Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Choice Eats!!!!

I'm about to head out for the Village Voice Choice Eats Festival. Last year was their first one ever and I have to say it was pretty awesome. They moved the location this year from the Puck building to the Armory and there looks to be even more restaurants participating.

I'm really excited to try out Fatty Crab, Radegast & Kampuchea for the first time.

I'm even more excited to see what some of my favorites- Porchetta, Jimmys No. 43 and Fette Sau will be serving up!!!

Hopefully it will be lots of pork!

Tickets sold out a long time ago but you may still be able to get some via Craigslist. Hope to see everyone there!

Village Voice Choice Eats

Monday, March 30, 2009

Signs of Spring!!

Okay so it wasn't exactly warm out today but I was in the spring spirit. We decided to forgo making the dinner we had planned and headed over to shack shake for some awesome burgers.

As we waited for our food I decided to try out the beer they have on tap that's made exclusively for the Shake Shack from Brooklyn Brewery called the ShackMeister Ale.

I am always trying to support the local breweries and have tried almost every Brooklyn Brewery beer to date so I really needed to check this one out.
As you can see it wasn't exactly warm while we were drinking the beer but man I really enjoyed it.


Obviously a plastic cup isn't the best device for trying a new beer but at Shake Shack that's how they roll.

For such a bad drinking device this beer was excellent!

It poured a light amber and had quite the lacy head and a fantastic autumn smell.

The taste was wonderful as well. It had a nice malty dry hopped flavor that was perfect for drinking in the chilly park.

If they bottled this beer I would definitely buy a bunch.

It's too bad the Shack is the only place to get it.

While at the park I was surprised to see they installed televisions with various movies at the Shake Shack playing.



Was it art? Not art? Just entertainment?

Who knows but it was pretty cool and a sure sign that Spring weather is on its way!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thanks!!!

Just wanted to give a big shout of thanks to everyone who reads my blog!

I was pretty excited this week to be featured both on Eater and New York Magazines Grub Street. I really don't expect stuff like this and truly just do this to share some good food. So I just wanted to say a quick thanks!! It made me my week!

I celebrated by taking myself to Bespoke Chocolates for their Pretzel Covered Sea Salted Caramel Chocolates.



Oh my these are so delicious.

A piece of wonderful salty caramel is dipped in a rich milk chocolate and then doused with bits of pretzels.

Sweet and Salty- my favorites!!

The owner is always super friendly and the pretzels come from Martin's Pretzels in the Union Square Greenmarket!

So I'm also supporting some local fooder makers.

What's not to love!

So Thanks again!!

Bespoke Chocolate

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wechsler's

We were walking around the East Village last weekend when we stumbled across this little gem.

They had a large green chalkboard menu standing up outside a small store front listing various german beers and grilled meats.



The front doors were slightly open and the smell of grilled sausages wafted out onto the sidewalk.

Hmmm…delicious German beer and grilled meats?? Two of my favorite things!

I was sold.

We grabbed a seat at the front entrance and ordered a couple Hefenweizens from the friendly German folks behind the bar.



With only three seats up front and two tables in the back, this is a very cozy little place. The wooden stools and dim lighting add to the effect and I found myself wanting to hole up for a while and leave the bustle of the outside world.

We really weren’t too hungry since we were on our way to dinner but we decided to order a bratwurst just to check it out.

(Thank goodness we did since our meal at China 1 turned out to be extremely uncomfortable and overpriced- but that’s for another post)




Long, skinny, salty and wonderfully snappy…Snappy, salty, skinny stuff!! Yum!!

The bratwurst was awesome! It came with some seriously strong sinus clearing mustard on the side (what is up with me and all the s words today?)

The paper it’s served on acts not only as a plate but a utensil as well. You simply tear off the perforated end and wrap it around the the brat as you dip it into the mustard.

But the best thing we ate here was actually the bread. (sorry for the silly picture)



I have no idea how they make this but it was amazing!!!

The exterior was super crunchy and the inside had a chewy, slightly sour flavor with airy pockets throughout. I mean this was one of the best breads I have ever had.

Mr. T even said it was better than Eleven Madison rolls and I have to agree.

I see this place getting very popular very soon. I kind of want to keep it my little secret but the food is too good to do that.

The currywurst looks to be their specialty and the pomme frites were getting their first fry of the night while we were there. Yum!! Good stuff!

Wechsler's 120 First Avenue (at 7th street)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Per Se

Monday afternoon I was riding up to the Bronx for a late day meeting. Since I never have much “above ground” train time, I used it as an opportunity to peruse some of my favorite food blogs.  I just happened to look at Eater where they had a report that Per Se was going to start serving an a la carte menu in the lounge that very day!

Holy Cats!Anyone who knows about food, knows about Per Se. And anyone who knows about Per Se, knows it is extremely hard to get into and very expensive.  $275 for a prix fix dinner (not including wine, etc) and usually requiring a 30 day in advance reservation.  So when I heard Per Se was going to start this offer, I knew I had a golden opportunity.  I was so excited I decided to go that very night. As soon as my meeting was over I headed back into Manhattan and right to the Time Warner Center.

I knew they opened at 5:30 and it was only about 5:15 when I arrived. I decided to grab a glass of wine at the Bouchon Bakery bar. I didn’t want to be the first person there after all!  I tried to drink it slow, sipping like a proper lady, but I was so excited!!  By 5:32 my wine glass was empty and I was shaking with anticipation. I couldn’t wait a minute longer so I headed upstairs.  The velvet rope was gone from the entrance and I could see the blue doors of French Laundry fame. I was so giddy, so excited and maybe a little buzzed from slamming that glass of wine. I walked right up and pulled on the silver handle.

Nothing happened.

So I pulled again. Again nothing.

So then I gave a push and another push.

Push, pull, push, pull- what the hell?

I’m sure they said they opened at 5:30.

Then I see a woman standing to the left, waving me inside by way of the incredibly obvious openings on either side of the decorative doors.

OMG I felt like the BIGGEST loser in the world.

Here I was going to one of the best restaurants in the world and before I even enter I have completely embarrassed myself.  Every bone in my body wanted to run away but somehow I managed to walk inside.
The nervous embarrassment then caused me to fumble with unbuttoning my coat. I was somehow unable to place my scarf  in my coat pocket like I have done a million times before…I was a mess.  Lucky for me, the staff at Per Se were trained not to give notice to these little foibles and they warmly took my coat and gave me a big smile when I asked about their new bar menu.  They took me inside to the lounge which was much larger than I had imagined and right to a big couch with a table facing right outside onto Central park.

The view was fantastic! I couldn’t believe how perfect the table was-definitely the best one in the lounge area by far.  My nerves seemed to calm a little and the waiter handed me the wine list to peruse.  I knew I wanted to relax and enjoy my meal so I decided to go for a half bottle of wine.  The waiter came over and took me through the list, making sure I would fine the best wine suited for my tastes, but also in my price range.



I ended up with a fantastic bottle of California Zinfandel.  Onto the food- here’s the salon menu for that day.





Although this is cheaper than their prix fix as you can see it is certainly not cheap! I was already exceeding the budget quota my non-profit salary can hold with the wine so I decided not to completely blow all of my savings and just go for an entrée.  But there were many lovely things to come before that was going to arrive.



To start they brought out two little Gruyere Cheese Gougeres.  Hot from the oven, these little balls had a fantastic golden brown outside and a wonderfully cheesy, creamy innard that was absolutely delicious.  The melty Gruyere cheese literally exploded when I bit in and it was kind of like eating a fantastic ball of fondue.  Next up was a small bowl of Celeriac Soup with Black Truffles.



Oh my goodness- this soup seriously made me swoon.  It had a thick almost velvety texture on the mouth and a deep earthy flavor that surpassed any soup I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. This just tasted elegant.  Next up they came around with a little cone of Salmon Tartar with Caramelized Onion and Crème Fraiche.



They set it down and I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I used to love salmon but developed quite a strange food allergy to the fish late in life.I went back and forth debating...I mean this is Per Se! I want to have everything they’re going to give me here because when will I be able to make it back?  And it’s not like I’m going to die or anything. However it would make me feel ill for the rest of the meal.  So I decided to try a tiny bit of the cone only and then set it down on my plate. The waiter came around and noticed I hadn’t eaten the salmon and inquired as to why.  I explained my food allergy and he immediately picked up my plate and said he would be back with a replacement. I said I didn’t mind but about two minutes later another waiter came around with a similar looking cone this time made of Beet, Horseradish Crème Fraiche and Black Pepper.

I am so glad they brought me something else because this was phenomenal.  The Beet did not taste like a regular Beet. I almost felt like I was eating a miniature roast beef sandwich. It had a meaty flavor that totally blew me away. I thought I was done with the freebies at this point but then came the largest basket of bread for one person I have ever seen.



There were four pieces of mini French baguette, three pieces of some kind of onion roll and five pieces of pretzel bread.  I had to try them all of course and the big winner of the night was the pretzel bread. Salty with a slight crunch but not too much, this bread was awesome! It tasted like it was fresh out of the oven and I wouldn’t be surprised if they fresh bake it every night. The waiter said the butter was from Vermont and that Per Se then adds some special fleur de sel before serving.



The butter was creamy and not to rich, almost silky in texture. I thought it was great but it didn’t compare to what I had at Blue Hill Stone Barns. That butter still holds the trophy in my book, however this may be in a tie for runner up with Eleven Madison.

Then my entrée arrived.  I ordered the Elysian Fields Farm’s “Carre D ‘Agneau Roti Entier” which is “Ris ‘Agneau”, hand rolled Garganelli, Split English Peas, Pearl Onions and Tokyo Turnips with Lamb sauce.  Look at this beauty!



It had basically three different components to the meat itself. A lamb chop, a small lamb loin and a lamb sweetbread.  The lamb chop was incredibly moist, the loin had a fantastic lamb sauce and the lamb sweetbread…Don’t get me started. This fried little nugget of goodness really added to the rich flavor of the dish. I was in love!The only problem I had with the dish were the other components. The Onions, Turnips and Peas were all very coarse. I’m not sure how they were cooked but everything was a little too hard.

When I eat an amazingly moist piece of meat I just want something that is going to complement that flavor and texture.  I don’t want to feel a cold hard pea in the mix. I kind of wish they had gone for some kind of pea puree instead that would still have a great flavor but not be a distraction texturally. However the meat was amazing and I enjoyed every last bite.

I was having such an enjoyable meal I decided to splurge on dessert and went with my waiter’s recommendation the selection of Sorbets.



From left to right we have the Buttermilk Sorbet with Lemon Poppy Cake underneath, a Caramelized Banana Sorbet, Coconut Sorbet with toasted Coconut and finally a rich Chocolate Sorbet with Chocolate shavings.  I love desserts like this because you get to try so many different flavors and they were all fantastic. If I had to choose a winner though it would be the Banana. I just love a good banana dessert!  So you would think I wouldn’t be able to move after all of this food but then they brought out some complimentary mignardises.



Again quite the large amount of treats for a solo diner. There were some jelly candies, an amazing peanut nougat candy and two kinds of chocolates one made with Caraway seeds.  I thought the Caraway seed Chocolate was a little strange and I’m not sure if I liked it or not but the peanut nougat was the bomb!  I tried one of each treat and was planning to ask the waiter to box up the rest to bring home to Mr. T. However the next thing I knew though I was delving into the rest and ended up eating them all!

Yes I admit I ate the whole tray and was quite happy about it.

On the way out I stopped back at Bouchon Bakery and got Mr. T a vanilla macaron to compensate. The final bill for this wonderfully amazing meal?

$133

Which is a HUGE amount of money for one person. Luckily I had just gotten my tax refund and felt I deserved the treat.  What made Per Se one the most amazing meals I have ever had was not only the food and view, but the service.  I have to say it was utterly impeccable.  My waiter was absolutely amazing. He truly seemed to take in interest in me not only as a diner but as a person. He would come by and casually chat as I waited between courses and never made me feel strange dining alone.

The service of the wait staff simply blew me away and that is the reason I am going to try even harder to save up my pennies for a full fledged meal in the main room.  Not only that but I completely forgot to check out the bathrooms! So I have to go back! Sigh…I have gotten a taste of Thomas Keller’s kingdom and I really hope to one day return to the castle.

Per Se

Monday, March 23, 2009

Per Se Preview

I went to Per Se today!!!! They started an a la carte menu in the bar and I took full advantage! The service and food were beyond compare and I will have a full review with pics tomorrow!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Standings

One of my favorite places to go grab a beer and watch a game is Standings in the East Village.

It’s a very small quaint bar that has more Sports memorabilia and TV’s than most of the large sports bars in the city.

What makes it extra special is their super friendly staff and wonderful selection of rotating beers on tap.

Most sports bars have the usual- Miller Light, Sam Adams and maybe a Bass or New Castle.

In other words- crap.

At Standing they focus more on craft breweries such as Sixpoint, Penn Brewing, Captain Lawrence, Otter Creek, etc.

In other words some darn good beer.

This past Sunday they held a special Dogfish head event where they tapped a keg of Dogfish Head Red and White.

Mr. T and I were in the village so we decided to swing by for a glass.

What’s so special about this beer?

Well it’s brewed with Pinot Noir juice concentrate and aged 89% on oak staves and 11% in Pinot Noir barrels.

Hmm...beer and Pinot Noir…oh and it’s 10% alcohol! Wa-blam-ohh!!



The beer poured a golden red color with a medium head at first that evaporated quite quickly leaving a nice lacing on the glass and a very small foam ring.

It had a sweet smell on the nose of caramel and apricots that was very gentle.

And man the taste!!! This was one of the smoothest, yet most complex tastes I have ever enjoyed in a beer.

Up front there was a big citrus flavor that gave away to a slightly sweet honey taste with a little bit of oak.

This was fantastic!! It had such a nice thick mouthfeel but was somehow extremely drinkable.

You would never be able to tell that this was 10%.

In fact- Mr. T didn’t know!

Halfway through our beers the wonderful bartender came over and chatted with us for a while about the drink.

After we told him how much we loved it he walked away saying- “you would never guess it was that strong.”

Mr. T looked at me kind of puzzled. Oh yeah- I forgot to tell him it was 10%.

Mr. T was absolutely floored. He is always drinking barely wines and black chocolate stouts and is used to the strong alcohol flavor in those big beers.

There was none of that going on here. I could easily drink a six glasses of this stuff…I wouldn’t be able to walk afterwards but I could drink it!

It was so yummy. I’ve been looking for it in the stores but have only found the Dogfish Head Black and Blue.

If anyone sees the Red and White anywhere please let me know. This been has made it to the top 10 list of my favorite beers and I would really like to enjoy some more before it’s all gone.

Standings Bar

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grand Sichuan

We have been on a serious Chinese food kick as of late and Sunday was no different. We woke up and didn’t feel like ordering anything so we walked down to St. Mark’s and decided to eat in at Grand Sichuan.

Grand Sichuan is on the second floor of a building that houses Super Cuts and Chipotle. (Can you believe what’s happened to this street!!!)

We got a great table right at the front of the restaurant over looking the street which was great for people watching.

One thing I liked about their menu was that every dish had a picture. The one thing I didn’t like were the delicious looking bubble tea pictures they had when they really didn’t sell any :( Oh well.

We decided to start with a small plate of Unagi and a special that day the Spicy Peanuts.



Okay the Spicy peanuts may be one of the best beer drinking foods I have ever tasted.

The peanuts were coated with a honey sugar glaze that had red pepper flakes mashed in.

Whew- these peanuts were spicy, hot and sweet all at once. Yum!!! For $5 it was pretty expensive for peanuts but I would get them again if we came with a group of people.

There were way too many peanuts for two people to ingest in one sitting. That would just be unhealthy.

The Unagi was pretty good. Unfortunately we had just eaten at Nobu next door the night before and experienced some of the best Unagi I have ever had.

Obviously this is a fish of a different color but I was kind of ruined for it by the stuff I had just had. I probably shouldn’t have ordered it.

For our main we got the Spicy Hunan chicken.



Basically flattened pieces of chicken sauteed together with green peppers, onions and a spicy Hunan sauce.

This dish was pretty good. The flavors were well balanced but almost not spicy enough for me.

Mr. T had ordered a side of spicy dumplings and I liked the sauce on this much better so I ended up dipping my chicken into that.

As you can see we were in quite the spicy mood!!

As usual we ordered more than enough food and ended up taking home a bunch with us in nice little Chinese takeout containers.

I never see those containers anymore. I really enjoy eating out of them and I don’t know why.

Nostalgic purposes I suppose.

So I thought Grand Sichuan was really good. I enjoyed the food and the view could not have been better. Definitely a solid place on St. Mark’s for some good Chinese food.

Grand Sichaun

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wogies

Mr. T and I used to frequent Wogies on a weekly basis about two years ago. This was one of the few places in the city where I could find a good chicken wing and I had to go often to get my fix.

Since then, I have learned to live without chicken wings as a staple in my diet but I couldn’t resist stopping by for a plate when we walked by the other day.

We were having a big dinner later so we decided just to split a plate of the Garlic Butter wings.

Before these babies were even within eyesight I knew they were on their way.

The strong smell of garlic permeated the air and my taste buds started to water in anticipation.



I felt like Pavlov’s dog for a minute.

My goodness…am I that easy to condition? Lol!

These wings were every bit as good as I remember- plump, juicy, fried to a perfect crisp and covered in a stinky garlic sauce. Then they top it off with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese perfect for soaking up some of the buttery goodness of this dish.

Yum!!! Greasy and good.

One thing I have to say about Wogies is that they don’t skimp on the sides. The carrots and celery were nice big cuts that seemed very fresh and the blue cheese dressing was stellar.



Wogies still continues to be one of my favorite wing joints in the city. Nothing will ever be able to beat the stuff they serve in Buffalo but it’s nice to have something that can curb my cravings.

Wogies

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Golden Unicorn

We found ourselves once again walking around Chinatown last week after a successful shopping excursion at J & R.

Hungry and cold we decided to try out a new place and headed over to the Golden Unicorn.

On the second floor of a building on East Broadway sits Golden Unicorn. Follow the blinking lights outside, up the elevator and into a huge dining room decked with bright red walls and big golden dragons.

We got there about 7:00 and the place was virtually empty. Only two other tables were filled and it felt strangely quiet in such a big room.

Undeterred we set down to ordering and got some tasty Cantonese dishes and a bottle of wine.

We decided on two dishes the Jumbo Shrimp and Chicken sizzling platter with garlic sauce and the Salt Baked Pork Chop with Chili.

The shrimp and chicken platter came out just as advertised- sizzling!!!



Huge chunks of chicken and shrimp were mixed with onions, green peppers and a spicy garlic sauce.

Mr. T and I always order the garlic sauce when there is a choice between spicy or garlic at Chinese places.

My question- what’s the difference? The garlic sauce is always super spicy as well!! This one was no different.

Big red flakes throughout the dish provided a powerful dose of spice and I was sweating a little bit as I ate.



Luckily they brought out a nice big bowl of peanuts which I threw into the shrimp dish to cool it down a bit.

Our other dish was the Salt Baked Pork Chop with Chili.



I actually didn’t care for this dish very much. The breading has a strange taste that we couldn’t quite figure out. It almost tasted like brown sugar. Kind of like a funnel cake.

Weird huh? Anyway it just didn’t do it for me.

However I happily ate the shrimp and chicken while Mr. T handled most of the pork.

Luckily a couple of big groups arrived while we ate so the room didn’t feel quite so empty.

We finished our meal with a complimentary plate of orange slices and some fortune cookies.


As we waited for the elevator down I couldn't help but laugh at this fire safety picture.



Look at this little guy!! Lol!! He's so skinney!!!

Anyway...Overall I enjoyed Golden Unicorn and would like to come back for brunch one day and try out the dim sum they are so famously known for.

Golden Unicorn

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Redhead

We met up with some friends a couple weeks ago to celebrate Fat Tuesday.

Well not really- it was just an excuse to go out for dinner!

We had heard so much about the Redhead we figured it was high time we check it out.

The Redhead has an old classic, warm kind of feeling to it. The rickety wooden bar and low, dim lighting (which is why the pictures are so dark) give it a certain charm. Kind of like putting on my favorite old sweatshirt it just had a comfortable feel about it.

We started off with some appetizers for the table of the famous Bacon Brittle and Sausage pretzel.



Now the brittle isn’t really a brittle. It’s more just peanuts tossed with some molasses and little pieces of bacon.

That being said however it was pretty awesome. If this is the nut mix you’re serving at your next party be sure to put me on the invite list!

Salty, sweet and incredibly addictive I kind of wish I wasn’t splitting them with the whole table.



The sausage and pretzel was really good as well.

The warm pretzel, made in house, had a strong wheat flavor that was incredibly fresh.

The kreuz market sausage was just as good as always and came grilled to snappy perfection.

Watch out for the mustard though- it’s fantastic but spicy! I think I cleared my sinuses out in one bite.

For my main dish I ordered the One Eyed Caesar Salad.



Fresh Romaine Lettuce tossed with a creamy Caesar dressing and topped with a One-Eyed Susan.

The One-Eyed Susan is basically a piece of bread that has a hole in the middle filled with a fried egg and topped with capers.

Yum!!! The One-Eyed Susan was awesome!!! They were a little heavy handed on the salt but the creamy Caesar dressing balanced that out.

One of the best Caesar salad’s I have had in a long time!

Mr. T got the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with cornbread, baby spinach, apples and walnuts.



The chicken was super crispy outside and super moist inside. Mr. T loves fried chicken and declared this as the best in the city.



The other dish of the night was a massive pork chop that came with some roasted brussels sprouts and an amazing pomegranate-pistachio relish that I could have slathered on everything!

I think we all pretty much licked the plates cleaned! I really wanted dessert but didn’t feel like looking like the only pig in the group so I held off.

However I have been dreaming about the Chocolate Bread Pudding they had listed on their menu ever since. It apparently comes topped with vanilla ice cream and their bacon peanuts. Yum!!!!!

I am planning to recreate the bacon brittle at home- maybe I can even try doing the whole dessert!

The Redhead was awesome. If you’re looking for some comfort food there’s no better place to go.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Ronnie Sue Chocolates

I hadn't been to Roni-Sue in forever!!!

She's one of my favorite NYC chocolate makers and I had been neglecting her!

I decided to swing by last week and check out what kinds of new stuff she had in stock.

I ended up picking up two pieces of chocolate that sounded awesome.



One piece of Beer, Pretzel and Chocolate and also a piece of Chocolate covered Bacon.



The beer pretzel chocolate was only so so.

I love salty with my sweet but there was too much bitterness going on in the chocolate to balance out the salty pretzel crunch.

The chocolate covered bacon fared much better.



OMG this was pure bliss!

A super crispy and high quality piece of bacon covered in silky rich milk chocolate.

This was out of this world!!!

Highly unhealthy and utterly delicious- this was fantastic.

So one slight miss and one huge hit from Roni-Sue. You gotta love her.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Snow Day at Eleven Madison

So this past Monday brought a slew of snow to the city and for the first time in 5 years I got a snow day!!!! No Work!

Holy Cats I was so excited!

The possibilities are endless on a snow day- there is so much I could do! I decided a good meal was in order.

After doing some shopping in SOHO I decided to head over to the Cub Room and check out the place since it was supposedly under new management.

As I was walking up to the restaurant I noticed a man outside scattering some salt on the sidewalk.

I was almost to the door the man threw the salt directly at me!! WTF!!!

I was so surprised I stumbled a little- I didn’t know what to do. I walked closer to the menus outside and stared intently at them waiting to see if he would apologize or even acknowledge me.

He did nothing except to scatter more salt on the ground. He barely even gave me room to look at the outside menu.

After feeling a little bit hurt by this man’s behavior and upon closer inspection of the completely deserted dining room I decided to go elsewhere.

I was kind of upset and battling the cold winds… I was beginning to think this SOHO trip was a bad idea.

I started to instead head for home when I thought- wait- what about Eleven Madison?

Yes that’s close to my house- Ching!

Yes it’s always amazing food and atmosphere- Ching! Ching!

Yes I have a $28 gift card to use from restaurant week- Ching! Ching! Ching!

Yes it’s 1:50 and they stop serving lunch at 2:00- Shit!!!!!!!

I raced to the subway and grabbed the train uptown. I got to Eleven Madison right about 2:03.

I was all ready to head for home when the hostess nicely said that they could accommodate me at the bar if I ordered right away.

Thank You! Thank You!

I was so happy. I took my seat and placed my order in about 2 seconds flat.

As my appetizer I chose the Winter Greens salad with Candied Walnuts and Fourme d’Ambert.



Look at this gorgeous plate! Micro greens were piled high atop a pile of chopped apples, cubes of cheese and enormous walnuts.

The Fourme cheese was a super stinky and strong bleu cheese that was a little overpowering on its own but absolutely delightful with the citrus from the apples and the oil of the dressing.

My favorite part of the salad was the walnuts. OMG I love candied nuts and these were amazing. I could have eaten a whole bowl full of these puppies- and I probably would have if I had the opportunity.

I won’t comment too much on the bread because I think you already know how good it is but man…It is so freaking good!!!



This time the roll was super strong in black olive flavor and arrived warm and toasty from the oven. Yum! I was on cloud nine and my main course hadn’t even arrived yet.

And here is my main course- the Seared Atlantic Skate with braised Endive, coconut and madras curry.



Now this dish is completely out of my comfort zone for ordering since I don’t usually like curry.

However I was feeling adventurous so I tried and it out and it was fantastic.

The skate had a fantastic crispy crust and was perfectly cooked.

The braising really brought out a nice nutty flavor to the endive and it paired nicely with the strong curry oil.

I finished the entire dish.

Now I have to say one of the best parts about my meal was not the food but the service.

The bartender was absolutely fantastic. When I asked about one of the wines he gave me a taste and explained the origin in great detail.

When I made a horrible face after tasting the wine he didn't make me feel bad but kindly laughed and offered me another one to have instead (the wine was Chasselas in case you were wondering...it's right up there with grappa in my book now).

He was very attentive and just a nice person to chat with as a solo diner.

Service can really turn a good meal into a wonderful experience.

I had no room for dessert so I paid my ridiculously small bill (gift certificate yay!)and headed back out into the snow.

What an absolutely fantastic way to spend an afternoon. Sigh...I wish I had snow days more often.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Recession Update

Last night at Nobu Next Door. We walked in a party of three at 7:00 and were immediately seated! No taking down the phone number, no one hour wait, just seated.

An hour and a half later, stuffed to the brim with some of the best eel I've had in a long time, we left.

The sushi bar was half full the entire time and there were still a table or two available in the main room.

Talk about Recession dining!

Oh and the Rock Shrimp Tempura with creamy spicy sauce was just as amazing as ever.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weekend Cocktail

Yum!! This is a Green Tea Martini from Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill. It’s a mix of matcha tea, Hendrick’s gin and Blue Ribbon’s own special honey syrup. This cocktail tasted wonderful and deceptively light. Since it’s made with tea I felt like I was being sort of healthy drinking it as well.



All that “health” went out the window however when our entrée the fried chicken arrived.

I didn’t get a picture but it was really good. It was fried lighter than most- maybe in a tempura batter and came with an awesome wasabi honey mustard dipping sauce.

Yum!! So good!!

The rolls the people next to us ordered looked pretty good but we were too stuffed to have any sushi. However they have a California roll on the menu that is made with King Crab…Possible Bar Masa contender? We will be back to find out.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Return to Bar Masa

We got another gift card for Bar Masa at Christmas time and decided to use it this past weekend.

We showed up around 5:00 and the place was pretty much empty.

From 3:00-6:00 they only serve a limited sushi/sashimi menu which was just fine with us.

To start we ordered a California Roll, two pieces of beef, and a Unagi Avocado Roll.



The California roll was something we had both really enjoyed last visit and this time was no exception.

The roll was fantastic. The crab was succulent, sweet and extremely fresh. This has no resemblance to the crappy California Roll you get at other places- this is the real deal.

The Grilled Unagi Avocado roll was pretty good. I liked the flavors together but it didn’t really blow me away.




Ever since I was feed Unagi by Yasuda himself I have never had anything that comes close to as tasty.

The pieces of Kyushu with salt and pepper were tasty as well but no where near worthy of their $12 a piece price tag.

The spicy tuna roll was pretty large and came with big pieces of tuna rolled with fresh green chili’s inside.



Man this roll was spicy! I really enjoyed this one since it was quite a different take on the average roll.



We finished up with a couple more pieces of Uni, Ika and Toro.

While everything we had was very good it just didn’t come any where near the goodness of the sushi at Yasuda.

And the price!! Jeepers!!! I think we paid almost double what we would have at Sushi Yasuda. The atmosphere isn’t that cool that it’s worth that much.

So unless it’s a quick stop at the bar for a California Roll or I find a generous friend with an expense account- we probably won’t be back.

There’s too much good sushi across town to be dropping the greens here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Peking Duck House

We randomly decided to try out the Peking Duck House last Saturday night down in Chinatown. We showed up pretty early, around 6:30 and there was already a small group of people waiting.

I had never been inside the Peking Duck House before and I was really surprised how different it was.

Super white walls with low lighting and disco music- it certainly didn’t resemble any of the other places in Chinatown that I’ve been to.

After about a five minute wait we were seated and ordered a couple of drinks.

Since it was only the 2 of us we unfortunately couldn’t get the duck because it is served only for 4 people or more.

However they had a duck appetizer so we decided to try that out.

This is the chopped duck meat with pine nuts.

At first I simply tried a little of the duck and I wasn’t sure if I liked the flavor or not of the pine nuts.

However once I put it inside the lettuce cup and put a little bit of hosin sauce on top it was perfection.



The sauce really balanced out the flavors. We were absolutely loving this dish.

Our main order fared just as well.

This is Chicken with Orange Flavor.



All white meat chicken that was very lightly breaded and covered with a spicy garlic orange sauce.

I loved this dish because it was pretty light. Many times when I order an orange sauce I get something that resembles a heavy syrup.

This sauce had a very light, clean taste.

There was baby corn and slices of garlic throughout the dish that were super spicy and delicious.

Overall we really liked Peking Duck House.

The ducks that were being sliced up and sent around the room looked and smelled amazing.

We spent most of dinner figuring out who we could get to come back with us so we could order a whole duck. My parents are coming to visit next month and staying near the Financial District so this could be a perfect place.

After dinner we stopped for a drink at Apotheke.



This is the door from the inside of the bathroom. Pretty cool. The bartenders all wore lab coats and they served up a pretty mean drink.

Not exactly a place you would find in Chinatown.

Peking Duck House

Apotheke

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sorry!!!

Sorry for the lull in posting! I've been super busy it seems..having tons of fun though!

To hold you over here's picture of some of the most delicious ribs ever at Big Wong in Chinatown.



Super moist, extra crispy ends and awesome sauce made these spare ribs amazing!!!

And for $5.50 quite the value.

I got lots more to post about- this past weekend we ate at Bar Masa, Blue Ribbon Sushi and Grill, Bespoke chocolates and Medieval Times.

Yes that's right-Medieval Times. No stars for their food but a couple for their enthusiasm. It was pretty fun.

More to come....