Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Amber's Panini

Amber wrote on facebook about a panini she had at Cafe Espresso. She made it at home and loved it just as much, and talked about it on line.
Here is my version:
2 slices of whole wheat bread
2 t softened butter
3 slices crisp bacon
5 short slices delicious cheddar cheese (to cover 1 slice of bread)
6 or 8 thin slices of gala apple (most of a 1/2 of a small apple)
1 slice american cheese
Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.
Layer cheddar on the unbuttered side of 1 slice
Add apple slices
Split bacon slices in half, and layer over the apples
Layer a slice of american cheese over the bacon
Over low heat, put a teflon pan on the stove Place the slice of bread with contents in a heated teflon pan. Place the second slice of bread on the sandwich, buttered side up. Saute until brown and carefully flip the sandwich to brown the second side.
Once the panini is toasted, cut into quarters and enjoy! It's even better once the sandwich cools a bit and is just a little warm. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tonic East

It's raining today, but earlier this week I was out and about and I happened upon Tonic East again. The sign touting the open roof deck for lunch held too much allure - I had to at least see the roof deck. I'm really glad I did!
During the mid week lunch, there were all of 2 other tables occupied at Tonic East. With the free drinks for chicks during certain hours, and spin the wheel for cocktail specials, I would not be surprised to see a wet t-shirt contest occurring here at night. But during the day, you can just enjoy the sun, have a beer and a sandwich, and be thankful that they offer such a nice service to the neighborhood (sharing their rooftop deck :)
Food was pretty good for lunch specials - I took half of my roast beef panini home, but it was delish :) I'm not sure I'd go for the floor show at night, but a nice surprise during the day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Suzee's Spicy Meatballs with BBQ Dip

These meatballs were inspired by Ann's BBQ Ribs. Rick loves the spice, so I thought this might be a nice way to enjoy it!

Ann's Spice Blend
2T cumin
1T chili powder
1T dry mustard
1T coarse salt
.5 T cayenne pepper
.5 T cardamom
.5 T cinnamon

Suzee's Spicy Meatballs
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 egg
1 piece of bread cut up
1/2 cup liquid (apple juice, water)
1/4 cup spice mix

Soak the bread in the liquid for 10 minutes or so. Add this to a bowl containing the remaining ingredients. Mix well, but lightly so the meat doesn't become compressed. Form meat into balls. Fry in a non-stick pan on all sides to cook through.

Suzee's BBQ Dip
1/2 C sour cream
2T BBQ sauce

Mix dip ingredients.

Serve the meatballs hot with the dipping sauce on the side.

Rick liked it, and the meatballs reheat well in the teflon plan. Sounds like a winner :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jets v Patriots

We took the 351 bus from Port Authority to Giants Stadium to watch the Jets v Patriots. We got awesome seats - 23rd row at the 50 yard line :) We went up to the top layer to get a sense of how the field looked up there. Looks pretty good! I don't think there are bad seats here! It was perfect weather - 70's and sunny.

This is the view from our seats. 80K fans were here, but it was reasonable and didn't feel too over powering.
Patriots doing warm ups before the game

Brady watching from the sidelines.

Moss during warm ups - he looks really tall on the field.

Sure would have been nice if we'd been able to see the Patriots make a touchdown, but I guess we'll have to go again to see that :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rare View - What Took Me So Long?

When we first moved to Murray Hill, Rare was on the list of places to try, but some how we never quite made it there. Then summer came, and frankly we only tried places where we could see outdoor seating. One day walking by Rare, I noticed a little sign around the corner - Rare View was open. Hmmm...what's that? A quick search on the web indicates it's a roof deck that opens after 4 weather permitting. Cool!

I forgot my camera (grrrr...) but got these photos from Yelp. I was surprised there weren't any shots of the Chrysler Building, as there is a fabulous view of it as well.
I got there around 6 pm last night, and the very well dressed security guard walked me to the elevator (!). I walked out to the deck from the elevator, and there were a number of bed/couch type areas separated by garden lattice and green vines and assorted plants. Hmmm... Rounding a couple more corners, I found the bar area with tables and chairs, and canopy of fun lights. I sat at a table and ordered a Flirtini while I waited for Rick. Music was playing at a nice level - 80's dance music a la C.W. Post. I texted Ann while I waited, and cursed my memory for not bringing the camera.
Rick arrived, and we had some drinks (he tried the raspberry mojito and I tried the blood orange cosmo - the Flirtini continued to be my fave), enjoying the weather - warm enough for comfort, no humidity - just perfect. No food on this deck - just a little bar mix with peanuts, pretzles, etc. We sat and chatted enjoying the NYC atmosphere, and watched them turn on the lights on the Chrysler building :)
I can't believe it's almost the end of September and only now I am finding out about this neighborhood gem in MY neighborhood. Well - I'll enjoy it while it's still available, and look forward to it in the Spring :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Concord Hair Design in Murray Hill

I have a feeling that job interviews (in person) will be coming soon. My hair was in desperate need of some love. I hadn't had it colored or cut since May when I did the big chop. I didn't feel I could afford to go to see Coco again, and I've been trying to decide what the "next style" should be...
While at Nail City, I heard a young woman talk about a salon on 40th Street between Park and Lex. She liked the salon alot. I walked by a couple times, and got a list of services. Today I took the dive - I made an appointment at Concord Hair Design and went over. After some misunderstanding (is my name Susan, Suzanne or Suzette - it made a difference today), I had my hair washed and met with my stylist, Misha. Initially I thought he was Italian, but I realized later he is Russian. His oldest daughter recently had a daughter and he is a very proud grandpa.
I told Misha I'm interested in growing my hair into a bob, and I'd like a cut to help me get to that end. He cut for a while, and then started to blow it dry. It has a nice shape, but man, look at all that gray! Ugh. I needed color. Misha had time to touch up my roots (thank you!!), so now I'm interview ready:)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dos Caminos on Park Ave

After walking around Chelsea today, including a tour of the Chelsea market, I meandered back toward home. I realized it was around lunch time - lucky me :) There was Dos Caminos - and it is on my list of places to try :)

I settled into a table in the front room, and after a while a waitress came by and took my order. I started with ice water and a glass of red sangria. I never used to be a fan of sangria - just a fruity wine - too sweet for me. But it seems almost every place around here adds brandy to their sangria - smoothing out all that sweetness. It had diced apples and cherries - very tasty! I ordered the asada tacos (according to the menu this is grilled marinated sirloin steak, caramelized onions, cotija cheese, guacamole on home made corn tortillas). The beef had a wonderfully rich and spicy sauce. It didn't seem to have the caramelized onions, and definitely no guacamole as advertised. It did have some raw onion, along with chopped fresh tomatoes. Refried black beans and spanish rice accompanied the tacos, and a tray of 3 salsas. One of the three was a delish tomatillo - my favorite :)

I tried to replicate the sangria - I am not a good sangria maker - yet :)

I'm looking forward to bringing Rick back here to try more of the mexican specialties!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

City Nails - Murray Hill

You know you are stressed when it seems like work to get your nails done. I was thinking I'd blow off getting my nails done until tomorrow when I was in the apartment, but when I did actually get outside, I ended up walking in to City Nails around 4:00 anyway. I was in desperate need to have my cuticles cut before I wrecked them entirely, and I was starting to cut the callouses off my feet with scissors.

A mani/pedi at City Nails (590 3rd Ave between 38th and 39th) will run you $25. I 've been a number of times, and after the 3rd or 4th time, I could tell they treat their return customers well. I went in today to "get it done" and I left thinking - wow - that was awesome! The massage chairs you sit in for the pedicure made it so wonderful :)

I highly recommend Nail City - a little corner with a lot of relaxation :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jets and Giants

Rick is so starved for football, we watched the Jets over at Dukes, and now we are watching the Giants. Monday night the Patriots play - will we get to see them???

Saturday, September 12, 2009

King Farm - Grass Fed Beef and Hay

The welcoming front porch and back porch. Wait! Is that one of those 5 gallon buckets?? No, not 5 gallons, but filled...with elderberries... Someone is looking for elderberry flapjacks...

After sorting through the elderberries, I added some sugar, and a little flour and cooked them on the stove top. My father said he liked them, but I thought the seeds were too bitter.

Mom helped me make salsa - she peeled aaalllllllll the tomatoes. I added purple onion, jalapenos, cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice and a little bit of yellow bell pepper for color. Very pretty :)

We ended up with alot of salsa, and even left a few tomatoes for snacking!

Every Friday is fishday - we went to East Brady near the river and got some fish - yum yum :)

OK - ready for a ride back to the big city with that salsa, and a new refrigerator!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Street Fair Surprise!

I heard the bells ringing because the windows were open - A street fair was on our corner, and it was lunch time :) Rick got an Italian Sausage Sub with onions and peppers. I got a lamb soulvaki with yogurt sauce. Yum yum!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Vento in the Meatpacking District

Vento in the Meatpacking District is noted on Open Table as a "Neighborhood Gem". After eating here tonight, I can appreciate why! Vento is at the corner of 14th Street and Hudson just where 9th Avenue ends - a beautiful triangular building with lots of outdoor seating overlooking cobblestone streets - though inside was beautiful too. The menu is affordable, with lots of tapas like dishes meant for sharing, pizza, pasta and other entrees.
We started with an amuse bouche - which I was very pleasantly surprised with - it was a mild fresh tuna salad - raw and diced with onion and maybe celery mixed with Isreali cous cous. It was very fresh and had a mild flavor. Rick didn't care for it, and it was a bit bland, but I enjoyed it. We ordered cocktails, and I selected the Summer Thunderstorm - a vodka martini with apple and cucumber, and Rick ordered a Grey Goose on the rocks. I wanted to try a few of the tapas - the Florentine Dip was high on my list, but alas - they were out. They were also out of the rotolini, a roasted sliced eggplant rolled with ricotta, mozzerella and tomato sauce. I must say I was disappointed. We tried the polpette, meatballs in a marinara sauce with a little cheese on top - they were wonderful! Made with a mixture of pork, veal and beef, they were rich and flavorful, and not too dense. Unfortunately our appetizer arrived before our cocktails, but not too much earlier. My cocktail was refreshing and very reminiscent of a summer thunderstorm - a nice flavor! At this point I think we moved to VIP status in the server's mind because we'd not been faring too well - he was very attentive, and the host was too, and they made sure we had everything we needed and more from that point on. We ordered a Siciliana pizza which comes with roasted eggplant, zucchini, peppers, goat cheese, marinated tomato, and basil. It was delish - A thin crusted pizza, which I prefer these days, and it didn't have the usual tomato sauce so it was very interesting! A really spicy kick! Even though Rick doesn't care for eggplant, and usually I don't either, don't let that deter you from ordering this dish - the eggplant was not at all bitter, and was peeled and cut in a jullienne. You can add chicken or shrimp or a number of other toppings as well.
For dessert we ordered a selection of gelatos - all 6 on the menu! You can get 3 flavors for $5 and they are made in house. My favorite started as the white chocolate chip, then moved to the caramel a la sel and ended up with the nutella with pretzels, thought the chocolate brownie was good too. Rick liked the Cherry Vanilla. When all the flavors arrived, the waiter brought us complementary champagne, which was very sweet.
Rick isn't sold on Vento, but I'm looking forward to my next visit!

Mini Kitchen in NYC

I'm starting to think about doing an upgrade to our kitchen. We have a VSK (very small kitchen) and all in all I think the space was designed pretty well. I've done a good bit of cooking as you can see from my blog entries, and I had to be very thoughtful about what I chose to bring in to this tiny space.
As we consider the project, I must say to my friends who do not live in Manhattan that I expect this project to be full of surprises. The coordination and approvals required will make this a very complex project, so I don't want to make mistakes if I can help it. The co-op board must approve the plan, and then the process of demolition and getting rid of the old appliances, cabinetry and flooring - securing a reservation on the elevator to remove these items, then bringing in new items, etc, etc, etc... Who knows if we will have to turn off the gas or water to make these upgrades, and whether it will affect our neighbors.
I'd like to focus on functional, long lasting and easy care items - countertops, backsplashes, flooring - anyone who has opinions about the materials you have in your kitchen, please post comments. I had a friend who spent a lot installing corian counter tops, only to be disappointed because they are so soft they are easily scratched. She put a cardboard box on the counter and later slid it off, and it it left big scratches. She wasn't happy.
Also - does anyone have one of those under mounted sinks? Do you find it difficult to clean where the sink meets the counter top?
Does anyone have cork flooring? Does it seem long lasting? Is it hard to clean?
We are lucky that since our kitchen is so small, it will cost less than most kitchen re-do's. Thanks for your suggestions!

Suzee's Asian Pear Crisp

Asian pears were at the farmer's market this week for $2/lb. Weight watchers counts 1 asian pear as 0 points - all that fiber you know. So I thought - hey! Maybe I could make a remotely healthy crisp out of these sweet nuggets. Definitely would up the fiber for my honey. Now, I'm not sure I would make this again - I really like apples - but it was a nice experiment.
2 asian pears, leave the skin on - cored and diced in bite sized pieces
2T cold butter, divided
3 T brown sugar
3 T flour, divided
3T old fashioned rolled oats
1T chopped walnuts
a few sprinkles of cinnamon to taste
Mix the pears with a teaspoon of the flour and place in a baking dish (I used an au gratin). Dot 1t of butter on top, and sprinkle the cinnamon and walnuts over as well. Cut in the rest of the cold butter to the brown sugar until the butter is the size of small peas. Mix in the remaining flour and oats. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit. Bake for about 45 or so at 350.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Suzee's Summer Breakfast Sandwich

This morning Rick was going to heat up left over pizza for breakfast. He's going to have a cave day today, so I suggested that he leave that for lunch, and I'd make an egg, tomato and toast breakfast. He thought about it and chose to have a fried egg sandwich. I made that for him, then made my much more delightful breakfast :)

Toast 1 slice of peasant bread lightly.
Spread with mayonaise
Layer thick slices of garden fresh tomatoes on the toast
Top with 2 eggs over easy.
Lightly salt.
Eat immediately.

The eating immediately precluded taking a photo of my deliciousness, but made it all the better to eat :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Patroon in Mid Town East

We are having our second Labor Day staycation here in lovely NYC. The nice thing about this weekend is that the city is sure to be absolutely dead. Which means we can do what ever we want with out having to fight the crowds :)

This afternoon we went for a late lunch at Patroon, recommended as a restaurant with a roof deck. Since it was such a nice day, we thought we'd give it a try. It's nice to be up and above the traffic, though this deck was only a 2 stories up. The specialty cocktails weren't that special. I had the Mid-Town Kiss, a preseco cocktail with strawberry puree which all settled to the bottom of the glass. Rick had a rum lemonade cocktail with a sprig of mint that was very boozy. Lunch took a long time to come, but was tasty. I had the a special - grilled cod with a balsalmic reduction. It was fresh and smoky from the grill plated on a few lettuce leaves. I was still hungry when I was done. Rick ordered the special steak sandwich, medium rare. It was well done, but tasted good - I had a couple bites when my fish was done. Fries were good too. It was a nice, but pricey lunch. I doubt we will go back. But, if you want a quiet and outdoor place for lunch in mid town east, this place may be for you!