Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Little Mexican Passover Action

Matzoh Pozole
One of these days, I'll stop talking about Mexican food. But that's not happening today. Did you know there is a little Mexican Jewish community living in Mexico City?! Did you know that Rosa Mexicano does Mexican Passover?! You know you want a look at this menu which proves Passover meals don't have to be boring, and let's face it, it's that point in Passover where your meals have gotten boring.

The menu involves beautiful things like that Jalisco-style pozole made with fluffy chipotle-marrow matzo balls and banana leaf-wrapped barbecued beef brisket. Even the chopped liver isn't chopped liver; it's made with tempura scallions and salsa verde. Dessert includes a Mexicana Strudel--flaky strudel stuffed with tropical fruits, pumpkin seeds, and muy caliente chocolate. For drink, you can get sangria made with a Manischewitz reduction--it's goooood. Here, take a peek at the full menu.

The Seder Dinner menu only goes on until this Saturday evening, so you need to get on it!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Oh, Book Signings Isn't ALL!

Best Moment of My Life
Yesterday, we let you know all the details about the book signings we have lined up--which there is already another one: Saturday, April 27th at BookCourt--but that isn't all we're doing!! I have the validation moment of my life coming up on Friday. NY1, baby. N. Y. 1. (yes, the best moment of my life so far was when I *finally* met Pat Kiernan two years ago) (stop judging me)

At some point during the Friday morning hours, barring a major natural disaster or other breaking news, I will be appearing on NY1 for a hot second to discuss the book! This is a big moment for this little girl from Queens. Like I needed to call family members when it was confirmed. Then on Monday, we're going to be guests on Cathy Erway's Heritage Radio Show "Let's Eat In"! This means that friends far and wide can hear us discussing important street food topics!! And, oh my goodness, this isn't all. We're in talks for a whole mess of other things to happen in mid-May and June! Of course, we're going to let you guys know first.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

One Week Until Our Book Pubs!

NY a la Cart front and back covers 
 This is it guys! The final countdown to our book pubs. That's right New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks will be hitting stores next Tuesday, 4/2. You can pre-order our book online or stop by one of our local signings...

Here's where we'll be:

Tuesday, April 2nd,  12:30 p.m:
Posman Books
Grand Central Terminal >
New York, NY 
Book signing and Midtown Lunch meet and greet with our awesome photographers, Donny Tsang and Clay Williams.

Saturday, April 6th; 1pm:
Barnes & Noble
North Haven, CT
Book signing

Wednesday, April 10th,  12:30 p.m:
Posman Books
Rock Center Councourse >
New York, NY&
Book signing

Sunday, April 14th, 1:30pm:
Housing Works Cafe
126 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10012
Book signing and panel discussion with vendors from the book as part of the Downtown Literary Festival.

Tuesday, April 16th:
Powerhouse Arena
37 Main Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Book signing and panel featuring vendors from the book including Luke’s Lobster, The Treats Truck and Morris Grilled Cheese and our awesome photographers Donny Tsang and Clay Williams

Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
NYPL Mid-Manhattan Library
"Tweeting and Eating: How Social Media has Changed the Way We Eat"
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp...never before has it been easier to hunt down delicious food and share your own discoveries. This panel discussion hosted by Alexandra Penfold and Siobhan Wallace (that's us!), co-authors of New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks explores the intersection of food and social media, the rise of online food communities and the explosion of New York's food truck scene. Guest panelists include: Thomas DeGeest, owner and founder of Wafels & Dinges Belgian Waffle truck, Ed Levine, founder of, Chef Adam Sobel, owner and founder of The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Truck, and Melissa Zhang, Ruskin International Communications Senior Account Executive.

Tuesday, May 21st:
WORD, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
126 Franklin St
Brooklyn, NY 11222
Book signing and panel featuring vendors from the book.

Stay tuned for more info about signings, events and some other special things we have in the works!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lunch Time Lamb Tortas

Lamb Torta
Truth: I did not eat any good tortas in Mexico. Since then, I have been craving a great torta, so when I heard of a new spot on the Upper West Side that serves tortas during lunch, we all know I had to make the trip.

Cocina Economica Mexico opened quite recently with a menu filled with Puebla-inspired home style meals. There's a bunch of dishes with stewed and braised meats and vegetables, but lunch is sandwich time in the form of tortas and cemitas. Since I can pull together the best breakfast sandwich ever, I went with lamb and added on avocado. You're getting the better half of an avocado added onto this sandwich which, to me, is quite awesome. I did wish though that there was a bit more lamb. I had been expecting slices of lamb, but instead it was almost a pulled style. Did it take away from the pillow soft bolillo roll? Yes. Was I appeased though with the spiced fries (which tasted similar to Old Bay fries)? Yes. I might not get the lamb again, but I will definitely stop by for a satisfying lunch or dinner when I'm in the neighborhood.

Cocina Economica Mexico
452 Amsterdam Avenue
Upper West Side
(212) 501-7755

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Broadway Panhandler Sale! Broadway Panhandler Sale!

Broadway Panhandler Knives
Every good New Yorker knows that New York is full of sales. And there's one I always miss: the Broadway Panhandler Sale! I got word yesterday that it is happening RIGHT NOW! And Saturday is the best day to stop by just don't forget your knives at home!

We don't talk much about our equipment in the kitchen, but one thing Brownie, Lawman, and I can agree on is everyone should have a good knife that feels like an extension of your arm and is sharp enough to handle anything. And getting them sharpened is a must! Take yours in on Saturday, shop for some fun kitchen things, donate to charity, and meet Harald Wusthof. There are worse ways to spend your Saturday afternoon.

Broadway Panhandler
65 East 8th Street
East Village
(212) 966-3434

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Choice Eats 2013 Recap Part One

Ample Hills Ice Cream samples (800x531)
Last night was the Sixth Annual Village Voice Choice Eats and I swear the event gets better and better each year. Going into the event I was naturally looking forward to nibbles from some old favorites on the list: Ample Hills Creamery, Danny Macaroons, Del Posto, Jimmy's No. 43, La Newyorkina, Liddabit Sweets, Luke's Lobster, Ovelia Psistaria, Peanut Butter & Co., Robicelli's, and SCRATCHbread among others. On numbers alone this year exceeded past years with a record-breaking 86 restaurants participating. 86! Here are some of my favorite bites....

Lamb Haneez from Yemen Cafe (800x531)
Having attended Choice Eats every year since its inception you pick up a few tricks here and there. When there's that much good food being offered you need to remind yourself to be selective. Don't eat the stuff you've had before or take samples from places that you visit on a regular basis. Take the opportunity to try new dishes. Ages ago, Lawman and I visited Yemen Cafe on Atlantic Avenue and I was excited to see them at Choice Eats last night. They brought an awesome hot tea--it sort of reminded me of a cross between sweet Moroccan mint tea and chai. Very good. And some delicious Lamb Haneez, a spiced lamb that's slow roasted for 5 hours. So glad I left room for this!

StoopPizza from SCRATCHbread (800x531)
Be wary of bread. Lots of the dishes like home cured sausages are served on or with bread. That bread will fill you up. If I'm having bread, it's going to be either something awesome from SCRATCHbread, like their "StoopPizza" with speck, garlic, and pecorino.

Kuma Inn Lechon (800x531)
Follow @ChoiceEats on twitter. All throughout the day they were tweeting mini previews of what would be served. That's how I found out that Kuma Inn was bringing lechon (whole roasted pig!). With that extra bit of intel, I hit Kuma Inn's table early on before the lines got too long and before they ran out of piggy.

Xe May Hog Sandwich (800x531)
I also discovered via twitter that Xe May Sandwich shop was serving up a delicious sounding "hog" sandwich which consisted of grilled pork, fried shallots, pickled carrots and daikon with chili mayo on a baguette. I also managed to score some of this before the lines got too long.

Ooey Gooey Ice Cream from Ample Hills (800x531)
Also, pay attention to the event hashtag #choiceeats. Admittedly I wasn't the best tweeter at the event--my phone wasn't getting very good service to send tweets, but if you had been peeking on the event hash tag you might have seen some pretty awesome tips on what to eat (and different killer combos) like Robicellis brownies with Ample Hills Ooey Gooey Cake ice cream. Heaven. Pure heaven I tell you.

Robicellis brownies
Between the food coma and the late hour I'm about to fall asleep. I promise I'll share more favorite bites on Friday. These event was so tasty it deserves another look!

If you missed out on Choice Eats, tickets for the second annual Choice Streets (on the INTREPID, yes, that Intrepid) are on sale. But don't delay. They sold out super early last year. Next year, keep tabs on the events by following @ChoiceEats.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Scandinavians Are Taking Over

I am calling the unforeseen trend of 2013: Scandinavian food. The Danish eatery Aamanns-Copenhagen opened late last year in Tribeca and I recently stopped by for a relaxing lunch--a relaxing, modernist lunch.

Aamanns is all white and wood, totally what you'd expect from the Danish, with a fish-centric menu to match. I decided upon the Fiskefrikadeller--pan-fried hake smørrebrød. The dish was great, the fried fish being perfectly seasoned and light. So light, you almost forget it's fried. The hearty homemade rye. This is an excellent option for a light lunch; people looking for a more filling meal would be wise to get an appetizer or maybe the *trio of cured herring*!!

Those of you Christian types should look up their Danish Easter Menu! It's $46/person and gives you a good taste of their menu!

13 Laight Street
(212) 925-1313

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream Shamrock Shake

Mt Desert Island Ice Cream Sign
St. Patrick’s Day may have been yesterday, but I still have green-themed desserts on the brain due in no small part to my mom paying a visit to one of my all-time favorite ice cream shops, Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream in Portland, Maine. I follow MDIIC on Facebook, so I always know about their awesome new flavors and specials (even if it makes me wistful that I’m not up in Maine). When I heard that my parents were heading up to Maine for the weekend I told them they had to go drink a Shamrock Shake from MDIIC for me. They happily obliged and here’s my mom’s post on said shake…

Any trip to Portland, Maine is made better by a stop at Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream. This east coast bit of ‘Portlandia,’ is famous for fearlessly producing tasty and quirky flavors such as: Hot Chili Chocolate, Bay of Figs, Curry Banana, Root Ginger, etc. However, the inspiration for this visit was finding that annual March favorite (invented but not perfected by McDs)—the Shamrock Shake.

I love green ice cream in all its forms* - mint chocolate chip, green tea, and of course, pistachio. My talented daughter**, Brownie, posted a really beautiful recipe she developed for a homemade Shamrock Shake using fresh mint leaves on Serious Eats Sweets this month. Alas, I was not in Brooklyn to slurp even one brain freezing drop! So, when Brownie told me that Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream was featuring the Shamrock Shake this month, I had to try one.

shamrock shake 3
Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream uses only organic milk and cream to make their ice cream. Their Shamrock Shake starts with their own Madagascar Vanilla Bean ice cream as a base to which they add dinner butter mints and then, apologizing profusely, a bit of green food coloring. (Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream prides itself on not adding artificial anything to anything!) The whole creation was topped with whipped cream. It was really good. There were tiny pieces of dinner mints that made the texture of the mix interesting, but not straw clogging. I may have to make an excuse to go to Portland again this month!

Wishing all of you Shamrock Shakes of luck and happiness for March and the rest of the year,

Mama Brownie

*See, I get it from somewhere--Brownie
**Mom! I'm blushing!--Brownie

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Celebrate Pi Day at Four & Twenty Blackbirds

Pies Are Round No, Pies Are Squared

The other day I told you about the new, Rosemary Shoofly Pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Well, today, in honor of Pi Day (3.14, baby!) Four & Twenty has pie slices on special. Time to indulge your inner math geek/pie freak...

Today and today ONLY, all *NEW* seasonal flavors of pie are on sale for $3.14, all day! Here's what you can get...

Rosemary Honey Shoofly

Green Chili Chocolate

Sweet Potato Apple Crumble

Maple Lime Custard

The Rosemary Honey Shoofly is the only new pie I've tried and I've been dying for the Sweet Potato Apple Crumble. I see a pie mission in my near future. How about you? How are you celebrating Pi Day? *The Pi/Pie creation above was my Serious Eats/Instructables Pi Day contest entry from a few years back.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Choice Streets is Returning!!

Choice Streets
I loved spending time on the Intrepid last year and was quite worried when Hurricane Sandy rolled through that her fierce winds and storm surge would damage the ship, the pier, or the aircraft on top *for good*. She did damage it some, but The Intrepid has since been repaired and reopened, and on Tuesday, May 7th, we can all hang out on the pier again, eating from our favorite food trucks on a warm spring evening because Village Voice's Choice Streets is returning!

Choice Streets 2013
If you're on one of Village Voice's email lists, you might have gotten the "Insider" email letting us know that 1) tickets will on sale to the general public this Thursday at 12 noon and 2) that "Insiders" are currently in the middle of a pre-sale. Tickets--$50 for VIPs and $40 for everyone else--can be bought here or, for those with the code, which may or may not be CS50713, can get their tickets today. No word yet on which trucks we'll be feasting on, but I can guarantee they'll be good.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Kimchi Grill's Korean Fried Chicken & Waffles

Korean Fried Chicken & Waffles from Kimchi Grill

Fried chicken and waffles are a beautiful thing. Crispy chicken served atop golden waffles with syrup or honey? How could you go wrong? You can't. You. Just. Can't. But, as the folks at Kimchi Grill (the brick and mortar offshoot of the popular Kimchi Taco Truck) have shown, you can take a classic dish and give it a new twist, as evidenced by our recent brunch of Korean-style fried Chicken over waffles...

Kimchi Grill recently debuted a weekend brunch menu with breakfast tacos ($3 each) or burritos ($5.75) consisting of scrambled eggs with kimchi-chorizo home fries topped with pico de gallo, black beans and miso crema. What really caught our eye was the organic mung bean waffle, spiced rice flour coated fried chicken (tossed with or without sweet & spicy glaze) served with organic blue agave nectar butter topped with fried egg ($8.50).

The woman sitting at the table next to us also went the chicken and waffle route. And as we waited for our order we hear her give instructions to get the glaze on the side. Interesting choice, but I was confident in my order of chicken with the sauce-on. When I got the breakfast, I had to admit that she was right. Not because the sauce was too spicy or too sweet...on the contrary it was absolutely delicious. But coating of the chicken was just sooo good that you don't want to cover up any of the crispy, crunchy goodness until just before it hits your mouth. Trust me (or at least trust the lady next to me who knew better). The waffle is unlike your typical Belgian waffle--it was chewier, a little more glutinous tasting which I imagine was due to it being made with mung beans. It kind of reminded me of the Korean pancakes I like but in waffle form, so I was a fan, but if you're expecting a traditional waffle, you'll want to adjust your expectation so you can enjoy it for the fusion treat that it is.

For $8.50 this is a generous (and tasty!) brunch and definitely one that I'd go back for again. Can't get enough Kimchi Grill (or Kimchi Taco Truck)? They're featured in our upcoming book New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks along with their recipe for kim-cheesesteaks and Korean BBQ Nachos, both of which are RIDICULOUSLY delicious. The book releases on April 2nd, but you can pre-order it now from your favorite bookstore now!

Kimchi Grill
766 Washington Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Monday, March 11, 2013

Oren's on Waverly is Expanding!!

Oren's Waverly
Midterms are upon my fellow NYU students which means there cannot be too much coffee. It's physically impossible. Also, it's Monday morning after the spring forward--the entire country is groggy. But I've got good news for those of us already stressing about finals week.

The Oren's on Waverly Place which is quite possibly the smallest coffee shop in the city--if there are more than four people inside waiting for coffee, you're best to wait outside--is expanding. Last year, the crepe place next door went under and Oren's, realizing there can never be too much caffeine by this over-crowded college campus, is pouncing on the opportunity. It's scheduled to open in April aka the beginning of iced coffee season.

31 Waverly Place
(212) 420-5958

Friday, March 8, 2013

Time for Some Contesting

Big Cheesy logo
Happy Friday! In celebration of the end of another work week, we're bringing you two contests that end in free food and booze. So, without further ado, may we present the Big Cheesy? In two weekends--March 23rd and 24th--seven of the cheesiest grilled cheese makers will converge on Openhouse Gallery (201 Mulberry St) and compete for most deliciousiest cheesiest grilled cheese of them all. And we've got a pair of tickets to give away. Simply email us at blondieandbrownie at gmail (the button on the left) with the subject "Big Cheesy" and next Friday morning, I will have pick a winner. If you want to make sure you can go to the Big Cheesy without Random's help, click here for tickets--it's only $25 a pop.

Now the second contest has a dinner at Pok Pok NY up for grabs. See Chef Andy Richter is giving an interview next Thursday evening at General Assembly--it will be live streamed and anyone can ask him questions via the interwebz--but two pairs of lucky ducks will be able to watch the live-stream privately and then have an all-expenses paid dinner at Pok Pok NY. Not too shabby. And all you have to do is drop your email on this page to be entered. Get on this one because the drawing's on Monday. Plus, you know you want a free dinner.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Murray’s Cheese Bar Makes Killer Omlets (and Serves AWESOME Piri Piri Sauce)

Chorizo Chili Omlet from Murray's
As Blondie mentioned last week, Murray’s Cheese Bar is now serving brunch and we got a special look at their press preview. How good is that brunch? So good that it deserves two posts. So good that I’m staring at my calendar willing myself to have a free weekend to go there for brunch again…

As a kid I was omlet obsessed. If we went somewhere with an omlet bar that was ALWAYS what I ordered. There was just something so magical about picked whatever you wanted and watching it get turned into a plate-sized egg disc before your very eyes. Alas, my eyes always proved to be bigger than my stomach and often times these omlet bars turned out omlets that as a whole were lackluster at best—greasy, sometimes overly browned omlet discuses. Thanks but no thanks. Because omlets have the tendency to go rubbery…fast, I generally just make fluffy scrambled eggs with various mix-ins to satisfy my breakfasttime eggy cravings. But the Chorizo Chili Omlet at Murrary’s Cheese Bar has made me an omlet believer again. Why? Because their omlets are super-light and fluffy, like they could float off your plate fluffy. No browned spots here. These are omlets as they should be made. Omlets that would do any culinary school instructor proud. Omlets that I would like seconds of…like…right…now.

piri piri sauce
One of my favorite things about the Chorizo Chili Omlet, besides the fluffy eggs and hello(!) chorizo + Cotswold cheddar was the Mazi Piri Piri sauce they serve on the side. This traditional Portuguese sauce is fiery and just darn good. It’s made in small batches in NJ, but just a few droplets will have you craving more (and contemplating sauce hoarding). Seriously, I would go back for the sauce alone.

Murray's Cheese Bar
264 Bleecker Street
Greenwich Village
(646) 476-8882

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Afternoon Treats at Eataly

Focaccia at Eataly
My days are busy lately--getting ready for the book's pubbing, researching for a grant and my semester project, general school work, and work work. Plus my life. It's leading to a bunch of days eating Oreos, avocado toast, peanut butter sandwiches (from PB & Co, naturally), and I'll admit to the lunch that consisted of Snickers and a handful of peanuts. Yesterday, after doing research on Gourmet in Fales, I found myself running uptown for work. And I was famished. And there was Eataly. And 'Eataly's so expensive, I can't find anything cheap there,' or so I thought.

I walked past the cafe, past the fancy desserts, past the fish, past the rotisserie chicken, past the meat, past the restaurant, and stopped at the focaccia. Something simple, something filling, something mildly nutritious like vegetable focaccia. And I almost got the eggplant and tomato focaccia they had out for samples, until the man behind the counter told me they had apricot and plum focaccia. It's just that point in the winter where I miss every single aspect of summer. I'd give anything to be in 100+ degree heat right now with my flip flops and shorts eating fresh fruit I bought at the market. Bonus points for the balsamic glaze drizzled on top, though it did make my hands all sticky like I'd just eaten an ice cream cone. And it was all under $4.

200 Fifth Avenue
(212) 229-2560

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Travels with Brownie: 70% Dark Chocolate Kit Kat Bars

Dark Chocolate Kit Kat
Kit Kats are my dad’s favorite candy bars, but they never held any allure for me. In my book the only redeeming thing about them is the crispy interior, but if you’re going to dip that in waxy and overly sweet chocolate you can keep those candies to yourself. I strongly prefer dark chocolate but most mass produced “dark chocolate” candy bars in the US don’t pass muster as being chocolatey enough. When I was in Jamaica a few weeks back and spotted these 70% dark chocolate Kit Kats imported from the UK, my interest was piqued. 70% chocolate? On a Kit Kat? I had to give it a try...

Sure enough these Kit Kats deliver on the chocolate front. While maybe it’s not as fancy a dark chocolate as you might get from say, Scharffen Berger, it was probably the best dark chocolate I’ve had from a mass produced brand. I spotted these bars over the weekend at the Park Slope Key Food on 5th Avenue—for whatever reason they have a lovely UK imports section—for $1.29, which isn’t a terrible price for an import bar. I’d be curious to see how they compare in a side-by-side with the Dark Kit Kat bar that’s typically sold in the States. Anyone ever tried a head-to-head with the two?