Friday, January 29, 2010

anthos, revisited

I'm a firm believer in rating a restaurant in terms of their consistency. Their ability to routinely deliver fabulous food, night after night, day after day, service after service. Accountability is something I take very seriously in all aspects of my life. You've got to be dependable. I have to be able to trust you before I let you in. And restaurants are certainly no different. Especially during Restaurant Week.

Anthos is like my predominately Greek, mostly Mediterranean rock. Each and every time I've been so lucky as to indulge in Michael Psilakis's food, I'm moved. By the eloquence and enchantment of his food. It's difficult to simply label his cuisine as Greek because while there are certainly constant reminders of his roots (feta, mint, olives are quite apparent) they're used with restraint and thoughtfulness. Each dish is sprinkled with a whisper of Opa to remind you of Psilakis's perpetual source of inspiration; his passion.

And boy oh boy can the man cook and create with invigorating passion.

Shortly after you're seated, a platter of small bites are presented before you: tiny lamb meatballs sitting atop tzatziki, chickpea fritters dipped in a lemon confit aioli, fried pitas the size of a quarter are served with a dollop of taramosalata and a small dish of marinated olives armed with toothpicks to attack. Dip, swirl, and nibble your way through the thoughtful selection as you graze through your menu. Smile at your impeccably dressed dinner date.

An amuse bouche was then sent out from the chef: a shot glass of warm butternut squash soup with truffle. One sniff of the soup and you're nearly punched in the face with the intoxicating aroma of truffle meets sweetness. Even as a person indifferent to soup, I could have been happily served a bowl of this daily. And lick the darn bowl clean.

To start, I chose the house cured gravlax with greek yogurt, kalamata olive and lemon. An obvious choice for me -- I can't turn down raw or cured fish. It's a near physical impossibility. Simple, clean, and lovely. The somewhat salty salmon was particularly enjoyable when delicately dragged through the creamy and tangy greek yogurt. A dish that I'd love to try and recreate for a special dinner sometime soon.

On the other side of my table for two, sheep's milk ricotta dumplings with spinach, leek, and feta arrived. When it was my turn to gently press my fork into one of these beyond delicate dumplings and swirl it around this beyond creamy sauce, I swooned. I could have bathed in this sauce. For days. So rich yet somehow light and sinfully delicious. I wanted an over sized bowl to my selfish self.
Every time I've been to Anthos during Restaurant Week, I've ordered fish. But this year, I threw everyone for a loop and ordered the roasted chicken with walnut, feta, olive tapenade, oyster mushroom and squash. Something about tender roasted chicken on a decidedly bitter and windy night, spoke to me. Enticed me. And so I went with it. Superiorly juicy with hints of cinnamon and a mysterious sweetness from what I think was a thin slice of apple. An extraordinarily comforting dish.
A Fred Flinstone-eque pork shank was served up across from me: slow braised pork shank with fennel, trahana, orange, and green olives. The meat collapsed off the bone as soon as a fork was within hovering distance. Ridiculously soft and tender and when I was served my perfect bite, I was sure to have a piece of cool, razor thin cucumber in the mix. My eyes shut. I exhaled slowly. Then looked up and smiled as I sipped my Greek rose which had wild strawberries for days wafting on the nose.

Alas, it was time for dessert. The course which I never have room for nor ever really care for. But when it's a yogurt mousse with pineapple and mint, you understand why there's an exception to every rule. Not the least bit too sweet, in fact, most of the sweetness was delivered via the tiny golden cubes of naturally sugary pineapple and cut by a delicate chiffonade of mint. Three gorgeously silky bites and I was officially spent.

The approachable inventiveness of the food at Anthos is what keeps me coming back again and again and again. Psilakis is certainly pushing boundaries but keeps them within a delicious yet unintimidating realm. And I really, truly, 110% urge each and every one of you to enter it.

FOOD (now out of 40*): 38

SERVICE (now out of 30*): 29

LOOK (now out of 20*): 18

VIBE (now out of 10*): 8


*I feel as if this new breakdown will deliver more appropriate results. Food and service are far superior, in my book, to look and vibe, and will therefore weigh heavier.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

one year old

Thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for reading, for commenting, for forwarding, for listening, for clicking, for caring, for making this one of my best years to date.

Time sure as heck flies when you're having fun. And I can't even begin to tell you how much fun it's been for me to have this lovely little place as a creative outlet; as an arena for me to have my passion and voice seen and heard. You know that "happy place" that people talk about? This is undoubtedly my happy place. And I thank all of you for allowing and encouraging me to share it with you.

So in light of my baby's first birthday, I thought we could take a look back at some of my favorite posts of the year. A celebratory stroll down that ole' memory lane...


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

a celebratory mood

Tomorrow just happens to be a very special day here on Eat and Greet and to gear us all up for it, I propose popping some bubbly tonight in anticipation. Prosecco, Cava, Sparkling Vouvray or Rose, Champagne, or even a Sparkling Shiraz if you're feeling adventuresome. If not in the name of Eat and Greet, for the sake of making it through Hump Day. Me? I'm eyeing a bottle of NV Botter Extra Dry Prosecco.

Pop, pour, cheers!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


This might look and sound like a bit of a smorgasbord on a plate, but, actually, I suppose that's exactly what it was. After skiing a couple of weeks ago, there was nothing more I wanted to come home to than a cozy meal and then wrap myself in a heated fleece blanket and sip on Cahors. And when I get something like that in my head, I have no choice but to make it my reality.

So as soon as we got home and I shimmied out of my ski pants, I got to slicing a large yellow onion which got tossed into a cast iron pan with a dash of olive oil. I started to slowly caramelize these guys and when they got to a softened state, I poured in a bit of Sierra Nevada to deglaze the pan with a dash of balsamic vinegar. A sprinkling of sugar, salt, and fresh cracked pepper and they turned into a serious condiment. After cooling, I added a generous dollop of dijon mustard and chopped parsley. Stirred it up and set it aside.

We had Swedish hot dogs in the freezer (I promise you these are unlike any hot dogs you've ever had. Super snappy casing and uber flavorful) so I got a pot of water simmering to slip them into while I simultaneously cut up some new potatoes for a quick potato salad: mayo, dijon, tons of dill, and red onion.

I warmed up french baguettes, cut them down to size, slathered them with the onion-mustard-relish and inserted a hot dog. Out of the fridge came Swedish Cucumbers, the perfect accompaniment to almost any plate and I threw together a tomato salad with campari's and a quick vinaigrette.

Served up alongside an icy cold beer we quietly wolfed down our plates. Or at least I did. I had a heated blanket and glass of Cahors with my name on it, patiently waiting for my satisfyingly sore après-ski body.

village voice choice eats 2010

Well, believe it or not, it's already that time of year again. Time to start training your stomachs for all you will consume at the Village Voice Choice Eats 2010. On March 22, at the 69th Armory on Lexington and 26th St., you get to eat your way around this city in one concentrated, gigantic space. And if it's going to be anything like my experience last year, I suggest you all man up and get your tickets now. Ridiculous amounts of the city's best and most notable food, beer, and wine? I think I'll see you all there.

Tickets are available here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

little tokyo, reviewed

I'm not sure how many more times I can mention Little Tokyo (like here and here) without getting an, "ENOUGH!" from any of you, but since I'm still managing to get away with it, I will continue my rant.

I'm often faced with the question, "What's the best restaurant you've ever been to?" And to be honest, I don't think it's that fair of an inquiry. I always, always follow up the question with, "Give me a genre or area," because I need to hone down my options. Or at least attempt to. This city almost has too many dining out options. So much hype. So many critics. It's tough to come across a hidden gem at this point. Nearly everything has already been exposed.
And that's where my all time, favorite restaurant comes into play: Little Tokyo. Located in the most unassuming of shopping center strips in Norwalk, CT, lives one of my favorite places on Earth. Swanky? No. Elegant? Well, no. Trendy? Depends who you're talking to. Good? Not a thesaurus in this world could come up with enough synonyms to describe the goodness, no, greatness, going on at this celestial place.

Henry, the charming and charismatic main man of Little Tokyo, travels bright and early to Queens every morning to hand select his seafood. His selection is unrivaled. Pristine. Nothing shy of orgasmic.

There's no ordering that goes on. Just take a seat, have a ridiculously generous glass of white wine be set in front of you (I'm talking your mouth has to meet the glass while sitting on the table because any attempt to lift the glass would result in a spill. My kinda pour.) and get ready to have your mind blown by food unlike anything you've ever experienced.

A typical night at Little Tokyo starts off with a plate of a spicy crab salad with pieces of yellowtail sashimi that dance around the edge of the plate, delicately splashed with ponzu and a sprinkling of shaved scallions. The Pavlovian response I have to this dish alone is nearly obscene. I'm sitting here, salivating just at the thought.
If I'm at the table, Henry knows I can't leave without an oyster or two. Kumamotos, practically gorgeously swollen, dressed with ponzo, scallion, and a speck of sriracha. Coming from a girl who typically just goes with a squeeze of fresh lemon, it's almost hard for me to have them any other way than Henry's way. The pairing is sublime.
Next comes an assortment of sushi and sashimi. Whatever Henry deems the best of the night. Row after row of jem-like tuna, glistening salmon, opal-esque yellowtail, gargantuan chunks of shelled king crab. A love roll, my personal favorite, filled with spicy tuna and avocado and topped with a spicy crab salad. The variety and quality is unparalleled. I fear when the plates are nearing empty status. A slight wave of panic comes over me. Until, that is, I realized what is to come next.Henry's Lobster. Whole lobsters chopped into chunks and thrown quickly into a fiery wok with sticks of ginger, slivered scallions, and a few other ingredients that are all part of his secret recipe. Everyone at the table nearly pulls a Daryl Hannah in Splash and attempts to eat the shell. The sauce. The freaking sauce that coats this lobster has the potential to bring tears to your eyes. Beyond simple, as it should be, but overwhelmingly interesting and divine.There's a number of other factors that make Little Tokyo my all time favorite restaurant that might end up on someone else's list as negatives. The ambiance may not be for all (hello, restaurant snobs) but to us, it's like an extension of our home. We're comfortable there. Taken care of. At ease. Nancy, our main girl and waitress, greets us with hugs, lights up when we're all in town. It's a beyond warm feeling that will outshine ambiance any day. You can have your low lit, trendy sushi bar with mediocre food. I don't want it.

I've found all I'll ever need at Little Tokyo.


FOOD: 25

LOOK: 19

VIBE: 24


soy-ginger salmon

I think I can finally say, with confidence, that if I had to choose my favorite cuisine, it would have to be Asian, in all its incarnations. I could happily indulge in sushi on a daily basis, Thai food makes me swoon, Korean BBQ excites me on end, and the scent of ginger and garlic is like my Prozac. It's such a vastly diverse cuisine that might wrongfully come across as intimidating to many but should really be calmly approached. With a well-stocked pantry (and ingredients you can find at any grocery store), an Asian-style meal can be whipped up with ease. Take for example, Saturday night's dinner: Soy-ginger glazed salmon with scallion sticky rice, broccolini, and baby greens and avocado dressed with a citrus-rice vinegar dressing. A meal so perfect for entertaining (or date night) that this, without a doubt, has to be the next thing you put together for your lucky guest(s). So good in fact, you might need to leave some of the cooking to when they arrive. Because if not, they'll be snooping around everywhere looking for the hidden take out containers.
For the salmon, combine 2 cloves of grated garlic, 1 Tbsp. of grated ginger, 4 Tbsp. of soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp. sugar, 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil, and 1 tsp. sambal paste (hot sauce or sriracha will do just fine) in a ziploc bag. Place the salmon in the bag, seal it completely, and rub all sides of the salmon with the marinade. Place in the fridge for about an hour (no more than 3) to marinate.

For the salad dressing, I combined the juice from half an orange with a dash or two of rice wine vinegar, a Tbsp. of dijon, a tiny bit of grated garlic and ginger, and then drizzled in olive oil until it emulsified. Steal a taste on a piece of lettuce. Smirk. Pour yourself a glass of wine (2007 Edna Valley Paragon Chardonnay). You've already got this in the bag.

Get a pot of rice going (2 cups of water to one cup of rice with a pat of butter and plenty of salt) and finely slice two or three scallions.

Preheat the oven to broil. When it's up to temperature, broil the salmon for about 10 minutes (depending on the thickness, keep an eye on it). Remove from oven and place it on the stove on standby.

Bring a pan with an inch of water to a boil with salt. Add in the broccolini and cook for about a minute. Drain the pan, add a tsp. of olive oil and a bit of grated ginger (or garlic) and sauté over high heat for another minute. You want these guys to retain their crunch.

When the rice is cooked to sticky perfection, add in the scallions, stir, done with that. Dress baby greens with sliced avocado with the Asian-citrus vinaigrette. Plate everything. Pour the wine. Shower in the compliments.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

winter warmth

Photo courtesy The New York Times
This week's Dining Section of the New York Times, features a Mark Bittman recipe for a citrus salad. A combination of seasonally delicious oranges and grapefruits dressed with shaved red onion, a light drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. I highly suggest adding some herbage to this mix; fresh mint or basil would be gorgeous. The perfect ying to the citrus's yang. Shaved fennel would also be a killer attribute. Regardless of which route you take, this bright, slightly sweet salad will indefinitely add some happiness and warmth to help sooth those winter doldrums. Serve it alongside your favorite piece of fish (or fish tacos, mmm) close your eyes, have a drink, and you'll think you've skipped off to some sort of tropical vacation as the sound of the honking horns and crazy man playing the recorder outside your window magically begin to disappear.

Until the garbage truck rolls by.

In which case, enjoy that second and third Corona with lime. You've earned it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

zucker's bagels and smoked fish

As far as I'm concerned, there are few things better than a fresh bagel, still hot from the oven, with a schmear of cream cheese, smoked salmon, freshly sliced tomato, red onion, topped with a light squeeze of lemon. Every Saturday when I was growing up, my Dad would take us to Bagel King to pick up a dozen bagels, salmon, sometimes whitefish, and a special treat for the ride home: a strawberry cheese danish. I have tried to maintain this ritual (minus the danish) in my adult life as well. But it has seemed all to difficult for me to find the "perfect" bagel with lox. Even in New York City, I have had to take matters into my own hands by buying all of the parts and making it my own. But sometimes, I'd just so much rather have it done for me. Especially on a slightly groggy Saturday or Sunday morning.
Enter, Zucker's Bagels and Smoked Fish. Over on Chambers St. this past Sunday, my prayers were answered. The perfect bagel and lox (minus a minor caper incident -- they don't really do anything for me) was presented to me alongside a gargantuan and much needed iced coffee. A slightly chewy yet toothsome bagel with the silky, salty nova lox, fresh tomato (not the least bit mealy), and piquant, crisp red onion. One of my all time favorite, perfect bites.
FOOD: 24
LOOK: 22
VIBE: 22
*It's hard to rate a deli-type joint as not much service is involved. They were totally decent, if not a tad unenthusiastic, but that's forgivable.

locanda verde

In any big metropolitan area, like New York City, hype often gets in the way of truly enjoying a restaurant. High expectations (or any at all) almost always lead to disappointment. Which is, by the way, why I'm now trained to expect the worst in high stress situations (think prom, graduation, etc.) so that I can attempt to avoid any and all blunders. I realize this is terribly pessimistic. But heck, in many ways and in most situations, it works.

Locanda Verde opened in Robert DeNiro's old Ago space this past Spring under the helm of Chef Andrew Carmellini. Even before the restaurant doors opened, there was buzz surrounding the joint. There were high expectations before a single dish was served. But even with those high stakes, Carmellini delivered consistently delicious and seemingly impeccable food (via every single review I came across). And after reading account after delectable account of this place, I couldn't bear to wait any longer. I had to, had to, had to go.

And so this past Saturday, I went.

Getting reservations is still, a near impossible feat. "We're fully committed from 6:30pm to 10pm." And this was a solid two and a half weeks in advance, I was calling. So instead, we decided to stroll in late like "true New Yorkers." And I mean very late.

10:30ish we walked in to a still seriously bustling restaurant. We were told the wait would be twenty minutes so we pushed our way towards the similarly congested bar area. Five minutes later (if that), we were seated.

The look and feel of the restaurant was pretty much right up my alley. Sophisticated in a totally approachable way. Large windows line nearly all of the walls of the restaurant and the lighting is the perfect level of warm darkness (read: hello, flattering).

Sadly, almost immediately, our waitress began to rub us the wrong way. Not the least bit engaging or helpful, she hardly even made eye contact. We navigated ourselves through the menu regardless and decided to go splitsville on the following: the blue crab crostini with jalapeno and tomato, the stracchi with lamb ragu, ricotta, and mint, and the wood fired pork chop with gigante beans and caramelized pearl onions and a bottle of 2005 Sori Paitin Serra Barbaresco. And can I just say? This is the absolute best way to dine out. Splitting a couple of different plates allows you to try a much wider variety of dishes and the whole concept of sharing a meal, quite literally, is a rather charming gesture in and of itself.

The blue crab crostini was perfectly delightful. Charred bread was rubbed with tomato and garlic, then topped with a blue crab salad and garnished with slivers of jalapeno and shaved cucumber. The portion size was pretty humiliating given the price tag ($10 for one piece of crostini that they so kindly cut into two) but the soft, creamy, oceanic crab was appealingly cut by the hint of heat from the jalapeno and the bright freshness of cucumber. We all know I love crostini, bruschetta, any lovely little salad that's sitting atop a piece of bread, so needless to say, I could have made a meal out of this first course. But, I had many more goodies coming my way.

Next was the stracchi with lamb ragu and mint. This bad boy had winked at me while grazing the menu days prior and I had to give in. Lamb, mint, ricotta, and torn sheets of pasta? My knees were nearly buckled at the sound. The dish arrived at our table and we dove in. Delicious? Yes. But it was lacking a certain richness. I expected the lamb ragu to be thick and jewel toned, spiked with red wine and wrapped around the pasta, firmly making its presence known. Instead, it seemed a tad watered down to me and I wanted more flecks of the fresh mint to swirl around in the ricotta. Was it a fail? Absolutely not. But once again, my expectations were higher than what I was presented with.

Now this pork chop? This pork chop totally came out of left field for me. Not something I would typically ever gravitate towards on a menu, I was beyond pleasantly surprised when I took my steak knife to this gargantuan chop. A divine smokiness was immediately followed up with a burst of juiciness that comes from a perfectly cooked piece of meat. After adding a piece of a caramelized pearl onion and a gigante bean, every taste bud in my mouth was at peace. A gorgeously concocted, cohesive dish. Bravo.

It should be noted that our waitress/waiter switched a total of three times without warning. And by the end of the night, our initial waitress could be found at the bar, having a drink, chatting it up with friends and having a grand old time. Slightly problematic, no?

So why the whole introductory paragraph about hype? Well, see as good as the meal was, it just wasn't that impressive to me. After all I'd read and heard, I was expecting to be blown away by my meal. And perhaps that's an unfortunate thing because I fear that had I happened upon this restaurant, not knowing a darn thing, I might have had a little bit more of an enjoyable experience. There are plenty of other little rustic Italian restaurants (i.e. Supper on the LES, love that place) that deliver food just as good with prices slightly lower. And these days, value is where it's at.

Will I go back to Locanda Verde? Absolutely, should I be so lucky. There's always their much talked about (uh oh) fried chicken and we both agreed dining at the bar on a much quieter night would be a great option for the next go around. That said, let's take a look at the breakdown...

FOOD: 22
LOOK: 23
VIBE: 23


restaurant ratings

So this weekend I (along with some excellent help) developed a new restaurant rating system, in hopes of allowing you to get a better understanding of my dining experiences via numbers. Sure I can romance the crap out of a place by going on, and on, and on, about a dish, a drink, a particularly charming bartender, whatever, but in hopes of gaining just a tad more credibility, I think a formal rating system will help us all in understanding where exactly a restaurant lies along my ever important, reliable, and sophisticated scale.

I'm going to break it down into four parts, each worth 25 points each: SERVICE, FOOD, THE LOOK (style, decoration), and THE VIBE. At the end, I'll add 'em all up and we will have ourselves a final grade. And to be honest, I don't think anyone was surprised more by some of my results than I was. Restaurants I would typically eagerly recommend were coming back with scores that were far lower than I would have anticipated. The truth is coming out, folks. Let's size some joints up, shall we?

Friday, January 15, 2010

'inoteca part deux

So last night I finally made my way over to 'inoteca (the Murray Hill location, sadly) for drinks and a few bites to eat. And I must say, upon arrival, I was shocked (and dare I say nearly appalled) by the look of the place. After visiting the LES location as well as 'ino, I expected this 'inoteca to follow suit with the whole rustic, not the least bit overdone kind of thing. But that was not the case at this location. A whole mish-mash of styles that just really didn't sit well with me which is unfortunate because I wonder if the bad reaction I had to the look of the place had an adverse affect on my dining experience.

Apparently Kiira was in an overly critical mood yesterday. Sorry, 'inoteca.

Anyways, as soon as I sat down, I pulled the “I’ll have a glass of what they’re having,” because I’m not going to even pretend I can navigate myself through an all Italian wine list. While my palette has certainly been expanded over the past few months, Italian wines (for whatever reason) are something I continue to overlook. But that is now going to come to a screeching hault. Because the wine we had last night was absolutely delicious. A 2006 Rosso di Fogliano, Bisci from Marche. With a nose rich with chocolate and cherries, the taste of savory dark berries followed. It was the perfect accompaniment to the plate of assorted bruschetta: cauliflower (the real winner), marscarpone and fig, fennel, and caponata. All served atop perfectly toasted yet soft pieces of bread, we nearly attacked the spread. I could’ve contently stopped there. But of course, well, that didn’t happen.

Next the table split the beet salad with orange, mint, hazelnuts, and pecorino. A classic salad that just fell totally short for me. Not nearly enough orange or mint and the beets lacked seasoning. A total pass. We all decided to go with panini’s to wrap the whole thing up. I went with a prosciutto, mozzarella, and arugula pesto which was absolutely fine. Mind blowing? Not in the least. But with a generous glass of that Bisci wine and great company, we smiled our way through the meal.

I’m not giving up on ‘inoteca just yet. Not sure why the seemingly harsh criticism, just had high expectations, I suppose. But apparently it ain’t over until I try the orange zest meatballs. Which quite frankly, just by the sound of, will have me back in no time. But for the time being, my wine bar recommendation remains, loyally, to Terroir. Their smoked chickpea and calamari salad quite honestly owns me. Taunts me. Seduced me way too well.

Until the next time.

323 third ave. (at 24th st.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

zakanaka pinotage

I'm not sure why I don't do wine recommendations more often but that's going to change. Starting now. I picked up this bottle of wine, 2005 Zakanaka South African Pinotage ($12.99) over the weekend and popped it last night as a reward for making it through my Tuesday. Don't judge. Pinotage is a varietal I haven't had a ton of experience with but one that I've always found intriguing. And holy heck was this one intriguing. Dark and inky in the glass with some subtle smokey notes on the nose. But the taste brought some serious funk: think gamey flavors, like juicy lamb followed by intense spice via black pepper and clove, tingling your lips. It's certainly full bodied and the wine makes its presence known by lingering in your mouth long after you've sipped. A beyond perfect wine to cozy up to on these brutally bitter cold nights. And this one's like a meal in and of itself. YUM.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

butternut squash soup

For some reason, I'm not big on soup. Perhaps it's the same reason I'm not a hot coffee drinker. Something about sipping or slurping hot liquids doesn't fair well with me. HOWEVER, that's not to say that it never happens. Slide a cup of authentic New England Clam Chowder my way and I'm as happy as a...well...don't make me fill in the blank.

Butternut squash is a favorite veggie of mine. And hey, guess what? It also happens to be high in fiber, our special word of the week. Butternut squash soup is a great thing to have on hand so when you make up a batch, freeze half for those days when you're staring, longingly and devastatingly into an uninspired refrigerator. This recipe from Epicurious seems pretty straightforward, I'd just omit the red pepper puree garnish. Unless of course you're entertaining and feel like showing off. On any other night of the week, I'd crumble in a little bit of goat cheese and let the hot, naturally thickened soup, gently melt it until soft white marbled swirls are formed. A simple green salad and a torn piece of baguette (whole grain, preferably) and you're good to go.
A simple variation on this recipe would be adding some grated ginger to the onions and garlic for a slightly spicy and exotic twist. A splash of lite coconut milk would be even more gorgeous with the ginger addition. And never hesitate adding some fresh sage to the original recipe. Sage and butternut squash belong together. Forever and ever.

Monday, January 11, 2010

fiber this

To the produce department we go!
I think it's pretty clear by now that this is not a "dieting" blog. What I do hope to promote is a healthy balance between indulgence and discipline. For me, it's simple. I love food far too much to deny myself of certain luxurious albeit naughty treats. And to keep my sanity and gosh darn it, personal contentment, I spend the work week being "good" so that come the weekend, I'm free to give in to all this fabulous city has to offer. Let it also be known that being "good" never, ever means boring or difficult. It just means punching up the flavor (with fresh herbs, interesting spices, vinegars, etc.) and making sure there's a satisfying contrast of textures. Take for example my mayo-less tuna salad. Try this one this week. You'll forget all about the Hellman's. Or at least, for the time being.

That said, I recently heard the following (via Health Magazine): by adding 30g of fiber to your daily diet, you can shed about 5 pounds in a month. No. Joke. And when fruits and vegetables like broccoli, arugula, brussels sprouts, carrots, kale, squash, eggplant, apples, oranges, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries (to name a FEW) happen to be naturally rich in fiber, well, I don't think this 30g thing is going to be a problem.

Whole grain anything also has great fiber content (whole wheat pasta, for example) as does Wasa Crispbread (and as a Scandinavian, that's music to our ears). So don't worry about this being a carb-less process. The beauty of fiber is its ability to make you feel full, satisfied. Thank. Freaking. God.

So here's what I'm thinking about putting together this week: whole wheat orzo (or whatever shape pasta you like) with broccoli, lemon zest, chickpeas, and crumbled feta (or part skim ricotta). In a large pot of boiling water, add in your pasta. While the pasta cooks, chop up some broccoli florets. When the pasta is a minute shy of being done, add in your broccoli. Drain the pasta and broccoli and put them in a large bowl. Zest one lemon and one garlic clove into the hot pasta/broccoli. Add a dash of red pepper flakes and half a can to a can of drained chickpeas. Crumble in the feta (or ricotta). Toss. Bam. You're done.
And just like that, you're on your way to a svelter figure without even trying.
Oh and ahh, boot camp starts tonight.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

paris des chefs

Outside my Apartment in Paris, May 2006
It's no secret by now of my love for Paris. The architecture, the fashion, the design, the wine, the food. It's a style-conscious glutton's paradise. And while that might not have been entirely apparent by the time my semester abroad was coming to a close (I was beyond ready to be back in the States), I can't help but think back about the city in the most loving of ways. It was an experience and place that significantly molded me into who I am today. Independent. And incredibly appreciative of the beauty of simplicity.

That said, coming up on January 26th is an event called Paris des Chef which will be held at the Maison et Objet Trade Show (an overwhelming design show that I was, well, I won't say dragged to, but ahem, attended with my Mom. Let's just say I had to take a lot of breaks). Paris des Chef will be open to the public and will feature nine different creative pairings, combining a chef with a designer, artist, architect, photographer or filmmaker. Needless to say, I can't think of a more visually stimulating and inspirational event and thus will be devoting the remainder of the day to scheming my Parisian escape.

Who else is in?
Did I mention the month long sale ("les soldes") in January? I didn't? Oh, how silly of me. For the MONTH of January, EVERY store in Paris goes on sale. Dangerous? Incredibly. Worth it? Like you wouldn't believe.

Let's meet at Le Comptoir du Septième on Avenue de la Motte Picquet in the 7th Arrondissement. We'll have some salmon tartar and a glass or two of champagne then hop on the RER out to the Maison et Objet to get our minds blown by world renowned chefs and artists.

There may or may not be a legitimate tear in my eye right now. Le sigh.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

i embedded! HOORAY!

please excuse my scatterbrain

Photo Courtesy New York Times
So yesterday I forgot my camera cord. Today, my battery is dead and I'm charger-less. My alarm didn't go off this morning. The guy at Amy's Bread gave me the wrong bag (so not a scone person) and I had severe insomnia last night up until about 7:00 this morning when I was out like a light. Convenient, when wake-up call (which this girl did not receive) is a mere 40 minutes away.

So not the way I'd like to kick off my first post of 2010 but alas, such is life. Now to power through this day and hopefully come out in one piece and with a smile, albeit forced, across my face.

Now then! 2010! Yikes. Can you believe it? I sure can't. And while I'm not one for serious resolutions (or at least one's I'm able to keep) I'm starting this year off with a bang which includes re-introduction of gym membership via making my own coffee in the morning. Ever done the math on how much you shell out for coffee every morning? What I thought was a cheap luxury turns out to be the equivalent of a gym membership. And the treadmill won.

I wouldn't dream of boring you or myself with dull, light meals. Who wants that? So today, I offer a healthy dinner or lunch option that'll punch you in the face with flavor: Thai Beef Salad. I know some of the ingredients (read: fish sauce) seem like an unnecessary addition to your pantry but if you're into Thai, Korean, or Vietnamese food, fish sauce will soon become a go-to condiment (it's that background flavor that always has you thinking "hmm, what is that?" the quintessential southeast asian ingredient). Plus it's super cheap (under $2) when you pick it up at an Asian Food Store. Think of it as a putrid smelling but immensely flavorful ketchup. Or, something like that.

Steak can be swapped for chicken or shrimp or neither. But once you take a bite of this salad you won't believe it's so conveniently good for your waistline. You'll just think, "I like you, Kiira."

I like you too.

Thai Beef Salad Recipe courtesy of the New York Times

Wine Pairing: Pacific Rim Dry Riesling


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