Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Ten Belles

It's been over a year since I last stopped into the cozy, brick walled Ten Belles.  It was early evening and the normally crowded bar area was surprisingly calm.



I ordered a crisp Brut Rose and perused the new menu. I was sad to see the rich, delicious mac and cheese had gone as well as their spicy tartare.


I decided to go with the Jumbo Sea Scallop "a la coque".... I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly.  I know the menu clearly reads "scallop in a shell", but for $10 I guess I wanted a bit more fanfare.


 The scallop just seemed a little lonely in that big old shell by himself, drowning in butter.  I'd stick with their $1 Oyster Happy Hour instead.  Now that's a great deal.

The Ten Bells

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

North Fork Food Truck

Our Greenport weekend continued with a full day of wine tasting.  We started out at Shinn Estate where we had a great table right inside the winery.



Then it was onto Lenz for a tasting outside among the trees.  We brought along some great cheese and meat for snacking but a proper lunch was much in need for all the wine tasting.  Luckily the North Fork Food Truck was right along our route.



The truck looks more like a mini bus with painted wheels and a colorful chalkboard menu out front.  Everything sounded so good I wish I could have tried one of each item.  Finally Mr. T and I decided to split two of the specials.  The first a sliced McCall Ranch Grass Fed Steak Sandwich with crispy shallots, arugula and roasted garlic-herb vinaigrette.



They must have soaked the meat in a little au jus before serving because it was incredibly moist and the ciabatta was surprisingly fresh baked and fluffy.  The addition of crisp garlic shallots and bitter arugula just about put me over the edge.   This was one of the best steak sandwiches I've ever had the pleasure of trying.   



The Lobster Roll was also delicious with a nice chunks of claw and a flurry of paprika on top.



The North Fork Food Truck completely revived us and we went on with more tasting.  Our last stop at Peconic Bay was filled with sun covered tables and a great outdoor band.  I really can't think of a better way to spend a weekend.




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

North Fork Oyster Company

Man October has been a whirlwind of activity already!  It began with a great weekend of friends and food out in Greenport. We arrived Friday evening and made our first stop at Greenport Brewery for a delicious flight of beers.  Then it was onto dinner at the North Fork Oyster Company. The place was almost empty inside since tourist season is over but perfect for us because oyster season was in full swing.



We ordered an array of Montauk, Port Jeff and Virginia Oysters.  These were so crisp and sweet I almost asked for another dozen just for myself. 



For the non-oysters lovers Flash Fried Local Calamari with a delicious smoked paprika aioli.



And we continued the local trend with a Beet Salad.  Obviously the Greenport beets were incredibly fresh but the toasted pistachio and feta topping really made this dish stand out.  I can't wait to hit up the green-market and recreate this dish at home.  For my entree I ordered Almond Crusted Local Fluke with Sweet Potato Puree, Braised Leeks and Amaretto Honey.



I was worried this dish would overload on sweetness but it was perfectly balanced.  The crunchy, nutty fish was cooked perfect and the braised leeks and sweet potato were a match made in heaven.  Other entrees included a Local Striped Bass with Cauliflower Puree, Toasted Almonds, Grapes and White Truffle Honey.



House Smoked Waygu Brisket with Local Potato & Cabbage Hash, with Black Truffle Butter.



NFOC Fisherman’s Stew of Mussels, Littleneck Clams, Shrimp, Chorizo and Yukon Golds.



Crescent Duck Breast   Crispy Polenta Cake, Cabbage & Apple ‘Salad".


Butchers Burger with Applewood Smoked Bacon, Grilled Sweet Onion, House Frites and a local farmers egg.

Everything here was fantastic. I loved how they focused on local ingredients but still managed to surprise us with the textures and flavors on the plate.  Somehow we ambled our full bodies over to Biere for a nightcap of delicious brews with the owner Frank.  Then is was off to bed to prepare for a full day of wine tasting.

North Fork Oyster Company

Monday, October 22, 2012

Trestle on Tenth

Rainy Monday mornings are the worst.  I hate waking up to dreary gray skies after a fun, food filled weekend.  I always bury my head into my pillow as far as it can go, hoping for some vortex to keep me in my warm, happy land filled with pillows and desserts.  Unfortunately my damn work ethic always wakes me up five minutes before my alarm goes off.  Luckily I had a delicious new lunch spot to look forward to checking out- Trestle on Tenth.  I loved walking into the cute wooden space and getting a cozy table in the back.


I also loved their fantastic appetizers.  The beet salad was gorgeous but I was absolutely addicted to the roasted cauliflower with sweet garlic and capers on top. 


My Steak Tartar was also listed as an appetizer but more than hearty enough to be a main course.  Their version was a little on the spicy side with a nice quail egg on top.  I happily cleaned my plate and chilled out a bit listening to the great tunes they were playing... what a great place to start off the week.

Trestle on Tenth

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ngam Delivery

Living in the greatest city in the world has certain perks.  We have fabulous museums to visit, gorgeous architecture to admire, a constant flow of concert tickets to lust after, not to mention all the plays to see.  But sometimes I just want to stay in and do nothing. I mean not even move off the couch kind of nothing.  That's when another little perk comes in handy. The ability to order just about anything to your door within minutes. Everything from Sushi Rolls and Chicken Vindaloo to Congee and Filet Mignon with a port wine sauce and black truffles.  Honestly I even ordered a piece of chocolate cake and glass of milk when I had a particularly stressful day once.  So when I was having one of those "couch days" recently I noticed Ngam was online...3 clicks of my mouse later and the food was on its way.



Ngam has been on my list for quite some time due to rave burger reviews.  It arrived looking incredibly large and juicy with abundant toppings.  



Not to mention the side of crispy Taro Fries that smelled absolutely amazing as I opened the box.



Unfortunately I had very different thoughts on the burger.  I knew it was spiced but it was spiced so much that I couldn't taste any of the meat.  Mr. T took a bite and said "That tastes exactly like the burger I had in St. Lucia".  Man- nailed it on the head!  We had one of the worst burgers ever on vacation years ago and this could have been its clone.



I had high hopes for their Pad Thai as well but it too was disappointing.  The portion was downright tiny and  although the fresh veggies were nice the greasy, sticky noodles were a turn off.  Surprisingly the Taro fries, which usually don't travel well, turned out to be the best part of the meal.  I'm just glad I didn't get off the couch for this one.  
.
Ngam

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Some Bites from the New York Wine and Food Grand Tasting

NYC was blessed with some gorgeous weather once again for the Wine and Food Festival weekend.  Unfortunately this year the Grand Tasting was moved over to Pier 57 and entirely enclosed.  It would have been nice to have some sun shining into the event but I think extra walking space was the primary concern. I'll talk more later on the overall experience but first a look at some of the food offerings.



Classic Clam Chowder from Ed's Chowder House


Asian Peanut Sesame Noodles from Sons of Essex


Meatball from LAVO


Cognac Lobster Bisque from Brasserie Cognac


STK OUT Mini Hot Dog


Goats Milk Ricotta Crostini from Ardesia


Scallop Escabeche, Pickled Pumpkin, Jalapeno, Almonds and Coconut from Nios


Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Old Homestead


Gorgeous Chilled Watercress Soup from Northern Spy Food Co.


Sturgeon Pastrami, Kale, Beets and Almonds from Untitled at the Whitney.

My favorite two plates from the day were probably the last two.  The earthy, rich watercress soup from Northern Spy was so simple and elegant while the combination of smokey fish, bitter kale and beet from Untitled was a serious explosion of flavors I really enjoyed.   I was disappointed in the thin, watery chowder from Ed's Chowder House and the meatball from LAVO was so dense and gamey tasting I just tossed in into the trash after one bite.  I honestly enjoyed the drink vendors more than the food this year.  Some of my favorites happened to be pouring that day. Nicolas Feuillatte and Lanson for champagne and local favorites Dr. Frank Konstantin and Captain Lawrence.

Overall I had a nice experience but I think I'm getting too old for these events.  I swear I saw one guy push a woman to the side and then dump about 5 jars of olives into his tote bag...and I'm pretty sure the olives were for display only.  Oh well- it's always a fun and exciting weekend to be in the city as a food lover.  Until next year- Au Revoir!

Monday, October 15, 2012

More Fall Flavor

Fall is officially in the air and it's the best time of year to snuggle up with a frothy beer.  I'm really loving the Breakfast Stouts like this Beer Geek Breakfast from Mikkeller.

 
 The strong aroma of coffee and chocolate is followed by a thick, smooth mouthfeel that's incredibly satisfying.  This is one decadent beer that seriously might be a delicious breakfast but I prefer having it with a nice autumn dinner dessert.


The Pumpkin Pie custard from Shake Shack is a perfect way to celebrate the season.  I was hoping for more big pie pieces inside but the creamy, cool sweetness really hit the spot. The only thing better could be making this twosome into one...Pumpkin Pie Coffee Float anyone:)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mad. Sq. Eats- Autumn Edition

There's only one week left so it's time to head over and get the last bites of Madison Square Eats before it shuts down for the year.  As always an excellent choice is the Bee Sting Pie from Roberta's.  I love the combination of fatty Soppresetta, fiery chili oil and sweet sticky honey.
 


New to the Market this year Broken English packed various stewed meats and veggies into a fluffy pizza bianca pocket.  I tried out the Pollo alla Cacciotora which was chicken cooked in rosemary, white wine and garlic.



Arancini Bros made another appearance with their enormous balls of rice.


The Buffalo Blue Balls were a little too much for me.  The spicy sauce was nice but the strong Gorgonzola really overpowered the flavor. 



The Bianco Rosso Verde fared much better with a sharp Basil Pesto and fresh cherry tomato filling.
 


Or you could just go pick up something sweet like a Marshmallow Chocolate Chip cookie from Momofuku.  This chewy cookie has some serious flavor going and is perfect with a delicious stout from one of the various beer vendors at the market.  Go enjoy before it's too late!

Mad. Sq. Eats


Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's Almost the Weekend...Time for Food Festivals!

Of course one of the biggest and best food festivals of all happens this weekend.  The New York City Food & Wine Festival starts tomorrow and has tons events all weekend long.  The ever popular Blue Moon Burger Bash is Friday night hosted by Rachel Ray.  Saturday the Grand Tasting should pack in a great crowd for sampling delicious small plates and drinks.  While Sunday I can't think of a better place to be than Dale's Dim Sum Party.  Some events are already sold out but many tickets are still available  Head over to their website to check out what's left.

NYC Wine and Food Festival

If you feel like getting out of the city this weekend I have another great food event for you out in Dover Plains, New York.  Mavada Farms, home of Crown Maple Syrup, is opening up its' new cafe and visitor's center on Saturday.  You can expect a full on tasting event from some great Hudson Valley producers such as Mast Brothers Chocolate, Blue Marble Ice Cream, Captain Lawrence Brewery (one of my favorites) and of course the Crown Maple team themselves.  What a better way to spend a relaxing Fall Saturday!

Crowne Maple Tasting


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tappo

My neighborhood thin crust pizzeria Vezzo has sprouted quite a few off-shoots over the years.  I've relaxed in the sun outside Posto and nestled into a snug table at Gruppo...now add Tappo to the ever growing list.  This is probably the largest of the restaurants with a long bar on the side and outdoor seating up front.

 

I ordered a lunch special that included a house salad, small bottle of Poland Spring water and a slice. The salad was more than ample with big black olives and slivers of red onion on top.  


The pizza had their signature cracker like crust and a few pockets of fluffy dough. For $6.00 I thought this was a pretty decent lunch special for the area. Plus I was in and out in about 15 minutes flat.  A big plus when you've got a busy day of work.

Tappo

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Custard at Cha- An

It's October... officially time to eat as many pumpkin flavored treats as humanly possible. Starting at Cha-An for this was a no brainer.




Their seasonal pumpkin custard is always excellent. I love the smooth creamy texture and raw natural flavor of the top...




...then surprise! In seeps a warm caramelized bottom chock full of brown sugar and a hint of bourbon.



I can't think of anything better than savoring this dessert with a fragrant pot of tea.  I love settling into Autumn:)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Brunch at Fonda

There is nothing better in my book than a fabulous Mexican breakfast.  I love a big plate of fried eggs, saucy beans and salty tortilla chips. Starting my day with a frosty margarita doesn't hurt either.

 

The Rosalita combines silver tequila, hibiscus  orange liquor and lime.  I'm not usually a fan of flowery drinks but this one was surprisingly delicious.
 


Talk about delicious my Huevos Divorciados was amazing!  They took a big crunchy tortilla, slathered on a layer of beans, melted cheese and eggs then topped it off with two spicy sauces, big squares of bacon and a flurry of queso fresco.  I was absolutely in love with this dish.


I'm always terrified to bring Mr. T to Mexican places.  His cilantro allergy has ruined more than a few meals but here they did a great job of avoiding the herb.  His Burrito Texano was enormous and filled with lots of  eggs, chorizo and potato.


Both of us agreed the brunch was excellent.   Our server was incredibly friendly and the space has a great lively atmosphere.
 
 
It has some pretty cool art work as well.  I think I just found my new go-to brunch spot.

Fonda

Friday, October 5, 2012

Le Pain Quotidien

I've always tried to avoid chain restaurants   I love the little Mom and Pop shops and hate when I see tourists flocking to Olive Garden and Outback.   However I've been spending an extraordinary amount of morning time at one and I must confess...I love Le Pain Quotidien.


I love the long rustic wooden tables, the delicious smell of bread and the fact they let me sit for hours doing work:) My usual order is a double macchiato and some kind of mini pastry.  The first time I tried out their seasonal cannele.

 

Unfortunately this was so chock full of apple I couldn't even decipher the cannele shape or flavor.  Luckily I've continued to sample the goods for you and found the croissants, mini pistachio muffins and mini madeleines to be the best.


I like to peel off the crunchy sugar top (save the best for last) and dunk the fluffy bottom into my coffee while I work.  It just makes me happy:)  Unfortunately as with every chain, the quality of pastry and coffee differs greatly depending on location.  Of the four I frequent most Gramercy, Meatpacking, Brooklyn Heights and Upper East Side, the UES location on 68th is easily the best.  So next time you find yourself needing a little quite time, don't be afraid of the chain.