Monday, September 19, 2011

Hungry for the City of Light!

In exactly one week, I'm going to be eating my way through Paris!!  I've been eating healthy and exercising in anticipation for my gluttonous vacation, so far I've lost a pound which I plan to gain back through endless carbs.

I've never been to France, but I know I need to learn a few phrases to get me by.  My pronunciation is going to be horrid - but at least I'm going to try.  Hopefully the French will give me a gold star for effort.

So what am I going to eat in Paris?  I'm definitely going to try lots of breads and pastries, especially Pain au Chocolat or Chocolate Croissant.  See, I'm trying already!

Then there are loads of Crêpes to enjoy, which I will do anytime I'm hungry while I wander the gorgeous city.

 Other dishes I'm planning on trying there include...

Bœuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy)

Beef bourguignon, which will be my go-to-dish when I have NO idea what a menu is talking about and the waitstaff doesn't understand my allergy to dairy.  I think its a fail safe way to eat in Paris.

My other safety meal if I can't figure out what's what on a menu is coq au vin.  Believe me when I say that I'll try my best to navigate a menu in French, but sometimes French is REALLY confusing!  I heard tales of people ordered a dish and it turned out to be horse!!! 

I have no problem with people eating unique animals, but I happen to love horses and could never eat what many consider a pet.  This goes for cats, dogs, some bird and frogs.  I had pet frogs growing up, so I'm not about to eat me some frogs legs.

And my favorite of all safe-meals will most likely be the steak frites, which I rely on almost everywhere I go.  You should have seen how many times I ate prego no prato (steak with french fries and a fried egg) in Portugal. YUM!

Doesn't that look amazing???  EEE I can't wait!!!

Adam and I are also excited for some delicious, fresh escargot.  Many might thing this is gross, but they're really tasty.  If you can eat a clam or mussel - then you can at least try one of these little guys.  They're similar in texture without the grit you get in mollusks.  I think they're tender and tasty.  They mostly taste of butter and garlic, but does that just tasty delicious!

These are hard to get fresh and cheap in NYC, so we're going to eat up when we can in Paris.

We're also going to try and learn something about wine.  I haven't the faintest clue when it comes to wine - which my lovely Danielle can attest for - but if I'm giong to learn anything, it might as well be in the wine capital of the world!

I also read that Paris has some amazing ethnic restaurants including North African, Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian and Thai cuisine.  I'm down for some tasty ethnic food and have no problem deviating from the norm while I'm abroad. 

The one things I'm still scared to try are moules since I had food poisoning a few weeks ago from a French cafe in the Lower East Side.  Yuck!  It'll probably be a long time before I can eat a mussel again.  ::sigh::

Anyone have a recommendation on a must-try eatery in Paris?? 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Playing Ketchup

I know, I know... I've been REALLY bad about writing posts lately. 

Between earthquakes and hurricanes its really hard to find the time to sit down and blog.  Excuses, excused - alas, here is a summary of what I've been up to in the last few weeks.

Adam's best friend Jeremy visited in early August for two weeks and we ate oodles of tasty food.  Most of what we ate I've blogged about, except for pizza.

Yes, I ate a slice of pizza.  It was a MAGNIFICENT slice and I savored every single hot and melty bite.

If I ever break my No Cheese Rule, it is for a really awesome slice of pie from just a few places, Carmine's Original Pizza in Greenpoint. 

I pass it every single day on the way and come from work.  It's torture, but every so often when its not too hot outside and can handle a few hives over a few days I'll cave in and enjoy a slice of heaven.

It's a tiny, hole in the wall joint with just a few seats and a window so you can order while standing outside.  Nothing has changed about this place in what feels like 25 years - but really it could far longer.

Adam loves their pepperoni, which is a damn good choice, but I'm a fan of the original.  It's perfect and simple - the way a slice should be enjoyed.

It's hard to find a better slice of authentic Brooklyn pizza.  Trust me, I know. 

The other big event to hit Brooklyn, besides the incredible Jeremy Craven visiting, was Hurricane Irene.  Everyone was freaking out and going nuts in my area.  People didn't know whether to evacuate or stay put with lots of supplies.  It felt very surreal and I'm glad nothing actually happened in my area besides a few trees being falling.

To prepare, Adam and I bought a flashlight, some non-perishable foods like canned soups,  peanut butter, bread, eggs (yes you do NOT have to refrigerate eggs) and granola bars.  Plus lots of beer - which seemed to be the theme of the hurricane.  We had some blankets, tape, candles and water set aside just in case.  My only concern was a broken window(s) since we're on the first floor and a corner house with tons of windows and trees suspiciously nearby.  We also filled the tub with water because apparently your toilet won't flush if the power goes out, or something like that.  I don't know but I didn't a non-functioning toilet for any amount of time.

It was BORING to wait for the storm to hit and I actually had to cancel an amazing 30th birthday bash for my lovely friend Liz's 30th in Atlantic City.  I was not a happy camper over the hurricane weekend.  I did, however, make awesome breakfasts each day including the one to the right.

My adviser at work gave me his old waffle iron, so I made some waffles with fresh strawberries and REAL maple syrup (accept no substitutions to the real thing), scrambled eggs just the way Adam likes 'em and chicken sausage.  It was an epic meal for a not-so-epic weekend.  This breakfast was mightier than Irene (in Brooklyn, I can't speak for anywhere else and understand that many people were devastated by the storm).   My heart goes out to those who were hurt or lost during Hurricane Irene!  She was forgiving to some and cruel to others, which is extraordinarily unfortunate.

 On Sunday, after Irene had passed NYC, I needed to get the hell out of my apartment.  I was going stir crazy, which was a common affliction in my area.  Every one was out and about, taking photos of the damage or lack there of.   Adam and I hit up a friend's rooftop to have a tasty beverage. 

Adam summoning Dagon... (it's a Lovecraft thing, don't ask).
I really couldn't have been happier to get out of my apartment.  I was so bored the whole weekend, although it was restful. 

Adam made me watch the entire Star Wars Trilogy (4, 5 and 6 cause those are the only ones that count and on original VHS).  So what if I fell asleep during the ewok dancing scene.  I've seen it a thousand times and I was pooped...

Yay for no more Irene!!!
Although Irene was a real bitch, she left some pretty clouds and a lovely sunset.  

Over Labor Day weekend, I spent more time on a rooftop, this time having a ghetto fabulous BBQ.  I bought this ridiculous disposable BBQ at Walgreens for $10 and it actually worked really well!! 

Being the classy folks that we are, we had burgers, hotdogs and canned pineapple. 
Zac made himself a double burger with grilled pineapple and enough mayonnaise to make our friend Tubby jump off a building.  (Tubby hates mayo)

It kind of looks like cheese, but no that is in fact a shit ton of mayo.  Gross!

Someone likes mayo a little too much...

I had mine sans mayonnaise but with lots of chips and a pickle. 

I love BBQs even if I'm just having a really simple meal.  There's something about cooking outdoors that makes food taste better.

Perhaps is our primordial sides kicking in?

Hopefully the weather stays nice enough so we can have a few more BBQs before the terrible NYC weather kicks in. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cafe Rakka Rocks My Socks!

I'm not the only one I know who likes good food, Adam is quite the foodie and I appreciate all the great places he's introduced me to over the last 5 years.  (wow, can't believe how time flies!)

One such place was introduced to him by a friend, I forget who though.  It was the go-to spot when he was working at an old bar that closed down in what seems like a past life.

Cafe Rakka, located at 81 St. Mark's Place near 1st Ave, serves just about the best gyro in NYC.  I've had a fair share of them over the years, but theirs is just too tasty for words and it keeps us coming back for more.

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Their food is fresh, flavorful and really affordable.

I always go for their gyro sandwich ($5.50), which has a mix of chicken and lamb with lettuce, tomatoes and onions.  In the past I always opted for sauce on the side.

Looks like I've been missing out on their awesome tahini sauce, which is sesame based and has no dairy. 


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My friend, Tommy, also got the gyro sandwich but had them put the sauce directly on it.  Looks so much tastier with sauce!

They also have a killer hot sauce that really enhances the flavor of the whole thing.

It's a messy but delicious meal.  But be prepared to eat this with a fork since it always falls apart.  They put the meat at the bottom and they really pack it!

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Adam wanted to try something different, since he always gets the gyro.  He went for the shish kebab platter this time.

I warned him that it's huge, but I didn't think he was expecting this massive portion of food for just $12.

It came with a hearty portion of grilled meat, lamb I believe, with flavorful cous cous and a huge portion of hummus.  Cut pita bread was served on the side to enjoy with the hummus.

I thought this was a steal for $12.   I really liked each of the sides and thought they went together well.  I would totally order this the next time I came, but I'd probably end up taking most of it home as left overs.

What we didn't order, but is really good here, is the lentil soup - so check it out if you stop by.

I love me some Cafe Rakka!