My Creations, Places I like

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pics From My New York Trip

      This is not food related, but culture is such an integral part of cuisine, so here are some of the pictures I took of the city of New York, and inside The Museum of Modern Art, enjoy.

Oh hell yes! This is a food blog after all...
                                                           Museum of Modern Art:

My favorite picture I took this weekend


      The last day I was home I found these Buitoni lobster raviolis with a butter cream sauce in the freezer, so I made them...and they were good.

Side Note: When plating raviolis, remember: always pillows up; pretty explanatory...

My Lunch Today

      My class was canceled this morning so I got to sleep in...till noon, hell yeah! I woke up with the, "boy I got too much sleep last night, but am still tired" kinda feeling. For me, that's 10+ hours. I've always been able to function off of less than the average amount of sleep; anything from 4-7 hours is fine for me...more towards the 7 and less towards the 4 though. Since I missed breakfast, I was already hungry...
      Not really in the mood to make some elegant dish, I just sorta chopped a bunch of veggies and sauteed them in a pan with some olive oil. Looking in the frig for a protein to add in, I had half of this Cajun-style rotisserie chicken just staring at me (well not really staring because there was no head...that would be weird), so I diced it up and tossed it in with the veggies. I took the skin off of most pieces because I'm trying to eat healthy, but left it on a few small pieces for a little extra flavor.
      As for the veggies, I chopped up 3/4 of a red & green pepper ( diced the rest for future omelets), sauteed them while I chopped up a bushel(?) of asparagus; then tossed that in. While they sauteed, I chopped some mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, and tossed them in. Added the chicken and cooked it all together for a few minutes. Here's what I got:

      I also made a fruit smoothie with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, ice, slash of skim milk, squeeze of honey and a spoon of sugar. I did not show a formal recipe for this or the chicken and veggies because I just kinda made these both up on the spot. I just eyeballed everything and it all turned out fine (that's half the fun right?)
      Side Note: I always buy a bunch of fruit and berries and forget about them so they always go bad, and my roommates always bring it up. So "Operation Berries" is in effect. This smoothie just used up a bunch of them so I should be fine this time. peace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"So Do You Have Anything Lined Up After School, Errr....?"

      The title of this post is the exact same sentence I've herd for probably two years now. I completely understand when conversing with a soon-to-be-college grad, that that's going to be a topic of discussion. Don't get me wrong, I can chat about my passion for food till the cows come home (I hope they they do...they'd make wonderful burger patties) its just having to have the same conversation with friends, family, relatives, adults, random people I meet while skiing and anywhere else, it gets...exhausting. With that being said, I finally have a response:

      The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, BOOOOM!!!

      PS. I'm not trying to be boastful or anything, but when you work so hard to realize your dream and its starting to come true you have to show your enthusiasm a little bit! I originally had a lower quality photo of a similar aerial view of the campus but my brother found a better pic. Thanks, bro! His name is Chris by the way, and he's killin' it down in Albany working for the State Assembly. If you know him or see him sometime, tell him he's doing a stand up job.

Sunday In New York: "This Is The End..."

      Alright I've been blogging for quite some time today/night (cracks knuckles, twists back) but I wanted to share my brunch at Bobby Flay's restaurant: Mesa Grill. Flay was the very first Food Network "personality" I starting watching back in the day. Some will say its something of a "man crush", but they're clearly liars and cannot be trusted. I have one of his cookbooks in my room--Grill It! and just missed an opportunity to have him sign it during a book signing at the Saratoga racetrack...what I had to work! With that being said, I am more of a Tyler Florence fan nowadays, sorry Bobby. Also, Giada de Laurentiis is pretty sexy I might add whoooopsss.
      Flay also has numerous other restaurants, Bar American, Bolo (which just closed), Bobby Flay's Burger Palace, and Mesa grill in Vegas. I chose Mesa Grill because it was his first place, and I hear good things. My mom and I went there for brunch because we had a Knicks game to attend later that night; am I living the weekend dream or WHAT?? Side note: the Knickerbockers got blown out by the Danny Granger-less Pacers. If your not a basketball fan, THATS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! Even though they got dominated, my good friend Jon Gibbs would have killed a man (he's harmless, and an RA) to be at the game because hes absolutely obsessed with the Knicks, especially Landry Fields. Back at Mesa Grill (you still with me?) this is what I ordered for brunch, word-for-word from the menu:
Cornmeal Crusted Chile Relleno filled with roasted eggplant & manchego cheese with sweet red pepper sauce & balsamic vinegar

      The dish was aesthetically pleasing to the max, I mean just look at that thing! It should be put in the Museum of Modern Art...which I actually went to right before this, but for me as I dug in, it didn't taste as good as it looked. It was prepared fine, it just didn't go as well as I thought a "first meal at a Bobby Flay restaurant" would go. It wasn't bad, just ordinary? In the end, it was brunch, which is a totally different menu from the dinner menu. Maybe I'll go back one day for dinner and give it another whirl. You have not failed me yet Bobby!
      What Mesa Grill and Kraft Bar had in common I noticed, was the waitstaff. Both our (sorry Bre) were awesome. They didn't put on that fake front, desperate to sell you something and push drinks on you like a used car salesman would old cars. No, it was refreshing to have a cool, attentive server who could give detail about a dish rather than the usual, "Oh I had that for lunch yesterday, its by far my favorite!" (liar). But if your looking for the best server and you happen to be in beautiful Saratoga Springs, NY then venture on over to Pizzeria Uno's and ask for Bre Lee to be your server; but make sure you say 'Bre', if you say 'Breanne' then your already dead...And that concludes my New York City getaway, happy eating people!!

Astoria Culinary Walking Tour: Last Stop!

      Ahh the last stop on my culinary journey: lunch at...I actually forgot the name of the place, but it was Egyptian I can tell you that! For starters we shared a platter of hummus, and two other hummus-like dips with a side of pita triangles. I wasn't aware there would be more food coming so I gorged myself on pita and hummus. Then came the main course: chicken drumstick with sauted veggies, and a koos koos pyramid. Keep in mind I am fulllll (just eat through the pain Pete, just eat through the pain) but I had to eat more. 
      That pretty much wraps up my Culinary adventure in Astoria, Queens. If you enjoyed reading these posts even a 100th of a percent as much as I did doing the real thing, then I'll know I've done my job. On a quick side note, all the artwork seen inside and out of the restaurant was done by hand courtesy of the head chef/owner...Wow, talk about  the Renaissance man!

Astoria Culinary Walking Tour: Stops 4-5

       On the 4th stop our guide (a nice and free spirited lady I might add) took us to an Irish pub for a shot of whiskey chased with a spicy pickle juice. Our guide was talking about this for most of the tour. You can tell shes closer to my age than some of the adults on the tour.
The whiskey was so smooth I wanted to take all those shots, but wasn't looking to sleep with the homeless on the street
We also had fried pickles, which I never tried before  
      Next up is my favorite stop: "Dave & Tony's Salumeria"--these guys were awesome. We originally were supposed to go to a more "authentic Italian" deli or so says the guys from the more "authentic Italian" deli but due to schedule complications we had to go to Dave & Tony's. I did not mind, because as I previously stated, these guys were awesome! We walk into the deli that is open for regular business, and I expected them to look pissed for having a huge walking tour come in for free food last minute. Quite the contrary because we are greeted by dudes with Italian accents toting trays of fresh salami, spicy capicola ham, kalamata olives, mozzarella, and crackers...needless to say, even last minute they were ready for us. We scarfed down the tray of deli goodies and watched in awe (or at least I did) as they did a demo of how they make fresh mozz in house...or in deli? Let me tell you the mozzarella they made was by far the best mozzarella I have ever had, and probably the best your going to find anywhere except 'Italia' itself. My dad is a sucker for cold cuts, especially fresh mozz so natually this deli would have been his mecca. I was thoroughly enjoying the mozz and cold cuts when one of the delicatessans(?) said, "Hey Tony! Show 'em that balsamic glaze..." In retrospect, that is probably one of the best sentences ever said by man. Tony grabs the glaze and squeezes a dab of it on everyone's plate while he explains what it is exactly. I swirled a piece of their freshly demoed mozz in the balsamic glaze and popped the little cheese nugget into my mouth. I've never seen anyone's face after they won the slot machine in person, but I can imagine it was identical to my facial expression at the time. Cue your favorite cheesy food Network catchphrase, whether it be: "BOOM!", "BAM!", "PHENOMENAL" or the like. If you say "yummo!" or any other Rachael Ray line, I will freaking kill you. I don't hate Rachel Ray, she's quite talented, has built a beast of a culinary empire, and grew up 20 minutes from me in Lake George; its just that she has the most annoying catchphrases.

Fresher than the prince of Bel-Air whattttt?