Good Clean Fun at Dirty French

I love French food… Mostly because I am a sucker for a good sauce, and no one does sauce better than the French. (Doesn’t hurt that I have a French last name too!) So, when my friend asked if I wanted to try the restaurant, Dirty French, I was in.

Chicken and Crepes for Two

Chicken and Crepes for Two

Chicken Feet at Dirty French

Chicken Feet at Dirty French

Now, normally when I go out to eat, I want to order dishes that I can’t cook myself, so when the chicken was recommended as a must have, my reaction was, “huh????? Why???” The restaurant is known for taking classical French dishes and turning them on their head with ingredients from around the globe, and the chicken did not disappoint. It is beautifully presented for two, With the white meat smothered Ina delectable mustard sauce, and the dark meat (complete with the feet) glazed in honey and lime and fried to a perfect crisp. It’s worth the sticky fingers! It also comes with a side of crepes, a selection of herbs and picketed Serrano peppers, chutney and creme fresh – so not only is it delicious, it’s also an interactive choose your own dining adventure!

Duck A L'Orange At Dirty French

Duck A L’Orange At Dirty French

The Duck A L’Orange was also a highlight – juicy, perfectly cooked meat with just the right amount of succulent rendered fat that is always the best part of eating duck. It’s smothered in a sauce made of Ras el hanout – a North African spice – and preserved oranges.

Before you get to the entrees, though, you get to delight your tongue with the wide variety of Apple-teasers. We had the lamb carpaccio, the terrine (foie gras) and the millefeuille.

The carpaccio wasn’t my favorite. I want simplicity when it comes to carpaccio so that it’s all about the meat. This version came with mint, eggplant and a whole lot of chili oil. I felt that the beautiful lamb was lost.

Lamb Carpaccio at Dirty French

Lamb Carpaccio at Dirty French

The millefeuille – a playful take on a traditional French pastry, is made with thin layers of trumpet mushrooms smothered in a green curry sauce. It might have been my favorite taste of the night.

Pomes Frites at Dirty French

Millefeuille at Dirty French

The terrine was a decadent treat: foie gras geniouslsy ensconced in light crispy brik pastry and dusted in burnt lemon powder.

Terrine at Dirty French

Terrine at Dirty French

All in all, this place is a tasty treat – though a bit on the pricey side.

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Taking “stock”

Recently, you may recall that I bought a brand new set of knives, complete with 8 different types of the shiny, sharp instruments. But after playing with them for a few months, I realized I don’t really know how to use them all. To solve that conundrum, I took a Knife Skills class at the Institute of Culinary Education with chef Brendan McDermott. While I am still not an expert by any means, I do feel much more confident in my slicing and dicing.

One of the tips Brendan gave the class that really stuck with me, is just about any of the “parts” that you might normally throw away after chopping them up can actually be put into a stock. Think onion skins, the tops of carrots, the stems from broccoli, bones.  I have a little more time on my hands these days, so this week I decided to put my newly found knife skills to the test and tackle making my first chicken stock.

The Greenmarket in Union Square not only offers a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, but also organic meats and poultry straight from the farm. I bought a whole chicken breast still on the bone from Wildcraft Farms, along with a container of chicken necks, and started on my mission.

It wasn’t that hard, but making the stock did take a pretty big chunk of time (about 6 hours altogether). The result was worth every minute. Once the stock was complete, I used it to make homemade chicken noodle soup. It was the best I’ve ever had, if I don’t say so myself. Continue reading

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Not your mom’s chicken salad

I’m normally the person who can be found ordering in, or heading to the local deli for lunch, which doesn’t always work out the best for my diet. I’ve been on the look out for new inspirations for lunch, and while in Provincetown, MA last month, one of my friends introduced me to a completely new type of chicken salad that has no mayonnaise whatsoever! I’ve put my own twists on this perfect lunch dish in the recipe below based on the amazing fresh veggies I found at the Greenmarket Farmer’s Market in Union Square this week.

Ingredients (serves 2)
1 cup diced or 1 can of chicken
1 avocado
1/3 cup diced cherry or plum tomatoes
1/3 cup fresh broccoli florets
1 TBSP chopped cilantro
Juice from half a lime
1 TBSP olive oil
Romaine lettuce
Salt to taste
Continue reading

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Skirt Steak + Asparagus = Low Cal and Delish Dish for One!

As I posted a little while ago, I’ve really started to get into not only eating – but the cooking as well. (I’m still waiting on someone to clean up after me. I really am a tornado in the kitchen! My cats stay far away!). I’m also still working hard to try and lose weight by counting calories, adding in daily workouts and trying to get in at least 10,000 steps a day. As you can imagine, the eating piece doesn’t always match up with the dieting piece – but I’ve found it’s much easier to do when cooking for myself. Also, it doesn’t hurt that I got some new purple pots and pans, which make it fun to cook! (more on that later…)

I have two favorite places to find recipes – (I have an app on my iPhone), and my newest favorite is EatingWell magazine. All Recipes list the nutritional values for most of the recipes, and I’ve been able to tweak and modify to make them a little healthier (and translate the recipes to make them for one instead of 6, 10, 12, 500, etc.) But in EatingWell, everything is healthy, so all I need to do is a little math! (Finally a use for all those classes I took in high school).
Tonight, I made Beef & Asparagus Negimaki Rolls (original recipe in EatingWell.) It was very easy, full of flavor, and as far as I’m concerned, better than any Negimaki roll I’ve had in a Japanese restaurant. And the best part? It’s only 300 calories! The original recipe makes enough for four people, calls for a bunch of scallions in addition to the asparagus and is supposed to be cooked on the grill; however, I’m just me,  I’m not a huge fan of scallions, and I live in a tiny apartment where a grill is not an option. So, in the adapted recipe below, I edited the ingredients down for 1 person, removed the scallions and added instructions for cooking in a cast iron or oven-safe skillet. I highly recommend this – so try it and enjoy! Continue reading

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Heatin’ things up in the kitchen

As many of my readers will know, I am an “eater outer” not a “cooker inner.” I love going to new restaurants, trying crazy dishes, salivating over tasting menus and letting someone else clean up. However, since going on (yet another) diet, I’ve found that dining out really eats into those allotted calories. Continue reading

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Pizza cravings, and resolutions

So, as many Americans, I began 2013 with a vow to eat healthier and lose weight. Now, as a food, wine and travel blogger, this is exceptionally difficult – but I’m going to do it!

To help me along the way, I downloaded My Fitness Pal on my iPhone – you can also use it online at It’s been extremely helpful, letting me log in everything I eat, and a huge variety of exercises (even just walking leisurely!). I haven’t had a food item and dish yet that wasn’t in the database. I also discovered today that you can scan the barcodes of your food and it will automatically be entered in! I also love the feature at the end of the day that tells you what your weight would be if you continued on at that pace… (well I liked that once I started the actual dieting!)  There’s also a social aspect where you can watch your friends’ successes and even comment on them to give and get encouragement. I talked my mom and dad into joining me as well. Continue reading

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The end of the world…

Well, it’s past midnight, and I’m still here. Guessing that means the world isn’t ending afterall. Phew.

Now, I just have to make it through ONE MORE DAY of work for 2012, and I’ll be a happy woman! Then on to my fabulous birthday celebration with all of my friends and adopted-family in New York, followed by (hopefully a snow-free, uneventful) trip home for my actual birthday and Christmas. Can’t wait!





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Are you a last-minute traveler?

Well… you’re not alone. Nearly 60% of travlers reported waiting to book their travel because they’re afraid they’ll miss out on deals during the holiday season, according to a survey from What’s more nearly three-quarters of travlers say they’re heading to warmer weather this year, according to FlipKey. As you probably already know, I’m one of that remaining quarter of people who will be flying into colder weather. Here I come Columbus. (I may not be a last minute ticket-buyer, but I am a very last minute packer!!!!)

Whether you plan to stay home, make a road trip, or fly somewhere to be with friends and family, there are still some great travel deals to be had. Check out my latest examiner article, where I compiled some of the best deals out there! Last-minute holiday travel deals.

(PS: FlipKey also has a bunch of other fun holiday travel facts….Check them out here: Infographic. Very cool!)

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I’ll be home for Christmas…

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: A general view of atmosphere at the 80th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 28, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Eight days left until Christmas…6 days left until I head to the airport… and 4 days left in the office. But who’s counting? I guess that would be me! I haven’t braved Herald Square to see the Macy’s windows, and have only seen the Rockafellar Christmas Tree via a cab window…. but that’s enough for me. It isn’t Christmas for me until I’m home!

I love every thing about Christmas (it comes second only to Halloween). I start listening to Christmas music on Nov. 1. I decorate my office like a winter wonderland. And I do the Black Friday shop-a-thon with my mom every year, and pretty much finish all my Christmas shopping on one day. Plus my birthday is Christmas Eve. My mom always makes me a special birthday dinner, and this year we’re going to try a big old Beef Tenderloin using this recipe from Fabulous Beef Tenderloin. Only 3 ingredients!! I think we can handle that. I’ll post pictures after we try it! I’m thinking we should add some mushrooms, and maybe halve the amount of soy sauce, and replace it with red wine. Any other thoughts? Suggestions? Continue reading

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Burger and Beer Deal to Try

For New Yorkers, being on a budget is practically a necessity. But, it doesn’t mean you have to do without- you just have to look for the deals. For those craving a dining out experience without emptying your bank account, head to The Orchard House on the Lower East Side (146 Orchard Street, 212-777-8600) for a beer & burger special, priced at a wallet-friendly $9.

Beginning Monday, August 27th and available every Mon – Fri from 5 -7pm, the special includes a classic beef burger with lettuce and tomato (additional toppings available for an extra charge) plus any beer of choice from the menu.  Pair this with the restaurant’s ambiance, which features front glass doors that completely open to reveal an airy setting, and you’re in for a relaxing late-summer meal.

Bon appetit!


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