Greek Corner in Carle Place- Octopus & Squid in New York (Part 1)

I am a lucky girl! On my most recent trip to New York, 4 of my 12 meals consisted of octopus, squid, or BOTH! To keep from droning on and on in a super long post (covering all 4 restaurants), I’ll have to break up the OctoSquid-licious-ness.

My first New York meal was spot on. I went to the Greek Corner in Carle Place. The decor was bright and reminiscent of a Disney flick (or even Disney World):

wall mural

wall mural

You can see how the painted wall extends to the ceiling depicting a pale blue sky, full of white cotton candy clouds. It was outlandish, but it also made me feel relaxed (it must have been the calming blue tones). The interior decorator also made a point to display the menu for people with vision problems:
look up and order

look up and order

And while that publicly jarring menu was appealing, I saw some show-stealers on the lunch menu:


But, I settled on an Aegean Salad with grilled octopus:
superstar lunch

superstar lunch

I could eat this every single day for lunch and most nights for dinner. The grilled tentacles retained an excellent char and crispy-ness, while the hunky pieces of meat were soft and tender. The salad was an average greek salad which came complete with crumbled feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers (can’t remember if there were olives). Everything was fresh and everything was eaten. The diners at my table were also lucky that day in that they heard me rant and rave about the octopus topped salad throughout lunch and for many hours afterward.
Of course, I leave the best bites for last:
delicious-ness dragged on

delicious-ness dragged on

The guys (waiters, cooks, owners) were not used to having the restaurant photographed, so after some weird glances in my direction I explained my baby blog. Once they heard the word internet, the posing began:

owner on the left; green haired guy on the right

owner on the left; green haired guy on the right

All in all, a fantastic way to start off the holiday weekend in NY.

More to come….


Would You Eat This…Cloudberry Preserves?

I'm Swedish

I'm Swedish

The only benefit to my foodie friend moving across the country is my accumulation of her uneaten (and unopened) goods. She does not want to ship heavy boxes full of jams, spreads, and pantry items from Atlanta to Los Angeles, so I generously offered to take everything off her hands. The first thing I dug into was a jar of cloudberry jam. Imported from Sweden, the jam is sweet but also slightly tangy. The seeds of the fruit create a crunchy texture that does not bode well for people with proclaimed ‘texture issues’. I for one am not one of these people and enjoyed the jam by itself:

you can see the texture

you can see the texture

But I prefer it combined with peanut butter on a toasted Arnold Thin:

pour some jam on me

pour some jam on me

Would you try cloudberry spread?

Healthy Meal: Quinoa with Spinach and Tofu

With the holidays fully underway, there are many healthy meals in my future. Without the balance between family gorge-fests, Buford Highway excursions, and simple, healthy meals, I would not be able to close my jeans. While, I don’t find most nutritionally driven meals all that exciting, I wanted to share a recent dinner that was satisfying and comforting (oh, and it tasted good).

We had some leftover quinoa in the refrigerator that needed to be eaten. One of my favorite meal bases (as opposed to rice, couscous, pasta), quinoa is sometimes called a superfood. According to the wiki, “It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a grass. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach and tumbleweeds”.

use it or lose it

A box of Nasoya tofu was purchased to pump up the protein:

It comes all cubed up – what a convenience:

I'm easy

Throw the tofu and some baby spinach into a wok with flavored broth (I used vegetable bouillon):

wok it up

Add in the quinoa:

Mix it all up with heat below:

And dinner is served:

Enjoy! (and feel no guilt)

J’ Chanceux Macaron

Look at this beauty of a gift my sister got for me:

box full of love

perfect pastry post meal

She showed up at Thanksgiving dinner with a neat, little box of tasty macarons. For those of you who have not been introduced to the hamburger-shaped French pastries, they are “a traditional French pastry, made of egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar and sugar”. (wiki)

As told by Darby,” a new bakery opened with the cutest little lady owner – and she makes macarons’. That bakery is called J’ Chanceux Macaron and has only been opened for a few weeks.

info, held up by Darby

We did a taste testing in her apartment the next day. We got through them all, but since we were stuffed, never declared a winner. Looking back, the flavor that left a lasting impression on me was the coffee. It was sweet, but had a tinge of bitterness that added another dimension to the dessert.

Macarons are one of my all-time favorite treats – small enough to taste a few, crunchy with a melt-in-your-mouth outer layer, and a touch of cream.

If you live in New York City, go try out J’ Chanceux and give the little lady a chance.

Thanksgiving: Recap

Gather 'round

I’m sure most of you are Thanksgiving-ed out, so I will keep my recap brief.

Like most families, the food at my table is a combination of traditional turkey-day grub as well as cultural edibles.

For us, that means we must start with matzoh ball soup:

hot balls

my portion

My grandma makes this soup for every holiday occasion. Her version of matzoh balls are light and fluffy; they are the cornerstone of our meal.

Next, we move onto chicken fricassee:

my portion

Made with turkey meatballs, carrots,raisins, and various chicken parts (necks, gizzards, hearts), the gravy of this dish is to die for. We mix it with mushroom barley to soak up the rich, meat-flavored sauce.

And here is my uncle giving us a closer look at his chicken heart:

After the opening ceremony of Jewish courses, the Thanksgiving fare starts rolling out of the kitchen:

gobble gobble


chunky cranberry molded (in a good way) sauce

And we throw in some vegetables for good measure:

Everyone’s favorite plate is the glazed corned beef. This is spoken about all year long and is completely devoured by night’s end.

Here is my plate:

(that’s only plate number 1 – I had turkey and cranberry sauce to close out the meal)

As always, the food was excellent but the company was better. We relaxed for awhile to digest before attacking dessert:

proud of her accomplishments

Chocolate, chocolate chip cakes, banana chocolate chip cake, thumbprint cookies, fruit bars, tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake AND:

you won't regret eating me 🙂

Much thanks to my wonderful grandmother for putting together another over-the-top meal filled with savory and sweet delicacies. Hope you all had an awesome holiday. I’m ready to go eat some post Thanksgiving breakfast (that may or may not include leftover cheesecake)

Oh, and there was an addition to our table this year; and he was very well behaved:

I tasted turkey - wahoooo!

Happy Thanksgiving OctoSquidlets!

Have a great day everyone! For most people, this day is devoted to turkey, turkey, and more turkey. Although I’m not the biggest lover of the bird, here is the almost 30 pound fowl that will be served at my family get-together.

(by the way, this is pre-cooked so it won’t be served as seen)

Everyone, have a great day…..and enjoy your cooked Turkey!!!

Cheesecake for Thanksgiving

Howdy folks. I know everyone is already in the holiday mode- cooking, eating, and spending time with family. I am putting together a capital R’eally’ easy cheesecake to bring to my grandma’s house for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving celebration. You probably have most of the ingredients in your house and will spend less than $10 on the ingredients picked up at the market. Bring this cake to your Thanksgiving and bring happiness to your family (plus it’s so simple you won’t feel an ounce of stress).

Here is what you’ll need:
1 lb cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
1 lb ricotta cheese (I used Polly-O)
1 lb sour cream (I used Breakstone)
1.25 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
4 tbsp corn starch
5 eggs

This is all I picked up at the store to make my creation:

Let the cheese soften (for about an hour out of the fridge) and dump it all into a bowl (also add the corn starch and sugar):


Then mix up the 5 eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl:

Beat it up:

it's growing

Throw it into a springform pan:

And remember to get all the batter in:

Lastly, have a taste of the batter for quality control:

mmm, mmm, good

Trust me, this will be the easiest cake you will ever make and it will please your guests to no end. Enjoy!