posted by on Italian, Nolita, Pizza, Vegging Out

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Last night, a major craving for brick-oven pizza and a major bout of laziness led me to a neighborhood pizza shop called L’asso pizza, which specializes in D.O.C. That stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, but all you need to know is that the stamp of approval means this type of pizza is the real deal. Specifically, it needs to be cooked in a wood-burning oven and made with proper ingredients — the right flour, San Marzano tomatoes, all natural cow’s milk mozzarella or Bufala mozzarella, fresh basil, salt and yeast (all must be only fresh, all-natural, non-processed ingredients). On top of that, it needs to be kneaded by hand or by a low-speed mixer. No dough press or rolling pin allowed!

We didn’t get the D.O.C. pies, but considering how good our pizza was, the D.O.C. must be O.O.C. (out of control). Don’t let the 20ish-minute wait on a weekday stop you.

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posted by on Chicken, Events, Italian, Lunch, Meat, Midtown, Olive oil, Restaurant Week, Vegging Out

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The last time I tried Restaurant Week was when I first moved to New York City in 2007. A bunch of us girls went to i Trulli and had a great time, but I realized that spending almost $50 (including tip) on a three-course dinner, which was more food than I needed, wasn’t probably worth it.

But I got suckered into trying the Restaurant Week lunch menu at the 5th Avenue Fig & Olive recently. I probably didn’t need an appetizer and dessert on top of ROAST CHICKEN FOR LUNCH, but I couldn’t pass up the tantalizing menu. Plus, looking at the rest of the menu, the price of ordering a la carte would’ve been about the same. (Restaurant Week lunches are $24.07, but don’t ask me what the 7 cents is for.) And, I’ve been to Fig & Olive before for brunch, and loved it, so I was probably going to love lunch just as much. There, three reasons.

Despite a meat-heavy menu, you can still go veg with a cheese and fig samosa and mushroom penne, but I decided to try the chicken because it was advertised as free-range. Always a sucker for labels.

Here’s a peak at my and my friend’s meals:

{Starter bread with three kinds of olive oil}

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posted by on Chocolate

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My boyfriend and I aren’t big on Valentine’s Day (we save indulgence for anniversaries and birthdays), but he still surprised me with these Payard ginger-Pop Rocks (!) truffles, which came in a cute pink purse package, from the Francois Payard Bakery yesterday since he’s traveling for work today. We’ll save the real celebration for this weekend when he cooks me (!) dinner. After his amazing menu last time (holla empanadas!), I can’t wait to see what my stomach and I will be getting.

♥ Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours! ♥

posted by on Baking, Bread, Chocolate, Comfort Food, Dessert, Pumpkin

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With a can of pumpkin puree hanging around since Thanksgiving, I was determined to use it this weekend on a delicious pumpkin and chocolate chip bread. This wasn’t my first stab at the loaf, but I wanted to try a new recipe, so I looked to my fave new chef/blogger, Candice Kumai, whom I interviewed recently. She has a knack of making everything sound uber droolworthy, so when I saw the headline “Pumpkin+Chocolate=DROOLFEST GOOD” I knew I had found a winning recipe.

There were a couple typos in the recipe, and I also made some changes (i.e. added salt, subbed some unsweetened applesauce for butter), so here’s my revised version:

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posted by on Asian, Lunch, Meat, Midtown, Vegging Out, Vietnamese

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If there’s one chef to call the current hotshot in New York, it’s Momofuku owner David Chang. I’m no stranger to Momofuku Milk Bar, but I’ve never ventured into the main restaurant thanks to its por- heavy restaurant. But Chang recently opened seasonal eatery Ma Peche in Midtown, and though it’s still no place for strict vegetarians, I figured, for David Chang, I could flex my diet.

(You’ll notice that I changed the categories below to more accurately reflect the flexitarian ways.)

Feeling veg: Tofu summer rolls; brussel sprouts with cranberry, scallion, chili vinaigrette; broccoli salad

Feeling non-veg: Fried shrimp po boy; beef tartare; local striped bass with black bean bbq, celery and shallot; braised flat iron steak; duck confit banh mi

My friend, Amy, and I had quite the luxurious meal with three appetizers to start us off. First, I got the one tofu thing on the menu, the summer rolls, which were so exquisitely wrapped that I was wary to mess it all up. But clearly that feeling didn’t last long. The two rolls are huge, and filled with tons of different texture and flavors. I would’ve been happy with two orders of that for my entire meal!

{Tofu Spring Rolls}

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posted by on Baking, Cupcakes, Vanilla

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Ever since I caught the baking bug a few years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find me using a prepackaged mix. But since I was gifted a Sprinkles cupcake mix over the holidays, I was curious to see how the famed L.A. cupcakery’s formula would fare. Plus, I figured it was a good treat to bring to a Super Bowl Party with friends. Not a typical football food, like nachos or chicken wings, you say? Well, I’m no football fan, so I decided to bring what made me happy.

Our host had tons of food but nothing sweet. That’s where these babies came in.

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