Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Keen's Steakhouse Pub, a comfortable place

Rick and I had a date night not too long ago at Keen's. I'd heard that they have good happy hour snacks, so I figured, what the heck? Let's check it out!

I arrived a little early at a quarter past 5, figuring I'd secure us a good table. I was amazed. Every single spot in the bar was taken! They were serving these really good looking meatballs, so I was a little bummed. Thankfully, the pub is in the middle (between the bar and the dining room), and I was able to take a seat since no reservations are required for the pub.

Rick ended up stuck at work for a little while, so I was at my table for 4, by myself with a magazine, for longer than I would have chosen. I have to say, though, never once did I feel like the waiter was concerned about my camping spot where turnover wasn't happening any time soon. I very much appreciated that.

Rick arrived, and we enjoyed a cocktail while we perused the menu. The other nice thing about the pub is that you have the option of ordering from the dinner menu, or from the pub menu. I ordered the pub sized mutton chop, because this is what Keen's is known for. And I will say, after eating almost every delicious bite I can see why! Rick had a bite or 2, and not being a lamb boy, that's impressive!

I enjoyed Keen's, and I'm looking forward to going again. Maybe I'll be able to snag a meatball next time :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Suzee's Beans and Greens

Tonight I was in the mood for some clean eats - something good for me, that used the swiss chard I just got, and some of the chicken stock I made yesterday. Food and Wine posts recipes on Facebook, they had one that was beans and greens that I found inspired this.

1T canola oil
4 Fat cloves of garlic, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 bunch swiss chard, chopped
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1 can cannelleni beans, rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
2T gorgeous extra virgin olive oil

Sautee the fennel in canola oil in a stock pot for 5 min or so, or til translucent. Add chopped garlic, and sautee for another minute or so. Add the chicken stock, fennel, chard, and beans. Simmer until the chard is tender, 5 minutes or so. Split the soup into 2 bowls, top with salt and pepper, and float the extra virgin olive oil on top.

Feel good about eating this clean meal :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Good Burger? Pricy Burger.

The other day I was stacked up with a couple of appointments, and I only had a banana and a half cup of cottage cheese for brunch (that's a weekday breakfast / lunch when you are in a hurry). After my volunteer time reading to Ed at Lighthouse International and my trip to Bumble and bumble to have my hair colored, it was already 7:00 pm and I was really hungry. I was going to head in to Micky D's or Wendy's or BK for a quick shameless burger and fries, but I walked by Goodburger on Lex and 54th and figured, hey, let's try this!

I ordered a burger, medium rare, with lettuce, tomato and mayo, fries and a diet coke at the order window. They offer beer and wine, but I wasn't in the mood. It came to $12.50. And the soda was small. So I was not impressed with my bill. I filled my soda cup and sat at a comfortable table in a clean, bright dining area. Dinner came up more quickly than I thought. The burger was actually done MR, and tasted fresh with all the correct accoutrements. The fries were flabby and awful. So, while the burger was really good, I don't think I'll be going back.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Silver Leaf Tavern, a relaxing afterwork locale

I got off the bus after riding for quite a while yesterday - the rain made it pretty depressing, and since I didn't sleep, it was long.

Rick called just as he was about to leave work to kindly offer to meet somewhere after for a cocktail, even though he was not in the mood. I was tired enough that I took him up on it.

I've been wanting to try the Silver Leaf Tavern on 70 Park for a while. There are signs outside about happy hour - $5 well drinks, $5 wine and $4 bottled beer with $2 and $5 bites. I like a deal, so what the heck?

We walked in around 6:30 ( happy hour is 5 - 7) and looked at the menu. It was the regular menu and martinis and specialty cocktails were $15, and appetizers were available. Someone at the bar asked for a happy hour martini, so we asked the bartender about it. She brought out the happy hour menu. Regular well martinis, cosmos and manhattans were $5 - we ordered a cosmo for me, and a manhattan for Rick, and a bowl of spiced nuts for $2 ($7 on the regular menu). They were fine - premade and stored in the fridge, and the nuts were a mix of peanuts and others. They had live music (Tuesday nights and Thursday nights only) which was nice, and with good seats at the bar to catch up on our days. There was a nice upscale feel to this place, and we enjoyed the ambiance. I'd call it a hidden gem even though the martinis were not shaken or stirred. Don't go often - I want to be sure I get a seat next time ;)

My little friend Jilly

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Suzee's Lemon Blueberry Tea Bread

Yummmmm :)
I was perusing my favorite blogs, and I came upon this recipe on For The Love Of Cooking. I added my Suzee twist, and undid the healthy things about the recipe, and popped into a loaf pan (no room here for muffin tins). It came out fabulously ;) Go ahead and make yourself some!

2/3 cup of white sugar

1 large lemon, zest and juice

2 cups of flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup of low fat sour cream

2 jumbo eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

8 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries

White sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.

Mix the sugar with the lemon zest with a fork until the zest infuses with the sugar. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda with the sugar, mix well.

In a separate bowl combine the eggs, sour cream, cooled butter, vanilla and lemon juice, mix with a whisk until smooth and creamy. Combine the egg mixture with the flour mixture until well combined. Add 1 cup of blueberries and gently mix, making sure not to pop the blueberries.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries to the top of the loaf, and sprinkle top with white sugar pretty liberally.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

We celebrated our anniversary yesterday with a trip into the financial district to the new restaurant SHO Shaun Hergatt. It recently was awarded a Michelin Star, and had lots of good press. We arrived at 40 Broad Street, and after the bomb sniffing dogs checked our cab for explosives, the cabby dropped us off at the front door. We took the elevator up to the second floor, and walked through the gorgeous bar area, and through the glass enclosed wine storage to a serene dining room. We sat and the waiter brought the wine and cocktail list. I had scoped it out on line, and was interested in trying the prickly pear martini. Bleck. I won't be ordering that again. Just too much pear - more of a fruity drink than a martini. The waiter brought a selection of fresh baked breads - we chose the ciabatta rolls, and they were served with soft french butter and soft truffle butter. The truffle butter was heavenly :)
The amuse bouche was a trio of interesting tastes. The middle one was a pair of home made crispy crackers with a soft herbed cheese between the crisp squares. My favorite :) The round one on the left was a cheesey truffle with complex savory flavors, also quite nice. The shot on the right, a sabayonne like creme in the bottom topped with a savory chicken gelatin was flavorful as well. And yes, those are mother of pearl spoons on top - very beautiful.
The menu is a price fixe 3 course meal for $65 each. Really a steal, especially for a restaurant with a Michelin star. Rick ordered the Red Chili and Coconut Milk Glazed Quail with Shiitake Duxelle and Wilted Tetragonia (above) and it was amazing. The breast was stuffed with a creamy savory pudding, and the soft boiled quail egg was a delicious accompaniment. I ordered the Purple Garlic Roasted Rock Shrimp with Butternut Fondant with Crustacean Espuma, and it was very salty.
For our entrees, we enjoyed some Pinot Gris as there was no Pinot Grigio available. It was a little sweet, but paired nicely with the food. Rick ordered the Milk Fed Veal Tenderloin with Veal Tongue and Double Cream Emulsion. It was again, complex and savory - a very nice dish with baby roasted veggies. I ordred the Glazed Day Boat Chatham Cod with Smoked Pork and Black Bean Sauce. I was disappointed as it was luke warm, and the mushroom pasta on the left was just cold :( It would have been tastier if it was hot.
I had to take a picture of the fish knife - I've never been to a restaurant where they actually had fish knives :)
The desserts were beautiful. Rick ordered a banana dessert with coconut ice cream, and I had a chocolate confection. They also brought a yellow cake which was inscribed with "Happy Anniversary" which was sweet. Then a cart filled with macarons, candies, truffles and other sweets was wheeled up, and we tasted a number of delectable treats. We felt like we'd had more candies and cakes than actual dinner lol! I had a Blue Point Toasted Lager with dessert. I love my beer, and this one was really delicious, served in a pretty pilsner glass.

We walked a couple of blocks to Broadway to get a cab back home. It was a nice, relaxed evening, and the company was the best part :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Flounder with Fennel and Garlic

Tonight I made comfort food. I know - who thinks of fish as comfort food? I do!

When I was growing up, my parent's idea of fun was to go deep sea fishing, dig clams, pull oysters, catch lobsters, go smelting and once, even go scalloping. And you know what? It was fun :D

In the warm weather we'd go out on the boat, and sometimes we'd get cod, and once we got big mackerel. Usually we got flounder. So when it comes to fish, I'm used to cooking it the same day you catch it. That's the best :)

I ordered some flounder from Fresh Direct that was delivered today. They advertised it as 4 out of 5 stars in quality. I don't think I've seen anything advertised as 5 star on their site, but I've seen plenty of 3 star, so I figured I'd give it a try. It's guaranteed after all. If it's not good, I just email them for a refund.

Now, to cook it so Rick is not dreading dinner. Unlike me, Rick hated everything to do with deep sea fishing when he was a kid, and he usually fed the fish over the side rather than with a pole and bait. Seafood was not a usual occurance at his house, and overall, he prefers not to eat it. I'll keep trying to get him to like it, though, because it's so gosh darn good for you!! That's how I came up with the shaved fennel. Usually I'd make fish topped with chopped onion sauteed in butter, and he doesn't mind that as much. And get this - he actually let me serve him a second piece and he ate it! Woo!

Here is what I did.

Preheat the oven at 375 or 400. Shave one bulb of fennel with a mandoline, and toss it in a pan to sautee with 1T oil and 1T butter. Peel and chop 2 or 3 fat cloves of garlic, and add them to the pan. Rinse the fish, and lay it in an oven to table dish. When the fennel and garlic have softened and started to color, spread it over the fish. Add another 2T of butter to the pan and let the residual heat melt it. Pour this over the fish. Pop the fish in the oven for 10 minutes. Slice a lemon if you like it, and chop some fresh parsley. When the fish is done, top it with the parsley and serve it with lemon slices on the side.

DELISH! The fennel adds a sweet tarragon flavor, and you know how much I love tarragon ;) Enjoy!