Archive for ‘Lunch’

October 31, 2011

Fun- and Food-Filled Weekend

This weekend was such a blur of activities, but it was so much fun and full of good times with friends.

On Friday night I put the finishing touches on my Halloween costume and then met my boyfriend and our friends Amy and Max (they actually introduced us to one another). We were also joined by another one of their friends and a friend of mine from college. We hopped around to a few different places and, since we went out early for happy hour, we went home relatively early as well.

On Saturday morning, as I’m sure many of you know, we woke up to this:

Snow in October

Can you believe all that snow!? It’s only October!! While we were complaining about the inconvenience of having to go out in the wet, cold weather it was actually very bad in northern NJ where my parents live. Apparently there are downed trees and power lines everywhere, and a lot of schools were actually closed!

We pretty much hibernated all day until it was time for me to go to class. I had a test that I think went fairly well–definitely better than last time, I should hope. We had a substitute chef, and he was one of the real old-school French guys. He is actually going to be our instructor for levels 3 and 4, so it was great to meet him and work with him once to see what we are in for, but I can tell it’ll be a challenge. He is definitely tough! I guess that’s a good thing though, because I really felt like I learned a lot from him in just one class.

We made this ginger marinated pork with a sweet and sour sauce accompanied by mashed potatoes and pork chops. The ginger pork was so delicious–I’m dying to make it again. And I don’t even like pork!

Ginger marinated pork with sweet and sour sauce

Ginger marinated pork with sweet and sour sauce

After class I met Andrew and all his friends out to celebrate Halloween. I felt really silly putting my costume on at school, but I had fun with it. It also turned out that my costume was pretty perfect for the cold, snowy weather we were having.

penguin costume
Yesterday morning I was treated to an amazing brunch with my Mom, Dad and brother. My parents had come into town the night before to go to a concert, and it turned out it was a good thing because they still don’t have power at their house! We went to ABC Kitchen, a restaurant in my neighborhood that I have been dying to try (not an understatement). It’s a real hot spot right now and theirs always celebrities coming in and out of it, so I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I understand now! The restaurant is so sleek and beautiful inside. There is such attention to detail, and every time I looked around I felt like I noticed something new and even more beautiful. The food was also top-quality. They use all local, sustainable ingredients, but it doesn’t feel in the slightest bit limited or trying too hard to be “green.” I had this squash flatbread with ricotta and cider vinaigrette to start and then I had eggs Benedict. I felt a little boring getting the Benedict, but I just love it so much. My mom and brother got this pickled jalapeno burger and, I have to admit, I kind of wished I had gotten that!

Roasted squash flatbread

Roasted squash flatbread

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

Jalapeno Burger

Jalapeno Burger

What were you for Halloween?

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October 28, 2011

Happy Friday Things

I feel like I have so much to share today! I probably should have done two separate posts, but I just don’t have time!

First up, class last night was great–much needed after Tuesday! We only had two recipes, and they were both very simple, low key recipes: Strip steak with french fries and a sauce called Chevron (tangier and way better but similar to hollandaise) and fillet mignon with a bordelaise sauce (basically a type of red wine and veal stock reduction).

Strip Steak with French Fries and Chevron Sauce

Strip Steak with French Fries and Chevron Sauce

Despite the beauty of the strip steak, I’m just not a fan. It’s way too chewy for me. There’s only a small amount on my plate because I saved the rest for either my boyfriend or my brother. Since filet mignon is my favorite (I know, I know…such a brat!), I opted to pair that with the chevron sauce for lunch.

Fillet Mignon with Bone Marrow and Chevron Sauce

Fillet Mignon with Bone Marrow and Chevron Sauce

Such a fancy meal looks funny being eaten this way, right?!

Anyway, I had a few fun surprises at work today. During our meeting to go over the December issue, one of the editors brought in some Halloween candy to share. I think I may have a new favorite candy!

Take 5

Take 5

Has anyone ever tried these? They are an amazing combination of pretzel, caramel, peanut and peanut butter and then coated with milk chocolate. They are so salty and sweet. I love it!

And then a few hours later, UV vodka delivered a case of this baby to one of my coworkers.

White Cake Flavored Vodka

White Cake Flavored Vodka

Since there were so many bottles, we each got to take home one. I don’t normally like cake-flavored food and drink items, but I can’t wait to try it–It reminds me of Jessica’s cake batter martinis, a drink I still think about how many months later?!

This afternoon I’m off to gather the last-minute pieces of my Halloween costume. I was gonna stay in tonight (I say that every Friday), but looks like I’ll be out and about. There might even be a dessert bar at my brothers apartment that I’ll have to attend (he makes this drink called pie–tastes exactly like apple pie! and I have my cake batter vodka!). Our mom is so proud.

Happy Friday!

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
Do you like cake-flavored foods and drinks?

October 27, 2011

Ran Out of Steam

Tuesday’s class was pretty tough. We only had two recipes, but they were both pretty complex and time-consuming.

Wow, hours later I only had that one line written…  very long, busy day…

Anyway, we made sauteed duck breast and braised leg with orange sauce as well as pan roasted quail with rice and sausage stuffing in a potato basket. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to finish the quail, which meant not only did we not get to present (looks very bad), but we also didn’t get to eat dinner. We fell behind so quickly, it was really a wake-up call. Ron was having some trouble butchering the duck (I probably would have too, had I been the one doing it) and then he had to prepare the sauce so that we could braise the duck, which meant I had to do most of the quail dish alone and there really just wasn’t enough time for that. So, after all the troubles, we didn’t even get to eat the quail we prepared, because we had to move on to the next recipe to make sure we at least got that one done in time. My dinner pretty much ended up being little scraps of sausage I didn’t need for the rice. The deprivation made me really grumpy…

Luckily (for my sanity) the duck came together as it should have and we finished that within plenty of time. Our duck was a bit undercooked for Chef’s liking, but it was still considered safe to serve and just the way I like it. Our sauce also was a bit too acidic and should have been reduced a bit more. Wasn’t a winning recipe, but it was much better, overall, than the quail, which was  a success to me.

Sauteed duck breast and braised leg with orange sauce

Sauteed duck breast and braised leg with orange sauce

Apparently not enough of a success though. I was so tired, hungry, frustrated, and emotionally wacky Tuesday night that when I got to Andrew’s I pretty much just crumpled into a pile of tears because I didn’t know what to eat. Um, hello! I had a ton of perfectly good quail and duck in tote. I think I just totally ran out of steam. Lucky for me, he was perfect and helped make me feel better–he even got me laughing a bit!

Yesterday I was still feeling a little out of sorts, and I really didn’t know what I wanted to have for lunch–until I realized that Potbelly opened on the concourse of our building. I’m not ashamed to admit that I just about sprinted there. I used to have Potbelly all the time when I lived in Chicago, and it was just seemed like such a treat to be able to have it in NYC.

I have to say that I was totally disappointed! I ordered my standard TKY and they informed me that they don’t have that item on the menu in NYC. Ok, but I wanted to know why. I politely asked why not and the manager, who just happened to be standing there, was like we dont have it on the menu. So I said I realized that but still was wondering why. He just repeated himself but added I dunno we just dont have it, corporate decision and was just so grumpy and rude. No smile, no nothing. Wouldn’t you expect something more along the lines of “Corporate decided not to put that on the menu here. Too bad, a lot of people seem to want that.” I mean…anything but what he did!

Turkey from Potbelly

Turkey from Potbelly

Anyway, I’m not sure if I didn’t enjoy my sandwich as much because it didn’t taste as good, because I had a sour taste from my interactions with the manager, or a combination of both. I think I’ve decided it was a combo. I asked for extra hot peppers (they are by far my favorite part of the sandwich) and there werent even what I would call a normal amount. The turkey also tasted more rubbery (I wonder if they get the turkey from the same distributor?). Maybe I’ll stick to having Potbelly as a special treat when I’m in Chicago–the NYC Potbelly just doesn’t have me that thrilled. Sad.