Monday, April 30, 2012

Random Bites of April

Sometimes I have such a jumbled month there’s really no rhyme or reason to it.  Here are some random outtakes.  Poutine at Tribeca Tap House.


Hand cut fries topped with duck confit gravy, queso fresco and scallions.  This wasn’t traditional poutine and it wasn’t very good either.  The gravy was too rich and gloopy to be tasty.  However I liked the set up of the room and beer list so we’ll be back to watch sports when in Tribeca.  Onto Pizza Pie at Luzzos.


I had never tried this East Village establishment and I thought it was quite delicious.  The pizza was thin crust with a small layer of sweet tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil.  Nothing mind blowing but pizza done right.  And finally something to wash it all down a Stillwater Beer Table- Table Beer/ Strumke.

This was an interesting brew with a lot of funk at first that slowly gave way and had me wanting more.  Where did I have this complex brew- why at Beer Table of course!

Friday, April 27, 2012

First Bite of Yankee Stadium 2012- Parm

I always put a lot of thought into what to enjoy for the first game of the season.  One year is was Lobel's, last year it was Carl's and this year Parm was the perfect choice.



This hefty meatball parm tastes just as wonderful as it looks.  Made from a mix of beef, veal and sweet Italian sausage.  This flattened meatball has a nice pink middle and lots of sauce and melted cheese.  The bottom bun gets soaked quickly but each one is made to order so you should be okay.  This simply reinforces my will to eat at the actual Parm and Torrisi in the city.  Someday Soon!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Dram Shop

A beautiful day brought us out to Brooklyn to check out the Cherry Blossoms at the Botanical Gardens.  After a full afternoon of enjoying the beauty of nature we were ready to settle down inside with a nice frosty beer.



Enter Dram Shop.  After selecting a Sixpoint Brownstone from the small but thoughtful beer list we decided to split one of their famous burgers and an appetizer.



As you can see the burger comes on a seeded bun fast food style with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup and mustard.



Now unfortunately I asked for a single burger not knowing they usually place two patties on the bun since they’re so thin.  While the burger was good the toppings completely overwhelmed it and I found myself ruing the fact I had gone single.  Luckily the crispy delicious fries made up for my mistake a bit.



Our Fried Macaroni and Cheese bites were interesting.  I’ve never tried something quite like this before- after just one square I was stuffed.  Fried pasta is way too heavy for my stomach.



 
Dram Shop had a nice amount of televisions with baseball on and a bunch of board games.  This would be a good place for groups and definently a fun atmosphere to close out the day in Park Slope.

Dram Shop

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Porterhouse Brewing Co. at Fraunces Tavern

Fraunces Tavern is New York City’s oldest surviving building dating back to 1762.  It’s had many reincarnations in the past but most recently it was reopened by Ireland’s Porterhouse Brewing Co. and they are serving up some fantastic beers.

  

Both Mr. T and I decided to do a flight while we were there focused on the Porterhouse beers.  Each one had a nice hearty flavor and balanced texture.  I think my favorite was the Oyster Stouts while Mr. T  leaned more toward the Plain Porter.  We decided a little snack would be nice so after a quick peruse of the menu we decided to split the slider tasting listed as a burger, cheeseburger and pulled pork.



As you can see we were quite perplexed when this arrived.  Instead of the pulled pork and burgers we received a crab cake slider, chicken salad and the usual burger.  Apparently they forgot to update their menu with the new options.  Oh well- it wasn’t anything bad just your typical pub fare.


We spent a good amount of time there- trying out different beers and enjoying the rustic old atmosphere.  What’s better than having some beer with a history lesson.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Peels

We stopped by Peels for brunch the other day and were seated upstairs immediately despite a large crowd waiting outside.  The airy space was gorgeous but unfortunately the loud music made it very difficult to talk, much less think.  I started out with a Gypsy Rose.




Sloe Gin & Cherry Heering, topped off with a champagne float made this one of the most unique and delicious brunch cocktails I’ve had to date- it was good start.  Unfortunately things went downhill from here.



While my biscuit was the light, fluffy and buttery orb of carbs everyone raves about, the fried chicken was an utter disappointment.  My chicken was incredibly overcooked- burnt even, and had a laughable amount for meat.  Worse yet- Mr. T’s Biscuits and gravy came out ice cold and lacking the main component- gravy!


These issues weren’t remedied either because our waiter was no where to be found.  By the time he came back around we just got the check and left. The loud music, cold food and terrible service couldn’t warrant another minute’s aggravation.  So sorry Peels I wanted to like you but you gave me no choice.


Peels

Monday, April 23, 2012

Meat at Manzo

What do you think about Razza Piemontese Beef- not sure?  Well thank goodness for Manzo then where they really like to celebrate this meat.  I stopped by the other day for the Seared Striploin with Trumpet Royale Mushroom & Foie Gras Sugo.


Wow- some seriously beautiful plating here.  The seared beef was perfectly tender with a rich melted foie gras sauce oozing into it with a side of hearty mushroom and bitter aruglua.  I have to say while the meat was delicious the mushrooms really made the dish.  Something about the earthiness helped smooth the rich sauce and really brought it all together.


I stopped by the Pasticceria on the way out and tried out the mini Raspberry Yogurt.  It was certainly tasty but much too sweet for my tastebuds.  It felt a bit like eating straight jelly. 

Manzo is now also offering a $29.00 3 course prix fix lunch Monday thru Friday.  You know I’m all over that for sure.

Manzo

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Spring Menu at Rosa Mexicano

Rosa Mexicano is certainly not new. They started with one restaurant back in the 80’s and now have locations all over the U.S. However they’ve made a few shifts this year. One they’ve brought on Jonathan Waxman as a culinary advisor and two they’ve added some new small plates as a spring addition to their regular menu.




I had the chance to check out some of the new offerings (after starting with a margarita and guacamole of course).



Tacos de Hamachi- mini hard shell tacos with diced yellowtail, bacon, Serrano chile, arrugla and truffle oil.

 



Tiradito de Callo de Hacha- marinated scallops, burnt orange-chile vinaigrette, grilled pineapple, poblano peppers and hazelnuts.




Papas Fritas con Mole- handcut garlic-epazote French fries with mole.



Pescado de Baja- line caught crispy local fish, jalapeño tarter sauce.



Pollo Yucateco- spiced organic chicken, plantains, sweet peppers, chile de arbol salsa, creama.



Panza con Callos de Hacha- seared diver scallops, crisp Kurobuta pork belly, orange habernero salsa.




Carne Asada- Ancho chile-rubbed Harris Ranch skirt steak, white beans, radish salad, cana de cama crema.

These may be small plates but I was really getting stuffed at this point and had to stop. I was kind of obsessed with the Pescado de Baja. I don’t think I’ve ever had such perfectly large and moist piece of fish in my fish tacos before.There was hardly any grease and the slightly spicy jalapeño tarter sauce was absolutely delicious. I know I’m a fish taco nut but these were seriously delicious.

In addition to the new food options they are focusing more on local ingredients.  Blooming Hill from the Hudson Valley is the featured farm on the menu which is just wonderful.  Rosa is certainly doing some new inventive things. I love how they’re moving to the small plate concept.  I hate getting a big old plate of just rice and beans. Oh and they offer tequila pairings with each plate now as well.

Variety is the spice of life after all right?

Rosa Mexicano

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

L'Arte del Gelato

The sun was absolutely beaming yesterday and the soft warm breeze off the water put me right into summer mode.  So when I walked by L'Arte del Gelato in the Chelsea Market I knew it was the perfect occasion to finally try it out. I went for pistachio and coffee flavors.






My first bite of coffee was so thick and creamy it was downright indulgent.  Then I tried the pistachio and almost had to take a step back.  Their was so much natural nutty goodness going on.  Pistachio is my go to gelato flavor and this may be the best I've had yet.  Until the next hot sunny day!


L'arte del Gelato

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Epicerie Boulud

On my way to the Beacon theater last week I couldn't help but stop into Daniel Boulud's little joint.


Everything looked absolutely amazing!  At first my eyes landed on these amazing looking orbs of orange. 


Then the perfectly round sugar brioche caught my eye...


But in the end it was my current cannele obsession that had to be eaten.


The outside was slightly sticky with an incredibly moist and thick inside.


This is the kind of afternoon break I could get used to every day:)

Epicerie Boulud

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Feast at Empellon Cocina

Alex Stupak had such success with his first Mexican restaurant in the west village he opened up a second across town. This time focusing on small plates. We had a decent sized group and honestly went a little nuts ordering.


Guacamole with Pistachios


Masa Crisps


Chicharonnes with Tomatillo-Caper Salsa


Ruby Red Shrimp with Crispy Masa, Sea Urchin Mousse and Lettuces


Avocado with Spicy Grains, Sunchokes and Hazelnut Dressing


Tongue Sopes with Refried Beans and Salsa de Arbol


Gordita with Smoked Plaintain, Chorizo and Egg Yolk



Melted Tetilla Cheese with Lobster Tomate Frito and Kol (Yucatan style white sauce)


Tortillas

Smoked Ricotta


Three Salsas (salsa de arbol, salsa verde, chorizo-raisin puree)


Scallops with Huitlacoche,Rutabaga and Masa Polenta




Squid with Heirloom Potatoes, Chorizo, Mayonnaise and Black Mole
(chihuacle negro, 29 other ingredients)


I can honestly say everything we had was spectacular starting with the nutty creamy guacamole down to the ridiculous layers of flavors in the squid. I thought it couldn't get better than the shrimp and sea urchin but then I had the lobster and I swear my heart almost stopped. It was so incredibly rich and satisfying. I can never come here alone because I will eat that entire dish myself and probably make myself sick on it. 

In fact the only thing I didn't like about the restaurant was the enormous eagle painting in the bathroom (that thing freaked me out). This is some seriously different and wonderful Mexican food. I can't wait to come back and try out what little of the menu is left.

http://empellon.com/cocina/

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pub Week Finale- Burger & Barrel

Located right at the start of SOHO (literally right on Houston) this burger  bar/restaurant comes from the guys behind Lure Fish Bar.  Most people wouldn’t equate a good burger with a fish bar but I’ve had said Lure burger years ago and it’s always stuck fresh in my mind.




At B&B the vibe is fun and relaxed with a nice list of draft beers, excellent wines by the glass and cocktails.  I was in a cocktail mood and the waitress suggestion of Blood and Sand was perfect.  It was just tart enough to have a little bite but overall easy and refreshing.  Onto the real reason for the trip here the Bash Burger- regular beef burger topped with American cheese, caramelized onions, pickles and bacon jam.  Did I just say Bacon Jam?  Oh yes I certainly did.




This burger was simply oozing with flavor.  I was worried this was too many components for one little burger but everything fell completely in place.  The salty sweet bacon jam hit the sour pickle and completed melded into the perfectly soft bun.  It was wonderful- so wonderful this actually won the Rachel Ray’s Burger Bah- hence the name.  It also may be the messiest burger I’ve ever eaten before but it’s damn delicious.





The fries were a tad overcooked but the onion ring up top was a nice touch.  Overall I really enjoyed B&B.  The space is nice enough I would recommend it for a group of friends, family or even a date.  Just don’t get this burger on a date-  it’s good but there is no way to eat this delicately.  This is a burger to grab on with both hands and just enjoy the ride.

Burger and Barrel

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pub Eats Day Four- A Tale of Two Bar Burgers

Sometimes in one's life a bad burger must fall.  Its really too bad when it does since it's pretty hard to go wrong with some ground meat and cheese on a bun usually.  Such was the case last week at Amsterdam Ale House.



At first glance it looked okay.  The fries were decent enough and the cheese was oozing a bit but inside the meat itself was a mess.  The middle had this funky wet slimy texture.  It wasn't underdone just really gross meat.  It was so bad Mr. T couldn't even get through half and he never leaves a burger.  Fast forward three nights later and we were back out watching games this time at NY Beer Company.


Luckily this burger was much better.  The meat was cooked perfect, had a nice amount of seasoning and actually fit the bun!  It still wasn't a mind blowing burger but one that certainly gets the job done and satisfies like a burger should.



Their flat bread pizzas were actually pretty okay as well.  The crusts needed to be crisped up a bit but the four cheeses had good flavor in the middle.  Again nothing to run out for but decent bar food to soak up some beers while sports are the priority.


The best part about NY Beer Company is the beer selection.  I was surprised a big sports bar like this had so many great beers.  Special Note- you can order a growler for the table and the price is significantly less than buying separately.  Plus you have the fun of a growler as well!!  Last day of Pub Eats Week tomorrow!

NY Beer Company

Amsterdam Ale House