Month: April 2014

Mediterranean Shrimp Tacos

So the other night I was really craving fish tacos. Like real, soft tortilla, fall apart in your hand, West Coast tacos. But I have yet to master the art of cooking a mean fish/ not really sure what fish is best for fish tacos/ on that college budget. So I opted for the shrimp that was already in my freezer, and I wasn’t feeling a Mexican vibe. I wanted something crisp and refreshing, so I hopped on the internet and found the answer to my cravings in Mediterranean shrimp tacos! I skimmed through a bunch of recipes. I don’t usually follow once recipe in particular because I like to put my own personal spin on the dish, ya know? Now onto the fun stuff!

My dad always told me to get all the prep work done first and out of the way, so it’s one of the few golden rules of cooking I live by. It really makes the whole experience more enjoyable and run more smoothly. So, while the shrimp were a-thawing I prepped the marinade and salsa.

Marinade

  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • olive oil
  • chopped parsley
  • chopped basil
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped garlic
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Salsa

  • red onion
  • cherry tomatoes
  • oregano
  • splash of marinade

I marinade the shrimp for only a few minutes. Its important to pay attention because shrimp are one of the weaker proteins and will start to break down if marinaded too long especially in something acid like lemon juice. Sauté for 3-5 minutes on Med-High heat. Get a small sauce pan, or any flat bottom pan, warm on Low heat to heat up your tortillas. I used corn, but would recommend flour, only because the hold up better to all the good stuffins. Garnish with whatever you think will make it look pretty! I stayed in the the Mediterranean realm and went with sliced avocado, bean sprouts, and parsley.

Voila! Here we have a great version of seafood tacos that are really accessible on a college budget, and not too hard on the eyes.  This was also made with simple, healthy ingredients that you can find at your local grocer, bodega, or even better, the farmer’s market. Happy creating!

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Luca & Bosco

Luca & Bosco is a local creamery pumping out ice cream flavors, sauces, and toppings that will make you reevaluate your entire outlook on the life! (Okay, well maybe not life, but definitely frozen flavor combinations) Sold in the Essex Street Market, this delicious gold mind is the workings of  Catherine Oddenino and Ruthie Vishlitzky and is made with all-nautral ingredients, organic whenever possible. Although Luca & Bosco is a small start-up, their flavors are anything but small. With exquisitely unique flavors like milky tea, goat cheese, and their superstar Drunk & Salty is impossible to pass by their cart without at least asking for a sample. They’ve also got some killer sauces which include Butterscotch Diablo, Cilantro Syrup, and the Drunk & Salty Caramel (match back to the ice cream flavor).

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Goat cheese ice cream w/ balsamic reduction

When I paid them a visit I was greeted by who I could imagine to be either Catherine or Ruthie, all smiles and willing to answer any questions. I sampled the Drunk & Salty and Goat Cheese. While the D&S was everything I could have wanted from a sweet and salty ice cream, the goat cheese had a unique and enticing, creamy, tangy flavor. The lovely lady behind the counter suggested I pair it with the balsamic reduction syrup, and I’m glad she did because it was fabulous! Even with my notoriously ginormous sweet tooth I was pleasantly satisfied with this tangy, savory treat!

Luca & Bosco is open Wednesday-Sunday to make all your artisanal ice cream dreams come true. You should also follow them on Instagram to get the inside scoop (sorry guys, couldn’t resist) on their newest creations!

Hotel Delmano

Hotel Delmano is a great little bar tucked into the corner of Berry and N 9th Street in Williamsburg. It has a New Orleans inspired parlor feel to it, and some seriously clever mixologists behind the bar. A variety of unique flavors and infused liqours contribute to their one-of-a-kind cocktail menu. With infusions of pineapple, thyme, chipotle, and tarragon, and mix-ins like fig jam, rose water, and beet syrup these cocktails are strong and not for the faint of heart. My personal favorites are the Alibi (pineapple infused tequila, cinnamon-vanilla syrup, fresh lime, and molé bitters), Castaneda (tarragon infused tequila, alpine liqueur, orange curaçao, and fresh lemon juice), and the simple and always satisfying 3 Amigos (tecate, tequila, sangria).

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The Alibi

They also offer an impressive raw bar with oysters, crab legs, and clams along with some larger plates and charcuterie. In addition to their wide variety of fair, once the warm weather rolls in Hotel Delmano opens up their outdoor seating! This is a solid people (and dog) watching spot, and all-around great local spot to kick back and bask in the sunshine with a kickass cocktail and some friends.

Victory Garden

Victory Garden is a unique frozen desserts shop on Carmine St. between Bleecker and Bedford, in the West Village. They specialize in goat’s milk hard & soft serve ice creams, along with yogurt and other fresh delectables. Their flavors are exquisitely simplistic, while still bursting with flavor. Some of their featured Spring flavors include Chocolate Rosemary, Tangy Goat Milk, and Fennel. Not flavors you’d see in your typical ice cream parlor, but better. SO much better. When I visited they also had a Carob Chip flavor, which was heaven (and quite the accomplishment since I’m not the world’s biggest chocolate advocate)!

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After sampling almost all of their soft serve I decided on a cup of chia pudding. Now I know chia seeds have been a health fad for a minute here (and yes they do have some great benefits for your body), but that’s not why you should try the chia pudding at Victory Garden. You should try it because it’s one of the most light, interesting, flavor-packed puddings I’ve ever had. It’s really a simple vanilla chia pudding recipe, but the texture is what kept me going bite after bite. As a chia newbie I asked the girl behind the counter for her best suggestions for toppings. She topped me off with carob chips and freshly chopped strawberries. Vanilla, “chocolate”, and strawberry. How original right? EXACTLY. The flavors were so natural and fresh. It reminded me why they’re such classics. Victory Garden is proof that desserts don’t need to be boosted with artificial sweeteners and extra sugars to be decadent and delicious.

Want to try to make your own chia pudding? It’s super easy and makes for a great healthy snack you can top with anything from frozen blueberries to coconut flakes!

Bistro Cassis Restaurant

Bistro Cassis is a lovely French bistro on the Upper West Side. The atmosphere is delicate and absolutely delightful with tulip chandeliers and an intimate, but not cluttered, dining room (which is quite the accomplishment in NYC). I went for Sunday brunch, which I believe is the only brunch they serve (You can also visit them for lunch & dinner every other day of the week). I’d highly suggest a reservation because it fills up rather quickly around noon. The service was impeccable and the knowledge of the staff was impressive and comforting in a city full of different fare.

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I ordered the Brie toast with fig jam and a poached pear salad. Decadent and sweet you’d think, right? Well, not quite! The crostini was perfectly toasted and had a nice crunch under the oozing, melted Brie. I sliced up the poached pear and put it on top, which gave the dish a nice, clean finish.
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For my main course I had the tuna tarare wrapped in a thinly sliced cucumber, with honey mustard, ginger, and citrus flavors. I was hooked on the texture alone. So smooth and almost buttery. There were capers and chopped green onions in there as well to balance out the sweetness.
Other delightful dishes:
– Croque Monsieur
– Crab & Avocado salad
– French onion soup