Sneak Peak at the Best Foods of Madrid, Southern France and Barcelona

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Just a sneak peak from our time in Madrid, St. Bauzille de la Slyve (Southern France) and Barcelona. San Sebastian sneak peak, descriptions and stories to follow!

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Fried Green Tomatoes

I mentioned yesterday that Nick and I bought green tomatoes on Monday so I decided to tackle making fried green tomatoes for the first time ever! I did some research (as always) before choosing a simple recipe from a blog called “Pretty Tasty Things.” I pretty much left this recipe alone other than adding in a little cayenne to the flour for some extra heat.

Whenever I batter and fry anything (which isn’t all that often), I look for a batter that uses flour and buttermilk as part of the dredging process. The flour is a perfect first step because it helps coat whatever you are frying so you get a true batter around everything. The buttermilk helps create the next step of the barrier and gives the outside layer some moisture to adhere to. The cornmeal and bread crumb outer layer creates a crunchy bite. So when I saw these in this recipe, I had to try it!

This recipe is relatively easy but the dredging can be a little tricky. I found using a fork to flip, cover and move the tomato slices from bowl to bowl was the easiest way. You can use your fingers but be careful to use one hand for the dry ingredients and one hand for the wet ingredients so you don’t end up with a gloppy mess!

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Ingredients

3 green tomatoes

1 cup of flour

1 cup of plain bread crumbs

1 cup of yellow cornmeal

1 cup of buttermilk

salt and pepper

cayenne

vegetable oil

Directions

Rinse and pat dry the green tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch thickness. Season both sides with salt.

(pictured above)

In three separate bowls, add flour to the first one with some salt and pepper, buttermilk to the second, and combine the breadcrumbs and cornmeal in the third.

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Taking a slice of tomato, lightly coat it in the flour, coat both sides with the buttermilk and then dredge into the breadcrumb/cornmeal mixture. Repeat process for all the slices.

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Heat a large skillet on medium heat with vegetable oil about 1/4-inch high. Once the oil is hot, gently place 5-6 slices into the pan. Let one side turn golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side, before turning it over.

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Remove and place on a baking rake to drip the excess oil. I kept mine in the oven until all the slices were fried (at 170 degrees).

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WW Points: 5 points for 2 slices

Don’t forget to try them with the buttermilk ranch dressing from yesterday’s post!

Red Rooster Harlem

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I decided to venture away from the apartment on this rainy afternoon for some comfort food. I ended up at Red Rooster Harlem which has become a favorite in recent months. This hot spot opened about two and half years ago and has played an integral role in transforming this neighborhood. Lenox is now speckled with eateries that are attracting a culturally diverse crowd.

This culinary destination in Harlem (just off of 125th on Lenox Ave) is the brainchild of star chef Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit in Midtown. While Aquavit offers a nod to his Swedish upbringing, Red Rooster connects to his southern roots resulting in a menu ranging from corn bread and yard bird to Helga’s meatballs.

Today, I opted for the Shrimp Po’boy with Old Bay potato chips and a market salad. The bun was perfectly toasted and buttered an filled with sweet shrimp dusted in a spicy rub. The potato chips, homemade no doubt, where crunchy with just a hint of Old Bay seasoning. All in all, not a bad choice for a delicious and comforting lunch on this rainy Friday afternoon.

Sunday Funday Round 3: Red Hook

Nick and I had to make a trip to the Ikea in Brooklyn on Sunday so we decided to make a day out of it by wandering around Red Hook afterwards. Red Hook is a little off the beaten path mostly because it’s not directly off any subway lines so we took advantage of having a car to get there!

Our first stop post-Ikea was a restaurant called The Good Fork. A few people from Haven’s Kitchen recommended I check it out and the fact that it was only a quarter-mile from Ikea made it a no brainer. We found a parking spot right out front (score!) and wandered in. It looked a little empty but then I noticed sunshine coming from the back of the restaurant outdoor seating! The backyard was packed but we were able to grab a table for two.

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Nick ordered a bloody mary made with clam juice (pictured above) and I ordered a French 75 (gin, sparkling wine and lemon). Both were unbelievable. We had an egg white omelette for breakfast so we weren’t starving. We decided to go with the bibb lettuce salad with a soft boiled egg and lardon. It even came with a piece of crispy sourdough bread to get all the yummy goodness that is a runny egg yolk!

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We also ordered a side of their homemade kimchi that was super spicy and super delicious! It was the perfect amount of food to keep us going!

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Next we wandered towards to the water to check out the views. We stumbled upon a Fairway and a few other spots. What initially drew us that way was Sunny’s Bar. We are huge Anthony Bourdain fans and he visited Sunny’s on the last episode of No Reservations. Bourdain filmed his last episode- Brooklyn- before Sandy hit. Sunny’s, like a lot of places in that episode, was devastated by the hurricane. Sunny’s still hasn’t reopened. I was honestly shocked to see so many places in Red Hook, not only open, but thriving. I was happy we were there and able to help the local businesses a bit! Here’s a picture of me about a block from Sunny’s:

IMG_5715Our next stop was right around the corner- Brooklyn Crab. We weren’t hungry at all but we decided to stop in for a beer.

IMG_5679We sat down at the bar inside (outdoor seating was for diners only) and ordered two Peak IPAs. Nick saw oysters on the menu and couldn’t resist! Sitting there, eating oysters and drinking a beer that reminds me of being on the beach in Maine made me feel a million miles away from the city. I will definitely be visiting this place again when I am in need of some time on the water!

IMG_5681The view of the water from our bar stools

IMG_5682Beer and oysters- two of my favorite things!

Our final stops of the day were the Red Hook Winery and Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies. Both are located on Pier 41 just a few minutes walk from Brooklyn Crab. I have seen Red Hook wines in a few places (and where I work) so I was really excited to see that they were open for tastings. They were almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy so to see them up and running (only their 3rd weekend open since Sandy) was amazing! We bought two bottles of wine before heading to Steve’s to pick up a small key lime pie to share. Another amazing Sunday Funday!

Corner Bistro

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Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a minor obsession with How I Met Your Mother- I own the first 7 seasons and watch it daily on my train rides to and from everywhere. I’m pretty sure at this point I could quote 85% of every episode.

Well I don’t have to work today and two of my girlfriends are coming over for dinner so I decided to venture down to Chinatown to get ingredients for one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes (post coming later). As I was heading downtown, I was watching the beginning of the 4th season of HIMYM (obviously) and happened to be at one of my favorite episodes ever- “The Best Burger in New York.” This episode focuses on Marshall’s obsession over finding the burger place he deemed the best burger in NY 8 years earlier but can only remember that it was on a numbered street. A stranger over hears him talking about it and tells him it’s the Corner Bistro. It’s not (according to Marshall).

Seeing that I was on a train headed to Chinatown around 1:30pm today, I hadn’t had lunch and would pass right by this restaurant, I decided it would be stupid not to get off the subway and try the burger. I realize that my last post was about being a “flexitarian” and that it is kind of hypocritical that I went and had a burger for lunch but I just had to know! Again, my daily struggle of living in the amazing city full of food wonders, being on a budget and being a member of WW all while trying to eat locally and sustainably…

I had been to the Corner Bistro twice before but only for drinks- it is one of the only places in New York where you can get a pint of beer for $3.00 at any time of the day. Nick and I used to go the first summer we were dating back when we were still in college and poorer than poor.

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I haven’t been in a while because 1) I will pay more for a good drink (not cheap beer) and 2) I don’t eat burgers or red meat all that often. Well today I tried their cheeseburger and it was worth the trip. Not sure if it’s the best in New York but, then again, I haven’t tried too many burgers in New York.

For only $7.75 (great deal in NY but I understand that that might seem like a lot of a burger with no sides), it was an amazing burger. I put it together with thinly sliced onions, a thick slice of tomato, one leaf of lettuce and two pickles and was convinced I wouldn’t be able to take a bite because it was SO big.

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I finally got a bite and decided I couldn’t put it down out of fear that the whole thing would fall apart. It was juicy, perfectly cooked and the flavors were amazing. For anyone who has seen this episode, Marshall’s monologue at the end, when he finally finds the burger, is the perfect description!

Next time you’re in New York and wandering around the Village, stop by, sit at the bar and order the cheeseburger with a $3 pint of McSorley’s. You won’t be disappointed!

Sunday Funday in the City

I posted about my Sunday Funday last weekend in BK so I figured I would post about my Sunday Funday this past weekend. Sunday is usually the day I spend with Nick because we’re both so busy during the week (I work nights and he works Monday-Friday 9-5 and then has grad school on Saturdays). This past weekend we bounced all over the city starting with a brunch at the Breslin.

As I mentioned in my post on Sunday about my cocktail, the Breslin has become one of our favorite brunch spots. There are TONS of brunch restaurants throughout the city that offer unlimited cocktails when you buy a meal aka bottomless brunch. This, unfortunately, is not one of them but the fact that we keep going back should be a testament to how amazing the food is. The have an untraditional traditional menu. Essentially, all the brunch favorites with a delicious twist. I have had everything from the pancakes to the lamb burger to the full English breakfast. I have never been disappointed.

This time we visited with some of Nick’s colleagues to celebrate his friend Eleanor’s birthday. Here’s a peak at some of the things we ordered:

IMG_5451 The caesar salad is the best I have ever had. A chef I worked with at Eataly first told me about it and he was not lying!

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Selection of breakfast pastries- hot cross buns, croissant, cranberry/orange muffin and bran muffin

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Nick’s Full English Breakfast

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My Lamb Burger with trice cooked fries (they didn’t last long enough for me to get a picture!)

The next stop in our Sunday Funday was a place in Inwood that I have been wanting to check out. I live in Washington Heights– a place that most people outside of NYC have never heard of and a place where New Yorkers ask “Really?”. I have lived here for almost 3 years and I love it. It doesn’t have a great reputation because before 10 years ago it was extremely dangerous with one of the highest crimes rates in the city. Like most of New York, though, it is changing. I have seen the beginning of gentrification before my eyes and it’s an exciting thing to be a part of. Inwood is even further uptown!

La Marina has been open for years but recently switched ownership and underwent a major make over. It is a lot like the 79th Street Boat Basin but less fratty and it has better views! I read tons of reviews before visiting and I didn’t have high expectations at all. I must say, it surprised me! I was very impressed with the crowd, the views, the food and the drinks.

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Bottle of bubbly to start of the experience

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Salad with balsamic

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Calamari

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Yucca fries- we ordered seconds and had to restrain from ordering more…

The sun started to set and it started to get cold so we decided to head home. Lauren headed back to her place (she recently moved to Washington Heights because she loved it up here so much!) and Nick, his friend and I headed downtown. Nick and I follow the New York Times restaurant reviews and a few weeks ago Pete Wells reviewed a Filipino restaurant in the East Village called Jeepney. Nick visited a good friend of ours in the Philippines a year and a half ago so he has been wanting to check this place out. Although we had already eaten a TON we decided to head downtown and give it a try!

We had to wait for a table for a little while so we decided to have some drinks in the front waiting area. Nick ordered a Filipino version of a Michelada and I ordered a Filipino sangria made with cardamom!

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I let Nick do all the ordering because he was more familiar with the food. We decided to order some hot Banana Ketchup Wings and Balut to start.

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The wings were spicy and delicious and the balut was scary (ha!). Balut is essentially a hard boiled egg that is made by boiling a duck egg with a semi-developed embryo inside (usually around 17 days old). It’s a bizarre food but I had to try it. Nick ordered one for himself and I decided to steal a bite of his instead of jumping in head first and ordering my own.

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Cracking it open from the top

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About to try my first bite. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be- just not sure I would order it again!

Next up was the Bicol and Pancit Malabok Negra. I preferred the Bicol but everything was amazing! The Bicol is slow-roasted pork shoulder with coconut milk, sili (chili), bagoong sauce (Filipino fish sauce), vigan longganisa (pork sausage), pickled chili and baby bok choy.

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Pancit- rice noodles, squid ink, shrimp, hard boiled egg, calamari, oysters, scallops, baby octopus, tinapa (smoked fish), smoked tofu and chicharon

I was so full by the end but we ended up ordering a traditional Filipino dessert to finish off our day of over eating. Nick got us Halo Halo which reminded me of a traditional Vietnamese dessert we used to eat all the time called Che.

IMG_5504Shaved ice, coconut gelatin, house candied fruit, coconut milk, homemade flan, ube ice cream and rice krispies

All in all it was a great day! Maybe my next Sunday Funday will be a little healthier…

Last Lunch in Atlanta

My mom and I set out Friday to do some shopping. It was a rainy and cold day so we figured it was as good a time as any to be inside a mall. Our first stop, however, was for lunch at Star Provisions. I posted quickly on Friday about my cold-brewed coffee but that was just a small part of the experience. I ordered a pork belly banh mi. It was a little oily (but then again, it’s pork belly) but the flavors were perfect!

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My mom ordered a Mediterranean salad that was full of vegetables, chick peas, lentils and more.

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Star Provisions reminded me a lot of Haven’s Kitchen in that it has a cute café section as well as a retail section. They had some cute but kind of over priced kitchen gadgets!

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They also had an entire wall dedicated to candy, which made me think of my little sister, Hannah.

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All in all it was a great first stop for our day of shopping in ATL!

Breslin Cocktail

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Nick and I had brunch with some of his colleagues today at the Breslin. This has become one of our favorites brunch spots in recent months. The food is solid and the drink list is different (in the best way possible). Today, I opted for the “This is Happening”- a rye whiskey based drink.

Rye is a whiskey made with at least 51% rye instead of the traditional malted barley. It is very similar to traditional whiskey but has more of a spicy and fruity flavor. This cocktail was made with rye, Benedictine (a medicinal aromatic herbal beverage), Oloroso Sherry (oloroso means “scented” in Spanish), and aromatic bitters- very Manhattan/Old Fashinoed-esque.

Go-Go-Gi

Today has been a whirl wind and I apologize for lack of posts! I flew back to NYC, had a quick turn around at my apartment and now I’m heading into Haven’s Kitchen to work a wedding. I wrote a few posts while I was traveling and wanted to get them up before work but I just ran out of time. The good news? Ill be posting tomorrow! First Sunday posts ever!

This is what I decided to grab as a quick lunch/dinner before heading downtown to work. I used to get food from Go-Go-Gi Korean BBQ when I lived in my old apartment about 1/2 mile away from my new place. Now, Go-Go-Gi is right across the street! I look out of my bedroom window and there it is. I love almost everything on the menu but my go-to is the Go-Go-Gi Chicken. For $7.99, it’s a steal!

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Served with grilled vegetables, rice, special hot sauce and kimchi