Things That I Love: Smorgasburg @ Coney Island

This post can be a hit or a miss because the Smorgasburg that they have here in Coney Island is not as exciting as the one they have in the city or Brooklyn.

don’t get me wrong, they’re still worth to give a shot — if you don’t mind traveling that far to the very tip end of D,F,N, and Q lines in BK.

Anyhow, I was a very good mood sometime last summer when boo had this sudden idea of exploring Coney Island and try Smorgasburg there for din-din. I was of course happily obliged because i would then have the chance to try the famous home frites and its’ sauces. It’s not like i am lazy or what to go to Coney by myself; if you have school/work and very little timing to go here and there then you’ll def know what i am talking about.

enough with the rambling.

So boo and I decided to split off from the folks (they went somewhere else) and we head straight to the Smorgasburg section. We were quite confused because at one point, there was not too many helpful signage regarding to the Smorgasburg itself but in the end we found it because of our curiosity with the art installment that they had behind the black fences nearby Nathan’s.

we noticed couple of the open containers (yes the Smorgasburg booths used colorful containers) but got literally disappointed because some of the booths were already closed. it seemed kinda strange because we were there like around 6ish in the evening even though we were aware about the early closing time. I dragged boo around in order for us to find Home Frite and finally we found their booth near the back of the section.

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We decided to order one portion of truffle fries together with lemon garlic aioli sauce and an extra chipotle ranch sauce. we kinda regretted the latter because apparently the portion of the lemon aioli was quite a lot and we had to toss the other one away. the fries were fried to perfection — golden, crispy, juicy, delicious and the truffle really made an extra yummy kick to it. they also served the fries with grated Parmesan and herbs so to me, even without the sauce the fries were already delicious! I believe it costs like around $9ish for the truffle fries but this is the type of fries you will definitely want to splurge because it is different than the regular fries you will see at regular diner or restaurant. and yes, it’s all made with local and organic ingredients.

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So after the fries, we were kinda excited to try another booth but unfortunately some of them were closed (or either running out of the foods and ingredients) so the only thing favored our eyes was the Red Hook Lobster Pound booth. Boo decided to order the Lobster Roll while I wanted to try the Shrimp Roll. Lucky for me, they said that I got the last available shrimp roll of the day. Hmm.. talk about being lucky 😀

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I had Red Hook‘s lobster roll last spring when I visited their booth at Broadway Bites in Garment District so I already knew how they tasted (which was still awesome btw — had to take a bite from boo’s again LOL) but the shrimp roll was something i was kinda looking forward because i wanted to see how big the portion was. turns out, wow, they really put a lot of shrimp in the rolls. and it tasted so havenly, i mean, really really delicious! the texture was juicy and fresh and the shrimps were cooked in perfection. together with the warm bread, scallion, a dash of seasoning — man they really made my day! although i am more of a lobster roll person but now i think if i am not on my budget, i can always stick to Red Hook’s shrimp roll 😉

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And yes, they also had the art installment inside the Smorgasburg so if you like contemporary and modern arts paintings then this is definitely a good place for you art lovers out there. hey it’s not MoMA but eh free arts never hurt anybody, right?! 🙂

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As of right now (10/23/2015) Smorgasburg Coney Island is still open so you might want to check them out before the cold winter is here. 🙂

Smorgasburg @ Coney Island
Address: 1320 Bowery St (at Stillwell Avenue)
Hours: Thursday – Sunday 1 – 10 PM
Nearest Transit: Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue D,F,N,Q trains, Brooklyn and Manhattan buses: B68, B74, B64, B82, B36, X28*

*) ps: please note that X (express) bus only goes to and from Manhattan on weekdays. the fare is not the same as regular bus/subway.

Yours Truly 🙂

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When In Doubt: Cafe Reggio

Warning: this is definitely a tease for those of you sweet tooth peeps out there. as for me, well i fell in love with this place because of the history and the beverage selection. 😉

So boo and I were (again) at West Village area sometime 2 weeks ago and we decided to spend our entire night on restaurant hopping. we started with the delicious Indian food from Mirch Masala (i will write about this later on — of course if i remember lol) for dinner, then followed with amazingly delightful dessert from I-CE NY (again, i will write about this sometime next week :D), and ended with a conversation and treat at Cafe Reggio.

For some of you who are not familiar with MacDougal street, well this is sorta the ‘hip’ area around NYU where plenty of old restaurants, bars, and cafes are located. Of course some of them are brand new but few of the oldies stand still and they retain their uniqueness without having to say ‘adieu’ to the younger generation. I challenged boo for another midnight snack at Cafe Reggio and he agreed to participate.

We arrived around 1 AM and we were greeted by the waitress who told us that we could choose wherever we wanted to sit. There was an empty table right by the dessert window display and as if on cue, boo and I immediately sat on that spot. we scanned through the menu and we decided to just eat light. Boo chose the iced mint tea while i opted for the darjeeling tea and a slice of Napoleon to share.

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LOOK AT THOSE BISCUITS, CAKES, AND PIES — thank God i am not a sweet tooth! LOL

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stepped back into the 1920s 🙂

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our supper for the night 😀

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hello handsome 😉

 

The napoleon was pretty tasty — reminds me of the Napoleon i used to have when boo bought me some from the authentic Italian bakery in Brooklyn. Well, he is Italian after all so he could sneeze right away on some of the Italian pastries whether they are legit or not. However, i wish the texture could be a lil bit more softer but other than that, it was worth the money and the bite. The darjeeling tea was of course in perfection – i am a fan (a devout to be precise) of Darjeeling and i could tell if the tea came from a good brand or not. I did not need any sugar for the tea. Boo said he really enjoyed his mint tea. I tasted his tea and it was pretty refreshing.

Actually I wanted to try their famous cappuccino but since it was already past midnight (and for some reason i avoid drinking caffeine after midnight — unless i wanted to have an insomnia later on) so i decided to just save it for some later day. aside from cakes and tea, they also offer some light savory snacks such as panini and sandwiches. I saw couple of people actually ordered sandwiches and from my POV, it really was worth to try on. plus thing: they open early and close really really LATE like 4.30 AM so this is the place to go for you nocturnal creatures out there.

our bill came to just around $12 and i decided to tip the lady because she was such a nice waitress (and really was). man, i overheard she had had 4 lattes she said in order to wake her up for night shift! such a dedication!

P.S.: bathroom is super tiny here. if you like to stay for a long time with your laptop and are not a fan of cramp place then i suggest to look for loo some place else.

P.P.S: Cafe Reggio is the first cafe in the U.S. to serve cappuccino. how cool is that?! well, they are established since 1927. 😉

P.P.P.S: they also offer breakfast and brunch!

Cafe Reggio
Address: 119 Macdougal St, New York, NY, 10012
Phone: 212-475-9557
Hours: 8 AM – 4.30 AM
Dollar meter: $-$$

Yours Truly 🙂

Sharing Is Caring: What I Cook At Home

Hello again, sorry for the hiatus.

Seems that I need to bring my Surface wherever I go. LOL. I have been so lazy in blogging I feel like just telling you guys to follow my Instagram instead of relying for stories about the food here.

Say no more, I will definitely update this blog with mouth-watering delicacies. 🙂

Anyhow, as somebody who has been living in NYC for more than 4 years, I always get question like how the heck do I cope with the not-so-cheap cost of living here especially when they see how often I actually get out to try different foods like every day. Or something like: are you a food writer or food journalist or food photographer everytime I go to a certain place and spend at least what it feels like eternity for some others when I take pictures that I am about to eat.

The answer is: well, NO, i am not a food writer nor a food journalist / photographer (although I have been thinking of this profession after i finish my graduate school) but I consider food as my passion. It seems like there is this uncertain feeling i can’t describe whenever I look at a picture of a food or watching a food related show or even when i cook at home; the euphoriac feeling or even more daring to say — orgasmic.

there you go, I said it. orgasmic.

and when i take a picture of the food then eat it and feeling satisfied and leave the place happy, that’s when the #foodgasm occurs to me. but alas, it even happens way before i try the food sometimes so please bear my inappropriateness 🙂

okay, enough rambling… (see, rambling does make a post longer LOL)

the other answer for another question is: budgeting. what i mean by budgeting is you have to know how much you are willing to spend per day in order for you to satisfy your appetite. like for example, i know couple of people who always eat out every day and they barely cook at home because apparently they don’t know how to cook so they just eat out whether it’s at a restaurant/bar/cafe/to-go place. and this means that they actually have the budget to eat out every day. my food budget is pretty simple: i balance every single thing. like for instance, i will eat out for lunch some days but for dinner, i will cook later at home. or vice versa. and then for some places that are kinda pricey (with a $$$ or $$$$ label next to it), i will make a bookmark and separate the money needed for that place later in savings. sometimes some places need a one to two months reservations in advance so i always make sure i have the time for the available date.

budget wise? tbh, for cooking at home i always make sure that my budget does not exceed $200 per month. there are times when my budget actually below $200 especially when the meals are the cheap and easy to make one; spaghetti/linguine/fried rice for example.

with that being said, I am going to share what I eat when I cook at home:

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Indonesian style fried chicken with simple fried rice

Fried rice is my go-to meal whenever I do not have enough time to cook or when I am in my lazy mood. sometimes when i have plenty of spare time, i make fried chicken which i pair with a simple fried rice. recipe for the fried chicken is from here while for the fried rice i normally use this type of packet mix.

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Bakmi ayam (Indonesian chicken noodles) with pangsit goreng (fried wonton)

back when I used to live in Indonesia, bakmi ayam is like a guilty pleasure of mine. I could always eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even when i just feel like having one for a snack. lol. so the only way to satisfy my craving is to make my own. i used this recipe which is definitely the easiest one; the authentic one with the soup and everything takes forever to prepare. as for the fried wonton, well i used grounded pork and shrimp that i wrapped inside a wonton sheet and then i deep fried them.

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easy chicken alfredo

This one does not need any recipe actually. kinda like a cheap meal that you can make practically by buying all the ingredients at the supermarket. I used farfalle pasta while the sauce is from Newman’s own.

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ground beef with tortilla, guacamole, salsa, and cheese

I considered this to be one of the easy meal whenever i do not have time. I used the taco mix from Old El Paso. I always make guacamole from scratch so everytime i buy avocado to make guacamole for next day lunch/dinner, i normally get the one that is 1-2 days from their riping time (unless i am making the guacamole that same day then i will buy the already ripe/soft one).

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Sate ayam (chicken satay) with peanut sauce and shredded garlic chili

When I have plenty of time, I will make this finger-licking-good snack. Of course this is not the authentic ‘you-can-find-them-everywhere-in-Indo’ version but with a good oily peanut sauce and some shredded chilli, eh why not! This recipe is the closest one to the authentic sate ayam I used to enjoy back home.

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gyu don with beni shoga, pickled radish, and soft boiled egg

I made this using Ochikeron’s recipe. did a little bit of modifications here and there especially with the beef part but turned out good.

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linguine in clam sauce with clam, basil, thai bird chillies, and some grated cheese

another easy to make meal that can be done in less than 20 mins. i admit that this is not the authentic linguine in clam sauce you will get at the authentic mom-and-pops Italian place but you will thank me later! i used Snowy’s clam sauce and clam juice for the basic sauce while the chillies are added because sometimes i just want a lil bit of heat 😀

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honey garlic chicken wings

I used the recipe from DanSeto and I added a lil bit of chillies and scallios for extra heat and flavor! 🙂

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fish tacos with bok choy, dill sauce, and guacamole

another take of easy to make meal. i used quinoa herb and crusted fish from Dr Praeger’s for the filling inside with a dill sauce i got normally from Whole Foods. You can always pair them with guacamole and stir fried veggie; in this case i cooked bok choy stir fry with carrot and chilli.

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linguine in clam sauce with prawn, clam, and scallion

same recipe like the other linguine except with the addition of jumbo prawn.

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chicken tenders with chilli peppers

originally i wanted to make the chicken tenders using the recipe from Nigella here but in the end i used Food Wishes’ recipe instead to marinade and deep fry them. If you have kids and they are picky eaters, i guarantee they will love this meal! (chilli peppers are optional)

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beef burger with some side salad and sweet potato

Burger is something that you can easily make at home and you don’t have to be fancy with the presentation. I actually bought the side salad from local supermarket but the sweet potato fries I actually made them myself. as for the burger, check on your local groceries cause sometimes they have promotions for angus beef patties. I got mine in a package of 4 for around $7ish. i always put onion, lettuce, american cheese, and tomato inside my burger. the sauce is just plain mix of ketchup and mayo.

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steak with sauteed green beans

Now, I am still learning when it comes to cooking the perfect medium rare for my steak (i like it medium rare, rare is okay sometimes but it has to be from a very good steak place) but yes, on certain occasion i do make steak which i always pair with a sauteed green bean. i used Gordon Ramsay’s method and it did work!

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spicy maple chicken wings

As soon as I saw the recipe from Curtis Stone’s news page, I knew I had to make it. Depends on how your taste bud can handle the hot level, you can definitely make this with habanero flavored hot sauce. 😉

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bakso babi udang goreng (Chinese-Indo fried pork shrimp meatballs)

Another snack that I can literally eat tons of them and still want for more. lol. I used the recipe from here which I modified a lil bit. My dad made this at least once a month back home for afternoon snack. there are tons of variations on how to prepare the meatballs. it is so freakin delicious it’s kinda unhealthy in some way 😛

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bakmi babi (ground pork noodles with scallion – Indo style)

I used the same recipe with the chicken noodle to which I substitute the protein with ground pork. (i am so sorry i am a sucker for pork lol)

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Shrimp fried rice

Now when Whole Foods has their special promotion on those big succulent juicy prawn, you know you definitely have to mix them in the fried rice! 😉

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rib eye steak with sweet potato

another lazy meal that is easy to make too! i cook steak at least once to twice a month at home and normally i will pair my steak with green beans or in this case, sweet potato fries. Tips: sometimes fancy market like Whole Foods discounted their steaks on certain times especially for sirloin or porterhouse. Unless you are feeding a family of 4 or more then I would suggest to look for bargains at their meat department.

Yes, I did not post every single thing that I cooked but hopefully this post can answer your curiosity or perhaps can actually motivates you to cook at home. And if you feel like saving, try buying certain products in bulk. for instance, if you want to make let’s say shrimp fried rice for tomorrow’s dinner and then you want to make something with shrimp (like shrimp scampi for other day) again with different menu then buy 1 LB or even 2 LBS. you can always freeze the shrimp until you want to use them later.

PS: this is solely based on how I cook for one person. some recipes might call for two portions.

Yours Truly 🙂