Pommes Frites

A couple of weeks ago, before my baby sister Christine went back to school, I spent a girls evening in the city with my mom and sisters. And as anyone knows, no girls night is complete without shopping and eating. So that’s what we did.

Since there was a lot of ground to cover, we decided to space out our eating by doing a basic taste test of a few different spots. After a not-so-quick trip to Nordstrom Rack in Union Square, first up was a stop at Otto for some pizza and a cheese platter decked out with truffled honey; the latter of which being worthy of a spot on my own personal Best Thing I Ever Ate list. As I detailed in this post, Otto is famous for their authentic pizza and their prime Village location. And how does one follow up artisinal pizza? Well, with delicious, homemade fries of course.

Enter Pommes Frites. This blink-and-you-miss-it authentic Belgian French fry shop in the East Village serves up fresh from the fryer potato wedges sprinkled with salt and alongside a laundry list of accoutrements. With Jersey Shore-style malt vinegar, 12 mayo varietals, curreid ketchup and melted cheese, there's a little something for every palette. We went with an order of malt vinegar (Mom's pick), cheddar cheese (my pick), blue cheese (Christine's pick) and traditional mayo (Kimberly's pick). Though Shaun and the mayo gods will probably shun me for this, my winning pick goes to the blue cheese. Yum.

Though the four of us managed to put away two regular sized Pommes Frites bags while accruing third degree burns inside our mouths, I must admit that while delicious, these fries were just not up to snuff compared to my favorite thin-cut variety. For the ultimate fry, and more of a French-style pommes frites if you will, I prefer Balthazar in SoHo or Hoboken's Elysian Cafe. The French-style is, after all, reminiscent of our trip to Paris in 2006 where we admittedly indulged in classic pommes frites with mayonnaise dressing (not standard, thick mayo as served at Pommes Frites and any other American place for that matter) anytime the opportunity presented itself.

But Pommes Frites as a stand alone potato wedge? Color me mouthwatered.

Burger Creations

A few weeks ago as my sister Kim and I were shopping for our Aruban getaway, we realized how shopping really does make you hungry. It could also just be shopping in crazy, crowded Union Square, but who were we to ignore it? So wandered downtown a few blocks to my old stomping ground, the NYU campus. And oh my how it has changed.

I was horribly aware that when I went to school there, 8th street was filled with shops selling punk rock gear, shoes that only a coneusseur could love and cheap-o food. In fact, the most exciting eats on that block were none other than one Johnny Rockets and the Dallas BBQ, a faux Southern gem serving giant roasted chickens, cornbread and blue margaritas. Anyhow, imagine my surprise to find a plethora of new eateries including Crumbs, 'wichcraft, and Burger Creations; though to my delight, Johnny Rockets is still going strong. Intrigued by Burger Creations, we gave it a whirl.

Boasting fresh ingredients and coal fired burgers, Burger Creations is fast food that's anything but. Imagine my second wave of surprise when I ordered my burger at the counter and I was asked how I wanted it cooked. But this is fast food, I thought. I never knew there were varying degrees of doneness in fast food. Oh how I was happily mistaken. I ordered the Greek Burger, a patty atop a mini Greek salad and then topped with tzatziki, kalamata olives and feta cheese, all stuffed between a brioche bun. And it was cooked to my order - done with perfect mediumness.

Was it Shake Shack? No. But it was juicy and just the right amount of add-on ingredients but not too much that it overpowered the delectable burger. Burger Creations, you changed my view of 8th Street and of fast food, proving that it can actually be fresh, delicious and affordable.

Brunch at B Bar

There are few things in this world that I love more than brunch. Of course Shaun tops the list, but following him...let's just say that brunch is high on the list. So on a rainy Sunday morning I planned to meet my sister Kimberly for brunch at Clinton Street Baking Co. After catching a glimpse of their highly acclaimed blueberry pancakes on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay, we thought it would be the perfect place for a rainy Sunday (and the perfect opportunity to see how my own Lemon Blueberry Pancakes measured up one-on-one).

Since the title of this article isn't Brunch at Clinton Street Baking Co., you're correct in assuming that we in fact never made it to brunch at Clinton after finding out that it was a stomach-turning 3 hour wait. Oh, and no, they don't take reservations.

Feeling defeated and with stomachs growling, we began a hunt for the nearest delicious brunch locale, not relishing braving the stormy weather on the Lower East Side, a neighborhood we were less than familiar with. To make matters worse, Kimberly was a little scared/turned off by Katz's Deli - not sure if it was the massive lines, the abundance of wood paneling or the wall of meats. So we made our way over to the Bowery and saw B Bar in the distance. Though I hadn't been there since my NYU Communications Department graduation party in '04, I have such fun memories of B Bar - the party, meeting my dad for dinner in college and mostly their juicy, cheese-covered burger served on an English muffin. Yum.

Anyhow, back to brunch. B Bar boasts a trendy yet relaxing vibe with reasonable prices and a serious outdoor patio. Greeting us the table was a little wooden cutting board with sliced banana bread. Though it gave my version a major run for its money, it was missing the super delish brown sugar crust on top. But I let it slide because the bread was moist perfection.

In addition to downing large amount of B Bar coffee, I went with my favorite unsweet brunch meal, Eggs Benedict. Served with jalapeno Hollandaise sauce and some of the best home fries I've tasted, this Eggs Benedict surpassed many others that came before it. I mean, doesn't it just look good enough to eat?

If you have the means, I highly recommend giving it a visit. But I want to know about your brunching habits. Do you go out or stay in? Do you go for sweet or savory? Dish on some of your favorites in the comments!