So this post has a whole lotta love in it. Not only did we have an awesome Thanksgiving weekend in Milwaukee, we also sorta let our two-year anniversary on MOAP slip on by. That's right. I've been doing this thing for two whole years. Insane. Since we started, Meena and I have moved twice (that's right ... three apartment kitchens and three different neighborhoods on this sucker), gone from being together, to engaged to married and ... a whole host of other stuff. We've been through all sorts of things and this blog has been a relative constant. Wild.

Anyway, I said I wasn't going to make a big deal out of anniversaries any longer, so that's it. Two years in the can. Hopefully many more.

But Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was awesome. We started Thursday off with a ton of stuff. Meena's mom had turkey, yams, fruit salad, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and stuffing. Her sister brought some amazing pumpkin pies that featured intense amounts of vanilla ice cream. Pretty awesome.

The next day we had some of her mom's awesome beef stroganoff and a broccoli salad that's one of my favorite things on the planet. Lots of raw broccoli, red onion and bacon. Whew. I love it.

The next night, Saturday, we made our way to downtown Milwaukee for a couple delicious steaks at the Capitol Grill. It's a chain, that's true, but damn it's good. They dry age their beef there at the restaurant and it shows. I had a sirloin cooked to medium rare and it was a thing of beauty. Meena had a fillet and some butter poached lobster. We had some sides that were pretty awesome ... au gratin potatoes and a bit of butternut squash that was scented with maple syrup. The dinner was capped off with some coconut cream pie and I'm pretty sure I gained 13 pounds during this leisurely sitting. Sad, but it's probably well worth it. The food was awesome.

And tonight after flying back through the beginnings of a storm in Milwaukee, we touched down in NY and made our way back to Brooklyn with Joya on the brain. Meena had:
- chicken pad thai
- spring rolls

Alec had:
- tom yum koong
- pork and onion salad

My food was massively spicy this time. I had tons of red pepper in there. It was like eating fire. And I loved every second of it. Meena's was good. As always. No surprise there with Joya. They may have a dance party going on at that place, but the food always comes out refined. Thanks for the perfect welcome back to the hood, Joya.

So that's that. Another awesome Thanksgiving in the bag and two years on this sporadically read blog. Just kidding. I know some people read. But yeah. Great weekend, great food and lots and lots of wonderful family.



Meena and I needed something quick and cheap before we took off for a Thanksgiving in Milwaukee so we went back to an old favorite - garbage pasta.

That's right. Clean out the fridge and mix up whatever is in there with some pasta. Presto, you've got dinner.

And you know what's crazy? A lot of time, it comes out really delicious.

Who knew?

Anyway, this is what I threw on this one:
- garlic
- red onion
- bacon
- red wine marinara sauce
- green onion
- parmesan
- lemon zest
- sea salt
- black pepper

I didn't use much bacon. Just a touch for flavor. And the lemon zest gave the finish a nice, fresh, citrus note. Not bad. Not bad at all.

(sorry for the blurry shot!)


Meena and I are trying to do a couple things this week. First and foremost, as a direct result of this crap economy and the financial fear sweeping the nation, we're trying to keep budgets in check and tighten our belts. That means getting a little creative. And because we're heading home for the holidays on Wednesday, I figured it would be smart to use up as much as possible in the fridge.

Enter the pizzetta.

Last night I made a couple versions, but they were all featuring the same basic ingredients. Gone are the days of each one being themed a different way. That's too stressful for a Monday night. Maybe I'll get that nerve back one day. Maybe not. Anyway, on to the ingredients:
- crimini mushrooms, white onion and curry powder
- roasted garlic marinara
- red onion
- chives
- bbq chicken
- flour tortilla

The only thing I switched up between the four offerings was the cheese. I used the following selections:
- white cheddar
- gouda
- some sort of soft, brie-like number (forget the name)

Really nice pizzettas last night. Really nice. The curried veggies gave a light, but noticeable heat. The various cheeses gave us some variety and various levels of salt and texture.

Lovely. I'm not sure what's left in the fridge, but I guess we'll find out tonight ...



I was over at James and D's house watching football this afternoon so Meena was polite enough to take the reigns on dinner. And folks, she really housed it tonight. Destroyed it. Knocked one out of the park. That's right ... my wife is the best.

She had mentioned a BBQ chicken pizza earlier in the day and when I got home, I was please to see she stayed true to her earlier thought.

But this wasn't just your standard BBQ chicken pizza, folks. No, this was something special. Something different. Not only did she put a lot of love in there ... just used a bunch of stuff that took this one to a whole new level.

First she made a tomato chutney:
- tomato
- apple cider vinegar
- brown sugar
- garlic

And the rest of the ingredients went like this:
- chicken
- green onion
- white cheddar
- gouda
- red onion
- pre-made whole wheat crust

Yeah, it was something special. The cheese was luscious and bubbly. The chutney was sweet and tart and it was the perfect compliment to the chicken and cheese.

Awesome meal to accompany a big Colts win!



Pretty similar presentation, no? I mean ... I guess it's not TOTALLY the same. I just repeated the crossed chives again this morning. Not a cardinal sin or anything. Just a little lazy. Or maybe just not a bad idea worth repeating. Ha! I don't know. But I figured I'd call attention to it because anyone who is reading this can probably see my lack of creativity from last night to this morning.

Anyway, I got up this morning and got started on some brekkie to get us going for the day ahead. We knew we needed to hit the city for some stuff so I figured it best to get it started right. With some eggs and potatoes.

First I made some potato cakes:
- yams
- dijon mustard
- cinnamon
- light mayo
- panko
- egg
- sea salt
- black pepper
- parmesan
- chives

I threw all that in in the oven for a bit at 500 degrees and after a time (can't remember how long ... just long enough that when I punched them with a finger they punched back a little), I fried up a couple eggs to go on top. Nothing fancy, just two eggs, sea salt and some black pepper on a non-stick pan.

I garnished the thing with some more pepper, sea salt and some chives.

And the results were pretty nice. The cakes were probably my best effort yet in the potato pancake realm. I was really pleased with not only the flavor, but the texture as well. Fluffy in the middle, but still dense and really packed with that sweet, savory yam punch. I told Meena they were like savory cookies. They were. A little.

Anyway, I think this one was a winner. I need to figure out how to make them look a little nicer. But the flavor was there for certain.


Well, I finally got back in the kitchen. Sorry for the long delay. But you know how it is. With work and all ... sometimes it's just hard to get in there and get your hands dirty. But you know, weekends are typically sorta good for this kind of thing. Especially weekends that are cold and windy.

We didn't go outside much on Saturday, but we did get to the fish store to pick up a bit of salmon. I know we're sorta always doing salmon, but I think if you check, we haven't done it in a minute. So you know ... we figured we were due.

Pretty simple for the fish:
- salmon
- chives
- sea salt
- black pepper

Then I threw it over some mushrooms which featured:
- shiitake mushrooms
- crimini mushrooms
- white wine vinegar
- sea salt
- bacon
- black pepper

We also started with a soup that was sorta nice for the weather:
- white beans
- bacon
- sea salt
- allspice
- cinnamon
- chives
- sour cream
- chicken stock
- garlic
- white onion

The soup was thick and smooth. Not normally my thing, but like I said, it wasn't bad given the cold outside. I liked the allspice and cinnamon, too. Gave the thickness a nice little edge.

The salmon was nice. Meena's fillet and my fillet were different sizes so I think hers ended up cooked just a touch longer than it should have been. It was good, but mine (the thicker slice) was a little better, probably.

Good dinner, though. I hadn't done soup in a while. And that turned out well. I hadn't done salmon in a minute. It was a hit. So yeah. I guess that'll do.



Friday night Dan and Steve came by for some much needed face time. We hadn't seen them in a minute and we were really looking forward to just getting a night to hang with nothing to do. Mission accomplished.

For dinner we called in a bit of Zaytoons. Simple, easy, warm and filling on a cold night that was pretty much only good for wine, friends and a couple laughs.

Meena had:
- chicken shawarma platter

Dan had:
- falafel platter

Steve had:
- tuna kebab sandwich

Alec had:
- zaytoons mix
- shish kebab sandwich

'Toons was ... as always, awesome. And of course, Dan and Steve were the same. Awesome night.



I had to head out to the WIRED Store opening for work last night so food wasn't the primary objective. I mean, it was. I wanted to eat ... but I was there during dinner and on into "after dinner" time so I just sorta ate what I could get.

What I got was pretty good, actually. The little bites that were circulating throughout the night were OK. There was a short rib quesadilla thing that was nice. And there were some shrimp that were kinda sticky and gross ... but sorta good at the same time. There were various other things that were good and some that weren't, but by the time I was heading back to Brooklyn, I was full enough.

It's like when I was a caterer after college ... you'd eat as many little spinach puffs as you could when you were heading back to get your serving platter filled in the basement because you were poor and hungry. You'd leave with dinner being a natural thought ... but you were just so stuffed from scarfing all the leftovers.

Anyway. It was sorta like that. I got home and there wasn't much of a reason to eat. I'd had enough.

Also, go to the WIRED store. In NYC or online at wired.com/wiredstore. Just sayin.



That's right. I'm a liar. Clearly. I told you I was going to make dinner last night and I was not able to hold up my end of the bargain. I got home late. That was the problem. And Meena wasn't home. Normally this leads to TOTAL experimentation meals where I can just get nuts with whatever I find in the fridge. But last night, my heart wasn't in it. I was tired, still feeling a little sick ... and cold. So I just pulled a Henry. I called Zaytoons.

I ordered pretty standard stuff:
- shish kebab sandwich
- hummus
- zaytoons mix

I don't know why I got the hummus. I just thought my order felt slim and I should make it all worth Zaytoons' while. I don't know why I thought that. But I did.

Anyway, it was good. It's always good. It's typically great. It's Zaytoons. And like I said about Cube 63 yesterday ... they know we love 'em.

Tonight I will NOT be cooking. Work thing. But I'll try to get come slicing and dicing back on the blog soon.



I'll cook tonight. I promise. But I've been feelin' sorta crappy the past few days and cooking just hasn't been in the cards. Anyway.

It's cold outside. REALLY cold. Colder than I remember it being in November for a minute.


To combat that, I guess we had to have some cold food. I don't know why. But it worked. I was more than happy to see some plump little rolls show up.

Meena had:
- shrimp shumai
- cube 63 roll
- bahama mama roll

Alec had:
- miso soup (that's warm, I know ... but that was it!)
- tuna and avocado roll
- spicy tuna crunch roll
- eel and avocado roll

Glorious. Music in our mouths. Cube 63 does it again. I feel like I'm writing the quotes that go at the end of a movie trailer. But you know ... at this point in our career with Cube 63 delivery, it sorta needs to be reduced to sound bites and brief compliments. You know we love it.



Last night I had to get my geek on at a Star Trek preview for work. Good news is it looks really amazing. I'm not a fan at all. Never have been. But JJ is doing some cool stuff here and his intro and the subsequent clips piqued my interest. Considerably. So I guess that makes the bad news the unfortunate fact that I'm now a total geek.

Anyway, Meena was kind enough to call in some delivery from Chance. We hadn't had any Chinese delivery in a minute so I'm guessing that's why this was unusually great last night.

We had:
- chance's chicken
- curry noodles with shrimp and chicken
- sesame beef

We'd never had those curry noodles before and I liked them. A lot. Reminded me subtly of the Singapore street noodles from PF Chang's. Think what you will of me, but I consider that a hefty compliment. I'm sure referencing chains in the food blogosphere is blasphemy, but I don't really care. Clearly. I'm reviewing delivery Chinese here. And I know my three readers don't really care either (Shout out to my three readers!! What, what!).

Anyway, it was nice. Watched a little American footie. Watched some J&K + 8. Great night.



Meena's in the kitchen! And she's got a copy of Gourmet and a bunch of stuff I like a lot in the fridge ready to go into pots and pans for a great meal.

The dish was called sweet and sour unstuffed cabbage. It ended up being like an ethnic sort of comfort food. And I mean that in the very best way possible.

Her Sunday night masterpiece featured:
- ground pork
- ground beef
- cabbage
- cranberries
- brown rice
- red wine vinegar
- brown sugar
- sea salt
- black pepper
- chicken broth
- canned tomatoes

Meena was afraid it didn't look nice, but a) it really doesn't matter and b) it didn't look bad. The cabbage was steamed and deliciously soft. The sauce was like a sloppy joe type of thing ... with a bit more flair. The cranberries were a really good addition and made me think of my favorite beef stew with dried cherries. Great choice, Meen. Lovely dinner to cap a really relaxing weekend.


Sunday morning I threw together a bit of breakfast that I had hoped would get us going for a big Sunday.

It got us going ... right to the couch!

We did nothing on Sunday. Save watch football and love life. Doesn't get much better than that. And it all started with a quick sandwich that included:
- peasant bread
- cheddar cheese
- dijon mustard
- egg
- sea salt
- red onion
- black pepper
- siracha
- virginia ham

Simple and awesome. Just the way we like it.


Saturday we were ferried to the the city by James and D to attend a nice little dinner party at the home of Will and Marisa. They have a great spot and it's decorated beautifully. Truth be told, I came home and had to have some serious soul searching about our own setup. Changes coming soon, no doubt.

Anyway, in addition to a great setup, we were also treated to some great foods. The duo got us started with some hummus and olives and that sort of thing while Will rocked out a couple pizzas that were fantastic.

I can't remember all the ingredients, but I think I have a shot of both of them up there. They were all veg appropriate. One had some fake sausage. The other had some veggie crumbles. One had fresh mozzarella. One had regular. They BOTH had Will's homemade gravy of the red variety. Both ... were awesome.

For something sweet at the end, D brought a zucchini cake with a bit of homemade pumpkin ice cream. I mean ... yeah. I could have eaten fifteen plates of that.

Awesome night.



Well, I've found my favorite place in Brooklyn. That much has been solidified.

Last night we had a little husband and wife date night at a little spot down the street that we probably should have tried a long time ago. I'm not sure why we hadn't up until this point. It's always recommended. It's expensive, yes, but we've been to other expensive places here.

Oh well. Matters not why we waited so long. Just that we did and now I'm sorry. Because Saul is fantastic. Better than fantastic. It gave me one of the best meals I've had in a very long time.

We got things started with a salad that we shared. It was a lot of things but the main components were Berkshire pork belly and octopus. With it were some peppers, some grilled green onion, almonds and a vinegar-based dressing. Outstanding. One of the best salads I've had in ages. That's right. I used the word ages. I'm officially more than a geek - I'm an old geek.

Next, we moved into mains. Meena had a squab confit with homemade tagliatelle, beets and micro arugula. She wasn't a huge fan of the arugula or the beets, but I think she loved the dish overall. I know I loved all the little bites she let me sneak from her plate.

I had a roasted sea bass that was just nuts. There were clams, diakon foam, bacon lardons and all sorts of vegetables. Perfection. I loved every bite. A lot.

We capped the night off with their baked Alaska. Not such a huge fan of that one, but hey, you can't win them all. It wasn't bad ... just not as good as everything else we had.

So yeah. I can't even. You just have to go. Go try it. You won't be disappointed.



Well, it took a couple weeks ... but I finally feel like we're back to normal. Delivery, TV, PJs, and the couch by 7:45. For us, that's normal.

And for maximum normalcy, we event called in some Joya.

Meena had:
- chicken pad thai (not spicy)

Alec had:
- woon sen (extra spicy)

So lovely. I love woon sen. It's a little smoky and very spicy. Can't ask for much more with me. I think Meena really enjoyed the pad thai. She always does. Last night was no different.

Being normal feels good.



Weird. Weird dinner. Meena was out for yet another work function so I was at home cooking some foods and hanging out. I tried to use some of the stuff we had around and picked up a couple things at the store.

I started with some veg:
- portobello mushrooms
- napa cabbage
- red onion
- siracha
- sea salt
- olive oil

And then I made a sandwich:
- whole-grain flat bread
- smoked mackerel
- red onion
- dijon mustard

I threw a bit of my veg on top of the sandwich and closed it all up. Not bad. Pretty good, actually. Everything really had a lot more flavor and taste than it looks up there. Sorta ugly. Lots of muted, bland colors. But that siracha in the veg and the smoky fish were pretty strong flavors. Dijon mustard, too. So you know ... the looks weren't there. But in the end, I was pretty pleased with it.



Last night we met Laura's lil' sister, Bon, at the Lower East Side's Little Giant along with some work folk. I'd never heard a thing about this spot, but I was told prior to arriving that it's quite the place.

We sorta ordered a feast. And it was sorta good.

For starters, we had the deviled eggs, a couple biscuits and some spinach dip. I like them all. The biscuits were the standout, however.

For dinner, there were a lot of different things ordered. Meena and Bon had the scallops you see up there. I think they may have been the best thing that came out. We also had the following delivered to the table:
- swine of the day x 2
- pasta with fresh pesto

I had the swine and I was a little unhappy with it. It's that photo you see up there that's dark and gross. It wasn't that it was terrible - the selection of foods was nice - it was just that the pork butt was sorta overcooked. When you have pork butt, you don't want it to be dry. That's the worst. It's one of those pieces of meat that you want soft, falling apart and utterly juicy. I'm hyper critical of pork, but yeah. That was a bummer.

For dessert, we had some made to order cookies with a scoop of vanilla gelato and some sticky pudding. Really nice. They shined in that department for sure.

So it was a good night. Some disappointment with the pork and lots of high notes - namely getting to hang with Bonnie.

Also, sorry to Mrs. Kaufman for involving another daughter in my eating adventures! I promise she was unharmed!

And the photos are clearly not all mine. Thanks, tokyohana and alexandra moss



Last night I was on my own. Meena had the Women Of The Year Awards to attend, so while she was chilling with Hillary and Ms. Portman and stuff, I'm hanging around watching Monday Night Football.

Anyway, I made some simple stuff. Nothing serious. I started with some roasted veg:
- brussels sprouts
- red onion
- honey
- sea salt
- black pepper
- olive oil

And after I got those roasting, I threw together a little sandwich:
- red onion
- multi-grain flat bread
- gravlax
- low-fat cream cheese
- dijon mustard
- chives

Not bad. The gravlax were pretty pungent, but that's part of the appeal, I guess. I really enjoyed the sandwich. The dollop of cream cheese and the mustard gave it a smooth bite and the red onion packed a punch. Nice.

And the veg was solid. Nothing beats some sprouts and onions with a touch of honey and salt. Little sweet ... subtle crunch. Perfect side to a sandwich during MNF.



Strange weekend of eating. I'll just recap quickly:

- Friday: Meena was out at a work party so I just ate a slice of pizza from around the corner.

- Saturday: I spent the day at UMASS for a football game and Meena spent the day chillin' around home. We went to a birthday party that night in Williamsburg and had a lovely lasagna her friend Jen made. It was very delicious - I don't have an image though. Sorry!

- Sunday: Football SUNDAY. We went to James and D's house and had a ton of nice foods. D had tortellini and pizza. Dan brought taco dip. I made a couple timbles. One with smoked salmon and red onion ... the other with a red onion chutney.

So yeah. Weird weekend. No photos. Eating at odd times. Sorry. I'll do better this week.



Last night we had a work function at Tortilla Flats in the West Village. You heard me. Tortilla Flats. For those who live in NYC and know, this is a dive. A place filled with bachelorette parties and drunken debauchery. It ain’t high class. It ain’t even dive-bar chic. It’s just dirty.

Alas, we had to go.

So I swilled some margs and I housed some tacos. I didn’t want to, but you know – work friends and constantly flowing tequila drinks … you need sustenance. So sustain sobriety I did and I was out and home by 10:00. Not bad.

Photo courtesy of Westvillagebob on Flickr. Thanks, Bobby.



As you've seen, we're back in the saddle on the food front. We've made a couple meals and had a few wonderful ones made for us by friends, but I have to say ... it's never home until we've had a couple pizzettas in da HOUSE.

Last night was a good one because we only needed about $10 bucks in new stuff to make this one shine. The rest was leftover stuff that we had in the fridge. The core of the four efforts contained the following:
- chipotle tortilla
- yellow bell pepper
- tomato sauce
- mixed greens
- fresh mozzarella
- sea salt
- black pepper

Then in addition to that, I added a couple extras to make each unique. One had some habenero chicken sausage. One had some of the ground beef from our quesadillas the other night. The other had some anchovies. The last one was chicken sausage and habenero cheddar (hot one!).

Pretty good! We don't typically use those low-carb tortillas for these, but it was raining last night and we weren't interested in trekking to find them. In the end, these worked just fine.

So that's that. We're back in the swing of things.


Just catching up here. We had some lovely bites when we got home and back on East Coast time, but I was always too sleepy (or busy) to get it back on the internutz. Here's the run down:

- We had a lovely breakfast sandwich ala Meena. Some nice sausage, avocado and eggs. Yum.

- Diana made us one of her signature spreads. Outstanding. We had a pumpkin upside down cake, little sausage and cheese joints in wonton skins, cheese pizza, Hawaiian pizza, dips, etc. It was nuts. As always. And it was fantastic and I loved every moment. As always.

- We had some quesadillas with ground beef one night. Some of the best I've made.

- Nachos for the Colts game ala Meena. Plentiful and totally awesome.

- Dan made some election night salmon burgers with a chipotle mayo. I mean ... pretty amazing.

It's been a pretty great welcome home tour. Obviously.



I don’t really even know where to start with Thailand. We had so much food and we were there for so long that it’s impossible to really give you a play-by-play. Well, it’s not impossible, but it’s a pretty massive endeavor and I’m not sure I’m up to the task.

BUT I did take a lot of photos. Tons. And here is a selection of the best from the food genre.

Food in Thailand, in case you didn’t know, is a really serious national hobby. Well, more than a hobby. A national obsession. You can’t go anywhere without running into someone who is ready to feed you. From five-star restaurants to grills attached to motor scooters and yolks carried by little old ladies, the Thai people are ready to rock out some pad thai or grill a satay at the drop of a hat.

And we took them up on the offer.

I feel like from the moment we landed, we ate. Ate, ate and ate some more. Meena embarked on a journey to taste the pad thai of anyone who would make it for her. She compared dried shrimps, color, texture, smell, etc. In the end, I don’t even think I have a photo of the one she liked the best (in a random road-side restaurant our cab driver steered us toward), but needless to say, even the worst efforts were pretty awesome experiences.

For better or worse, we didn’t eat anything too weird. No rattlesnake guts or scorpions on a skewer. But we did enjoy some sea snails and frog legs. Oh, and the occasional bag of Double Cheese Pork Burger chips and Thai Airways Puff & Pie mystery meals.

It was a pretty outstanding trip. If you’re interested in the Thai universe outside of food, you can see some other photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alecbrinegar

We obviously miss Thailand, but being back, being married and starting out on a new journey is pretty cool too. Sorry for the long delay in posts … it took a week to get back up and running. Jet lag is a real pain in the ass.

Hit me up if you have any questions about anything you see. I doubt it. But you know … just throwing it out there.