Welcome back to a new semester! The Culinary Society Blog is excited to be back with new posts that share original recipes and explore wonderful foodie finds in New York.
We are currently looking for new bloggers for the semester. If you love food blogging and are looking for a group of people who share this interest, we would love to have you!
The sun’s out, birds are chirping, the world is blooming and for healthy foodies this all means one important thing: smoothies are back!
Personally, the emergence of spring is not only an opportunity to spend more time outside, but also an excuse to break out the blender. Nothing beats a cool, refreshing, nutritional boost on a warm spring day.
I’m giving you my all-time favorite smoothie recipe today AND three different ways you can use this delicious blend. Yes, three!
But first, here is your recipe:
3 Leaves of Kale
1/2 Orange (or a whole one if its tiny)
1 Frozen Banana
2 Dried Dates (for sweetness)
1 Cup of Coconut Water
BLEND… all these ingredients in a blender, and add extra coconut water if the mixture isn’t moving smoothly in the blender.
Voila! Smoothie done.
Now, the first variation is the standard, drinkable form. It is perfect for anytime of day to accompany meals or serve as a delicious snack. I top mine with chia seeds for an extra boost of Omega-3s and fiber.
The second variation, is a good mid-day snack. It’s a fruit topped smoothie bowl! For this, all you need to do is pour the smoothie into a bowl, and cut up a bunch of fruits or berries to put on top. This gives the smoothie a little more substance, and it’s also just fun to eat! Sometimes drinking a smoothie doesn’t completely satisfy your cravings, but adding a bite can make you feel like you’re eating more. Sometimes we just need to chew! However, remember that this is best to eat in the middle of the day or later. It’s not quite enough to get you going in the morning.
The last variation, and my personal favorite, is the breakfast smoothie bowl! You can add fruit to top this one too, but the most important additions are nuts, seeds, and oats. Seeds are more nutrient dense than budded and grown plants and will make a smoothie into a sufficient meal, especially to kick off your day! I use walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seed shells, chia seeds, and raw oats (pssst, that homemade granola from last week would be awesome here too!) This bowls fills you up, and keeps you full. If that’s not enough, it tastes amazing!!
Try one, try them all! Let me know in the comment section below what your favorite variation is! Happy blending!
While all desserts are comforting, this may be the closest I come to making a comfort dessert. As the semester is coming to a close, and we finish our thesis and term papers, and gear up for finals, I can’t dream of a better dessert to snack on. Today, we are making pull-apart-cinnamon-balls (aka my version of monkey bread). I only warn you, this can get messy fast, so be careful, be cautious, and get ready for a caramel gooey cinnamon doughy treat.
1 package of pre-made biscuit dough (Grand or Pillsbury)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup butter (½ of a stick)
½ cup of brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a square 9X9 inch pan, grease with butter or Pam
Using the biscuit dough, separate and roll into 16 small balls of dough, roughly 1 inch in diameter.
In a plastic gallon size bag, combine white sugar and cinnamon.
Place balls of dough in the plastic bag with sugar and coat dough until completely covered in sugar.
Line balls of dough in pan.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter and brown sugar in microwave for about 45 seconds.
Drizzle brown sugar over the bough balls.
Pop these bad boys into the oven for about 25 minutes or until they’re bubbling golden brown dough balls.
Take out the final product, and let them sit for 10 minutes.
On a plate or flat cookie sheet, flip over the dough balls.
Best consumed warm out of the oven! They keep up to 2-3 days but microwave them if they begin to get hard. Enjoy.
Long considered the ‘coffee shop desert’ of Manhattan, the Upper West Side now boasts coffee and pastries to rival the Stumptown’s of Flatiron and the Blue Bottles of Brooklyn. The uniting appeal in the coffee shop explosion of recent years lies in owners’ singular commitments to both quality and happiness.
Birthday brunches are always fun, and this past week I went to Del Posto in Chelsea, NYC, and had an amazing Italian dining experience. According to Opentable, “Del Posto is the first Italian restaurant in almost 40 years to be awarded 4 stars from the New York Times,” and it surely did meet that expectation of a highly rated Italian restaurant in NYC.
Del Posto’s brunch/lunch prix-fixe price is at $49 and consists of three courses with your choice of antipasto, secondo, and dolce. You can also get pasta for the entire table for $10 per person, though it is a bit annoying for experimental diners like me, who would like to have everyone order a different kind of pasta so that everyone could try, instead of having to choose one for all.
Enough complaining, the following photos show the artful plating that amounted to the incredibly savory experience. The names of the food are as follows (in order of appearance): Chef’s special appetizer assortment (changes daily I suppose), Antipastis-Lobster alla Cesare, Truffled Beef Carne Cruda, Primi-Pumpkin Capellacci, Secondi-Rare Atlantic Salmon, Dolcis-Chef’s Special (some form of toasted apple crumble with ice cream) and Fette Biscottate.
Of course, long live pizza, but once in a while, exploring other Italian food is never a bad idea. I would definitely recommend going for lunch rather than dinner if you just want the experience as their prix-fixe is much cheaper during lunch, though it is still pricey. For more detailed info for each food item, check my foodstagram ! or delposto.com/menu/
As Midnight Munchies nears the end of the semester, we decided to treat ourselves to something a little more lavish. Our expedition this week took us down to NYU territory off the 14th street 1-2-3 stop for Coppelia, a 24/7 Cuban diner with a reputation for one of the best late-night burgers in the city: the Frita Cubana.
Only a twenty minute ride from Columbia, Coppelia has garnered such a legendary rep that they have a bouncer outside just to make keep things under control. Unlike many 24/7 diners, the dark atmosphere inside isn’t trying to cover up any outstanding dirt and grime; the restaurant felt clean enough while still maintaining that diner charm. Service unfortunately moved at a very relaxed pace, so much so to have our table groaning in distress whenever catching sight of food drifting past us. Some say waiting makes the heart grow fonder, but clearly those people have never experienced the wait period between ordering a Cuban cheeseburger and actually getting to consume said Cuban cheeseburger.
Perusing the menu, you’ll find a wide assortment of quality munchies, from breakfast omelettes to salmon entrees, mostly manageable for a thin wallet like mine. Intel from the street showed that the only way to go in terms of bang for your buck was the Frita Cubana burger, a behemoth of ground sirloin, cheddar cheese, pickles, chicharron, and roasted Cuban pork. The Frita Cubana is essentially the gorgeous lovechild of a juicy cheeseburger and an authentic Cuban sandwich, a concept that had my mouth watering the whole subway ride down.
Let’s break down this burger real quick. It came out alone on a plain dish, looking fairly modest (be more attentive than we were and realize that you must order fries separately). The patty was sufficiently thick and juicy, with cheese dripping down the sides in a very agreeable fashion. Though it was a strong part of the whole operation, the burger quickly moved to the background after the chicharron came into play with the pork. This pork was ready and begging to just melt in your mouth on top of the patty, packed with Cuban spices to send you right down to a beach in Havana puffing on a cigar whilst munching on your Frita Cubana. The tender, spiritual nature of the roast pork was only further elevated by the crispy chicharron, a Cuban specialty of crunchy fried pork rinds, topping off the whole burger in a storm of crispy goodness. Savor this one.
Overall, my experience at Coppelia was a good one. The price was just about right (around $10 for that burger), the place was clean, I got my food eventully, and that burger definitely belongs on any New York eating bucket list. Keep it on your radar and make the stop in at any point on the clock. I give Coppelia four dancing Castro’s out of five.
You are in for a treat this week! Flor de Mayo is one of my favorite restaurants around Columbia, located on Broadway between 100 and 101. The food is delicious and interesting. It is a Peruvian-Chinese (Chino-Latino) restaurant. These two cuisines seem be a strange mix at first, but there is a history that bridges the two. The earliest Chinese traveled to the Latin world as slaves or contracted laborers. Later, Chinese ventured to Peru in order to escape communism or anti-Chinese sentiment in their settled countries. Thus, Chinese culture and cuisine has become popular in Peru. Peru ‘s population is 5% from Asian background, which is the largest of any Latin American country.
It was not until going to Flor de Mayo that I learned about this heterogeneous masterpiece. The dishes at Flor de Mayo do not portray a mix of Chinese and Peruvian flavors. Rather, there are Chinese and Peruvian dishes that are served alongside one another and, surprisingly, balance each other perfectly. The menu is even split in two, with one portion representing ‘Spanish Food’ and the other representing ‘Chinese Food.’
Among the Peruvian specialties is their pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken), which is beyond delicious. It is so simple, yet so flavorful and juicy. Their other great meat dish is the broiled pork chop, which comes out piping hot and crispy, yet moist. Both of these meat dishes are always cooked to perfection, with a golden outside, but never too dry.
The cilantro rice compliments the chicken perfectly. The cilantro is subtle and gives the rice a refreshing taste. It is delicious to have a bite alone whilst eating all of the other abundantly flavored dishes. Another great Peruvian side dish is the plantain, which comes in sweet and green varieties. The green plantains are fried and mashed flat. They come with a pungent, garlic sauce, which goes well on everything. I love the strong garlic flavor so much that I tend to pour it over everything I serve myself.
The Peruvian dishes on their own are enough to make anyone want to eat here, but there are other great Chinese dishes. The crispy shrimps are one of my favorites. They are shrimp cooked with the shell on (to maintain the flavor and texture) and scallions in a brown, ginger sauce. The Chinese fried rice is just like any that you could get at other restaurants, but it mixes with the food so well, that it is worth ordering .Who doesn’t like fried rice?
These are only a few among the incredible variety that Flor de Mayo offers, and I can confidently say that the majority of their dishes are delicious, because all of the ones I have tried are! I have never had a bad meal here, and I always leave excited for the next meal I’ll enjoy at Flor de Mayo.
I’ve never been a huge fan of tacos. I know, I know. How could I not love tacos? I guess I never really saw the point. But I’ve been converted—I haven’t stopped thinking about the tacos I ate last week.
Tacombi’s website says “Born on the balmy beaches of the Yucatan, Tacombi began selling tacos out of a converted VW bus in Playa del Carmen. Now, comfortably parked in Nueva York, Tacombi on Elizabeth street transports people from the streets of Nolita to the streets of Mexico, offers a piece of the Mexican beachside lifestyle and shares with them the diversity of Mexican street food culture.”
This describes it. It’s a loud, relaxed atmosphere which, if you didn’t know, could be just off the beach somewhere tropical. Prep is done in the back, but the actual tacos are, I believe, cooked in the original truck, pictured below.
I’ve been meaning to go here for a long time—one of the co-owners is the brother of the chef I work for in Boston—but I hadn’t gotten around to it until last week, when, after an art history trip to the Met, a friend and I decided to take the 6 down to Nolita. I didn’t realize the restaurant takes reservations, so when we got there (7:15-ish) we had to wait for about 10 minutes.
But onto the food, because who wants to read about the wait?
The corn esquites comes in a cup, with the toppings heaped on top. This is so delicious; sweet, spicy, savory. If you like sweet corn, mayo, cheese, and lime, this is the dish for you. Be sure to mix it up—this is a dish where it helps if all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. Don’t be afraid to ask for more limes if you want them.
The restaurant recommends three tacos, but each comes with two soft taco shells, and diners are instructed to put half of the filling in each—so really, you’re getting six tacos.
From left to right:
Crispy fish: fresh cod tequila battered and topped with cabbage
This is a Tacombi favorite, and rightly so. Fried fish, more of that mayonnaise, and crunchy, (pickled?) cabbage? Squeeze a little lime on it, and maybe some salt, and you’re good to go.
Barbacoa: roasted black angus beef
I’m not a huge fan of beef, in general, but I am a fan of tender, slow-cooked meat. This is tender and flavorful, and the toppings cut through the richness of the meat.
Pork belly: slow roasted berkshire pork
Pork belly is my favorite food. This was incredible; again, the tender meat and great toppings. In general, I find that pork belly, despite its buttery, smoky taste, can often be too rich to eat much of. It’s a food that I often find myself needing to sit down after eating. This, however, was rich without being overpowering, filling without being heavy, buttery without being oily.
All in all?
Go to Tacombi. Go hungry, and order the corn esquites for me.
Tacombi at Fonda Nolita:
267 Elizabeth St; (917) 727-0179
Atmosphere: Open, casual, upbeat, young.
Sound Level: Loud.
Recommended Dishes: corn esquites, pork belly taco, crispy fish taco
Price Range: $$
Hours: 11am-12am Sun-Wed, Thurs-Fri 11am-1am, Sat 9am-1am
A bakery with multiple locations around the city, Simit + Smith is one place that’s been on my bucket list for quite some time because its namesake bakery item is a delicious bagel-like bread served in Turkey and the Levant, called simit. Simit is made in the same way as a bagel is (boiled in water and then baked) and has a similar round shape, but it is more like a ring than a fat bun with a tiny whole in the middle, and it is topped with lots of sesame seeds.
You could have cream cheese and lox with your simit at Simit + Smith, but this morning I opted for the more traditional kasseri cheese with tomatoes, cucumbers, and olive tapenade. Heaven. I was instantly transported back home. The simit bread itself was crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. It had a hint of sweetness that was cut through by the savory goodness of the sesame seeds. The tomatoes and cucumbers were fresh and the kasseri cheese salty and rich. A great alternative for kasseri cheese would have been labne, the tart, creamy yoghurt of the Middle East, but they did not offer it at the bakery. Hmmm… Home-made simit and labne? Worth a try!
Greatly recommended for a fresh, somewhat healthier, and definitely much tastier alternative to the bagel and cream cheese breakfast.
For all you London lovers out there, I apologize. This week I’m going to write about some country hopping I’ve been doing and all the cuisine I’ve gotten to try. Never fear, there’s plenty to eat and write about in London for the rest of the semester.
A little background on the schedule here. I had only ten weeks of classes, which ended at the end of March. Then I have finals in May. So basically what is known as Easter break here consists of the entire month of April, or if you’re like me and your finals aren’t until the end of May, your break is pretty much two months long. Talk about a foreign concept.
So this extremely long break has given me the opportunity to do some traveling. I visited Marrakech, Berlin, Vienna, Athens, and Santorini over the span of 18 days. In a comic twist, almost every place had unseasonably cold weather for the days I was there. There were hailstorms in Berlin, snow in Vienna, and wind strong enough to knock you over in Santorini. Even with the unfortunate weather I had the time of my life. The history, architecture, and of course food in each city was unique and unbelievably amazing to immerse myself in.
I definitely enjoyed the food in Greece the most. I ate fish the most fresh and local fish of my life on a pier in the town of Oia, had a traditional lamb dinner at a restaurant on Santorini’s highest point, and gobbled down what my waiter referred to as “the best of the best” lemon soaked potatoes. The salads were light and refreshing, the cheese plentiful, and the baklava soaked in the most fragrant and delicious honey. It also helped that most meals were paired with a breathtaking view of the ocean, a nearby volcano, and more islands in the distance. My only complaint was the coffee. For some reason the Greeks seem to be very partial to NesCafe instant coffee and watery filter coffee. Not really my thing.
The rest of the trip featured much heavier fair. The food in Marrakech was a bit too much for me. I am a sugar fiend and would eat dessert with every meal if I could but even this cuisine had me dreading sweetness. Most dishes featured lamb, couscous, and maybe some vegetables, usually smothered in caramelized onions, raisins, and dates. Fabulous the first time but enough to give you indigestion the next. The famous mint tea might have been syrup and a lot of the traditional Moroccan salads even had candied vegetables on them. Way too much sugar if you ask me.
Vienna was stocked full of homey and heavy food. Bratwurst, bread dumplings, and schnitzel were just a few. The portions were big, the meat sliced thick, and the vegetables less than plentiful. Given the cold outside though, often meals like this were warranted. I had some absolutely delicious sauerkraut served piping hot in a big bowl and some perfectly salted beef dumpling soup. Boiled beef was very popular there, which admittedly is not my favorite way to cook beef because I think it strips it of its flavor, but sometimes it was served alongside the broth it was cooked in, which was positively packed with meaty flavor.
Berlin was the curveball of the trip. I had gone expecting the traditional German food I found in Vienna. Instead I got French, barbeque, Vietnamese, and Italian. I found Berlin to be a city brimming with growing and youthful culture. It was by far the trendiest and most cosmopolitan city on the trip. The Jewish quarter brimmed with art galleries and museums, Mitte was Williamsburg’s twin, even the oldest section of the city was covered in adorable little cafes set along the bank of the river.
For the architecture lovers I recommend Vienna, the World War II buffs Berlin, the outdoorsy Greece, and the adventurous Marrakech. For the foodie, all of them and more.