Monday, February 27, 2017

Bagatelle

Bagatelle is definitely best known for its over the top afternoon brunch parties filled with magnums of champagne, DJ's and lots of fabulous people dancing the day away.   Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon in my book but what about the other days of the week?  Well actually the other days of the week Bagatelle is a gorgeous, somewhat serene spot with some incredible food and a fun, classy atmosphere perfect for a party, a lively dinner or just some drinks and snacks at the bar.  Here's some shots from a recent food blogger dinner.



Charcuterie Board- Coppa Calabresse, fennel salami, chorizo, country style pate, liver foie gras pate, smoked bacon saute and butter whipped cordo.  Meat upon meat upon meat; this is a great way to get a party started.


Fried Calamari with pesto tzatziki sauce.  The breading on these was perfect- just lightly battered without a hint of grease.


Steak Tartare Croustillant- bite sized rice cakes topped with a beef tartare blend.  I absolutely adore Steak Tartare and these were phenomenal.  The seasoning was just right, spicy but not overpowering and the rice cakes gave them a satisfying crunch.


Halibut Ceviche with sweet potatoes, lime, frisee salad and leche de tigre.  This was a great dish for the spring like day we were having- light and fresh with excellent acidity.



As was the zesty Tuna Tartare topped with avocado salad and crispy Taro Chips.


Grilled Whole Maine Lobster with linguine in Bagatelles secret sauce followed along the "party" theme with its extravagant presentation...


...while slightly more subdued but just as beautiful Grilled Salmon with quinoa, cauliflower and squid ink.


Whole Roasted Chicken is still a huge hit on many of the city's top restaurants and the Bagatelle version was fantastic; filled with county potatoes, onion confit, mushroom and a flurry of black truffles on top.


And Grilled Wagyu Steak with brussels sprout, butternut squash and a wonderful porcini cream sauce.

Desserts are definitely not to miss- the Peanuts & Co. was a sparkling golden blend of milk chocolate mousse, peanut butter and caramel...


...and the classic Creme Brulee hit all the high marks.  Thick and creamy inside with a crackly golden brown top just perfect for smashing with a fork.


But for those truly looking to stay in "party" mode there's the Bagatelle Mega Sundae, an enormous bowl of ice cream, marshmallow, granola and chocolate sauce all topped off with Chantilly, caramel and a dazzling sparkler.  There's not many ways to end a meal better than that.

1 Little West 12th Street
New York, NY 10014

Friday, February 24, 2017

New Brew Friday- NYC Beer Week 2017

It's that time of year again- the annual NYC Beer Week returns for another 8 day celebration of New York City beer.  The Opening Bash Invitational kicks off tomorrow night at the Brooklyn Expo Center with 25 local breweries and 25 brewery friends from across the country joining together for a fantastic night of food and drink. Tickets are only $55.00 and can still be purchased on their website.  Can't make it to the Opening Bash- no worries! There are fantastic events all week long. Here are some of my top picks:

Monday February 27th

  • Grimm at Saint Gambrinus-  Head to Brooklyn for a total tap takeover of Grimm Artisanal Ales.  This brewery is absolutely crushing the NYC beer scene and on tap are delicious sours like Skyspace and Blackberry Orange Pop along with citrus IPA's Lambo Door and Lumen.  Have a few drinks at the bar and then take home some local bottles from the beer store in back.
Tuesday February 28th
  • All NY Beer Event at One Mile House- Those looking to check out all that New York has to offer should head to One Mile for list boasting 25 different local breweries. Brand new upstate favorites Equilibrium and Hudson Valley Brewery will be on hand along with the two new collaborations beers from Barrier and Other Half Throw Some Mo' and Don't Sweat the Technique.  Since One Mile House offers beer flights its entirely possible to try out the whole list in just one night!
Thursday March 2nd
  • Beer and Charcuterie Pairing Class at The Wine Lab- Sip on some local NYC suds while chowing down on cuts of charcuterie from all over the world.  Guests will learn the basics of beer and how to pair each glass with a delicious meat.  This is a perfect night out for a group or a casual date.
Saturday March 4th
  • Gun Hill 3rd Anniversary-  Close out NYC Beer Week up in the Bronx as Gun Hill Brewery celebrates their 3rd Anniversary.  On tap will be a special batch of their award winning beer Void of Light fermented with Cocoa Nibs and Coconut. They'll also be releasing some bottles of this special anniversary batch to go.
Various Locations in NYC

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tim Ho Wan

Dim sum restaurant Tim Ho Wan has dropped anchor in the East Village and the excitement for these cheap, Michelin starred Hong Kong eats has been non-stop.  The line on 4th avenue stretches around the block most days with waits often quoted at one to two hours.  Inside the small, sparely decorated space buzzes with happy diners ordering an array of small bites from the picture menu like the incredible Char Siu Bao.


Those even slightly familiar with Cantonese cuisine should know of this popular bun stuffed with slices of barbecue pork.  Here at Tim Ho Wan the bun is baked with an outer shell that's both crisp and flaky with a slightly sweet flavor that reminded me of the egg buns my Polish grandmother used to bake.


The inside is stuffed with thick pieces of chopped pork without the gristle or grease of other restaurants; just pure salty BBQ pork goodness.  I honestly never fully understood the allure of the Char Siu Bao until coming here and now I may never be satisfied by one again.  These are AMAZING.


The Deep Fried Pork Dumplings were similar in texture with the outer shell being more like a slightly sweet cake.


The only big miss for me were the Steamed Dumpling Chiu Chow style.  The outside shells were thin and rubbery which made the skin stick to the basket and rip apart.


Inside the blend of chopped peanut, pork, dried shrimp and garlic sadly fell by the wayside as I was unable to get a full bite from any of the dumplings in my basket.

I was absolutely stuffed after this meal and even had to bring home a few leftovers with the total bill still under $20.00 (with a beer).  This is another fantastic addition to ever growing chain Asian restaurant scene in NYC.  

85 4th Avenue at Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Lunch Dish at Wagamama

The explosion of international chain restaurants continue as the first NYC Wagamama opened on 5th Avenue this past Fall, causing a line of hungry guests to camp outside in wait for their delicious bowls of ramen, donburi and curry.  I love all three of those things but I was honestly most excited for their insanely delicious Warm Chili Chicken Salad.



Baby Gem Lettuce studded with stir-fry chicken mixed with red pepper, onion and broccoli then tossed with chili, spring onion and cashews in a sweet chili dressing.  It's spicy and sweet; one of my all time favorite lunch salads.  I've ordered this dish at both the Wagamama in Copenhagen and London so it's nice to finally be able to enjoy on my soil (not to mention 3 blocks from my apartment).

Wagamama
210 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010

Monday, February 20, 2017

Brunch at Florian

Mr. T and I don't have any children and to be quite honest we have no clue what to do when we're around them.  I remember my sister-in-law bringing her twins into the city when they were about five years old and I suggested we eat at Eataly.  Within 60 seconds of walking into the store a barrel of oranges were rolling on the floor and both kids had manged to touch every single fruit in the immediate area.  Needless to say I didn't exactly think that spot through.  So when my friends suggested brunch with their newborn baby I really tried to think of a place that would be comfortable and quiet during brunch, with wide lanes for a stroller and a somewhat calm pace and Florian ended up being just that place. 

The brunch menu at Florian definitely leans towards lunch fare like creamy Carbonara Pasta, hearty Chicken Parmigiana and a large selection of thin crust pizzas like the Braised Short Rib & Meatball with pomodoro and basil...


...and the crispy Breakfast Pizza with porchetta bacon, caramelized onion and fennel powder topped with two fried eggs.  Fans of  thin crust pizza will definitely enjoy the cracker thin style of these pies.


I ordered the Classic Eggs Benedict with Prosciutto di Parma in place of Prosciutto Cotto (which they had no trouble substituting which was nice)  served atop English Muffins with a light zesty salad on the side.  Nothing was exactly mind blowing here but everything was delicious and the gorgeous dining room stayed at a low comfortable murmur the entire meal which is exactly what we were looking for. 



The meal concluded with complementary Chocolate Chip cookies fresh from the oven which is always a big winner in my book.  

Florian Cafe
225 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003