New York City

Criollo Tomato Sauce: From Vine to Table
08.25.14

New beginnings


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Giovanni Rana: A Sweet Life Made From Scratch
11.05.13

A Sweet Feast

It’s already been one year since Rana Pastificio & Cucina began to spread the gospel of fresh pasta to hungry New Yorkers. At first glance, the restaurant located on the ninth avenue entrance of Chelsea Market, may seem like a pasta wonderland of sorts with original pasta machines scattered throughout, a collection of graters from flea market from all over Italy hovering over the bar, Rana’s old red motorbike he used for deliveries. But behind all the paraphernalia there’s  an air of authenticity. It’s a joyful celebration of one man’s life and passion, and the energy you feel there is contagious.

The owner is 75-year-old Giovanni Rana from Verona, Italy, who started his career in food as a young bread maker. He realized that Italian women were too busy to make fresh pasta from scratch, so he pounced on the opportunity and started making fresh ravioli. His first two flavors were meat and spinach with ricotta. Now his namesake restaurant brings us 85 different varieties of fresh pastas, some in unusual flavors like beet, squid ink, and tiramisu that one can eat on premises or purchase from the counter to cook at home. more »

In a Fiesta State of Mind with Chef Roberto Santibañez
09.04.13

Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off on September 15, and this year we want to celebrate it right. We talked to Mexican Chef Roberto Santibañez of Fonda Restaurant about some of the ways he’ll be bringing the festivities to the kitchen.

For all of you who eagerly await the arrival of the seasonal Chiles en Nogada, Santibañez will be preparing the classic dish in his Park Slope and East Village restaurants during the first week in September. The eponymous dish which precedes independence day celebrations in Mexico fills poblano peppers with a picadillo stuffing and tops them with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds — the Mexican flag on a plate! Santibañez prepares his picadillo by adding apples and peaches to shredded beef and creates the walnut sauce with nuts and goat cheese. more »

The Ever Versatile Aubergine
08.12.13

Eggplant, tomatoes, feta, and mint

Mom prepared a plate of pickled eggplant or berenjena a la vinagreta with her signature enthusiasm. She simmered the aubergine with a laurel leaf, a pinch of allspice, onion, garlic, and a bouillon cube. After it cooled, she dressed it in a vinaigrette spiked with Worcestershire sauce and oregano, storing it in the refrigerator in a round clear pyrex. My sister loved piling on the silky tangy stuff over crispy saltines, which she snacked on with pure abandon at any time of the day. I, on the other hand, had quite a different relationship to the pickled spread and was far from being a fan.

It’s been surprising to see how all of a sudden this summer, it’s the one vegetable I can’t live without. I’ve sliced and roasted it, layering it with tomatoes and sharp cheese like the Italians do with their melanzane. I’ve diced and tossed it over a high flame with snap peas and ginger to create a hearty and flavorful stir-fry.

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Biking to Vietnam (and coffeeshops with awesome cookies)
06.05.13

Chocolate Peanut Butter cookie at Mojo

I had high hopes for NYC’s new bike-sharing program from the first day I laid eyes on that silver rack by my house. Thrilled by the possibility that NYC was becoming a little bit like Paris, instead of riding through the dreamy Jardin de Tuileries, I imagined getting lost in glorious Central Park. Who needed to bike to the Louvre when one could bike to The Met? Gone would be the days of standing in a crowded bus with an armpit on my face. Or sitting in the back of a cab fearing for my life. My vibrant, passionate, and at times brutal NYC life would be made just a teeny bit easier with this new mode of transport. Plus, $95 per year for unlimited use of bikes without having to worry about someone snatching it or where to park it? Sounded good to me!

This past weekend, we rode downtown from Hell’s Kitchen with the wind on our backs, via Hudson River Park to Greenwich Village, Tribeca, and eventually one of our favorite Vietnamese spots in Chinatown. We stopped for Earl Grey ice-cream, discovered Garson Yu’s T.I.N.Y. installation on Pier 57, and walked through Lispenard Street. During our four-hour bike tour, we only had one setback. We had to return the bikes every 30 minutes, which made it a bit of a race against time.

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A Royal Soufflé
06.03.13

Mom was the queen of soufflés. She could whip them up in a snap, creating a velvety béchamel while she talked on the phone. She whisked egg whites to perfection, achieving a cloud-like consistency she delicately folded into the shiny batter. This was one of her signature dishes that would brighten up any special occasion at home, as well as our weekly Saturday family lunches on the terrace.

On the table, the fluffy soufflé was the perfect foil to a salty tenderloin filet or juicy skirt steak seared and cooked on the nearby grill. (I was in charge of the Caesar Salad, which I tossed with tangy anchovies in an enormous bowl large enough to feed a small village.) There was crusty bread, Spanish red wine, Dad’s smooth jazz, and a lazy fan circling above us. We ate, listened to my Aunt Tiita’s gossip, talked, and laughed. We ended these long and sweet afternoon meals with a spongy and cool Tres Leches picked up at a nearby repostería and a Dominican cafecito. more »

A Nuyorican at Better Being
05.16.13


Whenever you fantasize about comida casera, now you can get the flavors of Puerto Rico in a killer sandwich at Better Being 940, the newest midtown outpost from the creative force behind downtown’s Better Being Underground.

The sunny spot, which opened November 2012, is energizing the area’s food scene with its colorful market-driven menu, funky art, and downtown vibe. But the real headliner, to this Latinfoodie at least, is The Nuyorican, inspired by the Puerto Rican flavors of the Lower East Side and one of the restaurant’s most addictive sandwiches. more »

Coq Au Vin is (almost) like Pollo Guisado
05.08.13

Coq au vin is the French man’s version of one of my favorite Dominican dishes, pollo guisado. If you grew up in the Caribbean you, like me, have fond memories of the tangy creole chicken stew seasoned with sour oranges, oregano, tomatoes, and smoky sweet ajicitos (which grew in my backyard, by the way). So what to do when half of the ingredients that make up this flavorful dish can’t be found without having to schlep to a mercadito in Washington Heights or a remote part of Brooklyn? You have to get creative.

Enter Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’ve been staring at the elegant fleur de lys-stamped tome for the past three years, dog-earing classics like Moules a la Mariniere (mussles with wine) and Navarin Printanier (lamb stew with spring vegetables), but never once having the courage (or the time) to dive into one of these elaborate dishes. This week, however, whether spurred by the rainy forecast or the ridiculously decadent meal I recently had at Daniel, I felt inspired. more »

Cinco de Mayo: The Perfect Margarita
05.04.13

Cinco de Mayo: The Perfect Margarita from Karina Taveras on Vimeo.

We’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo, the day in 1862 when our Mexican friends beat the French in the Battle of Puebla, with what else? Margaritas! Cindy B., all-around cool chick and mixologist extraordinaire from NYC’s Tao Restaurant is here to share her easy and delicious margarita recipe. So mix up a few and take your friends up to the rooftop. It’s time for alfresco cocktails! All you’ll need is: your favorite tequila, orange liqueur, rose’s lime juice, limes, and if you’re feeling decadent, some St. Germain.

Enjoy and Happy Cinco!

Latinfoodie Goes Farm to Table (and needs your help!)
11.12.12

We’re down to the last two weeks of our CSA delivery, which means only a few days left to create some scrumptious farm-to-table dishes. This year has proved to be a wonderful one, at least for the produce of Stoneledge Farm, which was spared from disaster of both the hurricane and winter storm that swept across the area the last couple of weeks.

Personally I’ve been trying to keep calm amidst the chaos. Every Tuesday evening I leave work and take the train downtown, pick up my load of fresh veggies, and walk home. When I get home, I sort the produce, decide what to prepare that night, and plan menus for the week. One of the tools I use on a regular basis now is Foodily, a handy food app that helped me find uses for less common ingredients like celeriac and turnip greens, as well as supplied excellent ways to prepare simple soups and stews. Most nights I find a cool recipe on Foodily, prepare it, and end up instagramming the heck out of it:) more »

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