Archive for the ‘food’ Category

dinner is served: chelsea neighborhood favorite tbsp is now open for dinner!

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

At long last Melissa Chmelar, founder of tbsp restaurant and spoon catering, will finally ring the dinner bell. tbsp will expand to include dinner service starting this week after killing it at her already successful breakfast and lunch business. With solidly good, casual dining and new sure-fire vintage cocktails, this friendly, local neighborhood joint will soon become part of the family.

Dishing out comforting starters and family-style dishes like Market Table Toast (grilled Balthazar bread smothered with fresh local ricotta and favorite seasonal ingredients), Beer Braised Pork Shoulder (with avocado tomatillo salsa, arroz verde & simmered black beans), Mushroom Papardelle (crisp roasted shitake mushrooms, Tuscan kale, fresh ricotta & chili flakes), Skillet Mac & Four Cheese goodness, the classic tbsp burger and more, accompanied with a sure-to-please kids menu. House-made desserts like gooey skillet cookies served with ice cream end the meal with a sweet moment. Dinner service will also boast full wine and specialty cocktail offerings, slung from behind a beautifully redesigned bar. Cocktail standouts on the new menu include the Corpse Reviver #2 (Gin, lillet, triple sec, absinthe & lemon), and the Garden Greyhound (Vodka, fresh grapefruit, thyme sprig & black peppercorn). Start calling yourself a regular now… tbsp tends to churn ‘em out.

After stopping in ourselves during last week’s Friends & Family service, we cannot wait to make tbsp a weekly staple. Some of our favorites were the skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, the chicken pot pie (pictured) and a brownie dessert topped with melting vanilla ice cream and a sprinkling of caramel popcorn, making for one genius bite. My handsome 19-month old dinner companion dug deep into his bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, grinning ear to ear. He is also very good at sharing and made sure his entire body got in on some of that delicious sauce action. The drink of the night had to be the Corpse Reviver, and boy did I need it (just kidding! But hah, wow, kids are a lot of work!).

With the stormy weather New York is having this week, tonight is the perfect night to stop by and try tbsp’s dinner. Warm up with a bowl of hearty soup (varies daily, made from scratch) and let tbsp feed your cravings. We can’t wait to hear what you think!



Family-owned and operated since 1999, spoon started in a five story walk-up with belief in using hand picked, seasonal organic produce grown in upstate New York sourced by Mountain Dell Farms, From Farm to Chef, and other local purveyors. Fresh and local is the cornerstone upon which spoon and tbsp is built. Delivered daily, all of spoon’s produce, meats and fish are fresh. Desserts, muffins and sweet and savory treats are hot out of the oven. spoon also produces a full line of frozen entrees, baking mixes and home canned sauces, condiments, relishes, rubs and jams. spoon specializes in providing innovative culinary options for photo shoots, corporate meetings and private events. Melissa continues to bring creativity and integrity to the table.

A picturesque, Chelsea neighborhood favorite, tbsp joined the spoon family in 2008 and was founded on the idea that local ingredients and quality recipes make for culinary success. First launching with daily lunch service, eventually launching an ever-popular brunch service, tbsp is now very excited to announce, it’s time for dinner.

tbsp Dinner

Wednesday through Saturday – 5 pm to 10 pm

Sunday – 4pm to 8pm

17 West 20th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

New York, NY 10011


my newest culinary inspiration: gordon ramsay

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

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everyone knows i love watching the food network and cooking shows. they’re so exciting, and it’s fun to watch chefs creatively think up new dishes on the fly. if i could be anything for a day, it would definitely be either a celebrity chef of a fine dining restaurant a la bobby flay, mario batali, gordon ramsay, etc. or an awesome musician a la christina aguilera or gwen stefani. the emphasis, however, is on the one day. i’m sure their jobs look way harder than they actually look, and to that end, i don’t think i mind living my relatively “normal” life…

speaking of normal, i recently started watching gordon ramsay’s “hell’s kitchen.” let me tell you – this show is not your normal cooking show. in hell’s kitchen, 16 chefs compete against each other in teams until only 1 chef remains standing. the competitions include creating the best signature dish, blind taste tests, speed tests, and creativity tests where each chef must create a visually pleasing and equally delicious dish out of a set of unusual ingredients. think kumquats, salsify, blood sausage, mangoes, and prunes. mm.. the combination sounds delicious.

what makes the show unique and definitely not normal is the fact that the name of the show is incredibly appropriate given its content. gordon ramsay’s kitchen is exactly what they say it is – hell’s kitchen. there is so much screaming, yelling, smashing of undercooked halibut, angry kicking of garbage cans, and absolute chaos. “all of you! come here! oh, look at this halibut. it’s raw, raw, raw!”  ramsay would scream as he throws down the dish of halibut, sending pieces of undercooked fish flying everywhere. gordon ramsay never lets a less than perfect dish out of his kitchen. you better be on your toes if you want to be in his kitchen and compete in hell’s kitchen. i think i’d very  much prefer to be outside his kitchen peacefully enjoying his fine dining food rather than inside his kitchen running around like a chicken with its head chopped off.

that said, i would love to try out one of his restaurants. in particular, i want to try restaurant gordon ramsay at the london hotel in new york. it’s definitely not somewhere i would go on a regular basis (given its crazy expensive price tag), but i think it’s a terrific place for those extra, extra special occasions or celebrations. take a look at some of the dishes on his menu. don’t they look fabulous? i would love to sit at the chef’s table (which is located inside the kitchen) and experience the pace and drama of the kitchen firsthand. after seeing these pictures, wouldn’t you, too?

~ irin

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restaurant gordon ramsay at the london hotel

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 such a beautiful and colorful dish!

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each dish looks like a work of art…


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getting the meat’s temperature right is harder than it looks, apparently!


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a delicious tower of chocolate and a side of housemade ice cream – a perfect ending to a perfect dinner!


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another dessert – gorgeous!

clinton street baking company: the best pancakes ever, seriously

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

i am an avid yelper. “yelper” in the sense that i like to read the yelps, but not necessarily write them myself. but after one recent experience, i decided that i had to write one. just had to.

a few weekends go, i had brunch with a friend at the clinton street baking company in the lower east side. before going to brunch, i was a bit skeptical. so, as a true foodie should always do, i did a bit of research on what i might expect during my experience at this new breakfast slash brunch joint. many of the yelp reviews were just raving about how fantastic their pancakes were. “how good could pancakes be?” i thought…

my ratings prior to my experience

*interior: 3 out of 5 stars
- looked decent enough inside, but nothing special. looked like a pretty simple diner…

*food: 3 out of 5 stars
- the food looked pretty… average – your standard pancakes, eggs benedict, eggs, etc.

*menu selection:  4 out of 5 stars
- menu looked intriguing… there were a few interesting-sounding dishes like the huevos rancheros, buttermilk biscuit sandwich, LES pickles, and sugar cured bacon


my ratings after my experience

*interior: 4 out of 5 stars
- interior was small, but cozy and intimate
- i gave an additional star for the chalkboard menu…i think it gave the place a real home-y feel.

*food: 4 out of 5 stars overall, 5 out of 5 for their blueberry pancakes
- hands down, they were the best blueberry pancakes i ever had. they were just so perfectly fluffy, moist, soft, and just… splendid. and the maple butter that came along with it? heavenly.
- as for the sugar cured bacon, it definitely was interesting, but i probably couldn’t eat more than a couple pieces.
- my friend had the eggs benedict with house smoked salmon – this, too, was good.. but not as good as the blueberry pancakes!

*menu selection: 5 out of 5 stars
- i looked around to see what people were eating around me, and everything looked really good. although clinton street baking company is most well known for their breakfast and brunch items, i definitely want to try some of their sandwiches next time. they looked so fresh and served with a side of fresh, homemade chips.

here’s a little something to whet your appetite. hungry yet?

~ irin



comfort foods: they can, in fact, be healthy!

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

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on rainy days, i love to cook. instead of going outside and attempting to slosh my way through muddy puddles and crowded streets, i prefer to stay inside and enjoy some nice homemade comfort foods. speaking of comfort foods, many of us tend to associate comfort foods with unhealthy (but simply irresistible) dishes such as hearty mac n’ cheese, hot buttermilk pancakes, and decadent chocolate-y desserts. however, i realized that comfort foods don’t necessarily have to be bad for us if we are cognizant of the types of ingredients we use to make them. comfort food, can, in fact, be healthy! below is an awesome recipe i found for oatmeal pancakes and fruit syrup that i’m dying to try out for an early saturday morning breakfast. happy cooking!


oatmeal pancakes
serves 6


2 cup organic rolled oats
2 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled (or canola oil)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
canola oil for griddle

1. combine oats and buttermilk in a large bowl. cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.
2. add eggs and melted butter to oat mixture.
3. sift together sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. add to oat mixture.
4. preheat griddle. spread out batter with the back of the ladle. when bubbles appear, gently flip cakes and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. serve hot.

makes about 18 pancakes.

fruit syrup
serves 12

3 cups raw fruit or berries* (pears, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or other fruit), cored, peeled and chopped if necessary
1 tbsp fructose (or sugar substitute)
2 cup water

1. simmer all ingredients for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. cool slightly and blend in a food processor or blender.
3. screen out the coarse solids with a fine sieve.

*  the original recipe used ripe prickly pear, either raw, peeled and chopped, or canned purée. any highly flavorful fruit can be used. the amount of fructose may need to be adjusted if the fruit is very tart.

per serving: approx. 25 calories, trace protein, 4g carbohydrates, trace fat (0g saturated), trace fiber