Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mario Batali knows his stuff

  So after an exhausting shift in the ER, I came home to be a grandma.  I fell asleep watching The Exorcist (I've gotta get in the Halloween mood somehow) and was woken up by a phone call.  Naveen, who goes to med school with me, is in NYC right now on a cardiothoracic surgery rotation at Mt. Sinai.  We decided to meet up for dinner, and I had researched Eataly, a new restaurant near Madison Square Park created by Mario Batali.  Reading reviews of the restaurant, it was summed up that this place was the closest you can get to Italy without actually being there.  Eataly is a HUGE warehouse full of delicacies.  Seriously, I can't even do the store justice by explaining it to you.  Basically it's divided into different foods and you can stop to eat at each one.  There are standing tables and barstools throughout the entire store.  For example, you can sit down at a table to eat pasta, or you can enjoy an assorted cheese and meat platter with a glass of wine while standing at a tall table.  This place has the most beautiful ambiance.
 I made the decision that if I was going to "Italy", damnit I was going to wear red lipstick.  I am firm believer that lipstick fully completes any outfit.  No one can mess with a woman in red lipstick.

The gelato store is one entrance to Eataly.  Don't worry, I had some before I left.

  Sorry that it's not such a great picture, but this is one of the other many entrances.

  I know that this menu picture is of the greatest quality, but I couldn't resist taking a pic because of all the delicious things on it.  Mind you it was expensive food, but so worth it.

Drumroll please.................we decided to sit at the "vegetable butcher".  Basically you sit at on a barstool at a bar and see right into the kitchen.  The chefs at this station use only the freshest veggies and cheeses around.  It was amazing to observe the quality of produce and ingredients at this place.  I was in love.  On the board I saw a special bruschetta.

  Spaghetti squash garlic bruschetta with brown butter, freshly grated parmiagiano reggiano, and crispy sage.  I wish there was a way for me to portray this dish in real time.  FREAKING PHENOMENAL!!!  The squash was tender and garlicky, the brown butter to die for, and the sage and cheese just melted in your mouth.  Another cool thing is that except for this bruschetta and one other dish, everything else at this station is vegan.

  This was Naveen's entree....grilled eggplant with capers and a fresh mixed green salad with a homemade citrus vinaigrette.  The way they warm up the capers really added a unique touch but without the usual strong peppery bite that capers normally have.
  My entree was the roasted root vegetable salad.  Warm sauteed butternut squash, sweet potato, parsnips and carrots over a bed of cool mixed green lightly dressed in a shallot vinaigrette.  I wanted to lick the plate clean and eat more entrees.  If I was made of money, I would've tried everything on the menu.

  There was no way that I was going to leave without some gelato in my life.  I got the medium 2-flavor cup......hazelnut on one side and vanilla pear on the other.  The hazelnut was so strikingly similar to actual hazelnut flavor I was stunned.  And the pear vanilla was the best and most unusual flavor combination I've seen.  Naveen also got the sweet cream flavor and the amaretto, both of which were additionally astounding.

"I have no more words.  I'm actually speechless.  This has never happened to me before."
-----prize if you can guess the movie this quote is from.  I know that Kati and Heather probably know.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The What Museum?

  Yesterday was one of my glorious and few days off from the ER, so I decided to utilize the day to explore Manhattan.  I've been to Times Square multiple times, but I figured I should venture uptown once to see it while I'm here.  Once you've been to Times Square a few times, it kind of loses its appeal.  However, I had a delicious lunch.  I ate a bagel from a street vendor yesterday and it was AMAZING!  I don't care what anyone says, but NYC bagels can eat any other bagels for breakfast.  Panera bagels can kiss my butt. 
  When I walked down to Times Square, I decided to use my Yelp app to find a vegetarian restaurant for lunch.  Maoz Vegetarian, a falafel place came highly recommended, even for a chain.  I knew it would be good when I saw the line stretched around the building.

1.  Start out by choosing whether you want a pita only, a meal (what I did), or a salad.
2.  You pick white or whole wheat pita.  The guy behind the counter stuffs it with lots of falafel, crispy grilled eggplant, and hummus!
         -  Basically, they have a salad bar of sorts with all kind of interesting toppings.  I chose tabbouleh,
             pickled eggplant (I've never had it; wanted to try it; it was different), and cucumber and tomato
4.  With the meal you get mint lemonade and sweet potato fries.

This falafel was the best I've ever had.  Not that I've had many, but this was one of the best.  This thing was huge!  I only ate half and was sad that I was walking around all day and couldn't save any of it for later.  Also, I enjoyed my lunch while people watching in Bryant Park.  2 very fashionable male fashion students shared my table, and all I could think about was, "God, I look so frumpy compared to them!" 
Let me describe each layer of flavor of my awesome lunch.
Falafel:  Crispy, warm, crumbly, and full of savoriness.??  Just made that up
Hummus:  creamy and tart just like it should be
Eggplant:  Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.  Maybe it's flash-fried?  Couldn't tell.
Pickled eggplant (Bright red tomato-y looking thing):  Interesting flavor.  Not sure what I think.
Cucumber salad:  one word.  Red wine vinegar.
Tabbouleh:  Delicous, fresh, minty, perfect balance of herbs and spices.

Ridiculously good sweet potato fries.  So crispy and warm.
Mint lemonade:  good flavor, but not nearly minty enough.

After becoming thoroughly bored of Times Square within a very short amount of time, I made my way back downtown.  I've been researching a certain museum and finally went today.....The Museum of Sex.  WOW!  This was definitely an X-rated museum, but really informative and fun.  Each of the exhibits was really entertaining.  There was one exhibit that told the story and evolution of porn, another was all about condoms.  My favorite part of the condom exhibit was all the words they had for a condom....some I can't display on the blog but one was "Zucchini Bikini."  Another exhibit was on robot sex (didn't realize there was a following of this) with really cool figurines, and an exhibit on the sex lives of animals.  I'm not going to get into some liberal opinion session, but the animal exhibit had really interesting scientific info.  Such as, multiple breeds of animals have documented homosexuality witnessed by researchers.  With certain animals in each pack, such as lions, that only will mate with animals of the same sex.  That's some food for thought, isn't it?  There are also documented cases of necrophilia among mallard ducks.  Gross, but intriguing. 
  I was also given a coupon for $2 off a potion in the Oral fix cafe.

Mine was mango pomegranate with lavendar sugar.  The sugar tasted like nothing I've ever had before.  It reminded me of green tea; like to had infused green tea flavoring with sugar.  The drink was too sweet for me, but I drank half.
Make of this what you will.  Haha
This is just the side of the building.  The entrance to the museum is actually quite ornate.

I'm now sitting in my room enjoying some TJ's artichoke ravioli and salad.  My boring old-lady self is going to drink some hot tea and eat my Pinkberry.  Have a good night!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


  So today's shift was even busier than yesterday's....I felt very overwhelmed but I had a good time.  When you start the 1st week of a new rotation, it's kind of frustrating not knowing where things are or how things are run in the ED.  However, I know that by the end of the week I should get the hang of things. 
  I have 2 delicious dinners to share with you.  Monday night's dinner was had with a friend of mine in med school who is currently doing a rotation at Mt Sinai.  We ended up going for a drink at Amber and heading across the street to dinner at Turkish Kitchen, a cool under-the-radar place on 27th and 3rd.  Not pictured below is the appetizer of Patlican Salatasi.  If you've ever had baba ganoush, it basically tasted the same except with a smokier flavor.

 This was my dish and was simply called Veggie, not very interesting but tasty all the same. The only downside was that I didn't realize the bed on which my veggies were lying was almost identical to our appetizer.  
  Grilled zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes and green pepper served over eggplant puree.  

The meals featured below were the rest of the table's, not mine.
Islim Kebab
Baked lamb shank wrapped in eggplant slices and served over rice.
sis Kebab
Chunks of baby lamb chargrilled on a skewer and served with rice and potatoes.
We nicknamed the potatoes Turkish tots.

I can't find the name of this dish but it was chargrilled lamb and okra. 

Yesterday's breakfast was another yogurt mishmash, but I added raspberries and blackberries.  I bought them from a street vendor (I had initial weariness about this), but the fruit was very good.
  Andy's mom is visiting a friend in Queens, so she took the train over here to Murray Hill to have dinner with me.  We stumbled upon the The Bluebell Cafe, this cute open door restaurant in Gramercy.  We sat in one of those cute table with open French doors beside us so we could people watch.  Not only was this restaurant charming in its decor (go look at the website), but had an interesting drink menu.  I ended up ordering a pumpkin ale, Southampton pumpkin ale.  To eat, I got the grilled veggie sandwich with fries......soooooo good.

It might not look impressive but that my friends is some of the crispiest, butteriest bread I have ever eaten on a sandwich.  The sandwich had zucchini, squash, portobellos, provolone, and pesto. 

I'm in for the evening and feel like being lazy.  I think I will eventually make my way over to a frozen yogurt place....I'm really feeling it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Great Day

  Let me start out by saying I just finished my first shift at Bellevue.......the verdict is in.  Awesome.  It is your crazy, typical chaotic inner city emergency room and I loved it.  Everyone was so nice, even though I'm clueless about everything since it's a new hospital.  I'm pretty sure that this month is going to be an unforgettable experience. 
  So I'm living very close to the hospital in Murray Hill in inexpensive student housing, but there's a catch.  My roommate warned me that she doesn't cook very often.  This translated into (when I arrived here on Sunday) one pot with a lid, a couple of forks, a knife, and no plates, bowls, cups, etc.  I was dumbfounded.  So basically I bought some cheap plates and I'm making do with nothing.  Very unfortunate considering that I love cooking.  After polling some people, it seems like a lot of New Yorkers get takeout every night.  I guess Sex and the City wasn't too far from the truth, when Carrie filled her oven with sweaters.  But there aren't any sweaters in our tiny oven.  Hell, there's nothing in that oven and I don't think anything has ever been cooked in it.  Let's just chalk this up to life experiences.
  I ended up waking up very early yesterday morning, so I walked to DD.  I'm going to be contributing significantly to the economy because obvi there's no coffee maker here.  I can't expect someone who doesn't own a plate to have a modern commodity such as a coffeepot.
  I fully intend on eating breakfast here every morning before I leave.  Not only because it saves money, but also because I don't have the time or stomach to eat other crap.  However, the hospital has an Au Bon Pain in the lobby, so bagels might occasionally tempt me.
-  TJ's plain yogurt
-  squirt of agave
Bear Naked granola,  banana nut
-  big dollop of TJ's crunchy almond butter

That's my new ID.  And yes, that's my undecorated institutional psych ward bedroom.

-  big salad (no more boring salad pics for you)
-  Dr. Praeger's California veggie burger.  This above pic may look gross but it's by far my favorite plain veggie burger.

Organic dark chocolate coconut bites.  BUY THESE!  (if you love coconut)  These are huge pieces of coconut rolled in delicious dark chocolate.  Yes they're expensive, but they are delish.  Be warned....they look like dog turds in the bag.

Mid-day beverage.  Honest Tea is pretty low in calories, even for the whole bottle, and it's a nice change from water or soda.

I didn't buy these or eat them, but I took a pic of them for my girl Brittany over at vegan virgin, happy belated anniversary!  I was just very impressed at all the awesome vegan choices for lunch.  They all looked amazing, so I think I will go back sometime and try some.  The vegan sesame noodles on top looked really good.

I went running along the East River last night and it was beautiful that I ended up on the lower east side and got a little lost, to the point of "accidentally" running 6 miles.  However, since I've been a running slacker I really need to up my mileage to what it used to be in my hey day.

I'm going to dinner tonight with my mother-in-law so hopefully I'll be able to post some good NYC eats.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New York State of Mind

As I sit here typing with the sounds of sirens and honking horns, I'm drinking a cup of cinnamon spice tea and thinking about my day.  Last night I spent the night in DC with Courtney; she's doing a pediatric rotation at George Washington Children's Hospital.  We had dinner in Alexandria at a Thai restaurant.  The pictures will come once I figure something out.  My mom let me borrow her camera and I'm not sure how to get the pics off because I can't hook it up to my computer. 

Our Thai Experience.
Tom Yum soup:  a delicate vegetable broth simmer in scallions, lemongrass and basil with mushrooms and sprouts.  This was the most flavorful soup I've ever had from an Asian restaurant.  The lemony-goodness of this was breathtaking.

Tom Yum soup courtesy of Google.

Tofu Pad Thai:  The best pad thai I've ever eaten. I feel like I would need to go to Thailand to find any that's better.  This baby was full of crispy tofu, carrots, mushroom, broccoli, sprouts, scallions, and peanuts.  Every other restaurant gives you tofu pad thai with no other veggies.  
Curry Puffs:  We had no clue what to expect of these.  They were pastry puffs filled with curried potatoes and onions with basil.  Different, but tasty.
Courtney got a veggie curry dish that was delicious also.  
Now, on to today.  I arrived in NYC after riding the Bolt Bus which was amazing!!!  Free Wifi, roomy seats, and I watched Netflix the entire way.  The trip came and went before I even noticed.  I admit, I was initially overwhelmed when I got here.  All the people and excitement were here, but I'm alone.  Haha.  It's a very strange feeling.  However, I went shopping at Trader Joe's which made me feel much better.  The line at this TJ's takes about 20-30 wraps around the entire store!
I have to admit, I went out for Vietnamese food.  I can't seem to get enough of Asian cuisine lately.  Soooooo good!!  I'm living in Murray Hill/Kips Bay area, and there's tons of awesome looking restaurants.

Murray Hill Restaurants
The Asian fusion restaurant
 This is the closest thing I've ever found that can even compare to Ming's crunchy noodles and sweet 'n sour sauce.  RIP Ming's.
 Vegetable bun....warm vermicelli noodles with lettuce, sprouts, celery, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, and peanuts.  Some sort of interesting sauce came on the side.  This was very good.  Different than anything I've ever had.
Not such a bad beer.  Overall, I just find Asian beers to be pretty boring.

Good night friends.....I'll be back tomorrow from my crazy ER shenanigans.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkins Galore!

This was my delicious breakfast the other morning.  Fresh coffee, pumpkin oats, and assorted fruit.  That's grapefruit, kiwi, and starfruit.
Pumpkin oats with Whole Foods crunchy almond butter, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.  I've been eating this breakfast on multiple occasions.  I'm determined to leave no pumpkin behind this fall.
So....the grapefruit and kiwifruit were delightful.  I wanted to vom right in my mouth after eating the starfruit.  I thought I would like it, but it tasted like chemicals.  Bleh!  I love almost every fruit and vegetable, but now starfruit and papaya are on my s#*t-list.

  In the evening, my med school friends and I had our annual pumpkin carving evening.  We always make sure to prepare a delicious pumpkin/lentil/apple soup that is to die for.  I will also admit that I ate the soup knowing that it contained chicken stock.  I didn't care....that soup is too delicious to argue semantics.  Here are some fun photos from our evening.
My hubby (in the background), my pumpkin, and my Yuengling.  3 things that I love all together.
The soup!!!!  Mary also had the brilliant idea of literally grilling grilled cheese.  We put those babies on the grill and it was probably the best grilled cheese of my life.  Wheat bread, butter, and colby jack cheese!
Dipping action.

Courtney chose to be a culinary prodigy by baking tradition beer bread but added pumpkin to the dough.  She served it with pumpkin butter.  Does anyone notice a theme to the evening?
Courtney and I.  All you EM shirt says "Trauma, not Drama."  Be jealous.
Fall-themed trail mix.
I ended up getting to leave class early yesterday so I brought home my lunch and supplemented it with a pseudo-sandwich at home.  That's a sandwich thin with almond butter and chocolate hazelnut butter on one side, and 2 egg whites with cheese on the other.  Such a filling and colorful lunch.  And as always, my salad was the bomb dot com.
Snackage....kiwifruit with Fage honey yogurt and blueberry muesli.
The annual breast cancer awareness fundraiser was held at Fat Patty's  this year, also voted #1 for burgers in WV.  I started my evening with an Oktoberfest.
This is the "Not so Cow patty", born on the bayou style.  Veggie burger with cajun seasoning, onions, peppers, honey mustard, and provolone cheese.  Crispy pickle on the side.  Those fries are worth the calories.  You MUST try them.

Talk to ya later!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

  That picture my friends, is the beginnings of homemade pizza.  I've had some Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza crust in my freezer for awhile, and now was the time to use it.  We had so many good pizza ingredients in the refrigerator, and I'm leaving for NYC soon, so I'm trying to use up our food.  Nothing beats homemade pizza.
  Check out that crispy bubbly goodness.  TJ's makes some excellent crust, and it's only 99cents!!

  You can probably tell which side is mine and which is Andy's.  Mine had mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, olives, and artichokes.  Andy's was the same but with the addition of pepperoni.  I don't have a picture but I added fresh mozzarella to the pizza.  And it was brilliant.

  Boring repeat salad to all of you.  But delicious.

  This morning's coffee...Mexican chiapas.  As a birthday gift (back in May) from all of my awesome friends, I was enrolled in the coffee of the month club.  Every couple of months I get 2lbs of coffee in the mail.  The Mexican chiapas has by far been my favorite. 
    Breakfast today was soooooo good.  Sandwich thin with almond butter on one side and pumpkin butter on the other.  2 sliced kiwis and 2 egg whites.  Go check out my friend Brittany's blog.
I got my pumpkin butter at the Pumpkin Festival in Milton, WV.  Unfortunately, Brittany wasn't able to attend this year, and when I saw her blog post this morning lamenting about missing pumpkin treats I thought of the pumpkin butter in my frig.  Brittany, I wish I had an extra jar that I could lend to you!
  I am going to enjoy this weekend as much as I can.  It's my last weekend here with Andy and the puppy before I leave for NYC.  If I end up eating something good, I'll try to post.