Breakfast at Toast- Uptown (New Orleans, LA)

One of our favorite places to have a cozy breakfast in New Orleans is Tartine. You could imagine our excitement when we found out that the owners behind Tartine had opened up a new breakfast joint in uptown. Toast is located in the former home of Laurel Street Bakery in a once again extremely cozy and inviting space.


The menu not surprisingly, features many various options on large generous pieces of toast. A particular favorite was the toast with prosciutto,honey and ricotta cheese and the smoked salmon, egg and cheese. Also on the menu are the much talked about Danish pancakes, aebelskivers, biscuits, crepes and sandwiches.


The concept is original and like no other in New Orleans and the result is delicious. Don’t take it from me but from the crowds that line up every weekend to dine at Toast.



What: Toast
Where: 5433 Laurel Street
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.
Contact: (504) 267-3260,

Toast on Urbanspoon

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Brunch at Estela- Nolita (NYC)

I don’t know how I learned about this restaurant but somehow I did and it made my list of new place to try in New York. Estela is located on an lonely strip of East Houston bordering Nolita. It is a beverage-driven restaurant from former Blue Hill at Stone Barns beverage director Thomas Carter and James Beard Award-nominated chef Ignacio Mattos.  The walk- up bar-restaurant’s decor seems typical of what I’ve seen multiply not only around New York but around the country: exposed brick, wood floors and marble bar and wood tables. It’s sleek and sophisticated.

DSC_0266 The brunch menu was limited with only a handful of plates to choose from. I would encourage sharing plates as you won’t fill up on one. It is definitely not meant for those of us with healthy appetites.



First up was the Endive with walnuts, anchovy, and ubriaco rosso ($14). A small plate of fresh and crispy endives laying on top of a bed of walnuts, anchovies and ubriaco rosso cheese (italian for drunken sunset). The mix of flavors and textures was perfect and left me wanting more.

DSC_0271 Next came the Burrata with salsa verde and charred bread ($15), a serving of rich and creamy bur rata cheese on top of charred bed in a bed of tangy salsa verde. Verdict: amazing, unique and delicious.

DSC_0272 The Cod with peas, spigarello, and aïoli ($24) was a healthy, flavorful and unique.

DSC_0274However, my favorite was the Celery with grapefruit, pecorino, and hazelnuts ($12) dish. It was such a different mix of ingredients and flavors yet so simple.  The flavors and textures complimented each other in the best way possible. So good indeed that later on in the week I attempted to re-create the dish at home (didn’t turn out quite the same).


The avocado, pancetta, and egg on Danish pastry ($14) was good but didn’t warrant the $14 price tag.

DSC_0277Overall, our experience at Estela was pretty fabulous. I would definitely return to try their small plate style dinner and drinks. For brunch however, I prefer something a bit more filling and hearty.

Estela on Urbanspoon


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Brunch at Jack’s Wife Freda-Soho (NYC)

The name is catchy, the place is always packed and everyone raves about it. Of course I had to check it out.  Jack’s Wife Freda is a new-ish addition to the Soho neighborhood where husband and wife bring together their experience and backgrounds to create a new and unique menu and flavors. Dean is from South Africa and Maya is from Israel which makes complete sense with one glance at the menu.

DSC_0216Arriving early on a Saturday there were only a few tables left and we were seated outside. The menu/placemat was simple with limited options. Two dishes were ordered: the Mediterranean breakfast and the Rosewater waffles.


The poached eggs came with a side of sliced avocados, labne, pita and salad which resembled and tasted identical to the traditional persian salad (salad shirazi) consisting of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. It was healthy, fresh and satisfying. DSC_0222

I had really high expectations for the rosewater waffles being from a country where rosewater originated and is used liberally on many sweet dishes. This waffle barely tasted like rosewater and was really not that special. There was nothing that made it stand out from any other restaurant waffle except the use of yogurt as opposed to whipping cream. DSC_0220

Based on the two dishes we tried, we both agreed that there was too much hype around this place. Yes the name is catchy, the location is cool and the clientele is young and stylish, but there was nothing about the food itself that stood out. So if its ambiance you are after then sure this is the place for it, but if you just want really good food there are plenty of options in the neighborhood with less of a line up.
DSC_0219 DSC_0218  Jack's Wife Freda on Urbanspoon

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Back in NYC eating Szechuan at Han Dynasty, East Village (NYC)

There is nothing I love more than a trip to New York.  The energy of the city, constant noise, traffic and crowds absolutely thrills me. The eating options aren’t so bad either. I have never been to anywhere in the world with as many different dining options as New York. As my readers know  in the last year we made the very difficult move to Lafayette, Louisiana deep in cajun country where dining options are very (very) limited. So I spent a better part of two weeks researching and making a list of places I was to eat at while in New York.


Arriving on a friday, I first made a stop at popular midtown bagel joint where I chowed down a large New York Bagel with jalapeños spiked cream cheese. Verdict: Delicious! That night my friends and I headed down to the East Village to try Han Dynasty, Philly’s own restauranteur’s opening in New York. The small shop was packed solid and chaotic but the smell of the chili oil and fried pork was too good to pass up. And so we waited across the street until our table became available at 10 pm. Being a pro at Han dining (we were regulars in Philly) I took a glance at the menu, saw that it was the same, and ordered all the dishes I had been craving since our move from Philly: Dan Dan Noodles, wontons in chili oil, chicken in garlic sauce, prawn hot pot and much more.

image_3 Everything tasted exactly the same as the dishes in Philly and were served in the same quick manner and efficiency. The only difference I found was that the spiciness level was definitely not the same as Philly. Here even an 8 on the spicy scale seemed to go down without a fight.  While I loved the simple dishes and low prices, I did not like the layout of the restaurant and tables which seemed to be sliding around due to the oil seeping out from the kitchen floors. Meanwhile, the bartender was yelling at the hostess telling her that she needed to ‘take control of the situation’ in front of a crowd of hungry on-lookers. All in all the service was again en par with that of Han’s Philly locations: good food, mediocre service!image_5

Han Dynasty on Urbanspoon

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New Orleans Wine and Food Experience 2014, NOWFE

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience takes place every year over the Memorial Day long weekend. In it’s 22nd year, the festival has become one of most incredible culinary events in the nation, attracting over 10,000 gourmands and connoisseurs as well as art and music lovers. Each year, hundreds of wineries and restaurants participate. Menus feature local flavor and innovative new creations inspired by diverse cuisines. Top chefs from around the city create culinary experiences like no other. Over two dozen restaurants feature special dining evenings throughout the New Orleans festival. The weekend also features over 1,000 wines from around the world, with special tasting events from wineries. The events this year included the Grand Tasting events at the Convention Center, the Royal Street stroll in the French Quarter, the Big Gateaux show and seminar series to hone your palate. It ended with a grand finale gala. The NOWFE is the perfect way to experience New Orleans Cuisine at it’s best. Chef’s from all the best and greatest NOLA restaurants showcase their talent on the plate.

The Hungry Nomad team was there in full force this year to experience NOWFE at its fullest and share with our readers. Hope you enjoy the photos!

The Royal Street Stroll: 


The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience - Royal Street Stroll


Big Gateaux Show:

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience Grand Tasting


The Grand Tasting: 

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience Grand Tasting






















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Dinner at Peche- Warehouse District (New Orleans, USA)

Another great restaurant by the Donald Link restaurant group has opened on the corner of Magazine and Julia streets in the warehouse district. This time, it is called Peche and focuses on simple coastal seafood with a unique, modern approach.


The restaurant showcases an open kitchen where diners can see the fire and seafood grilling in the back, an oyster bar serving fresh gulf seafood including oysters, crab meat, and fresh gulf fish and a large bar. The result is a very fresh seafood-oriented menu (although if you really want red meat there are a few options there as well). The decor is rustic seaside with exposed wooden beams throughout the open plan restaurant. One thing I noted while we were dining was the noise level. It was extremely loud. Too loud. We had to shout to hear each other at dinner.


Our meal included many various dishes from the menu including oysters (both Connecticut and Gulf), frog legs, smoked tuna dip, shrimp toast, and tuna tartare and salmon. For the main entrees our table shared two whole fish: red fish and mangrove snapper.

2-_DSC0400Almost everything we ordered tasted perfect but I did find the fresh oysters to be extremely salty. Too salty to eat. I was told that that is how oysters from the East Coast taste. But I’ve had enough oysters to know that that is not the case, especially not with gulf oysters. I heard others complain of the same. But other dishes were quite perfect. The smoked tuna dip served in a bowl with a side of crackers was so good, I may have finished one completely on my own.

The Whole grilled fishes were served on a large plate smothered in delicious sauce. The red fish was sizzled to perfection and covered in a citrusy herb topping which made it extremely tasty. The snapper was prepared in a different sauce but was just as good. In the end there was nothing left except two fish skeletons staring up at us in shame.

And while completely full at this point, stuffed with enough seafood for a month, we ordered dessert. My favorite was the chocolate, peanut butter and banana pie and citrusy key lime pie.


Overall, dinner at peche was a great experience. The food, decor, service and ambiance make for a great night out. I guess the New Orleans Saint’s feel the same as I do, throughout the evening we saw some of the players including one of my favorites, Jimmy Graham. Donald Link has done it again. I’m wondering what will come next, Boeuf the steakhouse?

Peche on Urbanspoon

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Lunch at SoBou- French Quarter (New Orleans, USA)

While staying in the French Quarter we decided to check out some of the new restaurants that have opened in New Orleans since we moved away to Philadelphia last summer. Our list included SoBou, the new contemporary restaurant located in the W Hotel by the same family as Commander’s Palace (a personal favorite).


This ‘South of Bourbon‘ restaurant focuses on tapas style small plates and modern twists on Southern classics. Led by chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez the food proved to be fresh, innovative and exciting. The decor is modern, elegant and trendy. Many tables have beer taps built in for easy access.


We went for lunch around 1 pm and the restaurant was winding down with less than 3 tables. However, it took a very long time to get anything on our table. And while our server was knowledgeable and attentive, it did not take away from the fact that we waited for what seemed like 30 minutes to get our first order served.


 The Yellowfin tuna cones were served in a small tomato infused cone filled with a pineapple ceviche, tuna, topped with basil and avocado ice cream. It was small enough to eat in one bite. However, I was not a big fan of the ice-cream/fish combination. I’m a firm believer that fish and dairy should not be mixed at a meal let alone in one dish.


Next came the Butternut Squach Beignets, large deep fried balls of dough mixed with duck debris and squash drizzled with a sweet foie gras fondue sauce and chicory coffee ganache. The Count loved the mix of sweet and savory flavors of this dish but for me it was too much fried dough.

08-_DSC0427 For our main entrees we had the SoBou Burger and Rosemary Crusted Oyster Salad. The burger was plain and simply delicious. Grilled to perfection giving it that smokey grilled flavor that many burgers these days lack.



The oyster salad was a great light lunch option. The oysters were lightly crusted in a rosemary breading cooked just right, set on top of a bed of tossed greens in a light sauce.



We also ordered a side of fries and were surprised to note that we were charged that extra dollar for ketchup. It threw us off a bit given that you really don’t expect to be charged for ketchup in an upscale restaurant such as SoBou. And while we may be spoiled up east in Philadelphia and New York with the special attention we’ve been given by chefs and wait staff, small details such as this really do take away from the experience.

SoBou on Urbanspoon

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MoPho Nola (New Orleans, USA)

There have been many new restaurants that have opened up in New Orleans since I last lived there. One of the latest talked about place is MoPho located in my old n’hood of Mid City/City Park. It has brought life to what was once a desolate strip mall type area with a shabby burger king and a few other stores that service the college across the street. MoPho is a beautiful, hip new modern-asian style restaurant serving your traditional vietnamese phos along with rice bowls and appetizers. (see Menu)


We started off with not 1 but 2 orders of the Crispy Chicken wings tossed in a lemongrass/ginger sauce. Result: Perfection. It was so good I was tempted to order more and forget about my main dish. There was also an order of Fried Shrimp which were good but nothing like the chicken wings. An order of handmade fresh spring rolls were also ordered and having recently perfected shrimp rolls in my cooking class I was not overly impressed by the roll. It was falling apart and the noodles too thick for my liking.


29-IMG_4718 30-IMG_4720


For our main dishes the three of us ordered the rice/noodle bowls. You have the option of picking your main ingredients: rice or noodles and the protein of choice. We had two beef cheeks and one grilled jumbo shrimp. At this point, I had already filled up on a full serving of the chicken but had no choice than to finish what was in front of me. The bowl was fresh and flavorful however, I didn’t particularly enjoy the beef cheeks which were overly gelatinous.  33-IMG_4723

MoPho reminded me a bit of NOLA’s version of  the Momofoku restaurants in the East Village, NYC. Same types of offerings and flavors and definitely a few hipster waiters and waitresses. Overall, I think it is a great addition to the New Orleans food scene offering something completely different than anything else you will find in NOLA. It is a modern take on Vietnamese food and the restaurant ambiance and food are both great reasons to check out this place if you have not yet done so.


MoPho on Urbanspoon

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A Morning at the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market

Even though I am a city girl, I love getting the chance to experience rural life every once in a while. Since I am a busy student, these opportunities don’t come up all that often, so I try to find some slice of rural life in Philly. The easiest way to do this is to check out some of the areas and markets where fresh produce and goods are sold a few times a week. At this point, I have been going to the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market for a few years now, and I am consistently happy with my experiences there.


While it may not exactly be quite the country experience I desire, this market offers up everything from flowers to chicken breasts every Saturday in the block surrounding Rittenhouse Square Park. I haven’t tried every stand yet, but I do have a few solid favorites that I check out each time I stop by.


My favorite stand is by far the FreshaPeel Hummus one which has some of the best prepackaged hummus I’ve ever had. One thing I love about the company is that they make both the traditional savory and more revolutionary sweet hummus. I almost always get the Lemon Kale Hummus when I stop by, especially in the summertime, since it has a nice light flavor.


I also recently tried the sweet Chocolate Cherry Hummus. Although I was initially wary of how a sweet hummus would turn out, this one was phenomenal and tastes great with fresh fruit or sugar cookies. If you’re also hesitant to try some of the odder hummus flavors, this stand is a great place to check out because they let you try the hummus before you buy!


Another stand I’m a fan of is the Cranberry Creek Farm table which has a number of goat cheeses to try and buy. My two favorites are the 1903 and the St. Juni. No matter your preference, there’s bound to be a cheese here that you will love. They even throw in some seasonal specialties like a soft Pumpkin Chevre. I haven’t tried this one yet, but I’m sure the next time I stop by I’ll pick some up since I have yet to try a cheese I dislike.


For anyone with a sweet-tooth, the John and Kira’s stand should definitely be visited. The people that run this stand make some quality chocolate, and many of the assortments they put out during the Farmers’ Market make great gifts. This company doesn’t just know what makes up great chocolate, but they also create some beautiful pieces.


Last week was the first time I indulged myself in their offerings, so I picked up a random assortment of six that included everything from dark chocolate to salty caramel pieces. I didn’t come across one combination I didn’t like, so I will probably be stopping by again to pick up some Christmas gifts.


While I love the food aspects of the Farmers’ Market, I also love the Blue Mountain Vineyards table. This stand is great for anyone who loves wine to check out. I stopped by for the first time after I turned 21 this past weekend, and I’m glad I did. They offer a wide array of wines which include everything from a 2008 Chardonnay Reserve to a 2011 Shiraz.


The best part of this company having a table is that they provide samples of almost all of their wines. Personally, I was a fan of the 2008 Merlot, but I’m sure that any wine lover could find a blend they like here. My one recommendation would be that this stand tends to generate a lot of activity, so if you notice a lull while you’re walking around, I would pounce of this table first. Even if you are vying for the attention of the man behind the table, it’s worth wading through the crowd to try it out.


If you enjoy going to a nice Farmers’ Market, the one in Rittenhouse every Saturday is definitely a great one to check out. There is a great range of various stands that each offer different products for potential buyers. In addition to having a lot of options, almost all of the stands provide samples, so you don’t have to tie yourself down to something you might not like. I would recommend this market to fellow Philadelphians, especially ones who love pretty views while they shop for their groceries for the week.


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Dinner at FARMiCiA (Philadelphia, USA)

It seems as though new diners to FARMiCiA fall into one of two categories: they either love this Old City restaurant and want to come back every week, or they hate it and don’t understand what the buzz is about. I happen to fall into the former category, and I’m thrilled that my most recent Thurs-date happened here.


When we first arrived, we were immediately seated by one of the front windows, which gave us an opportunity to spend some of our time people-watching. It’s a good thing we had this view because our waiter was a bit too hands-off, and we quickly learned that we wouldn’t be seeing much of him throughout the evening. Since we weren’t impressed with our waiter, I thought we’d be falling into the category of people that didn’t like FARMiCiA, but I was proved wrong by the time our first courses came out.


My vegan friend started with the Capellini and Sauteed Tofu. Her appetizer was a hearty plate that came with roasted tomatoes, mint, pine nuts, and red chili. While she said it was incredibly spicy, she loved it and mentioned that it was some of the best vegan food she’s ever had.


I opted for the French Lentils and they were also delicious, although my favorite part of the dish was definitely the huge serving of baked goat cheese that came on top. The salad was one of the most filling ones I’ve had due to the cheese and the amount of lentils that came over the lettuce, but it was so nice and savory that I finished every last bite. I didn’t know how I was going to eat the rest of my dinner, however, I felt like I could try and power through.


After our appetizers, our entrees came out pretty quickly. I ordered the Duck Breast and my love for FARMiCiA was further cemented by my first bite of this. The duck had a nice crispy skin to it and was cooked perfectly. The sweet sun-dried cherry glaze that came with it was a perfect accompaniment to the tender meat. The simplicity of it all was something that I definitely appreciated.

008The sugar snap peas on the plate were also really satisfying. In fact, throughout the whole meal, the only thing I could critique was my wild rice. As a Persian girl, I probably judge rice much more harshly than any other aspect of a meal, and this rice was just not up to par. While it wasn’t great, I was so full from all of the other things on the plate, that I hardly even cared that the rice missed the mark.


The other main course we tried was the Fresh Corn Risotto Croquettes. These two croquettes were large and were tough for my friend to finish because her first course was also filling, but she had only fantastic things to say about it. She couldn’t stop raving about the sweet potato crisps that adorned the plate and said that it was the her favorite part.

For dessert, I got the Orchard Fruit Crisp that came with apples and pears. It was a delicious, warm way to kick off the Fall season and end our meal. While FARMiCiA could use a little face lift in the waitstaff, the food outweighs the bumps they have in serving. I’m already anticipating coming back and can’t wait to try out some of the other phenomenal, farm fresh food they have on their menu.

Farmicia on Urbanspoon

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