Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year's Wish

Happy and delicious New Year to you!
I've been spending the remaining days of 2010 reading all about food trends - what's in and what's out. And while the pundits are praising this and that, here's my simple New Year's wish to all my food loving readers:


Take time to sit down and enjoy them with someone. Whether it's eating a family meal, or organizing potlucks with your co-workers or Skyping over cookies with your long distance partner, just do it. Breaking bread with others is such a powerful connector. Be curious about what you are eating and embrace variety. Food is one of life's greatest and essential pleasures. Dig in deep. Happy, healthy 2011 to all.

And thank you so much for sharing your time with KikaEats.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Welcome to Goat Town

Hello, Goat Town!
Oh, what a welcome awaits at Goat Town. The kind of welcome that lured me back two days in a row. That's how much I love this new East Village restaurant from Nicholas Morgenstern, of Brooklyn's The General Greene.

Where in the world did the name come from? Apparently, it's the wry literal translation of 'Gotham.'

Bright and sunny by day, warmly candlelit by night, it's the kind of neighborhood restaurant that is perfect for any meal. It's all in the detail. The dining room is beautiful and kudos to the design team, brothers Evan and Oliver Haslegrave,who transformed the former Butcher Bay space. A weathered copper bar, the coolest white tiled booths and arched tin ceiling compliment the open kitchen and raw oyster bar centerpiece. Fresh amaryllis are everywhere. Even the loo has style. Not to mention the eclectic tunes.

Artful French toast
The American bistro serves a classic but creative menu from chef Joel Hough (formerly of Cookshop). Brunch highlights include a N'Orleans scramble with tasso ham and oysters ($13), and a semolina raisin French toast with New York maple syrup ($12). Dinner entrees feature arctic char with caramelized cauliflower ($22) and haddock fish + chips ($18).

Beer + burger special - a killer deal
A steal is the happy hour beer and burger special ($14). A generous cheese burger comes brimming with crispy thick cut fries, pickled onion and a side of delicious homemade horseradish-garlic mayo.

Goat Town embraces yard-to-table eating. The empty back yard is being converted into a vegetable garden (they may add a farm table for dining too) and there are plans to butcher meat in house as well. Even the desserts are made on site. Just come by.

511 E. 5th St, between Avenues A + B. 212 687 3471

Goat Town on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today's Secret Ingredient: Dried Mint

Everyone knows the refreshing taste and aroma of fresh mint. In the winter months, dried mint is especially useful and tasty in hearty soups. The heat releases the heady scent and flavor of the leaves. My favorite winter soup is my mother's red lentil with dried mint. Simple, delicious, and beautiful.

Selva's Red Lentil Soup

Flavorful dried mint
Serves 2-3

1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup red lentils (Whole Foods sells in bulk), rinsed thoroughly
4 cups water
2-3 medium shredded carrots
juice of one lemon
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon crushed dried mint (rub in palms to crush finely, removing any stalks)
salt to taste

In a 2-quart pan, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil til soft. Add rinsed and drained red lentils, water and shredded carrots. Stir. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, until thick. During last five minutes of cooking, add the lemon juice, cumin and dried mint. Add salt to taste. Puree if desired. Serve immediately. Suitable for freezing.

Red lentils

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Best Hot Chocolate in Soho

Extra thick hot chocolate

It’s a good thing French confectionery MarieBelle in Soho sells edible treats and not priceless baubles. Otherwise, I’d be broke. Everything looks like an elegant gem, beautifully packaged and irresistible. One item worth every luxurious calorie is the prepared hot chocolate (you can purchase the cocoa mix too). Served in the tiny back room Cacoa Bar + Tea Salon, it’s a guilty pleasure to experience away from the maddening Soho crowd this holiday season.  Sit down and indulge. While they offer half a dozen tempting options including mocha and spicy blend, go straight for the dark 70% cacao. A small cup ($6.50) is more than enough, and so rich you eat it with a spoon. How’s that for pure indulgence?

484 Broome St., between Wooster and W. Broadway, 212 925 6999

Treats galore