Showing posts from December, 2014

Best of 2014

This was a crazy and amazing year filled with lots of great food, friends and travel.  It began in January with a fantastic trip to San Diego with my parents.  They learned more about beer on that trip than they probably ever cared to know hitting up spots like Alpine, Ballast Point and Societe Brewing.  Then Mr. T and I spent a few days in Florida before embarking on an absolutely incredible trip to Copenhagen and Brussels with our close friends and certainly the best beer festival of my life the Copenhagen Beer Celebration.  Add in a few trips to Buffalo,Vermont and Nashville and I would say we've been pretty busy.  But in the end it's always NYC that holds the biggest spot in my heart.  This year the food was better than ever and with new breweries like Third Rail and Other Half joining the leagues of Peekskill, Kane and Barrier there's never been a better time to drink local.  Cheers to 2014!

Best New Sushi- Sushi Dojo

There was a lot of new sushi joints this year but Su…

The Last Days of December- Gingerbread and Champagne

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is an annual trip to midtown for tree gazing in Rockefeller Center, shopping in Columbus Circle and of course gingerbread house delight at Le Parker Meridien.  Every December City Harvest hosts the Gingerbread Extravaganza to raise money for the coming year and showcase some of the best bakeries in the city.  All the creations are amazing but a few really stood out like the Domino Sugar Factory created by Sullivan St. Bakery...

Going Ape Over New York by Cake Alchemy...

...and my absolute favorite Breakfast at Tiffany's created by FIKA.

I actually completed all of my shopping after the gingerbread tour and had an extra hour to spare!  Just enough time for a quick holiday drink at The Plaza.

The Palm Court has been completely redesigned with an open bar in the middle just perfect for a relaxing glass of champagne.  Cheers to the holidays!
Gingerbread Extravaganza
The Palm Court

Lunch at Red Rooster

I've been a big fan of Marcus Samuelsson since his early days at Aquavit.  I can still remember the first time I had brunch there with Mr. T's family about 12 years ago.  It was a smorgasbord of pickled veggies, cold seafood salads and just about every single kind of herring imaginable.  All of us kids were expecting a brunch more heavy on bacon and eggs than herring but we dove right in and made the best of it.  I remember having one shrimp salad that was almost florescent pink in color.  It was an enlightening experience to say the least...

Obviously my tastes towards Nordic cuisine have since changed but that wouldn't even matter at Samuelsson's newest place. The Red Rooster celebrates American cuisine and the culinary traditions of the neighborhood of Harlem.  Actually the only Swedish thing I saw all afternoon was a special holiday Glogg everyone was drinking

Red Rooster offers two lunch menus; a special 3 course prix fix for $25 with choices like Roasted Salmon and…

DIY Holiday Cocktail

Sometimes the best thing to do during the holidays is put on some holiday music, bake some cookies and craft a delicious cocktail in your very own kitchen.  For just those times here's a recipe for a classic cocktail recreated with the honey and spice of Drambuie Scotch Liqueur:

In a mixing tin half-filled with ice, add:
        4 parts DRAMBUIE        2 part Tia Maria        2 part Half-and-Half       1 part Egg Beaters       2 tsp. Sugar 
Shake to froth, strain into a snifter;       Garnish with fresh-grated nutmeg.


NYC Holiday Drinks

Best Christmas Bar- Miracle on 9th Street

Christmas presents hang from the ceiling in shiny boxes, the bartenders have on their best Santa hats and the cocktail menu reads like something straight out of the North Pole.  There's a Christmopolitan with vodka and spiced cranberry, a Christmas Tree Gimlet with pine needle cordial and my personal choice the Bad Santa.

It's got two kinds of rum, pineapple juice, coconut water and coconut butter served piping basically like a warm and buttery pina colada.  What's better for the holidays than some nice rosey cheeks after a hot cocktail!
Miracle on 9th Street
Quintessential NYC- The Plaza Hotel

Whether you grew up watching the Eloise Christmas or Kevin in Home Alone just about everyone has a vision of The Plaza during holiday season.  Although the classic Oak Room is still sadly closed the redone Palm Court is a great second choice for a little holiday bubbly.

The Plaza Hotel
Best Eggnog- Maialino

If you missed Tom & Jerry…

Holidays in NYC

It's about that time of year so I'm rolling out my holiday guide once again.  This is just a break down of places to go in Rockefeller Center/Times Square area. Later in the week we'll get into the good stuff with a listing of the best places for holiday drinks!

NYC is a wonderful and magical place to visit around the holiday season. The Rockefeller Center tree is gorgeous, all the hotels are decked out in red and gold, holiday pop-up shops fill the parks- what could be better?

Unfortunately you have to be prepared for what I can only describe as controlled chaos. You will be wrangled like cattle to see the tree, stand in line at a Starbucks for 30 minutes, not for a caffeine fix but to use the single smelly bathroom and you’ll probably be so tired out from all of your shopping and touring that you’ll see a TGI Friday’s or Olive Garden and think it’s an oasis in the storm. Two hours later (because you’ll have to wait for a table like all of the other tourists who thought the…

Lunch at Benchmark

Benchmark is a cozy little place in Park Slope  just off the main drag of 4th Avenue.  The restaurant has a gorgeous canopy out front and a tiny but cute bar inside, not to mention one of the best prix-fix deals in town. Benchmark offers a three course lunch with options like Lobster Bisque, Braised Beef Short Rib and Pan Seared Crab Cakes for the incredible price of $18. I was eyeing the Lobster Bisque but then I read the full description of the salad and was completely won over.  Organic Seasonal Lettuces with crisp yuca, radish confit, goat cheese and truffle vinaigrette.

I can't pass up anything with truffle these days and this dressing was just what I love... strong earthy truffles mixed with big dollops of creamy goat cheese...the perfect pairing.  Onto entree the Benchmark Burger with hand cut fries and homemade fixins.

The burger comes with your choice of cheese and they place it directly on the bottom bun of the burger rather than on top of the meat, a practice I don'…

United Wines of Veneto at Eataly

Eataly celebrates a different area of Italy each month and December is all about Veneto; a region in northeastern Italy with a wine history dating back to 1800 B.C. and the foremost wine producing region in the country.  I was invited to kick off this month's festivities with a Master Class from the Chef at La Scuola showcasing the fabulous wine and food from this region.

1st Course Capesante Grantinate- Scallops with compound butter, garlic, parsley, prosciutto and homemade bread crumbs paired with three different sparkling wines; the dry and fruity Prosecco Spumante, a soft, peachy Prosecco Superiore and my favorite the rich Lessini Durello, a sparking alternative from the Lessini Mountains.

2nd Course Carpaccio Con Radicchio- Beef Carpaccio with beets, baby carrots, radicchio, fennel, brussels sprout and lemon paired with the white wines of the region; the soft and savory Soave, a clean, fruity Custoza and a mineral driven Laguna.  

3rd Course Risi & Bisi- Shelled Pea & Sc…

Brunch at The Nomad Bar

One of my favorite new spots in the city has just launched brunch.  The Nomad Bar now opens at noon on Sunday which is the perfect time to settle in at the bar without the crowds and focus entirely on the food.  All the dishes they're known for are available at brunch like the amazing Burger,  the incredible Carrot Tartare and the decadent Chicken Pot Pie along with some breakfast items like this Croque Madame.

These eggs are covered in Emmental and Bechamel sauce, lots of thick slices of ham all on a flaky roll.  It's comfort food at its very finest.  There's also a whole list of Bloody Mary's and coffee cocktails to choose from...

...and of course some standard champagne if you like to start your Sunday with a little bit of bubbly.
The Nomad Bar
10 West 28th and Broadway
New York, NY

New Brew Friday- Allagash Farm to Face

It's New Brew Friday!  Time for a brand new one from an old time favorite the Farm to Face a limited edition brew from Allagash.

This is an American Wild Ale that was fermented in stainless steel with 3 lbs of peaches added per gallon.  The aroma is tart peach and sour apple goodness while the flavor is just banging peach. The mouthfeel is light and creamy making this incredibly drinkable.  There's a little bit of that Allagash funk in there but it's so subtle I think even people who dislike sour beers would enjoy this one. Cheers to Friday!

Allagash Brewing Company

Takumi Taco

I was having a serious Spicy Tuna Roll craving at work last week.  Unfortunately the area around 34th and 10th is an absolute food wasteland.  But I did a quick search on Google Maps and to my complete shock Takumi Taco popped up just blocks away. Being this was one of my Smorgasburg favorites I quickly hurried over...although finding this place wasn't exactly easy.

It's hidden away in the Starett-Lehigh office building.  In order to get in I had to speak with two different security guards, decipher the bizarre elevator system (which I never really did someone just helped me out) and traverse around the 17 Floor hallways until I finally spotted their tiny taco truck. Apparently they don't get outside visitors much.  Since I had made such a trek it only seemed appropriate to order the 17th Floor roll which had spicy tuna inside, eel sauce, spicy mayo, spicy soy and a topping of crispy onions.

The spicy tuna roll was awesome as always.  I should have stuck with regular becaus…

Brunch at Schiller's Liquor Bar

I was so cold on Friday I actually thought my toes might fall off.  The wait for Bourbon County Stout was a full four hours outside in the frigid wind.  When we finally hobbled over to Schiller's for brunch I honestly contemplated shoving my ice cold hands directly into my Huevos Rancheros.

I decided this might actually gross out my companions so I dove in with my fork instead.  The eggs were exactly as I like them in the morning; cooked almost completely through but not quite with lots of tomato sauce, cheese and beans.

The doughnuts were awesome too.  The simple cinnamon sugar topping and slightly crunchy exterior were an oddly satisfying combination.

And of course the drinks were fantastic.  There's nothing quite like a steaming hot cider and Blood Orange Mimosa to thaw out the bones...Black Friday success!
Schiller's Liquor Bar 131 Rivington Street @Norfolk
New York, NY 10002