Good Eats

My dad is a chef. Not the kind that works in a Zagat-rated restaurant or gets nominated for James Beard awards or anything like that, but he’s a real, bone fide, culinary school graduate who’s spent many tough years in various kitchens. I wish I had some specific kernel of wisdom he’s imparted to me that I could share with you all to start this blog off with the solid righteousness of father-daughter sentimentality, but I’m kind of blanking. I guess my point is that if my dad’s taught me anything about food over the years, it’s that it’s best served honest.

My dad’s the sort of guy who can thoroughly enjoy a perfectly cooked $50 filet and then turn around and eat a tub of off-brand Frozen Pudding ice cream when he gets home. He’s actually usually way happier making waffles for dinner in his own kitchen than he is going out and dropping mad cash on anything tha could be considered “fancy”. When I showed an interest in learning to cook, he taught me the biology of the sense of taste and why it’s important to properly salt and spice food. Then he asked my mom why she threw out the ham that had been sitting in the fridge for two weeks. He really wanted to eat it.

The art and pastime of good eating has always had its pricetag – not only is it expensive, it’s pretentious. But who says good food has to be cooked by a Michelin-starred chef and contain more than five ingredients and involve some wack cooking process with a French name, usually facilitated by a Mandolin or a Chinois or some other terrifying culinary instrument? How come we can’t just stay at home and make waffles and consider that to be good food? What if, like my dad, I enjoy a good batch of store-bought ham salad just as much as I enjoy a multi-course meal that involves multiple forks?

I’m 23 and I live in New York City and I love food. This blog is about my search to find a balance between what is perceived to be good food, and what is good food to me. It’s about a willingness to try new things, and also to refuse some things in an effort to support sustainable eating practices. It’s about knowing when it’s okay to compromise those ethical values, because money is tight. It’s about also not getting carried away and staying healthy – maybe even dropping a few pounds. But most of all, it’s about pointing to something that looks like it would taste really great, and saying, “I’d eat that.” And then eating it. That’s definitely the most important part.

Here are some things I’ve eaten since I moved back to New York almost two weeks ago.

Asian-inspired hot dog from the Madison Square Garden food market. Topped with Chinese pork belly in some kind of yum sauce with scallions.

Hummus tahini plate with falafel from The Hummus Place in the West Village. They had a great lunch deal – any hummus plate with any appetizer plus pita for $7.95. The olive oil in their hummus was particularly amazeballs.

Grilled corn on the cob with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese from a street vendor. I like the cab in the background of this picture. Corn on the cab.

Cantonese noodles in a chicken broth with wontons from Kelley & Ping in SoHo. I sat in here for a good hour using the Apple Store WiFi (it’s just down the block) – the atmosphere was really peaceful, open, and relaxing. And the wontons were GREAT.

I was craving something sweet and had time to kill one day in Midtown, so I went to the Magnolia at Rock Center with cupcakes on the brain. But the cupcake line was long and full of slow-ass tourists, so I decided to go for a whoopie pie instead because it looked delicious and I didn’t have to wait for it. Yes, I asked the guy for the one with the most frosting. Sue me. This is literally just globs of buttercream sandwiched between two soft sugar cookies. It was amazing.

Beer and hot dogs from Rudy’s in Midtown. It’s $7 for a pitcher of Rudy’s house beer. Hot dogs are free. My friend Erin and I ate three apiece. I fell in love with this place immediately – crunchy elderly bartenders (the woman tending must have been at least 70), duct-taped seats, great music, and cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap beer.

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4 Comments on “Good Eats”

  1. foodlattio says:

    It’s like you read my mind about what I wanted my blog to be about as well. I feel that sometimes people can’t just sit down and appreciate good food just cos it’s from McDonalds or from a tacky-looking Chinese restaurant down the road. Good food is good food and it doesn’t need to be served in a 5-star restaurant to prove it.

    Your dad sounds amazing! I’m thinking of going to culinary school in New York in like 2 years time, good idea or not?

    • Liz says:

      So true! I’ve thought about culinary school but it’s so hard to commit to the idea! You’re based in the UK, right? Coming to NY for school would definitely be an awesome experience! My ultimate culinary dream would be to just pick up and move to the South of France and try to find a cooking mentor and then travel throughout Europe to learn different regional cuisines. Oh dreams!

      • Aisha says:

        It would be amaaaazing! If not New York then I’ll go to Italy. I’m still young and I’ve got no commitments tying me down so I might as well grab the opportunity.
        I’ve heard nothing but good things about the South of France especially Antibes which is around the south/eastern part, you should totally do it even if just for a couple of months it would be an amazing experience big time!


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