Author Archives: Amelia

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One Street. Two Girls. Pizza and Ice Cream.

With cravings for pizza and ice cream we headed out on a hunt for both. Lucky enough for a pair of hungry girls, we found both on the same street. Pizzeria Delfina has two locations; one standing in the lower Pacific Heights and the other in the center of Mission Dolores. I took dinner in the latter, off of Guerrero and Eighteenth streets, just a skip away from Bi-Rite Creamery. Delfina is an interesting dining experience in the sense that you, as a customer, have an option of the type of experience you want. You may either dine in the pizzeria, which has a casual atmosphere or you may sit next-door in a more upscale setting that offers a larger menu of pasta dishes. We went with the good old outdoor scenery and sat on their front patio under the heaters. We were toasty warm even with the easy breezy winter chill. With menus out and appetites amped up we decided on an antipasti and a pizza to split.

For the antipasti we got a special of fried onions served with an aioli sauce on the side. Typical good tasting finger food, but the aioli had a subtle zing to it which made it taste more like a flavored mayo. Either way, the combination was choice and we ate everything on the plate.

Fried onions with aioli sauce

Fried onions with aioli sauce

Choosing a pizza was difficult. We observed the food around us and the thin crusted pizza looked good no matter which way you sliced it. We narrowed it down to two, one being the Salsiccia ($15.75), with housemade fennel sausage, tomato, bell peppers, onions and mozzarella. The other — which came out as the winner — was the Prosciutto Pie($17), with prosciutto di parma, caciocavallo, mozzarella, panna and arugula. The prosciutto was delicious and while I’m not normally a huge fan of many thin crust pizzas, Delfina does it right.

Prosciutto Pie

Prosciutto Pie

For a dinner for two, Pizzeria Delfina does not disappoint. The location is primo and the service was fantastic. If you enjoy a thin-bubbled crust Italian pizza with a kick of New York flavor then this is your kinda place.

Once dinner was consumed we took a jaunt across the way to Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop. Handmade ice cream with a multitude of flavors, combinations and presentations. The ice cream flavors are not your traditional run of the mill vanilla and chocolate. We sampled more ice cream than we probably ordered but who am I kidding, we ordered a heck of a lot of ice cream. We chose a scoop of the honey lavender and the Afternoon Snack, a signature sundae of roasted banana ice cream, housemade graham crackers, caramel sauce and whipped cream.

Afternoon Snack

Afternoon Snack

So, why would you go to Bi-Rite Creamery as opposed to another ice cream joint in San Francisco? Well, first of all, by all means go and eat at any and all other ice cream shops. You can never have too much ice cream. However, Bi-rite uses organic milk, eggs and cream from local Straus Family Creamery. Everything just tastes so much better when it’s fresh and local. You can taste the quality. That’s why it’s amazing.

At the end of the night we wobbled home with stomachs full and cravings quenched. Not a bad day in our lives.

-A

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Wait, we’re not in France…

Café? Crêpes? C’est Paris, n’est-ce pas? Tort. Faux. 

Barista signature from Crêpe Bar

Barista signature from Crêpe Bar

Crêpe Bar in Tempe brings crêpes to individuals who don’t know what real crêpes are. I’ve not had a real authentic crêpe in Arizona but I’m not going to lie, the eats at Crêpe Bar are pretty damn delicious. With American influences, Crêpe Bar takes a traditional French dish and twists it to make the modern American pleasantly surprised that they can truly enjoy “very thin pancakes.”

Sweet & Savory Crêpes

Sweet & Savory Crêpes

I notice a lot of people who don’t like crêpes complain about the “portion for the price” factor. However, that complaint does not apply here, as one savory dish and one sweet dish can be split to fill the bellies to the brim of two ravenous college students. We ordered a savory breakfast chipotle crêpe with eggs, bacon, queso jack cheese and avocado salsa. With a seasoned spicy salt to the side and an impeccable presentation, a dish with eggs, bacon and queso becomes sexy. Let us not forget the sweet vanilla bean custard crêpe with strawberries, candied almonds, caramel and chocolate. Equally delicious for completely different reasons.

End of meal samples

End of meal samples

After we did our best to finish the mass quantity of food, we were gifted these bite-sized morsels  of carrot cake with spun sugar. Delicious additions and very kind of the chef, who sent them to every patron.

Latte and Barista Signature

Latte and Barista Signature

Oh, and how could I forget the coffee and granola? Before your meal you are given granola to munch on. It’s complete with toasted almonds, cinnamon and other bits to crunch on and ease your hunger pains. The coffee is well-crafted and my barista signature, which was a Moroccan blend, was divine.

If you’re free during your après-midi, take in a lunch at this great Tempe spot. You may forget where you even are.
Bon appétit!

-A

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Ice Cream & Coffee: Je & Jo

No time to apologize for my lack of posts about New York eats. I’m back and here to stay. If by now you don’t realize how much I love coffee and ice cream then you haven’t read my blog posts nearly enough. In the Hell’s Kitchen District on Forty-Seventh Street between Tenth and Ninth avenues is je & jo. They offer all handmade artisan ice creams with as much conscious efforts to use local and organic ingredients. They even offer vegan and gluten free options. Yet je & jo is so much more than an ice cream café. Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream from Je and Jo

Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream from Je and Jo

Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream from Je and Jo

It made sense that on a rainy day I would get myself coffee, cookies and… ice cream? Yeah, so maybe I shouldn’t have chosen a frozen dessert on a cold day, but quite honestly I had no qualms with my decision once I dove into the creamy goodness. All the ice creams have bits of cookie dough inside of them. The above is a banana ice cream with peanut butter cookie dough; a match made in heaven. Consumer Tip: let the ice cream thaw out a little bit so the ice cream softens.

Almond Milk Latte from je & jo

Almond Milk Latte from je & jo

Along with great ice cream, comes great coffee. The wooden bar, placed in the front of the shoebox coffee shop, allows patrons to sit and enjoy food and beverages while looking out at the city street. I hung my umbrella on one of the metal rods connected to the bar-table and enjoyed my lunch break with the sound of rain pitter-pattering outside.

Peanut Butter Cookie from je & jo

Peanut Butter Cookie from je & jo

Salted Dark Chocolate Cookie from je & jo

Salted Dark Chocolate Cookie from je & jo

I now present to you cookies that surpass anything I could ever make. I consider myself a very good baker. Normally, cookies don’t impress me much. However, I’ve never tasted paradise like this before. Seriously, when do you buy a cookie from a store and save it for later only to realize it has become dry? ALWAYS, AM I RIGHT? I saved these cookies an entire day later and the cookies were so moist I seriously thought they were melting on my tongue. The Salted Dark Chocolate cookie made me feel things I don’t think I’ll ever feel again. There, I said it.

So, to wrap it all up, je & jo is an amazing gem hidden away along the Hudson River. It’s a must try if you’re ever taking a jaunt through Hell’s Kitchen, because clearly that’s where everyone “jaunts,” am I right?

-A

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Restaurant Week – Dinner at David Burke Kitchen

Hear ye, hear ye! Lovers of cuisine and a bargain rejoice! Restaurant Week is finally upon us.

From July 22 until August 16, Restaurant Week will be in full bloom. For those of you who have never experienced Restaurant Week, I’ll tell you right now that you’re missing out. What you can expect from Restaurant Week is being able to dine out at some of the priciest restaurants in New York  at a lower cost for three courses. Lunches are  $25 and dinners are $38 at participating restaurants. However, you may have to pay more depending on certain items on the menu or the addition of drinks. For instance, Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien allows you to order almost everything on the menu for the flat rates during Restaurant Week, except for items like their Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata which is $100 for the regular one ounce caviar and $1000 for the super size ten ounce caviar. It would have been pretty rad to order something at a normal cost of $1000 for $25 though. Wishful thinking I guess.

With Restaurant Week in full swing and my last days coming to a close in New York my friends took me to David Burke Kitchen which is located at The James Hotel in SoHo.

 

David Burke Kitchen at The James Hotel in SoHo.

David Burke Kitchen at The James Hotel in SoHo.

Dining out to the tens always feels good but nothing feels better than finishing up all your hard work at the office, looking like you’re dressed for success and then waltzing through SoHo to meet your friends for a well deserved three course meal. Posh accents were maintained for about the first ten minutes before we fell back into our normal speech patterns and used words like “dope” and “stupid good” to describe the food that was being placed in front of us.

Let’s jump on the dining roller coaster shall we?

First Course: Appetizer

Asparagus & Burrata Salad

Asparagus & Burrata Salad

Full Plate View of the Asparagus & Burrata Salad.

Full Plate View of the Asparagus & Burrata Salad.

Pretzel Crusted Crab Cake

Pretzel Crusted Crab Cake

Let me describe the two appetizers that are shown above. The Asparagus and Burrata Salad was ordered by myself and included a cut of watermelon topped with tomato, prosciutto, asparagus and burrata cheese with assorted sauces and spices. It was refreshing but filling, especially for an appetizer. The Pretzel Crusted Crab Cake was ordered by one of my friends who is obsessed with crab cakes and this was a winner in his book. In addition to obvious ingredients like the pretzels and crab meat there were also green beans, old bay applesauce and frisée.

Second Course: The Main Dish

Grilled Branzino

Grilled Branzino

I ordered the Grilled Branzino, which is a type of European sea bass, however it looked and tasted like salmon and I’m almost positive it was salmon since branzino is a white fish but it was good no matter the species. The fish was served over a bed of quinoa and roasted carrots, topped with almonds and a citrus glaze.

 

Third Course: Dessert 

Three desserts that were equally delicious.

Three desserts that were equally delicious.

Top views of assorted desserts.

Top views of assorted desserts.

Raspberry Sherbet on a Chocolate Tart.

Raspberry Sherbet on a Chocolate Tart.

Close up of my beloved dessert.

Close up of my beloved dessert.

When it came to desserts, they all looked equally enticing. My two dining partners were in agreement that we all order different desserts and share. Of course we took bites of one another’s but found the most happiness in our own choices. We certainly know how to indulge. Going off of the top photo, the dessert in the top left corner was the Frozen Yogurt Sundae with red velvet cake and a strawberry compote with a side of frozen yogurt. The dessert in the top right was the Passion Fruit Meringue Pie with mango coulis and vanilla bean ice cream. The dessert on the bottom was the dessert I ordered which was the Smoked Caramel and Chocolate Tart with candied cashews and raspberry sherbet.

Had I not dined during Restaurant Week and ordered all these same dishes I would have spent well over $50. Not only are you getting a deal but you’re getting specialized menus and dining around those who are just as eager to sink their teeth into delicacies they can finally appreciate. Dine during Restaurant Week while you still have the time. 

-A

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Grab some milk at the Milk Bar.

Momofuku Milk Bar

Momofuku Milk Bar

Momofuku is most easily recognized as a group of restaurants differing in menus, design but are all highly regarded in the culinary world. There are ten different restaurants but twelve in total, as Noodle Bar and Milk Bar are also situated in Toronto. While the restaurants are known for many things such as, noodles, cookies and alcohol I went down to one of New York’s many Momofuku’s Milk Bar locations on Thirteenth Street between Third and Second avenues, to try a popular delicacy in the form of cereal milk. Yep, cereal milk. The milk you drink after you’ve eaten all the cereal is a popular flavor of milk and milkshakes served at the Milk Bar. Needless to say, it tasted exactly like cereal milk. It was cereal milk.

Cereal Milk, milkshake and a compost cookie from Momofuku's Milk Bar.

Cereal Milk, milkshake and a compost cookie from Momofuku’s Milk Bar.

A popular cookie known as the Compost Cookie.

A popular cookie known as the Compost Cookie.

The shakes are made with soft serve mixed with organic whole milk . They get their milk from Trickling Springs Creamery which provides milk from local and family farms that treat their animals without the use of synthetic hormones. My shake was $6 and massive. Massive as in I actually puked after I drank it… but that was my own fault. I know it’s probably not kosher to talk about vomit while writing about food, especially good food, but these things happen. Again, I only puked because I ate way too much that night. I repeat, if you order the cereal milk milkshake you may not puke as I did. It all just depends on how much you consume. Drink responsibly.

Cookies are $1.85 each or three for $5, six for $10 and so on. The compost cookie is a marvelous invention. It’s a cookie that is basically packed with everything. It contains chocolate chips, mini butterscotch chips, graham crust, rolled oats, ground coffee, potato chips, pretzels and the list goes on. When you get the occasional salty crunch from the potato chip mixed with the sweet tastes of butterscotch and chocolate you experience a magical balance of culinary expertise.

Another popular menu item called Crack Pie.

Another popular menu item called Crack Pie.

Food Glorious Food

Food Glorious Food

Now let’s talk crack. I’m not talking about the hard drug, although this pie might as well be illegal. The amount of sugar and butter that goes into this piece of pie is far more than I should probably consume in a week but regardless of that information, I’d go back for a second slice. While in line the lady in front of me told me that one time she ordered five crack pies and ate them all in one sitting. “I stopped doing drugs a long time ago but I’m not sure this is any better for me,” the woman chuckled. She went on to order a Pea-Nut soft serve made with peas and almonds, three birthday cake flavored cake truffles and a compost cookie. She was magnificent. The crack pie slices are $5.25 which is much less expensive than crack, I’m assuming. While the portion size is a little small for the price it makes up for quantity in quality.

IMPORTANT DINING TIP: If I can impart any wisdom or advice for your dining experience at Milk Bar it would be this: don’t eat so much that you spew it all out. No, just kidding. Seriously though, I suggest that if you order the pies or cookies, you should wait and let them thaw out. They keep the baked goods stored in super cold temperatures and they firm up in the process. If you wait long enough to let them become soft you can experience much better flavors and textures. When I first took a bite of my crack pie I was not impressed but I saved it for later and when I took another bite I didn’t put the fork down.

-A

 

 

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We All Scream For Ice Cream

There are few things more desirable than ice cream. That’s all I have to say about that. Honestly, people who don’t like ice cream are weird. It’s creamy, refreshing and has a flavor for everyone in the animal kingdom. If you don’t like ice cream, call me up and I will personally take you out on my dime and make you a believer.

Today, we will be learning about ice cream of different forms. I’m excited. Let’s get going.

First stop is OddFellows Ice Cream Co. in Brooklyn. Located on Kent Avenue, close to the East River State Park, sits the family-owned ice cream parlor. The ice cream parlor offers eight to ten flavors daily along with two to four sorbets.

I ordered a small which comes with two scoops of any flavor combinations you want for $4.95. Because it was morning time and I was eating ice cream I figured the least I could do was order breakfast flavors. I got the combination of Maple-Bacon Pecan and Blueberry Buttermilk Honey. Yes, those flavors exist and yes it was the smartest combination known to man.

OddFellows Ice Cream Parlor

OddFellows Ice Cream Parlor

Maple-Bacon Pecan on top and Blueberry Buttermilk Honey on the bottom.

Maple-Bacon Pecan on top and Blueberry Buttermilk Honey on the bottom.

Second stop is Amorino, a gelato shop located on the corner of University Place and Tenth Street. The gelato here ranges from $4.50 – $8.50 and even more than that when you go big. The great thing about Amorino is that you can put as many flavors into a cup as you want. It doesn’t go off of a “scoop system” which means you can have any combination of flavors in a cup. Being as I’m a real Italian, I went hard with my authentic Italian flavors. I got amaretto, mascarpone al fico, which is a sweet cheese gelato with fig and  stracciatella, which is a creamy italian ice cream that has a milk base and crispy dark chocolate flakes throughout.

Gelato from Amorino

Gelato from Amorino

My third and final stop is Victory Garden, known for their goat’s milk soft serve. Located on Carmine Street between Bleecker and Bedford streets in West Village, this little shop has more than just soft serve. They make fruit salads, smoothies, chia seed puddings, sandwiches and so much more. I heard from trusted sources that  their basil lemonade is out of this world good. The American Dairy Goat Association says that goat’s milk is a lot easier for the body to digest than cow’s milk and that goat’s milk, out of all animal milks, is the most similar to that of humans. Being as this was a new concept to myself, I ordered the most plain Jane flavor, Tart Goat which is the plain goat’s milk soft serve. There are toppings to sweeten it up like honey and agave nectar but after a virgin taste test I found that it didn’t need anything added. It was creamy, light and completely up my alley. I’m certainly a fan of this new found treat.

Goat's Milk Soft Serve and Lemonade from Victory Garden.

Goat’s Milk Soft Serve and Lemonade from Victory Garden.

Grubbing out at Victory Garden.

Grubbing out at Victory Garden.

So, if you think ice cream is only made one way you were wrong. You have to like one of these options. You simply have to.

-A

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To Sushi & Beyond!

There are so many places to try at the Chelsea Market in Manhattan but I always try to get something unique no matter where I go. Fortunately, at Beyond Sushi, the whole menu is unique and unlike any sushi experience I’ve ever had. I often feel unsatisfied after I eat sushi and still crave something else at the end of the meal. At Beyond Sushi the food is so unlike your traditional sushi that I didn’t feel even an twinge of hunger after I devoured my plate.

Chelsea Market in Manhattan.

Chelsea Market in Manhattan.

How It Works:

While Beyond Sushi has salads, soups, hand rolls and wraps I was only interested in the sushi rolls. There are three choices of combos all ranging in prices.

I chose Combo 1: one roll consisting of eight pieces and your choice of two individual pieces. The total comes out to $7.50. A great deal when it comes to buying sushi in the city.

I ordered the Sweet tree roll which has avocado and sweet potato rolled into a six grain rice and topped with alfalfa sprouts. It comes with a toasted cayenne sauce and is completely gluten free. For my individual pieces I ordered the Baked Tofu with chili mango and Mango with jalapeño wasabi, both were also gluten free. My friend did the same thing as me except she got the Mighty Mushroom roll that has enoki, tofu, shiitake mushroom rolled in a six grain rice and topped with micro arugula.

Sweet Tree Roll from Beyond Sushi.

Sweet Tree Roll from Beyond Sushi.

Mighty Mushroom Roll from Beyond Sushi.

Mighty Mushroom Roll from Beyond Sushi.

The colors are bright and the flavors are funky. I forgot to mention all the food is vegan. If you’re into healthy living then Beyond Sushi is the place to try at Chelsea Market.

-A 

 

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