Terakawa Ramen, Kips Bay

Terakawa Ramen, Kips BayAngela and I have fallen behind on our monthly noodle dates. I blame hellwinter2014… the cold makes everyone want to hide at home and hibernate. With the arrival of spring, we finally got around to resuming our monthly tradition. We decided to try Terakawa Ramen at Lexington and 23rd St. I’ve visited the Columbus Circle location once, but never this one.

I arrived right at 12:30pm on a rainy Saturday. The restaurant was very empty when I arrived, but filled up very quickly within the next hour. This place is cash only, so make sure you come prepared. Two Sapporos and edamame for $6. A lunch special! Terakawa Ramen, Kips BayI was looking forward to trying their vegetable ramen, but they, unfortunately, didn’t have it that day. I ended up ordering the Mayu Ramen ($10) and asked them not to include the roast pork. It is a pork broth, but I’m not too fussy about veggie vs non-veggie broths. I suppose I’m being a bad vegetarian and cheating a little, but what can you do? Mayu Ramen - Terakawa RamenThere’s something really appealing about a dark, stormy bowl of black garlic ramen on a rainy day. The noodles were a nice al dente. Toppings included bamboo, egg, scallions, red ginger (yum!), and kikurage mushrooms. I found the broth to be incredibly rich, probably because I haven’t had a pork broth in a long time. Two years ago, I would have been bummed about not having any char shu pork, but this bowl of ramen was delicious without it, and the black garlic flavor was amazing as always.

Shoyu Ramen - Terakawa RamenAngela’s Shoyu Ramen ($9) offered lovely colors. A nice way to cheer yourself up on a gloomy day. Terakawa’s shoyu broth is a chicken broth. And look at all those scallions!

Whole Wheat Rotini with Kale & Asparagus

Whole Wheat Rotini with Kale & AsparagusThis is a healthy one pot meal that I made recently. It’s easy enough to make on a weekday, and but satisfying enough for a Friday night treat.

Whole wheat rotini pasta, prepared according to box instructions until al dente, then set aside. For the sauce, I combined 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 cup of soy milk, and 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast. Next, I added a generous bundle of kale and chopped asparagus. (I microwaved the asparagus for 2 minutes before adding to the saucepan.) Cover and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Gently stir in the pasta, then season with salt and pepper. Add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper if you like a little heat. We topped our pasta with crispy fried onions for a nice crunch.

T.G.I. Fridays, Pittsburgh Airport

TGI Fridays - Pittsburgh AirportWe arrived at the Pittsburgh Airport with plenty of time before our flight and made it through security in minutes. Hurray for small airports with no crowds! For some reason, a junk food session at Fridays seemed like the perfect end to our trip. We were seated at one of the tables in the back with lots of sunshine. Pittsburgh AirportWe ordered the Tuscan Spinach Dip and the Crispy Green Bean Fries to share. The Spiked Lemonade was a refreshing way to end our vacation. The chips that came with the spinach dip were way too salty for me, ugh. I didn’t expect green bean fries to be that good, but I couldn’t stop eating them, especially with the cucumber wasabi ranch sauce. Not a combination I would have come up with, but I really enjoyed it. TGI Fridays - Pittsburgh Airport

A Wedding at the Children’s Museum, Pittsburgh

Children's Museum, PittsburghI’ve wanted to make a trip back to Pittsburgh for a long time, but it was Liz’s wedding that prompted our March visit! Liz lived on my floor during my freshmen year, and there were eight of us on our floor that hung out a lot, despite having different majors. We call our group Eight is Gr8, and I’m glad to have this group of girl friends. Children's Museum, PittsburghThe wedding ceremony was at All Saint’s Church in Liz’s hometown, Etna. The reception took place at the Children’s Museum, which is easily one of my favorite buildings in Pittsburgh. The cocktail hour was in The Studio, where there were ribbons hanging from the ceiling and arts and crafts for guests. Silk screening and paper marbling while sipping wine and wearing an evening dress is pretty awesome.

Dinner was in the Big Red Room. Red walls, marble interiors, and gigantic globe lights. The tall centerpieces kept making us nervous… whenever someone bumped into the table, the tall vases wobbled a little. Children's Museum, PittsburghI liked that a full dinner menu was included at the table. John and I did this at our wedding too. You appreciate food more when you know exactly what it is, not just “the vegetarian entree”. See the pretty cupcake on the table? We thought the cupcakes were wedding favors, but they turned out to be the “champagne” toast! How cute is that?!Children's Museum, PittsburghFirst course: spring salad of baby spinach, bibb lettuce, arugula, napa cabbage with a roasted shallot vinaigrette. Roasted tomatoes, marinated grilled asparagus, and a crispy crostini on the side. All this green was really refreshing. Children's Museum, PittsburghVegetarian entree: quinoa vegetable roulades with herbed red potatoes, roasted beets and carrots, sauteed snap peas, parsnips and leeks. John was eying my extra burnty potatoes. The vegetable roulades were delicious. I gotta try making something like that! Children's Museum, PittsburghUnfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the wedding cake before it was cut. It was wonderfully chocolatey. I didn’t even get a photo of the slice on my plate… I just gobbled it all up. What a fun evening! One of my best college friends got married, we did some arts and crafts, we ate some great food, and I got to revisit one of my favorite buildings. Children's Museum, Pittsburgh

Back to the ‘Burgh

Pittsburgh, South Side Riverfront ParkThis post is basically a huge photo dump of all the non-food snapshots from our recent Pittsburgh trip, starting with a rather dreary, but oddly charming photo along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. It’s hard to believe that it was taken on the first day of spring!
Click here for many more photos from my Pittsburgh trip…

Noodles with Marinated Tofu & Napa Cabbage

Noodle Soup with Marinated Tofu & Napa CabbageConsider this post an intermission in the Pittsburgh series. This was one of the most tasty noodle bowls I’ve had recently, and it was just something I threw together quickly!

Extra firm tofu pressed for an hour, then marinated overnight in a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil. The tofu was lightly sauteed in a non-stick frying pan. The wheat noodles were served in a vegetable broth made of garlic, onions, and Napa cabbage. For toppings, I included sliced scallions, black sesame seeds, and a touch of sriracha. So simple, but so satisfying on a cold day. Also, I’m in love with all the different colors and textures.

Marty’s Market, Strip District, Pittsburgh

Marty's Market - Strip District, PittsburghThe Strip District is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Lots of restaurants and markets, bursting with local flavor. Authentic Pittsburgh goodness. I had brunch at Marty’s Market with Christine on a sunny Saturday morning. Christine is an architecture professor/mentor/friend of mine, and I haven’t seen her since 2010. It was time for a long overdue catch up session, and brunch is always perfect for that! Marty's Market - Strip District, PittsburghIf you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I have a special love for brunch and a weakness for poached eggs. Everything about Marty’s market, from the seasonal menu to the modern market space is right up my alley. They also have a number of vegetarian options. Eggs Florentine - Marty's MarketObviously, I couldn’t turn down the Eggs Florentine ($8). Poached organic eggs, spinach, and hollandaise sauce on an English muffin. I’ve never seen such pale hollandaise, but it was still flavorful and creamy. I satisfied my craving for freshly squeezed orange juice. Vegan Sausage - Marty's MarketI also ordered a side of their house vegan sausage ($3.50). The “sausage” patties were nicely browned and very meaty. I don’t know what all the ingredients are, but the fennel definitely makes a big difference. I took one patty to go so John could try it too. He loved Marty’s vegan sausage too!