Monday, September 29, 2014

Juni

If food is art then Shawn Hergatt may be the Picasso of our time.  The most recent lunch with my friend Carrie was a breathtaking display of colors and textures that just seemed to dance across the plate.

Haas Avocado- Spot prawn- Cucumber Blossom




Tapioca-Local Black Bass- Iberico


Chocolate- Lovage- Oats



Everything from start to finish was exquisite.  There were multiple times throughout the meal where we would both go silent, as if our taste buds were commanding us to focus solely on the incredible flavors in each dish; like the delicate sweetness of the tapioca pearls elevating a simple fish to extraordinary levels.  For $35 this 3 course meal is an absolute steal.


Sweet Corn Beignets drizzled with honey and Green Tea Macadamia were a parting gift from the chef....just a small delicious reminder of the amazing meal. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

New Brew Friday- Kane Brewing

One of my favorite local breweries isn't even in NYC but across the Hudson River.  Kane Brewing is located on the coast of New Jersey and has been cranking out spectacular beer for three years now. Last night was their anniversary celebration at Barcade complete with 12 taps of Kane goodness.  I honestly planned to drink everything so I started with a few shorter pours.



Highlights included the double IPA Overhead which is always one of my favorites... crisp and dry with lots of pine and citrus; Vanilla A Night to End All Dawns a massive stout loaded with flavors of chocolate cream, bourbon and Madagascar vanilla beans and the Sunday Brunch, a frothy imperial porter with flavors of cinnamon, maple syrup, chocolate and coffee.  It was almost like eating a big delicious plate of Cinnamon French Toast. 

The event was crowded but not overbearing.  There may even be some great stuff left on tap today so get over to Jersey City and celebrate- Cheers!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Boqueria Soho

There's nothing more fun than sitting back with a glass of wine and nibbling on small plates while catching up with an old friend.  Luckily there are a ton of bars in NYC offering just that like Boqueria.



I hardly ever go to a tapas bar without ordering Datiles con Beicon...plump juicy dates stuffed with almonds and Veldeon cheese then wrapped in crisp bacon.  They're super rich and sweet...definitely something to share with a friend.


As is the cheese...this time we tried the Rosemary Manchego a hard, nutty cheese with the strong evergreen flavor of rosemary in the rind.  The only thing I don't share is the Berza y Zanahorias salad.  Kale and cumin roasted carrots topped with pomegranate, sunflower seeds and dollops of labne yogurt drizzled with a citrus dressing.





The flavor reminds me a bit of our carrots at Manfreds and Vin with that sweet, nutty flavor I love so much.  I usually ask to go light on the pomegranate seeds.  I really enjoy them in the mix but sometimes they put so many on it overpowers the other components.

Overall Boqueria is just a solid place to kick back and relax over some tasty tapas.  I wouldn't mind spending most of my afternoons doing just this.

171 Spring Street between Thompson & West Broadway
NYC 10012

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Treats

I love it when something new pops up in Eataly's pastry case. This month it's the decadent Di Vino... 


...toasted white chocolate mousse stuffed with wine and raspberry gelee on top a rice sponge cake covered in toasted chocolate.


Who doesn't like a little wine with dessert :)

Eataly

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lunch at Bouley

I always say my favorite thing about living in New York City is the ability to escape without ever really leaving at all.  Case in point...Bouley.  One step inside and it's like you've been transported to a gorgeous countryside restaurant in the south of France.  A wall of fresh apples greet you at the door and the arched ceilings provide a cozy, sophisticated feel to the room just perfect for a long romantic meal.  



Bouley offers a 5 course tasting menu at lunch for just $55...still one the the best deals in the city.  To begin an amuse bouche of Strawberry Soup with tomato gelee and cucumber...


...and a decadent crisp topped with whipped potato and black truffle.


I chose the Big Eye Tuna as my appetizer nestled inside a green apple and bergamot foam with Osetra Caviar...


...and Mr. T ordered a thick Sweet Corn soup with organic farm egg.


Second course was an easy decision for us both.  The Porcini Flan with Golden Princess crab and black truffle dashi is a must order.  Unleashing the deep, earthy aroma of truffle when lifting the pot's lid is something I look forward to on each visit.


It's always a hard decision when the Chariot of Bread arrives...


I opted for Sourdough studded with black olives and nibbled on Mr. T's fluffy brioche and slice of garlic.


Organic Colorado Lamb with sheep's milk gnocchi and summer truffles...


...and Long Island Duck with wild rice, summer wheat berries and fig.


The fourth course is a palate cleanser...Chilled Coconut Soup with pineapple granite, 10 exotic fruit sorbet, passion fruit and coconut ice cream.


And finally dessert...Hot Valrhona Chocolate Souffle with white coffee cloud, coffee ice cream and chocolate mousse.


Just when I thought I couldn't possibly eat any more a tier of petit fours arrived...who am I to say no to extra dessert :)


A loaf of fresh Lemon Pound Cake was given upon our departure to serve as a reminder of the wonderful meal today.  This was the perfect birthday lunch...being a year older isn't that bad after all.

163 Duane Street
New York, NY 10013

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lunch at Astoria Bier and Cheese

Astoria Bier and Cheese is always a pit stop I make in Queens.  They have an excellent selection of beer, friendly staff and a surprisingly awesome list of sandwiches like The Italiano.



Thin ribbons of Prosciutto di Parma, fresh Mozzarella and marinated Piquello Pepeers piled high on a crusty baguette...it's salty and sour...perfect for pairing with a crisp local IPA like the Other Half Hop Showers.


The best part is enjoying it on the patio out back with a craft beer in hand and sun shining bright.  One of the last places to catch some summer rays.

Astoria Bier and Cheese
34-14 Broadway
Astoria, NY 11106

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Aldo Sohm Wine Bar

Last week Eric Ripert and Le Bernardin's master of wine, Aldo Sohm opened up a wine bar right around the corner from the restaurant.



The menu is small...a selection of charcuteries, cheese and small plates like Grilled Foie Gras Lollipops, Spicy Chicharones and Truffle Pasta.  There's also a few "by the piece" options like a cheesy Romaine Salad Spear Gratinee ($4.25/piece)


...and a juicy Short Rib Skewer with fried shallot and red wine reduction ($12/skewer).


The food is simple and rustic... the perfect accompaniment to the incredible wine list Aldo has put together for the bar.


Wines by the glass begin at $11 and while the bottle list has some "knock your socks off" bottles there is also a number of affordable options proving that this is a wine bar truly meant for everyone.  

151 West 51st Street between Broadway & 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Park Pizza

New Park Pizza is a brick oven pizza parlor that's been operating out in Howard Beach for over 55 years.



Right around noon each day a steady line of people stream in and out...some holding big boxes filled with whole pies but most just grabbing what New Park Pizza is known most for...the classic slice.




It's thin and crisp...perfecting for folding in half with a slightly droopy middle.  There's a good amount of cheese (I like my pizza cheesy) and a really delicious sauce on top that's sweet and maybe a tad salty...but in a great lip smacking salty way.




The bottom could be a bit more charred (extra crispy order for next visit) but this is still one of the best slices I've ever had in New York. I love my fancy pizzerias like DiFara's and Paulie Gees but when your looking for a delicious everyday slice this is the place to go.


New Park Pizza

156-71 Cross Bay Boulevard
Howard Beach, 11414

Monday, September 15, 2014

Taste Talks- All Star BBQ

Williamsburg was the epicenter of food this weekend with Taste Talks taking over the waterfront.  There was the Chicken and Waffles brunch, the Future Food Expo, food panels galore and an incredible All Star BBQ Sunday chock full of glorious meat like this Pig Head Salad with green mango, cabbage, cilantro, mint, mala vinaigrette and fish powder.



This was a David Santos/Jonathan Wu collaboration (Louro & Fung Tu) and it was flawless. The rich flavor of the pig was balanced perfectly by the sweet slivers of mango.



Lamb Tartare from Danny Bowien was chopped super fine with spicy sriracha and jalapeno and on a crisp, salty tortilla shell.



But the best of the bunch had no meat at all!  The veggie burger from Brooks Headly at Del Posto was so amazing it sold out just 30 minutes into the 2nd session.  I really hope she gets a place to grill these up full time.  Here's a look at some of the rest...


Barbecue Duck with sorghum, ginger and five spice flat bread from Wlima Jean.


Texas Hot Gut Sausage from Daniel Delaney at BrisketTown.


Boar Collar Meat grilled over charcoal and served with chilled mustard greens from Andy Ricker at Pok Pok.  I had one bite of this and the right side of my tongue went numb it was so spicy.


Mediterranean Tacos with egg, potatoes, capers and anchovies...


...and Charred Lamb Tongue with deep fried anchovy from Allswell & Black Axe Mangal (London).


My finale was Porchetta Kra Prow Tigelle from Action Bronson...


...and grilled Babka with cinamon swirl and cheesecake icing from Russ & Daughters.  It was a great weekend of food...cheers to Danny Bowien for putting it all together!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekend Events!

September is always chock full of fantastic food events and this weekend has two that are going to be fantastic!

Taste of Gramercy  This is the 2nd year for Taste of Gramercy hosted by the GNA and you can expect food tastings from restaurants like Gramercy Tavern, Casa Mona, Barbounia and Bedford Cheese.  The event takes place on the gorgeous street of Irving Place and tickets can be purchased directly from their website.

Taste Of Gramercy

Danny Bowien curates this amazing event in Brooklyn which includes a whole weekend filled with food.  You can start your Saturday with a Chicken and Waffles brunch and then head over to the Future Foods Expo or check one of the fantastic panels going on that day.  My pick would be the Beer Tasting conversation with Other Half's Sam Richardson.  Round out the weekend with an All Star Chef BBQ on East River Park with over 20 chefs grilling up some serious 'cue.

Taste Talks

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dominique Ansel

I really can't walk through the West Village without stopping into Dominique Ansel for one of his incredible creations.  This time I was having a serious craving for chocolate...not just a little square of chocolate but a rich, decadent kind of chocolate craving....enter the Chocolate Pecan cookie.


This cookie was flourless so it had that super chewy texture inside with crisp edges and a thick fudgy middle that was everything rich and decadent I was hoping for.


It's honestly more like a brownie than a cookie but I'm not one to argue with Dominique Ansel...he's keeping my chocolate quota completely filled.

Dominique Ansel
189 Spring Street between Thompson & Sullivan
New York, NY 10012

Monday, September 8, 2014

Brunch at Fonda- Chelsea

Fonda is one of my absolute favorite places in the city for a big delicious Mexican brunch. My go-to dish is the Huevos Divorciados...a big saucy dish of eggs, salsa, ranchero and cheese all piled on top a crispy corn tortilla.



A side of rice and beans always accompanies the dish...the only true decision I ever have to make it what to drink.


Last time I tried out a fruity watermelon margarita...perfect for the humid weather and with just the right amount of salt.


The trek down to Avenue B was the only reason I didn't go to Fonda more often but with a brand new location right in Chelsea I can get my Mexican brunch fix every weekend!

Fonda Restaurant
189 9th Avenue & 21st Street
NYC, NY 10011

Friday, September 5, 2014

New Brew Friday- Third Rail Bodega

Third Rail Brewing launched last week across the city and we had the opportunity to try out their Bodega an American Pale Ale brewed with Citra and Centennial hops.




These guys really nailed it for their first beer...gorgeous orange color with a frothy head, tons of citrus and a little bit of pine.  This was incredibly drinkable and refreshing.  They have a couple beers around town; a dry hopped version of this Pale Ale and a Farmhouse Ale that's crisp and funky.  If your gonna try a new beer this Friday I highly recommend one from these guys.  Cheers!

Third Rail Beer

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Scarpetta

Last weekend we celebrated my Father's 75th birthday with dinner at Scapetta.  Italian restaurants have always been a favorite of my his and this meal started out strong with an amazing basket of bread.


Thick slices of stromboli filled with smoked mozzarella were the star of the show...one paired with creamy spinach and the other spicy salami.


Foccacia was used for the accouterments...creamy marscapone butter, citrus infused olive oil and a delicious eggplant caponata.  The bread was honestly so wonderful we devoured one basket and ordered a second.


Braised Octopus with ceci beans, olives and pancetta was incredible. I loved the red wine flavor and was pleasantly surprised by the crisp exterior of the meat.


Creamy Polenta with fricassee of truffled mushrooms was an absolute show stopper.  It was so rich and earthy...my spoon kept finding its way into that little bowl for just one more bite.


Somehow Scott Conant found a way to take an incredibly boring dish like spaghetti and turn it into something wonderful.  the pasta was so light and natural...the creamy sweetness of the tomato and basil in perfect balance with the noodles.


My Duck and Foie Gras Raviloi was another showstopper.  The tiny pillows of pasta were just thin enough to encase the duck and foie mixture without being overly rich.  I was pretty much in food heaven at this point and dessert was still on the way!


Warm Banana Bread with butterscotch pudding, toasted walnuts & chocolate stout gelato...


...and Amedei Chocolate Cake with salted caramel gelato and chocolate butterscotch.

I was practical swooning at the table after dessert (the wine probably helped too :).  Scarpetta was an incredible meal from start to finish; fabulous wine, wonderful service and Italian food that was simply perfect.