Archive | March 2012

Food Paradise at Eataly NYC

Eataly in NYC is my equivalent of a foodie Disneyland. Brilliant concept. Outrageous dishes. A great place to spend any day, any time.

Focusing on sustainable agriculture, this multifaceted building boasts a full fresh market filled with local produce, meats and fishes as well as natural beauty and skincare products made from foods such as yogurt, milk and honey. Along with a culinary bookstore, housewares section and six different restaurants, it’s no wonder my friends and I spent a fast seven hours dining and exploring.

We started with a midday snack, ate our way through dinner, wrapped up the evening with coffee and dessert and went shopping in between. Our afternoon began at Birreria, the beer garden on Eataly’s 14th floor. Just an elevator ride away to an open space complete with a retractable roof welcoming the skyline all-year round.

I felt immersed in the city as I sipped on a couple of microbrews: Dogfish Head’s gluten-free strawberry Tweason’ale with hints of molasses and buckwheat honey, as well as Madamim’s sour LoverBeer which made me pucker up for more. If you’re not a connoisseur, you will soon become one. Featured in their wide selection of unique craft beers are unpasteurized, unfiltered and naturally carbonated brews, made in-house by Dogfish Head, Baladin and Del Borgo.

We leisurely filled ourselves with fresh wheat bread presented in individual paper bags, and a cheese trio of ricotta fresca, taleggio and robiola bosina complimented by honey and hazelnuts. An Italian meat platter of speck, sopressata, mortadella, cacciatorini and coppa and a bowl of assorted olives rounded out the meal. This was only the beginning.

After a relaxing warm up, we made our way downstairs to La Pizza & La Pasta restaurant for the main event. I delighted in pansotti di ricotta e spinaci, which beautifully translates into delicate housemade pasta filled with local ricotta and spinach in a bright, heavenly lemon butter sprinkled with pistachios. I’m still thinking about it.

For dessert, we walked over to Caffe Lavazza where I indulged in torta di nocciole, a hazelnut and chocolate flourless cake topped with hazelnuts and powdered sugar. When paired with a mug of piemonte, a double espresso enriched by intense notes of cocoa, kissed by whipped cream and dark chocolate flakes, the result was spectacular. I’m looking forward to many more visits as I chew my way through Eataly.


Snap, Crackle and Pop Tofu Nuggets

Tofu tends to get a bad rap, but I see it more as an underdog of the food world. It’s quite the culinary chameleon, taking on any flavor it’s paired with. Tofu is filling and soaks up a marinade nicely due to its porous state. For this recipe, I used a firm version because it holds up better than the soft or medium variety.

With a silky texture, tofu is a great protein to either substitute or enjoy alongside meat. I created this dish using a similar preparation to chicken nuggets. A seasoned cereal coating makes for a fun take on breadcrumbs.

This meal is healthy, flavorful and can be made completely gluten free.


2 eggs

1 package firm tofu

1 ½ cups Rice Krispies cereal (look for gluten free if needed)

½ teaspoon kosher salt + to taste

½ teaspoon garlic powder + to taste

½ – 3/4 teaspoon + a dash of Lawry’s seasoned salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Paprika to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a foil lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Scramble eggs in a bowl and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a dash of seasoned salt.

Cut tofu into rectangles and season with a touch of garlic powder and kosher salt.

Dip each piece of tofu in egg batter, being sure to cover fully.

Mix ½ teaspoon seasoned salt into cereal and coat the tofu.

Place each piece on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning once half way.

Season with paprika to taste. Eat and enjoy with BBQ or honey mustard dipping sauce!