So it's been a minute without a post and I know everyone out there was missing my food commentary over the gluttonous holidays, but alas, Meena and I weren't together (boo!) and I thought a little private eating was probably necessary.

My momma had a bit of surgery on her eye while I was home, so cooking duties actually fell on my shoulders a few times whilst in Indy. One of the nights I snapped some cell phone shots and the other I did not. At any rate, just to make up for the lack of posts, I'll run through one of the many meals I had over my wonderful break.

We started with a bit of white bean dip with some baked ciabatta bread slices
- olive oil
- white beans
- lemon
- garlic
- salt
- pepper
- ciabatta

We then had a baked red anjou pear with bleu cheese
- red anjou pears
- bleu cheese
- garlic
- olive oil
- salt
- pepper
- white balsamic vinegar
- honey

We also had hickory planked salmon with a chipotle peach glaze
- chipotle peppers
- peach preserves
- white vinegar
- olive oil
- atlantic salmon
- hickory plank
- dad's grill

And the salmon was served with some baked brussels sprouts
- applewood smoked bacon
- honey
- walnuts
- brussels sprouts
- olive oil
- salt
- pepper

Everything was really, really good save the sprouts. Which were PRETTY good, just a touch dry. A point my dad made very sure to make. But he was right. They would have been stronger tossed in a bit of oil and vinegar or something after coming from the oven. But that wonderful grill flavor and the subtle heat in that sweet salmon glaze? Wonderful. And the pear was really delicious. I was trying to remake the Ivo & Lulu favorite ... and I think I nearly got it!



After the gym and before the Colts game, we thought we might run out and try this Italian place on 2nd and B, but I guess it's not open on Mondays. After wandering around the vicinity we ducked into this little spot we'd been by a bunch of times called In Vino. On an ambiance scale of 1-10, the place is easily a 9.5. It's adorable. It's a little like a cave with these curved ceilings, dark wood and little candles. Oh, and the food is pretty good, too.

We started with:
- meatballs in ragu sauce

Meena had the:
- cannelloni with spinach & ricotta in tomato sauce

Alec had the:
- MAX meat lasagna

Although we didn't really need the meatballs, they were really good. The sauce was really thick and nice. Meena's was really nice. The cannolloni was homemade and that spinach and ricotta was just right.

Now to the lasagna. So I was already pretty full when that thing came out. And when they dropped this dish on the table in front of me ... I was pretty much overwhelmed from the get go. It was not only huge, it just looked ... intimidating. I mean, it looked great, don't get me wrong. Just ... serious. So I ate about 1/3rd of the thing and brought it home. It was decadent as hell and very much not something I would normally order, but you know ... moderation.

oh, btw. if you're in these photos and you need me to take them off of here or something, I will. I nabbed them from the site. just don't sue me, cool?


I'm only writing this on Monday night, but I can hardly remember what we did on Sunday. Oh ... we shopped a lot. So after we messed around in SoHo for far too long, we came home with Chinese on the brain. But when it came right down to crunch time, Meena went with delivery and I decided it might be in my best interest to just hang in there with the old school favorite ... pizzetas. Meena picked up her standards from another New York Chinese (Grand Sichuan) spot that is more or less the exact same as any other. I'm not saying she didn't enjoy it ... I guess I'm just commenting on Chinese in general. It's never really terrible. It's consistent. Nearly always.

So Meena had the:
- beef with broccoli
- vegetable lo-mein

I made the pizzetas with:
- yellow pepper
- onion
- mushrooms
- flour tortillas
- parmesan
- tomato sauce
- barbecue sauce
- dried basil
- ham
- slice of cheddar

Everything was pretty solid. I really liked the pizzetas tonight. I usually use some fresh mozzarella and honestly ... it's probably too much cheese. I really liked the little bits of grated parmesan. And the little bits of grilled ham went well with the veggies that just happened to be cooked really well.

Meena liked her beef with broccoli, but she didn't eat a ton of it. And she usually does the same with the lo-mein. She just liked enough of it to get a taste. Which is fine because that stuff is so cheap. Anyway, nice lazy dinner for a Sunday night.



I don't normally post breakfast items, but I know I'm not going to cook tonight so I figured I'd update with something. Meena and I had a little wine last night, so I didn't really feel like running out first thing this morning to buy breakfast ... or even more groceries. So I was left with the stuff in the fridge and I think everything turned out pretty well.

We started with some turkey and portabella rolls:
- leftover homemade turkey burgers
- portabella mushroom
- red pepper
- store bought salsa
- mixed greens
- flour tortillas
- onions cooked in red wine

We moved on to a couple ham, egg and cheese sandwiches:
- english muffin
- egg
- gruyere
- mixed greens
- onions cooked in red wine
- ham

I used a sauce for both that featured:
- red pepper sauce
- maple syrup
- olive oil
- soy sauce

In an odd turn of events, everything managed to look and taste quite good. The little rolls didn't look quite as pretty as I would have liked and they fell apart a bit (I should have wet the tortillas before I rolled them), but Meena's reaction was enough to ensure this one will pop up again. The egg, ham and cheese was nice but a little bit dry. I only had one egg, so I had to split them between the two sandwiches. The sauce really helped though. I'm totally full and ready to get to some serious holiday shopping.


Holiday bonuses were dished out today, so we decided not to cook and went to Hedeh, a little Japanese spot we'd been walking past for months. Basically, the place is pristine. It's a really, really clean looking place with bottles all over the wall and this giant open kitchen. Except for a few odds and ends, it's more or less your standard (good) sushi spot. I mean ... that's not totally fair. A lot of the entrees sounded really nice. I just didn't order very adventurously. I stuck to a sushi special, so I can't really be very critical of the menu in its entirety.

We started with:
- tuna guacamole

Meena had:
- seaweed salad
- spicy tuna roll
- shrimp tempura roll

Alec had:
- miso soup
- sushi nami

We finished with:
- green tea ice cream

We got things started with the tuna guacamole special only because it sounded really odd. It was basically guacamole with bits of the sashimi tuna mixed in. They served it with these little fried lotus chips and when they were all mixed together, it was really wonderful.

Meena didn't like the seaweed salad that much, so she dealt it to me for my miso. It was really pretty good. Meena was hoping for the standard seaweed salad, but this wasn't the average stuff. It was actually four different types of seaweed and to my novice palate - seemingly very fresh.

The rolls were rolls. They weren't the most amazing I've ever had, but they weren't bad by any means. Solid.

The green-tea ice cream came with a little smattering of red beans that were really nice.

We left totally full and set out to find a copy of The Devil Wears Prada.



Tonight I set out to make a version of this Rachel Ray thing we saw a couple years ago and for the most part I succeeded. The flavor wasn't quite up to par, but I think that's because I didn't put any of the parmesan in with the turkey. Anyway, it looked pretty good and when you sorta mixed everything together, the taste was pretty delicious.

For the primary course, we used:

- ground turkey breast
- sesame seeds (toasted)
- garlic
- red pepper
- onion
- portabella mushrooms
- mixed greens
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar

For the salad, we used a bunch of the same:

- mixed greens
- anchovies
- clementines
- parmesan
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- sesame seeds (toasted)

Again, the meat was a bit bland, but with everything else, it ended up being pretty good. I think it's going to taste rad as hell with some english muffins for lunch tomorrow. FYI. Oh ... and I'm totally full.


Tonight I had to run down to the Bowery Ballroom for a minute for an RS live thing, so cooking was sorta out of the question. I didn't get back until a little later, so we just did our favorite Indian delivery - Baluchi's. You've seen it before ... we always get the same stuff. Tonight we didn't get all the proper condiments. We got the apple chutney and two yougurt sauces, but sadly, no green or red sauce. Matters not. I tried to eat as little of the nan as possible.

Meena had the:
- fish pakora appetizer
- tikka masala dinner

Alec got the the:
- chicken tikka appetizer
- lamb vindaloo dinner

The lamb was insane hot but I was loving it. All of meena's stuff was great. I tried one of her pakoras tonight and they were really good, too.



Meena wasn't feeling that much better this morning, so she had herself another sick day today. Thus, she ended up taking over the cooking duties again ... and again everything was amazing. She did the same amazing sweet potato fries with the cajun seasoning. They got a little crispy, but I like that. She's not a huge fan of the carbon, but I do like it quite a bit.

She also did a ham and cheese panini type thing that was sorta like a cuban without the roasted pork. It did, however have the:

- ham
- homemade mustard
- pickles
- organic wheat bread
- gruyere

It was pretty amazing. Nice and crispy with just enough spice from the mustard. She also threw in a little store bought tomato bisque just to keep it super homey ... yet refined. Anyway, I'm totally full. And it's nearly time for a new Sleeper Cell.


So meena had a little sick day today and did a bang up job on the ultimate comfort food - Sloppy Joes. And no manwich crap for us. She made these from scratch and it was so much better than the can. Granted, I haven't had the canned stuff in years. But if memory serves, it was in no way shape or form as good as this stuff.

Meena used:

- ground sirloin
- tomato paste
- tomato sauce
- onion
- red bell pepper
- brown sugar
- whole wheat buns
- red wine vinegar

She did our favorite sweet potato fries with a little cajun seasoning. Auh-mazing. Lopez came by because he was working in the neighborhood this morning, so he had a couple as well. I know it was great and based on the reaction of both Lopez and Meena ... I was right.

And last but not least, that beautiful cake photo you see up there was courtesy of my wonderful friends at Wenner Media. Schramm had this thing made out in Hoboken by some fancy Italian bakery. Leave it to Alec to trash up a classy cake with a mullet wig.


So this was a total Meena creation. After a long weekend of entertaining and a horrific colts loss, we thought some comfort food was in order. So Meena did a nice tomato based beef stew that cooked down for a couple hours.

The ingredients were:

- carrots
- can of crushed tomatoes
- white onion
- sweet potato
- yellow potato
- dark beer (a doppelbock)
- bay leaves
- stew beef (trimmed)
- beef broth
- olive oil
- flour

So the results were very comforting. I had two bowls and took the rest for lunch the next day. Meena thought the tomato goodness was a little too strong, but I enjoyed it. Like I said, we cooked it way down, so it stayed nice and thick. I think that's the common stew killer ... too much liquid. So I thought this one was great.


After a super long day hiking around the city and seeing all the wonderful tourist stuff this city has to offer, Grant, Sara, Meen and I decided it was in our best interest just to chill out at home and order the best Thai in the neighborhood. The place is great. We've eaten in a couple times and it's just a nice. Very authentic (from what I'm told) and the place is a family affair.

Anyway, I started with the:

- Tom Yum Koong soup

Meena went with the:

- Thai Spring Rolls

Grant, Sara and Meena had the:

- Pad Thai (the industry standard)

Alec had the:

- Nua Pad Bai Krapraw (beef with basil)

As always it was rad. We were comparing it to our favorite Thai place in Indy and although it isn't quite as good as Mrs. Fischer's Phad Thai in Indy (crazy, I know) it's some of the best we've had in the city.



Friday night we did a little birthday dinner with Grant & Sara at one of my favorite spots in all of NYC - Ivo & Lulu. The night was perfect and the food, as always, was totally amazing. We were sitting really close to the door so it was a little chilly, but we ended up staying forever and just getting down with a couple bottles of wine. We found a great new Malbec and a Pinot Noir Meena loves.

Alec had the:

- baked pear with blue cheese and honey garlic oil
- wild boar and sage sausages in a blueberry sauce

Meena had the:
- smoked mussels in cilantro chili butter
- broiled chicken with goat cheese and papaya puree

Grant & Sara started with the:
- grilled avocado with spinach mousse and shiitake vinaigrette

Then Grant also had the boar sausages and Sara did the:

- Duck breast with ... something. Can't remember. It was lovely though.

We then finished with the coconut flan and the apple soufflé.




You know what's odd? We didn't even really eat dinner last night. Grant and Sara got here and we just went right into martinis and tapas! Meena had some nice shrimp she did with some old bay seasoning and a crab dip from Fresh Direct. AND THAT WAS IT! That's probably why I was feelin' the vodka this morning. Not enough in my tummy.

Anyway, we're going to Ivo & Lulu tonight, so expect to hear about some of my favorites really soon!



You're going to hear this a lot ... we didn't end up cooking last night. I had even researched some recipes and was planning to make Bulgogi. I just thought a little beef with peppers, rice and garlic sounded nice. And I found this great recipe on Epicurious that's actually from the little Korean restaurant around the corner from us. BUT we had to run some errands to Christmas up the place because Grant & Sara are coming from Indy for the weekend. So after hitting SoHo and stuff ... we just thought, let's make it a Hiro night.

So you can basically just look back to the 11/30 post. We did it the exact same. No substitutions. Same meal ... item for item. If you're in NY (and more specifically the East Village) and want some pretty solid delivery sushi, it's one of the best. More info here: http://www.hironyc.com/index.htm



Tonight Meena had her fashion dept. holiday dinner at Mexican Radio, so I was on my own. While we joked on the train this morning that I was going to keep it strictly bachelor with a hungry man dinner featuring 42 gallons of mashed potatoes, 12 pounds of fried chicken and a trash can full of yellow corn kernels ... I knew that wasn't going to happen.

I had to take back some videos in the west village and I was getting really hungry ... so I almost thought I wouldn't cook and just get all gyro and stuff, but I still had some motivation to hit the grocery once I got off the train. I sorta milled about the store for a minute trying to figure out what I was going to make. I was thinking of trying to replicate one of my favorite Ivo & Lulu dishes (some odd sausage and some nice couscous with raisins), but sausage was expensive and it didn't look very good for me. So I went with these ingredients:

- chicken breast
- chili peppers
- fresh mozzarella
- cherry tomatoes
- cucumber

I had some curry powder, raisins, miracle whip, balsamic vinegar and olive oil at home, so what I ended up doing was mixing up a little curried chicken salad (served it on a warm tortilla) with that cucumber/tomato/mozzarella salad. They were both really nice. And filling. I'm totally full. But best part ... I spent like 12 dollars on groceries ... and I totally have lunch tomorrow, too.

Oh, the one thing you're going to start realizing with my cooking ... my presentation is CRAP. And because you can't taste this stuff (I assure you it's good), this is hardly of any use to anyone. Therefore ... I promise to work on that. It'll get better. Mark my words.



So after grabbing a drink with some friends after work, I ran home and got into some fajitas. I'd meant to cook these for a couple days, but due to a thing or two coming up ... I didn't get to it until tonight.

Anyway, there isn't much easier than fajitas. I mean, honestly. You need minimal cooking knowledge to do these really well. You just cook and slice a few things in a few batches and ... PRESTO. You're done and getting real on some fantastic stuff.

Here's what made up our little fiesta:

- shrimp
- dried oregano
- garlic
- red bell pepper
- green/yellow chili peppers
- white onion
- smoked gouda
- smoked mozzarella
- pork tenderloin
- lime
- green onion
- flour tortillas
- pre-made salsa

Meena did a little rub on the tenderloin while I was on my way home. Just a few spices to taste it seemed. I just finished it on a skillet with some lime. While I was doing the tenderloin, I grilled off some peppers. One chili, one sweet bell. Once the peppers were a little black, I took them off and threw on some shrimp. Just added a little more lime, some salt and the dried oregano (not sure the oregano was necessary ... should have used cilantro or something. But I didn't have it and was just going for color). And that was about it. Finished it with the green onion and garlic clove. I just used a little quick read meat thermometer to make sure the meat was cooked through and after letting it rest a minute, sliced it up. It was nice and spicy and the meat was just right. And that's it. On to the Brinegar family holiday card and off to bed.


Sunday we went to a tree trimming party at Dan and Steve-o's place in Park Slope. It was a little rough because I was a touch hung over from having Carter and Matt the night before, but I gotta be honest ... nothing cures a hangover like Dan's tapas. We had some wine and little bites before Dan kicked out the jams with a wonderful lasagna. It was his first attempt at the Italian staple ... and he succeeded. Here's how the rest of the menu went down:

- phyllo pockets with goat cheese and roasted red peppers served with a bit of marmalade
- spinach balls (Dan's famous recipe) with horseradish cream
- holiday snowman cookies
- oatmeal butterscotch cookies

And of course, the delicious lasagna. Needless to say, we were insane fat and full when we finally left BK. Thanks, Dan and Steve!


So it's well past Saturday, but I needed to get this stuff updated quickly. We had (AGAIN) plans to cook some delicious fajitas. We had purchased all the essentials ... but then I got a call from my friend Carter. I knew he was coming, but I thought he was in town for a party and we had really only chatted about having a drink before he took off for his event. Well, to my surprise, he brought my man Mateyo along with him from D.C. So instead of making dinner, we took off to one of our old favorites on the LES - Jeeb.

When Jeeb was BYOB, we went ALL THE TIME. But they got a liquor licensee and the corking fee went way up and we didn't really go back. Which ... is a little unfair. Because it is really good food.

Anyway, we started with:

- Tasting Combo - Spring Rolls / Thai Crepe/ Chicken Satay / Curry Puffs

Alec had the:

- Spicy Noodle with basil: stir-fried flat noodles with egg, onions, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers and chili basil sauce

Meena and Matt had the:

- Pad Thai: the most popular stir-fried rice noodles with egg, bean sprouts, grounded peanut and scallions

Carter had the (I think!):

- Peanut curry: Homemade mild peanut curry paste with coconut milk, peas, carrots, broccoli

The food, as always was really good. The big tapas plate was nice. I'm not a huge fan of the curry puffs, but everything else was great. Carter (and I think Matt) decided the crepe was the best.

Everyone seemed to have a nice dinner. I liked mine a lot more than I expected. I'm typically a spicy pad thai guy ... but I switched it up. And I was happy about that. As you can see from the photos, the garden was really nice too. Always is.

And ... for the four of us to eat ... I think we made it out of there for like 70 bucks all said and done. NOT BAD AT ALL.



Last night our friends Dan and Steve-o came into the city and we ended up at our favorite Russian joint, Anyway Cafe. I had intended to cook for everyone, but due to working late and a whole host of other frustrations, I didn't. So we had some wine and went to the place with the best vodka in the East Village.

Here's how it went down:

Meena and Alec shared the:

- Smoked Trout Roulade with Horseradish Cream & Salmon Caviar

Dan and Steve shared the:

- Wild Mushroom Ikra with Potato Pancakes & Sour Cream

Alec had the:

- Russian Peasant-Style Beef in Red Wine Sauce

Meena and Dan had the:

- Chicken Stroganoff with Mashed Potatoes

Steve had the:

- Salmon Filet on Sauteed Spinach with Romanoff Caviar Dressing

Here's the thing about Anyway ... the food isn't AMAZING. Everything I had last night was fantastic, but there are some pitfalls in that menu. Steve's was a touch overcooked for my taste, but i think he enjoyed it. Meena and Dan's were pretty yummy although I'm not so sure they loved it. Our trout roulade was perfect and it always is. The potato pancake was really hard, but I liked the ikra. I'm not sure if anyone else did.

In addition to the food, we had the VUDKA. I had a shot of the chili pepper. Meena had raspberry. I can't remember what dan had. Dan and Steve had crazy Eastern Bloc beers. Latvia. Our wonderful waitress also brought us a sample of their new blueberry vodka (twice) and it was really good for a fruity vodka.

Anyway, I love it. Great place. It's so cozy and the prices are reasonable. We'll cook tonight. Fear not.