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Food Film Fest 2013

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This week, the Food Film Festival comes to New York City!  Do you love food?  Do you love films?  Do you love festivals?  I mean, you can't possibly answer "no" to any of these.

Last year, we had the incomparable experience of having dinner in a movie theater at the "I ♥ Japan" night.  The Food Film Festival allows filmmakers to create food-related shorts and then serve the foods featured in their films to the moviegoers.  This is like Smell-O-Vision to the n-th degree!  I had some chicken wings and ramen that I still dream about today....
This year's events are:
Wednesday, October 23 - KINGS OF BBQ Barbecue is one of the most beloved, food-porn-worthy, yet hotly contested segments of American cuisine.  The films that will be shown talk about mixing diversity into barbecue styles, as well as bringing barbecue abroad to diverse places to satisfy American tastes.
Thursday, October 24 - EDIBLE ADVENTURE #008: THE SURPRISE INSIDE Who doesn't like surprises? …

Flatiron Hall

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I love the idea of a beer hall...in theory.  Mostly because I don't love beer (though I'm working on changing that!).  But, I do love the culture of a beer hall and I definitely do love beer food.  So when I got some local NYC news email about this new Flatiron Hall in the city with a bazillion different beers AND a fantastic food menu?  Count me in!
Actually, honestly: what hooked me was the fact that this email ingeniously name-dropped Flatiron Hall's chicken tikka masala wonton.  (Pause for effect)
My love affair with chicken tikka masala began in London and persists.  The chicken tikka masala wontons, I have to admit, are a little bit of a misnomer.  The image that I conjure is of a thick curried chicken in a fried wonton, but the chicken tikka masala wontons are more like spiced shredded chicken in a fried wonton.  Which isn't to say they aren't good...in fact, they were super good!  I especially loved the mint yogurt sauce that came on the side.  The wonton …

Pig Island 2013

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Last month, Veritasty went to one of our favorite food fĂȘtes (which is also the benchmark for our birthday; HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY VERITASTY!), Pig Island.  This year's Pig Island was a little more like Pig Pier since the venue changed from Governor's Island to Red Hook, Brooklyn.  Red Hook is a northern neighborhood of my beloved borough, which is now most famous for IKEA and Steve's Key Lime Pie and Brooklyn Crab.  The waterfront where Pig Island was spread out was gorgeous: you could simultaneously see little patches of greenery and park benches right next to the very industrial oil rigs rising out of the Hudson River.  Pig Pier made us very happy campers.

One of the first stalls we came across hawked Southern Belle barbecue sauce.  While these fruity sauces (for example, blueberry and mango flavors) would be a good accompaniment to any barbecued meat, these brilliant southern belles served up the sauces in delicate floral teacups, with slices of sausage and chunks of rib m…

The Smith

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[Sorry we've been on a hiatus!  Life has been quite busy for the both of us, but now we are back and dedicated to bringing veritasty things to you!]
Isn't it funny how sometimes you walk by a place so many times, you cease to realize it's even there?  For four years at NYU, I'd walk past The Smith on 10th Street and 3rd Avenue on the way to or from class and I never noticed it, much less dined there.  Fast forward a couple of years later when now, at his nice cushy midtown corporate job, Alex tells me that he frequently gets lunch and/or dinner at The Smith up on 53rd Street and 2nd Avenue.  I looked up the menu and saw crave-worthy foods and proverbially smacked myself for overlooking this restaurant.
So this summer, I rectified my mistake by visiting the Midtown East location with my girlfriends and our boyfriends.  It was probably happy hour time, which explains the extremely noisy ambiance.  I wasn't a fan of having to shout our conversations, but the delicious…

Ellary's Greens

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This summer, one of my girlfriends was on a very health-conscious diet, which was great for her but difficult for us to pick places to eat.  One of the places we discovered turned out to be a great find right around the NYU area - Ellary's Greens.  The restaurant has opened just recently and has a shiny awe-inspiring ambiance.  You feel like you're sitting under the canopy in a rainforest: a green metal trellis filters the light down through leaf-shaped cut-outs.  The menu has a variety of vegan, vegetarian, and omnivorous options.
The first time we ate here, I had the stuffed zucchini with quinoa and yogurt and the chicken sandwich with arugula and lemon ricotta.  The stuffed zucchini looked like vegetarian sushi.  It was light and refreshing, although it lacked any flavor of yogurt and instead came on a pool of tomato sauce.  I'm not a big fan of quinoa but having it stuffed in the zucchini masked the texture well.  
The sandwich was pretty good too.  I loved the additi…

Brooklyn Crab

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I am very grateful for the opportunity to have eaten at Brooklyn Crab with Alex's family a little while back.  I still think back at that dinner fondly and wish I had someone who could drive me to Red Hook at the drop of a hat.
Brooklyn Crab is a really dive-y restaurant out in Red Hook. It literally looks like a shack on a beach, with mismatched furniture and surf boards, fishing bait and tackle, and a big plastic shark hanging off the walls.  The tables are nothing more than picnic benches with paper plates and a roll of paper towels.  There are bottles of hot sauce lining the tables and booths so you can grab any of dozens of varieties to season your seafood to taste.  The wide-open windows afford a beautiful view of Manhattan, especially breathtaking at sunset!


We did a bit of family-style dining with appetizers, and I had a fish sandwich for my meal.  We shared peel-and-eat shrimp, fried oysters, fried calamari, and fried clam strips.  My culinary companions had a big crab bak…

Egg Rolls & Egg Creams

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A couple of weeks ago, Alex and I had the unique pleasure of celebrating the merging of Chinese and Jewish cultures (sort of like looking into a mirror haha) at the Museum at Eldridge Street in Lower East Side/Chinatown.  The Egg Rolls & Egg Creams street festival was really cute and I got to see a little slice of New York City history that normally would be a well-kept secret.


The Museum at Eldridge Street is a beautifully restored synagogue.  The street fair was laid out in the street outside the temple, with booths for face-painting, yarmulke-painting, paper-fan-making, and most importantly, egg-roll-and-egg-cream-eating.  I learned the important craft of making an egg cream today (not as professionally as if I had, say, a soda fountain): chocolate syrup (U-Bets), milk, seltzer, and stir!


The inside of the museum is gorgeous.  It's pretty small, being a building in the cramped LES, but the space is illuminated by beautiful stained glass that, to me, looks out of place in a…

Kittichai

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Back when I had an epic foodventure at Fatty 'Cue, we were having a hard time deciding between that and another unlimited-drinks brunch place, Kittichai.  The two establishments are as opposite on the spectrum as they can be in terms of decor and style, but actually share some commonalities.  Both draw on Asian influences.  Fatty 'Cue mixes in some fish sauce and cilantro and that sort of thing into the otherwise all-American barbecue.  Kittichai turns all-American brunch specialties into Asian-American brunch specialties (often, it just requires a little curry to spice things up).
Kittichai is down in swanky Soho amidst the hotels and boutiques.  The decor is pretty sexy: the vestibule is decked out with brightly-lit colorful orchids in glass jars, and the dining room is very dark, illuminated by spare lights overhead and behind the booths.  The middle of the dining room has a giant reflecting pool and a big Buddha sitting on it.

















I had an omelette with a variety of fillings …

Winegasm

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What better things are there in the world than some wine, bread, meat, and cheese?  Most fondue experiences incorporate these guilty pleasures, as was the case at Winegasm in Astoria, Queens.  Winegasm is a tapas/fondue place that offered a Groupon (yay) so we headed out there for our fill of melted stuff and dip-able stuff and booze.
The ambiance was kind of nice at first: very rustic bar scene with a few tables.  Nice and romantic when they put on the mood lighting, but once the live music started up, it got a little too loud and a little too country for my taste.
The Groupon deal included a glass of wine with your meal and a glass of wine with dessert, so I had a Riesling and prosecco.  Winegasm prides itself on serving local, organic, and sustainable wines.  The Riesling was surprisingly good: sweet, with a smooth finish.  The prosecco was tasty, too, except it smelled a little like generic bathroom hand soap.  We had a cheese fondue with bread, apples, prosciutto, bresola, speck…

Maison

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Another venture into the cuisine that is "brunch".  Particularly, drunk brunch, everybody's favorite!  Right in the middle of the theater district, there is a place that is open 24 hours and specializes in the food of Brittany, France.  I'm not sure if they would call themselves a diner, restaurant, brasserie, or whatever else, but that's Maison for you.  We had brunch on a beautiful Sunday morning, seated outside under their big orange umbrellas.  All around us were theater-goers and theater workers (topics of conversation overheard included performing as a background singer/dancer at the Tony Awards) and tourists arriving by the bus-full.
Our waitress was a pretty woman with a heavy French accent (was it authentic or was it for show?) and looked exactly like Maya Rudolph.  Alex had the Maison burger with herb fries and I had the Farmer's Egg Cocotte.  I was confused when they brought out my entree - which I thought would be shaped like an omelette because i…

Brooklyn Bowl

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Don't ever invite me to go bowling with you.  You can, however, invite me to go have dinner at a bowling alley.  All the way up in Williamsburg, there is a bowling alley and sometimes-concert hall called Brooklyn Bowl.  They are famous for delectable soul food, and writing about it really makes my soul yearn for more.  During our visit, we ordered pork rinds and a mixed platter of fried chicken.
The pork rinds were unlike anything I'd ever had before: what look like those pork rinds that come out of a bag, but heaped with crumbled feta and scallion and red onion and lime and cilantro.  The rinds were warm and airy and nice and crunchy. It's kind of hard to describe the taste and texture of pork rinds, but I would liken them to those styrofoam-y shrimp chips you get in Chinese restaurants (I don't mean styrofoam to be an insult here; I love those things).  The toppings made the pork rinds pretty fantastic - salty, greasy, and crunchy like all my favorite snacks.

On Cruise Food

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So here we are, a while later and a couple of shades tanner.  I would have said I'm a few pounds heavier, too, but weirdly I lost a pound even after gorging on food during our vacation - a cruise on the Norwegian Gem down to Florida and the Bahamas.  It was fun and relaxing and, most importantly, going back to work on Monday made me wish I had missed the ship at one of the ports of call and "accidentally" gotten stuck there forever.


Cruise food is notorious for a few things.  First, it is very easy to overindulge because most cruise lines have 24-hour restaurants or buffets or snack bars.  Second, it is very easy to overindulge on mediocre food 24 hours a day.  Third, I dunno if it's any correlation, but both my parents came back from our last cruise with alarming notices of essentially pre-diabetes blood sugar levels from the doctor.




























I really enjoyed the food on my first cruise.  This time, overall, I thought the food on this cruise was pretty good.  I'm not as…