Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fast Food Revelation

As you can imagine, I am not a big chain restaurant connoisseur. But over the past few weeks, I have been  pleasantly surprised with our classic American on-the-go eateries. I have stumbled upon some shocking revelations at these cheap eats, only known to me for its "super-sizing" of processed, unhealthy, oily, greasy foods.

Epiphany #1. 
After living in my current place for about a year now, I recently noticed a McDonald's down my street. I honestly thought to myself, who would ever go there? The very next night, walking home from dinner with a friend who lives on the opposite corner of 6th Avenue and West 4th Street raved about their iced coffee, so much to the point that she forced me inside to taste. You have to understand, I am a true tea drinker, but there is something about the change in weather in New York City. That first break of sunshine and warmth that makes me crave iced coffee ALL summer long. This, my friends, was the best thing that I could have come across that evening. Not to mention the cheapest. I shall return.
Epiphany #2. 
I was having one of those mornings- woke up late, no time for breakfast, running out the door. I found myself at a Starbucks uptown just to grab my morning tea...and then my stomach growled. I immediately noticed their breakfast sandwiches (again, something that I usually ignore: ready-made food that has to be heated up doesn't usually settle in my mind too well. Not too mention what really could be in those sandwiches??).  I next saw that the calories and fat content were written right there AND there was a reduced-fat Turkey Bacon with egg whites on a whole grain english muffin. I died and went to heaven.  I asked for mine without cheese and forgot about where I was off running to. I picked up the Post and sat down to enjoy. Delish

Epiphany #3. 
Just yesterday I was running from one audition to the next and found myself with thirty minutes to spare. I saw a local Starbucks and made my way over for a coffee break. It was, again, nice sunny day. One that only gets me craving some sort of frosty frapp, or some other wasted caloric drink just terribly wrong for you. I got in line and looked at the menu. [Ahhhhhhhhhh] Enlightening! Posted calories. NO WAY?? I quickly snapped out of it and ordered their regular iced coffee with sugar-free vanilla for only 60 calories (vs. their Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino Light at 140 calories) and carried on with my day.  THIS IS GENIUS, I thought. This needs to be at every fast-food chain. 

I remember rumors of a proposed city ruling a while back to require food establishments with some certain number of outlets to post calories. Starbucks and Subway have already gotten on this, but it seems the city keeps hitting bumps in the road to get this passed. Delayed two days ago, yet again.  I could only imagine that other fellow New Yorkers are thirsty for this info as well?? I'm not trying to say that The Waverly Inn should have calories posted next to their truffled mac and cheese, but I do think that the fast-food chains should be required to do so in our country full of obesity. Grub Street recently wrote that IHOP also offers caloric information next to each menu item. Apparently posting that their omelettes range from 1,150 to 1,490 calories doesn't seem to bother the guests. Sadly, not surprising.  To us healthy people, calories count.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Perfect Saturday Afternoon Snack

The Artichoke. 
Facts: a low calorie food, a fat free food, a cholesterol free food, low in sodium, a good source of fiber, a good source of vitamin C, a good source of folate, and a good source of magnesium. Steam it. Grill it. Stuff it. Saute it. Bake it. Fry it. Dip it. EAT IT.  

Most people seem to be slightly intimidated by the artichoke. They just have no idea what to do with this grenade-looking vegetable. A friend recently admitted that she started to eat the petals whole at a dinner and was somehow able to convince the rest of her table it was the way to go. It wasn't until someone finally admitted that she had been knawing for quite some time and her jaw was starting to hurt that they realized they were way off. Once you master the "eating an artichoke" technique, you will never turn back. 

Official Guide to Eating an Artichoke:
Pull off the outer petals one at a time. Dip the base into a sauce or melted butter. Pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy portion of the petal. Discard the remaining petal. Continue until all petals have been removed and you find yourself at a fork in the road. Confused. Unsure of where to turn next? You've made it, my friends, to the heart. Spoon out the fuzzy center and discard. Cut the tender heart into pieces, dip into your sauce or butter and seriously enjoy. 

Okay. Now that you've got an overview of this great thing we like to eat, back to my perfect Saturday afternoon snack. After preparing the artichoke by running under cold water to wash, cutting off the the top quater and clipping the petals, steam the artichoke by placing it a few inches above boiling water. Using a steam basket is ideal. Cover and and steam 25 to 45 minutes or until a petal near the center pulls off easily. I like to add a garlic clove, lemon slice and a bay leaf to the bowling water for additional flavor. 

Meanwhile, take a stick of butter out of the fridge in order to soften to room temperature. Once softened, crush and mince a garlic clove and add to about three Tbsp of the softened butter for dipping. 

Enjoy with an ice cold refreshing beer. Again, the perfect Saturday afternoon snack.  

Sunday, April 6, 2008

New Fav

"BOBO- derived from the melding of 'Bohemian' and 'Bourgeoisie'- refers to a group of people who straddle the creative Bohemian realm and the Bourgeoisie world of economic achievement...this 100-seat restaurant was inspired by European dinner parties, celebrating the shared experience of dining with family and friends in a warm setting.  So that, at 5 o'clock in the morning, your guests haven't even considered leaving." 

Dirty vodka martini, amuse bouche of sweet potato puree on a parmesan cracker, mushroom risotto, wild striped bass with blood orange, endive and parsnip, and the most amazing chocolate souflee I have ever come across. Nuf said. Go tomorrow.

Cookie Cracked

Have I expressed to you my true infatuation for a good cookie? Well in the case that you are unaware, I am a cookie monster. I'm talking a lean mean fighting cookie-craving machine. A cookie maven, a cookie master, a cookie freak. A professional cookie taster. The powerhouse of...okay, you get it. Where did this come from one may ask?? I have to be honest, it's in the genes. I got my dreaded sweet tooth from my mother- it was always in the cards. C'est la vie! How can one pass up a gooey, chunky, decadent, oat-y baked treat at any time of the day? This, of course, is why I created my own version. On the healthier side, my cookies are made with a wholesome blend of flours, oats, unrefined sugars, some with dried fruits and nuts, some with decadent organic chocolate, and they are the perfect size to indulge sans the guilt! Sound too good to be true? Try them for yourself! Check out my latest flavor, Fruit and Nutz, with your morning coffee at Cafe Angelique

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fare-well New York...

One of my very best friends is leaving the city...and getting married! We moved here together four years ago from college and have experienced practically every New York moment together.We are going to miss her dearly. This past weekend was her last. What would you do on your final days in this city?!??!  Base them around fine fare, of course! We started Friday evening off at The Bowery Hotel for cocktails and headed down the street to her going away party at the East Village Yacht Club.  Saturday was spent recovering, only to prepare for Sunday's wedding shower with a 5-course high tea at noon at The Inn at Irving Place. This was just divine. We pretended to be grown-ups with champagne upon arrival, tea sandwiches of smoked salmon with dill cream cheese on pumpernickel, goat cheese and sun-dried tomato on 7 grain, smoked turkey and cranberry on brioche and cucumber with mint creme fraiche on brioche. A third course of scones was served with clotted cream and
preserves, followed by a 24-layer crepe cake with fresh berries and assorted cookies and chocolate covered strawberries to finish.  We continued on to Hotel Gansevoort for cocktails on their rooftop only to finish our day at The Spotted Pig for their Pub Ale, Sheep's Ricotta Gnudi with Brown Butter and Sage, Devils on Horseback and burgers. One cannot forget about the Pumpkin Salad with Pecorino and Pinenuts, and a couple of orders of their Brussel Sprouts. Now that's what I call an ultimate Sunday in Manhattan.  Her final fare will be spent at our Nolita sushi spot, Mottsu, tomorrow evening where we have fancied one too many glasses of wine and spicy tuna rolls. Oh, with crunchies please. 

Our dearest Dareth, New York will not be the same with you. You will be missed, but I know that you will just eat up your new life in the BIG D!