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 soho (3)


Balthazar Bar Steak & Frites

As part of Maggie's farewell, we visited her favorite New York restaurant (and home of many a Thanksgiving dinner for her and her mom), Balthazar. The famed SoHo restaurant serves up out-of-the-typical-price-range meals, especially when the raw bar is involved, but as a special occasion dinner...well, it's pretty fabulous. Especially when you can get their perfectly cooked Balthazar Bar Steak & Frites for an easy $25. Not too shabby for a juicy cut of meat in one of the best restaurants in all of Manhattan. Paired with an $8 glass of Shiraz-Grenache, I'd say that this meal was a hit. 

I must tell you that when it comes to steak, I'm a 'medium' kind of girl. While Shaun will go all-out rare, I just find something so...icky?...about meat that's still moo-ing, if you will. And medium can go either way...too rare, too done...but not at Balth (as we like to call it). Here at this delightful French bistro, Balth serves up medium steak the right way...seared on the outside and decadently pinkish red on the inside.

Oh, and I should mention that it was topped off with a giant pat of herbed butter that melted right into the steak...it's the surefire way to make just about any dish sing (and clog your arteries to boot).










Along with the steak were the highly coveted frites. Frites, if you will, is the fancy French term for French Fries...but doesn't it just sound prettier? Frites. Anyhow, they weren't quite the shoestring variety that I enjoyed so much at Skinner's Loft, but Balth dished out crispy potato fries that were perfectly seasoned and oily. Mmmm.

I would be remiss not to mention the absolutely beautiful raw bar. Though the seafood platters ranged from $70 to $115, they were gorgeous and surely a great experience. We, however, stuck to our meat 'n potatoes. But isn't it pretty to look at?

So there it is. A round up of a fabulous meal at a New York staple. There was one downside to the meal however. As I finished my glass of wine (waste not, want not), I noticed peculiar sticks of sediment in the bottom of my glass. Though the matre 'd did remove the item from my bill, I can't help but be disappointed in a place like Balthazar serving sediment-laden red wine. I know that it happens...I was just hoping that it wouldn't in a place like Balth (where they do serve bottles of vino up to $450 a pop). I won't hold it against them in the long run...after all, the meal was that good. But next time? My wine will get a proper scan.



Baked by Melissa Serves Up The Perfect Cupcake For a Sampler

Oreo, peanut butter, marshmallow, mint chocolate, raspberry, devil's food...I don't think it's any secret that one of my favorite New York treats is...drumroll, please...cupcakes. Though I have my favorites, I am constantly in turmoil over flavors. After all, despite constantly being mentioned in my articles and contrary to popular belief, I do not often allow myself to indulge. Since I tend to be a traditionalist (and an earth), I also tend to stick to basic flavors and very rarely veer away from this - despite my desire to taste test. As you may or may not have noticed, I am a sampler. Rarely do I like to commit to a full meal or, in this case a full cupcake flavor, because then I only get to taste just that one. All too often, I'll stick with my usual - chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream (and sprinkles, if available) - but then I don't get to try the many other delectable flavors..making sense?

Luckily, I'm not the only one with this problem. This weekend, I met my sister for some Soho shopping and stumbled upon Baked by Melissa on the corner of Broadway & Spring and suddenly my world of cupcake tasting was turned upside down. What's so special about another bakery selling fresh cupcakes? Well apparently Melissa is a gal after my own heart. After suffering from seemingly the same predicament, she started Baked by Melissa, a teeny window/counter in Soho that sells quarter-sized stuffed cupcakes. With flavors like Peanut Butter & Jelly, S'mores, Mint Chocolate Chip, Cookies & Cream, Cookie Dough, Red Velvet, and Tie Dye (didn't get to this one this time, but it's on my short list for the next trip), each mini cupcake is $1. And the best part? I was somehow able to rationalize this as being guilt-free since they are so teeny. The basic order is 3 for $3 and I ordered the S'mores, PB&J, and Oreo Cookie.

Clockwise from bottom left: S'mores, Oreo Cookie, Peanut Butter & Jelly

Each cupcake was fabulous in it's own right and completely encompassed the essence of said flavor, even in its smallest form. The S'mores featured a chocolate cake with marshmallow filling and topped with a small yet buttery graham cracker. If I sat in front of a campfire with a marshmallow on a stick, it couldn't taste more S'more-like. The Oreo Cookie was chocolate cake stuffed with vanilla cream and topped with a piece of Oreo. I have to say, this had potential to go seriously wrong, but it tasted just like a real Oreo cookie, right down to the super sweet & sugary icing. I saved my projected favorite for last - the Peanut Butter & Jelly. And I must say - it did not disappoint. Yellow cake stuffed with jam and topped with peanut butter frosting...the flavor combination doesn't really get better than this. And if you've found one, please tell me at your earliest convenience.

Bottom Line: For a fab sampling of sweets on the go that won't break your bank or your calorie count, be sure to check out Baked by Melissa's.


Fashion's Night Out Fun, Even For a Peon

On Thursday, Sept 10, I, along with fashionista extraordinaire and almost-sister Catherine, attended Fashion's Night Out - a one night event kicking off New York Fashion Week in which stores from Fifth Ave Flagships to SoHo boutiques stayed open late, had dj's spinning rockin' tunes, and offered free champagne. Be sure to check out Catherine's video coverage which is soon to be posted on her site!

Stores visited:
Juicy Couture
Henri Bendel
Elie Tahari

Budget Breakdown:
1 glass of seltzer (mistaken for real water) - FREE
2 glasses of champagne - FREE
1 bottle Baby Goth Girl MAC Style Black nail polish: $13
1 FNO T-shirt: $30
1 Tom Ford perfume sample: FREE
2 Subway Fares: $4.50
1 bathroom use at Chanel: FREE

Elie Tahari
Here, I got my fancy FNO t-shirt and listened to some music on a giant tuba.

Juicy Couture on 5th Avenue featured 1920's style flappers who frequently broke into dance. Oh, and they had a full pink bar serving champagne (2 free glasses for me).

MAC Style Black Collection

A new collection on preview for one night only, featuring, you guessed it, black. Gorgeous eye shadows and nail polishes lead the collection, however I do have some reservations about the black lipstick.