Showing posts from July, 2012


I think all too commonly you hear people (forgive me for stereotyping, but usually younger females like myself) say, "I don't like beer!"  They - and by they, I mean I - would rather nurse a cocktail with something alcoholic mixed with something fruity and garnished with something equally fruity: something with a more straightforward taste and a more immediate alcoholic buzz.  Today, my friends and I resolved to teach each other about beer and the huge varietal potential that beer has, in order to help us break out of the "I don't like beer" mindset with our very own little beer tasting!
Disclaimer: I know next-to-nothing about beer so the stuff that I'm about to rattle off has come to me either from Charlie Lopresto, who wrote the fascinating post on Sixpoint Craft Beer from Cook Out NYC, or from my primitive taste buds, or the Internet.  That being said, here is what our beer tasting was like!
First, we got a few mellow-flavored snacks (e.g., unsalted…

X2O Xavier on the Hudson

Peter Xavier Kelly beat Iron Chef Bobby Flay during the Battle of the Cowboy Ribeye.  Bobby Flay, losing at a grilling competition?!  His victor has got to be good.  We found out just how good last weekend at a dear friend’s surprise graduation party.

The restaurant X2O Xavier’s on the Hudson is up in Yonkers, a nice train ride from Grand Central on the Metro North.  The d├ęcor is lovely, minimalist, and reminiscent of the sea – wavy and curvy glass fixtures – which is appropriate because it sits right at the riverside.  Everything was elegant and beautiful, including the food!

First we started with Caesar’s salad and bread.  The bread was interestingly trapezoid-shaped and dusted with a cinnamon-y sugar.  The salad was delicious, if not very remarkable.

Then, we picked different items off the menu for appetizers and entrees.  I had wild mushroom ravioli and Alex had the shrimp and asparagus tempura.  My ravioli were actually more dumpling shaped with a thick and toothsome pasta and …

Lioni Italian Specialties

Where I work, we have a sister office around the block and their staff orders lunch from Lioni’s every week.  The result is a giant cardboard box of foot-long logs wrapped in white paper.  Lioni’s is an Italian specialty store in Bensonhurst (i.e. my neighborhood) that is famous for mozzarella di bufala and prosciutto, not to mention its literally hundreds of heroes.  Once, I was about to throw in an order for a sandwich for lunch, but reading the menu took way too long so I missed the opportunity.

How can you have hundreds of items on a menu?  Their heroes are named after Italian and Italian-American celebrities and contain endless permutations and combinations of toppings.  At a glance, the toppings include prosciutto di Parma, mozzarella di bufala (imported from Italy), roast beef, cappicolla, mortadella, salami, turkey, ham, bologna, sweet and hot Italian sausages, pepperoni, roasted peppers, olives, chicken and veal cutlets….  Hundreds, I’m telling you.
The store is pretty adorab…

Sixpoint Brewery - by Charlie Lopresto

As my friend and fellow Cook Out NYC attendee Arthur Zak isn't very fond of drinking or reviewing beer (see his post), I thought I might step up to bat and offer my thoughts on a few of the beers I had at last week's event.

First, may I offer a disclaimer to those readers, like Arthur, who may have decided beer just isn’t their thing. All beers are not created equal. There is a lot to enjoy, appreciate, and experience beyond what the Natty-Ice’s or big national brands have to offer. As someone who, like most, had my first experiences with beer through trying a few of these common varieties here or there at summer barbecues or perhaps at a bar with a few friends, I quickly realized that my palate was seeking something beyond the idea of a cold drink to wash down salty bar nuts. Living in NYC for the past four years, where one doesn't have to walk more than a few blocks to pass several bars and restaurants, all with different beers on tap, I had always been curious about what…

Cook Out NYC - by Arthur Zak

Who would have known that one of my friends from junior high school has become a burgeoning foodie and to-be medical student after almost 10 years of acquaintance. I invited Arthur Zak to be our guest blogger for our post on Cook Out NYC. Check him out at his Yelp page, too! ARTHUR IS A REALLY FUNNY GUY!

Arthur Zak, of Yelp fame (not really) here. “Hey Arthur, want to go with me to Cookout NYC at Governor’s Island next week?” I says, Sure, Sandra, I says! Little did I know it would be hotter than Satan’s colon that day. However, I am a man of my word, so armed with press passes, I, Sandra, and two other friends strolled through the Cook Out NYC gates.
The venue space thankfully wasn’t too large or too crowded; I was worried about this after hearing about the atrocity known as The Great GoogaMooga.  Luckily, we were able to walk around without bumping into the sweaty shoulders of beer-drinking hipsters. Why, what a perfect Seg…

India on the Hudson

In celebration of American independence yesterday, we celebrated with dinner at India on the Hudson. We decided to watch Macy's Fireworks Spectacular from Hoboken, NJ so that we could see the beautiful New York City skyline while the fireworks exploded.  And boy, do I mean exploded!  If you see fireworks in real life, you see the bright lights flash, followed by streaks of falling color, followed even afterwards by the resounding cracks and booms: as I tried to follow the explosions, I remembered that light travels faster than sound.  It was crowded, it was hot and humid as hell, but it was absolutely worth it.

Before the show, though, we had an amazing dinner of Indian food right near the water front at India on the Hudson.  This tiny restaurant served us dishes with bold, zesty flavors and has set me on a cravings rampage ever since. They gave us papadum with the usual trio of chutneys and sauces.  The papadum had caraway seeds baked in and were perfectly tasty and crunchy on t…