Throwback Thursday РNational Spaghetti Day РScarpetta 

Happy New Year! On this first Thursday of 2018, we will be celebrating National Spaghetti Day! 

Spaghetti was historically recorded around the 12th century in Sicily by Muhammad al-Idrisi, Muslim historian and geographer who served at the court of Sicilian King Roger II. It was not until the 19th century that this dish became popular throughout Italy and abroad especially the United States.  Currently, spaghetti has been modernized and mass produced where the ingredients are now sold in canned and boxed form at almost all supermarkets. 

A few years ago I heard about the best spaghetti in New York City from various press such as the New York Times, CBS Local, Timeout, Zagat, Thrillist and Serious Eats.  Scarpetta, located in the Meatpacking District has elevated the spaghetti dish made with tomato and basil by using butter.  At a whopping cost of $26, the presentation and taste made every cent worthwhile. 

Spaghetti with tomato and basil $26

Further research revealed that Serious Eats met with Scarpetta’s Scott Conant and watched him make this signature dish. The ingredients provided makes this dish potentially budget friendly. However, it is the technique that makes the dish what it is. Hopefully when the weather clears up, I’ll make the dish with the ingredients provided. 

For those who don’t have access to the ingredients and more or less lazy, this dish can be made with three ingredients: 

1) Pasta (I used Barilla Whole Grain Thin Spaghetti) = $1.00 on sale 

2) Spaghetti Sauce (I used Victoria Low sodium tomato basil sauce) = $3.50 on sale

3) Butter (I used Earth Balance Organic Whipped Butter) = $3.50 on sale 

Three ingredient spaghetti under $10 (sorry for the picture, my phone was dying)

Throwback Thursday – Fishtail to Tavern 62

Happy Winter Solstice! Yes it’s officially winter and this year is going by way too fast.  I was reviewing the thousands of pictures taken within the last five years and I’ve come across several pictures taken of my meals eaten at David Burke Fishtail (closed on January 2016), which is now Tavern 62, which opened in October 2016.    Anyways, what I enjoyed eating at both places was the camaraderie vibe between the staff, bartenders and management.  I enjoyed the happy hour deals, well presented entrees and desserts. Food tasting at times varied depending on the day and whose cooking it and whether it was healthy or not is another story.  But anyhow, I am still drawn into eating at this place due to their seasonal changes in menu.  Below is a chronological timeline of some of the dishes consumed at Fishtail and Tavern 62.

Throwback Thursday – Eat Up Drink Up Japan

Last weekend we have had the privilege to be invited by Japion to attend ChopsticksNY “Eat Up Drink Up Japan”.  

We attended the Dinner Session. Upon arrival, we were given a card containing circles each representing each of the six regions.  What I loved about this setup is that every attendee would have the opportunity to taste every dish as long as they present the card to the server at each station to be stamped. Once the card is stamped, a sample of each of the three dishes are served with a sake pairing of your choice or even try more sake. 

The event setup was well thought out where the attendee could feel that they are going on a food and drink journey through Japan.  

Our food journey began with dishes from Northeastern Japan – Hokkaido & Tohoku. This region is known for their seafood. Food samples paired with Gasaryu Kisaragi sake included: 

Salmon Teman-zushi – Favorite

Dashi Dofu (tofu) – vegetarian

Beef Tongue Roast

The second region we visited is the populated multicultural region of Kanto.  Food samples paired with Tsukinoi Taiyori Ginjo sake included: 

Peanut Miso atop Cucumber – vegetarian and favorite

Utsumomiya Gyoza (pan fried dumpling)

Deep fried monkfish 

We then traveled to Central Japan to experience the food and sake from the Chubu/Tokai region.  We decided to pair our food samples with Kubota Junmai Daiginjo sake. 

Sasa-Zushi (Favorite) – Rice is amazing

Nagoya Tebasaki (fried chicken wings)


Simmered Daikon with Yuzu Miso Sauce (vegetarian)

Finishing halfway through the food and sake journey, we moved on to the region called Kinki is considered the ancient capital of Japan. This region’s food also caters to the noble class. We paired our food samples with our favorite sake of the night: Umeoyado Yuzo Shu

Okonomiyaki (savory pancake) – favorite

Tekone – zushi (love the rice)

Nasu Dengaki – eggplant (vegetarian)

Next we head towards the warmer region of Chugoku and Shikoku. We paired our food samples with Suigei Junmai Ginjo Koiko No. 54 sake. 

Katsuo Tataki – favorite

Tai-meshi (love the rice once again)

Shoyu Mame (vegetarian)

Finally the sixth and final region is Kyushu located in southern Japan. The food presented is more common in most Japanese restaurants here.  We paired our food with the sake Yatsushika Tokubetsu Junmai

Roasted Wagyu Beef (favorite)

Pork Kaku-ni

Gane – vegetarian

After our six region meal, we visited the VIP section and tasted the “higher end” sake, which is unfiltered sake from the Daiginjo Counter.  The sake was served by sake sommelier Toshiyuki Koizumi of Wasan Brooklyn.  

The sake was definitely more refined and strong so the night end with consumption of three different degrees of matcha from Ippodo Tea Company and mochi ice cream. 

Throwback Thursday РDa Nico Ristorante РLittle Italy 

One of the popular festivities celebrated in New York is the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy.  This festival last 10 days, this year the festival started from 9/14 thru 9/24.  The festival is held along Mulberry Street.  The street is so packed to the point of claustrophobia and it can be worse than rush hour.  

There were a variety of food items such as sausage and peppers, pastries, pina coladas, seafood, fried oreos etc. to purchase but they are overpriced. Personally I’ve avoided eating food from the vendors.  Therefore I prefer eating at one of my favorite spots:

Da Nico Ristorante (164 Mulbeery Street) is a local favorite in Little Italy and it has a garden. But with the humidity and hot weather we decided to stay indoors. 

We went on a Friday night and we walked in and were seated immediately.  I’ve eaten here several times for lunch and was neber disappointed.  The place as I recalled was known for their meat dishes.  Portions of each dish were perfect where there were no leftovers. Service was overall great and very accommodating given the busy atmosphere. I definitely want to return here for lunch and eat at the garden.

Here are the dishes that were ordered: 

Appetizer: Mozzarella In Carrozza $13. This dish is coated in different kinds of flour and breading. The texture was light not greasy. The sauce was so good. Unfortunately, was hoping for more slices. 

Entrees: Both entrees came with sides of vegetables and a rice ball.  Vegetables were good, the rice ball, not so much.  A side of penne alla vodka was also ordered, however, there were better versions. 

The star main entrees overall were amazing, the taste and texture remained the same after 13 years. 

Pollo Cardinale – chicken breast, prosciutto, roasted red peppers and mozzarella $24

Veal Marsala – veal scallopine with sauteed mushrooms in Marsala wine $25


Dessert: Zeppoles – COMPLEMENTARY

Da Nico provided complementary zeppoles. I was so full from my entree, nonetheless, they were well made not too greasy and love the dusting balance. 


Stay tuned tomorrow for another food adventure in Little Italy.  

Throwback Thursday – Spot Dessert Bar

This year I have visited a restaurant that focuses on desserts.  This place has become my favorite go to places if I have a sweet tooth. The unique Asian fusion flavors and elaborate presentations has been recognized by NBC, Zagat and Examiner. 

Each dessert is served to share and it’s $10 per dish.  It’s ideal to go with groups and order the tapas set. I was with a group of girls and we ate at the original Spot Dessert Bar in the East Village.  We ordered a 3 tapas set costing $27.  Below is the three tapas we ordered:

The Harvest

Golden Toast

Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake

Another perk of Spot Dessert Bar is their punch card; so for every $10 or every tapas set ordered a stamp is placed. If you collect 9 stamps, you get a free dessert.  The quickest way to the free dessert is to order the tapas set. I’ve eaten here three times at all the locations and ordered the 3 tapas set each time, which resulted in 9 stamps entitling me to a free dessert tapa on my next trip.  Stay tuned for more….

Throwback Thursday: Eataly Presents: Stop and Smell the Rose

On August 23, I’ve decided to take advantage of my discounted coupon from Gilt City to purchase my ticket for the summer event: Eataly Presents: Stop and Smell the Rose in Eataly’s newest restaurant Vino e Grano. 

The overall event provided a great walkthrough of Eataly Downtown. The walkthrough consisted on stations that was well placed where everyone can pace themselves sampling all the food and wine being offered. 

My favorites were the pasta alla Norma, parmagiano reggiano, seasonal bruchetta (snap peas with ricotta), skewered mozzarella and the Rose Sorbetto.

Below are images from the day’s event. 















Throwback Thursday – Taste of Hope Goes to Broadway

Early this week, I was invited by the co-chairs of the American Cancer Society Taste of Hope to attend and support the first ever Taste of Hope Goes to Broadway. It was a chill low key event filled with Broadway stars who did not recognize, but what is important is that money was raised and tickets were only $50 and it could be paid at the door. Admission included the opportunity to tour the newly renovated $6 million condo plus wines, and bites from Tolache and Delicatessen. Executive Chef Michael Ferraro led a team to present the delicious dishes that covered all types of eaters. The food presented were lean and healthy. 

Tacuba HK – Brisket Tacos

Delicatessen’s Duck dumplings and Tuna Tartare

It was great to reconnect with the management team and committee members who I’ve had the pleasure of working with during the planning of the 12th Annual Taste of Hope Committee.  

Cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death. Funding and donations are critical to finding the cause and cure to the various cancers.  

To make a donation go to http://www.tasteofhopenyc.org. 

Throwback Thursday – Queens International Night Market

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Last weekend we went to the Queens International Night Market behind the New York Hall of Science inside Flushing Corona Park in Queens.  Founder John Wang, started the International Night Market started in 2015 in the effort to create a cultural event celebrating the diversity of immigrants and small businesses.  The Night Market was designed to sell dishes at a cap of $5 and what I’ve learned is that half of the proceeds were going to be donated.

On July 1, there were 38 food vendors that participated in the event.  The vendors came from various countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Colombia, Korea, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, Malaysia and Indonesia.  In addition to the diverse food options there were unique food creations such as the Twisted Potato and Twister Cake.

The first time I actually visited the Night Market was when it first opened in 2015 and I went alone.  I highly do not recommend going to this night market alone because the food choices are very overwhelming.  What is amazing about this experience is that each food item purchase ranged between $3 and $6 and what is even better is that the portion size was shareable.  In our case, we split everything.

During our visit to the Night Market, we sampled food from 12 out of the 38 food vendors. Just want to disclose that healthy food choices during our visit did not cross our minds as we were embracing the diversity that is celebrated through cultural and even fusion dishes.  Below are the dishes that we tried that stood out from the event.  The total cost of the dishes below we spent was: $57 for two people, which is not bad for 12 different dishes.  There were two vendors we’ve tried and paid the extra $20, but pictures were not taken.  Queens International Night Market

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My top 5 favorites in this exact order:

  1. Waffle Mac and Cheese from House of Mac
  2. Sisig Tacos from Lahi 
  3. Monster Ice from Panda Cafe
  4. Cajun Twisted Potato from Twisted Potato
  5. Summer Roll from Roll Ram

Can’t wait to return to the market again, which will hopefully be either next weekend or the following weekend.  When I return I would like to try Eema’s Cuisine, Moffle Bar, Karl’s Balls, Moon Man, Malaysian Project, Arepalicious, Burmese Bites, DiLena’s Dolcini Tei Nei Ya and Jibarito Shack if they are still there.

The Queens International Night Market are available every Saturday Evening from 6pm to midnight until August 19 and from September 30-October 28.

Stay tuned for more!

Throwback Thursday – Villa Erasmo – Middle Village, NY

It is been awhile since I posted something food related. There were several projects that were going on simultaneously in the last six months. One of these projects was serving as a committee member for my local parish’s Jubilee gala. To celebrate the successful execution of the event, the committee was treated to a four course prix fixe dinner at Villa Erasmo located in Middle Village, N.Y.

Villa Erasmo (69-61 Juniper Blvd South Middle Village, NY 11379) is a secret find Italian restaurant located past Juniper Valley Park.  

We went on a Tuesday night and I was 45 minutes, thanks to a broken rail at one subway stops. Anyways, the four course meal was good overall, but have had better versions of each dish. The bread was very very good.  Portions of each dish were perfect where there were no leftovers. Service was overall great and very accommodating. I would personally like to return to thr restaurant and explore the rest of the menu. 

Here’s the four course meal that I ordered: 

Appetizers: Eggplant rollatini and butternut squash agnolotti. 

The eggplant rollatini was a good start to the dinner experience. It had a the right amount of cheese and eggplant balance. It hit the spot. 

Butternut squash agnolotti was something I did not expect. The dish looked like two ravioli, this was my least favorite dish. 

Entree: Veal with mushrooms and artichoke hearts

The veal entree was also unexpected but in a good and healthy way. The taste of the veal, mushroom and artichoke hearts all together in sauce was well balanced especially eating it together in one bite. 

Dessert: Tiramisu

The dessert definitely hit the spot with a great balance of whipped cream, cocoa and rum. The dessert definitely went well with a cup of tea to end the night as the restaurant was closing. 

Eggplant rollatini

Butternut squash

Veal entree with mushrooms and artichoke hearts

Tiramisu

Stay tuned for more food adventures both at home and on the road. 

Throwback Thursday- Taste of Hope

Happy Thursday! It’s been a week since my last post plus I’ve been getting over a sinus infection/cold/sore throat. As a result my meals has been chicken soup and miso soup. 

Anyways today’s Throwback Thursday post will be about a charity event that I am honored to be a part of the Benefit Committee for. It’s the American Cancer Society Taste of Hope. This year, they will be hosting their 12th Annual event on Tuesday May 9, 2017 in New York City. Early Bird tickets start at $175 for general admission, but the best deal is $450 for two premium tickets, which includes a gift bag. 

Below are images from last year’s Taste of Hope event. I have had the privilege to purchase a ticket and donate to this great cause. 

Bombay Sapphire Cocktail

Calle Ocho – Guava BBQ Meatball Slider

Triomphe – Foie Gras Mousse Hazelnut & Rooftop Greens

The Leopard at Des Artistes – Gnudi

Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Todd English Enterprises – Crispy Duck Buns

Delicatessen – Steamed Shrimp Dumplings

Nobu – Tuna Sashimi with Tofu Aioli

Magnolia Bakery – Banana Pudding, cupcakes, chocolate chunk cookies

BLT Prime – Salt Brick Beef with Aji Amarillo

Serendipity- Frrrozen Hot Chocolate

The food options were overwhelming but thanks to one of the honorees who provided direction that I was able to enjoy the best aspects of the food sampling. Obviously I was not paying attention on what was being consumed was healthy. 

Another plus is some of the restaurants are also participating in NYC restaurant week. Stay tuned for a post containing my recommendations for this season’s restaurant week.