Monday, October 24, 2011

Spicy Chicken and Potato Curry

These days, I find myself checking out the Whole Foods website for the weekly sales about a half hour before I leave work then plotting my evening meal.  A few weeks ago, I was extremely successful with my version of this recipe.  Instead of beef, I used boneless chicken thighs.  The recipe on the website is essentially perfect – I just had to substitute one ingredient.

½ onion, chopped
2 serrano chiles (remove seeds for a milder curry)
3 cloves garlic
1 tbs peanut or expeller-pressed canola oil
1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tsp fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 ¼ tsps coriander seeds
1 ¼ tsps ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
½ tsp sugar
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves

In a blender, combine onion, chiles, garlic and ½ cup water and blend until smooth. Set aside.

In a large skillet with a tightly fitting lid, heat oil over high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt. Add the chicken pieces to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Set aside.  Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add cinnamon, coriander, cumin and turmeric; stir for 10 seconds and then add the onion and chile mixture. 

Simmer for 1 minute and then stir in coconut milk, tomatoes and sugar. (The tomatoes added a texture that I didn’t love, so I’ll probably leave them out next time.) Add the chicken back in, cover the skillet, and simmer 40 minutes.  Stir in potatoes and continue to simmer until chicken and potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes more; remove the lid during last 10 minutes of simmering if you would like a thicker sauce. Remove cinnamon stick. When you taste the curry, you’ll definitely want to add more salt.

After adding enough salt, I decided to taste it, but ended up eating it as though it were soup.  I then had another bowl with rice.  This curry was amaaaazing! Thank you Whole Foods!

Hungry yet?

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Where do I even begin?! Last year was the first time I heard about Smorgasburg. I’m not sure what prevented me from making it to Williamsburg last summer, but this year I’ve already been to Smorgasburg THREE times and I’m pretty sure I can get one more visit in before it ends in November. Smorgasburg is a delightful food market on the Williamsburg Waterfront. It happens every Saturday on the Williamsburg waterfront between North 6th and North 7th St., at the East River, from 10am to 5pm. There is also a Greenmarket with 5-10 farmers.  Part of the reason I went so many times is because of an amazing Gilt City deal that gave me access to more food than I probably should have consumed each day.  Lucky for me each time I was accompanied by fantastic friends that also had an appetite.  We tried a variety of items each time and I was left wanting more. By far my favorite each time was the Lobster Roll at Red Hook Lobster Pound.

That is the Maine style served cold with mayonnaise and perfectly seasoned. It costs $16! Thankfully my Gilt City tickets helped me out. $16 is pretty steep but I must say they pack it with LOTS of lobster so it might actually be worth it.

The Connecticut style served hot with butter was also delicious, but IMHO not as good.  Bite Size Kitchen also provided some exquisite eats.

Grilled Chicken Wings with Red Curry Sauce.  The chicken was tender and the spiciness was perfect. They also had pork buns, which I was told were good but a little salty.

The meatballs got rave reviews.  Juicy and well seasoned.

My first trip, I didn’t make it to Asia Dog, but Ms. O and Mr. M did.  Asia Dog had a lot of great selections.

Ms. O and Mr. M ordered the Mel & Steve and The Vinh.  

They were very satisfied with their purchase.  On another trip, I ordered The Mash.

It was so good, I ordered it twice!  The chips were a great crunch on my chicken hot dog and the combination of spicy ketchup and jalapeno mustard was perfect!  Bestie ordered The Ginny.

She loved every bite! I was especially pleased with Asia Dog because they offered so many different types of hot dogs.  As a non-beef eater, it was great to have the chicken option! Ms. O and Mr. M also stopped by the Brooklyn Oyster Party.  They were able to sample 3 delightful treats. 

Cooks Cove from Malpeque Bay, P.E.I., Canada, Beau Soleil from New Brunswick, Canada and Malpeque from Prince Edward Island, Canada.  Apparently the taste was just like the description. 

We also stopped by Kumquat Cupcakery for a quick cupcake break.  There was a wonderful display of delicious treats.

I couldn’t help myself and quickly devoured a couple of Red Velvet Cupcakes. 

I stayed away from the Bacon cupcakes, but I’m sure others would be interested.  By far the most disappointing thing I ate was the Fish Taco at Choncho’s Tacos.

It was dry and flavorless.  The best part of it was the cilantro. The corn tortilla was dryer than usual the fish was lacking…quite frankly it just plain sucked. I thought maybe the fried cod was just a bad choice, but Bestie tried the grilled salmon.  It was so dry that the salmon was almost brown – not a hint of pink. She choked on it!! It was quite frightening to see her struggling. I couldn’t believe how terrible it was.  Thankfully Salud! provided delicious smoothies and eventually washed away the painful experience. One of the best parts of Smorgasburg was Dough.  

When we walked into the gated area, there was a long line forming by Dough’s stand.  Ms. A had warned me before hand and also told me this was a must have. 

Based on this display, there was no way I could leave without getting my mouth on a donut. I devoured the Lemon Poppyseed, but also enjoyed the Cinnamon Sugar donut holes.  

Ms. O also let me sample her Blood Orange.  

The donuts were fantastic! Everything I hoped for and more.  Sweet but not overwhelming.  The second time around, I was too stuffed to eat it so I ended up having it for breakfast the next morning.  Awesome, much?

Smorgasburg is AMAZING! I highly recommend you head over to Williamsburg before they close up for this year.  For more pictures of the various treats, check out the facebook page.

Hungry yet?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shrimp Fajitas with Cilantro Rice and Black Beans

Mr. J returned to NYC a few weeks ago! To celebrate his arrival, I made quite the tasty dinner. I've wanted to make Shrimp Fajitas for a while now. When I saw a recipe in the June 2011 Cosmo magazine, I decided to make my version of the recipe.

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
½ red bell pepper, julienned
½ orange belle pepper, julienned
1 small red onion, julienned
1 jalapeno, minced

In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 3 ingredients. Add shrimp, and toss to coat. Put the shrimp in the fridge for at least 10 minutes. Heat a large skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Add peppers and onions. 

Sauté until tender, about 7 to 8 minutes then remove and place in a separate bowl. Add the shrimp with marinade. Cook shrimp about 2 minutes on each side.

Mix the shrimp with the peppers and onions.

Done! I served it in tortillas with a side of black beans and cilantro rice.  Mr. J was quite pleased, as was I. 

Another successful dinner!

Hungry yet?

Monday, October 10, 2011


My trip to DC wouldn't be complete without seeing Mr. K. He met Ms. O and me for brunch at Nage. I chose Nage because of the opportunity to use my Scoutmob discount. It is located in a hotel so I was a little skeptical but figured it would be worth it. Our waitress forgot our order and brought us the wrong things and also took extremely long before she came to ask for our order. Eventually all was well and food arrived. Mr. K and I ordered the Smoked Salmon Frittata.

The eggs were cooked with red onion, tomato and dill. The dish was served with soffrito potatoes and a choice of toast. I went with English Muffin. The eggs tasted great. The balance of flavors was excellent. It did not taste too fishy which sometimes happens with smoked salmon. The potatoes were pretty good but I was slightly disappointed because when I saw soffrito I thought they'd be stewed or at least more flavorful.  Ms. O ordered Buttermilk Pancakes and a side of eggs. 

Her pancakes arrived with cinnamon-bourbon butter, which was apparently very flavorful. I've been thinking about trying more butter flavors so I might make that one sometime soon.

The food at Nage is good. I wasn't even that upset when I realized I forgot to use my Scoutmob. The service was somewhere between bad and awful but thankfully that didn't affect the quality of the food. I recommend trying Nage. Especially if you remember to use Scoutmob!

Hungry yet?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Busboys and Poets

I don't know how I've gone to DC so many times but never visited Busboys and Poets. Thankfully Ms. S made sure that this trip would include a visit. I arrived at the U Street location on 14th street a little early and spent quite some time admiring the space. There are multiple seating options including traditional tables, couches and a few things in between. I also explored the bookstore, which had some inspiring books, and I had to resist buying everything in there. When Ms. S arrived we were sitting in the room with the stage. The menu reminded me of a diner menu because it had so many options. I ordered the French Toast, eggs, and turkey sausage.

The French Toast looked really dry when it arrived and I wasn't sure I would enjoy it. Looks definitely deceive because it tasted incredible! The turkey sausage and eggs were pretty standard fare. Though I must admit that any restaurant with turkey sausage gets extra points from me! Ms. S was far more adventurous. She ordered the Peanut Butter Panini.

Yup! She sure did. It was filled with banana slices and honey. She really enjoyed it but did state it was too bready. I will say the sweet potato fries were delicious!!

My first trip to Busboys and Poets will certainly not be my last. I look forward to dining there for other meals and also attending an open mic night or two.

Hungry yet?

Busboys and Poets on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lupe Cantina

After good times at the spot next door we were famished! The manager or owner of Lupe Cantina stopped us outside and asked our group to come in. We negotiated a pretty good deal and decided to enter. The menu had a lot of options but our table ended up with a lot of repeats.

The Soft Tacos were my dish of choice.

I requested the flour tortillas stuffed with chicken. It included lettuce, cilantro, onions and pico de gallo. I wasn't expecting much but the chicken was surprisingly well seasoned. It was served with rice and beans which only made it better.  Ms. S and her Mr. K ordered the Chicken taquitos.

Three corn tortillas rolled with marinated chicken and deep fried.  They definitely enjoyed it. A little crunch goes a long way. Enchiladas were also a favorite at our table. 

Corn tortillas green or red lupe sauce. It was served with rice and refried beans.  Mr. S ordered the Fajitas.

The sizzling platter of sweet peppers, onions and cilantro was served with three tortillas, rice and refried beans. Ms. G and Mr. S ordered the Chicken nachos.

I must admit I had a little food envy when their Molcajete plate arrived.  The homemade tortillas chips were topped with refried beans, melted mozzarella, lettuce, guacamole, salsa, jalapeños, queso fresco and sour cream. Presentation wise, this was definitely one if the better looking dishes that we ordered.

Overall Lupe Cantina was uninspiring. The food was fine but I've eaten a better version of each dish elsewhere. The atmosphere is lively and if you bring the right group of people with you, you could end up staying there for a while. That's exactly what we did.

Hungry yet?

Lupe Mexican Cantina on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Since she absconded the NYC jurisdiction earlier this year, Ms. S is now one of my DMV peeps. She was taking a leisurely lunch so she joined me for a feast at Meiwah. In my quest to find a restaurant halfway between us, I discovered Meiwah.  

It was still warm enough so we sat outside. It was pretty crowded but didn't take too long for our waitress to stop by and take our order. Although I generally don't like to share, it seemed the logical thing to do at a place where I wanted everything off the menu. We started with the Combination Lo Mein.

It's usually a mixture of beef, chicken and shrimp. We went beefless and it was still fantastic. I have to admit any place that thinks to offer a combination ranks high on my list. I mean why should I have to choose?! We also ordered the Hunan chicken.

Spectacular! The flavors were right and the crunch assured me that the veggies were fresh not frozen. At the end of the meal our plates were empty. My mouth is watering a little as I write this entry. They were kind enough to bring us a few slices of orange after they cleared our plates. They looked so good that I ate some before I photographed it. Oops!

Meiwah definitely hit the spot. It is the perfect place for lunch. Though I don't know that I would want to go back to work as full as I felt, but it was too hard to resist cleaning my plate.

Hungry yet?

Meiwah on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

White and Church

Last June, I had the pleasure of attending the soft opening for White and Church. I found the menu on NY Magazine's webpage and hoped that I'd get a chance to sample a few items. Unfortunately, the star of that evening was the 60 option cocktail menu. Nevertheless I was in love with the space. The dramatically high ceilings, the well lit bar area that was thankfully not backed by a mirror and the two elevated semi private alcoves. I vowed to come back and try the food. Another opportunity arrived a few weeks ago when I received an invitation to the fall grand opening. At that event, White and Church had introduced its projector.

Italian films with subtitles were projected on one of the walls. It was something like an art installation. That night, I fell in love with the Fried Polenta.  A few days later I returned for a press dinner and for the first time, I saw White and Church as it should be. A glorious modern space that was elegant and classic yet had a comfortable "I could eat here everyday" feel. I was extremely excited when I saw the tasting menu.  We started with a Tomato and Bread soup.

The chef Matteo Boglione sent this dish out to "open our stomachs" for the meal to come. The aroma of fresh basil instantly drew me in. The soup was perfect. If I've learned anything from eating at Italian restaurants, it's the importance of the tomato. The tomato was definitely the star in this dish and it shined brightly. The next item on the tasting menu was Stuffed Green Olives.

A fried green olive stuffed with pork, veal and pistachio mortadella. Since I don't eat any of the proteins in that particular dish, Matteo was kind enough to provide me with a Farro Salad.

Yum-my! A plate of farro, baby artichokes, pecorino cheese and tomato confit…all for me! If you’ve been reading my blog you know I’m not a salad eater. This salad was a big shocker because I actually thought it was delicious! Next up was my absolute favorite dish the Pecorino Cheese Crème Brulee.

This dish was amazing. It was extremely sweet yet filling. I am definitely adding pecorino to my list of cheeses!  We received a welcome addition to our menu in the form of my love, the Fried Polenta.

What I don’t understand about this amazing dish is how something fried and crispy can still be light and fluffy.  Matteo really out did himself this time. The Fried Polenta was served with Parmesan Cheese Fondue.  The sweetness of the Parmesan is perfect for the polenta., which is why I sent it for a little swim :)

I was also pleased with the Artichoke Croquettes.

They were chillingly good. No, seriously, I got goosebumps! The saffron sauce, burrata cheese and black truffle shavings melded well together. The truffle scent was predominant but not overpowering.  The Farfalle Pasta was another venture into heaven.

Of course the pasta was al dente. The tomatoes, arugula and pesto were well blended yet distinct and the pecorino cheese left me with a “holy cow!” feeling. By the time the Burrata Cheese Ravioli arrived, I thought I was no longer interested in eating.

But it smelled so good; I almost ate it without photographing it first! I definitely wanted another bite of this one and stared at my empty plate for quite some time.  Luckily the Tuna Steak arrived shortly after.

It was served with eggplant cream, fried artichokes, caramelized black olives and basil oil.  I was so full at that point but still managed to eat every bite of this dish.  Thankfully that was the end of our entrées.  The deep fried rice ball was extremely sweet.

Definitely not something I would order, but I can see why others would want it. I mean who turns down sugar?  The chocolate cake was far more interesting to me!

Creamy deliciousness. I could have eaten the whole thing by myself.  

White and Church is really a fantastic restaurant. It has blossomed in the last 3 months and I really hope it continues to grow. A lot of the focus is on the astounding cocktail list. That’s all good and well, but a restaurant is about food! I hope White and Church doesn’t suffer the fate of its predecessor. Matteo is a talented chef. The menu has a lot of variety and something to please everyone. His price point is also currently extremely low. Right now he is practically giving the food away! I’m looking forward to returning soon to eat larger portions and sample a few of the items that weren’t on our menu.

Hungry yet?

White and Church on Urbanspoon