French Brunch in DC

This weekend my family came to visit, and ended up staying at the Hotel Monaco. This place was incredible- with impeccable service, ridiculous decor, and unbelievably delicious cuisine. Upon arriving at the hotel, we were greeted with wine, (yum!!) and a kind staff.

On Saturday night we had reservations at the hotel restaurant, Poste Moderne Brasserie, and we had the most incredible time. Our table wasn’t ready when we arrived, but the hostess insisted upon sending us free drinks and appetizers for the half hour wait. The wait staff was friendly, passionate and knowledgable and the food was impeccable. I recommend the Steak Frites. Can’t wait to go back!

Check out some photos of our stay!

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Mom’s Chicken Soup

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Check out the delicious homemade soup I made from my chicken pot pie scraps and stock!!

After defrosting my stock and chicken scraps, I simply boiled some soup veggies, and simmered everything together in a pot for twenty minutes! So comforting, light and yummy! It hit the spot!!

Try yours with chopped carrot, celery, onion, fennel, potatoes and some fresh herbs. Then grab a hunk of your favorite bread, and simply add some salt, pepper and oil to garnish. I also like making crotons with stale bread.

I’m Back!!!!!!!

Hi everyone!!! I have missed writing so much and have thought about this moment every since I stopped in September! I finally feel settled again in my new city- Washington DC- and can’t wait to share all of my adventures that have occurred over the last four months.

In the next few weeks I’ll cover: my trip to Hawaii and all the amazing types of food I was exposed to while there, my trip to Virginia wine country, some of my weekend trips around the city, and great food tips I’ve accumulated since the big move!

DC is so different than New York, and I must admit I miss my home city and its amazing gastronomy, but DC has a lot to offer and so many new things to try!!!

Tonight I’m headed to the movies-Chronicle- and I’ll be sure to share how it is!

Below, please check out my delicious breakfast- chocolate croissants from Trader Joes. Just let them rise overnight and you can have the yummiest croissants without getting out of your PJs…. just don’t look at the calories!

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My Salty Pimp

Photo: Courtesy of Kaylin Berry

Last week my sister and I went an hour out of our way– downtown to Union Square– so that we could try the ever popular Big Gay Ice Cream Truck’s wonderful frozen confections. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. The Big Gay Ice-Cream Man must be some sort of ice-cream genius. He has taken a simple idea– a soft serve ice-cream truck with run of the mill flavors– and simply recreated them. From double-dipped cones, to sundaes and even fig balsamic glaze covered vanilla ice-cream cones, this guy has thought of it all.

Upon entering the long outside the truck, I immediately became  smitten with the Big Gay Salty Pimp. The Salty Pimp– which is vanilla soft-serve, lined with stripes of dulce de leche, covered in freshly cracked sea salt, and then smothered in chocolate shell– is out of this world. If I had to describe this dream-0f-an-ice-cream-cone in one sentence, I would say it is something like consuming a vanilla ice-cream stuffed, chocolate covered pretzel. Does it get any better than that?! Simple, but crazy right?

Coming to the truck is something of an experience in and of itself. While waiting online right before closing (8:15 pm and he closes at 8:30pm) I was able to witness The Big Gay Ice-Cream Man hand out a reflective vest to the last person online, giving them explicit instructions to turn away any new visitors. In return, he would give them a free ice-cream. While this task seemed  simple enough to an onlooker, it was actually quite an affair. I saw everyone from angry couples, to crying small children get shooed away from the truck! Every once in a while our Big Gay Ice Creamer would yell out to the vest wearing scolder– “Keep GOING!”– all the while laughing jovially. In truth, I don’t think anyone could be mad at him because he was such a character, but man was he tough!

So, here’s a warning to everyone out there searching for a yummy frozen treat after dinner– by god get there before 8:15 pm because as the sign states on the truck “There are NO exceptions” to closing at 8:30 pm. Who can really blame him actually, the guy was single-handedly handing out about 5 ice-creams a minute!

State Farm: Need a Job? Think about coming to this info session…

Hey all you Gettysburgians!

If you’re looking for a great job opportunity, or at the very least an opportunity to have a one-on-one uninterrupted (informational) interview for 5-10 minutes, then consider registering on BrazenCareerist for the State Farm Agent Opportunity on August 16th at 10:00 am.

I myself am in the middle of transitioning away from Gettysburg and into the job force. Over the course of the last year I have come to learn that any information session has helped me to learn–  if not more about other venues and opportunities– then about myself and what I am looking for.

This session is specifically focused on recruiting those who wish to work (or who already reside) within Eastern PA, so be wary that this is what the interviews will be centered around. State Farm is a great company, progressive in nature, and if you have an entrepreneurial inkling I urge you to look into this– you still have a week to decide!

Once again, this is a great chance to make real connections with real people if you are at all interested. At least log onto BrazenCareerist to learn more.

If this opportunity does not suit your needs then look out for future job fairs, and Network Roulette events that feature majors areas across the country.

Andrew’s Local Honey at the Rockefeller Center Farmer’s Market

Today at the Farmer’s Market I was lucky enough to arrive before the crowd, and had the opportunity to talk to some vendors. One vendor in particular, Andrew of Andrew’s Local Honey, — a very charasmatic and enthusiastic man by the way– struck up conversation with me. I was really intrigued by his bee farming technique– he places hives on rooves all over 3 of the 5 boroughs (Brooklyn, Manahattan and Queens) boroughs and cultivates honey from the cities own honey bees!

Andrew has many honey, pollen, and honey comb-based products including: soap, fresh pollen, pollen and honey blends, and a variety of types of honey. Some of the honey’s are simple, generic, natural and local. However, others are flavored. Still my favorite has to be the very unique and delicious Whipped Honey with Cinnamon ($10 for 12 oz jar).

 

All of the products range from $6 to about $25, pulling in an average at $15– and they are worth it! As I posted earleir this year, I recommend eating lcoal honey ebacuse it helps with allergies. But beyond his normal honey I loved his natural soaps and adored the fresh honey comb. Plus, as I stated earlier, how often is it that you can have whipped cinnamon honey?! YUM!

 

Andrew can be found most often at the Westport Farmers’ Market on Thursdays, or the Greenwich Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.

Overall, I think this guy has a really great thing going, and I encourage everyone to go pick up a jar between 8:00am and 5:00pm on one of the next 5 upcoming Thursdays. Not only will your visit make for a peppy, enthusiastic, and overall boggling conversation, but it will also provide you with yummy deliciousness for your pantry. Or, why not pick up some early Christmas gifts? Hey, it’s never too early to start right?

Hammond Dairy Farm– Farmer’s Market at Rockefeller Center

First of all, I must admit that I did not attend the Farmer’s Market Thursday or Friday last week, so I didn’t meet any new vendors. But, this morning on my way through the marketplace I did get to stop and sample some delicious yogurt from Hammond Dairy Farm. The farm located not so far away in Duchess County, definitely has my approval and utmost support!

The owner of the farm is a veterinarian– not only does this give him a much better understanding of his cattle, but it also means that he has love and respect towards his livestock. Just that little fact alone made me trust the farm more than other organic companies!

Also, the philosophy behind Dr. David Hammond’s farm is truly inspiring. This farm is exactly what our country is lacking right now, and proves how much hard work, determination, and a solid ethical and humane outlook on food and animal protection can make anything possible (no matter the size of the budget). In fact, here is a little quote from the site describing the treatment of their beloved livestock

              “We have a herd of 200 Holstein cows (those beautiful black and white cows), and treat them like family. Each cow has her own name, her own place on the farm, and is treated in the best of conditions. Our cows are fed all natural grass, and range contentedly on our beautiful green pastures. As Dr. Hammond is also a practicing veterinarian, we guarantee the excellent care of our animals.”

Dr. David is the exact sort of man who I want to multiply and set up all around the country. With clean, honest food, not only do we protect ourselves, but we also protect our livestock and our land and Earth– what I call farming with integrity. Although this sort of farming still exists in parts of the country, and usually on a very small-scale, it is also dying (right along with our own countries economy). Farmers need to stand together, and more importantly, consumers need to stand by their farmers and support them!

This brings me to my next point. Hammond Farm’s dairy products are affordable… and damn good. Just this morning, I was given two generous servings of yogurt to taste before purchasing a regular 6 oz cup for $2. That is less than I pay for Brown Cow and Fage yogurt– and they are not authentic farm raised organic brands! Not to mention, they had a deal today -buy 2 f0r $3– how awesome!

More importantly though I would like to point out that I usually find that at Farmer’s Markets, especially in the city, sellers try to raise their prices. This happens  for a variety of reasons: it is a long commute for the farmer so the produce price is raised to meet the needs of the owner; sellers try to raise the prices to match the target allowance of their consumers; or sometimes they are just big old jerks who like to rip off innocent people whose eyes are glazed over gazing upon the bounty before them. Either way, Hammond Dairy Farm does anything but rip you off. Dr. David’s yogurt was some of the best I have ever had in my life. I would have gladly shelled out a few more dollars just for the taste! Never mind that it is much fresher and purer than most of the things that I eat!

Moreover, how about we all decide to start supporting our wonderful, honest, hardworking farmers and shell out a few dollars a week extra to keep their farms safe, sound, and healthy.

Please stop by and support these wonderful people who help to keep our land, our bodies and minds, and our economy strong.

Rockefeller Center Summer Farmer’s Market

Today is the first day of the Rockefeller Farmer’s Market. I urge you to at least go and walk through the market. It’s not often that this area of town sees so much greenery, and smells so fresh! The market, which will occur Wednesdays through Fridays (8am-5pm) from today until September 2nd, holds host to at least 15 vendors who feature anything from fresh herbs, to organic, local breads, produce and cheese. Most of the vendors come from the Hudson River Valley, but I met some who came as far as Lancaster PA from Amish farms.

I think that anyone who appreciates good, clean food, and supporting our farmers, economy and passionate growers should stop by and spend just a few dollars to keep our community and selves healthy and growing!

I know that I’ll be back at lunch to pick up some fresh lavender and ripe pecorino cheeses! Special shout out to Valley Shepard for reproducing gorgeous artisanal, Italian, Spanish and French inspired local cheese.

Check out the website.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated about special finds there…

PizzArte, Only 10 days after opening night

PizzArte

Review

Menu

 

Where:

69 W. 55th St.New York,New York10019

 

When:

Tuesday, July 19th 2011

 

Rating:

*****

 

Price Range:

$15-21 for pizza; varied but expensive wines

 

Menu:

Limited for now since they just opened. The pizzas are wonderful; they have classic style Margherita (only $16) and even some more expensive specialty pies such as the Pulcinella—featuring fresh prosciutto cherry tomatoes– and the Pizzarte—with speck and zucchini flowers.

 

Décor:

Funky, clean and simple. I love how understated and modern it is. Also, having the upstairs is perfect for bigger parties.
Wait Staff:

The wait staff here is bubbly, enthusiastic, and helpful. Most of the wait staff at PizzArte are Native Italians, some are actually fromNapoli, and most chatter with each other in-between serving tables. The ambience of this restaurant is wonderful, cozy and familiar. Waiting for your pizza you feel transported; customers sip delicious imports, admire the funky artwork, share stories fromItalywith the wait staff and bask in the smells emitting from the authentic wood fired oven.

 

Food:

The food is remarkably fresh, tasty, and has a distinctly smoky and tangy aroma to it. I loved how easily one could share the food, and still feel so satisfied at the end of the meal. My favorite dish was easily the Diavola pizza, and paired with a dry red wine such as the Debbiolo, I was in heaven.

 

Drink:

The wine list is wonderful, varied and relatively cheap for what you will be getting. I must say, I was immediately impressed to find that there was only one Chianti on the wine list, and not a single Barolo to be found. One of their best sellers was a Banfi, not surprising, but still a little different. Overall,  I found the list to be fairly simple and very fitting for traditional, light, crispy southern-style pizzas.

 

This is my new favorite spot, and I will be back often!