moab, Utah

"I like eggs", Leon Spinks

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Hey, all...so I thought I'd take a little poll and let that decide what I have for lunch tomorrow! Here are the options...remember, I work in Midtown, so the food is kind of lackluster. :sad:

- Pret-a-Manger

- Tossed salad from Pax Whole Foods

- Delivery from Starwich

- Chicken salad sandwich from the dingy but surprisingly OK deli around the corner

Any preferences on what you'd like to see? I realize it's not haute cuisine... :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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Hi Megan:

Thank you so much for letting me vicariously experience your New York culinary adventures.  It's great!!

Best,

Bill

Aw, thanks, Bill - you're very welcome! :biggrin:

Megan , i love this blog. I naver been to new york but is it on my travel list.

I have to contact you when i am there. Keep the pics coming.

By the way i love all your pasta dishes.... maybe because i make it like that..simple and delicious.

You betcha, Kaneel - any time! I'd love to meet up with any eG'ers who are headed into town!

It's been too long since we've been in NYC. My in laws lived in Montville, NJ which is only a half hour to the Weehawken Ferry, so that meant we usually got into the city when we visited them. Now they live in Jackson NJ, and well, it's a lot further away.

None the less, I'm seriously thinking of planning a long weekend trip. Amtrak, here I come!

Really enjoying the blog.

You DEFINITELY should, monavano...NYC is such fun, especially when you don't have to work. :biggrin:


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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Awesome blog...thanks for reminding this native New Yorker how much fun the city can be........

I would vote for Pax Whole Foods because I used to hit a Pax all the time when I worked in Midtown.

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I'm voting for Starwich, especially after the discussion last week!


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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I would vote for Starwich given the recent discussion with Spiro Baltas.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I vote Starwich too, especially to see what take-out is like... like whether the bread really does not get soggy!


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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    • By KennethT
      It's that time of year again, after just getting back from our summer vacation.  This year, we went to Yogyakarta which is a city in central Java, Indonesia.  The title of the topic comes from the fact that most people there call the city Jogjakarta (pronounced jōg-ja-karta), although some people (depending on background) do call it yōg-ya-karta.  This is a special place in Indonesia - Indonesia is a mostly Muslim country, however, the region around Jogjakarta was declared a special region as it is also a Sultanate.  It was the original home to the ruler of the island of Java, and once democracy came along, the Sultan still lives there and has some kind of power in the region, as well as with the government as a whole...  It's confusing - and I would say that I'm still a bit confused, but that's ok.  Anyway, all this leads this region to be called the cultural and culinary capital of the island of Java, the most populous island in the archipelago, some of the reason it is extremely popular with domestic tourists - I'd say the vast majority of the tourists there are from other parts of Indonesia, with the balance being mostly Australians, and some Europeans and very few North Americans.
       
      Food-wise, we found Jogja interesting because it is the first Muslim area we have seen in SE Asia, which means (with very few exceptions) no pork.  There are tons of chicken dishes - many using what is called kampung chickens, or extremely free range chickens which tend to be relatively scrawny, a little tough but with a lot of flavor.  There is also some beef, some mutton/goat and fish.  Like a lot of Indonesian food, the use of sambal(s) is key - many times you will have a selection of sambal that you would use to accent or add spiciness to a dish.  Some of these sambal are crazy hot...
       
      Another thing interesting thing about being a mostly Muslim area is the seemingly ever-present call to prayer.  In the city, typically 5 times a day, the Mosques will have their best singer sing the call to prayer (which lasts about 20 minutes) over the loudspeaker systems.  If you are in an area with a few mosques, you will hear 3 different versions all going at the same time.  Some of these calls are at inopportune times - like 1:30AM - so most hotels provide ear plugs so you won't be woken up in the middle of the night.  Like we do on all our trips, we take Benadryl as a sleep aid to help get us over the jetlag... so we never needed the earplugs as we were sleeping very soundly to say the least!
       
      I think I'll sum this up by talking about how relatively inexpensive this city is.  It is probably the cheapest area that we have seen on our travels so far - you can get a luxury hotel room for about $50 per night, and a 40 minute taxi ride across the city doesn't cost more than $3-4, at the current rate of exchange.  Local food is really cheap too.  I took some photos of menus to show pricing - keep in mind that the current rate of exchange is about IDR14,100 to US$1.  What can be much more expensive is some touristy things - foreign tourists are charged a different rate from domestic tourists, and in some cases will have a separate entrance (and usually a much shorter, or non-existent, line).
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