Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bowery Beef vs This Little Piggy

This Little Piggy's with homemade gravy...or Bowery Beef's with BBQ sauce
Tender roast beef. Makes my mouth waterrrrrrr. Since opening last year, the East Village's This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef has won raves and developed a cult following for it unforgettable roast beef sandwich (not to mention the best pastrami in town). Now newcomer Bowery Beef just entered the scene. Can someone say throwdown?  

                                      This Little Piggy                         Bowery Beef
Roast Beef                     homemade + hand cut                  homemade + hand cut

House Specialty             housemade gravy                         prepared bbq sauce
Cheese Options             cheez wiz or mozzarella                white American
Onions                           slow roasted au jus                       raw
Bun                                locally baked egg roll or hero          packaged soft roll
Other Sandwiches         outstanding homemade                  coming soon
Sides                             homemade macaroni and                no
                                      potato salads, hand cut fries,
Eat-in Dining                  limited counter top                         yes
Delivery                         yes                                               no (but catering offered)
Inside charming Bowery Beef
While both shops offer first-rate roast beef and passion to match, the difference is in the detail. At Bowery Beef, located in the front of Bowery Poetry Club, the staff is certainly affable and energetic, and wants to make sure you’re happy too. Co-owner Ray Lemoine is the first to admit it’s still a work in progress: they ran out of plates on the first day and if you don’t eat roast beef, you're out of luck (although a vegetarian sandwich will soon be on the menu). However, there is no questioning the quality and taste of the hand cut, thinly sliced beef. Expert 'guerilla sandwich maker' Jonny Slice makes sure of it. Each bite melts in your mouth. Soft, squishy roll, piled high with house roasted beef, with or without American cheese and your choice of condiments: BBQ sauce, horseradish and mustard. And raw onions for the hard core.  

This Little Piggy owner Will Gallagher explained that in the six weeks before his shop opened to the public, he and his team were testing and perfecting every menu item. It's clearly paid off. The menu, while small, is well thought out, the seasonings pretty perfect, even the locally made rolls were chosen to have enough heft to hold the gravy. Order your generous, mouth watering sandwich with onions and you get a delicious dollop caramelized in pan juices. Basic sides, including homemade macaroni and potato salads, are nothing but basic. Hand cut fries smothered in homemade, silky gravy are addictive. 
I say go do your own taste test. 
This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef                                     Bowery Beef
149 1st Ave.                                                                  308 Bowery
212 253 1500                                                                 212 260 3300
sandwiches $5.50 - $12.50                                              sandwiches $5-$6
Bowery Beef on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Instant Broccoli Magic

Transform broccoli drab...
 I find broccoli one pretty unexciting vegetable unless you combine it with a calorific cheesy sauce or in a Chinese stir fry. While the florets are tasty roasted in simple olive oil, salt and pepper, the best part of this veggie from the cabbage family often goes right in the garbage: the stalk.

Once peeled, the inside of the fat stem is fleshy, soft and juicy. Grated, it makes an instant, refreshing salad. Just drizzle with olive oil, a good squirt of lemon or lime juice for tang, my secret ingredient dried mint, and salt to taste. You'll never want to waste it again.

...to fab

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Exotic Valentine

Be my Valentine
I recently went to my first henna tattoo party to celebrate my friend Christine's pregnancy. As artist Sandy Patangay deftly created an exquisite freehand design on Christine's 8-month old baby bump, she explained that she also takes her brush to an edible canvas designing specialty cakes and cupcakes.

How ingenious!

Exquisite freehand detailing

These cakes are beyond stunning. If only President Obama had presented one when he hosted the Prime Minister of India for dinner at the White House. Talk about show stopper.

Too pretty to eat
Self-taught Sandy grew up in Hyderabad, India, with a tradition of henna artistry in her home. She started her Manhattan henna design business in 2000 with an order from the Museum of Natural History. Two years ago, at the urging of clients who marveled at her design skills and surgeon's precision, she took her Soho-based Henna Studio to the next level, creating edible art. It took practice, practice, practice to get the consistency of the ink, a blend of edible dyes and powdered sugar, perfect.

Three-tiered cakes take about 4-5 hours to decorate and start at $200. And while her current market for henna 

designed cakes is South Asian weddings (wedding cakes are still a Western concept, but increasingly more common in modern Indian weddings), it's only a matter of time before these inspired, one-of-a-kind creations are all the rage. Not to mention the bejeweled cupcakes. Did you hear that, Magnolia Bakery?

Capture her heart with these gems

Henna Studio Inc
424 Broadway at Canal St, 2nd Fl.
917 587 2616

Images: Matt Cohen/Matte Design
Cupcakes: Parul Patel/The Cake Designer