In and Around Union Square

While we enjoy eating out at new restaurants, posting pics on our Instagram (@foodiepleasure) and attending food events, we actually do work our 9-5 jobs during the day– we promise! Allen works in the Union Square neighborhood and Kristina often meets up with friends in the neighborhood for yoga, dinner and drinks. Therefore, between the two of us, we’ve definitely eaten at our share of places near Union Square. Here’s a few of our favorites!

People who work and live near Union Square are happy to see that Dough has opened up a new location in the nearby Flatiron district on 19th Street. When a craving for a donut kicks in, it’s good to know Dough is close by.

Dough Doughnuts
14 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011

 

Of course, it isn’t all about the sweets! Peacefood Cafe offers vegan food and pastries that are healthy (well, maybe not the pastries…) and delicious! Kristina recently met a friend there for a tasty meal.

Peacefood Cafe
41 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003

 

When the day is busy and time is limited, Dig Inn has become Allen’s go-to spot for a quick bite to eat. Luckily for him, there is one right on 17th street!

Dig Inn
17 East 17th Street
New York, NY 10003

 

Republic is Allen’s place to go when has a craving for noodles. From broth noodles to Pad Thai to to glass noodles, Republic has a great selection to choose from.

Republic
37 Union Square West 
New York, NY 10003

 

Where are some of your favorite places to eat in and around Union Square?  Please share with us on Twitter at (@foodiepleasure) or email us at foodiepleasure@gmail.com!

NY State of Mind

Since we live and work in NY, we can’t help but cheer for Chopped contestants who are either from the area or work in the city or Westchester County… call it a NY bias. In a recent episode, we rooted for Emily Chapman, Sous Chef at David Santos’ Louro. After her victory, we caught up with the Chopped Champion to learn more about her.

Emily Chapman, Sous Chef at Louro. Photo credit to Michael Tulipan

FP: How did you get your start with cooking? 

EC: I began my start in cooking at a young age. My mom was a stay at home mom during my younger years, and our family was a sit down for dinner type of family. Every night at 6pm we would sit down for dinner. My mother would always try to include me and my older sister in the cooking process- especially if we were interested. I independently starting venturing into cooking around the age of 15/16, when I really started watching the Food Network again. (When I was younger I always watched the original Iron Chef, and of course Emeril) I started messing around with some recipes, or just some ideas I would get from watching some shows. Usually it was just for myself, but sometimes I would cook for the family. When I turned 17, I would host dinner parties with my friends, making chicken or steak dinners, which I continued to do in college as well. I’ve become known by a lot of my friends for my pasta sauce. Ironically enough one of the greatest kickstarts to my interest in the food industry was my first job at ShopRite, where I worked as a cashier at the snack bar. I had a lot of fun there.

FP: Sounds like you were meant to be in the kitchen!

Tell us about your experience on Chopped.

EC: My experience on Chopped was a lot of fun. At first I was very curious to see how everything would play out, what the process was, what the people were like etc. I was happy to see that the show was very true to how its depicted on TV. I always wondered how “real” some reality TV shows were, and I was happy to discover that Chopped is exact real time. Clock starts now means, the clock is starting now, and the first view of the basket is really the first view of the basket. I think the funniest thing for me being on that show was how quickly the reality (no pun intended) hits you in the first round. When you finally have a chance to process everything that is going on within the first 5 seconds, its like you have to reboot your brain to start functioning again. It’s one thing to have to cook on the fly like that, with pre-chosen ingredients, but to do so with a bunch of guys with cameras following you around and getting in your way, it causes a completely new element.

FP: We get anxious when we hear Ted Allen count down so we can only imagine the intense pressure  for you and the other contestants in the Chopped kitchen! 

What was the hardest ingredient work with?

EC: I think the hardest ingredient that I was faced with was in fact the ham steak (as everyone who watched the show heard). I hate ham steak, with a passion. I guess I let myself down by not really focusing on it during the round, partially because I just wanted it to disappear. I will say that one of the most difficult things on the show was being open and honest to millions of people that I don’t know. Knowing that a camera is filming you answering questions honestly definitely makes you feel exposed.

FP: Oh yes, the ham steak. Glad you persevered! 

Name three individuals you would like to cook in the same kitchen with and why.

EC: One of the three individuals I would want to cook in the same kitchen with has been and always will be my boss David Santos. I have never seen someone be so creative and happy while working aside from him (well, maybe me but I’m not that talented yet). I enjoy feeding off of his passion, and it allows me to channel my inner thoughts and ideas to the plate. For that, I am forever grateful.

Another person I loved cooking with was my former Chef Floyd Cardoz. Cardoz opened up a completely new light to cooking for me, teaching me the art and beauty of working with spices and flavors that literally will make your head spin. The flavor profiles he showed me at the late Tabla lay the foundation of how I view dishes today. Not to mention he has the greatest sense of humor.

For the third individual, my choice may surprise a few people who know me. I wish I could’ve had the chance to work with Charlie Trotter. When I first entered culinary school, many of his books were the first that I bought, I even did a report on him in my intro to culinary class. I just found his food so appealing, especially his simplistic yet bold approaches to vegetables.

FP: A great trio of chefs indeed! 

What are some of your favorite meals to cook at home?

EC: One  of my favorite meals to cook is actually one of the dishes I cooked on the show. Pho has become a huge favorite of mine. I love to cook soups and broths, but when I became exposed to the unique flavor profiles of pho in my international cuisine class, I became hooked. I love to make it, and how it challenges you every time to make sure that you time the evolution of the broth appropriately. I also love to make other Indo/Asian style dishes such as pad thai, fried rices, and braises. I do make a pretty good eggroll, my dad is still mad I haven’t made them for him at home yet.

FP: We’d love to try your pho day! 

When you go out to eat, name some of your favorite places in NYC or other cities you’ve visited.

EC: Top places for me to eat in NYC? Easy. But some may surprise you.

Hot Kitchen on 2nd Ave. The best Szechuan lunch.

Mirch Masala on Macdougal. David and I both think this one of the best Indian places in the city. The paratha rolls make me so happy. I really want to go work there for a day or two.

Uncle Boons on Spring Street. I tip my hat to these guys. They are a Thai food making power house! The green mango avocado salad makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

Louro. Yes, it may seemed bias because I’m the sous chef here, but I find myself here at “home” eating dinner more often than not. Something about the food just isn’t like anything else I can go find in NYC.

FP: Sounds like a delicious list! We’d love to stop by Louro one day. 

We ask everyone this question. What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name :)

EC: Guilty pleasures. I eat surprisingly healthy, aside from one thing. Fruit snacks. or gummies, or whatever you guys would like to call them. If they are gummy, and fruit flavored, and especially sour, I will eat them. All of them. Without thinking twice about it. Only one condition, not the Kelloggs brand. (sorry guys, just not doing it for me).

FP: Oh yes, we hear you about fruit snacks… so GOOD!

What are some of your non-cooking/food related interests and hobbies? What’s a day off like for you?

EC: My non-food related hobbies include a lot of sleeping. Otherwise I love going to museums, especially the Met and the Museum of Natural History. I enjoy reading, and I especially love a good karaoke night.

FP: That’s a well-rounded list!

Thank you, Emily for your time. We wish you continued success and happy eating! 

Soup Will Save the World

Who doesn’t love soup, especially this time of year? Courtney Allison, Tina Carr, Caroline Laskow and Julie Peacock are four friends who want to help people not just make and enjoy soup, but use it to build community through shared meals in their new book, The Soup Club Cookbook. We reached out to them to learn about the inspiration behind the book as well as a few tips on what makes soup truly magical.

The Soup Club Cookbook

The Soup Club Cookbook

FP: We love the concept of a soup club! How did it come about?

SC: Believe it or not, Soup Club started with granola, which (like soup) you always make in large, share-able batches…and the onset of soup weather, and a simple conversation. We didn’t invent the idea of food-sharing but we use soup club as a way to formalize what began as a spontaneous way to give away the extras from especially exuberant cooking. We have stuck with it and worked out kinks and come to depend on it and love it. What we’re doing now is spreading the word and sharing the fabulousness of food-sharing. And we’re still doing our soup club, of course!

FP: We love that you’re continuing your own club while encouraging others to start them up!

The Soup Club Manifesto is clever and powerful. Which parts of it stand out the most to you?

SC: All of it! But we all have personally meaningful parts: Tina was a chronic apologist! Soup club has taught her that it always feels good to receive someone else’s home cooked soup – never ever apologize. Caroline adds salt and crushed red pepper to everything, and felt strongly about encouraging other people to do the same. Courtney loves the idea of food sharing just because, not needing a special occasion although those are good reasons for food sharing too. The magical delivery is what gets Julie. Finding soup at your door is definitely magical.

FP: This might be an impossible question to answer, but what are your favorite kinds of soup?

SC: Week to week, meal to meal, craving and eating and enjoying soup has a rhythm. One night you’ll want something hearty, another night you’ll feel like something creamy (or creamed) or pureed. But then you may want meat the next or a hearty grain to chew.

Chickpeas and coconut milk find their way into a lot of our recipes (and bonus points for tallying up all our suggestions to use creme fraiche). Their heft and richness help the soups serve as stand-alone meals.

FP: Great tip on the usage of chickpeas and coconut milk!

When you’re not eating soup (if that ever happens!), what are your favorite meals to prepare?

SC: We love big salads, roasts, anything with eggs, a batch of interesting cooked grains like farro or wheat berries tossed with some delicious leftovers, olives, chunks of hard cheese (kind of a fancy antipasto salad), anything with anchovy butter (but especially cauliflower), anything with some homemade aioli. When we do get together there’s always something sweet on the table too like cookies, chocolate covered almonds, or nuts.

FP: What kitchen tools are most helpful for preparing large batches of soup?  

SC: A big pot (14 quarts recommended) and a sharp knife! …and a long-handled spoon for stirring and tasting as you go. An immersion blender is a must for pureeing large batches of soup. We are immersion blender evangelists.

FP: We love our immersion blender!

We ask everyone this question: what are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name.

SC: Late-night handfuls of Granola. Leftover halloween candy pilfered from our kids. Chai from our favorite hole-in-the-wall Pakistani deli (this one is all pleasure and entirely guilt-free). Cheese.

FP: Can’t go wrong with anything on that list!

In addition to being cookbook authors, you’re also moms and busy professionals. What are some of your non-cooking/food related interests and hobbies?

SC: We are an educator, an ecologist, a filmmaker, a nutritionist, a yogi, a traveler, a feminist, a mother, a runner, a Dane, a Jew, a Yankee, a Christian, a vegetarian, a gardener, and a coffee drinker. Like most of our friends and neighbors in New York – like most people living in the 21st century, perhaps – we wear lots of hats. We have some traditional jobs (educator, yoga teacher, parent, documentary filmmaker) and many interests that we’d love to pursue more fully (music festivals, boogie boarding, transcendental meditation, exquisite corpse marathons…).

FP: Your ability to balance roles is inspiring!

Where can people find The Soup Club Cookbook?

SC: The best place to buy our book is through our website www.thesoupclubcookbook.com and while you’re there you can read more about our adventures in soup and food. We’re on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. We hope people will look for us and share their adventures in soup and the food sharing the book (hopefully) inspires. You can also find the book at all online book vendors or ask your local bookstore to get a copy if they don’t already have it. We love bookstores.

FP: Gotta support bookstores!

What advice do you have for would-be soup club organizers?

SC: Choose friends/neighbors/ co-workers who are committed to the idea and want to see it work. Definitely find an easy point of convergence where the hand-off of soup won’t be too complicated. Talk about what you like to cook and eat with your would-be soup-mates. If you all start getting excited about what you may cook and share, its a good sign. And joining a CSA together is a good push into soup-making. At some point you’ll be totally overwhelmed by squash, greens, onions and carrots, all of which resolve into some good pots of soup (don’t forget to add some bacon, unless you’re a vegetarian, and then add some extra creme fraiche).

FP: You’re not professional chefs, how was the cookbook writing process? What surprised you?

SC: We’re still friends, still sharing food and still a soup club, two years after venturing into unknown territory.

Collaborating on the writing and decision-making was a humbling and emboldening process. We approached this project with little experience and relied on experts to guide us. Writing and cooking requires an extraordinary amount of work on the back-end – editor, writers, illustrator, recipe testers, photographer, food stylist, page and cover designers,copy editors, proofreaders, art director – there are so many moving pieces and a great cookbook is a true collaborative project.

The Grandmother Principle: Having to write down a recipe that you’ve made many dozens of times is a lot harder than we thought. Telling people when and how much to salt their soup (consistently, no less), for example, drove us a little crazy.

The amount of time to put together a book was beyond our expectations. I think all of us can appreciate the efforts, energy, attention to detail, sustained interest, etc that go into the making of any cookbook. The fact is that we still want to make the recipes in the book after making, testing, remaking, tasting, writing about, thinking about and editing all of them and that feels pretty amazing.

FP: Amazing indeed! You’ve taken the process from soup to nuts– literally. We’re ready to whip up a batch of soup right now!

If you’re in the NYC area, be sure to stop by powerHouse on 8th (1111 8th Ave. between 11th and 12th Street, Brooklyn) on Saturday, March 7th from 4-5 to meet the incredible women behind The Soup Club Cookbook and learn more about their journey.

6th Annual Chocolate, Dessert & Wine Lover’s Evening

Poster

For all the chocolate, wine and dessert lovers out there, this event is calling your name! The 6th Annual Chocolate, Dessert and Wine Lover’s Evening will be held on Thursday, February 5 from 6-9pm at The Marriot Hotel & Spa in downtown Stamford.

Over 70 exhibitors will be in attendance offering savory bites, sweet treats and beverages. The best part is that 100% of sales will benefit the Shelter for the Homeless. You can purchase tickets for the event HERE. To learn more about the shelter or how you can contribute, visit their website, Facebook and Twitter (@shelterfth) pages. We hope to see you there!

Chocolate, Dessert & Wine Lover’s Evening
Thursday, February 5 
The Marriot Hotel & Spa 
243 Tresser Boulevard
Stamford, CT 06901

Pre-Game Meals

Once in awhile, we like to catch college and Knicks games at Madison Square Garden (MSG). Yes, we know the Knicks are hard to watch right now (they won last night!) but attending a game a great way to catch up with friends and enjoy pre-game meals. Here are two places we recommend for a quick bite to eat before games.

Mustang Harry’s 
352 7th Avenue
New York, NY  10001
 
Just two blocks from MSG, Mustang Harry’s has been the go-to spot for us to grab a quick bite to eat before many games this season. We always enjoy coming here for the great service and good food. For those of you who enjoy grabbing a drink, there are over 30 beers to choose from and there is Happy Hour every day from 5pm-9pm. With over 20 high-definition TV’s throughout the restaurant, Mustang Harry’s is also a great place to watch games with friends.
 
 
Hill Country Barbecue
30 West 26th Street
New York, NY  10010 

IMG_4264

When you step inside Hill Country Barbecue (not to confuse it with Hill Country Chicken on Broadway) on West 26th Street, you’ll enjoy all the fun signs, pictures on the walls and great overall vibe. However, the most appealing thing you’ll notice is the aroma of delicious food!

You get a choice of meats (briskets, prime rib, chicken), sides and trimmings (hot, cold & house specials) along with market items and your choice of drinks. Don’t forget to save room for dessert such as ice cream and pudding. As you can see, there is plenty to choose from so make sure to bring your appetite. You won’t be disappointed!

Downton Goes Uptown

Have you caught the Downton Abbey fever? Kristina has, and she’s trying to get Allen on board. For that reason, we’re counting the days until Thursday when our friend Francine Segan (Twitter: @FrancineSegan) gives a talk at the 92Y entitled “Downton Abbey: The Art of Dining.” With food from Fresh Direct and tea from Tea Archives, the talk is sure to lend insight to the elaborate etiquette of the time period as well as dishes Mrs. Patmore would have been proud to send to the table! In addition to era-approriate treats, the event will feature trivia on once popular but now obsolete objects, garnish-making demonstrations and recipe handouts.

imgres

The talk is on Thursday, January 15th from 7:00-8:30 and we’d love to see you there! For tickets, click here. It will be the perfect chance to see if you’re up better suited for a meal upstairs or downstairs!

Broken Bow Brewery

Once in a while, we like to visit local breweries to experience what our area has to offer. After seeing their beer at Big Brew NY and in local spots, we decided to check out Broken Bow Brewery in Tuckahoe, NY. Lyle LaMothe, Head of Sales (as well as owner and father), gave us the inside scoop on the the family-owned and operated business during a tour of the brewery. In addition to learning about the inspiration behind Broken Bow and details about what makes their beer unique, we discussed things like the resurgence of craft beer in cans rather than bottles.

Afterwards, half of FP (Kristina) sampled a pint while the other half (Allen) turned back the clock and played Mario and Tetris on a old school Nintendo console. Over a nice drink and some peanuts, we let out our competitive sides with a rousing game of Connect Four.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With great beer, fun games, and a laid-back atmosphere, we’ll be sure to make a return visit to Broken Bow. If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to add it to your list of Westchester  Click here for details on the tasting room and free tours. Hope to see you there!

Broken Bow Brewery
173 Marbledale Road
Tuckahoe, NY 10707