Friday, November 6, 2009

UFM: What's For Dinner? Tabouli Couscous with Chicken

Sorry I've been MIA since the move back east.  It's been hard to get into the swing of reviews of NYC restaurants when I'm so new to such an enormous sprawling city with its many boroughs, restaurants and eateries.  I will continue to do so though, as I eat my way through the city, but I will be focusing on plenty of other aspects of Food in the meantime.  Besides the fact that I have been spending a lot of time in my hometown of Philly during the football season, and as of late, the World Series.  I may be a New Yorker now, but I will always be a Philly Girl at heart.

So what the heck am I doing with myself these days foodwise?  Well for those that that know me...
I Eat therefore I AM...
And one of the things I am doing more of here and there is cooking, which is why I am going to start posting more about the sort of things that I am cooking for myself and others.  Lately, I've been on a big couscous kick.  It's quick and easy and there are lots of things that you can do with it.  One of things that I have been doing is making it with Tabouli, which is typically made with cracked wheat, also known as bulghur.  Couscous is another form which is typically a semolina wheat that is moistened and rolled into tiny granules.  What ever the case, I am diggin' it and am trying to find different ways of preparing it.  My next attempt will be a couscous paella...

So for dinner at my cousin's house in Jersey this week, I decided to do a tabouli couscous with your typical tabouli ingredients such as cucumber, tomato, parsley and feta, and then I also added chicken to make it more of an all-in-one meal.   It was awesome, although there was a small incident during the prep.  After I had mixed everything together, I went to throw in a few shakes of some chili pepper flakes and the top with the holes fell off and half of the bottle went in.  Ugh.  We decided to scrape off the top layer of my creation into a small bowl and filled it with water.  Fortunately, most of the chili flakes floated to the top and I was able to save the dish.  Whew!  Disaster averted.
And although the dish a little on the spicy side, it was still delicious and each of the flavors came through.

Try it some time.  All you need are the following ingredients:
1 box of Couscous
Chicken Breast (cubed)
Tomato (diced)
Cucumber (diced)
Parsley (chopped medium fine)
Feta (cubed)
Boil water for couscous then start to cook chicken.  Throw in couscous into boiling water.  Only takes 5 minutes.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients and then squeeze lemon in.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

NYC Wine & Food Festival This Weekend & UFM Has Found Discounts for the Foodie Recessionistas

The 2nd Annual Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Food&Wine and Travel+Leisure, is this weekend from October 8th through the 11th.  These events are hosted by the NYC Food Bank and Share Our Strength, and all proceeds will benefit initiatives for them as well.  This event is purported to be one of the only events of its kind that brings together legendary culinary icons and beloved celebrity chefs under one roof.

Tickets have been on sale for quite some time now, so a lot of the events with the high profile individuals such as Anthony Bourdain, David Chang, Alain Ducasse, Alton Brown and Giada DeLaurentiis are sold out and have been for awhile.  I have been interested in a few events and have to admit, that in these economic times, it can be a little pricey.  The ones that I was looking to attend were the Meatpacking Uncorked event on Friday night which is only $65 bucks.  No complaints here, but the ShopRite Grand Market Tasting is $150 bucks a person.  Now, for big 'foodheads' like myself, where money is usually no object when it comes to food.  And also due to the fact that I make it my business to attend as many food and wine events as I can, no matter the cost or the distance even, $150 is what I would pay on average for a tasting event like this one.  But to most everyone else, that is a lot of money.  

So as always, and you can thank my sister Rowe for this, I find myself searching for the best deals or discounts around these events, because let's face it, in these economic times, who doesn't wanna save some moolah?  These days, it's all about finding your inner Recessionista and as Tim Gunn would say, 'making it work..'
Well, here it is people, I found out where to get 40% off of tickets for both of these events!  Yep, you heard me, 40%!  So here's the dealio...
The Meatpacking Uncorked event is now $40 instead of $65 and the Grand Market Tasting on Sunday is now $90 instead of $150.  Cool, right?

Ok, all you have to do is click here and sign up for a Goldstar account.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to push Goldstar or anything like that, but hey, it's 40% off.  You will find that it is only for a handful of the NYC Wine & Food Festival events, but well worth the extra time to sign up, if you ask me.  These are tough times people, but being a Diva and finding a way to make your lifestyle 'affordable' is the 'in' thing to do right now, and when it comes to the lifestyle of a Foodie Diva, hopefully the Urban Food Maven is helpful in 'making it work...'
Carry on Foodies!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rita's Water Ice - The Philly Cheesesteak's Happy Ending...

Pronounced 'Wooder Ice'...
Rita's Water Ice is the UFM Rec for the perfect summer 'Happy Ending' after a Philly Cheesesteak or Cheesesteak Stromboli (see previous post)

Water Ice + Custard = Gelato Happiness
If you're watching your 'girlish' figures, you can Slenderina instead of Gelato, but why would you wanna do that?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Philly's Answer To The Perfect Food - The Cheesesteak Stromboli

Ok.. So I'm back in Philly.. Again.
And I thought it appropriate to write about one of my Favorite Foods - the Cheesesteak Stromboli - A Stromboli Filled With Meat & Cheese that comes with a Side of Pizza Sauce...
A Little Bit of Philly Brilliance if you ask me...

So what's the difference between a Stromboli and a Calzone, you ask?
Well, according to Wiki, both are made from Pizza Dough pockets which are filled with Cheese and/or your choice of Meat and Toppings that are folded over, but the Calzone is folded over once, sorta like a giant Empanada, in a half moon shape, and the Stromboli is rolled into a Loaf, sorta like a flattened Burrito. The picture above is a photo of a Cheesesteak Stromboli and the pictures below are ones of a Cheesesteak Calzone that I had at a place in Atlantic City, that was actually called a Cheesesteak Stromboli on the Menu.
Either way..
Meat + Cheese = YUM!

Now get this...
Someone in SF once told me that after drinking on a gluttonous night in Philly, they bought a Jim's 'Steak on South Street and then went and got a Slice at Lorenzo's Pizza and proceeded to wrap the Slice around the 'Steak and eat it. I kid you not.
Now seriously... That sounded just plain ludicrous to me!
First off, it throws off the whole Trifecta of Meat to Cheese to Bread Ratio with too much Bread...
And Secondly, why go to TWO different places, let alone spend the money for TWO separate items??? All they had to do was save the time, money and effort, as well as the extraneous carbohydrates and find themselves a Cheesesteak Stromboli...

In the West Coast, some people's idea of the 'Perfect Food' is the Burrito. While in the East Coast, we have our Pizza (NY) and Cheesesteaks (Philly). The Cheesesteak Stromboli is the best of ALL worlds wrapped into One!

For the Happy Ending to this Piece, Grab yourself a Rita's Water Ice!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In lieu of my last post about Blue Crab over Dungeness, this article is pretty hilarious!

UFM Food Porn - Blue Crab Fest

Corny, I know..

Dearest Blue Crab...
Blue, How I've Missed Thee!
How I've Missed Your Sweet, Delicate Flesh...
I know.. I know...
There may have been others over the years...
Dungeness, Alaskan King and even Faux, I am ashamed to say..
But you have to know, that you have always been my Favorite.
No other Crustacean could ever compare!
Sure, they were bigger, but bigger doesn't always mean better.
And although they were easier to eat,
I honestly can say that I missed the satisfaction of having to work harder for you.
It just wasn't the same...
And I know...
I've been gone a really long time..
But it's not like you've been there either...
You've been so... so... unavailable in the West Coast.
Yet, I still found myself longing for you.
You have to know that I've thought of you often.
And I am so happy to be reunited at last.
So there you have it..
I'm much closer now,
which means that I can find you much easier..
And this makes me very happy!

Until we meet again, Old Friend...

Yours In Food,

The Urban Food Maven aka The Raptor

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

San Francisco Street Food Festival This Saturday August 22nd

La Cocina in the Mission District in San Francisco is hosting a day long block party in the form of the first ever San Francisco Street Food Festival this Saturday August 22nd. Admission is FREE, People! Although Food and Drinks will be sold by each vendor, ranging from $3 to $8 at most. You can Buy a passport for savings and the freedom not to hassle with an ATM.
In addition to Delicious Eats, the festival will feature a beer and spirits garden, roving street musicians, street art projects and a hands-on children's play area, as well as multi-lingual services for attendees.

The event is a benefit for La Cocina and is a collaborative project with a special focus on the transition from informal to formal food businesses. Through partnerships with both non-profits and highly regarded restaurants, this event will work to connect communities throughout San Francisco's spectrum of class and culture to the everyday food that SF eats and loves.

So, Go to this Festival, and Eat Street Food!
Viva La Bacon Dog Cart!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Urban Food Maven's First Two Months Back In The East Coast...

I've been back east for two months to the date today, but I have barely been in NY, which why I am only now getting to writing.  
So what have I been doing since I moved, you ask?  As I expected, I kept getting drawn down to Philly, NJ and the DC area to see family and friends.  I do have to say that, after being gone for the past 14 years, it feels damn good to be back.  It feels like coming home...
How does the ol' saying go?  You can take the girl outta Philly...  yadda yadda.
So needless to say, I've been literally On The Road, Jack Kerouac-styles since leaving San Francisco - Boltbus-ing, Greyhounding, MegaBus-ing and ChinaTownBus-ing to and fro NYC to Philly, Atlantic City, Washington DC and Virgina for the past couple months and have been living the true life of leisure.  As a matter of fact, I am writing this on the MegaBus from DC back to NYC as we speak.
Enough with the travel already, it is now time to catch up on my writing, and more importantly, to share what I've been eating On The UFM Road...

I have yet to really delve into the World of Food here on the East Coast.  As you can imagine, I have my work cut out for me!  I am a bit overwhelmed, but truly excited.  It definitely doesn't suck to be me right now.
I am so behind with the writing, that I still have to finish and publish some of my write-ups of some of my final meals in San Francisco, which I will publish in both SFFoodMaven and here.  Stay tuned for those...
For now, you will be seeing little blips and blurbs here and there, of my travels, in the form of Urban Food Maven (UFM) Food Porn.

So that's the dilly...
Blips and Blurbs..
UFM Food Porn..
Stay Tuned.
And Of Course..

Yours In Food,

The Urban Food Maven

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

SF Chefs. Food. Wine. This Week In San Francisco

SF Chefs. Food. Wine. is happening in this week in San Francisco at Union Square from August 6th through the 9th.  It's going to be an amazing four day Food & Wine event of bacchanalian proportions, celebrating the unique and diverse bounty that San Francisco has to offer.

Proceeds from this event will go to four SF charities - Feeding America, a leading supporter of the SF Food Bank, Meals On Wheels, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Fund and Project Open Hand.

Another great aspect of this event is that they will be partnering with the SF Conservation Corps to try to achieve a zero waste event creating no landfill, by using recyclable products such as silverware and wine glassware made of corn resin.  How cool is that???
So, you have NO idea how BUMMED I am to not be attending.  My 3 favorite things and all in my old 'hood and I'm here in NY!  Go Figure.  Were I there, I would be attending, and if I didn't already have plans on this coast, I would've bought a ticket on Virgin America to fly out to attend. Trust.
So perhaps, my West Side Foodies would like to represent for me?
Here's hoping so...
Holla at me if you are interested.
Otherwise click here for the ticket deets.

Tickets run for $150 for a Day Pass and then it varies according to various Events - such as Receptions, Suppers and even an Urban BBQ.  Damn!  Just writing about this pisses me off that I can't go!

Whatever the case, if you're into Food and Wine and can make it, then I say, Go!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival This Weekend...

So Atlantic City is holding its annual Food & Wine Festival. I'm not much of a gambler, so who knew that the A.C. would have something to offer the Urban Food Maven?
Bring it on...

If any of you are interested in partaking in the bounty of this epicurean festival, tickets are available here.

The UFM Game Plan?
Friday's Taste Wine Like A Sommellier Event and Saturday's Grand Market Tasting.

See you there!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New York, New York...

Start Spreading the News...

It's official, I have taken the plunge and have moved to New York. I cannot tell you how excited I am! After 11 Delicious years in San Francisco, I felt that it was time to move back east to 'bring it home' and explore new possibilities.
The prospect of a new place, let alone a place such as New York and the myriad of new places to eat is both thrilling and intoxicating...

I'm getting ready to Eat NYC!

Now.. Who's gonna eat with me?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

UFM Food Porn - Hunan Lion Peking Duck

Hunan Lion  
2070 Chain Bridge Rd
Vienna, VA 22182

Hunan Lion at Tyson's Corner in Vienna, VA is known for its Peking Duck.
I came.
I ordered.
I ate.
Still love Sang Kee in Philly, but it was pretty damn good at Hunan Lion.

This is a special Soup that they make with the leftover Duck with Cabbage, Tofu and Clear Noodles. YUM.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Eating My Way Out of San Francisco: The Final Week

My Final Week...
I can hardly believe it.
Realization sets in...
I won't be able to hit every place on my list!
Ah well...  It's not like I'm not gonna be back, right?
So here goes...

Brothers II Korean BBQ with Cris.
Don't be jealous...  

View actual photo below and weep.

I heart Panchan...

We decided to wrap our Brothers II Lunch at Genki with a Nutella and Banana Crepe.  

Me Raptor.  
Me SO happy.

Baby Blues BBQ with G and Billy

Original one in Venice, CA and the brothers who own them are originally from Philly.  Woot!
Anyhow, see spread below.


Pulled Pork, Corn Bread and Mac&Cheese

Memphis Ribs and Baby Back Ribs with Corn Bread and Sweet Potatoes

Sushi Groove with Nee

Needed something a little on the lighter side to break up my final week...

The Slanted Door

Here were the highlights...

Hamachi with Crispy Shallots and Thai Basil
Niman Ranch Shaking Beef with Cubed Filet Mignon, Sausalito Springs Watercress, Red Onion and Lime
Oven Roasted Sonoma Liberty Duck Breast with Cherries, mint and Sausalito Spring Watercress

My Last Supper with Nad & Murph and Kuya Mel & Tim.
We came.
We ate.
It was Aweseme.

Some highlights below...  
Full review to follow soon. 

Green Garlic Sformatino with Mussels and Fiorelli

Prosciutto-Mascarpone Ravioli with Lemon Herb Burro Fuso

Pancetta-Wrapped Rabbit Saddle with Farm Carrots and Fava Beans

Murph was adamant, that I could not leave SF without having the Morning Bun.
He hunted.
He gathered.
We ate.

Morning Bun on the right and Gougere to the left

Croques Monsieur

And so...
In Sinatra's word more or less..
The End is Here.
And I'm glad to say
I did it 'My Way'....

Thank You San Francisco for all of your Gastronomic Bounty!
I Came.
I Ate.
And I Loved it All...

So Long San Francisco

       Hello New York!

As you can see, up & running now...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Eating My Way Out of San Francisco: Week Two...

Eating San Francisco continued...

Mango Cafe in Palo Alto

Hot Curried Goat Roti at the Mango Cafe in Palo Alto.

Pho at Turtle Tower in the 'Loin

Pho with Rare Beek & Well Done Flank.

Sushi Groove South

A Selection of Nigiri.


Above is their selection of Breads - Bread Sticks, Bread with Star Anise and the wheel-shaped one with Olives and soaked in Olive Oil, which was a Favorite at the table...

A surprisingly good Paine Farms Smoked Squab with Black Cabbage-Porcini Mushroom Strudel and Sunchoke Crema.


Eggplant Caponatina with Burrata.

Margarita Pizza with Burrata Cheese and Sausage

Last but not Least,

the Infamous Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog from one of the Bacon Dog Carts in the Mission...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Eating My Way Out of San Francisco: The First Week

Since I made the decision to move to NY, my time has been dominated by packing up, selling and donating my stuff, as well as farewell and birthday Lunches and Dinners, leaving little time for writing anything elaborate or extensive. So all I can do is just do what I can, right?

It is now mid-May and the plan is to chronicle my Meals as I eat my way out of San Francisco during the last 30 days before I leave in mid-June. Since we're a week into it, I'll get right to it...

My first Meal was at Postrio and although the majority of the Meal was nothing to write home about, one Dish stood out enough to make the blog.

Postrio - Poached Egg atop Angel Hair Pasta, Wild Mushroom and Frisee Appetizer.
Ok, now that I look at it, the Dish was a bit of a hodge podge and perhaps the best part of the Dish was the perfectly Poached Egg...

Next was a Medium Rare Prime Rib at Houston's...
That's the way, uh huh uh huh.. i like it.

I had Ryoko Sushi, of course, and was getting down with the Jumping Tuna and some serious Hamachi - both Sashimi- and Kama-styles...

Then I had Pho at Golden Star on Walter U. Lum Place with my friend Billy, who's eyes have always been WAY bigger than his stomach. hahaha...

Crustacean was next on the list and I had yummy Roasted Crab and Garlic Noodles...
It got messy..
It was worth it.

First week down, 3 more to go.
So who's next and where?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ch-ch-ch- Changes...

It is Time.
Time for what you ask?
Time to make that move back east to the NYC.

This move has been on my mind for a year and a half now and I almost made the move exactly a year ago. But the timing was not right. A year later, I still feel the same way and it is time for this Food Maven to move on after 11 years in San Francisco.

So what does that mean? Obviously, I cannot be the 'SF' Food Maven any more and naturally, I had been toying around with changing my name to be something broader. My new name will soon be the Urban Food Maven and the site will change over to Nice, eh?

So, I will keep you posted on the changes as they come...

As Always, I really do appreciated your continued support!

Yours In Food,

The SFFoodMaven, soon to be
The Urban Food Maven

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


This is just a quickie...
Went to Restaurant Lulu for dinner with friends last week and I just had to share a few pics and the SFFM Fave of the Evening...

Sardines atop a Fennel Salad.
How Beautiful is the Dish?

And the Winner is...
The Roasted Duck.
Crisp Skin.
Juicy, Tender and Falling Off the Bone kinda Delish.
Although, I have to say that it has not surpassed the Roasted Duck that I had at Osteria Mozza.
Still good nonetheless...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I had the best sushi experience last night at Ryoko. This sushi place is literally a hop, skip & jump from where I live and I frequent the joint on a regular.. It's a little neighborhood gem that serves great sushi, is open til 2am and is popular with the industry crowd. The place itself is underground, quite literally as you have to go downstairs to the restaurant upon entering. The decor is what one would call eclectic with it's electric blue walls accented with black vinyl, Asian kitsch and a shiny black Baby Grande in the center of the restaurant, where a dj spins atop it on Friday and Saturday nights.
Simply put, this place is best described as badass.
So last night I went with my friend Maria and it was awesome. So much so that I felt compelled to write about it here.

Naturally we ordered up some Sake and opted for a bottle of Nigori (Unfiltered making it Milky and a Mildly Sweet for those that are unfamiliar). Now I've had a lot of Nigori in my life and I thought that this Nigori was especially good. I have to say that it went really well with everything we ate.
A Perfect Sushi & Sake Pairing if you will..

It was Maria's first time here, so I ordered the Jumping Tuna which is one of my favorite rolls here. It is a roll that is made with Fresh Tuna, Cucumber and Shiso wrapped in Sushi Rice and then dipped in Tempura Batter and flash-fried. Together with the Sweet & Spicy Sauce, it makes for a great combination. My friends and I always order this whenever we go. You gotta try it..

We also had Hamachi Toro, Hamachi, Sake and Uni Nigiri that were all great, although we found the Hamachi to be much better than the Hamachi Toro. Again, all went extremely well with the Nigori..
The Hamachi, Sake and Uni were all great, but the Hamachi was Damn Good!!
So Fresh and So Buttery! Like all Sushi experiences should be...
This one is still imprinted in my mind, it was just that good.

The last roll that we had was another fave of mine, called the Pokemon, which is Salmon, Mango, Avocado, Fresh Lettuce and Rice wrapped in Soy Paper.

We topped off the night with Tempura Fried Ice Cream garnished with Chocolate Sauce and Toffee bits.
Yep, that's right..
A Very Happy Ending.
The End...