Friday, January 29, 2010

Late Night Eats- NY Noodletown

It's no surprise that one of our favorite late night eat joints (especially now that Ziggiz's is gone)is NY Noodletown. This place is always packed into the wee hours of the morning with everyone from drunken hipsters to extended family get togethers with grandmothers, grandfathers the whole lot!

I had been reading about a dish on Serious Eats last week that I had yet to try there. It looked so good that late Saturday night, or possibly very early Sunday morning between a choice of bedtime or food time, we chose food.  We chose the Singapore Chow Funn.

Big broad noodles perfect for soaking up all the spicy sauce from the chilies and onions. There was a surprisingly large amount of shrimp and pork throughout the entire dish making this one hearty inexpensive meal. We really could have split this and been full be we had to order one more thing- Mr. T's favorite. The Salt Baked Squid.

Usually we order the Salt Baked Shrimp but they were surprisingly not listed on the menu? Anyone know why that might be? The squid was a good stand in though. Anything salt baked gets that wonderful crispy, bullet of goodness. Is there any better food to have after a few too many late night beers? I think not.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Restaurant Week at Aureole

It’s that time of year again when big New York City restaurants lower their prices and offer special menus for winter restaurant week. As usual I am trying to go to at least two meals- preferably lunch since that’s the better deal and preferably something new. This year I made my first reservation for Aureole.

Aureole had closed a while back and relocated from its former townhouse to brand new digs right near Bryant Park. The space was pretty impressive walking in. A gorgeous big dining room with huge ceilings and lots of natural light from the windows to the left. This was my first time dining at a Charlie Palmer restaurant so I was pretty excited to see what was in store.

I had a table reservation for two but since it ended up being just me I asked for a seat at the bar instead. Thanks goodness I did- this may be my new favorite people watching bar.! The big windows in the corner looked right out onto the end of Times Square. I had a ton of characters outside to keep my bread munching,viewing pleasure all lunch long.

As I perused the special lunch menu I noticed they offered two bottles of wine, one red and one white, at a special $24.07 restaurant week price. What a deal! If I had a dining companion I would have gone for that immediately but instead I settled on a reasonably priced glass of sauvignon blanc.

For the first course they offered three choices:

Wild Striped Bass Ceviche- citrus juice, red onion, avocado smoked paprika

Farmed Baby Green Salad- goat cheese, winter vegetables, sherry dijon vinaigrette

Seasonal Winter Vegetables

Obviously in a meal like this one should never order the salad. Salad can be made at home no problem! However I was really craving the goat cheese so that’s what I ended up ordering. Boo me.

I honestly thought the winter vegetables and goat cheese it came with would be pronounced. Instead little squares of veggies about a centimeter big were sparsely strewn throughout the bottom of the salad while the goat cheese lay in a tiny clump on top. It wasn’t horrible, it just didn’t have any oomph….That’s what I get for ordering a salad I guess.

The next course was my entrée where three choices were offered again:

Spotted Skate Wing- caramelized cauliflower, golden raisins, toasted almonds, caper curry brown butter

Braised Pork Belly- quine, brussels sprouts, cornichons, dijon mustard au jus

Potato Leek Ravioli- smoked bacon, caramelized onion, aged cheddar, chive creme fraiche sauce

This decision was a very difficult one for me as was the appetizer. I really wanted to order the pork belly but I knew I was heading to the beaches of Mexico in a couple of days. All I could picture was this pork belly inside my pork belly and well…Let’s just say pigs and bikinis don’t mix, so I ended up with the skate. Luckily this choice ended up being perfect.

The skate came out looking absolutely delicious with a crisp golden brown crust and bright yellow raisins and green spinach underneath. The blend of sweet raisin, smoky toasted almonds and slightly salty skate was perfect. The caper curry sauce had just a little bit of kick that made it really balanced the dish and made it quite unique. This dish might even be better than my skate from Aldea.

For dessert they offered two options to choose from:

Carmel Corn Sundae- vanilla chantilly, bananas, salted peanuts

Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache Tart- espresso, blood orange

I didn’t even look at the second choice honestly. Once I saw bananas, peanuts and caramel corn I never looked back. This dessert was fantastic! I am in love with these ingredients and Aureole did this sundae justice. Sticky sweet caramel sauce and a healthy helping of salty peanuts were swirled into the delicate vanilla Chantilly and topped with some decadent popped caramel corn. My only slight complaint not finding the large amount of bananas at the bottom until halfway though the dessert, but hey it was damn good.

As a parting gift they brought out a little plate of treats- a green tea, chocolate chip and passion fruit cookie. I was too full at this point to really indulge but it was a nice little gesture at the end.

Overall I thought the food at Aureole was fantastic. There was a minor service issue. I had to wait about 20 minutes after finishing my first course for my second course to arrive. That’s an exceedingly long time at lunch, especially when your alone. There was also a family dining inside with a very young child who decided to scream and cry for most of their stay. I felt a little bad for them but is Aureole really a place to take a two year old?

That aside Aureole was fantastic. The food, ambiance and relaxing bar stools really helped me to unwind and really enjoy my meal. Next week I have a reservation for Convivo when I return from Mexico. Hopefully that will be just as good.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yerba Buena- Service Please!

Last Saturday morning we came home from a wonderful wedding in Long Island. We had so much fun the night before we wanted to keep the fun going. So we dropped off our bags at home and went right out to the West Village for brunch. I had heard a lot of good things about the new Yerba Buena and there was an open reservation on Open table so we headed there. We got there right around 2:00 and the place was barely even half full. That should have been my first clue that maybe this place wasn't going to be very good.

I gave my name at the hostess station and she looked up the reservation with a kind of glazed over expression. Then she walked us over to a dimly lit table behind the waiter station in the back. This was by far the worst table in the restaurant. Now I'm not very picky about seating, but why put us here when there are plenty of open tables that are much much better? Well I didn't want to make a big deal about it so we just sat down anyway. But what happened next was downright ridiculous. The hostess never gave us any menus. I figured maybe someone else would come by to greet us but no. For at least 15 minutes we sat there. No menus, no contact from any of the waiters or busboys, nothing. And it wasn't like they didn't have plenty of staff. The hostess had been joined by two men up front who were all just chatting away, there were multiple waiters, bus boys and bartenders walking through the restaurant. It was just like we didn’t exist over at our tiny table. I really wanted to wait and see how long this could possibly last but I was starving. Finally I flagged down someone walking by.

Menus finally in hand it was another 10 minutes before a waiter arrived. We were actually about to walk out right when he showed up. Not wanting to be completely rude we just placed an order and hoped for the best. Although after asking if we wanted either sparkling or still bottled water I should have known.

Unfortunately things were only going to go downhill from there. It took another 15 minutes to receive our drinks and although every other table had chips and salsa, those extra little things never came to ours. When the entrees finally did arrive the long awaited food was less than good.

I ordered the Capacha Benedict.

My first bite of this dish was actually alright. I enjoyed the asadero cheese and eggs. Then I hit the ham, hollandaise and corn cake bottom. Man! Someone was seriously heavy handed with the salt in that kitchen. After two or three bites I had drained my water glass and I had a bite of the salad and even that was salty!

Mr. T had ordered the Green Chili burger with fries. While the burger wasn't horrible it didn't have a really good meat flavor. Maybe we have been eating too many upscale burgers lately but this just tasted like ground chuck with a little bit of spicy green BBQ sauce on top. I actually loved the french fries, but since Mr. T hates shoestrings he was out of luck as well. Our side order of bacon wasn't even good. One end was thick and chewy while the other ends were all fat and gristle. By the time the waiter finally came back to see how we were doing I responded by politely asking for the check.

Mr. T and I left Yerba Buena and agreed it was the worst brunch we had ever been too. Both of us agreed that even our drinks didn't taste very good. I can forgive a restaurant for having an off night but the level of food and service was downright awful. I felt like someone had taken my fabulous morning mood and stomped all over it. Luckily Blind Tiger is just around the corner so we enjoyed an early afternoon pint and continued on with our day happy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A quick bite at Inoteca Liquori

We stopped in for a quick bite at the bar at Inoteca Liquori last week. I ordered the usual delicious octopus spiedini and a new dish the romaine, radicchio, grana & roasted garlic salad.

First of all, this salad was enormous. It’s listed as an appetizer but it could easily be a main course. The grana is actually a very coarse, bitter cheese much like Parmigiano reggiano. It was grated over the top and was a nice complement to the zesty lemon dressing spicy garlic chunks on the lettuce.

This salad was light and refreshing. It really reminds me more of a summer dish but added to one of the hearty pastas it could really round out a fantastic meal.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sweet Delights from Momofuku Milk Bar

Mr. T was craving something sweet the other night so I ran out to one of my favorite dessert places to see what I could get at Momofuku Milk Bar.

I was so excited to see a ton of new offerings! I think it was autumn the last time I stopped in. They still had my usual chocolate chip cake and compost cookies, but now there also had a carrot cake, banana cake and a slew of new pies. I had my eye on the banana cake but then I remembered that these dessert choices should be more about Mr. T’s likes and not mine. So I ended up getting the Cinnamon Bun Pie and the Chocolate Malt Cake.

The Cinnamon Bun pie was kind of a disappointment. First of all, I was expecting a great cinnamon smell from the microwave when I heated it up. Unfortunately the heat did little to intensify the pie smell and just made it a little more soft and melty. The middle of pie had all of the cheesecake and brown butter filling while the outside was just a big mass of bread. The filling was so sweet I couldn’t even stomach more than one bite, while the outside was so boring it didn’t even live up to a decent coffee cake. Quite a big fail in the dessert department.

Luckily I always make sure I buy two desserts just in case this should happen. The Chocolate Malt Cake was amazing!!!

Chocolate cake malted milk crumbs and charred marshmallows all squished in and topped with some super fudgy malt frosting. So good! Chocolate and marshmallow are possibly two of the best flavor combinations ever. The charred marshmallow was somewhat reminiscent of a Smore’s but with such a ridiculously rich fudge frosting I never even thought about the lack of a graham cracker.

OMG I know these were supposed to be Mr. T’s desserts but I couldn’t put my fork down. All of a sudden the cake was gone and I realized that I had done most of the eating.

Oh well, luckily he didn’t mind too much. I can’t resist a good chocolate dessert and this is up there with some of the best I’ve ever had. This is a serious chocolate dessert. Make sure you pour a big cold glass of milk before diving into this baby. I love you Momofuku!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Croissants at Panya

I stopped into Panya Sunday morning to pick up some breakfast bites for myself. I couldn’t decide if I wanted something savory or sweet so I got both! The first was their mini ham and cheese croissant.

Wow! I was really surprised how good their croissant was! I wasn’t expecting much but it was a perfect flaky, golden and buttery delicious delight. It was stuffed with big pieces of salty ham and chunks of gooey American cheese. Now exactly a healthy start to my day but certainly a delicious one!

The other croissant- the cookie croissant didn’t fare as well. I was intrigued because of the name but it didn’t really have much substance. It was a little bit dry and kind of devoid of any flavor, much less something sweet. Compared to the former it was certainly an inferior product. I’ll be sticking to the regular croissants from now on.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lunch At Marea

Where else in the world can you wake up on an average boring Tuesday morning, contemplating the start of another work day, only to find yourself just hours later enjoying a ridiculously delicious Michelin starred meal with the one you love while staring out on gorgeous Central Park.

Only in New York my friends, only in New York.

And that’s the way it began. My alarm went off Tuesday morning and I headed to the bathroom for my usually shower and go routine. However on my walk from the bedroom to the bathroom I noticed something. A feeling of dread. Now I have to say I'm kind of lucky. While I wish I never had to work for a living, I truly don’t hate my job, I even kind of like it. Which is why this feeling of dread kind of startled me. I don’t usually feel like this?

However there it was and there was no denying it. I was dreading absolutely everything about going to work that day. The weather was freezing, my commute was to the farthest office and I was so sleepy I felt a little bit like Rip Van Winkle.

So I did what I deemed the only appropriate thing to do in this situation- take a personal day. A quick call to my supervisor and I was back in the warm loving wrap of my comforter in bed. I awoke three hours later completely refreshed and ready to enjoy a whole day to myself. Of course a day off for me always means at least one thing- a fancy lunch.

Being as obsessed with food as I am, it can be difficult to hear people talk about their favorite new dishes at places I would never be able to afford on my salary. Marea is one of those places. It seemed to be on almost everyone’s list for best new places of 2009. However looking at the menu I knew that between our regular expenses and saving for a wedding, the chances I would get to try it this year seemed pretty out of reach. But lunch was a different story. Checking online I noticed they offered a $34 prix fix business lunch that was right up my alley. I jumped on Opentable and was able to secure a reservation.

Now usually these days off I do a solo lunch, but since I was going to be in Midtown I asked Mr. T if he could meet me. Luckily all his meetings were scheduled for the morning- his afternoon was free! Yay! We could enjoy lunch together. I did a couple of errands and then took a nice long walk from our apartment all the way up to Columbus Circle and the entrance to Marea. Mr. T met me there and we got seated in the bright gorgeous dining room overlooking Central Park.

The first thing we noticed on the menu was the astonishing large amount of Italian beers on the drink list. Even when we were in Italy they never seemed to have more than Peroni or Moretti. Here there were beers we had never even heard of before. Mr. T decided to try out the Verdi Imperial Stout.

This beer poured a deep thick black with big frothy head and a wonderful carmel chocolate smell. The taste had strong notes of chocolate as well with a smooth clean finish that made this extremely drinkable and tasty. I ordered a glass of Verdiccio and we started our meal with a nice selection of bread. Sourdough, whole grain and focaccia were the options and we both chose the last.

The focaccia was wonderful with a crisp buttery top and big pieces of olive baked right inside. It was so good I considered having another piece but I know better than to fill up on bread because we had a lot more food coming. The first of which was the Ricci.

I had heard this item mentioned the most from past reviews of Marea so I knew I wanted to try it. It actually is not listed on the lunch menu but the waiter checked with the kitchen and they were happy to put one together for us.

It’s basically Sea Urchin, lardo and sea salt on top of a little piece of bread. Wow- how something so small can have so much intense flavor is beyond me. The sea urchin was so incredibly fresh and velvety smooth it was unreal. I don’t know if it was the addition of the fat and salt or just the fish itself but there was no briny taste at all, just pure rich flavor.

I have never been able to adequately describe the taste of sea urchin. Mr. T had a bite and said it tasted like the smell of plants in a greenhouse on a warm summer day. Did that make any sense to me at all? No. Is he an extremely weird individual sometimes? Yes.

Anyway it was amazing needless to say and we were off to quite a great start to our meal. For our next courses I ordered the Tonno and Mr. T had the Vongole.

My bigeye tuna came with a little oyster crema, cucumber and a crispy chip on top. Again the quality of the fish really came through. The tuna was so soft and luscious it may have been one of the freshest pieces of tuna I’ve had in a long time.

I was really excited about Mr. T’s dish since he has been dying to try geoduck. The funny thing is that I ended up liking it better than him!

The slightly rubbery texture just turned him off from the dish but I found the flavor and texture quite enjoyable. The addition of the chilies and lemon to the top gave it a delicate balance of sweet and spice. For my main course I ordered the Red Snapper with marinated salsify, brussel sprouts, fresh pancetta and soba.

I really didn’t think it was going to get any better than the appetizers but this dish just knocked my socks off. The snapper itself was cooked so perfectly and had such a wonderful sauce there was no need for the big chunk of pancetta at all in my book. The brussel sprouts and salsify were the perfect crispy accompaniment to the fish and I ate every single last bite. Seriously, not even a speck of food was left on my plate. That snapper was quite possibly one of the best fish dishes I have ever had.

Since we were in an Italian restaurant it would have been wrong if we didn’t get at least one pasta dish so Mr. T ordered the Fusilli.

The Fusilli was a mixture of durum wheat pasta, red wine braised octopus, and bone marrow. Seriously something weird happened to me when I took a bite of this dish. I immediately pictured an old woman cooking away in her small Italian kitchen, making sure each and every ingredient has just the right amount of love added into it. Weird isn’t it? Well I guess Mr. T and I are both a little bit weird. It was hearty, rich and delicious pasta that’s for sure. We were both way to stuffed after our entrees for a full dessert but we did enjoy the petit fours they brought out with the check.

Two linzer cookies, a mini carrot cake and a chocolate caramel dome were the perfect sweet end to a wonderful meal.

Overall I thought Marea was absolutely fabulous. They are certainly using some of the freshest ingredients in town and really showcasing what fish is all about. The service was friendly and attentive, the atmosphere was comfortable and the food was fantastic. My only minor quibble would be the price. I had checked Marea’s website online at home before going and it stated the lunch prix fix at $34. However at the restaurant the prices had been raise. The prix fix lunch was now $ 38. Sure it’s only $4 but I just wish they had updated their menu online so I would have known before. Luckily they did have some reasonable glasses of wine on their menu which made up for the increase in price so I give them a kudos for that.

Mr. T and I left Marea with a slightly lighter wallet but full happy bellies. I have to say it may have been the best Tuesday I have ever spent in the city.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

An Upsate Lunch at Bridgeview Tavern

To end out the football season I headed up to Tarrytown to watch the final game of the regular season the same way I began it- with my friend Carrie. We decided to check out a new bar that had just opened a little ways away from the train station- Bridgeview Tavern.

This place doesn’t look like much from the outside but the inside is actually quite nice. They have a long wooden bar up front with a huge window for street watching and a separate dining room in the back. Besides having the NFL Sunday ticket our other reason for coming was the beer.

Bridgewater Tavern boosts quite a fantastic craft beef list. Dogfish Head 90 minute, Troegs Mad Elf, Allagash White, Ommegang Abbey Ale and Rouge Dead Guy Ale were just a few of the many beers they offered on draft. I decided to stick local and had a pint of Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale. This beer was excellent. It had a nice balance of crisp caramel flavor with a little bit of hop. Very drinkable.

About halfway through the greatest game of our miserable team’s season we ordered some grub and I got the Cobb Salad.

This salad was pretty huge and very satisfying. It was a mix of Romaine lettuce, crispy bacon, big pieces of blue cheese, ripe avocadoes, tomatoes and a wonderfully light basalmic dressing. For an $11.00 pub salad this was pretty great.

My friend ordered their Philly Cheese Steak and it came out about twice the size of the ones I get in the city. It was loaded full of peppers, onions and huge pieces of meat all inside a hoagie roll.

Bridgewater has only been around a little over a month now. The manager chatted with us for a bit and explained his love of craft beer and wanting to open his own place. They are planning to rotate beers every so often to give people a taste of what craft beer really has to offer.

Both Carrie and I agreed we would return on my next visit upstate. The staff were extremely friendly (they even put the sound of our Bills game on), the food was tasty and the beer list was fantastic. If you find yourself in the area it’s a great bar for a pint or two.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Love Affair with Danny Meyer Continues at Maialino

Just one day into the new year and I can already say I’ve been to a place on my 2010 wish list! Maialino! I truly can’t believe it took me so long to get here as it is. Danny Meyer is an absolute genius in my book. I have had some of the best meals of my life at his restaurants and luckily they are almost all within blocks of where I live. Actually with the opening of Maialino it is now the closet one to me!

So on Saturday, with the blustery frigid winds blowing, Mr. T and I took a quick two block walk down to the Gramercy Park hotel to see if we could score a seat at the new Danny Meyer resto.Reservations for this place have been impossible to get since it opened but I figured we could just get a seat at the bar. It was only 6:00. Who in NYC eats at 6:00? Well apparently at hot new places a lot of people do! All of the bar stools were full! I couldn’t believe it. Luckily there was one last table in the bar area open and we were able to get a seat.

The last time I was inside this place it was the Asian restaurant Wakiya. Well they did a ton of renovation since then and I have to say the place looks spectacular. Gone are the black minimalist decorations and instead beautiful wooden tables, warm white walls and bottles upon bottles of wine give this place the perfect homey feeling for a big bowl of pasta. I truly felt like I was back inside an Italian trattoria.  They had a surprisingly good amount of wines by the bottle for right around $40 which was nice. However we were both in a beer mood that night so I started off with a Peroni instead.

I absolutely love this type of glassware for my beer. It casual but upscale- a perfect fit for the vibe throughout the restaurant.

To begin our meal they brought out a nice basket of flatbread and rolls with olive oil. The olive oil was extremely tasty but I didn’t really care for the rolls. They were a little too chewy for my tastes. Luckily we had ordered another carb option with our meal the Panella alla Gricia.

These little rolls came out looking like cinnamon buns but instead of sugar, they were rubbed with bacon and filled with pecorino cheese and rosemary. Crispy on the outside, warm and buttery on the inside- for $1.50 these rolls were a steal!

Next up were ordered the Suppli al Telefono.

I had just happened to read Alan Richman’s review of Maialino’s bar menu and this was one of the things he raved about and for good reason. These little croquettes were piping hot and bursting with flavor.

The inside was chock full of tomato risotto and gooey mozzarella cheese. No more mozzarella sticks for me! I want these guys. There was so much tomato on the inside there was really no need for the sauce but it was so damn tasty I couldn’t resist dipping in each and every bite.

Since that dish fared so well we decided to try out another one that Alan Richman raved about the Swordfish Belly.

OMG I think Alan Richman may be my new favorite food writer!! This was absolutely amazing. I have never had swordfish like this before. It was almost like a piece of sashimi in texture but slightly more firm with a beautiful lining of fat that made this taste absolutely luxurious. The meyer lemon and sunchoke puree was the perfect match for this delicious fish. I could come back here and have these two dishes each and every time and be beyond content.

At this point we were debating on whether or not to order more food but decided against it. Our bodies have been a little out of whack since our Resto meat fest and we were both surprisingly full after those small plates.

The cost of this meal was around $30 total. Although on a normal night this would never be enough food for a full dinner it still would be very reasonable with a few more dishes. Mr. T and I are already planning a return visit where we can sit in the trattoria itself and order off the full menu for an all out splurge. I was very impressed with Maialino and can’t believe to have another great restaurant so close to home.

Bring it on winter! I don’t have to go far for some great food!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Meat Feast at Resto

For New Year’s eve every year, a group of us have been regularly finding a dinner and drink deal where we can celebrate with some good food but without the hassle and craziness that goes along with this annual night. One year it was a great meal at Sala One Nine where the food and drink for 3 hours was plentiful. One year we went to Angelo & Maxie’s where the food and drink deal was also great, but the crowd got a little out of hand for us.

This year we were throwing around ideas of what to do when we got an email from Resto about their New Year’s eve event. The Pig & Poularde in Half Mourning Large Format Feast. For $150 it promised some amazing dishes made from two animals from local farms. A bunch of tasty desserts and all the Belgian beer, wine and spirits you could handle.

Hmm…tons of meat, all the Belgian beer I can handle….Maybe one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made!

We got there right at the start of the event at 9:30 and they were still setting up so we had some drinks at the bar. Now when they said everything was included, they meant absolutely everything! So I started out with one of their special winter cocktails the colonel Kilgore.

Whoa this was certainly a winter cocktail. The bartender mixed together aviation gin, chartreuse, maraschino liquor and lemon, shook it up then lit a piece of rosemary on fire and threw it all together in a glass.

It was excellent. The toasted rosemary gave it such holiday taste- like I was sitting under a fir tree or something. Weird I know but whatever.

After that cocktail it was down to business with a plethora of Belgian beers and way too much food for any person to possibly eat in one sitting. Here’s a layout of our first course.

I’m just going to list out the amazing huge dishes that made up this “first course”.

Poularde Liver Parfait with Chestnut and apple
Grande Charcuterie Platter with Rillons, Sausage, Pate, Rillet, Tete de Chochon
Crispy Pork Leg Salad with Roasted Mushroom, Chicory and Guanciale Vinaigrette
Confit Poularde Thigh Salad with Arugula, Consider Bardwell, Toasted Almonds and Brown Butter Vinaigrette

OMG there was so much good food going on in this first course. Almost everyone agreed that the highlight of this meal was the Confit Poularde Thigh and the Crispy Pork leg salad. Pork is fatty and wonderful on its own but when you toss it with some breadcrumbs and throw it in a deep fryer- watch out. Dip it in the rillet and basically you have a heart attack on a platter. So unbelievably bad for you but so insanely good.

The portions were enormous and even after just tasting a little bit of everything I was stuffed. Three different kinds of sausages, huge platters of chicken and pork, rich Belgian beers. I was done before I even began I think. All of us were stuffed with food leftover when the second course of our meal arrived.

Salt and Pepper Ribs
Porchetta with Pork Liver & Rosemary Stuffing
Poularde in Half Mourning with La Ratte Potato, Housemade Bacon & Cippolini Onion
Cauliflower Gratin
Carrots Stoempt
Cream of Spinach

The poularde in half mourning was the highlight of this course for me. It came with a little bit of truffle oil that went perfectly with the onion and bacon. I was silently thanking God for wearing a dress that evening so my waistline could expand without fear as I went for a second heaping of this dish. The cream spinach was amazing tasty as well. More spinach than cream this was actually quite a light component to the second course of the meal.

The only dish that really missed the mark for me was the salt and pepper ribs. The ribs had actually been cooked confit- so immersed in their own fat basically. Now I love ribs but this style of cooking them was just to much. The whole slab just had the taste and texture of pure fat. It was completely unappetizing to say the least.

By this point I was almost ready to be sick and we had enough food left over for an army. They broke out the prosecco as we toasted midnight and then turned on the music for an all out dance party as they served the final course of waffles and cookies.

Resto was certainly a good deal. The service was the best I’ve ever had before. There was one waiter per table and ours was absolutely great. He was very knowledgeable about the beers and menu and was constantly there filling up water glasses and clearing out our plates. I got to try about 10 different Belgian beers and I did enjoy the food. The only thing that bothered me a little was the amount of food. We easily could have stopped eating after the first course and the second course was even bigger than the first. I felt bad leaving all of that food behind and I couldn’t even drink much beer afterwards because I was so full from all of the meat.

Overall I enjoyed my Resto meal and would consider returning again if they scaled it down a notch food wise. Maybe only one animal next year rather than two. I got to try a lot of excellent beer from a St. Barnadus Whitte to the amzingly smooth Scotch Silly. I’ve always been a little conflicted about this place but they put on quite the great party I have to say.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Holiday Treats

It was another wonderful holiday season spent with friends and family. We started out this year at Mr. T’s parents where we enjoyed some fantastic beer and wine. To celebrate our engagement, Mr. T’s brother bought us a bottle of 2002 Cristal to celebrate with!

I never thought I would have the opportunity to even sip this champagne much less drink two glasses full! It was absolutely exquisite. Light on the note with big nutty flavors and hints of citrus- this was everything I have heard it was. There were so many different flavors going on at once. The first sip tasted almost robust but the finish was as delicate and smooth as ever. It was decadently delicious. (If we knew this was coming we would have gotten engaged earlier!)

Another fantastic treat we enjoyed was a bottle Clos du Mont Olivet Chate Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

I’ve been a big fan of Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s lately and this one did not disappoint. It had big notes of cherry and leather with hints of tobacco.

There was a lot more wine we enjoyed throughout our stay but these two obviously jumped out. Mr. T and I brought some Dogfish Head Sahtea for everyone to enjoy and a bottle of Westy 12 for his father’s birthday. Not to shabby for the start of Christmas! Can you imagine if we could drink like this all of the time! Wouldn’t that be nice.

To top it all off we went to Buffalo to visit my family and got two gift certificates there- one to Peter Lugers and one to Dinosaur BBQ! Looks like we’ll be enjoying some excellent dinners of meat this coming year! Woohoo!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year Everyone! I'm recovering from a huge meal filled with lots of meat and Belgian beer at Resto last night. More on that later when I sift through the alcohol laden memories.

I’m actually still working on completing my wish list from 2008. I’ve done pretty well but I still have three more places to go. I figure I will just tack them onto this year’s wish list and see what happens. I know Mr. T and I have to be a bit more frugal this year what with wedding expenses coming up and all. However this list could always be extended into 2011 if it needs be (and it probably will need to be).

So here goes- the first three are the ones still from 2008:

Perilla (completed 2/14/10)
Union Square Café (completed 9/13/10)
Bonnie’s Grill (wings)
Marea (completed 1/14/10)
PDT (completed 12/10)
Tpoutine (closed)
Loconda Verde
Del Posto( completed 8/20/10)
Char No 4
Le Bernardin
Maialino (completed 1/2/10)
Yerba Buena (completed 1/26/10)
Keens (completed 11/6/10)

Man that’s a long list. Looks like I better start making some reservations!