Farewell, Vegetarian Falafel

20 Apr

Last year, I discovered two great Kosher vegetarian falafel places – Soom-Soom (two locations:East 56th and West 72nd Streets in NYC), and Amba, in Montclair Village, Oakland. Both joints served up delicious falafel and superb hummus at great prices. About four months ago, Soom-Soom announced that it was dropping its vegetarian vibe, and putting chicken on the grill. And just last week, Amba announced that it was doing the same thing. It seems pretty clear that it’s hard to run a clean, kosher, healthy and vegetarian place, and that putting meat on the menu will increase profit margins, and possibly expand the client base. That said, Amba’s hummus and falafel are pretty darn superb, and I continue to frequent Soom-Soom, although I’ve been disappointed that they dropped sweet potato fries from the menu, and tend to run out of chickpeas after 6pm. But then again, I might just have a thing for falafel places named after condiments.

Afterword: I’ve recently become enamored of Green’s, an incredible vegetarian restaurant with locations in San Antonio and Houston. Their kale salad has redefined kale – and salad – for me. It’s a must-eat for anyone below the Mason-Dixon line.

Sesame Noodles: Quick and Simple

8 Apr

sesamenoodlesWhen looking for a side dish that isn’t too plain but is loved by most people, sesame noodles is a great option.  There are so many optional ingredients and flavors in this dish that almost everyone has a different recipe, and it is hard to really screw it up.

In most pasta dishes, the type of pasta that is used matters very little and is chosen for the look more than taste.  However, I’ve found that this dish tastes significantly better with angel hair pasta; the quick cooking time (4 min!) is also a plus.  Also, many chefs will cringe if you wash your pasta with water while draining it because it removes the crucial starches from the noodles.  Yet for this dish, you should wash your pasta with cold water to stop it from overcooking (angel hair will overcook really easily because it is so thin).  Once the pasta is cooked and drained, just place it in a ziploc bag or container with all of the other ingredients, mix well (taste for seasoning!) and leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.


  • 1 lb angel hair pasta
  • 5 scallions diced (white and green parts but not the hairy stem)
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  • cayenne pepper and crushed chili flakes to taste (salt to taste if using low sodium soy sauce)

Easily serves 8-12 people. 200-350 Calories per serving

This recipe is a slight variation on Mrs. Shulamith Ebner’s wonderful sesame noodles!

Watch Out, C-SPAN!

24 Mar

It seems as though the television landscape has become increasingly cynical, or at least as far as Washington is concerned. Idealistic shows like The West Wing have been replaced with jaded programming that seeks to paint Capitol Hill in either darker, more sinister colors – as in House of Cards - or lighter, absurd tones, like in Veep. 

US Political TV Continue reading

Beignets – New Orleans Pillow Shaped Donuts

23 Mar

BeignetDuring a recent visit to New Orleans, I fell in love with the famous Cafe Du Monde and their amazing Beignets (Pronounced: “Ben-Yays”).  While you can actually make them from scratch pretty easily, they sell a mix that I used to cut down the prep time.   Continue reading

Portabello Burgers in a Panini Press

11 Mar 2014-01-29 19.05.47

As a dedicated reader may have noticed, Ben is a rather prolific carnivore. In fact, in the words of one critic, he is our generation’s Mark Bittman. I tend to lean a bit more vegetarian, and so I often try to replicate recipes like Ben’s, but with vegetable substitutes.

Continue reading

Chocolate Covered Deliciousness

11 Mar

Chocolate Potato ChipsWhat is better than chocolate? Covering other things in chocolate!  I can’t believe that I have not tried to do this before, it was so easy to make.

For this recipe I actually used milk chocolate because, well I wanted to.  I don’t always have to have a reason for the things I do, experimentation is one of my favorite parts of cooking!  Actually, most recipe’s recommend sticking with semi sweet chocolate because milk chocolate has the tendency to completely overpower anything that you dip in it.  I found this to be true, so give it a shot and let me know how it goes. Continue reading

Simple Grilled Chicken (in a grill pan!)

10 Mar
So moist

So moist

There’s a certain time in winter when I start to crave a good Barbecue.  This overwhelmed me tonight, so I pulled out my grill pan and made this super simple, juicy grilled chicken.  There were no marinades, sauces, or complicated procedures, just chicken breast and some spices.  It is hard to believe that this dish is healthy because of how amazing it tastes!

It’s truly a shame that grilled chicken has such a bad reputation because when made right, it rocks.  Problem is, people are so afraid of under-cooking it that that beat it to death and dry it out by overcooking it.  Follow the steps below to avoid this shameful situation. Continue reading


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