May 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Better late than never, right?
The last week of work, Alice, Komal and I had a lovely dinner at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Nougatine at Columbus Circle. Beautiful interiors, great service, and delicious and surprisingly light food. I really loved the tomato and avocado gazpacho (even though I don’t tend to like cold soups) and the salmon entree I had.
Cindy, Beth, and I also snuck out of the office during one of the last couple days of work to have a long, leisurely lunch at the Tap Room at Colicchio & Sons. Again, a great cold, corn vichyssoise, a wonderful meaty entree, and heavenly beignets to top off the meal. If only work life could always be like this.
Think that finally might be the last of the summer 2012 posts. Now to get through Winter and Spring 2013!
Trump Hotel Central Park
1 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
Colicchio & Sons
85 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
March 12, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Back in late December, our family realized that it would be Katie and my last winter break and decided to go on a road trip to the south, having never traveled there before. Our first stop in Richmond, VA included a visit to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, during their stunning Chihuly exhibit, a long walk through the James River Park System and Belle Isle, and a comforting, uber-rich meal at Tarrant’s Cafe - chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, fried seafood platter, you name it.
March 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The weather in Ithaca has been especially miserable lately, not extremely cold or anything but just disgusting and sloshy. Also, I feel like I haven’t seen the sun in ages, so these photos from a family day trip to Newport, RI are a welcome reprieve.
We left home early in the morning and arrived in Newport at around 9:30 in the morning. We spent some time just driving around a beautiful, secluded Hampton-ish neighborhood with shingle style homes and private coves before doing the requisite Newport Mansions tour of the Breakers, Elms, and Marble House, dug into some delicious seafood (lobster mac ‘n’ cheese anyone?) at Brick Alley Pub downtown, took a detour at a local farm stand, and then ended our day with a scenic stroll on the Cliff Walk. After years of practice, I’d say our family has become seasoned pros at the jam-packed day trip.
Brick Alley Pub
140 Thames Street
Newport, RI 02840
February 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I’ve always loved Murray’s Cheese Shop in Greenwich Village (such an amazing selection of cheeses, cured meats, and other gourmet items and super-friendly staff), but it took me a whole summer of living literally right down the street to discover their Murray’s Melts. Probably for the best; otherwise I would’ve been there all the time and eventually unable to fit through the door. The owners also just recently opened Murray’s Cheese Bar, which I’ve heard great things about, but this is probably a better idea if you want something quick and on-the-go.
Below is a “Da Bomb” sandwich that’s unfortunately no longer on the menu – short ribs, Murray’s secret cheese blend, caramelized onions, and fresh arugula on Pullman bread – but you really can’t go wrong with any of their melts. The current ‘Shroom Melt (brie, mushrooms, truffle-pesto aioli) and the Mayflower (smoked gouda, turkey, bacon, cranberry chutney, and a “stuffing” aioli) sound especially delicious.
Look at that gooey butteriness… Just this side of too rich for me, the sandwich’s arugula and sweet onions did a good job of complementing all that dairy and meat.
Afterwards, a walk on the beautiful High Line is the best way to work off the cheese bomb you just ate.
Murray’s Melts (at the Murray’s Cheese Greenwich Village location)
254 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014
January 26, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Photos from Esther and my summer meal at Momofuku Ssam Bar, which is still one of my favorite places to eat in the East Village.
A seasonal cocktail and the Penicillin – scotch, lemon, honey and ginger…all my favorite ingredients in one beverage with a giant ice cube.
The famous steamed pork belly buns with hoisin, cucumber, and scallions. Still so good that I could make a full meal out of these babies.
A new addition to the menu since my last visit – bbq buns with crispy pork belly, coleslaw, and smoked mayo. Maybe it was the novelty of the dish, but I think I actually preferred this version to the original, and Esther and I seriously contemplated ordering more.
A classic – spicy pork sausage and rice cakes. I always tell myself that I won’t order these again, but something about the crispy starch mixed with the crunchy Chinese broccoli and spicy meatiness of the sausage just keeps calling me back.
Silky Santa Barbara uni with some melon ice and a strange but tasty gelee (I vaguely remember a porky, ham flavor) with summer tomatoes.
Beef, two ways, with bulgur, fava beans and soubise. I think this may have been the first time I’d had bulgur actually and it was totally great – nutty flavor and a toothsome texture. The meat, as you can see, was also perfectly cooked. Just goes to show that while it may be easy to fall into the same great dishes again and again, it’s definitely worth your while to try new dishes at places where you’ve eaten many times in the past.
January 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Finally, exactly six months later, I’ve managed to post about Eleven Madison Park. This was without a doubt the longest (by the time Cindy and I finished this most expensive date ever, it was 1:30am), most extravagant, most memorable meal of Summer 2012 and going through the photos felt like I was reliving it over and over again. Apparently, a lot of the menu has changed since we visited – Daniel Humm, the chef, and the kitchen have revamped the menu twice, I believe – but I can’t imagine that the attention to detail, the warm service (unlike my initial impression of extreme fine dining restaurants, EMP’s staff was very friendly, un-pretentious, and patient, given our very late conclusion to the meal), and the exquisite food has gotten anything but better. I’m too lazy to go into detail about every dish, so just believe me when I say that every single course actually felt necessary (if that’s the right word) towards the overall progression of the meal and distinct in its own right, whether it was the concentrated flavors of the tomato tea, the nostalgia of the clambake, or the sheer unique-ness of the whey with curds and gnocchi.
There’s been a trend lately for high-end dining chefs to explore rustic, comfort food at a friendlier price point (chalk it up to the recession or whatever you want) but there’s still something to be said about taking the time (and money) to sit down and enjoy a long meal that lets you forget about everything else. It’ll be a while before I get to return to EMP (I’d love to try the duck course that everyone raves about), but I do think that, if you manage to get the hard-won reservation, it’s definitely well worth the splurge. Thank you to Daniel Humm, the EMP kitchen, and the amazing EMP staff for a truly unforgettable meal, and to Cindy for being crazy enough to go with me and spend so much on a single meal.
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10010
December 31, 2012 § 1 Comment
Horribly late with this post, a birthday dinner in July for Laura and Jackie at ABC Kitchen in Flatiron, a beautifully-designed restaurant inside/adjacent to ABC Carpet and Home. Possibly the best pizza I’ve ever had in my entire life (whole wheat with mushrooms, parmesan, oregano, and a fresh farm egg), a roast carrot and avocado appetizer that made me view “salads” in a whole new light, and some really gorgeous and tasty seafood – fried, steamed, roasted, you name it. This is a great restaurant for special occasions – friendly service that doesn’t hover, gorgeous interiors and wares, excellent, fresh food that doesn’t leave you feeling grossly stuffed.
35 E. 18th Street
New York, NY 10003
November 3, 2012 § 1 Comment
First, I just want to say that my thoughts go out to all those affected by Hurricane/Superstorm/Shitshow Sandy (if you’d like to make a donation to the Red Cross and relief efforts, here is the link). In light of all the destruction, it’s been amazing to see how people have come together and persevere through such difficulty. NYC in particular, hang in there! You’re still the best city on earth.
On a more positive note, I’m continuing with restaurant posts from this summer. This time, a brunch at Danny Meyer’s Maialino in the Gramercy Park Hotel with some Georgetown friends who’ve relocated to New York City. We ordered three snacks to share: potato skins with pecorino and black pepper, tomato risotto croquettes and mozzarella, and fried shishito peppers with lemon. All of them were well-executed; crispy potatoes that were well seasoned, creamy, comforting croquettes, and nicely charred and blistered peppers.
I wasn’t really craving anything sweet that morning, so I went with the spaghetti alla carbonara. It’s not a typical brunch dish but it includes creamy egg yolk and bacon-y guanciale, so it still hit the right note for me.
The other entrees were simple scrambled eggs with potatoes and mixed greens, ricotta pancakes with market fruit and fresh ricotta, and the daily omelette with a garden salad.
More than anything, this was a good meal accompanied by great conversation and lots of catching up. Maialino’s atmosphere and service is really casual and friendly, with lots of natural light during the day and rustic accents, and it’s the type of place where I’d love to have brunch with my girls every weekend, a la Sex and the City.
My hopes are with the NYC restaurants, especially those downtown, that were hit particularly bad by Sandy. Know that your patrons are rooting for your recovery and look forward when you’re able to open your doors again.
2 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
September 26, 2012 § Leave a Comment
One of the most memorable, delicious meals of the summer took place at Jesse Schenker’s Recette in Greenwich Village. The place had been strongly recommended to me by the same co-worker, Artemis, who said I had to visit Fatty ‘Cue, so after that meal, I knew to trust her completely. Laura had just finished a grueling exam for her summer engineering?architecture? class and we decided to take our time at dinner, ordering a number of small and large plates and 2 desserts…
The meal started with a cocktail, the J’ardin d’Eden – Hendrick’s gin, cucumber, basil, and ginger syrup – perfect for the summer and so refreshing when paired with all the rich, flavorful food we were about to dig into. Plus, anyone who has had drinks with me knows how much I love the gin and cucumber pairing.
For our “snack” plates, we ordered the salt cod fritters with lamb sausage ragu and curry aioli, the “buffalo” sweetbreads with pickled celery and blu di bufala dip, and the foie gras terrine. Each dish was so different yet all of them tasted amazing…The sweetbreads were cooked just right, with a crispy exterior and creaminess inside and the slightest offal flavor to remind you that you weren’t simply eating fried “stuff.” I, being the comfort food obsessive that I am, also really loved the genius riff on the classic wings and blue cheese combo. The cod fritters (which I usually associate with Spanish tapas) sounded the most interesting of the three, mainly because they’d been paired with lamb and curry of all things, and somehow, all the elements came together to create yet another fried food that I find myself craving at the most random times. The star, by far, however, was the foie gras terrine. It looked absolutely gorgeous on the plate, with this crazy gloss and tiny flakes of sea salt, and tasted even better…everything that foie gras is supposed to be – smooth in texture and uber-rich in flavor…drool.
Our next three plates (yes, we went a bit overboard) were the fresh cut spaghetti with sweet shrimp, stewed tomato, chili, and sea urchin, a duck breast with confit leg, spring peas, and arugula (I think?), and the Berkshire pork belly with rock shrimp, turnips, romesco and sherry caramel. It really was a meal where every, single effin’ dish blew our minds…and we managed to really slow down and take our time savoring every bite. The pasta was sweet from the tomato and incredibly luxurious due to the sea urchin, the duck breast (my favorite of the three), had the required crispy skin over a thin layer of fat and the meat was cooked medium-rare – it really didn’t even need all the other garnishes and accompaniments in my opinion because it was so flavorful, and the pork belly may have been the best of many, many pork belly dishes in the city.
But amazingly, we weren’t done yet. I think our waiter must’ve been a bit shocked by how dedicated we were to this dinner. For dessert, we ordered the “s’mores” – graham cracker ice cream, toasted marshmallow, and hot chocolate ganache – and another dish that’s unfortunately no longer on the menu but included passionfruit creme with pastry, diced mango, and orange (?) sorbet…this took place so long ago that my memory’s a bit foggy. Anyway…as much as I tend to like savory food more than sweet, these were both excellent and perfect conclusions to our long, super-indulgent meal.
328 W. 12th Street
New York, NY 10014
September 14, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Damn, just saw that these photos were taken on June 28…boy, am I behind.
Anyway, this was a meat-centric dinner with Laura and Katie at the amazing Fatty ‘Cue in West Village (just a couple blocks from my summertime apartment), one of Zak Pelaccio’s many awesome restaurants. By the way, I liked this a lot better than Fatty Crab, which was still pretty good in itself. Lament the lack of greens and fiber all you want, but at the time, we were in the mood for juicy, Asian-influenced barbecue and little else.
Ham, jam, butter and bread
Toasty pretzel rolls served with rosy, fatty ham, a condiment called cincalok made with itty bitty fermented shrimps, and dry-fish-dusted butter. So many funky elements in one starter…
1/2 pound deep-fried bacon with sweet and spicy salsa verde
Yes, you read that right, and it was bleeping delicious. Slightly charred pork belly with layers of fat and lean meat, paired with a picante, acidic sauce to balance everything out.
Heritage pork ribs with Indonesian long pepper, fish sauce, and palm sugar
Incredibly tender and running-down-your-arm juicy…Pelaccio emphasizes palm sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice as the holy trinity of Southeast Asian cooking and it comes across the most in this simple-looking dish. The best part was tearing meat off the rib with our sticky fingers and dragging it through that sweet, sweet jus.
Fermented sausage with asparagus, ginger, chili, toast and poached egg – more funk (in a totally good way)
Lamb shoulder with yogurt dip and grilled pita
For a primer on Southeast Asian cooking with Zak Pelaccio, Bon Appetit has a pretty cool feature which you can find here
50 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014