Profile

hdolsa

  • Location: New York, NY

NY vs. DC for a Californian

NYC! Born and raised here, never left. Ghostly is right that the dining options around Hunter aren't as strong as the rest of the city, but you can EASILY make it all around Manhattan, so it's easy to find awesome food even during a break between classes.

What food would you miss most as a vegan?

I'm doing that Vegan before 6 thing, and for the most part, it's been awesome (especially since I can eat meat after 6p if I want to, though I haven't been doing that all too often anymore woo!) but I certainly miss dairy, especially cheese, and eggs the most right now. I used to eat a yogurt every morning, and a hard boiled egg every afternoon!! I would add red meat (beef and bison) since, as an anemic, going full vegan without that red meat would be sad and disastrous!

Vegan: Carrot and Rye Berry Salad with Celery, Cilantro, and Marcona Almonds

@expensiveeats - I'm really sorry that you, and many others, can't afford to eat as much as your hunger wants, what you wrote made me feel really sad, and angry about the state of food stamps in this country. However, I feel like you're being really angry about someone else's enlightening journey. Y'know what? Kenji CAN afford to buy the best he can, and he CHOOSES to, and as a very important member of a food oriented website... it's his job to find and make the best food! As a former very staunch omnivore who would rather have another side of pork belly instead of veg, I never really cared for veganism, but his articles over the last few years have been so influential for me that I do Mark Bittman's Vegan Before 6 every day now. And I LOVE it! I would have never thought to do that if it weren't for Kenji's thought provoking articles, and his delicious looking recipes... my point is that his articles may not be pertinent to everyone, but people can take some points from it, even if it is just a personal Kenji story. Like you wrote, people who read these articles can dream too - dream about making vegan food that looks better than most food out there. You read menus and food websites to dream, so I don't see why you're so angry.

Again, I'm so sorry that you're in the position that you are in. If you feel like there aren't enough voices out there for those food stamps, maybe you should create a blog showing others how you eat with the means you have. I just don't see how it is anyone else's social imperative to go 30-days with a food stamp budget - I'm more for ramping up legislation so that the food stamp budget can increase, instead of doing that but that's ONLY my opinion, an opinion out of many out there.

Maybe Kenji or someone else might decide to live off a food stamp budget for a week or a month, but to be angry that he hasn't done that, and to be angry that he is being pretentious with his articles is quite extreme.

Best wishes to you, I really hope things get better for you.

Best Pita for Purchase in NYC?

Mmmm! Thanks everyone :-) I'm going to check out the Astoria and Steinway street ones first, since my parents live in the neighborhood.

A Day in the Life: Jamie Feldmar, Managing Editor

So strange and a bit off topic but was reading my favorite fashion site, Refinery 29, and while going through the couples gifts slideshow... I SAW YOU AND YOUR BF! My two favorite sites collided! I feel a bit creepy, but I geeked out! I hope you get the Le Creuset pan! :D

Where to Eat near Museum of Moving Image?

So much! I grew up in Astoria, and my folks still live around there. On 31st ave, I love this new pizza joint called Milkflower. Service can be rough depending on the waiter, but the food was excellent. Also enjoy Il Bambino (paninis), and Bareburger, also on 31st ave (don't remember the cross streets off the top of my head, but definitely between 36th and 31st streets). Since there are a few Bareburgers, maybe not the most interesting place to go to if you normally don't go into Queens.

This new restaurant called Mars on 34th ave and 35th st just opened up. Haven't been but really want to go - supposedly has really great seafood. Locale, also on 34th ave, but a few streets further away has always been busy and crowded, but not sure how the food measures up.

As for maybe "old school Astoria" food, meaning Greek cuisine (I'm not Greek but do love me some great Greek food!), I really enjoy Taverna Kyclades and Bahari Estiatorio.

I know that people love Queen's Kickshaw, and though I am probably someone who would fit right in there appearances wise, I find their food pretty average. But it's hip, and if you want grilled cheeses and good coffee, you might like it too.

A guilty pleasure of mine whenever I come home is to eat maybe sort of upscale diner food from Sanford's. It's also always crowded, but moreso for brunch than anything else.

I've neglected addresses because I totally don't know them off the top of my head, but they are all very accessible from the Museum of the Moving Image (one of my fav museums ever, just saw the Breaking Bad exhibit a few weeks ago when Vince Gilligan was there) if you don't mind walking a few streets and avenues. There are a whole ton of other awesome places in Astoria, but I can't think of them right now at work, so I hope others chime in with their own experiences!

Would You Try Water Made from Juice?

I had to rant, and might rant again if Adam Louras responds, because I have never been so angry in my life over a stupid product. But this is more a morally reprehensible product, more than a stupid one. And the price is hilariously high, even for stupid people with too much money! You barely see people pick up those expensive Voss bottles of water (and they are well designed too), but those are only $2-3 per unit, meaning it is probably cheaper in a case, while this BOTTLE OF WATER made from wasted pomegranates, holy basil and papayas amongst other things (so says their website)is at a $4 per unit in a case, meaning that buying one unit of their 375 ml bottle (HALF the size of a Poland Spring Sports bottle) is more expensive given how single units tend to be marked up.

And I'm ranting now anyway. Don't even get me started on the science behind it, because as someone who studied science and engineering, I am just so floored. As someone who identifies with their mantra of putting good things in our bodies, and being healthy... this is really messed up!!

Would You Try Water Made from Juice?

@Adam Louras - I haven't commented on this site in a long while though I still read religiously, but I had to keep trying passwords to log back in just for this. I have to say your water endeavor comes off as disrespectful to food (Heirloom carrots? In NYC, you can't find heirloom carrots in most stores, and when you can, they aren't in season for the whole year!) and to the millions of Americans who can not afford fresh produce like even regular old apples from the grocery store. Not to mention the millions world wide who don't have access to clean water OR fresh produce.

I too would like to get clarification like Kenji has asked for. As someone who helps build water wells in locations around the world where access to clean water and food is scarce, I just do not understand the thought process. I literally just came back from building a water well in Eastern Africa. Couldn't diabetics drink water, if your product looks, tastes and acts like water? Like Kenji said, fruits are mostly water! And when you cold press the fruits, you take away a lot of the nutrients. And when you filtrate the cold pressed juice, you literally have... water with some nutrients, like any old fortified water product. While also knowing how hard it is for just Americans, let alone the rest of the world, to get access to fresh produce (I've got a great job and I still have to think twice about buying pomegranates since they are expensive!)I find this incomprehensible as of now. I think if you really want your endeavor to pan out, you have a lot more question that answers with need substantial science and credible sources behind it.

I really would love for you to respond to Kenji, because I really just can't understand what your start up is doing, and would love to be proven wrong.

Food Ignorance Frustration

Only speaking about the pho, not the food ignorance/frustration : Having gone to a private, well-funded university, I have to say your school is probably one of the lucky ones if you have burgers made with local meat! Cherish the fact that your school seems to care about quality, and probably made the pho the best way they could in an environment where mass production is necessary to feed to student populace. My Ivy for sure used those pre-made frozen Sysco patties for our burgers (and used Sysco/Cisco? for just about most of the bulk goods at the dining hall!), but it was good enough since that was one of the most popular stations at the dining hall. And who knows, maybe the people who decided to put the pho on the menu only ever had pho like you described? I wouldn't necessarily chalk that up to ignorance, even if those people DID know what real pho tasted like...real pho takes a long to make, and requires a lot of ingredients not found at bulk supply stores (I doubt Sysco sells all of that stuff). University dining halls just want to make sure their students eat something, so it could also be possible that it's called pho so some student will be intrigued and eat something that is at the very least good for you instead of a bowl full of frozen yogurt and cookies (guilty as charged, and I loved it). I really think half-hearted effort is more than most colleges and universities put into the dining hall food, so at least that's pretty cool.

Best NYC Supermarket

Salasis14 - They probably do!! They live close to the Broadway N/Q station. I lived in Astoria my whole life until college. And while in college, I would go home just to pick up groceries or random food stuffs. Even though I still go back at least once a week, it's not enough. I love that neighborhood!! Can't be beat.

Food Ignorance Frustration

In regards to college eats frustration...I think getting fake pho is pretty cool, because at least your school is trying to introduce people to pho! I went to a well-to-do Ivy and when we had Chinese, Indian, West Indies themed food at the dining hall, most of the food didn't look or taste like its namesake...but they tried! It made me want to seek out authentic representations of Carribean food for example, since I'd never really had food from that area before. And it's delicious! So I have to say at least the dining hall made me interested in the cuisine even though their interpretation was wonky. And... as a self-proclaimed worldly eater, I did not learn how to pronounce pho or a lot of other foods I love to eat until Vietnamese and Thai friends would correct me! I'd just avoid the pho if it makes you so annoyed.

Since I skew towards "angry, rageful" person, I can't afford to be angry about food ignorance, so I reserve my anger for down right awful, no redeeming quality, waste of stomach space foods like well done steaks. I think there's a time and place for not authentic food; American Chinese interpretations of classic Chinese food is so butchered, but it's SO good when the craving hits!

Best NYC Supermarket

If you're missing being able to buy everything from one grocery store, then I don't have much of a substitute unfortunately. However, I do think NYC has some of the best grocery shopping (from my experience at least), if you can go to various shops. My parents and I like to get our weekly/bi-weekly groceries from Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Fairway. I get last minute cooking items, missing pantry items, or just random spur of the moment purchases from Bravo, C-Town and Trade Fair when I visit my parents in Queens since they live really close by those three grocery stores. My parents go to fish markets and the butcher for meat, so I pick up my proteins from them, or from Whole Foods. Once every two-three months, my parents and I pick up spices, and various ethnic goods from Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian markets in the city (Serious Eats has amazing market guides that should help you on that front). I try to shop at the Farmer's Market every Saturday at Union Square, though the selection gets awesome between Spring and Mid Fall so that's when I purchase most perishables from the Farmer's Market instead of from an actual grocery store.

I'm not sure what you are missing from the California grocery stores other than being able to buy everything in once place if I'm reading your post correctly, but if you can be more specific, I'm sure the community can help. I think that there is more variety, and amazing products in NYC, though not necessarily from just one grocery store if your purchases are very varied.

Gluten Contamination Question

Thanks so much everyone! For clarification - it's an elimination diet for gluten sensitivity. My doctors don't think I am, since I don't have intestinal issues BUT they also can't seem to agree on what is causing my tests to be off, including my inflammation test results, so I was asked if I would be willing to go gluten free to see if my other issues decrease in severity. Going gluten free wasn't necessarily something I needed to do, but given how nothing my many doctors and specialists have told me to do has worked, I figured I have nothing to lose but potentially a lot to gain if this elimination diet provides some information for my doctors.

Yes, I live in NYC, which makes it easier to go gluten free when grocery shopping, or choosing a place to eat with friends or on a casual basis. But it's so hard to stay away from my favorite places (bakeries of all kinds, I miss eating bread with abandon from Silver Moon Bakery so much), and it's hard when I have to go to restaurants for work meetings since I don't feel comfortable yet asking the waiter or waitress about gluten friendly options in front of bosses and clients.

Greetings from a Retired Butcher!

Spam or not, I thought that site was really informational and interesting! All I really know about meat is "beef, chicken, pork, game meat, etc taste good," and there have been many times when I've bought the wrong cut of meat so my meal comes out wrong.

Where to Eat Near Columbia University

I graduated before Joe's opened in the Northwest Corner building, so I went to Oren's all the time. I also have fond (drunk) memories from Tom's Diner, even if the food sucked most of the time - the chicken fingers at 3am were amazing. Not as great as Absolute, but Nussbaum had a solid bagel when I didn't want to "trek" all the way to 108th from the dorms. The cheese samples, as well as the soup and dip samples, at Westside easily made for an impromptu but delicious meal. Their salad bar was awesome too. And how could you forget Milano!!? Sandwich and salad king! I feel like a lot of the places on this list are for when parents are in town...totally don't know many classmates who ventured to the places on your list that often if at all but still a solid list. I miss Columbia!!

Is it Offal etiquette to misrepresent your dish?

I personally do this often, but with my good friends. I can see how not disclosing what the dish is actually made of would be concerning to most people, even good friends, but so far so good for me. I eat everything, but some of my friends aren't too keen on eating gizzards, or sweet breads. However, when I've made liver, hearts, gizzards, etc for my good friends,I only disclose the information after they've eaten it. They've all said "oh wow! I wouldn't have eaten it other wise. Tastes really good!" It really does help that they love to eat though. If I were cooking for a crowd, I probably would venture away from offal though to be honest I made deep fried chicken gizzards this past weekend for my dinner party and everyone loved them. I advertised them as "fried chicken bits" haha.

I don't think this is "tricking someone into eating it" - I think it's more a play on words, or a euphemism. Beef is the name of the meat from cows, and the tongue is just that : meat from cows. So saying "this is beef with sauce" is not trickery, it's just the lowest common denominator way of saying what the dish is.

In short though, I wouldn't even consider serving offal to unadventurous eaters, or people who can't take risks. In fact, I probably wouldn't serve much of anything except pasta from a box if unadventurous eaters came over for dinner (thankfully I don't know any people like that, phew!)

What is a Good First Alcholic Drink?

Classy, very nice! My 21st was a blur. One of my favorite cocktails to make at home is what I call a riff on a gin and tonic - good gin (tanqueray and no. 3 gin are my staple gins), good tonic water (I love fever tree tonic water), some st. germain OR domaine de canton (not both! at least when I tried it, it tasted pretty awful) topped off with some champs. Doesn't tasty boozy at all, though it does pack a major punch.

Pok Pok Wing Has Reopened as Pok Pok Phat Thai

@simon - Too true. Though I am a little "eww'd" when I see a grade lower than a B, the reality is there are a lot of worth while places with low grades, and a lot of horrible places with high grades. Having lived in NYC for over 24 years now, I have to say there's no reason to eat out at all if these grades give you the creeps because even with a good grade, there is almost definitely sweat in your food, amongst other things most likely! Chances are pretty high that the places with B and higher grades just cleaned up as quickly as possible during the inspection to get that grade, but are dirty the rest of the time. To each their own though!

BUT on the topic of Pok Pok Phat Thai - I tried the pad thai a few days ago, and found it a little bland to be honest. I already miss Pok Pok Wing!

A Very Special Market Scene: Tomato Madness!

Although I favor the Autumn and Winter seasons temperature/clothing wise, I just LOVE Summer for the produce (namely, for the tomatoes!!)!! I bought about 3 pounds of tomatoes from the USQ farmer's market this past Saturday, and they're already gone; I can't wait until tomorrow to buy more. Really, the best time of the year in NYC!!! This tomato post is making me drool at work, haha.

Good place for a women to go alone for lunch ?

I've eaten at all these places before, at the bar area, without needing to order an alcoholic beverage so I think you'll be fine. I was definitely never carded for sitting down and just wanting to eat lunch/dinner, if that's the concern.

TV chef's. How have they inspired you?

@CandiRisk - I watched PBS cooking shows along with Sesame Street too!

I can't remember all of what I watched while growing up in the 90's and early 2000's except for Martin Yan, Julia Child, Lidia Bastianach, Rick Bayless, Jacques Pepin and Jacques Torres (does anyone remember his chocolate show?! LOVED it.) but I do remember falling in love with food and cooking because of the PBS shows. I owe almost all my love for cooking to these chefs/shows (and my parents). In fact, because of all of them, I want to one day become a restaurateur or business partner to a chef, because my love for food and cooking is so immense!

Good place for a women to go alone for lunch ?

I'm a woman who eats alone for lunch and dinner fairly often, and I find NYC a very welcoming city to eat alone at. I'm assuming you want a sit down sort of place, so it at the bar area; you can chat up the bartenders, or you can eat/drink in peace. I frequent Momofuku Noodle Bar and Ssam Bar, the bar or the juice bar area of ABC Kitchen, and Terroir when I eat alone. I've also eaten alone at Ippudo and Otto's bar area a few times, and those were enjoyable and inexpensive. My absolute favorite solo lunch spot is Sushi Yasuda - the lunch special for the quality and price is amazing, and I always feel so tranquil and in peace when I go there. I go there especially when I want alone/thinking time from work and life.

Hope you get out of your rut :(

Cooking for myself with a college student budget?

Oh and also when I need to refill my freezer with some quick food stuffs, but don't have much time, I'll buy premade pie doughs and puff pastry (I get mine from Trader Joe's) to make meal planning easier. I like to keep a large (think Costco size large) box of salad greens in the fridge, as well as a container of feta (or any cheese), tupperwares of cut up salad veg/fruit, chickpeas/beans and other easy to prepare produce for the week to round out meals (and to make my meals less brown colored haha).

Cooking for myself with a college student budget?

Ken G has a lot of great ideas. For meal planning, I'd start by making a list of things I already like to eat, just to make everything easier. If you have roommates and they don't mind you using a fair portion of the freezer, I would suggest freezing portions of recipes you make so that you'll have easy access to nearly cooked food. Things I always keep in my freezer for times when I don't have time to cook and have no dinner plans include various types of pesto, bulk fish fillets/chicken breasts in frozen in individual portions, individual soup portions (I freeze lentil soup and it's South Asian cousin haleem, and chicken broth), mini pot pies (I bake mine in jumbo muffin tins), all sorts of sweet and savory "hand pies" (like turnovers, empanadas, stuffed buns), and dumplings (I'll buy a few packs of potsticker wrappers, and make enough filling for all the wrappers. Then freeze them on a baking sheet for a little while, and then throw them into a freezer bag).

The recipe ideas I listed tend to be inexpensive, especially if you buy meat in bulk, and if you decide to make dough from scratch if you have time for that on the weekends. For the fish fillets/chicken, I defrost on in the fridge the morning before I go to work, and after work, I usually put salt, pepper, salsa and feta on the fish, put it in the oven for 15-25 minutes or so at 350 degrees, or until the protein is cooked through.

Roommate/College Food Stories

Haha these are great. I was living in an upperclassmen dorm my last two years of college, in a high rise on the UWS...I would estimate that a good few hundred students lived there. I remember a fire alarm going off, and spoke spewing out of a flat down the hall from me, with some girl shrieking about her pie juices were falling onto the bottom of the oven. She's a really good cook, so I'm guessing she completely forgot about putting her pie on a sheet pan. Getting out of this building when the fire alarm is going off is insane, since its got 20 floors but once the alarm went off she started shrieking again and told her friends "Leave the flat door open,turn off the oven!!!" and she ran down the stairs before anyone else. She totally looked like she was crying and panicking. A few hours and a new batch of smoke coming out of her dorm room later, she started shrieking about how she forgot to clean the bottom of the oven before putting in her chicken to roast! She and her friends were running up and down the hall way and trying to blow the smoke away. She looked like she was going to have another panic attack right then and there. No fire alarm though!

Best Pita for Purchase in NYC?

Was wondering what you all consider to be the best pita (pocket or non-pocket) in NYC? I usually go for the packaged Damascus Bakery pita pockets I find at Whole Foods - I've never been to their bakery in Brooklyn, so I don't know if there's a quality difference. Last week, I picked up pita pockets from Titan foods in Astoria. Those pitas were fluffy, soft, and really delicious but perhaps a little bit doughy (which I didn't mind, I quite like doughier pita!).

Looking to try other great pitas in the city!

Gluten Contamination Question

I was recently advised by my doctor to go gluten-free (and low-carb + high lean protein) for at least a month, though potentially longer due to anemia, auto-immune illness, and inflammation issues. As an avid gluten and carb eater, this was tough to hear. However, the transition has not been as hard as I was imagining.

As someone who dines out frequently during the week, how important is it to stay away from restaurants and food establishments that have gluten free food, but also state that since the gluten free food is prepared in the same kitchen/facility as the rest of the food, those with celiac's should probably not eat there while those with gluten sensitivity should eat there with caution. As someone who is doing a (hopefully not permanent) elimination diet, do you think the gluten free food would be highly contaminated/there would be way too much gluten contact?

Honestly, I don't mind my food contacting gluten if it doesn't affect my elimination diet/future blood work. My doctor told me to use my discretion in those cases, but I keep reading conflicting reports about the impact of contamination. For example, I thought about ordering a bison burger with a gluten free bun from a place in NYC (Bareburger), but the menu states that although they have gluten free meats and products, those with Celiac's shouldn't eat there, and those with gluten sensitivities should use discretion.

Advice/comments/experiences would be greatly appreciated! And please no comments about making my own food, etc because I already have that under control! I cook when dining at home, but have to eat out for work most weekday meals.

Roommate/College Food Stories

Spun off from responses from a different topic - Do you have any roommate food stories, good or bad?

My college roommate experiences are still rather fresh, so I have quite a few food/roommate stories. Sophomore year, I offered to share my mini fridge and tupper ware with my then good friend/roommate. There was a communal kitchen on our floor, so she would sometimes cook, maybe once a week. I would only cook maybe once a month, and only when it was a group pot luck. One week, we decided to cook together and she made this fabulous bean dish. She put the leftovers in the fridge, and week after week went by with her not eating it or disposing of it. I kept reminding her about it, and there came a point when it smelled so rank that I said "hey...I'm going to throw this out." She got so angry, so I just let it go. Literally two months later... IT WAS STILL THERE. I threw out the tupper ware with the molded beans, and she got so upset and angry! After that point, our friendship deteriorated and we haven't talked to each other in five years.

My junior year, I had a friend who kept eating all my food, but I didn't really care too much in the beginning. My passiveness towards the situation really screwed me up, since she eventually started eating whole loaves of bread and jars of peanut butter within few days of me buying the stuff! Ridiculously, she one day said "You ran out of PB and bread, you need to get some more!" and that's when I yelled at her ... I also never spoke to her again.

Maybe it was me!! :( Hope you all have some fun/funny/crazy stories to share!

NYS Road Trip - Where to go?

Very long time reader, first time commenter.

I have lived in NYC my entire life, but have unfortunately never really ventured around NYS, except to visit a few non-NYC colleges during my teens. I'm trying to plan a mini road trip, between NYC and Syracuse (to attend the Great NYS Fair!) before the end of Summer. My friends and I are serious eaters, and would love recommendations for some good eats. We eat any and everything, and cost isn't an issue. Just a lot of good food suggestions (and perhaps recommendations for some good sights/hotels along the way as well if you have any knowledge about that stuff too.)

The only things we have on our agenda as of right now are gorging on fair foods, and eating at the Original Dino BBQ.

Any help would be very much appreciated. Thank you! :)

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