Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Golden Ticket: James Beard Awards!

I’m going to the James Beard Awards on May 9!!!
By a crazy twist of fate, I somehow won two tickets to the James Beard Awards and Gala Reception (thank you SeriousEats and Green & Black's)!  For those of you who don’t know what the James Beard Awards is, it’s basically an event where all of the biggest names in the food and beverage industry (from restaurants, TV, publications) come out to honor and celebrate the James Beard Award nominees, winners, and most notably, the diverse cultures that have formed our American cuisine.  It’s only appropriate that this year’s event is themed “The Ultimate Melting Pot.”  Time Magazine calls it “the Oscars of the food world” and that explanation seems to have stuck – but psh, I say this is WAY better than the Oscars and can stand on its own. 
Allow me to enlighten you on the “melting pot” that will be showcased at the Gala Reception.  20 or so of the best chefs from around the country will be churning out beautiful dishes of some of the most amazing food I will ever eat in my life.  To top it off, I’ll be rubbing shoulders with the best chefs and restaurateurs in the country plus my favorite Food Network and Top Chef stars!!!!  Ahhhhh somebody pinch me, I’m not sure if this is real! 
Assignment for May 9: find a black-tie worthy dress that gives me plenty of room to eat =).  Stay tuned for my update after the event!
James Beard Awards 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Another Hell's Kitchen Addition: Mooncake Foods

I tried Mooncake Foods for the first time with my husband months ago at their 30th street location and was a fan right away, so when I heard Mooncake was opening up a new location in my hood, I was very excited.  Mooncake is all about doing home-cooked Asian food (with some added Spanish flare) that’s full of flavor but holds back on the grease.  Their slogan says it all: “Fun Casual Asian Comfort Food.”

My sister was around for a couple days so I decided to use this dinner date as an opportunity to stake out the new Mooncake.  It’s a much smaller location with only 15-20 seats max, but despite the limited seating, there was no wait for our Wednesday evening dinner (guess people haven't discovered this little gem yet).

Here’s what we ordered:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

I really feel bad for pumpkins.  When autumn comes around, everyone goes into full out pumpkin mode – pumpkin picking, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cookies, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin lattes, you get the picture.  Once the holidays are over, pumpkin is out.  People turn their backs on pumpkin for the rest of the year and this beautiful, delicious squash is quickly forgotten. 

I like to consider myself an equal opportunity food consumer (technical term), and I try not to pigeonhole foods into a certain time of the year.  I love to make and eat pumpkin anything all year round.  A couple weeks ago I had a strong craving for pumpkin bread.  I decided to go with a recipe I found on Allrecipes.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tavern on the Green Truck: Free Food Giveaway

What better way to end a run around Central Park then to treat yourself to some free food from the food trucks at Tavern on the Green?  

According to Grubstreet, the food trucks at Tavern on the Green are returning to spring / summer hours.  They're celebrating by giving away one free dish per truck (that's right, you can get a free dish from every single truck)! 

Location: Tavern on the Green, 67th and Central Park West
Event Date: Saturday, April 16 (Sunday if it rains).  
Time: 2-4pm

Participating Trucks:
Ladle of Love
Pera Turkish Tacos
Rickshaw Dumplings
Van Leeuwen

Monday, April 11, 2011

Danji: Korean Tapas in Hell's Kitchen

If you were to ask someone from NYC what neighborhood to check out for a great meal, you’d probably hear East Village, Tribeca, West Village, Lower East Side, Chelsea; more blatantly, what I’m trying to say is that the last answer you would ever hear is Hell’s Kitchen.  

I am here to invalidate all of the anti-Hell’s Kitchen folks out there and open their eyes to the delights that my beloved neighborhood has to offer.  I have lived in this area since I moved to the city four years ago, so admittedly I am biased (and those who know me also realize I tend to stay in the vicinity purely out of laziness).  But all of that aside, Hell’s Kitchen is booming.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tri Tip Grill: Where Carnivores Unite

If you’re feeling especially carnivorous, check out Tri Tip Grill to satisfy your hunger.  That’s what I did when I was craving a big slab of meat (apologies to the vegetarians out there reading this).  

Tri Tip Grill definitely did the trick – take a look at what we ordered:

Little Buck – 4 oz. of thinly sliced tri tip served with caramelized onions or au jus dipping sauce

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cashew Crusted Salmon with Creamy Butternut Squash Polenta

Crunchy.  Salty.  Sweet.  Creamy.  I love meals that really tickle my tastebuds and give me a little bit of everything in one bite, that’s what I tried to recreate in this meal.  The other day I was craving salmon, specifically something nut-crusted to give it that nice crunchy texture.  I’ve crusted fish with pecans and pistachios before, but this time I decided to break open a bag of cashews I had lying around.
As an accompaniment to the salmon, I knew I wanted to make some kind of creamy polenta.  Ever since I made the polenta squares a few weeks ago, my tummy has been ready and waiting for creamy style polenta.  I found this Rachel Ray recipe for creamy polenta with butternut squash.  SOLD.  I love butternut squash.  Before I even tasted this divine squash, I knew I would like it – I mean, come on, it has the word “butter” in it, that was already enough for me.