The Giants Win! + Eating Roast Beef Sandwiches in Brooklyn

Well it wouldn't be a Giants game without a nail-biting, white knuckled, pit-in-the-stomach end!

 

I am soooo happy that the Giants won last night! We celebrated with our friends, ate a lot of delicious food (including blue velvet cupcakes & pizza dip) and stayed up way too late for a Sunday evening. Which leads me to wonder...why isn't the Superbowl on a Saturday night?! Either way, it was a blast! And now I'm on the hunt for a Giants Superbowl tee.

On another note, I also really enjoyed the half-time show. To be honest, I was underwhelmed by it going in since I just don't think Madonna is relevant right now (aside from her new, horrible thing that I won't even call a song). I was so hoping that Madge would sing Like a Prayer, and I was over the moon when she did...and that Cee-lo Green joined her!! Love him!

Oh and what about the commercials? Anyone? I was a little disappointed by them. I always love the Budweiser-Clydesdale commercials, and Doritos had some good ones. Nothing too exciting though for me!

Anyhow, we had an amazing weekend all around. On Saturday, we drove out to Brooklyn to have a little city exploration day with Kimberly & Nick. Food was the name of the game for our day-long excursion. Obviously.

We started the day at Brennan & Carr, a small (and old) restaurant in Sheepshead Bay.

hot beef, anyone?

When we arrived, it felt more like being in a Wyoming restaurant, with wood paneling and antlers on the wall. Brooklyn, who?

I love the old school vibe...nothing fancy, just a small dining room (or a takeout window) and a minimal menu. Known for their roast beef sandwich, we all had to try this one! Each of us opted for the knife and fork style...meaning, you guessed it, it's so wet from their famous beef broth that you literally need a knife and fork to eat it. The beef broth and roast beef were fantastic! Salty, tender and delicious.

We loved it!

The day didn't end there. Since we were so close to Coney Island, we had to take a ride on over since neither Shaun nor I had ever been there. But since this post has gotten long enough, that's a story for another time!

I hope you all had a great weekend and have a fab week ahead!

Questions of the Day:

What did you think of the half-time show?

The commercials?

What's the best sandwich you've ever had?

 

psst...I'm preparing for the end of the world over on The Peach & The Pit today!

Rocco DiSpirito's Now Eat This Truck

Happy Monday! I'm sleepy this morning but I had such a fun weekend! I suppose with that under my belt, I'm ready to tackle the week :)

On Friday, my good friend Lauren and I checked out Rocco DiSpirito's new food truck for lunch. I had heard that his new food truck was parked near our office a few days a week so I couldn't wait to check it out. I am a huge Rocco fan! I have his Now Eat This! cookbook and have yet to find a recipe that wasn't absolutely delicious and completely healthy to boot. Not to mention the inclusion of some very attractive looking photos of him...

My favorite part of the truck? Rocco is actually the one cooking and serving up the goods.

The concept behind the Now Eat This Truck isn't just about yummy food. All of the dishes on the menu are also under 350 calories and include low carb or gluten free attributes. And you know what? The food is good. And extremely wallet friendly. Oh and the very best part of the entire thing? The Now Eat This Truck is a non-profit and all proceeds to Free Lunch Fridays, an initiative to provide and teach school kids about healthy cooking and eating... just when I thought I couldn't be anymore smitten. Here I am geeking out a little...

I don't often get star struck, but I really am a fan of Rocco and how he's changed the way that home cooks prepare typically unhealthy dishes (like buffalo chicken tenders, macaroni & cheese, sloppy joe's, penne alla vodka, and more). Plus, did I mention he's cute? ;)

Lauren and I shared three dishes so we could do a proper taste testing. 3 dishes = $15. Not to shabby if you ask me!

First up was Mama's Meatballs & Gluten Free Ziti. I have to preface this by telling you that I'm a meatball snob. My mom makes the best meatballs and sauce and therefore I find all others to be...underwhelming. BUT. These were really good! They were soft, flavorful and not fake tasting like a lot of processed meatballs. Oh and the ziti portion was huge.

I chose an order of the low carb chicken and broccoli stir fry. Tossed in a light sauce, I believe the noodles are 'cellophane' noodles, but I'm still tracking down this information. Either way, the dish was delish, and was Rocco's top recommendation.

Lauren chose the chicken noodle soup (it was a cold one waiting on the truck line!). Made with shredded chicken and the same cellophane noodles and veggies, it was warm and comforting...perfect for a cold day.

There was so much food that I ended up taking the leftovers home with me that evening. Three dishes plus leftovers for $15 for a healthy and tasty Manhattan lunch? Don't mind if I do. My favorite dish of the bunch? I have to go with the meatballs and ziti. Maybe it's the Italian in me, but I could eat this everyday.

So there you have it. My fun Friday lunch. You can bet I'll be tracking down the Now Eat This Truck again for lunch soon! And also tracking down Rocco's Now Eat This Diet cookbook!

Have a fantastic week everyone!

Questions of the Day:

Do you ever eat at food trucks? I love them!

How was your weekend?!

 

Butter Lane Cupcake Class

If you like what you see here, be sure to 'like' us on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for more content, to share ideas or just to say hi!

I know...usually I do Five Things Friday, but I'm skipping it this week because a) I have had a week that has been B-A-N-A-N-A-S and thus haven't been doing much Internet window shopping and b) I just need to tell you about the sweet class asap. I hope you're down with hearing about cupcakes on this Friday...you don't mind, do you? ;)

As I mentioned, Kimberly had gotten a cupcake class at NYC's Butter Lane for me as a gift for Christmas last year. Due to scheduling, and Butter Lane's extreme busyness (they are always booked up! now I know why...), we only just got around to it this week.

First of all...Butter Lane is one of my favorite bakeries in New York City. It's so cute and charming, and the cupcakes are buttery, fluffy and heavenly to boot. They use high quality ingredients in all of their cupcakes, and it shows! In fact, I did a whole write up about these last year when we got them for my mom's birthday.

The class started in a little bakery studio next to the bakery itself and kicked off with...what else...a platter of cupcakes for the group!

this is after we all got at 'em!

The class was set up with stations featuring KitchenAid mixers, {lots of} butter, sugar, tasting sticks, and recipes.

Kim and I joined 3 other sweet women at the chocolate station, where we were in charge of the chocolate on chocolate cupcakes!

I have to say, I have made and written about many a cupcake here on TAA, so to be honest, I had a good idea of the ingredients that would go into the cupcakes. However, what I really learned was how long and at what speed to mix specific parts of the process (like letting the butter get uber duber fluffy for many minutes on high speed when making frosting). I thought this was so helpful, and I can't wait to try out my new found skills! I also came to the realization that I'm never making cupcakes again without an ice cream scooper (for quick and clean batter transfer) or a cake frosting spatula (for a perfect frost).

sistaaas

After our cupcakes were in the oven (and a lot of batter tasting had commenced), we made a variety of frostings, including vanilla bean, pumpkin (swoon), chocolate peanut butter, basic cream cheese and more. Once the cupcakes were done, we learned the proper way to frost a Butter Lane cupcake...

...and a certain someone won for best frosting job!

How cute is that little tote bag? I'm jeals. But at least I got my own frost on...

After frosting time, we loaded up our bakery boxes and headed back to Kimberly's place...

...where I got my cupcake eat on like it was my job.

chocolate cupcake with pb frosting...heaven!The only thing missing from our girls night? Our sister Christine! Christine Bean is at school at Penn State (and dealing with all the scrutiny going on there right now) and we cannot wait until she comes home for Thanksgiving so we can finally celebrate her 21st birthday in style!

So there you have it. Our fun girls night out, making cupcakes, and eating lots of frosting. I think this was such a great gift and would be perfect for any girls night or even a group of people or a party! Thanks to Butter Lane!

Questions of the Day:

Have you ever taken a cooking or baking class? This was my first one and I loved it!

What are your weekend plans? I'm hosting a Thanksgiving pot luck tomorrow...yay! Hope you all have a great one!

 

psst...it's The Peach & The Pit Friday! We're rounding up our highs and lows of the week!

How I Spent My Birthday, Part I: BLT Steak

I want to first say a big, gargantuan THANK YOU to everyone for your kind words and Tweets on Friday for my birthday. It made the day so special and had me smiling like a creep all day long :)

On Friday evening, Shaun made reservations for us at BLT Steak. I was so excited for this! I have long been a fan of BLT Burger and had been wanting so badly to try out some of the other BLT restaurants. I will tell you this...it did not disappoint! Not only was the food fantastic, but I loved the atmosphere, a factor that can completely make or break a dining experience if you ask me. Though this was a steakhouse, it didn't feel like a stuffy gentlemen's club. Instead, it was trendy but chill and not too pretentious. Perfection.

We started our meal with the house specialties, duck mousse on toast and popovers. Though I could have taken or left the duck mousse, the popovers...Oh the popovers. I don't even really have words for these. They are giant, buttery breadlike baked goods. We tore them apart and spread butter and sea salt on top. Yum.

 

Shaun ordered a beer and I had a glass of Malbec. We ordered salads to kick off our meal. Shaun got a caesar salad (perhaps one of the best we've ever had...you know I snuck some of that for myself), while I enjoyed a beet and gorgonzola salad. I will admit, my salad was my least favorite item of the night. The beets were delicious, but overall, the salad was just too vinegary!

For the main attraction, we decided to share a steak and a seafood dish to keep things a bit lighter. Friends, I am SO glad we did this. If we had gone for 2 steaks, then I would have missed out on the best fish dish I've ever eaten. Yes, you heard that right. We enjoyed dover sole, crisped and coated with capers and a light sauce on the side.  The fish was flaky and not 'fishy' (I hate that) and the sauce. Oooooh the sauce. I do not know what was in it, but it had a capery taste. It was ah-mazing.

On the side, we ordered the potato gratin. Luckily it was a tiny portion because it was so rich, yet wonderful.

For our steak, we shared the bone-in rib eye. Though I usually like my meat done 'medium', Shaun loves medium rare, so I obliged. It was definitely a bit pink (red?!), but I grinned and beared it...and it was so tender and tasty. When at BLT...

Here's a shot of my very full plate:

Oh and I should also mention that I crossed something off my 30 by 30 list...I tried bone marrow! We had no idea that a bit of it was coming along side our steak. Shaun spread some of the marrow onto a piece of popover. It was glorious. Oily, salty, and fatty, I was instantly smitten with this rich deliciousness. It was all I hoped it would be :)

We were stuffed by the end of the meal. We decided to skip dessert (until later) and do a little walking outside first. (Not to mention that what I really wanted was a cupcake!). After dinner, we strolled down Park Avenue hand-in-hand. It was a perfect New York evening.

We strolled down to Rockefellar Center. I rejoiced that we could actually walk around and enjoy the sites without a giant crowd, like during Christmas time. Near Rock Center is one of my favorite bakeries...Magnolia Bakery!

We picked up a couple of cupcakes and some banana pudding to go. We headed home and enjoyed these on the couch while watching Breaking Bad.

Not too shabby for my 29th birthday if you ask me!

So what do you think? Are you a steak eater? Or do you prefer meals of the seafood variety?

Our 3rd Anniversary: Lobsters, SkinnyGirl & Light Horse Tavern

Yesterday Shaun and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary, after marrying on a beach in Aruba in 2008. Thank you all for your kind words :)

We actually started our anniversary celebration on Saturday evening, since Mondays are not exactly known for being the biggest celebratory night of the week. To make things a bit special, we decided to go a little bit out of the box for our dinner at home. We wanted seafood...so that's what we made. And by we, I mean Shaun prepared everything while I sat on the couch. It was heavenly.

We started the evening with grilled shrimp. Tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, these shrimp were tender with a tiny crispiness on the outside. A little homemade cocktail sauce took these to perfection.

For the main attraction, we wanted lobster. We haven't made lobster in a very long time and we were both so excited for this dinner! This is the part that I especially sat on the couch for - I'm not into doing the deed when it comes to lobster, so Shaun dutifully took over. With a little bit of clarified butter on the side, the lobster were sweet and tender and oh-so-delicious.

It's hard to top such a fantastic, cozy dinner at home (my favorite kind), but when Monday rolled around, we realized that we did not want to cook at home. Shaun first greeted me with a SkinnyGirl Margarita as soon as I arrived home from work. I'm pretty sure he's a keeper, that one :) He made them fancy by shaking it over ice first, adding a lime slice and coating the top in salt. Happiness.

We enjoyed these out on our terrace while we exchanged gifts. I gave Shaun a framed vintage map of the world (circa 1922) since he is a history buff and we are both big travelers. I thought it would be a great addition to our gallery wall, or even the beginning of a new wall in our office. Since the 3rd anniversary is leather, Shaun thoughtfully gifted me with a leather journal, complete with handmade pages - the perfect gift for me since I always carry around a notebook for blog ideas, to-do lists and any other ideas that I want to record. Now I can do that in style :)

As for our dinner, we chose Light Horse Tavern in Jersey City, one of our all time favorite restaurants. You may also see our delicious Valentine's brunch at Light Horse Tavern post from a few months ago. Yum.

We started our meal with a glass of wine for me and a beer for Shaun. To kick off the goods, we ordered a raw bar platter, complete with oysters, 2 types of clams and mussels. I've never seen Shaun so happy - he adores seafood!

We also ordered a cheese plate, which I absolutely adore. Manchego, Blue and Talleggio graced the plate, topped with fig chutney (swoon), carmelized nuts and lavendar honey.

For my main course, I chose the barbecued skirt steak with grilled onions and jalapeno polenta. This meal was really so wonderful. The steak was sweet and savory while the polenta added a bit of spice. I want this everyday.

Shaun chose a roasted duck breast. Now, I'm typically not a big fan of duck since I find it a bit greasy. But Oh.My.Word. This duck was amazing! It had a crispy layer of fat over the breast which just melted in the mouth. It was truly fantastic.

If you can believe it, we chose to skip dessert. I was SO stuffed after this dinner! Not to worry. Since my birthday is quickly approaching, I've already informed Shaun that clearly cupcakes will be necessary.

So there you have it. Our multi-day anniversary celebration. So what do you think? Are you a seafood eater? Of the raw variety? What's your favorite special meal?

What to Eat: The Meatpacking District

I get a lot of requests for restaurant recommendations in New York City. Though I am very far from an expert, I have certainly sampled my fair share of restaurants (though nowhere near as many as I'd like!). I'd love to share some of my favorite places in New York with you. Though I know a lot of you are not necessarily from this area, think of it as a travelogue...and when you get to NYC someday, you can simply consult my neighborhood restaurant listing, mmmm kay?

Pop Burger. You may recognize it from Bethenny Ever After when she and Jason made an emergency stop for food. It's high class fast food and it rocks the house. When I went in the fall, I got 2 sliders and they were fresh and fantastic. Oh and don't let the whole 'fast food' thing fool you...the ambience is cool and modern, with no signs of Ronald McDonald.

Fig + Olive. This is one of my favorite restaurants. It's pricey, so Shaun and I made sure to go during restaurant week last year. With trendy decor and Mediterranean-style food, delicious is an understatement here. They are known for their crostini, so be 100% sure to sample some of it...it was my favorite part of the meal! Especially the dessert version...mascarpone cream, bing cherries and pistachios...I'm still dreaming about it.

 

Chelsea Market. I hope you saved room because you do NOT want to miss Chelsea Market. The market stretches between 9th and 10th avenues and is one of my favorite places in NYC. With bakeries, seafood shops, restaurants, espresso bars and gourmet Italian stores, you could spend the afternoon wandering and eating. And you should.

Ruthy's Bakery. This is one of my favorite NYC bakeries, also in Chelsea Market. The rugelach  is authentic, the macarons are perfectly light, the apple crumb cake is moist and fresh, and the cupcakes are perfectly sweet and not-too-dense. Not that I've sampled all that...I'm just guessing...

The Park. I went here with my mom, sister, aunt and cousins over Easter weekend. While the food was not particularly fantastic (though it was good!), the ambience is great. The whole inside is designed to look like a Park...and it's cool.

675 Bar. This quaint, underground bar almost feels like a cave. It's got multiple rooms with different activities...like billiards, board games, arcade games and even a library. It's fun. Try it.

Jacques Torres. Also in Chelsea Market and the perfect spot for chocolate fiends. Not for the weak of heart. Christine and I shared a small hot chocolate and it was the perfect amount for both of us. It's the richest hot cocoa I've ever had...almost like straight melted chocolate in a cup. And I like it.

Artichoke Pizza. Located on 10th avenue, I have not actually gotten to this Artichoke Pizza location just yet. I've only been to the teeny one in the East Village, but the pizza is fantastic, and this is definitely on the Pizza Tour list!

The last thing on my list to do is visit the High Line, a park along a raised railroad track that runs through and over the Meatpacking District and beyond. I haven't gotten there yet, but as the weather is getting nicer, I plan to make it happen!

So there you have it. My favorite places in the Meatpacking District. What do you think? Do you have any favorite neighborhood spots, in NYC or beyond?

 

 

Rosa Mexicano

Happy Monday all! How was your weekend? Mine was very relaxing and fun. Shaun and I got lots done around the apartment on Saturday and Sunday, after a super fun and long overdo dinner with our great friends Nicole and Brandon.

I've told you that I don't go back to very many places over and over, but most of the time when we go out with these 2, we hit up Rosa Mexicano, a modern Mexican restaurant in Manhattan. We like the 18th Street location, just outside Union Square. It always turns into a long night of eating, drinking and catching up. I think Shaun and I are still recovering actually :)

Rosa is hip and fun and the food is delicious. Since we sat at our table for about 4 (!) hours, the food and drink floweth.

We started the evening with an order of fresh guacamole, made tableside, along with salty tortilla chips. I could have eaten this entire dish full on my own. It's creamy, fresh, flavorful and the perfect starter to a delish dinner.

 

While I am almost always a red wine drinker and Nikki went with the signature pomegranate margarita, the boys ordered their usual drink...tequila flights! I, for one, cannot stomach hard liquor anymore which is why red wine is always my go-to. The boys got down with the tequila tasting menu, and, as per usual, were very happy with their choices. And the cute little glass in the middle.

For dinner, I always order the same dish at Rosa. The carne asada! Skirt steak and Chihuaha cheese in a little, personalized skillet (I love anything in personalized portions like that!), fresh corn, rice and beans. This dish is always perfection. The steak was perfectly cooked to my liking (after I switched plates with Brandon), while the cheese added some saltiness and depth of flavor.

And as if that wasn't enough, Nikki and I decided to order a dessert for the table. We settled on churros with 3 dipping sauces...chocolate, caramel and raspberry! I have to admit, the surprise winner of this trio was the raspberry. The sweet + tart flavor against the sweet, crispy churro was pure bliss. Though Brandon proclaimed churros of the Six Flags persuasion to be superior, I think this was the perfect ending to our meal!

 

So there you have it. Our fun, overdue double date roundup at one of my favorite city spots. So what do you think? Do you have any restaurants that you visit again and again with certain people? What's your go-to drink?

Dessert Before Dinner

TGIT! Thank God it's Thursday! Am I right or am I right?

Last night I met my friend Nicole for girls night. We get together every month or so and usually go to the same place, The Dove Parlour, which we adore. You may remember my ravings about it here. Though we would pledge our allegiance to The DP, when we found out about Sweet Revenge, a beer, wine and...wait for it...cupcake bar in the Village, we just had to check it out. Since we meet directly after work, it meant wine and cupcakes for dinner!

Their happy hour special consists of a glass of wine and a cupcake for $10. Not a bad deal, considering many glasses of wine in a city bar are $10 on their own. I went with a glass of Pinot Noir and the Sweet Revenge cupcake, a peanut butter cake with chocolate ganache filling and pb frosting.

Nikki went with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a Dirty cupcake, a dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate truffle.

It was a fun, tiny little place. My cupcake was not the best I've ever had, but I love this whole concept. By the time I arrived home at 9, however, my stomach was feeling like it needed something more substantial (and not completely sugar or alcohol laden). Though I'm always happy with a plate of crackers or carrots and hummus as a replacement dinner, Shaun swooped in and saved the day with one of his famous grilled cheese sandwiches! I devoured this while we caught up on Shameless from Sunday evening.

So that's how I ended up with dessert before dinner. Admittedly, this was not my healthiest night of eating (but that's what the treadmill is for, right?), but it was certainly fun :) So what about you? Do you ever eat dessert before dinner? Or, dessert instead of dinner?