Showing posts from August, 2011

Sotto Terra- Lesson Learned

I wasn’t even going to write this post to be honest with you. I truly feel like I spent enough of my precious time at this dinner and it shouldn’t get any more press than it deserves. However I feel like it wouldn’t be fair of me to you readers that actually entered the contest and tried to win without a full disclosure of the dinner. So here goes!

As you know I was offered a four course dinner for two by Sotto Terra and they also extended a giveaway to two of my readers. (Blog post about it here )I held a contest; got some winners and we went. We arrived to a gorgeous brownstone where inside we were greeted by George Duran and Phil Lempert.

We were given some sangrias and appetizers from George Duran’s cookbook and milled around a bit. George and Phil were very talkative and interested in everything we had to say about food and restaurants in general. I thought they were being quite friendly and really making sure we were having a good time although some of the conversation…

Oysters and Mussels “Upstate”

We survived the hurricane with lots of liquor, Bon Chon, a whole pizza and a great time with friends. I have to say we had a pretty rocking hurricane party and luckily everything turned out okay. Of course I freaked out Friday and bought more rations than one should ever need but hey- better to have than have not right? Anyway- this review is actually from last weekend before Hurricane Irene.

Not really upstate but at Upstate restaurant, the newly opened little seafood place in the East Village. Sandwiched in a small space where Permanent Brunch used to be- it’s easy to walk right on by. Luckily we were on the lookout and grabbed the tiny four seat table up front. I was all about oysters and excited to try out the ever changing market menu.

Unfortunately as you can see they only had one oyster from the East Coast that day. This was extremely disappointing since I never care for West Coast as much. But hey- let’s try some new things right- so we ordered a huge plate to share.


Get Your Hurricane Beer at The New Cannibal

The Hurricane is coming...that means it’s time to stock up on the essentials. I got some very sound advice yesterday from a relative whose been through these storms before. "Just make sure you have enough wine, vodka and cognac" Who am I too argue with that? I'm just also going to add beer to the list as well!

When I heard Resto was opening a new beer shop I have to say I was psyched. Resto is right near my house and unfortunately while the food and service has been seriously downhill and disappointing the last few times we’ve gone- the beer has always been great.

I swung by just as they were opening up last Sunday and got a peek at some of the beers.

Wow- they had a lot of interesting brews!

A ton of classic Belgian's.

Then some quirky things like a 40 oz. of Miller High Life and some Coors Original? Mr. T's upstate relatives love the banquet beer! Now we have a place to take them!

But definitely don’t stop in if you’re a vegetarian. This place is called cannib…

Return to Les Halles

Les Halles is only four blocks away from us but the hordes of tourists that clamor to it ever since Bourdain’s fame keep us away most nights. However last Thursday I was walking home from work with Mr. T and the thunder and lightening started to light up the sky. We had been planning to eat dinner out and Les Halles was right in front of us. I’m terrified of lightening so it was an easy decision. We walked inside and took the last two seats at the small wooden bar up front.

I started out with a crisp, refreshing glass of Sancerre while Mr. T went with a boring Stella. I love how Les Halles truly keeps the French tradition of things. The bread basket arrived sans plates of course. Something I have to remember when we go to Paris- put the damn bread right on the table to eat.

Mr. T ordered the staple Steak Frites. A buttery, well seasoned and perfectly tender cut of meat with a side of frites and salad. For $19.95 this is one of the most delicious deals in the city.

I continu…

JG Melon

I heard about this UES institution my first year of living in New York. Mr. T’s friend just raved about the burger and we immediately put it on our list of things to do…Well folks, ten years later we can finally cross it off the list.

Walking into JG Melon I was surprised at how similar the set up and décor is to PJ Clark’s. The two are almost identical, the only difference being the insane amount of melon pictures all over JG. The bar was packed but we were able to get a table in the back and ordered up some grub- burgers of course.

My standard cheeseburger with American cheese was pretty close to perfect. The meat had a nice crispy char on the outside, the bun was perfectly squishy and the inside was cooked the exact shade of red I like. I enoy the staples of dill pickle and raw onion- what else do you need? However I do enjoy a little bit more salt on the char but this was a standout burger none the less.

Mr. T’s Bacon Cheeseburger was great as well. Just like mine was coo…

New Flavors at Doughnut Plant

Look out world there’s two new flavors at Doughnut Plant and they’re pretty damn awesome- Banana Pecan and Matcha Green Tea.

As you can see I was so excited to try these out I forgot to take a picture until after I bite the top of one- oops! If you’re familiar with their Tres Leches doughnut the Matcha is very similar in style with an moist interior and a thick crackly glaze on top. It’s just all matcha flavored instead of milk flavored and if you know me at all you know I love my matcha.

The Banana Pecan doughnut was no joke either. Look at this beautiful fried dough studded with nuts and ‘naners. I loved the flavor combination but it was a little too sticky and big for me. I prefer a nice dense doughnut myself. Either way these are both fantastic treats that continue to make a celebration out of breakfast.

Doughnut Plant

We Have a Winner!

Well How do you like that. The very last entry in the Sotto Terra Contest ends up being the winner. Sean who likes Mojito's you were the name picked! Good job getting it in on time. Email me your contact information and I'll give you further instructions on Tuesday's dinner. For those of you that commented Thanks! I will definitely report back on the dinner and wishing everyone out there a great weekend!

Lunch at Osteria Morini

Mr. T and I had a great time at the last summer concert in Prospect Park last week. We had a perfect viewing spot in the back with a nice blanket for chilling out and just totally enjoying the place. The temperature was perfect, the moon was big and bright and the bands absolutely rocked! The only thing that made it better was knowing we both had taken the following day off of work to sleep in and rest up for the coming weekend.

Of course you know me...I can’t just sit around on a day off and do nothing. I need a fancy lunch! And so I was off to Michael White’s Osteria Morini to see how their extended RW lunch stood up to the rest.

They started me out with a single piece of piping hot Focaccia. I could smell the garlic and oil of this bread before I even had a chance to sink my teeth into the fluffy, delicate crust. Things were already off to a good start when my beautiful appetizer arrived.

Whipped Sheep’s Milk Ricotta with peas, nepitella pesto and toasted walnuts. This dish …

Bien Cuit AKA Crossiant Crack

I heard about this new bakery Bein Cuit from Serious Eats the other day so the next time I worked in Brooklyn I walked over at lunch time. Upon entering the bakery I spotted a little tray on the counter of croissant samples. I took one, had a bite and it was almost like I had smoked some sort of crack (or how I assume it would be like). It was so good it was absolutely intoxicating. I had planned to buy one of their savory tarts for lunch but my mind was glued onto this croissant. I looked into the case and the somewhat hefty price tag of $4.25 but I didn’t even hesitate. I needed to have this croissant.

The outside is insanely crunchy and buttery while the inside pastry peeled away in fluffy, moist layers of dough and almond crème. The whole thing is then dipped in brandy leaving the bottom layer crisp and caramelized. This was easily the best Almond Croissant I have ever had.


I don’t even eat croissants that much- they are much more Mr. T’s forte. I was planning t…

Sotto Terra Dinner for Two Giveaway!

It’s another rainy day here in NYC so let’s brighten things up a bit with a great giveaway!

Sotto Terra is an underground Italian restaurant opening in the West Village for a limited five night engagement. Dinner each night is being hosted by Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert and TLC Chef and Ultimate Cake Off Man George Duran. Yours truly will be attending and they've generously extended the offer for a NYCtastes reader and guest as well!

What you’ll get if you win:

*A four course meal for you and a guest of summery favorites like Strawberry Arugula Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette and Mojitio Granita shots.
*Unlimited Sangria’s created by George Duran himself to pair with each course.
*The opportunity to dine at an exclusive underground restaurant.
*And of course the opportunity to meet me!! (Don’t worry I won’t make you talk to me much as I’ll be enjoying the fabulous food and drink as well :)

The restaurant will be located at 142 West 11th Street and is only open from Augus…

La Pizza (Rossopomodoro) at Eataly

I’m finally making it through all the restaurants in Eataly. It seems like it’s taken me forever but only Manzo and La Pizza/La Pasta are left. Although I had takeout pizza when they first opened I figure I need to dine in to actually experience the true flavor. I stopped the other night and go the very last seat at the pizza bar.

Instead of the usual Margherita Pizza I decided to try the Pomodoro with Cherry Tomatoes, Smoked Provolone Cheese, Ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano and Fresh Basil.

Just looking at this picture makes me drool a little bit. This pizza was absolutely delicious I was worried the ricotta would be too rich but it was actually very light both in flavor and texture. Nothing like the ricotta cheese bombs we had on our pizza from Lombardi’s.

Each pie was given a liberal pour of Extra Virgin Olive Oil upon exiting the oven and topped with some grated cheese and basil.

In order to love this pizza as much as I did you need to enjoy the taste of a nicely charred bot…

Last Tastes of Summer

I cannot believe that it took me until August to try out the Strawberry Lemonade summer flavor of Momofuku’s Cake Truffles. I saw these guys way back at the Madison Square Market and somehow they fell off my radar.

The crumbly outside reminded me of the crunchies I used to enjoy on my 50 cent Strawberry Sundae bars growing up.

The pudding like center just oozed with tart, lemony goodness. This was such a light, refreshing summer treat! I’m only sad to say they won’t be around much longer. They already had their Autumn Flavors out the other day. Not that Dulce de Leche and Pistachio don’t sound amazing as well but I’m hoping to get one last Strawberry Lemonade in before they’re gone.

Another Bohemian Birthday

Saturday of Mr. T’s birthday weekend we met up with another friend who shares the same birthday and a group of us went up to Medieval Times in NJ. I have to admit we had a blast. The food was mediocre at best but the beer flowed freely and it was nice to get out of the city and do something different (Oh the things we do for love).

Sunday was actually Mr. T’s real birthday so he and I went back to his last birthday dinner spot Bohemian. If you recall Bohemian is that quiet little speakeasy of a restaurant hidden away behind a Butcher Shop where you need the special number to get a reservation. Last time we went for their $55 Tasting menu which was an absolute steal for the price but way too much food for us to finish. This time we went a la carte and paced ourselves much better than before.

Our first course Japanese Short Ribs Sashimi with citrus, ponzu, pickled cauliflower and wasabi. I had to order this dish since I have never seen it on a menu before. The meat was extremely…

An Old Classic is Certainly Tired

Mr. T had to work Friday night (of his birthday weekend- horrible!) so I was left on my own to figure out something to do. I met with a friend after work for a drink and then headed home in search of some good food. I looked through my wallet and ran across a $50 gift card to the Palm I had gotten from American Express. It expired the end of the month so I decided this would be the perfect night to use it! I hopped on the train and took a ride to Palm West in Times Square. I was lucky enough to get a nice little table in the bar area right by the window which was perfect for people watching. Now I’ll preface this review by saying I was expecting a fabulous meal. The Palm had been around forever and isn’t cheap. Service, food and atmosphere should be first rate I think you would agree.

First they brought me a basket of rolls and bread sticks while I perused the drink list. The Onion roll was quite delicious with pieces of whole garlic and chopped onion in between little groo…