Grilled Skirt Steak

>> Monday, March 30, 2009

I know what you are thinking. Ok maybe I have two ideas as to what you might be thinking a) what is a skirt steak and/or b) why is she going to write about skirt steak?

Well, first things first. A skirt steak is the cut of meat in the plate section of the cow and in between the brisket and flank. I know, it really meant nothing to me either. But if you look at this beautiful diagram via Wikipedia you can see where the meat comes from.

This was my first experience with cooking skirt steak and I mainly inspired because I had just eaten a delicious skirt steak with horseradish cream at Spotted Pig (post to come later!)

I was really quite pleasantly surprised when I went to the grocery store to purchase the steak. For about .40 of a pound (approximately 6.5 ounces) was $4.

That's almost half a pound of steak for under five dollars...I was liking this already.

I had looked over a few recipes that I want to try and for this steak, I thought, best to keep it simple and really taste what the skirt steak is all about. I noticed from just looking at the cut that this was going to be a little tougher than most other cuts and there was a decent amount of white fat streaking over the red meat. However, this doesn't bother me, I like fat on my steaks, and I believe that you really can make any cut of meat good, no matter it's reputation.

The full skirt steak laid out

So that is what I set out to do. Make this cut of meat as delicious as a filet mignon.


  1. 1 Skirt Steak (can be whatever size, this will just change cooking times)
  2. 1 Garlic clove (halved)
  3. Salt and Pepper


Rub garlic clove all over steak, infusing it with flavor. This will be VERY subtle, for a stronger taste I suggest mincing the garlic and spreading over the steak.

Heat grill pan (if you don't have a grill pan, I am sure that a skillet will work) on high, super high heat. Drizzle EVOO on the pan.

When the grill pan is EXTREMELY hot, put steak on for about a 1 minute and 1/2 on the first side, then flip for a minute on the other side. Now the pan should be so hot that there is smoke rising from the pan. You will probably think that something is wrong, but nothing is wrong, you are just getting a good sear on the steak. No need to be alarmed.

Anyways, after you cook the steak on the second side for a minute, flip back over for one more minute. This will be for a medium rare steak.

Cover the steak with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes.

I never really thought there was any truth to this whole, "let it rest" thing. Like most everything I thought I knew, I was wrong. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING. All the juices get reabsorbed back into the steak and make it perfection.

The steak was juicy, flavorful and not as tough as I had originally thought it would be.

There is so much you can do with a good skirt steak. As seen below, I cubed the steak and made an outstanding salad; tossed it with some bleu cheese and my favorite dressing. Also, as you can see in the picture above I cut the steak in two and had it again with some roasted fingerling potatoes, which I have full intentions to write about, because they are were simple, fresh and delicious.

Either way, if you are looking for an affordable steak, this is a great cut, easy to cook and really no hassle.


Roasted Garlic

>> Thursday, March 26, 2009

So this is just a quick little recipe about how to roast garlic.

After researching several different recipes I combine several that I thought would make this super easy and it was! I basically ate the entire garlic bulb. My breath was undoubtedly rockin'


  • 1 garlic bulb
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Foil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel away the other layer of the garlic. Try not to peel off so much that the actual clove is exposed.

Cut off the top of the bulb leaving the tops of the cloves exposed.

Drizzle with some EVOO and wrap in foil.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

When you take out the bulb make sure that cloves are tender to the touch. Gently remove from bulb.

Boom. Roasted.

I have some recipes coming up that incorporate this so take note!



>> Monday, March 23, 2009

So I did it. I went to Babbo. Straight up, there is absolutely nothing frugal about anything I am about to write. It wasn't the most expensive meal I have ever eaten, but trust me it was up there. In order for me to properly communicate the essence of this meal I think I should start from the beginning.

On February 9, 2009 at 10 am, I began to call Babbo to make a reservation for March 9, 2009. That's right, a full month before the actually dining date. This meal was to be for the winner of the Top Chef challenge, the game that Jef and I play each season of Top Chef. We each pick four chefs and whoever wins gets to pick the place where the loser has to take them to dinner. We both agreed that Babbo was our restaurant of choice and since it was such a nice place we would split the bill no matter who the winner was (eh hem, ME.) So I psycho-dialed for 30 minutes till I finally spoke with someone and locked down the reservation.

Fast forward to March 9th. The day was finally here, everything in a month basically revolved around this reservation. I can remember on March 1st literally thinking "there's only 9 days left till Babbo..." So yeah, I guess you could say I was excited.

Our reservation was at 8:30 and since it's in the neighborhood Jef and I decided to walk there. So we set out all dolled up and arrived at about 8:25. We checked in and they told us there's a little wait for our table. FINE. We were there 5 minutes early, so I was ok with this. Slowly time starts to tick by and before I know it, its 8:45. Now normally this wouldn't have been that big of deal, but considering the hoops that I had to jump to make this reservation, you would think that they would be on time...but whatever, we were at BABBO.

Finally we are seated, and to be honest Jef and I didn't really even look at the menu, we knew what we wanted (mostly because we had been studying it...for a month) -- the tasting menu. Listen, if we were going to to go to Babbo, we were going to go all out. We ordered some wine and anxiously awaited for the first course to arrive. They give you a cute little card with all the courses on it so you don't get lost and know what's coming up. Below is what we dined on that night:

  1. Culatello with Ramps and Pecorino

  2. Pappardelle with Hedgehogs and Thyme

  3. Duck Tortelli with "Sugo Finto"

  4. Grilled Guinea Hen with Pumpkin Fregula and Black Truffle Vinaigrette

  5. Coach Farm's Finest with Fennel Honey

  6. "Crema con Mosto"

  7. Chocolate "Tartufino"

  8. Almond Torta with Brown Butter Gelato

  9. Ricotta Cheesecake with strawberries, sweet cream and aceot mandori

Since reading this basically requires a dictionary I've hyperlinked most of the words that I didn't know, so if you have questions feel free to click on the links above and I'll do my best to explain below. Luckily the tasting menu online was pretty close to what we had that night so I knew what comprised most courses, but I definitely had to look about 25% of what we ate.

The only way I think that can truly take you through the experience is going course by course.

Course 1: Ah, course one. What a wonderful way to start the night off; Culatello with Ramps and Pecorino. The culatello (which is similar to prochuttio) was so tender and buttery it literally just melted in your mouth. It was presented as one large slice which encompassed the entire plate and was paper thin. Topped with pickled ramps (which are, to my understanding, onions) and pecorino cheese, it was utter perfection. Some bites had a little kick to them, which I really enjoyed. Jef said when he is rich he is going to order three orders of it because it was so good.

Course 2: Pappardelle with Hedgehogs and Thyme. Being half Italian I do love my pasta and thought this was an overall nice course. The mushrooms were meaty and the pasta was fresh. In my humble opinion the thyme was just a touch strong and in the scheme of the overall meal this was one of my least favorite courses. Again, nice, but I wouldn't order it.

Course 3: Duck Tortelli with "Sugo Finto." Even now as I sit here and write this all I can remember is feeling really, really heavy after I ate this. Which I have no idea if that was the intention, to the put the heaviest course early on, but I seriously finished eating it (I mean obviously I was going to clean my plate, duh!) and thought, ut oh, I might not be able to finish. Don't get me wrong I am sure that the course was cooked to perfection, but it was a bit lost of me since I was fighting the feeling of being too full.

Course 4: Grilled Guinea Hen with Pumpkin Fregula and Black Truffle Vinaigrette. "You go and do something like this…and totally redeem yourself!" I think that is really the only way to truly express this course. Redemption. Redemption for making me feel so full that I couldn't go on. But I infact did go on. I went on to savor the most delectable of all the courses we ate: the Guinea Hen. I knew enough about a Guinea Hen to know that it was a game bird, what I didn't know was how unbelievably awesome it was. Grilled to perfection, there was the perfect blend of fat and tender, succulent meat, that which ever fork full reminded me of why I am here. The pumpkin fregula and black truffle vinaigrette complimented the bird perfectly. My mouth is watering just thinking about this course. I would happily sell my first child to have that again, which probably isn't necessary since it's on the menu, but still if they ever take it off, bye, bye baby.

Course 5: Coach Farm's Finest with Fennel Honey. So when I was trying to figured this out online I could not for the life of me figure it out. Then once we got to dinner the light bulb clicked on and I realized this must be the cheese course! I love cheese, I love cheese like it's nobody's business. So this was a great course for me. A little slice of goat cheese and brie served with crunchy bread. Drizzle on a little honey, bam, delicious-ness. Definitely something that I am going to try at home!

Course 6: "Crema con Mosto." Ok, I still don't know what this exactly is, all I know is that had there not been other people around I would have gladly licked the little bowl that this cream from heaven arrived in. I swear, it was the creamiest thing I have ever eaten. So light for being cream and whatever "Mosto" is, is absolutely delicious. I want to say it's somehow related to chocolate, but I don't know. All I know is that my spoon was constantly hitting the side of the bowl as I tried to scrape for more.

Course 7: Chocolate "Tartufino." This course was good, I am not a huge chocolate person so it was kind of lost on me, but it was some delicious chocolate with a cherry inside. Surprise!

Course 8 and 9: Almond Torta with Brown Butter Gelato and Ricotta Cheesecake with strawberries, sweet cream and aceot mandori. Because apparently Jef and I look like the people who like to eat, we were brought two separate desserts and thankfully our server did. The dessert we were originally suppose to both get was the Almond Torta which was a cake made with olive oil. This was a fail in my book. The cake was a little dry for me and the brown butter sage sauce reminded me too much of the raviolis that made for valentines day. The cheesecake on the other hand, I could have eaten for days. There was a gram cracker-like crust on the top, and it gave the creamy text of the actual cake a really nice crunch. Honestly, one of the best cheesecakes I have ever had. The perfect way to end the night (especially since the server put that dessert in front of me.)

I will say a couple of things took me by surprise though, #1 was how unconcerned the host seemed to be about us not having our table on time, I don't know why but that really irked me #2 Out of all nine course, I really feel like the Guinea Hen course was the only one really well explained. I mean, I would have liked to known a little more about what I was putting in my mouth, especially after how much money I was paying!

With that said, this was truly a night to remember, we saw some celebrities (most notable Jorma from Lonely Island and SNL skits) and dined like them too. My applogies for the lack of photos, I felt a little weird snapping pictures of the food since it was so nice, but I got the best courses before I even knew they were the best! Ha!

Would I go back to Babbo? Absolutely. Do the tasting menu again? Sure, so long as I am not paying :)

110 Waverly Pl
New York, NY 10011

(212) 614-6670


Chelsea Market

>> Thursday, March 19, 2009

Living in New York provides me with the unique possibility of visiting some of the top markets in the world. My affinity for food has only grown further by having the freshest produce available. I don't know if I will stay here forever, but I do know that wherever I go they better have a decent market. 

Anyways here are some pictures I took a couple of weeks ago of Chelsea Market, home to the Food Network, so you know everything in there must be good! Enjoy!


Crumb's Cupcakes

>> Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Listen, I'm woman enough to admit when I am wrong and I was wrong. I wrote about Magnolia bakery and I was too nice, I said the cupcakes were good and possibly the best in the city. I said it and I was wrong and for that I apologize. My friend Marcy told me that I obviously hadn't had Crumb's cupcakes yet, which I hadn't...until recently. 

I was wrong. I was really wrong. Seriously. Crumb's cupcakes are like cupcake nirvana. If I were to die and go to heaven, no doubt Crumb's cupcakes would be there. Anyways...we went to the NYU location on 8th and University Place and were greeted by the friendliest cupcake salesperson ever. He was sincerely interested in which flavors we liked and helped us narrow down our choices. There were so many
 different varieties from classics like vanilla with chocolate icing, to delicious grasshopper, which was a chocolate cupcake with peppermint frosting with a gooey, pudding (maybe?) center. You don't even know how good...

They are so moist, and soft and break apart easily, but yet are still sturdy enough to hold a mountain of icing. And oh, oh the icing. Sweet sugary goodness. The different between this icing and the icing on other cupcakes like Magnolia or Buttercup Bakery is that while all the icings are sugary, Crumb's is more creamy and not as...crunchy. You know what I mean? You know when icing has been sitting on a cupcake and you can break it off? No can do with Crumbs, its creamy like almost melted ice cream, where it still has its shape but you can swirl it around. 

Then the size. I mean these things are colossal. They're HUGE. Definitely big enough to split or I guess if  you really hungry you could take it all. Then again you can take my mom's approach and eat half that night and the other for breakfast...

I don't know if this was a fluke or if Crumb's is always this good, but my mom said it was one of the best cupcakes she had ever had, so hopefully Crumb's can continue to make the sweet BIG treats. 

Visit their website for locations: 


Cheap Eats in the New York City

>> Friday, March 13, 2009

So I know the name of the blog might be deceiving because I don't often write about things that are truly "frugal." The name of the blog means that I am frugal in every aspect of my life in order to make good food and eat at good restaurants. Get it? The frugal wait for it, foodie(s).

Anyways every now and again I do run across some truly great cheap eats in the city and with Spring Break and the current economic situation it seems like now is as good a time as any to share these.

So here are my top cheap eats (cheap meaning for one person you can get a meal for about $10-$12 or less):

  • A Salt and Battery - I've written about this many times before and with good reason - it's delicious! Authentic fish and chips in the west village. I eat here at least once a month.

  • Cherin Sushi - great for big groups and novice sushi lovers. BYOB helps make this place super cheap. Most all rolls are under $10.

  • Caracas Arepas - traditional Venezuelan food, I once went twice in a day it's that good!

  • Real Thai - Ok, I haven't talked about this one yet, but this is one of my favorite Thai places located on 59th street @ 1st avenue. You can get soup or salad with a delicious thai lunch entree for about $6.50. Great deal!

  • Papaya Dog - I haven't written about this one either, but I can tell you from multiple experiences that this is one of the greatest hot dog places in the city. They offer the recession special (which ironically I think has gone up...) which is two hot dogs and a drink for about $4.50. Multiple locations throughout the city and perfect for a meal or snack!

All of these places are scattered throughout the city and cross over multiple genres. I like to give a little variety ya know? Either way they're all great and if you haven't been to them, then you should go!

Anyone else have any good cheap eats in the city?!


Geno's vs Pat's Cheesesteaks

>> Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So this past weekend I made my first appearance in Philadelphia and while there for other reasons, my main goal was this: to find and eat as many cheesesteaks as possible.

So you may remember this post that moved so many of you to comment on which place is the best for cheesesteaks. Wellllll I decided once I was there that I might as well just go to the two most tourist-y places first so I would have something to bench mark against.

We set out towards Geno's and Pat's (pictured above, Geno's left, Pat's right.) We found parking (no easy feat) and walked towards these two cheesesteak icons or "Steak Vegas" as Jef's friend Morgan referred to it as. If you have never been to Philly before here's a fun fact, Geno's and Pat's are across the street from each other. Literally. Across the street. And there is no way you would miss them. Genos is a little more ostentatious than Pat's and is lit up like the Las Vegas Strip. We get it, you sell cheesesteaks. Pat's is a little more subtle simply calling themselves the "King of Cheesesteaks..."

Ok so let's start. Morgan waited in the 20 minute line by himself while Jef and I waited in line at Geno's (which was wrapped around the block and then some...) Morgan got Pat's cheesesteaks and fries first so he brought them to us. Pat's - 1. Listen, skip the fries, there's really nothing special there. After 30 minutes in the Geno's line Jef and I finally placed our order that we had been practicing (didn't want to seem like a tourist at a tourist trap): 2 cheesesteaks whiz with onions and mushrooms. To our dismay they didn't have mushrooms. Pat's - 2, Geno's - 0

Finally we had our cheesesteaks, four to be exact. We secure a table and the showdown began...

Let me preface this by saying that Pat's had been sitting for about 10 minutes so I wasn't expecting it to be at its prime. However, it still won in my book. Yes, Pat you are the King of Cheesesteaks in tourist land.

The meat was chopped, the onions tender, the cheese whiz, well cheesy and processed but oh so good, and the mushrooms were perfect. I knew it had won by the fact that I kept coming back to it.

Don't get me wrong, Geno's was good. The meat was sliced thin, the onions sauteed nicely and the whiz is again whiz. Maybe if they would have had mushrooms they would have won, but I doubt it. It just didn't have the same flavor as Pat's and honestly I liked the chopped meat better.

Listen, overall this was a fun thing to do on a Saturday afternoon. It was crowded and you can definitely tell there were only a few locals, but whatever it was fun and the cheesesteaks were good. It wasn't like eating at Bubba Gumps in Times Square.

Next time I got to Philly I will definitely have to check out the steak shops that are off the map,
but I am glad I will always have Steak Vegas to benchmark by.

Thanks again to our wonderful tour guide Morgan, who literally showed us every part of Philly and really showed us some great places to eat (The Belgian Cafe being one of them!)


I'm still full.

>> Tuesday, March 10, 2009

As I write this I am recovering from one of the greatest meals of my life (seriously, no hyperbole here) - Babbo. It was one of those experiences that when you're having it you don't even realize the impression it is going to have on you...

Most everything was perfect (there were a few lulls and things that made me mad.) We did the tasting menu and it was 100% worth it.

I don't want to spoil anything but I will be writing about it this week. Expect posts on Cheesesteaks, Bar Americain, and Baboo!


No Reservations - Vietnam

>> Monday, March 9, 2009

Once again what looks like another great foodie episode. This week Tony travels to Vietnam to sample some of the local cuisine. I have never had Vietnamese food (as I write this posts, I realize that I say that a lot...) but from the preview of this episode, looks pretty good!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I am still detoxing from all the wonderful food that I ate, going to Babbo tonight and couldn't be more excited!!!


Philly Cheesesteaks

>> Thursday, March 5, 2009

This weekend I am headed to Philly and once there I obviously want to indulge in the local cuisine, that being cheesesteaks.

I need to know the good places to go, not some tourist trap. If you send me to the Times Square of Cheesesteaks you will be banished from the Frugal Foodies forever and you don't even want to know what that's like.

So if you have any ideas, leave a comment or email


Katz's Deli

>> Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Well I finally did it. I went to Katz's. As you may remember this famous Delicatessen appeared on an episode of No Reservations and I wrote about my sudden urge to eat there. Nothing like the threat of scarcity to get me moving.

So this past Saturday we packed up the crew and headed to the lower east side establishment, ready for a big ole sandwich. We honestly had no clue what was in store.

All I can say is Holy Cluster. There were about 30 people standing immediately at the front door waiting for a person to hand them a ticket with the reminder "DO NOT LOSE YOUR TICKET" (imagine a thick New York accent.) I would say 20% of people knew what was going on, the other 80% of us were lost puppies looking for someone to feed us. The menu lined the top portion on the wall and salami's hung in the windows. I felt like I was in a vegetarian hell.

The group quickly dissembled and I was left alone with my ticket. I must have looked pathetic because someone ushered me into a line and there I stood. What they don't tell you is that each "butcher" (?) "sandwich-maker" (?) has their own line. That would have been nice to know...

Anyways once I got to the front, I panicked and ordered a pastrami on rye. Ok. Let me tell you why this was weird. 1) I have never in my life, ever, ordered a pastrami on rye 2) I didn't know what pastrami was.

So this "butcher" hands me a plate with a piece of meat on it. I immediate eat it and realize, hey I like pastrami (which I later learned is meat - brisket - that is heavily seasoned and served steaming hot), this is going to be ok. Next he places my tray in front of me with the biggest pile
of meat and bread that I have ever seen. This is like the Mt. Olympus of meat (pictured right is Leah's Ruben - and her photography skills - but you can see a pastrami and rye sandwich in the background.)

So after I get my sandwich, I start on my next task: French Fries. I am seeing people with them everywhere, but I don't know where they got them from. These are not the kind of employees that you want to ask fairly obvious questions to, so I just kept walking, hoping that there would be a huge sign that said "FATTY, FRENCH FRIES ARE HERE." Unfortunately this sign did not exist and I broke down and asked someone and they were fairly nice in pointing me to the right station. So I got my fries and diet pepsi and was ready for my next challenge: Finding a table.

Ugh, since I was a baller and the first one to get through each station quickly, I was delegated with the task of finding a table. After a lot of stalking I found one.

Everyone joins me and we sit down and enjoy this truly historic New York landmark. The sandwiches were great, the fries were crispy, the drinks were cool and overall, I would definitely come back, however, there are some things that I feel EVERYONE should know before they even think about going to Katz's. Some things I've discussed others I haven't but they are in this neat list for you to keep up with:

  1. Do not, and I repeat DO NOT go hungover. This will be a death sentence. Trust me.
  2. Be alert, watch the lines.
  3. Don't go with more than 5 people. You will not get table.
  4. Don't lose your ticket. This didn't happen, but I don't want to know what would happen if you did.
  5. Be prepared for left-overs.
  6. This will not be a cheap meal, but you will get more than one meal out of it.
Other than that Katz's is a great institution and the walls are lined with it's history, even a sign hanging from the ceiling dedicated to the famous scene in When Harry Met Sally, the "I'll have what she's having" scene...

Katz's Delicatessen
205 E Houston St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 254-2246


Cherin Sushi

This is one of those great New York finds that I just keep coming back to. It has all the requirements for a great night. Great location? Yes. Affordable? Yes. Good? Yes. BYOB? Um, YES.

We stumbled upon this "find" in some sort of recession chain email that got sent around through my group of poor/unemployed friends, and we figured why not, I mean how bad can a BYOB be?

Located in the East Village on 6th and 2nd, Cherin is in the heart of cool bars and restaurants and the atmosphere can't be beat. When you walk in you'll notice that the restaurant is basically a narrow strip (probably 10 feet wide and about 50 feet deep - ok I made this up, but think of a very narrow rectangle). People are lined on the walls, and it looks like complete chaos. There are NYU students camping out at their tables, taking advantage of the BYOB factor.

We find the hostess and check-in. She lost our reservation the second time we went, but that was ok, we were still seated relatively quickly (I would say within 20 minutes). Once seated we gazed over the menu. Much to my surprise, I was taken aback and had a bit of sticker shock, but the good kind. I would say the most expensive roll at Cherin is
$10 and the majority fall under $5.

I ordered the beef dumplings, shrimp tempura, and spicy crunchy tuna. All three things I ordered were GREAT. I know what you're thinking - I went pretty basic, borderline amateur - but I figured if you can get the basics down, the more extensive rolls are probably just as good. Plus, I can order what I want so - HA!

Overall, the bill came out to about $15 a person, for about an 1 hour and 1/2 of dining -- unreal for New York or anywhere really. Service left something to be desired, but for those prices, I'll take what I can get.

I am actually thinking about going back again this week, that is how confident I feel that I can have the same experience again. Plus, I left my planner there, but even if I hadn't, I would probably still go back.

Cherin Sushi
306 E 6th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 388-1348


No Reservations - Sri Lanka

>> Monday, March 2, 2009

I have always been facinated by Sri Lanka and I don't really know why. I'll be honest I know nothing about it, but it always seemed to me to be like the red-headed step child of India. What can I say, I like an underdog.

This week on No Reservations, Anthony travels there and from the clip I can already tell I would be into it. I love me some late night eating :)

As always tune in on Monday night at 10 EST to the Travel Channel. Or if you're like me DVR it and watch it on Tuesday when nothing really good comes on.



Share |

  © Blog Design by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates

Back to TOP