Tag Archives: Holidays

Bonjour, Tournesol

c/o Flickr

Greetings, readers! Apologies for the long hiatus. I bet you were sick of staring at that greasy pizza, eh? My new day job keeps me busy and I find at the end of the long day, all I want to do is read my trashy Glamour magazine and go to bed at 10:00. But I’ve been eating some incredible stuff lately, and it’s worth sharing.

I’m not ashamed to say that I have been single for most Valentine’s Days in my life. Ok… all of them. Every Valentine’s Day. I’m a nice girl! Seriously!

Anyway. This year, as I am finally not single anymore, I wanted to celebrate but also wanted to avoid spending $300 on prix-fixe menus set amid red balloons and roses. The Boyfriend and I decided we’d celebrate on Valentine’s Day Eve instead, when most restaurants are still serving their regular menus and half the amount of people are out foraging for romance in the form of eats.

Tournesol 5012 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY. Tournsesol is a tiny French restaurant settled in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens, just north of Brooklyn. With a kitchen headed by Christophe Morvan, this simple but well executed menu has something for every taste, at prices that allow you to come back again and again. It’s a special occasion restaurant without the special occasion price tag. The entire staff is fantastically and authentically French, and incredibly kind and helpful.

On the menu:
Tartelette of brie with caramelized figs
Bouillabaisse
Beef Bourguignon with tagliatelles
Bread pudding with raisins and crème anglais
New Orleans style beignets with orange rum sauce, vanilla ice cream, and mango

Verdict: Friends… I think I have a new favorite restaurant. Never mind that it’s in Queens and I have a deep and profound love of my borough, this place is everything. It’s small but not crowded, intimate but unassuming, delicious dishes but simple fare, and a quality, high-class dining experience without Manhattan price tags. The tartelette was a bit salty but sweet, almost mozzarella like in flavor and consistency and perfectly complemented by the juicy figs. I adored my bouillabaisse, and the bread pudding was out of this world. But the real meal winner was the simple beef and pasta with pearl onions that tasted like it had all been simmering together in red wine for days, and God’s egg timer went off and he reached down into the Tournesol kitchen and said “Now! Now the beef is DONE!”

Ahem. So… in other words… I liked it. It was pretty good. You should eat there. Amen.

Apologies for the lack of original pictures, or pictures in general. It was Valentine’s Day dinner and I felt like a goober pulling out my camera. Just go see for yourself!

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As American As…

Although this post is not timely, seeing as it is after Thanksgiving and not very many people make apple pie for Christmas (in our family it’s cookies all the way), I do hope you’ll look at it, file it away it your mental recipe box, and pull it out when you feel the urge to bake something hearty and patriotic, because this recipe is IT. This is some goooood eats.

On the menu:
Caramel crusted apple pie
Adapted from this recipe at AllRecipes.com

1/2 this recipe for crust (the full recipe makes enough crust for 2 whole pies)
6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8″ thick slices
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In preparation, roll out your crusts. The bottom crust goes in the pie pan. The top crust should be rolled out in preparation with decorative shapes cut out (I used a sharp knife to cut out hearts, but you can use any shape you have; or do a lattice crust if you prefer).

After your crusts are prepared and ready to go, melt butter in a saucepan and add flour to make a paste. Add water and sugars, and stir until melted. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Place apple slices in a large bowl. First toss with cinnamon. Next, pour 1/4 cup sugar/butter mixture over apples and toss until all the slices are relatively coated. Place crust in the bottom of your pie pan. Fill crust with apples, mounded slightly [don’t worry if you think you have a TON of apples; they really cook down].

Pour* the remainder of the sugar/butter mixture over the top crust, slowly and carefully so it doesn’t spill. Bake 15 minutes at 425. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for around 35 – 45 minutes or until the edges of your crust are nicely browned.

*Note: you may have to reheat the mixture a bit at this point, as it will thicken up VERY quickly.

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Cinco de Mayo for Just Un Dolar!

Is that Spanish? Who even knows. And that post is misleading because Cinco de Mayo is today, a Wednesday, and these deliciously cheap tacos are only available on Tuesdays. But don’t be sad: you can go eat $1 tacos next Tuesday and pretend like it’s Cinco de Mayo all over again. Don’t worry. I won’t tell anybody.

Fish tacos! Apologies for the wonky color... clearly my camera has a mind of its own.

Wharf Bar and Grill 3rd Avenue, between 38th Street and 39th Street, New York, NY. Located amidst other bars boasting specials and deals for Happy Hour, Wharf is lovely because it’s spacious, there’s an area upstairs that can accommodate big parties, and it’s an easy going vibe. There are always drink specials and the staff is incredibly friendly.

On the menu:
Shock Top beer
$1 Tacos (fish, chicken, and beef)

Verdict: Did I mention each taco costs $1? How could this possibly be anything but incredible? Each taco is served on a corn tortilla that measures about 5″ in diameter, and you have to order in groups of 3, but truth be told: I ate 6. And I drank 2 delicious summery Shock Top beers (it’s like a Blue Moon). And I was comfortably full. I’d imagine if you’re a large man, you could probably eat 12 tacos and not eat for the rest of the night, but that’s still only $12! The protein of your choice (ground beef, shredded chicken, or fried fish, of which persuasion I’m not sure) is tucked into its shell with shredded lettuce, chopped red onions, a generous helping of shredded cheese, and a spicy salsa verde.

So this month, in honor of… um… the Fifth Day of May (seriously, what IS Cinco de Mayo?), have a taco! Because it’s only a dollar! And it’s delicious! And you just don’t need any more reason than that.

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