Hot chocolate is obviously a cornerstone of winter, and if you live in New York City, you deserve the best dang hot chocolate in the world for this miserable weather we’ve been having. For the ultimate hot choc lover, head on over to The City Bakery for their annual hot chocolate festival, which doles out a different flavor each day all month long.
My friend came over for dinner last night, and one of the things we both talked about was how having someone over for dinner makes you so much more apt to try a new recipe. My dinner party of one often consists of toast, a veggie burger and some sort of quick vegetable garnish. Yep, super festive.
But with a guest in da hizouse and it being a weeknight, I wanted something new, but quick. Thankfully, I remembered how time-efficient lavash bread pizzas sounded when I first read about them in The New York Times last October. And even more thankfully, I actually remembered that I had read about them. (I have a bad habit of bookmarking recipes and then totally forgetting about them.)
My first job ever was working at a hoagie shop (hoagie = South Jersey speak for sub) the summer after my senior year. It was the first time I got a paycheck, the first time I got tips and the first time I had some sort of uniform. (It was a navy blue shirt embroidered with the sub shop’s name.)
In my mind, it’s still one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. Not only did I get a free sandwich each day and enough Iced Tea to give me a quick cavity, but it was also one of those places where the same people came in every day with the same order. Where everybody knows your name…
We have a spot like this in Nolita called Parisi Bakery, a neighborhood staple that has been around for more than 100 years!
I came to Ruby’s Cafe a while ago before I even moved to its ‘hood with my friend who claimed this Australian spot had the best burger in New York City. We did have burgers that night, but sorry, Kunal, I didn’t think they were the best. Good, but not best. (I still love Shake Shack.)
I went back a couple of weeks ago and, though I toyed with the idea of giving the burger another go, I anticipated disappointment, so I went veg, which unfortunately didn’t leave me with much to choose from.
What’s in it for you: Roasted vegetable panini with pesto and mozzarella; roasted vegetable spaghetti with pumpkin, zucchini, roasted peppers and asparagus; roast vegetable salad with roast pumpkin, peppers, zucchini, goat cheese, pine nuts and arugula
What’s in it for them: Posh BLT (prosciutto, avocado, tomato and lettuce with aioli dressing); Blueys burger ( chicken breast, tomato, lettuce, sweet chilli, mayo and cheese); Whaleys burger (ground beef, tomato, lettuce, beet, pineapple, fried egg and ketchup); Bronte burger (ground beef, tomato, lettuce, sweet chilli, mayo and cheese); spicy Italian sausage made of rigatoni pasta, baby peas and tomato sauce
The good thing is, when sandwiches are involved, I’m easy to please. Give me a couple slices of bread, vegetables and cheese, and I’m set. And so I went with the roast vegetable panini:
I had seen Candice Kumai on the first season on Top Chef, but it wasn’t until I read her NY Diet on Grub Street that I realized that she is truly a super cool chick whose outlook on food (mostly fruits and vegetables, a lot of water, etc.) is so in line with my own.
To give you a little back story, Kumai actually worked as a model for 10 years—which is where she got the nickname Stiletto Chef—but turned her life 180 when she went to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. She then appeared on the Bravo reality series, worked with Wolfgang Puck and co-hosted a hit cooking show on Lifetime.
She has a very real, simple approach to healthy eats and looking good (eat well + exercise = duh!), and suffice to say, I’m kind of obsessed with her. So when I found out she had a new cookbook, Pretty Delicious (out today), I knew I had to talk to the woman herself. Here, the San Diego-raised Kumai shares her thoughts on foodie culture, New York vs. California and the foods you need to be eating now.
The last time I had miniature popsicles was during an epic trip to Paris with two of my girlfriends. It was a “college trip,” but I couldn’t even tell you what those seminars were about…because I was asleep during them. Sorry, Mom and Dad! Anyway, at one of the events, they handed out mini popsicles and despite the fact that we were already a bunch of giggly girls, it made us feel like kids again.
Flash forward five years and I was back for another round of the mini frozen treats, this time at PopBar, a West Village shop specializing in gelato and sorbet on a stick. I had visited them when they opened last May and fell in love with their artisanal pops. But this time, they invited me to taste test their new line on miniPops, smaller-size pops available for parties and corporate events.
Just like their regular pops, you can customize basic flavors (think chocolate, vanilla, coffee or blood orange sorbet) with gourmet toppings—anything from crushed hazelnut and pistachio to drizzles of dark, milk or white chocolate.