Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bar Toto

We went there for New Year Day brunch and it was quite delish. I had been there a few times and always enjoyed my food every time I was there. I've eaten dinner there once, but I find their brunch menu to be much better. Although, I might be remembering the dinner as less than favorable because of the company I was with. Another reason I love the place is the proximity. Its only two streets (not avenues) away.

When we got there, we had to wait for a table. The boyfriend even commented that from the outside it doesn't look that busy. I guess one of the reasons why I like the place. Quiet, unassuming delicious food. Seems everyone had the right idea for their first New Year meal. If you do frequent the place, make sure to close the curtain after you enter or ensure they are closed when you leave. Those inside will appreciate it.

I ordered myself a Bloody Mary and the Rigatoni with Roasted Eggplant & Smoked Mozzarella. The boyfriend ordered the Chicken Mozzarella Panini topped with Onions and Prosciutto and a side of the fries. Both were delicious. I love eggplant and I love pasta with eggplant. I ate up every little drop. The boyfriend also loved his sandwich and the fries. I don't know why I ordered the Bloody Mary, given that I never really had one. But it was tasty. It had fresh horseradish in it with green olives and a peppercino pepper. We left the restaurant full and satisfied.

Then Saturday came around, we woke up, we were hungry. The boyfriend was so happy with his sandwich we went back for lunch. He wanted to try the Panini Burger, and that he did. He ordered the Brooklyn Panini Burger, substituted with Mozzarella instead of American, and I ordered the Eggs De Parma. The Eggs De Parma, are two eggs stacked and baked on a piece of flatbread with onion, prosciutto, and provolone cheese served with a side of fries. Yum, yum, yum. The burger did not disappoint as the boyfriend was almost licking his fingers and I was scraping up all the yummy eggs.

The place was still decorated with the New Year's decoration of simple bunches of streamers hanging from the ceiling. One of the employees said it only took him an hour to put them up. The boyfriend thought if it was him, it would take him six.

I love this place and is one of my favorites. I have yet to leave there unsatisfied. I highly recommend the place.

Bar Toto
411 11th St
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Bar Toto on Urbanspoon

Brooklyn Flipster's Burgers

After helping the boyfriend's brother paint his house all day, the boyfriend and I were both famished. Well at least I was. I had paint all over me, my body was achy, and all I wanted to do is eat, take a hot shower and go to bed. Originally we had planned to go to Bonnie's Grill and get a burger with some buffalo chicken wings. Unfortunately Bonnie's closes at 10 on Sundays. I was hungry. I was tired. Flipster's is up the block. Although I only live down the block from Flipster's I've never tried it. The boyfriend wanted to try. So that was the place we were going to eat.

Given the amount of burger places in Park Slope, I thought the prices to be quite high. A standard burger, with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle was $8.00. You want cheese? Add a dollar. You want fries with that? Add another $4.00. When all is said and done, your cheese burger with fries comes out to $13.00. I always see a fair number of people in there. Usually late at night. Looking at the menu, I see why. Some of the burgers are $5.00, 11PM to close, Monday to Friday. It was 10 o'clock when we went there. I couldn't hold out. I was hungry.

For starters, the boyfriend ordered a chocolate shake, $5.00, and a chicken quesadilla to share. I ordered the Brooklyn Flipster burger which a 7 oz. burger topped with mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, raw red onion, pickle, bacon and caramelized onions, $10.00. The boyfriend ordered a double stacker (2 3.5 oz burgers), $8.00. I also ordered a side of zucchini sticks for $4.00.

I was quite content with the quesadilla, expecting the burger to be just as good. But then, I was hungry so anything may have been good to me at that point. So after my initial hunger was satiated, the burgers arrived. The burgers seemed tiny to me. For $10.00, I was expecting something that I would get at the Dram Shop or Bonnie's Grill (Both come with fries BTW and Bonnie's lets you opt out of the fries for a choice of Cole Slaw, Chili, or Salad at no extra charge). The boyfriend saw double stacker and assumed it would be double the burger. Its just the same 7 oz. burger halved and stacked. Sorry boyfriend. They were tasty, but for $10.00 it better be. The zucchini sticks left little be desired. They were over fried. Close to being burnt, but not close enough to be called burnt. The batter was heavy. The only saving grace was the marinara sauce to soften the thick batter crust with. Boyfriend said the shake was okay. For $5.00, I rather get the Johnny Rocket's Shake.

All in all, I'm glad we tried it since its really close by. However, I don't think I'd go back unless I was there for one of their late night specials or Wednesday Happy Hour. For the price, you can go to Dram Shop or Bonnie's, get a burger with fries with enough to get a few rounds of beers.

Brooklyn Flipster's
440 9th St
Brooklyn NY 11215

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Eggplant and Chicken Parm

For some reason today I felt the urge to have eggplant. I was going to go to Russo's and pick up an order of their Eggplant Lasagna. Then I decided, why? I could make it myself. :) So, I went down to the supermarket, bought myself an eggplant and I decided to make Eggplant Parm. The recipe I used was kind of a conglomerate of all the different cooking shows/books I've watched and read.

After making my own sauce for the last couple of years, I got used to the taste of freshly made sauce versus the kind you get from a jar. Don't get me wrong most will do just fine, but I love the taste of fresh garlic and onions with a nice marinara. The sauce is basically comprised of garlic, onion, tomato paste, crushed tomatos with salt and pepper to taste. Since I like some spice, I added some crushed red pepper.

The breading technique I use is based off an episode of Martha Stewart I watched a few years ago. After watching the episode, I have used it ever since. I wasn't initially going to add chicken, but I had a frozen chicken breast that I wanted to use, and I didn't know if the boyfriend would go for a completely vegetarian type of meal.

So I cut the eggplant into medallions, laid them on a baking tray, salted them and let them sweat to get rid of the bitter taste. Next was the chicken, I thinly sliced it on a biased and let it soak in some milk. Thirty minutes later it was time to fry everything up.

I layered the eggplant with ricotta cheese, chicken and marinara sauce. I then topped it off with mozzeralla cheese to bake for 45 minutes. :)

The end result! Yummy! This was very easy to make. A little time intensive, but the end product was definitely worth it. :)

Sourdough Sage Stuffing

The picture above doesn't do the dish justice as I took the picture with my blackberry.

As of late, going out drinking and clubbing all night has lost its interest. So when my friend Corinna invited me to a friend's Potluck dinner I jumped at the opportunity. At the time, the main course was Roast Turkey (it later changed to Irish Beef Stew), so I decided to make a Sourdough and Sage stuffing. Initially I had wanted to make a Challah stuffing, but I could't find a loaf that was to my liking. Sourdough had to do. I threw in some freshly chopped sage and parsley with some stock and it was good to do go. I was unsure of the food that would be at the party so I chose something easy on the palate. I initially wanted to go with the spam masubi. Next time. :)

When thinking of which pot to use to make it, I decided on my trusty Le Cruset dutch oven. Although it was a drag to carry it via subway, it definiety retained the heat well (this was important as it was snowing outside when I left), as well as perfectly cooking the stuffing, while keeping the asthetic appeal. I used the rubber band from my Crock Pot to keep it securely closed during the trip.

I had a great time at the dinner. Lots of glasses of wine was poured. Many dishes of food were eaten. Its crazy with what a small world it is. Neil was the host. He knows Corinna since they were ex-coworkers. I know Corinna since we were interns at the same company (Almost seven years now). At the party I ran into a girl who went to the same high school. I only know her since I was a senior and she was a freshman and we both ran cross country together. Her boyfriend also went to the same high school and both were also friends with my brother. The boyfriend knew the host since he also worked at the same company as me, Corinna, my brother and Neil. My brother also worked at the same company for a short while.

Small world, eh?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rachel's Taqueria

This place has decent food. I come here every so often for a quick bite. However...

My bf was in the mood for some tacos so we went over to Rachel's. It was a Tuesday and we noticed they have a Tuesday "Buy one taco platter get the second free" night.

We sat down and was looking at the little sign advertising the special on the table to see if there were any restrictions. The waitress saw we were looking at it and added that the special only applies to the Titos Taco Platter (Ground beef tacos) or the Lupe Taco Platter (Choice of meat or vegetable).

So fine, that was what we wanted to order anyway. It comes down to ordering, and I decided I wanted a California burrito and the boyfriend was going to get the special. Waitress comes over and I started first. The burrito comes with two choices of meat and/or vegetable so I opted for the pork and the corn. Then she asks the bf what he wanted. He says I want one Lupe Platter and one Tito Platter. The waitress then informs us that he can't get the second platter free since I ordered my California burrito.

So bear with me a second. According to the waitress, I ordered my entree already, said burrito, and the special only works if I ordered a taco platter and then he orders a taco platter, and then one of them is free. I gave her a really confused face, so she says, "Let me go ask the manager". OK. She comes back and reaffirms her position. I say, "But I'm ordering another entree, arn't you losing money this way?".

Think about it:

one taco platter + one taco platter + one Tuesday Special = one taco platter


one taco platter + one taco platter + one Tuesday Special + one California Burrito = one taco platter + one California Burrito

So what happens if I was by myself and I wanted to order the special. Okay, I'm starting to get facetious now, let me stop.

Since I was starving at that point and I was irritated at this whole thing, I change my order to the Tito tacos and the boyfriend orders the Lupes tacos and peace is restored. (It should be noted, Lupes tacos typically comes with a choice of meat. The boyfriend wanted steak, but was told he could only get chicken or pork for the special.)

Overall this place is okay but what silly special restrictions.

Rachel's Taqueria
408 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Rachel's Taqueria on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ever wonder...

If your significant other really likes your food or just saying it so you don't feel bad...