Category Archives: Lunch

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COMING TOGETHER AFTER HURRICANE SANDY

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy was incredible. It was amazing and shocking to hear how many people’s lives had been affected by the storm, not only losing power, but losing pets, cars, homes, memories and so much more.

I was so proud of my network of friends who had volunteered to help in a myriad of different ways. Those who lived close to the Jersey shore actually lent a hand by going to the boardwalks and cleaning up, or helping clean out homes that were destroyed by Sandy’s winds and high waters. Some volunteered to sort out all of the clothing that had been donating. The piles and piles of clothing were overwhelming. Some who didn’t live as close, contributed by creating fundraisers and concerts to raise money. So many of these same friends were victims themselves, so it really shows the power of community and coming together to grow stronger.

The company I work for offered a couple of different volunteer programs to help out during this tough time. One of the opportunities was to make sandwiches for the emergency shelters in the Long Island/NYC/Staten Island area. I went with one of my good friends from work and it was really such a great experience to help out and also to meet so many other people who wanted to come together to reach a common goal. After tragedies such as Sandy, there really is a greater sense of community and coming together that is a great feeling to be a part of.

Now since this is a food blog, I do need to contribute this great piece of advise that I learned while making the pb&j sandwiches! If you coat both slices of bread with the peanut butter, then put the jelly inside, it prevents the sandwich from getting soggy! Mind Blown!

Coming together after Hurricane Sandy

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I seriously have to drag myself to the gym, it is not an easy thing for me to do. On the other hand, it is extremely easy for me to make up excuses as to why I shouldn’t have to go! 🙂 The hardest part about going to the gym, is walking to my bus back to Jersey passing restaurant after restaurant and not going in and ordering anything and everything on the menu.

Well, 5 Boro Burgers is one of those places that I pass on a weekly basis. I passed it when it was under construction and was genuinly excited to find out it was a burger joint. Oh, the little things in life. My favorite thing about it was the fact that one whole side of the restaurant opens up and is such a nice breezy place to sit on 36th Street without being right in the middle of Herald Square. My husband and I had tickets to the Jimmy Fallon show one day and we were trying to think of a new restaurant to try that would be somewhat quick before the show. Lightbulb!!! Five Boro Burgers!

It was a perfect day to sit outside and take a huge bite out of an enourmously large burger only to waddle ourselves up to Rockefellar Center to NBC studios.

What I should have done, was taken a picture of the wings. Being that I am not a wings fan, I typically don’t even blog about them because how boring would that be for my readers to have to hear about something that I have no interest in! Boy was I wrong that day! Danny ordered Garlic Parmesean Wings, OUT OF THIS WORLD! I was in shock that I loved these wings (off the bone, none the less) as much as Danny did! I think I would go back just for them.

Then we moved on to the whole purpose of our visit…the burgers! They creatively named all of their burgers after the….drumroll please… Five Boros!

-Bronx Burger: Guacomole, Pico de Gallo, Mozzerella Cheese, Spicy Mayonnaise & Bacon

-Queens Burger: Roasted Red Peppers, Spanish Onions, Bacon, Mozzerella Cheese & Balsamic Dressing

-Brooklyn Burger: Grilled Onions, Cajun Seasoning, Steak Sauce, Crispy Bacon & Cheddar Cheese

-Manhattan Burger: Grilled Zucchini, Mushrooms, Onions, Vodka Sauce & Swiss Cheese

-Staten Island Burger: Grilled Pineapple, Green Pepper with a Sweet Rum Glaze and Pepper Jack Cheese

Im pretty sure we both got our own renditions of the above selections but left extremley satisfied. Off to the Jimmy Fallon show we go!

5BORO BURGERS

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Talk about the perfect step out of my normal restaurant routine. I feel like even as a foodie, I am attracted to the same type of restaurants time and time again. Sushi, Burgers, Seafood, Wine Bars, etc. etc. Casona is quite the experience for several reasons.

Danny and I went down to my parents in South Jersey earlier this spring to celebrate my mom’s birthday. It was a beautiful day and we were looking forward to a nice lunch and then heading over the bridge to Philadelphia to see the Seaport Museum. We had talked about going to Collingswood for a while but just had not gotten around to it. Collingswood is a cute town with a lot of shops and restaurants on the main strip, and really perfect to walk around when the weather is nice.

After looking at our options, we came along this homey, Latin/Cuban restaurant that we all agreed sounded perfect. We were all impressed with the variety of the menu. Everything from sandwiches, soups, salads, you name it. I could not help but order the Cuban sandwich. The pork is roasted in a citrus marinade, ham, swiss cheese and garlic mayonnaise. Cooked to perfection!

There was a cute shower going on in the back on the patio while we were there and it looked like a lot of fun. They definitely have a great atmosphere, something a little different than South Jersey is used to and we will definitely be back in the near future.

Congratulations, Casona, for your recognition as BEST BYOB restaurant on the Philly Hot List this past week! Way to go!

Casona, the Large House of Latin Flavors in Collingswood!

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I have a thing for Taco Bell. Not many people do, or at least not many people are willing to admit it, but I do. In high school, my sister Christy and my friend Mattie and I used to hop in my ’96 Jeep Grand Cherokee after school and go to the nearest Taco Bell for a Cheesy Gordita Crunch. Oh but wait, my love started before then! This is actually terrible but my elementary school in Charlotte served Taco Bell on Tuesdays for a year and I would bring my $.80 for a chilito whenever I was allowed. Wow! Probably a good thing they didn’t keep Taco Bell Tuesdays for too long, otherwise I am not sure what kind of physical condition I may be in after weekly indulgences since age 8.

Side note: I have to say that from an advertising point of view, they have had some genius campaigns over the years. “Yo Quiero Taco Bell,” anyone remember that? Or “Think Outside the Bun?” Hmm I’m pretty impressed.

So, let’s get back on track. So over the past few years I would say I have kept my guilty drive through visits to a moderate level. Perhaps 3-5 times a year. But then something happened. The Doritos Nacho Cheese Taco happened. Are you kidding?? Did this just fall from heaven? And how did no one think of this before? The co-branding of Doritos and Taco Bell should have happened a long time ago. It happened for me on my way home from my friend Amy’s house one morning. Yes, morning. Not one of my proudest moments, but what can I say, those Taco Bells were ringing and I could not fight the resistance any longer.

 

 

Sucker for Taco Bell

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This year for Easter, my mom and I asked what we would like as the last side for our “traditional” Easter dinner. The winner was macaroni and cheese and I don’t think I could have been any happier!

Just look at that colorful, scrumptious plate! I think it topped of the meal just right. Easter is the only time I will ever eat ham. For some reason I never really enjoy ham throughout the year. It’s different on Easter though because I don’t think I left a single crumb on my plate.

Although the meal was amazing, my favorite part of the holiday is spending time with my family! What are some of your Easter traditions?

Macaroni Always Wins

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Today has just been one of those really wacky, weird days. Lots of curve balls, running around, non stop! Well, non stop until the fire alarm sounded as soon as I sat down for a weekly meeting.

Im sure every office is the same in the respect that when a fire alarm goes off, there is hesitation like, “do we really have to get up?,” or “do you think it’s real or just a test?” Well we did the same thing until we heard the announcement it was time for us to all head outside. First lesson quickly learned: change out of high heels before attempting to go down 17 flights of stairs. Wow!

So it’s really such a gorgeous day and it’s not bad waiting outside bit I quickly realized I left my gym bag at my desk and it didn’t seem as if we were going back in so that was my immediate justification of not going to the gym tonight. However, a group of us headed to lucys (after we were released for the day of course) and I realized summer is quickly approaching and I shouldn’t let myself out of going to the gym that easily.

After having an amazing margarita in the nice breeze, I headed back to see if they were letting us back into macys. I was lucky to get up to my desk, grab my stuff, including flat shoes and my gym stuff, in time to catch an early bus. So I thought…

To make a long story short, I decided to grab a bite before my spin class tonight and I’m so happy I stumbled upon Toyama Sushi I’ve been here before but never had their version of the Mexican roll- off the charts!!

Spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, avocado, jalapeño, yellow soy bean sheet with eel sauce. (now you can see why I have to drag myself to the gym) Anyway, I highly recommend this roll it is ah maze ing!!

Then I finished my meal off with green tea Mochi ice cream, just learned the name tonight, and I’m leaving extremely satisfied! I love spring, and sushi and getting out early! Now I’m pumped for my spin class, bring it on!

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Pleasantly surprised with this afternoon:)

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Every morning on my way to work as I would pass by the corner of 37th and 7th, I would wonder what the new restaurant they were working on was going to be. I anxiously awaited the day they would put a sign up on this new construction restaurant. Then one day, there it was. POTBELLY. Potbelly? Never heard of it! I had no idea how much I would learn to love Potbelly in such a short amount of time.

A love so strong that I have been there 3 times in the few months that it has been opened and yet I still have no picture to show for it. This is because I would eat my sandwich before I would remember to take a picture and then it is too late!

There are so many things to love about this sandwich shop. The environment alone is so chill and relaxing that it has become one of my favorite places to go for my lunch break. There is always an acoustic guitarist playing music which really makes it fun. They do a great job of taking your order and having your food to you very quickly. A lot of people go here to pick up lunch and head back to the office, but there is plenty of seating if you chose to stay.

My sandwich of choice is the roast beef on multigrain with melted provolone cheese, lettuce and tomato. They toast it just right and it really hits the spot. The prices are incredible for the quality of food.

Apparently, this chain has been around for quite some time and I was surprised to hear that a couple of different friends of mine, from DC area and Virginia had already fallen in love with Potbelly years ago 🙂 Go find the location closest to you and see for yourself!

New to me! Potbelly NYC

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This title comes from the fact that I have had  the song “International Love” stuck in my head all night and only found it fitting for this post. I don’t really listen to the radio anymore since I commute to the city for work and the few times I do get into my car and have a chance to listen to the radio, there is always a new song that I can’t believe I haven’t heard yet. In this case, it was International Love. Don’t even know who it is by. Chris Brown? Neo? lol just kidding but trying to prove a point I am out of the loop when it comes to pop music these days.

Sorry for the rambling…back to what we are here to discuss, FOOD!

I love working close to so many of my friends. I also love working so close to so many different types of restaurants, not only scenery wise but the variety of food within a 10 minute walk is amazing. I am a lucky girl.

One day last week, Rachel and I had a lunch date scheduled and no plan on where to go. This is one of those situations where I told her I was up for anything, then she suggested an Indian food place not too far, and I was immediately like “why didn’t I suggest something like the Bread Factory or Hale and Hearty, the usuals.” Now don’t get me wrong. It is not like I do not like Indian food. And, I am not a hypocrite, I really do love trying new things. I have no real reason as to why it has taken me this long to try the Indian cuisine. “Sure!” was my response to Rachel’s text and I couldn’t be happier with that decision!

We went to Minar on 31st st and Broadway- it is a small Indian restaurant where a lot of people seem to order ahead and take it to go back to work. I’m glad they have a nice seating area too so we had time to take a break from our busy day and also catch up with each other. My friend Alex has been on an Indian Food kick the past year or so, so I was sure to ask her for a suggestion before I got there so I would know what to order 🙂 Good thing I did and good thing Al knows her stuff because the food was kicking. Funny thing is, Alex’s suggestion is what Rachel ordered the last time she was there so it was a sign it was meant to be.

So…what is this mystery food I speak of? Chicken Tikka with Naan bread. Wonderful. Not too spicy like I expected and the flavors were like nothing I had tasted before. It was a LOT of food and we know for next time that we can probably share the bread and rice but I was in heaven. I don’ t think I had been that full in a while!

I don’t know enough about Indian food to know if Chicken Tikka is like the “California Roll of Sushi” but I am willing to go back and try other dishes as well. Bring it on Minar!

International Love

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In my last position, I had to order food for meetings every once in a while. Okay, one might think, not a big deal just look at the catering menus, pick out a few different types of sandwiches and carry on with your day. Well, that was not the case for me. Instead, I would do as I was asked but then I would actually go home and try to replicate the menus that I had been dreaming of ever since placing that order at 10 AM.

The life of a “forever hungry” person is not always easy 🙂 Pictured above are mini sandwiches I made for an Ugly Sweater Holiday Party we had at our house in December. It is a smoked turkey sandwich with cheddar cheese, spinach and cranberry mayonnaise on an onion roll. I added the onion roll because the flavors of onion and cranberry just mesh so well. Now I am not going to pretend like these were the best things I have ever made. Remember, I am learning!! They WOULD have been the amazing party sandwiches that I had so desperately hoped for if I didn’t prepare them so early. I was trying to make sure all of the food would be ready at the same time, therefore I made the sandwiches a couple of hours before everyone came over. So, by the time the guests had arrived, the bread was going a little stale.

OK all you experts out there, HELP! Should I put the bread in the refrigerator? Keep it out? How do you keep it fresh? They were still a hit but I have a little more learning to do before attempting to put them out before a group of hungry people again!

Do it Yourself Catering

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Part of the reason I started this blog was because I really do think I have an abnormal diet and I am okay with telling you that I really did have three hotdogs from three different places in 24 hours. That is pretty gross. I really don’t eat like that often, but I watch my diet the rest of the time and try to stick to my workout routine so I CAN do weird things like this unintentional mini hotdog marathon that occurred a couple of weeks ago.

So the morning after Ben’s Chili Bowl  , Danny and I packed our things, said good bye to Tom and Amy, and headed back into DC to do some touristy things. We had been warned that there were not too many restaurants near the Washington Monument, MLK Memorial or the Smithsonian Museums, but that’s what we had on our schedule for the day and figured we would be able to find something to eat since we are not picky eaters. (Big surprise, I know!)

After walking around for a while, we did start to get hungry and of course could not even find a little hole in the wall to slip into for a bite. We did want to try something cool and unique to DC, but given our location and quickly increasing appetite, we ended up just getting a plain hotdog from a stand. Was it good? Sure. Was it satisfying? Eh.

We continued on to the National Musesum of Natural History. Our last stop for the day was the Air and Space museum so we were pretty much staying in the same area for a while. A couple of hours later, we realized that the skimpy hotdog from earlier was not going to hold us over. Once we found the nice little “Atrium Cafe” at the museum, we felt a little relieved because there were so many options for lunch! It was a cafeteria style restaurant with pizza, sandwiches, salads, bbq and…..drumroll…. hotdogs! But these were not just any hot dogs, they were topped with BBQ and Coleslaw. Come on! How do you say no to that!?

It was just funny because out of all of the choices of food, we were both drawn to the hotdog and each ended up getting one. They were certainly tasty and I think I might try my own rendition next time we cook them on the grill. That might be a while though, because after 3 hotdogs in one weekend, I think I am good for a while!

Hotdog Número 3 for the Weekend!

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