Category Archives: Foodie Friday

Foodie Friday: Tiffin Wallah

127 E 28th St
New York, NY 10079

One evening I meet Chris in the city when he was getting out of work late. He promised he found a restaurant I was going to love, but it was a surprise. We walked in the light rain for what seemed forever, until making our way to the Flatiron District.

Where are we going?

You’ll see. You’re going to love it.

We arrived at Tiffin Wallah, a vegetarian Indian restaurant. Good smart boyfriend. I love trying out new vegetarian restaurants. In fact, Chris and my first date was at Moosewood’s, a famous veggie restaurant in Ithaca, so trying out new veggie food together is always special. Chris isn’t a vegetarian, but he is always willing to try out a good veggie dish. Like I said, good smart boyfriend.

Indian food and me also have a special relationship. As of this time last year, I hated Indian food. I hated the spiciness, I hated the particular spices used, and I hated peas which are in too many of the dishes. Okay, I still hate peas. But, for so long I wanted to like Indian food. I know this sounds strange, but I can explain. All my friends at law school loved Indian food. They would go once a week to the Indian buffet, and I was always sad I couldn’t join because I couldn’t stomach the stuff. Also, I knew that Indian food had lots of veggie options, and my vow as a vegetarian is that since I’m already restricted in my diet, I want to be open to all non-meat types of food. Not eating Indian food seemed to contradict this vow.

So I worked on it. A new Indian restaurant opened up near campus and I decided to be brave and try it out with my friends. I knew I had a shot at liking the place, because there were no peas in the rice. I ordered the least spicy dish on the menu and begged them to make it even less spicy. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but it didn’t make me sick. High standards, right? So the next time I went back, I tried a different dish. Better. I did this again, until I found a dish I was in love with – a chickpea curry (oh gosh I love all things chickpea). Soon I was hooked. As my palate expanded, I was able to also up my spice tolerance (hooray) and enjoy other dishes.

Now, I am obsessed with Indian food and eat it almost weekly. As you can see, Chris and I enjoyed it just the other night. I’m happy to have opened myself to a new cuisine, especially one that focuses on vegetarian cooking.

So back to Tiffin Wallah. Tiffin Wallah is amazing. It’s a small space, but they take reservations so there’s no big problem there. The menu is all vegetarian and includes a lot of authentic Indian options in addition to popular American-Indian dishes. They also have a lot of dosa options. We started with a stuffed dosa that was so large it took up most our table. After enjoying our dosa, I managed to spill a Diet Coke all over myself, and the waiter was nice enough to move our table (I made that big of a mess). We split Chana Masala that was on the spicy side, but very good. The rice was also perfectly seasoned. I was mad I was too full to try some of their other veggie options. Basically, I need to go back soon.

If you are vegetarian or love Indian food or just want to try out something new, go ahead and try Tiffin Wallah. Let me know what you ordered, so I can add it to my foodie Wish List.

Foodie Friday: Veggiversary Week Edition

Instead of focusing on one restaurant today, I am going to highlight some of my favorite vegetarian dishes I’ve eaten in and around NYC.

– The classic: Veggie burger from Good Stuff Diner. This burger is HUMUNGO. It is also awesome. Even though it is the size of my head, it stays together with every bite. It’s homemade with lots of beans, rice, and veggie goodness. They don’t try to literally reinvent to burger here – they do their own thing. At a price point of $5.95, you’ve got to give it a try.

– The classic with a twist: Goat cheese stuffed veggie burger from Amity Hall. This pub that opened last year has an awesome menu in addition to their large selection of draft beers. When I want decadent, this is what I want. The cheese baked into the burger is bliss with every bite.

– The exotic: Dosa from Tiffin Wallah. This vegetarian Indian restaurant is the true thing. The menu features Indian food that you cannot find on many American-Indian menus. There are many options for dosas, and they are large enough to share with another person. Also, when I was there I spilt my entire Diet Coke all over myself, and they were really nice and even moved our table (it was that awesome of a spill).

– The even more exotic: Vegetarian platter at Massawa. This was my first experience with Ethiopian food, and I loved it. It was fun to eat the different vegetable and bean dishes off the spongy bread platter that it was served on. Definitely a good place to go to share food with friends.

The cheap: The falafel platter from the Hallal Cart at 53rd and 6th. Street cart food in NYC is hit or miss. This place is known for having the best Hallal food in the City. I totally agree with that pronouncement. The falafel is served over a heaping amount of rice with lettuce, tomatoes, and soft strips of pita. Make sure to ask for the white sauce – it is one of the best condiments I have ever tasted, and really ties the whole meal together.

– The best to share: The hummus and labneh at the Hummus Place. I’ve already mentioned many times how much I love this restaraunt, but I can’t neglect to mention it again. Go with a friend and try some of their amazing hummus, labneh, pita, or really anything on the menu. I have been several times, and have yet to find something I don’t enjoy. The portions lend themselves for sharing, but I’ve been known to polish a hummus and labneh platter off on my own.

The boat load of veggies: The Buddah Delight with Sesame Tofu at Precious Chinese Cusine. If you’re ever out in Hoboken (just outside the city) then check out this amazing Chinese restaurant. I didn’t even like Chinese food until I went here. That’s impressive. The dish is an insane amount of Asian stir fry fresh vegetables in a light brown sauce. Then it is topped with tofu in a sesame peanut sauce. You would think that brown sauce and peanut sauce doesn’t mix, but you would be very very wrong.

The Italian cuisine: The Penne Pisticci (aka ziti) at Pisticci. I already featured this restaurant in a Foodie Friday post, but this is my favorite dish at my favorite Italian place. The mozz is homemade, the sauce is seasoned just right, and the homemade pasta is fresh and amazing.

– The place I need to check out: The Tofu Guy in the LES. There are some things making me think this guy has moved. Anyone know? Apparently his tiny storefront was the top rated restaurant in the LES on YELP in December 2010.

These are some of my favorites. What are your favorite vegetarian eats in and around NYC? I’m always looking for new places to try out!

Foodie Friday: Agave

140 7th Avenue South, New York

Last night was fabulously fun. I meet my friend Jaclyn for dinner at Agave. I planned on being brave and ordering their Squash Blossom tacos, but they were all out! I suppose lots of other people were intrigued by the idea of flower tacos, too. My curiosity is now whetted, and I want to try these out. Has anyone ever tried Squash Blossoms?

Yum?

Source

Instead of flowers, Jac and I decided to split a guacamole app. The guac was super fresh and came with pico, sour cream, and blue corn chips. The serving size was so large that the two of us couldn’t finish it all. It did come in at a hefty price for guac at $12, but since you could probably split this three ways it’s not so bad.

While we waited for dinner, Jac sipped on a Blood Orange margarita. I didn’t order one, because I had a headache all day, but I tried hers and it was awesome. Agave is known for their extensive drink menu – especially their tequila – and this marg was something special. They are also popular for their jalapeño infused margs, but being that I am not a fan of jalapeño’s, I didn’t sample one.

Happy Hour prices are supposedly reasonable.

Source

For dinner, I decided to try one of their many eclectic quesadilla options. I ordered the Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Roasted Tomato quesadilla. The best thing about it was the asparagus. I haven’t had asparagus in a while, and I forgot how much I enjoy it. Since it’s in season, I will have to buy some soon. Overall, the main course wasn’t anything special. Though the veggies were good, the cheese was kind of bland, which is odd since goat cheese usually has a strong flavor. It wasn’t bad or anything, it just wasn’t memorable.

This restaurant is a great place to come during happy hour, sample some of their many yummy drink options, and split and app with a friend or two. The décor makes you feel that you entered a cave with a distinct Southwestern vibe without being overly themed. The space is large, which is something I always appreciated in NYC. So many restaurants in the City are so small that you find yourself sitting on top of everyone. I would definitely be interested in going back, if only for that Blood Orange marg.

Source

Foodie Friday – Pisticci

125 La Salle St New York, NY 10027

In the summer of 2009, I lived in Morningside Heights. There aren’t a lot of eating options in the area, especially during the summer when the Colombia students are out of town and places close. I had a wonderful apartment, but it literally had no counter space for cooking. I was always looking for a good meal in the neighborhood and was often disappointed.

Then, by the glory of internet review sites, I found Pisticci. Located on the border of Morningside Heights and Harlem, this unassuming gem is a Colombia University hot spot. I recently looked back at the website, and it’s also now the first NYC restaurant to go completely carbon neutral, which is a pretty awesome achievement.

So what exactly is Pisticci? First off, it may be my favorite restaurant in all of NYC, which is a pretty bold statement. Second, Pisticci is an Italian restaurant whose food is made fresh and in-kitchen daily. Even the mozzarella is homemade. The portions are generous and the prices are down-right reasonable.  The meals start out with bread and oil for dipping. Usually we ordered an app, often the olive and cheese plate.  Olives plus cheese equals a happy Allie. My personal favorite main dish is the Penne Pistici, which is penne pasta in “in a yellow and red vine tomato sauce with chunks of melted homemade mozzarella.” I don’t generally like red sauce on pasta, but this is oh-so-good.  

The décor exudes neighborhood charm. Some of the walls are brick, others are lined with books and random knick-knacks. It’s the type of warm place where you want to spend a long meal with friends. Often there can be a wait, but it’s well worth it.  I know that Morningside Heights can be a trek if you live downtown or on the East side, but once again, it’s well worth it. In fact, just writing about it makes me need to go back soon.

Source

Source

Source

More pictures in the restaurant’s gallery.

What’s your favorite NYC restaurant?

Foodie Friday Restaurant Week Edition: Aquavit

NYC Restaurant Week is upon us and is running until February 6th. I love Restaurant Week in NYC. It allows you access to restaurants that you (or at least I) normally couldn’t afford. Lunches are $24.50 and dinners are $35. Most restaurants provide 3-course meals and some include a drink. Chris and I are going to a Restaurant Week dinner tonight, which I will write about in next week’s Foodie Friday. This week, I will talk about my last NYC Restaurant Week experience.

Summer of ’09 I was lucky enough to have a summer associate position that gained me access to wonderful lunches at some of the city’s best restaurants. That being said, Aquavit is one of my favorite fancy NYC hotspots. I actually did not go to Aquavit through my job, but rather, through Restaurant Week with the little bro.

My brother and I choose to experience Aquavit because it is Scandinavian cuisine, something neither of us had ever eaten before. The restaurant itself has the sparse yet sleek design that Scandinavia is known for (Ikea has taught me this fact). The restaurant is complete in light wood paneling and hard lines. The dining room is large and the tables are draped in white linen. Many of the chairs are sleek modern designed and add to the ambience of the place. Flowers and paintings add a delicate air to the main dining room.

Source

I began my meal with a hot goat cheese salad and Corey selected a seafood bisque. Both were fabulous. The salad was light, which is what I wanted with the meal ahead in mind. Corey’s soup was creamy and filling, but delicious. For lunch, I had the mackerel. I had never had mackerel before, and it was tender and very tasty. Aquavit is known for their seafood and it did not disappoint. Corey enjoyed the Swedish Meatballs, which I did not try, but he said were tasty. He ate them all very fast, in the very least.

Source

For dessert, I ordered the Hazelnut Praline Terrine which came with apple compote and hazelnut sherbet. This was also a first for me, as I have never had hazelnut in a dessert before. The dessert was perfect – not too sweet which is what I wanted. Corey chose the Arctic Circle, which was a goat cheese parfait served with ligonberry “vartass” sorbet. This was the most interesting thing we had ordered. It is presented as a small tower topped with sorbet. It mixes flavors of creamy frozen goat cheese (the tower) and sweet passion fruit (the filling) and tops it with a sorbet that is reminiscent of blueberries or raspberries. It is a wonderful different taste for the taste buds.

Source

Aquavit was a wonderful experience. All the food was very well presented. Servers were friendly. If portions were scaled down for Restaurant Week, I did not notice. My college-aged brother was excited to be able to experience a fancy NYC restaurant at a price that did not hurt the wallet too much. If you are interested in trying out Aquavit, they are participating in Restaurant Week again, so now’s the time to go!

Foodie Friday: Penelope

It’s cold out. The streets are covered in slush. You’ve had a long day at work. Heck, you’ve had a long week at work. You want need to exhale, relax, embrace the weekend. Well, happy Friday! If you’re life has taken on this black-and-white-movie-sad-scene lately, then I suggest stepping into the warm embrace of Penelope.

I found Penelope on such a dreary night. Chris’s sister, Carrie, was visiting and despite the chilly December night and the slush on the streets in the City that just never goes away, we were out exploring some wonderful Christmas Markets. But now we were cold, wet-footed, and hungry. Thankfully my boyfriend is at times a huge nerd and pulled his trusty Zagat out of his coat pocket. Yes, he keeps a Zagat in his nice coat pocket. Boy loves his guidebooks.

We wanted a cozy place to accommodate our many needs. I’m a pescatarian. Carrie is a vegan. Etc. Flipping through the Zagat, Penelope caught my eye. It’s described as a cozy New England-style restaurant with many vegetarian and vegan options. Perfect.

Penelope did not disappoint. The restaurant is adorable and reminiscent of a New England beach town. The walls are painted a pale blue, and there is even a white picket fence lining the waiting room. The sitting area is full of hardwood benches, chalk boards listing the daily specials, and a low-light that warms the room. Cozy is the perfect word to describe the place.

We started with the Joel, Abundio, & Patricio’s Guacamole. It was a huge serving size. Though I’m partial to my own guacamole (a recipe I’ll share later), it was still very good, and I appreciated the novelty of leaving the pits in the bowl. It came with delicious chips to dip with that were very appreciated.

For dinner, I ordered a salad called When Veggie Met Sally. It is described on the menu as chopped greens with red onion, grilled veggie burger, and green apple tossed with goat cheese in a roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette. It was served with wonderful fruit filled bread – I believe cranberry and pecans. The salad was so good. I’m often hesitant about mixing hot and cold together in a salad, but this just worked. I am also pretty picking about my veggie burgers and this one was an excellent, clearly homemade one. I gobbled up my salad and got a warm belly feeling that salads often cannot provide.

So, Penelope is awesome. The saddest thing about my experience there was that I didn’t leave room for one of their many homemade desserts. Everyone else enjoyed their meals, expect Chris who was disappointed in his Spinach Pie. I would recommend skipping the entrees here and sticking with the apps, salads, and sandwiches. There are more than enough options to choose from on the menu. If you go, please let me know how their milk and cookies taste. They looked so good.

Foodie Friday: Ideya Latin Bistro

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting up with two friends from undergrad, Alex and Jaclyn, to try out Ideya Latin Bistro. Alex had been awesome enough to invite us there to use a gift card good for a four course meal for four people. Since there were only three of us, we each got to try out some extra things on the menu. I should note that normally when I go out to restaurants I don’t order various courses, so this was such a great opportunity to try out lots of dishes at a new restaurant. Thanks again Alex!

The place itself gives off a relaxing atmosphere. The tables are spread out (NYC find!) and the place has a casual, yet upscale feel to it. The waitress was super friendly, and I totally wanted her eyeglasses.

Our first course was liquid. Mojitos to be exact. I have never been a fan of cold minty drinks, but Ideya offered several different types of mojitos. I asked the waitress which mojito was the fruitiest and she recommended the mango. Let’s just say that I ordered a second.

While we pondered over the menu – it was hard to decide because a lot of things looked really good – we were brought the most creative spin on chips and dip I have yet seen:

Plantain chips with sweet salsa

They tasty faintly of banana and had a good salty crunch. The salsa was sweeter and went well with the chips. I can see myself craving these in the future.

For an appetizer, I ordered the Sopa de Calabaza which is a soothing pumpkin and sweet potato bisque with coconut milk and ginger. It was fabulous, but very rich, so I made sure not to eat too much of it.

I love soup.

When our main course arrived, the presentation was excellent. The food did not disappoint. I ordered salmon topped with mango chutney and collared greens. We also had rice and beans for the table.

The piece of salmon was huge, thick, and perfectly seasoned. The mango chutney was delightful yes I said delightful because it really was – and collared greens are another thing I don’t normally enjoy but these were yummy. The rice and beans were pretty standard, but I always like rice and beans so no complaints there.

Because we totally needed to eat more, the fourth course was dessert. I have mainly stopped eating rich desserts, but seeing that it’s not often I go to a four course meal for the low price of free, I decided to go for it. You have to live your life right?

Apple cake, cinnamon ice cream, and caramel sauce. WOW!

So the overall verdict? Ideya is amazing. It was one of the best dinners I have ever had in NYC. All the food was very fresh and prepared with a creative spin. Though we ate a lot, all the dishes except for dessert were fairly healthy. Also, the main dish is definitely big enough to bring home leftovers.

I know that being my first review you may think that I will gush over every restaurant I eat at, but that’s really not the case. Lately I have been preferring my cooking to what I can buy out, but this was a very strong exception. I recommend it for a fun night out with the girls – fruity mojitos! and an atmosphere conducive to chatting. Have you been to any great restaurants lately?

Deciding on Fridays

I decided that it would be fun to do a series on Fridays. Something to end my week in a happy way. Sitting on the subway yesterday, I pondered what my Friday series should be about. Did I want to do a Fashion Fridays and feature some of my favorite outfits? I felt that didn’t have enough to do with the tone of my blog. Though I mean, who doesn’t love a little fashion? I then considered a Friday Finds. I could feature items that I was either lusting over or had recently purchased. This could be more in tone with my blog, because I am currently lusting over lots of kitchen gear – ie I need a good veggie peeler, garlic press, and cheese slicer asap. Still, that didn’t feel perfect. Lucky for me there are lots of words that have good alliteration with Fridays, which makes the writer in me happy. So I settled on it: Foodie Fridays. Every Friday I will feature a restaruant in the NYC area that I either have visited or wish to visit soon.

Check out later today for my first official Foodie Friday post! I will be featuring the amazing restaurant I ate at last night. I have pictures!