Extra Virgin

>> Sunday, May 31, 2009

This was one of those great meals, that was totally unexpected. I went to dinner with Annie, and her brother Scott, to celebrate the end of a terrible week and we decided to go to a local restaurant that we had heard some great things about, Extra Virgin. Our cab dropped us off at the wrong street so we walked around the West Village and finally stumbled upon the adorable little restaurant. Nestled on West 4th sreet, there were a ton of several people outside 

To start I decided to drink something seasonal and opted for some sangria. I think they must top that sucked off with some champagne because it was bubbly and I was feeling it! We were seated relatively quickly and glanced over the menu and between the three of us we knew what we wanted, but as a rule of thumb we always ask the servers. 

Initially, we thought we would go for one of the following:
  • Grilled atlantic salmon with cauliflower puree and aged balsamic
  • Lemon crusted chilean sea bass with orzo tomato black olive salad
  • Rare seared yellowfin tuna with herb whipped potatoes
So, when the waitress walked up, we were prepare to order these. Then she suggested the chicken. Wait, what? You are telling me to get the chicken? As a general rule of thumb, I just never order chicken, for no other reason than if I want chicken I will cook it myself. She promised us that it was worth it and also that we should get the prosciutto wrapped pork chops, which is something that we discussed, but weren't sure about it. So we ended up listening and ordered this:
  • Fritto Misto - fried calamari, rock shrimp, calms, zucchini with a spicy tomato sauce
  • Roast Parmesan Asparagus - poached egg, hollandaise, panchetta (pictured right)
  • Mushrom Crusted Virgin Chicken - sweet pea risotto, cippiolini onions, truffle broth
  • Proschuttio Wrapped Roast Loin of Pork - roast garlic parmesan whipped potatoes, broccolini, rosemary jus (pictured top left)
  • Rare Seared Yellowfin Tuna - herb whipped potatoes, roasted artichokes, braised fennel, tomato caper vinaigrette, crispy onion
For starters we ate the fritto misto and roasted parmesan asparagus. For me the fritto miso was a miss. It was just your standard fried plate of food and honestly, I felt like I could have gotten that anywhere...just really wasn't doing anything for me...the asparagus however, now that was delicious. The bits of panchetta provided the perfect crispy, salty balance to the sweet egg and hollandaise sauce. 

Moving on to the entrees. We eat decide we would eat a couple of bits, and then rotate so that everyone as the table could have a sample. I started with the pork. The sweet jus and the salty prochuttio and the soft pork loin all melted together to create a delicious harmony in my mouth. I mean angels were singing, children were laughing, all was right. I then tried, the tuna...despite being the only thing on our originally intentions menu it was a bit of a let down. The tuna was a little bland for me, but not an epic loss, just not as good as the pork. Then I got the chicken. Again, I was not really looking forward to this, but since this was the last dish I was getting I had heard both Annie and Scott tell me how good it was, so I had some high expectations. They did not disappoint. I mean the mushrooms were crusted so tightly on that chicken it created a texture like the chicken had been fried. It was really incredible. The sweet pea risotto was outstanding as was the onions (can you really go wrong with roasted, sweet onions). By far this was my favorite entree, and one of the best chicken entrees I have had in a LONG time. 

I would definitely recommend Extra Virgin for a cool, laid-back night. It's definitely the kind of place where you could lose yourself for hours. Entrees ranged from $20-$30 and appetizers in the $10-$15 range and I would definitely, definitely order the chicken :)

259 W 4th Street
New York, NY 10011


Internet Broken

>> Thursday, May 28, 2009

My internet is completely broken at my apartment! So I have several posts in queue, but have been unable to publish them :( 

Hang tight, internet is suppose to be back this week!


Pomme Frites

>> Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Here is something that I love about New York; people understand that you don't need to be good at everything, just do one thing and do it well. I think that is what the people behind Pomme Frites were thinking, "we're not really good at anything aside from fries and sauces so let's just make an entire shop around that..." And they did!! Nestled between a bar and a deli lies the promise land, Pomme Frites, a valley full of delicious fries (or frites) and sauces. 

I had heard about this place for a long time and this weekend finally decided it's time I taste this on my own. I was shocked at the size of the place. It's literally just a long hallway fitted with two big deep fryers, a cooler and a back section that seats about 14-15 people. It's hot, it's greasy, it's awesome. 

On the board in the back there are about 20 different sauces (mostly mayonnaise based) that you can pick from. Each sauce is $1.00 or you can get a combo for $2.50, and they will let you try any or all of them for free. The people there are honestly there to help you and don't seem annoyed when you want to try 6 different sauces :)

I ordered a regular fries (for $4.50) with pomegrante teriyaki sauce. Holy. Mother. There was so much food. A regular fries from this place is like getting them super sized at McDonald's. I mean it was huge, but so good. The fries were served in a paper cone and were definitely hand cut, crunchy on the outside, mushy on the inside, just the way I like it. The sauce. Oh the sauce. The sauce was everything that I look for a in dipping vehicle, salty, sweet, with a little kick at the end. I tried the rosemary garlic and horseradish sauces and while both delicious, the garlic and the horseradish had a little more kick than I was looking for, but I could easily see myself ordering them another day. 

Once I got my snack/meal, I sat down at one of the single stools in the back and went to town. On the tables they have little holes cut out so you can stick you cone in there and eat with a fork and basically demolish the food. I ate what felt like 5 lbs of potatoes but barely made a dent in the cone. I asked for a bag and wrapped everything up and ate it later in a park :)

Is Pomme Frites worth it? Absolutely. I will say this: don't go alone, bring friends and get more sauces. The regular is definitely enough to share amongst three people and there are so many sauces to chose from I had a hard time picking one! 

Pomme Frites
123 2nd Avenue 
New York, NY 10003


Cheese - The Ultimate Food

>> Thursday, May 21, 2009

Taking it back old school I decided to re-post this again. Annie's parents are coming in town and she asked me what kind of cheese she should get for her parents and without hesitation I said "Port Salut!" Read below my previous review which still reigns true:

For my first product review I am going to discuss something that could possibly be one of my greatest culinary passions: cheese. So yeah, I'm a member of the cheese of the month club, courtesy of a Christmas present from my wonderful dad.

Every two months (I know, I said cheese of the month club, but bi-cheese of the month club is a mouthful, calm down) I get 3 new cheeses. One that has apparently left a profound impact on me is the Port Salut and yes, its French, but no, it is NOT stinky, in fact it is awesome.

Imagine a muenster cheese, that is a lot softer and milder in taste. So the next time you put cheese out at a party spare your guests of the typical spread, with havarti and cheddar, and take a closer look and pick up Port Salut (may be called SAFR Port Salut) everyone will think you're a lot classier and if possible, more awesome. Pair that sucker with some fruit and a nice white wine and everyone will love you. At least I will.


Top Chef Masters

>> Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Top Chef Masters

I am so excited I can't stand it. Last night as I was watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey (don't even act like it's not incredible...) and I saw a commercial for TOP CHEF MASTERS. What? What is this show you are speaking of? Basically, Top Chef is going to start a new show that features prominent chefs defending their honor on the culinary battle ground and competing for charity. If you look at the cast list here you are going to notice some pretty big names and former judges on the show.

A couple of my personal favorites:

  • Wylie Dufresne - The owner of WD-50 and molecular gastronomy god.

  • John Besh - Adorable New Orleans chef that has been on Iron Chef and I believe he won! Right?

  • Art Smith - Oprah's former personal chef and overall southern delight to watch :) He has been on Iron Chef too, but I think he lost...

I am not too familiar with any of the judges, but that's ok I am sure they are legit. I kind of wish that Tom Collichio threw his chef hat into the ring, but maybe they are saving that for another competition - "Top Chef Masters All Star Challenge."

Anyways, I am seriously counting down the days until June 10th at 10pm EST! This is going to be a great summer show!


Matt's Chicago Dog

>> Monday, May 18, 2009

This weekend I stopped in Charlotte on my way to a wonderful wedding in Chapel Hill. In search of a quick, fast, lunch Jef suggested that we go to Matt's Chicago Dog, a place located in Jef's building and in the heart of downtown.

When you walk in you are instantly transported back to 1940s Chicago (maybe 50s, 60s, someplace back in time). There is a mural that lines all four walls and is painted with such detail it seriously looks like this could have been the front of a Marshall Field's back in the day. For those of you that don't know Marshall Field's is an iconic department store founded in Chicago, kind of like Macy's on 34th street. It was so charming I couldn't get over it.

The menu of the restaurant hangs straight back and has several different options, not all related to hot dogs. They have salads, burgers etc. but if I am going to a place with "dog" in the name, I am getting a hot dog. I opted for combo #1, a true Chicago style dog with a drink and my preference of either fresh cut french fries or homemade potato chips. I went with the fries, because I am a sucker for fresh cut fries.

Fun fact: I didn't start eating hot dogs until I went to college because I used to eat them when I was a child and throw up on the spot. So the whole world of hot dogs is still relatively new to me. Especially a Chicago style dog.
A Chicago style dog must consist of the following:

  • All beef dog
  • Mustard
  • Onion
  • Sweet Relish
  • Tomato slice
  • Pickle spear
  • Small Peppers
  • Dash of celery salt
  • All served on a fresh bun
One thing you might notice missing is ketchup. A Chicago style dog will never have ketchup and if you put ketchup on you are not eating a Chicago style dog. Also, of all those things listed I would normally pick off most all of it, but in the tradition of trying new things and expanding my culinary horizons I only picked off the pickle (yes, I don't like pickles, don't ask me about it again).

AMAZING. It seriously was so delicious. I get a lot of criticism for never writing anything bad about place, but it's not my fault I just eat good food and this was one of those places. The hot dog was juicy, and plump and the peppers gave it a great kick of heat which I loved! The fries were so crispy, it took all I had to not devour the whole thing.

If you live in the Charlotte area or plan to visit, I would definitely make a stop by Matt's Chicago Dog for a quick, CHEAP lunch (for Jef and I to both eat it was only $12!).

Matt's Chicago Dog
425 S Tryon St
Charlotte, NC 28202
Follow them on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MattsChicagoDog


A Very Happy Birthday to...

>> Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Baby Beth and yours truly. The Frugal Foodies!

Today marks Beth's 24th year here and the FFs first :) 

So congrats to both of us for making it this far! Lots of celebrating on both sides!!


White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

>> Monday, May 11, 2009

Cranberry, orange and white chocolate go together like it's nobody's business, so it just made sense to me to throw them all together into an oatmeal cookie and let the rest work out from there. I have been craving these cookies for a while, but just haven't had the time to sit down and create them.  So on the eve of the Frugal Foodies one year anniversary (please, hold your applause till the end) this just seemed right. 

It was a success! The roomies tried them and Leah suggested that they become a breakfast cookie and I couldn't agree more. I mean it's still
 a cookie, but the oatmeal makes it more like breakfast right? Well it doesn't matter because I 
just said it did. Ha. 

Without further adieu here is the recipe. 

  • 1 cup soften butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups oats (Quaker Oats are perfect)
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cups white chocolate chips (I didn't really measure, because, well I like a lot)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cups dried cranberries (same rules apply here)
Prep time: 20-25 minutes
Bake time: 8-10 minutes

First, preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl, add 1 cup butter (two sticks) that have been cut into tablespoons (just makes it easier to mix together) with the white sugar and brown sugar. On low-medium low speed mix together so that the mixture is cumbly (yes, very 
technical term). 

Gently beat in one egg at a time, do not overbeat the mixture. Add in vanilla. 

In a separate bowl combine your dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and gently mix together. 

SLOWLY, add the dry ingredients in with the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Now, this part took me some time to make 
sure that all the flour was beaten into the mixture. 

Once everything is mixed together and has the consistency of cookie dough, add in the three
 cups of oats. 

FF Note: At this point in the game, I thought I had messed something up. I didn't
 think that the oats would mix with the flour and there would be too much, it just looked like too much. It's not you're fine. Keep going. 

Anyways, once you add your oats, here comes the fun part: add in your cranberries and white chocolate chips. As much as you like, honestly, I wish
 I would have added more. You are never going to say, "hey, um, there is too much chocolate in my cookie." Never going to happen. Dump away. 

Once those are add zest the orange into the mix. All the flavor you really need is in the skin of the orange. I promise, its just a subtle hint. You can leave this out, but I wouldn't. I honestly think it adds a little something extra. Mix that in.

Get a cookie sheet (or two) and spray with non-stick spray. Then gently arrange cookies about an inch apart (they will expand a lot). 

Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, then remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Ok, ok you can eat them hot too. 

True story: you can make these cookies. Seriously, if you do not impress people with these cookies, then you are hanging out with the wrong crowd. I have been ordered to take them to work tomorrow so we don't sit around and eat them all day. Even though I am taking them to work with me, which really means that Annie and Leah don't sit around all day, but yes, they are that good :)


Favorite Things About Summer...

>> Friday, May 8, 2009

As the weather in New York SLOWLY transitions into something resembling Spring/Summer, I have been trying to think of recipes and drinks that remind me of this great time of year.

This previous weekend my roommates and I hosted a "Dos de Mayo" party, which was a big success. There we had beer margaritas and they were delicious! 

So my question to you dear foodies is, when you think of Summer what are the "must-have" recipes that come to mind?


Tomatillo Salsa

>> Monday, May 4, 2009

A couple of months ago my friends Maggie and Brad invited us over for a Mexican fiesta. Brad made the most amazing tomatillo salsa so naturally this frugal foodie asked him for his recipe and he graciously agreed :) 

I have been waiting for almost two months to write this recipe, saving it for Cinco de Mayo. I re-created his recipe this week, just to test it out and see if I could do it and let me tell you something, it was good. Really, really, really good. So good in fact that I have made it twice now in about a week! 

Here is Brad's recipe that I changed ever so slightly (only to make it easier Brad, you are a much better chef than I!) 


  • 6-8 Tomatillos (these look like a green tomato)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1/2 of a large onion or 1 whole smaller onion
  • 1 jalapeno chopped and seeded (unless you want it hot...)
  • cilantro
Prep time: 10 
Cook time: 10 

First things first, get your broiler warmed up. Next peel the tomatillos so that the outer skin is removed and slice in half. Drizzle with a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and place directly under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the skin is nicely charred. 

While the tomatillos are cooking away preheat a skillet on medium high heat, then chop the garlic, onion and jalapeno. Drizzle skillet with some EVOO and add the chopped materials to the skillet. 

Once the tomatillos are nice and charred add them to the skillet with the garlic, onion, and jalapenos and add about a 1/2 of water. Just enough so that it covers about half of the mixture and get all the flavor up from the pan. Bring that mixture to a boil on about medium high heat. 

Let the water reduce and cook out (see picture to the right)

Meanwhile, remove a decent handful of cilantro from your bushel (I like a lot of cilantro so I used about 3 tablespoons worth) and place in a food processor or blender chop up the cilantro so it is finely chopped.

Your tomatillo mixture should be pretty reduced by now, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down. 

I would say after about 5-10 minutes (let's be honest, waiting has never been my thing so sometimes I rush it) add that mixture to the food processor and blend together. 

There you have it! A salsa that is delicious, not too spicy and an easy way to leave an impression at a Cinco de Mayo party or any get together. 

Many thanks to Brad and Maggie for hosting such a wonderful evening and thanks to Brad for this great recipe!! Trust me is ridiculously good! 



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