A Public Quest for Interesting Food Finds in Huntington

Join me on a journey for the best food finds in Huntington. Whether in restaurants, a deli-packed picnic
or a neighbor's back yard barbeque - we'll discover the best spots, secret recipes and where to find
those hard to find ingredients. Foodies... follow me!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What Constitutes A Foodie?...

My husband and I had a discussion recently about what it meant to be a foodie. He was a little disappointed to be relegated as my dishwasher. He argues that he’s a foodie also, because he likes to share a fine meal with me… so we went to Wikepedia for the general consensus definition:

Foodie is an informal term for a particular class of aficionado of food and drink. The word was coined in 1981 by Paul Levy and Ann Barr, who used it in the title of their 1984 book The Official Foodie Handbook.

Foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news. Gourmets simply want to eat the best food, whereas foodies want to learn everything about food, both the best and the ordinary, and about the science, industry, and personalities surrounding food. For this reason, foodies are sometimes viewed as obsessively interested in all things culinary. There is also a general feeling in the culinary industry that the term gourmet is outdated. "Foodie-ism" is a modern, popular way of engaging food culture for the general population.

Dear Husband,

You play a vital role in my life and my kitchen, you make it easy for me to explore new culinary adventures; and I love that your taste buds follow me in good faith off every cliff.

But sweetie, by definition, you’re not a foodie.

When I drive to Fairway and back just for pumpkin seed oil, you think I’m nuts, but love the meal. When we walk down the street and I have to stop at every restaurant to read menus and pinch ideas, you pull me away to keep us on schedule, but you love the outcome. And when I come to bed with an armload of cookbooks, cooking magazines, sticky notes and highlighters, researching our next dinner party, you wish I would pay more attention to political issues and watch the news instead. But you’re my biggest fan at every party.

And so sweet husband of mine, let’s compromise. I’ll grant you an honorary foodie membership - with deep appreciation of your whole-hearted support and steadfast dishwashing skills.

PS - Dinner’s going to be messy tonight.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

For the bread alone...

Friday was a busy day for me. I had an early afternoon doctor's appointment in New York City so I took the day off from work and crammed the morning full of stray errands. My last stop was for a good cup of coffee. Wild by Nature's Happy House Blend is an organic coffee rich in flavor… by my standards, the best in town. It's my destination coffee when I have the time.

But this isn’t a story about coffee,
it's about a sandwich...

With my coffee in hand I decided a little snack was due for the train ride. I looked at the hot foods, the cold prepared foods and realized I needed something practical to eat on my lap. So I grabbed a pre-made sandwich without paying much attention except that it featured chicken. Pow at first bite! This was an interesting sandwich.

The bread alone would have been enough - their Health Bread made fresh on site with various nuts and sunflower seeds. It’s that dense, delicious bread you’d expect to find in a Vermont cafe. There is a hearty variety of sandwiches as well as a selection for the leaf eaters - featuring tofu or portebello with grilled vegies. The Santa Fe Sandwich that impressed me on the train I later learned was their most popular: chicken with guacamole, salsa, spices, roasted peppers, pepper jack cheese and tortillas. On fabulous bread for $5.99. These sandwiches are just sitting there quietly. Too quietly. They need a sign, or a good spokesperson.

Have you had a deli sandwich lately? Nothing as interesting as this, the bread certainly not as good and I doubt for a better price. They even sell half sandwiches for $2.99 and half wraps for $4.99 which are ample, or maybe leave room for a little soup.

I had an opportunity recently to sample all their soups. These are not your ordinary soups. For starters, they use minimal salt, finding their flavors in less obvious places. Most of the soups are vegetarian but you don’t miss the meat. Somehow they worked the smoky flavor into the Pea Soup without the ham hock. I asked the counterman what was creating the smokiness and he gave me a kind smile and a wink. Apparently they don’t give up their secrets. The Miso Soup is macrobiotic for patients with degenerative disease and their Chicken Orzo Soup was light, full of vegetables with giant chunks of roasted chicken, truly a meal in itself.

Heading off to work? Think about grabbing a great cup of coffee and
a sandwich for your lunch later. (And some fruit, it's good for you.)
Although Wild By Nature is not officially rated an organic facility, it does use primarily organic ingredients throughout their recipes.

EARTH DAY is Coming –
April 22, 2010 marks the 40th Anniversary.
Think Green Tip: Buy local produce whenever possible. This avoids wasteful transportation and unnecessary food packaging which in turn conserves our resources and reduces your carbon footprint.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Southdown Solution... for a mid-week meal

Southdown Market is a wonderland for me. As I’ve gotten busier and older there’s less time and energy to put out a top shelf meal during the week. Southdown’s prepared foods should not be overlooked. Though some selections can edge a little pricey, I find a little planning is a low-cost alternative to eating out too often during the week; and a healthier alternative to take out.

With my George Foreman Grill I had a reasonable dinner for four on the table in 18 minutes for only $22.04. What’s that, $5.50 per person? (And yes, I timed myself tonight to make the point. Note: the 18 minutes does not include clean up, never does. I’ll have to clock my husband separately on that.)

So this was my reasonable, delicious and quickie meal:

  • Four prepared lamb burgers – mixed with feta cheese and black olives
    You Do: Grill it (I used the George Foreman Grill)
  • One bag of fresh spinach
    You Do: Sauté with garlic/oil and a sliced shallot, touch of salt
  • One package of PRE-CUT butternut squash (pre-cut is brilliant as they’re such a nuisance.)
    You Do: Steam it. I tossed some cloves and nutmeg into the water. The squash took on all the flavor without having to add any butter or salt. This was a new trick for me tonight, I’m thrilled with the outcome.

Yep. 18 minutes. Top that, Rachel.

Monday, March 22, 2010

One Fish... Two Fish... Rockfish

Huntington is no doubt a restaurant mecca of Long Island. Choose any ethnicity from around the globe and Huntington can serve it up. Well, mostly. There's no Korean food just yet.

And with all those choices, I still gravitate back to old favorites. Last Saturday, my girlfriend Denise and I were sitting on my deck enjoying the first rays of sun after this long winter and we decided it was a good night for lobster. Eat it, and summer will come. We agreed on our favorite seafood spot, Rockfish. Typically for us it's a warm-weather restaurant, with its outdoor patio conjoined with Finley's notable beer selection. Turns out, it's not bad in March either.

We ate indoors in a private little nook for four. When it came time to order, I pulled a fast one on Denise and ditched the bib-fare for an outrageous pan seared tuna encrusted in sesame seeds in a hoisin drizzle. (I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. Don't ask.) I also had a refreshing, but not too filling cock-a-leekie appetiser. Truth be told, I ordered it just so I could say it out loud. Cock-a-leekie. Come on.

Only one of us braved the 2 lb. crustaceon and she was happy to the bitter end. Licking and smacking herself to the finish line with a pre-moistened towelette. My husband had a delicious wild salmon and Tom had the flounder in a white sauce with asparagas. It was gone before I could steal a bite.

A good meal is more than good food... it's the total experience. In all, we were four happy customers, well fed, well watered, well attended. RockFish typically becomes THE PLACE once the weather is reliably nicer for an outdoor meal, but there's no need to wait. The food indoors is just as delicious.

Value does not mean finding a bargain -
but instead, it is finding a place where you are valued as a guest.