Pizza, Pizza

When it comes to pizza, I guess you’d say I’m a bit of a purist. I rarely ever get any toppings and if I do, it’s mushrooms. (Obv. seasonings are a must. Pass the garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes.)  How exciting. But, on a recent trip to Kingsbridge Social Club, I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone. Okay, I’m lying, it was not challenging at all. There were honestly so many delicious options that it was hard to pick just one.

My friend and I opted to sit outside in their patio area. It’s only a few tables, but a cute space nonetheless. She ordered the brussel sprouts as an appetizer and they were fantastic. I’m not particularly drawn to brussel sprouts when I see them on a menu, but I’m really glad she ordered them because they delicious. They were slightly charred, which gave them a slight crunch. Do yourself a favor and try them.

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Now, to the pizza. I ordered The Wrecking Ball , which is topped with mozzarella, onions, garlic, and basil and served atop a large, tomato sauce can for an added touch. The crust had that excellent charred taste from the wood fire oven and all of the ingredients tasted so fresh. The crust was thin with the perfect balance between being appropriately crispy, but still soft enough that you can eat the crust and not worry about chipping a tooth.

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Paired with a chilled glass of wine, it was the perfect way to spend one of the last days of summer.

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Birthday Dinner at La Masa

After the crazy year I’ve had, when my birthday rolled around two weeks ago, I wanted everything to be really chill. What better way to celebrate than a laid back dinner at La Masa in Morris Park?

While I had gotten a taste of their food about a year ago at an event at Bronx Coworking Space, I had yet to actually visit in person.

With cute, modern decor with pops of red throughout the restaurant, La Masa has a vibrant and relaxed atmosphere, which is perfect for catching up with friends and family.

Our server was really friendly and provided us with some really great recommendations for drinks and entrees. [I ordered the sangria which was really refreshing and strong!]

First of all, everything on their menu sounds amazing, it was really hard to decide. Their empanada selection is crazy, with over 15 to choose from, they have savory and sweet selections as well as vegan and gluten free options. I tried the bacon mac and cheese, beef , and cilantro lime chicken. All of them were good, but the ground beef was my favorite. Can’t go wrong with a classic. I did get to try some of the Husband’s apple pie empanada and it was also really good. (I feel like there’s an innuendo lurking somewhere there. Oh well.)

For my main course, I got the mahi mahi a la parilla because I can’t think of another place in the Bronx that serves mahi mahi! (If you do, please let me know in the comments!) Both my sister and Husband ordered the bandeja paisa, which is this behemoth of a meal including steak, chicharron, chorizo, maduros, rice, beans, an arepa, salad, and a fried egg. So I picked off of my sister’s plate when I was finished with my own.

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It was a great way to wrap up my birthday and I can’t wait to return and try more empanadas.

 

Tacos & Margaritas at Cocina Chente

I don’t know about you all, but probably 75% of the pages I follow on Instagram are just restaurants I want to try out someday. Cocina Chente in Riverdale is no exception. Bright colors, a hanging bicycle, a cute outdoor eating area, and of course gorgeous (and tasty) food – these are the things Instagram foodies dream of.  My friend and I decided to check it out on one of the few and far between nice weather days we’ve been having.

The first thing I noticed was the decor – someone put a lot of thought into all of the little details here and it absolutely pays off. The ambience is fun and lively, with a million conversations going on at once (in a good way. Have you ever been to a quiet restaurant? It’s weird.)

It was super packed, but we were able to get a table pretty quickly. I ordered the carnitas tacos and my friend opted for the tequila-lime salmon. I wanted to try the chili tacos, but they don’t allow mixing and matching, so I’ll give them a try next time. Both were really good, but I think I liked the salmon even more than the tacos. Of course, we kept the margaritas flowing all night.

Their brunch menu also looks super legit so hopefully I’ll get try it out soon.

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Dinner at Da Franco & Tony

A while back on Instagram (like maybe a year ago-ish), I shared a picture of my go-to dish at Da Franco & Tony Ristorante – garganelli alla norma. On my most recent trip there a couple weeks ago, I realized that I never posted about this amazing restaurant here on the blog, so here we go.

A coworker had actually recommended this hidden gem, so when my friends and I needed a place that was close to work, we decided to check it out.

The. Customer. Service! This place hands down, has the best customer service I’ve ever experienced at a restaurant. From the moment you enter, you’re greeted and seated immediately.

Every time I’ve been, they have an impressive list of daily specials and of course I love that they’re super knowledgable about their wine.

They have a pretty extensive menu and there’s definitely something for everyone. Despite all of the amazing specials and delicious, as previously mentioned, I always go for the garganelli alla norma, a pasta dish with fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, and eggplant. I had it the first time we came here and I’ve had it every time since. One day I promise I’ll order something else, but in the mean time…

I’m one of these people that never orders dessert (I know…like, I’m just full…) but somehow, I always end up splitting dessert with one of my friends here. The thing is, they bring out a tray with all of the desserts, and it gets us every time. Last time, I went with the creme brûlée cheesecake, which I’ve never seen anywhere else. While it didn’t have the exact crunch of creme brûlée, it was still really good.

Honestly, this place is perfect for any occasion and is the exact sort of local gem that got me started with this whole blogging thing in the first place. So do yourself a favor and head over asap.

 

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A Taste of Bronx Cookspace

Friday, I had the chance to visit Bronx Cookspace, one of WHEDCo’s many programs aimed at helping the Bronx community. The Cookspace provides commercial kitchen space and equipment to entrepreneurs in the food industry. It also offers resources to members to help them with different aspects of starting a business, such as insurance, product marketing, and networking opportunities. Membership packages start at $140/month or without a package at $25/hour.

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Here are some other cool facts about Bronx Cookspace:

  • 66% of the tenant are own by women
  • 76% of the tenants are people of color
  • 43% of tenants are Bronx-based (A number I’d personally love to see increase over time.)

But, let’s cut to the chase – the food. *insert hungry face emoji*

Everyone I encountered was super friendly and served up some delicious treats, but here are my favorites:

Sustainable Snacks – healthy and delicious dark chocolate-covered bite-sized snacks that you can take with you on the go. I tried the spicy cherry with almond and blueberry and pecan flavors and they were so delightful, and that’s coming from someone who will literally choose almost any flavor over chocolate. I also just love the pairing of fruit and nuts and the idea of providing an alternative snack option (although Takis are amazing…) Another bonus of course is that the owner is a Bronx resident!

5 Island Blend – Created by a husband and wife duo Randall and Guiatrie Sapp, these sauces bring the flavor without all the extra added salt. I loved listening to their stories (and of course trying a sample of chicken which had been marinated in the sauce and then topped with a little extra sauce for extra flavor. A cool fact I learned was that Mr. Sapp was actually born in the building that houses WHEDCo back when it was Morrisania Hospital. Can you get any more local than that?

Joon – I got to try something new when I stopped by Joon’s station, which serves up Persian stews in crispy rice cups. I got to try to the chicken walnut pomegranate and it was soooo good. They can usually be found at the Queens Night Market out by the Hall of Science, but hopefully we’ll see them at some Bronx events soon (hint hint).

Sweet Zahra – Another new experience was getting to try Persian Love Cake which  was adorned with flowers and fresh cardamom. This combination of flavors along with the perfectly sweet icing was so unique and of course, delicious.

 

 

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Feasting at Fish N Ting

I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in Eastchester. Not having a car/ hating driving/hating  buses makes a bit difficult for me to get there, but there are definitely some gems up there. I was recently introduced to one – Fish N’ Ting. Located on bustling Boston Road, it’s easy to zoom right past it, but that would be a huge mistake.

The first thing you should do is request to sit outside. There’s a beautiful deck that’s enclosed during the winter and has heaters so you get the best of both worlds.

I ordered the rasta pasta with shrimp that was a massive portion and a henny colada. Usually I would side eye any place that has henny coladas, but they were very good. And very strong. I also had some of the rum punch, which was also delicious. My friends ordered the special which was a whole red snapper, which was amazing. I know I need to return soon to have one all to myself instead of just a bite. We also had absolutely no room for dessert, so I definitely need to come back and treat myself.

You can check them out on Yelp or Instagram.

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Tea Time at Prince Coffee House

This week the Husband and I went on a walk and found ourselves on Arthur Ave. We grabbed some frozen yogurt at Peachwave, stopped by Madonia Bakery, and I convinced him to stop by a place that’s been on my list of places to check out for MONTHS – Prince Coffee House. Obviously I am a sucker for a good coffee shop (see here) and Prince definitely doesn’t disappoint. I ordered an Earl Grey tea, which came in a cute little teapot, from which I was able to get 2 1/2 cups of tea. (Yum!) Aside from the presentation, the space itself is thoughtfully decorated – from the hanging bronze decorations on the ceiling, to the painted counter, and cozy little nook downstairs, I spent half my time there looking around discovering new details. I’ll know I’ll definitely be back to sample some desserts.

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