Sunday, January 20, 2013

Brooklyn Food Tour #1

On the very first day that I moved to New York City, I did what any foodie and her foodie friend would do...I went on an impromptu food tour.  Though it was relatively short because of time and our eyes being a fair amount larger than our stomachs, it's still one of my favorite memories of my time here.  Both of us familiar with the food culture and charming vibe of restaurants in Atlanta, we set our sights on a few similarly cozy spots in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.  From Italian to Ethiopian, we ate and drank our way down Court Street, exploring the neighborhood and all that it had to offer. 
So naturally, when my friend Rachel proposed a first of many food tours of our surrounding area, I immediately jumped at the opportunity.  Thanks to her thorough research and careful planning, our first food tour together, from Prospect Heights to Greenpoint, was a huge success! 
Definitely one of the better doughnuts I've had and not too far behind Doughnut Plant on my favorites list, the inside of these doughnuts have a fluffy and almost croissant-like texture that practically melts in your mouth. For my taste, the icing was just sugary enough and the almonds were a nice crunchy addition to the pastry that didn't quite seem to be large enough in size. Overall, not too shabby of a doughnut, and I would definitely go back for a second round - maybe for the chocolate with cocoa nibs... or hibiscus...or toasted coconut...or...?  Yumm.
Dulce De Leche with Almonds

The locally roasted coffee sold here may also be worth checking out, or if nothing else the witty flavor palette descriptions on the bag.  They can serve as a good distraction while you're waiting in line.
Warning: It may not help control the drooling.


Open a little less than a year, I thought this local Williamsburg food and goods market was a great find with a lot of potential.  There were small selections of infused oils and balsamic vinegars (always a favorite of mine), fresh meats and cheeses, and gifty items like cookbooks and made-in-Brooklyn novelties.  To put the icing on the cake, they will soon be opening a hot food section, which will include a variety of Thai-inspired breakfast dishes. This alone will render this market a no-brainer stop for a bite to eat.


I have to say, this cute little nautical-themed sandwich shop was not what I expected at first glance, but little did I know what we were in for. After reading a long list of sandwich descriptions and ooing and ahhing over the options, we decided on the "Scuttlebutt," filled with hard boiled eggs, feta, capers, pickled veggies, and a to-die-for cheese sauce.  The sandwich was unlike any I've ever had before and was a refreshing combination of flavors and color. Oh, the color! Thank goodness for lots of napkins because the bright pink was literally oozing out of every corner. I give this sandwich a 4.5 out 5 stars (come on, no one is perfect).


Another great stop for the food and kitchen lovers of New York. Best part? They offer a large number of cooking classes on the upstairs level.


The perfect way to end the tour was with a large helping of ice cream from Van Leeuwen. With so many mouth-watering flavors to choose from, we ended up going for the classic indecisive route - splitting each of our cups. Cinnamon, Mint Chip, Pistachio, and Giandujia (the fancy name for Chocolate Hazlenut) at a half cup of each made for a very satisfying flight of ice cream and happiness all around.

Cost per person - $15
Distance walked - 3.7 miles
Day full of cultural education and good food - priceless


Monday, January 14, 2013

Grilled Steak and Cheese Sandwich

In the wintertime, the famous duo of grilled cheese and tomato soup is a comfort food tradition that we never get tired of.  There have been many different variations of the pair over the years, and this time I was inspired by a dish I tasted several years ago in Knoxville, TN.  On a business trip, my co-workers and I found ourselves at a local Irish pub for dinner, and were surprisingly impressed with the food.  What was on the menu you ask?  None other than a grilled cheese sandwich,with a simple, yet masterful twist of cheese.


For my first post of 2013, I want to share one of my own creations with you.  Based on what I could find in my local gourmet grocery store and where I let my stomach cravings lead me, I pulled together the ingredients below to make a truly hearty and comforting sandwich.

The other half of the duo? My top choice remains Trader Joe’s creamy tomato soup, or if I’m lucky the homemade version my friend and roommate makes – maybe there’s a post opportunity on that one in the future?

Makes: 2 sandwiches
4 slices bread (a dense, wide loaf, such as Sourdough)
1 wedge Brie cheese (medium softness, such as St. Andre)
1/4 - 1/2 lb.  cooked flank steak, cut into thin strips  (this will continue to cook as you toast the bread, so used either slightly undercooked or add the steak near the end of toasting)
Fig preserves or jam
Butter, for outside of bread

  1. Butter one side of each slice of bread. On the other side, spread a generous amount of cheese.
  2. On half of the bread slices, place one layer of steak strips and top with fig preserves.  Place sandwich halves together.
  3. Heat a pan on MED to MED-HI and toast each side of the sandwich until browned and cheese is melted.