My 15 Minutes of Fame

Here I think I am… writing about a meal I had at a food truck because I’m so busy with moving that I have no time to cook.  Little did I know that this little post about the fabulous Thai-Mexican Mashup Food Truck, Cucina Zapata… would lead to my 15 minutes of fame.  That is- as long as it makes it to the final cut.

cucinazapata

Today I got to be interviewed along with my new blogging friend Amanda (Amanda’s Blog ) for a show on Food Network & Cooking Channel called Eat St.  We got to order some tacos, curry, and their famous Captain Crunch Crusted Tilapia Burrito and talk about it!  I even got to bring my fellow blogging bff Allie (you should know her by now but… Allie’s Blog)!  We had a lot of fun chatting with fellow C.Z. lovers, hoping we will get to be on the episode.  Keep your fingers crossed!  

In honor of this amazing food truck and special opportunity, here is my post about Cucina Zapata!  

 

It’s about time.  I finally live in the city… and I finally got to eat at a food truck!

The only problem is- I think I’m hooked!  If only I worked in Philly too… hmmmmm…

Anyway, the Food Truck I decided to try was Cucina Zapata in University City.  Cucina Zapata serves the most unbelievable tacos- Thai style.  Just look at their Twitter account profile… “Remember when you were like, Damn, I could go for some Thai food…..in a taco. Well, here it is. You’re welcome.”  That really explains what they’re all about!

photo 3 (67)

photo 2 (82)

I decided to try the daily Curry, which was Veggie Red Curry at the time.  I also wanted to try a taco, so I went with the Short Rib… really how could I pass that up?

Like, OMG this stuff is spectacular.  Check it out!

photo 4 (47)

photo 5 (39)

I could NOT believe how much food it was too.  The curry was so hearty and spicy and was served with a whole bunch of Jasmine Rice.  The taco was just pure heaven.  Stuffed with tender meat, fresh veggies like tomatoes, cabbage, and avocado… even just one would be enough for my entire lunch!  YUM!

I absolutely cannot wait to go back… I may have to drive all the way out to University City to try more Thai Tacos!

Follow them on Twitter to see what kind of specials they have everyday!  @Cucina_Zapata

Cucina Zapata

It’s about time.  I finally live in the city… and I finally got to eat at a food truck!

The only problem is- I think I’m hooked!  If only I worked in Philly too… hmmmmm…

Anyway, the Food Truck I decided to try was Cucina Zapata in University City.  Cucina Zapata serves the most unbelievable tacos- Thai style.  Just look at their Twitter account profile… “Remember when you were like, Damn, I could go for some Thai food…..in a taco. Well, here it is. You’re welcome.”  That really explains what they’re all about!

photo 3 (67)

photo 2 (82)

I decided to try the daily Curry, which was Veggie Red Curry at the time.  I also wanted to try a taco, so I went with the Short Rib… really how could I pass that up?

Like, OMG this stuff is spectacular.  Check it out!

photo 4 (47)

photo 5 (39)

I could NOT believe how much food it was too.  The curry was so hearty and spicy and was served with a whole bunch of Jasmine Rice.  The taco was just pure heaven.  Stuffed with tender meat, fresh veggies like tomatoes, cabbage, and avocado… even just one would be enough for my entire lunch!  YUM!

I absolutely cannot wait to go back… I may have to drive all the way out to University City to try more Thai Tacos!

Follow them on Twitter to see what kind of specials they have everyday!  @Cucina_Zapata

Butternut Squash Tacos

We’re back with Meatless Monday!

I can’t believe I was able to wait until today to share this surprisingly awesome meatless recipe with you.  It was so yummy.  It’s meals like this that I’m reminded how fun it can be to cook without a recipe.

This dinner came about last week when I was at the apartment alone and very bored.  I decided to roast the cut butternut squash I picked up from the market earlier, but had nothing to do with it.

I started off by spreading the squash out on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with Pam.  I didn’t know how to season it, so I went with some sea salt and a little bit of black pepper.  I looked up several roasted BS recipes and added a sprinkle of cinnamon onto the squash without realizing that ALL of the recipes included some kind of sweetener… not the type of thing I wanted.  UGH.  I’m stuck with cinnamon and now I have no idea what to do!

I decided to run with it.  Cinnamon could be good on savory squash, right?  Next, I sprinkled some red pepper flakes for good measure.  I can’t make anything anymore without some type of spicy.  Sigh.

After roasting the squash in the oven, I tasted it.  YUMMMM YUM YUM!  It was just a little caramelized on the edges but the inside was soft and creamy.  So good.  The next question became, now what?!

I could have easily stopped there and eaten the entire sheet of squash.  But there was dinner to be made and a hungry boyfriend coming home soon.  Here’s what we ended up with:

Butternut Squash Tacos with Chili Oil Sauteed Spinach

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook

Ingredients:

Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash (recipe below)

1 teaspoon Olive Oil + another teaspoon for Tortillas

Sea Salt, Black Pepper

1-2 Dried Chili Peppers (you could use red pepper flakes)

1 bag Baby Spinach

4-6 Small Corn Tortillas

Shredded Cheese (I used Red Fat Mozzarella)

Cilantro

Directions:

1.  Heat 1 teaspoon Olive Oil in a skillet.  Add chopped Chili Pepper or Red Pepper Flakes and heat, swirling the peppers around, for maybe a minute or two.  Add spinach and pinches of salt & pepper.  Mix together until spinach wilts but does not brown.  Remove from heat and drain.

2.  Add the 2nd teaspoon of Olive Oil to the pan and place on the stove over medium heat.  Using 2 Tortillas at a time, fry the tortillas in the olive oil, flipping once or twice to get both sides.  Season with just a touch of salt.  Remove onto a paper towel and repeat with the remaining tortillas.

3.  Assemble Tacos!  I used the Cheese first, then the Spinach, Butternut Squash, and topped it off with some Cilantro and Black Pepper.  

*Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash*

Take 1 container of pre-cut Butternut Squash and spread over a foil-lined baking sheet prepared with Pam Spray.  Drizzle or spray with Olive Oil.  Season with Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and Cinnamon.  Lightly stir to spread seasoning.  Bake in a pre-heated oven of 400 degrees and cook for about 15 minutes.  Take the baking sheet out and stir the squash, spreading out again before putting back in the oven.  Mine cooked for another 15-2o minutes, but you can test doneness just like a potato, by sticking a fork in it.  

Just a little preview of our kitchen!  It's so big :)  Stelly is getting settled in.

Just a little preview of our kitchen! It’s so big 🙂 Stelly is getting settled in.

photo 1 (84)

Squash Tacos

SO, after totally throwing some stuff together, I ended up with a blog-worthy meal!  I ate mine right away and heated up a few later for Dave who loved it too (he was just as surprised as I was)!

The spinach really only had a tiny little kick to it, it was by no means SPICY… which worked exceptionally well with the sweetness of the cinnamon butternut squash.  Oh, and if you haven’t realized, I am now deeply involved in a love affair with corn tortillas. MMM…

Check out these other Meatless Monday Recipes from It’s Good to be the Cook:

Sunflower Seed Purple Pesto

Sunflower Seed Purple Pesto

Portobello Burger w/ Balsamic Glaze

Portobello Burger w/ Balsamic Glaze

And look at Allie from www.allieatfood.com ‘s

Meatless Monday Quinoa!:Allie's Meatless Monday Quinoa

 

 

Mexican Post, Love Park Philadelphia

No Cheese.

Dave and I are back on one month of quitting cheese.   Sigh.

In lieu of creating some type of cheese-less mexican dish for you in honor of Cinco de Mayo, I’m going to tell you about our dinner at the Mexican Post in Philly.

The famous Philly Love Park, right outside of where Mexican Post is located.

Dave and I had a night out together for our 3 & 1/2 year anniversary last weekend.  We chose to celebrate not because we’re romantic and do that sort of thing… but because I (miss groupon) had a deal that had to be used up!  lol.  For just $15, we could order two appetizers, two entrees, and two drinks.  WOW!

Our VERY FIRST picture together! Right after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.

We went after work and were just in time to watch the Flyers in a playoffs game.  The restaurant had just finished up their happy hour, and they were packed.  We waited and waited for what seemed like at least 10-15 minutes to get a server, when finally an older gentleman came to ask us if we’d like drinks.  (uh… yeah!)  Turns out, he was either the owner or manager of the place, and we got the royal treatment the rest of the night!  He apologized of course, and then took care of us while we ordered our Mexican Feast.

Appetizers:

We started out with the Ceviche de Pescado & Rosarito Flauta.  What am I thinking?  The real start to the meal was a big bowl of homemade tortilla chips w/ really really REALLY good salsa and TWO fabulous drinks.  I went with the Casa Mango Margarita-Jito & Dave with “The Don”.

A Margarita-Mojito MIX! Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila with premium Grand Marnier, muddled mint and lime over smooth mango puree and their signature sour mix

Don Julio Blanco Tequila with 2 slices of jalapenos and cucumbers muddled with pure agave nectar. Cointreau and lime juice – rimmed w/ cayenne pepper and salt

Tilapia fish with avocado, lime juice, onions, tomatoes and cilantro.

By far the best part! It even had (delicious) written next to it on the menu! Spinach flour tortilla, grilled chicken breast, serrano peppers (medium), plum tomatoes and Chihuahua cheese served with chipotle BBQ sauce and guacamole.

Everything so far was delicious.  As we were enjoying our drinks, our “waiter” came back out and offered us a special secret hot sauce (after I mentioned we like spicy…).  He recommended we try some on the Ceviche.  Thinking it had a top like regular Frank’s Hot Sauce, I shook some onto my Ceviche & chips.  Whoops… there was no “safety” lid on this bottle, and hot sauce poured onto my dish.  Dave just looked at me and laughed, having already tried some.  O.M.G.  FIRE.  My mouth was on.fire.  Within the next few minutes, all of our chips and my drink were gone… into my belly in an attempt to cool off my mouth.  The terrible part is, I actually really liked this hot sauce.  It had so much flavor, despite being HOT AS HELL.  Next time, I’ll be more careful!

HOT HOT HOT!

Entrees:

For our main dishes, we both went in opposite directions.  Dave wanted to try the Carne Asada, since he really likes the one we eat from Trader Joe’s.  I found the perfect dinner for indecisive, little, old me… the Taco Sampler.  🙂

Skirt steak, sauteed onions and peppers topped with chimichori sauce. Served with yuca frita and guacamole.

(L to R) 1. Corn soft tacos with pulled pork, roasted pineapple salsa, espuma (avocado & Serrano vinaigrette) sauce and red pickled onions. 2. Corn soft tacos with chicken tinga topped with shredded lettuce, avocado, queso fresco and crema fresca. 3. Corn soft tacos with grilled skirt steak, re-fried beans, pico de gallo, espuma (avocado & Serrano vinaigrette) sauce and crispy onions. 4. Corn soft tacos with beer battered tilapia, Mexican slaw, diced tomatoes, queso fresco, aioli (scallions & olive oil) sauce with a side of salsa ranchera.

By the time our entrees had come out from the kitchen, I was so full!  This rarely happens to me, but I made an attempt to try a few bites of each taco.  They were all delish except the fish taco, which was too greasy for my liking.  I guess I’m also comparing this to my only fish taco experience- which was at a small Mom/Pop Mexican place in L.A.  Dave really enjoyed his steak which was humongous.  It came with only a few “fritas” which was strange, but perfect as we were stuffed.

Overall:

We really enjoyed the food at Mexican Post.  Everything was very fresh and flavorful.  This is the second time I’ve been here though, and the second time the owner/manager has had to help my table.  If the service stepped up a bit, this might be a staple for us.

What is everyone making for Cinco de Mayo?!  I will be enjoying my weekend up at PENN STATE to watch my little sister graduate!  I can’t wait… a whole weekend in my happy place… with my whole family! 🙂