Monday, November 21, 2011

Regrets: Fran's Hamburgers in Austin


We spent a recent weekend in Austin, Texas, for a family reunion.  I'd never been to Austin before, and I was really looking forward to the food there.  I wasn't disappointed by much about the trip, but -- golly -- I wish I'd gotten a chance to eat a catfish burger at Fran's Hamburgers.  My coworker Paul recommends it very highly, and that's good enough for me.  But when our group passed by, it was 9am (we were on our way to the Mexican bakery around the corner) and all our meals that weekend were already planned and mapped out.  I just couldn't figure out a way to squeeze it in. 

Other recommendations I'm saving for our next trip? The "Flip Happy" crepe trailer off of Lamar Blvd., Woodland on South Congress, Torchy's Tacos on South 1st, and The Ginger Man for drinks.

Next time, Fran's.

Fran's Hamburgers
1822 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chips Notes


Loaded Chili & Cheese
- Beany!
- Fair amount of spice without being "hot."
- Cumin?
- Cheese undertones.
- Onion.
- Better than "fully loaded"
- Sturdy, thick chips


Molten Hot Wings
- Tangy
- Vinegar
- Hotter
- Sturdy, thick chips


As the rest of the world already knows


Yup.  Real sugar does taste better.  But the can looks ugly when you write "Throwback" all over the vintage packaging.


Good News!

Bluebottle S'more

Not only does my pediatrician give out delicious lollipops, but her office is located right around the corner from this.

My only issue with this Blue Bottle Coffee s'more was that the "fancy" graham crackers don't really make it better.  They do, however, make it more portable.  So go ahead, y'all.


Crispiroll 12-Grain: Bite into the Mystery

Thing 1

Oh, dear.  This is what happens when you fall behind in blogging.  The photos pile up and wrappers you've saved get thrown away.

I do not remember how the Crispiroll 12-Grain tasted, exactly.  I think...weird?  Crispy yet squishy? If I remember correctly, it had, like, a thousand ingredients.  Lots of grains.  Paul gave it to me.  I do remember that.

Here you go.  I found the ingredients online: brown rice, husked lotus, pearl barley, buckwheat, rice, oatmeal, pea, small red beans, mung beans, speckled kidney bean, black soybeans, black glutinous rice, corn, egg, palm oil, granulated sugar, soy sauce powder (soybeans, wheat, salt, sugar), sugar.

Thing 2  Thing 3

More Work To Be Done...

Smorgasburg 1

I'm trying my best to eat my way through the vendors at Smorgasburg, the local Saturday "flea market" for food. Here are some highlights of my trips there this summer:

Doughnut holes from Dough

Maple bacon
Landhaus maple bacon on a stick

Smorgasburg 2
Landhaus BLT

Brooklyn Soda Works blackberry-mint artisanal soda

Smorgasburg 3
Nana’s (made by Cecile Dyer of Pies ’n’ Thighs) frozen banana with nuts and sea salt

Okay, so I haven't really made a dent.  Smorgasburg closes for the winter on November 20th, so there's still time for me to visit a few more times. Have you been there? What do you recommend I try?


Would you like bears with that?


I have a tricky relationship with the Union Square location of pasta/pizza chain Vapiano.  I've gotten pasta there a handful of times.  It feels too big for the neighborhood and kind of has a strange vibe -- sort of faux Tuscan lounge (for faux Tuscan lounge lizards?). Still, the pasta dishes I've tried are pretty tasty.  The noodles are made on-site each day and the sauces are prepared right in front of the customers, to order.   A couple of slices of nice chewy bread may or may not be included -- bread only seems to come with the pasta if you luck into the right line cook's queue, but this is a minor quarrel.

The fact that the food is a bit overpriced, but worth it for a splurge, is complicated by their tendency to overcharge me by about $2 (the second time, I was on the lookout and got it corrected).  That they use a convoluted "swipe card" ordering and payment system seems to be part of the problem.  Be alert as you're paying, friends!

The first couple of times I went there, they included an adorable and tiny cup of gummy bears with my take-out order. I considered this a definite plus. Lately, however, they've just had a self-serve bowl of gummy bears (with scoop and cups) next to the registers.  And I thought I caught a glance between two of the employees when another customer took and ate one as she exited while I was paying this last time.

Don't make me admit I want the bears and dig for them myself, Vapiano.  Don't call me a gummy bear glutton behind my back.  See what you've done now? You've made me paranoid. Just give them to me. 

Seriously.  Give me the bears.


Shake and Say Hello


Momofuku Milk Bar? Hello at last!

Teeny shake

Rootbeer float milkshake? Happy to make your acquaintance! I wish you weren't so teeny, but I can deal.

Oh, and decadent birthday cake truffles? [not pictured] Super-nice to eat you!


Welcome Waffles

Specials   Logo 

I'd like to post a belated welcome-to-the-neighborhood for a new shop called Waffle and Wolf. We happened in on the first day and tried a waffle folded and filled with feta and honey. Tasty!


There are lots of heartier "specials" if you want to make your folded waffle a meal instead of a snack. I'm into tuna these days, so my eye is was drawn to that one (mercury load; yeah I know).

Waffles and more? Now that's a tastebud-pleasing business model.

Folded   Inside 

Waffle and Wolf
413 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
347 889 6240


It's Not Easy Eating Leafy Greens (CSA Adventures 2011: Weeks 3-9)

Salad !

So.  The first 9 weeks of this year's CSA season were a bit...leafy. And I totally fell apart, as far as blogging about the season is concerned.  I had a new baby; I should have known this would happen.

About the leaves: I don't want to seem whiny in this post because I really value CSAs as a service in communities.  This year, I joined a new CSA program in my neighborhood. It's run well, full of lovely people, and shares were sold for a great price. I also know that different farms produce different kinds of produce, and that each growing season is different from the last.  I also know that the beginning of a farm's spring growing season often produces many greens.  And I remember when I helped run a CSA (now closed) and got a little tired of people complaining about getting too much kale. All this said, my shares this year have felt quite heavy on the greens.  Though I could have used some more kale.

Don't get me wrong.  I like leaves, and leafy greens, and they're good for me. Dan makes a kick-ass giant salad, so they almost never go to waste.  Still, as the weeks went by, I kept expecting them to diminish, in favor of more hearty vegetables that I could use to make exciting recipes.  Other vegetables did come, but in small number.  Each week's share was only four or five different kinds of produce, instead of seven or eight.  And there have been more "side" items like scallions and radishes, which can be hard flavors to build a dish around, rather than heartier elements like squash or tomatoes.

I could have signed up for a full share, instead of a half share, when I joined the CSA. But the variety of items would not have increased -- just the amount of each item, which would have meant even more greens. I did sign up for the second half of the season, another 12 weeks, because I figured that as autumn begins we'll be shedding some leaves.  Perhaps I'll even end up with an eggplant or two?!  A girl can dream.

If you're keeping track, like I am, to compare to other CSAs and other growing seasons, here's what we've gotten.  I won't make you suffer through a thousand photos of salad, but you can guess that's usually what we were eating with these ingredients.

Week three

Week 03
1/2 pound of Spinach (leaves)
1 head of Lettuce (leaves)
1 bunch of Scallions
1 bunch of Quelite (leaves)
2 Tomatoes ("tomatoes are not in season yet, but we are able to offer them to you through McEnroe Organic Farm's greenhouse.") = Yay!

The tomatoes were beautiful and delicious.  We sliced them, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and ate them immediately.

Week 04 Produce
1/2 pound of Spinach (leaves)
1/2 pound of Verdolaga (purslane) (leaves)
1 bunch of Kale (leaves)
1 bunch of mint or tarragon (leaves)
1 bunch of Scallions

This week, the purslane, which I quite like, was gone by the time we picked up our share, so we went home with a cabbage instead. Cabbage is my least favorite CSA vegetable ever, but that's no one's fault.

Week 5

Week 05 Produce
1 Bunch of Kale (leaves)
1 Bunch of Red Amaranth (leaves)
1 Bunch of Radishes
1 Bunch of Basil or Oregano (leaves)
1/2 pound of Heirloom Lettuce (leaves)

The lettuce this week was loose, rather than a head of lettuce, and incredibly bitter.  I wish I knew what sort of lettuce it was. I'd avoid it in the future.
Week 06 Produce
1 Bunch of Red Amaranth (leaves)
1 Bunch of Heirloom Radishes
1 Bunch of Scallions
1 Bunch of Beets
1 pound of mini Bok Choy

Hello, stir fry! I love bok choy. This was a great week for non-leaves.

Week 07

Week 07 Produce
1 Bunch of Red Amaranth (leaves)
1 Bunch of Basil (leaves)
1 Bunch of Beets
1 head of Cabbage (leaves)
1 pound of Summer Squash

Oops.  The beets withered and died before we could get to them.  Maybe beets are the new cabbage for me.  There's just so much stain-y prep with beets.

Week 08 Produce
2 Cucumbers
1 head of Cabbage (leaves)
1 pound of Summer Squash
1/2 pound of Quelites (leaves)

Week 09 Produce 
1 Bunch Beets
1 Cucumber
1 Bunch Scallions
1/2 pound Mustard Greens (leaves) 
1 pound Green Bell Peppers 

The leaves are definitely diminishing.  And cucumbers always make me happy, though we seldom do anything with them but eat them raw.

Do you belong to a CSA?  Have you eaten a lot of greens this spring and summer?

p.s. I seem to be missing a bunch of photos.  I'll add some later, once I've had time to check the other camera for strays...


Baby Nibbles

Now, now.  Calm down.  This is still a food blog, and one that's not morphing into a parenting blog.  But a few weeks ago my baby started snacking -- you certainly can't call the tiny amount that gets into his mouth a meal -- so I thought I'd share.

His first exploratory tastes were of: lemon juice, avocado, guacamole, salsa, cheese grits (in Louisville, KY), and plain yogurt.

His first playful bites were of: a lime wedge, pureed carrots with a little Hungarian sweet paprika (turns out he's not so into purees), mashed potato and peas (and then I stopped making purees), pear (quarters with a finger-hold notch cut out of each side), Gala apple (peeled and served like the pear), cinnamon apple oatmeal, pasta, cucumber, sweet pickle, steamed broccoli, CSA grapes (in a mesh feeder), and scrambled eggs.

He's getting better at: bread.  I'll end this post with a video of my own Cookie gumming down (though he's got two teeth in there!) unsalted butter on toast fingers.  He's also had French toast, waffle, and toasted baguette slices with cream cheese.


Friday, August 5, 2011

To Have and to Hold


Ben & Jerry's Clusterfluff is peanut butter ice cream with caramel crunchies, plus peanut butter and marshmallow creme swirls.  Speaking as a true peanut butter fiend, it's kind of the living end.  I mean, if I were Prince or Jimmy Fallon, this is the ice cream I'd want named after me. 

Now I want to take it with me wherever I go.  It might not last long in blazing heat, but I carried it 6 or 7 blocks to a cat-sitting gig without incident...then ate the entire pint.

p.s. These shoes (Payless) only look decent from the top.  They're so ugly from the side! Good thing they were cheap.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CSA Adventures 2011: Week 2

Greens - CSA 2011, Week 2

Week 02 Produce:
1/2 pound Quelite or "Red Root," a sort of Mexican wild spinach - CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
1 head of Lettuce
1 bunch of Scallions
1 bunch of Parsley

1. Sauteed Quelite
Notes:  Prepared with mushrooms, olive oil, cumin, garlic, lime, chicken chorizo, and red pepper flakes.  Rich flavor.

2. Pretzel Salad
Notes: Pretzel sticks, cheddar cheese, sunflower seeds, homemade croutons, grape tomatoes, scallions, lettuce, parsley.

3. Scrambled Eggs with mushrooms, scallions, parsley, and cheddar cheese.

4. Everything in the Fridge Salad (not pictured)
Lettuce, scallion, onion, red pepper, mushrooms, lime, tortilla, pepperjack cheese, tomatoes, Caesar salad dressing, Cholula hot sauce, parsley.

There's a little parsley left over, so we'll just continue tossing it in things until it's gone. 

Week 3 may feature garlic scapes!  Whee!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Once Upon a Clementine

1 2 3


CSA Adventures 2011: Week 1

Greens - CSA 2011, Week 2
Sneak a peek at week two's veggies, above!

Hello!  After disappointing myself, and perhaps some of you, with last year's CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) coverage, I'm back for a third season and determined to improve my game.  If you've forgotten why my follow-through was so abysmal in 2010, it was because I got pregnant in July and developed an aversion to vegetables that left me uninterested in cooking most of the items in my share during the height of the season.

I had to join a new program, as the one I'd been a member of for the past two years wasn't an option this year.  Now, I'm a shareholder in Local Roots, a new CSA in the neighborhood.  They've split the season into two halves (12 weeks each), so for now I've paid for the first 12 weeks of produce.  If all goes well, I'll buy a share in the second half of the season, too.

Dan and I actually got a half share, as the "whole share" was described as being for larger families.  So far, the amount of each type of produce seems good for the two of us (the baby is not eating solid foods yet), though there aren't a lot of different items yet.  I'm hoping that the variety of vegetables we receive each week will increase as the growing season gets underway.

The other piece to this blogging-my-CSA-adventures puzzle is taking photos to share with you, and so far I've been trying to put the baby to bed during prime "golden light" hours.  Eating in the dark doesn't make for nice pictures, either.  But I'll work on getting you some shots of what we're receiving and eating.  Can't be worse than last year, right?  Right?

Tonight begins Week Two, so I'll share a brief wrap-up of last week and look forward to filling you in on what follows. As in past years, items I mark as "challenge vegetables" are ones we're cooking with for the first time.

Week 01 Produce:
1/2 pound of Nettle - CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
1 pound of Spinach
1 bunch of Radishes
1 bunch of Scallions

Local Roots linked to this helpful video about cooking with nettle.  Don't get stung!

from Local Roots NYC on Vimeo.

Nettle pesto

With the produce from week one, Dan and I were able to make just two dishes:
1. Stinging Nettle Pesto
Notes: Dan prepared this with pine nuts, walnuts, nettle, oil, garlic and parmesan.  We ate it over pasta one night, and also had it on toasted bread.  It had a fairly mild flavor, so the garlic was a good addition.
2. Big Salad

Notes: I do like a big salad.  We used the spinach, radishes, and scallions for this one and dressed it with left over arepa sauce from Caracas Arepa Bar.

Coming Up in Week 02 Produce:
1/2 pound Quelite or "Red Root," a sort of Mexican wild spinach - CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
1 head of Lettuce
1 bunch of Scallions
1 bunch of Parsley

Did you join a CSA this year? What was in your first week's share?


Tuesday, June 14, 2011



Spotted in a bodega: one tiny, adorable kitten.

I would imagine this must be good for business.  I know s/he makes me want to buy at least twice as many Nutter Butters.


Poetry Tuesday: Barcelona, Eaten


Barcelona, eaten by the Pope
Familia spires served well to pick his teeth
Pillars there? Why, white asparagus.

No bikini* on the beach is safe, they say
Rovellons for buttons? Gobbled down
Patatas Bravas? Papa, Brava! Way to eat the streets!

Barcelona, eaten up by me
Every paving stone, a pastry
Each ounce of sea to wash a dish.

Paella, small plates, salads -- all are gone
The landscape's stripped, we ate it
The city's tapas? Tapped.

Not Gaudi! The Pope! And me!


Tuna 2






White asparagus

Temptation Fruit. 2 Euros 50! Inside


Ham; Asparagus


Emergency snack Sunflower crackers

Apple and cream

Surprise lemon


Wrapped Clementine Clem wrapper So as to not get scurvy

Chocolate sticks



* bikini = Spanish grilled cheese with ham sandwich

Another city view


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