College (better known as the best years of your life) is just about coming to an end. My finals are kaput and emotions are running high, so all there’s left to do is celebrate.
Needless to say, I celebrated a little too hard the other night (I had like two beers, mom), so the day after was an absolute waste, leaving me posted up on the couch to nurse my wounds. My roommate/best friend Arielle—who I travelled to Thailand with two summers ago—swears by Tom Yum Noodle Soup from the campus Thai place just down the street. If she’s sick, you can bet one of those foggy plastic containers is stocked in our fridge. It’s sweet, sour and so spicy that it makes you cough. It’s crunchy with green onions and bean sprouts, and the noodles soak up all of those pesky impurities—at least in my dreams. It has the same curative qualities of grandma’s chicken soup, but it kicks that my-head-hurts sass right out of you.
Nud Pob, 738 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts
dulce de leche froyo + hot fudge + cookie dough + Oreo + Butterfinger
16 Handles, 1309 Beacon Street, Brookline, Massachusetts
You know you’ve got a problem when your roommate says, “cooome on—can you write a new post already?” Forgive me. I realize Jews and gentiles alike are probably over images of matzah overstaying their welcome.
Here on my end, the last 48 hours were spent in New York City, doing big girl things like going to meetings, sitting alone in cafes and eating broccoli. With a quad shot latte flowing through my veins, I devoured a broccoli sub at No. 7 Sub. Trust me when I say this is a good idea.
Before you get all “whaaat—broccoli sub?” on me, just know that this decision was made after consulting nearly every New Yorker in my phone. No. 7 has all kind of quirky options—like Zucchini Parm and Mongolian Tofu—that are known for being crazy good, but the broccoli sub had the biggest following by far. It’s an all-kinds-of-crunchy layering of lychee muchim, ricotta salata and pine nuts, with the bread adding that vital crackly soft component. Sitting on a bench in Madison Square Park, I noshed away on the most delectable composition of broccoli the lunch world has ever seen.
No. 7 Sub, 1188 Broadway at 26th Street, New York, New York
Tomorrow night, Passover—and the carb-cutting that goes along with it—will be kaput. Before my boxes of matzah hit recycling, I figured I’d wave goodbye with a solid use of its cracker-like capabilities. Enter: Red Onion Baked Brie with Matzah Crackers.
You may remember that one of my closest friend Siena’s mom, Melissa, has served as inspiration for me when it comes to cooking—especially when it comes to her world famous deLisser Family Pasta. Not only does the woman know how to cook, she is also an entertaining guru in every sense of the word. A dinner party for Melissa deLisser means a dinner party in the Italian sense: heaping apps, meat and potatoes, pasta, salad, dessert—and a pat on the back when it’s all down the hatch. The best part is that when you get to Melissa’s for a dinner party, the dirty work is already done. All that’s left to do is eat.
Mama deLisser’s baked brie is another legend in her well-fed inner circle. The caramelized red onions tangled on top give it a really luxurious look, but the truth is that it’s the most simple thing to serve. The only occasion my roommates and I were entertaining was a reprieve from boring Passover grub—and the fact that brie was on sale. Please, I don’t need a special occasion for baked brie.
The Shopping List
Courtesy of Melissa deLisser
+ 1 large red onion, sliced
+ 1 wedge brie cheese
+ Olive oil as necessary
+ Matzah in 2x2 inch-ish squares (or slices of crusty baguette)
Preheat oven to 375°. Meanwhile, cook sliced red onion in a skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil, until the onions caramelize and reach a cross between purple and brown. Slice the wax off the top of the brie, leaving the bottom with wax intact. Scatter cooked onions over the cheese. Cook the brie in the oven for approximately ten minutes, or until the brie is melted but not runny. Serve with matzah crackers—or, preferably, slices of a crusty baguette.
It’s the fifth day of Passover—but who’s counting?!—and this is where I’m at. My world is matzah right now. Lots and lots of matzah. To mask the consistently burnt taste of each square, one has to go ham (in the kosher sense) on the toppings. None of these are rocket science, but they’re tried and true. They get you through the eight days without a sweat.
1. Hazelnut spread with sliced strawberries
2. Marinara and mozzarella
(aka matzah pizza, a Passover staple)
3. Smoked salmon and Philadelphia cream cheese
4. Smashed avocado with sea salt and chili flakes
I’ve reached this precarious moment in my matzah munching when the squares left in the box are no longer, in fact, squares. Plucking a whole piece from the box without breakage requires a level of dexterity that I’m not capable of when my blood sugar is low. Instead, it all splits into brittle Tetris pieces that make no sense for a meal. But smearing a fragment of matzah with cream cheese—and going overboard because “you deserve it”—makes all the pain go away. Smear that on a bagel, however, would most likely make the pain go away faster.
These classic matzah toppings have gotten Jews through Passovers since the dawn of time. Because, you know, if the Israelites didn’t have time for bread to rise as they were bouncing out of Egypt, they definitely had time to microwave matzah pizza, smoke some salmon and ripen some avocados.
Tonight, everything I know and love will come to a screeching halt. It’s Passover, and that means no bread, corn, rice, peanuts, legumes or anything good for the next eight days. Needless to say, I typically react very, very poorly to this. That’s why I’m in Espresso Royale right now, devouring the biggest everything bagel they had in stock—no joke. Should I be embarrassed that I confessed my Passover plans to the barista? That I had him make special note that this bagel would be my very last? Desperate times call for desperate measures. Post-bagel, I have no regrets.
Espresso Royale, 736 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts
The Mem. Drive Sandwich
over medium eggs + bacon + cheddar + avocado + sourdough
By the looks of this, I doubt you’d guess spring break is coming up in just three days. This girl’s ditching the blizzard for some SPF 60 because, if you’re asking me, a bikini after bacon is a beautiful thing.
Miami, here I come.
Darwin’s Ltd. 148 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts
This is the kind of thing that will haunt me in my future, when I’m a plump pregnant lady and my only hope of satiation is a lost sandwich from my college days. Really, guys, it’s that serious. The bun? It’s onion. The roast beef? Honey, it’s rare. As for the toppings, there’s a slice of Three-Pepper Colby, a layer of grilled-till-sweet onions and my own inclusion of spicy pickles (mandatory). The Secret Beast Sauce and chipotle mayo situation isn’t helping my case either.
I can’t talk about Roast Beast without flashing back to sophomore year, when I subjected my friend Chris to a series of four food challenges (in two weeks!) for a magazine feature. Roast Beast’s Thermonuclear Challenge was Chris’s first death march; he had to down a sandwich laced with a deadly ghost chile sauce in under five minutes. The ghost chile is arguably the hottest pepper in the world—so hot, in fact, that it was weaponized in India to make hand grenades. The sandwich was so hot that Chris had to sign a waiver and wear latex gloves. Needless to say, Chris cried like a baby and sweat like a middle schooler on a Floridian school bus (Been there). I swear to you, I saw the last glimmer of child innocence melt from Chris’s eyes with his first bite. But the kid finished it and the rest of his challenges—and I’ve never felt guiltier.
Roast Beast, 1080 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts
It’s roughly 9pm on a Sunday and my dinner is three hours in the past. As a lady with zip self-control, it only made sense to fry up an egg over-easy, smear ripe avocado on crispy toast and sprinkle it all with sea salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Because, hey, what would a lazy night be without a completely uncalled-for snack?
When I was a freshman, my close friend Emma had a secret weapon to cure my many underclassman woes.
It was as simple as popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn.
Before driving over from Rhode Island, her parents would pop enough to fill a trashbag—and I’m talking of the Hefty persuasion. When left up to the Burns family, the kernels remained white, grazed minimally with olive oil and sea salt, never coming close to that movie theater yellow. We’d plop on her Twin XL
bed cot, mindlessly munching as we devoured Scrubs re-runs and neglected our work. Emma and I may not live together anymore, but a pot of the good stuff still manages to do the trick—especially when the weather sucks this much.
1/2 cup corn kernels + 1 tablespoon olive oil + sea salt to taste
Cover the pot. Ignite the stove. Pop and devour.
PS. 100th post!