Friday, August 30, 2013

Cheers to Labor Day Weekend!

I'm taking a little break from New Brew Friday today to bring you a delicious and frothy Grapefruit Margarita from Lure Fishbar.



Lure has one of the best happy hours in the city with $8 cocktails, $7 wines and delicious bar snacks like crispy calamari with smoked chili for $6.  The boat themed restaurant gets crowded quickly so go before the summer ends to miss the regular after work rush.  Cheers!

Lure Fishbar

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Delaney Barbeque

NYC has really grown into quite the BBQ city over the past 10 years.  We have Texas BBQ at Hill Country, Kansas City Style out at John Brown Smokehouse and Dinosaur BBQ suddenly has four locations within an hour of my apartment!  This city has gone a bit BBQ crazy and I'd like to add Delaney Barbecue to the top of that list.




It's all about the brisket here at Delaney and you should reserve in advance to be sure it's not sold out before you arrive.  Truth be told we reserved our meat almost a year ago and finally got out there a few weeks back to check it out.  The tiny space is casual with a bar up front with a small but well chosen beer list and the sides and meat in the back.  

You would think three pounds of Brisket would be sufficient for six people but we decided to add on a hefty Short Rib as well.


Oh my goodness...this brisket was phenomenal.  It was rich and juicy with a nice smokey char on the outside and a little bit of sweet brown sugar in the glaze.  This is so good it's easy to overindulge so make sure you round out the meal with a few sides like a crispy Wedge Salad, some crunchy Zappo's chips or a delicious cup of Texas Cavier.



There's a big basket filled with sliced bread and extra sauce if you so choose so pick your poison and have at it. 


This is some seriously incredible meat.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Riverpark

We were invited to dinner at Riverpark last weekend and I was reminded once again how wonderful this restaurant is in the evening.  The large square room was decorated with sexy candles, moonlight shimmered on the water outside and jazz music played overhead as we perused the menu.  I began with a fresh Avocado & Hamachi Salad dotted with smokey chile's and bright pickled onions...


....then onto the Grilled Flatiron Steak & Smoked Wagyu Brisket for my entree.  I loved having two totally different types of meat on the plate...one incredibly juicy and tender, the other slightly fatty with a nice smokey char.


The pepper-chili salad and creamy corn gave the dish a casual "picnic in the park" feel, but make no mistake this was much better than any food I've been served at a picnic.


To complete the meal I ended with a light, refreshing lemon and almond tart while Mr. T went for the Chocolate Mousse.


I'm pretty sure those chocolate crunchies you see on the plate are Mr. T's favorite thing ever and cutting into the cake brought another delicious surprise...


...a rich center of liquid chocolate.  It doesn't get much more decadent than that.  Tom Colicchio's east side restaurant continues to be a neighborhood favorite for just about any occasion.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bomboloni Time!

Tuesday morning is one of the best times to stop into Eataly for a treat.  It's the only day they bake up 40 delightful bomboloni's.



Big, fluffy balls of dough topped with a ton of sugar crystals and stuffed with your choice of thick Crema...


...or a rich Gianduja chocolate.


Finally a reason to look forward to Tuesdays!

Eataly

Monday, August 26, 2013

Keens Steakhouse

I love Keens.  It's one of my favorite places in the city.  Where else can you sit at a gorgeous old wooden bar and eat free hard boiled eggs while you sip on Dirty Martini's.



We dined there for a combo birthday dinner for Mr. T and Mr. Vogs (which was almost a month ago- I'm behind I tell you) and started off with some delicious appetizers like their creamy Wedge Salad...



...and their absolutely incredible thick cut bacon.  It's really just three fatty strips of salty, crisp goodness.


Someday I would like to try Luger's bacon side by side with Keens to compare...but I probably don't need two bacon appetizers:)


Mr. T went with his usual order here the Mutton Chop. It's an enormous saddle of lamb that has a really strong mineral flavor.  While I enjoy the Mutton, it's just too much for me so I ordered the Petite Filet Mignon.


The filet was excellent, cooked a perfect medium rare with a nice buttery char on the outside and a warm red center oozing with juices.  I was too full for dessert but it was a  birthday celebration soo...


Some chocolate cake arrived!  Just for the birthday boys (although I may have eaten a lot).  It was a fabulous celebratory meal inside one of my favorite NYC landmarks.  We may have to return for my birthday which is coming up next month!

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Brew Friday- Hoponious Union

On our ride back from Maine (which I will get to at some point) Mr. T and I did a few pit stops in Connecticut and Massachusetts to seek out some beers that aren't distributed to NYC.  One of our goals was to try out a couple from Jack's Abby Brewing and we lucked into finding the Hoponious Union.



This is classified as an American Pale Lager...a style you don't see around much.  This is similar to an IPA but it's fermented cold and aged for long periods of time resulting in a lager instead of an ale.  So it's really an IPL instead of an IPA.  The nose smells of burnt orange rind and biscuit.  The taste is also orange with a little grapefruit, pine and a sweet bready finish. This feels a bit thicker to me than most IPA's and honestly reminds me of a Heady Topper with a little less lemon and a bit more malt. It's a great beer and my first from Jack's Abby Brewing.

Jacks Abby Brewing

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Reichenbach Hall

I get asked all the time "Where can I go get a pretzel big enough to feed ten people?"  Okay well maybe I don't but if I ever was asked that question I would immediately send that person to Reichenbach.



Everything is big at this new German beer hall in Midtown.  This enormous pretzel really could feed about 8-10 people which is just what you'll need to munch on as you work your way through the beer list.


Classic brews like Hofbrau, Warsteiner and Spatan are all available by pint, liter or 2 liter boot for those days when you just feel like going large.  

Reichenbach Hall

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Maison Kayser

Maison Kayser just opened in the Flatiron District and the pastries seemed to call my name as I walked by the shop window.  So many wonderful looking things to choose from...long crusty baguettes, big fluffy brioche, layers upon layers of millefieulle and chocolate mousse.  I finally decided on two classics a Creme Brulee and an Almond Croissant.



The croissant was different than most I've had... it was really flat and dense.  I was expecting a nice crunch on the outside edges but they were soft and the inside was quite doughy.  I missed pulling apart the flaky layers of pastry but enjoyed the sweet, nutty flavor of the bread.




The Creme Brulee was little bit sweeter than I had imagined but maintained that crispy top shell and creamy pudding center even after sitting in the case a while.  It's obvious they keep on top of the pastry freshness.  My goal is to eat my way through each and every item on display.  Let's call it the August of Kayser!


Maison Kayser

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Brunch at Isola

When my sister-in-law suggested we met up for brunch in SOHO I immediately thought of Isola.  I absolutely fell in love with the gorgeous glass chandeliers and lush greenhouse setting when Mr. T and I stopped by for a drink last year.   Brunch was a perfect time to experience the incredible setting and the surprisingly incredible food.



I'm a bit obsessed with baked eggs in tomato sauce and this was quite possibly the best one I've ever had.  The Eggs al Forno had big chunks of roasted tomato with hearty pieces of guanciale, tuscan kale and a flurry of herbed breadcrumbs on top.  It was so incredible I ended up using all the crusty bread to sop up each last bite of sauce.



Kate went the lunch route and ordered the Tonno BLT with tuna, smoked bacon and a caper aioli.  She said it was incredible...I wouldn't know since I was too busy devouring my egg dish.


The prices here aren't cheap.  The wines by the glass start at $13 and our entrees hovered right around the $20 mark...quite a bit more than I usually spend on a casual brunch.  But with happy full bellies and a celeb sighting to boot it was a successful and delicious brunch outing.  

Isola

Monday, August 19, 2013

Restaurant Week at La Fonda Del Sol

I was granted the task of finding a Restaurant Week lunch spot that was both family friendly (for an 8 month old baby) and within walking distance of Grand Central.  This was a tall order to fill being that the area is mainly all business around lunchtime.  I finally decided upon La Fonda for it's open outdoor seating and incredibly close proximity. 

To be honest things didn't start off very well.  We weren't given the correct menus when first seated and then we sat there so long unattended that I actually had to get up and ask one of the waiters if we had a server for the table.  Luckily after those hiccups it was pretty much smooth sailing.  I began the meal with a Shrimp Ceviche.


This appetizer was enormous.  There were easily about eight big shrimp in the bowl with lots fresh tomato, peppers and tangy Valencia orange segments. 


I continued on the seafood route for my entree the Sea Scallops a la Plancha.  The scallops were cooked perfect with a little caramelized crunch on the outside and a slightly rare interior.  I loved the salsa verde but the wild leek sauce just didn't have much flavor. I think a little bit of heat or acidity would have brightened this dish up a bit.  It was tasty but definitely not memorable.
   

For dessert the Cinnamon Churro didn't look a thing like most churro's I've eaten in my life...much more like a Zeppole stuffed with ice cream or a deep fried Profiterole.  In the end it didn't matter though; with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of caramel sauce on the top I could care less about the name- it was simply delicious.  Overall a delightful afternoon and one last restaurant week meal in the books.

Friday, August 16, 2013

New Brew Friday- Mikkeller Vanilla Shake

I've been dreaming about this beer ever since friends found it in Copenhagen and finally it's made it's way to the United States.



This Oatmeal Stout is part of the Mikkeller "Beer Geek" project.  It has a thick, creamy mouth feel...similar to a milk shake with a ridiculous sweet coffee flavor and TONS of vanilla. It's awesome.  If you see this in the store snatch one up immediately.

Mikkeller

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Return from Maine!

Mr. T and I just spent a fabulous few days up in Maine and are just beginning to get back into the swing of things.  I took a much needed day off to recover and of course that means a fancy lunch!


But this time I didn't do fancy- my obsession with lobster rolls reached an all time high in Maine and I just needed one more to seal the deal.  Pearl's was amazing as usual, plump with a ton of meat and those additive shoestring fries.  Full report of Maine food and beer next week!

Pearl Oyster Bar

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

More of Los Tacos No 1

I loved the pork taco so much on my last visit I just had to return and try out the rest of the tacos at Los Tacos.  This time I went for flour tortillas and the next two tacos Carne Asada (Steak) and Nopal (Cactus).



Once again I was disappointed by the first taco I tasted.  The cactus was mushy and limp with a strange minty after taste.  I only had about two bites before throwing this away.



The Carne Asada on the other hand was AMAZING!  It was finely chopped so there was no struggling with large pieces as you get with most steak tacos.  The meat left a nice, slow burn on the tongue that was incredibly satisfying.  A splash of lime juice on top for a little acidity and bam- perfection.

Los Tacos 1

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Brunch at Gramercy Terrace

Located at the top of the Gramercy Park hotel, Danny Meyer's newest restaurant feels like a hidden island oasis complete with hanging plants, a retractable roof and tiki themed cocktails.



I met up with a friend one Sunday and the place was absolutely hopping with a variety of hotel guests and locals alike.  Luckily I had a reservation so we were seated right away and given the drink menus.  I usually order a standard Mimosa at brunch but I just couldn't take my eyes off this Painkiller made with rum, coconut, pineapple juice and nutmeg.



This drink was perfect...it was light and creamy with just enough citrus to make me feel like I was in the tropics somewhere.  The small food menu stuck to standard brunch options like a Sausage Biscuit Sandwich, Pancakes with macerated blueberries and a hefty looking Bison Burger.


I went strictly breakfast with two poached eggs, bacon and home fries.  The bacon was absolutely amazing...thick cut and layered with black pepper and maple syrup.  Tasha also went the breakfast route and ordered pancakes which were so light and fluffy I would be surprised if ricotta cheese was involved somewhere.  

Unfortunately the service wasn't the greatest.  We had to wait a long time to get our drinks and then again to order food. Luckily the atmosphere was so nice a long brunch didn't seem so bad and we both left full and happy.

Gramercy Park Hotel  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Happy Hour at Murray's Cheese Bar

The new cheese bar from Murray's in the West Village recently added a happy hour to their fabulous menu.  On Monday- Wednesday from 5-7, they offer $2 off all beer and wine plus a rotating cheese plate for only $10.



The evening we dined the plate consisted of Coupole, Taleggio and Ewephoria.  Mr. T liked the creamy Coupole goat cheese the best while I enjoyed the nutty, butterscotch flavor of the the Ewephoria.  



Of course one can't live on just wine and cheese alone.  Mr. T added on a Grilled Cheese sandwich that was rich and buttery with a creamy, cheesy bowl of Tomato Soup on the side.


I had a delicious Kale Cesar Salad with a lemony Cesar dressing, toasted breadcrumbs and cherry tomatoes.  It was so light and refreshing I even had room for a mini dessert from Rocco's across the street:)  Ahhhh...cheese and wine...two of my favorite things in the world done just right at Murray's.

Friday, August 9, 2013

New Brew Friday- Hill Farmstead Edition

This weeks beer is exciting for two reasons...one it's virtually impossible to get anywhere outside Vermont and two it was part of some special beers purchased just to celebrate Mr. T's birthday.


Hill Farmstead is a tiny place way up in the backwoods of Vermont that has taken the brewery world by storm in the last two years; clocking in beer after beer on the Top 100 list.  This double IPA was actually a collaboration between Hill Farmstead and Amager Bryghus of Denmark. It's called Grassroots Brewing Shadow Pictures of a Journey, but don't worry the taste isn't as crazy as the name.  It's got lots of orange citrus and pine with a little bit of fizzy carbonation on the end.  It's incredibly well balanced and very drinkable.  Cheers to the weekend!

Hill Farmstead

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Sweet Treat for Thursday

I always need a little something sweet in the afternoon...not something huge just a little bit of sugar to get me through the workday.  That's why I love Fatwitch.  They offer mini versions of their regular brownies and at $1.75 a piece these are a wallet friendly afternoon treat.


Last visit they expanded their mini options to include the Caramel Fatwitch!


Thick fudgy brownie with a thin layer of creamy caramel sandwiched in the middle.  It's the perfect little pick me up.

Fatwitch Bakery

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Paulie Gee's

The are a lot of words I could use to describe the pizza at Paulie Gee's but the one that comes to mind first and foremost is AWESOME!!! A bunch of us made the trek out on the G train last weekend and arrived right around 6, trying to beat the dinner rush.  We only had a ten minute wait before being seated in the back and our assortment of delectable pies began making their way to the table. 



Let me begin by saying the crust is absolutely incredible...chewy yet pliable with an excellent char on the edges and a slight sweetness to the dough.  I would have been happy chowing on crust alone but the toppings were certainly not to be missed.  My favorite of the night  was the Hellboy- Fresh Mozzarella, Italian Tomatoes, Sopresseta, Parmigiano Reggiano and Mike's Hot Honey.


That Mike sure knows how to make some honey.  It was a perfect balance of spicy and sweet that went fantastic with the fatty sopressetta.  I liked this even better than the Bee Sting at Robertas.



My second favorite of the night was the Greenpointer topped with Fresh Mozzarella, Baby Arugula, Olive Oil, Lemon and Parmigiano Reggiano.  It was light and zesty...perfect for hot summer day.



The others were fantastic as well...like the In Ricotta Da Vita made with Sausage, Pecorino Cheese and Arugula or the Ricotta Be Kiddin' Me way up top with Canadian Bacon, Sweet Italian Sausage and of course Ricotta.



Even the regular pie "Regina" was tasty (although I missed the funny "Bob's Burger" like name on this pie).  Everyone at my table agreed... Paulie Gee's is cranking out some of the best pizza in NYC.  If you haven't made the trek out to Greenpoint yet plan a day and do it.  This is some serious pizza not to be missed.  

Paulie Gee's

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Noosa Yogurt

I always try to start my day with something healthy.  I rotate between bananas and granola bars with an occasional egg white omelette with fresh veggies thrown in there.  Recently I've been hooked on yogurt and this new one I found is awesome- Noosa.



The yogurt is made at a small family owned dairy out in Colorado from "happy cows" they say and infused with locally produced clover alfalfa honey.



See how thick and creamy it is?  It has a luxurious, silky texture and a sweet tang to each bite.  I thought Blueberry was my favorite but then I tried the Strawberry Rubarb and was in love.



Mr. T likes the Honey flavor the best...yes that's right even Mr. T likes this and he's never been a big yogurt fan.  So if you want to try out something new to jump start your day I highly recommend picking up some Noosa.  I always feel better eating some pork belly or sweetbreads for dinner if I've had a healthy breakfast :)

Noosa Yoghurt