Showing posts from December, 2015

Best of 2015

It was another crazy and amazing year that seemed to go by way too quickly as always.  Things got off to a great start with the return of Founders CBS one of my favorite beers of all time.  I really didn't think this would ever be brewed again so I spent the first two months drinking it as much as humanly possible.  Fried Chicken Sandwiches became all the rage; Fuku, Delaney BBQ and the Brooklyn Shake Shack continue to have epic lines for these crispy creations.  The Blue Hill pop up WastED was also a huge highlight of the year.  It was amazing to see the community of chefs, farmers and retailers come together to shine light on the extreme waste of food in the industry and celebrate these "leftovers" by incorporating them into incredible new dishes.  And as a personal success it only took me two full years but I finally got a Cronut!  

Of course as time passes the culinary landscape must change and this year was extra sad. My favorite restaurant of all time Matyson in Phi…

Holiday Lunch at Gramercy Tavern

It only seems right to close out 2015 at one of my old favorites- Gramercy Tavern.  It's been quite a year for Mr. Danny Meyer; Union Square Cafe closing, Shack Shake chicken sandwiches exploding and of course the end of tipping. I have no idea what he's got planned for the coming year but knowing him it will be fantastic.  Here's a look at the current lunch tasting menu:

Lobster with celery root and horseradish foam 

Flounder with butternut squash, cauliflower and grenada peppers

Duck Agnolotti with shell beans, treviso and pecorino

Lamb Loin and Shoulder with carrots, kale and sunflower seeds.

Chocolate Custard pie with cherry fudge, chestnut and bourbon ice cream (subbed in for the Rice Pudding Quince on the tasting menu)

An array of chocolates to round out the coffees...

...and a special Coconut Cream Cake for Mr. T's father; a birthday gift from the kitchen to celebrate his birthday.  
Gramercy Tavern 42 East 20th Street between Park and Broadway New York, NY 10003

Pizza Loves Emily

One would assume that any entering a place with "pizza' in the name means the obvious order is a nice large pie. That still holds true at Emily where the thin, crackly pizza looks amazing but it's actually more well known for their incredible burger.  

Emily uses dry aged beef from DeBragga so the patty tastes more like a rich hearty steak than regular ground meat.  It's seared with clarified butter, topped with a thick layer of Grafton cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and a drizzling of the house special sauce (red pepper aioli) then sandwiched between a pretzel roll from Tom Cat Bakery.

The meat was insanely tender with deep earthy flavors from the dry aging, a bit of funk from the cheddar cheese and some heat from the sauce which reminded me of Franks Red Hot with less spice.  The extra sturdy pretzel roll held everything together surprisingly well.  That being said I used a knife a fork for the first half of the burger; definitely not something to order on a 1st d…

Brunch at Prime Meats

Making the trek out to Other Half Brewing for a beer release every month could seem like a hassle.  It's a long subway ride with weekend service delays and the beers usually sell out early afternoon so a morning trip is the only sure way.  I prefer to use it as an excuse to find an excellent brunch in the neighborhood.  Of course there's the original location of Court Street Grocers and their AMAZING breakfast sandwiches right around the corner and the sleeper favorite Dover up the street but right smack in between these two is another fabulous spot- Prime Meats.

This place is well known for its fantastic burger and Cote de Boeuf dinners, but did you know they also make an incredible Biscuits & Gravy with sunnyside up eggs and Benton's Farm bacon.

A monstrous Sausage, Egg & Cheese biscuit with the thickest slab of sausage I have ever seen...

...and a pretty insane Turkey Club piled high with thick cut bacon, bibb lettuce and fresh tomatoes.  The only challenging part …

Dinner at Virginia's

There have been a handful of critical darlings that opened this year and Virginia's is definitely on the list. This cozy Old World bistro by Per Se and Locanda Verde alums in Alphabet City is just churning out delightful dishes like appetizers of toast points layered with creamy goat cheese, honeycrisp apples and sunflower seeds...

...and beautiful Caramelized Romanesco Salad topped with smoked pine nuts, clothbound cheddar cheese and speck vinaigrette. 

You could make a meal of the small plates alone but then you would miss out on some truly fantastic large plates like the hearty Hanger Steak with Argentinian chorizo and bok choy... incredible Sweet Corn Risotto dotted with hunks of okra and plump chanterelles...

...and some of the best cooked Scallops I have ever had in my entire life; crisp and buttery on the outside and silky smooth inside.

Virginia's is a fantastic new neighbor in the ever growing restaurant/bar scene developing on Avenue C.  Now I just need to go back a…

NYC Holiday Drink Guide

Christmas is less than two weeks away so break out those ugly red sweaters and pretend it's not actually a balmy 65 degrees today and hit up some holiday bars with our updated holiday cocktail guide.

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 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 basi…

The Dish at Gramercy Tavern

So many incredible dishes at Gramercy Tavern but I always gravitate to their pasta when the weather starts to get a little colder.

Big toothsome tubes of cavatelli tossed with ricotta cheese, braised lamb, kabocha squash and crunchy almonds.  The combination of textures is incredibly satisfying and that rich braised lamb is just perfect for a chilly day.

Gramercy Tavern
42 East 20th Street
New York, NY 10010

Brunch at Bacchus

There are so many new restaurants popping up along Atlantic Avenue sometimes it's easy to forget about the wonderful old standbys in the neighborhood like Bacchus; the cozy little bistro known for it's beautiful outdoor garden, extensive wine list and wonderful French fare.

I stopped in for a quick brunch the day after Thanksgiving when the pastries were just being pulled from the oven filling the air with the sweet aromas of yeast and sugar.  

Bacchus has everything from crepes to quiches but I went straight for the Croissant Sandwich with scrambled eggs, melted cheddar cheese and thick cuts of prosciutto.  I love prosciutto and eggs together and add on that flaky, buttery croissant with just the perfect amount of chew...heaven on a plate.

Bacchus Bistro
409 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

The Last Nights of Union Square Cafe

Mr. T and I said goodbye last night to Danny Meyer's first restaurant in NYC Union Square Cafe. This neighborhood staple will be closing it's doors on December 12th and moving into the old City Crab space in 6 months.  It's wonderful the restaurant isn't closing for good but still somewhat bittersweet that the original space will be gone forever.  I have so many fond memories of drinks at the bar and nibbling on their signature nut mix with cayenne pepper and rosemary.

To close out the restaurant USC is offering a special prix fixe menu with all of their signature dishes from the past 30 years.  Reservations are required in the main dining room but bar seating is wide open and everything can be ordered there a la carte.

We began with the Chili Crab layered with Kabocha Squash, tart Finger Limes and Puffed Rice.

Gorgeous ribbons of Tagliarini tossed with Nantucket Bay Scallops and Black Trumpet Mushrooms.

And of course their fantastic Rib Eye served with a decadent Bearnai…