Let me start by saying I am neither a vegan nor a vegetarian. I prefer to think of myself as a flexitarian. Basically, I'll eat what I damn well please pending it doesn't kill me. I happen to enjoy vegan and vegetarian based dishes; I find them flavorful, creative, and healthy. More and more diners across the world are going meatless (no one forgot about you, Keto) for various reasons and certain cities like Austin, Portland (OR) and Philadelphia are excelling in meatless dishes. For months I'd been hoping to explore Philadelphia's booming meatless dining scene and I recently had forty eight hours to make it happen. I was hoping to try at least four places but due to technological difficulties and pure popularity I was only able to visit two (the best two): Vedge and Charlie Was a Sinner.Read More
Going to college in rural New England was when I first learned that people went out to eat for breakfast. That sticky diner tables (which I mostly frequented in the late evening hours) probably became sticky because people consumed waffles doused in syrup at normal breakfast hours. That restaurants other than diners actually served breakfast. But upon my return to Westchester I dolefully discovered that there was not quite the plethora of restaurants churning out breakfast that I thought.Read More
I've been fortunate to travel to some fun places across the globe but one of the more wild ones was my recent trip to Iceland. It's a place where you'll see a volcano out one car window and a glacier out another. And it's possible it might be raining on just one side of said car. A place with wild landscape and weather would, of course, have wild food. There are some great places in Reykjavik and beyond to sample both modern and traditional takes on Icelandic cuisine.
Walking around charming Reykjavik we discovered that there was more than fermented shark and Brennevin (Black Death liquor) to the belly of this small island country, starting with the dairy. When I went to Ireland I thought the butter there was great. Definitely not "American" but very good. Butter in Iceland? BEST THING EVER. By far the creamiest, most golden spread out there. And if the butter is good of course the whipped cream is too. Not overly sweet but definitely dense, it topped everything from my hot cocoa to ice cream to cake. This strong foundation in dairy is probably why Iceland has the world's best kept pastry industry. We visited Braud and Co and Sandholt, the top rated bakeries in Reykjavik and when I tell you we had three croissants or cinnamon rolls a day it's not an exaggeration. While Sandholt made a pistachio apricot pastry that was unique to their ovens and the most delicious item there, Braud and Co was where most of our money went.
Walking into the (purposely) graffitied building you find yourself in a small room with a single wooden counter, small refrigerated case, and a window into the production area. Depending on the time of day the baked good changed. My darling caramel granola roll (I KNOW) was only available in the afternoons. There were other flavors available, including one that used a licorice flavor, an Icelandic favorite. Our mornings were full of shatteringly delicious croissants and doughy cinnamon laden pastries (they called them rolls but they weren't quite shaped like one-who cares, they were fab). The takeaway here? If I lived in Iceland, I'd weigh a gazillion pounds.
Our dinners varied from the modern take on Icelandic favorites at ROK to the uber traditional Cafe Loki with platters of smoked meats and rye bread. ROK is new and trendy perfect in every way. Dishes like lamb chops with beet puree were artistically presented and the other dishes like scallop ceviche, roasted cod and potatoes, and "the best" tomato soup were inventive takes on staple foods. Bonus: a kick ass basil lemonade.
Cafe Loki is a simple cafe that serves combination style meals and is the best place to try fermented shark since they offer a "tasting" size for five dollars. Most other places have you commit to the full plate and trust us, you do NOT want the full plate. Loki's best item is their rye bread ice cream topped generously with whipped cream and caramel. The flavor of the ice cream is two fold: the pre-established dairy and the packed flavor of rye bread. I wasn't sure what to expect, maybe vanilla ice cream with chunks of bread? Nope, the whole darn ice cream is made of the bread, you can taste everything down to the texture of the crumbs.
Islenski Barinn was the last stop on our five day adventure. A good dining spot with enough options to please most appetites and price points. The menu is updated Icelandic pub fare with steaks, burgers, and sausages served in hefty portions. My reindeer burger was a lovely medium and, obviously, reminded me of venison, perhaps a bit gamier. The patty itself was an interesting consistency as the meat did not appear ground (or at least not that finely), which I think contributed to taste.
Our biggest surprise was the thick and savory lamb goulash from the rest stop/gas station in Vik. Side note: Would highly recommend finding lodging or camping in Vik for a night to have better access to points East. The food service was in the back corner, a completely wooden interior with decor from the 80's. The cook space is behind the counter and had multiple pots steaming away, contents eventually loaded into the front display case of hot trays. Usually when one thinks of goulash it is not visually appealing. However, it was BECAUSE this goulash was visibly appealing that we ordered some. Lamb unlike any other was tenderly swimming among potatoes and bay leaves in a thick, savory, brown sauce. It's your slow cooker dream come true.
Good food is not hard to find in Reykjavik and beyond. In fact, I'd consider the capital city a foodie destination. The best part of Iceland is that it's a place where the beauty and untamed elements of the land are evident in each bite. I can't wait to go back! Until the next dish, ciao!
After a busy and delightful afternoon of beading my friend Christie and I were in need of nourishment in Norwalk, CT. Thankfully The Stand Juice Company was just around the corner and completely quiet on a mild winter Saturday. During the week you can tell that based on location and offerings this place gets busy; downtown, next to a yoga studio, and adorably rustic.Read More
I'm not the best at philosophy and logic but I know a few things. I love Italian food. I love the Hudson River. Therefore, I love Italian food near the Hudson River, which , in its newest form, can be found at Red Zebra in Sleepy Hollow.Read More
It certainly has been a while since my last post. I wish I could say it was for a good reason but it was a whole slew of bad ones, one right after the next, most of which have been resolved. That aside, I was happy to visit the newly opened Dig Inn in Rye Brook. The popular New York City enterprise made its way to Westchester, satisfying the need for more healthy, environmentally friendly choices in the Hudson Valley.
Upon entering you can't help but admire the minimalist design. Cool neutrals, which are echoed in their beautiful bowls, tiny potted succulents on the tables and a rear seating area with a gorgeous skylight that I'm sure is nothing short of inspiring in the morning. The staff was ready to please and there was no shortage of customers.
Set up in a "Chipotle" fashion, the customer creates their own bowl containing one of four bases: a farro mix (rave reviews from my fellow diner), a miso noodle (good, but spicer than expected), brown rice (flavorful and hearty), or simple mixed greens. There are a number of sides that follow including tender maple and sriracha roasted Brussel sprouts, an intriguing cauliflower with capers and raisins, and a fresh lemony broccoli. The available proteins are thoughtful variations of chicken, tofu, steak, and chicken, which makes the "fast food" approach seem a bit more elegant We were all very pleased with the quality of the food and so stuffed that I skipped dessert! We all know I do not skip dessert!
Being opening day there were of course kinks to work out. The brown rice was taking longer than expected and certain menu items were not offered at this location despite being listed. I did notify customer service and received a very quick, apologetic response and apparently some "goodies" are coming my way (thank you, Katie!)
Overall, Dig Inn brings fills a much needed void in Lower Westchester and should have no problem attracting and maintaining business. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I'm looking forward to a return visit to Dig Inn. Until the next dish, ciao!
At a recent team function that required dessert, someone handed me a large paper bag that looked rather unpromising. The wrinkled bag was heavier than I expected. I wiggled back a corner and saw cookies as large as my face releasing a wonderful mix of aromas that ranged from ginger to paprika. Where did these come from? I wonder. I found a receipt under some crumbs at the bottom that read, "What's for Dessert?" I thought I was the one asking the questions here but it turns out the owner, Cindy, has been asking and answering for a quite a while now.Read More
I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed, but there's been a massive resurgence of the food hall in the Northeast. As I child, I remember going to the mall with my mother and other doting relatives and the only place I wanted to go was the food court. What an extraordinary concept to have all types of food sold in one place! Imagine being six years old and having pizza (!!!), ice cream, hot dogs and chicken fingers at your fingertips. It sounds divine, doesn't it? Now I'm thirty one and you can only imagine how ecstatic I am to have the grown up version of this in almost every neighborhood in New York City.Read More
Walking through the shell of what was once the Alcatraz dining hall I find myself reading every available fact on the food and kitchen. And there are a lot of them. It seems San Francisco has always been a city of good eats, even in prison. Look at some of the facts in the photo below.Read More
I didn't quite understand the whole "California Dreamin" thing the Beach Boys had going on all those years ago, but now? Now I get it. I wasn't even in Southern California. I was in and around San Francisco and it was PERFECT. Simply perfect. So perfect that I have to divide my trip into two posts. Sonoma was the first leg of my trip and it could have been both legs, heck, it could have been the whole body. By day two I was committed to finding a way to spend all of next summer out there, paychecks permitting, but to me it'd be worth going broke.Read More