Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunsets and Seafood in Santa Barbara

Driving fast on the 101, as the highway stretches and curves with the coastline while the sun conducts its orchestra of colors playing in the sky until it slips behind the horizon's edge- it's as if the world is expanding. Even if it's just for the day, Santa Barbara is a nice respite from LA. At the very end of Santa Barbara's pier is a spot that offers fresh, straightforward seafood in a laidback atmosphere that the East Coast just doesn't have. J and I sat at the counter next to an gray-haired surfer wearing his dinner sweatshirt, shorts and flip flops talking about the day's waves while having a bottle of Anchor Steam with his meal. No loafers or madras plaid at Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. California...

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company

Santa Barbara Shellfish Co.
230 Stearns Wharf
Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3571
(805) 966-6676

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Food and Beauty

JD and I received a wonderful gift for Christmas from friends who love food maybe as much as we do. JF and MS gave us a subscription to a gorgeous paperback culinary journal / cook book that is at once visually stunning and intimate. Canal House Cooking is the creation of two women who know their food. Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, together, have spanned all facets of the food industry, from food magazine publishing, editing, photography, chef, recipe developer, and restaurant owner, to name of a few. But despite being industry veterans, Hirsheimer and Hamilton have taken a homespun approach to their seasonal cook book, by not only self-publishing, but by keeping their inspired recipes in simple form so the rest of us can make delicious and pretty meals at home too. Their 'home kitchen' where the recipes are created, executed and eaten is in the Delaware River Valley, a place that I've been fortunate enough to escape to several times over the past few years. I have enjoyed so many meals prepared with locally grown ingredients at my cousin's Bucks County country home of big meals and marathon eating. I can't wait to try one of their recipes for the next feast. Here's a peek at V.2

Monday, December 21, 2009

New AmsterDAMN!

Intrepid vendors stood at the South Street Seaport just after the blizzard, hawking their goods, and ringing their bells at the hour of the last outdoor market of the season. The New Amsterdam Market is a convergence of the most passionate and skilled purveyors, bakers, mongers and artisans that offer up the best stuff from the region. Samples abound from chocolate to cheese...and if you are still hungry after the freebies, there are food stalls where fresh oysters are shucked on the spot and herby, fatty, yummy Porchetta sandwiches from the East Village are carved from the source to fatten you up for the winter. It's heavenly for a food lover and if it wasn't so frosty out, I would have stuck around for a serious degustation.
'Til the Spring...

Crop to Cup Family Farmed Coffee

Escot Valley Farm cheese

Porchetta sandwiches

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chicks and Babies

This is for JD, a Chick-Fil-A fiend. Atlanta, Georgia, the birthplace of Chick-Fil-A (over 40 years ago!) This was taken on Peach Tree Road while rushing my friend to the hospital for the surprise month-early delivery of her beautiful baby boy. Though the thought did cross my mind, drive-thru was not an option.

Fridays are Bananas!

The end of the work week can drag, so we look to a good, old fashioned sugar rush to perk us up. Sometimes a theme is good for narrowing down the plethora of dessert choices in the neighborhood. This Friday's theme: BANANAS

Banana pudding trifle that comes cutely intact in a mason jar and ...

...a small banana cream pie from Kitchenette are two good ways to get a sugar buzz while also getting in some potassium, vitamin C and B6.

156 Chambers Street
New York NY 10007
(212) 267-6740

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Comfort Me With Shakshuka, For I Am Sick of This Cold

I'm not sure I would make it through the winter without the help of one of my favorite comfort foods: SHAKSHUKA. Shakshuka is a popular Israeli egg dish that originated in North Africa. It consists of poached eggs in a perfectly spiced sizzling tomato stew served and eaten straight from the pan . A place to get it is the very affordable Hummus Place (now 4 locations) in Manhattan. You can also add the spongy, salty haloumi cheese to make the dish even more hearty. It is served with fluffy regular or whole wheat pita.

I can't mention Hummus Place without mentioning my other absolute favorites like Hummus Masabacha made with whole chickpeas served warm (add an hard-boiled egg and it's perfect!)

...and Kadaif dessert which is so divine that I almost cried the first time I had it. Dry kadaif, vanilla infused ricotta, shredded halva drizzled with honey date sauce. I usually have this with warm fresh mint tea.

The quintessential comfort meal to ward off the biting-cold of winter...

Hummus Place
71 7th Ave South
New York, NY

(212) 924-2022

Monday, December 7, 2009

Exquisite Corpse On Fruit

Novelist, poet, essayist, Andrei Codrescu held an exquisite corpse workshop followed by reading at the Sunday Salon at Jimmy's No. 43 in the East Village. He suggests smooth surfaces like bananas, pears and even grapes. Seasonal fruit like persimmons are good too.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It Hits the Spot

St. Marks Place has a new dessert spot, and thank goodness it doesn't involve pumping sour frozen yogurt under glaring lights. After eating ramen, yakitori, pho, banh mi, pad kee mao, or Korean fried chicken on the block, head downstairs to a more sedate place for your toothsome treats. Spot is a respite from the usual clamor on street level with a minimal industrial-chic vibe of cement floors, raw wood benches, candlelight and boxed sprouts of green grass (a nice change to the space that once housed the ever-perplexing The Iron Fairies store). Pichet Ong (Batch and P*ong) creates these sweet innovations by borrowing from the variety of desserts and
ingredients spanning Asia. Items on the menu include sparkly cupcakes like Vanilla Caramel Vietnamese Coffee and Chocolate Green Tea Fruit Jam, artful entrees like Poached Persimmon and White Miso Semifreddo, Jackfruit Cake (made with basil seed, rum toffee and coconut), Chocolate Chip Coconut cookies, and beverages like Hot Ovaltine, Bubble Tea and Homemade Passion Fruit Soda.

Vanilla Caramel Vietnamese Coffee and Chocolate Green Tea Fruit Jam cupcakes

Soft Cheesecake with walnut lemon and huckleberries.

Spot Dessert Bar
13 St. Marks Place (between 2nd and 3rd Aves.)
(212) 677-5670