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Monday, December 20, 2010

Not Just A Dollop

Sour cream in my book is a food group on its own. It goes with everything from latkes to vegetables to soups (the list goes on and on). The white creamy thick substance has been a childhood favorite of mine, I could spoon it. My first taste was at my grandparents house in St. Petersburg, Russia served with the classic beet soup...borscht. In my case of course it was more that the borscht was served with the sour cream. It's never just a dollop for me. Sour cream to Russians is similar to Ketchup to Americans...when in doubt it's the chosen condiment. My favorite "salad" was and still is cucumbers, tomatoes, dill and sour cream (smetana). Simple but yum nonetheless. Unfortunately, the only time I see sour cream around NY is at Mexican restaurants and possibly a baked potato bar. If ever asked "would you like sour cream with that?" my answer is always "DA!".

Friday, December 17, 2010

"When The Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza....Square"

Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at supper time, when you're in Roma you can have pizza anytime! Just as the pizza bagel commercial rings true so does the above. During the year I lived in Rome, Italy I consumed more pizza than I've eaten up to that point in my life. The different combination of pizza toppings was astounding. Yes, NY is supposed to have the best of the best pizza and our 'hidden' secret is apparently the H2O but no water in the world could make the pizza elsewhere be as mouth-watering as in Italy, specifically bella Roma (I don't care that some say Napoli is the real pizza region). Artichoke, Lombardis, John's and Grimaldis are all great attempts at being spectacular pizzerias but aren't even comparable once trying the crusty yet soft cheesy square abroad. My personal favorite, eggplant pizza aka a mini orgasm in your mouth. Parmesan and mozzarella joined together and melted as if they were beshert, crisp yet chewy eggplant diced up, a splash of marinara all plopped in the perfect amount atop a freshly baked square of dense yet not 'heavy' dough. Pizza is not just a set slice from a round pie in Italy, instead the shop employee cuts the amount of pizza the customer would like with scissors from the remainder of the long square pizza. Scary concept for the person who's eyes are bigger than their stomach aka moi! Who knew my first orgasm would be from a pizza...not from a pizzeria even but a bakery! This bakery, just off of Via Della Lungara, is still somehow a hidden gem, while most of my classmates would walk themselves to the corner pizzeria which with out argument was a divine pizzeria, still did not match the bakery I found on a random walk one day. So with a book in hand I would schlep myself over to the bakery between classes. At first I would point and scrunch my fingers to show the size square I desired to the non-English speaking shop owners. As my visits became more frequent, without fail just the way I wanted my pizza inspired my first formed sentences in Italiano. Other deliciouso combinations  at this bakery included buttered potato, plump juicy tomato senza anything else, prosciutto, artichoke tuna and 4 cheese including pungent gorgonzola. The smells wafting from this bakery alone could trick a person into being hungry. "Just Salad" and "Hale and Hearty" just dont compare for lunch, but what can ya do?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Turkey Leave The Gravy

Upon my trip to Istanbul I was waiting in bated breath for all the scrumptious nutty desserts, eggplant galore and yogurt up the wazoo. I was a tad worried that maybe I should bring lots of leggings for the trip, to stretch with the rest of me as I went from one cafe/restaurant to another. Surprisingly, this was not necessary no weight was gained. Yes of course, I traveled to Turkey for the history, breathtaking views and culture. But what am I left thinking about during my lunch break at work that has me salivating quicker than a pup looking at it's owner opening up a bag of food? Kunefe. This was difficult to conclude only because there are so many sweets to drool over. The candied pumpkin and chestnuts, baklava, Turkish delight, the list is longer than a child's wants for Hanukkah. This uber rich, moist dessert is filled with all the honey goodness one can pack into a thick circle of deliciousness. This baklava-type dessert is served warm and gooey with oozing cheese on the inside topped with crumbled pistachios and fluffy whipped cream. Real whipped cream NOT the aerosal teeth jarring sweet type from a can in the supermarket. Unfortunately, for my waist line, I decided to try this concoction my second day in Istanbul, obviously I had to have it in large quantities for the rest of the trip. Nothing is just a taste for me- I need the whole enchilada and lots of it. You live once, right? Right. The waiter couldn't bring it to the table fast enough before it was polished off leaving me and my friend licking our spoons clean panting for more. Kunefe is the traditional Turkish dessert, it is the American version of a brownie sundae. This sadly I must admit is one of the few dishes that NY does not do better than the actual country of origin. The string-like, honey-soaked treat is something to be tried by all and no doubtedly loved by all who visit this food-enticing city. Leave the gravy but definitely take the Kunefe.

Dear Steak, it's Me Rada

Some might say I came out of the womb being a 40 year old bachelor carnivore at heart. My first true love was not Ken, Polly Pocket or Jonathon Taylor Thomas but instead it was steak. While some kids wanted Chuckee Cheese or ice cream cake for their birthdays, I chose the heartier option of steak. My first encounter with the juicy slab of beef was the original....Peter Lugers. It was love at first bite. Medium rare is the only way to order otherwise in my opinion it's insulting to the steak as well as to the 200 year old waiters at the establishment. Almost as insulting as adding any type of sauce....just don't, it ruins it. Steak is at it's best when left alone, no additions necessary except maybe the signature hash browns on the side. The love blossomed from that point on. I couldn't get enough, I was in the honeymoon stage of the relationship. But Luger's wasn't enough, I needed someone or somethings on the side. From there I cheated  on Peter  with Post House, Sparks, Ben & Jack's, etc. Next on my list is Frankies and Del Frisco's which supposedly out does my one and only but I shall be the judge.

Food, Me and my Hood

Growing up in Manhattan and being Jewish ultimately left me no choice but to be a lover of eating. NYC is the foodies wet dream. Food always played a main role in my life, it was almost like an extra family member. My family would be eating breakfast meanwhile the discussion would lead to what we would be having for lunch. Going to the supermarket was an ordeal of its own, some people spend hours upon hours picking out the perfect jeans, I could spend hours upon hours in certain aisles of supermarkets. When traveling, one of my favorite things to do is go to the supermarket or open markets which many countries have. It's always interesting to see what other countries have in their aisles that differ from the US. Also it is an experience on it's own to bargain with the people selling the various goods. You feel like a queen/king when you get the price to half of what it was originally even if you're bartering between a dollar or two or whatever the currency might be. For example, the quinessential NY Jewish nosh is a bagel with schmear piled high with lox (from Zabars if you're really in the know) but in Italy the typical Jewish food is fried artichoke.

I wasn't always the adventurous eater, up until the age of 9 my diet consisted of russian meatballs with cucumbers and tomatoes, rocky mountain toast and fetuccine alfredo. It was the perfect diet for someone who doesn't want to fit through a door without being greased through. I've come a long way from that. I've traveled to many parts of Europe and hope to continue my travels further but for some reason I still find NYC to have as authentic but sometimes more tasty food than the actual origin country.

I've created this blog to share my thoughts and relationship with food as well as discuss the different yummy establishments that exist in the glorious city of NY.