Food and the City

March 13, 2017

Strawberries + Champagne Ice Cream Floats

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 7UP®. The opinions and text are all mine.
*Must be 21 years of age or older to drink alcohol. Please drink responsibly!

Whenever the weather would start to get warmer, my grandmother would always have an ice cream float ready for me when I came home from school. I would sit there and sip on my treat, while she cooked pork chops and potatoes for dinner. I swear, that woman was always making pork chops. I'd watch and try to mentally remember all the steps, as if one day I'd be entering an intense pork chop cooking contest or something. She made it look so easy, and I too wanted to learn how to make pork chops and potatoes for dinner every night.

I don't even like pork chops.


Some days, she would make me a second float to enjoy because grandmothers are just angels like that. She'd open the fridge, take out her 2L bottle of 7UP, her big tub of strawberry ice cream, and fill me up like a bartender on the Friday night shift. I'd stare in amazement as the soda fizzed over the ice cream, to which she would always make me, "wait for the bubbles to go down because it would hurt my stomach." It was torture. Give me all of the stomachaches in the world, please.

Now that I'm an adult (or at least pretending to be one), my love for 7UP and strawberry ice cream floats hasn't gone anywhere. Except now, I make them a bit more ­ shall we say ­ adult friendly,however that’s just code for ­ “lets add booze to it.”

I got inspired to indulge in one of these a couple of weeks ago while NYC was experiencing a snowpocolypse. I figured if I was stuck inside due to 15 degree weather and 10 inches of snow, I might as well pretend it was summer. Seriously ­ I don't know why I haven't shared this recipe sooner, but it will be a game changer in your cocktail making life. Especially if you're the type that likes to make an easy recipe look super complicated, and then relish in all of your friends gawking over your accomplishments, this one's for you.

Aside from this recipe though, I almost always have a bottle of 7UP in my fridge. It’s one of those “comfort sodas” for me, if there ever was one. Unlike other mixers that sit on your bar cart, its versatility blends nicely with my lifestyle, since I can either kick back with a glass of it, or get adventurous and use it in other cocktails as well. I’ve also been eye-ing up this grilled chicken recipe that uses 7UP in its marinade (yes!), in which I plan to try very soon.


Strawberries + Champagne Ice Cream Floats

makes 2

24 oz of 7UP (I buy my big 2L bottles from Stop & Stop!)
1/2 bottle of Champagne
Frozen strawberries
Strawberry ice cream of choice

Add frozen strawberries to two glasses of champagne, then scoop in 1-2 scoops of strawberry ice cream to each. Pour on your 7UP, then top with more frozen strawberries if desired. 

THAT'S IT!

Make sure to check out Savory Magazine in the “New Flavors” edition until 3/30 to save $1.00 when you buy two 7UP® 2-Liters
You can find 7UP at Stop & ShopGiant Landover, + Giant Carlisle.


Make sure to check out Savory Magazine in the “New Flavors” edition until 3/30 to save $1.00 when you buy two 7UP® 2-Liter bottles

March 09, 2017

Park Avenue Tavern, Midtown NYC


Midtown, NYC. Largely occupied by tourists and suits looking to grab a drink before hoping on the train home, you don't exactly think awesome food when you talk about the area. It's mostly taken up by office buildings, Irish pubs, restaurants with pre-theater menus, and a persuasive Italian guy named Mario hustling you to come in and try their Thursday night special. 

You may run into Elmo taking a cig break on the corner of 42nd and 9th via Midtown West, but hey, this is Midtown East, and here in Midtown East, it's strictly where Mad Men extras that got cut in Season 3 go to die.

Orrrr the perfect area to find a place to take the edge off before heading home to their cul-de-sac homes in Stamford, CT.


While you may have passed this place more times than you can count, writing it off as just another pub filled with finance dudes looking to forget about their day (I sure as shit have), Park Avenue Tavern is so much more than that. In fact, I'm borderline insulted that they even have the word tavern in their name, seeing as the food, drinks, and service are what you would find at a Michelin Star establishment somewhere on the Upper West Side. 

Don't get me wrong - the atmosphere will definitely remind you that you're in a tavern, with their circular bar, wooden tables, and plenty of beers on tap - but the food will have you questioning just exactly where you are. I had high expectations going into this seeing as I've heard such great things, but everything - everything - exceeded those expectations for what I was embracing to be glorified bar food.

Annnnd, it sort of is, but not really. The menu items might scream it at a glance, as you'll notice burgers, entrees, and apps all reminiscent to what you'd find at any pub, but the flavors -- that's what really separates Park Avenue Tavern from the rest. It's clear that Joe the Cable Guy isn't back there throwing frozen chicken fingers into a fryer and nuking your side of marinara sauce in the microwave for 20 seconds. These are thoughtfully crafted plates that are coming out of this kitchen, and deserves a lot more credit than falling under a "tavern-like" category.

The music is bumping, the crowd is loud, and if you come around happy hour, good luck. It will be packed, you will wait for a table, there might be an after-work office party going on, but you know what... it's totally worth it.

The Food Standouts


Shisito Peppers - tossed in a sherry vinegar honey and topped with sesame seeds, I could have devoured this whole plate. It rings a true sweet & savory flavor note that hits the spot if you're a lover of Asian fare. 


Mac & Cheese - bacon, cavatappi, tomato, cheddar, and jack cheese.. need I say more? Didn't think so. You're making the biggest mistake of your life if you don't order this, and I'm not saying that lightly. Do it for the children.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet - exactly as the name describes, this is a COOKIE BAKED IN A SKILLET and then topped with vanilla ice cream, choc-chips, and chocolate sauce. Fresh out of the oven, gooey, warm, and everything you'd want in a glutenous dessert. We demolished it within seconds.

Park Avenue Tavern, Midtown NYC: 9.5/10

February 28, 2017

Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies


There are few questions in life to which I'll accept the answer no. Like, should I have taken that last tequila shot? No. Do I really know what a 401k is? No. And can a cookie ever have too much chocolate in it? Abso-fucking-lutely Not.

It's taken me a few years to perfect what I like to call: the great cookie on this planet. The only cookie you'll ever need on this planet. The cookies you should be making tonight, and tomorrow, and the day after that.

They are thee cookie to have, and this is thee recipe for them.

Finally.


Fun Fact: almost every argument or disagreement between my boyfriend and I has been settled with a batch of these cookies. 

I have gotten away with saying some pretty sassy remarks because of these cookies. It's like he completely forgets about my bratty behavior whenever I walk through the door with a fresh batch of these. They are my way of say "Hey, I was a total bitch. Sorry about that. Cookies!" without actually have to say that, since, you know.. we're always right.


Using both chocolate chips and M&M's is what really set these cookies apart from many of the ones that I have made. I would usually do one or the other, but one day I clearly went off the rails and added both. That moment of wildness led to the realization that they are so. much. better. that way. 

Mo' chocolate, mo' problems, or at least I think the song went something like that.

Whatever the case may be, if you need yourself some of the greatest M&M cookie on the planet, this is it. Make a batch and then watch Friends re-runs to forget that our country is currently in shambles.


M&M COOKIES

makes about 20-24

1 cup butter, softened @ room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 10oz bag of M&M's

Preheat oven to 360. In a large mixing bowl, combined the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and salt. Cream with a hand mixer for about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and continue to mix on low until the eggs are blended in. Switch to medium-high for an additional 2 minutes, or until mixture is fluffy. 

Add in your baking soda/baking powder, then slowly add in the flour a cup at a time until the mixture resembles dough. Fold in your M&M's enough to evenly distribute, or mix them in with the mixer on low speed.

Scoop cookie dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 - 2" apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a serving plate or tupperware.


February 16, 2017

Top 5 NYC Brunch Spots For You & Your Girlfriends


Getting together with your best friends can be more than a bit difficult after college, with careers, relationships, and divergent interests pulling you in different directions at virtually every moment. After a while, those “we promise we’ll see each other every day after work” plans turn into once-a-month outings, if you’re lucky. Fortunately, a weekend brunch provides the perfect opportunity to catch up on all the gossip, girl talk, and cocktails you couldn’t find time for over the week. Just head to one of these Manhattan restaurants and get in that girl-bonding time you deserve.


Jack’s Wife Freda | 224 Lafayette Street
American and Mediterranean influences combine at this adorable and intimate East Side eatery. Start your morning off right with a rosewater waffle, poached eggs with grilled tomato and haloumi, or a health-conscious breakfast bowl with quinoa, kale, and spaghetti squash. Make sure to leave room for a drink off the cocktail menu — the cantaloupe mimosa is to die for.


*

Sadelle’s | 463 West Broadway
If carbs are your weakness, make a pit stop at Sadelle’s this Sunday for a meal you won’t soon forget. Grab some salmon benedict on a freshly-made bagel, a plate of blueberry pancakes, or a triple-decker sandwich big enough to keep you full until work starts again on Monday morning.


*

Citizens of Chelsea | 401 West 25th Street
Beautiful food, beautiful people, and one of the city’s best brunches are all found at Citizens of Chelsea on West 25thStreet.  Served all day, this airy, minimalist eatery is home to brunch staples like avocado, cilantro, citrus, and feta on sourdough toast, Belgian waffles with maple butter and poached pairs, and antioxidant- and omega-3-packed breakfast bowls.


*

Post | 42 Avenue B
Ditch the crowds and keep things cozy with brunch at Post in Alphabet City. What this restaurant lacks in space, it more than makes up for in charm and culinary craftsmanship, with virtually every menu item made in-house, from their famous chicken sausage to homemade granola.


*

Upland | 345 Park Avenue
Chef Justin Smillie’s cool take on California cuisine has lured many a brunch-seeker to this Gramercy hotspot. With interior design from Roman and Williams, the firm behind the Ace Hotel and the Boom Boom Room, and a brunch menu that’s impressed the likes of President Obama (he ate a cheeseburger, btw), with options like granola and ricotta, buttermilk pancakes, and freshly-made pastries, like grapefruit pound cake, croissants, and scones.

The work never ends, but the weekend always does, so make it special with a great brunch with your girlfriends. Eat up!

February 08, 2017

Last-Minute Valentine's Day Gift For Him


Long before I became an adult, long before I had responsibilities, an apartment to clean and brand to maintain, I used to be really great at gift-giving. I would spend months mentally planning what to purchase and put great effort into coming up with the most creative and personal idea for each person. I was also 19 years old, living at home, and my only worry in the world was if my fake ID would work at the bar next weekend. Those were #thedays...

Now that I'm older, with 4,000 things on my mind at any given moment, holidays tend to creep up on me and put me into full blown panic mode when I realize I still haven't even thought about it yet. If you're also like me, then I'm sure you'd agree that same-day delivery services are a godsend to our procrastinating ways. Plus with Valentine's Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to introduce to you one of my go-to websites for when I find myself in a rut. (aka always)


My boyfriend is the biggest cookie monster on this planet. He's not that into cakes or chocolates or pastries alike, but give him some cookies and the man is in his glory. When I found Cookies by Design, I knew that I just hit the jackpot for quick, but still creative, gifts for him. Because of their quick turnaround times for delivery, my procrastination hasn't been an issue, and because I'm able to customize each cookie bouquet, I still get to tap into that thoughtful gift gifting side of me. Plus, if I need a gift on a whim, their same-day delivery bouquets are still a great option.



I mean, how freakin' cute is this bouquet??? It features 8 BIG (like, 4-6" tall) sugar cookies, and a full size Valentine's Day bear from Build-A-Bear Workshop. An edible bouquet? Sign me right the heck up. Flowers are great and all, but who wouldn't rather eat their bouquet instead? Give me sugar or give me death.

Not only does Cookies by Design have bouquets for every occasion under the sun, they also sell boxes of chocolate truffles, as well as cookie cakes and trays. Plus, you're able to shop by price, andddd they offer gluten free options. My friends and I are already planning to customize a bunch of cookies for a girlfriends birthday that's coming up, so you can literally turn to them for anything.




And finally, because you're kind of awesomeeeee, I'm giving away an extra bouquet to one lucky reader for them to gift to their sweetie this Valentine's Day. All you have to do is head to my Instagram, and comment on the photo what you're planning to do for v-day. And hey, if you're "sweetie" just happens to be you, and you're planning to chill out with some Gilmore Girls, that's cool too. (I'm also very kind of jealous)

HAPPY LOVE DAY YA'LL.



January 30, 2017

Meet NYC's New Favorite Way To Eat Healthy


Contrary to popular belief, I actually do enjoy eating healthy. I make conscious decisions each most days to try and eat the foods that have as much nutritional value as possible, and will usually go the extra mile in making sure I have a good balance of things in my diet. It's how I'm able to off-set my, ahem, not so nutritional days, and it's been working quite beautifully for me. 

One thing I don't enjoy as much? Shopping for all of these things. 

Here in NYC, 90% of the population is always looking for gluten-free this, organic that, and "sorry, I'm on a no-sugar-for-the-rest-of-my-life diet." We clearly have very specific needs, and sometimes those needs aren't always met by the specialty stores that we have at our disposal. I'm looking at you, Trader Joes. (AND your long a** lines.)

Luckily, we have Farmbox Direct, and I'm really, really excited to talk about it today.


Meet your new best friend, aka my favorite way to get my fresh, organic and natural fruits and vegetables. I have used Farmbox Direct twice now, and both times I have been blown away by the quality of both my produce and delivery. The menu changes weekly according to what's fresh and in-season, however, you're able to make up to 5 substitutions for what goes into your box. I've swapped beets for extra potatoes and zucchini for extra apples, so it's nice to have control over your order if you'd prefer more or less of something vs. getting stuck with a fruit or vegetable that you despise. 

I have tried other services in the past where this wasn't the case, and I had a squash rot in my fridge for 2 months. True story.


For reference, this is how much stuff (!!!) you get in the medium box which is $55.95. I would easily spend that, if not more, had I just gone to the grocery store myself. Plus, not only do I not have to lug it all home, I know that by ordering through Farmbox, I'm helping out my local farmers and community, and this girl is allllll about supporting local businesses. 


Not to mention, Farmbox Direct is the only e-commerce service that has been certified by the USDA as a Certified Organic Handler, so you're getting the real deal here. They offer free delivery within Continental USA, and you never have to commit to on-going deliveries. I know that for me, 2 deliveries per month is perfect, so the fact that I'm able to customize my schedule is a major plus.

Box sizes range from small-large, in varieties ranging from only-organic, to only-natural, as well as all-juicing boxes, which I'm interested in trying next. 

Overall, I highly recommend giving the service a try if you're interested in incorporating more organic/natural foods into your diet. It's the new year, what better time to start doing just that!

Thank you for saving my fruit & vegetable life, Farmbox. I love you.