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Showing posts from June, 2014

New Brew Friday- Other Half Brewing

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I love visiting breweries.  We've been known to travel a ridiculous amount of miles just to get a taste at one of our favorites. Now I'm happy to say there's a great one right in our own backyard- Other Half Brewing.



Just off the F train in Carroll Gardens, this 4,000 square foot operation is easy to miss.  The brick exterior is covered in graffiti and the small communal table inside the tasting room and lack of AC means you'll most likely be standing and sweating a bit; but these are just minor inconveniences (it is a brewery after all).  The reason you should be going  is for the beer which is simply spectacular.   



IPA's dominate most of the list...the Hop Showers and All Green Everything are both outstanding but my favorite would have to be the Green Diamonds; a double IPA with a bitter mango, orange bite.  Flights are available for $5 and the staff is more than happy to talk beer as you sample your way through the list. You can also fill up a growler to go...som…

Solbeso and Chocolat Moderne

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It's no secret that Chocolat Moderne is my favorite chocolate shop's in city...now they've teamed up with Solbeso to introduce a new spirit into NYC made entirely of fresh cacao! You probably already know that chocolate is derived directly from the seeds of the cacao...but have you ever thought about what happens to all that fruit around the seeds? Look at these huge pieces of cacao fruit...


It takes 20-25 of those just to get one kilo of cacao and the rest is usually tossed away.  New World Spirits decided it was time to use that fruit and began distilling the juice from the Cacao to create the first premium white spirit, made entirely from 100% cacao fruit- Solbeso.

Of course it only seems right to pair Solbeso which chocolate, so Chocolat Moderne had a little party for the release to see which chocolate paired best with the new liquor.  We went from dark to light and then back to dark again (at least I did)  including two of my favorites of all time the Dark Chocolate Mad…

Barchetta

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I was invited to dinner last month by the wonderful Tabelog folks over at Chef Dave Pasternack's (Esca) newest restaurant Barchetta.




Barchetta translates to"little boat" in Italian; a proper name for a restaurant focused on flavors of the Mediterranean seaside.  



The meal began with a small bowl of Castelvetrano olives, one of my absolute favorites. They have thick, meaty flesh with a delicious buttery flavor and such a bright green color they almost seem like they're glowing.



Pumpkin Swordfish Crudo followed dressed with olive oil and crushed pistachio.  There was a wonderful sweet nutty taste but I was terribly disappointed with the slicing of the fish. Chef Pasternack is known for impeccable seafood so receiving three insanely small jagged pieces, two of which were barely a full bite, was a total letdown and quite frankly a rip off for the price point.



Calamari with Squid Ink was much healthier in size with a soft creamy texture that was quite exquisite.

The waiter war…

Strawberry Coup at Gramercy Tavern

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People recognize the start of summer in different ways...some by their first trip to the beach, others by that initial 90 degree day, for me it's when Gramercy Tavern brings back a fresh strawberry dessert to their menu...this time the Strawberry Coup.


Plump, fresh strawberries atop of tangy yuzu custard, tart strawberry sorbet, graham cracker crumbles, fresh basil and a dollop of creme cheese.  

Paired with the fruity Lolita lambic from Goose Island and I would say summer has officially arrived!

Gramercy Tavern

Happy Friday!

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The weekend is always a cause for celebration and I like mine to be something sweet...like a big cup of gelato from Eataly.


Half Coconut, half Salted Caramel...one big cup of delicious!
Eataly

The Inn at Pound Ridge

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Just a short train ride from the city sits Jean George's newest venture, a casual but elegant farm to table restaurant nestled in the pretty little town of Pound Ridge.  The atmosphere was reminiscent of ABC Kitchen and Blue Hill Stone Barns with it's wide open dining area and exposed wooden beams overhead.



We dined at brunch and the menu had a variety of dishes that sounded wonderful; Sweet Pea Soup with Parmesan Foam, Asparagus Salad with Wild Mushroom and House made Ricotta with Strawberry Compote.  We finally decided to share the Gulf Shrimp Salad with Mesclun to begin.



These shrimp were just beautiful; plump and buttery with fresh slices of ripe avocado and a warm truffle and champagne vinaigrette that was leagues above any dressing I've ever tasted.  I was absolutely in love with this salad.  



For entrees a Grilled Yellowfin Tuna Burger on a big fluffy roll with Miso Mayonnaise, Shiso and Yuzu Pickles.  The french fries on the side were excellent- skinny and crisp with …

The Nomad Bar

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New things open in my neighborhood almost every day but I haven't felt this air of excitement since The Nomad proper opened a few years back.  Located around the corner from the hotel, the Nomad Bar has a bit more of a tavern feel with sunlight streaming in through the front windows and comfy booths along the side of the bar for dining.


Even with the cozier feel the bar exudes the same sophisticated Nomad charm as the original with a huge window over the bar reflecting the upstairs dining area and a long mahogany bar that's just sexy as hell.

The menu is split into two parts; one side appetizers including a trio of Tartare's in carrot, beef and tuna and the other side entrees ranging from a Hot Dog with bacon and black truffle to the classic Nomad Chicken, reinvented as a Chicken Pot Pie.

I ordered the Burger listed as Dry Aged Beef with Cheddar, Red Onion and Pickles.


I thought the bar was sexy as hell but let me tell you that this burger is sexy as hell too.



Squished between …

Brunch at Estela

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Saturday was such a gorgeous day I wanted to find a place where I could soak it all in and enjoy a fabulous meal...enter Estela. Located in the former Nolita House space, Estela has a cozy bar with a big picture window up front perfect for letting in the summer breeze and doing a little people watching.


Everything on the brunch menu sounded amazing...Burrata with salsa verde, fried Arroz Negro with squid and romenesco and Lamb Ribs with charmoula and honey were all contenders but in the end the old Avocado, Pancetta and Egg on Danish pastry was the winner.


The pastry was soft and flaky like a croissant with layers of dough perfect for hugging the avocado so it didn't slide around.  Slices of crisp pancetta sat at the bottom providing a nice salty base to the sandwich.  It was downright delicious. 

The restaurant stayed relatively quiet my entire meal; quite a pleasant departure from the normal brunch craziness and the service was fantastic.  Apparently they make an incredible Steak T…

Sprinkles Cupcakes

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It's Friday, it's been one of those looong weeks and I really deserve something sweet and delicious. BOOM! Sprinkles Cupcake Time!



I love Sprinkles...their frosting is a bit thicker than most but there's no sugary grit- just smooth creamy vanilla topped off with a signature candy dot.

Inside a spongy cake with real flecks of real banana...the perfect Friday treat.
Sprinkles

Vetro by Russo's

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Last month I was invited to a wonderful night of food and wine at Vetro by Russo's.  This enormous Italian spot is located right on the edge of Howard Beach with stunning views of the water from every angle including an outdoor patio and a gorgeous rooftop bar.



It was a gray, cloudy day when we dined so although the outdoors looked wonderful the inside was a much better option.  We began with a few drinks at the cozy bar from their WineEmotion system.  Vetro won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence last year and their passion for wine is defined by General Manager and Sommelier PJ Connolly.

He took us down to their wine cellar, something Vetro is very proud to have again. The original was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy and the entire restaurant actually had to close for months due to severe damage. 

After the tour we entered the main dining room for dinner.  PJ began the meal with a trio of wines including one of his very own the Connolly Hill, Daou Vineyard 2011 Reserva; a gorgeous …

Big Apple BBQ 2014

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It was a gorgeous day for the 12th annual Big Apple BBQ held in Madison Square Park this weekend. We've been lucky enough to attend 10 of these festivals and made sure to get there early for some of our favorites.  Pappy's Smokehouse was number one on Mr. T's list this year.




These guys are out of St. Louis and specialize in Memphis Style ribs, dry rubbed and smoked over apple and cherry wood.  They're sticky and sweet...perfect with their maple glazed baked beans.

I had two favorites this year...one being the Whole Hog from Ed Mitchell.  This mammoth sandwich is tender and rich with crunchy pieces of crackling sprinkled throughout.  No sauce is needed on this it's perfection just as it is.


My other favorite is Big Bob Gibson.  His pulled pork is smoky and sweet with a tangy mustard coleslaw on the side that's a great complement to the meat.

It was nice to see a few new guys this year from NYC like Delaney Barbeque who dolled out a Brisket Sausage sandwich and Homet…

Copenhagen- Brasserie Degas

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Monday was our last day in Copenhagen. We packed up our suitcases, checked out of the hotel and walked over to one last place for lunch- Brasserie Degas.  This cute little French cafe had been on my list since day one, more for it's dessert than anything but I was excited to check out their savory dishes as well.  The small  menu had all the classics...Steak Frites, Chevre Chuad and Croque Monsiuer.


The Croque was amazing...thin slices of ham and Gruyere sandwiched between two big fluffy slices of bread encrusted with melted cheddar cheese.  The outside had a nice golden char from the broiler and the inside was the perfect balance of cheese and meat.  


The Cesar Salad came with big slices of chicken that were so tender I had to take a moment just to marvel at the texture.


The only thing I could have done without were the big slices of bacon on top.  I've never understood why the Europeans love slabs of oily bacon on their salads. Finally time for the main attraction- dessert!  Fi…