Artsy Photo Series of the Day

Sometimes when I have a baguette at home, I’m too lazy to grab a serrated knife and instead just tear a hunk of bread right off and shove it in my mouth. I used to think that made me a lazy slob, but then I went to Roberta’s Pizza and realized it just makes me adorably rustic! If the most acclaimed restaurant in Brooklyn serves bread that way, it must be classy, right?

More artsy photos from Roberta’s after the jump.

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Sandwiches in the City

New Yorkers are obnoxiously proud of our lunchtime options. We don’t do chains because we don’t have to. Not when you can find everything from banh mi hot dogs to Brussels sprouts sandwiches for under $10. That’s exactly why I’ve been so bothered by the rapid proliferation of Cosi, Pret a Manger and the like across Manhattan in recent years. Are New Yorkers really lunching at these places now? Sure, these semi-upscale sandwich chains are better than Subway or Quiznos, but I’d still take a Boar’s Head bodega roll any day of the week.

Recently entering the midtown sandwich contest and blowing the chains out of the water is City Sandwich, a Portuguese-style sandwich shop from chef Michael Guerrieri. Now, you foodies may be noting that there’s not really any such thing as a Portuguese-style sandwich. This is true. Like most refined Europeans, the Portuguese prefer to sit down and eat their meals with knives and forks. So Guerrieri, who was born in Naples, raised in New York and spent 13 years cooking in Lisbon, has taken traditional Portuguese meals and turned them into an array of newly-invented sandwiches.

The crispy bread is brought in twice daily from a Portuguese bakery in New Jersey; the insides scooped out to make room for fillings and to ensure the sandwiches aren’t too heavy. Each one is spread with high-quality olive oil and built using unique ingredients you’d be hard-pressed to find in any other sandwich shop in the world. For example, the Bench Girl, pictured above, contains alheira, a smoky, spicy sausage that was pioneered by Portuguese Jews during the Inquisition. In an effort not to stand out among their pork-eating compatriots, the Jews invented this chorizo-like link that is actually made from chicken, but looks enough like the real deal that no one could guess they weren’t dining on swine. Apparently, back in the day on the Iberian peninsula, not eating pork was enough to get you burned at the stake. Today, a little bit of pork has managed to sneak into most versions of alheira currently produced in Portugal, but it’s still a superbly rich and flavorful sausage that’s not quite like any other. It’s paired here with an omelet, grilled onions, spinach, and melted mozzarella, for a savory breakfast-y sandwich that is appropriate any time of day.

For a look at City Sandwich’s other inventive, Portuguese-influenced sandwich creations, keep reading after the jump.

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Top 10 New Foods at the 2011 State Fairs

It’s America’s favorite meal — the state fair! Every year, the fairs across this great land compete with each other to invent bigger, badder, greasier fair food. But after Texas stepped up its game last year with deep fried beer, this thing hit a whole ‘nother level. The 2011 state and country fair foods have been more insane — and more amazing — than ever. Here are our top 10 favorite finds.

10. Chocolate Covered Corn Dog – Orange County Fair

Could there be anything more American than dipping a hot dog in batter, deep frying it and eating it off a stick? Why yes, there could be. You could cover it in chocolate and put sprinkles on top, a treat that was found at both the OC Fair and neighboring San Diego County Fair. My Burning Kitchen has more on food at the San Diego fair. (Photo:

9. Deep Fried Kool-Aid – San Diego County Fair

In another strong showing for California’s other great fair — and originator of last year’s hash brown covered hot dog, San Diego debuts what is surely the trashiest food ever conceptualized. It’s just unclear why they didn’t wrap it in bacon. (Photo: Cuttlefish)

8. Deep Fried Butter on a Stick – Iowa State Fair

Texas may have invented deep fried butter at their own fair a few years back, but Iowa thought to put it on a stick. See, America, we can do great things when we work together. Yes, this involves frying an entire stick of butter, and yes, you simply have to watch the video for full effect.

7. Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack – Texas State Fair

The first of several entries from the Lone Star state, this monstrosity is a chicken strip, coated in pancake batter and jalapeño bread crumbs, then deep fried and…you guessed it — eaten on a stick. (Photo: State Fair of Texas)

6. Red Velvet Funnel Cake – Florida State Fair

Funnel cake has fallen behind on the list of outrageous fair foods recently. After fried beer and fried Coke, plain old fried dough starts to look pale by comparison. But this year we saw funnel cake get a new southern fried twist that injects some new life into it…and probably injects all kinds of chemicals too. Why eat fried dough when you can eat red fried dough? (Photo: Bob B. Brown)

 Next: The Top 5 state fair foods


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Trust the Consistency, And the S Bus is Coming

“Who won? Corn cake?” my friend Jake asked. He knew the real winner; he had just eaten the proof.

I’ve been messing around with Jiffy corn muffin mixes for a few years now (Spinach Dip and Black Bean Egg BakeKefir Chili Corn CakeSpinach and Artichoke Corn CakeSmoked Cheddar, Spinach and Artichoke Corn Cakeand I’ve finished with different results every time. The directions on the box read simply: milk, egg, mix. But I can’t leave it at that. I continue to challenge the ratio of liquid to mix because each time I indulge in another spoonful of mustard or yogurt, my results yield better and better outcomes.

Sometimes the dreary mix wins, and I don’t add enough spin and it turns dry and uninteresting.

But this time, Jake, I won.

Andouille Sausage and Squash Corn Cake

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An Italian Chef Walks Into a Nacho Bar…

Chef Richard Hodge really loves nachos. Unfortunately, he works at an Italian restaurant, which makes putting them on his menu impossible. Or does it?

Hodge recently invented a way out of this horrific dilemma: pasta nachos, a new addition to his menu at Puccini & Pinetti in San Francisco.

Instead of nacho chips, Hodge takes wonton wrappers, cuts them into triangles, and fries until crispy. Then he tops them with housemade fennel sausage, a little salsa marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and bakes until the cheese melts. Once cooked, it’s topped with diced Serrano chilies, tomatoes, shredded basil and red onion. Italian nachos — they really do exist! Hodge was kind enough to share his recipe.

Pasta Nachos

Makes 4 servings

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Pop-Up Filipino

Everyone in the foodie world is always looking for the newest, coolest cuisine, and these days that usually means the weirdest. Well in terms of far-out food, it’s hard to beat Filipino. If you think Korean tastes are funky, wait ’til you try Filipino. These folks eat every part of their animals, they marinate their pig in soft drinks, and they prefer their eggs, um, shall we say…developed. More on that later.

So predictably, Filipino food is having a bit of a moment, with trendy new restaurants like Brooklyn’s Umi Nom and San Francisco food trucks Adobo Hobo and Senor Sisig. But it’s not a food trend until it has a pop-up restaurant. Enter Maharlika, which started a few months ago as a Saturday and Sunday only pop-up restaurant, serving brunch at Resto Leon in New York. This week it moved to the larger 5 Ninth, still serving only brunch.

The dish above is arroz caldo — a traditional Filipino rice porridge with shredded chicken, ginger, garlic and omasum (the third chamber of a cow’s stomach, if you must know). Hungry yet? Oh we’re just getting started.


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