Tag Archives: Brunch

Beware of the Two Door Tavern

Beware of the Two Door Tavern

You know that place? You know the one I’m talking about.  Known for their awesome brunch so the line is out the door at all hours, and although you know the wait is going to be tremendous, you walk over there, just to see how long the line really is and maybe put your name down.  Yes, that’s the one.  Almost every neighborhood has one.  And in Williamsburg, this place is called Egg.  Unfortunately, this isn’t a story about Egg, and the awesomeness that unravels there.  No, this story is about another place.  You should know this one well too.  This is the place that catches all the starving passersby that leave that popular and oh so busy place undoubtedly disappointed when they can’t get a table.  In this case, the Two Door Tavern.   On a warm Sunday afternoon, I fell victim to the Two Door Tavern.  So close to Egg, yet so far away.  But, in the midst of my hunger pains, it would have to suffice…or would it.

Well, the long and the short of it, really, is that this place was an epic disappointment.  Of course, it was disappointing because we didn’t get to eat at Egg, but really the most egregious indignity was caused by the Two Door Tavern itself.   By bypassing Egg, we thought we were avoiding the wait.  Yes, we realized the food wouldn’t be what we had wanted, but we would get to eat soon.  In this game of compromise, that would have to do.  But, what we didn’t know was that the wait to eat at Two Door Tavern would be equally as long.  No, we didn’t wait to sit down.  We were seated right away.  But we did wait to order and then we waited even longer for our food to arrive.  Not because the restaurant was busy, because it wasn’t.  We waited because the restaurant was painfully slow.  In fact, we waited almost 2 hours for food and dare I say, mediocre food.  I ordered a BLT with a fried egg that was offensively overcooked and bacon that was medium rare.  The rest of the food was equally as thrilling.   So, the next time you find yourself caught in a pickle, deciding between delicious and a wait, and someplace else, just remember how un-delicious that someplace else might really be.

Another one bites the dust…

Two Door Tavern
116 N.5th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
718.599.0222

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Where the Magic Happens

In true MTV cribs fashion, I’m going to let you in on where the magic happens…But not that kind of magic.  After all, a Bite-Sized lady doesn’t kiss and tell…My kind of magic is made in the kitchen.  And magic, is exactly what’s on the menu today.  Magic Sauce get its name because, well it’s really magical.  It has the ability to transform something boring into some seriously divine.  Think Fairy Godmother, but edible.  One day you’re Cinderella, the next day you are a princess.  And by you, I mean your food.

This sauce is great for dipping, think crunchy bread.  It’s also great for eggs, potatoes, shellfish, chicken, steak and vegetables.  Really, it’s good for anything and everything.  Which is why it’s magical.  The recipe makes about ½ a cup of Magic Sauce.  But the way I use it, and the way you are sure to use it, it’s best to double the recipe right away.  The sauce, like a fine wine, also gets better with age.  So, make a batch, or two, and let the magic happen.

Magic Sauce
Ingredients
½ cup of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 medium cloves of garlic, smashed into a paste
1 well-crumbled bay leaf
pinch of red pepper flakes
¼  teaspoon + fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions
Gently warm the olive oil over medium-low heat in a skillet or pan, until it is just hot. When hot remove from heat.

While the oil is heating, lightly pound the rosemary, thyme, and oregano in a mortar and pestle.  If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can chop all of the ingredients together.

Stir the paprika, garlic, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and salt into the oil. Then add the bruised herbs and lemon juice.

You can use this now, but know – the oil just gets better as it ages over a few days. Keep it in a refrigerator for up to a week/ten days-ish. It thickens up when cold, so if you need it in a liquid state, place it in the sun or in a warm place for a few minutes.

Recipe from: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/magic-sauce-recipe.html

101cookbooks.com is a great collection of recipes and beautiful food photography.   If you are ever looking for inspiration, make sure to visit this site!

Dime Piece

Real estate is all about location, location, location.  This is especially true for restaurants in New York.  I mean, midtown isn’t exactly known as the hub of great restaurants for New York City.  Probably because it’s made up of mediocre steakhouses and overpriced salads.   Looking for a great restaurant in midtown is as useless as finding meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.  Well not really, but you get my drift.  The great ones are few and far between, which is why I was surprised to find myself dining at a great midtown restaurant.  Tenpenny, located in the Gotham Hotel, was a refreshing breeze on a hot summer’s day, despite the fact that it is winter and the restaurant isn’t breezy at all.  But it was indeed a pleasant surprise.

Tenpenny is totally unassuming but has this innate charm that draws you in the way a loveable nerd can grab hold of your heart.  Except, there is really nothing uncool about this place.  The bright red wall in sea of distressed brick is pretty awesome.  But, you know this Foodie is obviously more concerned with the interior of menu then the décor.  So, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.

We started with a plate of artisanal cheeses which were served with a generous dollop of fig jam and cranberry walnut bread.  I love cheese, so much so, that I am no longer lactose intolerant.  True Story.  And a plate full of cheese is as good as gold to me.  Forget flowers on Valentine’s Day, just get me cheese.  The cheeses varied in texture and flavor, but they all played wonderfully off the sweet fig jam.

When House Cured Bacon is listed as an appetizer, you order it.  Like if Landry Fields called me and asked me to hang out, I’d say yes.  You don’t question good things; you just go with them, which is exactly what I did.   This bacon was outrageous.  The savory bacon was intensified with the addition of soy, scallions and cinnamon.  It was served with nutmeg custard and toasted bread.  Did that just blow your mind? Imagine how your taste buds would feel.   That’s alright, you can take a minute to regain your composure before you continue…

In true winter food fashion, I also ordered the crostini with sweet potato and marshmallow.  Totally reminiscent of Thanksgiving.  But sometimes the classics are classics for a reason.  Let’s just say, you won’t find this dish on my Thanksgiving menu next year.

I know I’ve told you before, and I don’t want to get all senile on you, like weird Uncle Jack.  But I could eat a cheeseburger for the rest of my life and be a happy girl.  With that said, I’m a tough burger critic; don’t let the blonde hair and big smile fool you.  Although the Double Cheeseburger wasn’t the Burger at the Dutch, it was kind of great.  Not one, but two blended patties sit comfortably on a toasted potato bun, topped with tomato, provolone and homemade mayo.  I know, I didn’t think this meal could get better after the bacon either.  But it did.  The burgers were grilled perfectly and the sweet potato bun absorbed all of the drippy burger juices.  As if that wasn’t enough, it also came with homemade bbq chips.  Now, that’s what I’m talking about midtown.  Way to step up your game.

I sampled a good amount of the menu, and it just left me wanting more.  Although, I don’t know how much more I could have eaten.  There’s ways next time.  Til then, Tenpenny.

Tenpenny
16 East 46th Street
New York, NY
212.490.8300

Know of another stellar midtown restaurant? Comment below!

Sunday Lazy Sunday

I love waking up on a Sunday knowing that I have nothing to do but go to brunch. This hybrid meal takes on activity status for a reason.  If done correctly, brunch can last the whole day.  Whether you spend the entire day eating and drinking or spend the entire day in a food coma slash drunken stupor is entirely up to you. We all know who the Bite-Sized Blonde in the food coma is…

One of my favorite places to brunch is Peels in the East Village.  This adorably quaint restaurant is totally unassuming.  Don’t get me wrong, this place exudes that cool factor.  Case in point: the heaps of hipster customers.  But, that’s not why this place is cool.  This restaurant, known for their baked goods, turns out amazing breakfast, lunch and their love child, brunch.

Peels is as popular as it is delicious and cool.  So, you should expect a wait. But, it’s well worth it.  The baked goods sell quickly, so make sure to order them as soon as you sit down! I made the mistake of waiting to order the monkey bread until after we ate brunch, and I was SOL when I was told they were sold out!

Here are some things you shouldn’t miss:  The Fried Chicken Sandwich and The Roasted Tomato Benedict.   The Fried Chicken has a crunchy and salty exterior. Cushioned by a soft potato roll and complimented by tangy pickles and shredded lettuce, this sandwich is irresistible.

If the words Roasted Tomato Benedict don’t turn you on, then maybe it’s time to do a little soul searching.  These beautifully cooked eggs sit on top of homemade biscuits.  These doughy biscuits are still warm when they are covered in basil and roasted tomato hollandaise.  So simple, yet to elegant.

And now for the money shot…

oh yea…that’s good.

Food is everything to me, but a close second is caffeine.  A great cup of coffee has the potential to change a day, just like a bad cup of coffee is essentially a recipe for a bad mood.  The cappucinno at Peels is rich and earthy.  Better just tell the waitress to keep em coming.  Like I said, brunch is an all day activity and you’re going to need your strength.

Peels
325 Bowery (Corner of 2nd St.)
New York City, NY 10003
646.602.7015

Not Your Standard Grill

On a beautiful day, the best seat in the house is at a table outside, right? Well not if you are at The Standard Grill.  Don’t get me wrong, sitting outside is great.  But why sit outside, when you can sit inside at the Chef’s Counter?  That’s right.  The Standard Grill has a glorious chef’s counter.  There are about a handful of seats at this counter that face a window into the kitchen.  You get a firsthand look into the life of a chef, and for this Bite-Sized Blonde, that experience is priceless. 

Even if your sights aren’t set on being a chef one day, this is still a cool experience.  It’s like dinner and movie, or in my case, brunch and a show.  I had a mint lemonade to start which was super yummy.  The lemonade was freshly squeezed and mixed with a handful of mint leaves; such a refreshing way to start a meal! I couldn’t decide between the burger and the olive oil poached eggs, so I ordered both.  Hey, you only live once. 

The eggs were divine.  They were served floating in a shallow bowl of spicy olive oil with a side of grilled French bread.  I ordered a side salad to go along with my eggs; I love mixed greens with eggs.  Try it some time; it rocks! The eggs were perfectly cooked.  The yolk ran into the olive oil which was the ideal mixture of creamy and spicy for my bread.  The salad, as simple as it was, was also great.  The greens were crisp and they were dressed with just the right amount of vinaigrette. 

The burger, which I had the privilege of watching being cooked, was awesome.  It was charred yet tender.  The bun was soft but sturdy enough to handle the juicy meat.  The fries were crunchy and salty, just the way I like ‘em. 

So, the next time you are in the mood for a not so standard brunch, make a stop at The Standard Grill, and don’t forget to indulge.  You can walk it off on The Highline after.

The Standard Grill
848 Washington Street at 13th Street
New York, NY
212.645.4100

For the Love of Cream Cheese

I am a firm believer that you can’t name one food that would not be delicious with cream cheese.  Think about it.  No, seriously…think about it… Cream cheese is a delicious addition to any food.  It is the nude pump of condiments; it just goes with everything.  So, when I came across a recipe for banana muffins with cream cheese filling my beliefs were only strengthened.  Now, before we go any further, I should probably be honest with you about something that might be a game changer.

This Bite-Sized Blonde loathes bananas.  That’s right, loathes.  You may think that’s a pretty strong word for something as harmless as a banana, but this is where you are wrong.  I can’t even be near someone who is eating them.  Bananas are my kryptonite.  So, although I appreciate the recipe for banana muffins with cream cheese filling, I can’t be a part of it.  Not to worry; I’ll make sure you still get your cream cheese fix.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins (12 muffins)

Ingredients
Muffin Batter
¼  cup canola oil
½ cup milk
1 egg
½  tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
½  cup white sugar
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped strawberries
½ tsp. vanilla

Filling
4 oz. cream cheese, softened

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and fill a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. In a small bowl, combine the oil, milk, vanilla and egg and beat lightly.  In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Toss in the chopped strawberries and stir to coat with the flour mixture.  This will keep the strawberries from sinking to the bottom of your muffin cups.  Pour in the milk mixture and stir together.   It may look like there is not enough liquid but don’t get discouraged; there is just enough! Spoon the filling into muffin cups so they are about half full.  Add 1 tablespoon of cream cheese onto the top of each muffin. If you like cream cheese as much as I do, be generous with the tablespoon.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops bounce back from the touch and they are golden brown.  Cool for about 10 minutes, or however long you can resist!

Recipe inspired by pinchmysalt.com and allrecipes.com.