CSNStores.com – Hamilton Beach Hand Blender (Coming Soon!)

24 Jan

Continuing with the New York City cramped kitchen theme, CSNStores.com has extended yet another lucky gift to FoodForFodder.com–this time to the tune of a $20 gift certificate to use anywhere on the site. As a reminder, CSNStores.com has over 200 online associated outlets where you can find anything you need from swingsets, to fitness equipment, or even insulated dog houses! CSNStores.com is really your one-stop destination for all your online shopping needs.

Similar to my review of the cast iron skillet, I really wanted to give readers some ideas about other useful kitchen gadgets that could really cut down on storage space and time. As I scoured the list of kitchen tools, the Hamilton Beach Turbo Twister 2 Speed Hand Blender almost popped off the screen. It is perfect for mixing cake batter, making pancake mix, creating homemade sauces and soups, or anything else that needs a good whip. Unlike bulky mixers that take up a ton of overhead storage space or can barely fit on your counter top when you need to use it, this hand blender is a slim item with multiple uses–and can actually fit in a drawer.

I am extremely excited to add the Hamilton Hand Blender to my kitchen gadgets. And of course, once I receive this generous gift from CSNStores.com, I will be sure to illustrate to you guys how helpful it has been in my cramped kitchen life.

Five Great Places For Free Samples in New York City

21 Dec

The last word associated with New York City is rarely ever “free.” But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find a little something here and there for the price of zero. Below are five of my favorite places to not spend a dime (though I more so than often do).

1. Eataly

Depending on when you go, you might have to wait in a line that seems fitting for Yankees playoff tickets or a Lady Gaga concert, but once the “new” steam settles, Eataly will become a casual place to drink great wine, feast on luxurious dinners, shop for imported groceries and most importantly, snack on prime samples. With samples ranging from high-quality Italian meats to fresh cheesy bread, Eataly is a free sample “paradiso.”

see the rest of this list at NewYork.com by clicking here!

The Cast Iron Skillet (from CSN Stores) — An Essential For Any NYC Kitchen

13 Dec

Yum, raw meat!

When it comes to living in New York City, there is nothing more coveted than space. In fact, space is so limited in NYC, landlords often convert standard one-bedroom apartments into two-bedrooms (aka “a conversion”). So upon receiving a $35 gift certificate from the nice folks at CSN Stores, it got me thinking—what compact kitchen item could be used for one or two cooking purposes? Alas, it led me to the very versatile Emeril Lagasse brand “cast iron skillet,” which costs just $24.95! The cast iron skillet looks like a heavy-set stove-top frying pan, but it can also be used in a high-degree oven. What better for cramped Manhattan kitchen cooking?

To prove the versatility of the cast iron skillet, I decided to make one of my favorite foods, meatballs. I love meatballs because, like the cast iron skillet, they can take on many forms. For instance, you can have meatballs in the morning, afternoon, night, consume them hot or cold, and accompany them with or without spaghetti. They also come in all shapes, sizes, and can use a variety of meats and vegetables–like mine, which are Turkey Mushroom Asparagus Meatballs.

Browned meatballs. The true sign of stove-top cooking.

However, whenever I decide to cook meatballs, I always run into the same inner-debate–how am I going to cook them? If I cook them on the stove-top, I run the risk of not cooking the meatballs through (nothing is worse than burnt meatballs with a rare interior), but, if I just cook them in the oven, I never get those beautiful grill marks on the outside of the meatballs. Granted, I could just cook the meatballs on the stove-top to get the grill marks and then transfer them into a baking dish for the oven to secure my meatballs are cooked, but that’s a whole lot of work on the cooking and cleaning sides.

This, of course, is where the value of the cast iron skillet comes into play. I first start cooking my Turkey Mushroom Asparagus Meatballs in the cast iron skillet on the stove-top. See those grill marks forming? That’s the sign of a great meatball! You don’t want the meatballs to just have one grilled side, so you have to let all sides of the meatball have a turn face-down. Once all sides are browned, turn off the stove’s flame, add-in your tomato sauce, and put the cast iron skillet in the 350-400 degree pre-heated oven. Since cast iron skillet’s can survive a high-heat oven, there’s no need to worry about it melting or exploding.

Close-up, beauty shot.

I like letting the meatballs cook in tomato sauce for as long as possible, but sometimes it’s hard to ignore my stomach–so anywhere from 15-30 minutes is usually sufficient. Unlike a regular baking pan or regular skillet, you cannot place the hot cast iron skillet in cold water. If you do, you run the risk of cracking your cast iron skillet! Your best bet is to just let the cast iron skillet naturally cool on the counter, and then, once cold to the touch, you can rinse it out. And notice how instead of a cleaning a regular skillet and baking tray, you just have one magnificent cast iron skillet to clean? I sure did.

The addition of the cast iron skillet to my tiny New York City kitchen has been a blessing. And the mere idea of using, storing, and cleaning one less pan is reason enough to make cast iron skillets a pre-requisite for living in a typical NYC apartment. I urge all of you to buy your own cast iron skillet at CSN Stores!

Don't forget to add tomato sauce!

Put those puppies, err, I mean meatballs in the oven.

That's what I call a cast iron skillet meatball!

Mangia!

Five NYC Restaurants from TV and Movies

12 Dec

Tom’s Restaurant
(“Seinfeld”)

New York City diners are a common, comfortable meeting place for old friends to congregate and talk about, well, nothing. Likewise, Tom’s Restaurant became the go-to for Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer in the long-running sitcom, “Seinfeld.” While the gang never verbally referred to it as “Tom’s,” its famous exterior should be permanently ingrained in any true fan’s brain.

visit NewYork.com to view the rest of the list…

CSN Stores, Crispin Cider, and Peanut Butter & Co. Reviews Coming Soon!

9 Dec

Hi all.

I know you guys have been eagerly awaiting my upcoming product reviews, so I thought I’d give you a little status update.

I have received my samples/products from CSN Stores, Crispin Cider, and Peanut Butter & Co., so the reviews are underway. Sometimes it takes a bit to actually use the products and then write a in-depth response–so bear with me!

I assure you, you won’t be disappointed (with my reviews or the products!).

Best regards,

Food For Fodder

Billy’s Bakery — Becoming a Cake Zombie

16 Nov

You’ve probably seen zombies in horror films, but its real roots are in West African voodoo. The belief behind zombies is that wicked magic takes over your body, and transforms you into a flesh-eating monster. As terrible as that sounds, there is an even stronger, and more dangerous type of zombie out there–a cake zombie.

If you’re ever within a two block radius of Billy’s Bakery, an unparalleled baked smell wafts into your nostrils, and transforms you into the above zombie. For those unfamiliar with the lore, a “cake zombie” is someone who, upon picking up the slightest baked goods scent, will become a drooling, groaning, and even violent person until they get their cake fix. I am a cake zombie through and through, and for me, Billy’s banana cake restores me to sanity.

Before you lose your cake zombie status however, you must wait on the inevitable Billy’s line. Cake zombie or not, the wait is one of the most intolerable life experiences. Red velvet cupcakes, pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, and a plethora of other love handle inducers laugh at you through the glass case as your stomach twitches in pain. There have been many times when the nice folks at Billy’s have told me to “keep the groaning down.” I try, I really do.

At $4.50 per slice, you might think it’s a bit on the expensive side for a piece of cake. Despite the unsettling price tag, the slice is huge (big enough to feed any zombie), and the quality is unmatched. The cake itself is incredibly moist, and the bananas shine through each bite. The best part is the cream cheese frosting. The words buttery, thick, and creamy instantly come to mind. In a nutshell, Billy’s banana cake is pure bliss. If you don’t indulge on your basic human impulses when you’re near Billy’s, then you might just be a regular zombie.

Note: if you’re ever in line in front of me, and you order the last slice of banana cake, expect a world of pain (or just a lot of me crying).

Contact:

184 9th Ave (between 21st St & 22nd St)
(212) 647-9956

75 Franklin St (between Church St & Avenue Of The Americas)
(212) 647-9958

billysbakerynyc.com

Artichoke Basilles Pizza – Decisions, Decisions

15 Nov

New York City has long been known for their pizza. Joints like Di Fara, Grimaldi’s, and countless others have been staples in the pizza scene for years, but in 2008, Artichoke Basilles Pizza threw their hat into the ring. Since opening their East Village shop, Artichoke has evolved into a city-wide favorite, and recently, has even opened a few new locations (in Chelsea and the Greenwich Village). Unlike the traditional pizza shop, however, Artichoke Basilles Pizza only offers four slices–artichoke, margarita, Sicilian, and crab.

You’d think only offering four slices would be limiting, but to be quite honest, it has the complete opposite effect. In fact, choosing between their slices is more stressful than being a Mets fan (which I unfortunately am). For me, the insufferable question is always: “artichoke or crab?” On the one hand, the artichoke slice is a creamy artichoke and cheese dip on a slice of pizza. If I’m at a restaurant, and they have artichoke dip, it’s one of those no-brainer orders. But don’t forget about the crab slice. This luscious slice features lumps of fresh crab, and is doused in a rich crab sauce. They’re both the same price ($4.50 or $5, depending on location), so you can’t use that as a deciding factor. It just becomes a coin toss. A stressful, potentially life-changing, and super delicious coin toss.

Regardless of which slice you end up with, Artichoke Basilles Pizza will not disappoint. Even though $4.50-5 seems like a lot of pay for a slice of pizza, the slices are huge, and the ingredients are unquestionably fresh and unique to any slice you’ll get in this city. Oh, I also forgot to mention they’re open until the wee house of the morning–making Artichoke Basilles Pizza one of the best late-night food stops too.

Note: they are cash-only, so make sure to remind your drunker friend to make a visit to the ATM, and that he/she “owes you.”

Contact:
328 E 14th St (between 2nd Ave & 1st Ave)
(212) 228-2004

111 MacDougal St
(646) 278-6100

114 W 17th St and 10th Ave
(212) 792-9200

artichokepizza.com

CSN Stores — Review Coming Soon!!!

12 Nov

Sometimes bloggers got it good. We get to write whatever we want, have a fan or two, and sometimes, even get free stuff. I’m fortunate enough to boast about the latter today. The generous folks over at CSN Stores extended me a $35 gift certificate towards a kitchen product in order to write a review. For those unfamiliar with the online mega store that is CSN, buyers can literally find anything from sheik bathroom shelving, to a cozy space heater, to an old-fashioned hot dog roller.

As tempting as all CSN’s items are, the average New York City apartment dweller has to be overly conscious about every inch they fill. In fact, space is so tight in NYC apartments, landlords often convert standard one-bedrooms into two-bedrooms (aka “a conversion”). That got me thinking—what kitchen items are usually used in one fashion, but could also serve two purposes? Alas, it led me to the very versatile “cast iron skillet.” The cast iron skillet looks like a heavy-set stovetop frying pan, but it can also be used in a high-degree oven.

The idea of using, storing, and cleaning one less pan is reason enough to make cast iron skillets a pre-requisite for living in a typical NYC apartment.

Stay tuned my cast iron skillet review!

Press Release from Energy Kitchen

11 Nov

(courtesy of Energy Kitchen:)

Energy Kitchen ‘Heats Up’ Manhattan
Health-Oriented Fast Casual Chain Offers Fast Food Without the Guilt;

Energizes Growth with Expansion Into the Upper West Side

MANHATTAN, NY – While New York’s menu labeling laws continue to make calorie counts impossible for thousands of restaurants to hide and difficult for consumers to ignore, Energy Kitchen is helping New Yorkers realize that fast food doesn’t have to be fat food.

Having recently opened its tenth location in the New York metropolitan area and first on the Upper West Side at 142 W. 72nd Street, the Manhattan-based chain continues to offer its unique, health-centric menu featuring nothing over 500 calories to today’s savvy consumers increasingly seeking more better-for-you dining options.

“Since New York became the first city in the country to require calorie posting, New Yorkers are more aware that getting a truly healthful, quick-serve meal from an average restaurant can be a losing proposition,” said Anthony Leone, Founder and President of Energy Kitchen. “Even though we are not required to do so, we choose to share this information because we are dedicated to empowering our guests to make healthy dining choices with ease.”

Only food-service establishments that are part of a chain of 15 or more restaurants nationally are required to list calories for standard menu items on menu boards, menus or food item displays.

With a customer list that reads like a “Who’s Who” of Hollywood – including Hugh Jackman, Renee Zellweger, Penn Badgley, Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman and New York Met David Wright, among others – Energy Kitchen is introducing a new era of healthy eating with its nutritious and convenient meal choices. Providing low-calorie, low-fat, tasty eats that are good for you, Energy Kitchen invites its customers to eat healthy without sacrificing taste. Nothing on the menu is over 500 calories, everything is grilled, baked or steamed, and full-calorie sodas aren’t even an option.

“There’s no temptation in our restaurants – you can only make smart choices,” Leone added. “Our healthy, delicious meals are proof that fast food can be enjoyed without the guilt.”

Energy Kitchen caters to the on-the-go consumer, serving healthy and tasty burgers and wraps such as the Sirloin Steakhouse Burger (395 calories), a 93 percent lean Piedmontese ground sirloin patty, topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions and steak sauce on a whole wheat bun, and the California Wrap (370 calories) which combines hummus, hand-made guacamole, roasted red peppers and cucumbers inside a whole wheat wrap, among others. The brand pairs meals with a varied list of nutritional sides, including steamed garden vegetables, baked homestyle potatoes and grilled asparagus salad, and also offers smoothies, salads, full entrees and healthy snacks.

The new Upper West Side restaurant is owned and operated by Duane Harden, who also owns the area development rights for two additional locations. Harden is also targeting the Upper West Side for a second location, as well as downtown Brooklyn for his third.

“There are numerous restaurants in the area that claim to offer low-calorie meals to customers, but none of those come close to what we offer,” Harden said. “I couldn’t be more excited about bringing Energy Kitchen and the healthy lifestyle it represents to the Upper West Side.”


To further strengthen the company’s footprint in the healthy, fast-casual dining industry, Energy Kitchen is looking to open a total of 35 additional restaurants throughout Greater New York in the next 4-5 years.

About Energy Kitchen

Founded by Anthony Leone and Randy Schechter in 2004, Manhattan-based Energy Kitchen is a healthy, fast-casual restaurant that provides nutritious and convenient meal choices by offering low-calorie, low-fat, wraps, salads, burgers and smoothies. Everything on the menu is 500 calories or less and is grilled, baked or steamed, never fried, and cooked to order. Behind the strength of a 2008 investment partnership with Mike Repole, the co-founder of Vitaminwater which sold to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion, Energy Kitchen has already grown the concept to 10 restaurants throughout the greater New York metropolitan area and recently launched a national expansion plan calling for 1,000 locations in the next 10 years. For more information visit www.energykitchen.com, become a Facebook fan at http://www.facebook.com/energykitchen or follow the health-centric concept on Twitter @Energy_Kitchen.

Punjabi Tadka — Not All Natives Have High Food Standards

10 Nov

After dabbling in Bombay Talkie’s take on “Indian street food,” I felt it was time to get back to authentic Indian cuisine. Most people are aware that if you want good Indian food in New York City, trekking out to Queens is your best bet. However, trekking out to Queens means you have to trek out to Queens. Not exactly an ideal situation–especially if it’s lunch and you work for a living.

Then Punjabi Tadka presented itself. Certainly not a flashy exterior or interior, but more importantly, I’ve often seen a lot of Indian cabbies parked outside the joint. “Finally, an authentic Indian spot,” I happily thought to myself. The rule of thumb to ethnic eating is usually: “if they’re a lot of natives eating there, then it must be good.” However, that was not the case at Punjabi Tadka.

As I looked down the menu list, the cashier suggested I partake in the lunch buffet. For $7, it entitles you to a plate of rice, saag paneer, chicken tikki masala, cauliflower vindaloo, and chicken drumsticks in a mild spice rub. I loaded up my plate (minus the saag paneer), and purchased a mango lassi to make it an even $10 (the minimum for credit cards). I asked the cashier for naan, but alas, they were fresh out (damn cabbies!).

When I opened my plate full of Indian food, that recognizable smell wafted through my nostrils (and probably the nostrils of my co-workers too). I started to dig in, but was instantly disappointed. The chicken was anti-thesis of moist, and just crumbled apart when I picked at it. The cauliflower was significantly overcooked, and the vindaloo would have made my grandmother turn in her grave (not that she was Indian and I’m pretty sure she didn’t like Indian food). The chicken drumsticks were bland and fatty. And lastly, the rice, like the cauliflower, was overcooked–but to the point of mere mush. The only saving grace was the mango lassi–it was a perfect, thick mixture of mango and yogurt.

The lesson in my experience at Punjabi Tadka is that you can’t always rely on who’s sitting in the restaurant. It’s often easy to resort to stereotypical foodie tips, but in most cases, the food will speak for itself.

Contact:
688 10th Ave (between 48th St & 49th St)
(212) 956-0185
punjabitadkany.com

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