Tag Archives: italian

NYC Eats Recap

17 Oct

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There was no shortage of stuffing the face during our long weekend getaway to NYC.  In fact, it is accurate to say that plenty of our activities pertained to food or needed to be scheduled around must-eat-at spots.  Our itinerary had the food spots we would visit and proximity to hotel/other activities clearly delineated.  Super planner? Yes. Awesome? Also yes.  As I had done for our trip to Vegas back in April, I wanted to recap our food highlights.  I will also gently sneak in right here that the run in Central Park did NOT happen.  HOWEVER, we did workout in the hotel gyms including a 5 mile run on the treadmill (I felt punished because I HATE the treadmill).  It was simply going to be a logistical nightmare getting to Central Park and doing the rest of what we wanted to before catching the train home.  Have you already forgotten that I didn’t do the run I said I was going to?  Great, fabulous, wonderful.  Back to the eating highlights.  The spots most memorable for us were:

  • Little Italy(for the life of me I cannot recall the name although you can do wrong around there)
    • All staff at each restaurant are ready to throw you in a seat assumptively calling out, “Table for two?” as you walk by and practically sitting you in a seat.  We had one particular waiter who still subscribed to this method, but caught Bryan’s attention with recognizing his Baltimore Ravens jacket and striking up football convo.  Next thing you know we’re seated and perusing the menu.  Our dish selections included Gnocchi with red sauce and melted mozzarella across the WHOLE top and a Penne alla Vodka.  Both were great but man I hadn’t had vodka sauce that good in a long time.  Blew my mind.  Nothing could end a meal like that better than an Italian treat.  Chocolate covered cannolis seemed only fitting.
  • Madison Square Eats
    • We planned to eat lunch at Eataly, a big Italian marketplace, however the wait time was too extensive for our rumbling stomachs.  We stumbled upon a gem right next to Eataly called Madison Square Eats.  Think food trucks but permanent location and more like a tented booth than a truck.  Every type of food possible was available- pizza, BBQ, Mexican, various Asian cuisine, treats, and more.  We started with some pizza to whet the appetite.  Pretty decent and reasonable price at $8.  Next, we checked out Mighty Balls.  This spot offered beef, pork, and turkey meatballs and a number of sauce options.  You could get mini sliders or “just the balls.”  I was for the balls only.  (If you giggled, you’re a child…I may have giggled writing it).  I got a pork meatball with a jalapeno jelly, a turkey meatball with cranberry horseradish and goat cheese, and a beef meatball with a brown gravy-like sauce and mozzarella cheese.  My fav was a toss up between the turkey and the pork meatball.  It was so unique!  The sweet item was shared like our app and it was a non-negotiable.  There was a guy who’s mom is from Liege, Belgium who had a Belgian waffle stand.  Once he told me about mom, I knew it was going to be legit.  We took a waffle and smothered it in warm Nutella, Spekuloos spread (like graham cracker and gingerbread to me), strawberries, and whipped cream.  Pure bliss!  Good thing we had places to walk to after this meal.
  • Carnegie Deli
    • Carnegie Deli is a popular spot not far from Times Square.  Following seeing Chicago (which was a fun show), we went for a late dinner to Carnegie.  They are known for massive sandwiches and yummy corned beef.  We got a behemoth of  a Reuben…this darn sandwich was like $35 with tax and tip.  Crazy right?  Now the sandwich was tasty, but I will say in a Reuben I like balance.  Give me lots of the corned beef but don’t skimp on sauerkraut either.  We had to request some more of the latter to find that balance.
  • Stage Deli
    • Why stop after a massive Reuben sandwich?  A large slice of NY cheesecake had to happen even if we were stuffed.  Oreo cheesecake was on special.  DONE!  And then my pants button burst off…

Hope these are some spots you might include on your next NYC trip.  What do you love to eat while visiting the Big Apple?

On Top of Spaghetti (Squash), All Covered with Cheeeeeeeese

5 Jun

DISCLAIMER: There was no sneezing and thus no meatball loss here.  I know you were worried!  

Spaghetti or some other form of pasta and sauce is a meal pretty much everyone loves.  The trouble is that pasta often loves you back in the form of pudgey tummy or love handles if you eat too much of it.  Sigh- carbs!  I eat whole wheat pasta if I’m cooking it myself or request it out if it’s possible.  Usually the latter is not feasible since I like gnocchi or lasagna when I grab Italian at a restaurant.  I also have a tendency to forget to ask!   A great way to curve  those carbs AND add veggies to a meal is to prepare spaghetti squash and top with your favorite tomato or meat sauce.  The flesh of this high in nutritional value squash type when cooked resembles spaghetti.  The texture is not too off either.  1 cup of it comes in around 40 calories, 10 g of carbohydrates, and boasts low fat and sugar content.  What’s not to love?  I’ll just give you another reason to get excited while I’m at it.  You know that big pot and strainer you need when cooking pasta?  You won’t be needing that here because you can simply leverage the microwave to cook the squash.  Let’s walk through the how-to’s for whipping up this healthy meal.  I can make my own pasta sauce, but I like the option of buying a jarred sauce and doctoring it up for the sake of time now and again.  That is what I did here. 


  • Medium-sized spaghetti squash from your local grocer’s produce section (see above)
  • Jar of your favorite tomato sauce.  I recommend trying Francesco’s Rinaldo’s ToBe Healthy sauce line!
  • 1/2-3/4 lb ground turkey (if you want to add to sauce to doctor it up)
  • Optional: Additional “doctor it up” spices and herbs: red pepper flakes, minced garlic, italian seasoning to taste


  1. On large cutting board, use a large serrated knife to cut your spaghetti squash length-wise like so.  Be cautious!
  2. Subsequently, use a spoon to scrap out all of the seeds and “guts” similar to how you prepare a pumpkin for carving.
  3. Microwave both halves on high for 13-15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, brown your ground turkey on  a medium-high heat until cooked throughly.  Add pasta sauce and additional seasons and bring to a light boil.  Simmer a while until you are loving the flavor of the sauce.
  5. Let the spaghetti squash sit in the microwave for several minutes.  Carefully remove the halves with a potholder.
  6. Take a fork and shred the squash halves which is easy if it is throughly cooked.  If not, pop back in your mic for a few minutes.                                                                                                            
  7. Serve your sauce atop the spaghetti squash and enjoy!  This makes great left overs as well.

Sin City and All Of Its Sinful Food

1 May

Sin City by Night ...simply beautiful!

Pardon my absence for the past week and a bit.  I had been on vacation in Vegas and was hopeful to drop some posts from there real-time, but truthfully I was taking in all Sin City had to offer with its lavish casinos, entertaining shows, and, of course, delicious cuisine.  First, let me say that I maintained my Balanced Bean persona there thanks to a fantastic gym in our hotel, the Aria.  Also, while some out of control sinner meals were had so were some reasonable meal choices to counteract the fatness.

As the title of this post suggests, I am far more excited to share the sinner meal experiences.  I’ll pay quick tribute to some of the yummy, healthier meals but let’s spend more time exploring the bathing suit body ruining ones.  One of the first breakfasts we had was in advance of our first day at the  pool so we went the healthy direction.  I chose a lowfat yogurt with fresh berries parfait and 2 over easy eggs with a nonfat latte.  Bryan went with eggs, hashbrowns, and toast (which he left behind) as well as a latte.  Thus, we felt alright in bathing suits…for a brief time.

Aria's Cafe Vettro for Breakfast

Ok, you saw a  healthy meal.  Can we please just move on to the sinner meals?  I knew you’d understand!  One of our first dinners ended up being one of our favorite meals from a little, nothing special-looking Italian restaurant in the Venetian called Trattoria Reggiano.  Having been to Italy before, it struck me like a little streetside cafe.  The meal was nothing short of incredible regardless of the look!  We started out with homemade garlic knots which immediately gave the knee jerk reaction of “Mmmmmmmmmmm.” For an appetizer, the FILET MIGNON meatballs all but jumped off the menu at us.  Just as you would expect, they melted in your mouth like a good filet does.  Our main course was a brick oven pizza topped with super fresh mozzarella, sausage, a great tomato sauce, and obvious “hints” of olive oil.  From my description of the meal and these pictures below, don’t you want to fly to Vegas right now?

That meal set the bar high for the rest of the trip, but Bryan already knew a meal that would be had giving this one a true run for its money.  Enter Hash House a Go Go with its “Twisted Farm Food” appeal.  We grabbed this meal for Bryan’s birthday breakfast.  They offer Mango Iced Tea (mango is my all time fav fruit) which made me tre excited immediately and otherwise Bryan’s glowing reviews normally don’t steer me wrong.  We opted for the Brown Sugar Banana Flapjack and one of their signature hash dishes including chorizo sausage, tomato, jalapeno, and cheddar paired with breakfast potatoes and scrambled eggs.  The size of these dishes were NO joke.  The flapjack?  The size of BOTH of our heads practically.  The hash dish?  A definite “to share” entree.  Are you reading this FROM your flight to Vegas, my friends?

Hash House a Go Go

One more Vegas highlight for ya.  I would have loved to share the play by play of the Bellagio buffet dinner we had for my birthday dinner, but quite frankly I was SO excited (like a kid in a candy shop I wanted EVERYTHING) that I didn’t take many pictures.  Instead I spent some quality time with two of my top loves, food and Bryan.  I promise you I did it right because I did not walk out of there when we could stuff ourselves no more- I waddled.  Flowy shirts are a girl’s best friend!  So what I do have to share for a final Vegas highlight is our small plates dinner we had one night.  Another restaurant/bar in our hotel called American Fish offered $5 small plates before 7 pm each afternoon.  As we had a night of lounges and club ahead, we wanted to eat something on the lighter side at least in term of mass.   We ordered 5 savory small plates and 1 sweet small plate (ended up with 2 because they messed up our order to our advantage.)  What you see here is as follows: truffle mac n’cheese with mushrooms and peas, prime rib sandwiches, fish and chips, dungeness crab truffles, shrimp and grits, white chocolate bread pudding, and mascarpone cheesecake.

Aria's American Fish Small Plates

Aria's American Fish Small Plates

Aria's American Fish Small Plates