Tag Archives: Burger

Mary Queen of Scots is a Better Restaurant than Lady

Mary Queen of Scots

 

Mary Queen of Scots is one Jenny Jones-worthy episode of a lady. Crowned at nine months old; married to her first cousin then promptly strangled him to death; forced to abdicate to her one-year old son; fled to England to seek protection from Queen Elizabeth, then attempted to claim the throne as her own; and finally was tried and executed for treason after 19 years in custody. That’s what happens when you are raised without good parents.

All of that sounds like a perfect recipe for an exciting restaurant muse. It’s no secret that Highlands is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC {it made my Favor8 list}, so when they took over the old Allen & Delancey space to open a new restaurant and bar, Mary Queen of Scots, it became a must try.

The menu alludes to both Scottish and French cuisine with items such as the rataouille vegetable tart or house smoked scottish salmon. I had a fantastic salad of pickled beets, caramelized yogurt and toasted hazelnuts that I would highly recommend to anyone. The wild striped bass with potato bacon terrine, mustard greens and white wine cream came highly recommended and certainly sounded like a winner, but was sadly not warm by the time it reached my table and was underseasoned. I did have food envy with the MQS burger though. Served with house cut chips and spicy pickles, this is a sure thing {is that french or scottish?}

MQS Burger

 

The Skim: Overall, Mary Queen of Scots was a good meal out, but it did not dethrone Highlands, which in my opinion serves up far superior fare. Both have great bars and an inventive cocktail menu though, so if you’re looking for a cool place to lose your head, MQS is a fantastic hideout.

Map: 115 Allen Street {N of Delancey}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212.460.0915

Good Tartan Times:
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand
8.ate@eight’s Boozy Robert Burns Bash w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park
Water of Life Whisky Wednesday With The Macallan

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Reliably Good American Bar and Bites @ Rye House

RYEHOUSE: 11 West 17th Street

Sometimes you just want a good reliable NYC bar and restaurant — a place you can grab lunch mid-week, a cold beer after work with friends or a handcrafted cocktail on a saturday night with intriguing ingredients such as orange blossom water, egg white and small production rye. It’s hard to find all those things in one destination, but Rye House has succeeded in creating a reliable bar and restaurant menu with reverence for traditional American spirits and cuisine.

I met my friend for lunch on a cold rainy day and shook off the chill with a soup and sandwich combo. It pleasantly reminded me of something I may have been able to order if I sauntered in off the cobblestone street of New York City circa 1850. The Spring Onion Potato Soup with a sourdough crouton and provolone was served in a sturdy handled bowl and was just the hearty starter I needed.

RyeHouse Spring Onion Soup

The “Pittsburgh” sandwich was the perfect pairing to go with the simple flavors of the onion soup and had its own warming qualities with a unique combo of grilled andouille sausage, provolone, house slaw, fries all stacked together and served on a wooden plank. The spice of the sausage was nicely mellowed out by the crisp slaw, and while the fries weren’t exactly necessary on the sandwich, they added a different sort of salty, crispy bite that made this a lunch to remember {lunch menu HERE}.

RyeHouse Pittsburgh

The Skim: With a long welcoming bar placed near the front and high tables along the wall, the casual atmosphere of Rye House invites you to stop in for whatever you’re in the mood for — a good craft draft, a creative cocktail or memorable, but simple American cuisine. Rye House also holds weekly beer tastings featuring a changing selection of craft brews, so this may just be the perfect place to discover some of the names appearing at NY Craft Beer week.

Map: 11 West 17th Street {Btw 5th & 6th Ave.}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212.255.7260

Pour Some More Por Favor:
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
Not so Standard Biergarten
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole

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A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite

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Apologies for my absence for a few days, but I have been busy shopping and chopping for what was the last 8.ate@eight supper club of the outdoor season. You wouldn’t think preparing “cafeteria” food would be such a distraction, but when you’re hand selecting figs and prosciutto from Italy for your pizza, catching red snapper off the east coast for your tacos, hunting bison out west for your mini sliders and hand frying potatoes for your truffle-rosemary chips, then there isn’t much time for blogging. Well maybe I wasn’t actually doing all of those things {except the hand frying – look out Frito Lay!} but the menu is accurate. As several friends had kids heading back to school, I thought it would be fun to relive the nostalgia of new sneakers, trapper keepers and the best of school cafeterias — only better! Here’s the full report card…

The Syllabus:

Starter
3 Grilled Pizzettes:
{1} Arugula, Fig & Proscuitto w/ Grated Parmesan Cheese
{2} Greek Olive Tapenade, Pickled Red Onion & Feta w/ Lemon Olive Oil
{3} Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Fennel & Fresh Mozzarella
w/ Grandma’s Sauce & Fresh Rooftop Basil

Mini Lime-Chili Red Snapper Tacos
w/ “Fruit Punch” Sangria

Salad
Roasted Corn & Vegetable Medley w/ Chipotle Bacon & Queso Fresco
w/ Bodegas Valdesil Godello Valdeorras Val de Sil Montenovo (Spain)

Entrée
Mini Bison Sliders w/ Buffalo Mozzarella and Olive Tapenade
Homemade Truffle Rosemary Parmesan Chips
w/ “P.S.” Local 2 Brooklyn Dark Ale

Dessert
Coconut “Twinkies” w/ Lemon Curd Filling
w/ Kahlua-Rum Chocolate “Milk”

It was just like showing up to a new classroom — some old friends and some new faces to get to know. This is why I started 8.ate@eight and what I love about my table. People can come together to enjoy good food and drink and easily fall into conversation with an unfamiliar group.

Pablo is the Principal at his own school he started -- how awesome is that!

As the 8.ate@eight-ers filed in, I was busy at work grilling pizzas on the BBQ. Not an entirely new concept, but a new twist on school lunch favorite — wasn’t pizza day a must?! With dough and toppings on hand, I grilled up three different versions: an Arugula, Fig & Proscuitto w/ Grated Parmesan Cheese Pizza, a Greek Olive Tapenade, Pickled Red Onion & Feta w/ Lemon Olive Oil Pie and a crowd-pleasing favorite, Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Fennel & Fresh Mozzarella w/ Grandma’s Sauce & Fresh Rooftop Basil.

Fresh Figs

Served alongside the pizza were some Red Snapper Tacos with a Lime-Chili Marinade and Avocado Sauce. I’m pretty sure the lunch ladies didn’t fill our shells with anything better than greasy ground beef, but I wanted to keep it light. Both of the appetizers were served with an adult version of fruit punch: sangria! With a winning combination of spanish vino, brandy, triple sec and lemonade, I soaked a combination of lemon, lime, orange slices and cherries overnight and topped each cup off with a little club soda — every party is better with bubbles!

Red Snapper Tacos

Sangria "Fruit Punch"

Probably the least eaten items on those styrofoam trays were the vegetable medleys and fruit cup cocktails, so I decided to do a combination of both with a modified version of my friend Nora’s delicious corn salad. There are several things that are great about this salad and its a recipe for success that I have written about before: sweet, spicy, citrusy, savory and salty. I roasted several ears of sweet jersey corn, removing the kernels and adding to a combination of grapes {strange, but sweet and amazing}, red bell peppers {peppery and colorful}, red chilis {that subtle spicy kick that I love}, cilantro {a polarizing ingredient for many, but even I converted a hater at the table}, scallions and lime. So that’s the regular combination, but I also decided this salad would do well with a few bits of chipotle bacon crumbled on top with some queso fresco — if only school veggies were always this good.

Roasted Corn & Vegetable Medley

Roasted Corn Salad

It’s not only important to eat your veggies, but a good healthy protein also tops the food pyramid. I keep speaking the praises of bison to anyone who will listen {recipe here}, so I thought if I put them in slider form I could win the hearts of my table too. So let’s reiterate some important facts — please take notes.

Bison tastes very similar to beef, but is slightly richer, so I complemented that flavor with a spread of salty olive tapenade on the mini buns and melted some creamy buffalo mozzarella on top for a better take on a kiddie craving.

Mini Bison Sliders

And just like PB&J is a match made in heaven, so are burgers and chips. So I carried out the dutch oven, a few pounds of potatoes and got to work slicing, rinsing, drying and frying the makings of my Homemade Truffle, Rosemary Parmesan Chips. A lot of work, but there is something very satisfying about putting Frito Lay to shame from your own kitchen {recipe to follow}.

Toss in corn starch to remove moisture and create crispier results

Toss in 375 degree oil 4-5 minutes until golden blond

Strain and Season with Fresh Rosemary and Truffle Salt

Season with Rosemary, Truffle Salt, Parmesan Cheese and Try Not to Eat Too Many

While everyone settled in for the Ferris Bueller classic, Naerim also made a guest appearance and served her Coconut “Twinkie” with Lemon Curd filling and I blended up some Kahlua-Rum Chocolate “Milk” just in case  everyone didn’t have enough to drink.

Coconut "Twinkies" with Lemon Curd

As usual, we cleared the plates, handed out some blankets as the night started to cool and fired up the projector for our guest visitor: Ed Rooney. No better end to another memorable 8.ate@eight supper club.

Ed Rooney Was Our Guest Visitor

Thanks!

Thanks to Naerim again for all the help serving drinks and food and ending the evening with a great new take on an old lunchbox treat! Thanks to Kristin for snapping some pics while I was manning the grill. And I of course want to thank everyone who grabbed a seat at the table — it was lovely to have you all!

I’m ruminating on some future indoor events for the fall and winter, so stay tuned. If you aren’t on the dinner distribution list, email me at 8ateateight@gmail.com to be added. See you at the table!

Recipe Goodness:

Homemade Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries

Prep Time: 1 Hour | Cook Time: 20-30 Minutes
Serves 4

2 1/2 # russet potatoes  (about 4 large)
3 QT. peanut or canola oil

Peel and cut potatoes into either long sticks or 1/2-inch thick circles for fries or use a mandolin to thinly slice flat or waffle cut circles {using the waffle blade} for chips. Rinse cut potatoes in large bowl under cold running water until water turns clear. Cover with cold water and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.

Pour off water,spread potatoes onto towels, and thoroughly dry {important for crispiness}. Transfer to large bowl and toss with cornstarch until evenly coated. Transfer to wire rack set on rimmed baking sheet and let rest until fine white coating forms, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large, heavy bottomed dutch oven, fitted w/clip-on candy thermometer, heat oil to 325.  Add half of potatoes a handful at a time and increase heat to high.  Fry, shirring with mesh spider until potatoes start to turn from white to blond, 4-5 min.(oil temp will drop). Transfer fries to paper towels to absorb oil and cool. Return oil to 325 and repeat with rest of potatoes. Let potatoes cool.

Heat oil to 375. Add half of fries or chips, a handful at a time, and fry until golden brown, 2-3 min. Transfer to paper towels & repeat with remaining fries. Season immediately with chopped rosemary, truffle salt and shaved parmesan.

Read About Past 8.ate@eight Events:
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic!

What are you still doing here? It’s over. Go home.

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Gone Fishin’ :: Back in a Week…

Farewell Bachelorhood!

As I referenced in a previous post, I’m off in San Francisco to be the best groom’s girl I can be in my brother’s wedding this weekend. Jackie, my soon-to-be sister-in-law, works for Ghirardelli. She’s pretty darn sweet as a person, but it also doesn’t hurt that she brings a dowry consisting of a lifetime supply of chocolate. Welcome to the family!

I’m sure I will have no shortage of things to blog about upon my return — I promise it will be more interesting than a post about rice and will include musings from Napa. In the meantime, visit some old favorites…

Make A Delicious Dinner For Friends:
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa
Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops
Grilled Thyme-Cumin Vegetable Kabobs
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake with BBQ’d Summer Berries {bottom of post}
More Recipes >>> EAT@HOME

Keep Busy in the City:
Do This!: Artisanal Premium Cheese & Wine Classes w/ Jessica Wurwarg
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table
NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage
NYC Best: Take the Dull Out Of Cooking {Knives} with Samurai Sharpening @ Chelsea Market

Enjoy a Cold One in the Garden:
Not so Standard Biergarten
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Nothing says Warm Weather Like a “Gut Biergarten”

And in the Spirit of Weddings, Go on a Date!:
Summer Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
The Red Cat: Comfortable Quarters & Cuisine
Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
August in April
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo
barmarche: Some Clever Crudites

Eat Up!
Christina

Sibling Fun in Tokyo

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NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage

My two most favorite past-times: good food and good music. Both are readily accessible in this fine big apple city that I live in, but put them together and you’ve got yourself the makings of a double good time. Summerstage, the outdoor venue in the middle of Central Park, has long been my favorite venue to catch a show. Most shows are free as it’s privately funded through sponsors and a few benefit concerts, it’s small enough that you can touch the stage without taking a sharp elbow to the gut, and with a blanket and starry night to set the scene, it’s easy to settle down and take in some good tunes.

This season Summerstage added just another reason to love this venue and make it a “must do” summer activity: good food. Normally you would expect the standard overdone hamburger and dirty water dog as the only options at a place like this, but with much excitement I discovered a few food purveyors from Brooklyn Flea and the fine wine makers from City Winery have been brought in to satiate our every desire.

Central Park Syrah from City Winery Anyone?

City Winery

Wash Down a Darn Good Dog from Asia Dog

How about the Ginny with homemade kimchi and nori flakes or the Sidney with thai mango relish, cucumber, red onion, cilantro & crushed peanuts. Those two lady dogs sound a lot more interesting than your usual Frank.

Marlow & Sons/Daughters and AsiaDog

I Adopted Marlow Sons & Daughters

This Brooklyn based butcher serves up a cut above the rest with their grass-fed beef burgers, house made pork sausage and barbecued pork sandwich with jalapeno lime aioli, picked onion, mint and cilantro. I wanted the pork sammy, but popular demand cleared out that supply in a matter of minutes. My pork sausage with pickled relish did not disappoint though, it was flavorful, freshly cooked and the relish added a nice zing quickly making me forget this was concert food.

My Marlow & Daughters House Made Pork Sausage w/ Pickled Relish

Truckin’ Good Pizza from Pizza Moto

Fresh from the mobile wood burning oven {hopefully those aren’t Central Park trees} you can order a slice with all sort of goodies on top and a thin, crispy crust, just as pizza should be.

Pizza Moto

Ice Cream, You Scream for Blue Marble…

If sweets are more your craving, try a a few scoops or classic root beer float {I wonder if they would make this with Blue Moon} from Blue Marble Ice Cream. All products are made only from premium grass-fed organic dairy.

Blue Marble Ice Cream

Prices range from about $4-8 depending on the item, so you won’t break the bank while enjoying these seriously good eats with your tunes at Summerstage…unless of course you get the munchies. The Flaming Lips liked this so much, they threw a party. It’s not too late to catch a show as events are scheduled through September. See Schedule HERE.

The Flaming Lips Threw A Huge Celebration

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Happy 4th of July Weekend from 8.ate@eight!

Happy 4th of July from 8.ate@eight!

I hope the sun is shining as brightly as it is in NYC for all of you. Enjoy the holiday weekend and if you’re looking for a few easy and unique dishes to share at your BBQ, try a few of these 8.ate@eight favorites and let me know how they turn out!

DRINKS {cheers!}

Pink Fizzy Lemonade Cocktails Beat the Heat

APPETIZERS {makes happy hour happier}

Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa {also good as an entree side}

SALAD

Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad

PIZZA & BREADS {d’oh! why didn’t i try this yet}

Creative Crowd-Pleasing BBQ’d Pizzas

BISON & BEEF {where’s the…}

Bison, a Better Burger Worth Biting Into

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The Great Burger Debate: It’s All About the Bun @ Zaitzeff

Zaitzeff Sirloin Burger on a Portuguese Muffin

When you start talking burgers with someone, you are inevitably going to enter into the debate about the best burger you’ve ever had. You might even pull out the top 3 list. But it’s not everyday you enter this great debate and then are told that one of those on the list is right across the street from where that very conversation takes place. So at 11pm last night I felt I could not pass up the opportunity to check out Zaitzeff, a previously unknown to me burger joint on the Lower East Side. The ambiance is simple —  with lamps providing a soft light, paintings on the wall and candlesticks on the table, Zaitzeff sort of feels like you’re eating in someone’s home. The menu mirrors the simplicity of the surroundings and is the key to why this burger is in fact so delicious. You can choose between American style Kobe or Grass-Fed Sirloin freshly ground onsite, which is served with lettuce, tomato, sauteed onions and the real key to this delight, a Portuguese muffin. If you are feeling like you really want to jazz it up, there are a selection of cheeses, bacon, avocado and even a fried egg that you can add for an additional charge. I have to agree, this was one delicious burger, and thankfully because it’s made from such lean beef it didn’t have me leaving wishing I had made that choice earlier in the evening.

The Skim: It’s all about the bun. Generally an afterthought to what goes in between, the slightly sweet Portuguese Muffin compliments the sweet sauteed onions and premium grass-fed sirloin or Kobe to create a simple, yet delicious burger. You won’t have grease running down your elbows, but you will likely be licking your lips after a visit to Zaitzeff. {18 Ave. B, bet. 2nd & 3rd Street}

More on The Great Burger Debate:
recipe goodness :: bison, a better burger worth biting into
5 & Dime: 10 oz. at Five Napkin Burger, that is

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recipe goodness :: bison, a better burger worth biting into

Bison: A Better Burger

What if I said you could have your burger and eat it too? All this talk about Americans getting too fat might have you second guessing whether or not to grill up that beef patty next time you have a craving for the All-American classic. But what you may not know is that there is a healthy alternative that doesn’t have anything to do with tofu or veggie patties. Bison {you know, those big wooly mammoth-looking creatures) actually tastes much like premium beef, if not richer, but with a far superior nutrient profile. Bison is a highly nutrient dense food because of the proportion of protein, fat, mineral, and fatty acids to its caloric value.  Okay, what does that all really mean? Take a look at the chart here and see for yourself.

Shocked? I was too when I first had a bison burger and thought it was beef. It wasn’t until after I took down the last bite that I decided to do a little research and learned just how much healthier bison is than what are seemingly low-fat proteins, such as chicken or salmon. In fact, Whole Foods recently started promoting what they call ANDI, or “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index,” which scores food based on an extensive range of micronutrients, including but not limited to: vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities, and Bison nabbed the top 2 spots in the ANDI Top 10 Meat list.

1. Bison, top-sirloin (39)
2. Bison, chuck roast (36)
3. Pork Tenderloin (34)
4. Flank Steak (27)
5. Chicken Breast (27)
6. Turkey, light-meat (25)
7. Turkey, dark-meat (24)
8. Pork Chops (24)
9. Ground Beef, 85%-90% lean (20-23)
10. Beef, top round (22)

So next time you’re rolling down the aisle of the grocery store, picking up the spread for your next BBQ {Memorial Day is only a week away}, throw a little bison in the basket and just see if you and your friends don’t fall in love.

Bison, A Better Burger

1/4-1/2 lb. per patty
Fresh Rosemary
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
Lettuce
Tomato
Olive Tapenade
Italian Bun

In a mixing bowl, drizzle a little olive oil over the bison {not required, but helps keep the burger juicy since it is so lean}, add salt and a few good cranks of black pepper to season. I also like throw in rosemary from 1-2 sprigs depending on how much you’re making as I think it adds a nice fresh, herby flavor to an otherwise standard quarter pounder. Gently mix all together and form into equal sized patties to serve your crowd.

Tip: Place the patties on a tray and put a thumb imprint in the center of each patty about halfway through the thickness of the meat. Since meat contracts when it cooks, this will allow the center of the burger to cook to the same doneness as the outer edges and prevent your final product from looking like a football.

Cook the burgers over medium heat until desired doneness. Note: because there is VERY little fat content in bison, it is best to cook low and slow to maintain the moisture and prevent the meat from drying out. Once you flip the burgers, add a slice of fresh buffalo mozzarella on top to melt and lightly toast the buns on the grill. Remove the toasted bun, slather on some olive tapenade, stack the lettuce, tomato and newly loved bison burger, hold on tight and enjoy! The saltiness of the olive tapenade is a perfect complement to the creamy, mild mozzarella and lean, rich bison. I think you’ll find these flavors truly spectacular!

This delicious burger would also would go great with a side or topping of Tropical Fruit & Avocado Salsa or Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa.

More on The Great Burger Debate:
It’s All About the Bun @ Zaitzeff
5 & Dime: 10 oz. at Five Napkin Burger, that is

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5 & Dime: 10 oz. at Five Napkin Burger, that is

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There is a burger revolution going on, and rightly so. Simple or fancy, there is nothing quite as delicious as a well prepared burger. So it was only a matter of time before I paid a visit to the recently opened Five Napkin Burger on the Upper West Side. Let’s start out by saying they threw every thing on the menu but the kitchen sink, so if for some odd reason you are going to a burger joint and are not in the mood for a burger, you could try the sushi, vietnamese spring rolls, hot wings or Kobe beef foot long, among other unexpected menu items. But let’s just say you do what you’re supposed to do and you start with a stack of cornmeal crusted onion rings followed by the Original 5 Napkin Burger, well then you’ll understand why it requires 5 napkins.

The Original is 10 oz of ground chuck (that means good and juicy thanks to the high fat content) topped with caramelized onions, gruyere cheese, rosemary aioli on a soft white roll — all served with a side of fries (ok, so the onion rings weren’t necessary, but I would trade them for the fries any day.) So that’s 1 napkin for the juicy burger, 1 napkin for the sweet stacked sauteed onions, 1 napkin for the gruyere cheese oozing from beneath the bun, 1 napkin for the aioli generously slathered atop the cheese, dripping from the sides down your arm and 1 napkin for the well-fried onion rings and fries. All to be washed down with a namesake brew.

The Skim: Come hungry or ready to share. Five Napkin Burger is a great stop if you want to step it up on an american classic. The generous size and rich toppings provide the perfect excuse to order a few things and share with friends. Of course if you want to stake claim to your own dish, you certainly won’t be disappointed or hungry! {2315 Broadway @ 84th Street, aka Edgar Allen Poe Way — hopefully no allusions to “The Premature Burial”}

More on The Great Burger Debate:
recipe goodness :: bison, a better burger worth biting into
It’s All About the Bun @ Zaitzeff

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