northern spy food co.

I brunched with a couple friends not too long ago at Northern Spy Food Co. This East Village restaurant’s menu focuses on local and seasonal ingredients. The space isn’t the largest, but it sure was nice and cozy on that Sunday afternoon.

Coffees, waters, and a blueberry mimosa were the drinks ordered by the table. To start the meal, we all split an order of their buttermilk biscuits. These were delicious. They came to the table still warm and were some of the best biscuits I’ve ever had.

slow-whisked scrambled eggs

A friend ordered the slow whisked scrambled eggs which came with Heritage bacon and pan bread. Another ordered the sausage, egg & cheese sandwich which used gruyere and a fennel-sage sausage. I went with the chicken & egg sandwich which had a crispy chicken thigh, a poached egg, and chimichurri sauce.

chicken & egg sandwich

Definitely enjoyed everything I had for brunch. After having the biscuits on their own, I’ve gotta order their biscuits and gravy next time!

Northern Spy Food Co.
511 East 12th Street
New York, NY 10009

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hill country chicken

If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll recall my visit to Hill Country. Since that visit, the same guys opened up Hill Country Chicken in Flatiron. I joined a couple friends for lunch there a couple weeks ago.

They offer two different kinds of fried chicken, Hill Country Classic or Mama Els’ Recipe. Classic is just how you’d expect and the Mama Els is fried chicken without the skin. I know that fried chicken without the skin sounds crazy. I definitely did.

classic in the foreground, mama els in the background

maker's mark bourbon pecan pie

I ordered a thigh of each kind. The classic was delicious with crispy, tasty skin and a juicy inside. The Mama Els was surprisingly great. It was so full of flavor that it didn’t even need the skin. Of course, I’ll probably choose the classic if I had to pick one though. In addition to the chicken, I got to try some of the pecan pie my friend got. Quite delicious as well. Did I mention that there was Maker’s Mark in it?

Hill Country Chicken
1123 Broadway
New York, NY 10010

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percy street barbecue

My father is a huge meat eater/lover and it was his birthday recently so I figured Percy Street Barbecue would be a great choice for his birthday dinner.

The restaurant has a casual feel – large tables with long benches to sit on, music playing at a reasonable volume, full height windows/doors slide open to let fresh air in when the weather is beautiful, which it was last week!

smoked chicken wings

For appetizers, we ordered smoked chicken wings and jalapeno-cheddar cornbread. The smoked chicken wings were served with okra and onion. I almost always pass on raw onion, it’s just too potent (unless it’s on a burger). The wings had good smoked flavor and I enjoyed the okra, despite bad okra experiences in the past. I was shocked that they served the full wing, all the way to the end. Not that this was a bad thing, just not used to it.

Now the jalapeno-cheddar cornbread. I love cornbread, and this was delicious. The cornbread was moist, had its characteristic sweetness, and was followed up by cheesiness and heat from the jalapenos. If I come here again, I’m definitely ordering that.

jalapeno-cheddar cornbread

There were six different meats on the menu: brisket, chicken, sausage, pork belly, pulled pork, and pork ribs. We all ordered the “double down” (no, not the KFC double down), which was a 1/4 lb. of 2 meats plus 2 sides. The standard platters come with a 1/2 lb. of meat and 2 sides. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any sausage. They actually didn’t have any for a week or so.

pork belly & ribs w/ sweet potatoes & coleslaw

Since we all got “double-down”s, all the meats were on the table and everyone got to try a little bit of everything. I personally chose the brisket and chicken, with sides of german potato salad and pinto beans.

Percy Street also offers three different sauces to accompany your meal: original, spicy, and sweet. The spicy I felt to be a tad too overwhelming and the original to be too boring. The sweet was my sauce of choice. Accompanying the meats were onions and pickles. The server also brought out a bunch of sliced white bread.

My favorites of the night were the chicken and pork belly. They were cooked perfectly and tasted great. I enjoyed my sides of potato salad and pinto beans too!

brisket & chicken w/ german potato salad & pinto beans

I’ve only had one other BBQ experience, excluding chain restaurants, back in February at Hill Country in NYC. I guess I enjoy BBQ, but it’s not something I go out of my way for. Percy Street is a great option down here in Philly and I’ll keep it in mind if I ever get a hankering for BBQ.

Have you been to Percy Street Barbecue before? What are your thoughts?

Percy Street Barbecue
900 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

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cooking: oven fried chicken

A month ago, I finally invested in a cooling rack. Never thought it would be useful until I wanted to make oven fried chicken. (I’ve tried before without a cooling rack and the results were not too great.)

The recipe I used is found here at CHOW. My only variation was that I just used chicken thighs. This came out great! The buttermilk, paprika, cayenne, hot sauce mixture really adds a lot of flavor in the end. That marinating time is crucial. Also, the corn flake crust gives a little touch of sweetness to each bite.

Definitely worth checking out!

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cooking: chicken marsala

I never recall having chicken marsala. Last week since I had some chicken breasts and leftover Marsala wine, I figured, “why not? let’s make some chicken marsala tonight.”

Since I’ve never made it before I did some googling and found two recipes which I kinda combined together…

Chicken Marsala
Adapted from Allrecipes and Epicurious

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded until 1/4″ thick
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1/2 stick butter (approx. 4 tablespoons)
1 cup flour (might have used more, don’t remember)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup Sherry wine
1/3 – 2/3 cup half and half
1 lb. button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

First, I mixed together the flour, oregano, salt & pepper (eyeball the salt and pepper). Dry the breasts and then dredge them in the flour until well coated and shake off excess.

Next, I heated a dutch oven (a large skillet should work fine too) over medium heat with the butter and oil. Once hot, I placed the chicken in and browned for about 3-4 minutes on each side. You may have to do this in portions (depending on your pan size). Add the mushrooms. Next, I poured in the Sherry and Marsala, deglazing the pan and making sure all the stuck browned goodness gets scraped off the bottom and sides of the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce until about 1/4 of the liquid is gone. Place your half and half in next and stir until well incorporated.

Adjust heat to medium/medium-low and simmer until chicken is cooked to 165­°. Make sure you add salt and pepper during the simmering. Tasting the sauce to your liking.

Once cooked, I served it over linguine.

Verdict: It came out well (I think). Since I don’t have any previous experiences with chicken marsala, it’s hard to compare what I made to how it should be. The only con was the sauce. It tasted just right in the pan, and once I poured it out over the noodles, the noodles took away a lot thus making the sauce seemed a tad on the bland side. I also think that the sauce should have been a little thicker than it was.

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