As much as I miss Chicago, and I do, there are certainly things about the east coast that are really growing on me. In fact, don’t tell JonPaul I said this, but a part of me is starting to really feel at home here on the east coast. I feel connected with our community, the kids are happy, we have some great friends, and then of course one of my favorite things about being an east coast girl….NYC.
You see, I may drive a minivan around the suburbs all day, filled with four little kids, wearing yoga pants smeared with PB&J – but deep down, waaaay down deep, there is a city girl just waiting to be freed.
Luckily, JonPaul loves being in the city as much as I do and we both make it a priority to sneak away from the kids and have our time together exploring the vibrant city as much as possible It’s one of my favorite things to do with him. We’re blessed with family who comes in from out of town and can help watch the kids (and drive my minivan around the suburbs) to make it possible.
There are so many things I love about NYC, but at the top of the list has to be the food. So much great food on every street corner. It would be impossible to pick a favorite restaurant.
However, there are a few that I keep finding myself returning to, and one of those is a a little bistro in the West Village, Jack’s Wife Freda. Have you been?? It’s so great. You really feel like you’re home when you’re there. The vibe is eclectic, casual, but more than anything welcoming and inviting. You feel like you belong.
And to boot, the food is pretty spectacular. They serve American-Mediterranean food that is real and authentic and made with love. Food your jewish Israeli grandmother would have made you (if she were Israeli and jewish), only even better. I’ve eaten there a handful of times, both solo and with our kids, and we are all crazy about it.
One of my favorite dishes, the one that I just can’t stop thinking about, is the green shakshuka. I mean, get out of town with that name. Right? Doesn’t the name alone make you want to try it?
It’s essentially eggs cooked in a zesty and spicy tomatillo sauce. There are many different variations of shakshuka, but they typically use a red tomato sauce. In this version, I love to how the bright zesty sauce works so well with the richness of the egg yolks. Add a warm buttery slice of crusty bread to the side, and you have the workings of a great Saturday morning.
Now I can’t say that the green shakshuka I made at home was just like the one I ate at Jack’s Wife Freda. It may have had something to do with the cocktail that was missing from my hand, or the screaming two year old sitting next to me. Either way, it wasn’t the exact same experience I had in the west village, but pretty darn close.
I followed the recipe from the Jack’s Wife Freda cookbook, and would absolutely do it again. I wish I could take credit for this great dish, but some things are better left to the experts (or in this case, Grandmothers).
So the next time you find yourself strolling along in NYC looking for some outstanding food (and even better service), you know where to go. But until then, maybe this shakshuka recipe will leave you and your family feeling right at home in your very own kitchen.