Best Beers to pair with your food – Before you bite in

best beers

Have you ever visited Goleta? You’ve probably never heard of the place…Well it’s quite a small and young city, only 15 years old, situated in southern Santa Barbara County, California. With a population of barely 56,000, Goleta is probably only known for being located near the University of California, the Santa Barbara campus.

I was visiting a friend down in Goleta, where I met this Beer genius, who probably knew every tiny little thing about any tiny little beer on the planet. He claimed he tasted over 1000 different beers, and knew exactly what was the best food to eat with each. He never studied at that nearby University of California, but he might have been the smartest guy in town, at long as beer was served.

He took me on a cool bar hopping tour where I experienced some unique tastes, visited average bars you’d normally see in NYC, but also some unconventional bars Goleta has to offer. This cool Beer genius taught me some basic rules on how to correlate my beer and my food, and how to make the most of my experience when I’m eating.

There are a lot of ways in which you can improve the taste, flavor and texture of a meal, but one of the most trustworthy is adding a great beverage in there. If you watch YouTube videos you’ve probably seen that the best foods are always paired with their twin-drinks. There are foods that combine great with beer to obtain a master experience that you won’t forget easily. If you Google “best drink for my street food”, beer will probably come up first. If you’re not much of a beer drinker or just don’t pay attention to the different types of beer when you drink, it’s ok. In this article, I’ll briefly share with you what I learned from the Beer genius of Goleta. I learned how it could pay off to explore some bars before I start digging into my pizza, burger or other type of food.

Sushi

If you’re looking for a beverage to help you wash down this tasty treat, you can definitely trust in beer. Of course, not all beers will do it justice so make sure you go for a nice malt beer that will help you get the most out of the fishy flavors. The combination can do wonders and those that love beer and sushi equally have given it the thumbs up.

Cheesy meals

When you think of a drink for your cheese, you are most likely thinking about wine. However, even if wine is a great match for cheese, so is beer. Not many know that beer and cheese make a wonderful couple. It’s because the beer carbonation just makes away with the cheesy fat and creates a smashing combination that goes a lot lighter on acidity. If you’re dealing with a strong cheese in your pizza or sandwich make sure to get a beer that can handle it like dark lager or ale.

Chicken and seafood

These foods demand a beverage that won’t just strong arm them. In other words, you need something that won’t overpower them such as a Belgian Saison. That or another light German beer can do wonders for your chicken or seafood meal.

Pasta

Pasta is in a similar situation but not quite the same boat. For pasta, you still want something that won’t overpower it but you can spring for something like a blond ale but also wheat ale. Both German and American ales work fine. So next time you feel like eating Italian, don’t be afraid to throw in a Belgian Blonde.

Fried foods

Belgian fries, American fries, it doesn’t matter. No matter whom you attribute the best fries to, it’s important to know that fries have a light flavor that can easily be overpowered. You need to make sure that your beverage won’t overshadow them but empower them. For that, your best bet is a light lager, German if possible. Oktoberfest beers are great with fries but so are Belgian beers like Stella Artois. These beers really bring out the flavor in these salty, delicious snacks

So there you have it. If you’re going out for a bite, don’t just eat on a dry stomach. Make sure to get a great beer that makes the meal even better. You’ll definitely thank yourself after you swallow that last bite and take the last sip of your beer as you plunge into absolute bliss

San Carlo: A Trip to Piedmont

San Carlo
San Carlo Battuta di Fassone. Photo by Elisabetta Riccio
A Review by Kate E. O’Hara

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Soho, there is an experience that transports you to Italy—Northern Italy that is, the Piedmont Region. San Carlo, Osteria Piemonte, 90 Thompson Street, has a location and a dining atmosphere that fully compliments their superb cuisine.

San Carlo
Photo by Elisabetta Riccio

The restaurant itself has an ambiance of warmth and welcome; art lined walls, glow of candles, sleek design of 40+ seats flanked by a small bar, rustic brick, and a magnificent mural of Turin’s Piazza San Carlo. Floor to ceiling glass panes line the front of the dining room, opening this time of year out into the cool summer evening. Adjacent on the sidewalk is a bench recently made for the comfort of those waiting for their table. The tree behind the bench is wrapped with lights adding a soft glow to the outdoor area. Directly across the street is the popular Vesuvio Playground. While dining you can hear the faint sound of laughter, and the blur of children swinging, all while a steady stream of pedestrians pass and a take a peek inside.

San Carlo
Photo by Elisabetta Riccio

And once inside, your trip to Piedmont begins.

This particular evening my friend Joanne accompanied me. Moreno Cerutti, San Carlo’s managing director, greeted us. His friendly, personable style adds to the ambiance of warmth and welcome. He proudly shares, “Piedmont is a rich land full of delicious products…we bring our culture to New York City.”

A phenomenal start

Joanne and I began our experience with some wine (would you expect anything less from us?). We opted for a medium bodied red, a Barbera d’Asti that is produced in the hilly areas of the provinces of Asti. It was the perfect start to accompany our first dish; Tonno di Coniglio which translates to “rabbit tuna” and is traditional to the Piedmont region. The rabbit was shredded, and then marinated in olive oil and served with pickled vegetables. The result was phenomenal; tender meat engulfed by the seasoned oil left a velvety finish on the palate.

San Carlo
Tonno di Coniglio. Photo by Elisabetta Riccio

Next, we had Battuta di Fassone, which was beef tartare but unlike any beef tartare I’ve had before. Fassone is a breed of Piedmontese cattle, with meat that is tender and lean. Preparation for this dish was chopping the beef by hand, speckling with salt and pepper, and topping with the richness of a quail egg. In a word, scrumptious.

San Carlo
San Carlo Battuta di Fassone. Photo by Elisabetta Riccio

From there we sampled Vitello Tonnato, thinly sliced veal, with creamy tuna sauce, capers and a touch of onion and microgreens. It arrived at the table in four artistically wrapped rose-like packages. The veal was chilled and the taste was accentuated by the subtleties of all the ingredients.

San Carlo
San Carlo Vitello Tonnato. Photo by Elisabetta Riccio

And then, we were introduced to a few of the main courses:

My favorite was Agnolotto Fatto In Casa Al Sugo Di Arrosto, a hand-made agnolotto pasta stuffed with roasted braised meat. Stuffed it was—with exceptional, vibrant flavors. The soft texture of the pasta combined with its contents, literally melted in your mouth. We had the pleasure of speaking with Executive Chef Riccardo Zebro about the dish. He explained the process of searing pork loin, beef and veal, roasting with red wine, vegetables and fresh herbs, and cooking for an entire day. The result was outstanding.

My second favorite (well okay, maybe it was a tie for first) was Brasato Con Polenta Taragna, braised beef cheek, with a buckwheat and corn flour polenta and sautéed spinach. The slight crust of the seared beef brought a new depth of experience when eaten with the thick creaminess of the polenta. Add spinach prepared with olive oil, salt and pepper and an explosion of clean flavors came through.

Throughout the meal, Hugo attentively brought us refills of water and bread, and our waiter Ruben, who was friendly and knowledgeable, suggested white wine for our next tasting. We took his advice and had a glass of Broglia, la Meirana Gavi di Gavi (from where other than the region of Piedmont), which paired beautiful with what we had next: branzino. The mild sweetness of the caramelized crust and flakiness of the delicate, savory fish was wonderful and even more so when accompanied by grilled seasonal vegetables and roasted potatoes.

San Carlo
Photo by Elisabetta Riccio

As our empty plates were taken away, we sat looking out into fading sunlight, sipped the last of our wine, and reminisced in awe about the array of delicacies we had and decided one thing was evident –there was no denying that Chef Zebro’s love of Italy and his passion for cooking shines through in every one of his culinary creations.

But before we left, we had to have dessert (of course we did). And coincidently, yet another one of my favorites was on the menu (are you seeing a pattern here?): the classic tiramisu. I had always thought the best tiramisu was one served on a plate, in a square slice. Well, I have been proven wrong. This tiramisu arrived in a concave glass, with a sprinkling of cinnamon and coco topping. The cool, smooth creaminess of the mascarpone, with a burst of coffee from the soaked savoyardi cookies was a perfect blending of ingredients. I further indulged by having not one, but two cappuccinos.

With plenty of summer evenings ahead, be certain to spend one of them at San Carlo Osteria Piemonte. Sit with your wine and look out into the evening. Try one of my many favorites. Indulge in dessert and two cappuccinos. Your evening will be magnifico!

5 Great Foods from Around the World (That You Can Find in New York)

Chana Masala

New York is one of the world’s most famous melting pots, and nowhere is this more evident than its cuisine. From spicy Latin dishes to sweet European delicacies, the food trucks of NYC are filled with all kinds of tastes, textures and aromas, and it’s up to you to decide which to have for lunch. If you need a little inspiration, here are just five international dishes that will make your eyes pop!

1. Okonomiyaki (Japan)

Derived from a word meaning “how you like” or “what you like,” okonomiyaki is a thick, savory pancake that can be made with everything but the kitchen sink. The most famous kind is served up sizzling hot and criss-crossed with mayonnaise, but you can also find okonomiyaki topped or mixed with things like octopus, squid, scallions, radishes, cabbage and seaweed flakes. Some regions in Japan even sell a variant called mori dakusan; it means “piled high” and refers to the sheer amount of ingredients that you can put on your pancake.

Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki

2. Makroudh (Morocco)

This sweet dessert is the perfect pick-me-up after a long day. It’s basically a pastry filled with nuts, dates and almond paste, but it has a one-of-a-kind flavor thanks to the wheat middlings that make up its dough. Typically fried but sometimes baked, it’s also common to see makroudh glazed and dripping with honey. It’s a mouth-watering snack that will go great with any kind of coffee, so don’t hesitate to combine it with your favorite homemade java.

Makroudh3. Chana Masala (Middle East)

A common dish in both India and Pakistan, chana masala is made with a special kind of chickpea that has a smaller body and stronger taste than traditional chickpeas. It also includes onion, garlic, ginger, chili pepper and a variety of spices like coriander and cumin. With its bold, dry flavor, it’s definitely not a dish for the faint of heart, but it’s a favorite among the thrill-seekers of the street food community. It’s also a popular vegetarian option for those who enjoy exotic tastes without exotic meats! (See the first picture above!)

 4. Bibimbap (Korea)

Bibimbap
Bibimbap

You’ve probably seen bibimbap around the international food carts of New York. With its distinctive yellow egg perched atop white rice and green vegetables, it’s a colorful dish that really stands out from the crowd. But did you know that bibimbap has a lot more to offer than just steamed veggies? Depending on its cook, bibimbap can be made with cucumbers, mushrooms, soybeans, zucchini or tofu. It can be spiced up with all kinds of steaming meats and chili pepper pastes. There are even bibimbap dishes made with raw fish if you’re really feeling adventurous!

5. Pupusa (El Salvador)

Pupusa
Pupusa

Not quite a burrito but more refined than a taco, the pupusa is a stuffed tortilla that contains meats and cheeses. It’s a popular food truck dish because it’s so easy to make, but don’t let its simplicity fool you! The ideal pupusa is a marriage of flavors that can range from hearty chicken and pork to spicy jalapeño and avocado. It’s also commonly served with a tart coleslaw made from relish and lime juice, so it’s not something that you can just pick up at the local Taco Bell. It’s an authentic Salvadorian dish that has a lot to offer, so the next time that you see it being advertised by a street vendor in New York, give it a try.

These are just a few unique dishes from around the world that can be found in New York. The world is your oyster, so take a bite!

Could Popbar Do For Popsicles What Cupcake Shops Did For Cupcakes?

Popbar

Just a decade ago, a cupcake became no longer “just” a cupcake. Once made by room moms or for bake sales at church functions, the cupcake was elevated from a glorified cake pod to something magnificent. Custom and high-end cupcakes were all the rage and people were buying and eating them with fervor.

So-called cupcake boutiques found their place on the streets of many local downtown centers and became incredibly popular. These cupcakes weren’t just about the frosting or the design; the uniqueness of the flavors, all blending in perfect balances, had chefs displaying some of the most amazing desserts that anyone had ever seen.

The fad became so popular that there was a television show created just so Americans could watch the intricacies of the process, the artistry that went into the cakes they were popping into their mouths, and watch how delicate bakers had to be to make the cupcakes that people enjoyed so much.

Years before that it was all about frozen yogurt and gelato ice cream. Once just something that came in a canister in the refrigerator, frozen yogurt began to mix with all sorts of toppings and ingredients and became a very profitable venture. In fact, to date frozen yogurt is among the products that have the highest mark-up of any food sold in a chain-restaurant fashion.

 So what is next on the foodie horizon?

Apparently the new craze for this year, customizable PopGelato, YogurtPops, and PopSorbetto are the new “it” thing. Brought to the American consumer courtesy of New York-based Popbar, the company is franchising out across the US. The newest location opening in very near future is in North Carolina.

Popbar touts the best frozen treat around. With handcrafted sorbetto, yogurt and gelato, they make all their pops in-house daily and have specialty pops for those who are a little more adventurous. Not just your average flavors or tastes, they serve things like passion fruit and green tea in their dessert creations. Also on the menu are everyone’s favorites: watermelon, and pumpkin products for the fall. Including those who have more traditional tastes, they also serve both chocolate and vanilla.

 What is so different about Popbar?

What sets Popbar apart from other frozen yogurt chains and establishments is that you can customize your flavors just the way you like them. Try them as-is, or mix and match to be your own mixologist. Not to be outdone by other chains, they also offer toppings from waffle cone to caramel corn and everything in-between. You can eat your treats there or take them to go. The quality is the same whether you are in the shop or you enjoy your treat while watching a movie on your couch at home.

Made with all fresh ingredients, Popbar prides itself on dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free products, and are all made vegan-dairy when dairy is used. Having Italian roots, Popbar takes the tradition of Gelato that has survived centuries and enhances it to meet today’s desire for something unique. With eleven stores already in operation, there seems to be no end to its nationwide growth. They have also branched out to international shores, with stores in Russia, Japan, and Canada.

Although they are a franchise, Popbar’s vision is to remain more like a small company and have a “mom-and-pop store” style that tastes more like home than anything commercially made. Their in-house-only production and authenticity are something that you simply can’t get from most mass-produced chains. Rated highly by those who know, like Zagat and the New York Times, there soon will be one in every town.

Every couple of years a new trend comes along in desserts and frozen treats that takes America by storm. Popbar appears to be the next in line to be a household name, and with reason. Catering to the unique tastes that a growing generation craves, they are keeping their operations to a small-time feel, with big-time hopes that they will be on every corner in America soon.

 

Live Your Dream and Become a Chef

become a chef

Do you have a passion for food and a culinary flair? Have you ever thought of a career as a chef? Can you imagine yourself in the kitchen, preparing the most exquisite cuisine? Fresh vegetables, seasoned meats, chicken and fish dishes passing through your hands as you create and inspire will the excitement of the atmosphere keeps you focused.

You can live your dream career and become a five-star chef, with a reputation of culinary genius. All it takes is the right training and guidance from experienced professionals, a bit of talent and of course – determination.

Becoming a career chef

Learning the skills to become a head chef take time and experience. As a new chef, you will be brought into the kitchen as a commis, the lowest rank. After some time you will gradually move up the chef ranks from commis to Chef de partie where your responsibilities will increase as you run your own section.

When you have mastered these skills, the next stop is sous chef, the right hand of the head chef. The final pinnacle of achievement in your career will be when you are appointed as a head chef of your own kitchen.

Business opportunities for chefs

A professional chef is highly regarded and has a career that is rich in experience. At this stage of your career you may feel that it’s time to start your own restaurant or open a luxury catering business of your own.

You will require all the skills of a chef and businessperson if you want your venture to succeed. You need partners and business education on running an effective business to ensure that you have the best chance of turning your business from a vision into a reality.

How to learn the skills of a chef

Learning the skills of a chef is no easy task. Preparing, cooking and serving while understanding how to run a kitchen effectively and efficiently requires years of experience and practice. Getting started on your career as a chef as soon as possible will allow you to achieve your dreams of becoming a head chef that much faster.

Fast track your career by studying a chef’s course in your spare time and learning how to handle, prepare and cook amazing dishes that taste fantastic. Build your reputation before you even set foot in a kitchen by applying for a chefs study course as soon as you can.

Learn cooking methods and recipes to a wide variety of meat, poultry and seafood dishes. Learn the basics of baking and sharpen your skills with the knife under the watchful eye of professionals that know what they are doing.

Start your new career

Another way to learn your chef skills is with Becomingachef. Here you can learn at your own pace and on your own time. Becomingachef has a 14-day online course, available to purchase and study on your mobile device of choice. If you’re determined and consistent, Becomingachef could turn you from an ignoramus in the kitchen to a culinary professor.

So go ahead and take a chance on your dreams !

 

 

Celebrate National Veggie Burger Day at Amy’s Drive Thru

National Veggie Burger Day

Hey guys and gals, reaching out to let you know that in celebration of National Veggie Burger Day on Monday, June 5th, Amy’s Kitchen, the organic food pioneer behind the meat-free holiday, will be ‘popping up’ in NYC to celebrate!

For the first time, Amy’s is bringing the one-of-a-kind Amy’s Drive Thru experience beyond the west coast, and will be dishing up free veggie burgers, fries and lemonade to hungry New Yorkers all day on Monday.

National Veggie Burger Day
Amy’s is bringing the one-of-a-kind Amy’s Drive Thru experience beyond the west coast

What does Amy’s Kitchen offer? Well, among others you can find their ‘All American Veggie Burger’, a firm and hearty burger made of organic bulgur wheat and vegetables, or their organic hearty rustic Italian vegetable soup, packed with organic chickpeas mushrooms, brown rice and traditional herbs.

Here are the key details:

  • When: Monday, 6/5, 11am – 8pm
  • Where: Astor Place – Cooper Square & East 8th St.
  • What: Amy’s invites New Yorkers to stop by their pop-up drive thru and celebrate with a delicious veggie burger (and of course, fries and lemonade too!) – did we mention it’s free?

 

 

 

 

10 Great Books for At Home Chefs

at home chef

Whether you are a beginner or a master, want to delve into the traditions or the norms, or want some culture added into your everyday cooking, 10 Recipe Books for Cooking Meals That Are Simply Delish and will definitely excite and satisfy you.

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

This recipe book is perfect for anyone wanting to prepare an Italian meal in their household. This book was credited with first introducing Italian cuisine to the United States, making it the best book to replicate Italian foods in your home.

The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater

If you have a true passion for food, you should pick up a copy of this recipe book. Not only does it provide recipes the author himself has cooked, it follows one whole year of his cooking. This day-to-day account of tasty and creative cooking will give you endless possibilities for endless occasions.

at home chef
Italian Cooking…

French Provincial Cooking

If you’re looking to culture yourself in foods from around the world, this French cookbook is the one for you. It is easy to read, straight-forward, and provides a thorough list of the top French foods to try at home.

The Great Dishes of the World

For those of you who want to impress, grab The Great Dishes of the World. It presents an easy and idealistic way to cook the most delicious and innovative foods from all different parts of the world. With this, you can surprise those guests who are the hardest to impress.

English Food

The author of this book, Jane Grigson, used to be just like all the stay-at-home chefs out there. She published this recipe book in all her creativity, providing English foods she had made herself familiar with over the years. For the beginner cook, this book is an essential.

Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home

For a cookbook specifically providing recipes for desserts, be sure to pick up this one from Nigella Lawson. It contains every sweet treat you can think of from cakes to other baked goods. It is a simple account of everything sweet to eat.

Tandoor: The Great Indian Barbecue

Again, for those of you who want to be cultured at home, Tandoor: The Great Indian Barbecue is more than a necessity. It contains several Indian recipes that most Americans may not have even tasted previously. It showcases these recipes in the simplest way for every starting chef to be able to cook.

Thai Street Food

This book about Thai food ranges from each end of the food spectrum to the other. If you want to try some Thai street food, this book is for you. But if you want to create some elegant Thai royalty food, this book is also for you. Not only will you be cooking throughout the Thai culture, you will be experiencing every type of food Thai offers.

Thai Street food
Thai Street Food

The Cake Bible

Not only is this a book for those bakers out there, it is also for those of us who like to experiment. Rose Levy Beranbaum gives the world unique recipes like “how to make a low sugar cake” and other creative ways to make simple and difficult dishes.

Mastering the art of French Cooking

Anyone who has attempted to cook anything French might have noticed how excitingly complex French cuisine can be. The ever-famous Julia Child takes this challenge and makes it easy for even beginner chefs. With this recipe book, French cuisine has never been easier and more delicious.

 

 

Babbo Review: Was the Homemade Pasta the reason we came back?

Babbo
Babbo Restaurant. Courtesy of Babbo Restaurant

Last Friday arrived without any damn notice. I was packed with so much annoying work during the whole week. It was definitely among my 5 worst weeks of the decade. And I just couldn’t believe it was Friday again. So I treated myself for dinner.

It was my first time at Babbo, an Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village, known for its homemade pasta. Babbo is also known for its Pasta tasting menu, which basically allows a small group to try a selected set of pastas. But I came alone, so I had to pick a dish…

Ever since I heard of Babbo, people have bombarded me with sooooo many “you gotta try that!”, “You can’t leave without trying this!”. I never really listen or remember any of these tips.

So I picked the Gnocchi with braised oxtail.

I Don’t remember the last time I had Gnocchi, probably 5 or 6 years ago, but as soon as my mouth got hold of Babbo’s Gnocchi, my entire week turned upside down. The Gnocchi was so light and yummy, and the oxtail was so damn tender and full of heavenly flavors. It was also a super generous portion, which allowed me to lavish on each and every bite. I almost thought I was in heaven, until I ordered the dessert….

However, before I go into that unheard of Coconut white Chocolate cheesecake, a few words about the nice staff at Babbo. Every waiter I encountered was super courteous and extremely polished. They smile in a professional way, and answer every question with lots of confidence. It seems as if they help produce that top-notch feeling you get in these top-notch restaurants.

Babbo
Babbo’s Coconut white Chocolate cheesecake. Courtesy of Babbo Restaurant

So back to my dessert: a heavenly chocolate cheesecake made with mascarpone instead of cream cheese. It was spectacular, and it alone was worth my journey to Babbo. It was also the damn reason I came back to Babbo the following day. Hell, I deserved it…

You Shall Not Pass (Unless You Prepare These Pancakes)

Pancakes

Are you a Harry Potter, Gandalf and magic lover? If you nodded your head yes, then you should definitely read through. Now a follow-up question, are you up to your neck in home works and papers that are due tomorrow? No worries, there is a magical word that will help you through it all, and it is: pancakes.

Pancakes to Help You Focus Better

Well, if you are having an exam in a week and you’ve spent the semester watching TV shows and movies online, then I have one thing to say to you: I hear ya! It wasn’t that long ago when I had the same problem, and I found an easy fix: a website filled with pancake recipes to anyone’s taste, including mine.

Now, you might ask yourselves how on earth will pancakes help me focus better and pass my exams. Well, if prepared with the right ingredients, pancake recipes will not only be handy when you are hungry, but they might actually help your studying process.

The Ultimate Exam Friendly Pancake Ingredients

pancakeWithout any further ado, here’s what your pancake recipe should consist of if you want to be focused on your books. (leave J. K. Rowling aside, at least for now J).

Whole Grains

Prepare yourselves a batch of pancakes with whole grains. Eating them will help you sustain mental focus better than eating refined carbohydrates for breakfast.

Blueberries

Fold them whole into the batter, top the pancakes with them, or pulse them in a food processor and make a bluish batter, either way, a breakfast filled with blueberries is surely going to help you focus during the exam. Blueberries contain high levels of gallic acid, they are the world’s biggest antioxidants, and they also contain vitamin C and vitamin K. So, I’d say: go for them!

Walnuts

Besides making every pancake bite a crunchy pleasure, walnuts will also improve your cognitive health. Being high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals means that eating these brain-like nuts will improve your mental alertness.

The Ultimate Exam Friendly Pancake Recipe

Here is the actual pancake recipe that helped me go through my final year of studies. Incredibly yummy and filled with good for you ingredients, these whole wheat blueberry pancakes are just what you need.

Ingredients:

1 cup of whole wheat flour

1 egg

1 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of butter

1 cup of fresh blueberries

Walnuts for topping

Directions:

In a bowl whisk the egg and proceed to add the flour, sugar, baking powder, milk, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk vigorously until everything is blended. Butter the frying pan with a tablespoon of butter. Using a ladle, pour the batter into the pan and proceed to drop about 5 blueberries onto each pancake. Cook for 2 minutes per side minutes. Top the pancake stack with walnuts, either as they are or toasted.

Go ahead and prepare yourselves a scrumptious pancake stack, it will surely work its magic, especially if you have the ingredients in bold at hand. Good luck!

Five Points Festival: Mixing Comics with Street Food

Love comics and great street food? Then don’t miss this coming Festival…

Five Points Festival is a designer toy and comic convention presented by Clutter Magazine and Midtown Comics and sponsored by Playcrafting. It will happen on May 20-21, as NYC’s most outstanding food trucks and breweries from around the US will gather at Pier 36 (299 South St), giving festival goers full access to some of the city’s most raved about trucks, curated by the Live Fast Group. They’ll be able to wash it all down at the neighboring beer garden fueled by Lagunitas Brewing Company which will feature a selection of brews from local favorites and nationally renowned producers as well as the exclusive debut of a new India Pale Ale brewed by Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery. Food trucks and the beer garden will be open during Festival hours for guests to reenergize before diving back into two full days of programming. For up-to-date details about the culinary offerings, visit www.FivePointsFest.com/food-trucks.

The new Festival is a mix of comic artists and writers, toy designers and customizers (with an extensive Neo-Kaiju and Sofubi section), and original street artists, all punctuated with an impressive lineup of craft food and beer. Enthusiasts familiar with art toys will have the chance to meet some of the world’s most iconic misfit artists and brands shaking up the industry like Huck Gee, Kidrobot, James Groman, Ron English of Popaganda, Simone Legno of Tokidoki, Super7, Tara McPherson, and Mighty Jaxx on the show floor.

Art and beer combine in perfect harmony with Sixpoint Brewing’s Mad Scientist, an exclusive double IPA, their signature style, brewed specially to commemorate the first year of the Five Points Festival. Sixpoint’s commitment to quality and creativity echoes the high-level craftsmanship on display at Five Points, with great care taken to create the perfect companion beer. Both beer aficionados and Festival enthusiasts will appreciate the juicy cherry flavor profile and thematic hop aroma featuring Mosaic and Galaxy hops further bridging the art and beverage worlds. The beer debuts at Five Points on draft, and after resting in Sixpoint’s lambic barrels, will be available in local bars all over New York City. 

Head brewer Marcus Lutter said of the process, “We worked really hard to create a beer that personified the artistry represented at Five Points Festival. Using a barrel to age the beer added complexity while tart cherries offered balance and we think a variety of beer drinkers will enjoy our latest roll out.”

Food Truck Participants

·         Big D’s Grub – With two trucks serving New York City, Big D’s has become an Asian-Fusion institution with mouthwatering dishes like bulgogi tacos with pickled vegetables and fragrant green and red curries. (Saturday only).

·         Korilla BBQ  – a Veteran of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race,” they focus on Korean BBQ with creative pairings like bacon-kimchi fried rice. (Sunday only).

·         Mac Truck – Helmed by celebrity chef Dom Tesoriero, New York City’s first and only mac n’ cheese food truck is known for cheesy creations like the cheeseburger mac n’ cheese and friend Mac Bites.

·         Nuchas Empanadas – With a variety of unique flavor combinations catered to meat-lovers and vegans alike in their baked (not fried) empanadas, Nuchas has something for everyone. 

·         Phil’s Steaks – Bringing the flavor of Philly to New York City, Phil’s Steaks has quickly generated a cult following for their authentic cheesesteaks using high quality beef ribeye and freshly baked rolls shipped directly from the City of Brotherly Love.

·         Toum – Toum has been serving up delicious Lebanese food for over four years using traditional methods and rustic ingredients to elevate customer-favorites like crisp falafel, beef shawarma, and their signature Toum garlic whip.

Craft Brewery Participants

·         Coney Island Brewing Company – Located in the heart of Coney Island, Coney Island Brewing Company offers eight house-brewed beers on tap that rotate regularly including their Mermaid Pilsner, Siren’s Cry, and Vagabond Wit.

·         Bronx Brewery – The team behind Bronx Brewery lives by the philosophy to “do one thing and do it right,” which shows with their impressive lineup of approachable and well-balanced ales.

·         Brooklyn Brewery – Since its founding in 1988, Brooklyn Brewery has grown to include a wide-ranging collection of beers including a smooth Brooklyn Lager, hoppy East IPA or roasty Brown Ale.

·         Lagunitas Brewing Company – Lagunitas began on a kitchen stove in Northern California in 1993 and has always looked to the future…Whether supporting local communities by turning beer into money for the cause, or simply fueling stories, art, and songs with IPA and other fine ales.

·         Sixpoint Brewery – Paying homage to the Sixpoint Brewers’ star, a code followed by brewers for centuries, the Brooklyn-based brewery offers a selection of core beers year-round in addition to seasonal varieties and one-time unique beer series.

·         Stella Artois – Steeped in 600 years of history, Stella Artois has become a household name for their Belgian beer and Cidre.

New York Dining – the Fun, the Fast and the Unusual

New York Dining
Louie and Ernie's Pizza

New York is one of those cities that always make an impression, no matter whether you are a native, or just stopping by. One of the best experiences the city has to offer is its food. The choice seems endless; whether you are enjoying breakfast at Little Park in Tribeca, tasting old fashioned Italian cuisine at Pellegrino’s on Mulberry Street or checking out Dunkin Donuts locations for a sugar rush.

There are so many places to eat in New York that you are spoiled for choice. We cannot possibly list them all here; so we have chosen a great eating experience from each of the five boroughs, to give you a taste of what to expect.

Manhattan

If you are hungry and in Manhattan, why not try Pig Bleecker on Bleecker Street. This is barbecue at its finest, with a particular emphasis on smoked meats. You do not have to have a huge budget to eat here; menu items range from just a few dollars to hundreds, so there is something for everyone. The restaurant allows for a small number of advanced bookings but they prefer you to just call in and say hi. You may have to wait a little while but the experience is well worth it.

New York Dining
Pig Bleecker on Bleecker Street

Brooklyn

We cheated a bit here because we know that Oddfellows Ice Cream is not only available at its Brooklyn branch, but this taste bud sensation had to be included on our list. If you are after a light bite, and you have a sweet tooth, there is nothing better. This place definitely has the fun factor too. Have you ever tasted chorizo and caramel ice cream before? You get the opportunity to do just that at Oddfellows.

New York Dining
Oddfellows Ice Cream

The Bronx

Spend some time in the Bronx and you will probably want to check out the local pizza. Louie & Ernie’s pizza is definitely one of the best places to do this if the reviews on TripAdvisor are anything to go by. People rave about the quality of the food, as well as the cozy and welcoming atmosphere. It’s also an affordable place to stop off and have a meal.

New York Dining
Louie and Ernie’s Pizza

Queens

If you want a dining experience that is a little different, you may want to drop by Weekender Billiards in Woodside. You get to try Bhutanese food and you can also take in a game of billiards while you are there. It’s different and it’s also very popular.

Staten Island

We are finishing off our list of New York dining experiences with the Fab Cup Coffee Shop which opened its doors in 2014. Let’s face it, fine dining may be great at times, but where would we be without the humble coffee shop. This one has a good ambiance and an impressive snack menu which includes crepes, healthy pots, and pastries.

We have given you just the tiniest glimpse into the New York eating experience. Hopefully, this inspires you to get out there and give it a try.

 

Ate too much Junk? All You Need to Know about Detox Cleanse Programs

Detox Cleanse Programs

They have become quite popular in the recent years, but also highly controversial. Some say they are extremely useful for flushing toxins out of your system, while others claim they are very risky and can even damage your body. Regardless of what side you are, you should be well informed and know all you can about detox cleanse programs.

What are you allowed to eat?

First things first, let’s have a look on what can you eat and what you can’t. Since there are lots of detox programs available, it depends on the rules of each of them. For example, some of them include fasting or allow you only to drink liquids. Others let you eat particular foods, such as only fruits and vegetables. Naturally, these work only for a short period of time, since your body cannot sustain such a lifestyle in the long run.

Are they safe?

There is no universal answer to this question. For a certain body and metabolism, any detox cleanse program can be safe, while for another it can be really damaging. Basically, it depends on what you are allowed to eat and for how long do you intend to sustain this plan. In general, you won’t feel good while your body is lacking calories. As such, you may feel hungry and weak, low on energy, on blood sugar, dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous.

Perhaps a safer and healthier alternative to a detox cleanse program is a type of diet based on fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains – something that should offer your body everything it needs. Combined with exercising, it will work wonders for your health.

Limitations

Needless to say, there are indeed lots of limitations. If up until now you did not monitor your diet carefully, when starting such a program this will be required. You have to keep an eye on what you are buying and what you are eating all the time. Generally, detox cleanse programs rely on a couple of foods repeated over and over again, so your shopping list will also be limited. You won’t need cooking either, since usually preparations for your dishes are minimal.

Do I need to exercise?

Though it is generally a great idea to exercise, in the case of a detox cleanse program it is not required. You may even not have the energy for this, since your body will not be receiving so many calories and you can even exhaust yourself. However, be very careful with the programs, and it would be a great idea to consult with your doctor before starting one of them, in order to be aware of all the risks and limitations of your own body.

NYSF is Back on the App Stores, Get it Now!

 

Our fans and readers were asking us for this, for a long time, so had the NYSF App re-developed, and it’s now up live on both iTunes and the Google Store!

So what is the NYSF App all about? Well, we designed it to be your go-to Guide to the most unique food adventures in New York. You don’t need to be consumed anymore by the plethora of edible options in the city. Just let us show you the way to the crème de la crème of New York’s pizzas, dogs, burgers, and quintessential delights of the Big Apple.

Forget Google and Yelp. Founded in 2009, NYSF is now the #1 Food Portal for NYC and beyond.

So get our App now!

On the Google Store:


Google-store

On iTunes:

iTunes

How to Peel and Devein Shrimp

Devein Shrimp

You LOVE Shrimp? If you clicked this post you probably do, and you’re not alone, but do you also spend lots of money on it? Many people choose to throw away hard earned cash on buying and ordering peeled and deveined shrimp, while In fact, you may actually save up lots of money if you choose to cook it yourself. And it’s not as hard as it looks! Here you go with three easy ways in which you can peel and devein shrimp without too much hassle.

  1. Peeling the shrimp

First of all, you will have to decide whether you want to peel the shrimp before or after you cook it. You can use a pair of kitchen scissors in order to crack the shell on the shrimp’s back, so that you can devein it before cooking.

You will have to pull off the head or chop it off if you prefer, then grasp the legs between your fingers and pull them off. Then you will have to pull off the shell and decide either to leave the tail on or to remove it. You can even save the shells and freeze them, in case you want to make seafood soup some other time.

  1. Devein the shrimp

First, take a paring knife and make a slit on the shrimp’s back. Cut in 0.6 cm depth and the flesh will peel open. Just beneath the surface you will see a black or white vein, which is the digestive tract. With the end of the knife, lift the vein slowly and start lifting it with the fingers. Put the vein out and try not to break it. Once it’s out, you can throw it away.

devein shrimpBefore moving on, you might want to check the shrimp’s belly, since some of them have a second vein there. Follow the same steps to remove the second vein. Rinse the shrimp and wash your hands. Remember to keep the shrimp cold until you cook it, since it can go bad quickly.

  1. The Fork Technique

Search the beginning of the vein after you removed the shrimp’s head. Take a cooking fork and place one of the tines right on the vein or on the dark spot you see. Hold the shrimp tightly and then push the tine into the vain. You should feel the shrimp as it straightens out. Because of the pressure, the spine will split and the shell will be rolled back simultaneously, which means it’s a great technique for peeling and deveining the shrimp at once.

You can also use a special shrimp deveining tool, but if you don’t own one, a cooking fork should do just fine. A great trick is to place the shrimp under a cold water stream as you fork it. This will help the vein come out easier and you will do it faster.

Enjoy your self-made Shrimp delicacy!

NYSF REVIEW: Patacon Pisao and their Venezuelan Classics

Patacon Pisao
A new cool Review by Daniel Miles Lee Hue

We’ve all been there before: it’s 1am on a Friday night and you’re walking around the Lower East Side with the munchies. You’re looking for something substantially indulgent to satisfy “the craving”. If you happen upon Essex Street then Patacon Pisao has you covered!

Patacon Pisao
4th LOWER-EAST-SIDE STORE FRONT

Patacon Pisao has been serving their acclaimed take on Venezuelan classics since 2005. Starting as a food truck in Inwood the restaurant formerly named El Dugout was an after nightclub meal staple. Since then Patacon Pisao has opened one location in Elmhurst and has found a comfortable home in their L.E.S. location as of 2015.

To start my tasting I ordered up a batch of tequenos (are fried cheeses sticks wrapped in dough). Offering crispy crunchiness on the outside and piping hot cheesiness on the in the inside the tequenos were fried just right. The dip size sticks also make for the ideal vessels to sample Patacon Pisao’s house made sauces. The three flavors Verde ( salsa verde), Hot (flavorful habanero sauce), and Rosada (sweet and creamy chipotle mayo) come in amply filled bottles to mix and match on top of everything.

Patacon Pisao
Tequenos are fried cheeses sticks wrapped in dough

As for the main dishes we were encouraged to try two signature favorites. The restaurant’s most widely ordered menu items are the “De Pabellon” chachapa (sweet corn cakes) and the “BLaTin” patacon (fried green plantains).

Patacon PisaoThe “BLaTin” patacon is a cleverly named twist on the blt. The deep fried green plantain sandwich is served with double smoked bacon, avocado, salsa verde, and of course lettuce & tomato.

The “De Pabellon” chachapa comes with shredded beef, black beans, sweet plantains, and fried queso blanco served between two sweet corn cakes. The sweet corn cakes are the star of this behemoth sandwich, which I was forced to tackle with a knife and fork.

Patacon Pisao
The De Pabellon

I definitely recommend you come hungry or with a friend. All for about $15 both dishes were served in very healthy sized portions, certainly enough to split and share. Aside from their over 15 “original creations” Patacon Pisao’s does offer a build your own option for their patacons, tacuchos (burritos), cachapas, arepas, and pepitos (paninies).

Patacon PisaoI enjoyed great conversation with the staff while listening to music spanning from Classic Latin to current Indie Pop tracks. It was clear upon entering, the staff is excited about the food they make, and they look forward to sharing it with their patrons.

Small in size, big on flavor, and bigger in portion size, Patacon Pisao’s vibrant Venezuelan atmosphere made for a delightfully filling experience.

@DanielMilesLeeHue

REVIEW: Old Traditional Polish Food Truck

Polish Food Truck

A new yummy Review by Kate E. O’Hara

With the morning light still coming through the midtown buildings, the line of customers was already taking shape. Through the muted sunbeams stands the Old Traditional Polish food truck, with its funky faux wood and appetizing aroma.

When I arrived I met Eva. I had spoken earlier in the week with Eva and learned a bit more about the history of the Old Traditional Polish food truck. The truck was started four years ago in March (Yay! Happy Anniversary!) by Eva’s husband, Grzegorz (Greg in English) Gryzlak, and his best friend Przemyslaw (Mek in English) Motyka. It truly is a family business with all hands helping out. Eva works full time in another profession yet is able to organize and coordinate all of the catering inquiries, marketing, and public relations. And, she handles them with a smile. She has a warm, friendly, welcoming demeanor that adds that family touch to any of the classic and traditional Polish fare being served. Eva explains, “The Old Traditional Polish Cuisine food truck has became a destination for eaters looking for food reminiscent of their Polish grandmothers, and eaters who are new to Polish fare alike.”

Eva packed me a lunch that was mouthwatering by the smell alone. As I walked back to my office the thought crossed my mind that kielbasa and pierogis would not survive the Styrofoam packing, but that was not true.
Here’s what I opened. What a view, right?!

Polish Food Truck
Kielbasa and Potato Cheese Pierogies. Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

This “lite” combo comes with four potato and cheese pierogies and a kielbasa link, pickles, mustard and a slice of bread. For me, Kielbasa is typically too salty but not so this time. The light char of the grill with a hint of smokiness was unbelievable; the crunch of the skin, with a pop of flavor I am not sure how to describe it other than, “wow.” The mustard (my new favorite condiment) is imported from where else but Poland, and is so good I could have eaten it straight from my cup (ok I did). It is stone ground and certainly added another dimension to the Kielbasa, but not needed. The imported pickles were sour with a mild, sweet finish—and also a couple of slices of soft seedless rye. This all sits next to potato and cheese pierogies which were small bundles of deliciousness: soft dough, packed with velvety savory contents.

By now I’m thirsty so it was perfect that Eva packed me some drinks. All drinks served by the Old Traditional Polish food truck are products of Poland (I love the authenticity straight on through!) I drank Nałęczowianka; natural carbonated mineral water. It had lighter carbonation than America seltzer, which I found to be more quenching. I also tried Tymbark cherry apple drink, which was in a bottle with a very cool flip top. It was lighter and less sugary than I expected. I found it refreshing with a stronger cherry than apple flavor, with no heavy aftertaste that can sometimes detract from what you’re eating.

Polish Food TruckWith a little hydration, I was onto my second container: the pierogies!

The potato and cheese are a must on my return trip. But, there are a few that might be in the running as well. The meat pierogi was seasoned mildly, almost too mild but when you added a forkful of sautéed onions it brought it all together in a scrumptious bite. Then there was the sauerkraut pierogi with the earthiness of mushrooms that did not fall short of a delicate flavor combination. Lastly, was the spinach pierogi which was an incredible way to eat your daily dose of veggies. Just add in the subtleness of the cheese, and it just might have been my favorite. Or was it the meat…or the…?

All I could say when I opened my two lunch boxes was, “My goodness, I can’t eat all this food.” Guess what? I ate all the food. I was as stuffed as the pierogi with little ambition to do anything but take a nap. But I knew with time (5-7 minutes?) I would have enough room in my stomach to fit a Pączki which would give me the lift I needed. The Pączki did not disappoint.

Polish Food Truck
Pączkis: pastries traditional to Polish cuisine. Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

Pączki are pastries traditional to Polish cuisine. They are said to be similar to doughnuts. I never heard of, nor ate anything like them before. I can’t believe what I have been missing! The dough was almost bread-like—sweet and airy with a light crust that can be pulled apart to uncover the rose jam center. As if that wasn’t enough indulgence, the Old Traditional Polish Pączkis are dusted in a healthy layer of powdered sugar.

If you can’t catch the Old Traditional Polish food truck on the streets of NYC, they also do catering with a special menu that includes fare not found on the truck. And, their future plans include incorporating delivery services. Delivery? Oh, that could be dangerous…

13 health benefits of Low Carb edible fish

fish

Fish it the healthiest meat in the world. It comes loaded with essential nutrients including Vitamin D and protein and these are in high concentration such as you can find in no other foods today. Fish also has a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and these are very important to the brain and body in general. Here are 13 health benefits associated with low carb edible fish: –

  1. Lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke

Due to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, low carb edible fish has been found to be very effective in lowering the risk of heart attack and related complications such as stroke. Some of the best fish include trout, salmon, tuna and sardines among others.

  1. Prevents against blood pressure

Another great benefit associated with omega-3 fatty acids in fish especially tuna is that it helps prevent against high blood pressure. Tests carried out have shown that people who eat fish regularly are able to control high blood pressure or even prevent it from developing.

  1. Lowers Triglycerides

Eating low carb fish lowers triglyceride levels in the body which also lowers the level of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. High levels of triglyceride also indicate that you have low levels of HDL (high-density lipoproteins). Your body needs less LDL and more HDL and the best way to achieve this is by lowering the level of triglyceride.

fish
Lowers the risk of heart disease.
  1. Enhances cognitive functionality

Eating fish may protect the brain from age-related deterioration and increase grey matter which helps regulate memory and emotions. Eating fish more often will help slow down the rate of cognitive decline and enhance the level of brain functionality.

  1. Fights obesity

Omega-3 fatty acids found in the fish can help reduce the danger of obesity. It also improves your body’s response to insulin while at the same time stimulating a hormone known as leptin which regulates food intake and body weight. Leptin also enhances metabolism in the body.

  1. Immune System

Low carb fish such as tuna are rich in selenium which is an antioxidant that enhances your body’s immune system. This in return helps the body fight infections, diseases and sicknesses.

  1. Aids in the formation of red blood cells

Fish is rich in B vitamins which is essential in the formation and maintenance of red blood cells. It also increases energy levels, increases metabolism rate and strengthens immune system.

  1. Prevents against cancer
fish
Can they prevent cancer?

Studies have shown that eating low carb fish can help reduce the risk of different types of cancer including breast and kidney cancer.

  1. Prevents against depression

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can help fight depression and other bipolar disorder. It also helps increase the usefulness of antidepressant treatment significantly

  1. Lowers the risk of autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes are common but eating fish could help lower their risk in a great way. These diseases occur when healthy body tissues are attacked mistakenly by the immune system.

  1. Protects eye vision in old age

As we age, our eye vision degenerates and this leads to cases of blindness and vision impairment. However, eating low carb fish can help prevent against macular degeneration.

  1. Helps in the development of the brain

The omega-3 fatty acid found in fish is very essential for growth and development. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is especially important for eye and brain development and pregnant women are especially encourage to eat fish during the pregnancy period.

  1. Helps reduce inflammation

The fatty acid in fish can help reduce inflammation in the body. As such, it will help prevent against multiple inflammatory conditions including psoriasis and arthritis.

What makes fish great is the presence of omega-3 fatty acids and other unique minerals which are beneficial to the body. You should eat fish regularly but since it’s highly perishable, always make sure you go for those which are fresh or canned.

 

fish
Jerin Merina

About the Author: Jerin Merina is the editor of CookingDetecive.com. She is absolutely in love with food blogs. She likes to write about interesting cooking tips, healthy food and top lists of kitchen gadgets. You can follow her on Twitter @JerinMerina

One Night in Brooklyn: Citrico Review

Citrico
A new exciting Review by Tiara Budd

On a wintery cold Friday night, I made my way to Brooklyn to warm up with authentic Mexican food from the quaint and cozy, Citrico restaurant in Prospect Heights. As soon as I opened the door, I instantly felt like I was in a family’s dining room, getting ready to chow down on some delicious eats. Once I was seated, the true feasting began! I was fortunate enough to stuff my face with the most popular dishes at the restaurant and trust me – you should do the same.

Appetizers:

Guacamole

Citrico
Citrico’s Guacamole. Huge chunks of Avocado…

Now this was NOT your average happy hour guacamole that a waitress slams down for you and your buddies and to your dismay, it’s watered down and bland. Citrico’s guacamole is filled with flavor that melts in your mouth. There’s a slight kick to the dish and I loved the rare addition of pomegranates. As I chewed, the pomegranate seeds exploded in my mouth and added a surprising and scrumptious twist to the meal. A few more bites in and the cilantro attacked my tastebuds (in a good way, of course!) along with huge chunks of avocado. Since this was just one of my appetizers, I was eager to keep room in my stomach for the rest of my meals.

Jalapeños Rellenos

Next up on the menu were the overwhelmingly popular jalapeños rellenos. The owner, Noor, warned me that these poppers were extremely spicy but I waved off her concern and thought that I could handle the beautifully plated set of three appetizer. I have never been more wrong in my life! I proudly took a huge bite of the popper and immediately desperately reached for my water glass. While gasping for air, my tastebuds picked up on the flavor from the Oaxaca cheese and spinach. After I could breathe again, I tried to examine how a tiny popper could pack such a major punch. Noor explained to me that each popper is unique, so what might have been an extremely heat-filled one for me, could have been a somewhat mild popper for another person. I became fascinated with the sauce that the poppers sat in and was soon eagerly eating and scraping my plate for that. The sauce is a seasoning called achiote, which reminded me of “marinara with a twist.”

CitricoEntrees:

Pescado Tacos

When the famous fish tacos were put in front of me, I feasted my eyes on the beautiful dish. The Instagram-worthy two tacos came rolled in a purple tortilla and were topped with fresh lettuce and sprinkled with chipotle mayo. I bit into the tacos and gasped with pleasure at the refreshing taste. The bite-sized tacos are tilapia fish and fried to perfection. The crispy skin is mouth-watering and made with love. The generous helping of chipotle mayo adds a slight kick to the dish that isn’t spicy or overbearing. Lettuce helps give you that “I’m eating healthy” thought and makes you feel less guilty about scarfing down two tacos in the matter of five minutes.

Torta de Milanesa de Pollo

The torta de milanesa de pollo is a simple and huge chicken sandwich that is stuffed to the brim. Cut straight down the middle, you can look inside the sandwich and know that you’re in for a nap immediately after devouring. The sandwich tastes just as amazing as it smells and you’re truly in for a treat. So what exactly is in this heavenly meal? Breaded chicken, avocado, beans, lettuce, tomato, jalapeños, and chipotle mayo all come together to create a sandwich you’ll be raving about for the next few days. The bread is toasted just right, not a burn mark in sight. The chicken is seasoned, tender, and made me take a piece of the bread off so I could figure out how to replicate the dish. The black beans make a surprising appearance but not in a bad way at all. Once again, the avocados and tomatoes are so fresh that I wouldn’t be shocked that these are picked and pocketed by the employees themselves. Another A+ dish and another notch on my belt unbuttoned for this meal.

Citrico
Pescado Tacos and Torta de Milanesa de Pollo.

Overall thoughts

Citrico is the perfect place to go if you want to taste authentic, flavorful Mexican cuisine. The owner is attentive, talkative, and willing to give you insight into what you’re eating for each and every meal. Since it’s a small restaurant, big groups should probably call ahead if looking for space, but with the great customer service, there shouldn’t be a problem. Each dish is unique and made specialized, just like the restaurant’s patrons. As I was grabbing my coat and walking back out into the blistering cold, all I could think about was how many more days it would be until I came back.

About the Author:

Tiara Budd
Tiara Budd

Tiara Budd lives in New York and is determined to eat (and Instagram!) her way through the city. In her free time she loves exploring new neighborhoods, reading books from the library, and traveling all around the country.

Foods to eat and avoid while Planning a Pregnancy

Planning a Pregnancy

Motherhood is one of the pivotal and most desirable moments in any woman’s life. Probably, it has been a while you and your partner have been talking about having a baby, but it’s not happening. Irrespective of whether you are planning to get pregnant in the near future or some months down the line; you need to prepare your body for pregnancy by getting your diet on track.

Your food and lifestyle has a great influence on your reproductive system. In fact, the food you ate in the past also makes a difference; but that is beyond your control. To be on the safer side, it is advised to make changes to your diet well in advance. Not that you would get pregnant if you consume a salmon salad but all these changes have an effect on your ability to conceive.

We list some foods that maintain the hormonal balance in such a way that it boosts your fertility. Including them in your diet will make way for a healthy mother and a healthy baby:

  • Proteins and folic acid: Go for meals that are rich in proteins. Though it is good to go for animal proteins but do not underestimate the importance of plant proteins. As per a research study at the Harvard School of Public Health, women who consumed more of animal protein were 39% more likely to have infertility problems. Beans, lentils, tofu, edamame, and nuts are plentiful sources of plant protein.

Folic acid should form an important part of your diet as it ensures a sound pregnancy and reduces the risk of birth defects. Before pregnancy, you must consume about 400-600 mg of folic acid while you should increase your consumption to 800 mg during pregnancy. Foods rich in folates include fortified whole grains, fortified cereals, vegetables, and citrus fruits. Many vegetables such as spinach, romaine, arugula, broccoli, and other dark leafy greens have very high proportions of folate, thus eating a lot of leafy greens are a good idea. Not only, these are recommended for women, but also men who get rich doses of folate produce healthier sperm.

  • Whole milk products: Dairy products are rich sources of calcium and protein. Whole milk and whole milk products are richer sources of healthy fats and calcium as compared to skimmed milk. So you can trade in skimmed milk or low fat products for whole milk or a cup of full fat yoghurt.

Planning a Pregnancy

  • Omega-3 fats: Omega-3 fats are known for a plethora of benefits and not only protect you, but are essential for the health of your baby as well. These oils protect your baby from brain injuries. Also at a time like this, your hormones are active and fluctuating, which is likely to cause anxiety or depression. Omega-3 fatty oils keep this sudden surge of emotions in control. Flax seeds, olive oil, cod-liver oil and almonds are some rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. If you are a non-vegetarian then wild fish such as salmon, shrimp, tilapia and catfish have good amounts of omega-3 fats and you can consume them quite a few times a week.
  • Prenatal vitamins: If you are taking a balanced diet then it caters to all your nutritional requirements; however, prenatal vitamins take care of other essential nutrients that you might be missing on. There are different kinds of multi-vitamin supplements available, but it’s better to consult your doctor before you decide on a particular one.
  • Fruits and vegetables: No matter how well you take care of yourself, there is no substitute for fruits and green leafy vegetables. These are powerhouses of essential nutrients and antioxidants and are must-eat super foods. Among fruits, citrus fruits, pomegranates, bananas and pineapples should certainly form a major chunk of your diet while cabbage, broccoli and potatoes are the vegetables you should be consuming. All of these supplements your body with nutrients such as iron, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B thus ensuring that you have a healthy body to care of the pregnancy process.

What to avoid?

Other than making the above necessary additions, it is important to avoid a few things when you are trying to conceive. Smoking, consuming caffeine, drinking, neglecting exercise/extreme exercise, BPA exposure are some of the things you should steer clear from. Drinks which contain high-sugar content are also responsible for fertility problems. Most of these foods interfere with the normal functioning of your reproductive system or deplete you of essential nutrients such as calcium so it’s a good idea to avoid them altogether.

Including the above mentioned super foods in your diet becomes quite easy if you can do it from the convenience of your home. At Ocado, you can shop all what you want and with the regular offers on products you can avail guaranteed savings. These foods are anyway economical but making some extra savings doesn’t harm anyone. So eat a well-balanced diet and enjoy the beautiful feeling.

The Key to Unlocking Awesome Tasting Coffee

awesome coffee

In my granddad’s day you had a choice of Tea or Coffee where milk and sugar were the only enhancements that could be added. They were indeed simple times. Granddad was happy then but does nothing but moan when visiting a coffee vendor’s stall about all the choices he has to make.

In the modern connected world we have more choice than ever, especially when it comes to coffee. At times we are presented with an overwhelming list of options and choices but the one thing we all desire is a really good coffee.

It needs to taste awesome, have that nice aroma and give you that morning buzz as the caffeine hits your bloodstream. Sadly though, most coffees sold on our streets are just good, narrowly missing out on awesome.

A large part of the barrier to getting that awesome coffee we desire are just a few common mistakes. If you know what these are and avoid them your coffee will be memorable and people will keep coming back for more!

The 3 keys to awesome coffee

awesome coffeeThe single most important key to making awesome coffee is a freshly roasted bean. By freshly roasted we mean that it was roasted less than 30 days ago and preferably within the last 2 weeks. Outside this critical window you lose 70% of the essential oils and aromas which makes coffee awesome.

Coffee does not keep or store very well. The fresher it is the better it will taste. It really is that simple and realising that it has a very short optimum window should be life changing to vendors and customers alike. Moisturiser and plastic surgery will not keep coffee fresh!

The second thing for awesome coffee is the grind. Too fine or too coarse and you will be unable to extract the full flavours. The grind depends on the coffee bean, the roast and the type of extraction process you are using. Pump driven espresso machines prefer a fine grind, whereas most water based filter and steeping methods require a more coarse grind.

A key with the grind is consistent granule size. A poor quality grinder produces fine powder along with coarse granules making it impossible to get the extraction right.

Finally, many people fall down in the extraction time, with coffee being frequently over extracted.

Extraction tips and where most people fail

The 3 phases of the coffee shot are as follows:

Phase 1) Pulls out the strong coffee flavour and creates a dark syrup. This would be referred to as a Ristretto shot if this was all you extracted. This shot contains relatively little caffeine. Around 8 seconds for a maximum 25ml shot.

Phase 2) A little longer and you are into an Espresso shot. The sweet strong taste of coffee is now balanced with some bitter/sour notes and more of the elements from the ground coffee is extracted. Around 15 Seconds giving you around 40ml.

Phase 3) The Lungo shot, where the extraction is left to run longer and you start to get more of the bitter notes and elements from the coffee and a larger caffeine hit. Around 20 seconds and 100ml.

If you pull a shot too long then you end up with a very bitter coffee with an unpleasant after taste and this is probably the most common error people make. Depending on your machine, it typically takes a maximum of 20 seconds to fully extract your shot. Experiment with different extraction durations and compare the taste, it makes quite an interesting project and really is the best way to hone your skills with your equipment and choice of bean.

Most coffees use an Espresso shot as the base but the other phases also come into play.

Choosing your bean

Arabica beans are the favoured choice and the more expensive bean, but Robusta beans add a good amount of caffeine and complexity when blended with Arabica beans. There is much debate about the best coffee beans and blend but most seem to prefer a 100% Arabica bean.

The newest coffee beverages

Keep the choice simple without limiting it. By adding milk to a basic coffee shot you can create some amazing new drink options.

We have been familiar with the Cappuccino and Latte for many years but new drink variations just keep on arriving.

The Flat White from New Zealand uses a Ristretto shot blended with micro foamed milk creating a wonderfully textured strong tasting coffee. The milk is swirled into the cup to create an awesome leaf design.

awesome coffee
The famous new Flat White

The Bombon, originally from Spain uses sweetened condensed milk in a 1:1 ratio with an Espresso shot. A Bombon is usually served in a glass where the distinct upper coffee shot and lower milk can be seen as separate layers.

The Revolute is a brand new coffee from the UK using both a Ristretto and Lungo shot for a very strong coffee taste and big caffeine hit. Micro foamed milk is then added in a swirl design, making this the perfect morning coffee.

The Cortado is another Spanish export which uses an Espresso shot and warm milk in a 1:1 ratio. A good strong coffee and quite refreshing after heavy food.

So it is possible to make truly awesome coffee that even my granddad would sit up and take notice of. He will probably still moan about all the different types of coffee but at least he’ll have a good coffee to consume during the conversation.

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