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CSA’s Rule and Here’s Why

21 Jun

Organic broccoli, raab, scallions, and kale with orzo!

It’s summer time and that means a lot of awesome things. No school, swimming holes, vacations, hangin’ with pals, the list goes on. This year is my first summer in New Paltz not living on a couch, so I’m already off to a great start, but there are a few things that I’m really really excited about, and my CSA is one of them.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, Continue reading

The Doritos Locos Taco Supreme

22 Mar

Vanessa’s on a roll.  Here’s another contribution…

First of all, I’m going to get the common “but, but, Taco Bell isn’t AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD!!” cry out of the way. No shit. I lived in California for 22 years and have been to Mexico more times than I can count. I know it’s not “real” Mexican food, but that doesn’t stop it from being awesome. Jurassic Park isn’t a documentary about the time they actually cloned dinosaurs from DNA caught in tree sap and then created a dinosaur safari theme park that went awry. You should also know that isn’t the REAL Mickey Mouse in your family photos from Disneyland circa 1992. But those things are still good things, and Continue reading

Third Annual Pizza & Beer Pairing at Chelsea’s Co. With Sixpoint Brewery

27 Feb

230 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10001

My ticket to this event was another Valentine’s Day gift to me this year (gurl done good!).  We arrived just as the event was starting at noon.  I didn’t take any pictures because I left my cell phone behind to charge, but to give you an idea of what Co. looks like…

That’s almost the entire restaurant right there with a bit of bench seating along the left wall not pictured.  The event, which ran from noon until 4pm, was extremely crowded at the beginning and so my girlfriend and I posted up on the bench and acted as hybrid consumers/coat-check station.  The pizza and beer was served buffet style: a quesadilla-sized slice and 4 0z. of beer served out of continuously refilled growlers.   Continue reading

The Dish & the Spoon at reRun Theater

19 Feb

A quick snippet about reRun theater…

reRun Theater, located in Dumbo Brooklyn, NY, shows independent films in a single theater that seats about 60.  Said seats are reclaimed car seats…I hope you like upholstery.  There is a bar in the theater.  A bar!  A bar that serves gastropub fare including popcorn sopped in all kinds of interesting fat.  Amazing.  Conceivably, one could check out an indie flick, grab a hot dog and some duckfat popcorn and get shlocked simultaneously.  I kept myself in check Continue reading

Cafe Cortadito

22 Nov

210 E. 3rd Street (Between Avenues B & C)

New York, NY 10009

After numerous trips to NYC to visit my sister, I finally got a chance to try one of her favorite restaurants.  She fell in love with the place the first night she moved to the city.  She and my parents decided to walk around her neighborhood to find a place to eat after moving and unpacking all day.  A block and half away, they stumbled upon this little gem.  My dad rarely talks a place up unless it’s halfway decent.  Cafe Cortadito is well past halfway.

Last Saturday, my sister’s boyfriend, James, and I decided to treat my sister (it was her birthday the night before) and her friend Vanessa to dinner.  We thought a reservation would be a good idea as it was a Saturday night.  We had all been drinking since 1 at brunch.  I was pretty well cocked and so I decided to take a few hours off.  James kept his head down and powered through straight until dinner.  He called at seven o’clock and made a reservation for four under the name “James/Julie…trust me, you know us.”  He then called back saying we’d be a little late when we decided to watch the better part of “Drive.”

When we arrived, it was apparent that they were both very busy and our “reservation” may have been lost in translation (likely James, not the restaurant).  James poked his head in and spoke to the hostess, who happens to be the chef’s wife, to see how long it would be before we could get a table.  She was very sweet and was able to get us a table in the back within 15 minutes.  Until then, we looked at the menu outside salivating.

The inside was very cozy; tight like a lot of smaller restaurants in NYC, but not claustrophobic: the type of restaurant that you don’t want to try to navigate through after a dozen drinks.  I thought it was noisy at first until I realized that our table was contributing to the majority of it.

Within a minute, we had waters, a Stella (for myself) and a pitcher of red sangria (for everybody).  We decided on splitting the Piquillos (stuffed peppers) and Chicarrones de Pollo (marinated chicken) appetizers for the table.  My sister was there the night before with her roommate and also recommended the Yuca Frita con Cortadito Salsa (fried cassava fingers).  

The Piquillos were delectable.  I wished I could have dipped my fingers in the sauce without looking like a cromagnon asshole.  The chicken was very tasty; the seasoning was savory and strong, yet not overpowering.  The sangria was delicious and deceivingly tangy (guh).

The entree was an easy choice for me.  Every time I go to a Cuban restaurant, I try their Ropa Vieja (shredded beef in a creole sauce).  This was the best Ropa Vieja that I’ve ever had by far; wonderfully seasoned and tasted like it had been slow-cooked for a day.  And there was something about the black beans.  Christ, they were delicious!

Come dessert time, we were all stuffed.  In order to make up for the wait, which may or may not have been our fault, the hostess comped a round of champagne for the table.  Exactly what we needed.  The four of us hobbled out of there happy and sated. 

I’m making it a point to try their brunch the next time I’m down there.

Rating: ****1/2

If you’d like to check out the menu, visit their website: Cafe Cortadito

Miracle Noodles!

15 Nov

If you are anything like me, you have a carb problem.  I need starchy food in my diet even at the cost of my waistline.  The real issue is that I don’t get full easily, so I am always looking for ways to stuff myself before digging into a meal.  I have tried several tricks: three glasses of water prior to a meal, snacking on a whole bag of baby carrots during the day and hoping to not be staving by meal time, and my favorite of all, Weight Watcher’s wonderful tid-bit of advice, the “STOP, REST, and ASSESS”- the only problem with that phrase is inevitably if there is pasta in front of me, I STOP eating, REST for few minutes, ASSESS whether I am still hungry, and end up concluding that pounding the rest of the pasta is COMPLETELY necessary.

A few weeks ago my roommate and I were complaining to each other about this addiction and ended up coming across an interesting product online.  It’s called “Miracle Noodles.”  Corny, yes, but when we researched it further, these noodles were too tempting to ignore.  They are soy free, gluten free, and best of all ZERO CALORIES. They have existed in Japan for decade but it was only in recent years that a family brought them back to the U.S. and decided to manufacture the noodles and sell them online.

Okay so at this point you are most likely asking the same question I did: what the hell are they made of then?  And better yet, what could they possibly taste like?!  The noodles are made entirely from soluble plant fiber.  This has two huge advantages: one, there are absolutely no calories, and two, when it reaches your stomach, it expands and gives you the sensation of being full! These noodles come in a variety of pasta shapes (rice, angel hair, rigatoni, etc) and don’t need cooking!  You simply rinse, dry, and add them to any recipe.

Okay thats all well and good, but do they taste like crap?  To be honest, they have no flavor at all.  However, that also means the noodles will absorb any flavors you mix it with.  I have been eating them recently and they are very good in a variety of recipes, and for ZERO CALORIES, I really can’t complain. For just one example of the many meals you could make with these noodles, I made a stir fry with chicken, veggies, and a peanut sauce. Super easy and really delicious.

The last advantage I will note is that these noodles have a 6 month shelf life while still packaged and stay good for four days after they are out of the package.  This is ideal for poor planners like me whose food intake consists mostly of microwaveable dinners and eggs.  So it may be possible to cut down on calories and still eat noodles.  Hey, the more you save, the more wine you can drink…or at least thats how I look at it.

Check them out: Miracle Noodles

Lil’ Buddha Cafe

16 Oct

274 Lark St
Albany, NY 12210

During a Bills game halftime a few weeks back, Joeboy (I’m sick of referring to him as joeb87) and I decided to take a stroll down to Lark Street.  We had both consumed more than two bowls of chili and thought we could use a drink.  Water would have been the best choice of course, but we decided on smoothies; cold milk and fruit on hot chili (guh).

The café itself is pretty tiny with Continue reading

Sushi X Lounge

4 Oct

710 New Loudon Road

Latham, NY 12110

When I heard about this place in the Times Union a few weeks ago, I knew that I had to go.  My friend Rachel who showed me the article suggested that we go last night, and I graciously accepted her offer. The concept: all-you-can-eat sushi for a fixed price ($20 during the week and $22 on weekends).  Hypothetically, a twosome could get an unlimited amount of sushi for around the same price as a dinner at Friendly’s…if they skip cocktails.  There is one caveat.  If you do not finish your food, you are charged the a la carte price for said items.  But, you can order as many times as you want, so don’t go in there on an empty stomach like I did and start marking up the order sheet like a dumb kid’s report card.

The all-you-can-eat menu is actually pretty extensive.  They have nigiri, sashimi, soups & salads and kitchen food (katsu, gyoza, wontons, etc…).

Round 1

I wish I had a picture but neither of us had eaten since around noon, so we dutifully pounded an order of pork katsu, some gyoza and shared a vegetable udon.  All were very tasty.  I know I was hungry, but I’m pretty sure I only took two breaths in that five minute period; the rest was all swallowing.

Round 2

I actually was able to get a picture in before going to Pound Town (population: 2).  From left to right: Philly Roll, Tiger Roll, “X Roll” (middle) and Crazy Girl Roll w/ 4 pieces of eel and 2 yellowtail.  Rachel, coming off a half marathon this past Saturday and myself, coming out after a fasting monk workday absolutely slammed Round 2 and had ordered Round 3 before the ring girls were able to circle the restaurant with the round card.

Round 3

I again let my hunger get the best of my memory and myunched half the plate with Rachel before I took a picture.  Trust me, the plating was gorgeous before the mau-ing.  A Spider Roll, a Sunshine Roll and 2 salmon, 2 white tuna, 2 more eel, 1 red snapper and 1 shrimp.

Round 4

After consulting our bored, yet very charismatic waiter (it was late on a Monday night after all), we ended up with the inflated order of beef ribs, rock shrimp, shumai and baked mussels.  Rachel, the trooper that she is, ate just less than half of Round 4 and politely asked for me to bat cleanup.  I swallowed the last few bites like a head-pumping tortoise.

The two of us decided to forgo dessert since we had reached “uncomfortably full.”  They did offer a variety of ice creams, including green tea and red bean which I love.  We came very close to splitting a green tea since it was free, but I was already fading fast: the Terri Schiavo of sushi.

I’m fairly certain that Rachel and I consumed 800% of our daily sodium thanks to the soy sauce; we’ll be retaining water for the next three months.  Whatever.  She ran over 13 miles on Saturday and I woke up drunk both mornings this weekend, so we’re good.  After some quick calculation I determined that we ate approximately $150 worth of food if we were to have ordered it a la carte.

I would highly recommend this place.  Out of everything we ordered, the only roll that was sub-par was the Spider.  There was an automatic 16% gratuity, but Rachel and I left a few bucks behind because the waiter complimented Rachel on her nails and my water was refilled every five minutes as it seems to be in any Japanese restaurant.  If you are going to try Sushi X, make sure that you go with friends who don’t judge (i.e. not a date restaurant).

The Mangler

30 Sep

Two years ago I was living in a two-family home with five friends.  It was like a frat house minus the bros, rape and shitty beer.

My friend and roommate at the time, joeb87, noticed one morning that someone had taken his block of pepper jack cheese out of the refrigerator, gnawed on one corner, and replaced it in the deli drawer.  We laughed, wondering who the hell would be that much of a dirtbag.

Throughout the next two weeks, there were another three or four attacks.  The culprit hit the pepper jack again, hard, joeb87’s jar of peanut butter got hand-scooped and there was a mysterious disappearance of a bag of Doritos.  We began referring to said monster as The Mangler Continue reading