When Donny told me he was asking Chef Nate Smith to participate in the Lost Vegetarian project I was excited. I was familiar with his food from his first restaurant, Allswell, and was eager to try the California-inspired cuisine he is serving up at his second restaurant. Bar Bolinas has an interesting menu; in Smith’s words it’s meant to be casual, fun, street food-style. Smith is also one of the nicest chefs I’ve ever met, and his commitment to supporting local farms and using the best ingredients make his food something special. In this episode of Lost Vegetarian he makes his mushroom flatbread, a seemingly simple dish elevated by the top-end ingredients. From the house-made sourdough flatbread to the mushrooms roasted with house-dried oregano, the dish is definitely more than the sum of its parts. Enjoy!
Bar Bolinas — 455 Myrtle Ave
Oh, hello there. It’s been a while since I posted anything on this blog, I know. It’s been since August, you say? Seems like time has been going by very quickly. In truth I’ve been very busy at work, and I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed. Lucky for me I recently took a few trips to the Chinese food courts in Flushing, where I got some really amazing food. Here’s the best of what I had during my recent trips. At the Golden Shopping Mall, a warren of narrow stalls with almost no English menus, I got the bowl of food you see above from what I think is the Chengdu Heaven stall. I got two different dishes — cold strips of cooked potato, seasoned with vinegar and chilies, and a seaweed salad dressed with vinegar and sesame oil.
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As a vegetarian, I’ve never really felt the urge to dine at any of the Momofuku restaurants. When he first started out David Chang made it pretty clear he didn’t care much about vegetarians, though over the past few years that’s started to change. Then I read this article on Eater about a new vegetarian ramen they’ve been serving at Momofuku Noodle Bar with Hozon broth. Hozon is a local company, also owned by Momofuku’s David Chang, that’s been making fermented products similar to miso, and at the Noodle Bar they’ve made it into a ramen broth. It’s not as good as the broth at Chuko, but it’s a great bowl of noodles. The broth is salty and rich, and is studded with fried chickpeas, crispy crackers, and sauteed kale for texture. Better still were the noodles; so firm they almost snapped between my teeth, and with an almost buttery aftertaste. I’m glad I finally gave Momofuku Noodle Bar a chance, as I can now cross that one off my list of NYC restaurant experiences.
Momofuku Noodle Bar — 171 1st Ave, NYC
Late last year, Gotham West Market opened on super super west side of Manhattan (oh dude what a walk from the A/C train). It’s basically a big food court like space with food “stalls” from The Cannibal, Little Chef (from Caroline Fidanza owner of Saltie), Court Street Grocers, etc and The Brooklyn Kitchen for your kitchen supply needs. Though one of the more anticipated opening was Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop. From what I have read online, Ivan Orkin is suppose to be a genius at ramen making and for him to be popular in Japan that’s a pretty huge deal.
There was so much hype for this place. Check out what Howard and I thought about the ramen.
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Although I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to do in 2013, I did manage to finally get to Tiny’s Giant Sandwich Shop. This Lower East Side sandwich shop has been on my list for a while, mostly for a creation called the Spicy Rizzak — of which there is a vegetarian version. The sandwich is piled high with vegetarian turkey, tomato, raw onion, melted cheese, and vegetarian bacon. At least it usually is, after I ordered my server came back to let me know they were out of veggie bacon. He offered avocado instead, which I of course accepted. Avocado may have nothing in common with the flavor or texture of bacon, even the veggie kind, but it still makes everything delicious. The sandwich is slathered in a slightly spicy mayo-like sauce, which really makes the sandwich something special. The only off thing was the fact that they dropped five or six potato chips on the plate; either give me a serving of chips or don’t.
See what Donny thought of their Tuna Melt.
Tiny’s Giant Sandwich Shop — 129 Rivington St
Ever since the weather got cooler and it wasn’t INSANE to turn on the oven, I’ve been roasting a lot of stuff. I mostly roast big chunks of meat but lately I have found much join in roasting veggies. In the past, whenever I roast veggies it’s usually carrots or potatoes, as a side dish. But ever since I had a pasta dish at Allswell that had roasted red cabbage, I was hooked.
So now, every Sunday I would walk down to the Park Slope Farmers Market, pick up some veggies and roast them. It’s quick (well 30mins or so), easy and mighty delicious. I have put together a small list of veggies everyone should try roasting.
Continue reading “Tis The Season To Roast All Your Vegetables”
When I got notified that City Grit was having another Veggie Tales dinner, this time cooked by founder Sarah Simmons, I decided to get a couple of tickets. I’ve been to a vegetarian City Grit dinner before, but that dinner was created by chef Dave Santos. (Santos went on to open Louro.) Donny has gone on record as saying that Simmons makes his favorite fried chicken in the city, but I had never tasted her food. Here was an opportunity for me, as a vegetarian, to get a taste of her cooking. So along with my friend Chitra I had a long and delicious (though at times uneven) meal. The dinner started with what Simmons called the best darned veggie burger we’d ever eat, made with beets. It was a very good veggie burger, with a very rich texture and flavor.
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