Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Wrap Up

Can you believe it's Labor Day already!  Where did the summer go?  I'm sad for the season to be ending but I can't complain much.  I closed out the month enjoying a plethora of my favorite things.



Of course you all know I love Eataly.  I feel like I almost live there and their luscious Prosciutto and fresh Mozzarella is just one of the many things I love about the place.



A stop at Gramercy Tavern provided me with a big juicy burger.



Over to Danji for that addictive Tofu with the amazing ginger scallion sauce.




Onto Cha-An the cozy and serene tea spot in the East Village for some serious desserts including my favorite Black Sesame Creme Brulee.  I think that about wraps up my week of eating.  Not to shabby for an end of summer fling.  Bring on Autumn!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Cake Boss Cafe

I don't watch the Cake Boss.  I know he has a ton of followers but for some reason he just doesn't excite me. But when a Cake Boss Cafe opened inside the Discovery Times Square I had to check it out.  I mean if he has all these fans his cake must be good right?



After walking through a bit of a maze to find the cafe I settled on ordering the Red Velvet Cake.  I say I settled because there were only two other options in the case and all quite pricey at $10.00.



This was so disappointing.   The cake itself was dry and they seemed to be compensating for that by adding an incredibly sweet and thick cream cheese frosting to the inside.  I honestly felt sick to my stomach after a couple of bites because it was so overloaded with sugar.  

To add insult to injury the service at the cafe was some of the worst I've ever experienced.  No one seemed to know what was going on, everyone was slow as molasses and the whole place needed a good scrubbing. I ended up tossing about $8 worth of cake in a garbage can in Times Square without a second thought.  This is one place not worth the time or money.

Cake Boss Cafe

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Brunch at Primehouse

Primehouse is one of my go-to brunch places.  It's close to my apartment, they have plenty of outdoor seating and you get a free drink with your brunch entree.  This visit I tried out the Crab Cake Benedict.



The Tomato Bearnaise sauce was excellent and my eggs were perfectly poached. Not to mention the insane amount of crab on each muffin.



It was incredibly rich but I really enjoyed it.



Talk about huge portions my friends Crab BLT was absolutely enormous!



The Plain Old Breakfast Sandwich wasn't too small either with some nice slabs of crispy bacon on top.  We all left completely stuffed and certainly satisfied.

Primehouse

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ippudo

Of course we all know the Ramen at Ippudo is almost life changing.  The lines stretch around the block at all hours of the day for those hungry and eagerly awaiting their bowl of noodles.  But what about the other menu items.  You really shouldn't leave without trying the Hirata Buns.



The squishy steamed buns are chock full of pork and covered in a delectable spicy sauce.  The Hamachi Gom-Shoyu is no joke either



Incredibly fresh Yellowtail Shashimi tossed in a light sesame soy sauce and garnished with a little diced jalapeno.  It's a great light dish for a hot summer day that still has a little bit of kick .



Only order a cocktail if you like it strong.  My Bloody Mary had so much liquor inside my throat was on fire.   I'll be sticking with a cold refreshing beer next visit for sure.

Ippudo

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I Love Locanda Verde

I love that I can start my brunch meal with a refreshing Ceilo de Rosato of Hendrick's, Maraschino and grapefruit. 


I love that speck is the cured meat on the crostino and my eggs always arrive a perfect soft scramble.


And I LOVE the pastries they churn out of the bakery...the most recent a delicious blueberry doughnut.


The outside had a great crunch while the inside was fluffy and moist with a flurry of blueberries along the top.  What's not to love.

Locanda Verde

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Blueberry Corn Sundae is Back!

I was so excited when I saw it on the Gramercy Tavern menu I literally ran home from work and into the restaurant   This is purely a seasonal dessert and last year it went away way to fast for my liking.




Sweet Corn Ice Cream is churned extra creamy, topped with a blueberry jam, toffee popcorn, peppercorn whipped cream and served with a sugar topped corn muffin.  It's an expression of the season, a medley of fabulous flavors and a prime example of what Nancy Olsen can do with a dessert. 



If you're looking to go all out order a Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout from Firestone Walker.  Gramercy Tavern has this currently on tap and the dark chocolate coffee stout pairing really can't get any better with the sweet berries.  Go now before the season is over.

Gramercy Tavern

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ken and Cook

When I heard Ken and Cook was the brain child from two Jean-George alums I was intrigued.  When I saw the gorgeous brasserie space with an open front, leather banquettes and full raw bar I was excited.  We started out dinner with a house made white Sangria at the bar and then settled in with some East Coast Oysters to begin the meal.



These Blue Points were incredibly fresh and came accompanied by a traditional cocktail sauce and zippy vinegar mignonette. They were so delicious we almost ordered another round but thank goodness we saved plenty of room for our first appetizer Steak Tartare.



As you all know I absolutely love steak tartare and this one was awesome.  As you can see they used an entire poached egg instead of raw yolk and chopped the meat much thicker than usual.  The result was fantastic.  The meat had such a satisfying texture from the moist, marbled Wagyu beef and the poached egg gave it more flavor than just a binding yolk.  We had been splitting each dish as we went along but I pretty much zoned out and gobbled most of this down without a care for Christine. Luckily she fell in love with our other appetizer Squid, yogurt, chili and mint.




The description read yogurt but this was more akin to a rich creme fraiche which had a fantastic way of cutting the heat and mint, melding all the fantastic flavors together. Onto our entree the Black Bass with Broccoli Rabe, Clams and Tomato.



I really liked how the fish was sandwiched between veggies and more seafood.  I've never had a stack of calms on top of my Bass but it certainly worked here. Once again the textures and flavors in this dish were absolutely spot on.  The only slight disappointment was the side of french fries.



I say "slight" because these long, skinny fries were almost perfect in every way had they been cooked just a touch longer. But I was by no means upset.  In fact we were so happy about our dinner we decided to fit in dessert.  



These Beignets were a knockout end to the meal.  Fluffy, warm and perfectly bite sized for dipping in the sweet glaze.  We finished the entire basket in mere seconds.  It couldn't have ended on a more delicious note.  

Ken and Cook

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Old Favorite at Penelope

There are some neighborhood joints that just seem to fly under my radar.  I know they exist, I know they're delicious but I just seem to forget about them.  Well luckily Penelope is back on my radar because I absolutely love their Arugula Salad with Warm Chicken Meatball.



This salad is absolutely enormous with fresh arugula tossed in a creamy pesto lemon dressing and topped with pecorino and of course the meatballs.  This is such a filling and delicious salad.  It's homey and comfortable just like Penelope itself. Add a couple slices of their delicious homemade bread and I had a chicken meatball sandwich leftover for the lunch the next day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Parm

I've had that damn meatball sandwich a zillion times at Yankee Stadium.  I really love it but I needed to try out the original joint.  Finally I had a chance this week- an open seat at Parm landed me an early dinner spot to try out the original.



Since I've had the meatball countless times I decided to switch it up with the Chicken Parm.  This had the same wonderful tomato sauce, fresh basil, melted cheese and a crispy breaded cutlet that really stood out from the usual chicken parms in the city.  Yep- I'd eat this almost every day of the week.

Parm

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's Cocktail Time!

This week we go to the downstairs Russian vodka den Pravda where a new Coconut Martini now graces the menu.



Look at how frothy and downright seductive this drink looks.  Coconut infused vodka, lime and pineapple juice get a little shake and then a flurry of coconut flakes.  If you're not a coconut fan you could try out the Vladimir made from Fig Vodka and Russian Tea Syrup- Mr. T's current favorite.  Or just order both like I do- Cheers:)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tortaria

When Tortaria opened on University Place this past year I was immediately nostalgic for my college days.  Cheap and fast Mexican food was the base of my existence back then and this place looked so much nicer than my dining hall taco stand. 


I stopped in late Sunday afternoon and they were still serving brunch.  My Tacos Huevos had a nice spicy, black bean spread on the bottom but lacked flavor due to overcooked eggs and only a sprinkling of Queso Fresco.


My frozen margarita was pretty lackluster as well.  Do you remember eating Icy Pops when you were little?  Imagine that in a glass and you know how this drink tasted. 

So although Tortaria was a disappointment  it made me kind of happy to see the place packed with young people  Maybe all college kids just love crappy Mexican food.  Who am I to judge:)


Tortaria NYC

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Emporio

I always walk by this cute rustic place so when a friend asked to meet up for dinner in SOHO I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try it out.  It happened to be Happy Hour when I stopped in.  There was quite a nice spread out on the bar of various little snacks.



One could make a meal out of apertivo treats alone but we were here for dinner so I skipped the snacks and ordered appetizers instead.


The Chicken Liver Pate was wonderful and quite a large portion as well.  A nice layer of Bacon Marmalade sat atop the pate which really helped cut the fat and smooth out the flavor.  Unfortunately the Crab and Avocado special didn't fare as well.


This sounded great on paper but suffered horribly from hard unripened avocado and over-salted crab.  It was so bad we both had one bite and pushed it away.  Entrees fared a bit better, my friend loved her Whole Wheat Orecchiette with Lamb and Mushroom.


I went with the waitress recommendation and ordered Taglierini- saffron-flavored pasta, Florida rock shrimp, roasted tomato, marjoram and hot pepper.


I was honestly surprised at how bland this dish was.  I was expecting lots of spice and herbs but I only tasted  a little heat and barely any saffron at all.  It wasn't terrible but it wasn't that great either.

Overall Emporio was hit or miss.  If I found myself in SOHO again craving Italian I would certainly check out Rubiroso or Parm first.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Hog's Pit


Mr. T and I find ourselves in this divey BBQ joint about three times a year.  I blame this solely on the rapid decrease in Megatouch machines.  It's honestly one of the last remaining bars I know of where it actually exists.  For those of us that grew up with this thing it's really a treat to find.  So usually we have a few beers and play some games.  Last time we actually decided to try out the food.  


We had the BBQ platter filled with Brisket, Pulled Pork, Ribs and of course some mac and cheese.  I'll admit I was kind of expecting the worse and it really wasn't bad at all.  The pulled pork was surprisingly juicy and the brisket was quite moist.  It's not in the standards of Hill Country across the street but for dive bar BBQ this stuff is pretty top notch.  So next time you feel like playing a few games of Photo Hunt or Trivia Whiz don't be scared to order up some grub.


The Hog's Pit

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Return to Resto- Brunch

Resto used to be one of my favorite brunch spots of all time. Unfortunately we've had some serious service issues in the past and decided to take a good year off. I'm happy to report we finally went back and it is right back in the top of my brunch list again.  Mr. T ordered his old favorite the Hangover Pasta.



This aptly named dish was as delicious as ever with huge chunks of ham and a nice sunny side up egg.  I decided to try something new and ordered the Baked Eggs with house pancetta, tomato, rosemary and pecornio.  



OMG this dish was so good!  I love Baked Eggs but this seriously rocked every other one I've ever had.  The eggs were perfect, the sauce had just the right amount of spice and the rosemary and pecorino brought it all home.  



We added a buttery, crisp country biscuit with red eye gravy and a fruity Framboise Mimosa to drink.



It's been way to long Resto.  I'm so glad to have you back in my life.

Resto

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bareburger Bayside

Have you noticed that this little burger chain is popping up everywhere?  There are so many I'm starting to think NYC will become only Duane Reade's, Starbucks and Bareburgers.  They've become popular so quick I just had to check one out.  So I met up with my friend and his new baby boy at the Bayside branch.


The inside was cute and cozy.  There were big wooden tables, bright colors on the walls and a cute array of burger condiments that I thought were funny.  The specialty here is organic meat of all different kinds in burger form.  We started with two different types of sliders to start- Ostrich and Elk.


The Elk sliders were good.  There was definitely a strong, deep flavor to the meat but it wasn't gamey at all.  They put pickles on top which I thought took away from the meat a bit so I would order without those next time.


The Ostrich were a bit more moist than the elk which I enjoyed.  Sorry the picture is all bun no burger, the baby was distracting me from my photo taking.  He was trying to dig into our main event the Supreme Burger.


This little guy is gonna be quite the gourmand I can tell:)  The menu listed the Supreme as having Colby Jack, Gourmet Battered Onion Rings, Blackened Maple Bacon, Chopped French Fires and Bareburger Special Sauce.  If you're thinking that's a whole lot to put on a burger you're correct.  I enjoyed this but it was really hard to taste the actual burger.

So overall Bareburger was decent but I won't be running back.   I like the fact you can order different meats, buns and sides to customize your burger experience but it's an expensive customization at that.  Our Ostrich sliders were almost $15!  That's a little steep for such little meat (ha!).  I'm sticking to Shake Shack for my burger fix.


Bareburger

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dessert Only at Quality Meats

I swung by Quality Meats one hot, humid afternoon  dying for a dressed up scoop.   I'm not gonna lie I had been dreaming about my RW meal there and just wanted another little taste of their goods :) I loved the Coffee and Doughnuts but this was even better. 



On the bottom a layer of coconut cake, covered with smooth, creamy green tea ice cream and topped with a caramelized, coconut cookie.  The bartender told me this was his favorite of the scoops and I have to agree.  Now I have a whole new dessert to dream about this week!

Quality Meats NYC

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Restaurant Week at Le Cirque

After an afternoon doctors appointment ended early, I thought I would spend the rest of my day enjoying another RW lunch.  I walked into Le Cirque and was greeted warmly by the Maitre D.  Unfortunately all the tables were full so I took a seat at the bar.  They started me off with a decent bread basket while I waited for my appetizer to arrive.  Casarecce Pasta basil, crushed tomatoes, goat cheese feta, taggiasca olives.



This was absolutely delicious.  The warm pasta melted the feta ever so slightly and had great flavor from the olives and basil.  I would order this again in a heartbeat.  Onto entree Lamb Navarin spring vegetables.




The lamb was very tender and I enjoyed the sauce.  Unfortunately I'm not a big mint fan so that put me off a bit but overall it was a great dish.  For dessert Chocolate fondant, vanilla ice cream.




This was a standard chocolate lava cake, good but certainly not exciting.  I should have ordered the Creme Brulee instead.  Overall it was a good RW meal that would have been even better had I reserved a table.

I won't divulge all the things I saw and heard that afternoon but the bar is NOT the place for a solo lady enjoying lunch.  Within five minutes of being there I witnessed an older gentlemen drunkenly dance around the restaurant for about three full minutes pretending to be a mime...and that is probably the least obnoxious thing I heard and saw that day.  If you're wearing  a suit and want to get hammered by 1:00 PM this is where to come.  If you want a relaxing meal wait for the table.  Trust me.

Le Cirque

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mad For Chicken!!!

The last of the birthday celebration for Mr. T ended with dinner and drinks at Mad for Chicken.  I really can't think of a better way to end than an enormous pile of their additive Korean Chicken.



The Soy Garlic were as addictive as ever.  I swear this chicken is like candy.  Once you have a bite you just can't stop liking your lips from the insanely crispy skin.



The Hot and Spicy were spot on also.



We threw in a smoking Mad for Beer as well because hey...it's a birthday celebration!  I'm so glad the festivities are over.  I really need a nap.

Mad for Chicken