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In or out?

(article, Liz Crain)

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This week's Blog Feed spins the globe and drops its food-obsessed finger on the Big Apple. Here you’ll find bold, tasty blogs as diverse as the city that feeds them. 

To stay in, or to eat out? Two NYC bloggers have decidedly different responses to this question. Cathy Erway, of Not Eating Out in New York, is fiercely devoted to home-cooked fare, while David Freedenberg, The Hungry Cabbie, eats out as much as he can. 

[%image erway float=right size=small caption="The mysterious Cathy Erway." credit="Photo courtesy Cathy Erway"]

p(blue). Blog: Not Eating Out in New York
Average posts per month: 10
Blogger: Cathy Erway
Age: 25
Blog place of origin: Brooklyn

Living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan is somewhat conducive to a meal-on-the-go modus operandi. But one day Cathy Erway had one too many uninspired meals out and decided to put an end to her monotonous daily grub grind by cooking everything at home. 

On Not Eating Out in New York, Erway chronicles her wide-ranging, multi-ethnic food cravings and the resulting kitchen concoctions with a camera and keyboard. This zealous blog is at once an ode to thoughtful nourishment as well as a critique of thoughtless eating in a city that makes consumption an art form.  


h1. Liz's faves


1. Why not eat out?
2. Dinner parties are contagious
3. Christmas Hot Pot


Do angry NYC restaurateurs ever hound you for being a foodie shut-in?
If only I were so lucky to know a NYC restaurateur personally, I probably wouldn’t have started not eating out! But no, I have not heard any complaints from them so far. Bring it on!

Any reader converts that you know of?
A couple of readers have written to me saying how they wanted to eat out much less and appreciate the tips, which was very nice. Other than that, I may have forcibly converted my boyfriend (when he’s not escaping to eat out with friends). 

Come on, you sneak a meal out every once in a while, right?
I do eat out if I’m traveling outside of the state, and enjoy reporting those occasions on the blog. (Strangely, I’ve become a very cranky critic of those rare meals.) But it is tough. 

When I’m outside my home for a long period of time, I try to plan ahead, but one minute you’re at some event in the city, the next thing you’re in a taxi going somewhere else. So it’s a good thing that there are about two delis to every pizza-slice joint in New York, so I can at least grab some chips or over-salted nuts. 

[%image ingredients float=right size=medium caption="Ingredients for Erway's Sweet Potato and Pork Stir Fry." credit="Photo courtesy Cathy Erway"]

I’ve also had a couple of occasions where it was obligatory that I attend a work-related meal. But then I try to separate my “real job” from my “blog” as much as humanly possible, so I didn’t think too much of this. 

Where do you do most of your grocery shopping?
Unlike many of my peers, I haven’t signed up yet for Fresh Direct, if only for the opportunity to get some exercise while I shop instead of pointing and clicking. I love the Fairway Market in Red Hook, a cute French mini-grocery in my neighborhood called L’Epicerie, and all the farmers' markets. I like to grocery shop in lots of different stores.

What's your kitchen like?
A few months ago, I moved from an apartment with a small kitchen to an apartment with an utterly tiny kitchen. It can fit about one person and has a single counter space that’s about the size of an 11-by-14-inch cutting board. But I don’t have roommates who cook any more, so it’s all mine. 

When did you decide to stop eating out, and when did you start your blog?
I realized that my hobby of cooking at home was beginning to take over my life. So I wanted to write a blog to just keep track of it, remember what recipes worked and didn’t, and discuss it with others. I added the hook that I wouldn’t eat out at all to give myself an extra challenge, and because I wanted to prove that it could — and should? — be done. We’ll see about the latter.   

p(blue). Blog: The Hungry Cabbie
Average posts per month: 8
Blogger: David Freedenberg, aka Famous Fat Dave
Age: 28
Blog place of origin: Manhattan

The first thing that NYC cabbie David Freedenberg wants to get clear is that he’s no food snob. In fact, in his first blog entry (from April 2006), he professes a love for both Taco Bell and the pickles at Roy Rogers. 

Freedenberg makes it his mission to ask just about every fare that gets into his cab the same question: “What’s good to eat in the neighborhood?” This has led him to everything from a stinky-but-oh-so-tasty durian shake to a crack-of-dawn broccoli rabe hero sandwich. 

These days, Freedenberg offers guided eating tours of New York that recently landed him on Saveur magazine's annual list of 100 food worthies.


h1. Liz's faves


1. The Boogie Down
2. A Hamburger Today (Or Three)
3. Morning In Queens


Where are your favorite cabbie snack stops?
I've got a lot of favorites. But if I have to choose, I'll give you one in each borough. 

In Manhattan, my favorite pit stop is Corner Bistro for a bistro burger if it's after 1 a.m. and I don't have to wait in line.  

In the Bronx, I go to the 24-hour Fratelli Pizza Cafe in Hunt's Point for broccoli rabe if I'm feeling adventurous; it's a rough neighborhood. In Brooklyn, I like Sahara on Coney Island Avenue because they're open until 4 and they've got tasty gyros as well as great salad.

[%image cabbie float=right caption="Famous Fat Dave holds an authentic NYC pickle." credit="Photo courtesy David Freedenberg"]

In Queens, I stop at 5 Stars Punjabi for super-tasty Indian food right near my garage. And I've never gotten a fare to Staten Island in the five-plus years I've been working. 

What's happening with your pilot for the Food Network?
I finished the pilot a couple months ago, and I'm pleased with it. I took the Food Network execs on an actual tour without cameras a few months back and they liked that. And in the pilot all the traffic is edited out, so it's even better than the real thing.

Now I've finished the final touches on my reel, and it's already been held up to the harsh light of focus groups. I'm hoping for a green light any day now.
What's in your refrigerator?
Bologna, American cheese, fresh mozzarella from Faccio's on Bleecker, a jar of pickles, blackberry preserves from Loveless Cafe that my lawyer sent me for Christmas, Thai preserved cabbage, pickled hot chili peppers, sake, Vidalia onion mustard from North Carolina, Parmesan, celery, onions, garlic, and chicken that my girlfriend is going to make into chicken with broccoli and oyster sauce.

Any occupational hazards with your blog?
I think my health might be suffering. But I say Famous Fat Dave always gets the last bite.

p(bio). Liz Crain is a writer based in Portland, Oregon.

cabbie, l

erway, l

ingredients, l

reference-image, l