Tag Archives: pork

The Smith Restaurant: East Village

11 Sep

My friend had a spare ticket to a concert at Webster Hall and mentioned that she really liked the Restaurant, The Smith, around the corner. I had heard good things, so away we went.

We started with some oysters, which were quite good.

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She got the 15 Hour Pork (a Monday special).  It looked quite good and she seemed to like it, but it didn’t seem to thrill her.

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We split some brussels sprouts, which were roasted nicely with a good crispy.  Very good.

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I actually ran into a bit of an issue with my allergy. While most of the dishes seemed pretty safe, it turns out they use peppers in a lot of their sauces and seasonings.  I had very few options to choose from, but I decided to go with bibimbop (one of my favorite Korean dishes). It was nicely fresh with sushi rice, edamame, shitake, bean sprouts, pickled carrots, spinach, and a sunny side up egg.  It was pretty good, but definitely lacking in depth of flavor. I’m pretty sure they had to leave a sauce out, due to the peppers, which probably had a good bit of flavor.

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I don’t think I could really give The Smith a fair shot since I couldn’t eat most of the dishes. But the fact that the dish I did have was kind of bland made it seem like they focus on spice for flavor instead of relying on doing good things with good ingredients.  I won’t put this as a stake in the ground, but my take on it was entirely average.

Total Nom Points: 5.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 5.5 out of 10

Bacon Bash 2012: You know you want to go, and NYCNomNom has your Discount Code!

1 Jun

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I really have a love for pretty much anything and everything swine. And there is a special place in my heart for bacon. So imagine my glee when I found out that The 1st Annual Bacon Bash is upon us! It will be taking place on Saturday, June 23rd in 2 slots: 12-2:30pm and 3:30-6pm. For all the details, check out their site.  

Want to go?  Well, dear readers, if you use the code “nomnom” at checkout, you will get 20% off your tickets! (on the final screen, you can add the coupon in the top right)

See ya there!

Nom Nom Bacon Nom Nom!

Eataly’s Birreria: Oktoberfest and Birthdayfest

23 Feb

It’s Eataly Week!

In the last few months, we went to Eataly twice, for two different occasions.

The first was Oktoberfest, which we got exclusive tickets for from Gilt City.  The package included a meet and greet with Joe Bastianich, a tour of the  brewing facilities with brewmaster Brooks Carretta, a brief lesson on brewing, a reception with communal antipasti and beer, a seated family-style Oktoberfest supper with Italian Alpine fare and beer pairings, and a six-pack of beer for each guest to take home.

The brewery at Eataly is a small room where they put together some very different microbrews.  The brewmaster, Brooks, was very informative not only about the brewing process, but also about what makes the Eataly microbrews unique and talked about what new batches were coming up.

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We tried a few beers, and very much enjoyed them.  The Thyme beer was especially delicious.

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Then Joe Bastianich came in and welcomed us to Eataly/Birreria and basically told us to have a good time.

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We sat back down and started chowing down on some great Oktoberfest items.  We especially enjoyed the whole roasted maitake mushrooms, pecorino, sardo creme, and roasted brussels sprouts. Awesome.

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Then a few weeks later… we were back.  My sister has recently expanded her food horizons.  She was the kid that ate chicken nuggets and Kraft macaroni and cheese growing up.  The idea of a mushroom, sausage, or basically anything with unique flavor was repulsive to her.  So when I found out that she was opening up her food spectrum, I was quick to suggest Birreria as a great place to try some new things.

We started with the charcuterie and… gasp… Stacey ate meats.  CURED meats!  I was shocked.

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We ordered the maitake mushrooms again, because they were so good the last time.

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And we got the fried shiitake mushrooms with sage. I LOVE these mushrooms. They are incredibly delicious.

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We also ordered the the pork shoulder which is made with beer and apricot. It was tender and just plain delicious.

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We ended with the bisteca con salsa verde, which was a skirt steak with salsify, green onion, and salsa verde.  It had great char on it, which a touch of salt that just made it stand out.

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I love Eataly. And I really love Birreria.  I haven’t had a bad bite there, and everyone that has been there with me has really enjoyed it. Plus… it’s the first place I saw my picky little sister eat a mushroom.  A true game changer.

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Welcome to Pig Island

5 Oct

When I read about Pig Island, I knew it was meant to be.  A food event on an island in NYC (that I had never been to) dedicated to pork? I am IN!  And then Thrillist came out with a deal for all you can eat and drink for $45, including a special “Thrillist Only” line at the beer stands.  It was kismet.

I had heard some horror stories about food events on Governor’s Island (long waits for the ferry, long lines for the food, crowded space, etc.) but I was willing to risk it.  We showed up early and took the ferry that left at 11am (it opened at 11:30).  Turns out, the ferry is about 4 minutes long. And a beautiful view. And free.  Why have I not done this before?

I went with Mike and Lori (of StuffIAte) and we walked around a bit downtown (it was the day before the 9/11 10 year anniversary) before heading to the ferry.  We waited to get in until 11:30 and were let it on the Thrillist line before everyone else.

Turns out, the event was just about perfect.  It also helped that it was a beautiful day.  We ate and drank our way to absolute happy exhaustion.  I was insanely happy that we got there early because the food literally ran out by 2pm.  There were only a few places with long lines (and just my luck, the one long line we waited on assured me there were no peppers and then I wound up with blisters… lovely… but luckily it was at the very end of the day).  We had some great food and beer throughout the day, and it all blended together into a blissful day.  Here is the gallery of photos (WARNING: If you do not like to see food as it was originally, AKA a pig’s head on a stake, you may want to skip this gallery to the bottom to see some pictures of Governor’s Island).

 

I actually cannot believe that I had never been to Governor’s Island. It was beautiful and I want to go back, rent some bikes, and explore.  We happened to be there on September 10th, 2011, the day before the 10 year anniversary of the attack.  It was a solemn area to be in, but I couldn’t help but feel very happy to look back on my home and see how beautiful it looked that day.

And it just happened that there were amazing streams of light shining down on our perfect view of Lady Liberty as we left on the ferry.

And a beautiful old sailboat.

Can’t wait to go back!

Philly Noms: Alma de Cuba

6 Apr

I love NYC, but sometimes, you just need to escape for a weekend.  Without a car, our choices are a bit limited (and renting usually comes to nearly $300 for a weekend, and wasting $300 makes me feel like we should be flying someone cool).  So when I had the urge to leave a few weeks ago, we did some digging and found out that the train to Philly was easy and cheap, and hotels were SERIOUSLY cheap (we stayed at a Le Meridien for $125! Thank you priceline.com.)  Neither of had ever been, which is odd since I grew up about an hour away.  We decided to take a weekend in the city to explore the history, museums, and, of course, the Noms.

Mike did some great research and booked a few recommended places.  Our first stop on the night we got in was Alma de Cuba. I’m always a little wary about Cuban food due to the peppers allergy, but Mike assured me the menu would be safe.  (Alma de Cuba is a Starr restaurant, which seemed to be a very popular thing to be in Philadelphia. Note to self: Further research this Starr guy)

The interior was modern and beautifully done.  They did a great job with the space.

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And they left in some old touches, including the staircase.

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The bread came out and I knew already that Mike had made a great choice.  It was sweet and warm and doughy and everything RIGHT about bread.   I could have eaten this for dinner and been happy.  But I was good and saved room.

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Mike began with the chorizo sliders.  He was totally in love with these things.  I wish I could have tried them.  He talked about them the rest of the weekend.

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I went with the Royal Palm Dates, which were almond stuffed and wrapped in bacon with blue cheese.  Holy cow! These were amazing. And such a portion.  At this point in the meal, we started singing Philly’s praises.

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We moved into the mains and Mike chose the Sugarcane Tuna which had a Costa Rican coffee-rum glaze, malanga fondue with shrimp and roasted tomato escabeche.  This was very good, but I think it was a bit of a let down after the apps. 

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Mike and I split the yuca with creamy mojo.  It was DELICIOUS.  Just the right crispness with a very slightly sour sauce that was perrrrrrrrrrrrrfect.

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My main was mind blowing.  It was the Lechon Asado which was crispy roasted pork, congri rice and sour orange mojo.  I had to switch out the congri rice for white rice due to peppers, but it wasn’t lacking in flavor ONE BIT.  It was so perfectly crisped on the outside and so perfectly slow cooked and tender on the inside.  It had so much flavor.  My only regret was that I was way too full to finish it and was trying really hard to save room for dessert. (I wound up doing something I never do in NYC and gave my leftovers to a homeless man because I seriously could not stand the thought that a bite of this would go to waste)

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Every review and comment we read about Alma de Cuba mentioned the chocolate cigar for dessert.  How could we not? 

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It was described as award winning almond cake wrapped in chocolate mousse, dusted with chocolate and served with dulce de leche ice cream.  What we were not expecting was the cute little matchbook that came out on fire.  Flames and all.  Quite cool.

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But the taste?

Oh

My

Goodness. 

This was hands down one of the best desserts I have ever had. And you know I am a harsh dessert critic!  This was just a perfect blend of flavors.  I want to go back to Philly just for this.

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Overall, our meal here was sensational.  On par with some of the best meals we have had in NYC and I am confident it will make the top 10 list of 2011.  I would probably skip the tuna next time, however, everything else I would go back for in a heartbeat.  This meal alone was worth the train ride.

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

My Birthday Dinner- Home Cooked by Mike

29 Oct

I’m still catching up on posts from far too long ago.  I cannot believe that it has already been more than 2 months since this meal.  So today I wanted to show off the incredible dinner that Mike made me for my birthday.

He started with a duo of scallops.  One was wrapped in bacon and the other was with avocado.

And the bacon was CRISPY.  Just the way I like it. 🙂  Both were great.

For the main course, Mike made pork with a mushroom wine sauce and our new classic brussels sprouts with pancetta.

The pork was delicious.

And the brussels sprouts were as delicious as ever.

I thought he had already outdone himself, and then he uncovered this beauty!

Graham cracker crust, whipped cream, strawberries, and graham cracker crumbs.

DELICIOUS!!!

Thanks again, Mike.  You are a fantastic boyfriend and a fantastic chef!

Project Food Blog #2: “The Classics”

26 Sep

It has been a big week for NYC Nom Nom.  First, I found out that my recipe was selected to appear (with me, of course) on the Wendy Williams Show LIVE this Tuesday!  I will be up against 2 other audience members in a dessert competition that will be judged by Gail Simons and Johnny Iuzzini for a Top Chef: Just Desserts segment.  I am making a Double Trouble Peanut Butter Cup that was inspired by a concoction I made for Mike’s birthday last year.  I just did a test round and it turned out really well!  I will be sure to blog about it after the show, however, don’t forget to tune in at 10am LIVE in the New York area on Fox 5.  If you are not in New York or want to catch it later that day, you can find the rest of the Wendy Williams TV schedule here.

Second, I filmed my first video blog for Nom Nom.  Stay tuned for a vlog about making a Chocolate Meringue.

Lastly, I was THRILLED to find out that I have advanced to Round 2 of Project Food Blog.  Thank you everyone for voting!  This week’s theme is “The Classics.”  The challenge is to take a classic that is out of your comfort zone and cook it as close as possible to the original.  For my Classic, I chose to go with Banh Mi.  First, Vietnamese food is VERY out of my comfort zone.  While I make a lot of classic American, Jewish, and Italian cuisine, Vietnamese is in a totally different ball game.  On top of that, I was using a slow cooker for the first time.  I received one for my birthday a few weeks ago and this seemed like a great opportunity to try it for the first time.

So why Banh Mi?  Well… we have been watching The Great Food Truck Race on Food Network and I was THRILLED to see that there  was a truck called The Nom Nom Truck competing.  We also were lucky enough to go to the LA Times Food Festival when we were out in LA 2 weeks ago (blog to come) and sampled the delicious food from The Nom Nom Truck.

The closest I have come to cooking Vietnamese is ordering in on Seamless Web.  I’ve had my share of Pho delivery and have dined at a few Vietnamese places in NYC, however, most of the ingredients and cooking methods are out of my comfort zone.  I’m also not a huge sandwich fan, nor have I ever made a point of making a fancy one.

Last night before bed, we prepped the pork for the slow cooker.  The first step was just melting sugar.  Now I’ve only melted sugar with butter or water in the past, so I was nervous that it would burn, but it melted into liquid and caramelized quite easily.

Once it all turns to liquid, you pour in chicken stock and fish sauce.  Now the recipe warned that the ”caramel will harden and steam vigorously.” What I didn’t expect was splattered liquid all over the stove that quenched the gas flame and hardened the caramel to a complete solid.  I spent the next few minutes quite nervous that one of my favorite pots was ruined and I’d have to start all over, however, the caramel did in fact melt and all was well (after a bit of clean up). 

Next, I added the shallots, garlic, and white(ish) parts of the scallions.

The smell was fantastic while it boiled for 4 minutes.

Mike was nice enough to chop up the pork while I prepped.

All that was left to do that night was throw it all in the slow cooker, set it to low, and leave it for 8 hours.  Couldn’t be easier!

I was quite nervous when I woke up the next morning.  I have never used a slow cooker and didn’t know what to expect.  Luckily, it looked (and SMELLED!) fantastic.

The morning prep involved a quick pickling of carrots and daikon.  I have eaten daikon a few times in my life, but I didn’t realize that, when raw, it looks like a giant white carrot.  I’ve never really cooked with daikon before, though it’s very popular in Vietnamese cuisine.  Turns out, it tastes a bit like a bitter raddish when raw.

I’m not the best with a knife, so we peeled both with a peeler and used the shavings for the veggies.

The next step was to soak it in vinegar, sugar, and water for 30 minutes (or up to overnight).

We got parbaked bread from Fresh Direct and heated it up as the last prep step.

Next up was assembly.  I spread it with mayo and the pickled veggies.

Then cilantro.

Then the meat and some more veggies and cilantro on top.

So how was it?  Well… even my pork-protesting sister enjoyed it if that says anything.  I thought it was delicious, but it wouldn’t be able to compete with the Nom Nom Truck’s sandwich. 

It was a lot of fun, however, to do something so out of my comfort zone and try new techniques.  I can’t wait to try some more challenges!  Keep ‘em coming Project Food Blog!

Happy Nomming!

(And don’t forget to watch The Wendy Williams Show on Tuesday!!!!)

Nom Nom Nom… All the Way Home (Portsmouth, NH & Providence, RI)

23 Jul

On our roadtrip back from Maine, we made a lunch stop in Portsmouth, NH and then did an overnight in Providence, RI.  I have always loved Portsmouth, however, it started to rain heavily midway through lunch, so we didn’t have much time for sight seeing.  And then Providence, RI seemed like a good idea… about midway home, in RI, known for being a lovely town… but I just. didn’t. get it.

Back to Portsmouth… after our fantastic tour of Maine craft beers, we decided to continue our new found tradition and stopped in at the Portsmouth Brewery for lunch.  We, of course, ordered beer and mine was quite tasty.  If we hadn’t been driving, we would have totally gone for the paddle of beer that had something like 12 small flights to try their stash.  Bummer.  We did have some good grub, however (and that’s what you’re here for anyway… isn’t it?)

Mike ordered what I thought was a cheesesteak… but I can’t find it on the menu. Hmm.  I remember him liking it very much though!

I chose a special pork dish which had a peach chutney.  DELISH! I was quite impressed that a brewery did such a good job with this dish.

Overall, it’s a great place to have a beer and the food ain’t bad!

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 7

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As soon as we pulled into Providence, I knew we were in trouble.  I had mistakenly thought it was on a lovely part of water, however, it looked like mostly highways.  We asked the concierge at the hotel where to go for a night stroll, and he sent us up in some direction that made us feel quite scared… and we live in NYC!  It was just so seedy.  We wound up going to see a movie that night… in a mall movie theater.  Pathetic I know.

On the way back from the movie theater we decided to continue our brewery themed trip and tried out the Trinity Brewhouse.  

We sat outside and it was a nice night… but the food literally took SO LONG to come out (and the restaurant was pretty much empty when we arrived) that it actually cooled up and the wind picked up outside.  Uncomfortable at best.

Mike ordered the pizza… big mistake.  It was heavy and greasy and just hardly worth eating.

Then mine came out… ugh… even worse!  Do you see the REFLECTION off those sweet potato fries?  That’s how greasy they were.  And soggy.  Ew.  The sandwich was a corned beef reuben that sounded good… but was basically flavorless.  How do you screw up a reuben and fries?  GA-ROSS

This place was crap.  Seriously.  I’m usually quite nice in my reviews, but I just can’t be.  It was utter crap.

Total Nom Points: 2 out of 10

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The next day we decided to take a recommendation from a family friend who had lived in Providence for a while.  She is a chef, so I figured she couldn’t steer us wrong.  This was when we saw the college part of town (Thayer Street).  This was much lovelier an area than where we were the night before.  

The recommendation was for a pizza place called Antonio’s on Thayer.  I was told it would be the “best pizza I’d ever have in my ginger life.”  
I chose mushroom and hawaiian. 

Mike went with a white chicken pesto slice.

And a chicken cordon bleu.

So how does this compare in my ginger life?  It was good, but not THE BEST.  I did enjoy it, however, and compared to the other place we ate in Providence, this was TOPS!

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10

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This sadly ended Mike and my excursion in Maine.  In a strange twist of fate, however, I AM GOING BACK NEXT WEEK with the family!  YAAY! 

Honey Glazin

26 Apr

I had to use both a pork loin and shrimp by the same day and, unfortunately, I found myself on that day.  I’m always nervous about letting food go past expiration dates, but pork and seafood are on the top of my fearful list. I had a Weight Watchers recipe for a honey glazed pork loin so I figured I’d just double the sauce and use it for the shrimp.  It works great for both!  So much flavor for just 4 points.  We paired it with some garlicky spinach and quinoa. Nom Nom Nom.

Pork loin is so easy to cook and so tasty!

The shrimp in the same sauce was also sooooo tasty.

Full pot of raw spinach and garlic:

Reduces to tiny bit of cooked spinach and garlic in the same pot.

(I’m always so impressed with how the volume of raw spinach reduces to the volume of wilted spinach)

Full plate with quinoa.

The sauce was soooo good over the quinoa!

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RECIPES
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Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin (Just use the same sauce for the shrimp!)
4 points!

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces Extra Lean Port Tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, low sodium
  • 2 cloves garlic — minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 

Instructions:

  1. Trim excess fat from pork. Tie it to make it even shape. Place in a heavy plastic bag.
  2. Mix the soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Add to bag. Coat pork well. Marinade for 2 hours or over night in refrigerator.
  3. Remove pork from marinade. Pat dry.
  4. Combine honey and sugar. Brush over pork. Coat with sesame seeds.
  5. Roast for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees F.
  6. Slice thinly and serve.

An easy and delicious evening meal

11 Mar

Mike and I decided to cook last Friday night.  Originally I intended to make my famous Kasha Varnishkas, however, the grocery store near me didn’t have any Kasha, so we had to make new plans. 

We opted for a menu of “Awesome Honey Glazed Pork Chops” (recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com), roasted butternut squash with chestnuts, and a simple, yet delicious Rice-A-Roni Long Grain & Wild Rice.  The entire meal took about 15 minutes to prep, however, the roasting of the squash and the cooking of the Rice-A-Roni made the entire meal cookable in a little over an hour.  If you need a good meal and don’t want to put too much effort into it, I highly recommend this combination! 

The hardest part was the squash, which had to be cut up into little pieces.  Thankfully my brandy new pealertook the skin off the squash with ease.  The problem, however, became cutting the slippery squash! 

It all worked out in the end, however:

The leftover squash and chestnuts with the honey pecan sauce were absolutely incredible the next day.

Without further ado, here are the recipes:

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Awesome Honey Pecan Pork Chops (check the link to see it and the comments on allrecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS (Nutrition)

  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless pork loin, pounded thin (we used thin cut pork chops)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for coating
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (we doubled this to 1/2 cup since it didn’t look like enough)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a shallow dish, mix together flour, salt and pepper. Dredge pork cutlets in the flour mixture.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add chops, and brown both sides. Transfer to a warm plate.
  3. Mix honey and pecans into the pan drippings. Heat through, stirring constantly. Pour sauce over cutlets.

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Chestnuts
(This was originally a recipe for Sweet Potatoes that I revised slightly. Thanks to Aunt Linda for the inspiring original recipe)

Ingredients:
Squash or Sweet Potatoes
Steamed/cooked Chestnuts (I buy them in a box from Trader Joes and Asian Markets usually sell them)
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

Directions:

NOTE:  Start them in a cold oven, it has something to do with getting them warm, but not too quickly
 
Cover a cookie sheet with foil.  Spray with Pam.
 
For squash: Peal it.  For sweet potatoes: Scrub potatoes well.  Dry with a paper towel. Cut off skinny ends.

Slice into pieces about ½ inch thick.
 
Dump into bowl and add some salt and pepper.  Not too much.  Then pour about 1 ½ tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil into you hands and rub both sides of each round. (I stirred them all in a bowl and made sure it was evenly coated… it turned out fine)
 
Place in single layer on the cookie sheet.  Cover tightly with foil.  Put into cold oven.    Turn oven to 425.  Bake for 30 mins.
 
Remove from oven and remove the top layer of foil.   Return to oven for another 15-25 mins, until the bottom edges of the rounds are golden brown.
 
Remove from oven and flip over each round.  Return to oven for another 15-18 mins.

Throw the chestnuts in with the squash and roast another 3-5 minutes until bottoms of the squash are golden brown and chestnuts are warmed.
 
Try not to eat them all before sitting down to dinner.

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Rice-A-Roni

Buy.
Read.
Follow directions.
Eat.

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Happy Nomming!