Julie and Julia - Sneak Preview Review

>> Wednesday, July 29, 2009

That's right! I saw it! Totally jealous? Well you should be. My new roommate, Betsy, invited me along to join her for the sneak preview and I knew going in I was probably going to like it...A LOT! And I did - it's just enchanting.

Without giving too much away, I will just talk about the characters. I immediately identified with
Julie on every level possible (aside from job maybe, she really hates her and I like my day job). I know it doesn't seem like blogging can be stressful, but it is a bizarre feeling to spend so
much time on something and then
wonder if anyone ever reads it. Not to mention it is very narcissistic...I know I force people to read, and if you are reading this now, you were probably lured in by a catchy "status" update on Twitter or Facebook :)

Anyways, I also fell in love with Julia Child, or the Julia Child that Meryl Strep portrays. She was just a delight on screen and really embodied the essence of the Julia Child I have in my mind.

In the end, this movie for me is less about the food, but more about doing what truly makes you happy. For these women it was finding joy through cooking and sharing their experiences with an audience, something I can completely relate with :)

Foodlovers and non-foodlovers alike will love this film. Just be sure to go after dinner - it made me starving!!

Check out the trailer here



>> Monday, July 27, 2009

This past weekend my cousin came in town, and since she too is a foodie, we picked several restaurants that she has heard/I have wanted to eat at. One of these was Prune. This east village eatery has been on my list for almost a year now and despite varying reviews, I still wanted to eat there. Known for it's "Unpretentious American home cooking with eccentric, multicultural influences" Prune has one of the interesting menus I have come across in a long time. Bone marrow, lamb shank, sweetbreads with bacon and capers, oh my!

I had no idea what to expect walking up to Prune, but I wasn't anticipating a 20 person dining room,
with a beautiful old door, glass front windows, and a clear view straight into the kitchen. Our table wasn't ready so Dory and I went to the bar and had our first drink of the night, a "fresca", a grapefruit concoction that really tasted like the soft drink Fresca. After waiting for our table for 25 minutes (I was not pleased at this point), we were seated near the front. My frustration was completely eliminated when our server presented us immediately with fried chickpeas. These crunchy, salty, creamy popable bites were devoured in seconds. Literally, seconds. Things that small and delicious are dangerous.

For our appetizer we ordered buttered brown bread with spanish goat cheese and salted red onion and thyme (pictured top left). The portion size was just perfect. Large enough to subside the hunger pains, but not too big that I was so full I couldn't eat my entree. The cheese was so soft and when you added the salted onion, it was the perfect creamy crunch. Something
so simple, and yet so good.

Our entrees continued to impress. Dory ordered the lamb shank with braised romano beans and myer lemon (pictured right). A) Look at that thing. It looks like something out of midevil times. It was the biggest hunk of meat I have seen in my life. B) Once the cool metal fork touch the meat it immediately fell apart. The mix of dark meat and fat reminded me of a duck leg (I know, I know - it's lamb). Ahhh, so tender and delicious. I ate as much of hers as I did my own. Since we knew that the lamb was going to be a little heavy, I opted for the grilled swordfish with corn, bacon and arugula (pictured below). To me swordfish has a great texture; it's light, but not flaky and is really cuts more like a tuna steak than anything else. The corn, bacon and arugula mixture was of course delicious (hello, it has bacon in it). Lastly, for a side we ordered some new potatoes that were so good, I had to ask for the ingredients (which I replicated at home - check back for recipe) - a mixture of fresh herbs and mustard that was the perfect compliment to our meals.

We laughed as we sipped on sparkling wine and rose. I always say the meal can be great, but it's who you dine with that matters and I had great company :) I know that some people (eh hem, Marcy) have has poor experiences at Prune, but I would definitely go back.

54 East 1st Street
New York, NY 10003


No Reservations - Rust Belt

This week Tony is back in the US and taking us through several cities, one of which I know particularly well , Detroit. Throw away your preconceived notions of Detroit, and understand that there is a rich culture there with delicious food and warm people. Granted I haven't seen the episode yet, but I hope he exploits Detroit's good qualities :) Here is a preview of his stop in Baltimore!

Also if you are interested, here is what Tony has to say about this episode.


Sunsets in Chicago and New York

>> Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Every now and again I like to divert from food and just show some good ole pictures of the seasons. Recently I went to Chicago and we were lucky enough to get great weather thoughout the entire weekend. Here are some of my favorite summer sunsets in my two favorite cities:


Centro Vinoteca

So something big happened last weekend. I ventured into a culinary zone that I have never been to before: I ate pork belly. Now before I get too far ahead of myself, let me go through the whole evening's events:

It all started with this little neighborhood Italian joint that has been on my list for a while, especially since Top Chef contestant Leah Cohen took over from Mario Batalli's right hand woman Anne Burrel. So when the proverbial question arose of "where should be eat tonight?" Centro Vinoteca came to the forefront.

Kerry and I went early on a Friday night, ya know around 8, and were promptly seated at the center bar, a place where I am comfortable. The bartender was very informative and let us (me) try a couple of wines from their extensive wine list before making my final selection.

Never ones to skip directly to the entrees, Kerry and I ordered two "piccolinis" or small plates. I
started with BLT which was pancetta, frisee, and tomato confit. It was salty from from the pancetta and sweet from the tomato. Honestly, it was the perfect bar snack. I could have eaten a couple of them and been satisfied for the whole night. Kerry ordered fried zucchini balls with a marinara dipping sauce. They were incredibly light and not greasy. I would order these over mozzarella sticks any day.

After chowing down on our appetizers, we both decided to order the specials of the night:
  • Spaghetti alla chittara with funghmisty and shaved parmigano
  • Seared pork belly served with mustard greens, onion puree, grilled pulnot and a pulnot chutney
Let's just say that once Kerry reached the end of her pasta, she replied with "I just don't want to
eat the last bite" I mean this was really, really good pasta. Our bartender/server told us that the pasta was all handmade, and the mushrooms were fresh. All ingredients that make for a delicious pasta dish. Then there was my pork belly (pictured right). It was so crispy that it was almost hard to break though the top layer. The meat was just succulent. Honestly, it was so rich that I had a hard time censoring myself. I knew I needed to slow down, but I really didn't want to. Then there was the pulnot (?)...I am still not sure that this is even the right fruit, but it was a cross between a plum and a tomato the perfect sweet/tangy contrast to the fatty pork belly. It really was so well balanced. I learned from our bartender/server that the belly is set in a brine for two days, then it's pressed, then seared as a whole, and then shaped and seared before serving...all that preparation was well worth it.

We really must have looked like we enjoyed ourselves because at one point the server started to stare at what we thought was the food and Kerry asked him: "Why do you keep staring at the food?" he replied "I just haven't seen people enjoy food like this in a long time..."

The evening ended with a deliciously light and effervecent desert wine name Brachetto and a molten chocolate cake. Can you ask for much more?!

I am actually disappointed that I have never been there before now. Hopefully I will be going back soon!!

molten chocolate cake

Centro Vinoteca
74 Seventh Ave. South
New York, NY 10014


No Reservations - Australia

>> Monday, July 20, 2009

It's back. Tony is back and better than ever traveling all around and for this episode he takes us to Australia...I have never been but Australia is at the top of my list right behind Europe because I think the culture is so interesting, its like a hybrid of things I do not understand...

Anyways here's a clip of Tony chowing down on some delicious seafood:


A Lovely Sunday Night

>> Monday, July 13, 2009

This weekend my roommate Kerry and I decided to have a lovely Sunday night dinner. The weather was perfect and there was no better night to dine on our terrace. So we prepare a delightful menu that had us wobbling back to the living room to watch Harry Potter.

We started off with a delightful Waldorf salad, courtesy of Mr. Emeril Lagasse. Here is recipe taken directly from the Food Network:


  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated yellow onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 2 cups diced sweet red apples, such as Gala or Jonathan (2 to 3 medium apples)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup red seedless grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, broken
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, cored and leaves separated


In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and vinegar. Slowly add 1/3 cup buttermilk, whisking to thicken. Add the blue cheese, onion, salt,

pepper, and cayenne, and whisk well to combine, adding

more buttermilk, as desired. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the

apples, celery, grapes, and walnuts. Add the dressing, to taste, and toss well.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on 6 salad plates. Top with the tossed salad and serve.

That little kick of Cayenne really does wonders! I mean this salad is a keeper. Word to the wise...go easy on the onion, between that and the bleu cheese its a pretty potent dressing...

For our next course I made an incredible Italian sausage,mushroom, onion and vodka sauce pasta. On Saturday the kind people from Bertolli were out in Union Square handing out their new90 second vodka sauce. Never one to turn down

anything free, I graciously took it. In fact I got one for Kerry too, so really we had two (and we needed it).

I started out by first going to Chelsea Market and going into their delightful Italian market for some fresh spicy sausage, and homemade pasta.

When I got home I chopped the onion and sliced the mushrooms and threw it all in a cast iron skillet with some olive oil, butter and oregano. Let that cook for a little bit (10 minutes or so), then I threw in the sausage and let that all meld togeth for about 5 minutes. Dumped the sauce into the skillet. Let that all cook together for a while and boom. Done. Tossed the cooked pasta and we had out meal.

It really was the perfect end to a great weekend!


A New Frugal Foodies Segment

>> Friday, July 10, 2009

Dearest Foodies, I would like introduce a new segment on the Frugal Foodies which is dedicated soley to YOUR funny food expereinces. There are so many potential ways that dining, cooking and or merely eating where things can go ary so I open the forum up to you. Email me your story at thefrugalfoodies@gmail.com and I will be more than happy to post.

For our first story, Frugal Foodies reader Melanie write about her expeirence that we have titled "A little too Frugal, a lot less Foodie"

Here is her story:

"I was having waffles the morning of 4th of july and there wasn't enough syrup so i put it in the microwave (you know, to thin it out and get more) and when i took it out of the microwave and opened the bottle, it exploded in my face and now i have a huge scab right in the middle of my cheek!!!!!!!!!!!"


Art Smith: The Nicest Chef - EVER

>> Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Foodies, this was a big moment for me: I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Chef Art Smith in Chicago. You may know him as the two time James Beard winner or Oprah's personal chef for 10 years or dear friend of the Obama's, but I like to think of him as one of my top 3 picks for Top Chef Masters.

We met at a rooftop party that overlooked the beautiful Grant Park and Chicago skyline and after a new friend and I mustered up the courage to go and speak with him, I was all but overwhelmed at his warm spirit and genuine interest in our lives. We annoyed him with all our questions about Iron Chef and Top Chef, since he has been contest and judge on both shows, but he did his due diligence and kept mum. He was good Bravo and Food Network - didn't spill about anything! I promise!

He suggested we go to Urban Belly in Chicago and because of the July fourth holiday they were closed all weekend :( On my next venture to back to the second city I am going to make it a point to eat there.

I am still in awe as how truly nice he was and what a TREMENDOUS honor it was to meet him!


Leah is officially a Chef!

>> Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So I am SO proud to say that Leah graduated from the French Culinary Institute yesterday!!! She is officially a chef complete with a tall hat and everything :) I have sampled many of her dishes and can confirm that they are beyond delicious. She will be leaving me tomorrow something that I am completely not ready to deal with so I won't...

In the slide show are some of her culinary masterpieces. Enjoy!!



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