A Sarcastic Appetite

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of March 31
March 31, 2011, 6:45 am
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up

I’m here to canvas the food blogs so you don’t have to. A few highlights this week:


The Siftster takes a voyage to India (see what I did there?) and checks out Tulsi, on E. 46th St, and Junoon, on W. 24th St, in the same review. He has warm things to say about both, and Tulsi comes out with one star, while Junoon makes away with two. My only quibble? Tamarind has been serving that delicious Manchurian cauliflower for years.

The boys at Immaculate Infatuation check out Social Eatz, with Asian-influenced stuff like Korean Tacos, Bibimbap Burgers, and Crispy Spring Rolls. Interestingly, they’re less impressed with the Kung Pao Chicken Sandwich, which Midtown Lunch declared a “home run.” Both sites also panned the Imperial Hot Dog; stay away.

Carly from the Serious Eats team checks out Teqa, a new “tequileria” in Murray Hill. Some drinks are hits (Tommy’s Margarita & the Voodoo Child) and some are definitely misses (the Leyenda & the Rosita) but it appears that this might be a nice happy hour option if you’re in the neighborhood – and you order carefully.

Danny at Food in Mouth sets out to refine his palate after a lackluster experience with the bomboloni from Sullivan Street Bakery. Any supertasters out there? Maybe you’ll have better luck.

And since it’s spring (I suspect, since the weather’s been no help), Restaurant Girl pulls together a nice list of Spring Lamb dishes in the city. I love that lamb sandwich at Locanda Verde – but then again, who doesn’t?

Zagat Buzz has word that What Happens When, the pop-up from John Fraser, is channeling Impressionism for Movement 3.

Lastly, not food related at all, but hilarious nonetheless: The missing cobra from the Bronx Zoo just gets funnier and funnier on Twitter.



And on the Second Blogiversary, an Interview with the Ninja
March 27, 2011, 10:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A Sarcastic Appetite turns two today! If I’d been more organized, I’d have baked myself a cake. But then I got to thinking: this blog really exists because of my brother, the Nutritional Ninja, who came home that fateful day when we first moved in together (ew, that makes it sound like we’re dating) and demanded to know what I was making for dinner. The rest, as they say, is history.

So I decided to sit down with the Ninja for a little interview, and I’m pretty sure the result is better than any cake I could bake. Enjoy.

Continue reading

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of March 24
March 24, 2011, 6:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m here to canvas the food blogs, so you don’t have to. Some highlights this week:


Danny at Food in Mouth and the Serious Eats Team set out to taunt me, both doing a round-up of the best doughnuts. Danny sticks to the new Doughnut Plant in Chelsea, while the SE Team takes on all of New York in their list. Anyone want to follow suit with me?

The Immaculate Infatuation boys check out What Happens When, now in its second “movement,” and deem it a pop-up worth freaking out over. The current movement, which lasts through March, was inspired by one Becky Fitzhugh, who contributed to the restaurant via Kickstarter and remembered foraging for food as a child.

Sam Sifton enjoys getting taken for a ride by the “extremely beautiful staff members” at La Petite Maison, and bestows it with one lonely star. An expensive and boring menu “demands a willing suspension of disbelief.” If you’re checking out the MoMa, hit up The Bar at the Modern instead.

Restaurant Girl talks to Alex Stupak, formerly of WD-50, who has just opened a 90-seat taqueria in the West Village. Eater has the rundown on the menu and the space, but BoozyNYC checks it out on Day 2 with a review that’s lukewarm at best. Looks like they’ve got their work cut out for them.

Andy from Wined & Dined alerts us to Belgian Restaurant Week, which starts today. Some deals abound, though most of them are best suited to those who can drink at lunch. One exception: Petite Abeille, which is doing outrageous things like selling $1 beers and half-priced wine. Check out the list for more details.

Fork in the Road checks out Goat Town to mostly positive reviews; I’m glad to see the place has improved after Immaculate Infatuation’s visit back in January.

Red Wine & Rosemary Lamb Chops
March 22, 2011, 6:24 am
Filed under: Recipes

My calendar might tell me it’s spring, but the thermometer apparently isn’t in on the joke; it’s supposed to be 52° and cloudy here in New York today. I keep thinking of all the delicious spring-like foods headed our way – peas, asparagus, rhubarb, and ramps for those of you who go bonkers for them – and yet the weather has me stymied.

This recipe does its very best to bridge the gap; the red wine puts it squarely in winter, but the fresh herbs hint at spring. It can be marinated overnight in the fridge, or, for the lazy ones among us, at room temperature for an hour. I think there’s no need to guess which route I took.

It also reminds me of a poor man’s version of a marinated leg of lamb my mother makes every spring, which involves whole sprigs of rosemary, lots of garlic, soy sauce, an entire bottle of red wine, and a slumber party in the fridge before the leg meets its delicious fate on the grill.

As I have neither a grill nor the willpower to manhandle a whole leg of lamb, and certainly am not in the business of planning dinners ahead, I’m left with this shortcut. While it might not measure up to the one I get to have every year, it’s nevertheless delicious. And if you are the kind of person who can manage to organize an overnight stay in the fridge for these lamb chops, I think you’ll be duly rewarded. Let me know how it is, since I can only imagine.

Red Wine & Rosemary Lamb Chops

Serves 4. Adapted ever so slightly from Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day.

8 lamb loin chops

1/2 c. red wine

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. mint jelly

2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lay the chops in a big Pyrex or other large, shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk the wine, vinegar, jelly, rosemary, and mint. Pour the marinade over the lamb and let sit, covered, at room temperature for an hour (or refrigerate overnight). Turn the chops several times while they marinate. Once you’re ready to go, heat two saute pans on high heat. Season the chops with salt and pepper, then sear them, cooking about 5 minutes on each side for rare to medium rare.

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of March 17
March 17, 2011, 6:19 am
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up

I’m here to canvas the food blogs, so you don’t have to. Some highlights this week:

The Siftster falls all over himself to give Veritas three twinkling stars and also manages to slip in a little New York Times-ified vernacular: “Haters are going to hate.” Ocean and Land, a magical combination of lobster tail and roasted bone marrow, is apparently fabulous, as is the Beef in Transition, which features tartare, sirloin, and short ribs. And of course, this being Veritas, there’s plenty to drink with that too.

Restaurant Girl does a solid round-up of venues for various occasions – one more helpful answer for that endless question, “Where should I have my party?”

The Immaculate Infatuation boys slip down to Austin for SXSW, and check out some good eats Texas-style. If you’re ever in the area, now you know where to go.

Danny at Food in Mouth has a horrible, horrible picture of a practically meatless “Coppa” pie he received at Co. Avoid that fennelled fate and stick to the regular menu.

If you’re looking to do something good for Japan and also your stomach, Fork in the Road has a list of places donating a portion of their profits to the cause.

The Serious Eats team checks out Food 32, the food court in Koreatown, and deems it quite good, even good enough for a repeat visit. From noodles to pork chops and something delicious called the Milk Toaster, apparently there really is something for everyone.

Brownie’s Cheddar Waffles & Eggs Huntington at Buttermilk Channel were obviously a sign just for me, and that sign is that I need to go to Buttermilk Channel for brunch.

Lastly, Yvo at The Fiesty Foodie checks out M. Wells, and though there were some misses among the dishes her group tried, she says it’s definitely still worth making the trip.

Honey-Chipotle Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes
March 15, 2011, 7:00 am
Filed under: Recipes

Yesterday morning I sauntered into the kitchen after a weekend away to find the Ninja busily preparing his morning cup of coffee. (He uses a Moka pot for his Stumptown coffee and has visions of switching over to Chemex. Don’t even get me started.) I noticed a small jar filled with amber-colored liquid on the counter that wasn’t there when I left last week, with an orange price tag on the top that read “$11.99.”

“I got you some honey,” the Ninja said. “It’s local, from New York!”

It took me a moment to, ah, add it all up. “You paid $12 for some honey!?!” I cried. “Are you kidding?”

The Ninja became incredibly indignant. “She keeps her bees on a rooftop on 84th Street! You can’t get much more local than that! She was at the health food store and I talked to her! She is a nice lady.”

It is at this point that I realized I’d woken up in Bizarre-o World, where my brother is an UES SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom for you newbies) who spends time chatting with people hawking stuff at the health food store and makes outrageous, unnecessary purchases, and I’m the Working Dad who chastises him for said outrageous purchases. $12 for some honey!?

“I thought you would like it,” he said. “Well, I do,” I replied, “But remember we have friends who can get honey from home and they’ll give us theirs!”

Mr. UES SAHM was unsatisfied with my answer, and it seemed I had ruffled his feathers a bit. I resolved to do the nice thing and make something for dinner that will incorporate said $12 honey. It worked delightfully, and we’re both placated for now – until he swans home with another ridiculous purchase, anyway.

Lastly, a side note: I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but until now this little blog has mostly existed in a vacuum; I haven’t acknowledged events occurring outside this funny little space I call my own. Ironically, what’s happening in Japan now is so big and so terrible that I can’t even put words around it.  Catastrophe? Terror? Wholesale destruction? None really comes close. I can’t imagine what it is like there right now, as they contemplate a nuclear meltdown. Ruth Reichl wrote about this a few days ago, and like many others, it resonated with me too. If you want to give, here’s a list of resources. If you are looking for someone there, or have information about someone, Google has a page for that too.

Honey-Chipotle Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes

Via Sassy Radish, who adapted it from Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite. Serves 3.

2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces

lots of olive oil – about 6 Tbsp.

2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. kosher salt + lots of freshly ground pepper, plus more for the potatoes

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

chopped cilantro and limes for garnish

In a small bowl, stir together 3 Tbsp. olive oil, the minced chipotles, garlic, honey, vinegar, salt, pepper, cumin, and cinnamon. Taste and correct for seasoning. Throw the chicken into a large Ziploc bag and add the honey-chipotle mixture; squeze the air out and let it marinate for 2-3 hours, refrigerated.

Preheat the oven to 400º. Toss the diced sweet potatoes with the remaining 3 Tbsp. of olive oil, and lots of salt and pepper. Scatter in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Pull the pan out, shove the potatoes together, and then place the marinated chicken breasts on top of the potatoes. Drizzle with a bit of the marinade and then roast for another 25 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro and the juice of half a lime.

Feeling lazy and want some veggies with that? Toss some bite-size pieces of broccoli in a bowl with 1 tsp. ground coriander, 1 tsp. ground cumin, a bunch of olive oil (I usually use about 4 Tbsp), and lots of salt and pepper. Add it to the baking sheet when you add the chicken, and roast it alongside the potatoes. Toss once, at the 15 minute mark. Protein, vegetable and carb all on one baking sheet? I couldn’t be more pleased.

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of March 10
March 10, 2011, 9:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m here to canvas the food blogs, so you don’t have to. A few highlights this week:

The Siftster does a neat trick, bestowing two glowing stars on Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster while declaring the food to be “just fine.”

Danny of Food in Mouth has a hilarious write-up of his recent venture out to Buttermilk Channel, and despite the warnings of an hour-plus-long-wait, I’m still totally intrigued.

Over at The Awl, Neel Shah also takes an entertaining look at the horrible, horrible process of divvying up the bill after a group dinner. My take? Please. Just. Fork. Over. The. Cash.

Fork in the Road does a round-up of the 10 best vegetarian street foods, with Taïm Mobile topping the list.

Grub Street brings news that dilapidated Pier A in Battery Park is about to become a brand-spanking-new restaurant at the hands of the team behind Harry’s Steak and Financier.

And Gael Greene talks to Zarela Martinez, of the now sadly shuttered Zarela, and learns that Martinez is hoping to open a new, customer-owned version, somewhere downtown.

Lastly, if you’re looking for new reading material, Carol of Alinea at Home writes a wonderful review of  Life, on the Line, the new book by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas. I can’t wait to read it. Plus, she’s giving away two copies! Get in there.