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Showing posts from April, 2015

The Dish- Pastrami Reuban at Katz's Delicatessen

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It's so easy to shrug off all the so called "tourist" spots in the city.  Whenever I mention going to Times Square, Rockefeller Center or god forbid SOHO during the holiday season, Mr. T looks at me like I'm insane.  But whenever I suggest Katz's, one of the biggest tourist spots of all time in NYC, he's always on board.  That's because Katz's is AMAZING.  I love the steaming Matzo Ball soup, the snappy casing on their hot dogs and the incredible Pastrami Reuben.




The meat on this sandwich is stacked high and so tender it practically melts with a layer of Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing on top.  I never liked Pastrami or Reuben's before I met this sandwich but now I'm in love.  
Katz's Deli205 East Houston Street @LudlowNew York, NY 10002

Buffalo- Allen Burger Venture

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Right after my visit to Florida I made a quick trip to Buffalo and checked out an array of newcomers to the downtown scene.  Bagels and booze brunch at Hydraulic Hearth, drinks at Ballyhoo and mega sports bar 716 before finally settling into dinner at Allen Burger Venture.  This place has just about any burger topping imaginable...peanut butter, green chili, pulled pork, egg...you name it they got it.  Being it was my first visit I decided to stick with a classic combination the #3  Burger with caramelized "Ommegang" onions, Applewood bacon and porter cheddar cheese.



The burger was cooked perfect; a thick tender patty with a solid pink middle and big slabs of crispy bacon on top.  I asked for my onions on the side because I was a little worried about an onion overload but it actually balanced the juicy meat well.



Every burger comes with a choice of tater tots or fries; the latter being the better choice as the tots were so big they were more like big round hash browns.  Step i…

Quick Florida Recap

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This is seriously late in posting but sometimes life just happens like that, so this is just a super quick recap of our Tampa trip.  We flew in and spent the first evening checking out Green Bench Brewing and Cycle if you remember.  Then it was onto the main event Saturday morning- Hunahpu Day! We had such a horrible time last year I was really apprehensive about going back.  Luckily Cigar City made some serious changes and the event ended up being one of the best beer fests I've attended.



So many of my favorite breweries were on hand like Funky Buddha, Toppling Goliath, hometown boy Kane and of course Cigar City.  In addition to those some new breweries I'd never had the opportunity to try before like Mazurt out of Atlanta, Georgia.  They brewed up a Vanilla Russian Imperial Stout aged inside coconuts...talk about an ingenious idea.  After multiple beers at Hunahpu Day we were in serious need of food so we headed to Datz for their amazing Fried Chicken and Waffles.  

I'm no…

Goodfellas at The Ritz Carlton

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The Tribeca Film Festival is closing out this weekend with a special screening of one of the greatest gangster movie's of all time.  Goodfellas will be celebrating its' 25th Anniversary. Didn't get your invite to the big cast and crew reunion party?  Well you can still celebrate just steps away from the festival at 2West inside the Ritz Carlton Battery Park.  



Chef Philip Medora has created a special menu inspired by this classic Scorsese film with dishes like "Tommy DeVito's" Cheese and Salumi platter with fig jam & quince marmalade and the "Henry Hills" Fried Calamari served extra crispy with banana peppers and spicy marinara.



There's also the delicious "Billy Batts" Grilled Flat Bread with caramelized onions, sweet Italian sausage and grilled sweet peppers...



...but to be truly gangster order the "Jimmy Two Times"; Veal, Pork and Beef Meatballs with shaved pecorino and marble rye garlic bread.  



These meatballs are seriou…

Maison Kayser

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There's nothing better than the smell of fresh baked bread in the morning.  Something about that lovely aroma of yeast immediately makes me smile and has even been shown to make us kinder human beings.


Maison Kayser is the perfect place to tap into those aroma endorphins...from the gorgeous baguettes to their flaky, buttery croissants stuffed full of  Ham and Gruyere Cheese...


...it's like a little sensory overload of happiness.

Maison-Kayser
Multiple Locations in NYC

Javelina

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Tex- Mex cuisine is the latest craze sweeping the city and right at the forefront of this trend is Gramercy newcomer Javelina.  I've made a few visits since it opened...the first time to check out the queso.



I know from my Texas friends that a good queso is a thing of glory and I gotta say the queso here is pretty amazing.  I ordered the sampler with traditional yellow cheese, white cheese and the Bob Armstrong; a big bowl of queso with guacamole, ground beef, pico de gallo and sour cream.

All three were wonderful but I definitely preferred the yellow queso over the white.  It looked like a big bowl of Velveeta cheese but had a much creamier texture that was so damn addictive I found myself going back to this bowl of chips more times than I could count.  

My next visit to Javeleina was for brunch.  A big Mexican breakfast is my absolute favorite thing in the world so I couldn't wait to taste their spin on Huevos Rancheros.

This was pretty classic- two corn tortillas topped with bl…

New Brew Friday- Convivial Suarez

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Today's New Brew Friday comes from Grassroots Brewing in Vermont; the precursor to Shaun Hill's current brewery Hill Farmstead.  Convivial Suarez is a saison/farmhouse ale brewed with hibiscus and lemon that clocks in at 6% abv.  The first thing you notice about this beer is the color.  It has a shockingly gorgeous deep pink body with a frothy ring of bubbles that create nice lacing around the glass.



The aroma has big notes of lemon zest, hibiscus and lime with some of the classic barnyard funk from most Grassroots/Hill Farmstead saisons. The taste follows suit with lots of lemon and berry flavors; it's tart but creamy with a nice refreshing finish.  I was lucky enough to have this on tap at one of my favorite bars Hops Hill.  This beer just screams spring and it was wonderful to usher in the season with such a delight.  Cheers to the weekend!

Hill Farmstead/Grassroots Brewing

Marta

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My first experience at Marta was good.  I loved the ultra thin cracker crust and fresh toppings, but really wanted to explore more of the menu.  This time I brought multiple dining companions and had the opportunity to try out much more like these Green Risotto Croquettes.


Each log was filled with rice, mozzarella cheese and herbs then fried until brown and crispy. I was surprised how much just a squeeze of lemon juice brought out the bright flavors of the herbs inside.  There was no need for any other sort of sauce...these were delicious on their own.


The classic Margherita was wonderful; simply seasoned with just a little olive oil and basil.  I actually liked this much better than the Margherita di Bufala from my previous visit.  

But the best pie of the night was easily the Salsiccia topped with Pork Sausage, Cremini Mushroom, Mozzarella and Pecorino.  Everything on this pie just worked creating a gorgeous medley of rich, savory flavors.

For dessert Olive Oil Affogato with Oilo Verde,…

Narcissa

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There are lots of reasons to dine at EastVillage hotspot Narcissa.  The delightful vegetable preparations, always so fresh and creative  The trendy scene, a gorgeous room filled with even more gorgeous people and of course the incredible southwestern Narcissa burger.


It’s a big, juicy blend of short rib and brisket from Pat LaFrieda that’s pan fried giving the outer shell an excellent char.  Then it’s topped with a mound of fresh guacamole, manchego cheese and watercress all on top a brioche bun. 



There’s nothing delicate about this burger you just have to dive in and relish in all its' rich messy glory.  Don’t worry about those gorgeous people staring at you from across the room.  They decided to order salads instead of lavishing in these thin, crispy fries that have the perfect salty crunch with each bite. 


And most certainly don’t forget to order a cocktail or two. The Pear Tree with rum, ginger and rosemary is a great savory way to round out the meal.




Narcissa Restaurant
25 Coope…

Lunch at Hibino

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When I'm having a serious sushi craving in Brooklyn Heights there's only one place I go to- Hibino. The food is always fresh and their lunch specials are some of the best in the city.  In addition to a daily rotating Obento Box with entree choices like Grilled Salmon Collar and Pork Sausage, is their classic Sushi Lunch.



It includes a piping hot bowl of Miso Soup filled with silky strands of tofu...



...and a small green salad dressed with a light ginger vinaigrette and your choice of two rolls. My last visit I tried the Scallion Yellowtail and Spicy Tuna.

I find many spicy tuna rolls are filled with leftover cuts of fish, the mayo covering up the lines of fat giving the roll a gross stringy texture.  At Hibino the roll is filled with a big, fresh square of tuna then topped off with a dollop of extra spicy sauce.  It's so clean and easy...never a gross roll here.

All of this incredible food for only $10.00.  It's really one of the best deals in Brooklyn.
Hibino333 Henry Stre…

New Brew Friday- Dirck the Norseman

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There are so many reasons to check out the massive German beer hall in Greenpoint Dirck the Norseman.  From the cozy fireplaces in the winter to the live music on the weekends this place has a little something for everyone.  Here are my Top 5 reasons to make the trek:

#1- Chicken Schnitzel
This stunning piece of poultry is so large it barely fits on the serving plate.  It's pounded flat but somehow retains a tender, juicy interior that's coated with crispy breadcrumbs and served with a beer-peppercorn sauce.  It's big, gregarious German food at it's finest.



#2- The Wedge SaladI always love a good wedge salad but Dirck really kicks it up a notch using thick cut chunks of bacon and a house-made Bacon Maple Blue Cheese dressing studded with red onions and rosemary.  

#3- French FriesGerman beer halls always seem to have the best fries (I was addicted to Zum's for a long time) and here is no different.  They're thinly sliced, crispy skin on fries, served with two delic…

Back to Bonnies

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My first experience at Bonnie's was a bit disappointing.  The Beef on Weck was right on par with Buffalo standards but the wings seemed dry and overcooked.  I'd heard so much hype about this place I chalked it up to an off night and vowed to return.  Last weekend I finally got a chance to stop in again and let me say they totally redeemed themselves!


These wings were excellent- crisp, snappy casing on the outside, plump juicy meat on the inside.  The sauce was the perfect balance of butter and spice with just enough heat to make your lips tingle.  These were better than some of the wings I've had in Buffalo even.  Add on bonus points for their delicious fries.


These don't look like much but they were skinny and crisp with a spicy chipotle mayo on the side.  So I'm happy to report that Bonnie's Grill does indeed ROCK!  I can't wait to come back here again for another round of wings and weck.

Bonnie's Grill
278 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Tanoreen

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Mr. T and I had some errands to do in Bayridge this weekend so I used it as an excuse to finally try out  Tanoreen.  My Brooklyn coworkers have been telling me for years about this Middle Eastern gem. I specifically remember mention of the Eggplant Napoleon during several discussions...



Two thick slices of crispy breaded eggplant layered with creamy baba ghanouge and tomato basil salata.  Somehow the eggplant stayed completely intact, not a slimy veggie in sight.  It was really a work of art that we completely devoured in about 5 minutes flat.



Crispy Hallumi Cheese is a must order for me when it's on the menu.  This could have been served a bit warmer but the flavor and consistency was still spot on.

The hummus we used mainly as a garnish for stuffing into our pitas when the Mixed Grill arrived. This was just a massive platter filled with ground lamb kabob, marinated lamb and a smoky chicken kabob that had an excellent char to the outside.

We seriously ordered way to much food but eve…

Best Prix-Fixe Lunch Deals in NYC

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Looking to have a five star meal in NYC without the hefty price tag? The answer is lunch.  Many of the city's best restaurants offer prix-fix deals during the week so you get the same amazing food and atmosphere at a fraction of the cost.  Here's my picks for the best:



Juni

The quiet sophistication of the room and innovative menu creations by Chef Shawn Hergatt always make for a delightful afternoon.  The food is absolutely stunning and with two different pricing options and a vegetarian tasting menu just about anyone can find something to love. 

The Deal- Two Courses $34, Three Courses $39 or Five Course Vegetarian Tasting for $55

Pro Tip- Don't overlook the tiny silver bowl on the table filled with olive tapanade



The Nomad

Good luck scoring a dinner reservation at the perennially packed Nomad.  Reservations fill up 30 days in advance and the trendy scene can feel a bit overwhelming.  Opt instead for lunch when the crowds are quieter and the same fabulous food will cost half as…