Food and the City | a food + life & style guide for the 20' something

March 06, 2015

White Cheddar Popcorn

White cheddar popcorn is 1000% my snack weakness. 9 out of 10, no, 10 out of 10 times I cannot resist it if it's in front of my face. I have just about as much impulse as a 3 year old a birthday party, so it's no wonder that I had to try and make this glorious snack for myself at home.

This is so easy, and I'm not even sure if it qualifies as a recipe post, but just try it. Trust me.

White Cheddar Popcorn

1/2 cup popcorn kernels 
1 1/2 teaspoons white cheddar powder
1 or two pinches of salt/pepper

Place popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag then fold the flap down in half and then once more. Cook in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or until kernels are fully popped. Open bag, sprinkle in the white cheddar power and salt/pepper. Shake vigorously to combined and enjoy!

March 05, 2015

Sriracha Couscous with Blistered Peppers

I've been putting sriracha on everything lately. Srircha on my noodles, sriracha on my chicken, and now - sriracha on my couscous. Fun fact, besides quinoa, couscous is my other favorite grain. I fell deep in love with it while having an Israeli salad recently, and have since stocked my cabinets with this glorious grain.

That being said, it was only a matter of time before the two things I'm consuming most came together to make a delicious lunch baby. This dish definitely packs some heat, so if you're a wimp not so into it, just go a little lighter on the sriracha and call it a day.

Sriracha Couscous with Blistered Peppers

serves 2
1/2 cup dry couscous
3 tablespoons sriracha sauce
1 large red bell pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 450. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it with a little Pam. Slice your peppers into strips then toss with olive oil and salt/pepper. Place in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until skin is charred.

While peppers are roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your couscous according to the package directions. Fluff, then toss with sriracha sauce. Top with blistered peppers and enjoy.

March 03, 2015

Lemony Quinoa and Kale Salad

I have a thing for quinoa lately. Which, if you ask any of my friends, is very surprising. For a long time, and I'm sure you'd agree by the amount of pizza posts on this blog, I didn't care to ever try and like quinoa. It was like I was supposed to love it because of how great it is for you, and that just didn't intrigue me. Don't tell me what to do, kay quinoa?

hahahaha totally kidding I love you, now. No guys - really! Quinoa is the, and I've been obsessed with this warm lemony quinoa and kale salad for the last couple of weeks. It's bright, light, and oh so delicious. Do yourself a solid and make this today.

Lemony Quinoa and Kale Salad

serves 1
1/2 cup dry quinoa 
1 cup kale
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Rinse your quinoa in a strainer under cold water, then follow cooking instructions on the package. Fluff and set aside. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat, then add in your chopped onion. Saute until onions are cooked and browning a little. Turn off heat and add in the kale. Toss to combined and allow the heat to wilt the kale.

Transfer the vegetables to the quinoa, then toss with the lemon juice. Garnish with a lemon slice if desired and enjoy!

February 26, 2015


GUYS. I've been meaning to talk to you about this place for the last couple of months. I didn't want to include it in any of our monthly #MELINSTAEATS because, well, they need to be spoken about all on their own. So on behalf of citizenMag, let's talk Boqueria. Please, listen as carefully as you possibly can. You need to never leave there go there immediately.

A friend of mine and myself came across this place by word of mouth, and we seriously have never looked back. We're both foodies, and we're both into trying out different things and giving new places a shot. From the first sip of my Shishito Margarita I knew right away that I had found my new favorite place. Yes - that's pepper infused tequila perfectly crafted into the greatest spicy margarita that I have ever had.

So what are my picks on the menu? I like to keep it simple. A few different tapas dishes to get a taste for a few different flavors. Pictured above are their mushroom Croquetas Cremosas, which are creamy, delicate, perfectly fried mushroom croquettes, that are something you've never tasted before. The menu doesn't give too much detail as to the ingredients, but they have a savory flare to them. I also want to note that a typical order of these is 3 mushroom croquettes, and 3 ham croquettes. I, however, am not a fan of ham, and they always substitute it out for me. Why? Because they are the freaking best.

My other two favorite dishes on their menu are the Patatas Bravas, which are exactly what you think they are: crispy potatoes, and the Roasted Cauliflower dish which is an off-menu item. The Patatas Bravas are topped with a garlic allioli, with a spicy salsa type sauce underneath, while the roasted cauliflower has a kick that is subsided by lemon. Seriously amazing. I actually want to smother myself with the spicy underneath sauce. 

If you have the chance, please stop by Boqueria, and tell em' I sent ya. They won't give you anything for it, but like, help a sista out you know?

Be sure to check out citizenMag's top 3 restaurants in NYC, and consider staying with them at their Time Square hotel the next time you find yourself in the big apple.

February 23, 2015


OMG, you guys. February was so fat. Like so, so, so fat. But also so delicious. It was New York Fashion Week so I basically ate out every night and then woke up with a hangover and ordered pizza. I was a monster. Here are the top 5 things I assaulted my face with this month via grainy Instagram photos:

1) Underground Pizza

I've been on the hunt to find good pizza down in the Financial District. Like, I've been making it my job. That neighborhood was seriously lacking a decent slice of heaven up until I found this gem. During the huge snowstorm that we were supposed to get but didn't actually get because lol science, I ordered a sicilian pie to keep me from starving to death just incase I couldn't leave my apartment. It was the only pizzeria that was still delivering, so I gave it a shot. OMG, guys. Hands down one of the best sicilian slices that I've had in awhile, if not ever. Seriously. Go down there and get one NOW.

2) Trading Post

This place is a hidden gem. Like, actually hidden. It took me forever to find it because it's at the end of an empty block near the FDR drive where nobody goes ever. Except inside here, because everyone was there. I went on a Friday evening and it was p a c k e d. We ordered fries, the margherita flatbread, and the quinoa salad. Also, a bottle of Sancerre because of course. Everything was the, and their quinoa salad is what made me actually not hate quinoa so much anymore. 

3) Paris Cafe

Sooooooooo. I've been craving these banana walnut pancakes from the Paris Cafe ever since I walked out of the place two weeks ago. Three gigantic, fluffy, freshly made pancakes stuffed with bananas and walnuts. I really don't know what else I can say besides go here for brunch immediately.

4) Ryan Maguire's Ale House

Honestly, I love pubs. I love a plate of fries and a beer the size of my head. Ryan Maguire's is one of those places that you wouldn't except to have amazing food, but oh yassss they do. I contemplated including this, as I really did just have a plate of fries, but they made a serious impact on my life so I had to share. They are hand-cut, made fresh, and are fried to perfection. What more can you ask for in a fry? Also, side note: their BBQ sauce is off the chain but I'm sure we just have Restaurant Depot to thank for that.

5) Artichoke Pizza

For a long time, I thought Artichoke Pizza was very overrated. I went there a few times years ago, and always ordered what they were famous for: their artichoke slice. I wrote them off as just ok, and never went back. Recently, as in Valentine's Day with my fellow single best friend, I found myself back there again. What I didn't realize all those times that I ate there and was mildly impressed, was that I wasn't ordering the right thing. Their margherita slice is EVERYTHING. Literally, everything. The perfect crisp, the perfect flavor, it's everything a margherita slice should be, and I am so happy that I gave this place another chance. If you've been there before for their artichoke slice, and like me, wasn't super impressed, please give their marg a shot. I promise you'll hate me for introducing you to your new favorite carb.

Follow me on Instagram @officialmelrose for more foodie goodness in your face! Tag #MELINSTAEATS to show me what you're eating.

February 20, 2015

My Favorite On-the-Go Lunches (+GIVEAWAY!)

Phew. Hello, there. I just got finished with New York Fashion Week, hence the insane lack of posts on this little wittle blog. If you follow me on Instagram (I mean, hello, what are you doing with your life?), then you were able to have a peek inside the week from my outfits, to some of the shows I attended, to all of the fatty goodness I consumed while on the go. 

No, reallllly. So. Many. Carbs. My poor, poor body. It hates me at the moment, and since I'm getting back to my regular schedule, I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you what my favorite (healthy) on the go lunches are!

Sometimes I really don't have the time to cook, and sometimes, I really just don't want to. These two prepackaged salads from the FreshDirect deli section seriously get me through those ruts. Not only are they convenient, but they're super healthy, so I love having them on hand for those instances when I don't feel like being a functioning human being. Also, I totally dig the fact that they keep good in the fridge for about 4 days, so I tend to place my order Sunday night, and have em' for the week.

Also pretty cool, for the whole month of February, FreshDirect is sharing the love! In fact, they generously gave me a $50 gift card to giveaway to one of you fine folks! Just tweet me @officialmel and let me know what you'd buy with your prize including the hashtag #FOODANDTHECITY, and you can have yourself some free groceries in no time. I'll be choosing/contacting the winner 1 week from today! Good luck!

Big thanks to FreshDirect for hooking us up!