Excepting a few things (and we order pretty much weekly - the options around us, like a sucky Gristedes), our Fresh Direct orders, even produce, have been great!!
I don't order prepared foods, but I like being able to order heavy staples like flour, canned tomatoes, kosher salt, etc. and have them delivered to my home. We often order proteins - there are often good deals on grass fed beef, organic chicken, local duck, etc. I enjoy their peanut butter which I describe as "really real" peanut butter, and get all my standard cheeses (hunks of cheddar, wedges of parm) from them, though they have much prettier, fancier cheeses a few blocks away at Zabar's. Oh! I am not a sandwich person, but I really enjoy the Fresh Direct brand turkey for sandwiches. Large bags of organic onions (and carrots, now that I think about it!) are almost always on sale. I also enjoy family packs of lemons. They carry a couple of decent dried pasta brands. Craft beers by the case are more than competitively priced (6-pack of Stone IPA at Gristedes...$16.49 or so, 24-pack from Fresh Direct - $46.00 or so!).
And they have the fancy NYMilk and NYEggs featured on this blog recently. I have ordered both, and am currently annoyed because I did not sample them mindfully (the eggs went into pasta, the milk, homemade ricotta).
Go All Clad if you have the cash, but also consider a rolled steel pan, from de Buyer or similar, which holds heat perfectly and will give that amazing crust on steaks.
If you go to Palena, get the burger. It's amazing. You will be tempted by the other, fancier, more fabulous sounding dishes, but get the burger. Have the vegetarian get the gnocchi or something.
If you're down for pizza (a great vegetarian option says the former vegetarian), check out 2Amy's. The pizza and small plates (particular if you can snag seats at the wine bar at the back) are lovely, affordable and inspired. Get the little meatballs, get whatever the special pizza is, get the suppli, and drink inexpensive gragnano (neapolitan pizza wine I think of as "red wine soda"), which is wine I would unironically describe as "yummy".
If your vegetarian is really a pescatarian, check out Black Salt in Georgetown, and be sure to get the sandwich that has some kind of shellfish fried in cornmeal. Mmm.
Oyamel is yummy, but mainly for tacos. Just get tacos. They're teeny so you can get a whole bunch and then share.
(curse the lack of edit button...I see the grammatical errors)
@ dbcurrie: Hi! After reading the earlier comment I went and looked up the thread. We are actually going to do BOTH! We'll be saving some of our starter and feed it flour/water, and also do a new one, following your method. It was our first time and we were doing it just for fun, but we're definitely hooked. Thanks so much.
We just ate at Marea for Mr.Lovesomething's 24th. Oh, my, goodness. Go! Seriously, go! One of my top NYC meals. Your aunt will be able to find things to eat if she enjoys lobster and shrimp, also, there is an excellent steak on the menu that comes with a little bone marrow panzanella (we were four and we were sharing, so we got one). Here are some things that are completely worth it:
The Maine shrimp crudo (if you do raw) - it has some lemon and black salt, it's beautifully presented, and it is tremendously delicious. It fills your mouth with this absurdly creamy, fresh flavor.
The lobster/burata antipasto - even if you are doing the prix fixe, just pay the supplement and do it. It's unbelievable.
The bone marrow/octopus pasta mentioned above (mmmm).
I don't even remember my main - I think it was black bass? I was nibbling on Mr. Lovesomething's steak/bonemarrow panzanella and even bites of his brother's swordfish...
This is an interesting question. I've definitely moved past my mother's repertoire of herbs and spices. If she were to look into my cabinet, she would definitely be confused about how I use certain things (pimenton?!?! What's that for?). I don't have children (yet?), but I'm a terribly adventurous eater, and I plan to raise my possible future kiddos that way. I'd be happy if one day I pop into my son or daughter's kitchen and say ________ ?!?!? What's that for?
Don't let the FN hate discourage you - I suspect a number of seriouseaters are like me - I mock the Food Network in discussion and with my partner-in-cooking constantly, but we actually watch it all the time (hey, I'd rather learn 25th recipe for pasta dough than watch them cut up someone on yet another crime show). I can't say I learned everything I know from FN - I've had more luck watching friends, professionals, and friends who are professionals, or trying things from instructions in books, or watching videos on youtube for specific techniques - but there are things you can learn on FN, because sometimes it just helps to watch someone do something.
Also, last summer I watched a ton of old Mario Batali stuff (Molto Mario) on Hulu, and if you can tolerate the man's love for the scent of citrus on the Amalfi coast, there is some cool information about certain Italian dishes in there. Plus, he reuses the same phrases so often you can play a drinking game.
That's funny, I went to Farm Burger with friends and family less than two weeks ago and ordered my boyfriend's burger rare. His was rare for sure, and delicious. I had mine medium rare and it looked about like the burger pictured. We had a great experience - not the best ever, but yummy. I would give the burgers an A- probably - agreed on the salt! Although, that bacon is yummy enough to make up for it.
Adding props for Indus Valley! Delicious and amazing staff. Been meaning to check out Flushing for a bit though.
Got 100. While drinking beer! Yay, beer!
Hannah (actually, I suddenly suspect I've met you through some school thing or another)--I was going to write a lengthy comment, but how about just this: right on.
While I use either silicone baking mats or parchment paper depending on the situation, I have to admit I loathe silicone baking pans. Flexible pans do not make sense, and worse, I find they really stink for cakes, quick breads, etc. because they change the texture of the outer crust (in my experience).
@kmalladi: I am graduating from Columbia, and would love to do Community Food and Juice, but I know they'll be swarmed and they won't take reservations.
I've thought of doing Carmine's, and there is a good chance we will, but my boyfriend graduated from CU two years ago and did his post-Class Day meal at Carmine's, so the spoiled child in me wants to try and do something a bit different.
A decent selection of teas and herbal tisanes for non-coffee drinkers (a nice hot cocoa would be lovely too).
Individual seating (like comfy chairs) as well as small tables for couples or small groups of friends.
I agree, sockets, sockets, sockets, and free wifi (or free wifi with purchase--maybe you could print the password on receipts or something).
Pastries and treats made with "whole" ingredients--no HFCS, maybe a few whole wheat options. I also agree with the person above who requested regular-sized pastries, a 200 calorie cookie for a buck, say, rather than a 500 calorie one the size of my head for two bucks.
I eat oatmeal most mornings for breakfast. I alternate toppings frequently, but my favorites are Peanut Butter and Jelly Oats (oats + peanut butter + chopped pecans + cinnamon + vanilla + water/milk, cooked up, with a bit of good preserves, ground flax and almond milk stirred in at the end) and Carrot Cake Oats (oats + nut butter--almond is great + chopped walnuts + cinnamon + ground cloves + ground ginger + shredded or sliced carrots + raisins + vanilla + water/milk, cooked up, with a bit of agave nectar or maple syrup stirred in at the end).
Ultra thin slices of wonderful cheese!
DO NOT WANT:
M&Ms (NH loves them though, ew)
Since I'm a college student/semi vegetarian who eats a lot of pasta (probably pasta a couple of times a week, but in small portions!), it's whole wheat all the way. I will indulge in regular in a restaurant, or if I'm cooking something special for my family or boyfriend.
I don't think I've had good truly barbecue in New York, to be honest! Rack and Soul is right near me and it's tasty...
My really perfect chocolate brownies with a glass of red. It just works.
An ultra fresh everything bagel, chive cream cheese, a searing hot tea the size of my head.
Definitely in the water for boxed stock crowd. Saves money, tastes better.