[Lunch & Dinner] Charlie Bird

If you know me, you know I have a slight obsession with Charlie Bird‘s farro salad. Why obsess over a salad, you ask? Because it’s delicious, fresh, intriguing and somewhat guilt-free.

Charlie Bird NYC Farro Salad Beaches & Brie

This salad helped me appreciate pistachios in a brand new way because YES, it has pistachios! The parmesan shavings on top just add another level of saltiness greatness, making each bite come to life a bit more.

I have yet to recreate this salad at home but NYT Cooking and All Day I Eat have some great ideas on how to start!

Charlie Bird Cacio e Pepe NYC restaurant Beaches & Brie

Another Charlie Bird favorite? Their Cacio e Pepe. Creamy but so good, I mean, just look at it! They also have a prix fix lunch menu during the week where you can get a small plate (think: farro salad)  AND a pasta for $32. Not super cheap, I know, but it’s worth treating yourself to a nice lunch if you are in the area, especially if it’s a nice day out and you can take advantage of their outdoor seating.

gnocchi Charlie Bird Beaches & Brie

The gnocchi is also another solid option. Try starting with the burrata option, another great pick, but NEVER as a substitution to the farro salad. Promise?

charlie bird burrata nyc beaches & brie

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Governors Ball Recap: My favorite #EEEEEATS and where to get them

I’ll be honest, I have never really been a music festival kind of gal. Something about the amount of money you spend on tickets and the amount of people you have to deal with really kept me away for years. Don’t get me wrong, I love music but I guess I had been picky about where to enjoy it.

In a continuous effort to try new things around New York, I went ahead and got tickets to Governors Ball. I must admit, it was a picture of a ramen burger posted by @Infatuation that really did it for me (more on ramen burgers soon, promise).

I can now say, music festivals are an art and I am not opposed to continue practicing it. Especially when the festival not only offers good beats but also rocks it with the #eeeeeats. Don’t have to tell me twice. Sadly (or may I say, ironically) I knew the food line up better than the music line up. Oh well. Continue reading and you will find everything I ate during Governors Ball, together with info on how to get your hands on these awesome bits of happiness.


Ramen Burger from Ramen Burger

Is it a burger? Is it a mess of noodle fun? It’s both! I had  assumed that the sauce in this masterpiece was bbq but I was positively surprised to taste a special sauce that blew my mind (sesame based, maybe?). The noodles magically stayed in place and the rest is history. Go try it now at Smorgasburg!


Pulled Pork from Mighty Quinn’s BBQ

When pulled pork is messy, you know it’s good. My fiance Brian definitely hoarded this one! The toppings were a nice little addition that helped boost the already amazing taste of the pork.


Mac and Cheese from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

I can’t say no to a good mac and cheese. I should, but I usually can’t. You can tell the cheese they use at Beecher’s is a great quality blend that melts right into perfection, shouldn’t expect anything less from handmade cheese. It’s on my list to stop by their shop and go beyond the mac and cheese straight to the source of all the goodness, cheese.


Uma-ritto (Sushi Burrito) from Uma Temakeria

This is exactly what it sounds like. All the familiar flavors that can be associated with sushi, wrapped up in a handy burrito-like concept. To be honest, not the ideal music festival treat to carry around but man, it photographs so well, right?


Cheesesteak from Phil’s Steak 

Brian is from Philly, so we take cheesesteaks very seriously. We’ve ventured around New York and Hoboken trying to find that perfect, cheese-whiz infused bite and have not felt we’ve been successful just yet. Then Phil’s Steak came along and dare we say, this is the best cheesesteak in the area. Mind you, it is not my personal choice to add ketchup, I actually hate ketchup but Brian totally took over this round of food.


Grilled Corn Mexican Style from Café Habana

Nothing says love and commitment like eating some grilled corn under the rain. Yes, it was pouring at this point but that didn’t stop me from having one last bite. I am a big fan of Cafe Habana and use to get lunch there often when I worked in SoHo, definitely a fun place to go to.


BONUS: Shrimp Roll and Lobster Roll from Luke’s Lobster

Nothing says summer is real like a nice, flavorful lobster roll. Luke’s Lobster was also at Govball but I am cheating with this picture as it was taken the weekend before at Hoboken’s Pier 13. 🙂 Still, Luke’s is delicious. My favorite part (besides the actual seafood, of course) is their seasoning and the way they prepare their bread. It’s the perfect touch to accompany an already glorious seafood adventure.

Let’s be real, a girl can only eat so much in one day, even with the help of an equally hungry companion. Here are the other spots that I know and love that were also at Govball: By Chloe, Bluestone Lane, Souvlaki and Tacombi.

Can’t wait for next year’s Governors Ball, in the meantime, let’s keep on eating!

Where I Ate (Stuffed My Face) In Nashville

They say Nasvhille is the new Vegas when it comes to bachelorette parties. This post has nothing to do with that.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be in Nashville for business. Work all day meant dinner was my way to get to know this awesome city, and boy did I eat…

Below I share my main meals in Music City, there’s really something for everyone. Please follow along in chronological order of my trip and no, I am not including Panera meals during the event, sorry.

Biscuit Love

This was the main place in my list. Not only did it come highly recommended by several trusted food sources, but they honor biscuits which is one of the best things in this earth. I went straight to business and ordered the fried chicken biscuit with gravy.

We were told, however, we needed to order the signature plate…

Just by looking at that picture I swear I lose my focus. These little babies are made of fried biscuit dough, lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote. We got to meet the owner and it turns out this was a special recipe her husband use to make her all the time. Talk about true LOVE.

The Standard at The Smith

We stumbled upon this place our first night in Nashville. We were hungry, had no reservations and just wanted to have a nice meal before a busy day ahead. A little off the hustle and bustle from Broadway, The Smith is the only grand townhouse remaining in downtown Nashville. As you walk in you are immediately transported back to an era where sophistication and good quality reigned.

I am not usually a dirty martini fan, but my colleagues said The Standard’s iteration was the best. Blue cheese-stuffed olives? I can get on board with that. Oh, and also, red velvet cookie for dessert.

Martin’s BBQ

I may not be a bbq connoisseur, but my oh my, this may have been the best bbq I’ve ever had. Just thinking back to it makes me salivate again. Fortunately, my coworkers also take bbq seriously and we ordered the Big Daddy Sampler: half a rack of ribs, half a pound of pork, half a pound of brisket, half a chicken, six wings, cole slaw, mac and cheese, french fries and baked beans. Oh, and bread. Safe to say we did some serious damage.

Union Common

Nashville Food Smoked Chilled smoked mussels. At first we were confused at the thought of something that is both chill and smoked. It turns out they smoke the mussels to give them that authentic bbq taste, then they are served chilled with a special hot sauce. The result is an explosion in your mouth that your brain can’t put together. Is it bbq? Is it sea food? It’s a total experience.

Chuy’s

Chuy's Taco Salad

Funky, chill and delicious. That’s how I would describe Chuy’s. This wouldn’t be my first stop in Nashville because it’s a chain, it’s the kind of food that I can find elsewhere and it’s not even from Nashville, HOWEVER, it did not disappoint. It was a nice break from all the smoke and bbq, the ambiance in itself makes it a great night.

The Southern

The Southern Nashville Food Oysters

We ended the trip with one of the places that was on my list to begin with. We definitely recommend reservations. My favorite part? They fly their oysters in fresh every single morning. I personally love that kind of commitment to sea food! They had a nice selection of cocktails, definitely try something a little bit out of your element, you might be surprised!

Due to lack of reservations and time, I was not able to hit all the places in my list. Etch, Husk, Acme Feed + Seed, Loveless Cafe, Pancake Pantry and Rolf & Daughters were also recommended and they will be top of my list next time I am in town!

Here’s to country music, nice people and cowboy boots!

Nashville

[Brunch] Atlanta Brunchin’ Part I

I love southern food, like LOVE. From crispy chicken to cheesy grits. I find all food so full of flavor and happiness that I can’t help but keep wanting more.

Last month in Atlanta, my awesome big sister took me around and basically allowed me to eat my way through the city. Every single meal we had during the long weekend was simply amazing. I think they all deserve individual attention and contemplation.

Let’s start with Goldberg’s Bagel Co. and Deli. I found it ironic that it’s New York-inspired but oh my, it’s everything a breakfast should be.

reuben rolls atlanta food

We started with the Reuben egg rolls. Something that, to be honest, I would not have ordered myself but thank goodness that my sister made the call because they were glorious. They came with a 1000 Island dressing for dipping, which basically made them irresistible.

southern eggs benedict atlanta

I ordered the southern eggs benedict. Eggs and turkey sausage on top of a biscuit, crowned with gravy. I don’t ever want to go back to normal eggs benedict.

fried chicken biscuit and gravy

My sister went all out and got the fried chicken and egg biscuit sandwich. Please take a moment to appreciate the oozing of gravy and try not to drool.

We basically feasted on great food, for a super reasonable price. It’s nothing too fancy but the food is so good, there is no glamour needed to make this place the hit it is.

Komeeda Chef Showdown #3

 
(Photo from Komeeda)

Comida, Komeeda, Food.

A while ago I got the chance to meet the great mind behind Komeeda, a community that is passionate about discovering and tasting new food. I remember being immediately sold on the idea and I’ve been happy to see Komeeda keep on growing and evolving from group dinners to the most recent Chef Showdown series. Komeeda, just like me, believes that food makes people come together and through food, we can all have new and exciting experiences.

This month, I attended the 3rd Chef Showdown at District CoWork. It was a night buzzing with flavors and excitement as 3 chefs faced each other, providing delightful plates for everyone to taste and judge. My kind of evening, if you ask me.

(Photo from Cristina Nogueras)

Before even getting to the three main judges, we were welcomed by some delicious treats from the past chef showdown winner, Chef Flo from Eemas Cuisine. I’m sad I missed his first round of sweet potato & apple gyoza, but his pumpkin & mushroom bolognese on cornbread was delicious, pictured above. Seriously though, that cornbread was on point. I really enjoyed the Hawaiian cuisine twist he brought into the mix. Which makes me thing, I think I want to explore more Hawaiian cuisine, something else to add to my list.

(Photo from Cristina Nogueras)

Then the action began. The clock started ticking and we were tasked with tasting and judging everyone’s food. First for me was Chef Brandon Walker. He had a fall squash custard and a turkey confit croquette, pictured above. The croquette was DELICIOUS. I’m used to the classic Spanish croqueta, but I like the twist that Chef Brandon brought into the mix. I could have easily eaten a full plate of those croquettes dipped in a variety of sauces, no problem at all.


(Photo from Cristina Nogueras)

Next came Chef Amy with her beautiful, colorful plate. As she describes it, she made “delicata delights” for the vegetarian portion of the dish, delicata moons on rosemary skewer sprigs with sun dried tomatoes and collard greens, drizzled in a cashew aioli. For the meat dish, she made “squashta ragu”, baby bella mushroom cap stuffed with spaghetti squash “squashta” with lamb ragu, topped with homemade dehydrated onion crisps and freshly sliced basil. I wish the spaghetti squash with the lamb ragu had been a bigger portion because it was delicious.

(Photo from Komeeda)

Last but not least, Chef Paula delighted us with her winning plates. For the meat plate, she prepared a delicious adobo braised porkbelly over pork fat red bliss mashed potato, garlic sautéed spinach topped with adobo sauce and garlic chips. Again, another moment when I wished I could have kept on eating beyond what was on my plate just because it was so good. For the vegetarian plate, Chef Paula served Kare-Kare- Japanese eggplant, green beans, baby bok choy and onions on top of bibb lettuce drizzled with peanut sauce and topped with toasted “bagoong” peanuts. All of this was vegan, which to me, is quite impressive! Learned a lot by just reading more on each of the ingredients chosen which is almost as fun as eating the food itself and one of the reasons I like to go to events like this.

After a busy tasting session, we got to meet some of the sponsors of the event. I was especially intrigued by The Foodstand, a food community that not only shares good dining spots, but helps you find the freshest ingredients and more. I just joined the community this week and already I have discovered some new great food lovers to follow and new spots to try in the city.

We all got to vote and Chef Paula was crowned the Chef Showdown winner! Seriously, everyone’s plates were flavorful and down right delicious. Excited for Komeeda’s next culinary adventure, Friendsgiving! Be sure to follow them on Instagram or Twitter for more information.

Buen provecho!

Congrats again to Chef Paula! (Photo from Komeeda)

[Puerto Rico] Orocovis: Roka Dura & Casa Bavaria

Orocovis Casa Bavaria

As you may have seen earlier this week, I was recently home in Puerto Rico and while I was there I got to do some fun zip-lining. Toro Verde Adventure Park is located in Orocovis, right in the middle of the mountains of Puerto Rico. A lot of people don’t think of mountains when they think of Puerto Rico, they just focus on the beaches but it really is a beautiful area. I mean, we do have amazing beaches, but our mountains offer a very different kind of beauty.

Orocovis Roka Dura

On our way down from Toro Verde we made two nice stops. After a morning filled with adventure and thrill, we were obviously starving. Locals to the area recommended we had lunch at Roka Dura, just a few minutes outside of the park. They said food was delicious and portions were generous.

Orocovis Roka Dura

They were not lying. This mouthwatering “mofongo” filled with chicken was even more delicious than it looks. The plate below is chicken with garlic cassava, better known as “yuca al mojo”. The chicken was nothing special, but the “yuca” was on point. I love “yuca” but have never ventured to cook it myself, I’m not even sure if I would be able to buy some around here so it’s always one of those special plates I treat myself with when I’m visiting home.

Orocovis Roka Dura

This spot had really nice views. It was early Friday afternoon and you could see the little bars around or “chinchorros” starting to get busy with people celebrating the weekend’s arrival. Although I was on vacation, I also joined the celebration admiring the killer view.

Orocovis Roka Dura Medalla

Second stop was Casa Bavaria. This one holds special memories for me. With a fusion of Caribbean and German traditions, Casa Bavaria was founded by a German couple who fell in love with the island and decided to make a life here. Its claim to fame has been their great Oktoberfest celebrations, that’s how I first got there. It is (or was?) tradition to organize “party” buses to take groups of people up the mountains and bring Oktoberfest to life in Puerto Rico. Each bus had different t-shirts and unique stories, often captured and plastered on Facebook. It was, well, a hot mess. Ahh, memories.

Stopping by this time with a fresh (and sober) pair of eyes, I was able to find so much more beauty in this place. People are so nice and the views are to die for. We only had drinks here, but a lot of people were enjoying a full meal around us. Oktoberfest or not, definitely worth the stop.

Alert: Potential New Favorite Cocktail

 I love rum. I’m Puerto Rican, it’s sort of in my blood, I can’t help it. When I’m out, my “go to” drink is usually rum with Diet Coke. Don Q or Bacardi, preferably. However, as much as I love Diet Coke, I am trying to cut down on sodas. Rum is not that great either, especially when you want to keep your blood sugar levels on check.

This weekend during my trip to Boston, I stumbled into what I believe has the potential to be my next favorite cocktail: Gin Blossom. The magic happened at the trendy Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar.

According to their menu it takes: citadelle gin, st. germain, lemon muddled cucumber and raw cane sugar to make this glorious drink. I will definitely try it at home and cross my fingers that it’s not a disaster.


Lolita also had some other great things to offer. Once you are seated, they welcome you with an amuse-bouche of grapefruit granita served over a bowl of dry ice which creates a fun, smokey effect (not successfully captured in the shot above). Obviously, they offer to drizzle it with tequila. Of courseeeeee.

Of all the small plates we ordered, my favorite one was the blackened shrimp queso, “bubbling hot moteray jack cheese, blackened shrimp, roasted poblanos & pico de gallo.” I don’t think I really knew what “blackened shrimp” meant but I’m so glad I went with it.

A lot of food and gin blossoms later, we thought we were done but no, they bring in cotton candy as one last hurrah. Confession: I don’t think I had ever had cotton candy in my life. It never appealed to me. Also, when I was little my blood sugar was all over the place so I learned to stay away from sweets (tragic, I know). Cotton candy is weird, especially when you are having it for the first time with a few cocktails in your system. It was really fun, but not something I would crave. It’s such a tease, you think you are getting something and then it just fades away. So unfair.

So, what did we learn today? Cotton candy is weird and gin blossoms are exquisite. Cheers!