Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

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Entries in Restaurant Roundup (30)


Good Restaurant

When my best friend Catherine told me she'd be in town briefly but was able to meet for drinks and dinner, my sister Kimberly and I couldn't wait to spend some time with our favorite West Coaster (and honorary sister...though we were severely missing the third Cannon sister - Christine!). The place for our girls night? Good (yup that's what it's called), a sweet little place in the West Village. With seats at the bar, Catherine, Kimberly and I enjoyed happy hour glasses of wine and a few dishes to share.

Along with some 1/2 price (daily from 6-8pm!) Grenache/Syrah, we sampled some small plates. First up was a crostini with fresh ricotta, country ham and fig marmalade. It was like a gourmet version of my own gorgonzola fig crostini. It was sweet and salty with just the right amount of crispiness and creaminess!

We also shared a delicious, extremely thin-crusted pizza. This flatbread version was turned artisinal by featuring creme fraiche (an elusive ingredient that adds wonderful flavor and texture!), chopped bacon, baby arugula and sweet onions. It was smokey, savory and creamy. Yum! And what can I say? It was a pork-driven kind of evening (since Shaun doesn't eat pork, it was a rare yet welcome change for me!)

We also sampled the harvest salad, admittedly the item that was most anticipated for me. It boasted mixed greens, aged cheddar, roasted pears and pecans with an apple cider vinaigrette. Unfortunately this turned out to be the lowlight of the evening. The salad which sounded so autumnal, sweet, savory and hearty (essentially salad perfection!) on paper was in reality a small plate of greens with one pear, two cheese cubes and nary a pecan in sight. Oh and I'm not sure about my fellow diners, but I did not taste any dressing on this salad. At $12 a pop, I have to say, it was most disappointing.

Luckily the other dishes were tops, as were the desserts, of which we obviously felt necessary to sample not one, but two! First up was warm banana chocolate chip bread pudding, served complete with vanilla ice cream. Oh my, this was so mushy, full of bananas and chocolate. It was so decadent and wonderful! It was my pick for best dessert of the night!

We also ordered a devil's food chocolate cake, covered in ganache and served with a toasted marshmallow. While the cake was moist and delightfully chocolatey, we couldn't help but wish that this also came along side a scoop of vanilla ice cream or even some homemade whipped cream.

So there you have it.  A little roundup of our impromptu girls night! The one thing missing from our smorgasbord? A Good Burger - a beef patty stuffed with pulled pork and smoked mozzerella - doesn't that just sound so fatty and delicious? It will certainly be on the list to order the next time I visit...and I plan to, during happy hour!




Pommes Frites 

A couple of weeks ago, before my baby sister Christine went back to school, I spent a girls evening in the city with my mom and sisters. And as anyone knows, no girls night is complete without shopping and eating. So that’s what we did.

Since there was a lot of ground to cover, we decided to space out our eating by doing a basic taste test of a few different spots. After a not-so-quick trip to Nordstrom Rack in Union Square, first up was a stop at Otto for some pizza and a cheese platter decked out with truffled honey; the latter of which being worthy of a spot on my own personal Best Thing I Ever Ate list. As I detailed in this post, Otto is famous for their authentic pizza and their prime Village location. And how does one follow up artisinal pizza? Well, with delicious, homemade fries of course.

Enter Pommes Frites. This blink-and-you-miss-it authentic Belgian French fry shop in the East Village serves up fresh from the fryer potato wedges sprinkled with salt and alongside a laundry list of accoutrements. With Jersey Shore-style malt vinegar, 12 mayo varietals, curreid ketchup and melted cheese, there's a little something for every palette. We went with an order of malt vinegar (Mom's pick), cheddar cheese (my pick), blue cheese (Christine's pick) and traditional mayo (Kimberly's pick). Though Shaun and the mayo gods will probably shun me for this, my winning pick goes to the blue cheese. Yum.

Though the four of us managed to put away two regular sized Pommes Frites bags while accruing third degree burns inside our mouths, I must admit that while delicious, these fries were just not up to snuff compared to my favorite thin-cut variety. For the ultimate fry, and more of a French-style pommes frites if you will, I prefer Balthazar in SoHo or Hoboken's Elysian Cafe. The French-style is, after all, reminiscent of our trip to Paris in 2006 where we admittedly indulged in classic pommes frites with mayonnaise dressing (not standard, thick mayo as served at Pommes Frites and any other American place for that matter) anytime the opportunity presented itself.

But Pommes Frites as a stand alone potato wedge? Color me mouthwatered.


Burger Creations

A few weeks ago as my sister Kim and I were shopping for our Aruban getaway, we realized how shopping really does make you hungry. It could also just be shopping in crazy, crowded Union Square, but who were we to ignore it? So wandered downtown a few blocks to my old stomping ground, the NYU campus. And oh my how it has changed.

I was horribly aware that when I went to school there, 8th street was filled with shops selling punk rock gear, shoes that only a coneusseur could love and cheap-o food. In fact, the most exciting eats on that block were none other than one Johnny Rockets and the Dallas BBQ, a faux Southern gem serving giant roasted chickens, cornbread and blue margaritas. Anyhow, imagine my surprise to find a plethora of new eateries including Crumbs, 'wichcraft, and Burger Creations; though to my delight, Johnny Rockets is still going strong. Intrigued by Burger Creations, we gave it a whirl.

Boasting fresh ingredients and coal fired burgers, Burger Creations is fast food that's anything but. Imagine my second wave of surprise when I ordered my burger at the counter and I was asked how I wanted it cooked. But this is fast food, I thought. I never knew there were varying degrees of doneness in fast food. Oh how I was happily mistaken. I ordered the Greek Burger, a patty atop a mini Greek salad and then topped with tzatziki, kalamata olives and feta cheese, all stuffed between a brioche bun. And it was cooked to my order - done with perfect mediumness.

Was it Shake Shack? No. But it was juicy and just the right amount of add-on ingredients but not too much that it overpowered the delectable burger. Burger Creations, you changed my view of 8th Street and of fast food, proving that it can actually be fresh, delicious and affordable.