Archive | September, 2010
In case you missed it, I was on The Wendy Williams Show on Tuesday, September 28th to compete in a Top Chef: Just Desserts segment with my NYC Nom Nom Double Trouble Peanut Butter Cup. Two other audience members and I put our desserts up against each other to be judged by Wendy Williams, Gail Simmons, and Johnny Iuzzini. It was a blast!29 Sep
Thank you to everyone who voted for me in Round 1. Votes still count! So please vote me through Round 2 on Project Food Blog! Here is the link: http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/916
And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow morning to the Wendy Williams Show to see me compete in a dessert challenge! Set your DVRs now!
It has been a big week for NYC Nom Nom. First, I found out that my recipe was selected to appear (with me, of course) on the Wendy Williams Show LIVE this Tuesday! I will be up against 2 other audience members in a dessert competition that will be judged by Gail Simons and Johnny Iuzzini for a Top Chef: Just Desserts segment. I am making a Double Trouble Peanut Butter Cup that was inspired by a concoction I made for Mike’s birthday last year. I just did a test round and it turned out really well! I will be sure to blog about it after the show, however, don’t forget to tune in at 10am LIVE in the New York area on Fox 5. If you are not in New York or want to catch it later that day, you can find the rest of the Wendy Williams TV schedule here.
Second, I filmed my first video blog for Nom Nom. Stay tuned for a vlog about making a Chocolate Meringue.
Lastly, I was THRILLED to find out that I have advanced to Round 2 of Project Food Blog. Thank you everyone for voting! This week’s theme is “The Classics.” The challenge is to take a classic that is out of your comfort zone and cook it as close as possible to the original. For my Classic, I chose to go with Banh Mi. First, Vietnamese food is VERY out of my comfort zone. While I make a lot of classic American, Jewish, and Italian cuisine, Vietnamese is in a totally different ball game. On top of that, I was using a slow cooker for the first time. I received one for my birthday a few weeks ago and this seemed like a great opportunity to try it for the first time.
So why Banh Mi? Well… we have been watching The Great Food Truck Race on Food Network and I was THRILLED to see that there was a truck called The Nom Nom Truck competing. We also were lucky enough to go to the LA Times Food Festival when we were out in LA 2 weeks ago (blog to come) and sampled the delicious food from The Nom Nom Truck.
The closest I have come to cooking Vietnamese is ordering in on Seamless Web. I’ve had my share of Pho delivery and have dined at a few Vietnamese places in NYC, however, most of the ingredients and cooking methods are out of my comfort zone. I’m also not a huge sandwich fan, nor have I ever made a point of making a fancy one.
Last night before bed, we prepped the pork for the slow cooker. The first step was just melting sugar. Now I’ve only melted sugar with butter or water in the past, so I was nervous that it would burn, but it melted into liquid and caramelized quite easily.
Once it all turns to liquid, you pour in chicken stock and fish sauce. Now the recipe warned that the ”caramel will harden and steam vigorously.” What I didn’t expect was splattered liquid all over the stove that quenched the gas flame and hardened the caramel to a complete solid. I spent the next few minutes quite nervous that one of my favorite pots was ruined and I’d have to start all over, however, the caramel did in fact melt and all was well (after a bit of clean up).
Next, I added the shallots, garlic, and white(ish) parts of the scallions.
The smell was fantastic while it boiled for 4 minutes.
Mike was nice enough to chop up the pork while I prepped.
All that was left to do that night was throw it all in the slow cooker, set it to low, and leave it for 8 hours. Couldn’t be easier!
I was quite nervous when I woke up the next morning. I have never used a slow cooker and didn’t know what to expect. Luckily, it looked (and SMELLED!) fantastic.
The morning prep involved a quick pickling of carrots and daikon. I have eaten daikon a few times in my life, but I didn’t realize that, when raw, it looks like a giant white carrot. I’ve never really cooked with daikon before, though it’s very popular in Vietnamese cuisine. Turns out, it tastes a bit like a bitter raddish when raw.
I’m not the best with a knife, so we peeled both with a peeler and used the shavings for the veggies.
The next step was to soak it in vinegar, sugar, and water for 30 minutes (or up to overnight).
We got parbaked bread from Fresh Direct and heated it up as the last prep step.
Next up was assembly. I spread it with mayo and the pickled veggies.
Then the meat and some more veggies and cilantro on top.
So how was it? Well… even my pork-protesting sister enjoyed it if that says anything. I thought it was delicious, but it wouldn’t be able to compete with the Nom Nom Truck’s sandwich.
It was a lot of fun, however, to do something so out of my comfort zone and try new techniques. I can’t wait to try some more challenges! Keep ‘em coming Project Food Blog!
(And don’t forget to watch The Wendy Williams Show on Tuesday!!!!)
If you love my blog… or just love me… or just love food… or just want to do something nice for today… VOTE FOR ME! (You have to login, but you can just use Facebook connect and then put a little red heart on my profile to vote)
If you want to know why I deserve this and why I’m awesome, my answer to challenge #1 can be found here.
PS- If you want to Tweet about it, Like it on Facebook, or mention it anywhere else, I’d be greatly appreciative. Here is the URL: http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/336
Being a FoodBuzz Featured Publisher, it’s has been a fun ride. I really like what they do and how they support us bloggers (including a great tasting I won!) They are now embarking on a big competition to select a blogger who will be featured on the site for a year and win a $10K prize. (I was shocked when I realized I got more excited about the potential of being featured than the cash prize!)
The bloggers in the community have to blog about a specific topic each week and then a panel reads the blogs and they and you, my lovely readers, vote (VOTE FOR ME! VOTE FOR ME!). It is called Project Food Blog and this, my dear readers, is my first entry.
(As I was typing it, I realized that a text heavy blog is just SO not my style, so I’m adding in some of my favorite pictures of the past 3 years just to give you something perty to look at. Deep down inside I really am a 4 year old who just likes picture books… if only I could make this a pop-up blog)
Week One: “Ready, Set, Blog!”
The question is “What defines you as a food blogger and why should you be the next food blog star?”
It would be hard to answer this without some back story. First of all, I have never, ever considered myself an expert. In fact, I consider myself a forever student. Granted… an extremely opinionated student, but a student none-the-less. I doubt I am alone in the food blogger community when I say that I love food. I love eating food. I love cooking food. I love talking about food. And most of all, I love the way food brings people together.
I started on this venture because I was given the very good fortune of being taken out to some of the best restaurants in Manhattan due to my job. Whenever family and friends would come into the city, they knew I had tried some of the best and always asked my advice. I have a terrible memory and would always come up with something like “Oh there is this great Italian place in midtown!” (Big help, Sara!) So I started to write them down. Then I started keeping an email draft of all the places I recommended so I could shoot that off whenever someone needed a recommendation. Then I started using Tumblr just to be able to reblog some things I found interesting and realized it made a great repository for these restaurant lists.
At the same time, I was teaching myself to cook. I really knew nothing about cooking, and was pretty (in)famous for hermedically sealing a pot the first time I tried to cook on my own at college.
When I discussed that I might start blogging about dining out and cooking with my awesome boyfriend, Mike, he thought about it for a few minutes and said that I should call my blog “Nom Nom” because that was what I always said when I really enjoyed food (sourced to either Cookie Monster or ICanHasCheezburger). NYC Nom Nom was born.
What was the question again? Oh right! What defines me? I’m a foodie of the people, an equal opportunity eater. Sure, I may eat at fancy restaurants a little more often and I might know how to make mayonnaise, but, besides that, I think people value my opinions on restaurants because I’m honest and opinionated. I’m also not stuffy about it… I rank strip mall Italian restaurants in the same respect that I rank 5 star restaurants. I believe good food is worth paying for and that you can have great food at a diner. I also just learned how to cook, so I’m still learning and I love to share the things I learn. And I even share my failures… even the embarrassing ones.
I think my latest venture into Weight Watchers is also an interesting twist since I will not sacrifice good food, yet I still am managing to lose weight (17 pounds and counting!)
So what makes me a star?
You do. My awesome readers make me a star. Every one of you who has tried a recipe or restaurant from this blog. Every one of you who shared a recipe or restaurant with me because of this blog. Every one of you who has had a chuckle at my epic fails, shared a shaken fist about being poisoned in a restaurant. Cooked me a meal, let me cook you a meal. Shared a snack, bought me a lunch, let me buy you a dinner, and, especially, every one of you that has encouraged me along the way.
You all rock my socks.
As always… Happy Nomming!
My sister became my hero when she donated 10 inches of her hair to Locks of Love. When we were in the area, we stopped by Origin Thai for lunch. There are two more locations in Somerville and Basking Ridge, NJ and they bill themselves as being a French/Thai fusion. I have only previously been to the Somerville location, and it was actually the first place I ever tried (and liked) Thai. It never fails to impress.
Both Stacey and my mom chose the Massaman Curry. Even I like this dish (and I am just not a curry fan).
The sauce is just perfect and the ingredients are fresh.
I chose the Pad Thai. I’ve tried many different Thai dishes, but Pad Thai still remains my favorite. And Origin does it just right.
And see that little cigar on the side? It was delicious, however, as it turns out that lovely sauce was filled with spicy chilies. Both Stacey and I suffered after trying it, as we are both allergic. It wasn’t pretty.
Overall, Origin is set apart because of the quality and freshness of the ingredients compared to most Thai places. It just has a leg up on the rest.
Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10
After hearing about Luke’s Lobster (we went to the one on 7th Street near 1st Ave, however, one just opened up on 81st Street near 2nd Ave) for a long time, I finally made my way there as a “last meal” at my old job.
Staring at the menu, I was really stuck. I wanted to try as much as possible, so I eventually decided on “A Taste of Maine” which included a small version of each of their rolls (crab, shrimp, and of course, Lobster) along with 2 Empress crab claws, chips, and soda.
It was a bit more than I usually spend on lunch at $20, but fresh seafood ain’t cheap. Oh wait… aren’t lobsters prices at all all-time low? Ok… I guess we’ll forgive them for transportation costs, etc. Sort of…
I really enjoyed the Maine kitsch that decorated the small storefront.
My soda pick was, of course, blueberry. It was delicious, sweet, and tasted like dessert (definitely NOT on the diet plan).
The sandwiches came and they were certainly small, however, they were overflowing with meat.
Luke’s Lobster bills itself as being fresh from Maine, and I really value that, however, the lobster just wasn’t the same. I can’t totally fault them, however, because I have had lobster at some of the finest restaurants in NYC and it just never compares to the lobster in Maine, right off the boat, and simply steamed. Even when I buy LIVE lobsters to make myself, it just isn’t the same. Is it the Maine water? Air? The 10 hours of transit? I wish I knew… because it’s good, but it’s just never quite MAINE good. The roll at Luke’s was exactly on these lines… good, but not the same. And (I HATE to say it) it tasted almost frozen (perhaps their fridge was too cold?)
I actually wound up preferring the shrimp roll (shockingly), however, the highlight of the meal was the Empress Crab Claw. HOLY SHIT!
This tiny little claw packed SO much flavor.
Overall, I’m glad a place like Luke’s Lobster exists since they are such Maine fans, however, they still haven’t solved the eternal “MAINE GOOD” problem. Sad, but I’m glad I went. And I would go out of my way for that Empress Crab. Nom Nom Nom.
Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10
They closed down for a few months when a new owner came on board. I’m not sure what they changed, however, I was so excited that it opened back up that I ordered take out. Very expensive take out to be exact.
I chose the Pappardelle alla Genovese (with braised pork, beef, and veal). It sounded great, but I was kinda bummed when I opened up the lid to find… this…
I mean, you pay $20 for pasta from a restaurant that you were blown away by last time, you expect more than this lump of goo. And it was fine… just… fine. Nothing even remotely interesting about it. I still had hope for Mike’s dish…
Linguine alle Vongole e Zucchine (with littleneck clams and zucchini). It was… fine. Fair… Okay it was boring.
And the side of sauteed spinach? Also… bland.
I was beyond disappointed. It was SO good in the restaurant before and this was just so bland. For a $50 delivery, I expect more to begin with, but to have such a great place turn to so boring just sucks. Maybe it was an off day… or maybe they just don’t do delivery well. I MAY try to give them another try by dining in… but this was so uninspired I might just throw this on the “give up” list. Bummer.
Total Nom Points: 5 out of 10
I think that the Highline Parkis an excellent addition to NYC. I love the story… I’m sure it’s romanticized, however, from what I understand it was an abandoned railroad track that was going to be demolished before someone went up there and saw a beautiful wildflower garden and went on a crusade to turn it into a public park. It is now open from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street between 10th and 11th Aves. It will eventually be open to 34th Street and while it’s quite far to the west, it’s worth the walk. It’s a fun merger of the industrial parts of NYC and the beauty of a wild garden.
There are small vendors allowed to sell food on the Highline, and I was excited to see People’s Pops were there on a day we were walking.
They were making freshly shaved ice, however, that’s the one thing I forgot to take a picture of (d’oh!)
I chose the yellow plum + shiso. It was REALLY great, however, I’m not sure I liked the skin in it. It turned very plasticy in the pop. The flavor was great, however.
Mike chose the blueberry, plum, and basil (continuing the odd merger of basil in desserts that we have run into often lately). It was good, but I preferred mine.
On a hot day, it’s a perfect stop.
It appears there is some bug that I have run into on Tumblr. The individual links to my latest posts are not working. If you run into any problems, my apologies. Tumblr has forwarded me onto their development team so, hopefully, it will be repaired very soon. In the meantime, you can still read all the posts, but you just can’t click on them individually.