Indian Summer

October 14, 2011

The afternoons of rooftop brunches may be coming to an end for the season, but we snuck one last day in with the July-like heat. My father was kind enough to prepare a brunch for my roommates and friends in the building. After a morning at Zabar’s and Fairway to get all the goods, he prepared all sorts of delicious plates. We had three styles of crepes– apple cinnamon, fresh berries and ham and cheese, scrambled eggs on rosemary toasted bread, home fries, bacon and two varieties of organic sausage– Italian herb and spinach feta. For a special dessert treat, my friend Leslie’s mother was kind enough to give us a loaf of amazing chocolate challah bread for Yom Kippur, so we took that out to enjoy.

Ham & Cheese crepes

Chocolate Challah Bread

Cinnamon Apple crepe filling and Home fries

Spinach Feta Sausage and Cinnamon Apples

Uptown’s Nostylgia

October 13, 2011

My friend and I couldn’t resist a bike ride along the river on Sunday, and decided to quench our thirst at Nostylgia, just north of the Cloisters. This Uptown neighborhood, Inwood, was my weekend hotspot, and there’s still so much to explore, so I’ll likely be going back for another visit soon. Nostylgia, known as the “New American Classic” is part tea lounge, part men’s apparel, and has some of the best tea selections I’ve  seen. I thought for a good 5 minutes before I could decide what to try. Going with an Iced Elderberry, I was more than satisfied with my choice, and with a less sweet option, my friend got the Iced Black African Kenyan. Lucky for us, they had a yard sale going on with all sorts of amazing vintage finds. For $1, I purchased two art deco tea plates I can’t wait to use for my next food shoot.

Gourmet tea menu

 

Elderberry Iced Tea

 

Preparing our drinks

Café at the Cloisters

October 8, 2011

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend this gorgeous October afternoon than at the Trie Café overlooking the gardens and fascinating Medieval artifacts the Cloisters has to offer. Quite possibly my favorite museum in New York, this Uptown branch of the Met in Fort Tyron Park was a perfect place to bring my parents who are visiting for the weekend. Soaking up the sun, we snacked on Mozzarella/pesto, tuna and turkey sandwiches.

Pesto, Mozzarella and Pepper sandwich

Turkey and tomato sandwich with chips

The gardens

 

Tuna and onion sandwich

 

Pesto sandwich

This adorable cafe planted itself conveniently just on the corner of my apartment a little over a year ago, yet it wasn’t until my vegan roommate introduced me to their delicious food that I became a regular. One of my favorite snacks happen to be their chickpea fries with home cream dressing, and I hate to admit, but their homemade vegan brownie bites are usually consumed at least 3 times a week for dessert.

Chickpea fries

 

Vegan brownie bites

 

Chickpea fries

A Taste of Jerky

October 4, 2011

A couple friends of mine recently launched FIELD, an all natural beef  jerky product I’d definitely recommend checking out. I had fun doing a little shoot of their 3 current flavors– Original, Honey Spice and Teriyaki. They’re not only tasty, but certainly healthier than your typical jerky with a traditional cut of top round beef and no preservatives or artificial ingredients. You can find it at locations around New York like FreshDirect, Murray’s Cheese and Westside Market or online at Gourmet Library.

Field Original Beef Jerky

 

Field Original Beef Jerky

 

A Druze Brunch

September 29, 2011

Now that I’m back for some good old NYC cuisine, I decided go to Gazala’s, a small family-owned restaurant that I’ve been meaning to check out since they opened their new Upper West Side location. I admit, I had never heard of Druze cuisine, but it happens to be a religious community found in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Jordan, that is comparable to the standard Middle Eastern fare. Known to be the most authentic tastes of this kind around town, their brunch was delicious and conveniently located across from my favorite Sunday market.

Tomatoes, cheese and scrambled eggs with seasoning and an Israeli salad

 

Semolina dough stuffed with chopped dates and walnuts

 

Poached eggs in tomato sauce

A Summer Dinner Party

August 15, 2011

I’m excited to announce a new project for the blog. I’m going to host themed dinner parties for each of the four seasons throughout the course of the year, and share the menus, styling tips and of course photos with you. To kick-off the project, I invited 8 friends over for an al fresco summer dinner. I spent the morning grazing the farmer’s market and Zabar’s, my go-to specialty food store, for the ingredients, and my afternoon prepping the dishes and shooting.

The Menu…

• Drinks: Raspberry mint lemonade made by blending raspberries, peeled lemons, ice, sugar and mint until the consistency of a slushy and garnishing with dried hibiscus flowers

• Appetizers: Rosemary bread with sundried tomato tofu spread and prosciutto wrapped asparagus and breadsticks

• First Course: Martha’s tomato, cantaloupe and basil salad

• Second Course: Lemon grilled chicken, chopped onions, goat cheese and lettuce placed in tortillas molded and then baked into baskets with pesto pasta and a side of grilled vegetables

• Dessert: Chocolate mint brownies with whipped cream

Styling Tips…

•Scanning a page of my grandfather’s notebook from the 70’s and travel photos from my parent’s travels to Greece in the 80’s as the background for personalized menus

• Folding cloth napkins in an envelope style with the menu inside and tying it all together with twine-resembling yarn

• Using typewriter letter stamps and gold ink on ivory cardstock for name cards and clothespin it to the table runner

• Floral arrangement created by my friend, Jessica, who just completed the New York Botanical Garden Floral Design Intensive

• Vintage lanterns for centerpieces

• Mason jars with twine resembling yarn tied around them to hold the utensils and candles for lighting

Table setting & tomatoes

Menu & ingredients

Fresh pasta & Jessica's flower arrangement

Raspberry mint lemonade

Tomatoes & name cards

Asparagus & pesto

Prosciutto wrapped asparagus and breadsticks

Table setting and a cantaloupe, tomato and basil salad

Grilled chicken baskets, pesto pasta and prosciutto appetizers

Place setting and grilled chicken baskets


The Lot at the Highline

July 29, 2011

New Yorkers love their food trucks, and what could be better than a selection of the best all in one locale? Last night I met a few friends underneath the bridges of the High Line park for food and drinks. Changing daily, there’s a taste to satisfy everyone from Red Hook’s Lobster Truck to Rickshaw Dumpling, Korilla BBQ and Eddie’s Pizza. They’ve also got a pop-up bar serving local wines and seasonal beers from Brooklyn Brewery. It’s like a summer-long fair or a cafeteria for adults, so be sure to stop by before the cold weather comes!

Lobster Roll from the Red Hook Lobster Pound Truck

Rickshaw Dumpling Truck

Eddie's Pizza Truck

High Line Park

The Lot on tap

Coast to Coast

June 15, 2011

Last night, my friend invited me to a 4 course dinner at Chef Brandon Chavannes’s pop-up restaurant, Coast to Coast. Inspired by worldly coastal flavors, the exotic dishes were all beautifully presented and delicious. In between courses, the mixologists served up specialty cocktails, wine and Greenport Harbor beers.

Curried watermelon with black pepper, scallions and curry scented dressing with the Bisin Fire cocktail- Polish Bison Grass Vodka, jalapeno lemongrass elixir, crystallized ginger and fresh basil

Chilled crab soup with roasted gazpacho broth, hearts of palm and green apple

Cebollada- braised beef cheeks, salsify puree, romesco verde and an onion jus

Mahi Mahi with dandelion greens, chorizo and Marjoram vinaigrette and a 1970 bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild

Tres Leches with maple tuile and chili and Apricot tart with cardamom, cinnamon, marcona almonds and caramel with orange blossom ice cream

Dinner on the Roof

May 26, 2011

The warm evenings have arrived in the city, and what better way to kickoff the season than putting together this simple, yet delicious vegetarian dish my roommate created for a rooftop dinner. Taking no time at all, you cook whole wheat couscous and combine with an eggplant tapenade sauce and chickpeas. For the side, a spinach, mozzarella and cherry tomato salad.

Couscous, mozzarella, spinach and cherry tomatoes

The garden: Twisted Grass and Basil