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Archive for April, 2012

What to Look for in a First-Date Restaurant

First Dates

First dates are one of two things:

1. They turn out to be thrilling evenings of lust and intellectual discovery spent with someone who just might be your soul mate, or
2. They are colossal wastes of time.

We’re generalizing, of course.

But since life is like a box of chocolates, and some of them are really good walnut caramels and others are turtle dung, it pays to choose a first-date restaurant destination that will let love flourish.

Below are the top five factors to consider when selecting a first-date restaurant. Think of a few restaurants that fit these criteria in your neighborhood, and keep them written on a piece of paper in your wallet or tattoo them on your forearm to avoid that pre-date “I don’t care, where do YOU want to go?” banter.

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Meatless Monday: Chiles Rellenos With Cherry Tomato Salsa

chiles rellenos

Chiles rellenos, stuffed with goat cheese and herbs: Serve with a big pitcher of sangria or margaritas.

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Cinco de Mayo can be a slippery slope for vegetarians. I’ve been to many a fiesta where the margaritas and chips and salsa were the only vegetarian options. Margaritas for dinner always seems like a good idea, until the next morning when your head is pounding and you can’t find your shoes.

Luckily, Mexican fare is easy to make meatless (though if you’re at a restaurant, ask about the refried beans; sometimes they’re made with lard). Bean burritos, veggie enchiladas, Mexican lasagna made with beans and corn, portobello tacos — you don’t have to starve if you’re skipping the carne.

One of my favorite Mexican-restaurant meals is chiles rellenos, but I try not to order them too frequently because they’re not only stuffed with cheese, but deep-fried. (Paired with a coupla’ margaritas and a basket of free chips and you’ve got a meal that has about a billion calories.) But chiles rellenos don’t have to be deep-fried, and they’re super easy to make at home. Think about it: they’re basically just stuffed peppers, made with chiles instead of bell peppers.

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25 Amazing Things to Make With Strawberries

Zoe Francois’ Beautiful No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Shake off the winter blues and welcome in the vibrant, fresh flavors of spring! Strawberry season has commenced early this year, so celebrate with pies, smoothies and so much more. Here are 25 ideas to start enjoying everyone’s favorite berry. In no particular order…

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The Best Street Food In New York City

Red Hook Lobster Pound Shrimp Roll

From Mexican to Middle Eastern and everything in between, food trucks have taken the food nation by storm. Since the second season of Eat Street premiered back in October, we’ve only gotten more stoked on all the new mobile eats that have been popping up.

This past week, the Village Voice hosted their first ever Choice Streets event in New York City. Featuring some of the city’s best food trucks — new and old — we couldn’t help but bring our empty stomachs over for a bite, or twenty. Check out some of our favorites, as well as easy recipes to make your own version or recreate the flavors at home.

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Wendy’s New Signature Side Items Reviewed

wendy's new signature sides
Spring: It’s usually a time that reminds us that bathing suit season is just around the corner. Wendy’s is taking a different approach. They recently introduced three new signature sides made with “premium ingredients” that go against the grain: Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Sweet Potatoes and Chili Cheese Fries. We can admit that comfort food is a year-round craving for most people, and to be fair, Wendy’s does offer several side salads, as well as apple slices on their menu.

But it was the calling for an extreme amount of melted cheese and a craving for brown sugar that had us take a field trip to a local Wendy’s to try these new items. Indulging in fast food isn’t something we’d recommend, but if you’re on the road and have to partake in a drive-through outing, we’re going to recommend you order certain items over others. Here’s how everything rated:

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The Illusive, Invasive and Infamous Snakehead Fish

It’s safe to say I can get a little carried away on Hook, Line & Dinner, a little overly involved. Well, tonight is a prime example. I decided I was going to catch a snakehead fish, no matter what.

My relationship with the snakehead fish started a long time ago when I worked for the Department of Environmental Conservation in New York. We were electro-fishing in a shallow body of water. The process temporarily stuns the fish so it can be collected, measured, inspected and returned unharmed into the water. I was in the water holding onto our boat when a three-foot snakehead fish burst out of the water and landed in our boat. Up until that moment, I had not believed the hype: “A fish/snake from Asia that can breathe out of water, walk on land and has been known to eat birds, batteries and attack swimmers.” The minute I saw that fish, I became a true believer. My boss, Melissa, normally soft-spoken, shouted, “Kill that f—ing fish!”

Snakehead fish are the poster child for invasive species — they eat, grow and multiply at an alarming rate with no natural predators. So, doing my part to help contain them, I hopped in the boat and literally wrested it into the cooler. It took all my body weight to hold the fish down. I had to sit on the cooler the whole trip back — the fish never showed signs of giving in!

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Thirsty Thursday: The Classic Margarita Recipe

The Classic Margarita

It’s more than just alliteration; it’s a statement, a proclamation that Thursdays are when the weekend should really start. Kicking it off right is the key, and what better way than with a cocktail that not only takes the edge off, but tastes good too. A hard thing to disagree with, we know. Drink up, get down and go to sleep happy.

9 days to go — we’ve already begun our countdown to Cinco de Mayo. And the key to a great fiesta is a freshly made margarita. There’s something about salted rims that invites us to plunge happily into glasses filled to the brim with tequila, sugar and lime. Get ready for your Cinco de Mayo celebration by trying your hand at a classic and perfectly balanced margarita.

Bottoms up, folks.

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Sifted: The Breakfast Edition

An Ode to Caramel Creme Pastries by Une Duex Senses

5 Hot Links We’re Loving:

  1. Did you drool over the salted caramel creme pastries featured on Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets? Une Deux Senses decided to recreate the breakfast pastries at home. The results are indulgent enough for dessert (although we have no problem with eating them in the morning).
  2. The Brits know their rhubarb, and Eating for England says it’s not just for pies and tarts. So celebrate spring with a seasonal breakfast: Dollop rhubarb-strawberry compote on hearty buckwheat waffles and enjoy.
  3. Cookie and Kate celebrates the fabulousness of toast with a simple mashed avocado remedy. With endless possibilities for additional healthy toppings, we’re sold!
  4. We love scones as a grab-and-go breakfast. These fresh ginger and black pepper mascarpone scones by Butter Me Up Brooklyn have a touch of sweetness and “just a kick of warm spice.”
  5. It’d be hard to grow tired of bagels and cream cheese. But just in case that’s an issue, The Meaning of Pie presents to you a delicious and sweet blueberry cream cheese to jazz up the morning.

Craving more?


HungrySofia Nominated for Saveur Food Blog Award

Hungry Sofia by Ana Sofia Pelaez

Congratulations to Devour contributor Ana Sofia Peláez, whose personal blog hungrysofia.com has been nominated for one of Saveur.com‘s Best Food Blog Award 2012.

Ana Sofia covers the spectrum of Spanish and Latin American cuisine for Cooking Channel’s blog, Devour, and in her own blog. From the rich smells and flavors of the Cuban food she grew up with to modern Peruvian causas, hearty Brazilian feijodas and delicate Mexican flor de calabaza soup, she’s always looking for her next great meal.

Her blog is nominated in the category of Best Regional Cuisine Blog. Voting ends on April 26th, so hurry over to here to vote for hungrysofia.com.

And bring a bit of Latin America into your kitchen with her best recipes from Devour:

Torrejas with Lavender Honey Syrup

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Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Pot Pie

vegetarian pot pie

Aida Mollenkamp's Vegetarian Pot Pie

It’s rainy and nasty here in New York and even though it’s almost May, I’m freezing and craving hot cocoa. While I should go home tonight and make a salad with some fresh spring greens, I need something way more comforting.

I made Aida Mollenkamp’s Vegetarian Pot Pie for Thanksgiving last year (I like to bring a meat-free dish to family gatherings since, contrary to a certain aunt’s beliefs, turkey is not vegetarian) but I’m going to make this pot pie tonight, only I’ll spring-ify it by swapping the fresh peas I got at the farmer’s market this weekend for the frozen.

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