LGBM Visits: El Vez

On Monday a.k.a. Staycation Day 1, I ventured wayyyy downtown to check out Stephen Starr’s newest NYC outpost, El Vez, which opened last Friday. If you find yourself in the tourist hellhole/permanent construction site that is the World Financial Center, El Vez’s humongous and bright dining room is a great place to escape.

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They’ve got three types of guac, so make sure to get at least one. I recommend the “Bazooka” Limon which has GOAT CHEESE. Cheese + guac = win.

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The Zucchini Blossom & Corn Quesadilla was a little on the salty side, but as one of the cheapest menu options at $12, its large portion won’t leave you hungry. Just maybe a little thirsty.

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Speaking of thirst, the drink menu has a lot of unexpected flavors, including a Red Bell Pepper Margarita with thai bird chili and something called a “No Me Gusta el Tequila!” for people who really don’t want a margarita. Since I was celebrating Day 1 of Staycation, the festive Frozen Blood Orange Margarita was appropriately sweet and decadent.

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The Churros with Mexican Chocolate Dipping Sauce were pretty standard, but I’m never one to turn down fried dough.

If you work in the area and need a new lunch option, get excited for El Vez’s quick service burrito bar, opening soon in the back of the restaurant.

Get it here:

El Vez – 259 Vesey St, NY, NY 10282 – 212-233-2500

 

When Big Food Execs Get Bored: Dessert Mashup Nightmares

Yesterday I rented a car and drove to my favorite place in the world: Wegman’s. If you’ve never been to a Wegman’s, it’s basically the Disney World of grocery stores. Lots of space in the aisles, beautiful meat/cheese/bakery section, super fresh produce. Since Wegman’s corporate has yet to answer my numerous requests for an NYC store, I have to go to New Jersey to satisfy my Wegneeds.

With a store this big, they have plenty of space to stock the latest and greatest product innovations from big food brands. A few caught my eye for sounding like the terrifying mutant step children of Willy Wonka and some outrageiously stoned frat bros:

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As a lover of root beer floats, this upsets me deeply. I’d say more about it, but Albert Burneko at Deadspin already did a pretty excellent job, so you should read that here instead.

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These look like Goldfish with herpes. Nope.

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Unrefrigerated, shelf-stable Boston “cream” should not be trusted. The yellowish tint of the cream on the packaging is particularly unsettling.

I fear the day when these products collapse in on themselves and create a nightmare black hole just like the case of the Doritos Locos Tacos Flavored Doritos. Chips Ahoy Root Beer Float Flavored Root Beer is coming. The end is nigh.

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BIG LIFE NEWS!

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Today is my last day as a production coordinator for reality TV company Big Fish Entertainment. For the first time in my career, I’m leaving the TV world and following my heart and my passions to the food world. As of 5/5, I will be working at Cater2Me, an office catering startup that is revolutionizing the office meal by connecting local, artisan food vendors with big corporate offices to make meal magic. I couldn’t be more excited to be working on something so near and dear to my heart. So if you’re an awesome food vendor who wants to sell some product, let me know! And if you work in an office that needs a catered meal from time to time (I’m looking at you EVERYONE), hit me up and I will set up you and your co-workers with some crazy good grub and you will be the office hero.

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(It’ll look like this)

Since I don’t start until 5/5, I’m taking all next week off as a New York City staycation. What food experiences would you have if you had a whole week to blow in NYC? I’ve already got “wait on the cronut line” because I’ve never had one, but the rest of my week is open. Other lines I should wait on? Can’t-miss weekday lunches? Leave suggestions in the comments! Thanks all!

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The LGBM Guide to Napa Valley Eats

Here is Part II of the San Fran/Napa trip. All guidance courtesy of KK Carothers, my college freshman roommate who actually lives in Napa making wine. CAN YOU IMAGINE??? I very nearly uprooted myself and moved into her house on the spot.

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Bottega – 6525 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599 – 707-945-1050

Holy hell. This was the first and best meal I had in Napa Valley. Bottega is located in Yountville, home base for arguably the best restaurant in the country, Thomas Keller’s legendary The French Laundry. But what am I, made of money? No. This more casual spot from chef Michael Chiarello was perfect for a leisurely, decadent, and not obscenely expensive meal.

At the top: Italian Gin and Tonic with Frozen Grape, Juniper Berries, and a Sprig of Rosemary. Look at it. Have you ever seen a G&T look so classy?

2nd Pic: Black Pepper Bucatini alla Carbonara. That egg in the middle exploded when we cut into it. Perfect.

3rd Pic: Potato Dough Raviolo filled with Spinach and Ricotta, Black Truffles, Farm Fresh Egg Yolk, Sage Brown Butter. THIS WAS THE BEST THING I HAD IN NAPA VALLEY. The photo doesn’t do it justice. So decadent. So truffley. So a;alkj;aldkjfsa;dkf.

Bottom: Duck Three Ways: Roasted Breast, Confit Leg, Duck Liver Mousse. The strawberry stuff on the side was delicious. KK and I both tried to like the duck liver mousse (isn’t foie gras illegal in CA?) but we just couldn’t. Embarrassing.

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Model Bakery – Oxbow Public Market, 644 1st St, Bldg B, Napa, CA 94599 – 707-259-1128

At Oxbow Public Market in Napa, you can get oysters, pizza, tacos, ice cream, etc. Most importantly, you can get one of Model Bakery’s epic english muffins that look and taste like fluffy donuts. The breakfast sandwich above had egg, provolone, avocado, tomato, hash brown, and ketchup. It’s a perfect hangover remedy after you’ve had too much Napa Valley grape juice.

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Here’s a bonus shot of KK trying some bitters at Oxbow Market. Hahahaha sorry KK.

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Tra Vigne – 1050 Charter Oak Ave, St. Helena, CA 94574 – 707-963-4444

This place is in a mini castle at the end of the main drag in St. Helena. They have a gorgeous outdoor patio with string lights that looks like a fairytale. Although I previously decided I want to get married in the cheese section of the flagship Wegman’s Supermarket in Rochester, NY, this patio is a close second. Most importantly:

Top: Mozzarella Cheese “Al Minuto” – Tra Vigne claims on their menu that they make the mozzarella for this dish the moment you order it. Personally, I don’t care when the stuff was made – it’s fucking delicious. Our waiter cut up the warm ball tableside and plated it as you see above on crunchy bruschetta with Napa olive oil, salt, and pepper. A can’t miss for any cheese lover.

Bottom: Cocoa Marinated Grilled Venison Loin – Honestly I was too full of mozzarella to really eat a lot of this. It was just okay. Get the pasta instead. Or just eat four pieces of mozzarella.

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Fremont Diner – 2698 Fremont Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476 – 707-938-7370

This roadside diner can be found on the scenic drive from Napa Valley to San Francisco. If I had been hungrier, and hadn’t eaten a block of mozzarella the night before, I would have gotten the chicken & waffles or biscuits & gravy, but these ricotta pancakes with blood oranges were perfectly light and satisfying.

The LGBM Guide to San Francisco Eats

A few weeks ago, I visited some old friends in San Fran/Napa and I ate and drank all of the things. For now, see below for just the San Francisco eats. Napa to follow soon. (There was just too much food for one post.)

Mijita tacos

Mijita – One Ferry Building, Number 44 – San Francisco, CA 94111 – 415-399-0814

Taco Vegetariano (beans) and Taco De Camarones (shrimp). Super fresh.

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Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream – many locations 

I didn’t actually get to try any of these because I was so full of taco and guac, but this is apparently the hottest ice cream (not literally) in SF right now. Also, anything called SECRET BREAKFAST is a win.

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Tartine – 600 Guerrero Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 – 415-487-2600

I got a chocolate rye cookie from famous SF bakery Tartine, which was okay,  but this Chocolate Hazelnut Tart looks better.

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Bi-Rite Creamery – 550 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117 – 415-551-7900

Roasted Banana and Ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodles) Ice Cream from Bi-Rite Creamery. I was told to get the Salted Caramel but ignored my host and was plenty happy with my choices.

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Limón Rotisserie – Three locations

Queso empanada from Limón Rotisserie. Peruvian neighborhood joint with 3 SF locations known for extra juicy chicken. Get the yuca fries and cry starchy tears of joy.

First Thanksgivukkah, now Pecanover?

Remember Thanskgivukkah? Last year’s glorious intersection of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving? The marriage of these two food-centric holidays spawned my idea for the ultimate hybrid dish, the Thanksgivukkah Dreidel Down, which was the subject of my very first published post on Huffington Post, found here. *nostalgia tear*

With Passover around the corner (sundown on 4/14), I hoped there would be another fun culture clash to work into a new hybrid Jew food. But the only thing I can find is National Pecan Day, which is a load of bullshit and not a real thing. But I’ll take it. How about:

Matzacan Pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or not.