Posts

Showing posts from December, 2009

Christmas Borscht at Veselka

Image
Right before Mr. T and I travelled to Westchester for our holiday celebration with his family, I stopped by Veselka to try out their special Christmas Borscht. I grew up enjoying my grandmother’s version every year but I have yet to find one in the city as perfect as hers. Veselka’s regular borscht came the closest in flavor so I was excited to try out this version and see how it compared.

My walk over to Veselka was absolutely freezing! By the time I got inside I was dying for something warm and soothing. I took a seat at the counter and ordered myself a cup.



Within minutes I had a steamy hot cup in my hands. The wonderful aroma of fresh beets and dill was absolutely intoxicating. I couldn’t wait to dive right in.



Look at this beautiful ruby color. This soup was packed with chopped pickled beets and little dumplings filled with dried mushrooms. This was a Christmas Borscht! There was so much flavor going on in the soup- sour, earthy, sweet. If you’re not a big dill fan than stay away b…

Best of 2009

It’s that time of year again when I look back at the past 12 months and all of the places we have eaten at and realize- damn. I eat a LOT of food! Oh well- too late to go back and change anything now!

It was an up and down year for food in NYC. I saw a lot of places I love close down and a lot of great new places spring up to ease the pain. This is my list of the favorite foods I’ve eaten in 2009. Remember! These are not all new places! A couple have been around but this is the first time I had the privilege to enjoy them. Here goes:

Best Bread and Butter- Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Never did I think that bread and butter would even make it to my favorite foods list until Blue Hill completely floored me. Their butter was so creamy, rich and fresh, it tasted as if it had been churned only seconds before.

Best Amuse Bouche- Per Se Beet Cornette and Blue Hill Beet Burger
Honestly I don’t even like beets! But these two amuses changed the way I think about that root vegetable. Both of them had…

Sugar Sweet Sunshine Banana Pudding

Image
The Union Square holiday market has been up and running for weeks now. It’s always fun to walk through the various stalls and look at all of the scarves, jewelry, etc for sale. I go every year and to be honest, I’ve never actually bought anything there. Well except food that is! This year proved to be no different. I walked around all of the stalls and ended up stopping at just one- Sugar Sweet Sunshine.

We hardly ever seem to be in the LES anymore so it’s been years since I’ve enjoyed their delectable cupcakes, cookies and cake. I was so excited to see them here- only blocks away from my apartment! I eyed the cupcakes in front for a while but then decided on something even better.

What could possibly be better than their wonderful cupcakes? Their banana pudding.



Big pieces of juicy ripe bananas and crunchy sweet Nilla wafers and swirled into a creamy delicious vanilla pudding. It is ridiculously simple, ridiculously sweet and ridiculously good.

There’s only a few days left of…

Breakfast of Champions

Image
Yes this is my Sunday breakfast. A pint of Bud Light and french fries. Why would someone start their day like this? Football. It's the only answer.



After an extremely snowy and wonderful Saturday my friend and I woke up early and headed to McFadden's to watch our beloved team, the Buffalo Bills. We were in such a Buffalo state of mind what with the piles of snow everywhere and Christmas right around the corner.

McFadden's runs an amazing awesome special during the Bills game- all you can drink Bud Light and all you can eat wings for $20. Pretty good deal right? Unfortunately we were to hungry to wait for the wing arrival so we ordered up some fries to start. The fries were surprisingly tasty. They had just the perfect amount of crunchy skin and salty innards. The Bud Light wasn't too bad either!

McFadden's is by no means a destination food place but if your a Bills fan chances are you've been at least once in your lifetime.

The Bills unfortunately lost but we had …

Bacon Overload!

Image
I have probably mentioned Blind Tiger about a million times on this blog so far because it is my favorite place for beer in the city. Last weekend we stopped by to have a couple of beers and did something there we had never done before- order food.

We had both gotten up surprising early Saturday morning and it had been hours now since breakfast. We didn’t want a full meal to ruin our dinner so we decided to split a Grilled Cheese sandwich. Mr. T decided to add on Bacon onto the sandwich at the last minute for an additional $1.00.



Our sandwich came out looking and smelling wonderful! The thick crunchy bread had been slathered in butter and grilled to a perfect golden brown. The cheese inside was perfectly melted and the pickle on the side was everything a good pickle should be. But the bacon…

What to say except too much bacon! That $1.00 extra bought us about a half pound of bacon! And not just regular bacon, but Canadian bacon as well. There was so much salty meat stuffed insi…

Pizza Bliss at Motorino

Image
The Manhattan outpost of Motorino just opened a few months ago in the old Una Pizza Napoletana space. Saturday night after some fireside drinks at Shoolbreds we decided to walk over. We showed up around 7:00 and there was a 15 minute wait. The hostess suggested we get a drink next door and she came and got us when our table was ready. That was really nice. I always feel bad hovering over people while you wait for a table in small little restaurants.

Three of us were dining tonight so we decided to split two appetizers and two pizzas. No we are not pigs- the pizzas are actually pretty small.

I was really excited to see the Montly Cru red on the wine list from Brooklyn Oenology. I bought a couple bottles last time they were at the New Amsterdam Market and they were fantastic. Brooklyn Oenology specializes in New York State wines with original artwork from Brooklyn on their labels. The neatest thing is that their labels peel off so you can keep the art once the bottle is finish…

Hallo Berlin Express

Image
After we finished our wine and cheese at Casellula we decided to head somewhere closer to our final listening party destination for dinner. Unfortunately we had no idea what was in the immediate neighborhood and we ended up stopping at another bar just to get out of the frigid weather.

We decided to have a drink and research some places in the area before heading out intro the cold again. That’s when I realized we were right next door to Uncle Nick’s! I loved the grilled octopus I had last time I was there so we quickly finished our drinks and went over.

Unfortunately it was not to be. Uncle Nick’s was packed and we were running really short on time at this point. Then we noticed the Hallo Berlin Express across the street. We haven’t really loved the food or service at the regular Hallo Berlin but we were running out of options and it seemed like it would be quick so we went.

The first thing I noticed about Hallo Berlin express was the cheap dank décor of the space. From the bright yello…

Happy Saturday Wine and Cheese Edition

Image
Mr. T and I were in Hell’s kitchen Thursday night to attend a listening party for friend’s new album. Casellula was only a couple blocks away so we stopped in for some wine and cheese.

I ordered a glass of Chardonnay and the Ricotta Crostini.



The Ricotta Crostini was absolutely delicious. The cheese was drizzled with sweet Orange Blossom Honey and then topped with hazelnuts and a little bit of lemon. How something so simple can be so delicious is beyond me. This was an excellent little appetizer to enjoy with some wine and I plan to recreate this myself at home.



Unfortunately the Crostini was the best part of Casellula for me. I thought the space was cozy but the wines by the glass were incredibly overpriced and the pour we got was definitely a little bit small. I think we'll stick with our downtown favorite Otto for our wine and cheese moments. Hope everyone is having a great Saturday!

Casellulu

Dinner at Brasserie

Image
My friend from Tarrytown came into the city on Friday and we had a birthday/holiday celebration of sorts. We started out the night with a little Midtown East bar hopping. We began with a drink at the Oyster Bar Saloon, then headed over to the Waldorf’s Bull and Bear and finally ended with a nice Belgian beer from BXL.

All of this beer drinking was just in preparation for the main event-dinner. My friend had a birthday gift certificate from Patina to use so we decided to try out Brasserie.

Walking into Brasserie I was a little taken back by the décor. It was a bit over the top and I kind of felt more like I was on a space ship than a fancy French restaurant. Luckily I had requested a booth when making the reservation so I felt much more in my comfort zone than if I had been at a table in the main area.

Neither of us was feeling like a huge meal so we decided to forgo appetizers and just stick with entrees. We ordered a nice bottle of Pinot Gris and munched on the bread and butter un…

Lunch at Aura

Image
I was in the city for a training the other day and they gave us an hour for lunch. Unfortunately I was in the restaurant dead zone that is 34th street and 10th avenue. I usually end up eating a sandwich from Subway when I'm in this area but today I was determined to find something more exciting.

I walked over to 9th Avenue and came across Aura Thai. The menu looked pretty good and there were a couple empty tables so I decided to check it out.

The first thing I noticed once seated was the difference in the outside menu and the one they gave me inside. The outside one said each lunch entrée came with a your choice of a free appetizer. The inside menu said it came with the free appetizer of the day. When I found out that appetizer was a Veggie Dumping I was a little annoyed. Half the reason I choose this place was because of the free appetizer choice. A veggie dumpling is not something I would have chosen. However I didn’t feel like arguing with the waitress so I just placed my order a…

Joe's Shanghai

Image
Okay this meal actually happened a month ago but I’ve been really busy lately and it got lost in the shuffle. Usually I would just skip it but this was one of my 2008 wish list and I finally got there!! Hooray!

Joe’s Shanghai is a little restaurant in Chinatown that is infamous for its’ soup dumplings. So infamous in fact that it has been featured in many travel food shows, Zagats, Frommers etc. The result? A huge ass line out the door every time we try to go.

However, on a Monday last month, after a great Yankees world series win the night before, Mr. T and I decided to take the day off and go to Joe’s Shanghai for lunch. It was about 2:30 on a Monday and it was still packed. We got the last two seats at a round table with a group of three twenty something tourists and an older solo woman diner.

The soup dumplings are so popular here they ask you if you would like to place an order as they hand out the menus. That’s one of the greatest things about most restaurants in Chinatown.…

Black Hound Bakery

Image
Are you sick of apple pie yet from Thanksgiving? Hope not. This is a picture of an Apple Pie I picked up from Black Hound last week when Mr. T had a hankering for something sweet.



I was intrigued first by the enormous dome top to this mini pie. How in the world did they get it to bake up this high? Then I noticed the description said this was a cookie dough crust with Granny Smith apples.

Whoa! Cookie Dough crust? What a great idea!



So I brought it home and we dug in immediately. As you can see there are a ton of apples stuffed inside this thing. I mean a ton!



Unfortunately it seemed that in the madness of all of the apples they forget to put in some sugary juice. The best part about an apple pie for me is that sweet, sticky, cinnamon sugar sauce that the apples create after baking. Part of me wonders if Blackhound macerated the apples first so there wouldn’t be as much of a gap between the crust and filling.

That method works fine when you remember to add the juices back to the a…