Monday, September 30, 2013

Another Fablous Meal at Gramercy Tavern

Is there really anything more I can say about Gramercy Tavern that I haven't said in the past?  Probably not so I'm just going right onto the food.  Our appetizers Roasted Beets, Kohlrabi, Sherry Vinaigrette and Sunflower Seeds...


...followed by Barely Touched Vegetables...


...with three different sauces- Olive Oil Pine Nut, Lemon Ricotta and Sungold Tomato.


My Father wasn't exactly impressed with the portion sizes of the apps.  He began referring to the "Barely Touched Vegetables" as the "Barely There Vegetables", but he's a hard one to please.


Luckily his entree came out next and the Ricotta Cavatelli with Chorizo, Tomatoes and Peppers completely won him over.


My Roasted Pork with Corn, Mushroom and Potato was excellent.  It was tender and smoky, just perfect for swirling into their creamy pommes puree.


Mr. T had the Grilled Mackerel with Calamari, Corn and Eggplant.  I didn't try a bite because as soon as my pork was finished I was already onto bigger and better things...


...like the last Strawberry Pie of the season.  Always a win at the Tavern. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

New Brew Friday- Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin beers were part of my "gateway drug" into the craft beer world.  I think one of my first ones was a Post Road from Brooklyn Brewery followed by one of my favorites Dogfish Head Punkin.  However this little guy right here from Schlafly takes the cake.  There's no other way to describe this than Pumpkin Pie in your face.  The aroma smells identical to a pumpkin pie baking in the oven...so much so I pictured my Mother spooning out pumpkin puree into a pie crust (she wasn't one for cooking much).


The flavor is all pie...pumpkin, caramel, clove and nutmeg.  It's the perfect balance of spicy and sweet that completely hides the fact that its 8% abv.  If you like pumpkin this will be one of your "OMG that's amazing" beers.  Cheers to Autumn!

  Schlafly

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Quick Lunch at 15 East

There's nothing like an amazing piece of sushi that's so fresh and so tender, it almost melts before you can even get it off the plate.  



That's exactly what happened with the Chu-Toro from 15 East.  I thought my chop stick was going to slice right through, so I quickly popped it in my mouth where I was able to savor every last fatty morsel.  I could have ordered about ten more of these but then my casual lunch bill would have reached epic proportions so I added on a Hamachi Roll instead.


This was wonderful with just a touch too much wasabi for a regular roll but still delicious.  Oh to only eat fresh sushi like this every day...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Taste of Williamsburg Greenpoint

It was a gorgeous day Sunday- bright and crisp with the smell of autumn in the air.  The best time of year for drinking beer, watching sports and checking out food festivals.  


Things at Taste Of Williamsburg/Greenpoint didn't start out very well.  The event staff seemed disorganized and confused which resulted in quite a long line just to enter but once inside the actual event things seemed to go more smoothly. I walked in and went straight to Pie's N' Thighs for one of their amazing mini Chicken Biscuits.


Spicy fried chicken and honey butter biscuits....it seriously doesn't get much better than that.  If I had to decide what to get for my last meal on Earth this sandwich would immediately come to mind.


After that I walked over to the Sindicato De Cocineros stand and tried their gazpacho and  fluke ceviche. I was pleasantly surprised by the melon flavor in the soup and the ceviche was spot on as well.



Then I did a trio of spreads from Cafe Mogador and burned my tongue on some super spicy carrots.


So I cooled it off over at Fabbrica with some of their plump Tuscan Dumplings filled with creamy ricotta cheese. By then the event was starting to get pretty crowded so I decided to call it a day and hopped on the train back to Manhattan.  First food festival of Fall complete!

Tastewg

Pies n Thighs

Sindicato Brooklyn

Fabbrica

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sakemai Tabelog Tasting

Tabelog is Japan's top food review site and it's just been launched here in New York.  The website held a round of Food Blogger Restaurant Awards of which I was asked to be a judge.  To celebrate the awards the judge's panel was invited to Sakemai in the Lower East Side for a fabulous tasting of food and drink.  There were so many wonderful dishes, my favorite of the night being a spin on the classic beef tartare.



Chef Akiyama of Sakemai used filet mignon and topped it with uni, wasabi mascarpone, crushed poached egg and a side of brioche.  Uni, filet and egg... three of my  favorite things...


Another favorite of the night was the Tsukune Slider made with a Chicken Meatball, foie gras, caramelized onion and harissa aioli.  The foie gras melted right into the meatball and even though it was pretty messy to eat, it was totally worth it for the flavor.


I'm not sure what I felt about the Carrot Puree, dashi gelee and summer truffle.  I liked the smokiness of the truffle but the jiggly texture of the gelee kind of turned me off.


The Secreto Iberico Pork was excellent.  The meat had a nice char from the grill and the farro salad underneath gave the dish an earthy, nutty spin.


The Temari Sushi was also excellent.  I mistook the fish for salmon at first but then realized it was Tasmanian Trout and dove right in.


Croquette with lobster, lardo Iberico and sansho pepper was decent but not something I would order if I was dining out on my own.


To finish Strawberry Compote with mascarpone mousse and a truffled balsamic glaze.  It was a nice, light way to end the night on a sweet note.

Check out the new Tabelog if you get a chance and certainly check out Sakemai if your looking for a delicious Steak Tartare in the LES.  Cheers!

Tabelog

Sakamai

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pork Slope

I was having a serious craving for wings the other day.  I'm on a constant mission to find the best in the city and I think I may have a new contender over in Brooklyn at Pork Slope.



Chef Dale Talde's casual bar coats their wings in rice flour before frying and then make a sauce with garlic, Sriracha, Franks Red Hot, honey and butter. 



The wings are both spicy and sweet with that distinctive buffalo flavor and an incredible crispy exterior that is so satisfying.  The blue cheese on the side is no joke either.


The Tater Tots were nice and crispy as well....although I'd skip the ketchup which had a sugary taste that was really off putting.


Mr. T ordered the famous Porky Melt.  Two big slabs of marbled rye bread encasing a house made Bratwurst, stuffed with cheddar cheese and onions.  Obviously this is one serious sandwich.


I could say Pork Slope needs a better beer list but I can't really complain with a $2.00 Coors Light either.  This is banging spot for some wings in Brooklyn.

Friday, September 20, 2013

New Brew Friday- Stone R&R Coconut IPA

Stone Brewing is such a household name most people who don't even drink beer know about this amazing brewery out in Escondido, California.  They're constantly testing the boundaries of beer and brought in the winners of a home brewing contest to collaborate on a special one together- The Robert Masterson & Ryan Reschan/Rip Current/Stone Coconut IPA.



Although this ale was brewed with 280 pounds of coconut it doesn't get any coconut flavor besides a slightly suntan lotion aroma.  However the crazy blend of hops they used to create this beer is truly incredible.  It's got a lots of pine, as most Stone brews do, and a ton of tropical citrus flavors that just made this a super refreshing and tasty beer that I would gladly drink any day.  Cheers!

Stone Brewing Collaboration

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Final Morning in Maine AKA Blueberry Bonanza!

I woke up Sunday morning ready to leave Portland, filled with visions of lobster rolls, Cantillon and Financiers from Standard Baking Company.  But as I was taking a mental note of all of my glorious food experiences, I realized I had kind of missed out on one of Maine's most prized possessions- the blueberry.  So I took a trip down to Two Fat Cats Bakery and picked up a luscious looking blueberry muffin for the car ride home.



Then I saw this sign in the front of the bakery and thought...why yes, I do love pie for breakfast!


Forget the slice...I wanted the full pie experience.  


Yes this had absolutely everything....a buttery crust that cracked in all the right places, an interior oozing with sweet, tart Maine blueberries and an amazing flaky shell perfect for sopping up each and every morsel of pie goodness.


I'd like to say I stopped at this point but I was on a roll.  So I went back to Standard Baking Company for one last Financier (for the road of course:)


And then picked up a delicious Ham and Cheese Croissant because I thought something a little savory would balance out the morning.


One final stop at the farmers market for some Wild Maine Blueberries and we were ready to hit the road!  Back to NYC and back to reality but filled to the brim with good food, great drinks and amazing memories with friends.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One More Meal At Eventide

After all my planning...my lists of everything we had to eat in Portland... my 30 day out reservation call for Street & Company...and we end up back at Eventide for the last dinner.  



Both of us were so relaxed after some beers and music on the pier that dressing up for a formal dinner later just seemed like work...and who wants to work on vacation?  



So we passed our reservation to another lucky soul and went back to Eventide to finally get some oysters.  I have to say these were simply glorious... incredibly fresh, salty and just about the perfect size with a crisp Horseradish Ice accoutrement.


Mr. T tried out the Battered Maine Hake appetizer which came piping hot and sprinkled with a bit of Old Bay and paprika.


The fish inside was perfect but both of us found the breading a little too thick and overbearing for such a mild fish.


A much better choice was the Lobster Stew with huge chunks of fresh seafood doused in a creamy broth of milk and sherry. 


To complete our meal we added two rolls, one a Fried Chicken Bun with pickled watermelon and coleslaw.


This was tasty but poultry can't compare to the seafood in Maine and once again the lobster roll completely stole the show.


So toasty, warm with fresh lobster and a perfect combination of mayo and herbs...this is what food dreams are made of.    So happy to spend the last night at Eventide:)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Maine Day Four- 20 Milk Street & Portland Lobster Company

We woke up Sunday morning after a fabulous wedding and made our way downstairs for brunch in the hotel.  Twenty Milk Street isn't just any hotel restaurant...it's a serious food place with a fantastic Bloody Mary and some great breakfast options like the Seafood Fritatta.


What's not to love about lobster, shrimp and crab meat all folded into some eggs with a tangy dill havarti on top?  It was just what the doctor ordered for the morning. We spent the day relaxing with friends, made a quick trip to The Great Lost Bear and then sat in the sun for a late lunch at Portland Lobster Company.


The sun was shining as we sat on the deck and shared some Steamers.


A local bank was playing some great music so we stayed on for an order of crispy fried clams before stopping back at our favorite place of the trip Novare Res.


It's was an easy decision to return with so many amazing Cantillon's on the list.  We probably could have stayed for more than one, but it was our last night and I still needed to get some more lobster rolls...onto dinner!



Friday, September 13, 2013

New Brew Friday- Allagash House Beer

In keeping with the recap our of Maine adventure this week's beer comes from one of the best breweries we visited out there- Allagash.


It's a Belgian Pale Ale that clocks in at 4.5% and has a great crisp, slightly sweet taste that is just about the best everyday drinking beer I can imagine.  It's available only at the brewery so it looks like I need to start planning our return already.  Cheers!

Allagash

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Maine Day Three- Eventide & Novare Reis

After my incredible trip to Standard Baking Co. I went  back to the hotel and got Mr. T so we could grab an early lunch.  I had heard horror stories about the long wait at Eventide Oyster Co. so I wanted to make sure we beat the lunch rush.  Our pre-noon arrival ended up being perfect as we were seated immediately in two seats by the window.  It was a little too early for me to think about oysters so we started with a bowl of homemade chips instead.



These reminded me a little of  Cape Cod potato chips with a thicker chip that gave way to an amazing crunch.  They were a perfect side to what was coming up next...why some lobster rolls of course!


Eventide serves lobster rolls that are just about the size of your hand so it's easy to pick up and nosh on. Instead of the standard split top roll they use a steamed Chinese bun and top with mayo and herbs.  This was an incredible roll...the lobster meat was super fresh and seasoned just right while the glorious steamed bun kept everything nice and snug inside. 




In addition to the regular roll Eventide serves one tossed in a brown butter sauce.  This is a must order.  It's sweet, salty, buttery...droooool....oops sorry.  It's just freaking awesome believe me.  

We finished up our fantastic lunch and took off to explore the town.  We saw all the sights ( I think) and then we decided to throw in a little more "beercation" and stopped at the Belgian beer cafe Novare Res. 



In addition to an incredible assortment of local and Belgian beers Novare had a special section just for Cantillon.   We ordered up the Saint Lamvinus and sipped on our bottle as we soaked in the sun outside.


This was such a treat to just relax with an incredible beer. Some friends joined us a bit later and we spent the afternoon just enjoying the day together before heading back to the hotel for the wonderful wedding of our friends.  It was truly a fantastic day to be in Maine!