Category Archives: FOOD – “The Delicious”

American - FOOD - "The Delicious"

Beyond pizza at California Pizza Kitchen in NYC

November 2, 2015

I know what you’re thinking. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if I could tell you something new about a chain restaurant like California Pizza Kitchen either. I don’t write about a lot of chains mostly because NYC has so much variety. That’s not a knock on chains, but I personally feel like you come to NYC to try all those quaint, unique places that make the city so exciting to experience. But when I was invited to check out CPK’s new menu, and it really did exceed my expectations, mostly because this time I tried dishes beyond just their pizza.

California Pizza Kitchen in Gramercy, NYC

California Pizza Kitchen in Gramercy, NYC

Strawberry cooler

Strawberry cooler

A good way to start: Guac, and lobster flatbread

Starter bread and guac

Starter bread and guac


Guacamole

Guacamole


Lobster flatbread

Lobster flatbread

With our main plates, we tried a variety of dishes. We had to get one order of their classic Thai Chicken pizzas, but we also dipped into their kung pao shrimp pasta, refreshing watermelon salad, and must-try new items: Roasted halibut, garlic chicken, and fire-grilled ribeye. Everything had so much flavor and cooked perfectly.

Kung Pao shrimp

Kung Pao shrimp


Fish tacos

Fish tacos


.

.


Watermelon feta salad -- so refreshing

Watermelon feta salad — so refreshing


.

.

I normally don’t go straight for fish, but this wild-caught Alaskan halibut roasted on a cedar plank with butternut squash farro, baby kale, and grilled asparagus was too good to pass up:

Hearth-Roasted Halibut on asparagus, butternut squash farro, and baby kale

Hearth-Roasted Halibut on asparagus, butternut squash farro, and baby kale

My friends who tried the chicken and steak couldn’t get over how much flavor they both had. The chicken was cooked perfectly with a lemon-garlic sauce, and served with fingerling potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. The chicken was juicy and tender and served with seasonal vegetables.

Roasted garlic chicken

Roasted garlic chicken


I was a little nervous for the fire-grilled ribeye – I wasn’t sure how much even the reimagined menu at CPK would deliver. Surprisingly, my friends loved it. They topped the steak with bleu cheese butter that complemented the steak well without taking over. It’s served with roasted fingerling potatoes in a rich pesto sauce, and a lemon-garlic arugala salad.
Fire-grilled ribeye

Fire-grilled ribeye

Finally, when it came to dessert, we immediately ordered the chocolate shuffle cake but our waiter insisted we also tried the butter cake. Twist our arm. I had no idea their classic butter cake was THIS good, especially looking so unassuming. Soft, creamy, and sweet, it might be all you need. But a spoon of the chocolate souffle didn’t hurt either.

Butter cake -- must try

Butter cake — must try

Belgian chocolate souffle cake

Belgian chocolate souffle cake

Overall CPK’s reimagined menu shows promise — enough that I’ve been craving to go back since this visit. The one we visited on Park Avenue South is also perfect for big groups with so many seating areas. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Pizza tossing

Pizza tossing


CPK on Park Ave South in NYC

CPK on Park Ave South in NYC


Restaurant Info:
California Pizza Kitchen

440, 386 Park Avenue South,
New York, NY 10016
(212) 685-6700
Murray Hill
REPORT CARD
Meal: Dinner
Occasion: Catching up with friends
Price: $$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ***
Food: ***
Service: ***
Would I go back?: Yes!



x
Shy
“Like” Beauty and the Feast on Facebook
Follow Beauty and the Feast on Twitter

Breakfast/Brunch - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade

Recipe: Easy Protein Pancakes

September 9, 2015

I found this recipe on Instagram of all places, and I like that it’s an easy, protein-packed, gluten-free pancake recipe that only uses a few ingredients. Besides the fact that it gives me a ton of energy, it tastes great:

Protein pancakes

Protein pancakes



Ingredients
:
3 egg whites
1 scoop of protein powder (I use a vanilla flavored one)
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/4 cup of low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)
1 tsp of almond milk (optional)
Optional: sliced fruits like strawberries

Directions
:

Combine eggs, protein, rolled oats, cottage cheese, and almond milk together in a blender and blend until it liquifies. The almond milk makes it a little thinner (I use Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze milk in Vanilla/Unsweetened) so you can add it if you have it but you don’t have to have it for this recipe. I also have made this a ton of times without the vanilla extract and it tastes great even without it, so don’t fret if you don’t have those ingredients.

In a small skillet, add a little olive oil or cooking spray over low heat and pour in mixture. After a few minutes, or until edges solidify, flip pancake over and cook other side. This recipe is enough for two pancakes.

After cooking pancakes, top with sliced fruits — I like adding strawberries and blueberries. I’ve also tried different variations of it. Below is one I had using chocolate-flavored protein powder.

Chocolate pancakes

Chocolate pancakes

I also tried adding blueberries to the batter — this made it a little too liquid-ey so it was hard to flip…think I may stick with just topping it with blueberries next time, but since I had the picture of a failed attempt:

Blueberry batter pancakes

Blueberry batter pancakes

Let me know if you try, especially if you tried a different variation of this! My friend at All Sear, another great cooking blog, tried out my pancakes, adjusting the portions a bit for a guy and wrote more about the nutritional value as well, so if you want to check that out, click here


x
Shy
“Like” Beauty and the Feast on Facebook
Follow Beauty and the Feast on Twitter

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Homemade - Recipes - Seafood

Recipe: Seared scallops with vegetables

September 4, 2015

I’m the person who runs at the gym while watching the Food Network, and during my down time at work (when not testing lipstick swatches), I’m reading articles on food. I came across one about how to sear scallops the right way, and I became enticed by the idea of trying it myself.

My seared scallops!

My seared scallops!

I realized it’s not difficult at all when prepped the right way. A few things I learned:

1) Make sure to buy DRY scallops as opposed to wet ones. The quality is better and it’s easier to cook. Wet scallops are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP), I learned which makes it difficult to sear because it absorbs so much moisture. A lot of grocery stores serve them this way. DRY scallops are a little more expensive, but more fresh and have a better flavor. Dry ones are more fleshy and translucent compared to wet ones, which look opaque, pale, or white.

2) Cook it in very hot oil.The first problem with scallops occurs before you even buy them.* Many scallops are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP), a chemical that, while perfectly safe to consume, wreaks havoc on your ability to achieve a proper sear. In the industry, chemically treated scallops are called wet scallops, and they’re the norm in most supermarkets, including the one where I’d bought mine.

3) Get friendly with salt.

I went to Whole Foods to buy one, and pricier is right — they were $25 per pound but found worth paying more for. Here’s how I made mine.

First I let them sit in paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. I pressed another paper towel on top to absorb maximum water (I let it sit for about 20 minutes).

Prepping scallops on paper towels with seasoning

Prepping scallops on paper towels with seasoning

I then seasoned it with salt, pepper, and a pinch of garlic salt and let it sit for a few minutes more.

Next, I added canola oil to a frying pan over high heat and let it sit for a minute so it’s really hot.

Cooking the scallops

Cooking the scallops


Next, I placed each scallop in the pan and let it fry for a few minutes until the bottom is slightly brown. Don’t keep turning it to check the scallop — let it fry for a good few minutes before you turn it over.
.

.

When it’s ready, turn it over and sear the other side.

.

.

Et voila. That’s it. It was the first time I’ve ever seared scallops and they turned out delicious if you just prep it right.

.

.


I baked asparagus (just put fresh stems with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic salt) until slightly browned. I found it’s the best way to serve them so it’s not soggy. I also separately cooked corn over the stove with butter, and added salt, pepper, cayenne, and some Italian seasoning. You can serve it whatever you want, of course — this is just the way I chose to do it to keep it less heavy and it tasted delicious together. Anyone going to try? Make sure to tag me so I can see your creation :).

x
Shy
“Like” Beauty and the Feast on Facebook
Follow Beauty and the Feast on Twitter

American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Healthy - Vegan - Vegetarian

Veestro: Plant-based meals delivered to your door

September 3, 2015

[Just FYI: Veestro is providing a special discount code for BATF readers at the end!]

I’m so used to cooking practically all my meals now but I was totally game to hang up my cooking utensils for a week to try Veestro, a gourmet, plant-based, organic meal service. I’m not a vegetarian but I’ve cut my meat consumption a LOT, so the thing that attracted me most to Veestro was that they use all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or animal products. You can buy them by meal or by meal-plan depending on your focus (high protein, gluten-free, weight-loss, etc.)

Veestro's Kale & Quinoa salad with tempeh bits and tahini dressing

Veestro’s Kale & Quinoa salad with tempeh bits and tahini dressing

Veestro asked if I’d try a 5-day meal plan (15 meals) to see what I thought. They sent me some info about the perks of a plant-based diet. Besides promoting long term sustainable weight loss, they’re low in saturated fats, high in fiber, and reduce excess cholesterol intake. Not to mention, they’re rich in antioxidants, plant sterols, phytochemicals, and potassium, which are all thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. Of course, there’s a lot that rides on the quality of the plant-based and non-meat products you’re eating — if you’re not eating meat but eating an excess of processed foods, for example, you’re still taking in a lot of calories.

But crash-nutrition lesson aside, I was mostly curious about the taste of their meals. After eating their meals for a week I found a few things consistently true: they didn’t skimp on flavors, they use fresh ingredients that you can actually read without a dictionary, and (true to their word) no preservatives. You also have a few options on how to prepare them — some you could heat on the stove top or microwave, some you had to bake but this gave some flexibility to bring it to work. Plus, there was a lot of variety in cuisine so it didn’t get boring. I was really starting to look forward to my meals every day.

Some of my favorites
:
Red Curry with Organic Tofu and Veggies (the curry paste made with red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, shallot, thai ginger; it also had organic carrots, califlower, broccoli, organic brown rice, coconut milk, ginger, coriander, paprika)

Red curry tofu

Red curry tofu

Veggie Empanadas (made with organic pastry flour, filled with potatoes, carrots, onions, and green peas, and a chichi sauce made with organic parsley, cilantro, garlic, oregano, and lemon juice — so delicious):

Veggie empanadas

Veggie empanadas


Veggie empanadas

Veggie empanadas

Veggie Burger Patty (made with braised tempeh, organic black beans, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, and corn). I added some cheese, kale, and sriracha ketchup to this and it was so filling and delicious.

Veggie patty

Veggie patty


Here’s some more pics of the meals — even their juices are not to be missed.
Meals from Veestro!

Meals from Veestro!

From top (left to right): Oatmeal breakfast, Risotto with butternut squash and kale, Soba noodles with peanut sauce, Three layer scramble with tofu, Thai Chick’N stew, Tuscan calzone, Eggplant Casserole, and Savory Croquettes with veggie hash.

My only small gripe was that not all the directions are that detailed on how to prepare the food (I ended up cooking some over heated olive oil, but some that come with sauces could have been more descriptive) — then again, this can help you get creative with the dishes, like I did in some cases. Other than that, the only real problem you’ll run into is making room in your freezer. Also, if you’re grabbing the meals to go (especially to work where you won’t have a stove available a lot of times), make sure it’s one that can be heated up in the microwave.

Want to try it yourself? Visit veestro.com, and use coupon code VEESTROFEAST to get 20% off your entire order through Sept 30th!!


x
Shy
“Like” Beauty and the Feast on Facebook
Follow Beauty and the Feast on Twitter

FOOD - "The Delicious"

Benefits of Zico Coconut Water + new flavors

September 2, 2015

.

.

I’m sure you recognize Zico coconut water from your grocery store, but I was able to get a closer look at InStyle + Single Edition Media’s #SummerSocial event a couple weeks ago. I think I may have even found my favorite flavor there: pineapple which tastes close to a fancy pina colada. It’s hard to believe how many health benefits each serving has.

And they're always spinning the best tunes

And they’re always spinning the best tunes


Zico's new coconut water flavors

Zico’s new coconut water flavors


Besides having zero fat and cholesterol, it’s gluten-free and contains a chock full of electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus so I’ve been trying to take more before and after my workouts.

The coconut water is sourced from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, where suppliers source coconuts of local farms and work directly with coconut plantations. Many of them have kept it in families for generations.

Their new flavors include chocolate, pineapple (which I mentioned above), and watermelon raspberry. The fruit ones particularly taste great on their own, but I’ve been even inspired to use them in fruit smoothies with bananas and blueberries. So easy to try different concoctions at home, and guilt-free when you know all the nutritional value each glass has.

Check out Zico on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated on launches and discounts!

.

.



x
Shy
“Like” Beauty and the Feast on Facebook
Follow Beauty and the Feast on Twitter

*This post is sponsored by InStyle on behalf of Zico

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Italian

Spaghetti Incident in the Lower East Side

August 28, 2015

NYC is always cooking up something new, isn’t it? Since I’ve been cooking more at home recently, I haven’t been exploring as much, but recently I was invited to check out the newly-opened Spaghetti Incident in the Lower East Side.

Spaghetti Incident in the LES

Spaghetti Incident in the LES


And just to get it out of the way in case you’re wondering, the name of the restaurant was taken from the Guns N’ Roses album that refers to an inside joke of when Axl Rose and Steven Adler got into a food fight while on tour :).
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES


While a lot of Italian restaurants can start to look pretty similar, this place has a distinct difference: they’re the first place in the city that serve spaghetti to go in cones.
.

.


Take-out cone

Take-out cone


.

.


.

.

The novelty of that aside, the pastas are actually really delicious. In fact, the chef and owner of this joint, Emanuele Attala, also owns one of my personal favorite restaurants in the city, Malatesta in the West Village (I even had my birthday dinner there one year because I love it so much). So, I guess you can say it was almost a given that I would love this place as much as I did.

He, along with the sous chef Ettore Pardosi and manager Giovanni Gentile, came up with the idea of serving spaghetti in a cone after being inspired by the way Italians serve street food in the festivals back in the 50s. And they really make eating here as close to their native Italy as possibly — it feels like you’re eating in their home with the bar overlooking the kitchen and the rest of the restaurant outfitted like a 70s style kitchen.

Bar area

Bar area


Interior

Interior


The pastas are made with fresh ingredients, and cooked to perfection. Must try: the chitarra homemade spaghetti with mozarella, basil, and fresh tomato sauce, and bucatini (kale pesto with walnuts, garlic, and parmesan in cream sauce).
Chitarra

Chitarra


Kale pesto spaghetti

Kale pesto spaghetti


.

Salmon pasta


.

.


For the apprehensive, you can eat their spaghettis on plates too if you’re eating at the restaurant (the cones are to-go). They also have a selection of salads and traditional Sicilian rice balls (arancini) that’s not to be missed.
Arancini

Arancini


.

.


.

.


It’s such a cute concept shop, you have to stop by and check it out if you’re in the area!


Restaurant Info:
Spaghetti Incident

231 Eldridge St,
New York, NY 10002
(646) 896-1446
Lower East Side
REPORT CARD
Meal: Dinner
Occasion: Checking out a new restaurant
Price: $$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ***
Food: ***
Service: ***
Would I go back?: Yes!



x
Shy
“Like” Beauty and the Feast on Facebook
Follow Beauty and the Feast on Twitter