You’re getting warmer

It’s cold in New York. Bone-chilling.

This weather calls for hearty fare. No mamby-pamby salads. No sushi (raw, cold fish? Are you kidding?).

No. This weather calls for beef stew. Full fat, big, huge portions. Don’t worry — your body is already burning off all the calories to keep your extremities from freezing off.

So, on Saturday I made this one from O, The Oprah Magazine. Make this dish, now. It’s SO good.

I did have to make a few substitions. My market didn’t have applewood smoked bacon, so I used double smoked. My market also didn’t have beef chuck that hadn’t already been ground. The butcher assured me that rump roast would work, and be better. I’m normally not a fan of animal parts labeled “rump” but when the butcher gives advice, listen. And, he trimmed it and cut it into the appropriately-sized chunks (they all do this — ask!). I used regular canned tomatoes — rather than plum. Finally, I also couldn’t find horseradish mustard, so I mixed a few tablespoons of horseradish into regular Dijon.

A few other notes: I used Courvoisier cognac. It’s good enough for a rap song, I figure it’s good enough for me. When I poured it in, I was hoping for flames. I like a little drama when I cook and nothing adds drama like fire. Next time perhaps I’ll set it on fire just for the heck of it. For the wine I used Ravenwood Old Vine Zinfandel. Yummy, spicy. Perfect for a cold night.

This was one of the most divine dishes I’ve ever eaten. My husband, initially skeptical, wholeheartedly concurred. It definitely had a French country feel with deep, complex flavors. And it did stick to the ribs — but I don’t know who they are kidding when they say it serves six. Six children, maybe.

This stew became a meal with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad of arugula and spinach dressed with sherry viniagrette. It made a frigid night feel toasty.

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I found a better burger

I’m a red meat-eating kind of gal.  But I also like to pretend that I eat healthy.  Enter Better Burger.

Everything is antibiotic, hormone, and nitrate free.  The beef burgers are organic.  And fantastic.  Not in the mood for moo?  They also have turkey, chicken, tuna, soy, veggie, and even ostrich burgers. 

The "fries" are air-baked, also organic, and also yummy.  They also have smoothies, salads, hot dogs, and chili.  Mostly, it’s the little gourmet touches that make this a lunch above ordinary — condiments included Cajun ketchup, chipolte-honey mustard, and spiced wasabi sauce. 

In the mood for a sweet?  They have high-protein brownies and high-energy cookies.

Being bad never felt so good.

Better Burger
178 8th Ave @ 19th St
NYC
212-989-6688
www.betterburgernyc.com

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Am I in the mood for a burrito or sheets?

Only in New York can you walk into a housewares store and walk out with lunch.  At least I think you can only do this in New York.  For the unfamiliar the Bed, Bath & Beyond store in Chelsea has a Cafe (as a friend once put it, "That’s the way Beyond part.").  I don’t love their salads, my usual lunch, but the burritos are fantastic.  (Disclosure: I know less than nothing about Mexican food, so what I think is fantastic is completely relative.)

I particularly like the veggie burrito.  First, because I feel sort of virtuous eating it.  Second, because the carrots and eggplant are sweet and contrast with the spicy salsa.  Yum!

Cafe Beyond
Bed, Bath & Beyond
620 6th Avenue
NYC
212.620.9752
Map

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Lunch: Good company, okay food

My friend Carrie and I had lunch at Mayrose today.  It’s a diner-with-a-twist in the Flatiron District.  I always want it to be better than it is.  In my memories it’s this yummy place, but then I go there and am almost always disappointed.  The meatloaf was so-so, as were the mashed potatoes, and the "mushroom" gravy was gluey.  Sigh.

That’s okay.  Lunches like this aren’t about the food (as uber-agent Joni Evans once said, "I can always find something to eat.").  Carrie and I had a great time and caught up on life, love, and work. 

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