Friday, May 31, 2013

New Brew Friday- Southern Tier Oak Aged Unearthly

Let's stick with another local beer for this week- the Oak Aged Unearthly from Southern Tier.  If you remember I loved this brewery when I reviewed it last year.

It's an Imperial IPA, similar to the Double Trouble in style and strength.  The aroma that hit me upon opening the bottle was bananas and citrus.   The flavor was also of banana but with a round sweet end of caramel, vanilla and oak.  There were great hops but I found the beer to be surprisingly creamy and smooth...a very enjoyable Imperial IPA.  Cheers!

Southern Tier Brewery

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Indie Spirits Expo

My very last event of the Cocktail Classic was their independent spirits expo highlighting small batch, artisinal distillers from around the world.  The walk around tasting was held at the Penn Club this year and the gorgeous setting made for quite the cap off to the fabulous five day event.  There were so many wonderful people and's a few of my favorites.

The amazing drinks from Machu Pisco.  I love the sweet, spicy flavor of Pisco and this particular blend was very smooth.  

The incredibly interesting Novo Fogo, a type of Cachaca that's been aged in tiny oak barrels for over two years before bottling.  The flavor ends up as a mix of oak and vanilla...a great spin on regular Cachaca.

Always one of my favorites, Tia Maria, was served with pressed espresso, port wine and a flurry of chocolate on top...

...and a new favorite of the expo Keep It Simple Syrup.  My family loves Mojito's but who wants to spend all that time mashing the leaves and sugar.  I bought a frozen mix for them once and it just seemed messy.  This syrup was really easy and had all natural ingredients so it actually tasted like fresh lime and sugar instead of some weird corn syrup blend.

And last but not least 300 Joules, one Lemon and one Ginger, both surprisingly delicious liqueurs.  The creator is a retired cardiologist hence the "300 joules" it takes to shock someone back to life. It was great straight from the bottle but I could see it being used for multiple cocktails and even drizzled on a dessert.  I'm a big proponent of adding liqueur into just about everything:)

So there you have it- some great new ideas to spice up your cocktail world.  Cheers!

Indie Spirits Expo

Macchu Pisco Novofogo

Keep It Simple Syrup

300 Joules

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gramercy Tavern- Craft Beer Dinner

Everyone knows the main dining room at Gramercy Tavern offers a fabulous tasting menu every night, but did you know the Tavern also offers a tasting menu with totally different items and at a much lesser cost.  Mr T and I were intrigued by the most recent one titled A Celebration of Craft Beer. We began with a Roasted Oyster amuse bouche from the chef.

This was phenomenal.  I loved how roasting gave the oyster a warm smokiness that was surprisingly perfect with the brine...even Mr. T enjoyed this and he is not an oyster fan.  Onto our first course Shrimp & Mussels in a Carrot, Coconut and Quinoa Broth.

The combination of  flavors in this dish were lovely.  It had a thicker broth than one would imagine, much earthier from the quinoa but then the coconut gave it an Asian spin and really lightened it up.  The pairing with a crisp Peekskill Simple Sour was spot on too.  Second course Smoked Sweetbreads with Grilled Asparagus and Toasted Hazelnuts.

I like sweetbreads but I guess I'm still a bit squeamish when it comes to eating a gland and here the mushy texture was so oddly apparent I just couldn't fully enjoy the dish.  That's okay because I enjoyed the Bronx Pale Ale which was paired with it and  fell right back in love with the next course Grilled Lamb Shoulder Steak with Grilled Onions, Turnips and Garlic Scraps.

Pungent lamb, buttery pureed potatoes and garlic...what's not to love about this.  The Celebrator Doppelbock was another great pairing.  But possibly the best pairing of the night came with dessert.  The incredible Goose Island Bourbon County Stout alongside Chocolate Layer Cake with Sour Cream Ice Cream.

Moist chocolate cake, tangy ice cream and a strong bourbon beer...another dish impossible not to love.  This  tasting menu was excellent for beer lovers and newbies alike.  

There's nothing quite like the comfort and sophistication of the Tavern.  If only I could eat here every day... 

Gramercy Tavern

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Creme Brulee Cookie!

Thank goodness Sugar and Plumm opened in the West Village.

This crackly cinnamon sugar cookie has creamy center of vanilla and custard....

...this is just what this Tuesday needs.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

It's Memorial Day Weekend- Get Outside!

Okay so it looks a little rainy but it's not like someone is going to cancel Memorial Day Weekend right? This isn't Googa Mooga for goodness sake! (slightly bitter still) Seriously this weekend is all about being outside and drinking some cold frosty beverages.   So here's a little list of some good outdoor options:

MeatPacking District
Brass Monkey-  This space gets a little crazy at night but during the day the rooftop bar is a pretty chill spot to grab some drinks and even have brunch with some friends.  Extra bonus you can walk the Highline before/after and get in a little weekend exercise.
Brass Monkey

West Village
White Horse Tavern- This place is a NYC institution and I absolutely love it.  Nothing says summer to me more than sitting on their sidewalk drinking a nice Hefeweizen and doing a little people watching.
White Horse Tavern

The Frying Pan- If your long weekend includes drinking buckets of Corona, doing shots of Patron and partying with your old frat boys than this party boat should be top of the agenda.
The Frying Pan

East Village
Royale-  This bar has one of my favorite burgers in the city and it also has a rocking patio out back complete with a TV.  Burger, beer and baseball- yep that's about as American as you can get.

Blue Ribbon Beer Garden- If you want to check out something completely new stop in here.   The second story spot promises local beers like Brooklyn Sorachi, games like ping pong and food meaning BBQ!  I'm hoping to check it out myself.
Blue Ribbon Beer Garden

Alewife opened up their patio for the season and the beer menu as always looks fantastic.  Plus you can get an order of poutine with duck and a fried egg on top. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Queens Taste 2013

It was a celebration for all things Queens at Citifield last week.  The annual Taste event was held inside the ballpark Cesar's Club and was filled to the brim with all the wonderful and diverse food that makes up the borough of Queens.  I began with an old favorite of mine Mama's of Corona (Leo's Latticini) who put on an incredible spread of their hefty Italian sandwiches and delectable biscotti.  

They also had fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and olive oil that was absolutely heavenly.  I could have spent the whole night eating at Mama's but there was so much more to try out- like Shepard's pie from Irish Circle Tavern out in the Rockaways.

Filet Mignon with bacon, mushroom and Bearnaise from Christos Steakhouse in Astoria.

A trio of Italian food from Sac's Place including a vibrant Red Pepper Ravioli and creamy Proscuitto Alfredo shells.

Brooklyn Brewery was on hand promoting their line of canned beer...

...which happened to be the perfect complement to the Bacon Cheeseburger from Ottomanelli & Sons...

..and the duck meatball from The Dog and Duck out in Sunnyside.

Scallop Ceviche from Riverside was probably my favorite item of the night.  The flavors were bright and clean, perfect for a warm summer day.

And also perfect for a little bit of wine from the folks at Square Wine in Long Island City.

I was so full I almost couldn't fit in dessert but somehow saved room for some cupcakes from my favorite place in Bayside Cupcakes on Heels and some mini cupcakes from Rudy's bakery in Ridgewood.

It's impossible not to smile when your enjoying good food and Mr. Met is bopping around the room.  What a great way to showcase all that Queens has to offer

Mama's of Corona

Christos Steakhouse

Sac's Place

The Dog and Duck

Ottomanelli and Sons

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Maison du Chocolat

It's the middle of the week and a serious chocolate craving hits.  Usually there are two options when this occurs- run to the corner bodega and pick up a Lindt truffle or hop on a train to one of my favorite places Maison du Chocolat.

There are a lot of chocolate shops in the city but Maison is'll notice by simply walking inside.  The Parisenne shop feels more like fine art gallery than a sweets destination.

The chocolates sit on display behind a glass case and the well dressed salesperson will patiently wait as you gaze at the gorgeous truffles and macarons.  I try something new each time but two of my personal favorites are the Liselotte and Caracas. 

The first is filled with crushed praline and Gianduja, the second an intense and robust ganache.  They both have incredibly smooth creamy texture where the quality and finesse of the ingredients shine through.  So when your feeling a bit fancy for some sweets this is a perfect destination.

La Maison Du Chocolat

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Manhattan Cocktail Classic- Day Three

No you're not seeing things...I had to miss day two of the Classic but that's okay because Day three is always my favorite- Brooklyn Day!!  There are always delicious doughnuts from Dough in the morning.

The fluffy Toasted Coconut with creamy vanilla glaze is the things dreams are made of...obviously a morning cocktail is the only thing that makes sense at the Classic.

The Scarlet Letter with Sorel Hibiscus, prosecco and bitters was the perfect fizzy start to the day.  Sorel was the official sponsor for the day with Jack from Brooklyn shaking up the drinks.  There were some lovely warm weather choices like the Summer Madness with Sorel, Ginger Beer and honey lemon oil... well as the Ronin with smoky mezcal, Sorel, sake and grapefruit juice.

Then it was time for lunch with Lobster Rolls from Red Hook Lobster Pound!

I love how the toasted buttery bun holds in all the creamy lobster goodness. These little sandwiches are amazing.  I didn't think lunch could get any better until I tried the Limencello Sorel sandwich cookies...

Everybody was raving about these and for good reason.  The inside was filled with a tart lemon raspberry cream and the crisp outer shell was dusted with some fine sugar.  I will be trying to recreate these at home this weekend:)   Then it was off to a seminar on Bacardi Rum Blending Art & Science.  

Followed by drinks outside at the penthouse suite with the guys from Palm Craft Spirits.

My favorite suite is always the High West Haus guys.  Last year they had everyone take goofy pictures with cowboy accessories.   This year I arrived and everyone was drinking Shiner Bock!  I'll admit it's not my favorite beer but it was incredibly refreshing to have a nice, cold beer in between all the fruity cocktails.  Then it was back downstairs for some meat and cheese from Stinky Brooklyn.

Followed by more dessert from Emeche; spicy cupcake pops in Red Velvet and creamy coconut Caribbean Dream.  I ended the day tasting a crazy Shochu cocktail from the Mizu table.

I never had a drink with truffle honey and the sweet savory flavor was somewhat of a revelation.  It's not something I would drink every day but it certainly made an impression.

I capped off the event with a spicy homemade Ginger Beer upstairs on the deck and called it a day.  Once again the Manhattan Cocktail Classic proved to be a fun and successful weekend of drinks and food.  It's such a great time to get together and celebrate all the wonderful things going on in the spirit community.  Cheers!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Manhattan Cocktail Classic

Saturday was Day One of the Industry Invitational and the rainy weather couldn't put a damper on the festivities in the Andaz Hotel.  The day began with a wonderful breakfast spread.

Creamy orange bitter yogurt with fresh berries and bitter honey glazed ham.

Of course we need a cocktail to accompany breakfast:)  Some Light Guard punch made with Cognac, Sherry, Sauternes, champagne and bitters.

There was a lot of bitters to be had Saturday because Angostura was the official bar of the Classic that day!

Bitter is the most complex taste sensory we have as humans with 25 different taste sensors.  The smell and taste of bitters always intensify the flavor of cocktails which is why I love using a dash here and there in a drink.  And they were mixing up some seriously wonderful drinks like the bubbly Secret Garden made with raspberry preserves and gin...

...and the smoky, smooth Broadside made with Navy Gin and Tea Syrup.

Later in the day the Tiki Bar came out and they blended up some seriously frothy, rich drinks like the Hala Kahiki made with coconut and passion fruit.

Who said anything about rain right?  Out in the front area there were more delicious creations like this enormous bowl of Brandy punch from the Truvia folks...

...and a whimsical Fennel Flower Martini made with William Chase Gin and a ridiculously long fennel stalk.

There was even a Bloody Mary bar for those of us who just love a little spice in the morning.

It was a fabulous day of tippling and just the beginning of the five day event!  So many good cocktails so little time. Here's the recipe for one of my favorites that day the Secret Garden- Cheers!

1 oz Gin
½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz Simple Syrup
1 Barspoon Raspberry Preserves
1 Dash Angostura® aromatic bitters
2 oz Champagne
Rosewater Spritz

Friday, May 17, 2013

1000th Post!

I just realized this day was coming  last week and it just about floored me.  I never thought I would write so much when I first began.  I started this blog after reading countless others and felt the need to give back.  As a transplant to NYC I remember how daunting this city can be at first and the many blogs that helped me along the way.  Now I truly consider NYC my home and I can't imagine living anywhere else. I thought I would share a few things I love to do the most in this city to celebrate...

I love strolling past Gramercy Tavern early morning and looking into the calm, empty restaurant.  I usually close my eyes and picture the people who will be dining there later in the day.  I imagine the first timers and feel excited and a bit jealous for the experience they're about to have.  I almost wish I could have a first time experience there all over again. 

I love walking home from work each day.  When I first moved to the city I had a mission to walk Broadway from start to finish and experience the culture change in each neighborhood.  Now 12 years later I've done so much more than that...whether it's over the Brooklyn Bridge from DUMBO or across the Ed Koch from Queens, I can always find a different path to explore each unique area of this city.

I love spending the day hopping around the amazing craft beer bars and stores in the city.  I've been a regular at Blind Tiger for years and now I feel right at home at some of the new guys like Good Beer and Top Hops.  It's an amazing time to be a craft beer fan and I can't wait to see how it continues to grow.

I love Eataly:)

I love every new moment with Mr. T (nicknames excluded), even the ones that may seem daunting and scary.  If you never try something new you never know what you can become and it's great to have someone at your side when doing so.

Thanks for reading and I hope I helped you out at least once in these 1000 posts...let's get back to the amazing weekend of food ahead.  Cheers!