10
Jan 11

New Year’s Eve Dinner – Stanton Social

I took so long to get back to writing that this is kind of old news already but this dinner is worth talking about.  I always find  New Year’s Eve overrated, still do, especially after last New Year’s Eve being an extreme disappointment. Let me back track to last year:

A bunch of my friends came in to Miami Beach to spends New Year’s Eve here.  We decided to have a nice dinner at Phillipe.  By nice dinner, I mean 200 bucks a pop. Sounds crazy right? Well that’s pretty standard for Miami and NYC on New Year’s Eve.  And for that money, you think you would be treated like royalty. (I like to think so).  We had the late seating so we can be there for when the ball dropped.  I honestly forget what the 200 dollars per person included, except that it was suppose to be a bottle of champagne for every 2 people.  They were so stingy and treated the champagne like it was on limited supply and did not let us keep the bottles at the table. It was a shared “resource” between all the patrons at the restaurant.  After begging for champagne, we also had to beg for food. We were not allowed to order, we had to take whatever they gave us whether we liked it or not.  It looked like they were giving us scraps from other people’s tables.  I’m not sure if other table’s experienced this or if because we were the last table to be seated. The whole experience was horrendous.

Now I wanted to share that story for you to understand why we were pleasantly surprised this year. I headed to New York City this year because any attempt of convincing my friend’s to come to Miami after last year’s fiasco would be pointless. We decided on spending New Year’s Eve at Stanton Social in the Lower East Side. Stanton Social on a normal evening is suppose to have amazing food.  The New Year’s Eve deal was unlimited food and Chandon for $125 per person. Sounds to good to be true.  It was legit.  Everything sounded so good on the menu that I let my friends do the picking. They serve family style. I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

amuse- bouche

This was an amuse-bouche. Fun fact-  according to wikipedia an amuse-bouche is not actually an appetizer or ordered by the patrons.  It is selected by the chef and served as an excitement of taste buds both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to cooking.

In the photo above- I had to yell at my friend for touching the food because I did not get my picture yet. As you can see with one of the pieces not aligned right. I wish I remembered what everything was. My favorite was the one in the 2nd row which had Foie Gras in it. Continue reading →

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07
Jan 11

Cupcake-a-holic

Since being back from New York, I have gone into cupcake withdrawal.  This is probably a good thing as I had way too many cupcakes when I was there.  At the time, it was worth every bite and calorie I had.  ( my mother probably would disagree).

Here is my rundown of cupcakes:

Round 1:  Limelight Marketplace- CupcakeStop.com

I met up with my friend Lachelle on Wednesday and told her about my obsession with cupcakes.  She was surprised and confessed that she shared the same fixation.  I’m just in shock that I had no idea she loved cupcakes.  I should of suspected this when she sent my friend Laura a bouquet of flowers shaped like a cupcake (Laura loves cupcakes as much as I do). Once I told her my secret, she knew exactly where to take me. We headed to Limelight Marketplace. It was a sweet tooth lover’s wet dream.

She took me to her favorite vendor… CupcakeStop.com. They actually started with  a cupcake truck around the city which you can find their daily location by following them on twitter.  Lachelle insisted on buying me a cupcake and I did not stop her from doing it :).  I was so excited about the cupcake that I ate it right away and forgot to take a picture of it. I did however take a picture of the location in Limelight.

Cupcakestop.com

Cupcakestop.com – they nailed the frosting but the cake was overcooked/dry.  Lachelle said its never like that, so I would give this place another try.

Round 2: Billy’s Bakery

The following day I was meeting up with my friend Holly and needed to kill some time before she could meet up.  I was already in the 20’s on 6th Ave and remembered that Billy’s Bakery was on 9th. After yesterday’s adventure I knew I wanted to take a bunch of pictures this time.

Continue reading →

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06
Jan 11

Back from New York…My return to the blog

I decided to head to New York for the New Year and was not near a computer to constantly update everything I ate and saw but had my camera on hand.  Now its time to play catch up.

(By the way this is my first attempt making an online collage ( how sad I feel so behind the times) but I did it!)

new york food collage

I typically don’t visit New York during the holiday time but wanted to spend the New Year with my girlfriends.  I normally try to avoid tourists at all cost (no offense if you’re one of them).  It really just makes New York an unpleasant experience, at least for me that is. I recommend going during the slower months, so you can really take in the city for what it really is. I also want to give the places that I did not care for the benefit of the doubt and blame it on excessive tourists for the awful experience. :) Ok “awful” is a bit extreme, but you get the point.

Haru- overpriced sushi – stick to your local joint
Limelight Marketplace – love love love
The Standard Grill –  warm atmosphere
The Oak Room -uptight and stuffy
The Plaza Food Hall – avoid if you hate touristy places
Mercat – excellent food styling but lacked flavor on dishes
Stantion Social – New Year’s Dinner – Good Times
Macondo – Yummy New Year’s Day Brunch
Elmo – trendy yet lacked quality in the food
Eataly – overrated, but New Yorkers love it
123 Burger $1 Burgers, $2 Shots, $3 Beers can’t be that!
The Soup Man – Seafood Gumbo, can you say yummy?

Cupcakes:

I plan on doing a follow up post on my sweet guilty pleasures

CupcakeStop.com
Billy’s Bakery
Sweet Revenge
Two Little Red Hens

I realize I listed all the places I went to with a little comment but since I  put in all this effort to take an overabundance of pictures so I should still write about them.  I probably will only pick a few of the favorites and of course talk about all the cupcakes I had.  Stay tuned…

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27
Dec 10

Appetizing Appetizers: Baked Clam Dip

As mentioned in my last post this is my favorite appetizer to make for any occasion.  My mom received this recipe from her friend years ago and she was always the one who made the clam dip.  Now that I make it, I’m the one in charge of it (plus, I think I make it better than she does). Try this recipe out and your guests will not be disappointed.

clam and crackers

Ingredients

32 Ritz Crackers (1 row)
2 cans of clams ( 1 chopped and 1 minched)
3 tablespoons of melted margarine
1 tablespoon of oregano
2 tablespoon of fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of chopped onions
2 crushed garlic cloves

Directions: Super Easy so Get Excited

1. Crush Crackers and Mix all ingredients in a bowl
2. Pour Mixture into Pyrex pie bowl
3. Cook in Oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

Serve with water crackers!

Tips:

If the mixture is too runny, just add a few more crackers

clam dip ingredients

Clam Mix

clam dip mixed

I realize I am using the same picture from the last post but just in case you forgot, here is what the final dish should be:

clam dip

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26
Dec 10

Breaking the tradition – Christmas for Jews

A typical Christmas for Jews is Chinese food and the movies. Not by choice but because they are the only places that are open on Christmas.  This year my sister had her husband’s family in town and decided to have a get together. It was quite a smorgasbord of food. I was just happy not to be eating Chinese food.

Appetizers

Clam Dip – made specially by me.  (Recipe to follow)
Candied Salami
Platter of cheeses
Warm Onion Cheese Dip

Dinner

Salad
Baked Ziti
Baked Chicken Wings
Potatoes
Steak
Greek Shish Kabobs

Now that I have started this blog, I’m obsessed with taking pictures of food. I took about 250 pictures yesterday and I think 150 were just of food alone. I had to take the perfect picture to post. Continue reading →

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24
Dec 10

Banana Pancakes

Now that I’m on a roll with food blogging, every morning I wake up and say what am I going to make today.

Today is Banana Pancakes! Breakfast of Champions!

I’ve never actually made pancakes from scratch before, I’m the just add water kinda girl. Not this time!

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Optional but Highly Recommended

1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

Directions

Combine flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, vegetable oil and bananas.

Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot.

—–

I added the optional ingredients to add a little more flavor. They compliment the banana flavor very well. I would avoid serving it with syrup, I feel that takes away from the banana. Try using whip cream.

What I’m starting to learn is that you don’t always need to follow a recipe exactly. Take risks and go with it and hope it turns out well. If not, try again. It’s all about trial and error.

Banana Pancakes

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23
Dec 10

Meringue Cookies Round 2

After my last attempt of making Meringue Cookies, I was determined to get it right this time.  Since most recipes called for cream of tartar, I went out and purchased a jar of it.  (YAY!) I learned that cream of tartar is used as a thickening agent for making meringue.  (YAY! for learning something new)

Chocolate Meringue Cookies
(found this off of allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla. Beat until the whites form soft peaks. Slowly add sugar; beat until stiff peaks form, and mixture becomes glossy. Fold in cocoa and chocolate chips.
  3. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

I’m definitely closer to nailing Meringue Cookies as you can see from the picture below.  They puffed up while cooking but when I took them out they flattened.  I probably should of used more cream of tartar once I noticed it was not thick enough.  It also could be because I blended it by hand.  I don’t actually have a mixer yet… a girl can dream.

meringue cookie

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22
Dec 10

Recipe Exchange #1:Chicken and Brown Rice de Provonce

I previously mentioned in an earlier post about the Recipe Exchange, I sadly only received 1 recipe. I was in shock. People are no fun these days. I’m tempted to reply to everyone and yell at them over email for not participating.  I digress.

Anyways, even though I only received 1 recipe, I  said I was going to make whatever recipes came my way and here it is:

Chicken and Brown Rice de Provonce ingredients

4 Chicken Breasts or other parts

1 Can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 Cup Brown Rice

3-4 Stalks of Celery

1 Large Onion

¾ Cup of Water or Chicken Broth

¼ Cup White Wine

1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provonce

1-2 Tablespoons Butter

Salt and Pepper to Taste

In pan on stove cook the chopped celery and onion in butter until beginning to soften.  Add wine to deglaze pan and mix in soup.  Then add vegetable mixture to the baking dish with the broth and brown rice.  Arrange the raw chicken on top of the rice bake in a 375 oven with a cover for 30 min to an hour, remove cover for last 10-15 minutes of cooking.  Cook until chicken cook and rice tender.  If rice is dry add more broth or water during cooking.

Notes: Herbs de Provonce was not easy to find, they do not sell it at the regular grocery store, I had to go to Fresh Market to pick up a jar

This was the first time making the dish for me and I did not have a picture to go by.  I realized as I was making the dish, it did not specify what to do with the Herbs de Provonce. I mixed the tablespoon of spice in the soup mixture.  As I was cooking it, I was hoping that the chicken would absorb the flavor from the rice mixture. No such luck, the chicken looked very bland.  Around 30 minutes in, I decided to add Herbs de Provonce on top of the chicken.

Judgement Time: I was not fan of this dish, at least not the chicken. The Herbs de Provonce is very potent, you can taste the lavender which I think you need an acquired taste for.  I would season the chicken with salt and pepper  prior to baking it next time.  However, I will say that the rice mixture was delicious. :)

veggies

chicken dish


chicken rice

Update: See Michelle’s comment as she is the one who provided the recipe and she explained what she did differently.

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21
Dec 10

Restaurant Grub: YardHouse

On a gorgeous day in Florida, pretty much most days except when its raining and 100 Degrees, you have to eat outside. beer It’s a must.

Right down the street from me, they opened up this huge shopping plaza, Villiage at Gulfstream Park, which has a race track, casino (thank you Indians), bars, restaurants, and stores. I actually spent every weekend here when I first moved into the area searching for the right kitchen table, it only took me 6 months later to find the chairs. I will have to upload a picture of my table and chairs at another time. It only cost me a fortune and I must show it to the world.

Anyways, getting back on track,   We headed to Yardhouse, if you love beer, this is the place for you. It has well over 100 beers on tap. Don’t fret if you don’t live in Hallandale, there are many locations across the US.

I particular wanted to go there since they allow dogs and have doggie bowls on site. My Shih Tzu Brady loves coming out with us, although he looks very confused in the picture.

The Food:

Classic Sliders – four mini burgers made from natural angus beef served with cheddar cheese, our house special sauce, fries and pickle

Sliders

Turkey Burger – house made, roasted roma tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic aïoli, onion poppy seed bun

I saved the best for last, Chicken Tortilla -creamy white cheddar, roasted pasilla, tortilla strips, pico de gallo, avocado, cilantro.

This is made fresh to order and a must have while dining at the Yardhouse.

If not for the beer, come for the food!

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20
Dec 10

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

I love smoothies… well actually I just love Strawberry Banana Smoothies. I’ve tried other flavors of smoothies, butStrawberry Banana Smoothie nothing does it for meal like the refreshing Strawberry Banana Smoothie.

I crave them on a hot day, in the morning for breakfast, after a workout (ha when I actually workout), for an in-between meal. Pretty much whenever I can get my hands on one.

Now my “Smoothie” comes out more like a juice as its very light and I don’t put ice or dairy products in it. I do, however put in frozen strawberries instead of fresh to get that smoothie frothy texture

Ingredients

Serves 2

16 oz of Orange Juice (8oz / glass)
1 banana (use half banana if for one glass)
8-10 strawberries

Blend it!

Side Notes:
I actually blend the OJ and strawberries first as to not overblend. Then I add banana to thicken the smoothie. After everything is blended, I taste with a spoon to try the mixture. If it tastes too much like Orange Juice and I add 1 or 2 more strawberries and then blend. If it tastes too much like strawberry, I add slightly a little more banana.

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