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Single (and cooking) in the City

Food, life, love, and fun recipes

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life

The Best of 2010

New Year, new eats. Aleady off to a amazing start: New Years Day, as we were checking out of the Ace Hotel, as we were polishing off our first breakfast of 2011 at The Breslin, as we licked the last couple crumbs of croissant off our fingers, we decided — ROAD TRIP!! To Rhode Island!

But before I post the photos taken on the trip with Kel and Randal and myself (as the 3rd wheel), I wanted to recap the most memorable dishes I’ve had towards the end of 2010…

Since I am nearly in love with all things uni.. first there was the fattiest, most decadently prepared piece of uni I’ve ever had – uni, resting on a slice of crunchy toast, peeking out from under a warm and melting blanket of glistening lardo.

Uni and Lardo Crostini at Marea

And then there was the roast suckling pig dinner at The Breslin for Kel’s birthday – juicy with crackly skin, we tore that sucker apart.

Everyone knows what a roast pig looks like… this is what a delicious roast pig looks like.

This is what the most beautiful (and delicious) piece of oyster sushi looks like at Sushi Yasuda.

You know a savory dish has to be good in order for me to get that in lieu of the usual sweet breakfast/brunch I prefer. The pasta at Michael White’s new place Osteria Morini is that exception. Gramigna – photo taken when there was actual light in the place!

Something I can eat over and over again… if I could get a table at ABC Kitchen at a decent hour! Crab on toast.

Did you think I’d forget dessert? The best one – a pear cake studded with chocolate chips at Al Di La in Park Slope. It’s a good thing that this restaurant is all the way in Brooklyn and up a steep hill that used to have me breaking out a sweat in the dead of winter.

And homemade – a tiramisu cupcake that was just as amazing on day 4 in the fridge as it was hot out of the oven. I’d make this more often, but baking up more than a dozen at a time, when I am hardly in the mood for sharing, is a bad idea.

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The Entire Menu at Alta

Romantic, lively and almost secretly tucked away within the inside of what looks to be any other townhouse on West 10th, Alta should be voted the best place to take a date when you want to seal the deal. Inside, the main dining area is a double high room with a fireplace, there is a 2nd level that runs along the perimeter and allows for a great view down on the other tables, AND there are hidden rooms off to the side for more private parties – ours was located just through the kitchen. This restaurant was designed to make you feel like you’ve found someplace special. And this past Saturday night, there couldn’t have been a better place to celebrate someone special.

Happy Birthday, Phe!

If I had been more clearheaded at the time, I would have taken more pictures of the food. But as it was Phe’s birthday, and I was already past my 3rd glass of cava, by the time the camera came out, I was lucky if anything or anyone recognizable was caught within the frame of the shot. And yep, Phe had ordered the entire menu.

Only the tip of the iceberg.

Quick smile before the plate is passed to you!

Tom’s face says it all: how much more food is there!?

We took a mini break from eating.

Safe at the bar.

…or so we thought.

The boys turn to cheese it up.

Good night!

Thanksgiving Inspiration (for self)

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, its time to dust off the old spatula and start brainstorming ideas. While I’d love to make a yearly Thanksgiving party a tradition in my apartment, this year I am just too discouraged. Discouraged by my recent abandonment of exercising what little culinary muscles I have in my body. Last year’s feast feels like a dream.

Thanksgiving 2009, Girl with a Knife

I had spent the entire week at Anthropologie, picking out fancy plates and glasses. And when I wasn’t busy shopping, I was fine tuning my menu. How many family friends would actually show up? I was playing around with the idea of an intimate meal versus a full blown party. In the end, my nerves got the best of me and we finalized it – my parents and 2 family friends.

Thursday morning, I was armed with a strategy. I had an hour by hour schedule of things that needed to go into the oven first, and things that could be prepared stovetop towards the end. Around mid afternoon I flipped out because my parents had wanted to bring another guest. “IMPOSSIBLE!” I yelled “… because I’d be one fancy place setting short! And the table would look terrible!” So much for being a gracious host, that was a super ugly side of me. (I ended up apologizing and set a table with nothing matching at all.)

I was completely stuffed by the time my guests arrived and we all sat down to dinner. That’s what happens when you are so nervous about how everything will taste that you end up sneaking bites before, after, and moment-before-serving dishes.

Polishing off nearly half a bottle of Prosecco on my own, after having washed every last dish in the sink, I gave myself a pat on the back. Job well done, and it was actually fun. I felt like Iron Chef without the whimsical chairman sound effects. And I wanted to look forward to doing it again.

I served wild rice in little bowls made from hollowed out squash.

The 8lb turkey is a baby compared to the rest of the kids at the grocery store. I was also on a baking binge since that stuff can be prepared the night before. There was cornbread and biscuits.

The sides are every bit as important! I made mushroom stuffing, brussel sprouts, and mashed potatoes with bits of garlic kale mixed in and topped with crunchy shallots. The rest of the kale was served on the side.

And desserts!! Pumpkin crumb cake (served with maple cream) and pumpkin cheesecake. (I now officially have grown sick of pumpkin.)

I wanted to write this to give myself some visual inspiration. Do I think I can do it again this year? I’d really like to! But I am already weeks behind on planning a menu. And months behind on honing my cooking skills. Tough call…

Wrapping up October

The last warm weekend before Father Frost decided to visit, we went to the Brooklyn Bridge Park for some Calexico treats.

Carne Asada Quesadilla

Pulled Pork Burrito

Then, in a blink of an eye, it was Halloween again. No longer the exciting and much hyped holiday I used to celebrate in college, this year masks were hastily purchased 4 days earlier, and more effort was put into preparing sweets than in putting together an awesome costume.

I baked in my pajamas. In fact, I spent most of the day in pajamas.

Red Velvet Brain Cupcakes

and “Not Dressed for Halloween” Brownies

Patrick’s party decorations

Peter was a scary Norman Bates’s version of Mama Bates.

Jeff Superman laughs at a very sad clown Patrick.

The creepy Burger King gets down.

Whose baby is that? (Awesomest shirt ever. I want one.)

Where’s the masquerade party?

Quickie Post – Today’s Lunch

steak and garlic spinach

Sometimes the only time I have to make a “home cooked meal” is in the mornings, in between brushing my teeth and figuring out what to wear. Steak almost rare takes barely any time, and spinach wilts in the blink of an eye. I think I spend more time chopping garlic.