Tuesday, August 30, 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 was strange. Early on George brought up the Alan Richman article and asked me what my thoughts were on his “good friend Sarah’s restaurant” M. Wells. It was a little strange and awkward as I had to say my service had been quite similar to Alan's, which is horrible. I tried to change the conversation after that but he seemed to stick with it and I was very happy when he was called into the kitchen.

We went downstairs to dinner and the conversation went to what we, as food bloggers, were concerned about most with today’s food. The talk covered everything from CSA to healthy food for raising children, etc. Everyone was encouraged to share but it was quite obvious that Phil Lempert was the one in control. He seemed to pass on stories he wasn’t interested in and delve deeply into others without direction. It didn’t make much sense to me at the time and I honestly just found him to be a little obnoxious and rude. He didn’t even stop talking when everyone had their first course in front of them. George finally said something to the effect of "Eat Up" and we all finally felt okay to dig in. It turns out he was completely trying to steer the conversation for his own means but I wouldn’t know what that was until the end.

The meal started off with a Strawberry Arugula Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette Goat Cheese and Nuts. It was simple and fresh- nothing outstanding but definitely something I could recreate at home.

I thought the Cheesy Garlic Bread was pretty good as well. I enjoyed the fact that was made with whole wheat bread, although it definitely packed in some salt. For our main course the piece de resistence arrived. A double stacked Cheese and Meat Lasagna which was described by George as having his favorite special ingredient inside- pepperoni. He had been raving about it all night so I was pretty excited to check it out.

Now being that I’m not a pasta lover, I was really looking forward to this meaty, cheesy filling George talked up but unfortunately the dish seemed to be mostly noodle. I tried to pull it apart to get some good filling but there just wasn’t much to get. Finally about halfway through pulling off different layers I gave up. I can play with my food at home- I didn’t want to offend George by destroying the lovely plate he had cooked for us. My guests ate the whole thing although one muttered under his breath that it reminded him of a Hot Pocket.

Our palate cleanser was an icy cool Mojito Granita shot.

Then onto dessert which described as Razzleberry Pie a la mode. I thought it was a very, very strange that George named the dessert Razzelberry. It didn’t seem very restaurant like but I figured he was appealing to families with children as well as the adult set.

Since I hadn’t finished my salad or the lasagna I devoured this. Hot, sugary sweet raspberries and blackberries topped with cool vanilla ice cream. The pie itself had a slightly strange eggy texture but it satiated my sweet tooth just fine.

The meal concluded with some coffee and two giveaways. The first was a copy of George’s newest cookbook. The second was a box of Maria Callender’s new frozen lasagna dinner.

Wait...say what? Why is George giving away a frozen Marie Callender’s dinner? Because folks- that’s what we had been eating. Both the main course lasagna and dessert had come from a box. While George had been pretending to slave all day making this elaborate meal for us he had instead just heated up some boxes. Apparently he is going to be the spokesperson for this new line of frozen meals.

I wasn’t mad at first- just shocked and I felt very awkward. We had been unknowingly part of a focus group for frozen dinners. The entire meal had been taped and they were having people sign off on waivers to use the footage (did anyone else wonder why the light settings kept changing?). We didn’t stick around to sign anything and simply got out as soon as we could. I wasn’t angry, just confused. I mean it’s not like I paid for the dinner or anything and they did give us as much wine and sangria as we wanted so no big deal right? Plus it was a Tuesday night…not like I wasted my weekend on this or anything…

However the more I have thought about it I've gotten a little upset that they encouraged me to extend this “underground dinner experience” to my readers as well. It’s one thing to pull the wool over my eyes a bit but totally different to encourage me to do that to one of my readers myself. This isn’t just staging a bizarre hidden camera episode with me, but people who read my blog. I don’t want it to seem that I am in any way a part of this and would have given my guests full disclosure of what was about to occur if I had indeed known. I feel like I let them down and that makes me upset.

It also angers me that all of us dining there that night said they were concerned about healthy eating (well except Mr. T, he said something about Ramen and Earthquakes...work in progress that one) What in the world were these people thinking when they gave us frozen, high sodium, dinners? Did they actually think people wouldn’t be upset? Why didn’t they pick some people out of the frozen food section in a supermarket or something? That might actually garner them some good press!

In the end- lesson learned. I will always research my PR events much more thoroughly to hopefully prevent this from happening in the future. You can also bet that even thought I can probably count on one hand my frozen food purchases this year, it will never include a Marie Callender’s- that’s for sure.

I decided to include a few links below of others who attended. You will find they run a gamut of emotions so to each their own I suppose...

Mom Confessionals

Chubby Chinese Girl

Foodie City Mom

Monday, August 29, 2011

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.

Of course we got a half dozen of the Alpine Bay PEI which I love, then tried out the Deer Creek, Point Julia and Hood Canal as well.

We agreed the favorite West Cost of the bunch was the Point Julia. These guys had a deep shell and were briny but creamy and mellow. Although I wish there had been a few more East Coast it was nice to try out what we did.

In lieu of a vignette we were given a shot of grappa- an Italian wine I’ve had quite an unpleasant history with. However it seems I’ve finally found a way to enjoy this drink since it went perfectly with the briny oysters.

We also tried out a pot of their Beer Steamed Mussels which absolutely delicious! They used an IPA for the broth and the flavor was out of this world.

I was so happy when the mussels were gone and we still had a ton of bread left over to mop up all the delicious broth. I would come back again just for the mussels in a heartbeat.

The only weird thing was that the lights were off the entire time we were there and it was almost pitch black inside. I felt like I couldn’t even see my food half the time and it was a gorgeous sunny day outside! But I’ll be back! Maybe just at night when the lights are on.

Upstate Restaurant

Friday, August 26, 2011

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 cannibal for a reason.

I didn't have any food or drink at the bar but I plan to head back tonight. This is a great place to get a slew of different beers for enjoying as the rain crashes outside.

Hope everyone stays safe this weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

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 continued on with my raw beef infatuation (is four in one month too much?) and ordered the Steak Tartare. (Don’t worry I switched to red wine when this arrived)I was surprised to see our bartender come out and actually prepare this for us table side. It was nice to have that presentation but I was not prepared for how large the portion would be. This is easily twice the size of any of my previous Tartare’s. The meat was delicious, with some chopped onion and parsley on top, although I think there was a tad too much mustard going on for me.

My Tartare came with a generous helping of frites and a side salad just as Mr. T’s did. Now I have to say the frites were somewhat disappointing. My first two times here they were, quite frankly, the best fries I had ever had. This time a little bit larger cut and slightly overcooked- certainly still top notch but not the frites of the past (sigh).

For three drinks and all this food we came out right around $70 which is not a bad deal at all. Our bartender was great- service has been an issue for us in the past here. Unfortunately it seems it continues to be in the main dining room as the couple behind us asked for their check when we sat down and finally received it as we were leaving (after asking multiple times and becoming very distressed). So hit the bar if you can or go at an off hour when it’s not so crazy. By the time we left it was 8:15 and the place was a zoo with about 20 people waiting up front and every table filled to the brim. Way to crowded and not fun if you want to enjoy your meal.

Don’t go expecting to see Bourdain- he’s long gone. But a pretty solid Steak Frites and Tartare still remain.

Les Halles

Monday, August 22, 2011

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 cooked perfect with the addition of some awesome crispy bacon on top.

The burgers come solo so we ordered a basket of their cottage fries as a side. These were just okay. I’m very specific about my fried potatoes being thin and uniformly crispy. Some were crunchy some were soft- Mr. T had most of them.

What I loved most about JG Melon’s was the old school atmosphere complete with the small old fashioned wine glasses. Although PJ Clark’s will stay my favorite old school burger joint (original location only) JG Melon is pretty damn awesome. A fine UES institution if I’ve ever seen one.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

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

Friday, August 19, 2011

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 was simple, rustic and utterly delicious. I loved the combination of flavors especially the peas. When I was little I spent many a night alone at the dinner table staring at a plate of peas that just wouldn’t go away. I started to bargain with my parents before dinner even began as to how many I had to eat in order to leave the table. Then I would count them out one by one just to make sure I didn’t have to subject myself to even one more horrible morsel than I needed to! Note to Mom- you could have just added some cheese and oil.

Since my favorite fish dish of last year had been at Michael White’s previous restaurant, Marea, I figured I had to try out a fish dish here as well. Unfortunately my Spigola wasn’t anywhere near the height of my expectations. The bass was cooked well and the lemon-caper vinaigrette was tasty but it just all seemed a little bland. The vegetables underneath were watery and I think it helped to dilute the whole dish. It wasn’t horrible but I would definitely try out pasta instead if I return to visit.

Luckily my Gianduja Budino dessert came just in time and really capped off the meal in a great way. The chocolate-hazelnut custard bottom had a perfect caramelized top and more caramel syrup running along the bottom. The gelato was intense and the whipped cream was even more intense.

See the flecks of vanilla! But here’s the best part- a nice slab of hot, crispy cinnamon sugar bread right in the middle. It was like they topped off my dessert with a churro instead of a cherry! This was just phenomenal!

Besides my slight disappointment in my main course I really enjoyed the food at Osteria. My service needed some work however. I had three different waiters before my appetizer came out and my Quartino of wine came as a very small glass instead. Hopefully those kinks will smooth out and I can again enjoy that wonderful Budino.

Osteria Morini

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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 to save half for him but by the time I got back to the office I was ready to demolish it. I gave some to a coworker, just to ensure it was as good as smoking crack (not like he would know either) he agreed and then I just had at it.

At $4.25 a pop this is definitely on the pricey side but I honestly think it’s worth every penny. Just picking up the bag to leave you’ll be surprised at how heavy it is. I’m sure this pastry has a pound of butter in it but my god it’s fabulous.

Bien Cuit

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

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 August 23rd to August 27th. Unfortunately I am out of town most of the week so I asked them if we could do dinner and the giveaway for Tuesday the 23rd and they happily obliged! In honor of George’s Sangrias, all you have to do to enter is tell us your favorite summer drink in the comments below. Hopefully this will help all of us get out of the rainy doldrums!

To start things out here's a fabulous Strawberry Lemon cocktail I enjoyed the other day at Beecher's Cellar. It was tart and fizzy- perfect for beating the heat!

I’ll randomly pick a winner on Friday the 19th and send out additional details. This is a great giveaway so have fun commenting and Good Luck!

Monday, August 15, 2011

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 bottom. I love the little burnt patched along the bottom which give a nice contrast to the chewy crusty edge.

I’ll admit I was a little concerned the cherry tomatoes wouldn’t be enough for me so I asked for a side of sauce as well. This honestly wasn’t needed in the end but I really enjoyed the taste of the sauce for dipping my crust into.

My service at La Pizza was absolutely wonderful. My waiter was always nearby to check and see how I was doing and constantly had on a big smile. I also loved sitting near the oven so I could see each pizza being made and then smell each delicious pie as they were sent out. I thought La Pizza was quite affordable as well. My pizza was $14 and easily big enough for two. I actually brought half of it home for Mr. T who had the rest for dinner. So there you have La Pizza. I guess I still have two more places to visit since I didn’t try the pastas next door. Damn…so close but so far away.

Friday, August 12, 2011

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.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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 tender and had a surprisingly gamey taste to it. I absolutely loved the garlic soy sauce on the side but unfortunately the texture threw me off a bit. It reminded me of a bit of eating tongue…That’s not a bad thing just one of the strange little issues I have every once in a while.

Our next two dishes were our favorites from our dinner last time. First the Uni and Mushroom Croquette. This dish is just ridiculous. There is really no way to describe the rich, creamy Uni seeping into the earthy salt croquette. I would never thick of using the term luxurious for a dish but that exemplifies it to a tee.

The Roasted Branzino was as spectacular as ever with a ton of Roasted Vegetables, Whole Garlic and Mini Potatoes. This dish alone can feed two people easily. The delicate fish gets no better than this and the veggies sop up all the roasting juices and give the most amazing flavor. A couple came and sat next to us right when this dish came out and they were ogling, it like mad. When the time came to order they stunned me by each ordering one in addition to appetizers! I would never look at this dish and think to order it for myself alone. I wish we had stuck around to see how much damage they were able to do.

We honestly could have ended there but I really wanted to try out one last dish the Beef Tartare with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. OMG this was totally my dish. Can you see the blue oozing out of the bread? That was some seriously funky cheese.

It was absolutely amazing with the tangy mustard and capers on the beef. I think I ate this whole dish myself. Mr. T may have gotten a bite in somewhere but I never noticed. I was in the food zone of love! This is why I dine alone so much. Mr. T could honestly have told me the world was ending and I wouldn’t have cared. I had completely tuned him out and only my love for the beef was on my mind. Hopefully he knows better than to talk to me about anything important during these meals or else I’m in some serious trouble.

We were perfectly stuffed by the end and completely satisfied. The bill arrived and once again I questioned why it had taken us a full year to return. It came to right around $130 with drinks. That’s not cheap but not expensive either. The quality of the food and the calm atmosphere alone could command more but luckily they keep it reasonable. We immediately agreed to return again soon. Hell I may even come here by myself for that Tartare. Birthday weekend complete!

Monday, August 8, 2011

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 grooves in the bread. However the butter was ice cold, something I never understand and hate. It’s impossible to enjoy the roll when the butter rips it to shreds.

I had my eyes set on the Black Widow Martini with fresh mint and Black Raspberry Vodka but they were out of the ingredients. When I asked for a recommendation the waiter said the cocktail list was new and he didn’t know. I was kind of disappointed he couldn’t be of more help. At the last second he said maybe try a margarita…I thought that was a strange recommendation since I was looking at the Martini’s. In the end I ordered the Palm Refresh Martini made with Basil, Cucumber and Vodka.

I had one sip of this drink and my cheeks puckered up so much I thought I might swallow them. There was so much lime it was beyond acidic. I guess I should have listened when he said the drinks were brand new. I was actually planning to ask for a different drink but my waiter never returned until the check arrived. Another strike in my book. Don’t you check back on the new drink you just had made? I was starting to get annoyed but luckily the atmosphere was fabulous.

I was sitting right below one of the big paintings on the wall and right as food my food arrived the heavens opened and it looked like a monsoon outside.

Luckily I was enjoying the scene outside because the scene inside wasn’t getting any better. My $43 9 ounce filet mignon was beyond a disappointment.

It was tough on the ends and had strips of fat through the middle. I’ve never had a filet with fat strips like that and also never had one where I needed to dose it so much with salt and pepper. It was a dry, unflavored piece of meat. Easily the worst steakhouse meat I’ve ever had. Of course my waiter never came over with fresh Pepper, a staple at steakhouses I thought and I simply sat there sipping my horrible martini and gnawing away on the crackly meat like I was eating the turkey from National Lampoons Christmas Dinner.

Luckily the cute busboy was nice. He constantly refilled my water and walked by each time with a big smile. I was a solo diner in a bar filled with loud drunken tourists. Maybe he felt a little bad for me or maybe I was his little escape from this crappy place.

Thank Goodness for that gift card because I would have been furious if I paid $60 for that meal. When I left at 7:30, every table and stool in the place was filled so I guess there are a lot of people out there that like paying a lot for crappy food. For me, I’ll stick with my boy’s at Luger’s and Keens thank you very much.