Thursday, January 27, 2011

What's for dinner.....Greek anyone??

If you need to know anything about Astoria, Queens- know that it has the largest Greek population in New York City. Being that there are so many Greeks there- it comes with the territory that there are also very many Greek restaurants and I have grown to love and appreciate Greek cuisine!! I don't know if it's the Greek wine, olive oil, bread, saganaki (fried Greek cheese served atop bread), lemon potatoes or fresh fish- everything is just DELISH!!!There were not that many Greek restaurants that I was able to enjoy growing up in Chicago- but in New York- there are many DELISH spots you have to check out in and out of Queens.

I need to start with the best and most popular spot on this list- Taverna Kyclades. Or the "blue awning restaurant" as I use to call it until I learned how to actually say the authentic Greek pronunciation. :)


This small Greek establishment located in Astoria has caught the liking of not only Astoria dwellers but people from all over. It is authentic, fresh, simple and perfectly made. Provided you make a reservation or not- be prepared to wait quite a while and I mean wait- the last time I went on a Wednesday night and there was a 2 hour waiting list. This place is always busy no matter what day it is, but its worth the wait.  You don't just have to stand there- grab a drink at one of the bars nearby and they will call you when your table is ready! This place is a definite MUST TRY.

Second on my list:
Kellari Taverna

This adorably designed and decorated Greek restaurant is on the top of my list for their gorgeous display of imported fish, delish saganaki and great menu. They also have a Greek wine cellar with a selection of 250+ bottles to choose from and yummy desserts. It's a great spot to go on a date or with a group of people.

They have two locations in New York and one in Washington, DC. They offer great hospitality and don't let you leave until you are fully satisfied. :) I have been satisfied every time I have been here- so go and check it out for yourself!

My third choice on this list is Barbonia.

Not sure if it's the rustic setting, romantic candlelight, or the overall feel of this place but it's got my vote. This restaurant serves more of a Mediterranean-style menu but very much like Greek food. They offer special happy hour deals during the week, are a part of Restaurant-week, and offer a very unique menu. One of my favorites was the Colorado Lamb Kebab that is cooked to order and baked inside of a terracotta covered flat bread. I had no idea what they were bringing over to me but it was a very cool served entree and you have to break open the bubble that bakes over the lamb to get to the lamb. Very cool!

Lastly, one more place that has gotten me to want to go back is Estiatorio Milos.

This Zagat rated restaurant offers the finest of everything and pride themselves on it too. From the organic produce, to the freshest fish and ingredients they can offer.  It is more upscale than then the other three restaurants and the prices speak for themselves, but if you can make a trip to eat here- you won't be disappointed. They have a large array of fish to choose from, 100% pure goat cheese made Tzatziki spread and other great appetizers, and also a large wine selection. They have a bar, private rooms, open table seating as well as open views of the kitchen, salad bar and a large fish display.

New York Fresh fish

There are very many other Greek Restaurants to choose from but these 4 are topping my list. Greek food is unlike other types of cuisine and if you have never tried it- LIVE A LITTLE! I very much enjoying dining on Greek food and don't mind a good glass of Greek wine any day of the week either. :)



Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Perfect Football Sunday recipe!

Ultimate Nachos
(not my actual nachos here)

Ok people....Super bowl Sunday is right around the corner and we only have this awesome day once a year. Who will be in the super bowl? Well we won't know until tomorrow's game and the predictions are all over the place. Being from Chicago, I am of course, rooting for the Chicago Bears!!!!! The New York Jets vs. Steelers and Chicago Bears vs. their rivals- The Green Bay Packers!! It's gonna be an intense day. FINGERS CROSSED!

Looking for an awesome recipe for the game or for Superbowl? I have the Ultimate Nacho recipe you HAVE to try! Who doesn't love nachos, first of all, and secondly- you won't have leftovers because this dish will not last long!


Blue Corn Tortillas(these are less greasy and more crunchy than white corn but whatever you prefer)
Fat Free Refried Beans (did you know regular fat refried beans have LARD in them? STEER CLEAR!)
1 can pickled jalapeno chilies(can be found in a can)
One or two bags of Mexican Cheese
1 can black olives
fresh cilantro
1-2lbs of boneless skinless chicken(or beef if you prefer)
1 package of taco seasoning and get the fajita chicken one if you get chicken
Fresh Haas Avocados
Sour Cream



Preheat oven 400 degrees

If you choose chicken:
dice the chicken up into small pieces and transfer onto a non-stick pan and cook through. Use taco or fajita seasoning package to season the chicken and set aside.

For beef:
Cook beef same as chicken and use taco beef seasoning and set aside.

Fill baking dish with chips and evenly cover beans over chips in dish. Sprinkle chilies all over beans(u decide how spicy you want it). Transfer the cooked chicken or beef on top and then sprinkle cheese all over that and use one bag if desired or two if you want them extra cheesy. On top of the cheese you can then sprinkle some olives.

Transfer the dish to the oven once the oven is heated.

Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is all melted.

Remove from oven and garnish with a small amount of chopped cilantro.

Throw a few dollops of sour cream on top of the nachos, chopped tomatoes, as well as the chopped avocado or you can serve all on the side.

ENJOY!!!!! You won't let your guests down :)

GO BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Frost it up at Butter Lane!!!!!!

If you are a foodie, have a major sweet tooth or want to know how to make a cupcake like a pro, THIS is the thing for you! My roommate and I received a Groupon offer a few months ago to get 50% off at Butter Lane to learn how to make homemade cupcakes. We both have never done something like that before so we said- what the heck- who doesn't LOVE a good cupcake??

Butter Lane is located in the Lower East Side in Manhattan on 7th Street near ave A and they offer daily baking classes. The class provides you with all the tools, ingredients and aprons so all you need to do is bring yourself(and perhaps a bottle of wine, which my roomie and I did and it was HIGHLY welcomed by the staff~!!) They also do private parties if you were interested in that. It takes between 2-3 hours for this class and costs $50. They provide you step by step instructions and use only the purest ingredients. For chocolate lovers, they use pure cocoa- not the melted "Hersey's" kind. By the end of the class you will have had an opportunity to make chocolate, vanilla and banana flavored cupcakes! They also give you special tips for general baking ideas and things to do to make whatever you are baking- taste even better. You can be your own Betty Crocker!

This is a definite MUST TRY and believe me- totally worth it. Once the cupcakes are baked, you make homemade frosting which, I think, blows Magnolia Bakery out of the water! Think you may be able to bring a dozen home? Nope! Try like 2 dozens.... We had so many cupcakes we didn't know what to do with them all so you definitely get your money's worth.

Grab a few friends, sign up and ENJOY!!!