Eating For Work: When There’s Smoke.

Maybe four months ago, my office building had their scheduled fire drill.

Fast forward to October.

I’m in the bathroom and the fire alarm goes off. I run into the office to find El Jefe and his crew have left the office for their usual Friday lunch. Great. My survival instinct kicks in since the girls in the office were panicking, and I followed the procedure to safely evacuate the building. *

Our designated meeting spot is Gabby O’Hara’s on 39th Street, which is also their usual lunch spot, so it was only right that we crashed the party!

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*So, you’re supposed to pick up the Fire Warden phone in the hallway and wait for instructions. While the majority of the girls took flight, I had Eman pick up the phone. Juan, the lobby security, said it was smoke in the freight elevator and it was nothing. Excuse me? No thanks—I’m out!

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Budget Brunch for 3 Under $33

Budget Brunch for 3 Under $33

We go out to eat a lot, and that cost can add up, so I decided to host a brunch at home for my tribe! A budget brunch for 3 for under $33—challenge accepted.

These were my guidelines:

  • I needed to come up with a cocktail, two different entrees with a potato side, and a dessert.
  • Angie doesn’t eat meat—so shrimp is always a go-to—but Christina doesn’t eat shrimp.
  • Anything already in my refrigerator, cabinets and pantry were free game.
  • I can’t go over the $33 budget.

I started my shopping with a pound of shrimp, a bag of slider buns, a carton of arugula, chewy chocolate chip cookies, a bunch of scallion and a bottle of tabasco sauce. I got to the register and the next thing I knew, I was paying $22. Uh-oh. I knew I already had eggs and bacon, so all hope wasn’t lost. I also had mayo, a bottle of rosé, peppers, onions, and grape tomatoes, baby russet potatoes and that horseradish cheddar from Eman. These were all staples I could work with, so I just needed to get ice cream, lemons, and a juice to pair with the rosé.

I was out and about in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn—I’ll go into detail on that in another post—so I was able to stop at the West Indian market to grab a few things for the low. @JourdanChaTaun responded to my bat-call via twitter and suggested passion fruit juice. Goya juices were priced at 2 for $5 and I grabbed 3 lemons for $1. $28 spent and plenty of wiggle room for ice cream! Mission accomplished after spending $31!

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Our brunch menu consisted of shrimp cake sliders with arugula and spicy mayo, baked omelet cups with bacon, horseradish cheddar, peppers, scallions and grape tomatoes, baked home fries tossed in extra virgin olive oil, and I also made a quick lemon and oil dressing for the extra arugula. We sipped on passion fruit rosé mimosas and had little chocolate chip ice cream cookie sammiches* for dessert.

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Remember I said Christina doesn’t eat shrimp, right? She’ll eat crab, but not shrimp—she gave me some explanation about sea spiders vs. sea roaches once. Well after watching me fry half of the shrimp cakes in bacon fat, she gave in!

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Good food, better company, and Christina learned a new make-ahead breakfast—she even left with the last two baked omelet cups for breakfast the following day!

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*When referring to dessert, it’s not sandwiches, it’s sammiches for me!

Lunch Date at Sergimmo Salumeria.

I started following Aarum of @LesBIntheKitchen a while back when I made my twitter handle. We’re constantly tweeting, so when she had plans to come up to NYC, we had to meet in person.

We made plans for lunch before boarding her bus back to DC. Aarum and I have similar tastes: give us fried chicken, champagne, cured meats, whiskey, edibles—we’re happy campers! I got a hankering for a prosciutto sandwich El Jefe introduced me to, so that made deciding on a spot super easy!

But first, mimosas! Yes, we made mimosas on the street. Everyone’s aware of the open container laws* in NYC, so the main objective was not to get caught pouring, and then sipping from, a regular sized champagne bottle in Midtown. Grab an ice cup and a 16oz bottle of orange juice, I promise everything will be okay. Operation: Don’t Get Arrested was an obvious success!

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We sipped our mimosas as we walked to Sergimmo Salumeria. Sergimmo is an Italian deli on 9th Ave, very similar to the local salumi stores throughout Italy, selling imported meats and cheeses, house-made mozzarella and antipasti, fresh sandwiches, salads and pastas, and so much more! If you want to have lunch and shop for ingredients to make a fine Italian dinner, Sergimmo is your spot!

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I already knew I wanted the Emilia-Romagna panini: prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, arcadian mix and pesto. Aarum looked over the menu and chose the Venezia panini with speck, provolone, sweet peppers and arcadian mix.

Their sandwiches have turned me into a bit of a bread snob: if your ciabatta isn’t like theirs, I don’t want it. Perfectly crusty on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside, sorry to say I don’t think I’d enjoy their sandwiches as much on any other bread! I love their bread so much, I ordered a meat and cheese selection just to eat more of it! More prosciutto and more mozzarella with olives and fig spread, a selection of two meats and/or cheese for $9.99 is a damn good deal!

Now the cheesecake: as a typical New Yorker, Junior’s is the standard. I like my cheesecake dense, so the light and airy ricotta cheesecake isn’t really my thing. Aarum ordered a slice, but changed her mind and wanted a cannoli after it was already sliced, so I bought it instead. It wasn’t as airy as I expected. In fact, I really enjoyed it!

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This is officially my usual order whenever I go to Sergimmo: an Emilia, a prosciutto & mozzarella plate and a slice of cheesecake. I was there the other day, ordering the same three things before hopping on a bus down the east coast. I’m convinced I was talking to one of the brothers, Sergio and Massimo Badalamenti, who own the shop. There was something about the way he spoke about their cheesecake that tipped me off—made by Italians with love.

I’m sure I’ll be back in the next week or so, I’m dying to try their pasta dishes!

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*Under the laws of the state of New York, it is against the law to possess or consume an open bottle of alcohol in a public area. But I’m from BK, the thoroughest borough…

Eating for Work: Special Delivery.

Eating for Work: Special Delivery.

On our last night at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale, I was simply too tired to make it through dinner, so they brought dinner to me!

Rolls with sweet butter, a “wedge” salad with crab, bacon, gorgonzola, tomato, avocado and honey blue cheese, sautéed jumbo prawn and braised pork belly with corn purée, and a candied red wine onion crusted beef tenderloin with a marsala mushroom sauce, truffle-parmesan whipped potatoes and grilled asparagus.

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Set up by the fireplace, it was the perfect way to end my time in Scottsdale.

Unicorn Surprise!

Unicorn Surprise!

I’m not a fan of surprises—it definitely triggers my anxiety—but all of that goes out the window when Chéo’s concerned. He knows me better than anyone, so when he said he wanted to take me somewhere, I don’t fight it.

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We pulled up to the Fresh Local Food Group complex and my jaw dropped at the sight of the baker & the bean. It’s a coffee shop and bakery with every sweet confection you can possibly imagine!

img_9135As I was scanning the window, admiring every treat, my favorite thing in the world caught my eye—unicorns! Those unicorn krispies were the reason Chéo brought me there in the first place—smart man.

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