Saturday, August 11, 2007

A New Subway Experience

Took the S subway from Times Square, to Grand Central the other day and was in for an interesting surprise. Looks like Westin resorts decided to decorate the trains in the style of places one might use to escape from the city. The one I ended up on was decorated in the style of a tropical rain forest, complete with a canopy layer on the ceiling. I wonder if this is just something temporary for the S, or if we will be seeing more of this in the future on the subways? I would be all for it, ever since they got rid of the redbirds, the NYC subways have needed something. And who better to pay for it than big corporations with advertising dollars?

Although, after certain events on July 16, and August 9, 2007, I'm not sure I like the idea of turning the stairs at Grand Central station into tropical waterfalls. Yes, these are fake, but from other pictures I've seen, they have a certain eerie realism to them.

Healthy Gametime Snack

Went to my first Yankee game last week, beforehand some folks outside the stadium were selling mango for $2.00 per bag, sprinkled with chili, lime, and salt. For the health, and budget conscious, can you think of a better alternative?
While I will admit I was a bit naughtier during later innings, what is baseball without Cracker Jacks? If I were seriously dieting, this would make an apt gametime snack.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ithaka Restaurant

I'm usually not a big fan of Mediterranean fare, (too much feta and too many olives), but I was pleasantly surprised by this cozy Upper East Side restaurant. Although the decor is modern, the cheerful, solicitous staff, accompanied by live traditional music, give it a distinctive old country feeling.

The cold appetizer platter was amazingly well done. Standing out was the melitzanosalata, a puree made from smoked eggplant with a smoky, almost meaty flavor. It lacked the sourness and creaminess of typical babaganoush. The squid was tender and fried to perfection, not one bit chewy or overly salty.

I also enjoyed the loukaniko sparta, char-grilled Greek sausage, which had a well done, citrus flavor -- an impressive surprise compared to similar dishes I've tried in Spanish and Portuguese restaurants.

The gigantes fournou, giant lima beans baked
with tomatoes and scallions, were tasty, and they made me seriously rethink my preconceptions of lima beans in general, the canned, flavorless variety of school lunches.

The keftedakia, seasoned meatballs, were lightly broiled and tasty, with just the right hint of lemon.

The Greek salad was well prepared and fresh; I could not taste a trace of the feta, which was easily and promptly removed.

The arni souvlaki, marinated cubes of lamb with tomatoes, green peppers and onions, was excellent. They managed to infuse the sweet flavor of onion throughout the entire dish, and the lamb was grilled so as not to be rare or tough and overdone.

Dessert, loukoumades, a Greek take on Italian zepolis served with a honey walnut syrup, was a delightfully sweet ending to an impressive meal.

Ithaka in New York

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rose Petal Cupcakes

Recent obsession with rose petals, combined with a cupcake picnic inspired me to make rose petal cupcakes. Made one batch of minis:

Then I did one batch of regular sized ones, which I infused with rose petal preserves:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Waterzooi Belgian Bistro

This Belgian style bistro, located in Garden City, NY, has always been a favorite of mine. The atmosphere in the back is very nightclub'esque, with a crowd of young folks who enjoy the dimly lit, but colorful bar. I prefer the dining room, toward the front, which is always welcoming to guests of all ages.

The trademark dish is the "moule pot," essentially a giant pot of steamed mussels, served with frites, traditional Belgian fries, done perfectly crispy on the outside, but soft and potatoey on the inside. Before ordering be warned, one pot will satiate about three averaged sized individuals, or about six skinny individuals.

The pots come come in a vast array of international variations, from traditional Homard, with creamy lobster and scallions, to exotic Thai with grilled pineapple and spicy coconut broth.

I usually go with the paella:

Served with shrimp, Little Neck clams, crawfish, chorizo, chicken and rice in a saffron broth, this dish rivals the fare served in Spanish and Portuguese restaurants. At the top, is a well done paella; Digging further, the mussele content gradually increases. When one finally reaches the bottom, a lovely soup of saffron flavored broth, and leftover bits of mussels, clams, and rice is to be had. It is a good match for the loaves of crusty french bread served with the meal.

Also not to be missed is the Sweet Potato Gnocci.

While I will admit I'm not usually a fan of gnocci, this restaurant's take on the traditional Italian potato pasta is beautifully done. The gnocci has a sweet taste and a nice chewy texture, without the cheese flavor found in many Italian restaurants. The combination of the gnocci with andouille sausage, fresh peas, and rosemary cream makes this starter more of a meal than some of the entrees listed lower on the menu.

Waterzooi in Garden City

Friday, May 18, 2007

High Chai Tea Room

Tried this Lower East Side Russian style restaurant for the second time tonight. Tea infused vodka, and marTEAnis are their specialy, along with regular tea served "Russian Style," highly concentrated tea is mixed with hot water out of a samovar, a metal tank used for keeping water hot. My favorite tea was chocolate tea, had the flavor of chocolate, but suprisingly lacked the watery quality of badly done hot chocolate.

Monday through Thursday, they have happy hour, two drinks for the price of one. I decided to take the opportunity and sample what they had to offer. The rose petal martini was well done, they managed to get the flavor of roses, without too much sweetness. For my second drink I was seduced by the chilli margarita. It certainly packed a punch spicewise, and I would not recomend it for those who can't take heat.

Food was okay, but came in second to the drinks. The "wild mushroom julienne in a pastry shell" seemed to have been made with mushrooms of the canned variety." They ran out of pastry shells during the meal, but I was fortunate to get one. The salmon with lentils was well done, and the highlight of the meal. For dessert they were out of the lychee wontons I wanted to try, so I ended up with essentially a chocolate, chai brownie. It wasn't bad, but I can get a fancy chocolate desert anywhere in the city.

High Chai in New York

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Why Not?

Snagging this screen name while it is available!

Not sure what I'm going to do with this, I already have an LJ, but LJs are usually used for fannish things. Blogspots tend to be for the more trendy set, who post things like meaningful photos of the cities they live in, and restaurant reviews. Hmm, maybe it is time for a digital camera?