Thursday, 19 September 2013

Hello Beautiful People of NYC

I don't know if anyone from NYC follows this blog but if you do and you don't have anything to do this Friday night you should check out this event.

A disco soup a fun way to rescue food that would otherwise have been wasted and raise awareness about food waste. The night before the Feeding the 500 event I was involved in was filled with chopping, peeling and just having a good time with like minded people. If I was somewhere closer to NYC than Michigan I would definitely be going so I guess you will just have to go for me!

Christina, x

Friday, 13 September 2013

Fish en Papillote on the Grill.....

You may have noticed that recently the blog has become more eating out focus that me attempting to cook fancy vegetarian meals in my house. I guess I just eat more in America as I feel there is more of an eating out culture. Plus I don't have all of the luxuries of my parent's kitchen here even though I am very luck to have a nice kitchen here too.

Recently however I was craving some fish. I had got some pretty awful over-cooked white fish at a symposium I was at so I though the only way to have some nice white fish was to cook it myself. But the next problem was where to get it I can't just pop to the fish mongers in the English market as I would do at home and my housemate warned me that the fish in a lot of big grocery stores here is far from fresh. As is often the way a farmer's market came to the rescue. I saw that the East Lansing farmer's market has a fish monger so I decided to hit that up. I opted for some white fish and thought it was pretty good value as I got a pretty big fillet for $5.

I asked the vendor if he caught himself and he said his friend caught it, so I guess that's fresh enough for me. They recommended grilling it but I was just craving some fish en papillote which is one of the first dishes I cooked when I became a flexitarian. So I cooked some rice up...

......and chopped up some peppers ,tomatoes, and squash...and lashed it  all together in a bowl with some paprika and chilli flakes.

Then cut up the fish pretty small so it will cook quickly and mix it in. Then the idea is to put in paper and wrap it up like a parcel.....but I didn't have any I put it in foil...Be sure to seal up the foil tight.

Then as I was breaking all the rules by using foil instead of paper I decided to go crazy and lash it on the barbeque instead of in the oven. It took about 15 minutes to cook, you just need to sneak a peak inside and check if the fish is cooked...

Once the fish is cooked whip it off, please please don't over-cook your fish America trust me it tastes better this way. I garnished the dish with a little basil that I bought on impulse at the farmers market. I was really glad I did as it brought the dish alive. I think a squeeze of lemon or even some lemon oil would have the same effect.

So if you are craving some fresh fish you should definitely check out the Fresh Lake Whitefish Company at the East Lansing market.

Christina, x

Tuna Tostadas

If you've ever been to Michigan you may here a lot of people saying the 'U.P.'. When I first got here I had no idea what that meant but soon learned that it meant the Upper Peninsula. A few weekends ago a friend and I travelled to Marquette in the U.P. I wish I could say I went for lots of hikes and was super productive but the truth is I just ate for the whole weekend but that's pretty much my favourite thing to do anyway so it was all good.

One of my favourite things that I had was some tuna tostadas at L'Attitude. I haven't been eating a lot of fish in America so I was pretty happy to get a nice fish dish.

I haven't had tuna steak in a long time and it was really good. Also the avocado on top added a really nice dimension and there was just the right amount of soya. It also came with some little wasabi balls which gave it a kick as Mar (my mom) would say. Also the presentation was really good, I have had some good food in Michigan but overall haven't seen lots of nice plating except for at Red Haven.

Christina, x

Fancy Grilled Cheese

So if you follow the blog you will know I'm pretty partial to a bit of cheese and I miss cheese in America, but I will give Americans that they do know how to make good grilled cheese. I remember getting epic grilled cheese in Brooklyn last year so I have been on the look out for good ones here. When I was in Chicago I was considering going to see Last Five Years which is one of my favourite musicals but alas it was sold out. On the flyer for the theatre though they did recommended a restaurant called cheesie's so I decided I would hit it up.

They had quite a lot of options and as you know I don't handle choice well but I opted for the frenchie which had american, mozzarella, cheddar cheese sauce, a bed of thick cut french fries, bacon and chives on sour dough bread.

It was good but not as good as I was expecting. I know it may sound ridiculous to say it but it just needed more cheese and the french fries needed to be thicker. It was still a fun place that is worth going to if you're in the Belmont area of Chicago.

Christina, x

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

All She Wanted Was a Bit of Goat

I mentioned before that when I was in Chicago I was attempting to hit up some of Time Out's cheap eats. One on the list that really appealed to me was Birrieria Zaragoza. It's a  Mexican restaurant that specialises in goat meat served with a consomme. After I so easily stumbled upon Taco Joint I was thinking it would be no problem for me to find this restaurant even though it was a little outside of the centre. I looked up a map on my iPod touch and thought I can get there easily but I better ask a bus driver anyway. The bus driver told me that his bus would take me to where I needed to go and I would need to walk a bit once I got off the bus. He said it so casually that I assumed it would be a 15 minute spin on the bus....yeah not so much. If you come from Ireland to America you may also learn that scale is completely different here a 4 hour driver is seen as nothing so sometimes I get confused as to how far away things are.

So the bus ended up taking 45 minutes which would have been fine if it dropped me to the restaurant...but it didn't. I started to walk in the right direction and realised that it was going to take me at least an hour to walk and I was the only tourist strolling around Harlem. I kept thinking what if I never make it out of Harlem and everyone at home will say 'Sure all she wanted was a bit of goat'. So I decided to hop on another bus....which also didn't take me to the restaurant. I hopped on a third bus which brought me to the right place. So after taking three buses which took two hours and people attempting to sell me pillows, blankets, socks and candy floss I finally made it.......and the restaurant was closed. Seriously what restaurant closes at 7 on Saturday?

Never fear though readers I went back on Sunday. I felt like a had some sort of affinity with this restaurant and I couldn't leave Chicago  without getting that goat. This time I got the train which is conveniently located two minutes from the restaurant.

The goat was absolutely delicious so full of flavour. It was actually my first time having goat and I want more now. The consomme was actually the best part though. It can be hard to get a consomme deep in flavour but this one tasted so good. 

Also they make their own tortillas and they are really great. You can also view them making the tortillas in the kitchen so that is a nice bit of entertainment.

It also came with some fresh coriander (cilantro to any American readers) and onion. It was pretty basic food but when it has this much flavour you don't need anything else.

You should definitely check this place out if you're in Chicago...but get the train!

Christina, x

Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Amazing Kale Burger

At the Logan Square farmer's market I kept seeing people walking around with some interesting looking burgers. You can imagine how excited I was when I found out they were kale burgers. If you follow this blog at all you will know I have a slight obsession with kale so I had to get it.

The burger is not only vegetarian but also vegan.

The burger was really good and kale-y. The only thing I didn't really like was the bun but I think that's just because I'm not used to eating vegan bread. Still it was really nice to finish a burger and feel super healthy. Plus I got to sit down and eat it and people watch, fun times.

Christina, x

Mmmmm empanadas

As I working my way through some cheap eats in Chicago I came across 'Cafe Tola'' on a list somewhere.As it was super close to where I was staying I decided to check it out one morning. I was pretty excited by the outside.....

I got a chicken and salsa verde empanada and it was really good.

The chicken was really tender and moist and full of flavour. The salsa verde could have had a bit more of a kick but still overall it was good. Check it out if you're in the Southport area of Chicago.

Christina, x 

Gourmet Snow Cones

I already raved about the Logan Square farmer's market but I still have to talk about some of the awesome food I got there. One thing I loved was an awesome gourmet snow cone. It was actually my first snow cone so I can't compare it to anything else but it was great.

I got one with cardamon and rosewater as you know I'm a massive fan of the rosewater. It was a nice refreshing taste of India.

You can check out Jo Snow here.

Christina, x

Logan Square Farmer's Market

If you follow my blog you will know I am a farmer's market junkie. I was recently looking at a list of the Top 10 farmer's markets in America and the Logan's Square farmer's market in Chicago was on it so I was pretty excited to check it out on my trip to Chicago. I am delighted to say it didn't disappoint. It was one of the best farmer's markets I have been to in a long long time.

There was some beautiful produce, of course some gorgeous wonky produce as well. There was also a  great atmosphere there and some awesome food stands.

If you're in Chicago you have to go!

Christina, x

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Tea please

One thing that a lot of Irish people miss when they are abroad is tea. In Ireland if you go to someone's house and they offer you tea they mean hot black tea with milk and some people, like me, take sugar. We have herbal tea and ice tea but it isn't the most popular. Some Irish people love tea so much they bring boxes of tea with them. I knew someone once who even brought a portable kettle with them when they travelled so they could always have tea. At home I drink tea quite a bit but when I'm away I never really bother as the milk is different and such so it just isn't the same.

In my time in America I have tried to be more adventurous and try various ice teas. My favourite was an iced black tea with vanilla that I got in Crazy Wisdom in Ann Arbor.

I also got a pretty nice iced blueberry tea in Chicago.

Then in a totally hipster move I brewed my own tea from plants I foraged and drank in from a kilner jar....

I'm actually not missing Irish tea at all.

Christina, x