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past bites

Monday, November 30, 2009

Put a Little MEAT on Your Bones

Getting dressed in New York City’s winter months is often time consuming and energetically depleting. The mental checklist of warmth-inducing apparel elongates each week: Long sleeves? Check. Jacket? Check. Thick socks? Check. Boots? Check. Scarf? Gloves? Hat? More layers? Check, Check—Ah! By the time January rolls around, fashion is an afterthought. My cute, wool, toggle coat will be abandoned for a shapeless, down, knee-length, marshmallow-like jacket. But clothing’s not the only thing that can help you stay warm as the days shorten and the cold settles in.

Your diet selection can have a direct impact on your body’s ability to elevate its internal temperature. Eating meat is one way to increase your intake of protein rich foods, which will then increase your circulation and thermogenesis. Here are three meat dishes from our tours that may shrink that mental checklist and keep you warm, even if you’ve forgotten your gloves at home.

FIRST BITE: Steak Sandwich at Pastis

When I think of a steak sandwich, I think of greasy meat, plain bread, and nothing to call home about. But Pastis reinvents the conventional. On our Chelsea Market/Meatpacking District Tour, we’ll tell you all about this gem of a restaurant. Every element of their steak sandwich is intentionally selected and compiled to give it personality. Starting off with fresh crusty bread from Balthazar, the sandwich is built on a solid foundation, then topped with a generous pile of sliced rib eye, and sweet caramelized onions. Melted Gruyere cheese forces this sandwich to be anything but ordinary, and the addition of frisee gives it a fresh bite. On the menu from lunch through post-midnight supper, it can be enjoyed for all different cravings. Trust me, after having one, you’ll definitely be craving more.

SECOND BITE: Pork Chop at Bellavitae

If you thought brick oven cooking was limited to pizzas and breads, then take a seat, and prepare yourself to be wowed. Bellavitae, on our Central Village/Soho Tour, creates a gorgeous dish of pork chops roasted in their brick oven. The fixture, visible to the restaurant’s customers, sears the pork chop to a perfect crust, and cooks the inside evenly. The result is a juicy and full-flavored chop that is served with caramelized onions. It’s a delicate meat, yet the dish is filling and hearty. It’s close to perfect for a meal that will fill you up, without making you want to go into hibernation.

LAST BITE: Veal Parmigiano at Pesce Pasta

You can’t go wrong with well done parmigiana. Sweet and savory tomato sauce, melted Italian cheeses, and tender meat? My mouth salivates thinking about it. The veal parmigiano at Pesce Pasta, found on our Greenwich Village Tour, is classically incomparable. The meat is soft and sweet, and the sauce is light and fresh. The dish isn’t overly seasoned or complicated; it’s simple and delicious. As someone who normally plays it safe by ordering chicken parm, I am happy I tried something different. As a convert into the appreciation for veal parm, I urge you to also take the leap. And at only $18.95. including a side of pasta, the value and affordability are unmatched. The flavors of this dish, combined with the price, will leave a smile fixed on your face that even the cold weather won’t undo.

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