The first thing I always do when I’m planning a vacation is figure out where to eat. In fact, I would say our days tend be structured by what activities are around the restaurants we want to visit! I had more difficultly than usual planning our NYC trip because my mom is a bit of a picky eater and the city is just so large, but my mom was a great sport and we made our way successfully all around the city on the subway. I can’t fit all the yumminess of NYC in one post, so I’m just going to focus on the restaurants we visited in this post and feature all the sweet treats we sampled in the next one!
We spent our first night in the city dining at Craft. I was actually a bit nervous about visiting Craft because I am a huge Top Chef fan and didn’t want to be disappointed by Tom Colicchio’s flagship restaurant, but I shouldn’t have worried because both the food and unpretentious service were wonderful! I convinced my mom that we should start with the octopus appetizer, and I was completely tickled when she actually admitted she enjoyed it (it was the best octopus I’ve ever had!). Meals are served family style at Craft so while I had the braised short ribs (which were so tender that they were served with a spoon!) and my mom had the duck, we shared an arugula and lemon salad, gnocchi, zucchini, and a mix of oyster, baby shiitake, hen of the woods, and trompette royale mushrooms – yum! We just had an ice cream and sorbet sampler for dessert since we were so stuffed and I would return just for the amazing raspberry sorbet! The cute surprise at the end of the night was that the hostess handed us super moist zucchini muffins to enjoy for breakfast the next morning!
The next morning we were still stuffed from dinner, but we put on our game faces and took a long walk to make room for pizza! A visit to NYC would not be complete without sampling the best pizza the city has to offer, so when I came across Scott’s Pizza Tours, I immediately signed us up. Scott is a super enthusiastic pizza historian. We rode a huge yellow school bus through Manhattan and Brooklyn and visited four pizzerias, where we learned about the history of pizza and ovens, and got to sample a slice of pie at each stop. Our favorite place was Luzzo’s, but don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself! I would highly, highly recommend this tour for any pizza loving foodie!
Over the last couple of days we relaxed in Central park, spent a few hours wandering through the MoMA, visited Times Square and hummed along at the fun Broadway muscial Mama Mia, chowed down on dirty water hot dogs, and enjoyed a feast of lobster egg rolls, tuna tartare spring rolls, twice cooked long beans, sweet and crispy jumbo shrimp, and roast duck and noodles at Buddakan. We sure packed a lot into a few short days! I was definitely in food blogger mode when I saw Warhol’s famous Campbell’s soup series in the MoMA and immediately knew it would be the perfect picture for a blog post about soup, which brings me to today’s recipe.
I was craving a nice light and healthy veggie soup when I returned home and that decided roasted yellow peppers should be the star. This is a very light soup because I didn’t use any cream or milk, but it’s still very smooth because I thickened it by adding some butternut squash!
Roasted Yellow Pepper and Leek Soup
4 yellow peppers, seeded and cut into fourths
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 12-ounce package frozen cooked butternut squash, thawed
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Preheat oven broiler. Place peppers skin side up on a greased cookie sheet and broil for 15 to 20 minutes or until outsides are black and charred. Cool at room temperature for 10 minutes or until cool to touch. Remove blackened skins and roughly chop roasted peppers.
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large stockpot and sauté leeks and carrots until soft. Add garlic and sauté one additional minute. Add roasted peppers, butternut squash, chicken stock, and salt, and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish each bowl with parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition: 176 calories, 5.8g fat, 7.1g fiber, 5.9g protein per serving
Cost: $1.93 per serving