Baked Coconut Chicken Strips

Hey Guys, being back at work is brutal. I figured a tasty, yet quick post manic Monday dinner would be a clutch move. This is ready in under 30 minutes and will help our guilt of eating like shit over the holidays. A lean protein like chicken is the best way to attempt starting our new years resolutions of eating better or at least detoxing the bad eating & drinking we ended 2015 with. Also, this is baked so its much less fat than frying chicken tenders and still has a boat load of flavor from the coconut. Now that I have convinced you to make this for dinner, get cracking in the kitchen!

  • 1.5-2 lbs. of chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • salt & pepper to taste (I sprinkled a little garlic powder as well)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees, then make sure your baking sheet is greased with a tablespoon of olive oil or I use Trader Joe’s coconut oil cooking spray. Then to create your dredging stations do one bowl with the flour and seasonings, the second bowl with the beaten eggs & milk, and last bowl with the panko and coconut. Dip chicken into flour, shake off excess then dip into egg wash, and lastly into coating mixture. Repeat for all pieces and line on baking sheet. You are baking the strips for about 15-18 minutes, if you think your coating is getting too dark while baking, cover with some foil so that the chicken is cooked through but the coconut isn’t charring. You can serve with jarred thai sweet chili chutney, salsa, or even make your own honey & sriracha sauce.

Happy Eating, XO.

 

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F-I-S-H Restaurant + Bar

Fall restaurant week is happening and I couldn’t be more excited. I LOVE restaurant week – going out to fancy dinners for $30?! I always try to take advantage of a new place during this time to see if it’s really worth going back to. This “week”s restaurant was a new place called F-I-S-H in downtown Stamford. They opened a couple months ago, but I had been hesitant to try it – just from driving by, it looked pricey. I’m very excited to report this restaurant was much better, cheaper, and friendlier than I expected!

THE SKINNY ON THE DRINKS

Although we had reservations, we decided to head to the bar for a pre-dinner drink. The place wasn’t crowded yet and the hostess was more than ok with us delaying a bit. The bartenders helped us right away and made excellent drinks. I had The Skinny (Grey Goose, lemon juice, and club soda) and my husband had a glass of Macallan. I mean, they even had the sphere ice cubes meant to be used when drinking whiskey! We’ve never been to place with this attention to detail with their drinks… The bar didn’t seem to get too crowded, but then again it was a Tuesday night. The crowd that was there was filled with young professionals, so that says something about good, affordable prices.

CHOOSE YOUR OWN ENDING

We then moseyed our way to dinner where the hostess let us pick a seat next to the outside. The waiter came by shortly after – he was quick, efficient, and friendly. The manager occasionally checked in on us as well, and genuinely seemed interested, he didn’t treat us as just a “drive by”. After looking at the menu, we decided to forgo the restaurant week prix fix because it all looked THAT GOOD. We ordered oysters and calamari as an app and they were extremely fresh, “close-your-eyes-and-imagine-being-in-a-tropic-location” fresh. The calamari was served with a lemon aioli that was the perfect creamy texture, while the oysters’ sauce gave a bit of a bite. The app was pretty filling so we decided to share scallops as a main meal, but not just any scallops…

The cool thing that really makes them worth a blog shout out is the way F-I-S-H serves their dinners, it’s a bit of a “mix-and-match”/”choose-your-own”. They start with a “naked fish” base – scallops, salmon, halibut, you name it, then you choose weather you want it seared or grilled.  Don’t stop there! You then get to choose which sauce you want on it – butter and lemon sauce, scampi, tomato and olives, or red coconut curry. AND, as if you don’t have enough to choose from, you can “enhance” your meal with craw fish or lump crab meat Bearnaise sauces. Whew!

We went a little off the beaten path and had the seared scallops, with lemon and capers, AND crab meat Bearnaise sauce.  They were nice enough to put the Bearnaise on the side so we could dip. With all of that going on, we were not disappointed. It was practically a party in our mouth with all of those flavors! Enough so, that we were too full to even attempt dessert. Didn’t want to ruin a good thing.

If you couldn’t tell, we really weren’t disappointed. It was such an easy time. And the fact that we could “customize” everything made us want to go back and try different concoctions! We will definitely be back. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to stop in!

FISH Restaurant

Happy Eating, XO.

Iguana NYC – Ole!

A little while back a few friends and I went to see the Flamenco Ballet Festival that comes to NYC every year. (If you live in the area and haven’t seen it yet, you MUST get tix next year!) To keep with the Latin theme of the night I booked us reservations at a place nearby called Iguana, “the most spectacular Mexican Restaurant in New York”! Let me tell you, it really is.

I was skeptical of the place because it’s in a pretty touristy area. However when we first set foot in the restaurant I was 1. in awe of the size of it (it’s  massive for NYC) and 2. the ambiance (hellloooo Spain). We got there before the bar and dinner rush so we had time to soak it all in. We started off with their signature tequilas – if you’re in to margaritas, you’ll feel like you hit the jackpot at this place. They have an entire page in the menu dedicated to margarita flavors, and the back of it is a complete list of their tequilas. Since we were going to the show right after we had to keep ourselves under control (i.e. no tequila flight tastings) but we did each have a delicious margarita – grapefruit, skinny Iguana, and kiwi.

True to form, we also started off with their guacamole. They made it fresh right in front of us, and it was some of the best guac I’ve ever tasted. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my taste buds) we filled up on the stuff. Because after that, we decided to keep to tapas and each ordered small plates to share.

I ordered the coconut shrimp that was fried and lightly brushed with honey. The shrimp were massive and felt like a meal in and of themselves. The mix of the sweet and salty was a perfect compliment to my margarita. Next up was the calamari (side note: my husband is so not in to latin food so he played it safe with the calamari, but even he admitted how tasty it all was). Lastly, we ordered something a little more hearty, empanadas, and they were melt in your mouth.

Aside from the delicious food and spot on ambiance, the staff was friendly without being overbearing and, yes, even the bathrooms were pretty amazing. (Guys, they had authentic hand painted Spanish sinks. For real!) If you couldn’t tell already, I highly recommend this place. It really is the most spectacular Mexican Restaurant in New York!

Iguana NYC

Happy Eating, XO.

Foodie Fav: Six Penn Kitchen

So over Thanksgiving I was disappointed that my HS wasn’t hosting a 10 yr. reunion (ok let the old jokes begin, I’m ready for it). Anyway, being the pseudo social coordinator of the group I decided to throw together a dinner with all my favorites from high school in an attempt to have our own little reunion (even though we all still hung out often, but you know: any excuse to dine out!) I wanted to go somewhere new, but also somewhere nicer than your average dinner spot. Pittsburgh downtown isn’t as large as most cities, but is known for its great arts scene. When people are out soaking up some culture they tend to dine out, so you get the point, the restaurant world is very up & coming and very good. I had a few great spots to pick from and landed on Six Penn Kitchen. Mostly so my degenerate friends and their wives would know to meet us at the corner of 6th Street and Penn Avenue.

The first thing I noticed is how cool and chic the open kitchen concept was on the 1st floor. Not only was the ambiance very high-end, it’s a real foodie find when you can peep in & be a part of the cooking. Service was also great. We were whisked upstairs to a private area with a long table for all 14 of us to be able to chat and get rambunctious off of the extensive cocktail & wine lists. Dinner was very good and ranged from braised short ribs, to almond dusted trout, to buffalo mac & cheese. The nouveau American cuisine was well executed and trendy in its presentation.

We enjoyed dinner so much that along with a round of decadent desserts, (I am talking CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE CAKE kind of decadent) came a round of 18 yr. scotches. Now granted, the waiter was a bit aloof on the whole neat vs. on the rocks scenario – which was a tad disappointing for the caliber of dining experience we were having prior to our digestifs. However, we pretty much let it slide since our bellies were full of good food and our livers were nice and loose. Overall, I’d give Six Penn Kitchen 4 out of 5 on the foodie fav scale.

To anyone else out there who’s tried it, what do you think?

Happy Eating, XO.