Bangs will save you $$$

March 30, 2009

reese

If your beauty budget has been downsized and quarterly Botox injections are no longer an option, check out my post on AOL stylelist for tips on how to deal.

 

-Lisa

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Dining out on Passover

March 27, 2009

 

Get your box of matzo before Food Emporium runs out!

Get your box of matzo before Food Emporium runs out!

 

 

If you celebrate Passover and can’t make it home, or just prefer to relax and enjoy the seder meal at a restaurant, I’ve got a roundup of options for NYC holiday dining. None are kosher, but let’s face it, you probably won’t be eating out on Passover if you’re kosher.

Savoy: This $95 4-course Syrian menu includes wine pairings.

Capsouto Freres: For $150 (proceeds of this Sephardic feast go to the JDC ), join a communal table and enjoy a traditional seder led by a cantor.

Telepan: The $65 4-course menu features wild striped bass and a duo of beef.

Danal: The $60 5-course menu gives you a choice of entrees and desserts (good stuff, no meringues or macaroons).

Payard: For $45 you’ll get a French influenced 3-course meal with amazing petit-fours.

Rosa Mexicano: The restaurant offers an a la carte Mexican Passover dishes all through the week of Passover.

Whole Foods Catered Passover Dinner for 8: For $169.99 you get all the fixins (from soup to tzimmes!) except for dessert.

-Lisa

Image courtesy http://www.gourmetsleuth.com.


I love my lemons

March 25, 2009

picture-3

 

 

I have to thank my Chicago friends for introducing me to the wonderful, stretchy, flattering world of Lululemon. For those of you who don’t know this brand, I urge you to check it out. They make incredibly forgiving workout/yoga gear, loungewear and outerwear that comes in cool colorways and many different cuts, to fit every body type. What differentiates Lululemon from all the other brands is that these clothes are genuinely cool, comfortable and good looking. I have no problem wearing them outside of the gym or the couch. They don’t pinch or bind or create lumps and bumps. The seams don’t irritate your skin. The fabrics are durable and don’t fade with washing. For me, one of the best benefits of buying pants at their store is the free shortening! Take it from someone who has never NOT had to have something hemmed, this is a real bonus. If you’re in the market for a new pair of workout pants, skip the disposable Old Navies and go to directly to the Lululemon Groove Pant. They’re not cheap, but they will fit and flatter and last. And if you happen to be in the Miami area, you should definitely take a trip to the Lululemon outlet at the Sawgrass Mills Mall—it’s the only U.S. outlet and there are great bargains to be had.

 

groovepant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Lisa


New school Italian

March 24, 2009

 

Perfection—Burrata, prosciutto and black truffle crostone

Perfection—Burrata, prosciutto and black truffle crostone

 

In case you haven’t heard already, I love Burrata. Yup, it’s the creamiest, cheesiest mozzarella on the planet. And I can’t resist its charms. Unfortunately, the other three gals with whom I was dining at Scuderia also loved it. Translation: we each had one intensely delicious bite of the crostone with Burrata, prosciutto and black truffles. You might ask why there was enough for only one bite each at $18 an order. We did. It’s the damn truffles. I probably would have been just as happy with a few drops of truffle oil instead, if it meant there were two crostone to an order.

 

Blah arancini

Blah arancini

Scuderia is a modern, downtown Italian restaurant owned by the Da Silvano daughter, Leyla. It’s located across the street from papa Silvano’s empire and is already drawing a bustling crowd. The menu is a little less than reasonably priced, and in some cases (the crostone) a lot. We ordered modestly, with two apps and four entrées and one dessert between us. There was no bread for the table and water glasses were not promptly refilled. No matter, we persevered. Our other appetizer, arancini (two fried rice balls) were completely lackluster.

 

Please put our pizza back in the oven!

Please put our pizza back in the oven!

 

 

 

 

 

Skirt steak 'n sauce

Skirt steak 'n sauce

 

 

 

 

 

I'd take a bowl of this paccheri anytime

I'd take a bowl of this paccheri anytime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entrées were pretty good. The paccheri with spicy sausage, peas and cream was a big hit (curiously, it bears a striking resemblance to a dish at Bar Pitti, across the way). The bucatini all’amatriciana was ok. The pizza rustica with potatoes, cauliflower and rosemary was totally undercooked, but may have been excellent with more time in the oven. The skirt steak with three “sauces” was fine, but we weren’t thrilled with two of the three. Our favorite was more of a pickle/caper relish, devoid of any sauciness or dipping capabilities. Why don’t they serve bread? Probably because none of the fashionistas eating there eat carbs. Oh well. We finished up with a sweet pizza slathered with nutella and marscapone. Of course, we cleaned that plate. Nutella makes the world go round. 

Dessert pizza...yum.

Dessert pizza...yum.

 

 

 

 

 

-Lisa

 

P.S. We were all fascinated with the door leading to the restrooms…

 

In case you don't speak English, they've got you covered.

In case you don't speak English, they've got you covered.

 


Evergreen is evergreen

March 23, 2009

 
 

img_2635Shrimp and asparagus dumplingsSticky rice wrapped in a banana leaf

 
 

 

Even on the UES, you can get better than decent dim sum, and when you’re already in the neighborhood with yet another extremely pregnant friend, trekking to Chinatown is not an option. Cafe Evergreen (f.k.a. Henry’s Evergreen), here we come. According to JLB, the best thing about dim sum is that you get try so many different things in one meal and you get to see your options before committing to them, rather than just imagining them. And of course, you can always go back for seconds.  

 

BBQ pork buns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evergreen’s steamed pork buns were number one on my friend’s list of dim-sum must-haves. It goes without saying that we had two orders and probably could have taken some to go. In addition to those sticky, sweet pillows of heaven, we also took several variations on shrimp shumai (with scallions, with asparagus, plain), pork shumai, rice noodles with shrimp (my favorite dim sum item!), sticky rice with chicken and pork and turnip cakes. We sloshed dipping sauces on our plates and happily waded through the steamers until we were totally stuffed and very, very happy. I’d be thrilled to repeat the whole experience again and again.

-Lisa


Sounds fishy

March 19, 2009

 

Thinly sliced onion, zucchini and Meyer lemon

Thinly sliced onion, zucchini and Meyer lemon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Layer chopped, canned tomatoes under fish, then top with sliced veggies

Layer chopped, canned tomatoes under fish, then top with sliced veggies

A few days ago I med a mediterranean fish dish (inspired by Yum Yum) for dinner. The fish was quite tasty and all the added veggies made it a one-pan meal. Unfortunately—and this is an understatement—the apartment has smelled ever since. I cannot get rid of the odor and I have tried everything. Bowls of vinegar? Check. Lemon Soft Scrub on all kitchen surfaces? Check. Leftovers thrown away? Check. Cross ventilation? Check. What am I doing wrong? I am in serious need of help here and welcome any and all suggestions. 

 

 

Add pitted green olives, a splash of olive oil and salt, then cover with foil and bake.

Add pitted green olives, a splash of olive oil and salt, then cover with foil and bake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warning: Do not try this at home unless you have gale-force cross ventilation or a powerful hood over your stove. 

-Lisa


Old school Italian

March 18, 2009

 

johnssign

 

 

 

One of our favorite neighborhood restaurants is John’s of 12th Street. If you didn’t know any better you might walk right by. The jaunty neon sigh outside only proclaims “John’s,” with no mention of 12th Street. Once inside, you can easily imagine the same crowd slurping up spaghetti with red sauce (a.k.a. gravy), wiping their plates with homemade garlic bread, week after week. It’s that kind of place. It recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, which is more than I can say for most restaurants in NYC.   

johnsinside

 

 

 

Last Friday, Max and I went to John’s for dinner and were seated at one of those cozy mini-booths for two. Right off the bat, our server, JP, introduced himself and we started chatting. Talk about friendly and inviting, we pretty much wanted to invite him to have dinner with us!

I ordered the Burrata special appetizer (I cannot refuse Burrata, ever) and the chicken parm dinner with sautéed escarole instead spaghetti. Max had the old-school favorite, stuffed mushrooms to statrt and then the veal scallopine al limone. You don’t come to John’s for fancy, nouveau Italian food, this is the hearty good stuff you grew up on. And believe me, we cleaned our plates. 

But enough about the food, let’s get back to JP. He’s a charming, actor/waiter who’s been working at John’s for years and even lives in an apartment upstairs with his wife and two kids (of whom he speaks lovingly). If you’re ever in the neighborhood (East 12th St, just east of 2nd Ave), definitely stop in for some old-school Italian grub that won’t disappoint. 

 

-Lisa