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Showing posts from January, 2014

Goodbye to San Diego with Stone Brewing

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Friday morning I got one last Baileys tart for breakfast, put in a full hour in the sun and made a final walk around the beach.  I said goodbye to my parents at the airport and walked inside feeling a bit sad.  I hate when vacation ends, especially when it was so much fun. I checked my gate and decided to walk around for an hour until boarding when I stumbled across this...



Stone Brewing in the airport!  What a perfect excuse to do one last round of vacation beers. 



Stone Ruination, Smoked Porter and Pale Ale before getting on the plane...now I'm officially ready to say good-bye to the West Coast.

San Diego- Day Two Report

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Thursday morning was much of the same from yesterday...Bailey's Tart for breakfast then a few hours at the pool.  Once the sun got to be too strong again we drove out to O'Brien's pub for a delicious lunch and a few Russian River beers on the patio. 



Then it was onto Societe Brewing to have a look at their brewery and taste some beers. I had enjoyed a few Societe beers the day before and I have to say this place is making some incredible IPA's.



I really wish I brought back a growler of their beer. Both the Publication and Pupil blew me away in flavor but my suitcase was already at full capacity.  

We followed this up with an afternoon of card playing at the Blind Lady.  Pliny on tap was a nice surprise.

Then it was dinner at The Brigantine for some more fish tacos and another wonderful Creme Brulee.

We ended the night back at the hotel for some live music and maybe just a little more dessert:)  Another great day in San Diego...so not ready to be leaving tomorrow.
O'Brien…

San Diego- Day One Report

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This winter has been absolutely brutal, so when my parents invited me along for a quick San Diego getaway I jumped at the opportunity.  I got in late Tuesday night...just enough time for dinner at Coronado Brewing and a few drinks at our gorgeous hotel the Del Coronado.  Wednesday I awoke early and joined my parents for a leisurely morning walk and a delicious Baileys Tart for breakfast before hitting the poolside for some sun.

 The weather was awesome.   It honestly got so warm I couldn't take anymore direct sunlight by the time 11:00 AM rolled around.  Luckily I had more than a few pit stops in mind to fill the rest of the day.  First a trip up to Alpine Beer Company.  I was worried this would be quite a hike from the hotel but the drive only took about 45 minutes and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous.  We walked into the roadside first and I was immediately struck by the 1980's decor.



Maybe it was the fact that Journey was playing on the speakers or the tiny pink shorts the…

Dinosaur BBQ- Brooklyn

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The newest addition to the Dinosaur BBQ empire just opened in Park Slope and I was pretty excited to have such great BBQ right near work.  The restaurant is absolutely enormous...possibly their largest location yet with the same combination of sports bar and honky tonk decor.



Mr. T and I went on an off hour to avoid the crowds and got a seat in the bar area.  The beer menu is always focused on local flavor no matter where the location so Brooklyn favorites like Sixpoint and Kelso were predominant while old upstate favorites like Dino Ape Ale and Genesee found a spot on the list as well. 



I was psyched to see Dino Poutine on the menu but sadly it wasn't as good as the one I had at the Stamford location.  The pulled pork and gravy were perfect but the fries could have used a bit more time in the fryer and the pimento cheese, the best part of the entire dish in my opinion, was virtually nonexistent.  

Luckily the BBQ Brisket Sandwich was amazing.  Slow smoked beef with pickled onion, ja…

ROYCE' Chocolates

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Have you ever opened up a box of chocolates that smelled so incredible you felt downright intoxicated off the aroma?  I had this experience at Royce' just last week and let me tell you the taste is even better than the smell.


Royce' was founded in Sappora, Japan in 1983 and has been making chocolate ever since using only the highest quality ingredients and artisan techniques.  This isn't just ordinary chocolate, it's chocolate that is so silky, smooth it literally melts like butter in your mouth.  


Ken Romaniszyn, the owner of Lady M Cake Boutique on the UES is the company's American partner and they now have three locations in New York: Midtown East, Bryant Park and their newest store which I visited on Bleeker Street.  The shop is tiny but filled with incredible products along the stretch of two walls.  I highly recommend tasting one of their Potatochip Chocolates in either Fromage Blanc, Chocolat Caramel or Mild Bitter.


The chocolate caramel I tried were excellent.…

Go Custard Crazy this Week at Shake Shack

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This insanely cold winter weather is good for more than just huddling around a fire place.  Shake Shack Madison Park has decided to go all out for the last week of January with some of their very best flavors.  Check out this week's lineup:


Sunday: Cinnamon Honey Cream Cheese
Monday: Pretzel Caramel
Tuesday: Coconut Marshmallow
Wednesday:  Mud Pie
Thursday: Peanut Butter Candy Bar
Friday: Chocolate Chip Cookie

I don't know about you but I'm certainly fine with braving the cold for these flavors.

Shake Shack

Lunch at Gotham Bar and Grill

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It's been five long years since my last meal at Gotham Bar & Grill.  I remember Alfred Portale's food was exquisite, the restaurant stunning and the price...well quite expensive. Which is why lunch at Gotham is such a deal.  The dining room takes on a refined elegance in the sunlight and if you order the Greenmarket menu it's just $34 for three courses.   The last visit began with House Cured Sea Trout with honeycrisp apple, shaved fennel, radish, dill and cucumber. 



The delicate ribbons of trout were dusted with herbs and complemented by dollops of lemon creme fraiche and a bright, citrus salad. This dish was absolutely heavenly.  The fish practically melted on the plate and the baby pumpernickel croutons dotting the salad were just delightful. For entree Chatham Cod with snow peas, kaffir lime and jasmine rice over a coconut lobster curry.



You could smell the floral, nutty aroma of jasmine rice and fresh garlic from the moment this dish hit the table.  The fish was coo…

Return from California!

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I just came back from a fabulous trip in San Diego just my parents and I where we had an absolute blast.  I really can't complain about all of this snow after having great weather, incredible food and the same exact breakfast every day with my Dad at the Del Coronado Hotel.



Most people might frown on dessert for breakfast but to us it just makes sense.  This Bailey's Tart has everything you need...fresh fruit, dairy from the creamy mousse inside and a coffee cookie crunch that will fuel the day.  Full trip report to come next week!

Snow Day Eats at Ootoya

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Look at all the snow!  It's the perfect day to curl up with some traditional Japanese home cooking.  



Ootoya specializes in Teishoku, which is a variety of dishes consisting of a meat/fish, rice, soup and pickled veggies.  My last visit I ordered the Mini Kaisen Don which comes with Hot Udon and Assorted Sashimi.



There's something so satisfying about a big, steaming bowl of Udon. The noodles are so round and hearty it makes me feel all warm inside just thinking about them.

Then it was onto a bowl of rice topped with the sashimi that day Blue Fin Tuna, Amberjack, Simmered Shrimp and Scallop with a square of egg on top. Everything was excellent...the tuna being my favorite. I finished off the little dish of pickled veggies before moving onto the last component of the meal a steamed egg custard.

It's incredibly smooth and slightly sweet...a nice dish to enjoy at any point of the meal but something I always save until last.   
Ootoya

Lunch at Perelandra

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One of my favorite stops in Brooklyn Heights just happens to be Perelandra.  This organic health food store isn't just for grocery shopping.  They carry lots of all natural beauty products, a pretty great selection of beer and a carry out cafe in back with some stellar vegetarian selections like this TLT Sandwich.


Two slices of thick multi-grain bread slathered with avocado and wrapped around crisp romaine lettuce, fresh tomatoes and Tempeh Bacon Slices.

The Tempeh slices really do a nice job subbing in for regular bacon with its nutty flavor and slightly crisp texture.  The start of the show is always the veggies though- super fresh from the market.  It's a hearty, healthy way to spend lunch.
Perelandra

Sweet Coconut Dreams

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It's time for a little something wonderful to celebrate the end of the week.


Something like this delectable Vanilla Coconut macaron from La Maison Du Macaron on 23rd Street.    Their macarons are just about perfect.  Thin and slightly crackly vanilla shells with toasted coconut on top sandwiching a thick layer of coconut cream inside.

These are on par with Laduree in texture and size with extravagant flavors like Jack Daniels Chocolate and Graham Cracker Key Lime Pie.  They're just the thing for today's sweet treat!
La Maison Du Macaron

More Quality Time at Otto

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Can you tell I'm in love with this place again?  Not like I ever stopped loving it.  I just wasn't going as obscenely often as I am these days:)  Last visit we began with a bright, spinach salad complete with ricotta salata, crushed almonds with a drizzle of truffle honey on top.



Then it was onto the pasta portion of the evening with the Spaghetti alla Carbonara. 



Otto noodles are always perfectly tender with a hearty, satisfying chew.  They're topped with squares of pancetta, sauteed scallions, black pepper and a creamy egg that make this is rich, creamy dish perfect for just about any occasion.

Otto Pizzeria

The Bacon Cheeseburger at Gramercy Tavern

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It's been over a year since I last settled into the burger at Gramercy Tavern.  It changes with the season and right now it's gotten extra hefty with rich Wagyu Beef from upstate NY, creamy clothbound cheddar cheese and house cured bacon.



The burger was good on its own but the bacon is what made it excellent.  Thick cut with a smoky char, it  gave the meat that "hot off the grill" flavor usually reserved for summertime BBQ's.



The burger always comes with three house made dipping sauces...a country mustard, ketchup and creamy Thousand Island alongside a plate of crispy Long Island potato chips. Pair it with one of their fantastic draft beers from Peekskill Brewery and you have an entire NY State lunch!

Gramercy Tavern

Brunch at Chez Sardine

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Last Saturday was so cold and snowy Mr. T declared it a "couch day", which basically means he wasn't doing a thing except sitting on the couch and playing video games all day.  I have no problem with this...I think its great that he can totally stop the outside world for a while and just recharge. Unfortunately I am not born with the gene that allows me the same escape.  I wake up in the morning and can't shake the urge of going and doing.  I can always come home after...it's just this weird need to get out of the house and accomplish something.  So when couch day called it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to go out and get the first restaurant of my 2014 Wish List accomplished!

Chez Sardine was quite busy when I arrived at 2:30.  There were two small tables open by the window but I opted for a seat at the bar.  The menu is small but incredibly varied with options like Avocado Toast with Deviled Egg, Smoked Char Chirashi and a Pork Belly & Cornbread …

New Brew Friday- Daddy Warbucks

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This beer isn't exactly new to NYC Tastes.  I talked about it briefly during it's launch at One Mile House during that crazy week of beer.  But it's one of the newest beers at the Barrier Brewery and they just started to release it in bottles.



Just stop by the brewery out in Long Island to pick up this big, crisp Double IPA that comes with serious notes of citrus and pine inside one cool looking bottle.  Cheers! 

Barrier Brewing

Happy Hour at Haru

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Haru not only has the longest happy hour special in our neighborhood but also one of the best.  From 3:00-7:00 every day they have great deals on wine, beer and specialty cocktails along with a brand new menu of happy hour bites. Like these crispy fish tacos which come two to an order and filled with Tuna, Sea Bass or Salmon.

They're bright, clean and surprisingly filling with a ton of sashimi inside.  If your not feeling the sushi option they also have a few cooked dishes like their garlic chicken wings.



They're surprisingly large and crispy...much bigger than I see at some wing spots around the city, with a distinctive garlic kick that has just a bit of heat from the spicy jalapeno on top.  I took the slice off but you could make your even more spicy by eating it whole.   For only $8.00 this is a fantastic deal.  Add on a few rolls and you have a whole dinner for two with drinks for under $50.00.  

Haru Sushi