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Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a NYC based food and travel website that views various dining scenes and destinations through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated thirty-something.

xoxo, 

Lindsay

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  • 4/28: dinner at Flex Mussels
  • 4/29: brunch at Atla
  • 4/30: NYMFLMG brunch at Rachel's Taqueria
  • 5/6: P&J's Derby party
  • 5/6: Derby Day at the Union League Club
  • 5/7: Liz's baby shower
  • 5/7: Adela's birthday at Roberta's
  • 5/26-5/29: Newport, RI
  • 6/23-6/25: Lissa's bachelorette
  • 6/29-7/4: Maine
  • 7/14-7/19: London
  • 8/31-9/5: Lissa's wedding in Hawaii
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Entries in Holidays and the City (24)

Tuesday
Apr072015

Recipe: Salted Caramel Matzo Brittle

"You should sell this stuff at the farmer's market!"

"I don't even like sweets, and this shit is amazing!"

"You're my hero!"

"I cannot stop thinking about that Matzo Brittle!"

"It's a Passover miracle!"

"You're a mensch!"

I've heard it all, folks: From every compliment in the book - to more Matzo Brittle bribes than you can imagine. I'm here to tell you that this recipe will make you a hero amongst anyone lucky enough to sample this magical, deliciously life-altering, Passover-friendly treat. Recipe inspired by my dear friend, Meghan Coyne, and based on my amended version of Christine Gallary's.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 sheets Salted matzo
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) Salted butter, cut in to large chunks
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a rimmed, full-sized cookie sheet with enough foil that it overlaps and you have to fold it under the edges. Arrange the matzo in a single layer on the baking sheet, breaking pieces as needed to fill any empty spaces. Set aside.
  3. Place butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to boil for 3 minutes, stirring occassionally. Remove from heat and add vanilla (pour slowly, as it may bubble up). Stir to combine.
  4. Pour caramel over matzo and spread it evenly using a rubber spatula or culinary brush. Make sure to coat each piece with caramel.
  5. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 7-10 minutes, until small bubbles cover the entire surface of the matzo and the caramel is fragrant.
  6. Remove from the oven. In a small bowl, combine both dark and milk chocolate chips and toss together. Sprinkle each piece of matzo with chocolate chips and set aside for 3-5 minutes to allow chocolate to soften.
  7. Using a rubber spatula or culinary brush, delicately spread the melting chocolate chips over the caramel. Sprinkle each piece of matzo with fleur de sel and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.
  8. Use care when removing the brittle from the foiled pan to ensure that no foil sticks to the bottom of the brittle. Break in to pieces and serve and/or freeze for later use.

 

...

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Friday
Nov012013

The Weekly Eater: Halloween edition

Happy belated Halloween, y'all!  I hope this post finds you well.  What did I do for the holiday, you ask?  Well, Lucy, my pup, and I handed out candy in our apartment building before I hit the town and went to a few parties.  As Scarlett O'hara.

Lucy, the ballerinaScarlett O'haraBut if I had more time, some good ol' fashioned creativity, and actually gave a chit about *not* recycling Halloween costumes, I would have taken a lesson from this young lady and rocked a Chanel purse!

Source: NY PostPretty fantastic, right?  On a more somber note, I cannot even begin to tell you how many obese pleasantly plump "slutty nurses" and scantily-clad "Wonder Women" I saw last night.  While I found them to be a sight for sore eyes, you've really got to hand it to these ample duds, because they have a hell of a lot more body confidence than I do.  Oh, and speaking of sluts, one of my favorite things to do on the morning after Halloween is to laugh at all of the festive "aftermath" from the night before...

Black bra laying on the floor at the Franklin Street subway stop. Someone had some fun while waiting for the train! Changing subjects, I've happened upon quite a few delicious finds - and revelations - this week.  And one of the best blog posts I've read, to date.  Check them out: 

Lotus Root

When sliced, this root vegetable reveals a white, starchy interior that's dotted with holes.  The texture is crunchy (think jicama) and the flavor, if any at all, is subtle enough that you can pair it with almost anything, sauce or protein-wise! 

Lotus root is common in various Asian cuisines, namely Chinese. 

Source: Joy HarariHan Dynasty

Beyond the friendly and knowledgeable staff, the evenly-paced service, the affordable prices, and the warm atmosphere, the food was damn near perfect.  At 6:30pm on a Monday night, the three of us only waited about seven minutes for a table which, considering Han Dynasty is one of the city's current hot spots, is pretty awesome. 

For appetizers, the three of us split wontons in chili oil, spicy crispy cucumbers, Dan Dan noodles, and scallion pancakes.

Wontons in chili oilSpicy crispy cucumbersDan Dan noodlesWe chose to split two entrees among the three of us:  Cumin lamb and "crispy rice shrimp."  While I enjoyed the lamb, I found the shrimp dish to be extremely underwhelming.  It was as if someone accidentally dumped the entire box of corn starch in to the sauce because it was so gelatinous and gloppy.  Blech!!

Cumin lambCrispy rice shrimpVandalism

What?  Sometimes vandalism is cool.  Or funny.  And in this case, it's both!

Spotted at the 8th Street subway stationMaoz Vegetarian

Do NOT let the word "vegetarian" scare you, because this place is a falafel whore's dream come true.  Imagine, if you will, homemade pita bread (your choice of wheat or white) filled with the most crispy, delicious falafel balls you've ever tasted.  And instead of your pita pocket being topped with boring iceberg lettuce and mealy tomatoes, there's a "do it yourself" filler bar just to your right.  Yep, a plethora of both fresh and pickled vegetables and house-made sauces.  Dynamite!

Shanghai Sogo

With both of my grad school classes starting at 6:45pm on week nights, I'm always on the prowl for a relatively portable, quick bite.  Luckily, there are a slew of food trucks lined up in front of NYU's business school, so there's actually plenty to choose from.  This week, I happened upon the Shanghai Sogo truck, as I could not help but turn in the direction of Akon blasting through its speakers.  Random.  "Ma'am, would you like to sample something?"  The friendly chef offered me a handmade pork/chive dumpling.  Unlike most versions that skimp, this particular dumpling was stuffed to the brim with the juicy, pork/chive filling.  "I'll take an order of six!"  I exclaimed.  Secretly, I wanted to order a dozen.  They were THAT GOOD - perhaps some of the best in the city!

This blog post about staying in NYC

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Thursday
Jul122012

A pre-Bastille Day cruise with Chef Marc Murphy

My mom always encourages me to "be a tourist in your own city."  And she's right.  To this day, I'm shamed to admit that I've never been to the following major NYC attractions:  Top of the Rock, Museum of Natural History, MoMa.  And those are just a handful.  Oh, did I mention that I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate museums? 

So, you can imagine how excited I was to learn about something a little more my style, if you will:  Every Tuesday evening, Benchmarc Events (owned by celeb chef, Marc Murphy) hosts a "Summer Cruise Series," featuring different themes (see postcard, below).  For $60, guests enjoy 2-hour's worth of unlimited assorted cocktails/wine/beer, Chef Marc Murphy's delicious food, and priceless views of NY Harbor.  Now, I don't know about you but, to me, that sounds like the ideal way to "be a tourist in my own city."   So much so, in fact, that two friends and I grabbed tickets for this past Tuesday's Bastille Day-themed cruise!

"Oh, that has to be it," I said, pointing to the line of beautiful people at the NY Waterway Pier (Battery Park City location).  And, sure enough, as we neared, a friendly Benchmarc employee approached and checked us in for the cruise.

While boarding the bi-level, open-air ferry, Nicole, Em, and I were offered ice cold Brooklyn Summer Ale.

How cute - and fitting - is her beret for Bastille Day?At 8:15pm on the dot, we set sail!  Cocktails began being poured atop the ferry's upper deck.     

I opted for the specialty cocktail, the Bastille Blanc:  Lillet, Limoncello, Soda, and Orange. 

We socialized and imbibed as the sun slowly set over Manhattan...

Me and my two Emily'sAnd passed by some breathtaking sites and urban-scapes...

Beautiful lower ManhattanJust after sunset, we headed to the lower deck and filled our plates with an abundance of delicious, French-inspired bites.

Merguez (lamb) sausageBoudin blanc and chicken sausage skewers, baguetteCold vichyssoise soup shots (potatoes, leeks, onion, cream, chicken broth)Croque monsieur!French cheese boardCrudite and fresh breadSweet & savory crepes!For dessert:  Hand-made pistachio macarons with salted caramel, strawberry macarons with dark chocolate (apologize for not having a photo - it was too dark to get a decent shot).    

And the piece de resistance?  Breathtaking (literally), magical views of lower Manhattan and Lady Liberty under the dark night's sky...

Freedom Tower is the building w/ blue lights!God bless America!Me with Chef Marc!

I had such an incredibly fun and delicious evening "being a tourist in my own city," that I've decided to return for July 31st's "Sparkling Wine and Swine" cruise.  As my birthday celebration!  Seriously, is there a better way to ring in (gasp) 32?  I don't think so... 

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Friday
May042012

Get your 'Derby hats on and your (margarita glass) bottoms up!

Dear readers,

Happy Friday to you all!  Tomorrow, May 5th, marks my most favorite holiday of the calendar year:  Cinco de Mayo!  And, while I'm not quite up to snuff on its significance or history, I will say that, in honor of whatever Cinco de Mayo represents, you can bet your ass that I will be partying - and eating - like a rock star.  And, speaking of partying, did you know that the Kentucky Derby *also* takes place tomorrow?  Whew, this is going to be one sloppy weekend!

Still trying to figure out your May 5th game plan?  Don't fret, because good ol' Grub Street came up with a list of awesome places to get your party on.  To 'Derby or to Cinco'?  Or to both?  That, my friends, is the million dollar question.

~

The Kentucky Derby is cool and all, but Cinco de Mayo is my thing.  So, if you find yourself in need of some delicious Mexican-centric recipe ideas, then check out some of my personal favorites, below:

  • The WORLD'S most delicious - and easy-to-make - margarita:  Trust me when I say that this is the LAST margarita recipe that you will ever need.  Aside from the fact that it is seamless to make, it tastes fresh, tart, and goes down as smooth as water.  I warned you! 
  • Chile con queso (Tex-Mex cheese dip):  I can guarantee you that there will not be a single drop left of this delicious, Tex-Mex cheese dip.  It is an overwhelming crowd pleaser and always wins the contest for most popular appetizer (...or, in my case, meal).
  • Calabacitas:  This is, without a doubt, my favorite vegetable side dish.  It incorporates sauteed zucchini, onions, chile, and tomatoes; proving to be the ultimate savory, zesty accompaniment to any Mexican entree.
  • Fideo (Mexican spaghetti):  “Fideo” is a Mexican version of spaghetti with tomato sauce, which we typically eat as a side dish.  Warm, garlicky, and robust, everyone will fall in love with this unique twist on traditional pasta.

So get your 'Derby hats on and your margarita glass bottoms up!

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Friday
Feb102012

An edible list: taking the proverbial "cheese" out of Valentine's Day

Oh god.  Here goes.  I'm writing this post because, to be perfectly honest, there are so many amazingly delicious items out there.  You know, things that - if I had a man of substance in my life - I would sincerely hope he'd have the wherewithal and/or know me so well and/or have immaculate-enough-taste to shower me with for Valentine's Day.  Are you hearing this, fella's?  Before you run out to CVS and buy her a cheesy Hallmark card and a heart-shaped box of Whitman's Samplers, please read my cheese-less V-Day list, below, first.  I promise that, if nothing else, you'll get lucky on February 14th.  Bam chikka bam bam!  Oh, and best of all?  Everything is under $100.  You're welcome. 

Alas, if you're single on V-Day this year, you can still look at the glass "half full."  How?  Make this dreaded holiday all about you.  Treat yourself to a 12-hour sweets binge/bender - using my guide, below - with the notion that you'll get back on track tomorrow.   

~

Alterna-dates / dating outside of the box

*Are you looking for an alternative to the traditional "dinner and drinks" Valentine's eve?  Head over to Milk & Cookies Bakery where, for just $30/couple, you will partake in an intimate baking experience by creating your own cookies!  Enjoy an hour of cookie creation with 1 pint of vanilla dough, a tray of mix-ins, and two drinks from the espresso bar!  They bake them and you take them home!  Call 212-243-1640 to make your reservation today!

*Still in the beginning stages of a relationship and unsure of her every culinary like and dislike?  Choose the best Valentine's Day restaurant based on your date's astrological sign!  Stop rolling your eyes, all of you horoscope haters, there is some truth to this!  I viewed my own sun sign, plus those of some of my exes and, it's pretty legit!  So after you have an incredible, "oh my gosh, how did you know that I would love this kind of place?" meal, you can thank me and the Huffington Post come February 15th.  

PS:  Make sure to check out this list of restaurants who are offering Valentine's specials and snag a reservation here!

Photo: Huffington PostBaked

*For the girl who's watching her waistline:  Miniature Meringue Kisses, Magnolia Bakery

*For the NYC-based Francophile:  The gift box of 6 macarons + Laduree-brand pink champagne, Laduree

*For the sassy Southern belle:  Conversation Hearts Petit Fours, Duane Park Patisserie

*Cupcakes take the cake!  Here are some Valentine's Day varieties from some of my favorite cupcakeries in town:

Single-and-ready-to-mingle and/or the broken-hearted hater

*Get wasted with other singles and, just maybe, find a date in time for V-Day!  New York's largest singles anti-Valentine's Day party - Saturday, 2/11 - Stitch NYC

*Zagat's list of "10 Restaurants/Bars Where You Can Meet Your Type"

*What you should be drinking on Valentine's Day, based on your status and mood

Cheers! I'll drink to him!~

Hate it or love it, V-Day is rapidly approaching.  Personally, the color red is blinding my eyes right now - I cringe every time I walk in to the drug store and happen upon the card and candy aisle - couples *everywhere* are making me want to run my nails down a chalkboard - and I can hardly wait until February 15th.  There, I said it:  I HATE Valentine's Day.  And, whether you're on my side or the lovey-dovey other, I hope that my list will lead you in the right and most delicious direction for your personal situation.

~~~

xoxo (blech) and until we eat again...

The Lunch Belle 

Thursday
Dec222011

Snapshots of NYC: all dressed up in "holiday"

Happiest holidays, dear readers!

Here are some seasonal snapshots of what NYC looks like, all dressed up, this time of year:

P.S.  Wish you were here!

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle