Pot Roast

One of my favorites from my Mom's cookbook! 
With just a few ingredients it's super easy and also makes great leftovers...
French Dips & Philly Cheese Steaks...YUMMM!!

You'll Need - 

3lb Beef Roast
1 Envelope of Onion Soup Mix
1 Can of Cream of Mushroom (or Cream of Chicken Soup) 
1 Can of Water
2 Tsp of Olive Oil

Combine the soup, soup mix, and water in a crock pot and turn the heat to high. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Next, heat the olive oil in a skillet and sear the roast on all sides. (the sear will add a nice crust to the outside layer and lock in the juices while it cooks in the crockpot). Add the roast to the crockpot and cook until it's tender and stringy... you should be able to pull it apart with a fork! 

Depending on your crockpot, it will take between 4-5 hours on high. If it's not tender enough just leave it in there longer... as the beef cooks the fat breaks down so the more you cook it the more tender it will get! 

I serve this pot roast with egg noodles or mashed potatoes and make a gravy from the drippings. To make the gravy start by making a cornstarch slurry (A slurry is cold liquid mixed with cornstarch until smooth and glossy...I use water). Next put some of the drippings into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. While constantly stirring, slowly drizzle in the slurry until the gravy reaches your desired consistency!

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Five Napkin Burger

We went here late in the day on the Monday after Christmas and the place was packed from the moment we got there. We only waited about 5 minutes before we were seated and we were starved! The four of us decided that we wanted to share so that we could try a bunch of things!

We started with two apps…the Deep Fried Pickles & Pastrami and the Hell’s Kitchen Wings...

The pickles were wrapped with pastrami, fried in a super thin tempura batter, and served on top of a bed of sauerkraut and drizzled with mustard oil. I’ve never ever tasted anything like them… they were very different and actually quite good! I would like to try these again sometime so that I can scrutinize them a little bit more...the flavors were so interesting together! I couldn’t tell you when the last time I had sauerkraut was, so I wouldn’t exactly label myself as a fan of it... but that was actually my favorite component of the dish!

 Deep Fried Pickles & Pastrami with Sauerkraut & Mustard oil

The wings were very good! I normally like my wings, extra extra crispy so when we ordered them that way our waiter told us how they are actually baked rather than deep fried. They were not as crispy as I hoped but the meat was so tender and delicious and it literally fell off the bone!  The wing sauce was delicious and not too hot but not mild either. I’d definitely get the wings again!

Hell’s Kitchen Wings

We also decided to share two burgers between the 4 of us! They were huge delicious burgers and sharing was definitely the way to go! They were super thick and cooked to perfection and the juicy goodness was soaked up by large fluffy buns. We went with the Original 5 Napkin Burger and the Bacon - Cheddar Burger.

Original 5 Napkin Burger is 10 ounces of custom ground beef, loaded with caramelized onions, gruyere cheese and a rosemary aioli, with a nice soft white roll. It was simply...amazing…one of the best burgers I’ve ever had! The gruyere was perfectly melted around the patty and the rosemary aioli was a subtle touch that really made this burger special (and I usually don’t even like rosemary!)

Original 5 Napkin Burger

We also tried the Bacon - Cheddar Burger which is also a 10 oz. custom ground beef patty with sharp cheddar, bacon, raw onion, lettuce & tomato on a soft white roll. This one had the delicious standard burger flavors...it was done very well! Nothing too fancy, just a HUGE, great burger!

Bacon - Cheddar Burger

A great meal all around! If you'd like a great burger and some non traditional bar food like those pickles, or sushi, or matzo ball soup, head over to 5 Napkin Burger! 

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Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto

Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto is a small neighborhood salumi shop and restaurant located in the Upper West Side. Not only do they serve a plentiful array of cured meats, they also have specialty cheeses and Italian tapas!

The menu contains three main parts of Assaggi, or tastings...The Assaggi di Salumi menu offers a huge selection of freshly sliced meats. Each can be ordered individually or in an assortment chosen by the salumiere.  We tried the Guanciale, Spicy Soppressata, and the Speck. 

Cured pork jowl

A coarsely ground, dry-cured sausage 

SPECK (bottom)
Dry-cured, smoked ham 

The Guanciale was a little intimidating because it's basically raw, but cured bacon made from pork cheek. I was pleasantly surprised by it's rich subtle flavor. The Soppressata, a part of the salami family, was peppery and had a nice bold flavor to it.The Speck was slightly smokey and salty. The super thin slices had incredible flavor!

The Formaggi menu features a selection of fine cheeses made from cow, sheep, and goat milk. The formaggi can also be ordered individually or in a selection made by the salumiere. We tried two, the Taleggio which was very soft and mild and the Pecorino which was harder but still crumbly with a nutty flavor.


Soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese aged 40 - 50 days

Six month old sheep’s milk cheese

The Assaggi della Cucina menu features a collection of salads, soups, & small hot dishes that are perfect for sharing! There were soooo many that I wanted to try but we narrowed it down to the Lasagna, the Costina, and the pasta that they had on special.

The Lasagna was some of the best I've ever had. The cheesey crust on top was perfect and the rest just melted away in your mouth. After the first bite my friend's reaction was "OMG..can we order one of these for dessert?!" Soooo good!! 

Famous lasagna with pork and beef ragu and béchamel sauce.

The Costina was simply divine...very meaty and so tender. If I had tried picking it up, the meat really would have fallen off the bone! The simple clean flavors were delicious and really showcased the meat itself...

Spicy Tuscan spare rib, slow-cooked with 
Italian tomatoes, rosemary and garlic.

The pasta special was also amazing! The cauliflower had a wonderful buttery breadcrumb crust which added great a texture and saltiness to the pasta. The fresh herbs and the grated cheese really made this dish shine! 

Artisanal fettuccine and roasted cauliflower 
with fresh Pecorino Romano rosemary and garlic

Salumeria Rosi is VERY small so reservations are definitely needed. There is a huge (very impressive) meat counter accompanied by only one long row of tables for two! The dishes are reasonably priced but the portions are quite small, even for tapas. I'd recommend that you over order to be on the safe side, especially with the cheese course!

Really really really good...check it out!!

Hale and Hearty

Hale & Hearty is a phrase from Shakespeare that means "healthy and well nourished."

Living up to it's name, Hale and Hearty soups are homemade daily with super fresh ingredients, and no preservatives (they even make their own stock!) Offering about 20 different soups, 20 different sandwiches and several salads, the menu is huge! The best part is they even let you sample the soups before you commit!

I absolutely loooove soup so when the temperature drops I usually seek out soup for lunch! During my last trip to Hale and Hearty I tried three different viraties and settled on the Chicken Marsala with Wild Mushrooms. It was super flavorful and inventive! It was nice and light and the sweetness of the marsala really came though in the broth!

Chicken Marsala with Wild Mushrooms
"This is a creative soup version of the classic Italian dish.
Loaded with fresh mushrooms, white meat chicken and a touch of sweet marsala wine."

The other two I tried were the Hungarian Chicken with Dumplings & the Spicy Tomato Chickpea and Chorizo...The Hungarian Chicken with Dumplings is described as "A bold blend of white meat chicken, crimini mushrooms and Hungarian paprika, studded with plump potato dumplings, so delicious, you’ll think Grandma’s in the kitchen" The overwhelming flavor in the soup was ham (the menu mentions it contains bacon). It was a surprising touch to the soup since I expected a chicken flavor but it was actually quite good! It was a little on the heavy side which is why I didn't go with this one!

The Spicy Tomato Chickpea and Chorizo is described as "a hot and spicy tomato soup with chick peas and chorizo sausage." I like everything extra spicy so I really wasn't impressed with this one, the flavors were muddled and it really wasn't spicy at all! 

With 17 locations and counting, I'd defiantly recommend that you seek one out and enjoy a delicious homemade soup! 

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Devilish Deviled Eggs

If you like your deviled eggs on the devilishly spicy side…this recipe is for you!

6 large hard boiled eggs
1 Tablespoon Jalapeño Mustard
1 Tablespoon of Franks Red Hot (or to taste)

Peel the eggs and cut each in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place in a small bowl. Place the whites on a plate and set aside. 

Mash the yolks with a fork and add the mustard and hot sauce. Stir with a rubber spatula, mashing against the side of the bowl until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Take a spoonful of the yolk mixture and fill in the egg whites mounding the filling above the edge of the whites. Sprinkle with paprika and serve immediately.

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Roti Roll - Bombay Frankie

Roti Roll serves the old-fashioned street foods of Bombay. They use traditional recipes and ingredients and are known for their Indian Frankies!

A Frankie is an Indian wrap using roti, a South Asian unleavened bread made from stone ground wholemeal flour. It is widely consumed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and also popular in Caribbean cuisine. The roti is heated up on a flat top grill and stuffed with your choice of protein, chickpeas, paneer, potatoes, and other various goodies! Then topped with raw onions, tomatoes a mild sauce of mint, cilantro, and yogurt. When I go, I ask that they make it spicy and they happily oblige! 

Both times that I've gone, I've ordered the Chicken Malai Frankie and the Lamb Boti Frankie and they are both are so deeeeeelish! The Indian spices are bold, the meats are tender, and the bread is buttery, warm, and perfect! 

Chicken Malai Frankie 
(Chicken Marinated in Cream & Spices)

Lamb Boti Frankie 
(Lamb Marinated in Exotic Indian Spices)

If you're looking for a delicious authentic and quick meal...go to Roti Roll! The Frankies are mouthwateringly delicious and the prices are great!

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P.J. Clarke's

Another Manhattan landmark, P. J. Clarke's is a famous saloon that has been around since 1884! Clarke’s is one of New York City’s oldest and most beloved taverns and although it's not a burger joint, what It's most known for its simple and artful burgers.

Clarke's long history also comes with some pretty noteworthy patrons! Frank Sinatra was a regular at P.J. Clarke's, and was considered the "owner" of Table 20! It's been said he was an extremely generous tipper and when he cruised New York bars, he would start out at Sardi's, but he would always end up at P.J. Clarke's! 

Another famous frequenter was Jackie Kennedy Onassis! She would bring John Jr. and Caroline in during the early 1970s for lunch on Saturdays!

We went to the Lincoln Center location and both ordered the Cadillac Burger cooked medium. I added sauteed onions to mine and my husband piled on some of the onion strings!

We also ordered two sides...the fries and the onion strings! 

Let me tell you, these burgers are famous for a reason! They are wonderfully thick homemade patties cooked to perfection! They are seasoned well and super juicy...which also makes them quite messy, but totally worth it! 

The sides were good but not nearly as spectacular as the burgers, but kind of understandable because it would be hard to make something that totally shines next to a burger that great! 

I'd put this on your must try list! I've been to both locations and they were equally delicious! If you're just visiting NYC check out the original location in midtown east! (55th & 3rd). There is so much history there...as their website describes "The pay phone is still "Out of Order", the broken cigarette machine remains broken, and the ashes of one of our favorite patrons, still reside behind the bar. A little terrier faithfully watches "the joint" while P.J.'s famous jukebox plays Frank, Buddy and Sting."

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Cheesy Broccoli Noodle Soup

This recipe is a no brainier! 
When I am home feeling sick I usually make this soup 
because it's soooo easy, delicious, and comforting! 

You'll Need - 

10 Cups of Water
2 Packages of Lipton Soup Secrets Noodle Soup Mix
2 Cans of Campbell’s 98% Fat Free Broccoli Cheese Soup
4 oz Velveeta Cheese (cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 Box of Frozen Chopped Broccoli

In a large soup pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the noodle and broccoli cheese soups and return to a boil. Next add the Velveeta and frozen broccoli. Simmer for about 10 minutes until broccoli is warmed through and the noodles are tender!

Makes 6 Servings (2 cups per serving)

Nutritional Information Per Serving -

Calories - 149
Total Fat – 6 (3 Sat)
Carbs - 18
Fiber – 1.5
Protein - 7.5

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West 109 Gourmet Deli

The West 109 Gourmet Deli is actually quite far from gourmet but has won over the young and hungry hearts of Columbia students and is famous in their neck of the woods!

These clever students have also lovingly nicknamed this place "The Crack Del." Now...I've heard two theories on the name "The Crack Del"...The first is that their legendary Spicy Special is so addicting it's like crack OR the second is because people might actually be dealing crack right outside the door. Based on some of the sketchy characters I've seen hanging out outside of the deli, I'm going to guess the latter, but that doesn't stop me from getting the occasional Spicy Special!

I realize this review is off to an interesting start but I must say the Spicy Special really does hit the spot after a night out! It consists of Boar's Head cajun turkey, pepper jack cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, and a spicy sauce...served on a toasty hot pressed sub roll. The best part is, it rings in at only $4!!

Like I said in the beginning...it's certainly not gourmet but it is pretty darn good!

Before I wrap this up...two more fun facts that make the 109 Crack Del so attractive to the drunken student body of Columbia. It's open 24 hours and will deliver to the dorms. Not just the Spicy Special, but also the beer to wash is down with!!

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Chex Mix

You'll Need - 

3 Cups Crispix Cereal
3 Cups Wheat Chex Cereal
3 Cups Cheerios Cereal
1  1/2 Cups Bite-Size Pretzels
1 1/2 Cups Goldfish Crackers
12 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons Seasoned Salt
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder

Heat oven to 250°F. In large bowl, mix cereals, pretzels and goldfish then set aside. In a large roasting pan, melt the butter in the oven. Stir in the seasonings and once they are all combined gradually stir in cereal mixture until evenly coated in the sauce. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes. Store in airtight container.

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'wichcraft is one of the many restaurants owned by celebrity Chef Tom Colicchio! Tom is the chef and owner of the Craft Restaurant Group (which includes Craft, CraftBar, CraftSteak, Colicchio & Sons, Riverpark, and 'wichcraft) You most likely know him as the head judge on Top Chef! Tom's other Craft restaurants are on the upscale side but ’wichcraft is Tom's chain of casual sandwich shops! There are several in here in NYC as well as in Las Vegas and San Francisco.

I went here for lunch with a friend...I ordered the 1/2 chicken salad sandwich and soup of the day, I went with tortilla soup and my friend ordered the pulled pork sandwich. I really liked the shop set up...there was a glass display at the counter and each sandwich was showcased so you could check them out before you decided!

My sandwich was absolutely delicious! The chicken salad had just enough mayo to keep it together but not too much! The pickled onions added a wonderful tangy vinegar flavor which was nice with the rich walnuts and sweet roasted tomatoes...the frisée rounded it out by adding a nice crunch! 

free-range chicken salad with
 walnuts, roasted tomatoes, pickled red onions 
& frisée on multigrain bread

My friend had the pork sandwich and also loooved it!! The jalapenos added a nice kick and the pork was tender and juicy! 

slow-roasted berkshire pork red cabbage, 
jalapeños & mustard on ciabatta roll

The soup however was a disappointment. I usually love tortilla soup but after a few bites of this one, I tossed it. There were soggy, tasteless, gritty tortilla strips at the bottom of the bowl. I picked them out but even after getting rid of that nastyness the overall flavor was completely bland. I added some crushed red pepper and salt to try and liven it up...after a few more bites I realized it wasn't worth it, and dumped it! 

The menu is pretty limited, I thought there would have been more options so I was also a little disappointed about that.  One other cool thing is that if you go to their website you can see where all of their ingredients come from! http://wichcraftnyc.com/food/#

My advice would be to stick with the sandwiches...seems like that's what they do best!

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