Meatless Monday – Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant Week Summer 2017 Game Plan

Happy Monday! With halfway through NYC restaurant week, I’m playing catch up. Over the last 3-4 weeks, I’ve been thoroughly reviewing 337 out of the 390 menus for this season’s restaurant week. This week I will be blogging my picks that I believe is the best bang for your buck.  

In addition, if you have an American Express credit card you can register your card to get an extra $5 off your meal purchase of $35 or more for up to 4x for restaurant week.  

If you have instagram you can take pictures of your prix fixe course and tag #NYCrestaurantweek for a daily chance of winning a $50 gift card. 

So let’s get to it:

Since it is Meatless Monday, I came up with seven (7) participating restaurants that you can enjoy a three course vegetarian meal for either $29 or $42. 

Here’s the game plan for vegetarians who want to enjoy NYC restaurant week:

Three course Prix Fixe Vegetarian Options picks for NYC Restaurant Week.

1) Acme – $42 3-course  dinner    

    Appetizer: Caesar Salad

    Entree: Baked Rigatoni 

    Dessert: Affrogato

2) Casa Lever – $42 3-course dinner 

    Appetizer: Caprese or Insalata Di  Barbabietole

    Entree: Gnudi or Cacio e Pepe or Arrabbiata

    Dessert: Mix Your Berries or Formaggi

3) Distilled NY – $29 brunch (Sunday)

     Appetizer: Housemade Granola or Fresh Start Salad

     Entree: Mushroom and Cheese Enchilada

     Dessert: Blueberry Semolina Cake or Earl Grey Panna Gotta

4) Empellon Taqueria – $42 dinner 

     Appetizer: Little Gem Lettuce with Toasted Corn or Carrots with Achiote and Coconut Crema

     Entree: Mixed Mushrooms with Pasilla Chile taco or Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Almond 

     Dessert: Passion Fruit Curd with Citrus, Mezcal and Meringue. 

5. Felice 64 – $29 lunch/$42 dinner (best to go during lunch)

    Appetizer: Arancini (lunch), Crostone Ricotta (dinner)

    Entree: Spaghetti al Pesto or Fusilli so Ferretto 

    Dessert: Gelati e Sorbetti

6) La Pecora Blanca –  $29 lunch/$42 dinner (best to go during lunch)

    Appetizer: Cauliflower (lunch) or Toscano (dinner)

    Entree: Toscano (lunch) or Orata (dinner)

    Dessert: Ricotta Cheesecake

7) Sant Ambroeus Soho  $29 lunch/$42 dinner (best to go during lunch)

    Appetizer: Tofu “Ricotta”

    Entree: Linguine Cacio e Pepe

    Dessert: Torta Do Frutta

Out of the 7 restaurants, I’ve only eaten at Empellon Taqueria and their Brussels sprouts with Toasted Almond taco was so good but the portions are very small, definitely pricey for $14 for 2 tacos. 

Looking forward to blogging more restaurant options this week. Enjoy and stay tuned! 

Meatless Monday – Game Plan – Meatless Budget Friendly Dishes Inspired by “Dinner with Georgia O’Keefe”

Two Mondays ago, on March 20, I’ve had the privilege to attend the launch of Assouline’s “Dinner with Georgia O’Keefe” at La Sirena located in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan.  The event was well attended by local TV personalities and celebrities such as Carla Hall from ABC The Chew, Nicky Hilton Rothchild, Timo Weiland, Prosper Assouline, and Alexandre Assouline. 

Artistic and natural images depicting the relationship between art and food were provided by Robyn Lea who was present to sign copies of the book.  Recipes from the cookbook utilizes local and traditional ingredients inspired by the artist’s relationship of food and the New Mexican landscape. 

More importantly I came there to explore and taste the food created by La Sirena’s Michelin starred chef Anthony Sasso. Cocktails were sponsored by VDKA600. 

The food was overall tasty and natural. The recipes provided appear to be user friendly and ingredients are health-friendly and accessible at any supermarket. Unfortunately I was unable to taste everything because of the sacrificial commitment to give up meat for Lent. 

Top: Miss Scarlet “O’Keefe” containing VD600Vodka in Mandarin orange. Bottom: The Tao Margherita

Chilled Gazpacho

Chickpea and Eggplant Casserole with Fresh Basil

Split Pea and Ham appetizer inspired from the Rancho de Abiquiu Split Pea and Ham recipe

Finger food version of the Spaghetti with Pesto Genovese

Steak tartare using ingredients from the Sizzling Bourbon steak with garlic and crushed peppercorn recipe

Pecan Delights

Finger foods inspired by recipes from the book

For the next two weeks, I will be seeking to test out the meatless version of this recipes such as the spaghetti and pesto Genovese and chickpea and eggplant casserole. 

Meatless Monday – Purple Potatoes

Happy Monday! Happy First Day of Spring! It’s almost midnight and its been weeks since my last post.  For the past several weeks I’ve been recovering from a herniated disc where sitting in one position was absolutely painful.  On a brighter note, I’ve been working on mastering several dishes and reading more culinary cookbooks and science research for inspiration.  But…

Back to business.  It’s Meatless Monday and I want to add that since March 1st I’ve given up meat for forty (40) days for Lent.  So for the next several weeks, majority of my posts will be mostly vegetarians and/or vegan.

For today, we will be focusing on one of the healthiest potatoes to consume: The Purple Potato.  One weekend, I went to Fairway with my parents and came across a bag of small purple potatoes for $2.50 so I brought a bag because I heard really good things about them.  During this research journey, I came across this image below from Dr. Axe summarizing the benefits of consuming purple potatoes.

PurplePotatoGraphic

After reading Dr. Axe’s summary on purple potatoes, I did a little investigation on to additional evidence based research within the last five (5) years.  The following confirmed:

  1. Purple potatoes contained high level of anthocyanins, which prevent inflammation and inhibit cancer growth especially breast cancer, gastric cancer and colon adenocarcinoma (Sugata, M, Lin CY, and Shih, YC, 2016).
  2. Another study showed that baked potato extracts have reduced colon cancer stem cell growth along and lowered the number of tumors (Charepalli, et al, 2015)
  3. Anti-microbial potential against Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa especially during consumption (Ombra, MN, 2015).

After the investigation of this native South American crop, I came across a recipe from Chef Aaron Sanchez, who by the way is this year’s honoree for the 12th Annual Taste of Hope.

1 bag of small Peruvian purple potatoes = 70 calories for 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons.

8 tablespoons of olive oil = 120 calories/tablespoon (Pantry)

1 tablespoon of dried oregano = 15 calories/tablespoon

1 tablespoon of minced garlic = 15 calories/tablespoon

Dash of ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of dried cilantro = 5 calories/tablepoon

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Overall taste of the potatoes were good and very flavorful especially with the olive oil, garlic, oregano and cilantro mixture.  Plus all four mixture components carry health benefits as well.  This is a very healthy, filling and budget friendly dish that can be consumed more than once.  Stay tuned for more!

 

 

Christmas Day Game Plan

On behalf of Tablespoonsandteaspoons we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  Since Christmas is on a Sunday this year, we decided to devise a meatless game plan that is comforting yet luxurious.  This game plan is my contribution to this year’s family holiday dinner.  My cousin and aunt are handling the meat dishes. 

Anyways, this year’s game plan includes the following: 

– Roasted Brussel Sprouts 

– Truffle Mustard Macraroni and Cheese (recipe from Food52)

– Merlot Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

We will elaborate on the recipe details during the last week of 2016.  Stay tuned. 

Flashback Friday – Hair of the Dog 

Happy Friday! Happy Candy Day! Today I am revisiting an afterwork Friday happy hour experience at the Lower East side sports bar called Hair of the Dog. This bar is part of a chain called NYC Best Bars is known for their happy hours and brunch. Happy Hour is half price of every drink at the bar until 8pm. For brunch they of “BYOC” Bring Your Own Coffee. 

In addition to the happy hour offer, I had to experience the food. The menu had a great variety of bar food. I was there for a brief birthday party and I had dinner plans after so I only ordered one appetizer and their only dessert item on the menu.  

For appetizers, I went with the combo of onion rings and Tater Tots ($7), portions were pretty big so it is great for sharing. Both tater tots and onion rings were crisp to perfection; the grease complemented and absorbed the vanilla vodka and ginger ale cocktail I had. 

The bar menu only had one dessert, which was Deep fried oreos. Given that the other bars that is part of the chain offered Deep fried oreos, I had to order it. After consuming 2 cocktails the fried oreos definitely hit the spot and covered up somega evidence of my alcohol consumption. 

After looking at this food picture, I did a little research on any healthier options to make these dishes. Below, are three reasons recipes I found online that I would like try: 

Healthy version of Deep Fried Oreos: Baked “Deep Fried” Oreos

Tater Tots using sweet potatoes (healthy alternative): Baked Sweet Potato Tater Tots plus Baked Onion Rings

Stay tuned for updates. Also find me on Instagram (tablespoonsandteaspoons). 

Throwback Thursday – Pizzeria Forno E Trattoria

Earlier this spring I decided to try a neighborhood spot in Maspeth NY called Pizzeria Forno e Trattoria. I always pass by during my bus ride to Jackson Heights or doing my walk. The restaurant felt cozy and homey. The food looked really good and fresh. I even got overwhelmed with the options that I had to get recommendations from the manager and owner. 

So my guilty pleasure is cheese, I love cheese so given my cheese craving that day everything ordered had cheese in it. Therefore is what I ordered. 

Top photo: CREPE DI SPINACI $8.50 Crepe stuffed with ricotta and spinach topped with white four cheese sauce. 

Overall the dish was to die for the stuffed crepe just melts in my mouth and tasted all five kinds of cheese. It hit the spot. 

Bottom photo: Half Sopressata and half Quattro Formaggi pizza pie $23.50 

The pizza pie was freshly made and the pie crust was perfectly thin. I did not feel guilty consuming four different cheeses and the spicy salami. 

Sunday Game Plan

It has been awhile since I posted a game plan for meals of the week. For the past two weeks I have been exploring cheap places to eat and new restaurants. Now it is time to get back to business and proceed with my weight loss plan in order to reach my weight goal by the end of the year which is easier said than done at this point. 

 Today’s game plan include recipes for vegetarians, pescatarians, paleo eaters, and gluten free consumers on a budget. This week’s recipes are inspired by Physique57 SolutionThe Food Babe Way and The Pound a Day Diet. 

In addition to the food consumption I will be doing at least 30 minutes of cardio with strength circuit training. 

Let the weight loss journey resume. Stay tuned. 

 

Flashback Friday – Dosas

Happy Friday! Although it is National Dessert Day, I have been fascinated about the popular Indian street food – Dosa.  When I first saw this dish, I was overwhelmed by the how big it is.  It is mostly served as a meal for a good part of the day.  Personally I have consumed it as an early dinner.

Dosas also known as Dosai is an ancient Tamil dish.  This gluten free, vegetarian street food dish is made up of rice and lentils.  Therefore, there are health benefits in its consumption.   Dosas are a good source of carbohydrates and protein that will last the whole day.  It is a lengthy process to make dosas and I don’t think that I will be making one anytime soon.  Therefore, I will be leaving this up to the pros.

Recently, I have had the experience of consuming this vegetarian dish at two places in New York City.   One famous spot world is Saravana Bhavan.  There are two locations in New York City (Manhattan).  This restaurant does not need an introduction because it is well known throughout India; the establishment of this franchise was made a controversial person who is banned from leaving India because he was convicted of murder.  This is to show that as long the food is good it does not matter where it originated from. But if you don’t want to be traumatized,  I visited another spot, which is located in Queens called Hillside Dosa Hutt.  This neighborhood spot is in the heart of the Indian community. The cashier that served us was hospitable and knowledgeable about Dosas.  Hillside Dosa Hutt was recently listed on the Eater list of the top 60 cheap eats places in NYC. 

Hillside Dosa Hutt – Marsala Dosa $5.50 (Top Left) and Paneer Bhurji Masala Dosa $9.00 (Bottom left) Saravana Bhavan $9.99- Marsala Dosa (Top right)  and Onion Chili Rava Dosa $10.99 (Bottom right)

Portions of each dosa were huge. I have not been able to finish a whole dosa in one sitting.  If you want more variety then Saravan Bhavan is the place to go, but for a quick meal on a budget then Hillside Dosa Hutt will suffice. 

 

 

 

Sunday Game Plan – Ultimate Vegetarian Meal Plan under $10. 

Happy Sunday! As I aggressively push myself to lose the remaining twenty pounds, this was a great opportunity for me to resume calorie counting and making entries on MyFitnessPal. So I began burning calories walking to various supermarket checking for deals. As a result I ended going to three Asian markets and spent less than $10 on the star ingredients for this game plan. 

For this game plan, the star ingredients were: zucchini, plantains, cauliflower, tofu, eggplants, peppers and carrots. 

I am so excited to create these dishes. Stay tuned! 

Week One Semi Paleo/Clean Eating Diet and The Final 15-20 Update

Hello everybody, as Labor Day approaches which unofficially means that summer has ended.  So in my last diet game plan post,  I took ideas from the a diet published by the authors of Physique 57 Solution   The good news is that I followed the classic workout outlined in the book, it definitely took longer than 57 minutes because I kept taking breaks.  However, I struggled with the diet as unfortunately I have cheated numerous times with ice cream, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, flour and alcohol.  I improved my water intake and slept according to schedule for the most part.  Consequently I did not lose the weight.

I am not giving up and still hope to lose the last 15-20 before the year’s end.  I began doing research again on devising another diet plan and for the next two weeks I am going into the plan that is semi paleo and semi clean.

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It is obvious that I have stocked up on spinach, onions, eggs along with my own pantry of oils and spices.  My goal is to track the number of calorie consumption and calories burned throughout the day.   I do plan on having lots of left overs so hopefully by the end of next week I can feel skinnier.   Stay tuned.