Big Star Chicago

June 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

After so many years of saying that I’d visit, I finally took a trip to the Windy City as a short break before bar review began. Much eating and touristy activities ensued, including an inaugural meal with Esther (who, together with her husband Bryan, graciously housed Jee and me during our stay) at Paul Kahan’s super chill restaurant Big Star in the hipster-ish Wicker Park neighborhood, where we indulged in Palomas, margaritas, and an assortment of tacos.

My favorite dishes were definitely the queso fundido, a molten mixture of queso Chihuahua with poblanos, and housemade chorizo generously smeared on warm corn tortillas, and the fish tacos with beer battered tilapia, chipotle mayonnaise, cabbage, lime, and cilantro.

Classic margarita and La Paloma

Tacos de panza with crispy braised pork belly, tomato guajillo sauce, queso fresco, onion, and cilantro

Tacos al pastor – marinated spit-roasted pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, grilled onion, cilantro

Queso fundido – my favorite

Tacos de pescado

 

Big Star
1531 N. Damen Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60622
773.235.4039

 

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Summer RW meals at Nougatine and Colicchio and Sons

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.

A bottle of Morgon 2010

Corn cucumber shooter

Tomato and avocado gazpacho

Roasted salmon, greens and sweet chili vinaigrette

Roast chicken dish

Summer dessert and poached fruit

The classic Jean-Georges molten chocolate cake

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.

Inside the Tap Room

Cold corn vichyssoise

Steak tartare and chips

Panzanella with burrata cheese

Steak with bone marrow butter, greens, and horseradish cream

Chicken with farro and mushrooms

Heavenly beignets

Think that finally might be the last of the summer 2012 posts. Now to get through Winter and Spring 2013!

Nougatine
Trump Hotel Central Park
1 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
212.299.3900

Colicchio & Sons
85 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
212.400.6699

ABC Kitchen

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.

Roast carrot and avocado salad, crunchy seeds, sour cream, and citrus

Pretzel dusted calamari, marinara, mustard aioli

Fried soft-shell crab with fried basil leaves and sweet chili vinaigrette

Starters

Maine lobster special of the day

Striped bass with baby spinach, potatoes and jus

A pizza to end all pizzas

ABC Kitchen
35 E. 18th Street
New York, NY 10003
212.475.5829

Brunch at Maialino

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.

 

 

Maialino 
2 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
212.777.2410

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