Friday, October 31, 2014

New Brew Friday- Halloween Edition

It's Halloween!!!!  And the perfect way to celebrate in NYC is parade watching, lots of chocolate treats and a spooky beverage.  



My choice this year is the Trickster from Midnight Sun Brewing Co. out in Alaska.  It's a pumpkin ale with a strong fruity aroma almost like a tart candy.  The taste however is subtle with ginger and clove spice, earthy pumpkin and lots of Belgian yeast that makes this beer more like a funky saison than a standard fruit beer.  It may not be what traditional pumpkin beer lovers would like but I certainly enjoyed it.  Happy Halloween!

Midnight Sun Brewing


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Star Chef's Congress Day II


Day two of the Congress was all about bread with the EAT@ICC Sandwich Showcase taking over the main floor.  I love a good sandwich but I truly wasn't expecting to be blown away by anything the way I was by this dish from Alvain Cailan of Eggslut in Los Angeles.


This was called The Slut: a coddled egg on top of smooth potato puree poached in a glass jar with toasted crostini.  This. Was. AMAZING.   It was silky and rich with a salty umami flavor that had my eyes rolling back into my head.  This was the best egg I have ever had in my entire life and I will be flying to Los Angeles just to get another one.  Onto some more sandwiches...


Amy Stonionis came from Murray's Cheese with the classic Murray Melt.


Stuart Tracy of Butcher and Bee in Charleston created a Braised Ham sandwich with sorghum, creole mustard and pimento cheese...


...while Dan Sauer from 7afoods out in Martha's Vineyard brought his Liz Lemon sandwich made with pastrami, turkey, swiss cheese, coleslaw, russian dressing and potato chips on rye. 


I took a break from all the bread over at the Oyster Shucking station...


...but couldn't resist two plates of Chicken-fried Rabbit with Kenny's Cheddar and Broccoli Veloute from Patrick Roney of The Oak Room out in Louisville.


I had no room for dessert but once I saw the amazing pastries brought by Jennifer Lee of The Lafayette I had to try at least one...


...vanilla cake, white chocolate mousse and cherry...it was the perfect ending to the day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Star Chef's Congress Day I

It was another fantastic display of the very best in the culinary world at Star Chef's International Congress. This years event was held at the new Brooklyn Expo Center out in Greenpoint and every day was jam packed with incredible cooking displays, wine tastings and some of the best food from all over then world.  Day One was all about hearty fare with the EAT@ICC Southern Showcase.



Kevin Sbraga of Fat Ham in Philadelphia was churning out luscious Chicken Liver Mousse with roasted corn and pickled beets on toast. 


Brain Dunsmoor took time off from his new project Hatchet Hall in L.A. to whip up some Nantucket Bay Scallops with grits, bacon, mushroom and sherry.


Jason Alley from Comfort out in Richmond served up his famous crispy Ham-cured pork Ribs with pickled vegetable slaw and Alabama white sauce.


Robert Phalen of the One Eared Stag in Atlanta devised a Catfish sausage with bitter greens, pickled okra, cured tomato and stone cut grits...


...and NYC's own Ron Paprocki of Gotham Bar and Grill was on hand with dessert, a Wild Bolivian Chocolate Mousse with chocolate yuzu cream and chocolate daquoise.

Dan Barber took the main stage to discuss "The Future of Flavor" and George Mendez followed up with a discussion of "Cooking with Culture and Heritage".  It was an incredible day of food and just the start of the Congress...still two more great days to go.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The New Luke's Lobster

Midtown got another great lunch option this Fall with the addition of Luke's Lobster.  Located in between 43rd and 44th street, this location has a long spacious interior complete with picnic style seating and a big patio in back perfect for catching a little afternoon sun.



Obviously the thing to get here is seafood be it shrimp, crab or lobster. 


I was planning to have a big dinner later that night so I just wanted something small.  Lucky for me Luke's lets you order their rolls in both full and half portions which is perfect if you just want a little nosh.


Chilled lobster meat held together by just a touch of mayo, lemon butter and spices all inside a buttery toasted roll.  It's a little taste of Maine smack dab in the city.

Luke's Lobster
207 East 43rd Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenue
New York, NY

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lunch at Pepe Giallo


Nestled just blocks from the Highline on 10th Avenue sits Pepe Giallo...a small, rustic place with a kitschy garden in the back and a small open kitchen in the front.  The menu offers an array of Italian staples like Penne a la Vodka, Spaghetti with Meatballs and Vegetable Linguine.


I ordered from the lunch specials which came with choice of soup or salad and sandwich.  The salad was simple greens dressed with a little olive oil and pepper followed by a crisp Mozzarella and Prosciutto Panini.


For the low price of $9 this was a fantastic lunch deal.  The sandwich was quite perfect...loaded with lots of fresh sliced prosciutto, creamy mozzarella cheese, chopped arugula and tomato.  It was homey and rustic just like the restaurant itself. 

Pepe Giallo
253 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10001

  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cake Truffles at Momofuku

I love the cake truffles from Momofuku Milk Bar.  The Birthday Cake is a standard but the other two flavors constantly change like the classic Banana Cake truffle I was absolutely obsessed with, the Beer & Pretzel truffle that was way to short lived (seriously) and now the Chocolate Chip Cake truffle.




Rich vanilla cake stuffed with chocolate chips, passion fruit puree and topped with yellow cake crumbs.


I don't usually love fruit with chocolate but in this case it really works.  I was already eating a second one before I realized I had gone back into the bag!  This flavor's only around for a few more weeks.  November 1st the ingredients change again so get it while you can.

Momofuku Milk Bar

251 East 13th Street @ 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spains Great Match

It was all about Wine and Food design at Spain's Great Match last week.



Located inside the Frank Gehry building on the west side it really couldn't be a more perfect location.



There were some great eateries in attendance, my favorite of which was My Moon restaurant from Brooklyn.  They showcased an array of tapas like juicy Watermelon Gazpacho with fresh goat cheese, Iberico ham and basil oil alongside Fried Plantains and with anchovy and bell pepper.


The Txoriburger, a spicy chorizo and beef slider loaded with blue cheese and crispy yucca....


...and a creamy Duck Croquette with membrillo marmalade and orange aioli.


But the main event here was the wine of which there was plenty to enjoy like the Gastiago a big, silky Garnacha with a dark cherry finish...


......the spicy elegant Lealtanza made from 100% Tempranillo then aged in French Oak...


...and finally an Albarino I actually enjoyed!  I swear I didn't put the sunglasses there :)


It was a fantastic event...can I book my trip to Barcelona now or what??


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lunch at Luger

Peter Lugers is known best for their mammoth Porterhouse Steaks but their Burger also shares the rave reviews.  It's available only at lunch time, so when Mr. T and I had a rare afternoon free we hopped on the train over to Williamsburg.  



Luger's is almost exactly the same during the day as it is as night.  The same long lines of people swarm front room, the same gruff bartenders pour drinks behind the bar and the same basket of bread greets you upon arrival.  I try to ingest most of my carbs in the form of beer but I just can't pass up these long fluffy rolls sprinkled with coarse salt and rye.  It's the closest thing to a Kimmelwick Roll this city offers.



The incredible bacon also makes an appearance at lunch.  It's thick and meaty...perfect on its own but extra delicious with the Luger Steak sauce (which is actually quite terrible on steak IMO but oddly delicious on the bacon). 


ThePi├Ęce de r├ęsistance of course is the burger...made from over a 1/2 pound of dry aged beef with an incredible funk and lots of juicy innards held perfectly together with a soft buttery bun.  


For only $16 this burger is one of the best deals in the city and a great reason to return to Luger's more often.  Throw in a couple chocolate coins in the end and you even get dessert!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Back to Aquagrill

With so many new restaurants popping up in the city all the time it's not often that I find myself  at a repeat, but this week I made it back to both Gramercy Tavern and one of my old stand by's Aquagrill.  The bread here is outstanding...crusty baguette, spicy jalapeno cornbread and my absolute favorite a plump buttery slice of focaccia topped with chunks of onion.



The lunch menu is much more affordable than dinner with lots of tasty options like the Grilled Rare Yellowfin Tuna with avocado, arugula and onion.  They don't skimp on the seafood and you get to choose a side of salad, fries or half and half.  I love the half and half option. It keeps me coming back more often than I choose to admit.



Plus the bar always has a ton of action going on from the oyster shucking in the corner to the bubbly SOHO shoppers planning out their next plan of attack.  It's great to be back at an old stand by again.

Aquagrill

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Lunch Deal at Gramercy Tavern

Lunch at Gramercy Tavern is a relaxing affair.  There's rarely a wait for a table, the sunlight streams in through the big windows up front and it's the only time to experience the soup and sandwich special.




The combination changes almost every day...last visit it was a thick, creamy Sweet Potato soup studded with red peppers, onions and black beans paired with a Roast Pork Cuban.



This sandwich has everything...ham, slow roasted pork, swiss cheese, pickles and a pepper aioli all stuffed between slices of grilled Ciabatta.  It's smoky and rich...perfect with the sweetness of the soup and impossible to stop eating until the very last bite.  

Gramercy Tavern

Monday, October 6, 2014

Truffles at Fika

Fika is probably my favorite espresso place in the city.  This little shop translates to "coffee break" in Swedish and they make the perfect macchiato and churn out some of the best chocolates in the city.


My go-to is the Macadamia but recently I've been switching it up with these other three...a silky white chocolate champagne truffle, creamy Bailey's and a crunchy Hazelnut Gianduja.


You really can't go wrong with anything they make be it coffee, chocolate or one of their delicious pastries.  So do as the Swedes do and take a little fika once in a while.

Fika

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Westville Hudson

There are so many fabulous reasons to love Westville and it begins with the food.  They have a dizzying array of market sides that are some of the best crafted veggies in the city. They always have an egg scramble on the menu for those of us who like breakfast morning, noon and night :) Plus the service is usually fast, friendly and affordable.



I stopped by their newest location in Tribeca for an evening scramble of spinach, fresh herbs and smoked gouda.  The dish was excellent as always but I was shocked to see how large and bustling this location was....easily six times the original and with a full bar!  They had a couple drink specials going on...one red wine, one white, a local draft beer and this Cucumber Gimlet.  



It was bright and refreshing...not something I would recommend with an egg scramble but a delicious discovery nonetheless!  This new Tribeca location may be my favorite one yet.

Westville

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Baked by Melissa- The Fall Collection

The seasons have officially changed and with it we have a whole new batch of cupcakes from Baked by Melissa...a fudgy Chocolate Candy Crunch, Tiramisu dusted with cinnamon and The New York Cream drizzled with chocolate and stuffed with custard.




I think this is the best new line up Melissa has ever released.  Not a huge surprise since Fall is the best season for just about everything!

Baked by Melissa