A Kitchen in Queens

Recipes and Reviews from a little kitchen in a borough of nyc.
What better way to start a new era of blog posts than with a post about some of my favorite things.  Enchiladas and Corn!  My new (well, not so new now) job is right below Union Square as I believe I’ve mentioned before.  I love Union Square, and I’m starting to familiarize myself with the restaurants in the area.  
One day I met a few of my ex co-workers at Rosa Mexicano.  I’ve been to Rosa Mexicano before, but it was in 2007 with my co-workers at the time and I didn’t eat Mexican back then.  I remember being overwhelmed and confused about what to get.  This time was very different.  My indecision was based on how many things I wanted, rather than how many things I wanted to avoid.  
I opted for the enchiladas, as I tend to do, but also realllllly wanted some corn on the side, so I talked my former coworker into splitting it with me.  I decided on the mole sauce.  I tend to choose red sauces over any other color sauce.  Green, white, pink.  I feel like the lighter sauces tend to be cream based and I’m hesitant to get involved with something that my stomach may react badly to.  Unfortunately I forgot that mole sauce can be much heavier than the tomatillo sauce.  When the Enchiladas arrived, I was intimidated by how heavy the sauce was and concerned that it would be too much for lunch.  Then the side of corn arrived.

The corn was swimming in a white cheesy sauce.  It was at this time that I decided I had possibly, no definitely, gotten 2 really heavy lunch time dishes.  But of course that didn’t really stop me.  No, what stopped me is a flurry of emails and texts that came across our cell phones. 
MCA of the Beastie Boys had died.  When you work in media, your world stops when celebrity news breaks, and this was big news.  A majority of the group immediately started waving our cell phones in the air desperately trying to get reception.  Although we were sitting in what appeared to be an open air room, none of us had service.  
Now I was not only eating 2 really heavy dishes for lunch, I was going to be eating them quickly.  What helped with this is that both of them were amazingly delicious.  The enchiladas, although heavy, were flavorful and the chicken was nicely cooked.  However, if I was going to get the Enchiladas again, I would probably opt for the tomatillo sauce instead.  
Rosa Mexicano is good, they have a great happy hour special, and I’m a fan of the ambiance, but I still prefer Dos Caminos if I’m going to go out for high priced Mexican food. 

What better way to start a new era of blog posts than with a post about some of my favorite things.  Enchiladas and Corn!  My new (well, not so new now) job is right below Union Square as I believe I’ve mentioned before.  I love Union Square, and I’m starting to familiarize myself with the restaurants in the area.  

One day I met a few of my ex co-workers at Rosa Mexicano.  I’ve been to Rosa Mexicano before, but it was in 2007 with my co-workers at the time and I didn’t eat Mexican back then.  I remember being overwhelmed and confused about what to get.  This time was very different.  My indecision was based on how many things I wanted, rather than how many things I wanted to avoid.  

I opted for the enchiladas, as I tend to do, but also realllllly wanted some corn on the side, so I talked my former coworker into splitting it with me.  I decided on the mole sauce.  I tend to choose red sauces over any other color sauce.  Green, white, pink.  I feel like the lighter sauces tend to be cream based and I’m hesitant to get involved with something that my stomach may react badly to.  Unfortunately I forgot that mole sauce can be much heavier than the tomatillo sauce.  When the Enchiladas arrived, I was intimidated by how heavy the sauce was and concerned that it would be too much for lunch.  Then the side of corn arrived.

corn

The corn was swimming in a white cheesy sauce.  It was at this time that I decided I had possibly, no definitely, gotten 2 really heavy lunch time dishes.  But of course that didn’t really stop me.  No, what stopped me is a flurry of emails and texts that came across our cell phones. 

MCA of the Beastie Boys had died.  When you work in media, your world stops when celebrity news breaks, and this was big news.  A majority of the group immediately started waving our cell phones in the air desperately trying to get reception.  Although we were sitting in what appeared to be an open air room, none of us had service.  

Now I was not only eating 2 really heavy dishes for lunch, I was going to be eating them quickly.  What helped with this is that both of them were amazingly delicious.  The enchiladas, although heavy, were flavorful and the chicken was nicely cooked.  However, if I was going to get the Enchiladas again, I would probably opt for the tomatillo sauce instead.  

Rosa Mexicano is good, they have a great happy hour special, and I’m a fan of the ambiance, but I still prefer Dos Caminos if I’m going to go out for high priced Mexican food. 

Comments
It’s been far too long.  I know.  And, like any good procrastinator, I have several excuses.  Of course, I’ve done this before, so I don’t expect any sympathy, but I do expect you all to believe me when I say that I may come and go, but I’m committed to this blog.  
The difference between this and other blog projects I’ve done?  People have actually asked me where I’ve been and why I haven’t been posting.  
Well, here it goes.  My adorable little kitty who just turned 2 years old in June passed away from heart failure a little over a month ago.  It was a long 3 week ordeal in and out of vets and animal hospitals and very traumatic for my boyfriend and myself.  I don’t think it’s important to give specifics, and I don’t want to dwell on his death.  For those that know me well know that I only take pictures of 2 things.  Food that I love and my cat that I love. His name was Steve French.  When I stopped taking pictures of Steve French, I guess I kind of stopped taking pictures of food for a little while too.  It’s taken quite a while to get used to an empty house.   
It still hurts, but after some time the boyfriend and I decided that we were ready to consider a new kitten.  We figured that Steve French would want it that way.  After all, we have a giant cat wall that’s going unused.  So, we decided to head down to a shelter and check out the kittens. 

My cousin Kathi, who had helped us through Steve French’s medical care and death suggested that we consider 2 kittens so that they could keep each other company.  I was a big fan of this idea, but the boyfriend wasn’t so sure.  I asked him to keep an open mind and he agreed. 
Within 5 minutes of being in the shelter, we each were holding a kitten.  I was holding a fluffy little girl that was part calico and part tabby (tabbyco?)  And the boyfriend was holding a little black and white boy who was swatting at his hand from the cage.   2 hours later we were the proud parents of Stringer Bell and Avon Purrsdale.  

My boyfriend has a nack for naming pets.  He names them after TV show characters. (Steve French is from the canadian hit show Trailer Park Boys and Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale are from The Wire.  We renamed Barksdale to Purrsdale because, well, Avon isn’t a dog.)  People generally think this is odd, but I think naming a dog Spot or a cat Fluffy is just as silly.  Plus, who is to say that animals shouldn’t get their own last names?  
For the past week, we’ve been watching these two nuts run around and attack each other. It certainly doesn’t replace Steve French, but they do help lessen the pain.  I’ll always love Steve and wish he hadn’t been taken from us so soon. 
With the new kittens will come new entries on the blog.  Unfortunately they may not be daily, but I’ll do my best to keep up!  Steve French would have wanted it that way. 

It’s been far too long.  I know.  And, like any good procrastinator, I have several excuses.  Of course, I’ve done this before, so I don’t expect any sympathy, but I do expect you all to believe me when I say that I may come and go, but I’m committed to this blog.  

The difference between this and other blog projects I’ve done?  People have actually asked me where I’ve been and why I haven’t been posting.  

Well, here it goes.  My adorable little kitty who just turned 2 years old in June passed away from heart failure a little over a month ago.  It was a long 3 week ordeal in and out of vets and animal hospitals and very traumatic for my boyfriend and myself.  I don’t think it’s important to give specifics, and I don’t want to dwell on his death.  For those that know me well know that I only take pictures of 2 things.  Food that I love and my cat that I love. His name was Steve French.  When I stopped taking pictures of Steve French, I guess I kind of stopped taking pictures of food for a little while too.  It’s taken quite a while to get used to an empty house.   

It still hurts, but after some time the boyfriend and I decided that we were ready to consider a new kitten.  We figured that Steve French would want it that way.  After all, we have a giant cat wall that’s going unused.  So, we decided to head down to a shelter and check out the kittens. 

Cat Wall

My cousin Kathi, who had helped us through Steve French’s medical care and death suggested that we consider 2 kittens so that they could keep each other company.  I was a big fan of this idea, but the boyfriend wasn’t so sure.  I asked him to keep an open mind and he agreed. 

Within 5 minutes of being in the shelter, we each were holding a kitten.  I was holding a fluffy little girl that was part calico and part tabby (tabbyco?)  And the boyfriend was holding a little black and white boy who was swatting at his hand from the cage.   2 hours later we were the proud parents of Stringer Bell and Avon Purrsdale.  

Kitties

My boyfriend has a nack for naming pets.  He names them after TV show characters. (Steve French is from the canadian hit show Trailer Park Boys and Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale are from The Wire.  We renamed Barksdale to Purrsdale because, well, Avon isn’t a dog.)  People generally think this is odd, but I think naming a dog Spot or a cat Fluffy is just as silly.  Plus, who is to say that animals shouldn’t get their own last names?  

For the past week, we’ve been watching these two nuts run around and attack each other. It certainly doesn’t replace Steve French, but they do help lessen the pain.  I’ll always love Steve and wish he hadn’t been taken from us so soon. 

With the new kittens will come new entries on the blog.  Unfortunately they may not be daily, but I’ll do my best to keep up!  Steve French would have wanted it that way. 

SF on Stove

Comments
My soccer team and I regularly go grab a drink after our games.  Last season, during our indoor league, we were regulars at a bar called The Copper Door.  They had 2 for 1 burgers on Tuesdays, Endless Wine Wednesdays and Wings with pitchers on Mondays.  Your typical bar food, we became used to a way of dining.  The food was actually pretty good, and we were content.  
This season, we’ve got games in other areas of the city and we’ve had to find new places to eat and drink.  After game 1, a teammate and local resident of the area led us to a bar in the Lower East Side.  He promptly dropped us off and left.  It wasn’t until he was gone that we realized he took us to a bar without food.  After one quick drink, we ventured back out into the world looking for something delicious. 
Directly next to the bar was Mikey’s Burger.  A whole in the wall burger joint, the front was wide open.  There were bar stools and a grill.  Simple and small.  At the back were a few small tables.  We checked out the menu above us and decided to stay.  
When presented with burger options, I almost always opt for a turkey burger, chicken sandwich or hot dog over a beef burger.  I took a break from red meat for 10 years, and finally started eating it again in 2008.  (meatballs were my downfall.  I love me some meatballs!)  The burgers at Mikey’s were very interesting.  A lamb burger with onions, jalapenos and mint sounded enticing, but I wanted to go for the real deal…on a hot dog.  
I ordered the Mikey’s hot dog. A hot dog smothered in corned beef hash, onion and mustard.  I usually like to keep it simple, but I like all of these things, especially corned beef so I wanted to see what it would be like.   Not too shabby.  The corned beef isn’t overwhelming, and it wasn’t piled so high on the dog that I couldn’t eat it.  The onions were nicely sauteed and the whole concoction was pretty darn impressive.
If you’re ever in the LES and looking for a quick, delicious bite, stop here, it’s seriously delicious, reasonably cheap and super duper fast. 

My soccer team and I regularly go grab a drink after our games.  Last season, during our indoor league, we were regulars at a bar called The Copper Door.  They had 2 for 1 burgers on Tuesdays, Endless Wine Wednesdays and Wings with pitchers on Mondays.  Your typical bar food, we became used to a way of dining.  The food was actually pretty good, and we were content.  

This season, we’ve got games in other areas of the city and we’ve had to find new places to eat and drink.  After game 1, a teammate and local resident of the area led us to a bar in the Lower East Side.  He promptly dropped us off and left.  It wasn’t until he was gone that we realized he took us to a bar without food.  After one quick drink, we ventured back out into the world looking for something delicious. 

Directly next to the bar was Mikey’s Burger.  A whole in the wall burger joint, the front was wide open.  There were bar stools and a grill.  Simple and small.  At the back were a few small tables.  We checked out the menu above us and decided to stay.  

When presented with burger options, I almost always opt for a turkey burger, chicken sandwich or hot dog over a beef burger.  I took a break from red meat for 10 years, and finally started eating it again in 2008.  (meatballs were my downfall.  I love me some meatballs!)  The burgers at Mikey’s were very interesting.  A lamb burger with onions, jalapenos and mint sounded enticing, but I wanted to go for the real deal…on a hot dog.  

I ordered the Mikey’s hot dog. A hot dog smothered in corned beef hash, onion and mustard.  I usually like to keep it simple, but I like all of these things, especially corned beef so I wanted to see what it would be like.   Not too shabby.  The corned beef isn’t overwhelming, and it wasn’t piled so high on the dog that I couldn’t eat it.  The onions were nicely sauteed and the whole concoction was pretty darn impressive.

If you’re ever in the LES and looking for a quick, delicious bite, stop here, it’s seriously delicious, reasonably cheap and super duper fast. 

Comments
My new job is in Astor Place.  This means I’m steps away from St. Marks and just blocks away from Union Square.  This is my absolute favorite area of town.  I’ve explored all sorts of areas of the city, and I find that there’s something to love about each one.  I’ve recently fallen a little more in love with China town, and working in Tribeca gave me an appreciation for lower Manhattan, but I always come back to Union Square and St. Marks Place.  
A photographer friend of mine lives in this area and knows all the best spots.  We were IMing one day and decided to have lunch since he worked fairly close by.  ”Let’s go to Xi’an Famous Foods” he suggested.  ”They’ve got these amazing noodle dishes and it’s super spicy.”
Well, everyone knows I’ve got a thing for spicy foods, so it’s not hard to talk me into trying something new if it’s spicy.  I’ve mentioned before that I used to be an extremely picky and scared eater and was afraid to try anything new unless I was absolutely sure I’d like it. I’m clearly over that because I did not even hesitate when the suggestion was made.  ”I’m in.” I said quickly.  (I mean, spicy AND noodles?  Of course I’m in!)
A tiny hole in the wall restaurant on St. Marks, I did not know what to expect.  I looked at the wall…tons of dishes with photos.  Pork with noodles, noodle soups, lamb with cumin, “Spicy and Tingly Beef with Hand Ripped Noodles” I confidently stated.  Decision made.  
"Get the Hawberry Tea." Chris suggested.  
"I only really drink water." I replied very directly.  For those of you who don’t know me well, I am almost strictly a water, coffee and wine drinker.  Oh, and margaritas.  I’ve never been a fan of carbonation, ever since I was a little kid.  Soda is not my cup of tea, and I don’t drink beer, or champagne.  I also just never really got into tea.  
"It’s the best thing to wash the spicy food down with.  It’s really refreshing, I promise it’s good." He worked to convince me. 
"And one Hawberry Tea." I said to the man at the register.  Hey, if I’m going in, I’m going in.  Why stop with trying new foods, right?

This particular location seats about 15 people total.  We grabbed the first seat by the door and waited for our food.  Chris explained that he and his coworkers LOVE making food runs here.  He lives around the corner, but work is a bit further away, so any excuse he has to come down and grab lunch here he will.  It seemed like they had a pretty loyal following.  Everyone who came in knew exactly what they wanted and ordered confidently.  Several people also ordered the tea. 
The food came out and looked amazing. The noodles were broad, similar to pad kee mao or pad see ew, but these were a bit thicker and much longer.  It was fairly difficult to eat at times because of how long the noodles were, but you could tell they were very fresh.  The meat was tender and cooked perfectly, together enough to pick up with chopsticks, but not tough to eat at all.  Very tender and juicy.  And most importantly, it was very, very spicy.  Every bite had a kick and a really nice flavoring of cumin.  It was different than anything I had ever had in the realm of Asian foods. 
Chris had a soup, with similar ingredients to mine, but in soup form.  I’m not a huge soup person, but it looked and smelled amazing.  Some guys at the table next to us looked to be having the oxtail, which also was surprisingly appetizing.  We finished as much as we could (the portions were huge) and headed back to work, full and happy. 

Looking forward to another lunch here and trying other things, especially the lamb burgers.

My new job is in Astor Place.  This means I’m steps away from St. Marks and just blocks away from Union Square.  This is my absolute favorite area of town.  I’ve explored all sorts of areas of the city, and I find that there’s something to love about each one.  I’ve recently fallen a little more in love with China town, and working in Tribeca gave me an appreciation for lower Manhattan, but I always come back to Union Square and St. Marks Place.  

A photographer friend of mine lives in this area and knows all the best spots.  We were IMing one day and decided to have lunch since he worked fairly close by.  ”Let’s go to Xi’an Famous Foods” he suggested.  ”They’ve got these amazing noodle dishes and it’s super spicy.”

Well, everyone knows I’ve got a thing for spicy foods, so it’s not hard to talk me into trying something new if it’s spicy.  I’ve mentioned before that I used to be an extremely picky and scared eater and was afraid to try anything new unless I was absolutely sure I’d like it. I’m clearly over that because I did not even hesitate when the suggestion was made.  ”I’m in.” I said quickly.  (I mean, spicy AND noodles?  Of course I’m in!)

A tiny hole in the wall restaurant on St. Marks, I did not know what to expect.  I looked at the wall…tons of dishes with photos.  Pork with noodles, noodle soups, lamb with cumin, “Spicy and Tingly Beef with Hand Ripped Noodles” I confidently stated.  Decision made.  

"Get the Hawberry Tea." Chris suggested.  

"I only really drink water." I replied very directly.  For those of you who don’t know me well, I am almost strictly a water, coffee and wine drinker.  Oh, and margaritas.  I’ve never been a fan of carbonation, ever since I was a little kid.  Soda is not my cup of tea, and I don’t drink beer, or champagne.  I also just never really got into tea.  

"It’s the best thing to wash the spicy food down with.  It’s really refreshing, I promise it’s good." He worked to convince me. 

"And one Hawberry Tea." I said to the man at the register.  Hey, if I’m going in, I’m going in.  Why stop with trying new foods, right?

Hawberry tea

This particular location seats about 15 people total.  We grabbed the first seat by the door and waited for our food.  Chris explained that he and his coworkers LOVE making food runs here.  He lives around the corner, but work is a bit further away, so any excuse he has to come down and grab lunch here he will.  It seemed like they had a pretty loyal following.  Everyone who came in knew exactly what they wanted and ordered confidently.  Several people also ordered the tea. 

The food came out and looked amazing. The noodles were broad, similar to pad kee mao or pad see ew, but these were a bit thicker and much longer.  It was fairly difficult to eat at times because of how long the noodles were, but you could tell they were very fresh.  The meat was tender and cooked perfectly, together enough to pick up with chopsticks, but not tough to eat at all.  Very tender and juicy.  And most importantly, it was very, very spicy.  Every bite had a kick and a really nice flavoring of cumin.  It was different than anything I had ever had in the realm of Asian foods. 

Chris had a soup, with similar ingredients to mine, but in soup form.  I’m not a huge soup person, but it looked and smelled amazing.  Some guys at the table next to us looked to be having the oxtail, which also was surprisingly appetizing.  We finished as much as we could (the portions were huge) and headed back to work, full and happy. 

food 2

Looking forward to another lunch here and trying other things, especially the lamb burgers.

Comments

mrthell asked: I've been meaning to explore LIC more. Where else would you recommend in the area outside of LIC Market and Dutch Kills?

If you’re looking for a hearty dinner, go to El Ay Si.  They have southern and mexican as well as some standard American fare   I recommend their meatballs or jalapeno corn fritters to start,  chicken fried chicken or pork tacos for your main course, and either their fried oreos or chocolate burbon pecan pie!  They also have an amazing brunch.  

Of course since I love Thai food, I have to recommend Tuk Tuk.  They’ve got a great Pad Kee Mao and they don’t shy away from the spicy level.  If you ask for spicy, expect it to be super spicy.
Manetta’s is old school, but great food.  It’s a long Italian style dinner where everything is made fresh at the restaurant.  Can’t go wrong with anything you order here.
Enjoy!
Comments
I’ve written before about LIC Market, and I’ve mentioned that it’s one of my most frequented brunch spots, but I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned their super seasonal menu.  One of the things that I love about LIC Market is that the menu is always changing, but is consistently good.  It’s nice to go somewhere that forces you to have variety.  I’m the type of person that sticks with what I like once I find it.  I assume that those who read my blog regularly are not surprised by this news based on the amount of posting I have about Pad Kee Mao, but hey, I guess if anyone ever needs to research the Pad Kee Mao in NYC, they can just come here and they’ll find what they need. 
My friend Emily sent out an email to a group of people.  ”NYC Foodies, who wants to buy some Meat?!”  Was the jist of it.  There was a Groupon for Omaha Steaks and she was looking to split the cost and the meat.  I volunteered and next thing you know, Emily and her boyfriend are delivering meat to my doorstep and we’re all heading to brunch.  We hopped in the car and headed further into Queens, opting to skip the standard brunch fare at Le Barricou and introduce them to the LIC Market. 
For some reason I’ve always had some weird hang up about lunch and breakfast eating times.  Once it gets past 1PM, I have a tough time committing to breakfast.  This is a vast improvement for me, as the cut off used to be 11AM.  I’ve been to LIC Market a million times and almost always choose a breakfast dish, but lately have been leaning towards their array of lunchier options. 
Then the best thing happened.  ”I really want the slow roasted duck hash, but those pancakes look so good.  Maybe we should get an order for the table.”  YES.  Yes.  By all means yes!  The best of both worlds!  I could safely commit to my lunch dish of a roasted chicken sandwich with arugula, caramelized onions and roasted shallot vinagarette and STILL try the buttermilk pancakes with housemade berry jam and pumpkin seed butter.  
We were NOT disappointed, and the pancakes were delicious.  The butter had this wonderful pumpkin taste that wasn’t overpowering.  Just enough to compliment the berry jam.  It was sweet, and treated as more of a dessert than a dish.  
I highly recommend LIC Market as you can tell.  Always something new and always something delicious!

I’ve written before about LIC Market, and I’ve mentioned that it’s one of my most frequented brunch spots, but I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned their super seasonal menu.  One of the things that I love about LIC Market is that the menu is always changing, but is consistently good.  It’s nice to go somewhere that forces you to have variety.  I’m the type of person that sticks with what I like once I find it.  I assume that those who read my blog regularly are not surprised by this news based on the amount of posting I have about Pad Kee Mao, but hey, I guess if anyone ever needs to research the Pad Kee Mao in NYC, they can just come here and they’ll find what they need. 

My friend Emily sent out an email to a group of people.  ”NYC Foodies, who wants to buy some Meat?!”  Was the jist of it.  There was a Groupon for Omaha Steaks and she was looking to split the cost and the meat.  I volunteered and next thing you know, Emily and her boyfriend are delivering meat to my doorstep and we’re all heading to brunch.  We hopped in the car and headed further into Queens, opting to skip the standard brunch fare at Le Barricou and introduce them to the LIC Market. 

For some reason I’ve always had some weird hang up about lunch and breakfast eating times.  Once it gets past 1PM, I have a tough time committing to breakfast.  This is a vast improvement for me, as the cut off used to be 11AM.  I’ve been to LIC Market a million times and almost always choose a breakfast dish, but lately have been leaning towards their array of lunchier options. 

Then the best thing happened.  ”I really want the slow roasted duck hash, but those pancakes look so good.  Maybe we should get an order for the table.”  YES.  Yes.  By all means yes!  The best of both worlds!  I could safely commit to my lunch dish of a roasted chicken sandwich with arugula, caramelized onions and roasted shallot vinagarette and STILL try the buttermilk pancakes with housemade berry jam and pumpkin seed butter.  

We were NOT disappointed, and the pancakes were delicious.  The butter had this wonderful pumpkin taste that wasn’t overpowering.  Just enough to compliment the berry jam.  It was sweet, and treated as more of a dessert than a dish.  

I highly recommend LIC Market as you can tell.  Always something new and always something delicious!

Comments
I’m fairly good at following recipes, but I have always struggled with cooking any type of asian cuisine, no matter how accurately I follow the recipe.  I finally decided it was time to do something about this, seeing as how I spend quite a bit of money on thai and chinese food.  
I did a bit of research and finally came across a site called Fantastic Thai Cuisine.  I sent an email to the group inquiring about classes in Manhattan.  After a bit of back and forth regarding the class itself, amount of people in the class and types of foods we would cook, I shot an email to some coworkers and organized a weekend thai cooking class. 
Darien, our lovely host introduced us to our teacher, his wife, Phensri.  He explained that Phensri was from Thailand and they had met not long ago.  After getting married they decided to start a thai cooking school.  After only a few years, the pair had taught over 1000 students.  
We started by making a Thom Yum soup.  Phensri explained all of the ingredients, one by one.  From how to keep and use lemongrass to where to find galanga and what it is.  Our group peeled some shrimp, while another pair of students chopped up a variety of ingredients for the soup.  We put the shrimp in a large pot, let it simmer and removed it before putting in the other ingredients.  Chicken was chopped up and added to the soup as well.  And of course, we added a bit of red thai chilies to give it an extra kick of hotness. (Our group loved the hot foods!)

Next, we made a red curry chicken.  Phensri had the groups once again chop up the appropriate ingredients and show us why certain things were added at specific times.  She walked us through each ingredient one by one, explained where they came from, why she used the ones she did and gave us reasons why certain soy sauces worked better than others.  
All recipes were handed out on cards at the end of class, so all we had to do was pay attention to specifics of why and when.  The aroma of red curry with chicken, eggplant, green beans and peppers,  filled the room and we were all extremely excited to start eating!
 

But before we could eat it, we had to cook the Pad Thai.  A typical Thai dish, everyone is familiar with the classic Pad Thai.  Phensri explained that we should ignore the directions on the box and simply soak the noodles until they are soft.  Approximately 40 minutes.  This way they don’t get too soft.  We heated up some oil and cracked in an egg, mixing it quickly to break it up.  Then came the noodles.  We tossed them in and moved the wok side to side to simmer and mix them with the egg.  We added shrimp, tofu and chicken and our Pad Thai sauce that we made.  And finally we tossed in scallions and bean sprouts.  And that was it!  Quick and easy, and oh so delicious.  Of course, we added a few Thai chilis in to give it some kick!


At this time we couldn’t wait to dig in.  We had been cooking and drinking for a few hours, and now it was time to taste our creations.  It was absolutely delicious.  We couldn’t get enough.  And we were stuffed!  Phensri then asked if we wanted Thai fried rice or Chicken and Basil.  Oy.  More food?  Nobody could decide, or maybe they were all so stuffed from the other dishes that they couldn’t consider eating more, but of course I chimed in.  ”Chicken and basil please!  Let’s make it SUPER spicy.”  And one more dish was on it’s way.  The “fast food” of Thailand was simple to make and delicious to eat.  More than I needed, this one pushed me over the edge. 
We took a group picture, received our recipe cards and headed on our way.  Darien and Phensri told us we’d be receiving an email with a login to the site for more recipes and classes.  We had become part of their community. They explained that they also offer additional Thai cooking classes, Chinese and Indian.  My group said they would absolutely be back for a new cuisine another time. 

I’m fairly good at following recipes, but I have always struggled with cooking any type of asian cuisine, no matter how accurately I follow the recipe.  I finally decided it was time to do something about this, seeing as how I spend quite a bit of money on thai and chinese food.  

I did a bit of research and finally came across a site called Fantastic Thai Cuisine.  I sent an email to the group inquiring about classes in Manhattan.  After a bit of back and forth regarding the class itself, amount of people in the class and types of foods we would cook, I shot an email to some coworkers and organized a weekend thai cooking class. 

Darien, our lovely host introduced us to our teacher, his wife, Phensri.  He explained that Phensri was from Thailand and they had met not long ago.  After getting married they decided to start a thai cooking school.  After only a few years, the pair had taught over 1000 students.  

We started by making a Thom Yum soup.  Phensri explained all of the ingredients, one by one.  From how to keep and use lemongrass to where to find galanga and what it is.  Our group peeled some shrimp, while another pair of students chopped up a variety of ingredients for the soup.  We put the shrimp in a large pot, let it simmer and removed it before putting in the other ingredients.  Chicken was chopped up and added to the soup as well.  And of course, we added a bit of red thai chilies to give it an extra kick of hotness. (Our group loved the hot foods!)

thom yum

Next, we made a red curry chicken.  Phensri had the groups once again chop up the appropriate ingredients and show us why certain things were added at specific times.  She walked us through each ingredient one by one, explained where they came from, why she used the ones she did and gave us reasons why certain soy sauces worked better than others.  

All recipes were handed out on cards at the end of class, so all we had to do was pay attention to specifics of why and when.  The aroma of red curry with chicken, eggplant, green beans and peppers,  filled the room and we were all extremely excited to start eating!

red curry 

But before we could eat it, we had to cook the Pad Thai.  A typical Thai dish, everyone is familiar with the classic Pad Thai.  Phensri explained that we should ignore the directions on the box and simply soak the noodles until they are soft.  Approximately 40 minutes.  This way they don’t get too soft.  We heated up some oil and cracked in an egg, mixing it quickly to break it up.  Then came the noodles.  We tossed them in and moved the wok side to side to simmer and mix them with the egg.  We added shrimp, tofu and chicken and our Pad Thai sauce that we made.  And finally we tossed in scallions and bean sprouts.  And that was it!  Quick and easy, and oh so delicious.  Of course, we added a few Thai chilis in to give it some kick!

Pad Thai

At this time we couldn’t wait to dig in.  We had been cooking and drinking for a few hours, and now it was time to taste our creations.  It was absolutely delicious.  We couldn’t get enough.  And we were stuffed!  Phensri then asked if we wanted Thai fried rice or Chicken and Basil.  Oy.  More food?  Nobody could decide, or maybe they were all so stuffed from the other dishes that they couldn’t consider eating more, but of course I chimed in.  ”Chicken and basil please!  Let’s make it SUPER spicy.”  And one more dish was on it’s way.  The “fast food” of Thailand was simple to make and delicious to eat.  More than I needed, this one pushed me over the edge. 

We took a group picture, received our recipe cards and headed on our way.  Darien and Phensri told us we’d be receiving an email with a login to the site for more recipes and classes.  We had become part of their community. They explained that they also offer additional Thai cooking classes, Chinese and Indian.  My group said they would absolutely be back for a new cuisine another time. 

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After my last day at work, my mom came into town for a big family wedding.  We had several plans through the week, including a trip to Red Bamboo, but on this day, we decided to head to Union Square and stumble upon something new.  
We landed at Ngam on 3rd Avenue.  Described as modern Thai, I expected a standard thai menu of Pad See Ew, Pad Kra Prow and Pad Kee Mao.  To my surprise, the menu was very different than what I expected.  We were trying to keep lunch fairly light since we were heading to a rehearsal dinner later that evening, and decided to split something.  
We decided to start with a Chiang Mai Spicy Chicken Soup.  A beautiful soup with a strong taste of citrus and lemongrass, the chicken was cooked to perfection while swimming in the soup.  A nice spice left my mouth with a pleasant after burn, but didn’t overwhelm the other flavors.  

The Vermicelli noodles were also quite good.  Very different than anything I have ever eaten at a thai restaurant texturally, the flavors of typical thai cuisine carried throughout the dish.  In Italian food, I love Cappellini and Angel Hair pasta, but when it comes to Thai, I generally prefer much thicker noodles.  As someone who is still trying to outgrow my picky eating habits, I like to be familiar with the contents of my food.  A fear I’m trying to overcome.  The size of these noodles made navigating the vegetables and meat more difficult, which turned out to be for the better.  One of the best dishes I’ve had recently, I was incredibly impressed with the food at Ngam.  
I also totally love the atmosphere.  Small tables on the side, and one large table in the middle, Ngam was cozy, but modern.  A giant chalk board against the wall tells the patrons what the specials are, and which dishes have gotten rave reviews from local magazines and papers.  Ngam’s motto, a quote from Julia Child, hangs over customers as they enjoy their dishes.

After my last day at work, my mom came into town for a big family wedding.  We had several plans through the week, including a trip to Red Bamboo, but on this day, we decided to head to Union Square and stumble upon something new.  

We landed at Ngam on 3rd Avenue.  Described as modern Thai, I expected a standard thai menu of Pad See Ew, Pad Kra Prow and Pad Kee Mao.  To my surprise, the menu was very different than what I expected.  We were trying to keep lunch fairly light since we were heading to a rehearsal dinner later that evening, and decided to split something.  

We decided to start with a Chiang Mai Spicy Chicken Soup.  A beautiful soup with a strong taste of citrus and lemongrass, the chicken was cooked to perfection while swimming in the soup.  A nice spice left my mouth with a pleasant after burn, but didn’t overwhelm the other flavors.  

Chiang Mai Spicy

The Vermicelli noodles were also quite good.  Very different than anything I have ever eaten at a thai restaurant texturally, the flavors of typical thai cuisine carried throughout the dish.  In Italian food, I love Cappellini and Angel Hair pasta, but when it comes to Thai, I generally prefer much thicker noodles.  As someone who is still trying to outgrow my picky eating habits, I like to be familiar with the contents of my food.  A fear I’m trying to overcome.  The size of these noodles made navigating the vegetables and meat more difficult, which turned out to be for the better.  One of the best dishes I’ve had recently, I was incredibly impressed with the food at Ngam.  

I also totally love the atmosphere.  Small tables on the side, and one large table in the middle, Ngam was cozy, but modern.  A giant chalk board against the wall tells the patrons what the specials are, and which dishes have gotten rave reviews from local magazines and papers.  Ngam’s motto, a quote from Julia Child, hangs over customers as they enjoy their dishes.

Julia Child

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I won’t make excuses for not posting recently.  Who am I kidding, of course I will.  The past few weeks have been quite crazy, and over the course of the next few posts, you’ll see why.  In mid-april, I gave notice at my job.  I was offered a new position with another company and couldn’t turn it down.  At the same time, my good friend Erin also gave notice and left for a new job.  During the weeks before we left, we spent several nights out, eating and drinking our way through New York.  
This particular night, and one of Erin’s many going away parties, was at the Nolita House.  We left work at 5PM and headed over to have a few drinks.  By 10PM I was fairly tipsy and having a good great time.  A coworker of mine kept suggesting that we head to Katz’s for a quick late night bite.  I shrugged off the suggestion several times, determined to finish my glass of Pinot before heading home.
I suddenly received a flurry of texts about a jacket that was left at the bar by a coworker.  I replied that I would bring it to work, but he was already on his way back to the bar.  ”I’m telling him we’ll meet him at Katz’s with the jacket.” My coworker insisted.  I quickly drank my Pinot and off we went. 
If you’ve never been to Katzs Delicatessen, you really must go.  The atmosphere is a bit overwhelming at first, especially during the day when the crowds are so large, but late at night, it’s easy to simply walk up to the counter and get exactly what you want without the pressure of 25 people behind you in line.  Although I’m a huge fan of their corned beef, matzo ball soup, pastrami and knishes, on this night we all opted for hot dogs.  Although I’m 31 years old, I’m still quite fond of hot dogs, and these are delicious.  Add a little mustard and kraut, and there ya go.  
Best suggestion I could ever get after 5 hours of drinking. 

I won’t make excuses for not posting recently.  Who am I kidding, of course I will.  The past few weeks have been quite crazy, and over the course of the next few posts, you’ll see why.  In mid-april, I gave notice at my job.  I was offered a new position with another company and couldn’t turn it down.  At the same time, my good friend Erin also gave notice and left for a new job.  During the weeks before we left, we spent several nights out, eating and drinking our way through New York.  

This particular night, and one of Erin’s many going away parties, was at the Nolita House.  We left work at 5PM and headed over to have a few drinks.  By 10PM I was fairly tipsy and having a good great time.  A coworker of mine kept suggesting that we head to Katz’s for a quick late night bite.  I shrugged off the suggestion several times, determined to finish my glass of Pinot before heading home.

I suddenly received a flurry of texts about a jacket that was left at the bar by a coworker.  I replied that I would bring it to work, but he was already on his way back to the bar.  ”I’m telling him we’ll meet him at Katz’s with the jacket.” My coworker insisted.  I quickly drank my Pinot and off we went. 

If you’ve never been to Katzs Delicatessen, you really must go.  The atmosphere is a bit overwhelming at first, especially during the day when the crowds are so large, but late at night, it’s easy to simply walk up to the counter and get exactly what you want without the pressure of 25 people behind you in line.  Although I’m a huge fan of their corned beef, matzo ball soup, pastrami and knishes, on this night we all opted for hot dogs.  Although I’m 31 years old, I’m still quite fond of hot dogs, and these are delicious.  Add a little mustard and kraut, and there ya go.  

Best suggestion I could ever get after 5 hours of drinking. 

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On the very edge of China Town, by the park on Baxter and Bayard, there is a Thai restaurant called Pongsri, and on their web site they ask how a little Thai restaurant could survive in a heavily populated Chinese food area.  The answer is that they make really good Thai food.  Sadly as I’m leaving the area, I’ve found yet another Thai restaurant that I enjoy.  And as I venture north, I’ll always wonder if there were others. 
I’m so loyal to Thai Angel that I forget there are other options, but I knew Pongsri was good, because Pongsri changed my life.  Pongsri has 3 locations in Manhattan, one of which is on 23rd street, and this is the one that really became my Thai food teacher.
 A few years ago I met a talented photographer named Andrew Matusik, who has some Thai heritage.  His mother actually ran a Thai restaurant in Ohio for years.  I told him I liked Thai food, but didn’t have a lot of experience with it.  I was spending quite a bit of time at his studio going through his work and hanging out with him and his dog.  We were working to scan his archive for syndication.  During this time, Andrew would order various Thai dishes from Pongsri, and I would eat them.  Larb, Pad Sea Ew, Green, Red and Yellow Curry, I tried them all.  He would explain the flavors and the ingredients, and opened my eyes to what would become my very favorite food in the world.  It changed my palate, and changed my take on food in general.  I have become much more adventurous and really have him to thank for it. 
Finding this location so close to work was huge, but since i’m leaving the area, I’ll have to leave it behind as well.  Luckily I had the chance to pop over and have lunch with my coworkers before I go, and it was just as I remembered.  The green curry was flavorful, spicy and delicious, the Pad Kra Prow was perfectly cooked, and had just the right amount of spice for my taste, and I even got a won ton soup, which was surprisingly delicious.  
I’m hoping their third location in Manhattan is near Union Square, and if not, I’ll have to find time to head back to China Town for some Thai food. 

On the very edge of China Town, by the park on Baxter and Bayard, there is a Thai restaurant called Pongsri, and on their web site they ask how a little Thai restaurant could survive in a heavily populated Chinese food area.  The answer is that they make really good Thai food.  Sadly as I’m leaving the area, I’ve found yet another Thai restaurant that I enjoy.  And as I venture north, I’ll always wonder if there were others. 

I’m so loyal to Thai Angel that I forget there are other options, but I knew Pongsri was good, because Pongsri changed my life.  Pongsri has 3 locations in Manhattan, one of which is on 23rd street, and this is the one that really became my Thai food teacher.

 A few years ago I met a talented photographer named Andrew Matusik, who has some Thai heritage.  His mother actually ran a Thai restaurant in Ohio for years.  I told him I liked Thai food, but didn’t have a lot of experience with it.  I was spending quite a bit of time at his studio going through his work and hanging out with him and his dog.  We were working to scan his archive for syndication.  During this time, Andrew would order various Thai dishes from Pongsri, and I would eat them.  Larb, Pad Sea Ew, Green, Red and Yellow Curry, I tried them all.  He would explain the flavors and the ingredients, and opened my eyes to what would become my very favorite food in the world.  It changed my palate, and changed my take on food in general.  I have become much more adventurous and really have him to thank for it. 

Finding this location so close to work was huge, but since i’m leaving the area, I’ll have to leave it behind as well.  Luckily I had the chance to pop over and have lunch with my coworkers before I go, and it was just as I remembered.  The green curry was flavorful, spicy and delicious, the Pad Kra Prow was perfectly cooked, and had just the right amount of spice for my taste, and I even got a won ton soup, which was surprisingly delicious.  

I’m hoping their third location in Manhattan is near Union Square, and if not, I’ll have to find time to head back to China Town for some Thai food. 

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