Friday, January 30, 2015

New Brew Friday- Founders CBS

It's always nice to see an old friend return...especially when that old friend is a big delicious Imperial Stout.  The good folks over at Founders decided to bring back their popular Canadian Breakfast Stout this year, a beer that's been gone since 2011.  This version is only available on draft and finding it around the city can be incredibly tough but it's so worth the energy.



CBS is brewed with a blend of coffees and imported chocolates then aged in bourbon barrels previously used for aging maple syrup.  The result is a big creamy stout with the incredible nose of maple, vanilla and chocolate and flavors of even more maple syrup, toasted marshmallow, bourbon and coffee.  It's a bit sweet, a bit boozy but incredibly drinkable and smooth even with the 10.6 ABV. I was nervous this new batch wouldn't hold up to my fond memories of CBS years ago but it completely hit the mark in every way.  Now if I could just find some more...Cheers!

Founders Brewing

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Brunch at GG's

Once again the space at 511 East 5th Street has changed hands.  What was once the incredible Seymour Burton then the amazing Goat Town has now become GG's....a neighborhood joint with a super chill brunch scene and a menu for just about anyone.  The Greens Salad is a zesty blend of baby head lettuce, nasturtium, fennel, sorrel and radish dressed in a light vinaigrette.



The burger is pan seared with melted white cheddar on top, thinly sliced pickles, onions and secret sauce. 


It sits on a soft potato bun perfect for ensuring each bite has ample bread coverage for soaking in all those pan seared juices. 


There are a variety of delicious cocktails right around the $9.00 mark like the crazy Green Mary made with kale, cucumber, tomatillo and jalapeno and a delicious False Spring made with Aperol, grapefruit and Blanc de Blanc.


We didn't get a chance to order their signature Grandma Pie at brunch but it's truly a fantastic pizza with small crunchy pepperoni's on top and a chunky sauce.   I would recommend this place for a gathering of friends, a visit from the parents or a casual date. GG's really has a little something for everyone.  

GG's NYC
511 East 5th Street between A and B
New York, NY 10009

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snopocalypse 2015 Dinner at Gramercy Tavern

I was so excited yesterday to sit at Gramercy Tavern and watch the beautiful snowflakes fall outside while I nibbled on delicious food all warm and cozy with Mr. T.  That's actually what ended up happening except for the snow part.  As soon as we walked out the door the snow stopped and I was left to stare at the cold windy street outside instead of my winter wonderland.  I was pretty disappointed being that I absolutely love snow but the food and company was wonderful nonetheless.  Danny Meyer announced all of his restaurants would have no corkage fee during the storm so we grabbed a great bottle of wine and hunkered down for a fabulous meal.



To begin a plate of delicious Roasted Island Creek topped with bacon and pineapple...


...then onto Sea Bass with cauliflower, quinoa and candied hazelnuts for me...



...and a Kuri Squash Chowder with Striped Bass, Mussels and Turnip for Mr. T.  Both were incredible.  I loved the creamy quinoa base of the sea bass and simple but perfect roasted cauliflower florets.  Big thanks to the Gramercy Tavern crew for staying open and serving up some wonderful food last night.

Gramercy Tavern
42 East 20th Street
New York, NY 10003


Monday, January 26, 2015

Buffalo- Oshun Oyster Bar

I only had time to fit in one new place when I was home for the holidays so I chose Oshun, the brand restaurant originally built in 1946 as the Waldorf Astoria luncheon counter.  The space was quite stunning with large frescos on the walls up front and a long oyster bar in back filled with fresh seafood.



The lunch menu is composed of small plates with a choice of two for $10.95 and a variety of snacks and sides like these insanely rich and buttery Parker House Rolls studded with big hunks of sea salt...


...and a bowl of marinated olives perfect for nibbling over a glass of wine.


I chose the Buffalo Clam Chowder and classic Fish and Chips as my entree.  The Chowder had three ingredients listed on the menu- bacon, cream and Franks Hot Sauce.  I'll admit this isn't something I would normally order but I found the spicy, creamy combination to be strangely satisfying...delicious even!  My parents did not agree and began concocting strange soup variations by adding different food and drink items from their plate until it finally met edible standards.  They are always such a treat to dine with :)


The Fish and Chips were incredible. The outer shell was ultra crisp with little to no grease and a huge tender piece of cod inside with a bright malt vinegar aioli.


Dessert was simple but perfect...Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookies topped with pretzel fresh from the oven.  Who could resist that?

5 East Huron Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Empellon Al Pastor

I was absolutely stunned when Alex Stupak left his incredible dessert resume behind at WD 50 and dove into the world of tacos. Now over four years later I really can't imagine this town without his heart stopping Mexican dishes like the Melted Tetilla Cheese with Lobster Tomate Frito at Empellon Cocina and Beef Tartare tacos at Empellon Taqueria.  I just had to stop by for a quick look at his newest venture Empellon Al Pastor.




The namesake taco comes on a thin corn tortilla filled with chili rubbed spit roasted pork and a solitary slice of pineapple.  It's saucy and hot; perfect for a quick bite on the run and exceptional with a crisp cold beer.  The usual suspects Tecate and Negra Modelo are on the list alongside beers from Thirsty Dog, Central Waters and Local Option.



They also have a full page of margarita's to choose from including a Spicy Cucumber and Mezcal making this the perfect destination for just about anyone.

132 Saint Marks Place
New York, NY 10009

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Carrot Tartare at The Nomad Bar

The Nomad Bar has a three Tartare's listed on their menu; the classic French Beef Tartare with horseradish and cornichons, the popular Tuna Tartare made with pine nuts, apple and mint and the lesser known Carrot Tartare, a dish created by Chef Daniel Humm years ago at Eleven Madison Park.



Humm churns the carrot into slivers then mixes in sunflower seeds, mustard oil, chives, ginger and a spicy carrot vinaigrette before topping with a perfect quail egg and a sprinkle of sea salt.   This dish is created table-side at Eleven Madison Park but here it's a much more casual affair; arriving in a simple glass jar with a big bowl of Rye Chips.



It's perfect for sharing at the bar or for snacking solo.  Just don't forget to pair it with one of the Nomad's amazing cocktail's in hand.  

The Nomad Bar

10 West 28th Street & Broadway
Nw York, NY 10001

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

More Juni Delights

My first leisurely lunch of the new year was at the wonderful Juni for the 3 course prix fix. We began with a bowl of house made Tagliatelle dotted with chunks of uni and winter truffle...  



...followed by a tender Black Cod with mint, calamari herb salad and a tiny bowl of Pommes Puree.



These were so fluffy and light I was afraid they would dissipate into the air before actually reaching my taste buds.



For dessert creamy Coffee Gelato and praline tulle covered in a zesty pear foam.


What a perfect way to start off the New Year.

12 East 31st Street
New York NY
10016

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Brew Friday- Buzzerkeley Barrel Project Sauvignon Blanc

The end of the holidays can always be a bit of a let down. The presents are done, the family visits are over and usually New Years Day is a sedentary and depressing day spent getting back to reality. Well we decided to change that years ago by starting an annual "Hangover Party". A relaxing afternoon filled with lots of fabulous food, games and a recap of the years best YouTube videos.  It also gives everyone a chance to break out some new beers they acquired over the holiday season and do a pretty spectacular bottle share.  This year one of my favorites came from a California friend the Buzzerkeley Barrel Project Sauvignon Blanc from Calicraft Brewing Company.



These guys combine wild Brettanomyces with champagne yeast strains then age the ale in Napa Sauvignon Blanc wine barrels.  The result is a bright bubbly beer filled with big flavors of guava and nectar with a crisp dry finish. I'm a big fan of the Biere de Champagne style and these guys just nailed it.  I'm really hoping to pick some up on a California trip this year- Cheers!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Gyro at Avli

One of with my absolute favorite place for Greek food is out in Bayside at the incredible Avli.  I've mentioned this place once before showcasing their incredible Tzatziki Sauce and heart stopping Greek fries but let me introduce you to the gyro.



This thing is freaking huge stuffed with gorgeous slivers of lamb, fresh lettuce, tomato and that incredible tzatziki sauce.  Even the pita bread is leagues above other pita I've had...somehow maintaining that soft fluffy exterior without falling apart or becoming to difficult to hold.  It comes with classic lemon potatoes, french fries or a traditional Greek salad.  The prices can't be beat and it's literally a 3 minute walk to the LIRR so no car is even needed! 

Avli
38-31 Bell Blvd.
Bayside, NY 11361

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

San Antonio Bakery

I don't make it to the far reaches of Astoria Boulevard much besides a quick trip to Triboro Beverage or a cab ride by on the way to the airport.  But every trip involves a quick pit stop at San Antonio Bakery, home to The "Completeo" a hot dog of epic proportions.


This Chilean Dog is topped with chucrut (sauerkraut), diced tomatoes, avocado and mayonnaise all inside a freshly baked bun.  It's crazy delicious and insanely messy.  Don't come with anyone who doesn't love you with sauce all over your face and hands...and if spice is your thing don't forget to pile on the hot sauce.



Mr. T thinks the topping to dog ratio is too much; the dog flavor getting lost among the condiments. I say order two dogs- one naked and slip it right inside the bun with the first. No reason not to enjoy this incredible creation to the full extent!

San Antonio Bakery
3620 Astoria Blvd.
Astoria, NY 11103

Monday, January 12, 2015

Brunch at Bonderants

It's no secret Mr. T hates brunch, so when we found ourselves in the UES and starving last Sunday I was pretty sure all of the possible meal options were gong to piss him off.  There were a slew of noisy sports bars on one side blasting football games and a slew of noisy "ladies out to brunch" on the other side.  Things seemed headed for disaster when I remembered Bonduarnts; a cozy bar specializing in craft beer, bourbon and southern food.   It was perfect; games were on but with no sound, they had great local beer from Peekskill and Carton and of course they had food.


We split an order of the Fried Chicken Tenders to start.  These were tender on the inside, crisp on the outside and arrived with a big fluffy biscuit and a side of honey butter. Words can't describe how much I love honey butter.  I really don't understand why every biscuit joint in the city doesn't have it on the menu.


The Breakfast Tacos were decent.  They needed a bit more bacon and some tomatoes to jazz it up a little. Next time I would order Mr. T's dish the Pork Belly Benedict; a rich, decadent sandwich made with house smoked pork belly and a creamy hollandaise sauce.  I don't have a picture since we devoured it when it arrived...the sure sign of something wondrously delicious.  Between the beer, the food and the awesome staff Bonderants really is the place to be on the UES.

Bondurants
303 East 85th Street
New York, NY 10028

Friday, January 9, 2015

Greenport- The Blue Duck Bakery Cafe

My last pit stop each day in Greenport was for something a little sweet at Blue Duck Bakery. The first time it was Chocolate Eclair that caught my eye stuffed with so much rich, creamy custard I swear it weighed at least two pounds.  


Day two is was the Blueberry Turnover.  I haven't had a great blueberry dessert since I was in Maine last year and somehow in the dead of winter this cafe churned out one with fresh, plump berries.


Day Three was a quick pop in for a Blueberry Scone breakfast; probably my least favorite of the three treats but still pretty damn delicious.


Thank goodness the trip ended there or else I would have sampled everything in the case.  It was a fabulous little getaway...one I hope to make an annual winter trip.

130 Front Street
Greenport, NY 11944

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Greenport- Brunch at Brunce & Son Cheese Emporium

Brunch Saturday morning started off on the right foot with a ridiculous BLT Bloody Mary.  There was so much bacon inside this truly could have been my entire breakfast.



Thank goodness I saved some room for the actual meal because the Early Bird Egg Sandwich was incredible. 



I don't know if it was that thick slice of fresh tomato, the sharpness of the arugula or just the rich cheddar cheese on top but this was one of the best breakfast sandwiches I've had in a long time. Not to mention Mr. T's thick fluffy stack of pancakes...this place is a must-go to in my Greenport book.

Bruce & Son Cheese Emporium
208 Main Street
Greenport, NY

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Greenport- Dinner at Noah's

We spent a long weekend in Long Island last month, celebrating the marriage of two of our close friends in Greenport.  The first night we toured the town stopping first at Greenport Brewing Company for a flight of beers, then over to The Frisky Oyster for a cocktail or two before finally settling down for dinner at Noah's.  Being that it was the height of scallop season we started with the special that day, crispy Scallop Croquettes studded with sea salt and pickled veggies...



...followed by an incredible Scallop Ceviche tossed in a bright citrus yuzu with spicy chilies.


And it just wouldn't be a trip to the North Fork without having at least a few local oysters like the big, creamy Bluepoint and rich Widow's Hole.



We rounded out the meal with the Local Seafood Bouillabaisse filled with shrimp, clams, scallops and mussels in a fragrant saffron fennel broth.


It was an incredible seafood feast perfect for kicking off the weekend festivities.

136 Front Street
Greenport, New York
11944

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lunch at The Gander

The Gander is Chef Jesse Schenker's newest venture located in the former Allison Eighteen space on 18th Street. There's an airy bar area up front with lots of cushioned booths and a formal dining room in the back with gorgeous green leather banquettes for larger groups.  The Gander offers a two course prix fix menu for lunch with multiple options including a few they are especially known for like Buffalo Sweetbreads and Brisket Tater Tots.  I probably should have tried one of those but I just can't pass up a Wedge Salad when it's on the menu.



Unfortunately this was pretty disappointing.  The thick cut bacon was chewy instead of crisp and the white anchovy dressing was so bland I almost didn't realize it was on the salad. Luckily these piping hot rolls arrived to save the day.



They were warm and buttery with the perfect sprinkle of salt on top.  I devoured one then used all of my will power to wait for my Spaghetti & Clams to arrive before inhaling the second.


Perfect strands of al dente spaghetti, Geoduck clams, guanciale and fennel all tossed in a creamy lobster bisque sauce.   I ate every last bite and used that second roll to make sure not even one drop was left behind.  


I was much to full to think of dessert but a boozy little Blondie arrived with the check providing the perfect sweet end to the meal.  

15 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a great New Years Eve! This was actually the first time in 5 years that we missed the Blind Tiger's celebration.  Instead we closed it out with a fabulous dinner at Gato and drinks at One Mile House.  It was the perfect end to a crazy year.


I was looking at my wish list from last year and I truly couldn't believe I only made it to 3 places. But then I remembered just how much amazing traveling we had done and the time we've been able to spend with our healthy, happy family and incredible group of friends and I just can't complain about 2014 one bit.  So for 2015 it's still a wish list but if I don't get to them all that's just fine too- Happy New Year!

Narcissa
Decoy
Tuome
Emily Pizza
Au Za'atar
Upland
Claudette
Cosme
Empellon Pastor
Chez Moo
Russ and Daughters Cafe
Simone
Root and Bone
Hen of the Wood (Vermont)