Memorial Day Weekend Eats

It's Friii-daay! It's Friii-daay!

Excuse me while I get my happy dance on. Not only is it Friday, but it's a holiday weekend Friday which pretty much rocks my world. What do you have planned? Shaun and I are getting our home DIY on, having dinner and drinks with friends and just relaxing a bit. What do you have planned?

One of my favorite things about summer holidays is, you guessed it, the picnic and barbecue food. I can't wait to eat some of these this weekend! I thought I'd share a round up of some of my favorite picnic food ideas. I hope you've already eaten breakfast, because these will most certainly get your tummy rumbling.

Grilled Zucchini Coins

I love these. So simple, so delicious and so healthy. Make them today. And tomorrow.

Carmelized Potato & Parsnip Tart

Another great way to get some veggies. I served this on Christmas Eve, but it would be perfect cut up into bite size squares and served outdoors on a big platter for guests to pick at. Oh and it doesn't hurt that it's gorgeous to boot.

Grilled Caprese Salad

Melted mozzarella, fresh basil, tomatoes...it doesn't get better.

Creamy Fruit Salsa

It really couldn't be easier. Find some delicious fruit salsa (I like Target's peach salsa) and mix with a dollop of sour cream. Serve with chips. Yum.

Pizza Dip

It's an oldie but always a goodie and always a crowd pleaser. I always, always serve this at parties and gatherings. Although it's one of the easiest dips ever, it's always the first plate to be cleaned.

Asiago-Fig Macaroni & Cheese

This can easily be prepped in advance and baked off once guests arrive or at your final destination. Guests and hosts alike will love you for it. I promise.

Burgers & Corn on the Cob

I can't imagine Memorial Day weekend wthout either of these items. I can't wait to finally eat some Jersey corn this weekend...it's the best!

And for dessert? Something about summer gatherings always makes me want bars. So I'm sharing my 2 favorite bar recipes thus far.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Find me someone who won't like these. It won't happen. They are delicious and extremely rich so one tray goes a looong way.

Pineapple Carrot Bars

These are not only delicious, but look how cute they are! Not to mention, cream cheese frosting makes everything better.

So there you have it. Lots of delicious recipes for your holiday weekend! I hope you enjoy some of these! What are your plans for the weekend? What's your favorite picnic/barbecue foods? I'm always on the hunt for new ones, so dish in the comments!

Memorial Day in Manhattan

Stuck in the city this weekend, but jonesing for grilled meats and cold beer? We've got some in-the-city suggestions for making the most of your Memorial Day weekend! After all, if you can't get out to the burbs for a down home backyard picnic, there's no shame in having a professionally prepared BBQ!

Blue Smoke:
By far one of my favorite NYC spots, Blue Smoke is barbeque with an upscale twist. During my first visit, I over-ordered because I couldn't limit my picks...everything looked that good. Appetizers range from Jack's Fry Bread to Barbeque Chips w/Blue Cheese Dip, and neither should be missed.

Blue Smoke . 116 East 27th Street . 212.447.7733
To be honest, I don't even remember my main course, as it was overshadowed by the apps and side of Mac n Cheese. I'm sure it was delicious though. Anyhow, do not, and I mean DO NOT, skip the Mac n Cheese, as it's the best I've had. Lastly, I have a strange need to try dessert, despite my stomach's otherwise protesting. I recommend the apple crisp. Beware: If you fill yourself with food as I tend to do, you may find it difficult to walk following your meal. Bonus: Jazz Standard, Blue Smoke's own jazz club, is located downstairs for some post dinner entertainment.
Fry Bread w/Chipotle Butter: $5.95
Mac N Cheese: $7.95
Fried Chicken: $18.95
Ribs: $14.95/$22.95

Virgil's:
A sister restaurant of the famed Carmine's chain, Virgil's is down home barbeque at its best (note the napkins are actually hand towels). With wood paneled decor, you'll feel quite relaxed at Virgil's. Featuring ribs, catfish, steaks, and wonderfully pulled pork, you pretty much can't go wrong here.

Virgil's . 152 West 44th Street . 212.921.9668
Don't skip out on the hush puppies with maple butter appetizer ($8.50), as you're unlikely to find better (and if you do, please point me in that direction). For a real holiday weekend barbeque experience, be sure to check out the 4 page beer menu. The only downside? Right in Times Square. But the prices are reasonable (shocking for Times Square) and it's likely to be a relatively slow few days since city dwellers will be fleeing for the weekend.
Hush Puppies: $8.50
Memphis Ribs: $23.50
BBQ Brisket Sandwich: $12.50
Most Beer Options: Under $6

Gyu-Kaku:

Try this barbeque restaurant with a Japanese twist. And the Memorial Day weekend spin? You do the grilling yourself! One of my favorite Village spots, Gyu-Kaku features a grill in the middle of every table.

Gyu-Kaku . 34 Cooper Square . 212.475.2989
Variations include marinated steak, chicken, seafood, and lamb chops. And what barbeque would be complete without s'mores for dessert! I recommend the miso skirt steak, spicy udon noodles, and edamame. Go hungry and order throughout the meal as necessary because, trust me, the more you eat the more you'll want.
Miso Skirt Steak: $10
Garlic Shrimp: $8
Udon Noodles: $9
S'mores: $4