Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot - Phaal Challenge at Brick Lane Curry House









So as y'all know I have been in training for the Brick Lane Curry
House's Phaal Challenge. The challenge I am accepting is to
eat a bowl of the hottest curry in the world because a friend called my
bluff. (sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut). But I'm not in it
alone. I will have some friends to share the pain with and some who just want to watch. The date has been set for next week...duh duh duhhhhh...





{Hell in a Bowl}

I have done a lot of research in the past weeks leading up to P-Day and I have developed a fail proof strategy: eat it as fast as I can in one gulp and then wash it down with Mango Lassi. Only a few more days to go and you will see my face on the Phaal of Fame.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oh Canada - Bonaparte Restaurant







Recently I went to Canada and found my new favorite restaurant, Bonaparte. Situated in Old Montreal, the restaurant is part of a 30 room hotel in the Historic area. When you walk in you feel like you've stepped onto the set of a French film. The ambience is very soothing, the wait staff is very helpful and the seats are really comfortable.

I decided to go with the tasting menu, which included a choice between soup or salad, an appetizer and an entree.

I chose the Following:




To start a Lobster Bisque with enhanced ginger. However, I was not impressed. It was higly under salted for my taste.






Next Smoked Salmon rosette with chive oil, lime flesh, capers, red onions and tomato accompaniments. This dish was so creative. It was the first time I had lime that was meant to be eaten as part of the dish.

The lime brightened up my entire palate. It tied the whole dish together so beautifully that it literally blew my mind. It sounds simple but wow the flavors. The acidity of the lime, the saltiness of the capers, the tartness of the red onion, the sweetness of the tomato and the smokiness of the salmon it was to die for. The use of the lime was so special and really showed how one ingredient can make a huge impact.

Now the Smoked Salmon appetizer had me at hello. But the Shrimp and Scallops entree was not going down without a fight.



Let me describe the Shrimp and Scallops to you... It was heaven on a little plate. If you are in Montreal you must, I repeat, MUST go there and try this dish. With aromas of vanilla, the spicy floral kick from the pink peppercorns, and slight crunch of the shrimp and scallops... it is in my top 10 favorite entrees of all time.


{Perfect end to a delicious meal a Dessert Tray.
I was so full but still managed to eat the fabulous Creme Brulee}


What I really liked about my experience at Bonaparte was the imagination in the dishes. The ingredients were not overpowering and they worked in such a magical way. It inspired me to incorporate the ideas for Sunday brunches. Now I serve smoked salmon with fresh lime and capers as an homage to that wonderful little restaurant in Montreal. Oh Canada.

WHAT'S IN THAT PIZZA?!?! - Artichoke Pizza




{Take a Close Look}



{Ummm.. it was so good... my mouth is watering}



{Artichoke Pizza Pie}



{Crab Pizza Pie and 2 Pans of Sicilian behind it}



Walking around the East village, I picked up a few culinary books at some local bookstores which left me very hungry. Just at that moment, I walked in front of Artichoke.

I heard a lot of hype about this pizza place on 14th street between 1st and 2nd Avenue but I had to check it out for myself.

After talking to the cashier, I was torn between the Crab, Margherita and Artichoke pizzas. I decided I had to try the Artichoke slice.

I took my first bite. I tasted the spinach, the artichoke, then the mozzarella and as I walked out of the store the final flavor hit my mouth and I said aloud "What is this?"

I immediately turned around and walked back up to the cashier and coyly said "What's in this pizza?"

He answered slyly, "Artichoke, Spinach and mozzarella cheese".

I replied, "They're something else in here?"

To which he quickly retorted, "Yes there are some other herbs, spices, and cheeses but I can't tell you because it's a secret recipe."

I stared in disbelief that he wouldn't tell me.

I hurriedly left on a determined mission. I returned back to the bookstore to try and uncover this mystery flipping through pages and pages of cheese books.

"Swiss no, Manchego, definitely no...."

In my search, I came up with a few hypotheses: Maybe it's Gruyere, or melted brie, or a cream sauce with Parmesan cheese.

But I challenge all YOU out there reading this to try the pizza and let me know what YOU think.

A few friends have proposed that maybe they use mayonnaise. But it's driving me crazy and I must find out WHAT'S IN THAT PIZZA?

Sexy, Sexy, Sexy Mussels, Muscles



{sexy, sexy, sexy}

Let's face it, mussels are sexy. They're a great way to add an element of foreplay before a steamy night... Gently pulling apart the black shell as you bite into the plump, pink, sweet inner flesh... well, you get the picture.


However, they're also great as a 5 a.m. snack when you're entertaining your starving, slightly inebriated friends. I didn't have any wine so I had to improvise, and instead of panicking, I frantically searched the fridge and found a can of Guinness that someone had brought over. Bingo.



{sooo delicioussssnesss}


Here's what you'll need for these Scrumptious 5a.m. Mussels:

2 Cloves of Garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1 Shallot
1/2 Vidalia Onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 handful of Parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 can of Guinness
2 lb of Mussels
1 sprig of Rosemary

Clean and debeard the mussels.



Add the garlic, onion, shallots to a pot with a teaspoon of Olive Oil.

Let that sweat for a moment then add the cleaned and debearded mussels to the pot.


Pour in the entire can of Guinness.

Add the red pepper flakes, lemon and orange zest and sprig of rosemary.


Cover with a lid over medium - high heat.


Once the mussels open up they are ready. If any are closed after they've been cooked, THROW THEM OUT!!


Rule of thumb: WHEN IN DOUBT THROW THEM OUT!


Add the chopped parsley as a garnish.

15 Minute Chowista -
Orange You LoMeintenance

This is a simply, satisfying dish that I came up with using ingredients I had in my kitchen. And it will only take you 15 minutes to prep.

To start you will need:


1 lb. of Shrimp
1 Leek Julienned
1/4 cup Orange Zest
1/2 cup Orange Juice
1 bag of Broccoli
1 tsp grated Ginger
1 tsp of Orange Marmalade
1/2 Diced Yellow Onion
9. 2 tbsp Teriyaki Sauce
10. 1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tsp. Sesame Oil
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 pkg. of Noodles (Lo Mein is used here)


Dice the Yellow Onions and Julienne the Leeks. Give the leeks a good rinse.
Add the 2tbsp of EVOO to the saute pan. Set stove to Medium heat.
Add the leeks and onions and let them sweat.
Boil water for the Lo Mein.



While the water is boiling add the broccoli (or stir fry mix in my case) to a steamer basket. There's nothing wrong with killing two birds with one stone.


Add the shrimp to the saute pan with the onions and leeks.
Add noodles to the boiling water.

Add the stir- fry mix and cooked noodles to the saute pan.
Add the ginger, orange juice, orange zest, orange marmalade, sesame oil, teriyaki and soy sauce to the party. Stir the ingredients together until the are distributed evenly.


Add scallions and Sriracha sauce to garnish. How LoMeintenance is this. The flavors of the orange, ginger, and soy compliment the broccoli and shrimp so well. And this fabulous dish only took 15 minutes to prep.

Ice Cream, You Scream


{Look at those flavors and they're all Natural}

{Ice cream truck}

{There were mad customers even though it was raining. That's how good it is.}


I'm a huge Chocolate fan!! Not only is it an aphrodisiac but it also has medicinal properties that make it an exceptional food.

When you try a good piece of chocolate (and I'm not talking about Hershey's or Godiva) it's like a fine wine. I remember the first time I tried Michel Cluziel's 99 percent Dark Noir chocolate bar, I tasted notes of blueberries, and pineapples. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before and I loved it.

I was waiting for one of my friends on the corner of North 7th and Bedford in Williamsburg, when I saw a pale yellow, Van Leeuwen ice cream truck and decided to get a scoop.

As I gazed upon their remarkable flavors, like Ginger, and their special of the Day Earl Grey. I spotted the Chocolate. Now oddly enough, I love Chocolate but I'm not a huge chocolate ice cream fan but after reading the description: " Michel Cluziel 99 percent Infini chocolate. I went straight for it.

I got one large scoop of ice cream on a sugar cone. It was amazing. The creaminess of the ice cream, the sweet coocoa flavor of the chocolate and it's made with all fresh ingredients. I will definitely be back.


To find out where their trucks will be daily check out their website.



http://www.vanleeuwenicecream.com/

Macaroon Master








On a recent trip to Paris my first stop was Pierre Herme, the Macaroon spot. With inventive flavors like ketchup, vanilla mint, apricot pistachio and jasmine tea it is easy to see why there is a line out the door.

Interestingly enough, one of my former culinary teachers studied pastries with Pierre Herme and they remained good friends after they graduated. Many years later Pierre told him his secret trick to creating incredible macaroons. He said it was having a piece of parchment paper with measured circles to use as a guide. This doesn't seem like a big trick but if you've ever made macaroons you know how temperamental they are and it's important to maintain an even distribution of your batter.

Alas, Pierre Herme's macaroons are so perfect it makes you want to leave it to the pro's. But Macaroons are not the only thing he's good at. He's as crafty as MacGyver. Behold the mother of all pastries:



I will try to describe it for you. If I was on my death bed, and there was one last desert I could eat, this would be it. It seems so simple, a light meringue on top with a perfectly sweet and crunchy crust, in the center the most flavorful vanilla filling... ohh my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Check out the other pastries you can uncover at Pierre Herme's shop. I am the numero uno hater of waiting in lines but if you're in Paris this is one place that is definitely worth the wait.






Grrreat Meal, Value, Ambience

Angelina Cafe is a charming restaurant in the Lower East Side. The cuisine is Mediterranean - North African and the Chef/Owner Rafik, who is from Tunisia, adds a Tunisian flare. There is a pleasantly calming ambience that fills the air as fresh nutella banana crepes and peppercorn shrimp whiz by. Here you can get a wonderful meal for a great price.


{Arugula Salad}

As chatter and laughter filled the air I enjoyed an Arugula salad. Goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, julienne carrots, and slithers of orange flavored toasted almonds rest on top of a large bed of arugula with your choice of dressing. I like to get the Basil and Balsamic and mix them. Together they add the perfect amount of creamy, sweet and tart flavors to the spicy arugula.




{Filet of Sole stuffed with spinach and oysters
in a lobster cream sauce }




As an entree, I decided to go with the special for the night, Filet of sole stuffed with spinach and oysters in a lobster cream sauce. It came with a side of potatoes and julienned zucchini. It was a dish of dualities filling but delicate, creamy yet light and under $20 bucks. A special treat with incredible texture and hearty flavors that represented the change in seasons perfectly.





{Chicken Pasta}

My friend ordered the Chicken Pasta special. Of course, I had to try it, ya know in the name of research and it was ummm... ummmm.. good. The juicy chicken breasts soaked up the spicy tomato and shitake mushroom flavors oh so well.


{Hazelnut Mousse Cake}

For dessert a hazelnut chocolate mousse cake with a hazelnut and brown sugar crust. I loved the combination of flavors. It tasted just like nutella.

If you're looking for a relaxing spot to have a satisfying meal that won't eat a hole in your pocket then you should check out Angelina Cafe.

Angelina Cafe
www.angelinacafe.com
36 Avenue A, New York

(212) 533-7183

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Freeman's - True NY brunch spot



{Organic Grass Fed Buger with Gruyere Cheese}
{Read Below.. Looks can be decieving}



{Cappucinos..Hemmi style}



{Poached Eggs with cheesy grits}
{Yummmm}


{Freeman's Restaurant}


This place is a diamond in the rough. A true, New York brunch spot. Views that take me back to alleyways and backstreets in Paris and Venice. As you walk through the alleyway you pass by a clothing store, old fashioned barber shop, and an art gallery which are all part of Freeman's.

Once you enter the restaurant you feel as if you walked into a log cabin deep in the Appalachian Mountains. The sound of Bob Dylan filling the air.

A unique find it attracts a diverse crowd from older grandparents to young, cool kids. But the scene is open and inviting.

At Freeman's restaurant, I ordered the Grass fed, Organic burger with Gruyere cheese and must admit I was a little disappointed. The burger was way too salty and I could barely choke it down.

However, my friend ordered the Poached eggs, roasted tomato, and cheddar cheese grits with buttered sourdough toast and it was delicious. We also had cappuccinos that were a great pick me up.

If you're looking for a chill spot to have brunch, read the morning paper or get your Hemingway on, Freeman's is the perfect place to do all of the above. It definitely will get your creative juices
flowing. Just don't order the burger :)

http://www.freemansrestaurant.com/Restaurant.html


Spectrum On One - Dubai













At the Fairmont Hotel in Dubai there is a restaurant called Spectrum on One that has the best brunch in the city. There you will see the local Emirati’s (Citizens of Dubai who really have that Arab money) as well as other diners from all over the world.
With its’ theme of elements (water, wind, fire and ice) and a brunch that includes unlimited Moet Champagne, full seafood bar, Teppanyaki, cheese and fruit room, unbelievable appetizer and salad bar, cuisines from India, Japan, the Middle East, Thailand, Europe, China, and deserts that would make Willy Wonka jealous. It is easy to see why it has received such high critical acclaim.
Some of my favorite items were the Chicken Tikka Masala made in their in - house tandoor, the Shrimp Tempura and Eel sushi pieces, the exotic fruit tart and the chocolate fountain.
Check it out for yourself.

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