Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cookshop

We celebrated Mrs. T’s birthday with a stroll on the Highline and a little food over at Cookshop.  To begin the Chelsea Mary.



Not much different than your regular Bloody Mary this one used vodka, lemon juice, worcestershire, fresh horseradish and Tabasco sauce.  The fresh horseradish was excellent and helped clear up my sinuses a little bit.  For a little appetizer how about some light and fluffy Beignets.


These little guys were filled with fresh ricotta cheese from DiPalo’s which simply oozed out of the middle.



Onto entrees the classic Huevos Rancheros.



This dish was absolutely enormous and so incredibly hot I almost burned my face off. Three baked eggs, black beans, ranchero sauce, Monterrey jack cheese and a lime crème fraiche topped with crispy tortilla strips. This was an excellent version of the classic dish although the amount of beans was a little bit more than needed I would happily order this again. Dessert time with a Sticky Toffee Pudding and Baked Alaska.



The warm cake was topped with a tart lemon sauce and a scoop of balsamic ice cram. This was a good rendition but the one from North End Grill the week prior still was one of the best. The Smores Baked Alaska was made with frozen chocolate mousse, fudge cake, graham crumble and bruleed meringue.

Overall I thought the food at Cookshop was fantastic but be prepared for quite a scene. We had to wait 15 minutes to be seated past our reservation and the front area was so packed we had to wait outside. It is certainly a see and be seen but for good reason for the quality of food.

Cookshop

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The NoMad

Opening night at the NoMad I showed up a little early to scope out the space and have a drink at the bar.  First of all the bar area is downright gorgeous.  Plushy seats, a nice long manly bar top and an exquisite drink list- I foresee many nights in my future here that's for sure.




I started with the Lady Johnston- Nicaraguan Rum, Chambrey Dry Vermouth, Velvet Falernum, Lemon and Basil.  The cocktail was superb but my bar snack of Sweetbreads Croustillant with Parsley was even better.




This is a holdover I remember from Eleven Madison but somehow they tasted even better here.  Rich creamy sweetbreads inside a salty, crunchy crepe- this may be the best $9 I've spent in 2012!  After the snacks we were seated at our table and started out with the Fruits De Mer.  Mr. T wasn't happy with my choice since he expected a boring old platter.  But then he saw the top tier...




And the bottom tier...




Let's break it down one by one.  Scallop ceviche with yuzu, jalepeno and pistchio.




Sea Urchin Panna Cotta with green apple.




Hamachi with horseradish and lemon.




Beau Soleil Oyster with frozen migonette snow.




King Crab with avocado mousse.




Lobster with lemon and chili aioli.




This was such a breath of fresh air!  Each item was phenomenal with the King Crab and Oysters being my favorite.  Onto the complimentary bread.




Toasty warm olive oil flatbread studded with onions and sliced potatoes.  Just like the Fruits de Mer it was such an exciting and refreshing change from the boring old basket- and a delicious one at that!   For our main we ordered the Whole Roasted Chicken for two with Foie Gras, Black Truffle and Brioche.




They presented the whole chicken to us first then plated it in the back.  I have to be completely honest- this might be the best chicken I've had in my life.  Look at the incredibly moist innards and crispy skin.




There was something almost addictive about the black truffle sauce and foie gras. However I wasn't a huge fan of the dark meat in gravy.




But that's why I married someone with different tastes than me.  Mr. T devoured the small bowl and said it tasted like Thanksgiving.  Hmmm...chicken vs turkey... but I got it with the gravy.  Some comfort food at it's best.  I had prepared myself to eat somewhat like a lady but I polished off my whole damn plate.  Most people might forgo dessert at this point but I was raised to never say no to sweets.  So onto the Milk and Honey finale.




I don't know if words can possibly do justice to this dish.  It's another hold over from Eleven Madison and apparently Humm said he would never open a place without these flavor combinations on dessert list.  Ice cream, dehydrated milk, brittle, shortbread...don't ask just try.  It was exquisite.


So that's my first meal at NoMad.  Besides a little lag with our drink orders the service was pretty much perfect.  My only disappointment of the night was that the Brooklyn Brewery "Nomad le Poulet", a beer made specifically for the NoMad to pair with the chicken, had not yet arrived to the restaurant.  I silently cursed Garrett Oliver but it's also an excuse to come back again soon.


However I'm not sure I need an excuse.  When a place is absolutely beautiful but comfortable and the food is inventive and delicious, I'm not sure how many other excuses you need.  Daniel Humm has another winner on his hands that's for sure.


The NoMad

Hudson Valley RW at X2O

I took the short train ride up to Yonkers last week to meet my friend and have a nice RW dinner.  X2O is right on the Hudson River and the large windows along the building sides make for an absolutely lovely setting at sunset.  To begin I started with a special Spicy Tuna Roll.


I was happy this was the special since the RW roll was tempura and I really wasn’t feeling fried food.  The roll was great.  The fish was obviously very fresh, the avocado was perfectly ripe and although it was a tad oversized I really enjoyed it.  My friend ordered the Roasted Fennel Soup with Crispy Sage and Pumpkin Seed Oil.


I personally HATE the bitter taste of fennel so I was excited to see if roasting would mellow that out.You know what- it completely did and added a subtle sweetness that was wonderful! I may be trying to make this at home it was so good. For entrée I had the Honey and Sake Marinated Chatham Cod with Fregola Sardi, Apples and Wilted Arugula.



This fish was excellent!  The sake and honey marinade made the fish really moist and gave it a little sweet and salty flavor.  The fregola was excellent as well.  I am not a lover of pasta but fregola has this great nutty flavor and creamy texture that is so incredibly delicious and homey.  I absolutely loved this dish.



My friends Whole Roasted New York Sirloin was pretty good.  It was certainly cooked well but it lacked a little flavor.  I think it could have used just a little extra seasoning.  For dessert my Warm Banana & Walnut Bread Pudding had quite a dramatic flair.



I loved the long dried bananna chip on top and what’s better than rum glazed bananas and maple pecan ice cream?  Nothing at all.
 

The Hudson Valley Apple and Cranberry Cobbler was delicious as well but the homemade cinnamon ice cream really stole the show.  It was perfectly spiced and creamy.



The meal ended with two little coconut macrons.  For all of this food with a wonderful bottle of Sauvignon Blanc it was right around $60 each.  That’s a great deal for such wonderful food, drink and the gorgeous setting.  The service was a tad on the slow side but the complementary peanut brittle on the way out made up for that in my book.  What a little salty peanut can do.
Xaviars

Monday, March 26, 2012

Neighborhood News

Once again it's an exciting start to the week!  The NoMad is opening tonight in the NoMad Hotel.  Chef of Eleven Madison Park Daniel Humm and his manger Guidara are the partners in this restaurant and if you know anything about Humm and his creative and sometimes mind blowing dishes at Eleven Madison you would be crazy not to be excited about this. Mr. T and I are going tonight so I'll be reporting back soon on the experience.


Less exciting but possibly more grand, Vic and Anthony's will be opening tomorrow in the old Angelo and Maxie's space.  I walked by yesterday and took a peek inside.  The whole place looks like something that belongs in Vegas (hence the grand).  I'm interested to see the decor of the back room and how it fits into the rest of the restaurants nearby.  Replacing a steak house with another steak house...We'll see.


Last but not least I noticed the Rosticceria at Eataly began selling Brisket Meatball sandwiches as their Thursday special.  I don't know about you but that sounds mighty delicious to me.  So looks like my week is pretty locked down as far as food goes. That's all for neighborhood news!


The NoMad

Eataly Rosticceria

Vic and Anthonys

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Beer Flight at Hospoda

We were enjoying the UES the other day and decided to stop at this Central European restaurant and try out some beers.  The waitress suggested the Pilser Urquell pouring flight to us and we happily obliged.  Here they are in order of serving. 


Sweet (all foam)



Slice (half foam)




Crème (quarter foam)


Neat (no foam)




Okay I’m going to be totally honest with you I didn’t like this pouring flight. I know it’s their thing but I couldn’t grasp why I was drinking an entire glass of foam? Or even half a glass of foam. I tried to embrace it but in the end the only two I would drink again would be the Crème and Neat. Yes I noticed the different flavors in each but at the end of the day when I want a beer it had better be a beer- not some foam.

So unfortunately both Mr. T and I felt the same and ended up heading out before trying any food options.  However I thought the space was really nice and the menu looked enticing so I plan to be back …but I’m sticking with a neat for sure next time.

Hospoda

Friday, March 23, 2012

Last Meal in Philly- Village Whiskey

The last meal before leaving Philly Sunday was at Village Whiskey. We got there right before noon and got a table up front. I ordered the Village Burger with Jasper Farms Cheddar and we split some Tater Tots and Duck Fat Fries with Sly Fox-Cheddar Sauce.




My burger was unfortunately very overcooked- I had asked for medium rare and it came out well done. I would have returned it but we were tight on time to catch our train. But honestly there wasn’t much flavor to the meat itself anyway.




 The duck fat fries were just okay (I like a thinner fry) but the cheese sauce they came with was downright delicious.




The tater tots were only okay as well but I couldn’t put my finger on the smoky flavor in there- anyone know? I also thought it was a bit odd how perfectly shaped both the burger and the tots were. It was almost as if they molded each one.




For my cocktail I absolutely loved the Champs Elysees and I really wish I could have had one more while I was there but again- short on time.

So that’s my final Philly report. It was a fun trip with lots of good food and interesting Philadelphian's to say the least.  Now to take a really looooong nap.


Village Whiskey

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Philly Day 3- Kanella & Little Fish

Saturday morning we awoke- excited for the prospects of a BYOB brunch. We packed up a bottle of sparkling cider and some champagne and headed out. We had made reservation for Kanella and luckily we did as the bright airy space was packed. We got the table, popped our bottle open and waited for the flurry of dishes to arrive.

Cyprus Breakfast- two eggs fried in olive oil, halloumi, lounza and bread.


Malohwa: pan fried savory puff pastry from Yemen, served with a boiled egg, spicy tomato salad and Greek yogurt.


Shaksouka- two eggs poached in a cumin scented tomato and pepper stew served with grilled bread.


Greek Salad- romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and feta cheese.


Wow- everything was fabulous. My Shaksouka was brimming with zesty peppers and spicy tomatoes, the Malohwa were incredibly flaky and the Cyprus Breakfast was simply awesome. Kanella lived up to each and every expectation I had and surpassed it. If I lived in Philly this would be my go to brunch place for sure.

After a day of sightseeing and stopping for some PA beers a few spots, we ended up at another BYOB Little Fish for dinner. Walking in I just loved how the tiny space and open kitchen worked together. I wasn’t feeling overly hungry (must have been all the food I’d had up to this point) so I started out with some East Coast Oysters and ordered an appetizer as my main.


The oysters were delicious. Big and briny with a little salt already on top. My Hamachi Tartare was also very good with a sprinkle of nuts and sliced hearts of palm.


Other dishes included a small but delicate Lobster Salad with mandarin oranges and Roasted Scallops served atop some creamy lentils.



For dessert I would pass next time on the Chocolate Cake which was dry and disappointing.


But the Vanilla Pot De Crème was absolutely amazing!


I only wish we had ordered one each instead of splitting the tiny thing. Overall Little Fish was good but certainly pricier than I would have expected even with it being BYOB.  But it was another great food day.

Kanella Restaurant

Little Fish

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day Two Philly Cont'- Barbuzzo and Farmers Cabinet

After all that food during the day I was surpised to find myself hungry for dinner Barbuzzo. Maybe it was the excitment of just being in another town who knows.  We started with a delicious bottle of Cab Franc and split a bit of everything.



Roasted Beet Salad with young goat cheese, grapefruit, tuscan kale, pistachio pesto, sherry vinegar.


Caciocavallo stuffed meatballs with house ground shortrib, pork, oregano and calabrian chile.


Margherita pizza with san marzanos, house stretched fior di latte, basil and extra virgin olive oil.


Salted Caramel Budino with dark chocolate crust, vanilla bean caramel and sea salt.



La Colomba Espresso Tiramisu with fresh whipped cream and crushed amaretti.


Marcie Blaine Chocolate Tasting –prosecco, moro, balsamico, salted pignoli.


Everything was really well done with the airy light meatballs and salted caramel budino being the favorites of the night but I would probably try another place if I was to return to Philly. It was certainly good but nothing special really made it stand out to me.



We ended the night with drinks at the Farmer’s Cabinet. I started out with an ordinary vodka gimlet but quickly moved onto to one of their specialty cocktails after trying my friend’s Arms of York.



The Imprudent Sauciness was rye, spiced poached pear, red wine syrup, cinnamon dram, barrel-aged aromatic bitters, lemon and honey. This was a fantastic cocktail and befitting for how chilly the night had become. We sipped our drinks and loved every second of the live jazz band playing before heading off to sleep. Day two complete.

Barbuzzo

The Farmers Cabinet