Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dean and Deluca

When you hear of gourmet food shopping - one of the first names that comes to mind - really should be Dean & Deluca. The epitome of gourmet excellence is found here. The great thing is that you really don't have to be in NYC anymore to enjoy this experience. As not only do they have their flagship store on Broadway and Prince, and a few others dotted throughout the city, but they now have stores in Napa, CA, Kansas, North Carolina, Washington DC, Japan and Taiwan.

From the freshest veggies, best meats and seafood, to some of the hardest to find cuisine and culinary items, this is one of the best there is. Make sure and visit DEAN & DELUCA - Purveyors of Fine Food, Wine and Kitchenware and you will find pretty much anything that you are looking for. But remember excellence doesn't come cheap.

Does anyone out there have some Dean and Deluca experiences they would like to share?

Coffee - Beans or Grind?

If you are looking for a great pot of Joe, how do you buy your beans? Do you go to your local grocer, pick up your favorite can of Folgers, Maxwell House, or __________ ground coffee of your liking? If the answer of this question is no, then you are on the right track. However, even if you a) go to the bulk bean dispenser on the coffee aisle, and b) grind it there to bring home, this isn't doing you any justice either.

For the first part, you never know how long those beans have been sitting on the shelf, and secondly - if you dont use the entire lb or bag quickly - the grinds will become old and stale.

I would recommend that your first purchase isn't a brand or type of roast, but actually this purchase should be in the housewares section of your local department store. Your first purchase should be a Coffee Grinder. Not one of those funky pots that you put the beans in and it grinds and brews all at the same time. I haven't found anyone that hasn't had issues with these breaking down. Remember with electronics, the more bells and whistles, the higher the chance of it breaking. The grinder doesnt have to be that expensive - just the regular grinder will do. If your want to spend the money- then a burr grinder is the way to go, as it has a more consistent grind. But don't fool yourself - its not needed.

After you have the grinder - find a coffee pot that works well. The cheap drips aren't a good fit for making good coffee. But you don't have to spend $300 for a pot either. A good basic Krups or mid-lever pot at Target, or other retailers works just find. Just remember that a good pot of coffee starts with a 1:1 ratio of tbls of ground coffee per cup of water. Here are a few Coffee Products that might be a good fit.

Lastly the beans, whether your love Starbucks, or any local coffee house brew, you normally can buy their coffee in whole bean form. Open your horizons there are so many types, Indonesian, Brazilian, Sumatran, French Roast, Italian Roast, and not to mention the various flavors and blends. Just experiment and find the coffee you like. I always have a few bags of various types in my cupboard to satisfy my ever changing palate. If you aren't sure of what type of coffees you might like and don't want to research where the best coffees are sold in your area, finding a Coffee Home Delivery Service that sends samplers is the way to go.

So get grinding and brew yourself a great cup of Joe!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Great Glass of Vino

For those that like the grapes, finding great bottle of vino for those special meals, important events, or just a glass to wind down in the evening is a never ending task. If your not a sommelier, or subscribe to any of the popular wine magazines, how do you find a good bottle. Well, one way is to find a local wine/liquor store that is well stocked and has a experienced, knowledgable staff that can help you find the right bottle for the right food/occasion. In my travels around the U.S., I have found a few.....The Wine Cellar in Red Bank, NJ, Chambers Street Wines in NYC, Several H.E.B / Central Markets in the Austin, TX name a few. Finding that right go-to guy is very important to find a good bottle of wine. In my various searches I have found a few good ones, here they are (hope you enjoy):

La Braccesca 2001 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano - Italian Red Wine
Castello di Querceto 2001 Chianti Classico Riserva - Sangiovese Red Wine

Lucien Albrecht 2005 Reserve Riesling - White Wine
Lungarotti 2004 Pinot Grigio - Pinot Gris/Grigio White Wine

Graham's 20 Year Old Tawny Port - Dessert Wine

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Eating out for less

As a person who has recently added the 4th member of our family - our 2nd girl was born on March 5th - I understand the expense of eating out, especially being a resident of New York City. However, we have always looked for great deals, whether it be happy hour deals, weekend specials, or restaurants that give you great values and large portions, we always do our due diligence. My research has taken me to, which is an online purveyor of gift certificates to thousands of restaurants nationwide, many of which are less than 50% off (for example many $25 restaurant gift certificates can be purchased for $10. So I would recommend this website and Dining Certificates, they could save you hundreds of dollars at chain restaurants, local bistros, or even the small local hole in the wall favorites. So do yourself a favor, and locate a restaurant close to you and save on dinner tonight!

I bet you can find some great restaurants at fabulous savings and take your family out on the town.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Tea and Sympathy

As I continue on the Anglophile topic, our journey takes us right next door to A Salt and Battery, to Tea and Sympathy. This wonderful little British restaurant & store located at 110 Greenwich in Greenwich Village is the right place for anyone who is looking to purchase almost anything British in nature (especially food or beverage related). The restaurant is complete with all the English favorites, such as bangers and mash, welsh rarebit, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, and much more. The food, for those of us that love
British fare, is fantastic, and makes you think you are sitting in a restaurant in the UK. Even if you cannot go tot he restaurant and have an upcoming office party, or event, Tea and Sympathy does cater as well. Its been written up in the US with rave reviews in the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveller & the New Yorker, and even has great press across the pond in British Elle, The Sunday Mirror, the Independent.

After your meal, visit the attached store, where you can buy English Teapots, a wide range of teas (like Typhoo & PG Tips), and a wide range of groceries, like clotted cream, varied beans and british foodstuffs, and a wide range of candies (like fruit gums, wine gums, and Cadbury chocolates (from the UK not US).

Whether you want to stop in and eat or shop, or take advantage of the free local deliveries that are available between the West Side Highway and 5th Avenue, and from Canal St to 33rd Street, try Tea and Sympathy to fill your British Cravings.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Salt and Battery

Anglophiles take notice, whether you are a Brit in the US, or just love England, this restaurant is for you, and it will make you think you are London.

A Salt and Battery is a fish and chip shop in Greenwich Village in NYC (located on 112 Greenwich Ave, between 12th & 13th St). When you walk into this little restaurant - the first thing you notice is the selection that you have. On top of the other menu items - they offer 6 different types of fish to choose from:

Halibut / Tilapia

The fish is fantastic - fresh and tasty....and all of their items are fried in veggie oil.

They also offer traditional british sides, like mushy peas, pickled onions, potato dabs, and even offer british drinks, like Irn-Bru, Tango, Tizer, and Lucozade.

So come in, enjoy Capital Radio on Sirius playing in the background, and enjoy the best fish and chips in NYC.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Paula Deen - Healthy Cooking

Those are two phrases that really shouldnt go together. Of those of you that are regulars of Food Network, you are familiar with Paula Deen and her two sons and their various cooking and food shows that are on the network. Well, most of you that have watched Paula's show realizes that her recipes are not very health friendly. I was watching Paula's Home Cooking on Thursday 3/8 called Barbecue Fest and this one took the cake. It wasnt really the Cornbread recipe that had whole milk or buttermilk, or even the donuts that she made by deep frying premade store-bought biscuits, it was her Cheese on the Cob recipe that made my stomach twirl. She started this recipe by slathering corn on the cob with Mayonnaise...yes thats right...she spread mayonnaise on these corn on the cob before adding spices and parmesan cheese. Then after she cooked the ears, she then added butter to it. Talk about heart attack on a plate....whew! This sure isn't on your diet plan! Althought I must admit - even though Mrs. Deen isn't considered healthy fare, it is sure good. You should try one of the recipes that Paula Deen has compiled in her cookbook, or on her show.