Saturday, December 5, 2009


After taking a little brake for the Thanksgiving festivities, I figure its a good time as any to continue my wonderful adventures in New York!! I cannot get over on how amazing it is to be in the Big Apple and all the endless opportunities available around the clock.  For me it is really essential to have a multitude of choices when it comes to food and when in New York I love to take advantage of the great Latin flair there is to enjoy!

Palomilla - sirloin steak marinated in garlic & extra virgin olive oil 
topped w/sauteed onions

I truly enjoy visiting with old friends and family that are in the New York area. Oddly enough that includes great old friends from my days living in Miami whom have now made Manhattan their home. About 10yrs ago we all lived in Miami, to make a very long story short Ian met Manny.....I met Ian and Many went to the same school Ian went to. I met Manny and then worked with Manny and then we all left Miami.....Manny partners up with Ian and they bring a taste of Miami, if you know Miami that means Cuba with them to the Big Apple......Manny is a Cuban American born and raised in Miami and Ian is an American raised in Long Island who went to hotel management school in, are we beginning to see the six degrees of separation channeling closer!!! If anyone knows Manny they will never argue that food and people are his main thing. These two entrepreneurial minds and good buddies brought to Manhattan a flavor and flair that took the Lower East Side by surprise (and thats allot to say for NY, nothing takes NY by surprise!!)

During the big cleanup transformation in the area called Alphabet City, the young restaurateurs took advantage of the fresh atmosphere and the already existing Latin population in the neighborhood. They decided to combine Ian's knowhow, Manny's Cuban heritage and easy going-people loving personality, contemporary culinary techniques and soulful flavors.  They gave birth to Cafecito, which by now has been written several time in the New York times, New York Magazine, and several other accredited food publications......needles to say I am honored to call them my friends, proud of their success and so so happy that I get to eat there!!

I have to be very honest with you, my very favorite thing in the entire menu is the Macitas De Puerco or Mojo Marinated Pork Chunks, I can't even think about them without becoming automatically starving!! But, I promised myself I would eat something different this time around.  I wanted to sit by the kitchen and take a peak at the "Cafecito Dinner Action".......I began by ordering the Ceviche Del Dia or Ceviche Of The Day, which comes with mariquitas (plantain chips)


Then the next thing up for me to order is a Cubano or Cuban Sandwich. This is an AWSSSOME sandwich.  Its a meal pressed between two pieces of crusty Cuban bread (its got fresh ham, cheese, pork, dill pickles) and they make it perfect at Cafecito.  Let me just begin by telling you that they start by slow roast the pork overnight for 14 hours until the pork is completely falling apart, I don't think I need to say much more other have to have it when you go there!


Another thing that I had been dying to try was the Ropa Vieja or Shredded Beef, I am ssssso glad I finaly tried this dish!!! It was so incredible.  This Cuban style beef stew made with pulled flank steak full of  heart piercing flavors will make your mouth dance for joy!!! It is served with white rice, black beans and tostones or fried smashed plantains (Cuban side dish staples!!) These flavor profiles combined in one dish are just heaven on a me, you will thank me after ordering this dish!!!


One last mouth watering delight.......totally not in my agenda, but suddenly it was there right in front of me, so appetizing and inviting, the Chuleta de Puerco or Pork Chop, they have taken the traditional household Cuban dish and re-wrote it into a contemporary culinary sensation.  It is served with an amazing authentic sauce that will blow your socks off, and without a doubt its a complete pallet success.  It is cooked to perfection, crisp on the outside and juicy adn tender on the inside. The only down side to this dish is that you have to be lucky enough to catch it on the day its featured......I surely picked the perfect day to be there, yey for me!!


I know I'm going on and on about all the wonderful carnivore main dishes, but if vegetarian is what you do.....not a problem, they got you covered; you too can have a great taste of Cuba as well....order the Playa Verde or Green Beach, a dish filled with awesome Bollos or golden corn and black bean fritters which are suitable for veggie lovers and carnivores alike, the dish comes with boniato hash, aguacate or avocado, mixed greens and rice and beans.... but, if you are feeling a little more on the simple and to the point mood, order the rice and beans with maduros or fried sweet plantains and smother it with that magical garlic sauce only THEY make THAT good and you will be utterly satisfied!!


They have a colorful menu filled with a variety of authentic Cuban Cuisine that serves delicasies of  grains , salads, pork, beef, and seafood. You will definitely not go wrong ordering anything on the menu.  I would sugges that you start off  your meal with their delicious white (or red) sangria, with an order of croquetas and an enpanada to set the tone for the rest of your dining experience.

Cafecito is a great place to just stop by and grab a quick Cafe Con Leche or a Cuban style latte, the warm staff will welcome you and  make you feel like you're one of the family!

The restaurant "provides a warm atmosphere, that recalls old Havana and the lifestyles of the Caribbean".

So if you're hungry or just want a get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city life, stop by this little peace of heaven in the lower east side!!!

185 Avenue C
 New York, NY

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Thursday, November 12, 2009


No matter what time of the year it is, you can find a fresh crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, covered with large chunks of salt, warm pretzel just about in every street corner of the NY boroughs.  Its a fantastic snack, not only is it readily available and warm, but it is low in fat and filling. All you need is a pretzel and a drink and you're good to go for the next few hours....don't you just love the practicality of it!! 

So, as I had mentioned before, I often would die for one of these tasty snacks!! I personally like to add brown mustard to mine, I don't know why it tastes so decadent with the mustard to me!! 

I had beautiful weather on my trip to New York and this day in particular was just perfect!! We decided to walk off the calories from our pizza-fest and we started heading to the east side of Lower Manhattan. As we are half way through SoHo, I can't help the overwhelming smell of coals burning and pretzels making!! Oh, I was in heaven....I followed my nose to next street corne and just as I invisioned it there it was.....a wonderful happy pretzel street cart, exactly where it was suposed to be!!!

I couldn't wait....I reached into my purse and crossed the street with the money flopping in my hands. I think the pretzel guy was extra nice out of fear from the crazy lady screaming "PRETZELLL" as she ran towards him...I know, I know, I get very excited...but, hey you only live once!!!

Anyhow, I purchase my pretzel and took a huge chunky bite out of it!!

As you can tell from the picture, I din't get the camera out of Joe's hand fast enough, but what the heck...thats exactly how good it was...worth the documented moment.

Once I got my fix, I was back to normal and we where on our way again...I must say Joe did have the other half of that appetite was much bigger than my pizza full stomach!! 

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009


As I continue my homage to home cravings,  my next logical spot is to go and grab a slice, of PIZZA that is!!

I leave my mother and continue on my walk through memory lane in the West Village. I arrange to meet with my long time friend Joe and we decide that we must have a delicious piece of the pie together!!! Comically and ironically we go to the best place in our memories.....Joe's Pizza.....having a slice of Joe's Pizza with Joe (I know, I'm a dork, but I love it!!!)

Let me just tell you, it tasted every bit as good as I remembered and craved it. It was everything a slice of pizza should be. It was crispy, thinly crusted, juicy tangy saucy , and hot melty cheesy....

A totally complete taste overload  worth a thousand trips to New York!!!

Unfortunately there is NO recipe that can compare to the delight of a slice of freshly out of the oven New York City pizza pie!!! You're gonna have to hop on a plane and grab a bite of the city's best!!

Joe's "Famous" Pizza
7 Carmine St
New York, NY 10014-4480
(212) 366-1182

If it is your first time trying a slice of New York Pizza, I strongly suggest to go straight for the plain cheese....don't try any fancy stuff at first, this way you will engulf your pallet in the true taste of great pizza making!!
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Monday, November 9, 2009


I always find it hard to believe that amongst all the food that I can eat when in New York, the first thing I have to have straight off the plane is a slice of pizza!!! Man, it just cracks me up!!! I like to think myself a health conscious eater (well, give or take a holiday here or there), but it made me think that the craziest cravings that I often have ever since I moved away from the tri-state are, are the simplest and most attainable things ever (back home, that is!!) I sometime get that delicious taste of "dirty water" hot dog with sauerkraut and mustard, randomly just like I sometimes would give anything for a warm salty pretzel from the corner vendor on a cool night!! Trust me, my mouth is watering as I type!!  I had the opportunity to go back home a few weeks back and I decided I was going to put away any healthy thoughts and I was going to eat it all in homage to my home cravings.....I wanted the best of New York, "dirty water"and all!!!

I began my eating journey with a hot dog!! Yes the glorious link between a soft delicious bun!!!

Though I do love the street vendors style with the sauerkraut and mustard, I had to go back to my high school stomping  ground and really do it right.  I dragged my mother down to the West Village to come and have a Gray's Papaya hot dog with me (she really enjoyed it to say the least!!).....they are amazing especially when you get them with the griddled onions AAAND you can get 2 hot dogs and a soft drink for $4.25 - in NYC, that's nearly free!! But, get this if you are on a smaller budget than that, you can get a tasty hot dog for just $1.25!!


They are made fresh by the second and they are opened you can have them day, night, breakfast lunch and dinner.....just like everrything else in New York!!!

Have two or four, as many as you'd like....they are worth every calorie!! They are oh so good!!


Gray's Papaya West Village
402 Sixth Ave., New York, NY 10014
at 8th St.


Can't take a trip to New York City.....not to worry, make it at home and have a little taste of the city on your table.

Just follow these easy steps and indulge...

New York Hot Dog (serves 4)
w/Sabrett-style Onion Sauce

Onion Sauce 
1/2 cup water
1 tsp cornstarch

1 tbsp tomato paste**
1 tbsp inexpensive balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large red onions, peeled thoroughly and sliced thin
1/4 tsp table salt
2 cloves of pressed or minced garlic

**You can substitute tomato paste with 2 tbsp of ketchup

**Red onions often have an extra layer of tough paper under the outer layer. Make sure you remove it

Combine the water, cornstarch, tomato paste, balsamic, mustard, brown sugar, hot sauce, and cinnamon in a cup or bowl and stir it thoroughly with a fork or whisk until the lumps are no longer visible.

Warm the oil in a large skillet, not a non-stick, over medium high heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with the salt. This helps pull the moisture out. Move them around occasionally with a wooden spoon so they don't burn. Cook until the edges start to brown. Whatever you do, do not let them burn. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the liquid, stir, and rub the pan with the wooden spoon to scrape up all the flavorful, the brown bits on the bottom. Turn the stove to low and simmer with the lid on for 1 hour. Check frequently to make sure it is not burning and the water has not evaporated. Add water if needed. The final result should be thick, not runny, but not pasty. After an hour, taste and adjust salt and other flavors as you wish.

While the onions are simmering, you can begin cooking your dogs.

The hot dog
4 all-beef frankfurters
4 buns
Sauerkraut from the refrigerator section, not the can
Spicy brown Dijon-style mustard

"Dirty Water" style - In a sauce pan pour enough water to cover the franks you need to cook. Bring the water to a boil and add the franks. This will knock the temp back a bit so it should stop boiling, but dial the temp down to just above low so the water simmers gently. You do not want to boil a frankfurter, especially a frank with a natural casing because it can split open and spill its guts or some of its juices and flavor. Simmer for 10 minutes. If you don't plan to use them right away, you can keep them in water for hours safely as long as the temp is over 160F. (you can also just throw them on the grill which will give them an equally tasty flavoring with a grilled kick)

While the the dogs are cooking, warm the kraut in a pan or for 15 seconds in the microwave.

Begin to prepare the buns (Steaming your buns - Get a pot of water boiling. With tongs, hold the buns over the steam for about 30-60 seconds. [If you are doing dirty water dogs, this is the easiest method - just hold the buns over the boiling dogs instead].)

Place the frank on the bun, squirt on the mustard, add the onions, and then the kraut. Delight in the yummyness!!

The whole process takes about 1 hour from start to finish and if you get the family involved it will be fun and time will fly by quickly!!

Have a go at it and let me know how you did.......
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009



There is nothing better than having the advantage of the farm coming to you, its a fooddie's dream come true. Being able to create from the season's best not only keeps it fresh, but it also keeps it interesting. You never know what your going to be enticed with, whats going to grab your culinary attention, whats going to complete or revolutionize Wednesday night's dinner!!! In this economy it doesn't hurt to get a great bargain on fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, flowers, herbs, spices, arts, crafts, jewelery, I mean the locals come out with the best they have to offer at an unbeatable price and you also get the privilege of the first and at times the exclusive pick. You can even make it a family event and sample some of the great food that is offered either by local artisans or vendors that typically follow the markets, lets face it every night doesn't have to be a cooking night, right! For example, around the corner in my neck of the woods is the Ocean Beach (OB, San Diego) Market I absolutely love it, you can find all types of international food from East African to Greek to Mexican to Raw/Vegan, I mean those are just a few that come to mind....anyhow, I just go around grab whatever tickles my fancy and nibble from the great international banquet before me.

Here is a peak at what I look forward to weekly....






I saved the best for last, the amazing llamas that make it all so so happy for both young and old....I know I'm just as excited around them as all the children standing next to me...whatever, I'm the first to admit I'm still a kid at heart!!

Whether you're from New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, Kansas City, Boise, Madison, Chicago, Boston, anywhere at all; there is a farmer's market right around the corner providing you with fresh products to make your culinary curiosities and aspirations a reality.....

Just follow the links below to find a market near you; chose your sate, find your city and go explore the possibilities and taste the flavors of your local community!

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia
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Monday, July 20, 2009


A Day In San Diego's Historic Gaslamp District

A Sampling Sensation

As a new resident of beautiful San Diego, California, I had been advised to plan mightily for the Taste Of The Gaslamp......and let me just share with you straight from the beginning, I was NOT disappointed. I debated whether to blog about this awesome event (which I recommend to all that live in the San Diego - be there next year!!). But I find myself in the month or so since the event, making many dishes influenced and/or derived from my Gaslamp experience. So I decided to share my day at the Taste....

I went with some local friends whom have done this once or twice before. They had a plot a theme and a story!!

We started at The Palm, they had a surf and turf selection, which kicked off the day in the perfect direction. The stake bites where out of this world.

615 J Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Next stop Nobu....While I was eagerly expecting to sample some of Nobu's incredible sushi selection, I was sadly disappointed with what they thought to be suffice for their Taste sampling. They offered King Crab Gazpacho, I do not know if I owe the blah sensation I got from the gazpacho to the expectancy of sushi or what, but I found the sake infused guava and passion fruit juice far better than the "main course"
They also offered Nobu Labeled items and cookbooks which was a great idea to taste that which was not sampled.
However the King Crab Gazpacho was rather lovely.
207 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101-6908

Bondi Australian Beer & Food is next on our list....I was quite excited about sampling some of the food at Bondi, as I have been there on previous occasions for drinks. I was disappointed to say the least, cheese balls are not my personal opinion of bringing someone back to try the rest of your menu. Though the ambiance is nice and the restaurant very nouveau, I'd say I will keep to the drinks...
333 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

Chinese time @ The Red Pearl - Ahi tuna on tempura eggplant, spicy kung-pao prongs yum @ The Red Pearl!!!!!! Delissssssh! It was so great I was to busy eating and completely forgot to photo document the whole thing!
440 J St
San Diego, CA 92101-6980
(619) 231-1100

Tabule served a refreshing white Chilean sea bass ceviche, very memorable!

535 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101-6901

Cafe Sevilla rocks! Paella, roasted chiken, mushroom empanada, artichoke ham salad and!!
The line was incredible, but well worth the wait.

I have since made shrimp, chorizo/onions/manchego, chicken and of course I made a baby portabella/white/shitake mushroom combo that was incredible.
You can get pastry sheets and try them at home, they go great with beer and a few drops of hotsauce!!
Explore the possibilities HERE

They also have a killer sangria at the Tapas Bar and awesome ambiance complete with live music, very authentic of the bars in europe....aaaaand a dance club with latin music and dancing downstairs, I love it!!!!
555 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 233-5979

La Puerta was our next stop. Great mexican food, it was fresh and tasty and comforting all the same time AND their house salsa was incredible I could have drank that stuff!!!

They served carnitas/pork quesadillas and potato flautas (first time I ever ate them and I'm sold!) I couldn't wait to go back again......simply delicious.
They also have a great ambiance and great tequila list.....and an awesome Taco Tuesday.
560 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 696-3466

Yogotango they had an aray if exotic flavor, I was pleasently surprised with a dreamy green tea flavor!
And check out these toppings....a yogurt addicts dream come true!!!
Also, I find it worth to mention that it is very easy on the waist line and nutritious!

711 4th Ave

San Diego, CA 92101-6970
(619) 696-7700

Mister Tiki Mai Tai Lounge looked like a verry fun place to have some drinks and a few appies. The decore made it for a great start of your evening.
The had a very crispy and tasty Coconut shrimp w/sesame mandarin sauce, really finguer licking good.

Check it out for yourself....
801 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101-6107
(619) 233-1183

The Merk on 5th....HOT HOT HOT amazing ambiance, we where there too late to taste their samplings, but it surely made us go back was so cool we thought, that we decided to celebrate my friends birthday there a few weeks later....great martinis!

820 5th Avenue
San Diego, California 92101
619.814.Merk (6375)

Sinful Eats is fully loaded and ready to go for those unexpected "sinful" cravings.
I believe this says it all!

Sinful Eats
corner of 6th and F street

Brian's 24 - I had to mention Brian's , having grown up in the NYC area and recently having moved from Miami Beach, I found ONE place thats opened 24hrs!!! I couldn't believe my!

828 6th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101-6307
(619) 702-8410

Dublin Square Irish Pub & Grill, I must say I didn't know that this would be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!!
I've been looking for a good shepherd's pie for quite a long time now and I had to land in San Diego to find it, go figure......they also served a yummy in your tummy potato pancake with beef stew and a refreshing chiken salad
554 Fourth Avenue
San Diego, California 92101
Phone: (619) 239-5818

That was incredible over all, we had beautiful crisp sunny southern California weather and we made it to 16 out of 32 restaurants in 2 1/2 hrs....we where trully pros. Obviously all didn't make the memorable worth mentioning mark, but there is always next year and I'm already looking forward to it....

Taste of Gaslamp - June 2010

I hope you enjoyed my tastebud adventure through the Gas Lamp and you feel encourraged to come out next year.....I'll be there!
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