the brunch files: hamilton pork, jersey city, nj

this review is long overdue! a few weeks ago, the hubby and i decided to venture from our home in brooklyn heights to hamilton pork, in jersey city, nj. there aren’t many restaurants we’d cross state lines for – but after hearing about their churro waffle ice cream sandwich, we knew we had to make a day of it specifically to try this blogworthy creation.

a play on jersey city’s hamilton park, hamilton pork (which borders hamilton park) is a casual, no-frills bbq spot with some tex-mex flair. it’s small size makes for small-batch rotisserie, which we loved because the food comes out of the spit and gets served on your plate instantly. because there’s only one little spit, there’s no opportunity for meats to be sitting there on rotation like they do at some of the larger ‘chain’ bbq restaurants. at hamilton pork, the freshness factor is amped all the way up. we started with some cocktails and the kung pow chicken wings which were really unique. this restaurant has it’s own kung pow bbq sauce, and as a person who would rather spicy buffalo over bbq any day, kung pow bbq was the ultimate middle ground and we devoured every last bite.

our main courses were so epic. we each got 3-meat samplers and a side (… kid you not), and in an effort to try a little bit of everything, we made sure we didn’t have any repeats. stephen ordered brisket, pork ribs and pulled chicken – plus texas toast – and a side of mac n’ cheese. i opted for the lamb belly, turkey and pulled pork. i also got texas toast, and for my side i chose the mexican street corn. everything was unbelievable. for me, the standouts were the mac n’ cheese, the turkey, and the lamb belly which is a super unique menu option for a bbq joint!

last but not least……. after all that, we still managed to save room for the dessert. ((cue rihanna’s “this is what you came for”)) it. was. everythingggggg!!!!! two churro waffles stuffed with salted caramel ice cream. it’s the sugar high you always strived for. shoutout to our waiter, mario, who chanted “chu-rro-waf-fles // chu-rro-waf-fles” as we placed our order.

overall, hamilton pork was an amazing weekend brunch experience. jersey city is on the come-up, and hamilton pork is definitely a spot that enhances the neighborhood. the food is delicious, the service is quality, and the vibe is fun. many thanks to hamilton pork for hosting us! check them out on instagram for drool worthy bbq pics, and don’t forget to follow me, too. i can’t promise a steady stream of rotisserie, but i can promise steady, fun everyday content!

the rainbow latte: galerie de café

i won’t lie: i recently noticed an instagram post featuring the ‘rainbow latte’ and i had to find out where i could get one. do i lose a few points for originality here? sure…. but this teeny, tiny tribeca café is worth every single deduction. with coffee beans sourced locally right here in nyc (via dallis bros), even the plain old lattes are to die for. the interior is shabby-chic, featuring artwork done by children displayed along the walls. it has a a cozy, european feel throughout and let me not forget to mention that the pastries come courtesy of balthazarand amy’s bread…. two top notch companies. who knew all you needed was a little food coloring and some top notch barista skills to create instagram gold?! my ‘rainbow’ latte was more like ‘purple perfection’ if you ask me. it was so pretty to look at i hardly wanted to drink it! many thanks to galerie de café for hosting me. i will definitely be back! check them out on instagram, and don’t forget to follow me as well!

d.i.y: top o’ the mornin lucky charms pancakes

in honor of my irish roots (25% represent!) i decided to share a fun d.i.y recipe that i followed from betty crocker! the hubby and i had a snow day this week and promised we wouldn’t order chinese food……. so i figured making green st. patty’s day pancakes was still technically following our rule. i even went a step further and replaced regular bisquick with 10 grain pancake & waffle mix by bob’s red mill to up the nutrition factor. see? i’m trying here….. check out my step by step and the (deliciously festive) finished product below!

these pancakes are super easy. they require one cup of mix, one egg, a tablespoon of oil, a cup of water (i used 1% milk for extra fluff), and green food coloring. of course, it also requires your desired amount of lucky charm marshmallows added at the end.

step one is to combine your mix, egg, oil, and milk in a large bowl.

onto the fun part: once everything is mixed together, add between 1/2 to a 1 full tablespoon of green food coloring, and be careful not to stain your fingers like i did!

lightly grease your pan and you’re ready to fry these up! i like to do three “silver dollar” size pancakes at once. this was a super easy recipe, and they come out so cute! this would be great to do with kids – or if you’re hosting a st. patrick’s day brunch. garnish with marshmallows and some (sugar free!) maple syrup and voilà! let the festivities commence!

will you be trying these on st. patty’s day? don’t forget to follow me on instagram and facebook to stay in the loop!

the brunch files: mezetto, nyc

i recently helped one of my best friends lindsay find the ideal spot for her 30th birthday brunch. we wound up choosing mezetto, which is a mediterranean corner cafe on the lower east side of manhattan co-owned by bahr rapaport and alon moskovitch. normally (for the sake of the blog) i like to try places i’ve yet to eat – but mezetto is so good that i gave it an exception. i dined here back in 2016 for a dinner with my girlfriends, but this was my first time trying brunch. we were drawn to this place because they have bottomless sangria every evening…. so when linsday requested a delicious, well-priced ‘bottomless’ birthday brunch, i knew i had just the spot.

in addition to their sangria special, of course mezetto does bottomless brunch too. what sets them apart from the ever-growing gang of nyc restaurants that provide this is the fact that mezetto offers $17 bottomless mimosa brunch daily. yes, every day. monday through sunday. ‘weekend brunches’ are a thing of the past when you’re doing it meze-style!

mezetto is tiny, with a cozy and intimate feel – something i value, because i love feeling like my food isn’t being churned out — but rather made with intention and care. rustic tile floors and metallic middle-eastern inspired wallpaper set the tone of the restaurant – casual yet exotic. that ‘famous’ sangria sits visible on the bar top, enticing everyone who glances that way. moroccan lanterns and light fixtures complete what is, visually, a really cute homestyle restaurant. it reminded me very much of the types of places my husband and i would dine in on our honeymoon to turkey. nothing too frilly… mezetto saves that for the food!

it was essential that we begin our meal with some spreads – – so my husband stephen and i opted for the spicy feta and the hummus, both of which came with perfectly seasoned and sliced pitas served on a warm stone slab. they were delicious, and got major points for presentation! we also tried the boneless chicken wings (not pictured) which were outrageously good. i had to remember i was sharing!

when it came to our main courses, a friend of mine got the avocado toast and it was so pretty i just had to take a photo! this dish is served with a poached egg on top, garnished with romesco sauce (nut and red pepper based) and chickpea salsa to give it that mediterranean flair. i, on the other hand, was wild for the shawarma steak hash skillet. the steak is accompanied by fried egg, potatoes, roasted pepper, feta, and harissa sauce, which is a north african hot chili pepper paste. it had just the right amount of substance and spice, and was served in a piping griddle.

no mezetto review would be complete without mentioning the star of the show (in my humble opinion): the falafel buns. everyone who knows me knows that asian food is my weakness, and bao steamed buns are one of my favorite appetizers in existence. mezetto has successfully fused traditional falafel with asian-style steamed buns…. creating a small plate (‘meze’) similar to an order of sliders. the harissa aioli on top offsets the grainy texture of the falafel. the bun is soft, pillowy perfection. i could have had five orders of this and been done.

overall, mezetto is a fantastic place for a group brunch. the staff is accommodating, reservations are easy to make for large groups provided you call in advance. you never get bored with the bottomless mimosas since they come in four flavors (peach, pomegranate, orange and passionfruit). if you’re looking for a casual brunch with an affordable bottomless option, mezetto is the perfect vibe with quality food! follow mezetto on instagram – and follow me, too!