Tag Archives: bread

Cherche Midi, another McNally restaurant

Cherche Midi
Cherche Midi
282 Bowery (and Houston)
New York, NY 10012

It has been ages, my friends. AGES. I feel awfully guilty for abandoning this blog for so long. I can give you the usual excuses of life getting in the way but it won’t make me feel any less guilty. The reason I’ve carved out some of my Sunday afternoon to write to you all is because quite a few of you have recentlyl told me that you MISS my blog posts and actually NOTICED that I haven’t posted in a while. I’m soooooo incredibly flattered and… just… wow, people read my blog consistently enough to be able to tell I’ve been MIA? M.L. told me today I am her sad-desk-lunch reading and it empowered me to get off my lazy bum and finally just start writing again so M.L. can resume reading about food while she eats food.

So here it is! My first post since… ALMOST A MONTH AGO (ugh). The post is about Cherche Midi, a Keith McNally restaurant that opened sometime last year. McNally is a big NYC restauranteur who opened Balthazar and Minetta Tavern (among many others). There are a few deviations from the “typical French” restaurant with some yuzu and shiso on the menu, but otherwise Cherche Midi is a pretty typical French establishment, with steak tartare, steak frites, and lots of butter in and on everything.

Cherche Midi First, the bread. Very important. Bread is the first thing you get to eat at a restaurant so in my mind it should give you a hint of the identity of the restaurant In Cherche Midi’s case, it certainly did.

Cherche Midi
The bread was traditionally French (baguettes!) served with amazing butter. The baguettes had a perfectly crusty crust and a great spring to it (when you squeeze, it bounces back). Center was chewy, stretchy, and soft-but-not-too-soft. Promising.

Cherche Midi We shared the Frogs’ Legs with green garlic velouté, garlic chips, and crisp parsley ($19 – expensive). Despite how fancy it sounds, it tasted pretty un-fancy. The legs were fried well, and were very tender. Sauce was creamy and had a hint of garlic. Nothing to write home about.

Cherche Midi We also shared the Homemade Lobster Ravioli in ginger beurre blanc (aka. ginger butter sauce) with piquillo peppers ($28), which ended up being my favorite dish from the night. Amazingly fresh, sweet lobster (large chunks of it too) coated in a buttery sauce with little sweet peppers and what I think is definitely LEMONGRASS. Oh man was this tasty. I was happy to see Cherche Midi deviating from a traditional French-only menu. The ravioli skin also had a great bite to it.  Continue reading Cherche Midi, another McNally restaurant

THE ULTIMATE ICELAND FOOD (and tour) GUIDE

IcelandOkay, maybe not the ultimate, but I think pretty close to it. LAW, G.B., N.T., and I spontaneously decided to go to Iceland over Easter weekend. We left on a Wednesday night and came back Monday night. In our typical way of travel, we jam packed the days with as much as possible. Since most of you actually reading this post are probably also planning to go to Iceland, I’ll share with you our itinerary first and then go into the food. Since this isn’t a travel blog, I won’t go into details about the specific sites. But I think the schedule we did will help you plan. If food is all you’re here for, skip ahead!

IcelandFirst of all, Iceland was amazing. If you’re on the fence, I hope I push you over to the other side so that you go. The place is unlike any other that I’ve been to. Crazy weather, endless waterfalls, miles and miles of Mars-like terrain – do go. Here’s my itinerary, which I think was pretty efficient and allowed us to see most things available from Reykjavik.

IcelandDay 1
Rented a car from the airport and drove to Reykjavik (where our hotel was). On our way to Reykjavik, we stopped by: small town where former U.S. troops hung out, The Blue Lagoon (2-3 hours of hanging out in a geothermal pool, very cool), and The Bridge Between Two Continents (yes, that’s what it’s actually called), which is a bridge that connects the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. This is probably the most efficient way to spend your time because all of this stuff is on the way to Reykjavik.

Day 2
The Golden Circle, which is a loop that takes you to multiple iconic sites. We saw the Thingvellir National Park, Gulfoss Waterfall (epic), Geysir, and Kerio (a volcanic crater lake – underrated).

Day 3
Drove along the southern coast and saw two beautiful waterfalls off of the highway, the Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Both are awesome in their own way. One has a beautiful LOTR-esque path behind it that you can walk through. Another is hidden behind a narrow canyon. You literally hike through and immediately find yourself standing up against this epic waterfall. After these two waterfalls, head towards the town of Vik (which isn’t that cool) but is right by the awesome Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

Day 4

We did a day hike at Glymur, which leads you to the highest waterfall in Iceland. If you’re into more treacherous hikes, I would definitely do this one. We forded many rivers and hauled ourselves up the mountain using various ropes and chains drilled into the mountain. I would recommend taking a picture of the map at the start of the hike because the trail gets a bit confusing.

Day 5
Hung out in Reykjavik. Went to the best rated cafe (Reykjavik is supposed to have really good coffee) and ate our way through the day.

ONTO THE FOOD! Continue reading THE ULTIMATE ICELAND FOOD (and tour) GUIDE

Shi’s Kitchen: Orange Chocolate Chunk Loaf

Orange Chocolate Chunk Loaf
One slow Saturday morning, I decided I wanted to make a citrus chocolate something. Orange and chocolate has always been one of my favorite chocolate combinations. Something about the combination of the citrusy acidity and the creamy cocoa tastes so complex and rich. I googled a bunch of recipes and this simple one from My Baking Addiction caught my eye.

Orange Chocolate Chunk Loaf
The ingredients are basic, which is always the first thing about a recipe that attracts me. I don’t bake nearly enough to own all these weird baking-specific ingredients.

  • 1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (I actually skipped this because, like I said, I don’t own baking things)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • zest of 1 orange (I would probably do zest of 2 oranges next time)
  • 3/4 cup of dark chocolate chunks

Orange Chocolate Chunk Loaf
My first time zesting an orange! Made the kitchen smell glorious. It was pretty cool to see the citrus oils spray into the air. Continue reading Shi’s Kitchen: Orange Chocolate Chunk Loaf

Italia Week: Florence!

Map of Italy - Florence
After two days in Venice, we hopped on a train to Florence.  I was super excited to finally meet Dave in person and, of course, EAT.

Florence
After we checked into our studio, our AirBnB host told us we should check out his favorite neighborhood lunch spot: Trattoria il Contadino (Via Palazzuolo 69-71r, Florence, Italy). For 11 euros per person, we each got a beverage of choice (house wine INCLUDED – side note, all the Italian house wines I had were amazing), a first course, a second course, and two sides. I got the wine, which was probably the equivalent of three New York glasses. Let’s just say I left very happy to begin my exploration of the city.

Florence
For our firsts, we both got pastas. LAW got the Arrabiatta, one of our favorites. You can never go wrong with a spicy, tomatoey, garlicy pasta, you can only go from right to more right to perfect. For such a simple pasta, the ingredients have to be winners. These tomatoes were bursting with natural sweetness. BURSTING, I tell you.  Continue reading Italia Week: Florence!

Balthazar, a NYC Classic for Brunch

Balthazar
80 Spring St
(between Crosby St & Broadway)
New York, NY 10012

The first time I came to NYC as an “adult,” I was a college sophomore rebelliously skipping Friday classes to make the 5-hour trek to the big city. The only meal I distinctly remember having was at Balthazar. We went for dinner and I remember it feeling super NYC… busy, trendy, with a hint of stuffiness. I hadn’t returned since…until Y.N. invited me to join her and L.N. for brunch. LAW and I decided to go for the bread (they have a bakery next door known for its baguettes) and for the company, of course.


Y.N. read my mind and asked if we could share the bread basket ($21.00). L.N. was on the same page and had apparently already asked for a bread basket… on the house. L.N. manages a number of restaurants in NYC, including Dos Caminos (which I need to check out), so he has the hook-ups. For a bakery that supplies so much bread to numerous restaurants and cafes in Manhattan, I expected more from Balthazar’s bread basket. It wasn’t bad. The croissant was buttery and light. The pecan sticky bun was fresh and properly glazed. The golden raisin walnut bread was dense and flavorful. But nothing stood out… the breads weren’t particularly moist, chewy, soft, or crusty. The bread wasn’t hot or cold. It was room temperature. Really nothing to write home about. Continue reading Balthazar, a NYC Classic for Brunch

Melt Shop, “gourmet” grilled cheese

Melt ShopMelt Shop
601 Lexington Ave
(between 52nd St & 53rd St)
New York, NY 10022

This is a late post, as you can tell from my box. I went with some coworkers on Valentine’s Day for lunch because we decided that since we were indulging in chocolate all day, might as well go all out with a heavy, greasy grilled cheese for lunch. I rarely order grilled cheeses because I feel like it’s something I make quite well myself. It’s all about having good bread, decent cheese, butter, and a panini press. The last time I ordered a grilled cheese was when I was at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, and everyone knows that is a must-try. It turned out good but just as good as my own… anyway, I gave Melt Shop a try since I love specialty restaurants.

Melt Shop
E.D. and I both ordered the Truffle Melt ($7.95) with havarti, arugula, cracked black pepper and truffle oil on sourdough. I remember distinctly it was freezing that day because the guy working the takeout window kept closing the window as soon as someone placed their order. Nonetheless, he was very cheery and told me to have a sweet valentine’s day. Continue reading Melt Shop, “gourmet” grilled cheese

Cafe Gitane, French and Moroccan Brunch

Cafe GitaneCafe Gitane
242 Mott St
(between Houston St & Prince St)
New York, NY 10012

V.P. told me this is her favorite restaurant in the city. I find that few people in New York can come up with a singular favorite place so I figured I had to check it out. There are two locations, one in the Jane Hotel in the West Village and another in Nolita. While waiting for a seat with D.C. and M.X., I saw a waitress walk past with a delicious deep jungle green colored beverage. She saw the way I looked at it and said, “It’s the cucumber juice. You have to get it.” And so I did ($4.50). The juice was surprisingly lightly carbonated and almost a little fermented tasting… like kombucha. Don’t know how I feel about it though it did taste refreshing. The menu also boasts a number of yummy sounding teas, such as Iced Mint Tea and Turkish Green Tea. Things to try next time.

Cafe Gitane
M.X. ordered the Brie with Apple ($7.25) which came with a toasty warm piece of rosemary foccacia. Brie was just okay. Slightly hard for a brie and a little blander than most. Particularly compared to the brie I had in France which was hyper sharp. Unlike the brie, the apples were way too soft. They were almost mushy like apple sauce. I expected a crisp, sweet and tart apple, like a Fuji or a Gala, to go with the brie. The bread was good.

Cafe Gitane
D.C. was lame and had eaten with his other friends already so just had a Blueberry and Almond Friand ($4.00). A friand is a small french cake made with almond flour and eggs. I didn’t get to try it but D.C. seemed to enjoy it…

Cafe Gitane    Cafe Gitane
This was the “must-have” item on the menu: the Avocado Toast with lemon juice, olive oil, and chili flakes on seven grain toast ($7.25). Like many people before me, I agree that the toast is way overpriced. I make this all the time at home, especially when avocados are in season. Yes, it was creamy and delicious with a slight acidity and kick. Yes, the bread was thick, sturdy but soft, and deliciously toasted. But $7.25 for toast is hard to justify.

Continue reading Cafe Gitane, French and Moroccan Brunch

Baguettes and Jambon Sandwiches in Paris

I know. I’ve been terrible. I’ve had a crazy month filled with lots of work, lots of studying, and lots of writing (clearly not about food). Somewhere in the midst of all that, I was able to squeeze in a one week trip to Paris with LAW. But now I’m back, and determined to get back on schedule. I’ve been in the city for over a week now and the one thing I miss from Paris the most is their baguettes. We had a full baguette for breakfast every morning, along with a croissant and a pain au chocolat. Every. Single. Morning. I learned that not every boulangerie has amazing pastries. You have to go to the ones that are packed in the morning and where the bread is constantly coming out of the oven. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a crusty, warm, springy baguette… I distinctly remember my first great baguette in Paris. We were walking along next to the Montparnasse cemetery and I took a bite out of a piping hot baguette we had just gotten off of Rue Daguerre.The crust made that amazing crackle sound every bite I took. Delicious.

In addition to baguettes, we had a lot of sandwiches. Continue reading Baguettes and Jambon Sandwiches in Paris

Sandwiches at The Brindle Room

Brindle Room
277 E 10th St
(between 1st Ave & Avenue A)
New York, NY 10009

I came wanting to try their brunch because they have things such as Biscuits & Gravy and Shrimp & Grits. I’ve clearly been going to North Carolina too much lately. We went on a weekday when Y.P. was visiting and found that they only served brunch on weekends. I should’ve known. The lunch menu is far less interesting (mainly just sandwiches) but we were committed and so we stayed.

I ordered the Lemon Basil Vinaigrette Three Herb Chicken & Sautéed Kale ($9), pictured above. The bread was great – crusty and soaked in olive oil. The chicken and kale were surprisingly cold. Completely cold. It took a couple of bites to adjust because I was expecting a warm sandwich… I ultimately enjoyed the sandwich and liked the subtle flavors of garlic and herbs but will probably not order this again.


The highlight of the meal was definitely the fries. We ordered a side of Italian Fries, which included Parmesan Rosemary Fries, Basil & Roasted Garlic Aioli ($5). The fries were so savory and tasty with bits of sharp parmesan flavor in every bite. I love that they kept all of the potato skin because it gave each fry a thicker texture on the skin side which fried very nicely. Continue reading Sandwiches at The Brindle Room

Strawberry Bread for Strawberry Season

It’s strawberry season and if you didn’t know it, all you need to do is take a walk through the Union Square farmer’s market to know.  You could be blind and still realize because the smell of all the crates of strawberries just lingers in the air around Union Square.  I picked up some for LAW’s midnight birthday surprise (just berries and whipped cream, a new favorite of his after having schlag) but of course had a bunch leftover.  Strawberries unfortunately do not last for very long so I needed a way to “get rid” of them quickly. Continue reading Strawberry Bread for Strawberry Season