Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Wednesday at the last minute my dinner companion changed, but, luckily, Jaime offered to serve as back-up. We already had the restaurant picked out, Oms/b a.k.a. Rice Ball Cafe, so it was easy to get together at the last minute. Oms/b met our needs - midtown for easy access to Port Authority, fairly inexpensive, and ethnic. Okay, so, we don't really make ethnic a priority. It just happens.

Oms/b is small. At first, it looks like you can only sit on one side of the tables lining the right-hand side of the restaurant. It turns out a little stool is tucked under the table. I guess, like everywhere else in NYC, they have figured out a way to make the most of their space. The staff was very friendly and the service fast.

We both ordered Set A: Any 3 Rice Balls + Miso Soup for $7.50. I ordered the Yukari-Plum, Spicy Tuna, and another pickled vegetable type one. (If I took this seriously, I guess I would take notes).
Jaime had seaweed, spicy tuna, and salmon, The rice balls are cute, hand-size triangles that remind me of sushi with more rice than filling. The Yukari-Plum was salty; I didn't expect that, am glad I tried it, and won't be trying it again. I really, really liked the pickled vegetable one. The rice was sticky and slightly sweet, just like it should have been. Jaime felt that the miso soup was quality - it had a thicker consistency than lots of places.

I'll definitely go back here. It would be a great place to wander by late afternoon when you are hungry and unable to go home. The hand rolls are at most $2.00 each and much better than a hot dog, dried out pretzel, or even the yummy almonds from the Nuts about Nuts carts.

Location: 156 East 45th Street (between Lexington & Third Avenues)
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00a-7:30p; Sat 11:30a-5:00p
Price: $

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Ever since my move to the UES, I've been dying to split a bottle of wine with someone at Cavatappo. I went once, ages ago, with Jeff and wanted to go again, but for some reason it never worked out. Randomly enough, Jeff contacted me last night and suggested we catch up over wine at Cavatappo.

George, who runs it, let us try the different reds to pick the best bottle. My favorite was the one Jeff didn't like, but eventually we found a mutually agreeable wine and headed out to get a table. It was the perfect night to sit outside, so I'm glad I was able to take advantage of it. I know the dreaded winter is only a matter of time now.

Our wine came and flowed as did our conversation; we shut Cavotappo down. I highly recommend Cavotappo for catching up, enjoying wine, and partaking in cheese (not that I had cheese this time).
I can't wait to go again!

Location: 1728 Second Avenue at 90th Street
Hours: Mon-Thurs 5:00p-12:00a, Fri-Sat 5:00p-1:00a, Sun 4:00p-11:00p
Price: $$

Heath Bar Cookies and Coconut Rice

After buying a bag of miniature Heath bars and eating them by the handful, I knew I need to do something with them. I discovered that I had all the ingredients for the Magnolia Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, except the chocolate chips, on hand. It was fate. They were easy to make and would have been quick, if I had remembered that softened butter didn't mean melted in microwave. Luckily that misstep didn't hurt their flavor in the least.

I also baked salmon this weekend and ate it with coconut rice and spinach. Try this recipe for the rice. It's perfect.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Milk & Cookies Bakery

When I mentioned to Kimberly that I needed a West Village location to meet my sort-of co-worker, Molly, she suggested Milk & Cookies Bakery. It was a great pick. The girl behind the counter was friendly and the cozy, quiet bakery had seats available for catching up.

The fare is simple, yet there are enough options that it took a few minutes for me to decide on an ice cream sandwich. I chose one composed of two sugar cookies and almond ice cream and ordered milk to go with it. Molly quickly chose hot tea and mint-chocolate cookies and mint ice cream for her ice cream sandwich. Neither of us shared, but her ice cream sandwich looked good and disappeared rapidly. I can attest that mine was good. My only complaint is that the ice cream didn't have an almond flavor? It just tasted like plain ice cream.

That said, the important thing at a bakery named Milk & Cookies is the cookies and they were rounded as if scooped with an ice cream scoop and slightly chewy i.e. perfect. On my way out, I contemplated buying an oatmeal scotchie cookie and the girl generously gave me one on the house. It tasted very oatmeal and had a great texture, but could've used a bit more butterscotch.

Overall, I would say that Milk & Cookies is slightly uneven but totally worth the trip.

Location: 19 Commerce Street (between Bedford & Seventh Avenue South)
Hours: Tues-Sun 12:00p-10:00p
Cost: $ ($1.00 per cookie and $4.50, I think, for ice cream sandwiches)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Baked Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Tofu, Dried Apricots, and Walnuts

This Saturday's cooking adventure was Baked Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Tofu, Dried Apricots, and Walnuts. I've been curious about it ever since reading Superfoods RX last Fall and Acorn Squash is finally coming into season again.

Much like beets, I only discovered I liked squash over the past few years. The key, for me, is roasting it and bringing out the sweetness. Prior to this discovery, I only knew squash as a slightly soggy dish created with butter, salt, and pepper. Doesn't that sound appetizing? Exactly.

The fact that this roasted squash wasn't honey-coated didn't make it any less appetizing though. My one complaint is the recipe didn't advise me about placing the squash halves face down or face up in the water. Maybe it doesn't make a difference? I won't know until next time I make this recipe, which will likely be sooner rather than later due to its great flavor and texture.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Divine Bar

I went to Divine Bar with my sorority's Junior Circle tonight. I arrived late and tried to join another group, as if I wasn't already flustered by working late. Luckily, the next group was mine. Our group was arranged on comfortable couches around a low table being looked after by an attentive and patient waiter. The background music was low, so Divine Bar was well suited for our purposes.

While the martini menu tempted me, I went with my original plan and ordered the Blue Cheese and Walnut Stuffed Figs wrapped in Crispy Proscuitto and served warm with a Tawny Port Reduction ($9.50) and the appropriate Syrah wine pairing ($17.00). The figs were melt in my mouth good. I literally scraped every bit of the Port Reduction off the plate. What can I say? I'm a classy girl.

When the bill came and the martinis were a record high $15.50 each, I was even happier with my choice. That said I'm starting to think you get what you pay for... I would definitely go back to Divine Bar next time I'm feeling self-indulgent. I want to try a flight of wine and some other tapas to see if they are as well executed as my figs.

236 West 54th Street (between Broadway and Eighth Avenue)
Hours: Mon-Fri 4:30p-1:30a, Sat 7:00p-3:00a, Sun 6:00p-1:00a
$$ to $$$

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


It is unlikely that Blockheads is the most authentic Mexican food out there, but it is affordable and tastes pretty good to me. It's dimly lit, a little small, and decorated with sock monkeys. Unfortunately, the webpage doesn't explain that connection and I didn't attempt to figure it out.

We started with the complimentary chips and salsa and two frozen Sauza margaritas ($3.00). I attempted to order the Cuban Rice and Beans plate, but discovered they were out of plantains. Does this mean they didn't order enough or was it a popular dish? I'll have to find out next time. Instead, I ordered their basic rice and bean burrito ($8.50). It tasted good, but was a little too similar in shape to my attempts to make burritos at home. I just can't fold the ends under. Jaime's Quesadilla Grande ($10.95) looked much tastier and she was able to take half home.

Overall, Blockheads was a pretty sweet deal and we agreed that we would go again. Can't beat $3.00 drinks!

Location: 954 Second Avenue (between 51st and 52nd Street)

Hours: ??
Price: $

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Tonight was another adventure in catching up. Ankush arrived in NYC back in August for more professional schooling, but we just now had a chance to get together. I was nervous, but I had nothing to worry about our conversation flowed smoothly throughout the evening and I didn't think twice about hugging him hello. Yes, it is surprising that I didn't think about it as I'm a bit of a touch me not.

Initially we were going to Holy Basil, but the gorgeous weather enticed us into walking around to find somewhere with outdoor seating. We finally settled on Cremcaffe: outdoor seating and reasonably priced Italian. We started with a glass of wine each and the complimentary bread served with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The bread was soft and fresh, always a plus. This diversion dulled my hunger and relaxed me enough that I could choose a main course and stop manically checking my cell phone for work-related phone calls.

I ordered the Chicken Parmesan and Ankush ordered the Chicken Marsala. Both dishes came with pasta or veggies on the side. We chose pasta. The portions were very generous, especially for the price (around $12.00 each). The quality wasn't the best ever had, but it was very good and they didn't overload the pasta with garlic. (Sorry, Jaime, it definitely beat your attempt at Chicken Parmesan from college. Ha!).

I somehow managed to clean up my whole plate while talking a mile a minute about all of our mutual acquaintances in college, our opinions on NY life, and best of all about food. I suspect/hope we will have several more outings of this nature due to that common interest. Anyway, I would definitely return to Cremcaffe in the future.

Location: 65 Second Avenue (between 3rd & 4th Streets)
Hours: Mon-Thurs 3:00p-11:00p; Fri 3:00p-12:00a, Sat 12:00p-12:00a, Sun 12:00p-11:00p
Price: $$

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Nectarine Cobbler

After getting home from work tonight around 8:00 pm and finding something to eat, I made this Nectarine Cobbler from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook (Thank you, Kathryn!). I didn't really want to cook so late, but I wasn't sure how long the ripe nectarine's would last. Thus my belly is now full of sweet goodness.

Cobbler wasn't my first choice. I really wanted to make free form nectarine tarts or nectarine crisp, but somehow didn't have the right ingredients in spite of so much grocery shopping on Monday.
It doesn't matter. The cobbler is way too tasty. This blog is a not-so-secret an attempt to refrain from eating more. Brushing my teeth will be the next step, followed by blissful sleep.

In spite of the deliciousness of homemade cobbler, I probably will not make this recipe again. I would prefer a crispy topping. Without further ado, here are the pictures!

Our other roommate, Kaitlin, came home tonight after traveling. As soon as she walked in, she was back out to get drinks with a potential crush. Tracy's been telling me about her dates from Thank goodness for living vicariously through them...only, really, I'm perfectly content baking not dating. It's rather shocking.