Monday, December 15, 2008

SWEET: Tappas Party - Part 1

So this weekend my friends and I had a little gathering to celebrate the holidays and substitute the gift giving with the party since we are all so tight on cash. We each had to bring something to eat and something to drink. There were delicious turkey meatballs with 3 dipping sauces, pumpkin cups (mini pastry cheese cakes), chocolate peanut butter mookies (cross between cookies and muffins), an assortment of cheeses, hummus & pita chips and toast with fig jam and goat cheese just to name a few. I brought these Cinnamon mini blintzes I had last year at a holiday party and nearly lost my shiz-it when I ate them.

Naturally I had to make them this year, and when I saw the recipe was no more complicated than any standard Kraft cookbook recipe I was even more psyched to make them. Since I love rating things and I want to hear everyone say how fabulous the mini blintzes are, in-turn how fabulous I am for making them, I made everyone rate them – and while my friends who know me and aren’t afraid of me rated them honestly, those who didn’t know me so well, lets just say I may have strong armed them into giving a higher rating –its what I do. Outcome may be skewed.

Cinnamon Blintzes - 5 out of 5 stars

Below is the delonkulus recipe for everyone to enjoy

1 king size loaf of white bread
1 lb. cream cheese
2 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 stick melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
¼ cup cinnamon

1. Remove crusts from white bread and discard
2. Dump cream cheese into a mixing bowl and use hand blender to thoroughly cream. Add egg yolks and sugar and continue blending until smooth.
3. Spread a generous smear of the cream cheese mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Roll each slice of bread into a cigar shape.
4. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
5. Dip each slice of rolled-up bread into the melted butter and then the brown sugar mixture to coat.
6. Place each slice of rolled-up bread on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 until done.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

SWEET: Reservoir

Last weekend, a few of us (cousins and friends) went to Reservoir on University Place to watch the Giants game. First off, let me explain a little about myself, I’m not the biggest sports fan per se, however I am a big fan of eating wings, fries, nachos and drinking beer - all of your standard game food. So by default you may say I am a sports fan, as long as there is a steady stream of food in front of my face to hold my attention.

So – while in Union Square area, we decided to go somewhere and watch the game, while deliberating where to go someone threw out Reservoir, I wont lie, when the suggestion came up I definitely hated on it as soon as I found out it was a Philly bar. I was in no mood to have sports banter and obscenities hollered at my table getting in my way of me gorging on an unhealthy amount of fried fatty foods – but I, hesitantly, agreed to go - not wanting to be difficult and all.

Well – I must say I really enjoyed my experience there. It’s what a pub should be, not grimy enough to be called a dive bar, but not nice enough to make you feel like your sneakers and hoodie are inappropriate. They had beer specials, decent atmosphere, actually had good food, and a respectable bathroom (that’s my requirement, not a good pub requirement)! Oh and they had great water, lots of ice, with those classy cubes - square with the hole in the middle, you know the ones. As TH’s friend perfectly put it, “like a mini luge.” It makes you feel special.

The only negative, the plastic water cups were opaque, so the waitress didn’t take notice to my empty water glass nor came over to ask if we needed anything, LIKE MORE WATER, and I will point out it had a slight lingering smell of you typical Sunday morning pub after a Saturday night and oh the BBQ was lacking (I am a BBQ connisoire if you must know) But all the pros outweighed the few cons. I’m definitely going back! Maybe even next Sunday to check out the mac and cheese.

Beef Stew – didn’t have it, well maybe just a taste, but it had rave, RAVE reviews I tell you!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip – Smoky, cheesy, delicious.

Waffle Fries – de-lonk-u-lous.

4 out of 5 stars for excellence on pinning down great pub food and the affordable prices.

PS – Thanks to SC for taking pics


This weekend three of my favorite girls and I went out to get brunch on Saturday. We WANTED to go to Penelope’s (pure goodness), but as expected the wait was like an hour and a half. Being that we were all hungry and anxious to get our day started, we opted to go somewhere else. Please insert Banc. I want to like it, I really, really do, but I’ve been there a few times and the food is always okay-less than satisfactory. See if it had really good food, it would be the perfect place for me to meet people at, it’s close enough that I don’t have to go too far from home (a quick walk will get me there unscathed in any weather) yet, far enough that I can tell myself I am going further than I really am so I am not the jerk who always tries to make plans in their neighborhood, even though I think I live it the best area ever.

Anyway, it’s just not that good. As a whole, the table was not pleased with our meals, and after our meal two of us (me being one of them) briefly believed we had food poisoning and were going to be sick.

I got the Nova Eggs Benedict which is eggs benedict with smoked salmon instead of ham. Eggs were fine, hash browns unmemorable, really like the side salad…BUT the smoked salmon was way nas-ass-ty. I’ve had plenty of smoked salmon in my day, I’m a fan, if there were a club, I might join it, but this smoked salmon had that uncomfortable fishy taste. You know the one that as your eating it all your thinking is “I am totally going to get some freaky bacteria and have bathroom issues for the next 2 days,” yeah that kind of fishy. So after my first bite I thought, MAYBE it was just a bad bite, the next wont be that bad, but it was, so needless to say I ate pretty much everything other than the salmon.

Will I go as far as to say I will never go back?…it’s in a great location, decent variety on the menu and many out of town guest have been partial to the atmosphere, but on the flip side, am I going out of my way to eat there?…no… Do I like rhetorical questions… yes.

2 out of 5 stars for at least having the dignity to appear clean and for their major perk: they are cool with you bringing your dog to their outside seating and will even bring your dog water.

Monday, December 8, 2008

SALTY: WT Freakin F

What was up with the Simpsons last night? Really weird. It was almost like whoever wrote it really wasnt familiar with the characters at all. Like that whole Homer and Moe thing? WTF? I mean if it was like Lenny or Carl okay, but Homer? I take that back, even those guys it might have been a little weird. But maybe not, I'm not sure yet, but I am sure about Homer. Am I missing something, was that a parody of a movie? After 10, 12 seasons of developing character profiles something did NOT align with a few of those scenes. I will say the whole, Marc Cuban thing, it was good, and I was even more impressed that he guest starred as himself, but i guess that just plays into his whole, "I am so eccentric and think out side of the box and am a loose cannon but in a safe way" whole thing.

FYI - its the episode where Mr. Burns goes to Billionaire camp - in case you see it later you will know what I am talking about.

Friday, December 5, 2008

SWEET: MFers Visit

Soooo one of my favorite peoples is visiting today! I can’t wait to see her! We have a lot planned for two days and uncharacteristically some of it is quite touristy, skating in Bryant Park, visiting the seasonal Christmas shops and the tree at Rockefeller center. Crowds, tourists traps and out-of-towners are very not me. Not that I don’t believe people shouldn’t have the right to come visit, or congregate at some point of interest, I just usually don’t want to be there. Why? Because there is nothing worse than getting stuck behind a high looker or slow walker when you are in a rush to get someplace. Walking around may be your form of perusing the streets or casual window shopping, but for me it’s my main means of transportation and I can’t be bothered. However, a little part in me is excited to see the tree all lit up and go ice skating since I never do stuff like that. I guess once a year I can put aside my bitter NYer-ness and find the mid-western in me.

SALTY: Havana Central

Last night I ordered from this restaurant Havana Central in Union Square, I had it once before, and it was okay, but it’s really cheap and has a lot of good reviews so I thought I’d try it again. Let me just say I am appalled and they should be embarrassed at how not good it was. I wouldn’t say horrible, but in NYC there is a higher set of standards. It was okay for like Long Island, but NOT for NYC. There is just waaaayyyy too much competition to be okay or mediocre. It’s like Chinese food, pretty much everywhere on LI all Chinese food is almost the same, and all the dumplings are exactly the same. I hate it. Not in NYC though, with 6 restaurants in a 3 block radius your dumplings have to be the best and your delivery service has to be the fastest *insert Chef 28 or Noodles 28 with sesame sauce* Whatever your category is, you have to be at least above average, with the best price for the quality you are serving. But I digress.

So as I was saying or writing, the food just wasn’t that good, and as cheap as it is, I will go as far to say that I probably will never get it again. There were some things that were okay, but over all, not worth the calories. To date, the best, BEST, Cuban food I have had has been from Kuba Kuba in Richmond, VA It’s like this hole in the wall-ish place, first come first serve, nothing fancy, owned by a guy with a salt-n-pepper scruffy beard who drives a beat up pick up truck; First of all everything is made right before your eyes, yes, it can get hot in there, but at least you can watch the guy making your food and know for sure he is not picking his nose and scratching his butt, or dropping your empanada on the floor and applying the 5 sec rule….My top favorite things to eat there are the Empanadas, beef or spinach, plantains, coconut risotto cakes, and the turkey press. All phenomenal. I am hoping to make a trip down there and visit Kuba Kuba, Edo Squid, 821 and NY Deli (I’ll tell you about those later) and of course my friends. My life doesn’t completely revolve around food.

Here is my assessment of Havana Central: It once was really good, but as it grew more popular, two things happened 1)the food was assembled in mass amounts, and 2) they hired people who don’t give a s**t about the quality - now lacking the care and love it once had. For food to be good, its got to be made with love, sounds cheesy, but if its made with love it means the person who made it takes pride in what they are serving, ultimately striving to put out the absolute best that they can.

Empanadas– I’ve had the beef and Cubano, its got all the basic stuff there, but flavor…2 out of 5 stars

Cuban Tamales – very dry and they used dark meat and I hate dark meat, 2 out of 5 stars

Fried Sweet Plantains – it’s pretty hard to F these up, 5 out of 5 stars

Zesty Corn on the Cob – hmmm not so much, 2 out of 5 stars. if you want really good zesty corn on the cob go to Pita Grill, AWESOME.

PS - The lettuce in the picture is my addition, got to get your veggies!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

SWEET: Spidi Senses

As my first post, it’s only fitting that I write about yogurt. I love good frozen yogurt, I hate bad frozen yogurt. Shockingly I am going to tell you what I love and why. Berrywild is my all time favorite. For a while I was working it into almost every conversation. For example –

“This pizza is so good, it’s like the berrywild of pizza.”

“The portions are so generous here, how b-wild of them.”

There were even times I wanted to point out to my friends how I didn’t mention berrywild, but then I’d stop myself because, I would be mentioning berrywild.

Here are the reasons why I love Berrywild:

1) Best yogurt ever
2) They give you more yogurt AND toppings than Pinkberry
3) They have a punch card and after 10 punches you get a free MEDIUM yogurt with 3 toppings
4) 6 flavors, 6 FLAVORS!
5) Cheaper than the over-hyped and over-priced Pinkberry

Other yogurt places that I like:
Red Mango

Places I dislike/hate:
Pink Berry – because it’s the man of frozen yogurt, they are stingy with the toppings and it’s overpriced
Tasty D – one of the original frozen yogurt places, but somehow forgot to keep up with the times and now tastes like frozen nothingness
16 Handles – I went, I ate, I threw it out – too artificial

No I am not on the b-wild payroll but I should be.

SALTY: Big Tuna

Sadly this season of the office really has fallen off the wagon. Don’t get me wrong it’s still in my top 5 shows on TV, but I don’t know if it was the writers strike or what but there is definitely a chink in the show’s chain. Other than the season premier, every episode has been good, not great, and it is especially not living up the bar the past seasons have set before. Recently I have re-watched all of season 1, almost all of season 2 and the beginning of season 3. And I have to say every episode I watch has been just as good as the last, until now. Regardless, it’s still better than most to all sitcoms on TV and I haven’t given up hope….yet. I believe they will be back. As a ray of light, I am going to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the show, "I guess the atmosphere that I’ve tried to create here is that I’m a friend first, a boss second and probably an entertainer third" – Michael Scott