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Eats, drinks, and mi vida loca

I know.  I've been the worst food blogger on the planet.  It's been like three weeks since my last post and, trust me, I'm feeling the guilt.  But, you know me, when I get stressed or down-in-the-dumps, I refrain from writing.  And a lot of crap has happened over the past few weeks.  Nothing unbelievably crazy or negative, but just enough shiz to make me take a step back and hibernate, if you will. 

But I hate drama and petty personal rants - especially on blogs - so I'm going to stop bitching.  And, instead, start writing about some awesome discoveries I've experienced - and tasted - recently.  Because they're just too delicious and worthwhile not to share!  So, without further ado, enjoy and have a fantastic weekend!


Brooklyn Kolache Co.

Back in college, a frienemy of mine used to make a homemade savory version with jalapeno, cheese, and sausage.  And, while I had never seen or heard of a kolache prior to my time as a co-ed, I quickly fell hard for these historically Czechoslovakian treats.  Suffice to say, it was "love at first bite."

In paying tribute to the many Texas expats in my Mexican food Meetup group, I decided to host July's monthly get-together at Brooklyn Kolache Co

Flavors range from from the savory, such as bacon, egg, and cheese, to sweet, like lemon curd

Of those that I sampled, my favorite kolache was, without a doubt, the pimento cheese.  Its warm and squishy exterior reminded me of a crazy cross-breed of a brioche bun and a potato roll.  With density.  This gave way to a creamy interior that was laced with cheddar cheese nibs and the slightest hint of spice.  Dynamite!

Although it's a bit of a hike from Manhattan, I would definitely consider Brooklyn Kolache Co. to be "destination worthy."  As an added bonus, the venue boasts an intimate outdoor space for al-fresco dining.  NYC weather permitting, of course.  :)


Courtney Paul, my favorite instructor at Barry's Bootcamp

"Girl, I will fcuk you up!"  That's just one of my favorite Courtney-isms that is yelled out in class.  Directly in to his microphone for the rest of the students to hear.  As he simultaneously stares you down.  Yep, Mr. Paul is my kind of instructor.  He's ruthless and feisty.  He challenges you until you think you cannot be challenged anymore.  And, for god's sake, he's intimidating as hell.  I mean, look at him!

Photo found at "Well + Good"Aside from being easy on the eyes, Mr. Paul is one of the funniest people I know.  And, between you and me, I'm convinced that, deep down, he's a squishy marshmallow that wouldn't harm a fly.  But, when it comes fitness, he certainly doesn't fcuk around.

Whether you're a Barry's regular that's never had a class with Courtney - or a Barry's virgin who has no idea what you're in for - I highly recommend snagging a coveted spot in one of Mr. Paul's classes.  "Work!"


Sophie's Cuban Cuisine

Of all of the places I could have gone for lunch on my birthday last week, I chose to have Sophie's deliver platters of their Spicy Grilled Chicken with yellow rice and black beans, Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with yellow rice and black beans, the 'Pernil with a Twist' sandwich, and the warm Guava and Cheese empanadas.  Split amongst three of us, of course.

Sophie's Spicy Grilled Chicken platter with yellow rice and black beansI'm obsessed with this place.  Even my Cuban coworker, Iris, considers Sophie's to be "muy authentico."  Now that's saying a lot. 



"I cannot believe that I've lived here for 9.5 years and have never been here!  This place is fantastic!" I exclaimed to one of the hostesses.  With nearly 3/4 of the venue boasting outdoor space, Gilligan's is the ultimate summer drinking destination.  Aside from its perfect Soho location, Gilligan's is situated on street level, meaning no elevator lines.  Plus, they have a classy food menu with dishes that actually sound - and appear - appetizing.  Not your typical greasy array of crap.  Think more along the lines of Yellowfin Tuna Crudo and grilled thin-crust pizzas.  Oh, and they also serve frozen *watermelon* margaritas that are quite addictive...


Sushi Dojo

Look, I'll be honest, when I learned that the chef was a gringo, I had my doubts.  I mean, what the heck could he possibly know about Japanese technique, in terms of, well, anything?  Granted, Chef David Bouhadana did have ten years of culinary experience - and three of those spent training in Japan.  But still...

With a beverage menu chock-full of sake, wine, and beer, I chose - believe it or not - a glass of Merlot that was recommended to me by the 'house expert.'

Although our appetizers were tasty - lightly-fried eggplant marinated with dashi, deep fried soft shell shrimp, lightly-blanched greens and mushrooms in a light soy dashi broth - it wasn't until I sampled the sushi that I realized just how incredibly talented the Chef was. 

"May I have some more wasabi?" Kate asked our server.  The employee explained that it was already atop the rice - as was the soy sauce.  The only item that accompanied the sushi was tendrils of ginger. 

Not a single piece of fish in our sushi assortment tasted more than a handful of hours' old.  Each pristine slice was delicately painted with salty soy sauce and freshly-grated wasabi.  The sticky rice, perfectly-cooked and served just above room temperature, evoked a subtle hint of vinegar.

But my most favorite aspect of the entire meal was the fatty tuna with scallions roll.  Never in my entire life have I tasted minced tuna that was more buttery or fresh.  This roll, quite literally, took my breath away.  In fact, I just may have to return this weekend for another fix.  Heck, Sushi Dojo could become part of my weekly repertoire!


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle     

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Reader Comments (2)

Lindsey! Thanks so much for bringing me as a guest! I had a great time and absolutely love that you mentioned me asking for wasabi. I remember how remiss they were to miss that AND THEN it was already in it! Brilliantly awesome and different than it's competitors.

I think I said, "Oh my God" about 15 times during the sushi person LOL

Thanks to everyone there for making it a lovely experience. The service was spot on :)

August 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Hello Lunch Belle! Thank you for all the great recommendations this week! One that specifically stuck out to me was the margaritas and Gillian's. The drinks look delicious! I took a peek at the menu and when I return back to NYC I will be sure to try it. Being a NY resident there are so many places I want to go to and try, but I never have the time! I will make sure to put Gillian's on my place to visit though.

October 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJordyn

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