Gelato and Osteria Morini

April 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dessert before dinner. That’s how Laura and I started this evening of eating, which turned out to be all about Italian flavors. We actually stumbled upon this outpost of L’Arte del Gelato by accident, tucked away into the corner of 7th Avenue and Barrow Street, and after a long afternoon of wandering downtown on a sunny day, we couldn’t wait until after dinner for a sweet bite. Laura had the mixed berry and amaretto (my new favorite) and I had grapefruit campari with budino di riso (rice). What I always love about the gelato here is the incredibly bright and intense flavors – grapefruit is slightly bitter but sweet and bursting with citrus, amaretto tastes like the purest form of almond aside from eating the nut itself.

After more walking, we were completely exhausted and starving once again (no surprise there). Luckily, we were very close to Osteria Morini, Michael White’s more casual Italian restaurant, and sat down to a very leisurely meal of cured meats and insanely good pastas.

We began with a selection of meats and cheese – prosciutto di Parma, sopressata (a sweet cured pork sausage), and quadrello di Bufala (a semi-soft cheese made from buffalo’s milk). Our selection also came with a generous side of accompaniments and bread. There was grilled bread, bread studded with currants, and a puffy bun-like bread along with dried figs, roasted almonds, and a master-fat-like spread tasting strongly of pork and herbs. I can never really find complain about good quality cured meats and these were superb, and as someone who usually doesn’t care much for cheese, this buffalo’s milk choice was quite good, not too funky and quite creamy and smooth.

The pastas, however, were the hands-down highlights of the meal, and I finally got to see what all the Michael White fuss is about. If he make a seemingly simple meat sauce this great, I can’t wait to see what he does with the bone marrow and baby octopus fusilli dish at Marea. We ordered the cappelletti, a truffled ricotta ravioli with melted butter and prosciutto, and the gramigna, macaroni with pork sausage, peas, cream, and black pepper.

I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but these dishes were among the most comforting, yet most intensely flavored, pastas I’ve ever had, and you could tell that they had been made fresh. The cappelletti especially hit you on the head with its truffle and ricotta filling – creamy, earthy, and out of this world – and didn’t even need the extra prosciutto to make a strong impression. The gramigna was equally packed with flavor; the pasta had the perfect texture and wasn’t overwhelmed by the pork sausage and cream sauce, and that extra sprinkling of Parmiggiano didn’t hurt either.

So, another Italian food gem in Soho. This, like OTTO, is a place that’s perfect for unwinding after a long day at work or school. You could just pull up a chair at the bar, order a glass of red wine or a cocktail and one of the amazing pastas, and just take your time savoring each bite.

L’arte del Gelato
75 7th Avenue S (Barrow Street)
New York, NY
212.924.0803

Osteria Morini
218 Lafayette Street
New York, NY
212.965.8777

Eating across the boroughs

July 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Yet another day of traipsing around New York City, this time in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Brooklyn Flea Market in Fort Greene (where I got the first nasty sunburn of the summer).

Asia Dogs: the Vinh (aioli, pate, cucumbers, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, and jalapeno) and the Wangding (Chinese BBQ pork belly, onions, and cucumber). The Vinh was the better of the two, since the pickled vegetables balanced out the meatiness of the dog. Plus I love anything with cilantro. On the other hand, the pork belly and accompanying that topped the Wangding was a bit too salty and syrupy for my taste.

Asia Dog

Salvatore Bklyn, makers of the best ricotta (insanely creamy and rich) and olive oil I have ever had. Literally went cross-eyed when I had my first bite. With just-sliced prosciutto and arugula on fresh bread…absolute heaven on earth. I could eat five, no six, of them and consider it a perfect meal.

Salvatore BKLYN

Chelsea Market for more gelato from L’ Arte del Gelato…this time pear and grape sorbet. No, sadly, these cups weren’t all mine.

Gelatoooo

Company Pizza (again) in Chelsea for a relaxed dinner, complete with a whole growler of Allagash White (props to Maria’s boyfriend, Dave, for introducing me to a new favorite beer), veal meatballs, bread and butter, and three different pizzas.

Growler of Allagash

Veal meatballs, homemade sauce, parmesan, and basil with truccio sare bread and butter

Flambe: bechamel, parmesan, mozzarella, caramelized onions, bacon lardons

Boscaiola: tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, red onion, chili

Special of the day: English peas, pea shoots, prosciutto, bechamel (my favorite of the three)

 

Brooklyn Flea Market
176 Lafayette Avenue (between Clermont and Vanderbilt Avenue)
Saturdays, 10 am – 5 pm
http://www.brooklynflea.com/

Asia Dog

Salvatore BKLYN 

 

 

 

 

 

My new favorite ice cream flavor

June 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

When it comes to ice cream, I tend to stick to the classics. Rich, bittersweet chocolate, a good tart raspberry sorbet, maybe some creamy, nutty pistachio.

Flavors at L'Arte del Gelato

L’arte del Gelato in Chelsea Market had all of those, but when Laura and I went a couple weeks ago, I found myself drawn to the grape sorbet and rice pudding ice cream. My God. That grape sorbet is my new, hands-down favorite flavor. And that includes the amazing pear sorbet from Bent Spoon in Princeton. You know how grape medicine always tasted absolutely vile? If it tasted like this, I would’ve chugged it all the time. It actually tasted like real grape. Luscious but clean, tart but sweet, with actual grape skins mixed in.

budino di and grape

The budino di riso was the perfect contrast against the sorbet, with its luxurious creaminess. It never occurred to me to “freeze” rice pudding and call it ice cream, but it worked here. And the texture, with all those little pearls of rice, was something new.

Laura raved about her peach sorbet and panna cotta (creme caramel) but I was too blissed out with my own cup of heaven.

L’Arte del Gelato
75 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
212.366.0570
http://www.lartedelgelato.com/index.php

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