Tag Archives: Get Fresh

Sloppy Blogger on a Diet

Because I am almost as fat as my cat

Because I am almost as fat as my cat

Has it ever happened to you to get this phone call or email from a close friend of yours? And of course you want to reply right away but, for so many reasons (i.e. you are supposed to be revamping that resume and after the two hours you spent on facebook/twitter and the rest you cannot possibly spend yet another 5 minutes to answer your friend and have to delve right into that resume revamping of yours). And then time goes by and the more you wait and the less you dare to reply, imagining all the excuses you will have to come up with to explain why you did not answer earlier.

Please tell me I am not the only one. Please tell me you’ve done that before, too. Because this is the only excuse I can come up with for not posting earlier. I am a sloppy friend. Therefore I am a sloppy blogger. That’s my theory.

Don’t get me wrong. I did not just vanish. I did have a job for quite a while (and as a matter of fact, I still have a job). Free-lance. For real. And I was even very very busy. Working late at night and on week-ends even. Busy busy busy bee. And granted, for maybe a month or so I did NOT have time to write, nor would have I any subject to write about. Did not cook. Did not go to any restaurants whatsoever. The only dishes I could think of were:

  1. Mac & Cheese / pates au fromage
  2. Hamburgers
  3. Fromage fromage cheese queso

(Tells a lot about the essential element of MY comfort food favorite ingredient – FAT).

HOWEVER, this does not explain why I did not write in the past three weeks. No valid reason whatsoever. Except the dreaded idea that I will have to explain myself to my numerous, increasing, loyal readership base* why I did not write. I just couldn’t write as if nothing happen.

I am a sloppy friend, therefore I am a sloppy blogger. That’s my only explanation.

So now that I explained myself – albeit poorly – back to business. Mind you, I cannot guarantee that this is not going to happen again. Because I do hope that, at some point, I will find a job. I mean a full-time job. And when I do, no doubt I will find other excuses. So I am, and will continue to be, a sloppy blogger. Sadly. And for that, I apologize, again.

The good thing is that this little break gave me renewed ideas, and need, to blog and talk about food. Why? Given the aforementioned diet I followed for quite a while, it is getting increasingly difficult for me to deny the extra pounds I gained. To the same extent, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore Florent’s views on the latter.

But why – will you say –  would you want to think about food, write about food AND cook when on a diet? For several reasons:

  1. First and foremost, there is absolutely no way whatsoever that being on a diet for me will mean: no restaurants, Special Ks for breakfast, lunch and an apple for dinner – or the whole carrot/ginger juice diet for two weeks. I would die. No kidding.
  2. I want to be able to taste food, good food. And yes, yes vegetables and fruits can be darn good. But so does a jolly good foie gras, with apple & fennel tart tatin from Get Fresh (had one last night, a delish). So does a runny-smelly Saint-Nectaire from Auvergne (I would die for some right now).

So, I figured. I have to come up with a plan. And my plan is to think about food even more, to cook as much as I can. And to go to restaurants, too. My my my why she lost her mind – you will think. Well, I hope not. For the sake of my marriage.

Here’s the plan: have you ever noticed that when you go to a very good restaurant, usually a fancy one, portions are not that big. And you (well I) get this scary feeling that I won’t have enough to eat. And then you eat and it’s so good and no you’re not hungry anymore. So I have this theory: when you eat flavorful food, you don’t eat as much.

So my plan, is to eat as best as I can. In moderate proportions, of course. Because yet another thing that I have noticed (I know, this free-lance gig of mine got me super clever), is that when you ARE hungry. Like truly hungry. Food tastes better.

So, I am planning to write posts on the latter (and I will try to deliver on this one, unlike the comfort food – or asparagus ones**). The following topics will be tackled:

  1. How to find flavorful ingredients in this country (the United States of America), or, at least, how to make the most of these not-so-flavorful ingredients you bought?
  2. Restaurants on a diet. Planning on writing even better reviews of even better restaurants. Special Dedicace to Cafe Select. This is our new hangout and we love it for real.
  3. And hopefully some good recipes as well. To eat moderately. Because no, I won’t be using no-fat milk to make mashed potatoes. This is gross.

* sorry mother, sisters and Florent. I know I disappointed you. Once again.
**sorry mother, sisters and Florent. I know I disappointed you. Once again.


So Fabrice is in Town

Nice steak & nice booze @ Jean-Claude

Good company, nice food & nice booze - Jean-Claude, NYC

Yes, he actually managed to overcome his fear of the swine flu. Good for him (and for us of course). Sadly we haven’t been able to visit all the places we wanted to take him to (yet). Typical, you will say: you have everything all planned out, and bim, Florent and Fabrice find more important stuff to do on their own. I actually  hardly saw them yesterday – apparently they had a video conference to attend to in the media room. When I tried to sneak into the room they had their headphones on and the Play Station was on. Weird. Also it was pretty noisy – sounded like a kung-fu battle with a metallic voice saying “YOU LOSE” once in a while. They told me not to worry. But I still worried a little.

That said, we did go out a little bit: I was disappointed by our Get Fresh brunch on Saturday, sadly: I could swear they did not serve as many pancakes as before. My scrambled eggs with heirloom beans and potatoes were not runny enough for me*. A bit dry.

Fabrice’s first reflex upon arrival was to drink a beer. Weird, I know. But the guy lives in Brussels after all. So we went to the Gate. Where else? And, since the weather was pretty nice last Friday we craved for Latin American flavors. So we went to Playa. Not much to say: the kind of restaurant where the food tastes AMAZING when you’ve had a lot of margharitas and beer before. But not so good when you go back there sober.

A nice discovery was Jean-Claude, in the city. I know, I know, a bit tacky to bring your French friend to a French restaurant in NYC (when the guy is only craving for burgers and various iterations of New American cuisine; whatever that means). But I must say I was really impressed by the quality of the meat there, both the lamb loin AND hanger steack: cooked to perfection, and nice gratin dauphinois. Good friends, good meat, and good service (for a French restaurant).

All in all, a nice start. We still have a lot of grounds to cover. It might prove even more difficult with the new swine flu surge. I had to convince Fabrice to get out of the apartment this morning. And that a mask with a pig groin is not (yet) trendy in NYC. We did manage to go to Root Hill for lunch though. And had a nice grilled cheese with bacon and tomato. I think Fabrice would agree that this could qualify as comfort food. Croque-Monsieur a l’americaine, quoi.

*Soon, I’ll write a post about scrambled eggs. And eggs in general actually. For there is one thing I don’t understand here, and it is the fear of eating runny eggs. Let me be clear, to me, scrambled eggs, soft boiled eggs, fried eggs are only good IF they are runny. The best being of course the oeufs a la coque. More on this later.

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A Perfect Brunch…

Le roi des bread basket @ Get Fresh

Le roi des bread basket @ Get Fresh

Yesterday I woke up in a perfect mood. Not too early – but not too late either. No hangover. I could feel that I was getting hungry – but not the kind of hunger that puts me in a bad mood if I don’t get fed with what I crave right away. (I know, living with me must feel like living with a pregnant woman 24/7 – and NO mum, Delphine, Nathalie & Francoise – I am not pregnant)*. So far so good. The weather was OK (i.e. not raining, not freezing, and sometimes there was a little bit of sun even).

And Florent and I had our entire day planned out: brunch with papers at Get Fresh, and dinner with Florent, his cousin & uncle and I (again, Florent’s extensive family) at Little Giant at 7. What we had planned in between didn’t really matter to me, as long as brunch & dinner were secured.

And it all started, really really well. Here we are at Get Fresh. I already mentioned Get Fresh as one of the mandatory stops when Fabrice is in town. And again, I was not disappointed – no no no. We had this perfect table – not outside because it was still a bit chilly for us – but next to the doors to the terrace so that we could pretend to be outside.

It took me a while to get used to brunch: in France, we don’t do brunch – we do breakfast and then lunch with real dishes (although apparently brunch is getting real trendy in France these days, so I am lying a little here). Quite frankly I did not understand what to make of this meal when, no matter which restaurant you would go to, you would get almost the same dishes all the time (that is: Egg Benedict, Pancakes, French Toast, Eggs, sausages & potatoes). But that was until I moved to New York and discovered perfect brunches. And then I understood: brunch is not about getting all original and fancy. Brunch is about cooking traditional meals to perfection – with the best products you could find. You could tell me that any meal should be just about that….Yeah, agreed, sort of. But with brunch, the selection of dishes available is not extensive: it’s the week-end, one is very probably hangover from the night before, or at least tired from the week. So let’s bring one some comfort food in its best form. And guess what – that is exactly what Get Fresh does. First: the bread basket. Comes with vanilla butter, orange marmalade & strawberry marmalade (which they make themselves, of course). Delicious cheddar & rosemary scone, marvelous warm pear muffin and, my favorite: the BRIOCHE. Boy they know how to make brioche there. And I am a big fan of brioche. The only thing I wished was that they didn’t toast it – it’s even better when it’s warm and tender. Baguette was ok (but I won’t go there – I gave up on finding fresh and crispy baguette elsewhere than in France – I am snob this way).

Pain Brioche Parfait (and no, it was not burnt, it's just the picture)

Pain Brioche Parfait (and no, it was not burnt, it's just the picture)

Then came the egg sandwich. A delish. The stars there were clearly the bun and the egg. Again, the bun (brioche – again, they make their own) was perfect: sweet but not so much as it would overpower the other ingredients. It might seem odd to list the egg as the star there – but believe me, it was. And for two reasons:

  1. It tasted like an egg. What? You don’t understand? Well, try to remember the taste of the last egg you ate. You don’t remember? Well, I guess that’s normal, because egg don’t taste like anything these days. I hate to play the “it was so much better before” card, but it’s true. And this egg TASTED like egg, and for this, Get Fresh, I am eternally grateful.
  2. And – it was cooked to perfection: it was poached, the white was white (and not transparent) as it should be – and the yellow was runny – as it should be.

Florent seems to want to loose weight these days (or he is pretending to want to loose weight to  have ME loose weight – I haven’t quite yet figured this one out, despite careful interrogation and scrutiny). So we ordered granola. And it was good too, I must say.

See the egg? It was Perfect

See the egg? It was Perfect

So, like I said, a perfect brunch, to start a perfect day. $40 was our total (with tips) – service was OK (I must say that I still get the feeling that the waiters are all new there and quite don’t know what they are doing – although they were all helpful and trying hard). I was content, and even more looking forward to Little Giant – as the idea of my next post was taking shape in my mind.

*I am the youngest of 4 in the family – and also the only one without kids. And thing is, when you turn 30, the old excuse of “I am too young, way too young” turns out to be a little old. So one has to find other excuses. The “I don’t have a job and we wouldn’t have enough money to even CONSIDER getting pregnant – especially in New York city” has worked for me so far. Also it would help if my friends stopped getting pregnant all the time – and if my sisters started having babies again.
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Fabrice is Coming to Town

Root Hill Cafe

Root Hill Cafe

(In case you haven’t heard).
(and pending he is actually allowed to enter swine-flu territory)
(and is not afraid to do it).

Fabrice is a good friend of my husband – a very good friend, even. The kind of friend who Florent is so much looking forward to seeing that each time we go to a nice place (or rather, the kind of place Fabrice would like), I get the usual:

Oh dis donc, on devrait y retourner avec Fabrice, je suis sur qu’il adorerait. (Let’s come back here when Fabrice is here, I am sure he’d love it).

So Fabrice: for you to be able to overcome your fear of the flu (and I know that your are scared), here is a list of the places we will go back to – with you.

For petit-dejeuner en semaine, we will go to Root Hill. I love their coffee, really. Nice stop on your way to the subway before hitting the streets of Manhattan. Just avoid to go there around 3pm on a school day – the place transforms into a huge day care. Perturbing.

For brunch on week-end, I actually have two places. One if you don’t mind waiting (no reservation):  Cheryl’s .  Just

Al Di La Trattoria

Al Di La Trattoria

a really simple, warm tiny place full of love. Great pancakes (some of my favorite pancakes ever actually). Ideal to make you feel better before the first symptoms of the swine flu kick in. Get fresh is for when you convalesce: everything is organic and fresh and good (merveilleux Park Slope).

For lunch/showing off the mac you will have just bought at the apple store, we will go to ‘sNice (Park Slope, on 5th avenue, corner with 3rd street). Nice music, nice vibe.

For dinner – oh la la, so many places. Italian: al di la (and now they also have a wine bar – better for the 45-min wait) – applewood if we want to get fancy to celebrate that we are still alive. For old time sake, Beast in Prospect Heights. Can’t believe I forgot this place (went there two years ago, right after I arrived in NYC). Spanish Tapas. Delicious.

For binge drinking – after all, we might all be dead very soon so what the hell. Well, there’s the beer garden across the street (and if we’re lucky – i.e. if everybody else is home with the flu – we might be able to find a seat outside). And of course Union Hall – just to show all these Americans how to play Petanque.

And Alex, I know you are even more scared than Fabrice to come (and I am not sure I want you either after all. With all the trips you make to Asia I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d brought us a nasty form of H5N1 H1N1). But in any cases, rest assured, we’ll have a little something ready for you too.

Union Hall

Union Hall

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