This past weekend, I went up to NYC to visit some friends and to attend an event for the 2009 Wine and Food Festival. Before hitting up the bars on Saturday night, my friends and I grabbed some dinner at S’MAC (stands for Sarita’s Mac and Cheese). There is a room for take-out and a room for dining in. We wanted to sit down but couldn’t due to the packed dining area.

Ever since I found out about this place, I’ve been dying to try it. Think about it. Mac and cheese is an amazing comfort food. A restaurant serving all different kinds of mac and cheese and allowing you to choose what kinds of cheese and mix-ins to put in! What a foodgasm!

Anyway, I got the Nosh size (the smallest) and my cheeses were gruyere and brie. The mix-in’s were andouille sausage, slab bacon, and shiitake mushrooms. There are so many choices for mix-in’s that I definitely woulda taken my time but my friends had ordered already and I was put on the spot. I don’t regret the choices I made though.

The mac and cheese looked great. It had a nice toasty, crisp top crust concealing creamy, delicious mac and cheese goodness underneath. Ahhh, I can’t wait till we meet again, S’MAC.

345 E 12th Street
New York, NY 10003

P.S. Sorry for the blurry photos, damn iPhone….

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cooking: vanilla cherry chocolate cookies

After many busy weekends, I finally had a chance to catch up with some DVR’d tv shows. I watched a couple episodes of Ask Aida with Aida Mollenkamp, one of them being an all cookie episode. I’m not much of a baker…at all… but at the end of this episode, I felt the need to make some cookies! They were pretty easy to make and definitely boosted my baking confidence. I’m definitely going to try baking more now…

Here’s the recipe. Also, there’s a typo and it doesn’t mention adding the vanilla extract, which should be added after the eggs.

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cooking: mushroom bourguignon

Yes, I saw Julie & Julia. I have never had beouf bourguignon prior to watching the movie and throughout the movie, they seemed to project Julia’s beouf bourguignon as the holy grail. Of course, I felt the need to try it after seeing it. I will save my first beouf bourguignon experience for a later post. Seems a little offtopic, but this is partial reason for why I made this choice.

So last night, I had no idea what I wanted to make (except for the fact that I wanted to make a meatless dish) so I scoured the internet and came across Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for mushroom bourguignon. Instantly, this was my chosen dish to make.

For the specifics of what I used, I used sherry, cremini mushrooms, whole wheat egg noodles, and I topped it with chiffonade-ed (does that make sense) Italian parsley EDIT 01/18/10: I also used cipollini onions instead of pearl onions. It wasn’t too difficult to make and it only took me a while because of prep. The mushroom bourguignon came out to be very tasty, though I think my ratio of pasta to sauce was rather high. I’m definitely going to have to make this again!


cooking: pollo alla cacciatora

So last month, I took a 3-Saturday Knife Skills class up at the French Culinary Institute in SoHo, NYC. It was a blast and I learned a lot of useful tips/tricks as well as some new recipes. Last night, I tried to recreate the pollo alla cacciatora I made two weeks ago (during class)…

I had a little bit of trouble. For one, I didn’t realize the chicken I bought was still partially frozen in the middle. Definitely delayed me when I was taking out the giblets and whatnot. As I started to quarter the chicken, I completely forgot what to do after the legs were off… I wanted to practice this more after I learned it, but when you’re in Harrisburg for the following three weeks for work, what are you gonna do you know?

The cooking wasn’t too difficult, just some searing, deglazing, and simmering. Took me about a little over an hour (due to my perfectionist attitude). It smelled damn good while searing the chicken – the garlic, rosemary, and Sauvignon Blanc giving off an amazing aroma throughout the house!

Aside from the previous difficulties, I managed to make a pretty tasty dish. Not quite up to snuff with the previous batch I made at the school, but it wasn’t bad. I served it here next to a bed of rice. I know it’s not a very pretty picture and plating isn’t really something I think about. Give me a break, haha.

Later today, I’m heading up to NYC for the 2009 Wine and Food Festival!

More posts to follow!


la kasbah!

Tonight, I went into Harrisburg to try Moroccan food for the first time. La Kasbah is located just off of 2nd Street. (The building is kind of recessed in, and even though you see the sign, you don’t see the restaurant unless you’re right in front of it – I definitely missed it the first time around.) It’s a family owned place run by a father and son from Casablanca.

La Kasbah’s dining space was very cozy and intimate. The walls were yellow/gold with scattered reds from the furniture, wall décor, and table napkins. Having two dishes in my mind already, my server helped me decide and I went with a lamb tagine with a side of couscous. The server came out in a couple of minutes with a basket of thin, warmed pita quarters with country crock (really?!) and harira (Moroccan soup). The pita was good, I didn’t use any country crock…just not crazy about that stuff. I figured there woulda been hummus or oil or something… The harira was tasty. There were chickpeas, lentils, and vermicelli in it. I would say that it had a minestrone sort of feel to it.

The lamb tagine and couscous came out in, well…tagines. Tagines are the clay pots which are used to cook the meal….hence the name. The fork tender lamb was fantastic. It was accompanied by caramelized prunes and topped with sesame seeds. I’m glad I left some pita to use to sop of some of the delicious goodness left in the tagine. The couscous was pretty good as well. At the end of the meal, the server had given me a Moroccan tea on the house. It consisted of green tea, mint, and orange blossom. I’m not quite the tea drinker, but I enjoyed this a lot. The Moroccan tea was a great way to close out the meal.

I’m definitely bookmarking this place for any future visits to Harrisburg.

P.S. – They also have bellydancing on the weekends!

La Kasbah
913 N. 2nd St.
Harrisburg, PA

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