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Gastro Glossary – E – Edamame Beans

May 10, 2009

Gastro Glossary – Edamame beans

Have you ever been to a Japanese restaurant and wondered what those green things were that people were sucking on? Edamame beans (pronounced ed-dah-mah-me) are soya beans, and are not only tasty; they are great for helping reduce cholesterol.

Edamame beans are a great source of protein and are very low in saturated fat, making them an excellent food for vegetarians. You can buy edamame/soya beans frozen, or, if you are lazy like me, pop in to your local Wagamama for a bowl of hot edamame.  Just remember: when you eat them suck out the beans and throw away the outside.

Buddha Bar in London also serves a great bowl of spicy, sour edamame, visit to reserve a table and get 50% off your food bill (check website for conditions).


New York Adventure – I heart Houston

May 5, 2009
I spent three weeks in New York and ate at many places. But if there is one area that I fell in love it’s the Lower East side. I must have spent most of my time there and was lucky enough to sample some amazing food and meet great people.

From Delancey to E Houston and in between Essex and Allen Street, you will find an endless supply of food, drink and clothing boutiques. As I sampled food at so many different places I felt that it would be a good idea to give you my top three ‘Houston Favourites’.

Macondo – E Houston

I will always remember the guys at Macondo. I stumbled across this place while reading Olive magazine. Recommended as one of the best bargain places to eat and drink in New York, Macondo sits nestled in between Orchard and Allen Street. Macondo offers a wide range of tapas style, South American food.


The endless list of dishes offered at Macondo are all comforting and great value. My particular favourites were the polenta and calamari. Both of these dishes were heavenly made with homely precision. Macondo is a great place to meet friends and spend the evening drinking their $7.50 mojitos (some of the cheapest mojitos in town). If you want to just sit at the bar then get there early.

Average spend per person: $20.00 / £15.00
157 E. Houston St, New York

Noodle Bar – Stanton Street

It took a while to find a cheap lunch, but I eventually found it. Noodle Bar on Stanton Street is a great place to eat on a sunny day. This isn’t gourmet food, but it is a great, cheap quick fix, and the service is wonderful.

Coca Cola Chicken Cubes at Noodle bar

Coca Cola Chicken Cubes at Noodle bar

They offer a great lunch time menu; for under $8.00 you can get a main, spring roll and soup. I ate their take on General Tso’s Chicken: Coca Cola Chicken Cubes. It was sweet, sticky and a little gelatinous, but it was excellent value for money.

Average spend per person: $10.00 / £8.00 including tip
172 Orchard St, New York

D’espresso – Stanton Street

As you would imagine, New York is full of Starbucks. Everywhere you go you will find that pesky white cup with the green logo on it. So it was a wonderful pleasure to stumble across d’espresso. Small with limited seating, d’espresso offers great tasting coffee and cakes, plus free wifi.

Chocolate cheesecake from d'espresso

Chocolate cheesecake from d'espresso

Their cheesecake was sublime (although I failed to ask where they bought it from), and the the coffee came in very generous servings. Comfortable seating and ambient music provided by Air makes d’espresso a great way to relax from the bust city streets of NY.

Average price person (with cake!): $7.50 / £5.00
100 Stanton Street, New York

New York Adventure – Katz’s Deli

April 27, 2009
 When researching where I should go to eat on my New York adventure, the one place that kept on appearing time and time again was Katz’s Deli. Many say it’s one of the most legendary Jewish delis in Manhattan, others think that it’s past it and that the only people who go are tourists. Either way, they all say the same thing “you’ll never eat a whole sandwich” ; so I got my stretchy pants on and headed over there.

Katz’s Deli is famous not only for it’s food, but also for one of the most famous scenes in movie history. Remember the “ooh, aaah, yes, yes, yes, yes, wagga, wagga” scene in ‘When Harry Met Sally’? Well it was filmed here; you can even sit in the very seat that she sat in.

Where Meg Ryan made THOSE noises

Where Meg Ryan made THOSE noises

There are a few things you need to know when embarking on a Katz’s Deli visit:

  1. Don’t eat anything before you go; not even breakfast
  2. Take cash. They accept cards, but they prefer the old school way of paying (unless you enjoy someone growling at you)
  3. If you eat in be prepared to wait – with over 100 guests they had one man serving, but that didn’t seem to bother anyone
  4. Decide what you want quickly – miss your place to order and you’ll be waiting for a long time
  5. Eat slowly, otherwise you’ll end up making the opposite sounds to Meg Ryan “aaah, aaah, no, no, no”

I orered the pastrami on rye and black cherry soda; their menu is huge, but it was pastrami all the way  for me. While ordering from a very friendly old man, he asked “are you British? hmmm, I hate Charles. When Diana died and he said ‘my daddy didn’t love me, he didn’t let me love camilla’…what a putz” – I knew that my visit was worth it.

He soon returned with a plate full of pickles, on the house. “Are you sure?” I asked “I’m on my own!” he just smiled and walked off saying “good luck”. I’ve never seen such a bit plate of pickles in my life, I nearly cried (with pain and not joy).

Those darn pickles

Those darn pickles

As I waited for my sandwich I embarked on a pickle adventure. That’s the problem with ‘complimentary’ food, it’s free so you think that you can eat all of it and it won’t affect your appetite (no, wait, is that just a woman thing?). I managed to get through three before I noticed the table next to me were eating the pastrami. When I realised how big it was I actually pulled the last pickle out of my mouth – I was scared.

The sandwich arrived. I took a few moments to stare at it, trying to work out what was the best way to get through it. Should I just lose all inhibitionsand put my face in it or should I show some British etiquette and use a knife and fork? The face won; and as I rolled my sleeves up and took my first bite a small smile appeared. Never have I ever tasted such soft and flavoursome pastrami. ‘But it’s just pastrami!’ I hear you all say, but this was the mother of all sandwiches.

The sandwich to beat all sandwiches

The sandwich to beat all sandwiches

And everyone was right; there was no way I was going to get through this one. I almost felt sad at the end, like I had under achieved (after all, they do dare you to eat it all). Lunch at Katz’s Deli isn’t the cheapest lunch, the sandwich alone is approx $15.00, however, it is big enough for two people with average appetites to be satisfied.

Average price per person: $18.00 / £15.00 including tip
205 East Houston Street, New York 10002

The BBC Summer Good Food Show, bringing summer food to life

April 25, 2009

If you love food (like me) then you will be heading down to one of the many food festivals happening this year. One of my favourites is the BBC Summer Good Food Show, which is taking place from 10 – 14 June at The NEC in Birmingham.

Celebrity chefs such as Ainsley Harriott, James Martin, The Hairy Bikers and Gino D’Acampo will be leading live demonstrations in the Summer Kitchen sponsored by Sainsbury’s, where you will be able to find inspiration for great summer menus.

Tickets start at £18.50
To find out more visit

How to lose weight, using your ear

April 15, 2009

What should we do when we can’t see our toes anymore? Sarah Haskins has the answer.

New York Adventure – Apothéke, Chinatown

April 7, 2009

An apothecary-themed cocktail bar, Apothéke opened inside a former opium den in Chinatown. This is probably one of the most beautiful bars I have been in for a while, but sadly that is all I have good to say about it.

The mixologists wore white pharmacy coats and created cocktails which fell in to various categories such as ‘Health and Beauty’ and ‘Stress Relief’. At the bar you can watch them crush herbs and spices, infuse different flavours and create a cocktail for every need; sounds exciting, right?

There were four people in my group, two of us had a cocktail, one a red wine and the other a fresh juice. It took over 25 minutes for our drinks to be made, and when they arrived we were told that ‘each one was individually crafted’ which is why they took so long. We wondered if there were people mashing grapes with their feet out in the back. I ordered ‘Lychee three ways’ which for some reasons tasted nothing like lychee, which was surprising as it was made with lychees – three ways.

A lychee, which I had ‘three ways’

Our 45 minutes were up, so we guzzled our drinks, and nearly coughed them up again when we realised that the ‘fresh, individually made juice’ (which had approximately five sips) was $10. I also forgot to mention the service, which was bad, very bad, it was almost like the waitress didn’t actually want us there. Overall I would say that this is one to miss, which is a shame as it has a lot of potential.

Average price for a cocktail: $15.00
Apothéke, 9 Doyers St., New York, NY 10013

New York Adventure – Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant, Chinatown

April 4, 2009
It’s hard to find good, affordable Chinese food in London and was wondering if it was the same for New York. So when my friends suggested ‘the best [cheap] Chinese in Chinatown’ I was a little dubious.
Arriving outside Joe’s, I noticed a crowed of people queuing to get a table – this had to be a good sign. We took a ticket (like you would find at a deli counter) and was told that we had a 45 minute wait, so we went to Apothéke, one of New York’s hidden bars. Visit here to read my review.
We made our way back to Joe’s, before our 45 minutes were up, but our table had already been called. Advice from the waitress ‘don’t ever leave once you have your ticket’, but they kindly gave us a new ticket and we were seated within ten minutes. Unless you are in a group of eight, you will be sharing a table, not that it matters as there is lots of room.
Joe’s is not a fancy place, it’s tables, chairs, plates of good food and nothing else. Service is fast, so I recommend you popping in a grabbing a menu to look at while you are waiting to be seated. I noticed that everyone had soup buns on their tables, I was told by my friend that they were amazing and cheap ($5 for eight buns). If you’ve never eaten soup buns before, be careful! They are hot, and unless you want a swollen lip from the steam I would suggest you waiting (although I did quite enjoy having Angelina lips for a brief moment).

The ‘lip enhancing’ dumplings

My friend had been there so many times she knew what she wanted without even looking at the menu. We had two poultry dishes, one prawn (shrimp) dishes and two vegetable dishes. The stars of the meal were the Kung Pao Chicken, Citrus Shrimp (this wasn’t on the menu, my friend asked for it and I recommend you do too) and shoots of the snow pea, which were so tasty and not on the menu (it’s worth asking your waiter what they recommend). It’s also worth pointing out that you shouldn’t order rice off the menu as rice normally comes free (which is normal for most restaurants that serve dishes with rice) or very cheap, so make sure you ask if rice comes with it first.

We were in and out in less than an hour and I really felt satisfied. The portions were huge, and I didn’t feel like you were eating lots of food colouring and salt. Joe’s is a great place to take your friends and it’s cheap. Without a tip the meal cost $70.00 for four people (that’s £47.00 based on the exchange rate when I wrote this), at just over £10.00 a head I would say that we got a really good deal.

If there is one place to eat in Chinatown it’s Joe’s, just make sure you have a flask ready to keep you warm while queuing.

Average price per person: $20.00 / £15.00 including tip
9 Pell Street New York, New York 10013