Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Long Lazy Lobster Nite

I love the summer. To me, nothing could be better than long balmy nights, meals on the deck, and just good ol' sunshine. I wish the season would last forever. Unfortunately, here in Jersey it doesn't, so we embrace it while we can. One way to do that is summer entertaining!

{I like to keep appetizers bright, colorful, and almost guilt free.}

{I'm sure Matt and Lisa would agree that you can't argue with an entree of simple Lobster tails swimming in butta.}

{For a side dish - Michael turned his raw handcut potatoes....}

{...into these delicious french fries!}

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I love You BUCU

You know what Mike and I discovered recently? The new spot to visit for an awesome burger is Bucu Burger in Paramus. Bucu opened in January and is a burger and cupcake bar (their name merges he first two letters of “burger” and “cupcake” - BUCU, get it?). Super cute concept! And while I can't vouch for the cupcakes because I didn't try one, I CAN say the burgers are terrific. Beefy, tasty, thin patties of goodness. I think it might have something to do with the fact that burgers at Bucu are made with a coarse-chopped blend of beef from North Bergen-based Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors (the guy behind Shake Shack's blend).

{Bucu's burger. Really really tasty.}

{Hand cut Chili & Cheese fries...need I say more?}

{I couldn't resist trying their hot dog. Good, but the burger wins hands down.}

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy July 4th!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend. Stay cool ;-)

I've been on somewhat of an extended blogging break but hope to return after a long, restful weekend!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer in the City

I personally think one of the best ways to spend a balmy, breezy summer evening is dining al fresco in New York City. Cue: Barolo in Soho - an awesome eatery that has a charming garden area in the back and tables practically on the street in the front. There's nothing cooler than combing the nearby galleries and then slipping in to this Soho staple that offers a feast of fresh Italian standards. Barolo doesn’t skimp on portions, and its expansive wine list (along with a certain acclaimed pasta dish) will certainly keep my hubby coming back for more.

P.S. - Mike is ranking the penne vodka topped with salmon roe in photo #4 as one of his favorite pasta dishes of all time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Homemade Hamburger Rolls

Yep, I did it. Made my own burger rolls using this recipe. I read all the time on the web how infinitely better your burger will be with a homemade roll, and you know what? It's 100% true. Store bought buns are a thing of the past. Buh-bye.

{The whole process is super easy. Start by making the giant ball of dough and letting it rise.}

{Next step, break down that giant dough ball into individual balls to form rolls. Let them rise.}

{After some baking in a 400 degree oven, you'll have burger buns!}

{Now.....Where's the BEEF??!?!}

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Far Away Food

A few weeks back, we took a day trip to New Hope, PA and ate here. Great pub food, but do you want to know what won me over??? THE NACHOS! Seriously, might be the best version I ever had. Sprinkled with fresh jalapenos, fresh black beans, and a pepper jack cheese sauce that was so mouth wateringly delicious, my mind actually couldn't process the plate that was in front of me.

I fully intend on trying to replicate this version. Wish me luck.

{I loved you guys. Sorry I devoured you so quickly.}

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Old and New Memories

Although it is kind of assanine to visit Pret A Manger whose motto has something to do with "just made fresh food" and get a ridiculously fattening snack, I had to get something.

The British sandwich chain is a New York City staple and I realized on one of my last NYC trips that I never even tried it! Michael's lunches come from Pret almost daily and being it is on almost every corner, I figured I'd better see what this place was all about. Turns out, I loved the concept so much that I'm trying to figure out how to get Pret to open in good ol' New Jersey. Any suggestions?

{I felt like Miranda from Sex and The City walking from the store to the park with this bag.}

{Miranda made the smart choice of an organic sandwich in that SATC eposide though, remember? Not chips and a soda.....}

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Morning Relaxation

Nothing beats a relaxing morning with reading materials, iced coffee, and a breakfast treat. Bluestone in Montclair (mentioned before here) has tables outside so it makes the whole breakfst experience even better.

{I knew I loved this scone the minute I tasted its buttery texture. Later on I read on the menu that it came from wonder.}

{If you asked me to pick between my magazine addiction and my iced coffee addiction, I'd never be able to do it.}

Monday, May 23, 2011

Greek Repeat

I've mentioned Greek Delights before along with my love of Greek delicacies. Michael and I have tried numerous Greek eateries, but we keep coming back to this one. I know I'm repeating myself by telling you their Greek salad topped with gyro meat is hard to beat, but it is. Anonother dish that rocks that I didn't mention in my last post involves seafood.....

{Shrimp broiled with Saganaki cheese is pure pleasure. Tender shrimp are floating in super flavorful tomator sauce beneath bubbling hot cheese. What's NOT to love?!}

{Michael's usual.}

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Brownie Cupcakes

As I have mentioned before, I bake up a storm when it is someone's birthday at work. Last week, one of my co-workers requested brownies, but said she also loved vanilla icing. So for her, I combined this buttercream with my favorite basic brownie and baked them up in the form of cupcakes. Success.

{The buttercream was the star of the show. Annie's recipes are always extremely tasty and reliable.}

{I always reserve one cupcake for the chef. But, this one I'm sending to my girl "ALJ" along with air hugs and birthday wishes!}

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Routine Comfort

When I find myself in New York for a mid-morning appointment, it's difficult to veer from my usual breakfast spot. Le Pain Quotidien's menu has organic tasty selections that I find, well, just too flavorful to pass up. I know I should switch up my game and try new things in the gigantic City, but last trip I stuck to my routine spot.

{Inside the restaurant light, airy, country farmhouse decor with pine furnishings radiate rustic ambiance. Local sophisticates gather at a long communal table or couples can sneak away to private seats in back.}

{Spinach, goat cheese frittata with multi-grain toast felt nourishing and somehow guilt free.}

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sugary Sweet

Continuing with the theme of talking about great food a second time and the theme of New York snacks, below is my latest indulgence repeat.

{If you find yourself on Bleecker Street passing Magnolia, it is virtually impossible to pass up purchasing one of their sweet confections.}

{Correction - one OR TWO of their sweet confections!}

Thursday, May 12, 2011

At Last

I seem to be in the habit this week of talking about things a second time. I've been obsessed with tasting Van Leeuwun ice cream for as long as I can remember. I wrote all about their gorgeous vintage looking logo and pretty pale yellow truck here.

So when I spotted the truck in New York City last week, I absolutely couldn't resist ordering a cool drippy ice cream cone. FINALLY!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spicy and Delicious

I've been blogging for a while now so naturally some restaurants will be featured in more than one post. Case in point - Lombardi's. They were previously mentioned here and after revisiting their long hot pepper pie a few weeks ago, I thought it only fair that I did a repeat pizza post! I love that when a craving hits every few months and I return to Lombardi's, the pizza will always taste the same. Absolutely delicious.

{Salty, thin, well done, long hot pepper pizza is as good as it gets. The piquant taste of the peppers adds just the right amount of heat.}

Other favorite pizza posts here and here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pizza or Pasta

Ralph's in Nutley is a pizzeria landmark. Ask anyone from the surrounding towns and chances are they've tasted Ralph's. It's been around since 1961 and I remember eating this pie frequently as a kid. The thin crust, brick oven pie is baked in a black cast iron pan (I think this is precisely why it is so dang good).

However, our past couple Ralph's outings didn't involve pizza. Instead they involved a pasta dish I adore - cavatelli and broccoli - and their version ranked as one of my defininte favorites.

{The more garlic the better and this had tons.}

{Unfussy and flavorful equals just right.}

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Coo Coo for Coconut

As evidenced here and here, one of my all time favorite lunches involves some sort of tea house. There is something utterly irresistible about homemade scones, soups, tea sandwiches and petite desserts.

I recently went to Harmony Tearoom in Westwood and had one of the best scones I've eaten. A coconut scone to be exact. Sadly I gobbled it up so quickly, I forgot to snap a photo. Sorry!

I did, however, manage to take some shots of my exquisite asparagus soup with a dollop of goat cheese and tiny tasty baked confections.

I'm still thinking about the coconut scone.....

Monday, May 2, 2011

Strawberry Mascarpone Filled Cupcakes

I work in a place with lots and lots of staff and somehow I've become the baker when it is someone's birthday. Last week we celebrated with these cupcakes from Giada and they were a real hit! Quick, easy AND delicious. Can't beat that.

{Mix filling and try not to eat the whole bowl - very tough.}

{You don't need this special tool but it makes filling cupcakes much easier.}

{There is something so appealing about mascarpone cream INSIDE a cupcake!}

{Iced, packed, and ready for delivery.}

{Of course, you always save one for the chef.}

Recipe is here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Beloved Burger

Want a fabulous, thick juicy burger for like six bucks??? Head to Arthur's in Morris Plains (or Hoboken). They are famous for their reasonably-priced steaks, but I'm all about the burgers here. It is honestly hard to find a burger that competes for the price.

Not to mention, I love nothing more than the pub atmosphere and free starters. I'm totally heading to the Hoboken outpost this summer when another burger craving hits.

{I completely overdosed on free pickles and spicy cherry peppers.}

{Hard to resist a giant cheeseburger and a side of their famous potatoes. Oh and their coleslaw is one of my favorite versions!}

Other beloved burgers here and here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Handmade Bagels

Can you see me beaming from where you are sitting? I'm super proud of myself because I made the bagels that you see in the photo above. Yep. Made 'em. From scratch. After reading about them here I decided to test my bagel making skills! Turns out, it was a pretty easy process and SO WORTH IT.

{All it takes is a few simple ingredients and you are on the way...}

{Make dough. This takes some planning ahead as far as timing, but the dough comes together 1,2,3.}

{Shape bagels and let them proof in fridge overnight - hence the planning ahead!}

{Michael chose to top his with smoked salmon and a tasty seeded, scallion cream cheese that he made.}

{Totally delicious.}

Make them. Really. Do it. (original recipe here)