New York City Eats

I have just returned from a two week holiday in New York City and I am already feeling the nostalgia. It was my first time visiting the United States and was definitely a change from my norm back in Australia. It really is the city that never sleeps. I spent 12+ hours of my day roaming the streets checking out the sights, catching up with friends and most importantly eating all the wonderful food that the city has to offer. What I bring to you today is a snapshot of the tasty delights that I consumed whilst in the Big Apple. It is by far not an exclusive list of places that are worth visiting but are the highlights of my short stint.

 

Bagels – Absolute Bagels (2788 Broadway, Upper West Side) $

Bagel

 

Oooo la la first New York bagels. I went with simple cream cheese on a plain bagel just for starters. The shop was everything I expected from a bagel place. It was a little local bakery filled with customers and pretty much raining bagels. As the mornings were quite cold while I was there, bagels served as a perfect warm start to my jam-packed days of sightseeing.

 

Pizza – Famous Famiglia Pizzeria (Corner W 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue)* $

New York Slice

I was never really into “just cheese” pizza. It always seemed so uninviting and pedestrian. Well my thoughts have changed about cheese pizza forever since my first taste of a New York Slice. Homemade, rich and flavoursome tomato sauce base, a generous amount of cheese melted to perfection on a crispy thin base. Oh and bonus, they’re basically giving them away with slices ranging from $1 – $4. There were a few of these stores around the city but this was my local.

 

Bacon and Egg Roll – BEC  (148 8th Ave) $

Bacon and Egg Roll

Okay not going to lie, main reason I went to this place is because of the name. Alas, the food was actually
really good! If you want to switch it up from bagels for breakfast then have a wonder down 8th Avenue and get yourself a classic bacon egg and cheese on fresh ciabatta. I am a big fan of runny yolk and this place cooked the egg to perfection.

 

Deli – Katz Delicatessen (205 E Houston St) $$$

World famous deli both for their pastrami and also Pastrami Sandwichtheir movie features (When Harry Met Sally anyone?). I walked in here and was immediately intrigued by every little thing in the place. From all the photos along the wall of past visitors (both famous and non) as well as the enormous counter and diverse selection of food available to diners. I had pastrami on rye with a generous side of pickles. It was a battle to eat but worth it in the end and reaffirmed why people flock from all over the world to visit. Due to its popularity and fame, it is quite pricey for what it is. Best is just to not think about it and just eat there anyway.

Italian – Amici II (165 Mulberry St, Little Italy) $$

Lobster RavioliIs it even a trip to New York without a visit to Little Italy? I had a wander through Mulberry Street not really knowing what I was looking for but then stumbled across this quaint looking restaurant, dimly lit but filled with life (and a very enthusiastic waiter). I was spoiled with choice. The menu was filled with traditional Italian dishes with all the pasta made fresh in-house. I ended up going with the lobster ravioli with absolutely no regrets. It was so rich in flavour and the “flamingo” sauce complemented the fresh pasta perfectly. I paired this with a cocktail and devoured the free bread with homemade garlic and herb oil. Molto bene!

Fries – Food Stand at Yankee Stadium $$ 

Have you even been to America unless you have had a Cheese Frieshot dog, cheese fries and a soda? Well I had all three…in one day. Only managed to grab a photo of the cheese fries because they were the most glamorous looking of the trio. I didn’t even want to think about what the “cheese” sauce was made from or if it even was cheese but I ate it anyway happily because there is just something so satisfying in devouring junk food. I only do it sparingly so that when I do, I get the ultimate satisfaction and no guilt.

Brunch – Le Garage (157 Suydam St, Brooklyn) $$

Poached Eggs and ChorizoI spent my second week in the borough of Brooklyn and was lucky enough to have a wonderful friend show me around her local neighbourhood. But first, brunch. This place reminded me a lot of home. Quirky cafes, poached eggs, you name it. I dove straight into my chorizo and eggs whilst sipping on house made mimosas. What a time to be alive. This place is a bit out of the way from where most tourists reside but it is worth a look at if you want to feel a bit more local during your stay.

 

Burgers – Shake Shack (1 Old Fulton Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn)* $

My oh my, people rave on about this place for a reason. Shake ShackThe burgers are so fresh and flavoursome, it almost makes you feel like you’re not eating fast food. We went with the original Shackburger accompanied by cheese fries and a soda each. Enough said, you need to try this whilst in New York City (especially since this is the city where it originated). Get on it.

 

Poke – Sons of Thunder (204 E 38th St) $

Poke bowlI really wanted to try poke whilst in the United States even though this is a Western American dish technically. As per reviews on Buzzfeed and Instagram, I landed at this place on the East Side that was thriving. I happened to be around at lunch hour and the place had a huge line (always reassuring). I went with a half salmon + tuna over white rice + avocado ($1.5 extra). Overall I was satisfied with the dish. I had confidence that the ingredients were all fresh due to the turnover of trade. It is a generous portion and would probably get mixed greens instead of rice next time.

Mexican Fiesta – Tacombi (255 Bleecker St) $$

My first proper meal in New York City was at Tacombi, a Mexican place located in Greenwich Village. We had chipotle corn, guacamole and homemade corn chips and tacos (of course). I had a pork taco and a crispy fish taco (yum). The meal was filling, flavoursome and located in a really cool garage vibe place to give a street food feel. This food was accompanied with cocktails including a pina colada for me. All in all, night and money well spent.

Southern BBQ – Virgil’s Real BBQ (152 W 44th St – Times Square) $$

My friend and I were in desperate need for mood food on the day we discovered this place and it definitely delivered on what we needed. First up was BBQ wings with a blue cheese sauce (the full size wings and not the teeny ones that disappear in a second). I then followed this up with a pulled pork sandwich, house cut fries and homemade pickles. Let’s just say I was full for the foreseeable future. Even though it was close by to Times Square, it was tucked away a bit away from the action so you could escape the controlled chaos that is Times Square. Tasty, friendly service and moderately priced.

German – Retagast Hall & Biergarten (113 N 3rd Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) $$

After a long day of sightseeing around the popular neighbourhood of Williamsburg, we decided to park ourselves at the long bench tables at Retagast Hall. My friend expressed how great the sausages were here so was keen to try them out. I had Bratwurst on a pretzel bun (yes that’s a thing) and loaded with homemade sauerkraut. I was spoiled with choice for mustard. I ended up going with the most German option available. As well as this we decided to split one of the giant pretzels! It was warm, fresh and the way every pretzel should be. There were also pickles on the side. Yes!

Greek – Souvlaki GR (116 Stanton St) $$

If you’re having Greece nostalgia like my friend and I were and you are unfortunately not in Greece, then this is the place to go. It is decked out exactly like the Greek Islands with the white and blue colours protruding from all angles. They even had the pink flowers and blue chairs as part of the decor. We started off with Greek fries which consisted of house cut fries covered in herbs and feta. Next up it was souvlaki pita which mimicked a mini “Gyros” but a bit more glamorous. Finally, we finished up the meal with loukoumades drizzled in honey and sprinkled with nuts. Food babies for days.

A few other places I visited that are worth mentioning that I didn’t manage to capture any decent photos from are as follows

  • The Meatball Shop (170 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn) – $. Perfect for lunch or late night feed.
  • Gray’s Papaya (everywhere) – $. Hot dog cravings sorted within seconds.
  • Magnolia Bakery (Grand Central Dining Concourse)* –  $. Cupcakes and fan girl moments.
  • Gallow Green (542 W 27th St) – $$$. Beautiful rooftop with light meals and cocktails.

So that’s it! I was spoiled with choice and have barely even scratched the surface on one of the most incredible cities in the world. Can’t wait to go back.


* Places indicated with a * are found in multiple locations. I have included the address of the location that I visited/frequented most.

Price scale 

$ – giving it away

$$ – a happy medium and well justified

$$$ – I really loved it and forgot about my whole food philosophy for a second

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian Stuffed Pasta Shells

Hope everyone is having a great Easter long weekend! I have been cooking away and experimenting a fair bit and I’m excited to share another recipe with you all.

I aim to make my work lunches with tuna or make them vegetarian just because meat is so expensive! I have been on a bit of a streak lately where I have come up with some tasty, filling and cheap lunch options. There were some odds and ends around the kitchen today. I wanted to use up the bits of food we had leftover both in the fridge and pantry to make this dish. I decided to substitute the meat in this dish with potato. It worked well and gave the dish the substance to make it a complete dish. I have also developed the flavours with cheese, garlic and Barilla Basilico Pasta Sauce.

Vegetarian Stuffed Pasta Shells (serves 2)

What you’re going to need

10 giant pasta shells (these were from a local food market which sells an abundance of Italian food products)

1 medium potato, diced

100 grams baby spinach

50 grams feta

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup Italian pasta sauce (I used Barilla Basilico Pasta Sauce)

100 grams cheddar, grated (I used Mersey Valley)

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius
  2. In a small saucepan, add the diced potato to cold water and bring to the boil. In a medium saucepan, bring a pot of water and salt (1/2 tablespoon) to the boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente.
  3. In a food processor, blitz the spinach, feta, garlic, salt and pepper until coarse. (you don’t want to blitz it for too long and end up with a dip…)
  4. Mash the potato to remove the large lumps and then combine with the spinach mixture.
  5. Have a small baking dish ready. Place a heaped spoon of the filling into each of the giant pasta shells and place in one layer in the baking dish until all the shells are filled. Spoon pasta sauce over the shells and cover the top and around the sides. Place the grated cheddar on the top evenly.
  6. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot.

Stuffed Pasta Shells

 

French Toast with Raspberry Compote

I absolutely love weekend breakfasts. At the moment, my weekday breakfast is the exact same thing everyday. It tastes delicious but I like spending time in the kitchen and creating something a bit different to my usual.

French toast is super easy and always guaranteed to be tasty! Very minimal prep time and ingredients required. I had some leftover frozen raspberries that I had been meaning to use for a while and figured it would be a good pair with the toast.

And to finish, I added a generous drizzle of 70% dark chocolate. The combination of raspberry and chocolate works a treat if you’ve never tried it, you should.

French Toast with Raspberry Compote (yields 1 serving)

What you’re going to need

2 slices bread, sliced into large triangles

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

25 g dark chocolate, melted

1/4 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)

1 tablespoon maple syrup (plus additional for serving)

20 mls water

Method

  1. In a small saucepan, prepare the raspberry compote by adding the raspberries, water and maple syrup. Keep on a low simmer unless mixture reduces and thickens. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla extract and cinnamon until well combined.
  3. Heat up a fry pan on a medium heat. Dip each triangle of bread into the egg mixture then place in the fry pan. Cook for approximately 2 minutes each side or until golden brown.
  4. Serve toast hot with melted chocolate drizzle and raspberry compote on top. Optional: Add maple syrup over the top as well.

French Toast

Tuna and Corn Fritters with Yoghurt Sauce

Fritters. Something that I thoroughly enjoy eating but have struggled to get 100% right. I’m either putting too much flour, or adding milk when I don’t have to or just the combination of flavours doesn’t work out.

Ages ago when I was super lazy but hungry for something healthy, I would just eat tinned tuna, corn kernels with salt and pepper. It served its purpose but was just not enough to make a meal and so stemmed the idea to incorporate this flavour combo into fritters.

This recipe has just four ingredients + any additional seasoning you want to add. I decided to serve this up with a quick yoghurt sauce I threw together. I will provide the recipe for the sauce I made as well.

Here it is if you want to have a go! Fritters are dairy free but can be made gluten free with a simple flour swap.

Tuna and Corn Fritters (yields 2 large or 4 small fritters)

what you’re going to need

Fritters

1 x 75 g tinned tuna

1 x 75 g tin corn kernels

2 tablespoons plain flour (or gluten free alternative)

1 egg

salt and pepper, to season

1 tablespoon olive oil for frying

Yoghurt Sauce (serves 2) 

1/4 cup plain greek yoghurt (I use Jalna)

1/3 cup cucumber, grated and squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

generous squeeze fresh lime

pinch of mixed herbs

sea salt, to season

Method

  1. In a small bowl, add all ingredients for the yoghurt sauce and mix until well combined. Place in the fridge ready for serving
  2. In another bowl, add all the ingredients and mix until well combined.
  3. Heat up olive oil in a fry pan on a medium heat. Using a ladle or large spoon, place even amounts of batter into the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  4. On a plate, place a large dollop of the yoghurt sauce then the fritters on top. Garnish with additional lime juice and parsley. Serve immediately.

Tuna and Corn Fritters

I am submitting my recipe today as part of the Our Growing Edge monthly food sharing community. The theme this month is Family Favourites and is hosted by Mark and Susan over at Simple Sundays. If you are interested in sharing your Family Favourites creations this month, check out the instructions on how to submit over at Our Growing Edge.

Pearl Couscous Salad with Chunky Tomato Sauce

The daily dilemma…figuring out what to have for lunch. I was fortunate to be off work when I thought up this recipe so conveniently had an open pantry to work with. Even so, many find themselves swamped with ingredients and not a clue how they fit together.

Lucky for you, one of my favourite pastimes is picking an assortment of ingredients, throwing them together and hoping they will taste amazing.

Pearl couscous is such an interesting grain. It works as a really good filler for salads and an accompaniment to a stew and the like. My original intention for this was to pair it with leftover roast lamb but there was a miscommunication in the kitchen and so my father took it with him to work instead. Alas, crisis management kicked in and I worked with what I had to still make something tasty.

My favourite part of this dish is the crispy fried capers! I’ve seen chefs on cooking shows use this technique numerous times and have always been keen to try it out myself! Super easy and result is definitely worth the minimal effort required.

Pearl Couscous Salad with Chunky Tomato Sauce

What you’re going to need

1/4 cup pearl couscous

a generous handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (I used Perino tomatoes for this recipe)

one slice shortcut bacon, sliced into small pieces

6 kalamata olives, sliced in half

teaspoon baby capers

fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

salt and pepper to season

olive oil

Method

  1. Cook pearl couscous to packet instructions.
  2. Whilst the couscous is cooking, fry up the bacon in a small pan until crispy. Set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add a splash of olive oil and heat the oil to a medium heat. Place capers in the pan and fry until aromatic and the colour has darkened (max 30 seconds). Remove from pan and set aside on paper towel to drain.
  4. In a saucepan, add the cherry tomatoes with salt and pepper. Mash up the tomatoes until a relish like texture forms.
  5. Add in the couscous, bacon and fresh basil and mix until well combined. Take off the heat and mix in the olives. Place in a bowl and top with the capers!

pearl-couscous-salad

 

 

 

Quinoa Tuna Bake

I am a massive fan of pasta bake. Creamy, cheesy pasta bake. Having IBS and being mildly lactose intolerant doesn’t mean one of my favourite dishes is ruined. As this was intended for work lunches, I wanted it to be lighter and healthier than the original pasta bake.

So… I switched out the pasta for quinoa. This was definitely an experiment. I have cooked with quinoa numerous times and have a good feel about what flavours work best with it. And since tinned tuna has basically become a staple part of my diet, I have incorporated tuna into the dish as well (over the usual BBQ chicken and bacon). I also figured if I was trying to “healthify” my favourite dish to this extent, I should add broccoli as well.

Now to the sauce. I went for more of a buerre blanc style sauce instead a bechamel style sauce which is what the pasta bake I have at home normally consists of. Definitely losing health points here but hey, the flavour needs to come from somewhere.

In conclusion, I only post food that I believe is worth trying out for yourself so if i wasn’t happy with this, I would not have shared. Be brave and see how you go.

Quinoa Tuna Bake (serves 6, or 6 work lunches for 1)

What you’re going to need

1 cup quinoa, cooked to packet instructions

1/2 broccoli, roughly chopped in small pieces

2 tins 75g tuna (I used Greenseas Tuna in Oil but you can use the Springwater one as well)

cheddar cheese, for grating on top

Sauce

1/3 cup white wine (I use Sauvignon Blanc for cooking but up to you)

150ml cream (I use lactose free)

1-2 tablespoon butter (to taste)

sprinkle nutmeg

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius
  2. In a saucepan on a medium heat, add the wine and cook out the alcohol. Add the cream and butter and stir until well combined. Add the nutmeg and any seasoning.
  3. Add the cooked quinoa, broccoli and tuna to the sauce or vice versa (you will need a big saucepan for this) and mix until all the added ingredients are coated in the sauce.
  4. *** Add mixture into a large baking dish and distribute evenly. Top with grated cheddar  (i’ll leave you to decide how much cheese you want to add).
  5. Pop in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and darkened slightly. Serve warm.

quinoa-tuna-bake

*** If you don’t want cheese on top, then you can skip the oven steps. Another option for extra flavour is a homemade chunky breadcrumb to give the dish more texture.

 

Our Growing Edge December 2016 Round Up

Happy 2017! Hope everyone enjoyed the festive season. As part of celebrating the holidays as well as giving the blogging community a chance to share their creations, this month’s growing edge theme was Festive Feeds. As part of the community, we want to encourage everyone to get creative in the kitchen as well as share their marvellous creations to inspire others.

This month, we were lucky to have 18 submissions! Thanks so much to all the bloggers who submitted their creations.

Here is a showcase of all things festive by our community:

First up we have Terri’s Roasted Turkey & Black Current Brie Bites! These look so quick, easy and of course delicious! Also from Terri, we have some butter tarts which look divine!

The holiday fever continues with Cheat Sheet Home Maker’s North Pole Latte! I can imagine this being a perfect fit for a white Christmas! In the same league, another idea from Cheat Sheet Homemaker is using your leftover candy canes in your tea or coffee! A great way to add a minty sugary hit!

Next up, some more fruity flavours from Corina with her Apple Carpaccio.  I especially like this because it includes my current favourite food – pomegranate! For more fruit fusion during the holiday season be sure to try out candied orange peels by Ms Frugal Ears! Absolute genius idea.

This one is for the popcorn obsessed people (me) out there! From Julianna we have Coconut Curry Caramel Corn. Cannot wait to try this one out! Another great hit by Julianna is her Cranberry Pistachio Pate! Pate has become a recent fave for me as well and this looks delightful!!

Loved this winter warmer from Elaine which is a Pumpkin Pie. Have only eaten this dish once but I loved it and really want to eat it again. Fabulous! For more of your baking desires, you will want to whip up these Cinnamon Rolls from Maja! I know if I made these at home they would gone as soon as left the oven! Delicious.

For those who love roasts regardless of the temperature outside, please join me in admiring Patricia’s Roast Pork which looks so succulent and tender! Mmmmm. Another grand roast idea is From the Terrace Baker with Roasted Gammon 2 ways. The honey and mustard glaze looks completely on point and I would devour it all immediately.

Anyone who knows me personally will know that I love miniatures! From dosirakbento we have some beautifully decorated Christmas Cakes including one with a mini dining table Christmas setting including a turkey and mini bon bons!

As a chocolate fiend, I loved Tess’ Chocolate Crinkle Cookies made with Hershey’s! Hitting the sweet spot that’s for sure. From Tracey we have some Traditional German Christmas Ginger Butter Cookies! A great staple cookie recipe to have on hand whenever the sweet cravings kick in!

From the Our Growing Edge leader Genie, we have an incredible, fresh and vibrant Festive Lamb Salad ! Salads are perfect for a Summery Southern Hemisphere Christmas! Keeping on with the light and healthy approach to the festive season, we have Nicole’s collection of Christmas cooking! I really enjoyed her idea of stuffed mushrooms which serve as a perfect healthy side dish at a festive gathering!

And last but not least. for those who love the holiday spirit (as well as alcoholic spirits), you will enjoy Chandler’s Holiday Spirit Exchange providing an opportunity to share the merriment over good quality liquor.

Thank you again for your submissions! It was a pleasure being host this month and getting to share some really fabulous ideas and getting some inspiration for my own cooking! If you would like to know more about Growing Edge and be part of our monthly blogging event, check out Genie’s blog Bunny Eats Design for more info!

Our next month’s theme is Healthy Starts and is hosted by Terri over at Food Meanderings.

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