Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Isn't it crazy to think that in a city filled with so many different cuisines like big bowls of Pho from Vietnam, spicy Mapo Tofu from China and even those huge Beef Ribs of Texas, that only two or three places exist focusing on Hawaiian food; and year old Noreetuh happens to be one of them.

Located in a tiny space just off St. Mark's Noreetah is a sparsely decorated, casual spot helmed by Chef Chung Chow (former sous chef at Per Se).  The menu is broken into three sections beginning with "snacks" like salty, earthy Taro Chips dusted with shaved black truffle, perfect for munching on with a crisp cold Hawaiian beer or possibly a bit more daring the Mochiko Chicken Wings.

The first bite of these wings can be a little harsh, almost like biting straight into the rind of a citrus fruit.  That would be the Calamansi; a Filipino hybrid of the mandarin orange and kumquat that has a strong sour, bitter flavor. It can be a bit shocking but I implore you to keep eating. Your taste-buds will recover on the second bite and sweet, juicy flavors of orange and spicy chili come to the forefront melding together into a gorgeous tropical sauce that is deliciously addictive.

Starters include six different raw fish dishes and one vegetarian. The Poke craze that is rolling around the city is alive and well here with an incredible bowl of Big Eye Tuna dotted with sliced macadamia nuts, seaweed and pickled jalapenos.

Entrees like Spam Agnolotti with snow peas,  Kaluha Pork Cavatelli and Mochi Crusted Bass all seem intriguing.  However I suggest checking out the Pork Porterhouse; an enormous piece of tender, juicy meat dressed with caramelized pineapple, chanterelle mushroom and spring onion- a true taste of the islands.

128 1st Avenue at St. Mark's Place
New York, NY 10009

Friday, July 22, 2016

New Brew Friday- Bells Double Two Hearted

It's New Brew Friday and I'm drinking a beer that's so new I didn't even know it existed- Double Two Hearted from Bells Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  I've always been a big fan of their regular Centennial hopped IPA Two Hearted so seeing this double version on tap at the Double Windsor is sheer excitement.

Huge aromas of candied orange, grapefruit and pine burst from the glass.  All the flavors of a regular Two Hearted are present but ultra magnified; intense grapefruit, mango, pine and sweet malt with an aggressively bitter hoppy finish.  This is one big boozy DIPA- cheers to the weekend!

Bell's Brewery

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fette Sau

BBQ and America go together just like beer and pretzels.  So 4th of July we headed to Fette Sau to celebrate and have a much needed meat fest.

Fette Sau is set up very similar to Hometown BBQ with a counter in the back for ordering food, a separate bar focused on local craft beers and big communal tables both indoors and outside. The line was pretty long when we arrived but it ended up taking us only about 20 minutes to get to the ordering station. 

I was pretty bummed that the smoked pastrami and beef ribs both ran out before we got to the front.  I guess that's one of the downfalls of dining over a holiday weekend. However we did our usual over-ordering and had more than enough to eat with Spare Ribs, Pulled Pork and Brisket.  

I really liked the smoky, crackly brisket that was right in between fatty and lean and of course the amazing side of Baked Beans.

The sauce was a bit too rich but the massive amount of burnt ends inside that tiny bowl was astonishing.  There were so many huge chunks of meat! Plus they gave us those slightly sweet Hawaiian rolls instead of plain bread which is a big win in my book.

Another surprise win was the side of Broccoli Salad.  It was bright and sour, not quite pickled but with great acidity for cutting through the fatty meat.

After dinner it was over to Spuyten Duyvil for some relaxing beers in the backyard followed by rooftop drinks and fireworks.

Another great 4th of July in the books!

354 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ippudo Westside

Sunday of 4th of July weekend felt like a magical snow day of sorts to me.  We had zero obligations, the city was completely empty and there was no work the following day. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to take Mr. T to lunch at one of my favorite Korean spots Danji.  

I'll admit maybe somewhere in our area may have been a better choice. Both of us had a few too many beers the night before and traveling up to the westside didn't exactly seem like fun but I was determined.  I really, really wanted to eat at Danji.  So I dragged Mr. T off the couch and onto the excruciating hot train up to Hell's Kitchen; through all of the tourists and sailors in Times Square finally to Danji where we found the grate pulled shut and lights off.  CLOSED! I couldn't' believe it! I had even checked the website to make sure they were open however in my holiday weekend excitement I kept thinking it was Saturday not Sunday and yeah...we were completely out of luck. I could see this error quickly escalating Mr. T from Code Yellow hangover toward Code Red anger but lucky for me one of his favorite spots was just around the corner and actually open...Ippudo Westside.  

Nobody can stay angry while eating the delicious Hirata buns at Ippudo.  Steaming hot rice buns stuffed with a sweet and spicy pork belly, crisp lettuce and mayo.  These glorious little pockets of goodness were only surpassed by the amazing Frozen Yuzu Sake-Rita; basically a sour cocktail slushie that completely took away any of the beer blues from the night before.

An order of Tori Karaage served with shishito peppers and a spicy mentaiko mayo.  These always take a little longer to make than the other dishes but it's worth the wait for that salty, crisp exterior and juicy innards.  Just be careful not to burn the roof of your mouth on the first bite (I do almost every singe time).

And of course a big steaming bowl of Akamaru Modern style ramen with pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms and Ippudo's Umami Dama paste.  It was all smiles and happy bellies after this bowl of filling noodles :)

Ippudo Westside
321 West 51st Street btw 8th & 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10019

Friday, July 15, 2016

Let's Talk Bordeaux

Bordeaux wines are one of the most famous wine blends in the world and along with that distinction boast some of the heftiest price tags.  Even the newest vintage of First Growth Bordeaux wines such as Chateau Margaux and Chateau Mouton Rothschild sell for an average of $1,000 and up.  What many people don't realize is that many smaller producers are creating beautiful, well balanced Bordeaux wines that are absolutely wonderful at just a fraction of the cost.  I had the pleasure of exploring some of these a few weeks ago with the incredible wine maker and consultant Olivier Dauga; whose love of loud shirts and rugby was only surpassed by his passion for creating approachable and affordable Bordeaux wines. Here are four of my favorite from the evening:

Chateau Macay 2011 Classic-  This wine has a gorgeous clear garnet color with bright, aromatic dark fruit flavors and subtle hints of spice. It's a soft elegant wine perfect for just about any occasion.
Price- $20 

Chateau La Pirouette 2011- This wine is a classic Bordeaux blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot aged 12 months in new oak barrels.  It has a dark cherry complexion with a big red fruit aromas and well structured balance of spice, oak and cherry.
Price- $25

La Pommeraie De Brown 2012- This wine pours a beautiful scarlet red with purple tints and strong aromas of wood, tobacco and chocolate.  It's big and round; best paired with something earthy and rich like a mushroom lasagna or slow braised short rib.
Price- $34

Chateau Brown 2012- Much deeper purple in color than it's counterpart the Pommeraie with a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Petite Verdot.  The aroma is licorice, earth and smoke with flavors of both black and red cherries with a round silky body.

Price- $45