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Archive for May, 2011

Hello, gorgeous. I’ve introduced you to this corn before, back when the Germans came to town. That was Cafe Habana in Soho. this is Habana Outpost in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. This spot is a bit more happenin’ – since they have outdoor seating and you order inside before picking up your food outside at a truck. When we got there a little after 7 on Wednesday night, the line was out the door. But we had reasons to stay as you can see above. Also, it was Tracee’s birthday.

Here are two of the Savan sisters. They had guacamole and queso sandwiches which HELLO, why didn’t I order that? Next time I will know.

We had to wait quite some time at the truck. I think since it’s been raining so much this may have been their first day being really busy because it was a little insane. They had to stop taking orders at one point so the kitchen could catch up. Also – patience is not rewarded here. If it’s busy and you want your food, you have to make yourself known.

And of course, once you get your food it all is worth it. Cubano sandwich at left and of course some more of that glorious corn.

And now we come to the section in which we were asked nicely to leave. As I said already, it was Tracee’s birthday. So Tracee’s roommate Leigh Anna made her some glorious strawberry cupcakes with vanilla frosting. We even sang her a song:

Well, it didn’t go over well. As soon as we were done singing, the lady in charge at Habana was standing there and in one breath said “Happy birthday” to Tracee and “I need to talk to you” to Leigh Anna at the same time. Basically, there’s a $20 charge to bring outside food in. Which I mean, I get. But cupcakes? Birthday cupcakes? They don’t even have dessert! Like I said, I get it, rules are rules – but you’d think after we all came and had food and drinks, it wouldn’t really be a big deal if we took three seconds to all eat a birthday cupcake. So as we did not pay the $20, we had to leave.

I think this picture is hilarious. Tracee is wearing a birthday sash, which is awesome. And nobody else you can really see. We all love Cafe Habana and it’s not like we won’t be back five million times this summer. We just won’t be bringing cupcakes.

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Who loves brunchy beverages? I do, I do. This is actually from a few weeks back, when Hagan and I went on an adventure in the rain to Char No. 4. I underestimated how long it would take us to walk there from my apartment in the pouring rain. Sunshine – no problem. But when it’s raining and you live a few flights up and by the time you’re downstairs you realize you don’t have an umbrella and you’re like “screw it” and decide to walk there anyway? Not as fun. Hagan was soaking wet and the dude asked him if he could grab him a towel from the bar for his hair. Ha!

Anyway – there were brunchy beverages. I don’t do the whole Bloody Mary thing but Hagan does and he likes them spicy and he gave Char No. 4 a “good to go” in case you’re into Bloody Marys too.

See. And now the foodz:

House smoked bacon, one of Hagan’s favorite things. Followed by his actual favorite thing:

Crispy cheddar curds. Yep, that happened. Yummy.

And then you know, the usual stuff:

Yeah… what isn’t on this plate? I stole some potatoes, natch, and they were so good.

And then me:

This was a brunch special that day. I believe it was corned beef hash. The sauce underneath it definitely had a kick to it. I think I keep forgetting what “hash” means because this is the second time I’ve ordered hash and it wasn’t what I expected. So maybe I don’t know what hash is. Basically there was this hash once at the Roebling Tea Room like two years ago (seriously) that had potatoes and beets and an egg on top and I keep looking for it and that was not it. Not sure why I thought corned beef would do the trick but that’s what happens when you’re a whackadoodle like me.

ANYWAY. I very much liked Char No. 4 and would like to go back – whether it’s for brunch or I’d also like to try their dinner.

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One of the best things about moving is all the new places attached to the new neighborhood that is attached to your new apartment. It is lovely. Last week, Stacy, Lucy, and I were trying to find a last-minute spot for dinner and we randomly discovered Chesnut – a hole in the wall – literally but not figuratively. It’s basically a cave. And it’s cozy. See all the bottles behind Stacy and Lucy? It makes a really nice feel. Makes you want to sit there and read books and feel nice.

Each table starts off with some bread and olive oil and homemade pickles.  I love pickles.

Lucy started with some beautiful greens.

And Stacy and I started with the gnocchi. I think my personal preference is for a creamier base, but it’s good to try new and different things.

And this, my dears, was the housemade cavetelli. THIS was the winner. It was delicious. Noodles and meat and cheese. Because that is the combination of life. Cheers to you, Chesnut.

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Guess what – it’s baseball season! And also Water Taxi season, as you see in this picture. One of the best things about going to a Yankees game is taking the water taxi from downtown all the way up to the Bronx. And it costs all of one dollar to reserve your seat. It’s awesome. Who doesn’t like cruising on the Hudson? Also, you can buy beer. That’s Allison, Stacy, and I when we were still docked at the South Street Seaport.

And here is Stacy after we get cruisin’:

Hey, Stacy! Stacy is one of my awesomest friends and she currently lives in my neighborhood! Sadly only for about ten more days as she’s moving to Austin shortly. I will miss her ’cause we’ve had some super fun times. Also I look forward to seeing her when I go visit my dad in Texas in October. It’s gonna be SWEET.

And the one picture from the game with all the girls:

I love this picture. We all had fun at the game and the tickets were only six dollars! That’s some cheap entertainment. Of course we bought hot dogs and beers and garlic fries to make up for it though. Ha. I look forward to going to more games this season, especially as it gets nicer out. Go Yankees! (And the Detroit Tigers, natch.)

Oh also – we met Tracy Morgan after the game. He was nice and took a photo with us. Thanks, Tracy – we all love 30 Rock!

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The best meal we had in Chicago a few weekends ago was the last one. Thanks to my awesome cousin who rules Chicago and her suggestion, we went to GT Fish & Oyster. It’s a gorgeous and fun setting, the service was fantastic and the food phenomenal. Easily the best meal of the year so far. Thank you, Chicago!

The menu is made up of small plates so it’s best to order a few. Or five thousand. As we did. Our server was so awesome and he made it really fun for us as we told him we were celebrating Nora’s birthday. Also – he could have sold us a plate of salt if he wanted to. He had us in the palm of his hand. If he suggested we try one more thing, we did. If he suggested we get more drinks, we did. Dessert to split? Yes, please!

So we ordered a lot. I am showing approximately four percent of the dishes that actually came to us. Starting with the clam chowder as you see above. Isn’t it cute how it was presented? And it was so good. You know I love me some clam chowder.

We got some oysters, duh:

Do you know how much fun it is to like oysters? I am so glad I am a fan. Here is an oyster I don’t remember which kind (shame on me for slacking with my Oysterpedia app!) and some mignonette on top. Delicious.

This was PHENOMENAL. Black gnocchi with squid ink, carrot lobster broth, prawns and fiddlehead ferns. AMAZING. I love gnocchi (esp when it’s good) and I love prawns. Excellente.

This is the lobster roll. They were kind enough to cut it in three for us. Also delicious. I’m excited because it’s going against The Mermaid at this year’s Tasting Table Lobster Roll Rumble, which naturally I’ll be at. Also the fried onions behind it – normally couldn’t care less. NOPE. Delicious and addicting.

The last picture of food I’m going to post is the lobster mac and cheese:

Ok these are my favorite kind of noodles that mac and cheese is made with. Yes. And they brought this dish to us last, which we appreciated, so it didn’t fill us up in the beginning (like I said before – we ordered five thousand other things I am not posting.) Perfect.

An all-around excellent meal. I can’t talk it up enough. If you go to Chicago, you must absolutely, absolutely go here. And here’s one last photo of me and my ladies before Kayti and I headed back to Michigan and said goodbye to Nora and my newfound love and appreciation of Chicago:

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So. If I didn’t mention that we were rear-ended when Kayti and I drove to Chicago a few weekends ago – we were. And if I didn’t mention my sister Emily very graciously let us take her car instead – she did. Her one condition: bring back Molly’s cupcakes.

So before we left for our drive back to Michigan – Molly’s is where we stopped. Kayti got some for her mom too. Molly’s has lots of different kinds of cupcakes and I almost didn’t know what to do. I decided to buy six random flavors: The Ron Bennington (chocolate cake, peanut butter filling, chocolate ganache, crushed butterscotch topping), Boston Cream (classic vanilla cake, delicate pastry cream filling, chocolate ganache), Cookie Monster (vanilla chocolate chip cake, raw cookie dough center, buttercream, mini chocolate chip cookie), birthday cake (duh) and something really chocolatey. I got them for my mom, my sis, and my Michelli to do a taste test for me and their winner was birthday cake.

But back to the store – it was cute. Look at this small child sitting on a swing:

I feel like it’s illegal (or just potentially creepy) to take pictures of other people’s kids which is why unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of the kid’s adorable face that – I’m sure you can imagine – was covered in frosting.

This is a strawberry shortcake cupcake that Nora bought, which they only have in the summer:

And this is the definition of friendship:

Gotta love Molly’s Cupcakes.

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I’m not sure if pictures will do this place justice. First off, Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co is like a cave on the inside. A very old-timey bar and you give your name to a man who does not write it down but remembers your group in thirty minutes any way. So that’s pretty cool. Also – this is not pizza. This is pizza PIES.

But first.

The world’s best greek salad. Nope, the picture does not do it justice. Nor does it tell you it’s size but it is HUGE! And it comes with two dressings, which the server told us are best when mixed. It was true! One was sour cream based (what?) and I think the other was a vinaigrette. Perfect combination. And everyone at the table liked feta.

Now the pizza pies.

Just kidding. I forgot we got another appetizer. Which was bread – Mediterranean bread – because you’re never eating enough bread when you’re getting pizza. This was delicious, especially when you dipped it in one of the dressings.

And now the pizza pies:

They kind of look like mushrooms. The server actually brings them to you faced down and he then scoops out the plate or whatever was below it. It’s interesting. Your options are meat or no meat. Get the meat. It’s a very homey dish. Not really like pizza, kind of like a lasagne or something. It’s good. But it’s not pizza. So if you’re sitting there thinking, “I can’t wait to eat pizza!” you might be in the wrong place. But the salad and the bread. That’s what you need.

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If there is one thing in life I like to do, it is to go on adventures. Of course the actual traveling part to Chicago in an adventure in itself (did I mention we were rear-eneded not five minutes after leaving my mom’s house and the trip was almost Not Happening?) but while in Chicago – why not go on some adventures, like the Lincoln Park Zoo? As you can see, we did and we made great friends with the gorillas.

Also, while at the Lincoln Park Zoo, we rode the carousel. Carousels are like a Thing for me because I imagine the animals are real and always want to pick the very best/coolest ones to ride. You can also see my love for carousels here.

And where can you take better pictures than on a carousel? Let’s be serious. As you can see I was more interested in the fake animals than the real animals at the zoo. I do like real animals too, but they don’t always let you ride them.

AND another random picture of us girlies with some animals in the background. This was at the suggestion of KP who told me of a horse mural nearby her old Chicago apartment.

Yeah, this was pretty much the best trip ever. More restauranty/food stuff posts up next!

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Who loves brunch? Me, me, me! I’ve actually seen Twitter bios where people say “I don’t like brunch.” Sad for you! I mean… NYC brunch can be cray cray and sometimes you have to wait 3.5 hours but when brunch is good, it is good. And it was good at Bakin’ & Eggs in Chicago! So good.

We have the roasted veggie frittata for Miss KMD. And a little chicken apple sausage is hiding. Here whole plate was so good and I know because I hate half of it. What I ordered was a bit too much like a dessert to have for breakfast (imagine me saying that) and soon you will see.

This is Nora’s Southern Comfort Bowl. Yep. What it’s called. Two eggs (overeasy here) with potatoes, cheddar, biscuit and gravy. Southern Comfort indeed. What you see behind it creepin’ is called a flight of bacon.

So we’ve got a few different kinds of bacon here. Maple pepper, jalapeno, honey, mesquite, and cherry smoked. Actually not entirely sure which ones I tried but I did steer away from the jalapeno. I was expecting the bacon to be that really thick kind like applewood smoked bacon, but I’m actually glad it wasn’t cause the thin kind is what I actually prefer.

And then my dessert for breakfast:

Remember when I wondered aloud to myself (and whoever reads this) about bread pudding turned into french toast? Well now I know because that’s what this is. I’m pretty sure there were chocolate chips in it too. It was delicious, but five bites or so goes a long way. Which is why I ate half of Kayti’s instead. We took the lovely french toast (what it’s actually called) home and I hope Nora ate the crap out of it later.

And if you’re wondering if they know how to make their lattes pretty at Bakin’ & Eggs the answer is YES.

Bakin’ & Eggs is GOOD STUFF, people. Would be my new go-to brunch location if it were not in Chicago. Chicago, I do love you!

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Hello, welcome to my first food post from Chicago! One of the reasons Chicago is a great city is that lots of people I love live there. Case in point, my girl Nora, who you see right there staring intently at the ceviche sampler and guacamole trio. At Zocalo Restaurant and Tequila Bar, the servers take education very seriously and tell you a lot of things about what you will be eating. By this point we were all so extremely hungry it appears Nora was the only one listening but I’m sure they had good things to tell.

Another one of my favorite people in Chicago is my friend Eugene who I’ve known since my first job in high school. I worked at a movie theatre (free movie tickets, holla!) and I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I still keep in touch with quite a few people from that job. It was fantastic. Anyway, it was Eug’s idea to suggest Zocalo and he and his lady (whom I also love) joined us there, so thank you Eug for that.

The trio de guacamole was very good. The ceviche was even better. I love ceviche! Why don’t I ever order it? Will adjust accordingly.

I am a fan of tacos at Mexican restaurants (specifically Mexican Village in Detroit, of course) and Zocalo is fun because you can choose up to three meats and then it comes with the fixins and tortillas to make them yourself.

And how can I forget! Our first order of business was glasses of sangria when somebody (ahem) was late.

Also – apparently there is a Zocalo in NYC. I had no idea. Good to know when I’m jonesin’ for some guacamole.

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