July 29, 2010

HLFD in MN: Brasa Premium Rotisserie Restaurant

It wasn't just cheesy goodness we found when we were in Minneapolis.   After asking my friends on Twitter where to go, a couple people suggested Brasa, a great casual rotisserie restaurant.  Melt in your mouth braised beef that's also locally sourced? Organic ingredients in Creole cooking?  We honestly didn't think we would find all of this in MN, but we were pleasantly surprised.

July 28, 2010

Farro Salad

Going through our pantry, I found the bag of farro sent to us from Juls from Juls' Kitchen (through the Foodie Exchange).  Farro is a deliciously nutty Italian grain that looks like a fatter brown rice or spelt.  It's an ancient grain that originated all others including rice, barley, and wheat.  Though it's also used in soups or cooked with bacon, we opted to make an easy and healthy farro salad instead.

July 27, 2010

Summer Vegetable Gratin Inspired by Thomas Keller

Summer vegetables from the Farmers Markets made last night's Meatless Monday dish so fresh and flavorful.  I wanted to make a dish with ingredients I had on hand, so I leafed through our growing cookbook collection.  I decided on the Summer Vegetable Gratin recipe by Thomas Keller in his Ad Hoc at Home cookbook (the one my hubby got signed when he met him in NYC).

It's an easy recipe that just takes a bit of time to prep (slicing and marinating the vegetables) and then bake in the oven.  I modified it with what I had available, but I believe you can have fun and use the basic idea/technique with the summer vegetables you have on hand.

July 26, 2010

Finally...KBS beer in NYC!

My husband is HLFD's beverage guy.  He likes to take his own tasting notes and has filled every nook of our apartment with his great finds ("All in the name of research!", he insists).  In this post, he writes about his journey to enjoy a stout from his favorite brewery, Founders.

A few months ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) available for sale in New York.  Founders Brewing Co. (from Grand Rapids, MI) previously didn't sell their beers in NY - so I've had to enjoy them as much as I could during trips to Chicago and Philadelphia.  But now that their beers are here, I've been getting my hands on many of their beers, including Red's Rye, Dirty Bastard, Centennial IPA and KBS.

July 23, 2010

We go Local with FreshDirect + 20% Discount for you!

Do you know where your food comes from?  Other than when we shop at farmers markets or go "shopping" in our parents' herb/vegetable gardens, we admit we don't often know what goes into the groceries that we buy.  So when FreshDirect, an online grocery store, invited me out to Long Island to tour where they source some of their local products from, I eagerly accepted.

July 22, 2010

HLFD in TO: Origin Restaurant

Food bloggers/photographers not welcomed.  That was the feeling I got when dining at Origin Restaurant in Toronto.  I had made the reservation a month prior (the dinner was for my birthday with a couple girlfriends).  I got there early (the restaurant was fairly empty at that point) and asked the hostess if I could take pictures.  And then the evening took a strange turn.  It's unfortunate since I was looking forward to dining at this trendy restaurant opened by the same people as high-end Colborne Lane.

July 21, 2010

Hattie's in Saratoga Springs

Fancy hats, horse racing, and fried chicken?  It makes sense that a couple of those images would pop in our heads as we were heading out to Saratoga Springs, NY.  After all, Saratoga Springs was the playground of the wealthy in the better part of the 19th and 20th centuries.

But how does fried chicken play into the mix?  It came from watching a Throwdown with Bobby Flay episode in which he challenges Hattie's owner to a Fried Chicken throwdown.  All we could think about was that we had to try this crispy chicken the next time we traveled up to Saratoga Springs.  And along with Lauren (Healthy Delicious) and Shawn (who lived nearby in Albany), we were able to try this Southern restaurant for ourselves.

July 19, 2010

Brasserie 8 1/2 dinner hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Board

Being fans of cheese (and having just returned from the Midwest), we were so excited to be invited by the Wisconsin Cheese Board to a dinner held at Brasserie 8 1/2 in NYC. They were in town for the Fancy Food Show and had arranged for Executive Chef Julian Alonzo to create an elaborate 9-course meal.  So we sat down for an elegant 4 hour+ meal and enjoyed the company of our friendly hosts and other attending food writers.

July 15, 2010

Eleven Madison Park - $28 2-course Lunch Deal

Eleven Madison Park has a been a NYC fixture since it opened its doors in 1998 and it continues to win dining accolades.  Chef Daniel Humm recently won the James Beard award for Best New Chef in NYC 2010 and the Michelin starred restaurant has also received a 4-star rating from Frank Bruni/NY Times.

With such high praise, I knew I wanted to dine here...and with a fixed-price $28 2-course weekday lunch special, I could back again and again!  So to celebrate Bastille Day yesterday, my friend and I came to this Relais & Chateaux restaurant and pondered what to eat amongst the 16 dish options.

July 13, 2010

Cheesy Tastes of the Midwest: Mac n' Cheese Pizza and Jucy Lucy

Other than Chicago, we haven't had the opportunity to check out the food scene in the Midwest...until now.  With my recent trips out to Madison, WI and then meeting up with my husband in Minneapolis, MN (for a wedding), I indulged in a couple popular Midwestern comfort foods.

July 12, 2010

Kyotofu: Tasting the Sweet Side of Tofu (and more!) in NYC

When it comes to dessert places in NYC, two restaurants come to mind:  Chikalicious in the East Village and Kyotofu in Hell's Kitchen.  Both places offer a 3-course tasting menu of desserts and are fun places to take visiting friends and family.

We recently met up with my brother, his girlfriend, and their friends while they were visiting NYC.  They had just seen a Broadway show and were ready to end the night with a meal of sweet treats.  So we all sat down in the sleek, modern space and shared the dishes of this Japanese dessert bar.

July 11, 2010

HLFD in TO: Villa Malaysia

"Hey, I'm hungry.  Do you feel like Singaporean food?" My friend asked me when I was visiting Toronto.  As always, I'm ready to eat any food. She took me to Villa Malaysia, a new restaurant by the owners of local popular restaurant, Restoran Malaysia.  Singaporean and Malaysian foods are very similar due to their close geographical proximity and large Malay population in Singapore.

July 8, 2010

HLFD in TO: Guu Izakaya

After living in NYC for 5 years, I sometimes feel like a tourist in my hometown of Toronto.  So when I went back last month, like any other trip, I researched local publications on the newest and best places to eat.  I was excited when I read about Guu Izakaya (one of Toronto's best new restaurants in 2010 - and the most affordable amongst the top 10).

I was even more excited when Toronto-based Mardi of Eat Live Travel Write mentioned that not only was she free for dinner, but that Australia-based Conor of Hold the Beef was also in town.  It was truly an international blogger meet-up!

July 7, 2010

Purple Basil Gelato

With NYC reaching 100F/40C all this week, we've been looking for ways to stay cool.  We've gotten up early to buy fresh produce and herbs from the farmers' markets (when it's a cool 80F/26C at 8AM) and then we'd hurry back home to hibernate indoors. 

One of my farmers' market finds was purple basil.  I bought it for its color and then decided to make a purple basil gelato (adapted from a recipe my husband found online).  I used more milk and less cream than the original recipe (based on what I had on-hand), but the end result was still fragrant and creamy.

July 6, 2010

Winner's Photo Re-cap of the Food Truck Drive-in

Do you remember our giveaway to the recent Food Truck Drive-In here in NYC?  We couldn't be there, but we were happy that the winner, Christine, had sent us a few pictures so we could feel like we were eating along with her!  It looked like a great event (similar to the one we attended in Hell's Kitchen, but with shorter lines).  Thanks again Christine for the photos and hope you and your friends enjoyed the event!

(All photos courtesy of Christine of Fresh Local and Best)

July 5, 2010

HLFD in TO: President's Choice 1000 Tastes of Toronto

After a lovely trip out to San Francisco, I was once again on a plane out to Toronto.  This time, I was attending a conference, catching up with family and friends, and attending a wedding.  But I managed to check out a few foodie haunts in this vibrant, multi-cultural city.

During my stay, I was lucky to be in town for the President's Choice 1000 Tastes of Toronto.  With my husband in NYC, my brother (to his chagrin) got to be both my hand model and comrade in food tasting. Little did he realize that he had big shoes (or stomach?) to fill as I attempted to try as many of the local restaurant fare as I could.

July 4, 2010

Fancy Food Show in NYC

"Please don't leave yet!" I pleaded to fellow foodies Christine (Fresh, Local, and Best) and Lauren (Healthy Delicious) over the phone.  My flight had just landed from my Midwest travels (look for those posts soon!) and I was racing to get back to my apartment, drop off my bags, and meet them at the annual 3-day Fancy Food Show recently held at the Javits Center in NYC.  Luckily, I made it just in time to join them and meet some other foodies too!