superiority burger

FullSizeRender 6.jpg

When the former pastry chef of a fine dining Italian restaurant opens up a vegetarian burger joint, people take notice. Brooks Headley, who previously ran the pastry department at Del Posto, surprised us all with Superiority Burger, his fast-casual East Village spot. The food and atmosphere are no-frills and reminiscent of a retro fast-food restaurant, albeit one with no meat involved. The superiority burger itself is obviously the main draw here, however, you really cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. I loved that the small menu was still super creative and unique- it changes often so keep an eye out for enticing specials! All the food at Superiority Burger is vegetarian to begin with, and can be made vegan if necessary, so don't hesitate to ask!

fig sorbet // cinnamon tahini gelato

can't say no to dessert!

Since Chef Headley is a famed pastry chef, I was super pumped to try his gelato and sorbet. Lucky for me, the housemade flavors available on my visit were fig sorbet and cinnamon tahini gelato! Oh my glory, they were both so delicious, but the cinnamon tahini truly stole the show. It was perfectly creamy and I loved the big swirls of tahini inside. Savory-wise things were not too shabby either, and I really enjoyed my burnt broccoli salad. The smoky eggplant, spicy red chile and crunchy cashews all played together nicely to create a wonderfully balanced dish. Just a heads up, this spot is tiny with only a few seats, so I suggest going at off-peak times as things can get pretty busy! Regardless, I look forward to planning a return trip soon!

warm potato salad // pickled zucchini, parsley, zig zag mayo

new creation // griddled yuba on roll

burnt broccoli salad // eggplant, red chile, coriander, cashews

tahini ranch romaine salad // cauliflower, sneaky avocado


butterscotch pots de crème with salted caramel tahini sauce & toasted kasha

DSC09039.jpg

I first met Athena Calderone of Eye Swoon through my husband at The Heyward, a local Brooklyn restaurant where he was executive chef. Athena's passion for food and all things beautiful was clear from our first conversation, and I quickly became an avid fan and follower. Both Derek and I got the opportunity to be featured on her site- Derek as part of "The Chefs" series, and me as one of "The Tastemakers". Athena came over and we baked a chocolate and toasted coconut cake with salted caramel (that I highly recommend you try!), and it soon became clear that we had a lot in common, from food to fashion! Athena and I have gotten close over the last couple of years, and often see each other out & about at various fun events

I was so excited, and not all that surprised, when I heard that Athena was writing a cookbook. Her background in design gives her an eye to be able to create beautiful, artistic dishes, so I just knew the book would be absolutely swoon-worthy. Cook Beautiful is just that- Athena's offering of 100 seasonal recipes that are both gorgeous and delicious! After browsing through the entire book and drooling over practically every photo, I decided the first recipe I wanted to try would be a dessert (duh!). The butterscotch pots de crème with salted caramel tahini sauce & toasted kasha really spoke to me, as I've been having a love affair with tahini for as long as I can remember. Seriously though, whether it's sweet or savory- it can be stuffed into Medjool dates with dark chocolate, or mixed with lemon juice and herbs for a dressing, I'm obsessed.

Naturally then, I had high hopes for these babies, and they did not disappoint. The rich and smooth butterscotch crèmes were complemented perfectly by the slightly savory tahini caramel, as well as the crunchy toasted kasha & sesame seeds. Bonus points that they look super fancy, but are actually quite easy to make- these would be a great dessert to impress guests at your next dinner party. Get your copy of Cook Beautiful today, and start creating beautiful, swoon-worthy food pronto! 


loring place

 
 

Loring Place had been on my must-visit list before it even opened, and I’m actually embarrassed how long it took me to get there. Alas, my parents were coming to town, and in my opinion, that’s the best excuse to make a reservation at the new hotspot in town. Chef Dan Kluger, who previously ran the kitchens at the highly successful ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina, branched off on his own to open his own place where seasonal, local, American cuisine shines. Loring Place truly is a celebration of all things local- you’ll find ingredients from New York all over the menu. Kluger has built relationships with many farms and farmers over the years at the Union Square Greenmarket, and it’s so great to see their bounty on offer at the restaurant.

I really enjoyed the wide range of market-driven dishes, just bursting with flavor and creativity. Fruits and veggies at their peak ripeness really stood front and center to me- I love that they’re such a focal part of the menu! The grilled strawberry salad with sungold tomatoes, and carrot-hazelnut romesco with roasted eggplant and pita really impressed, as did the roasted corn with shishitos and basil. The wood-fired grill and oven lend themselves to some freshly baked bread and pizzas (all the grains are milled in-house!), as well as some tender, juicy cuts of meat. The savory duck was perfectly balanced by sweet & tart cherries and crunchy pistachios. We ordered plenty, but obviously still finished with dessert- a trio of deliciousness that I won’t soon forget. A fancy take on a DQ Blizzard?! Yes please! Click through the slideshow for more details on our meal. My husband and I are already planning a return trip specifically for pizza, because we just couldn’t fit it in this time! Too many tempting dishes, which is a great problem to have- well done, Chef!


plum & almond tart

FullSizeRender 5.jpg

There are so many things I love about summer. The sunshine, beach getaways, and carefree attitudes are all great, but one of my favorite things about late summer in particular is stone fruit. Plums, peaches, apricots, and more are all at their peak ripeness at this time, and you can find them all over the farmers market here in NYC. While they taste super sweet and juicy all on their own, stone fruits can lend themselves to a seriously delicious dessert as well. I love halving them (to show off their beautiful colors) and baking them up in a tasty, yet simple tart. I've used some nice hearty plums here, but feel free to substitute whichever stone fruit you please!   

Plum & Almond Tart:

  • 10 plums, halved and pitted
  • 3 tbsp Cointreau
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or almond extract)
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • whipped cream or ice cream, for serving

Pastry:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled & cubed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • iced water, if necessary
FullSizeRender 25.jpg
IMG_3591.JPG
FullSizeRender 20.jpg
FullSizeRender 8.jpg

Marinate the plums in the Cointreau with 2 tbsp sugar for at least two hours, preferably overnight. For the pastry, mix the butter into the flour in a mixing bowl with your hands (or use a food processor) until it's a course, crumbly mixture. Add the egg yolk, sugar, and salt, and mix until the dough comes together into a ball. Add a bit of iced water if the dough seems to dry and crumbly. Wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill for at least one hour. You can make this ahead of time, or if you're in a hurry, use a store-bought pastry dough.

Coarsely grate the pastry into a 9-inch tart shell, and spread it out with your fingers. This method gives the pastry a rustic, flaky texture. Chill the prepared tart shell for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F, and prick the tart's base with a fork. Cover with parchment paper, weigh it down with dried beans, and par-bake for 15 minutes.

Whisk butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and any juices from the plums until mixture is well combined. Stir in almond meal and flour, careful not to over-mix. Pour this into tart shell and push plums in, cut-side up. Reduce temperature to 300 F, and bake for about 1 hour. Cover with foil if edges start to brown too quickly. Allow to cool, then serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. 

FullSizeRender 24.jpg

olmsted

Olmsted has been on my must-try list for some time now, so I was excited when my husband and I finally made it there for my birthday dinner! This Brooklyn hotspot has been getting rave reviews for its seasonal, ingredient- driven menu. They even have their own backyard garden and living wall, which provide produce for the dishes. Chef Greg Baxtrom, who has an impressive list of restaurants on his resume including Per Se and Alinea, partnered with farmer Ian Rothman to create a vegetable-forward restaurant with a strong focus on sustainability. Talk about right up my alley!

The menu draws inspiration from many different types of cuisine, and even has a secret "menu within a menu" called the Yakitori Olmsted. Ask for it for a fun departure from your typical neighborhood restaurant menu! We stuck to some of the classics, and were not disappointed. The duck chakna, while not something I would typically order, was so full of flavor, and the accompanying red lentil naan was like a fluffy pillow of doughy goodness! The rutabaga tagliatelle was a creative take on pasta- the ribbons of rutabaga giving us that perfect al dente bite! The highlight of the meal for me, and something I was looking forward to before we even arrived, was dessert (shocker, I know). At Olmsted, guests can roast their own s'mores, complete with homemade marshmallows and artisan graham crackers, right outside in the backyard. How fun, and something you don't typically see in New York City! My husband, being the wonderful man that he is, had them surprise us with all the desserts on the menu, so in addition to our freshly roasted s'mores, we got to indulge in caramel apple donuts and chocolate mousse as well! Click through the photos to read about the rest of our tasty dishes. Sounds like a dream meal to me!


tiny boxwoods

I love that my hometown of Houston, Texas has such a great restaurant scene. Living in NYC can sometimes spoil a person, but I'm lucky that I still get to eat plenty of delicious food when I'm back home as well. Tiny Boxwoods is one of my go-to spots, as both the cuisine and atmosphere are right up my alley. Their mission is to "create an experiential bond between food and environment that's contagious to all and forgotten by no one... to prepare good food from good places. Not just from its origins, but from our kitchen". The food here truly speaks to that idea, and the fresh, seasonal ingredients really do make for a memorable meal. Click through the photos for more details about each of our vibrant and flavorful dishes. I'm bummed I missed a photo of our wood-fired pizza, but I can assure you it's perfectly delish! If you do happen to stop by, try to snag one of the beautiful outdoor garden tables, and don't forget to grab a freshly baked cookie to-go on your way out!

16 oz. espresso rubbed dry-aged rib eye // oven roasted yucca, baby heirloom tomatoes, house chimichurri