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Showing posts from February, 2015

New Brew Friday- NYC in the House

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Today marks the end of NYC Beer Week but really the fun has just begun.  That's because all those wonderful breweries have started to bottle/can their beers.  So it's entirely possible to crack open an amazing NYC beer in the comfort of your own living room.  Here's a few I'm especially excited about.



The Finback Barrel Aged BQE is a big espresso imperial stout brewed with chocolate from Mast Brothers in Brooklyn and coffee from Native Coffee Roasters in Queens.  It's a pure NYC original and the thick bourbon flavor is perfect for this cold winter weather.  The two cans on either side are from Other Half Brewing, a session pale ale Super Fun on the left and the Double IPA Green Diamonds on the right.  These will be a permanent addition to my picnic supplies once spring finally arrives.  Cheers!

Other Half Brewing
195 Centre Street
Brooklyn, New York

Finback Brewery
78-01 77th Avenue
Queens, New York


Blue Smoke

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BBQ and beer just naturally go together so it only makes sense that Danny Meyer's Blue Smoke has a great draft list.


The most recent visit Bells Hopslam was on tap; a tropical,piney Double IPA with a long bitter finish sweetened slightly with honey.  This is a big, bold beer that stands up well to saucy bar food like the Blue Smoke Chipotle Chicken Wings.


These are big, hefty wings; more smokey than spicy with thick, creamy blue cheese dressing on the side.  It's a match made in heaven.

Blue Smoke
116 East 27th Street between Park & Lex
New York, NY 10016

Brunch at The Blind Tiger

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Let's keep celebrating NYC Beer Week with a little bit of brunch and beer....two things always in fashion at The Blind Tiger.  Most people don't realize this but early Sunday afternoon is one of the best times to visit the Tiger. The epically large crowds have yet to arrive, sunlight streams in on the tables up front and it's the only time you can get an order of Chef Tommy's special Beer Battered Pancakes


He switches them up a bit each week with ingredients like citrus and cinnamon but you can always expect three extra fluffy pancakes with a side of sweet Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup.


The Spanish Breakfast is also a menu staple; eggs, chorizo and manchego with a spicy saffron aioli served omelet style or on Ciabatta.  It's delicious on it's own but we always like to add a little extra meat because it's just not brunch without bacon.


And of course order a beer!  With over 30 draft beers on constant rotation there's always something new and exciting to t…

It's NYC Beer Week!

The annual celebration of all things sudsy in the city began on Friday, but don't worry if you missed the weekend kickoff.  There's still a ton of great events to check out.  Here's my picks for the week ahead:

Beer Sessions Radio Presents Rare Beer Week Dinner- Guest Chef Matthew Garelick will be creating a five course dinner paired with "wild" beers at Jimmy's No. 43.  Courses include Pastrami Tuna with pickled plum, pumpernickel, and pomegranate mustard paired with The Bruery Oude Tart and Smoked Short Ribs with cellar vegetables, prune and dosa paired with De Dochtar Embrasse. Other Half Brewing Takes the Jeffrey- One of the most exciting new breweries to come out of NYC this year takes over the taps at The Jeffrey.  If your a fan of IPA's you won't be disappointed in their beers, specifically the 1st Anniversary IPA and All Green Everything. The Bruery at Fool's Gold- Here's your chance to try out a multitude of Bruery beers before committ…

New Brew Friday- NYC Beer Week Kickoff

NYC Beer Week kicks off tonight with Opening Tap 2015!   Over 40 bars and restaurants citywide will be showcasing one rare/unique beer to be tapped at 7:00 PM.  So it's entirely possible you can stay warm and avoid the MTA's Winter Weather plan at your local bar!  Here's a few worth checking out:

Alewife- BFM Bon Chien 2014Barcade Chelsea- Westbrook 4th Anniversary Chocolate Almond Imperial StoutDBGB- Firestone Walker Stickee MonkeeThe Jeffrey- Cantillon Fou Foune (9:00 PM tapping)Kiabacca- Sixpoint Lock N LoadDouble Windsor- Firestone Walker ParabolaPony Bar UES- Bronx Tequila Barrel Aged Pale AleSpuyten Duyvel- Cantillon Gueuze Bio 2014Beer Culture- Transmittor Cask Conditioned Saison dry hopped/ Ottos SupremeThe Gate- Hair of the Dog Adam 2011NYC Craft Beer Week

Massachusetts- The Farm Table

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Saturday morning we packed up and slowly made our way towards home, putting in a couple hours on the road before stopping off for lunch in Massachusetts at The Farm Table; just about the halfway point between Vermont and NYC .

The Farm Table wasn't just any old pit stop on the road, it was absolutely beautiful with fireplaces in each corner, an open hearth oven behind the bar and New England landscapes adorning the walls.  It felt so cozy and comfortable; somewhere to catch up with old friends or have a relaxing meal with family.

The lunch menu was divided into a series of salads, sandwiches and pizzas with a handful of entrees for larger appetites. The Cheddar Corn Bread was an excellent place to begin, served warm and crumbly with whipped honey butter.

The brick oven pizzas were a good option also; large enough for two people to share and plenty of variety.  The Clam and Bacon pizza came with fresh cherry stone clams, garlic cream, pickled red onion and fresh parsley.

My Cesar Salad…

Vermont- Hen of The Wood

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Located just on the edge of Waterbury, Hen of the Wood feels like some sort of magical oasis tucked away from the crazy world outside.  Patrons enter in the front door to a series of fresh flowers only to descend down the stairs into a gorgeous dining room with rustic stone walls, chandeliers composed of long branches and a beautiful waterfall out back.  It was so cozy and inviting I just wanted to hole up in a corner and stay all night.



The lighting was so dim the pictures didn't come out well but I'll try to give some highlights.  Parker House Rolls with radish butter and a plate of Vermont cheese was the perfect starter with the Jasper Hill 'Moses Sleeper' being the favorite of the night; followed by crispy Squash Fritters drizzled with maple syrup and an incredible Beef Tartare.

There was nothing super fancy going on here, just perfectly seasoned chopped beef, farm fresh egg and a yukon chip on top; simple, well balanced, and delicious.  For entrees the table split d…

Vermont- The Skinny Pancake

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Day two in Vermont we woke up early and took a ride over to Montpelier for breakfast at The Skinny Pancake; a restaurant specializing in all different kinds of crepe creations. Our last visit we stopped in on Saturday morning and couldn't even get in the door.  This time we had the entire place to ourselves...a perk of weekday travel.



It wouldn't be vacation without a morning mimosa made here with cider from Citizen Cider in Burlington.  I was worried it would be too sweet but the cider was surprising dry and crisp just perfect for the chilly day. 



My family never ate savory crepes growing up.  It was plain sweet crepes with powdered sugar and syrup or nothing at all.   I still don't understand the appeal of hot eggs inside a sweet crepe, it just seems gross to me.  Luckily the Skinny Pancake had The Noah's Ark- two eggs with Cabot cheddar cheese, two slices of thick, salty bacon and a side of frumple cakes (sweet twisted crepes with cinnamon and sugar).

It was perfect, I…

Vermont- Parker Pie

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Our first day in Vermont started with a trip to Hill Farmstead and lunch at Parker Pie. We hadn't eaten anything since leaving NYC so after six hours in the car and two in line at the brewery, I was more than ready to power down some serious food like the famous Green Mountain Special.



Bubbly, crisp dough topped with cheddar cheese, baby spinach, red onion, bacon, apple and fresh garlic all drizzled with sweet maple syrup.  It's a big mishmash of everything wonderful about Vermont in one amazing pie.



Being so close to the Canadian border it only made sense that Poutine was on the menu...

...and being so close to Hill Farmstead of course the beer list was incredible.  We split a Cantillon Gueuze and then slowly worked our way through the draft list.  I'm pretty sure we could have stayed all evening but the snow started to fall again so we hit the road.

Onto Waterbury for the next few days and finally a dinner reservation at Hen of the Wood!
Parker Pie 161 County Road West Glover, …

Momofuku Milk Bar Pop-Up

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Things just haven't been the same in my neighborhood since Shake Shack closed for renovations earlier this year.  The park has seemed so empty and desolate.  Well all of that changes now with a Momofuku Milk Bar pop up!



The cute little pink kiosk has everything I could possibly want...compost cookies, Crack pie, cake truffles (currently in one of my favorite flavors Chocolate Malt Cake)...



...along with two brand new additions a Hot Apple Cider and Cereal Milk Hot Chocolate.



I'm a total sucker for advertising so the Hot Chocolate drew me in immediately of course:)  

The aroma is straight white chocolate, no denying that, but the taste is just like finishing a big bowl of Fruit Loops and microwaving the leftover milk.  It's strange- I know for a fact they use only toasted cornflakes and brown sugar to create this drink but somehow that fruity flavor stood out to me.  Perhaps all of those years of eating bowl after bowl of Fruit Loops has tricked my brain into tasting those frui…

New Brew Friday- Hill Farmstead Society & Solitude #5

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Ahhh Vermont...There's something so wonderful about that state.  The rolling green hills in the summer, the crisp snowy mountains in the winter and the three things I consume the most bacon, blue cheese and beer.  I'll get to all the bacon and blue cheese next week (I love you Bayley Hazen Blue) but it's Friday so let's talk beer; Hill Farmstead's Society & Solitude #5.


This Imperial IPA pours a hazy gold color with a fluffy white cap that slowly laces the glass. The big hoppy aroma of grapefruit dominates the nose with lighter citrus notes and maybe a bit of pine.  The flavor...good lord the flavor is AMAZING!  Massive grapefruit, kiwi and melon; tons of tropical fruit flavors without any bitterness.  This is a great example of New Zealand hops at their finest.  Society & Solitude clocks in at heavy 8.1% but the gorgeous body of the beer and dry crisp finish make this so drinkable.  It just may be my favorite DIPA of all time- Cheers to Friday!

Hill Farmstea…

It's Restaurant Week...Again

Restaurant week can be a crazy time of year. Some people love going around and finding great three course deals; other people hate it and think it’s a waste of time.   I have had both great and not so great RW experiences so I thought I would bring out the old tip sheet for getting the most out of this event. Unfortunately this year my favorite place Cafe Boulud isn't participating so I instead I'm hoping to grab lunch at these three newcomers:

Little Park- this is the perfect excuse to check out Andrew Carmellini's hot new restaurant at a much lower price point.

Park Avenue Winter- this place always churned out amazing RW meals with a ton of choices.  Now it's back in a brand new location on Park Avenue South and doing better than ever.

All'onda- the entree choices include Smoked Uni Bucatini and Porchetta Ramen.  Is there really anything else you need to know- BOOK NOW!


Restaurant Week Tip Sheet
1. Research the menus BEFORE booking. Just because you’ve always wanted t…

Lunch at Tuscan Hills

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Queens Boulevard is the last place I would expect to find such a homey little restaurant like Tuscan Hills.  Located just one block from the Union Turnpike train station this is a cozy oasis from the taco and bagel joints that crowd the street corners.  Go at lunch for the $10.95 special which includes soup or salad and any pasta, panini or pizza as an entree.



Skip the measly Cesar Salad of yellow greens in favor of the Stracciatella loaded with spinach and Parmesan cheese in a light egg drop broth. 

The pizza is a decent entree for big appetites.  It's large enough to feed two but the flavor can be a bit bland.  A much better choice is one of their delicious pastas like the Rigatoni Alla Norma tossed with eggplant, basil and mozzarella or the hearty Penne Alla Vodka made with tomato sauce, a touch of cream and salty pancetta.



It's cheap and easy with quick service assuring a swift return to the office in the afternoon. 
Tuscan Hills 115-20 Queens Blvd. at 75th Avenue Forest Hills, …

Parm

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When it's this cold and nasty outside I find my inner adventurer start to wane.  I no longer look forward to trekking around the city in search of cheap dumpling spots, dessert shops or fancy new wine bars.  I find myself craving only the things I know and love; the places I can always depend on no matter what the occasion like Parm.  There's usually an order of Baked Clams to begin doused in melted butter and breadcrumbs, followed by the standard Chicken Parm sandwich or classic Saratoga Club.


But each and every visitmustinclude the Mozzarella Sticks.  These fat logs of fresh cheese actually taste like fresh mozzarella instead of that stringy crumbly mess you find at most places.  The breading stays firmly intact with a dusting of chopped parsley on top and a bowl of tangy sauce for dipping.

Unfortunately these are so incredible they will you ruin you for any other mozzarella stick in the future.  So unless your completely willing to alter your lifestyle in the favor of fried c…

The Magical Momofuku Milk Bar

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I'm always amazed by Christina Tosi's desserts at Momofuku Milk Bar.  Take for instance the classic birthday cake.  For many of us this cake evokes the vision of a small round cake with birthday candles, sprinkles and funfetti frosting.  Tosi takes this classic memory and amps it up Momofuku style.


Big balls of rainbow cake crumbles stud the creamy vanilla frosting on top...

...then layer upon layer of fluffy rainbow cake and rich vanilla icing sit below.  I love how she leaves the sides untouched so each layer can be drooled over from every angle.  If cakes not your thing Tosi also does pie like the decadent Candy Bar Pie with pretzel and fudge, the sticky Caramel Apple or the ridiculous Crack Pie dusted with powdered sugar (just like a classic Chess pie from the South).

If you can't decide just order the Franken Pie which includes all three.  No matter what your dessert dreams may be chances are Tosi has it.

Momofuku Milk Bar
Multiple Locations in NYC

Monday with Mike

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Monday was such an awesome day.  I got a text from my brother Mike saying he was stuck at LaGuardia Airport. Since I already had the day off from work I suggested we meet up for lunch so he cabbed it into the city and headed to The Nomad for their new $29 two course lunch menu. 



Meals at The Nomad always begin with a beautiful fresh baked loaf of bread that fills the room with the sweet aroma of rosemary, dill and yeast.



This bread has the perfect texture, crispy on top but chewy in the middle with sliced potatoes and rye seeds scattering the outside.  It would be have been easy to demolish this entire thing and ask for more but somehow we showed some restraint until the appetizers arrived.



The same Carrot Tartare from the Nomad Bar makes an appearance on the menu here; plated simply with winter greens and rye chips.  This is easily one of my favorite dishes in the city right now and my brother agreed.  There's just something about that nutty, spicy flavor that's so incredibly sa…

La Churreria

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I absolutely loooove a good churro. I still remember my very first one at a San Diego Padres game when I was about 10 years old.  I wanted something sweet but it was way too warm for a sticky bag of cotton candy and those mini helmets filled with ice cream were an absolute disaster for a klutzy kid like me.  The churro was so different...crunchy on the outside but soft inside, dusted with cinnamon sugar and so big it took me almost 3 innings to get through the whole thing (seriously it was almost as tall as I was). 

I love churros so much we even served them at our wedding in lieu of a wedding cake. So when Mr. T and I stumbled upon La Churreria in SOHO we had no choice but to pop in for bite.



The churros here are much smaller than the one I had years ago with curled ends and lightly dusted with sugar.  They arrived piping hot with a fantastic crunchy exterior perfect for spooning up the ultra rich hot chocolate.



I'm not sure if any churro will ever be as good as the one I had at Jac…