@victoriamargaux
 
Photos by Jacob Romoser
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GETTING THE PAN NICE AND HOT FOR CRAB CAKES
Last year, Jake and I started a Valentine's Day tradition of staying in and cooking a scrumptious meal together. Our menu came straight out of Food Network Magazine: Ina's Lemon Pepper Chicken, Bacon-Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli Rabe With Cherry Peppers and Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Instead of creating another random menu, I decided I liked the idea of a Surf & Turf type meal. Being on a budget, however, I was pretty afraid we'd get stuck with what I call ghetto surf and turf, or skirt steak and shrimp. That's were GetMaineLobster.com and Living Social saved the day. For what I considered a fairly reasonable price, we received the following:
  • 2 Crab Cakes
  • Lobster Soup
  • 2 Maine Lobster Tails
  • 2 Cuts of Filet Mignon
  • 2 Whoopie Pies
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CRAB CAKES W/ HOMEMADE REMOULADE

 
 
Photos by Jacob Romoser
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FRIED CHICKEN WINGS
I can count on one hand the number of times I've made the trek to Brooklyn. Sorry if I sound like a snob, but traveling from Queens takes just a little too long. When I heard about Brooklyn Wok Shop, however, I decided to suck it up and see what this family business on North 10th Street was all about.

Owners Melissa and Edric hoped to open a neighborhood joint with fresh, delicious food reminiscent of time-honored take-out. I'm happy to say, they did even better
. Brooklyn Wok Shop has a laidback atmosphere with casual but upscale food that works for both a large group or a small, intimate dinner.

 
 
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SEARED DIVER SCALLOPS
To finish my Winter New York City Restaurant Week extravaganza, I met up with my girlfriend Nina for one final lunch. She raved about Quality Meats' Hanger Steak with Brandied Cherries (The photo turned out terrible, but the dish itself was amazing.), so I figured I aught to give it a try.

Of course, I eyed the menu (and salivated) for a full week before we even went. I'm a sucker for seafood, so the Seared Diver Scallops with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon & Honey Crisp Apples was the easy appetizer choice. Although the scallops were a bit thin, they were seared to perfection. The honey crisp apples really brightened the whole dish and brought a nice pop of fresh flavor. Where were the Brussels sprouts? Seriously. I hardly tasted them at all.

Also, the bacon didn't really add anything to the plate. Next time, hold the bacon and give me more Brussels sprouts! (If you can't tell, I'm enamored with Brussels sprouts lately.)

 
 
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BUBBLES & MADNESS, KEY WEST FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL 2012
Out of all of the Key West Food and Wine Festival events this year, Bubbles & Madness at Azur was my absolute favorite. The unlimited champagne brunch was exactly what I needed after a night of dancing and drinking for my mother's 50th birthday.
 
 
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BRUSCHETTA = WAY TO MY <3
You know when you just need some girlfriend time, a glass of good wine and yummy food? That was me last week. Thankfully, Destino (and New York Restaurant Week) came to the rescue.

An intimate Southern Italian restaurant, Destino is upscale without being pretentious. An enormous Renaissance style painting reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel adorns the ceiling, while black cushioned walls exude elegance with a goth flair.


Not only did our waiter bring a basket of assorted, fresh bread to the table with olive oil, but he also served up three perfect servings of bruschetta. The tomatoes were fresh and bright, and the crisp bread was sprinkled with just enough olive oil to keep it all moist.
 
 
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NORTH AFRICAN SPICED CHICKPEA SOUP

Navigating Restaurant Week in New York City can be tough. Will I still receive good service even though I'm paying half the price? Will the food live up to the hype of the restaurant? I've made the mistake of going to a restaurant just for its name before, and I deeply regretted it. Boulud Sud has a stellar reputation, and thankfully it lived up to everything I heard and then some.

I started salivating over the menu two weeks before I even entered the posh Mediterranean eatery. To start, I chose the North African Spiced Chickpea Soup. Normally I wouldn't go for something like this at all, but I'm glad I decided to choose a dish out of my comfort zone. Topped with cumin yogurt and cilantro, I loved the refreshing tang the yogurt brought to the rich soup. The texture of the roasted chickpeas added just the right amount of crunch to counter the soup's deep creaminess.

 

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