Friday, June 18, 2010

Luke's Lobster: 242 East 81st st, NY (multiple locations)

When I heard that Luke's opened just a few blocks away, I knew I'd be giving it a try asap. I have to admit, my wanting to go was partly because I was skeptical, doubting that lobster outside of Maine was really worth spending money on. I grew up vacationing in Maine and Cape Cod and always look forward to those awesome side-of-the-road lobster shacks. Lobster rolls are one of my all-time favorite foods, but a sub-par one is a major disappointment. Well, I am SO happy to announce, these guys are FROM Maine! These rolls were phenomenal! Seafood barely dressed at all- just a perfectly cooked, simple pile of deliciousness on a lightly toasted bun. The lobster was definitely the best of the 3, and when I go back (which will surely be soon) I'll stick with that one. The crab and shrimp were great also, but to me, it's really all about the lobster when it's this good. The little express claws that came with the rolls were also fantastic- accompanied by a spicy, sassy cocktail sauce. I'm saving the blueberry soda and vinegar chips for another day. I'm sure they'll make a perfect snack one 3am.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wysong Epigen: Drake's food bowl @ Chez Carey

Hi there. I am Drake, guest writer for the day. I'd like to tell you all about the greatest new pet food to come out in a long time. My mom, Carey, refuses to feed me the crap from the grocery store and instead follows the brand, Wysong, like it's a cult. Those nice people recently sent a sample of their newest food, Epigen. Now, I should tell you, I am the pickiest Yaruss family member, and have zero interest in anything that is not the Wysong Uretic cat food that I've been eating for 13 years. Occasionally, I'll humor mom by asking to sample a little of her sushi, but other than that, I pretty much turn my nose up at everything. Well, I guess I'm turning over a new leaf because this stuff is AMAZING. My mom barely ripped open the sample bag and I was meowing, and pawing at her leg for a taste. She put a few kibbles on the floor and me, my sister Elsa, and Echo Doppler the dog had to fight over it. I gobbled it up so fast, that Echo the pit bull looked totally confused. He is used to only having that orange fatty, Elsa as competition. Finally, someone figured out that we cats are carnivores and really don't want rice, bran, oatmeal or corn in our food. This Epigen is designed to mimic what we'd eat in the wild, lots and lots of meat. Yum yum yum. Mom says that I'm going to need to get a job if I want to continue eating this good stuff. I told her that it would be fine if she just offers it to me as a special treat once in a while. Do you have picky cats too? Well, get yourself a bag of Epigen from and I guarantee they will be happier, healthier and very very appreciative.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Curry shrimp salad: Chez Carey

This is by special request for trainer Joe from Equinox. You're welcome Joe! :)
The next time I actually make it I will add a picture to this post. I love to make this salad to bring to BBQs and the like, or for myself for lunch on a picnic-y kind of day. It definitely feels like summer food to me.
The recipe is merely a list of ingredients...You really can't go wrong. I always just eyeball the amounts of stuff and use what I have in the house already. You can take or leave ingredients as needed. You can also easily substitute the shrimp for chicken. Just mix all of this together and serve. If you want a pretty presentation, take the pit out of an avocado and put a few scoops of this salad in it's place.
So here is the list:
One can of shrimp (I add this when making a large portion for budgeting purposes...but certainly feel free to leave it out if you want to just use fresh shrimp)
1 lb fresh cooked shelled de-veined shrimp
light mayo - just a tiny bit
lemon or lemon juice. (lime works well too)
curry powder (add a little at a time until you get the flavor you want)
red grapes
cut up apple
cashews or almonds, chopped slightly
a little cilantro and/or dill and/or parsley
Avocados (if you want to make a nice presentation)

Enjoy!! It's a really delicious summer meal.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicky's on 86th: 355 East 86th st, New York, NY

I can easily get 2 meals out of this less-than-$10 platter, and it's delivered in under 20 minutes. Grilled chicken, tzatziki sauce (cucumber, garlic,yogurt, Mmm), Greek salad, mixed veggies, fresh pita. It is fine, not remarkable, but absolutely fine.  The chicken is a huge portion of sliced white meat, seasoned nicely and not at all greasy. The veggies were overcooked but passable. The salad had more cheese than lettuce, and I wound up taking more than half of it off. The pita was really fresh and  good- but in the past I have definitely gotten stale ones. I wouldn't go out of your way for Chicky's, but in a pinch it's a pretty decent choice.
If you want REALLY good chicken, check out my review on Pio Pio.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pizza by La Grolla: 403 Amsterdam Ave. New York, NY

Back in February, my cousin, aunt, Grandma and I went out for a G'ma-birthday-lunch on the Upper West Side. We were stuffed afterward and practically rolled out of the restaurant. My cousin and I headed over to the bus stop across the street to go home to the East Side, and we caught a whiff of the most delicious smelling pizza. Even though we were both completely full, being the dedicated, hard-working foodies that we are, we actually debated going in for a slice to see if the smell was indicative of the taste. We decided instead to come back another time when we had the necessary appetite. Today was the day, and worth the wait. I was lucky enough to find some coupons on, and bought $30 worth for only $15, what a great deal! We had so much fun sampling 4 different types of pizza:  a pepperoni slice (the one basic slice we tried...standard triangle type but very good), a carciofo slice (whole wheat crust, garlic, herbs, artichokes, ricotta and mozzarella), a Forestiera slice (rosemary, ham, mushrooms, mozzarella, ricotta) and a pesto/tomato slice, and an awesome Rughetta salad: Arugula, pear, pine nuts and Gorgonzola. Everything was super fresh, seasoned perfectly (ie: the perfect amount of rosemary, just enough to add flavor, but not enough to overpower the other ingredients) and clearly made with love. The crust was chewy and crunchy and totally delicious. I don't usually eat the crust once the toppings are all gone, but I pretty much cleaned my plate with these. The pizza was served on cute little wooden boards, and though the space only allows for 2 little tables, that's really all we needed to be comfortable and happy. Dan, the owner, was nice as could be and definitely someone who has passion for his craft. We chatted briefly about his food blog- which he has promised to send me a link to (hint hint if you are reading this Dan!) I look forward to reading the local recommendations from someone whose palette I definitely respect! If you're in the area and hungry, definitely stop in for a slice, you'll thank me for it. Here's hoping they open a shop on the East Side soon!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sojourn: 244 E. 79th st. NY, NY

This is not a bad photograph. This is actually a perfectly accurate photograph. It is SO crazy dark in this restaurant that my friend and I laughed out loud about it when we walked in and could hardly see our hands in fronts of our faces. It's really kind of ridiculous, however, it IS a great spot to bring a date. Totally sexy and romantic. Erotic paintings of nude women on the walls, candles and dark wood everywhere. Plates that are 'prefect for sharing' as the menu says. I probably should have tried this one with last week's hot date instead of my gay best friend. On second thought, it probably would make even more sense to bring a not-so-hot date here since you really aren't able to look at them at all.
The food was unexpectedly good. We both enjoyed the high quality olive oil and caraway rolls that came out warm from the oven. We shared awesome kobe beef sliders with caramelized onions and a ketchup that was subtly flavored with ginger- very nice. We also had the soft shell crab- which was delicious, but the vegetables that came with it were WAY over-salted and seasoned for my taste. I couldn't eat them. I felt the same way about the cubed potatoes that came with the rosemary roast chicken. It was as if there was a tablespoon of salt on 1/2 cup of potatoes. (I should say that I usually use much less salt than the average bear so maybe I just have a heightened sensitivity to it. My friend thought they were only a little too salty. ) We also had the sliced steak which was incredibly tender, beautifully marinated and cooked exquisitely. The location of this restaurant seems to be doomed as this is the 3rd try in the last 3 years...but maybe the food quality will actually let this one survive.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Matter Of Heath: 1478 First ave, NY NY

There are so many things to love about Matter of Heath. It's a tiny health food store on the UES. Small aisles, but amazing selection. Compared to Elm Health, another favorite in the area, Matter of health is smaller and less fancy, but the prices are almost a buck cheaper on everything. They are also the only place around that carries one of my favorite guilty indulgences. The coconut bliss deep chocolate bars, hidden way in the back of the freezers. Holy wow. So chocolatey and delicious with a subtle but awesome coconut flavor in the background. Hard to not eat the whole box in one sitting. Made with coconut milk instead of cream. NOT low fat, but totally worth it. Lately, however, I've been on a health and juice kick, replacing my lunch with carrot, apple, spinach, beet, ginger juice. Today, since it's so hot out, I wanted something cold instead and got a banana/blueberry 'sorbet'. Not really sorbet cause it's just frozen bananas and frozen blueberries blended together, but it really tastes like a guilty treat. SO creamy. Unexpectedly creamy. SO filling. I couldn't even finish it. This may be my new summer lunch. Perfection. Then there is the wonderful health guru, Dr. Walter Melnicke. He is a PHD Biochemist and the owner of this store. He has the BEST personality and willingness to help, whatever your health concern may be. Make an appt. in his office and it will cost you a pretty penny. Be patient and wait to talk to him on one of the days he's in the store and you will get the most valuable free advice in the world. He knows his herbs/vitamins/supplements/etc like no other I've met. He has helped me with weight issues, skin issues, GI issues, an ulcer, the list goes on. I haven't been on 'real' medicine in a loooong time thanks to him. He ALWAYS puts a smile on my face when I see him. I'm pretty sure he only looks 60, and is actually closer to 80. Such a treasure of a man and a treasure of a store. Try it!