December 05, 2012


After a spooky "Ghosts of Stuyvesant Town" walk with ABF, we stopped at Peels on Bowery for a late night snack. It was a bit late for dinner, but it's never too late for dessert, amIright?!

Peels is a dimly-lit but boisterous restaurant right on Bowery. We saw a bachelorette party, couples of all ages, and a few solo diners as well. All kinds are welcome at Peels!

I ordered their apple pie (a la mode, of course) and a mug of their hot chocolate. The pie was pretty good, though I like my apples cooked a little bit softer, but it did taste like homemade!

ABF also ordered a latte-- some lovely foam art capped a rich, lush cup of espresso. He is a coffee man if I ever met one, and he loved this.

The hot chocolate, however. Oh. My. Word. This could be dessert on its own. It's almost too much for one person. Almost. I managed, somehow. Wow. I'd go back just for that!

ABF ordered a butterscotch pudding---and it will come as no surprise to regular visitors to Stuff I Ate that once again, his ordering radar was triumphant once again. This was outstanding! I think it might have been a featured dessert, so I'm not sure if it's still there, but holy COW. The salty/sweet walnuts on the side really made the dish.
I still have yet to try the savory side of the menu, but Peels nails it with the sweet/salty desserts and the lush hot chocolate. 'Tis the season-- go grab a cup and let me know what you think!
Peels NYC
325 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

December 03, 2012

Guest Post: Dog-Friendly Dining! (Oregon)

This is a guest post by my dear friend Jen A! She and her BF, Tom, made a cross-country trip this summer with their adorable Shelties, Breezy & Morgen (Breezy's on the left in the below photo). Jen is blogging about a spot that's both human AND dog-friendly!

While New York City was sweltering and boarding up windows for an impending hurricane, Tom, the pooches and I were enjoying a luxurious ride along the Oregon coastline. After a visit to the Sea Lion Caves, we were on the hunt for some West Coast seafood.

Completely by accident (isn’t that the way to discover all of the best restaurants?) we came across the International C-Food Market in Florence, Oregon. We were immediately lured in by samples of their creamy clam chowder and signs assuring us that they were pet friendly. Pet friendly, indeed! Their beautiful patio overlooking the water was filled with dogs and their owners enjoying a late afternoon lunch.

I decided to brave the drink menu and attempt a Bloody Mary. Not very original, but it’s a drink I really want to like and just...can’t. But, the pearl onions and olives just called to me. This was possibly the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had. Just spicy enough and not too thick. I still could only finish about half of it.

In the end, I think The Mary just might be too much drink for me. But if you are a fan, I highly recommend.

Of course, after our little sample of clam chowder, we had to go for the bowl. Bacony, clammy chowdery goodness! Every bite was packed full of clams and this soup was not drowning in large, under-cooked potatoes as so many are. This chowder was fresh and all of the flavors came through in every bite. Luckily for me, Tom doesn't love to share soup. So after a bite or two, it was all mine!

Next up was the pan fried razor clams. Neither of us have ever tried razor clams, and it was quite a surprise. I was expecting deep fried, which always kills all of the flavor. This dish was carefully and lightly fried in butter and lemon. The flavor of the locally caught clams was rich and delicate all at the same time. I might have given Tom a bite or two and then forgotten to offer him more. Whatever. There were definitely not enough of these on the plate.

Finally, we opted for a seafood medley, which included crab legs, scallops, octopus, muscles and some kind of flaky white fish. Skip the rice and overcooked veggies that come with it. This was probably my least favorite part of the meal, although the scallops were cooked perfectly. Very tender and not rubbery at all, which is often a problem. The sauce was good, but not very memorable.

International C Food Market is a trans-fat free restaurant and you can read all about the evils of hydrogenated oil on their menu. The fish are all caught locally in Florence, Oregon.

The meal would definitely not fall in the “cheap eats” category, but considering Oregon is sales tax free, we were pleasantly surprised. Worth a stop if you are in town. The dogs loved it, too! Tell 'em Breezy & Morgen sent you!

ICM Restaurant

1498 Bay St.

"Old Town Florence," 
Oregon 97439

(541) 997 9646

November 26, 2012

Artisanal Cheese & Merliance

Are you new to Stuff I Ate? Thanks so much for visiting! Join the fun on my Facebook page with a lovely like-- and please feel free to chime in and share your favorites with us!
ABF & I love Long Island's wine country (we visit a lot-- and I'll have a link to those other visits at the end of this post)-- but we were happy to hear that several winemakers would be coming to US in the city!

Winemakers from Clovis Point, McCall Vineyard, Raphael, Sherwood House Vineyards, T'Jara Vineyards, and Wölffer Estate Vineyard are all members of Merliance, which is Long Island's Merlot Alliance, dedicated to focusing production on Long Island merlots, which they believe will raise the bar for wines from all varieties.

The event was hosted at Artisanal Cheese's 10th Avenue location. Wine + cheese = RSVP from LKP (and ABF and That Sara & Mike and my friend MK!) Our small group was there at 3 on the dot, where they had a pre-class cheese & wine reception. These people have my number, big-time.

They had a fondue pot bubbling, wine pouring, and more cheese, fruit and crackers on the table. It's my kind of party!!!
I do love a good gooey, stinky, cheese, and Epoisses is one of my favorites (and, legend has it, a favorite of Napoleon's. Dude knew good cheese.) I literally can't bring this cheese home unless it's for a party, because I cannot be trusted to pace myself. Its messy ooziness & strong odor might scare you off at first, but it is actually a warm, smooth, buttery delight to taste, and I don't even mind the sort of mushroomy flavor I notice with it. Oh, je t'adore, Epoisses!

They also had the 2010 Merliance (seen in first photo), a blend (and I'm quoting the Merliance site here) "consisting of two barrels of merlot, chosen to be representative of the vineyard and vintage, from each Merliance member: Clovis Point (Jamesport), McCall Wines (Cutchogue), Raphael (Peconic), Sherwood House Vineyards (Mattituck), T’Jara Vineyards (Mattituck) and Wölffer Estate Vineyard (Sagaponack)."

This won't be released until Spring 2013-- how cool to get an early taste! It's delicious, and I'm a Merlot convert! ABF was the one who convinced me to give Merlots another chance, especially Long Island ones. He's a smart guy, that ABF.

The classroom was right next door, and it's a huge, well-lit space with a sweet kitchen setup at the front (behind the panel). But no one was really looking at the kitchen-- we were looking at the seven (7!!) glasses of wine at our place settings, forming a ruby half-circle over a tempting plate of cheese. We had a glass from each winemaker AND the 7th glass was the Merliance blend. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday!


The moderator and cheese expert was Max McCalman, Arisanal's Dean of Curriculum and former Maitre Fromager at NYC's Picholine restaurant. He is the man who brought the "Cheese Clock" to Artisanal. He suggests looking at your cheese setting as a clock. Start with the mildest cheeses at the 6 o'clock setting, then work your way, deliciously, clockwise, ending with the strongest (in our case, a marvelously moldy Shaker Blue).

Our first cheese was the Chaource, and my WORD it went with every single wine so smashingly. It's a cow's milk cheese from France, where it's been made since the 14th century. It is GOOD. Get some.

We tried a bunch of other cheeses with every single wine, and those sips definitely started to catch up with me. I didn't bother taking shots of every single cheese and every single glass. I just sat back and let the panel do their work while I enjoyed the liquid fruits of their labor.

The wines were so delicious that they even won over Sara & Mike, who normally avoid Merlot in general. In fact, we were teasing Sara (of NYCNomNom) for finishing ALL of her wines before the class had ended! I then finished all of mine so she wouldn't be alone (because I'm a good friend-- and those wines were delicious).

Everyone on the panel was interesting, approachable, and truly passionate about their work, stopping to chat afterwards with anyone who had a question.
I was especially looking forward to hearing from John Leo, the winemaker at Clovis Point, a favorite of ABF's & mine. I went up to him after the talk to tell him what a great staff he has, how we love their wine (we are wine club members there) and their location, how often we bring friends out to try it as well, and he generously offered me a bottle of the 2007 Vintners Select Merlot, which my friend Mike then encouraged him to sign. John is a good sport-- he not only signed my bottle, but he posed for a photo with me after.
Yay, Clovis Point!

The wines were all delicious, but the Clovis Point and the T'Jara Merlots were my favorites, as was the Merliance! All were super drinkable wines I'd happily bring to any party-- or open at home any day of the week!

For more on Artisanal, go here! For more on the Merliance, visit their site here!

And go HERE for more of my visits to Long Island vineyards/wineries!

November 16, 2012

Dinner Party: Foods from Chile!

The talented & lovely Alejandra Ramos of Always Order Dessert invited me this week to a dinner party at her home-- featuring foods (and wines) from Chile! I think I replied yes before I even read past "Would you like to.. " I'm in! These parties were happening all over the country on the same night-- fun!

A touch of Chile was in every bit of the evening-- that lovely floral arrangement features sliced clementines from.. you guessed it.. Chile! Foods from Chile sponsored the event, and as their ambassador, Alejandra schooled us on some sweet facts-- such as:

80 percent of the cherries we buy in the US come from Chile!

Chile has to meet the EU standards to sell their products in Europe--and those standards are higher than those in the US!

Chile is the largest exporter of fresh plums, grapes, & fish filets (our entrée that night)

They're the 2nd largest exporter of frozen salmon

Chile's seasons are opposite ours-- so fresh fruits and other delicious things are in season there now (hence the twitter hashtag #nowinseason)

A lot of the juice we drink? You guessed it--from Chile!

Here's a shot of Alejandra working her magic in her kitchen. She's preparing endive spears with Chilean raspberries, Chilean clementines, goat cheese, Chilean olive oil and cracked pepper (I had 3 just to make very, very certain they were delicious). A TV crew from Chile came later, and the gentleman who interpreted for us said that Chilean olive oil has won best in the world for 2 years running. #themoreyouknow
There was a lovely almond & merquen-spiced (smoked pepper spice popular in Chile) gazpacho waiting for everyone. It wasn't until later that I realized I never tried this, but I heard rave reviews.

I might have been distracted by the smooth, lush red wine.. a 2009 Pinot Noir.. from Chile's Kingston Family Vineyards. Their Tobiano was so full, fruity, and velvety. I'll have to see who carries this in NYC!

There were so many delicious bites-- a smoky, slightly-spicy chorizo, a soft and mild goat cheese smothered in a luxurious blueberry sauce, gorgeous grapes and nuts that paired perfectly with a merquen-spiced fig paste. Woooh---that was a fabulous spread! So fabulous that I kept eating instead of taking photos!

I did snap a quick pic of the merquen bottle as we passed it around the room for a show-and-tellsmell. Smoky but not overpowering, this was a delicious spice that wouldn't burn your tongue, but definitely kicks up the heat.
Our main course was an almond-crusted salmon fillet with black sticky rice and a fresh, crunchy, slightly spicy salsa made of grapes, jalapenos, tomatoes and more. Grapes in salsa--never would have thought of it before, but I will now! I ate every single bite on my plate. Tender salmon, crunchy veggies, and nice, chewy rice.

I should mention I had a half-serving, splitting it with another party-goer, as I wanted to have room for dessert. I wish I'd gotten a whole one now! But.. I DID have room for dessert this way....

And dessert was a cherry-berry crisp. The crisp was so good--not overly sweet, crunchy crust, and just enough vanilla ice cream to be melty and marvelous.

There were also merquen-spiced brownies-- I had one at the party and took another home for 'later.' By 'later' I mean 'about 10 minutes after I got home that night!' I had a great time that night! I got to catch up with uber-blogger Yvo (her kick-ass site, The Feisty Foodie, is here)


And I met some fun new people, many fellow bloggers, including:

Lara Ruth of Grits in the City. Her review here.

and Irina of Healthy Latin Food (nice pic here)

Despite the number of bloggers there, we did a good job of actually talking to each other and not staring at our phones all night-- tho we did take a quick group Twitter break here and there.

Alejandra cooked an amazing meal for a large group, which is no small feat on its own, but she cooked such flavorful dishes and flavors I've never tried before, which is a delicious adventure all its own. She also sent us home with goodie bags from the folks at Foods From Chile...can't wait to try everything!

Thank you, Alejandra, for a fantastic night! And thanks to the folks at Foods from Chile!

November 10, 2012

Atlanta: The Flying Biscuit Cafe

Ahh, crowdsourcing-- often a great way to narrow down your options when visiting another city. Flying Biscuit Cafe came highly recommended--tying with Thumbs Up Diner for number of votes.

It was a 20 minute walk from our hotel, so LaShauna & I met up with a fellow bridesmaid for some serious breakfast time. That spot normally has a line out the door, but we got there early (does EVERYONE in Atlanta sleep late?) and sat immediately.

We started with drinks-- coffee for me (again, not great), and a Midtown rainbow for the other two ladies. A Midtown rainbow is champagne with watermelon juice and fresh fruit. And there was a LOT of fresh fruit in those drinks-- nice!

I caved later and had a mangomosa-- a spin on the mimosa, but with mango nectar instead of peach. Deeeeelicious! And huge! I am a pansy with carbonation, though-- I couldn't finish this.

The menu is a bit overwhelming-- so many options! I finally settled on the breakfast burrito, which came with scrambled eggs, onions,peppers, hot tomato salsa and sour cream over the whole delicious mess. A biscuit and their famous 'creamy, dreamy grits' came as well. I'm not a grits person (on account of the actual grittiness), but shut my MOUTH these were good grits. Probably made with heavy cream and other horribly delicious ingredients-- but I don't CARE. Those grits are GOOD. Damn good. They were almost like rice pudding, with a salty tang to them. More, please!

(Angela is a grits connoisseur and she did not care for them. LaShauna & I agreed to disagree with her ;)

I also got a half order of their French toast, as the menu promised raspberry sauce and creme anglais. Done. And it was sensational. Woo! I don't normally go for sweet for breakfast, but this was really, really, really good.

The biscuit at Flying Biscuit cafe was just okay to me. It felt more like a roll or a scone, even. They come with their signature apple butter, which was insanely good, but I prefer a nice slab of salted butter on my biscuits, not sweet stuff. I would, however, enjoy that apple butter on some toast, or as a fruit dip, or frankly, by the spoonful.

The ladies each got scrambled eggs-- regular for LaShauna, and salmon for Angela. The salmon pieces were not nearly as plentiful as Angela would have liked (and my salmon eggs later that week at Thumbs Up were chock FULL of fish!).

The Flying Biscuit ended up being one of my favorite meals that week. Great food, atmosphere and service, and I would come back just for a bowl of those grits. That's right-- this sworn Yankee would go back there FOR GRITS.

They have lots of locations in Atlanta (and one in FL)! Try the grits, and get back to me... are you in Camp Angela or Camp LKP & LaShauna??

The Flying Biscuit Cafe

1001 Piedmont Ave.

Atlanta, GA 30309

(404) 874-8887

November 06, 2012

Atlanta: Highland Bakery

The Highland Bakery is just steps from the hotel where we stayed in Atlanta. I heard from some of my Facebook friends that I could get a decent cup of coffee here-- and days later, craving some quality caffeine, this trip was long overdue.
I headed over there to pick up some breakfast sandwiches for ABF & me, as well as COFFEE. Hot, steaming, aromatic, best-part-of-waking-up coffee. Two larges, please. I was so excited, I forgot to take pictures. FORGOT!

It was good coffee, too.

The breakfast sandwiches, though? Mostly meh.

The bagels at this place tasted a bit tough and flat, stale, even. It could just be too different from a good NYC bagel. The 'sausage' is actually turkey sausage (I didn't tell ABF until after he ate it), and it was okay, but two patties was overkill for me.

I ended up taking mine out of the bagel and eating it with a knife and fork, not for lower carb count, but because I just didn't care for the texture.

I also surprised ABF with some mini cinnamon rolls that LOOKED awesome but did not taste awesome. The rolls were thick, clunky, and tasteless, and the icing was that greasy, bland type that, to me, tastes like unsalted butter and nothing else. I would have loved some tangy cream cheese icing on these-- I felt slightly misled!

While our takeout experience was sub-par, I saw a lot of really tempting, well-crafted dishes pass by me while I waited inside the store. I would go back again and try a sit-down experience and order one of their dishes.

Highland Bakery

1180 Peachtree Street NE, Ste-C

Atlanta, GA 30309


November 05, 2012

Atlanta: Thumb's Up Diner

Thumb's (!) Up restaurant came highly recommended by at least 4 people, including my fellow redhead/food blogger Sara (of NYCNOMNOM). Their main claim to fame? They serve breakfast alllll day. I'm in!
Note--The grammar geek in me decided this restaurant clearly means that ONE thumb is up, and I'll leave it at that.
We squeezed in an EARLY breakfast at this cash-only diner, and were able to walk right in and get a booth for the 5 of us.
Don't let the signs on the door scare you off (they warn that the diner is not responsible for anything that happens to your car/possessions while you're there)-- it's not in the fanciest part of town, but we were just fine.
We started with coffee for ABF & me, and a hot chocolate for my friend Angela. The coffee was not so great, which I found to be pretty consistent in Atlanta. My friend who lives in Georgia offered the theory that sweet tea reigns supreme in Hotlanta, so who cares about coffee? (HINT: ABF & I DO!!)

Angela didn't finish her hot chocolate-- I'm not sure if it was too sweet or not sweet enough. But people don't flock here for the cocoa....
Sara heaped her praise upon a dish aptly named The Heap: a skillet filled with eggs, assorted veggies, crispy potatoes, and cheese, cheese cheese. My friend Liz ordered that and it was pretty tasty. I bet the leftovers she took home were even better the next day!

I honestly couldn't make up my mind--there were so many delicious sounding options. After a good 20 min of menu madness, I opted for the Sassy Scramble: 3 scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, cream cheese, onions and 'fresh herbs.' I didn't ask which ones. Turns out they meant dill, and a LOT OF IT. Fresh dill is probably one of my least favorite herbs, but there was so much delicious salmon and tangy cream cheese that I didn't mind. And no way could I finish this, even with ABF's help. Also? Cream cheese in scrambled eggs? BRILLIANT!!!!!
My breakfast came with a choice of bagel, toast, or biscuit. Hello, BISCUIT! Theirs are multi-grain, and they are AWESOME. They taste almost exactly like the ones my very own muthah makes-- they are crunchy on top, fluffy inside, and just so, so, good. These biscuits were much better than the ones we had that same week at Flying Biscuit (review HERE)!
ABF went with the Greek scrambled eggs--black olives, feta cheese, tomatoes and a marvelous mess of scrambled eggs. A bright, tasty mix of flavors.
Angela (who ordered the cocoa) opted for the chicken and waffles (which she also got with scrambled eggs), but it wasn't quite what we all pictured. It's fried chicken strips with the waffle, not whole, bone-in, chicken pieces. She was hoping for a bit more chicken. This dish was tasty, the waffle looked fresh and tender, but she wanted more chicken-- so keep in mind you may not want to share this dish!
LaShauna ordered the omelette with cream cheese. Brilliance on a plate, I say. She very much enjoyed it, and I was so taken with the combo (also in my dish) that I now routinely add a light shmear of cream cheese to my breakfast eggs. SO. GOOD.

We also ordered a few pancakes to share with the table. The diner's pancakes are famous, and we found it's for good reason! They are sweet, fluffy, almost cake-like, and the diner serves real maple syrup. I'm honestly not a food snob 99 percent of the time, but I will not use fake syrup. I'd rather eat a dry pancake than 'flavored syrup.' This was the real deal, and it was fantastic. Yum! Thanks, ABF, for sharing!The food was great, service was very friendly, and we were in and out in no time. Remember, this place is CASH ONLY, but it is also extremely affordable. I'm going to officially file it under cheap eats. Which is great, because I would go back there in a flash (and I can't wait to visit Atlanta again!)
Thumbs Up Diner
826 Marietta Street
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 745-4233

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...