Cocktail: Margarita

IMG_2089In case there were any doubts that global warming is happening, it hit 90 degrees in New York this week. 90! After what felt like a week of beautiful spring weather, I guess it’s already summer. Which is why you need this margarita in your life.IMG_2096

I made these a few weeks ago when it was still feeling rather wintery and after the first sip, said to Ari, “These should be drank on a beach.” (And not in a small first-floor apartment.) While I still agree with that sentiment, margaritas taste equally good after a long day at work when you need something not too sweet that goes down easy–preferably accompanied by some guacamole.

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Cocktail: Margarita

Charred Eggplant Dip

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWith temperatures on the rise (finally!) in NYC, I’m looking forward to summery dinners–lots of salads and vegetables, fruit so juicy it doesn’t need to be baked into a cake, dreaming of the day when I have a grill…you get the idea. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I made this eggplant dip the other day for my book club and it would make a perfect start to any spring or summer dinner party (whether or not you have a grill) and is an unexpected alternative to the same old hummus and carrot sticks.

Make sure to char the eggplant thoroughly, it gives it this amazing smoky flavor you don’t get from just roasting.

IMG_3273platter c/o Katy Skelton / napkin from Birdkage

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Charred Eggplant Dip

Kimchi Fried Rice

IMG_2122I’ve spoken before about my love for fried rice as an easy weeknight meal, but lately I’ve been wanting to spice it up a little. Believe it or not, I had never had kimchi until relatively recently (there aren’t a ton of Korean restaurants in Minnesota, unfortunately) and the first time I tried it, I wasn’t so sure if I liked it or not.

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But after trying it a few more times, I’m officially a convert–plus, fermented foods are supposed to be very good for you. Ari is still a little wary of the funky, spicy fermented cabbage, so I’ve been making this fried rice in the meantime–you still get all of the spicy goodness of kimchi, but cooking it for a few minutes tones down the taste.

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Kimchi Fried Rice

Boulevardier

IMG_2074Crocuses and cherry blossoms are starting to bloom, and it’s finally beginning to feel like spring. But since the nights will still be chilly for at least a couple of months, I love nothing more than kicking back to watch Netflix (we’re currently burning through Deadwood) with a good cocktail.

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This classic drink, which I first had at my favorite neighborhood spot, Long Island Bar, is a slightly bitter take on the Manhattan (my other favorite). I wasn’t a big fan of Campari until recently, but now I’m loving the bitter, complex notes it adds.

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Boulevardier

Pimiento Cheese

IMG_1714    On last week’s episode of “Better Call Saul” (which, if you haven’t watched it yet, is great–but watch “Breaking Bad” first), Mike Ehrmentraut calls pimiento cheese “the caviar of the south.” Having just made pimiento cheese for a dinner party, I thought this description very apt–with a similarly salty but creamy–and much lower price point–pimiento cheese is makes an excellent appetizer for your next party (seriously, it will be the first thing to disappear).

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It’s traditionally served with saltines, but pretty much any cracker will do, or I’ve also known people to spread it on bread for a pretty ridiculous take on grilled cheese. Just don’t tell anyone what’s in it.IMG_1711

Side note: Ari (my darling boyfriend) is currently trying to raise money through Kickstarter to fund the next season of his podcast, Off Campus, which focuses on graduating from college and navigating the real world. Check it out (and donate) here, if you feel so inclined.IMG_1713

knife / board from Paris (similar) / bowl

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Pimiento Cheese

Where to Eat in Paris

This is certainly not a definitive guide on where to eat in Paris, but it is where we ate. Everything was SO GOOD. Seriously, I don’t know how a simple ham sandwich is so much better than it is here (not to mention the fact that a half baguette piled with saucisson sec or ham is 3 euros.) I know that Parisian restaurants have gotten a bad rap in the past for being snooty but everywhere we went was so lovely (it does help to at least attempt to speak French, though I would recommend that for any foreign country.)

Le Servan: We ate here for Ari‘s birthday, and while everything was great, we particularly loved the blood sausage wontons with sweet and sour sauce (sounds crazy but they were delicious) and the slow cooked beef. Expect French dishes with plenty of Asian twists, about $120 for two (with wine.)

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Le Relais d’Entrecôte: Maybe a little touristy, but this steak frites-only restaurant is a classic for a reason. Reasonable prices, addictive sauce and super crispy fries make it a great option for picky eaters, and the three locations are very convenient.

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Bones: This newish place from Australian chef James Henry was empty when we arrived at 7:30 on a Tuesday, but quickly filled up and with good reason. The bar has small plates, but the 55 euro tasting menu was stellar, highlighted by housemade bread and butter, steamed oysters with mignonette and amazing roast duck. The innovative menu changes nightly, and you can book ahead online.

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Lulu La Nantaise: We randomly stopped in this little crêperie along the Canal St. Martin because we were starving, and it ended up being such a gem. Reasonable prices and a great selection of both sweet and savory crêpes make it a perfect lunch place.

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Pâtisserie Sadaharu Aoki: This tiny and beautiful pâtisserie was just down the street from the apartment we rented, and had a gorgeous selection of Japanese-influenced pastries (think matcha croissants) and great coffee (which, unfortunately can be hard to find in Paris.)

Apart from these, there were innumerable boulangeries and cafés that we stopped in for a sandwich or a quick glass of champagne-you really can’t go too far wrong.

All photos from my Instagram.

Where to Eat in Paris