spicy tortellini with eggplant and peppers.

spicy tortellini with eggplant and peppers.

I used to think my vegetarian friends’ lives were seriously lacking. Meat is so tasty, why go without it? Other times, I’d think, Man, they’re brave, knowing that I wouldn’t last a week. Sometimes, this led to resentful, defensive dialogues (with my own thoughts, mind you) about how they just couldn’t appreciate food as much as I could, what with my extremely developed taste buds, and were simply incapable of understanding how to enjoy a cut of savory, succulent meat like I could. In a whirlwind, I would suddenly pity them, their mediocre palates and inevitably malnourished bodies (ya know, since there’s no way to get sufficient nutrients without consuming tender slabs of cooked animal flesh).

Well. After sitting down with a few good nutritional reads (including Clean Plates NYC and Food Matters), watching Food, Inc., familiarizing myself more with the misinformation distributed by our government (and you trusted the Food Pyramid all these years) and doing some general boning up on the subject of food nutrition, I’ve learned a thing or two.

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hearty eggs in marinara.

hearty eggs in marinara.

I’m sure I’ll start whining about the cold soon, but for the moment, I’m loving how the days have been bright and breezy and the nights have cooled enough for jeans and a cardy. Cooler temps also mean it’s finally appropriate for me to post one of my favorite comfort food recipes: hearty eggs in marinara. Put an emphasis on hearty, folks, because this is not a breakfast dish but rather a great excuse for eggs in the evening.

As an equal opportunity omnivore, I am generally open to eating anything, anytime of day. During debauchery-filled college weekends, my roommates and I would arise in the p.m. hours, groggy and in need of sustenance, and while Rachael habitually required classic breakfast fare for her first meal of the day, I was content nuking leftover pizza.

This is probably why, when I spent a semester of undergrad in Alicante, Spain, I was completely at home with their custom of serving eggs with everything at any time but breakfast. Hamburguesa especial, a burger piled high with the standard fixin’s and topped with a slice of jamón (the Spanish love their ham) and a fried egg, was a particular artery-clogging fave.

Susana, the sweet Argentine woman who played the part of my madre while I shared her brightly furnished apartment, also loved topping fried pork cutlet with marinara, melted provolone and, of course, a fried egg. (This delicious culprit was a contributing factor to why, despite my pedestrian lifestyle and the five flights of stairs I regularly climbed up to our brightly painted piso, I did not, in fact, lose weight during my six months on the Mediterranean coast.)

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heavenly zucchini patties.

heavenly zucchini patties.

Guess what! It’s been a week of life in the Bronx, and we’ve lived to tell the tale! This may have something to do with the fact that, according to Josh’s Internet research, the neighborhood surrounding the campus is the safest in the borough (listening, ma?). But beyond survival, we’re evolving and on our merry ways to even thriving.

One pleasant feature of this evolution is that we discovered our new go-to grocery stop. It’s a bit more of a hike, but the route is definitely better than walking the sketchy train underpass to Pathmark. Now, we meander west on Morris Park past townhomes with modest side yards, a small garden of fig trees, tomato vines and squash blossoms in full bloom. I found this gem on Yelp as Rosa Frasca Grocery, but the bright green overhang on the building reads BIG DEAL SUPERMARKET. Whoever you are, little market, I’m thrilled you’ve come into my life.

Based on the abundance of pizza and pasta joints in the area (and the parking meters painted to resemble skinny Italian flags), we’ve determined that this new supermarket sits cozily in the middle of one of the Bronx’s Italian neighborhoods, although Arthur Avenue, the tri-boro’s version of Little Italy, we’ve heard has a more affordable, down-home feel than Manhattan’s. Correspondingly, BIG DEAL is smaller and homier than Pathmark and boasts healthy-looking produce, cheeses and even freshly prepared pizza dough (which will hopefully be included in a future post!), as well as a pretty impressive beer selection considering the size of the store. We even walk straight up to the register each time (we were told to avoid Pathmark like the Ebola virus during peak hours) and overall, this locale is much more what we’d envisioned as a grocery home in our new city.

Anyway, the reason for the trip was to pick up some zucchini, mozzarella and breadcrumbs for a meal I’ve had a hankering to make ever since the Allrecipes.com Daily Dish recipe popped up in my inbox: Ms. Sherlie A. Magaret’s Zucchini Patties.

In short: Yummm.

These simple and comforting crispy, gooey rounds will surely make it into your rotation and are a great way to use up a mish-mosh of cheese that’s on its way out.

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nyc eats: a tasty new chapter.

nyc eats: a tasty new chapter.

Yeah, yeah. I know. I fell off the planet.

Got sucked right out of the blogosphere into a frenzied–albeit pleasant–black hole of packing, daydreaming, tying loose ends, and selling gobs of our stuff to strangers. I’ve shirked my food scribbling duties (though I’ve continued to take countless low-quality photos of slightly above-quality dishes and scrawl well intentioned notes on napkins and receipts), and I’m not proud of it, but I’m BACK I tell you. For good. To regale you with gastro adventures galore.

Also, by back, I mean that I’m once again a displaced Texan. This time, however, I’ve side-stepped a return to the Midwest and instead landed in a hustlin’ bustlin’ nabe of the Bronx. That’s right folks. This little foodie scooted off to the Great Big Shiny Apple. It’s been almost a week, and now that we have crappy Internet installed (yes, there is an ethernet cable surging Web life into my MacBook), I figure I’ll jump back in the dining saddle with a whirlwind wrap up of our taste bud travels thus far.

Ready? GO.

After a disgustingly early flight, feeding my kitty tranquilizers (vet-approved, mind you), a connecting flight in Philly, and an anxious taxi ride, we managed to find ourselves on the corner of Eastchester Road and Morris Park on the grounds of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where the male counterpart will continue studying gray matter. We giddily picked up our keys at the security desk (yes, mom, there is a 24-hour security guard on duty) and road the left of two 28-story elevators up to the ninth floor. Ta-DAH! An empty studio with a view of… well, the Bronx isn’t exactly gorgeous, but you can see a ways off. Look below, and there are three or four eateries across the street. Starving, Joshua? Me, too.

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