March 31, 2010

Foodie Exchange with Italy and France!

ParisThree years ago, we took our first overseas trip together to France. 

We rented an apartment in Paris (much cheaper than a hotel!), visited champagne houses in Eparnay, and ate to our hearts' content (especially when we ordered "le menu" instead of "a la carte" and got a huge multi-course fixed-price meal!).

One day we will return to France and I also hope to show my husband around Italy (another country where I constantly ate throughout my travels). 

In the meantime, we were happy to bring a bit of Paris and Italy home through the Foodie Exchange.

March 30, 2010

Wexler's in San Francisco

With the rain pouring down on us here in NYC, we decided to do a little clean-up.

A couple of months ago, we unfortunately had both our laptop and desktop call it quits on us at the same time.

We have since recovered all of our files (note to self:  backup! backup! backup!) and found lost photos from a restaurant in San Francisco.

So, in the hopes that some sunny California weather will come back to NYC, we thought we would share this SF gem.

March 29, 2010

West Side Cheese Co.

Walking along Columbus Ave. on the Upper West Side, you could easily blink and miss West Side Cheese Co.  Owner Maya Schaper originally had a larger antiques shop that was a long-time fixture in the neighborhood, but had to shut it down when she lost her lease.  Happily, early last fall, she opened up this sliver of a spot to sell food-related antiques and cheeses.

March 28, 2010

Smorgas Chef at Scandinavia House Food Blogger Lunch

Fellow food blogger Jen was in town so we thought, what better way to catch up then with another food blogger lunch?  The last time we met up, lunch was so much fun and this time was no exception.  Together with Christine and Jessica, we decided to try out Smorgas Chef at Scandinavia House by Grand Central Station. 

March 26, 2010

Mermaid Oyster Bar

It's Friday and the weekend's finally here!

For us, there's no better way to start it off than with one of our favorite happy hour deals in the city:  $1 oysters at Mermaid Oyster Bar. 

Normally we would not go near dollar oysters, but when they're coming from the reliable Mermaid Inn family, we show up right at 5:30pm to grab an available seat.

March 25, 2010

First Look: Bomboloni on UWS NOW OPEN!

After what seemed like an eternity, the boarded up space at W69th and Columbus has finally opened up as Bomboloni.  This small Italian cafe features gelato, coffee, panini, and these warm, Italian donuts.  Though there is no seating and only a very narrow counter to dine at, this cafe is a welcome addition to this cupcake-loaded neighborhood.

March 24, 2010

DBGB Kitchen & Bar

Perhaps one of the hardest things for me to do during Lenten Friday is dine at a burger/sausage place.

It becomes even more difficult when that burger/sausage place is owned by famed French chef Daniel Boulud and also features foie gras, bone marrow, and charcuterie. 

We decided to go to DBGB on my husband's day off because we could easily get a seat.

It was worth the visit - even though I had to painfully watch him eat a beautifully juicy burger (with pork belly!).

March 23, 2010

Mile End: A Little Piece of Montreal in Brooklyn

After scouring the city for macarons, we were more than ready for a savory lunch of Montreal smoked meat at Mile End in Brooklyn.  There are two foods New Yorkers (like my hubby) are passionate about:  bagels and pastrami sandwiches.  So why was he all excited about heading to Mile End?  

A couple years ago, I took my husband up to Montreal for the first time.  I love Montreal and had spent many childhood road trips walking the cobblestone streets in Old Montreal, munching on crispy Montreal bagels from St. Viateur, and practicing my rudimentary French.  He enjoyed the city as much as I did  - but was especially excited when we dined at Schwartz's. The melt in your mouth smoked meat we ate was amazing, with the only problem being it was a 6 hour drive away.  Now with the opening of Mile End, his smoked meat was only a subway ride away.

March 22, 2010

Whirlwind Saturday Morning Macaron Tour of NYC

If you were following us on Twitter this past Saturday, you know that we were traveling around NYC in search of free macarons.

What are these beautiful creations?  Little meringue-based sandwiches with various flavoured fillings.  Though simple in aesthetic, these macarons are temperamental creatures and can be fairly difficult to make.

Saturday was the first Macaron Day NYC.  Originated five years ago in Paris by renowned Pastry Chef Pierre Herme, Macaron Day would encourage pastry shops to give away free macarons.  In exchange, customers would be encouraged to make a charitable donation.

March 19, 2010

Bklyn Larder: Trying to bring home the flavors of Franny's

After eating the most crave-worthy pizza at Franny's, we immediately headed over to their sister gourmet shop, Bklyn Larder.  Full of cured meats, cheeses, and imported goods from France and Italy, Bklyn Larder is a fun place to browse for hostess gifts or snacks for yourself.

March 18, 2010

Meyer Lemon Ice Cream - Ode to River Cafe's Rose Gray

Our local library recently re-opened, giving us free access to so many more cookbooks!  With little room left on our own bookshelves, the library opened just in the nick of time.  We walked through the stacks and headed towards the culinary section.  The glint of silver caught our eye and we immediately picked up "Italian Easy:  Recipes from the London River Cafe" by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.

Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers founded London's River Cafe, where Jamie Oliver started his career.  Their cookbook reflects the restaurant's philosophy of fresh, simple, yet sophisticated dishes.  Sadly Rose Gray passed away about two and a half weeks ago.  To honour this pioneer of easy delicious food, we made her lemon ice cream (so easy and made without an ice cream maker!).

March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day with Irish Bacon, Cabbage, and Guinness desserts

Since a quarter of our HLFD team is Irish, we knew we wanted to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with more than just green beer.

So we managed to find some Irish bacon in NYC to make a more traditional Irish meal in addition to a couple of Guinness beer-based desserts.

March 15, 2010

Franny's: Tasty Pizza in Brooklyn

If you ever wanted to know from which farms your pizza ingredients originated, Franny's is the place for you!  It's a great local eco-friendly restaurant in Brooklyn that features some of the best pizzas in NYC - after all, they use ingredients that are grass-fed, pastured, and/or organic.

March 14, 2010

Tenuta Dell'Ornellaia Wine Tasting: Wine as Art

A few weeks ago, we were invited to a wine tasting featuring Italian winery Tenuta Dell'Ornellaia's latest vintage (Ornellaia 2007).  The tasting was a preview of both the wine and the limited edition labels made by artists Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh. It was an interesting night inspired by exquisite wine. 

March 12, 2010

Whimsical Purple Cottage Pie

After a few days of warm, sunny weather here in NYC, we felt that spring was finally upon us.  Wanting to brighten up our dinner (and perhaps being inspired by the Alice in Wonderland movie trailers), last night I decided to make one of my husband's favorite meals - cottage pie, but with a twist.

March 11, 2010

Beer Tour of Philly

When packing for Philly, we made sure to bring along a couple bottles of wine to enjoy at our BYOB dinners.  Though we have access to a lot of different wines in NYC, Philly is probably the best place (on the East Coast) to find different craft beers.

You can't find Founders, Port Brewing, Bell's or Russian River brews in New York but you can in Philly (although, given recent events, we hope it continues.  So glad we got our bottle of Supplication!)

Sit back and enjoy as my husband (HLFD's beer and wine guy) takes us on his beer tour of Philly.

March 9, 2010

Little Fish - BYOB II in Philly

We wanted to take advantage of another well-reviewed BYOB restaurant while we were in Philly and so we  made reservations at Little Fish. The restaurant is the smaller outpost of Fish, another popular (but non-BYOB) seafood restaurant in Philadelphia.

March 8, 2010

Continuing our Philadalphia Foodie Trip wtih Chef Jose Garces' Amada

Nothing was going to stop us from our early dinner reservation at Amada, the restaurant owned and run by Chef Jose Garces (aka the newest Iron Chef and 2009 James Beard Award winner).

Not only do we love Spanish tapas, but we knew that this restaurant was highly regarded.

So despite having our bellies full of ice cream (from Franklin Fountain) and our hearts racing from watching the Canada/USA Gold medal game, we hurried over to the restaurant for their first seating.

March 7, 2010

Brief Brooklyn Break - Happy National Cereal Day!

It's finally sunny and warm here in NYC (50F or 10C) so we are taking a brief break from our Philadelphia trip updates to enjoy the nice weather!

Today, March 7th, is National Cereal Day (isn't it funny how every day is some sort of "holiday"?) so we bring you this cool mural we found while walking through Brooklyn (near the Brooklyn Brewery). 

March 6, 2010

Photo Tour of the Italian Market in Philly

Outdoor markets are fun to explore, so we headed out to 9th St to check out the Italian Market in Philadelphia.  With vendors outside selling inexpensive produce and floor shops selling Italian delicacies, this area was an interesting place to hunt around.

March 5, 2010

The Franklin Fountain: Enjoying Several Scoops of Nostalgia

While we were in Philadelphia, we were based in the Olde City neighborhood.  From the Liberty Bell to Independence Hall, we definitely felt like we were walking through history.  But our favorite stop in the area, of course, had to do with food.  When people speak of the "good old days", they were probably referring to nostalgic soda shops like The Franklin Fountain.  

March 4, 2010

Bibou BYOB French Fine Dining in Philadelphia

 One of the poshest French restaurants in Philadelphia is Le Bec Fin.  With its white linen tablecloths, crystal chandeliers, and five star service, it is the place many go to celebrate big moments in life.  Given our budget, though, we didn't go there this time.

Instead, we went to a restaurant opened and run by a former chef at Le Bec Fin:  Bibou BYOB.  Chef Pierre Carmels, who also worked at NYC's Daniel, opened this small, cozy restaurant in Philly.  Bibou BYOB's menu is easier on the wallet without sacrificing the flavor of good French cuisine.   Think Le Bec Fin on a (relative) shoestring budget.

March 2, 2010

Reading Terminal Market - Philadelphia's Food Mecca

We love local food markets!  Having read that we enjoyed Chelsea Market in NYC, St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, and the Ferry Plaza Marketplace in San Francisco, one of our readers suggested that we check out the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.

Upon arriving, we were immediately overwhelmed by all of the mouth-watering choices.  From Oprah's favorite mac n' cheese (at Delilah's) to the mint ice cream at Bassetts Ice Cream, there was something for everyone.  Join us as we eat our way through the market!

March 1, 2010

Preview of our Philadelphia Trip and GIVEAWAY WINNER!

Though snow canceled all flights and bus routes to Philadelphia from NYC on Friday, we managed to overcome Mother Nature and successfully made it to the City of Brotherly Love.

For the next few days, we will be sharing our weekend getaway with you.

(And since the ride back to the city gave us ample time to list and count the 300+ Cast Iron Skillet contest entries, we can reveal the winner at the end of this post!)