On the Go Like Whoa

It’s been a busy Spring thus far, gearing up for an even more frantic summer (moving to NYC, weddings abound, and lots of travel!), and family trips and obligations have had me constantly on the go.

A few weeks ago, my family did back to back trips to Park City, Utah and Houston, TX, where we unsurprisingly engaged in epic amounts of eating and drinking. Here, two picks for each locale:

Park City, Utah

Purple Sage 
Adhering to the schedule of a 9 month old–albeit the most delightful baby on the planet–, can present problems dining out. Luckily, Purple Sage, located near our rental house offered gourmet comfort food (think veal meatloaf and terrific parmesan-poblano grits)–all available to go. Delightful, delicious, and located right on bustling main street.

*image courtesy of Purple Sage

High West Distillery and Saloon 
In addition to their terrific whiskeys and my personal fave, the pre-batched Boulevardier (all made on-site), High West is also a great place to visit, and even stop for a meal. We came in during the bustling lunch rush, and enjoyed delightful cocktails and tasty noontime fare.Exterior Still 4 LR

*image courtesy of High West

Houston, TX
A quick note: I’m fully aware of how exciting the Houston dining scene is, but sadly because of a packed schedule and one day feeling under the weather, my food intake was shockingly down. Therefore, I’m just mentioning two of the places I particularly loved. I’ll be back to Houston, no doubt about that.

Common Bond Café and Bakery
Common Bond is one of those magical baked goods-scented, light and airy places that you want to stay all damn day. After an early flight into Houston, we popped in for some very fluffy croissants and coffee. It’s effortlessly chic, has glorious pastries, housemade breads, and savory goods, and really proves the maxim “everything’s bigger in Texas”–a coffee shop of this size in New York? Don’t think so.

*image courtesy of Yelp

Jackson Street BBQ
It’s a crime to visit Texas without enjoying some barbecue, and the fare at Jackson Street didn’t disappoint. Although it opened recently, in the summer of 2015, Jackson St clearly comes from a long tradition. The collards, potato salad, and sausage were my favorites, and the ribs were supremely juicy and smoky. That fried thing on the left of my plate? Fried mac & cheese, of course!

Salty Sweet Gas Station Treats

Driving between New York and Washington, D.C. last week, I found myself in a number of gas stations along the Eastern seaboard. I always enjoy perusing the selections, and usually pick up a bag of pizzeria-pretzel Combos (and a scratch ticket) for my troubles.

This trip, I noticed a theme in many of the roadside snacks: highly questionable sweet and salty flavor combinations. Behold, some of the weirder items I encountered, simultaneously horrified and intrigued: IMG_2550 Continue reading

Tewari Bros, Mumbai

I’m not sure if I’ve admitted this on here yet, but Indian food isn’t really my thing. If i have admitted it before, let’s pretend that this is a totally new admission and you’re both shocked and intrigued. “But why?” you think, “how can a food writer who thinks all day–almost entirely–about eating reject the culinary stylings of her ancestors?” Firstly, don’t put me in a box, but secondly, it’s complicated. (I’m aware that sounded like a breakup.)

Continue reading

2015: A Retrospective of Bites

Well, we’re here in 2016, and before I post about my trip to India and other general musings on life, snacks, kale, Gisele and Tom’s (non) eating habits, and the like, I thought it best to review some of the tastiest things I ate in 2015. Without further ado and in no particular order…

1. Rice Salad at Thip Khao (Washington, DC)I’ve rhapsodized about this before–the crunchy slivers of pig’s ear, and the freshness of herbs, and spiciness that provided a gentle burn throughout. Truly so fantastic. Review here.

2. Pizza at Di Fara (New York)

Excuse the atrocious picture BUT, few things will drag one to the depths of Midwood, Brooklyn–this expertly made pizza will do it. The sauce (with tomatoes imported from Italy, of course) is probably the most incredible part of it, not to mention the owner who is in his 80s (above) and still touches almost every pie.

3. Beef & Bone Marrow Pie at Chi Spacca (Los Angeles)
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I kept hearing about this pie from my brother, and once I finally tried it, every expectation was fulfilled. It’s unctuous and flaky and super-savory all at once. Go get it, if you can.

4. Corn Arepas with an Egg (Medellín, Colombia)

I vividly remember saying, aloud, at the breakfast table “these are a revelation.” The sweet, slightly charred corn flavor and the rich egg yolk are just next level delicious. More here.

5. Fried Chicken “Coq Au Vin” at Convivial (Washington, DC)
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So, the picture doesn’t adequately display how fantastically tasty this dish was, but believe me it was. The rich winey sauce coated the fried chicken, it was so sinful and…now I’m ravenous.

6. Suckling Pig with Orange Sauce at Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal)

The orange sauce (with a clove of roasted black garlic) and slightly ever so charred cabbage were perfect counterpoints to the crispy, caramelized pork. But, I also must mention that the potato chips seen in the top right corner were inside an edible bag. So yes, I just bit into the whole thing. Magical. Full Lisbon eating guide here.

7. Smothered Shrimp and Grits at Narobia’s Grits and Gravy (Savannah, GA)

I wish I could say we stumbled across this down home Savannah spot, but the truth is I’d been dying to try it for a few months, and the moment I knew we’d be heading to this Southern town, I insisted on going there. The smoky, smothered shrimp were so unbelievably fresh and sweet over luscious, creamy grits. Read more here.

8. Red Wine Braised Artichokes and Parmesan Custard at Vernick Food & Drink (Philadelphia)

Every year, I make at least one trip to Philly, and each time I’m wowed by the food. This dish, one of many at Vernick Food & Drink was so ideal to spoon up on a cold winter evening. Parmesan and red wine go together so well, of course, and I loved the interesting combination here. Full Philly writeup here.

9. Khmer Pancake at Ithaca Farmer’s Market (Ithaca, NY)IMG_9445Back for my college reunion, I made sure to re-live the massive amounts of eating I did in my four years. On weekends at Ithaca’s famed Farmers Market, I almost always ordered a Khmer pancake at the Cambodian stall. Filled with pork, sliced vegetables and vermicelli noodles, it’s absolutely one of my favorite bites this year, and perhaps ever. More here.

10. Pork Sausage with Coconut-Chile Sauce and Lychees at Rose’s Luxury (Washington, DC)pork-sausage-with-coconut-chile-sauce-and-lychees-940x600I’ve been wanting to try the notoriously impossible-to-get-into DC restaurant Rose’s Luxury for a year or two at this point, and on a rainy December night we got lucky. This dish was transcendental. Stirring all the ingredients together, you got the pungent red onion, ever so slightly spongy lychees, coconut froth, and meaty thai sausage. Want to make it? Here’s the recipe.

[Rose’s Luxury Photo courtesy of Bon Appetit]

Colombia…whew it’s been a whiiiile

Okay, so I know it’s been absolutely ages, and trust me, I feel even worse about it than you do. Life has been…insane, with work, a new book project I’m very excited about (psst Lebanese psst), having a little nephew come into my life, and just the insanity of things. Well, I’m back on the wagon and wanted to share some tastiness from my recent trip to Colombia.

When one thinks of Latin American cuisine, Colombia is not often the first country whose gastronomy comes to mind. Salvadorian pupusas and Peruvian ceviche, perhaps, but not usually the cuisine of Colombia. However, on a recent trip, I encountered a terrific array of dishes.Full disclosure, my trip to Colombia wasn’t purely touristic—my sister-in-law hails from Medellín, and we were visiting for the auspicious occasion of my nephew’s baptism.

Prior to the trip, I anxiously awaited a full week of un-adulterated (and often deep fried) comida Colombiana. Needless to say, I got what I was looking for. Without further ado, some of my favorite tastes from the trip (oddly, many were breakfast dishes which is almost never the meal I like best):

Half-moon shaped “pan de yucca”: delicately crisp breads encasing velvety bread stuffed ever-so-slightly with cheese.

And more pan de yucca, because there really aren’t ever enough

Transcendental, piquant mini chorizos

Silky spiced beans

mindbendingly delicious corn arepas stuffed with fried eggs were a real revelation, sweet and slightly charred with the creamy yolk hiding withinIMG_0602

Tiny magnificient little marzipan angels and babies on my nephew’s honor

Salt baked shrimp

Cheese filled artichokes (yes.)

(very) locally made cow’s milk cheese

More stunning bread because…bread:And now, just some gratuitous photos of this magnificent country.

 

Abbott’s Lobster, Noank CT

IMG_9488The best way to celebrate the wedding of a lovely couple is by gorging on lobster rolls the day of their nuptials. I was truly excited to attend the gorgeous wedding of some friends, and also visit a lobster haven I’d heard about, in the town of Noank, Connecticut. We prioritized lobster over scoping out Mystic Pizza, and I have no regrets. Continue reading

College in a bite

IMG_9445…well not really. I just returned from my five year college reunion, and if I were to sum it up in one bite, it would probably be a combination of the best bagels and sandwiches ever, all washed down with some Keystone light. However, the Ithaca farmer’s market is one of my favorite in the country (the world?), and I made a point of visiting it on Sunday, even in my somewhat worse for wear state.

During college, my friends and I would frequent the Farmer’s Market on weekends, and became obsessed with the Cambodian stall. Ithaca has many immigrant communities,  and the market also boasts Ethiopian and Sri Lankan cuisines alongside local farmers and artisanal handicrafts.

The Khmer pancake, or Num Banh Xeo, is a rice flour pancake filled with a choice of chicken or pork, thin vermicelli noodles and fresh veggies. It’s topped with a limey sauce, fresh mint and peanuts, and it’s one of my absolute favorite tastes in the world.

I happen to think it tastes even better while the hippie music plays and the sun glistens on the Finger Lakes…Make sure you get the mango with coconut rice for dessert!

Where Else to Eat 
Although it’s been a long time since I lived in Ithaca, here are some of my favorite haunts:

1. Collegetown Bagels (amazing sandwich and homemade bagel spot with a few locations in Ithaca) Locals call it CTB.

2. Taste of Thai After years of living in New York, my friends and I were scared that Taste of Thai wouldn’t live up to our expectations, but it was just as good as ever.

3. Hazelnut Kitchen Although we didn’t make it this time, as Hazelnut Kitchen is outside Ithaca in Trumansburg, this is a wonderful locally sourced restaurant that uses thoughtful ingredients in very delicious preparations.