Pizza Party

Sometimes, nothing quite hits the spot like a slice of pizza. Of course, a slice after yoga probably isn’t the best idea, but perhaps it’s a little better than a slice without yoga or a workout? Recently, Kristina and a friend checked out Patsy’s after yoga. There are a few different unaffiliated Patsy’s in NYC, and while we’ve been to the Harlem location a number of times, this was the first visit to the one in Greenwich Village.

We started dinner with the Insalata Arugula, which included arugula, endive, radicchio, sun-dried tomatoes, shaved parmesan and a honey vinaigrette. It was a fresh and satisfying way to begin the meal! The real star, though, was the pizza, which we enjoyed topped with fresh basil, kalamata olives and mushrooms. It had the perfect balance of cheese and sauce, and the olives added just enough salt. There wasn’t room for dessert (just finishing yoga, after all!), but the tiramisu was calling for sure.

There are so many amazing pizza shops in NYC that it’s hard to choose where to go, but Patsy’s will certainly stay on our list when looking for a casual meal in Greenwich Village. In your opinion, who makes the best pizza pie (or slice) in NYC? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Patsy’s Pizzeria
67 University Place
NY, NY 10003

Vegan Fare at Jolo’s

If you read about our visits to Candle 79 and Recologie, you know that from time to time, we like to treat ourselves to vegan food. When visiting New Rochelle, one of our go-to spots for vegan food is Jolo’s Kitchen. On a recent trip, we enjoyed a big portion ($12 for a choice of 4 items) and a smoothie. You can taste the freshness with each bite of kale, “chicken,” and mixed vegetables and grains.

When you walk into Jolo’s, you’re immediately greeted by friendly staff, if not the man himself himself. We don’t go as often as we’d like, but Jolo always greets us by name, which we’re sure he does with all his customers. If you enjoy vegan food and are in the New Rochelle area, we recommend stopping by Jolo’s Kitchen!

Jolo’s Kitchen
412 North Avenue
New Rochelle, NY 10801

Time for Talde

With good friends in Brooklyn, we always enjoy the opportunity to visit them and the area. Last time we visited the borough, we enjoyed brunch at Applewood and noticed that Talde was right across the street. We told ourselves that next time we were in the area, we would definitely stop by the popular restaurant.

Since we were a party of 6, we were able to make a reservation which allowed us to go right to our table. We were greeted by the server who let us know that everything is served family-style and comes out as it’s ready. We started with dumplings, kale salad, brussels sprouts and the much talked about (on social media) Kung Pao Chicken Wings.

The dumplings were cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside with the meat nice and tender on the inside. We make kale at home, never prepare it as well as it was done at Talde– lightly fried with tasty dressing and toppings. The brussels sprouts were tangy and delicious. The Kung Pao Chicken Wings were as good as advertised- juicy, spicy and perfectly seasoned!

Talde is a great spot for small groups, as it allows you to try many items off the menu. We also had the Korean Fried Chicken, Chow Fun and Beef Short Rib Kare Kare.

After the meal, we were stuffed and completely content. However, on the suggestion of the persuasive server, we decided to order dessert– splitting one between the six of us wouldn’t be bad, would it? Talde offers one dessert, a mango empanada. It was the perfect way to cap off a memorable meal!

IMG_5298To say we enjoyed the meal is a understatement. Although we don’t make it to Park Slope as often as we’d like, we’ll certainly make time for Talde again soon!

Talde
269 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

7 Piscos, 14 Cocktails

Last September, the hungrier half of FP (Allen) attended Ceviche vs. Tiradito, a tasting hosted by the Trade Commission of Peru to determine which of the two delicacies was most favored by the audience. Next week on April 23, the Trade Commission of Peru is hosting 7 Piscos, 14 Cocktails in celebration of Earth Day in true Peruvian style. Come celebrate Pisco, Peru’s native spirit, as homage will be paid to Pachamama (the Earth Mother) who receives a pago de tierra (payment to the earth) of Pisco before any bottle is filled.

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Guests will have the opportunity to taste, side by side, seven different Pisco brands (Bar Sol, Campo de Encanto, Macchu Pisco, Ocucaje, Pisco 100, Pisco Porton and Queirolo), and fourteen innovative cocktails from some of the most creative mixologists in New York City. In addition to drinks, guests will enjoy Peruvian appetizers prepared by the winners of our last year’s “Ceviche vs. Tiradito” event – Coco Roco, Raymi and Runa.

It’s not too late to purchase tickets. But don’t wait too long as there is limited capacity and no tickets will be sold at the door. Enter code ‘7Piscos’ and you’ll receive two raffle entries for an opportunity to win some exciting raffle prizes including: bottles of Pisco; dinners at New York/New Jersey/Connecticut’s best Peruvian restaurants; cocktails at some of the tri-state area’s most interesting bars; and trips to Pisco, Peru.

For more information about the participating brands, restaurants, bartenders, Pisco cocktails or Pisco in general please contact Francine Cohen at francinecohen@mindspring.com, (917) 607–2404, or visit www.naturallyperu.info. Cheers!

Savor CT 2015 Recap

Once in awhile, we like to take short road trips and explore areas outside of Westchester County and NYC. Last Saturday, we decided to drive up the Merritt Parkway to Hartford for the first annual Savor CT event at the Connecticut Convention Center.

We've arrived at SavorCT!

Great vendors at Savor CT!

Hosted by Chef Robert Irvine, this event had everything  you could ask for! From fine wines to delicious food and chef demos, it offered a little bit of everything inside a great venue for this type of event. Don’t be too jealous, but here is a sampling of what we ate:

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In addition to the food, the highlight of the day was hearing from Chef Irvine as he saluted veterans, brought audience members up to the stage during his cooking demonstration and really worked the crowd. One thing’s for sure: we definitely want to stay on his good side. ;)  We also listened and learned about Ming Tsai, who both offered kitchen tips and had the audacity to suggest Chef Irvine hit the gym. Both demos proved that these chefs have senses of humor in addition to kitchen chops!

As with all our road trips, we do our best to include a little history along with food. We had the opportunity to tour the home of Mark Twain as well as visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Both sites taught us something and helped round out our trip to Hartford.

Many thanks to Annika Deming at the Connecticut Convention Center for her help in arranging passes for us to attend the event. We’re already looking forward to next year and hope to see you there!

Getting to know Chef JJ

Last month, the hungrier half of FP (Allen) attended the C-CAP Benefit and had the opportunity to taste delicious food from some of the best chefs in NYC. One sample that caught Allen’s attention was the curry crusted cod with kimchi rice porridge prepared by Chef Joe “JJ” Johnson, Chef de Cuisine at both Minton’s and The Cecil in Harlem.

Curry crusted cod with kimchi rice porridge from The Cecil

Curry crusted cod with kimchi rice porridge from The Cecil

We reached out to Chef JJ to learn more about him and have both restaurants on top of our list of places to eat in the near future!

FP: How did you get your start with cooking?

JJ: I was always in the kitchen with my grandmother. I liked being in there with her because she used to make the kitchen fun with music and dancing and singing. Looking back on it now, she really was cooking all this great food that I hated, as a kid, but now I can’t stop eating as an adult.

Chef Joseph "JJ" Johnson

Chef Joseph “JJ” Johnson

FP: Grandmas always know best!

What is the one item in the kitchen you can’t live without? 

JJ: A wooden spoon. It’s one of those things that universal, in every kitchen.

FP: Now that we think about it, our wooden spoon always comes in handy.

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

JJ: Chef Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef season 12. I love her energy and her food. She’s super creative.

Chef Chris Coombs: Chris inspires me, he’s a restaurant owner before 30 years old. We actually went to The Culinary Institute of America together and he is so talented.

Chef Kevin Sbraga: We connected when I was in Philly for Forbes 30 Under 30 and I ate at his restaurant. It was the best food that I’ve eaten all year.

FP: What are some of your favorite meals to cook at home for yourself?

JJ: I love a good roasted ribeye so I make those at home. I use my cast iron skillet that I have had with me ever since I moved to NYC.

FP: Can’t go wrong with a ribeye!

When you go out to eat, name some of your favorite places in NYC.

JJ: Each time I go out to eat, I try to go to a new place. I ask my friends where I should go. Recently I went to the Modern. I like to hang out at Charliebird. I also have a running list of places I want to try next like The Musket Room and Cosme.

FP: Thanks for the suggestions. Our list keeps growing for sure!

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

JJ: Geez, I can’t say.. this is a great blog LoL

FP: We certainly have a bias, but we like our blog also lol

What are some of your non-cooking/food related interests and hobbies?

JJ: Coaching basketball. I help my dad coach his basketball team, Mountain B-Ball.

FP: When we’re not working and eating, we like to catch our share of basketball games!

If you could jump on an airplane tomorrow, which country/city/region would you visit just for its food?

JJ: I’d go to Morocco and Senegal. I love to travel and I get a lot of inspiration for my menu’s when I travel.

FP: It was great getting to know you. Thank you for your time! We’ll make sure to stop by either Minton’s or The Cecil next time we’re in Harlem!

Art in the Kitchen

Each week, Chopped provides unique baskets and backstories on the chefs brave enough to test their skills in the Chopped Kitchen. We recently reached out to Chopped Champion Silvia Baldini to learn about how her Italian upbringing and background as an art director led her to become a professional chef.

Chef Silvia Baldini

Chef Silvia Baldini

FP: How did you get your start with cooking? 

SB: Cooking is in my DNA. I was born in Torino Italy, and my parents instilled my love for food and eating from day one. My career in the kitchen started under the table of my mom and grandma, it was child labor really :) and it evolved through the years until I graduated from Cordon Bleu, and I became a professional chef.

FP: At least they put you to work doing something you learned to love. ;)

What is the one item in the kitchen you can’t live without?

SB: My number one item in the kitchen is definitely scissors! I hate opening packages I have zero tolerance and patience for opening tightly closed and wrapped objects and boxes.

FP: Tell us about your experience on Chopped. What was the hardest ingredient to work with?

SB: Chopped was awesome. The hardest ingredient I had to work with was for sure, the green fondant in the main course round. It went in the garbage!!! Yuk. The caramelized onion in the appetizer basket was pretty nasty too, but I used it in the sweet and sour sauce of the noodle dish.

FP: We love the concept of Strawberry and Sage. How did the idea come about?

SB: I was an art director for 17 years and then became a chef. I love combining my art background and experience in advertising with food. While cooking is my obsession, I also love working on projects that use both skills. I’m in fact writing my first cooking book and it’s going to cross over and touch both worlds.

FP: That sounds like an interesting cookbook for sure!

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

SB: At home I keep it simple. I love meals that use local and full of flavor ingredients. Food that you can share with many, as we always have guests, friends, and family coming and going. A bolognese goes a long way!

FP: The more the merrier, that’s for sure!

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

SB: I eat out a lot!!! I’m lucky to live in CT. So much good food and talent. I love anything by Bill Taibe, Bar Sugo, Locali, South End and Elm. I  just had a great dinner at Vespa in Westport. The skirt steak at Tequila Mockingbird is awesome by the way.  I have been meaning to stop by at Fortina and eat Chef Adam‘s food. I also love having cocktails and appetizers in summer in Rowyaton at the Seafood Restaurant .

FP: Sounds like we have to visit New Canaan for some good eats! Also, we’ve been to Fortina in Armonk and our meal was delicious! 

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

SB: I have many guilty pleasures. A perfect bite of parmigiano, poached eggs, I love Eggs!!! Bread and olive oil, the good kind, home made peach jam from the jar and my mother in law focaccia stuffed with prosciutto and fontina,  gelato from Gelatissimo in New Canaan, gianduiotti from Torino. Shall I go on?

FP: Yes.. please continue!

Name three people you would like to cook with in the same kitchen and tell us why.

SB: I would love to put all the women that meant and mean something to me, in the same kitchen and cook with them. From my mother, grand mother, mother in law, girlfriends, the women in food that inspire me constantly and my daughter too.

Add Julia Child in the mix, even if, someone just told me she is too cliché. Screw that, she always will rock my world.  We would share ideas, wisdom and recipes. That would be one hell of a meal and bitching session!

FP: What an inspiring list!

What are your non-cooking interests and hobbies? What’s a day off like for you?

SB: My husband and I train for triathlons as an excuse to eat freely and often. I also read a lot, and love spending time with my two kids and family!

FP: Triathlons and food- what a great trade-off!

Thank you again for your time. It’s been such a pleasure getting to know you!

SB: Thank you so much!! I hope to meet you soon and cook for you, in fact I’ll invite you to my annual garden pig roast this summer!

For more on Chef Silvia, check out her website: http://www.silviabaldini.com/!