Posts

Showing posts from January, 2018

Restaurant Week at Vaucluse

Image
I absolutely love Winter Restaurant Week.  It always starts at the end of January and completely saves me from my first "Sunday without football" blues. Okay I guess the Pro Bowl was on this past weekend but I don;t think I've ever watched that.  This year I decided to head uptown to Vaucluse, the beautiful French restaurant that took over the Park Avenue Winter space a few years back.



I love the interior of this restaurant; everything is so comfortable and elegant with big fluffy white banquettes lining the walls and crisp linen cloths on each table.  I was dining solo so I opted to sit in the beautiful bar room to sip on my cocktail and listen to the jazz trio serenading the brunch crowd.

1st Course Lobster Bisque~ Three meaty chunks of lobster and crab enrobed in a silky lobster broth, poured table-side, with tarragon and creme fraiche.  This soup was phenomenal.  I could taste all the big, bold flavors of the ocean without that heavy cream that can weigh down most bisq…

New Brew Friday- Side Project Beer Barrel Time

Image
Today's New Brew Friday comes directly from Side Project Brewing where Mr. T and I spent most of the past weekend.  This place was honestly one of the best breweries I've visited.  The beer list was loaded with some of their highest rated bottles, the staff were incredible friendly and knowledgeable and the space was so clean and comfortable I just wanted to spend the entire weekend relaxing in the tap room.


Beer Barrel Time is Side Project's non-adjunct blend of Barrel Aged Stouts; which means there's no added flavors to this beer like vanilla or coffee beans.  It's just pure stout goodness that really showcases the Heaven Hills Bourbon Barrels they select for each batch.  This was rich and silky with a smooth oak and caramel finish that was incredibly drinkable for the 15% ABV.  I was almost ready to order another one when the new beer menu came out for the evening.


Apparently we got one of the very last bottles!  So happy to have gotten to try out this beer- Cheer…

Brunch at Polite Society- St. Louis

Image
Saturday morning we woke up and did a brief tour around downtown St. Louis; hitting up the Gateway Arch and joining in the Woman March across Market Street.  It was absolutely wonderful seeing so many men, women and children out for the walk supporting each other.  Then we hopped in a cab to the historic Lafayette Square neighborhood for brunch at Polite Society.  

Polite Society just opened this past Spring in a beautiful space boasting hardwood floors and exposed brick walls that gave off a comfy, homey vibe.  The brunch menu leans heavy towards Southern food with dishes like Biscuits & Gravy, Confit Chicken Wings and Osso Buco Hash piled high with two poached eggs, pork and potatoes in a decadent demi-wine glace.  


There's also a few options for those not so meat inclined like thick stack of Pancakes drizzled with blueberries, Egg White Omelettes with mushrooms and even an Impossible Patty Melt made with completely plant based Impossible burger meat, roasted onions and Emment…

The Black Duck- St. Louis

Image
Mr. T was in St. Louis for work last week so I decided to join him for a quick 24 hour trip.  On the agenda- hanging out Side Project Brewery and getting some delicious regional eats starting at The Blue Duck.  

 This sprawling tavern in Maplewood specializes in American comfort food with hearty starters like the delicious crock of roaster cauliflower with butter, cheese and fried sage alongside a plate of homemade cornbread served with smoked apple butter sauce and whipped honey butter.

I honestly love anything with the word "honey butter" attached but this cornbread was especially wonderful.  The top outer shell was crisp and buttery while the insides stayed light and almost creamy in texture.   Since comfort food seemed to be the name of this game I went all out with some Macaroni & Cheese and the Grilled Chicken Club sandwich.

This sandwich was far beyond an ordinary chicken club with thick cut Swiss Cheese, extra crispy bacon, avocado and honey chipotle mayo on a green…

Everything Wonderful at Barano

Image
I don't usually get too excited about Italian fare but Barano in South Williamsburg has been invading my dreams consistently since the last visit.  Helmed by Chef Albert Di Meglio of Rubirosa, this cozy little spot is churning out some seriously incredible food.  Let's start with the pizzas, all of which are made in their gorgeous wood burning pizza ovens.


The crust is thin and crispy with charred edges that make a satisfying snap when cut using their special metal pizza scissors.  The list of toppings change frequently but I highly suggest the Kabocha Squash Pizza with gorgeous stracciatella cheese, spiced crema and speck drizzled with an aged balsamic vinaigrette.


The second thing I love about Barano are their inventive pastas, specifically the Saffron Gigli. These toothsome orange noodles are dusted with a layer of pecorino cheese and black pepper then doused in a Calabrian Honey Sauce.  It's both spicy and sweet and a the perfect  way to fight through these chilly winter…

Fairfax

Image
Monday morning I woke up feeling surprisingly calm.  Usually on days off I completely overwhelm myself with ideas on how to spend the day.  Perhaps I'm finally learning to relax or perhaps the holidays this year beat all the excitement out of me.  All I know is I just wanted to find a place to completely unwind; so I headed to Fairfax.


This cozy little cafe in the West Village was completely full when I arrived with people casually eating lunch, grabbing a cup of coffee or working on their laptops with a glass of wine.  I got incredibly lucky with the last seat at the bar and ordered the Fairfax special.  Each day from 11:30-6:30  Fairfax offers a plate and a glass of wine for just $24 with options like Roman Gnocchi with charred onions, citrus laced Diver Scallops and one of my favorite dishes Steak Tartare.  


Those who enjoy a thick cut tartare will love this rendition with big chunks of raw meat drizzled with olive oil and pecorino cheese alongside thick sliced country bread.  


It…

Lunch at Gotham Bar & Grill

Image
Gotham made my pick as the best fancy lunch spot for 2017 and this NYC institution just continues to wow me in every way.  My last visit I stopped in for a relaxing meal at the bar and opted for the three course Greenmarket lunch.


First Course- Roasted Celery & Beet Root Soup with cranberry foam.  This was so creamy and smooth it could almost been seen as a veloute but with a distinctly lighter finish, while the drizzle of cranberry foam added a seasonal warmth to the dish.


Second Course- Free Range Chicken with farro, broccolini, cauliflower and cippolini onion in a charred meyer lemon sauce.  


Third Course- Brown Butter Parfait with with poached pear, brown sugar cookie and smoked cinnamon ice cream.  This was actually the very first time I veered away from the signature Gotham Chocolate Cake and it was every bit as fabulous.  I absolutely loved the  crunchy brown sugar cookie crumbles on top of the fluffy brown butter parfait.

Gotham continues to be one of the best restaurants in N…

The Dish at La Pecora Bianca

Image
These frigid cold temps have got me in total pasta mode so when I really want to indulge I head to La Pecora Bianca for a nice big bowl of Bolognese.

This causal Italian cafe near Madison Square Park specializes in vegetable driven fare and signature pastas like this hearty tagliatelle studded with beef and pork ragu and freshly grated parmigiana cheese.  It's toothsome and satisfying, the perfect antidote for these windy bone chilling days.

La Pecora Bianca
1133 Broadway at 26th Street
New York, NY 10010

Lunch at Avra Madison

Image
Every year around the holidays I take a few hours off from work, hit up the Rockefeller Center tree and all the 5th avenue windows, then finish the afternoon with a fancy lunch.  This year I decided to stay right in Midtown and dine at the gorgeous Greek restaurant Avra Madison Estiatorio.  This sprawling spot just steps from Central Park was bustling with a large contingent of "Ladies who Lunch" enjoying some wine and chattering away about the latest NYC gossip.  

Every meal at Avra begins with a platter of rosemary dusted flatbread served alongside a thick, creamy hummus, sliced radish and black olives. It's a delightful and delicious change from the usual basket of bread.

First course Tuna Tartare with avocado and crispy shallots dressed in a soy ginger sauce.  This was exquisite, the tuna was chopped a bit more firm than most tartares giving a nice texture contrast to the fresh cut avocado while the ginger added a slightly spicy kick.

Second course Chicken Frites; a thi…

Happy New Year 2018!

Image
Happy New Year-and what a snowy, chilly one it was!  We spent the weekend celebrating up in Hudson New York enjoying a bit of "lake life" (obviously the lake was frozen solid). We had some seriously incredible bourbon cocktails at Olde York Farm and followed it up with NYE dinner at Local 111 in Plilmont.  It was a great holiday weekend made so much better by my beloved Buffalo Bills making it to the playoffs for the first time since 1999!  I could have cried I was so happy:)  Actually I did in fact cry...quite a bit to be honest and I keep crying every time I watch the highlights.  So 2018 is starting out to be a very happy but sappy year for me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Looking back at my 2016 Wish List I only made it to four of the thirteen restaurants but all of those dining experiences were some of my favorite 2017 memories.   Le Bernardin was exquisite, Gabriel Kreuther made my entire birthday and Matarkjallarinn in Iceland will be forever etched in my mind for the amazing food, cozy …