Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another Easter Brunch at Zum Schneider

Mr. T and I enjoyed our Easter brunch at Zum Schneider so much last year we’ve decided to make it an annual tradition. It was especially gorgeous this Easter Sunday and we soaked in the rays along our walk down to Alphabet City. After a quick stop at Venerio’s for some Easter Egg bread and mini desserts we were ready for some beers!



Zum switched up their beer list and now offers four different Hofbräuhaus Traunstein beers. We both started with the Helles and perused their specials menu. Just like last year Zum had a special Easter Ham and Easter Lamb dish. Since we got the lamb last year we decided to try the ham this year instead.



Easter Ham!! Nice thick slabs of succulent ham were covered in light mustard gravy with a heaping side of mashed potatoes. This dish was right up my alley. I loved the crispy skin on the outer edge of the ham and the gravy was especially delicious.



It came with a side of greens beans that were tasty but not as crispy and delicious as I remember last years being. Now as much as I loved my Easter ham I knew Mr. T was going to hate it as soon as it was set down at our table. He is a huge mustard hater and the gravy was a total turn off for him.



Luckily we had also ordered some potato pancakes. Zum always makes the best pancakes with flattened, brown crispy sides and the most delicious side salad going.



After we finished our meal we enjoyed a few Rolo’s from the table Easter basket.



Then we decided to have one more beer as we watched the children look for hidden eggs throughout the restaurant.



I stuck to the Traunstein beers and this time ordered the Dunkel. This was absolutely fantastic with strong notes of sweet caramel and rich chocolate finish, while Mr. T got his favorite beer Spatan Optimator. It was a lovely way to spend Easter Sunday and a tradition that I hope to continue each and every year.

Zum Schneider

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Tuck Shop

I’ve probably walked past this little shop on 1st street about a million times before and not once did I think about stopping inside. However absolute starvation and a little bit of frustration lead me here and I’m so glad it did. I’m not going to get into the story- it’s the food that counts- but basically it was 4:30 in the afternoon, I hadn’t eaten a thing all day except a devils on horseback and I had already shared a bottle of champagne with three friends. It sounds alarming but it really just boils down to a friends birthday visit in the city and me standing on a corner waiting for her for over a half hour while her cell phone was off.

I was waiting at 1st and 1st and I just couldn’t take it anymore. My stomach was literally groaning and my head was starting to hurt from the champagne buzz wearing off. I ran into Tuck Shop- ordered up a Pulled Pork Pie and a Coopers Sparkling.



Man oh man! Look at this glorious meat pastry! A heaping pile of spicy pork was topped off with a mound of creamy coleslaw, only be held together by a flaky, buttery casing of pie crust. Talk about a calorie bomb! This was exactly what I needed.



The pork was moist and would have been a bit too hot on its’ own but the buttery crust and slaw really cooled down the spice. The pie was even more satisfying with my refreshing Coopers Sparkling. I sat there chowing away, listening to some good tunes until my friend walked by the window. I almost didn’t wave her in- I was to into the sandwich- but I’m nice so I did. And I even shared:) This thing is monstrous and both of us were full after splitting only one. For under $10 this is a seriously good cheap eats stop.

The Tuck Shop

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Last Day of Eataly Week- Happy Easter!!!

Well that’s it folks- a full week of Eataly I hope you enjoyed. Whether it be for the fabulous cheeses, the vast array of espresso drinks or the constantly changing assortment of fresh fruit and veggies- Eataly has it all.

Including a special Easter treat for Mr. T! Look at this beautiful Chocolate Easter Egg!



Little does he know there's a special treat inside! Eataly makes these eggs right in front of your eyes and offers to put mementos in for a surprise.



Yeah- this is what I put inside for Mr. T. I got laughed at a bit but the process was awesome. He placed it inside and then melted the chocolate on that silver warmer.



After about a 5 minute wait it was done. Voila! A chocolate Easter egg! What a great place. I have so many more Eataly photos I could truly do another straight week right away. But I'll hold off- there's too much other great food and drink to be had.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Eataly Week Day 6- Vino and Tiramisu

Happy Saturday! Eataly Week is almost over and I hope you've enjoyed every second of it! I saved the second last day for a glass of Prosecco Rose and their Peanut Tiramisu. Is it a match made in heaven.



At least this is what my little slice of heaven feels like. We'll end tomorrow with a special Easter Eataly treat and lots of wishing and hoping for the beer garden to open up soon!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Eataly Week Day 5- Focaccia and Fruit

Obviously I’m obsessed with the desserts and coffee at Eataly but I probably spend most of my time here buying our groceries. Eataly has some of the best fruit and vegetables going and some really rare finds as well.



Just the other day Mr. T and I went shopping for strawberries and came out with a plethora of other items. Three different types of apples, two new kinds of pears, blood oranges, expensive but amazing dried cherries and strawberries and some weird Andes Fruits. Look at these things.



Mr. T and I had no idea what we were supposed to do with them but they were pretty darn tasty.



Another delicious buy is the Roast chicken from the Rosticceria. For around %10.00 you get a whole chicken that's unbelievable tender and ridiculously moist. However skip the rosemary potatoes as a side. They're tasty but expensive for the amount you receive.



Last but not least one of the most affordable and delicious things at Eataly I’ve never discussed- the Focaccia. Mr. T tends to stick to the Ham and Cheese focaccia but they have about five different kinds and are always experimenting. The bread has a great texture with just the right amount of oil and fresh toppings. The other day I tried one with peas and gorgonzola. It was out of this world and under $2.00 for an enormous piece. Now that’s a bargain!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eataly week Day 4- More Desserts

I’m almost down to the wire. I think after this I have one more dessert to try and then I’ve had them all. I have to say I think I saved one of the best for last with this one.



This is the Amar Dus- a Raisin Brioche with Chocolate Mousse and Almond Bavarian. Why in the world did I wait so long to try this! The Bavarian creme in the middle was so rich it was positively decadent and along with the smoky almonds and salty raisins it tasted utterly amazing.



The Coffee Panna Cotta on the other hand was only so so. It tasted okay- like coffee and crème, almost like my Cremespresso actually, but it was boring. Not big flavors jumping out here. But that little Amar Dus, OMG just thinking about it now makes want to run over to Eataly right now and get one. Actually I will- Bye!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eataly Week Day 3- Dinner at Le Verdure

Le Verdure is Eataly’s restaurant that focuses on fresh produce. Now although I love salad and brussel sprouts, etc. I’ve never been to a place that is known solely for their vegetables. I’m a protein person for sure but Le Verdure really intrigued me. So I stopped the other day and got a seat at the bar. Now since I would be feasting on some produce I figured a light, bubbly Prosecco would go well with whatever I ordered. Eataly has a couple to choose from but my favorite is the Flor Prosecco Rose.



The waiter came over and told me about the specials for the day and then helped guide me through the menu. He had a lot of recommendations and after much deliberation I finally decided on the Pinzimonio Bagna Cauda.



Bagna Cauda I came to find out is an Italian sauce made with garlic and anchovies. When the waiter described it I immediately thought of a Cesar dressing so I gave it a shot. I’m so glad I did because the sauce was fantastic. It had the same elements of a Cesar but it was lighter and spicier. It had lots of flavor but didn’t overshadow the vegetables. I liked it so much I used the bread to mop up the remaining sauce at the end. And lets talk about those veggies! Tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, red and green peppers- they were all awesome! Everything was so fresh I felt like I was eating right out of a garden. If my vegetables tasted like this growing up I would have gotten into a lot less dinner time standoffs with my folks.



Now although this dish is listed under Antipasta it was more than filling enough with the large piece of bread to be ordered as your entrée. I was contently full at the end and had just enough room for a piece of chocolate on the way out.

Le Verdure Menu

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eataly Week Day 2- A Tale of Two Desserts

Obviously at this point I’ve had almost every single dessert Eataly’s pasticceria has to offer. The most recent ones had very different expectations and outcomes. First the Baba al Limoncello.



I’ve always been a fan of lemon desserts but I had been put off by the strange shinly glaze coating this one. It wasn’t until one of the barista’s actually told me it was his favorite that I decided to try it out.



Underneath that shiny glaze coating lays a delicate and fluffy yellow cake that’s been soaked in that wonderful liquor limoncello. The middle is filled with a cool and refreshing lemon pudding and the entire dessert was simply wonderful. This dessert was just as good as the barista said and I ended up licking the sugary glaze off the bottom it was so tasty. Note to self- looks can be deceiving.



Such was the case the other way with the Torta. I was intrigued by the delicate lines of cream lacing the top and rich brown layers of nuts and frosting. However the taste was much more than I was expecting in a not so good sort of way. This was billed as a Hazelnut Cake but I wasn’t ready for just how intensely nutty this pastry would be.



The filling was crushed hazelnuts, the frosting was a thick sugary hazelnut cream and even the dense crust tasted like it had some hazelnuts crushed into it. This was not for me- the entire dessert was much too linear in flavor and overall too sweet. So one hit and one miss- I still will try anything that comes out of that pasticceria.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Eataly Week at Nyctastes!!!!

Yes that's right. This will be a whole week dedicated to my favorite place in the world Eataly!! And we begin with my weekend eye opener at Cafe Lavazza.

I truly cannot start my Saturday and Sunday without a trip here. I’m absolutely obsessed with their espresso drinks and I’ve had time to try out almost all of the menu. I’ve told you all about their Peiodmonte and regular espresso as well as the Espresso Alla Spuma Di Nocciola (which I didn’t have named before). But have I introduced you to the Espresso Cremespresso before?



Welcome to my favorite new coffee drink of all time. Doesn’t it just look stunning! Pure espresso coffee at the base then topped off with Cremespresso and a sprinkle of coffee powder. Cremespresso is basically espresso that’s been blended with cream and milk then frozen so it has a nice icy smooth texture. OMG this is so freakin good! It’s like a dessert honestly. A dessert I must start every weekend morning with!



For a true dessert coffee drink I suggest the Iced Mocha. This is espresso with cold chocolate and whipped cream. Honestly this was a little bit too sweet for me. I think the ratio of chocolate and espresso would have been better about 50/50 rather than ¼ espresso and ¾ chocolate. It was just too sweet for me. That’s okay though I still have my Cremespresso. Yummmm….

Friday, April 15, 2011

Redfarm Stand at Foodparc

I was in the awful dead zone area of 30th street the other day for work and the one thing I was looking forward to was trying out the new FoodParc. Foodparc is a crazy new indoor/outdoor space that houses four different food places in one with crazy computers everywhere for ordering. That’s right- I didn’t have to speak to anyone to get my food. Just place an order at the kiosk and a text message was sent to my phone when it was ready- pretty cool huh.



I decided on Redfarm Stand since I heard Chef Joe NG from Chinatown Brasserie was behind the food and it truly lived up to my expectations. The Signature Skewered Chicken was perfect. The moist pieces of poultry were topped with a tangy brown glaze and a creamy side of peanut sauce. This was probably one of the best satay’s I’ve ever had.



The chicken and shrimp dumplings were really tasty as well. Sometimes I get grossed out by how oily dumplings are. Not at all here. The skin was lightly pan fried and filled with big pieces of shrimp and ground up chicken. Everything tasted so fresh it was a nice contrast to a lot of midtown Asian food.

So Foodparc was a hit. The prices seemed a little steep at first but the portions were more than worth it and the high tech ordering put a little fun into my workday.

Foodparc

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Social Eatz- AKA I’m in love with Angelo Sosa

Okay my love affair with Angelo Sosa began by watching Top Chef, solidified at the NYC Food and Wine festival and now has peeked at Social Eatz. Remember how much I loved his Pork Belly in October? Well now he opened up his own place called Social Eatz in Midtown East. Mr. T and I took a trek up there last Saturday and got a seat at the bright orange bar. They don’t have a liquor license yet so we stuck to some waters and I ordered the Bibimbap Burger.



Good Lord look at this thing. A nice fatty meat patty topped with a slow cooked egg, pickled carrots, cucumber, lettuce and a spicy mayo sauce.



This thing was seriously amazing. The egg seeped into the ground beef when I bite in and the spicy kick of the sauce was chilled out by the cool pickled vegetables. NOM NOM NOM. Yes that was me happily chowing away.



Mr. T’s dish was amazing as well- Chicken Corn and Coconut Tacos made with sweet corn, coconut relish, chipotle onion avocado and jalapeño. Much like the burger the taco had a big kick of spice up front but then a cool after bite from the creamy coconut relish. It was tropical and exciting. I’m honestly not sure which dish I like more- they were both amazing.

The fries that came with my burger were quite tasty as well. They were long and skinny with a nice crunch- kind of like McDonalds.

We can’t wait to go back to Social Eatz and try out the rest of the menu. Mr. T is so unhappy because he used to work in the neighborhood for years and the lunch options stunk. Now there’s a slew of great stuff around here. Angelo you’ve done it again!

Social Eatz

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ramps!!!

Mr. T and I have been enjoying ramps for the past two weeks now thanks to Eataly. I was going to save this post for my Eataly week (Coming up soon!) But then I had the most amazing cocktail involving ramps so I must talk about it now.



However as you can see Eataly has some awesome veggies in their department. Now I know some people think ramps are overrated- and possibly they are a bit. Having such a short window of opportunity to enjoy something always ramps (ha) up the value and buzz about something. However I truly love the flavor of ramps and anything that involves them.



Case in point the 323 cocktail from Inoteca Liquori made with gin, lemon sour and muddled pineapple and ramps. OMG this cocktail was delicious. How could it not be with three of my favorite things- ramps, pineapple and liquor :) It reminded me a bit of the Rickshaw I had at Gramercy Tavern because of its savory edge. If you’re a ramp addict like me this is surly something to check out.

Inoteca Liquori

Friday, April 8, 2011

Happy Friday Happy Hour!!!

What's better than being done with work for the weekend...a tasty cocktail to celebrate with!!! And one seriously tasty cocktail is the Komodo Dragon from Haru Sushi.



It's a blend of Svedka Vanilla,coconut rum, pineapple juice and blue curaçao. It leans slightly toward the sweeter side but I find the combination absolutely wonderful. Especially when it's cold and rainy outside what's better than pretending to be far away with a tropical drink.

The best part about the Komodo Dragon- it's only $7 during Haru's Happy hour! Second best part- happy hour at Haru is every single day from 3-7. So even on a Saturday you can swing by and indulge. So instead of just happy Friday have a happy week!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Upstate Brunch at Tarry Tavern

I took Metro North up to Tarrytown one Sunday to visit my friend for brunch. I had read about Tarry Tavern online and really wanted to see how the food stacked up. I really wanted to order one of everything on the menu- it looked amazing. To begin we split an order of the Butternut Squash & Pear Ravioli with Brown Butter, Sage and Walnut Puree.



What’s not to love about this combination? The addition of pear to the squash gave the filling a little bit of zest. I thoroughly enjoyed dipping my fork in the walnut puree with each bit and the brown butter and sage sauce was phenomenal. Unfortunately the ravioli was a tad too al dente for my taste buds. I would have cooked it about a minute longer.



I really struggled with what to order for my main course but it had been months since I indulged in a burger and I felt it was about time. This is the TT Wagyu Burger with Bacon-Onion Jam, White Cheddar and Hand Cut Fries.



Look at that beautiful innard! The beef was buttery, rich and insanely moist. It was so packed with flavor actually that I didn’t think this needed anything on top- not even cheese. There was a huge amount of jam and bacon packed on that was just too much for the intense burger. Wagyu beef does not need a sweet spread or fatty bacon to enhance it. I took the top off and enjoyed it separately from the burger and it was much better. The hand cut fries were unfortunately way too fried. They had no bend whatsoever and tasted only of oil. So more pasta cook time, less potato grease time.



My cohort went with a normal brunch order of Bacon and Eggs. As you can see from the picture they gave her sausage instead of bacon. Luckily my friend loves all meat products and didn’t care. Her eggs were tasty and if it wasn’t for the meat switch its a successful dish.

So overall Tarry Tavern was tasty but there were a few things they could work out. Hopefully they will soon because I completely plan on coming back to check out the rest of the delicious looking menu next time I’m in the area.

Tarry Tavern

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dine in Brooklyn River Cafe

Obviously you all know I love Restaurant Week for it’s 3 course menus at bargain prices but there are other weeks to enjoy like that as well. Like Dine In Brooklyn Week! It’s basically the same deal as RW but slightly cheaper and only in Brooklyn. I happened to be working in Brooklyn on Wednesday was able to snag a table at the River Café for lunch. I was seated at a fantastic table right in the back, so I had a great view of the entire buzzing restaurant and water and no one seemed to notice me as a solo diner. It was perfect! The first thing I noticed on the menu were the Lamb Meatballs “Au Poivre” that Ben had ordered last time we were here. After just one bite of his dish I had been so jealous I didn’t order it myself. Now I could!



The meatballs were so tender and light a fork easily cut into them. The dish had a nice subtle spice from the peppercorn sauce and the buttery potatoes were a perfect vessel for mopping up every single last drop of Cognac sauce. Heaven!



Now before my entrée arrived the waiter brought over a special little dish just for me! Scallop Ceviche with tomato and cilantro. Refreshingly tart- this was one tasty unexpected surprise! I went totally out of my comfort zone entrée wise and ordered the Ruby Red Shrimp Risotto with fresh white asparagus, Main shrimp, rosemary cured Mangalitsa pork lardo and Parmigiano Reggiano.



I never order risotto but I may have to start because this was lovely. I was worried the rice would be heavy from the lardo but it was light and creamy. The asparagus slices gave a nice little snap to the dish and the shrimp were nice and tender. Last but not least the tasting dessert!



I love River Café for many reasons but the Dessert Sampler for RW is really the clincher for me. Who wouldn’t love sampling this little tray.



The warm almond and blueberry tart was a wonderful sign of spring and tasted like it as well.



The Chocolate Marquise cake was intense, almost too chocolaty for my tastes but helped out this year by some fresh whipped cream from Ronnybrook Frams.



My absolute favorite of the plate- Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory Strawberry Ice Cream inside a fresh Cinnamon Cone. The ultra creamy ice cream exploded with fresh strawberries and tasted like it had just been churned out moments before. OMG I could have eaten about ten more of these.

So there you have it- another wonderful meal at the River Café and all of this food (not including drinks) for $20.11. That my friend is an absolute bargain.

The River Cafe

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Tap Room 307

Mr. T and I were so excited to hear that Andrea, a horrible Italian restaurant that’s been in our neighborhood for over a decade, had finally closed down. Now I usually don’t rejoice in something closing but Andrea’s really stunk. It took up a huge corner of 3rd avenue and just sat there. And not only did it closed but a new beer bar opened in its’ place. We were ecstatic! Unfortunately our enthusiasm has been a little short lived. So far we’ve been there three times. The first time we swung by for a drink and ordered up some food.



The menu looked great actually- everything sounded amazing. We started with an order of deviled eggs and they were just okay. The filling to egg ratio was perfect but I thought there was too much smoked chili on top. It overpowered the flavor and didn’t add anything good to the dish.



Our second appetizer was Foie Gras Poutine with Mozzarella Cheese Curds and Hudson Valley Foie Gras Gravy. This dish fared better with an ample amount of melted cheese and a tasty, but tame gravy. Unfortunately the fries weren’t very crisp at all and quickly became extremely soggy from the gravy. I think if they double fried the potatoes it would really help out the texture of the dish.

The first time we went the service was atrocious. Obviously they had only been open a week so it was expected but no one seemed to know what was going on or who was doing what. We all hoped this would be figured out with time.

I stopped in the next week as we were planning to watch some NCAA Basketball and grab some beers. A huge sign outside advertised watching all the games but once inside I found the bar dark and empty. Then I was told there would be no sound on for the games even if they were put on, so we left.



The last time I stopped in I was pleasantly surprised to learn they do beer flights. My waiter was extremely friendly and explained each of the beers to me and his service throughout the meal was fantastic. Things were looking up!



However my order of Pulled Pork sliders were pretty awful. The bun was hard, the pork wasn’t moist at all and either was the slaw on top. The whole thing was just one dry and lumpy mess. Not only that, but the size to price ratio was ridiculous. I’ve gotten the pulled pork sandwich at Wildwood countless times and I always get an awesome moist sandwich about three times the size of these with chips and coleslaw for the same price.

That’s when I really started to look at the menu and noticed their Cheeseburger listed for $17. That’s the same price as the Spotted Pig! The ambiance here doesn’t warrant that price tag and judging from the poor sliders I’m pretty sure the taste won’t either. When I got my bill the cost of the beer flight was pricey too. Ginger Man and Stag's Head charge $12- here they charged $14 and again the atmosphere at the first two is much much better.

So for now I’m going to say this place is a little disappointing. The service seems to have stepped up a bit since opening and beer flights are nice, but the price point is way too high for this neighborhood and the food needs some work for sure.

Tap Room 307