My most recent obsession for affordable, leftover-friendly, calorie-conscious meals has brought me to new appreciation for a wonderful food: meatballs. I’ve been working on perfecting my meatball recipe, and, by George, I think I’ve got it. Plus this recipe came in at around $12 for 7-9 servings. That’s less than $2 per serving! Read on for recipe. Read the rest of this entry »
I proudly represent Astoria, Queens. Anyone who says it’s just too far needs to hop their ass on an N, Q, or R train (for 15 lousy minutes) and experience all the awesome food Astoria has to offer. Like Butcher Bar, which serves up the TASTIEST fresh, local, grass-fed meats this side of the East River. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve met some new friends at work who really enjoy some good food. This is both very great and very, very awful. It is great because I get to hang out with cool new people and savor delicious food pretty much every single day. It’s awful because I spend a buttload of money and I know that I’m eventually going to gain weight from eating like this constantly. I know I have absolutely no trouble eating every single calorie I burn in a day and then some. Balls. Whatever.
Here are some of the best lunches I’ve eaten in the past week or two.
Momofuku’s Milk Bar
Cereal Milk ice cream
Um, holy crap. Stopped into Momofuku’s Midtown pastry location, Milkbar one day after being good and bringing my lunch to work. Obviously I had to get myself a treat for being so good. WHATEVER I’M ALLOWED TO MISBEHAVE. This stuff is infused with real cereal! It tastes JUST like the bottom of the bowl after you’ve polished off a bowl of cornflakes – the perfect mix of salty, creamy, and sweet.
Rock ‘n Roll Deli
Bacon, Brie, and Avocado sandwich
One day, I was talking about how bacon is pretty much the best food in the world with one of my coworkers. He asked if I also like avocado and brie. Pretty sure if bacon’s #1, avocado and brie are numbers 2 and 3. He let me know that there’s a random deli on 6th Ave and 58th that makes him these special sandwiches (by request only) and also gives him a discount. Obviously I had to check it out. This thing was pretty delicious – not something I could eat every single day, but the fresh, buttery avocado paired with melty brie and the pork-y ambrosia of the gods (I’m referring to the bacon in case you didn’t catch that one) is definitely worth treating yourself to. Plus I bet this would be great to replicate at home.
Tina’s Cuban Cuisine
Fried pork sandwich, chicken empanadas
A favorite of Apple employees, Tina’s in Midtown serves up fresh, homey Cuban food. Not quite as good as Habana in SoHo, but it’s more of a streetfood version of Cubano cuisine. The same pal that introduced me to the bacon-brie-vacado-wich also brought me to Tina’s (he’s a good/bad influence depending on how you look at it). The fried pork sandwich was stuffed with lots of yummy fried pulled pork, mayo, and sweet plantains and smothered in Tina’s green sauce, which was just the perfect amount of spicy for me. We also got an order of chicken empanadas, which were fat little bundles of fried delicious that also tasted great with the green sauce. Definitely an affordable lunch in midtown, especially if you split with a friend! Half of a sandwich is more than enough for one person.
North Carolina BBQ. Pulled Pork Sandwich. Mac and Cheese. PBR. All you need to know.
Last weekend I went to the Brooklyn Flea Market with a friend from work in search of the amazing food I’d been hearing about. The Flea did not disappoint. There are actually a few a markets run by the Flea, and we hit up the one at Fort Greene. Next time, I’d love to go to Smorgasburg, the market in Williamsburg that’s completely food-centric (the market in Fort Greene has other vendors like antique dealers, artists, and jewelers). There was a great variety of artisanal producers – everything from The Milk Truck grilled cheese to the People’s Pops handmade frozen fruit pops and shaved ice – and the food eye candy alone was unbelievable, not to mention tasty.
Enough talking. Check out the food porn!
Maine Lobster Salad Roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound. Made extra yummy with mayo, celery, pickle, paprika, and my favorite – a toasted New England hot dog bun.
Hand-carved porchetta sandwich from the aptly-named Porchetta NYC.
The kind gentleman actually making the sandwich. Yum.mmm.mmmmmm.
After the flea, we were inspired and made sandwiches for a picnic.
Prosciutto, provolone, and roasted red peppers on a baguette. Yum city.
I love summer eating! What are you favorite outdoor summer spots?
Today I attended an early morning 4-hour store meeting for work. Those who know me well are aware that I am exactly the opposite of a morning person, and when forced to wake up before a reasonable hour (my preference is around 10:30), I get real irate. So I decided I deserved a bagel during my two-hour break between the end of the meeting and the start of my actual work shift. I’ve been trying to avoid carbicide since I got back to New York because bagels are my downfall, but today I just NEEDED it. I Yelp’d my closest bagel spot, which turned out to be Bagel and Bean on Broadway at 54th Street, and ordered an everything toasted with scallion cream cheese. Not the most amazing bagel ever, but it got the job done. But eating a bagel that was just fine instead of orgasmically phenomenal led me to think about my favorite NYC bagel experiences – the ones that really WERE orgasmically phenom. I am a mere enthusiast and not an aficionado by any means, but I’d love to share my favorites with you and hear about your best encounters of the bagel kind, whether in New York or elsewhere around the world.
THE best bagel. Period. Honestly the Holy Bagel Grail as far as I’m concerned. There are two locations, both on the East Side, though I’ve actually only been to their 53rd street shop. Their bagels are generally large, crunchy on the outside, doughy on the inside, and they have an amazing variety of spreads, which have a great fluffy-whipped texture. My personal bagel of choice is pumpernickel toasted with lox spread, but it’s always a good idea to ask what’s hot when you walk in – nothing is better than a hot bagel fresh out of the oven, no toasting required. They are extremely generous with the cream cheese – you’re definitely more likely to wipe some off than ask for more. I usually scrape a bit off mine, and I’m a cream cheese freak. Seating is available at 53rd street but can get crowded during peak hours.
Murray Hill Location: 359 1st Avenue (21st St)
2. Tal Bagel
Similar to Ess-a-Bagel, Tal is a Jewish deli and a purveyor of fish, meats, and a variety of typical Jewish deli food like whitefish salad and smoked herring. The bagels are yummy, dense, and chewy, and there’s a huge choice of spreads, but the atmosphere can get a bit hectic and the counter workers quickly get impatient when you don’t order right away. It’s great when you know exactly what you want, but stressful if you need a minute to decide. Cash only. Also super generous with spreads; bagels are fairly comparable with Ess-a-Bagel but I like Ess-a-Bagel’s atmosphere, prices, and iced coffee better.
Upper East Side Location: 333 East 86th St (1st/2nd Aves)
Located on the upper west side, this shop is a favorite amongst purists. The bagels are large and have more of a fluffy, bread-like texture on the inside. I like H&H when buying in bulk – they’ll give you individual bagels but they will not toast them for you. Now some people are freaks and are okay with gnawing on an untoasted bagel. I find this super weird and will only eat them hot and toasted. It’s a texture thing. So if you’re like me, either ask for what’s hot at the moment, or get a half dozen bagels and grab some cream cheese spread from nearby Zabar’s food shop. Toast at home and enjoy. And enjoy. And enjoy.
Address: 2239 Broadway (at 80th Street)
4. Times Square Hot Bagel
Kind of a hole-in-the-wall place located, as the name would indicate, right next to Times Square. I used to get bagels here a lot when I first moved to New York and was staying with friends in Midtown. They are the dense and delicious kind. The shop is very small and if you’re there during a busy time (like Saturday or Sunday morning) you WILL have to wait for a bagel. No seating, and if i remember correctly they’ll only take cash for orders under $10. I haven’t had one myself, but I’ve heard the breakfast sandwiches are delicious. And they deliver! Definitely a great spot for tourists to grab a legit New York bagel if they’re in the area.
Address: 200 W 44th St. (At 7th Ave)
This is not by any means an exhaustive list – I have way more bagels to eat before I can truly complete the quest of the Grail. I haven’t even touched Brooklyn yet. If I don’t die of carbohydrate overdose, expect an updated Bagel-Quest entry in the near future.