This weekend was a big food day for eggs and cheese. Yesterday (Saturday, June 3rd) was National Egg Day, and today (Sunday, June 4th) is National Cheese Day. So, to celebrate a weekend of eggs and cheese, I prepared a bunch of dishes for the week utilizing either eggs, cheese, or both.
Happy Mother’s Day! I came across a post on Instagram about Nurture Life.
Nurture Life is a subscription plan of prepared meals for picky eaters. They advertised as making portion control meals for babies weaning off pureed foods. My daughter, for example, is in the phase where she wants to eat independently and pick up the food with her hands. So, I saw a post on Instagram along with a 50% off deal plus an additional discount, so I decided to give it a try.
What I’ve learned during my ordering process is that meals are delivered weekly. I have been skipping deliveries because we have food that needs to be consumed, and we have been non-stop grocery shopping because we go through a gallon of milk a week.
My first order of 12 items arrived yesterday, and they all have to be used up within a week. The other option is to freeze it within a week and it’s good for three months. Since it’s Mother’s Day weekend, I’ll definitely be freezing some of these items.
Here’s what we got, with the exception of one jar of squash, kale hash with bell peppers because it was already consumed.
Here’s the Sunday game plan for my toddler using Nurture Life.
Sunday: Lunch or dinner, depending on which meal I get treated to. We will have some Swedish meatballs, broccoli, and egg noodles.
Monday: Honoring Meatless Monday with: A jar of the Squash, Kale hash with bell peppers for breakfast and lunch. Then, for dinner, we will have the super veggie gnocchi with string beans.
Tuesday: Honoring Taco Tuesday with Beef Taco Pockets with fiesta corn.
Wednesday: Honoring Wellness Wednesday and traditional Catholicism with a jar of salmon cakes with peas and potatoes.
Thursday: A jar of roasted chicken with potato and broccoli medley. Dinner of chicken, tortellini, and broccoli
Friday: Fish Friday time with teriyaki salmon and rainbow rice.
The remaining dishes will have to be frozen: Presto pesto Ravioli with chicken and carrots; Squash, Kale hash and potatoes, Grilled Chicken with carrots, peas and potatoes and chicken and Mac.
In retrospect, twelve items are a bit much for the week, especially since I have a bunch of items in the fridge that need to be cooked. A separate game plan for these items that are both adult and toddler friendly will be posted at some point.
Stay tuned in IG tablespoonsandteaspoons on the ongoing review of Nurture Life products as they are consumed.
After work, I ventured into the Midtown East just past Grand Central Station into this renovated steakhouse. The steakhouse was huge and I was immediately seated. For my drink I ordered a ginger ale. For my appetizer I went with the French onion soup, which was the perfect comforting soup to consume on a very cold winter night. The soup was hot and each scoop of the cheese with the soup hit the spot.
For my entree, I ordered the 14 oz steak with a side of broccoli and mashed potatoes. The broccoli was a bit overcooked. The mashed potatoes were good yet standard. The star of the entree was the steak. The steak was cooked well done due to my pregnancy. Having a well-done steak gave me the opportunity to taste the namesake steak sauce, which made the meat consumption experience worthwhile. Apparently I was hungry because I devoured the entire steak and I took the bone home to make my bone beef broth.
For dessert, I went with the server’s recommendation which was the chocolate mousse cake and ice cream, which hit the spot. However, I had to end my meal with decaffeinated tea with lemon to maintain body warmth after consuming the ice cream. FYI, they are also participating in the 30th Anniversary of NYC restaurant week starting from July 18 thru August 21.
I’ve been personally dying to return to this restaurant once it reopened. I dined after the huge snowstorm because I struggled to get out of my Uber with my baby bump hoping not to slip in the black ice sidewalk. I eventually made it inside and the owner Hong Thaimee was there. I was greeted by the server and owner both welcoming and awesome people. The restaurant was waiting to get their liquor license so their drink menu options were limited. My server also looked out for me by recommending not to order the Thai teas because he was not sure of the caffeine content.
For the appetizer, I ordered the Yum Gin Ghai soup, which is a “Northern Thai style chicken soup with a rich broth of turmeric, lemongrass, galangal, mint, and “Laab chili”. This soup was not spicy and it was perfectly portioned for a solo diner on a cold winter evening. I would definitely order the soup again and not a lot of Thai restaurants make this type of soup.
For the entree, I had spare rib favorite green curry, which was served with berry rice. The green curry paste is made in-house and once again another perfectly portioned dish, which was also beautifully presented. The meat from the rib was very tender as it falls off the bone. The curry with the rice was to die for and I don’t usually order green curry. No wonder why the green curry is one of the favorite dishes to order.
For dessert, I was excited to try the pandan custard with roti. As the menu description stated, the dish definitely was “the perfect way to end” my dinner. The dish was to die for. The only drawback to this dessert was that there was not enough roti to dip into the amazing custard. I would eat this over and over and over again.
My overall experience at this restaurant was amazing. They obtained their liquor license so their menu has expanded to include cocktails. I can’t wait to return to try their summer dishes, cocktails and afternoon tea. FYI, they are also participating in the 30th Anniversary of NYC restaurant week starting from July 18 thru August 21.
My friend and I met for the only dinner reservation that evening. My friend could get there on time, but for me to arrive on time was impossible because the reservation was at 5pm and I usually get out of work at 5pm. Thankfully the restaurant was able to accommodate and we had our girl time dinner. FYI, the menu at this restaurant also changes seasonally so the entrees and desserts from this dining experience is currently not available.
For the appetizer we both ordered the tarte flambee which is a flatbread made of onion and bacon. The portion was surprisingly generous that I took half of it home. FYI this dish will be offered for the 30th anniversary of NYC summer restaurant week lunch starting July 18 – August 21.
The entrees and desserts were very good and we devour both dishes.
The final restaurant I ate in was the Tarallucci e Vino in the East Village. I arrived there pretty late. The overall service was OK. I am unsure if this location is participating in this season’s restaurant week. The appetizer I ordered was the Tortino di Melanzane, which tasted pretty good and definitely a great start to my dining experience despite the so-so service. For the entree, I ordered the lamb chops thanks to my server who twisted my arm to get it. The lamb chops were cooked medium instead of well done, but I ate it anyway. The polenta fries were really good. For dessert I had the panna cotta with mixed berries, which served as a perfect ending to my dining experience.
NYC Restaurant week will be starting again on July 18th for it’s 30th year. Stay tuned for my game plan on approaching this milestone restaurant week.
We had a productive winter so far, we ate at several restaurants, most of the time I’ve dined alone because people are still leery of omicron. There were several restaurants where I went off the game plan.
Here is a list of restaurants I have eaten for 2022 NYC Winter Restaurant Week:
Jun Lan Club
David Burke Tavern
Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse
The Bar Room at the Modern
Taralucci E Vino
In this post, I’ll be writing about the first three restaurants:
The first restaurant I went to was an upscale Chinese restaurant in Flatiron. The place is pretty big and I was seated in what it looks like a huge dining room. I had an early dinner and there were photos taken for all the guests who dined that evening. They promised us a copy of the photos but that was not fulfilled due to “technical difficulties” and it would be nice to have a copy of a photo. Anyways, let’s get to my three-course meal and mocktail. Overall service was great and quick. My server had the bartender make a virgin mojito due to my pregnancy.
Appetizer – I had the edamame dumplings in truffle miso broth. The dumplings were surprising pretty and tasted really good with the truffle miso broth; I devoured the dish. No wonder this appetizer is a customer favorite.
Entree – I was going to the hot & spicy beef but I was persuaded to go with their popular Beijing chicken. I have had Beijing chicken from Brooklyn Chophouse, which I absolutely love so I have high expectations. The dish was presented in a crispy rice bowl. The quantity was definitely less than the portion that I had at Brooklyn Chophouse. The dish came with white rice, which was plenty. I ate half of the dish and the other half I took home. The taste of the dish was pretty good overall and definitely worth ordering for restaurant week.
Dessert: I ordered their creme brulee, which hit the spot after tasting two different savory dishes. The dessert had a berry compote on top which was cleverly presented with one half plain creme brulee and the other creme brulee with berries on top. I smeared the whole berry compote throughout the creme brulee to get that perfect balanced bite of sweetness and tart. The overall dining experience started from savory to savory sweet to sweet, which developed a nice layering palette.
The second restaurant I went to was a restaurant known for its flexible restaurant week menu. David Burke Tavern located in the Upper East Side reopened on the first day of restaurant week after several months of renovations. It was great to see old friends and staff at the restaurant. The menu was offer a $59 pre-fixe menu, which appears to be pricey for restaurant week, but the menu included the infamous aged filet mignon at no extra cost. My server had the bartender make a virgin drink due to my pregnancy. Service was efficient and accommodating. Now to the food dining experience:
Appetizer – I had the soup of the day. The soup of the day was the butternut squash bisque which was really good especially on a cold winter night.
Entree – Since the prix fixe menu was $59 per person I had to go with the infamous steak, which would cost extra if the original prices for restaurant week still exists. The steak with charred brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes was very comforting and hit the spot. I had to get my steak well done because I was pregnant. I am thankful that there was a sauce to eat with my well done steak. FYI if I was not pregnant I would have had this steak medium to medium rare.
Dessert: I ordered the infamous apple tart which was a warm dish. The tart hit the spot. To get that perfect bite one must consume the flaky tart, caramelized apple with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. The tart had to be consumed quickly because the ice cream was melting.
The third restaurant I went to was not on my game plan. My friend and I saw this new restaurant in Midtown Manhattan and we went to check it out. The restaurant is huge and really pretty. The menu is constantly changing by season so the items were ordered for restaurant week is not on their regular menu. Unfortunately I could not drink but they had a menu for Dry January and I had their grapefruit sumac soda, which was not worth the price because it was a small portion. Meanwhile, my friend got a bourbon mixed drink, which was strong for her but was smooth.
Appetizer: We ordered the calamari and the lamb flatbread. Both appetizers were to die for. The calamari was perfectly breaded and crispy. The lamb flatbread encompasses the essence of the restaurant’s theme cuisine – Mediterranean. Unfortunately the current menu only has the lamb flatbread, no calamari.
Entree: We ordered the branzino and the short ribs. Both entrees were to die for. Unfortunately the short rib entree not on their current menu. The branzino filet is on their lunch menu.
Dessert: We both ordered the baklava. The menu had baklava with homemade bourbon ice cream. Since I was pregnant the chef personally made me a greek yogurt ice cream. The dessert was amazing. The baklava was clearly homemade. I want to try the bourbon ice cream once I return from maternity leave, but now I’m unsure if this dessert is still on the menu.
Stay tuned next week where I’ll be writing about the remaining four restaurants visited and my dining experience.
NYC Restaurant Week began 30 years ago with 95 participating restaurants in 1992 to approximately over 500 restaurants in 2022. This season’s restaurant week begins on 01/18/22 thru 02/13/22. The price points this time are $29 lunch, $29 dinner, $39 lunch, $39 dinner and $59 dinner. Mastercard is also a sponsor so if you have a Mastercard, you can register your credit card to get $10 credit back into your statement for purchases over $39 and you can purchase up to 10 meals; so in essence you’ll really paying $29 for an order, which is a pretty good deal. Some of the higher end restaurants or even the consistently participating restaurants have increased their price to $59.
NYC Restaurant Week has resumed the experience of indoor and outdoor dining throughout the five boroughs in the summer of 2021. I only ate at three restaurants because I was leery about the Delta variant and plus I am pregnant so travel has been limited due to the symptom called fatigue. Anyways, the three restaurants I ate during the summer are also participating in this season’s restaurant week.
The first restaurant I ate was a French bistro spot in Soho. I went solo and I informed the staff I was pregnant. The server accommodated me because management was pissed that I didn’t order wine. Well if I was not expecting that would be a different story. In addition, the restaurant was only accepting cash or Mastercard. Anyways, the food portions of my three course meal was very generous and it was worth the $39. Here’s what I ordered:
The Ravioles were to die for and no wonder why it’s considered a rare find. The dish itself was beautifully presented fresh and hot. The Comte cheese and the truffle cream sauce was so comforting, that I would return to just have this dish again.
The Cornish Hen entree was huge and it came with four different vegetables which tasted amazing. I ate half of the hen and took the other half of the hen home along with half the of the vegetables too. Another plus, this dish is also gluten free.
For dessert, I had to settle with the mini profiteroles. The dish came with two profiteroles doused with dark chocolate. The dish was rich and it tasted so good. I devoured that dish.
Guess what, La Sirene is also participating in this season’s restaurant week and all three dishes mentioned above are included in their restaurant week menu except their three-course meal for dinner has gone up to $59. But if you register and use your MasterCard, you can get a $10 credit for your meal.
The second restaurant I went to was an American Bistro restaurant with a French fare. I met up with a friend of mine for dinner. My friend ordered the Moroccan lamb meatballs and I ordered the buffalo cauliflower. The cauliflower dish was a bit on the spicy side, but it was still delicious. For the entree, my friend got the roast chicken which was huge that she took it to go and I ordered the fennel agnolotti, which was to die for. For dessert, I ordered the lemon tart and my friend got the sticky toffee cake, my phone died so I didn’t take the photos. The lemon tart was my least favorite of the three courses and the sticky toffee cake was obviously the better of the two.
Almond is also participating in this season’s restaurant week and all three dishes mentioned above are included in their restaurant week menu, which is still $39. But if you register and use your MasterCard, you can get a $10 credit for your meal.
The final restaurant I went to is in Little Italy. My friend and I met up in this beautifully decorated restaurant. Service was quick and accommodating because of my situation. I ordered the baked clams which was disappointing due to the portion I was provided. My friend got the fried calamari, which was impressively delicious. For the main entree I went with the Pepite di Gnocchi which was to die for and my friend got the Capellini Special, which tasted good, but she loved the gnocchi I ordered. For dessert, we settled with the pistachio cheesecake, which was our least favorite.
Il Cortile is also participating in this season’s restaurant week and the appetizers and entrees dishes mentioned above are included in their restaurant week menu except their three-course meal for dinner has gone up to $59. But if you register and use your MasterCard, you can get a $10 credit for your meal. Personally for this season’s restaurant week, I’d go with the lunch option, which is two courses for $39 and you can still get your $10 credit for your meal.
During my review of 151 menus, which is based on the menu availability and whether they are participating in Mastercard promotion, below is a list of restaurants grouped by meal and number of people that is worth exploring:
Lunch for 1: Altesi Ristorante, Chazz Palminteri Italian, City Winery, Empire Steak House, Mark Joseph Steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse – Manhattan, Motel Morris, Nice Matin, Pasta Louise Restaurant, Quality Eats – Upper East Side, and Rosa Mexicano
Dinner for 1: Bar Boulud, BLT Prime, BLT Steak, Hangawi, Jue Lan Club, Lafayette, Marseille, Morton’s The Steakhouse – Manhattan and World Trade Center, Noreetuh, Russian Tea Room, Sofrito on the Hudson, STK (Downtown and Midtown), Tarallucci e Vino (East Village and NoMad), Thaimee Love, and Tuscan Hills,
Lunch for 2: Bluebird London, Il Mulino Uptown, Il Mulino Soho, Il Cortile, Longo Bros., Russian Tea Room, Safari, and Sant Ambroeus
Dinner for 2: Almond, Archer & Goat, Beauty and Essex, Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse, Copinette, Fine and Rare, Guantanamera Restaurant, Kyma, La Loteria, La Sirene (Soho), Mark Joseph Steakhouse, Masseria del Vini, Pig & Khao, Quality Eats – Upper East Side, Safari, Sant Ambroeus, SenYa, Sonnyboy, and Yakiniku Futago
Lunch for 3: Almond (Brunch), Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse, Jue Lan Club, Kyma, and Queensyard,
Dinner for 3: Catch NYC, Chazz Palminteri Italian, Dos Caminos, Flatiron Room, Gentle Perch, Havana Central, La Masseria, The Leroy House, Quality Eats – West Village, and The Woo
Lunch for 4: Ammos Estiatorio, Bar Marseille, Miznon – Chelsea, and Miznon – Hudson Yards,
Dinner for 4: Alice, Danji, Maison Pickle, Meet the Meat, Osteria 57, and Tribeca Grill,
Lunch for 5: Amali, La Sirene (UWS), and Montebello Restaurant
Dinner for 5: Amali, Ammos Estiatorio, Casa Brazilian, David Burke Tavern, Jacob’s Pickles, Montebello Restaurant, Philippe by Phillippe Chow, Philippe by Philippe Chow Downtown, and UN Plaza Grill
Stay tuned and follow me on Instagram: @tablespoonsandteaspoons.
Happy New Year! We are nine days into the new year and 2021 was a year of reflection and life changing moments. I’ve been active on Yelp and Seated writing restaurant reviews and hitting up Michelin rated restaurants. But this is a New Year and I want to provide content that focused on my mission of why I started this blog. Therefore, I am working on developing more social media content and supporting businesses and products that help create that perfect dish.
So to start, I have drafted a plan to get through this week partly because I am running out of space in refrigerator, freezer and pantry because I tend to go on a grocery shopping spree.
Throughout the week, I’ll be posting more content on Instagram (tablespoonsandteaspoons). My goal for the week is to clean out my freezer and pantry. So here are the following dishes that I aim to recreate to get back on the horse.
Cappello’s Sweet Potato Gnocchi with butter
Cappello’s Spinach Ravioli with asparagus
Lentil Penne with jackfruit meatballs topped with Fody’s sauce
Slow cooked Chicken Gnocchi Soup
I’ll be posting on my Instagram account so stay tuned.
Restaurant Week has returned to New York City! But…it’s for takeout and delivery only so it’s now named
NYC RESTAURANT WEEK TO GO
NYC Restaurant Week is back and it started three days ago on 01/25/2021. This annual event started almost 30 years ago can you believe it?! NYC restaurant week started with 95 participating restaurants in 1992 to approximately over 500 restaurants in 2021. This time around, all five boroughs are joining in on this opportunity to promote budget friendly meals to boost their businesses during this ongoing, unprecedented times. All restaurant week dishes are being sold for only $20.21. In addition, another awesome perk is the premier sponsor for this year’s restaurant week is Mastercard. If you have a Mastercard, you can register your credit card to get $10 credit back into your statement for purchases over $20.21 and you can purchase up to meals; so in essence you’ll really paying $10.21 for an order, which is unheard of.
The website was updated very late on 01/24/2021 and after briskly reviewing over 500 menus or restaurant week to go offer(s) from each participating restaurant, there were definitely hits and misses from many restaurants that continued to participate in the past. What I discovered overall that the best offers were items related to omakases and steak dishes. Given the promotion ends on Sunday 01/31/2021 for most restaurants, some restaurants may extend their promotion until next Sunday 02/07/2021. With the short time I’ve had, I have only eaten at one restaurant to date, which is Adrienne’s Pizza Bar. For $22 that includes tax, I got a huge arugula salad and a 1/2 square of the old fashioned pie. I posted a picture of this huge lunch meal on my Instagram @tablespoonsandteaspoons.
During my review of over 500 menus I have come up with a very short wish list of places that is worth trying based on cost on a regular day of dining.
Angelo Pizza: Grilled Salmon with vegetables and fried calamari with garlic and oil.
Barbounia: Short Rib & Hummus or Branzino & Hummus
Bistrot Leo: Steak Frites with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
BLT Prime or BLT Steak: 14oz Strip steak with Fries
Khe-Yo – Crispy Chili Bell & Evans Chicken over Jasmine Rice with side of crispy brussels sprouts.
Tsuro Ton Tan (Union Square) – Omakase set—a full-size order of udon (choice of beef, chicken or spicy tan tan), and eight pieces of nigiri with a chef’s choice roll
With 4 days left, here’s a list of places I definitely would love to check out. Stay tuned and follow me on Instagram: @tablespoonsandteaspoons.
Happy 2021! It’s been an interesting and unprecedented 2020 with the pandemic that turned the planet upside down. We are very grateful to be alive, healthy and employed *knock on wood*. One of major changes that took place in 2020 was the shutdown of business especially restaurant and food industries. Many famous restaurants, mom and pop restaurants and even landmark restaurants closed down permanently because their businesses suffered tremendous loss due to the restrictions that were set in place in order to keep people safe.
Prior to the pandemic and shutdown, my friend recommended an emerging restaurant chain somewhat that specializes in Cuban Chinese Cuisine. The restaurant is called Calle Dao. There are two locations one in Chelsea and the other in Bryant Park. They have a sister restaurant called Favela Cubana. They had happy hour until 7pm for discounted drinks and food. My friend and I have only been to the Bryant Park location because it was convenient especially during this pandemic. We came on a Monday evening during the summer and early this week for outdoor dining. The first time the outdoor dining setup in the summer was an open space. Recently, the restaurant revamped their outdoor dining space by building adding walls all round and heaters above every table. The new setup was very cozy, warm and toasty. We had the same server, his name was Marvin. Marvin was very nice, friendly, accommodating and generous. More importantly due to increased expenses incurred during the restaurant’s 10 day closure to set up outdoor dining for the winter, an 8% COVID surcharge was now added to the check. The COVID surcharge was implemented by NYC around October to help restaurants sustain themselves. Anyways, let’s get to the food and drink:
Tostones – great deal for a solo meal and definitely meant for sharing.
Shiitake Spring Rolls – pricey for the portion, but a great option for vegetarians.
Crispy Wings – another great deal but it is definitely sticky and messy.
Sangria – a must have here and highly recommended; they also have the option for a white sangria. FYI red wine is more health benefits than white.
Prosecco – a great alternative if you want to go light on the alcohol
In addition to happy hour bites and drinks, we also ordered additional food, which appeared to be pricey, but deceivingly large that we ate half and took the other half home. Both dishes tasted amazing and it’s low carb.
We will definitely return to explore our happy hour deals at all three locations and definitely try their brunch menu. This restaurant is worth trying especially if you want to experience Cuban Chinese cuisine.
Ten years ago I have had the privilege of traveling to Italy for vacation. At time the Euro was stronger than the dollar so most things were pricey. Throughout my time there, I was approached as being “giapponese” which means Japanese. I went to Rome, Florence, Umbria, Vatican City and Pisa. We went to many churches, most of them were labelled as minor basilicas. We attended many masses unintentionally, maybe it was a blessing. A lot of people spoke English but they don’t want to speak English, so I spent time during my 9 hour flight there learning the basics and if I can’t speak it in Italian, I spoke Spanish. We hit the major tourist spots such as the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Square, Duomo, Tower of Pisa and Spanish Steps.
Now to the food, I have the privilege of tasting authentic Italian cuisine and wine throughout the trip. Given the cost of food, I resorted to what the Italian’s call “the poor man’s food” – Spaghetti Carbonara.
What is Spaghetti Carbonara?
Carbonara is a dish that consists of eggs, spaghetti (any pasta), cheese and leftover pancetta, guanciale or bacon. This dish was invented by a chef from Bologna, Italy named Renato Gualandi in 1944 just approximately at the end of World War II. During this time access to food and resources were very limited and he had a banquet to prepare for. Therefore, “he concocted a sauce for spaghetti made of bacon, cream, processed cheese and dried egg yolk, topped with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper”.
During quarantine I’ve been creating dishes with the food that we have. I had leftover bacon along with onions, cheese, eggs and pasta so I made carbonara. I searched for authentic recipes and I came across the simple recipe from Lidia Bastianich and I almost followed it to the “T”. So here is what I did:
Recently, I came across a recipe that was a low carb and even keto friendly from Food & Wine called: Asparagus Carbonara. There are so many health benefit to consuming asparagus. Asparagus contain antioxidants, which prevents inflammation, improve the immune system, remove excess water from the body. They treat ulcers, kidney stones, and depression. They also lower sugar levels, prevent wrinkles and breakouts, maintain skin elasticity and improve reproductive health. So, here is what I did with this recipe provided by Melissa Clark from Food & Wine magazine.
For the last 75 plus years, carbonara has become a staple dish in Roman Italian cuisine. The dish is easy to make and it does not break the bank, therefore it is budget friendly. I am happy to be finally posting and blessed to do it on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.