Tag Archives: food

Four and Twenty Blackbirds- I’ve Died and Gone to Pie Heaven

When someone says “apple pie,” I use to immediately picture one of two images:

1) Snow White in that scene where she bakes that amazing looking thing that is promptly ruined by dirty bird feet (gross) or..

2) Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving images of some hefty grandma figure holding an equally hefty pie.

But now, I think of Four and Twenty Blackbirds, where they’ve perfected the classic apple pie and given it an awesome twist.

More after the jump!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , ,

Diners of the Caribbean- The Islands

Ricky and I have eaten the $200 dollar steak dinners and have tasted desserts that look like miniature works of art, but some of our most memorable experiences have been at hole-in-the walls, tasting new and delicious food with locals.  This weekend, we trekked back to our old stomping grounds to eat authentic jerk chicken at The Islands in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

When Ricky and I arrive, we are surprised to find that it is quite literally a hole in the wall, the bottom floor consists of just a counter top and kitchen.  The waiter asks if we would like to eat there and points us upstairs to a room that is, if possible, even smaller than the first floor.  I try to get to an empty table, knocking chairs and bumping into other diners as I make my way.  I  turn around worried about how my 6’2 tall boyfriend will manage only to see him nestled snuggly, wedged between the table and the wall.  The things this kid will do for good food.

We order the large Oxtail platter that comes with rice and beans, salad, and cabbage.  The oxtail, saucy and flavorful, falls off the bone and is amazing with the tender rice. Best of all, we got a HUGE plate for just $15.00.

Their signature dish is the Jerk Chicken, just as ginormous and only $12.00, also accompanied by rice and beans, salad, and cabbage. The rub on the chicken is spiceful, not too hot and so juicy and tasty.  Everything just worked together so well with the spice from the meat, the mellowness of the cabage, the sweetness of the salad and the starchiness of the rice and beans.  If this is what people in the Caribbean eat every day, then pack me in a shipping crate and send me over express.

We also overheard a lot (A LOT) of people talk about how good the mac n cheese is there.  So much so that we almost ordered it to go. Good thing we came to our senses because by the end of the meal, I was so full jerk chicken was coming out of my nose. It truly is a great value. 

Comfort food like this is, in my opinion, some of the hardest dishes to get right.  The ingredients are basic and making it is just as simple, but when it’s done right… I whoosh into my childhood like Anton Ego after his first bite of Ratatouille.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Season of Giving- Feeding New York

If there’s one thing I love to do in life, it’s eating.  It’s such a basic/essential part of the human experience.  Everyone has to eat, but sadly not everyone always gets to.

My parents taught me and my sister to appreciate food at a very young age.  They made sure we understood that every grain of rice was precious; that we were lucky to have a full bowl to eat every night; and that being picky and wasteful was a luxury most of the world could not afford. Even in New York City, one of the richest cities in the world, food poverty is around every corner.

As the holidays approach, I like to find ways to help others in my community whether it’s donating money, clothes, or time.  This year, before Thanksgiving I will be working with Food Bank NYC which offers volunteer opportunities to help end hunger in New York.  You can join in working at a local soup kitchen, packing food to be delivered to homes in need, collecting and distributing canned goods at food pantries, or campaigning to help keep the program going. I usually like to work in the soup kitchens because, I’ll admit, I’m kind of a creeper and like to watch people eat and enjoy food, but this year I’ll be part of the packing crew at Pier60. I believe the volunteer registration is closed for Thanksgiving, but they will probably need more people for Christmas as well.  Please let me know if you are interested in volunteering and you can join my group for Christmas packing!

Who knows, maybe we’ll run into Kevin Bacon at this thing and ask him what he thinks of the new Footloose.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ladies Who Brunch- Petite Abeille

Brunch.  To everyone else it’s not quite breakfast and not quite lunch.  To people living in New York, it’s a weekend practice that’s as ubiquitous and commonplace as the buttered bagel or the margarita slice.  Between the hours of 11am to even 4pm on weekends, New York is the brunchiest town there is.  Bars, five-star restaurants, pastry shops, and even bookstores turn over their normal wares to serve eggs to the hungover and the hungry.  Many places even offer an unlimited mimosa/sangria option for those who truly believe nothing cures a hangover better than more alcohol.

One of my favorites is Petite Abeille, a Belgian Restaurant and Cafe in Flatiron.  They actually have a few locations with the exact same food, but this one has the best reviews, is the smallest, and the most crowded. We arrive on a brisk Saturday at noon to an overflowing entrance. “20-30 minutes,” says mister frenchie, which in New York speak means 40 minutes to an hour wait.  It is borderline claustrophobic, but the smell of waffles and croissants is so inviting and we decide to stay. The walls are lined with “Adventures of Tintin” prints and racks of vintage, French children’s books. The space itself is kitschy and very cute and there’s even a vined brick garden in the back.

After 40 minutes (didn’t I tell you?), we finally get seated. I order the Croque Madame and frites, basically an open faced ham and Gruyere with a fried egg on top and fries.  My friend Ava orders the Gaufre Special, a Belgian waffle with whipped cream and fresh seasonal fruit; and her friend get the Eggs Benedict and a side Gaufre de Liege, waffle with powdered sugar.  The food is spectacular despite the slow service and the long wait. My Croque Madame is cheesy without being too greasy and heavy, the frites are crispy and well seasoned, and my friend’s waffles were fluffy and cakey.  The Belgians know what they’re doing when it comes to the waffle and I slightly regret not ordering one for myself. Check out the photo gallery above!

I usually go to the other location in Gramercy, where it’s much roomier and you’re not elbowing your fellow diners all the time.  If you want to try Petite Abeille, go to that one, you will have a much better experience with shorter wait time and friendlier staff. The only downside is it’s kind of a trek away from any of the nearest subway lines.   Also, I have never been to Petite Abeille for dinner, but I am told they have an all-you-can-eat moules and all-you-can-drink beer night! If their mussels are are as good as their brunch, I am sure to come out smiling! Check out the rest of the menu for their lunch and dinner items.

I’ll include a list of my brunch favorites soon in the Eatings page of Monsieur Jamon.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Girls’ Gotta Eat – Grub Street Food Festival NYC

Every once in a while, NYMag  hosts the Grub Street Festival at Hester and Essex St in LES.  This past Sunday, they brought it back with a vengeance: over 100 vendors + a newly added beer garden.  I truly do heart New York.  In a way, this city reminds me a lot of Thailand in that the street food is always abundant and almost always delicious.  It was us who popularized the gourmet food truck and make street fairs a trendy, foodie affair.

These were some of the highlights from the Sunday with my girls Avs and Annie.  From right to left, top to bottom: pork ribs from Purple Yam, nori taco from Purple Yam, polish sausage mac n’ cheese from Gourmet Mac N’ Cheese, Schnitzel from Schnitz, Jerk Corn, and Monday Sunday from Big Gay Ice Cream.  If only my stomach were as big as my eyes, I could’ve eaten everything there.  Check out NYMag’s Grub Street Highlights slideshow here and try not to drown in your own drool.

A lot of tourists come to New York and they want to eat a hot dog from some truck by Central Park.  While that’s all fine and well for New Yorkers who are grabbing a quick lunch,  it’s just sort of a waste of space in your stomach if you are visiting from out of town. Why oh why would you come all the way to such a food capital to eat over boiled mystery meat on a stale bun when you could be eating the good stuff? Check out the street festivals happening every weekend all around New York. Check out the numerous food trucks littering the city. Make way to parks and fields to find out what new, tasty creations the locals have conjured up. That’s when you’ll find out what New York street food is all about.

Upcoming: Heading to my absolute favorite fair this coming Sunday with Rickyburr. Smorgasburg– on the Williamsburg, East River Waterfront (goes on until mid Nov). It’s much smaller and the food is a tad more expensive, but the atmosphere is very chill with the river streaming by you.  I’m just such a sucker for anything that takes place by the water. Stay tuned!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

A Hungry Bunch- The Kanhayuwas Visit

Warning: Picture heavy post

I tried to write about my family’s visit this past week, but all I can really recall is the food.  That’s because we didn’t do much other than eat. Yeah, it was warm and fuzzy and the Kanhayuwas are always a funny, joyous bunch, but above all they are just hungry. Six meals in one day. This is how my parents travel.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again, the best thing about having visitors is showing them how New York does food. These pictures are just from the first day and still some entrees and dishes are missing (aka have already been devoured).  After day one of taking blurry, half eaten shots of our food, we all just sort of went “screw the pictures” and ate the face off New York.  Now that I’ve briefed you, let’s just cut the crap and head straight for the good stuff, the pictures (in no particular order).
Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Spot – A New Dessert Discovery

With slews of restaurants on every block and home to the most 3 star rated Michelin restaurants in the US, New York is without a doubt a major foodie city. Not to mention, we have something to satiate any craving at all hours.  How can you expect any less from a placed dubbed “the city that never sleeps”? Want amazing Belgian fries with 36 dipping sauces at 3am, try Pomme Frites. Craving a hot slice right out of the oven between bars hops, Artichoke Pizza’s your place. 5 for 1 dollar dumplings in Chinatown? Prosperity Dumplings has got you covered. And the list goes on! In my 6 years here, I have eaten a lot of good, amazing, and downright heavenly foods; and I am sure to eat more in the 6 years to come. In New York, there is always  something new and delicious just waiting to be discovered.

Yesterday, after Ricky and I finished our dinner, we came across a small underground dessert bar in St. Mark’s Place called The Spot, where exotic, all natural ingredients meet classic desserts.  Guru  Chef Ian Chalermkittichai (Thai pride!) takes up inspirations from his travels and offers up unique interpretations of desserts we already know and love. So now the part you’ve all been waiting for, the pictures! Again, apologies for the blurry, Blackberry phone photos.  I promise I will get a camera soon.

I’ve passed by this place a countless number of times, but never really thought much of it. How many more places like this remain undiscovered in New York? I wish I could fit this whole city in my mouth.

The decor of the place itself is really cute.  I am told it’s 80% recycled or re-purposed materials.  I am more interested in the food, but it does win them some brownie points with me.

At first glance, everything seems pretty standard.  Cupcakes, cookies, macaroons.

Then holy sh*t! You realize they are made with ingredients like yuzu lemon, green/thai/jasmine tea, chocolate ginger, and frikkin Vietnamese coffee. I am trying really hard to maintain my composure while I write about the desserts because I am going off the wall just thinking about “the precious” right now.  Forgive me for the next few pictures, I am a bad Asian and don’t normally take pictures of my food.  Usually, by the time I remember my camera, half of the plate is already demolished. Thank Ricky for restraining me and taking these quick shots.

This is the Thai tea Creme Brulee with a Jasmine tea wafer, and a shot of warm natural tea with extra sweetener and milk. The Thai tea creme was infused with the perfect amount of Thai tea.  The brulee was crisp, thin and cracked beautifully under the weight of my spoon.  Usually I prefer more brulee to creme, but it the Thai tea creme was so damn good that I didn’t even care. At first, I was like “what do I do with this wafer thing,” but then I dunked it in the hot tea and it sung. I don’t think I’ve ever had pure, unsweetened hot Thai tea before, but The Spot has made me a fan.

Ricky ordered a The Spot  tea concoction, the Thai tea float.  It’s Thai iced tea with homemade condensed milk ice cream and fresh whipped cream.  This shall be the only way I ever have this drink again.

This is the green tea infused flourless cake accompanied by homemade green tea ice cream.

If possible, this blew my mind even more than the Thai tea creme brulee. The green tea was the perfect ingredient to offset the usual sweetness of the flourless cake; and for a flourless cake, it was so light and clean! I could’ve eaten six more of these and not felt heavy.

If you are ever in town, I highly recommend this place.  It’s moderately priced and the staff are so friendly and helpful, and most everything on the menu looks and sounds delicious.  What I love most about the desserts at The Spot is that they are simple and unique, but not gimmicky. I find that rare and refreshing nowadays in this Food network era.

Tagged , , , , ,