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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Beauty & Essex

Beauty & Essex is an awesome experience that you have to have at least once. This venue combines elegant surroundings, carefully concocted cocktails and small plates of flavorful deliciousness.  We wined, we dined and my favorite part of the evening was finding a cute little champagne bar parked in the ladies restroom where I was offered a complimentary glass of champagne while I washed my hands.

Something to amuse your bouche haha

Tuna Poke Wonton Tacos  $16
(my favorite!) 

Grilled cheese, smoked bacon and tomato soup dumplings  $14
(so good we had to order them twice!) 

Lobster Tacos  $21
(disappointing, the flavor of the lobster was lost in the batter, you barely could taste the lobster at all) 

Duck Pizzetta $16
(savory and tangy)

Ribs with vegetable lo mein lol??

(This is in their entree section.  They have standard size entrees as well, although I think it's a lot more fun to get small plates and share.  The ribs were tasty but it just didn't make any sense that this is on their menu at all. The menu went from American noveau cuisine to the chinese place around the corner in a second, it was kind of comical.  I didn't make note of the cost of this dish and it's not on their menu online.)
Beauty & Essex
146 Essex Street 
NY, NY 10002
(212) 614-0146
Hours of Operation
Nightly 5pm-1am
Saturday & Sunday Brunch 11:30 am-3 pm

Friday, June 20, 2014

Herb Grilled Chicken Breast

This is the easiest grilled chicken breast recipe.  It's flavorful, juicy and can be eaten through the course of the week.  Serve it hot or cold,  with a side of rice and veggies or on top of the salad of your choice.  No need to marinate overnight.  Just follow the recipe and you're good to go!


6 thick cut chicken breasts (preferably organic, rinsed in cool water and pat dry with a paper towel)
2 whole lemons freshly squeezed
2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme
3 cloves of fresh garlic peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil (use less if you're trying to watch your waist line)
1 tsp of ground black pepper
2 tsp of kosher salt
1 can of college inn fat free low sodium chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 375.  In a mixing bowl combine chicken breast, lemon juice, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, garlic, olive oil, salt and ground black pepper.  Using your hands, toss around grilled chicken breast coating them evenly with the mixture.   Take a nonstick grill pan and coat it with nonstick spray.  Place it on high heat. Grill each chicken breast about 3 minutes on each side making the grill marks very vivid on both sides (spray the raw side of the chicken breast with nonstick spray before flipping over the chicken breast). Repeat this process for all of the chicken breast.  Place the chicken breast in a cookie sheet pan and lightly coat the pan with the chicken stock (the pan should have less then 1/4" of chicken stock in it). Place it in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until your thermometer gets a reading of 165. You can serve the chicken breast hot or remove the chicken breast from the sheet and chill them in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours and eat them cold. They are delicious both ways!

Saturday, April 5, 2014


I've been living in Astoria for a couple of years now and my timing was just perfect, the culinary scene is booming here!  Every time I walk up Broadway it seems like a new place is opening and then there are the little hidden places like Agnanti,  a gem of a restaurant down by the water on Ditmars.  Astoria is known for it's Greek food and in my opinion, this place takes the prize as the best Greek I have had in Astoria thus far....

Tyrolafteri spicy cheese spread $7.50

Grilled Octopus  $14
Greek Sausage With Orange Or Leeks $10

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms $9

Bourek $10

Traditional Saganaki baked cheese $9

Dolmades Yialantzi $7

Fried Whitings  $11

Horta Salad steamed seasonal greens served with oil and lemon $6

Fried Baccalao $16

Soutzoukakia From Smyrna ground meat balls with spices cooked in tomato sauce $13

Two happy Staiano cousins :)

19-06 Ditmars Blvd
Astoria NY 11105
(718) 545-4554

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pico de Gallo

I have to keep fresh pico de gallo in my refrigerator at all times.  It goes great with eggs, pretty much any kind of grilled meat or fish, and is the perfect low fat salad dressing alternative.  Be careful of how much fresh squeezed lime juice you use.  If you use too much, the flavor really over powers the dish. Tread lightly with the amount of jalapeno you use as well.  I use one half which will bring you to about a spicy medium. Use less if you want a mild spicy pico de gallo.

5 medium size ripe tomatoes seeds removed and diced
1/2 medium size red onion diced
1/2 small fresh jalapeno pepper diced small
1/2 bunch of cilantro chopped
1/2 medium lime freshly squeezed
1 tbsp olive oil
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
sea salt (to taste)

Combine all ingredients well in a mixing bowl.  Transfer to a covered glass container.  This dish can be served immediately if necessary, however,  if you let it chill for 24 hours in the refrigerator the flavor of the dish is much more robust.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Prosciutto and Melon

This eternally classic dish is so delicious and takes almost no effort to put together.  Honeydew or Gala melon is most commonly used, however, I really like using cantaloupe for this dish.  You can even do a little bit of both types of melon if you like to keep things interesting.  You want to make sure that you use melon that is ripe and sweet.  If the quality of the melon is not good this dish is a complete failure.  I served this as our pre Christmas dinner amuse bouche.  Everybody gobbled it right up.

Prosciutto and Melon

1 large ripe cantaloupe
1 lb prosciutto thinly sliced (San Daniele is preferred)

Serves 6

Cut the cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds, then cut the melon into 1" half moon slices.  Using a really sharp pairing knife, remove the outer skin from each slice of melon. Wrap each individual slice of melon with a slice of prosciutto.  Take a serrated knife and cut the prosciutto wrapped melon into bite size chunks about 1.25" wide.  Serve.