Thursday, October 20, 2016

Romagna Ready 2 Go

I was recently invited to check out Romagna To Go located on the bustling corner of Bleeker and Macdougal Street.  I've probably walked back this spot a hundred times, always assuming it was just a grab and go slice joint.  Instead I found a full on Italian restaurant inside with just about everything except pizza.

There were delicious crostini's topped with a creamy layer of mushroom...

...thick pillowy truffle fries served with garlic aioli...

...and a hearty combination of more earthy ingredients in the rich Mushroom Truffle Risotto.

Everything was delicious but my absolute favorite of the night were these incredible little sausages that had just the right amount of spice and a snappy outer casing.  I would pair some of these with a nice bubbly Prosecco any day.

Romagna offers a great happy hour with $7 red wine, white wine, prosecco and $5 Italian beers all perfect for sipping in their cozy hidden patio in the backyard.

182 Bleeker Street at MacDougal
New York, NY 10012

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Spain's Great Match

Spain's Great Match celebrated its 23rd year of wine and food design at the IAC building last week. Over 300 incredible wines were poured during the press tasting and even more at that evening's public event.   I began my day with an incredible seminar The Sommelier's Guide to Spain with moderator Steve Olson, whose stunning resume includes Gramercy Tavern's first sommelier when they opened the doors 22 years ago.  He choose selections according to "a wine of place" wines so unlike any other they could only be created in a specific region, this region of course being Spain.

I really loved each selection from this seminar but highlights included the light and lively Pares Balta Blanca Cava that seemed to just dance across my taste buds, the always elegant 2009 Muga Prada Enea Gran Riserva and the 2014 Volover Triga that had such a well structured body and long lingering finish it was truly close to perfection.

The walk around tasting paired regional food with the wine, something to be expanded during the evening event with local Spanish restaurants like Amada, Casa Mono, Salinas and Tia Pol on hand serving up tapas.

As I moved from station to station I was amazed how much I was enjoying the array of wines. Even the full bodied reds reaching 15% were incredibly smooth and well balanced.  I tend to lean heavily towards the big Italian reds when dining out but I found myself loving the complexity and richness of these wines in a totally different way.

In the afternoon we headed upstairs for one more seminar with Steve Olson this time Unveiling the Mystery of Bierzo, a small remote region in the north west of Castilla y Leon.  I could seriously listen to Steve talk about wine all day; his energy and enthusiasm for the grape is impossible not to love.

Cheers to Spain's Great Match- I can't wait to see these fantastic wines start popping up on more wine lists.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Lunch at Cafe Mogador

There are very few places in NYC that can survive the cut throat restaurant business. Especially any place that is both delicious AND affordable but somehow Cafe Mogador has done just that.  This cozy little Moroccan bistro opened back in 1983 when the East Village was a hard gritty neighborhood ravaged by the heroin epidemic.

Obviously the village has changed dramatically since then but Cafe Mogador surprisingly remains the same.  A snug respite with fantastic food, hand made cocktails and an eclectic crowd that make it one of the city's best people watching spots.

Cafe Mogador is well known for its house tagines but the menu also includes other wonderful options like Hanger Steak, Grilled Chicken Curry and this incredible Chicken Kebob sandwich served inside a freshly baked pita with house tahini sauce and arabic salad.  It's simple, delicious and for just $10 an incredible value.  This place just makes me happy in every way.

Cafe Mogodar
101 St. Marks Place
New York, NY 10009

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Quick Weekend in Boston

One of the best trips in my life was three years ago when Mr. T, myself and six other friends headed to Denmark for the Copenhagen Beer Celebration.  We crushed Vanilla Bean Dark Lords at Mikkeller and Friends, dined at the world's best restaurant Noma and spent twelve incredible hours drinking some of the best beer in the world at the CBC festival.  We talk about going back to Copenhagen every year but a trip that big is a huge undertaking.  So when the Copenhagen Beer Celebration announced they were bringing the festival to Boston this fall tickets were purchased immediately and we all traveled there for the weekend.

We rolled in on Thursday night and headed to dinner at the trendy supper club Yvonne's.  I feel in love with this place immediately.  Gorgeous chandeliers dripped diamonds from the ceiling,  guests clinked glasses at the long mahogany bar (hand carved by French woodworkers in 1886) and oh the glorious cocktails.

Let's just say we enjoyed a LOT of them from the fruity vacation style King Louie to the rich, frothy Espresso Martini's each cocktail was a prime example of top tier mixology.

Friday morning we woke up and headed to Trillium Brewing to pick up beer for home then stopped into Row 34 next door for a lunch of buttery Lobster Rolls and creamy Clam Chowder.

Friday night kicked of session one of the Copenhagen Beer Celebration in City Hall Park.  I was a little worried about all of the steps when heading into this event but the location couldn't be more perfect.  The wide open space never felt crowded and at night the buildings of downtown Boston provided an absolutely breathtaking scene against the midnight blue sky.

I honestly didn't think Boston could live up to the Copenhagen fest but the amount of rare beer, either not distributed in the United States or extremely hard to find, was pretty impressive.  Cigar City brought the elusive Marshal Zhukov's Final Push and Good Nightmare Mekong; a rich coconut coffee stout that I absolutely adore.  Arizona Wilderness stunned with a cacao nib, pepper Presidential Stout aged in Woodford Reserve Barrels and  Cellermaker's No Nelson IPA kept me coming back for more.  But most memorable in this incredible line up were the lambics from Belgium brewery Bokkereyder.  These guys brought almost every beer in their catalog and each one was artfully well balanced from the subtly sweet Framboos Vanille to the tart jammy Pinot Kriek.

Sunday morning we planned just enough time for a fantastic brunch at Ward 8 complete with porcelain punch bowls and a crazy delicious Cobb Salad before hopping back on the train to NYC. 

It was another great weekend and a fantastic beer festival.  I may not make it to Copenhagen again next year but I'll certainly be returning to Boston.

2 Winter Place
Boston, MA 02108

Copenhagen Beer Celebration
City Hall Park

Ward 8
90 North Washington Street
Boston, MA 02113

Monday, October 10, 2016

Salt & Pepper Honey Chick'n at Shack Shake

The newest creation on the Shack Shake menu was unveiled last week and I pretty much fell in love with the Salt & Pepper Honey Chick'n Sandwich.  

It's their classic buttermilk fried chicken breast, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, dusted with black pepper and coated in salted honey.  The entire sandwich somehow retains that wonderful crunchy exterior while the griddled potato bun soaks up all that honey goodness in one sweet and salty hug.

Currently this sandwich is only available at Brooklyn Shake Shack locations which makes me incredibly happy to have my office in Brooklyn Heights.

Multiple Locations in NYC