Tag Archives: spinach

Beyoglu Lunch: Upper East Side Lunch – Octopus & Squid in New York (Part 3)

Part 1
Part 2

captivated

captivated


Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I had a special lunch planned with friends. We met in big, ‘ole New York City, and I had no idea that octopus would be in my future. It wasn’t until I was stared down by the menu item above that my meal fate was sealed.

We went to Beyoglu on Third Avenue and 81st Street; a short walk from their abodes. The waiters are friendly and the atmosphere is casual and laid back. The restaurant achieves it’s goal of transporting the diner into a lively, European meeting place. The decor is adorable, with tiled tabletops and an inviting bar at the entrance. There is some confusion about the type of food that is served at Beyoglu, but not of the quality. Whether you call it Turkish or Greek, the Mediterranean cuisine is top notch.

After sitting together and gabbing for a bit (as girls do), we noticed beautifully large rounds of bread delivered to each table. We instantly decided to share dips to put the bread to good use:

starting off right

starting off right


Just look at that hunk of bread! It was soft and pillowy in the middle, with charred edges and sesame seeds on top. It was the absolute perfect vehicle for the fantastic dips. The hummus was made of chick peas & tahini seasoned w/ cumin & garlic. The portion was large and made for a cozy snack. I can’t seem to find the spinach dip on the online menu, but I remember it the taste well enough. It was chopped spinach topped with homemade yogurt and spices. There was garlic in there, maybe some shallots? We didn’t leave a bite of either one.

While the girls munched on gorgeous, fresh looking salads:

salad one

salad one


salad two

salad two

I opted for a protein-rich salad for myself:

my kinda salad

my kinda salad


Listed as an appetizer on the menu, my main course at lunch was – Ahtapot Salatasi: char-grilled octopus marinated in olive oil & balsamic vinegar. The octopus didn’t exactly show any signs of ‘char’ or ‘grill’ but I have no complaints about the flavor and texture of my 8-legged friend. It was softer than the octopus at the Greek Corner, but that’s just because of the lack of heavy grilling. With a sprinkling of lemon, the small salad was an excellent lunch for me!

Thanks friends, for picking an awesome place 🙂

Beyoglu on Urbanspoon

Beyoglu
1431 Third Ave.
at 81st St.
New York, NY 10028
212-650-0850

Advertisements

Mother Kelly’s in Cedarhurst – Octopus & Squid in New York (Part 2)

Octopus & Squid in New York (Part 1)


A family owned business with a loyal following, Mother Kelly’s is a five towns restaurant that is never empty. With a huge menu, mainly focused on home-cooked Italian food, there is a dish for anyone who visits. Whenever I travel home, a visit to Mother Kelly’s is usually in the itinerary. The consistently great food makes it a go-to place for everyone who lives within a 5 mile radius.
Time to look at the food, but before we get into the main courses, I would be brain dead if I didn’t mention the complimentary garlic rolls and bean salad every patron receives:

complimentary starters

complimentary starters


The rolls are spiral shaped and filled with garlicky butter and herbs. I pick around the basket for the crispy pieces (like my mom), while my sister and Lauren go for the softer pieces. Regardless of the type you prefer, these rolls are insanely good. It is a near to impossible to refrain from downing the bread basket before the real food comes along. If you have zero will power and are full of garlic bread fear, it’s a good idea to stick with the bean salad. Varying types and colors of beans covered with a vinegar-y dressing make my palate scream in anticipation for a hot meal.

After a few plates of the bean salad and around 10 minutes of deliberation, Lauren and I decided to split a meal. The portions could feed 2-3 people as it is, so I was not worried about going hungry. Here’s what was delivered:

makes me melt

makes me melt


Calamari and shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce over spinach (instead of pasta) – there is nothing bad to say about this enormous plate of seafood. Some adjectives that come to mind: homey, comforting, filling, healthy. This dish doesn’t force you to think too hard and that is appreciated – I just tucked into the plate of goodness and finally felt like I was home.

Per usual, I saved the best bites for last – in this case, the calamari tentacle-y pieces:

to me, this is art

to me, this is art

And my sister decided to test out her camera skills with my last beautiful specimen:

squiddie

squiddie

My family ordered envious dishes and I made sure to taste each one:

Mom's shrimpies

Mom's shrimpies


Shrimp marinara over spinach
Quote from mother: “it was an explosion of flavors in my mouth – the shrimp were plump, firm, salty, with just the right amount of fishiness; the marinara sauce was sweet with a touch of basil; the sauteed spinach was delightfully garlicky.” I think she liked it!
steroid clucker

steroid clucker


My sister (lovingly known as Poop) had the chicken francaise – the white meat chicken (or many chickens) had a wonderful meaty texture I don’t often enjoy.
I'm a beautiful chick

I'm a beautiful chick


My stepfather, Ricardo, ordered another chicken dish, but this one was stunningly glazed with a balsamic sauce. I loved this sweet masterpiece – a real knockout.

As if that wasn’t enough food, the Mother Kelly includes a side of spaghetti:

don't ignore me!

don't ignore me!

If you can possibly manage it (and I never can), the desserts look like they are worth a food coma:

this pic does NOT do me justice

this pic does NOT do me justice

Forget the 5 mile radius, if you can get your butt in a seat at Mother Kelley’s……..GO!

Mother Kelly’s
490 Chestnut Street
Cedarhurst, New York 11516
(516) 295-5421

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)

Frozen Meal Series: Kashi Vegetable Pizza

IMG_1856

boxed food

I need more frozen food in my life – high quality, low cost, healthy, and delicious frozen food. There are more nights than I care to admit where dinner in a combination of pantry/fridge odds and ends. These meals leave me unsatisfied and most likely overfed. I’m looking for brands I can trust – brands with commercials that show people cycling, hiking, looking healthy, and most importantly smiling about their food. Kashi is one such brand. Known for their cereal (think GOLEAN (crunch)), Kashi has won over countless Americans aiming to eat healthy on a budget/time constraint. Let’s see how the hot food fares:

IMG_1857

uncooked


IMG_1860

I'm thin, are you jealous?


IMG_1861

hot stuff


IMG_1862

closer look

First, let’s cover expectations. My last pizza dinner was at Antico Pizza Napoletana – that just ain’t gonna happen in my kitchen, coming from a box in the freezer. Second, let’s cover the positives. Kashi does not lie – the crust is THIN, the cheese covers enough ground, and the sauce is decent. Third, let’s get to the negatives. Vegetables are not the highlight of the pizza – the ‘trio’ of mushrooms consisted of 7 or so mushrooms that all looked like the same type while the spinach would not be Popeye approved. Also, we(Lauren) burned the crust so a fair assessment could not be made.

While this meal would not fall under the Dreaming About category, it was sufficient and it succeeded in meeting all of my requirements (although maybe slightly south of delicious). I would eat it again, but I won’t be craving it.