Showing posts from May, 2018

Back to Pegu Club

There's no shortage of incredible cocktail bars in NYC.  In fact, the city is so flooded with them it's easy to forget about one of the best that started the mixology movement years ago, the fabulous Pegu Club.  We stopped into this second floor SOHO spot right before dinner Friday night.  The long elegant bar and wrought iron laced windows overlooking Houston were just as gorgeous as I remembered years ago, and the cocktails just as perfect.

Mr. ordered the Pegu Club made with London Dry Gin, bitters and orange curacao; a classic drink from the 1900's that packed a tropical snappy punch.  

I ordered the Earl Grey MarTEAni per a friends suggestion and it did not disappoint.  Made with Earl Grey Tea infused gin, lemon juice and egg white, this cocktail was the perfect balance of sour and savory. I loved it so much I bought a bottle of Earl Grey Gin for home in hopes of recreating this fantastic drink.  Alas I am no match for the incredible Pegu Club bartenders.  Looks like I&…

Memorial Weekend Kickoff at Carbone

I absolutely love Memorial Day Weekend in NYC. Most people clear out, headed to the Hampton's or Berkshires, leaving those impossibly hard restaurant reservations wide open for people like me! So this year we kicked things off at Carbone so I could finally have my favorite noodles in the entire world once again.

Of course before the noodles actually arrive there's so much more at Carbone to enjoy.  Every meal starts with a gratis basket of bread filled with crunchy garlic loaves and mozzarella & tomato topped grandma bread...

Freshly sliced salami with parmigiana cheese

And a bowl of pickled cauliflower dotted with spicy chilies.

For our appetizer we split an order of the Scampi alla Scampi; enormous prawns roasted with butter, lemon and garlic.  These looked like they would be challenging to eat but they came out of the shell quite easily with little lobster fork.

Then we moved onto our favorite dishes of the entire meal the Cesar Alla ZZ prepared tableside with chopped anchov…

Memorial Day Rose Under $25

Memorial Day weekend is the official kickoff to Rose season and we here at NYC Tastes have been doing plenty of research on this fabulous pink drink.  Sparkling or still, dry or sweet, there's a rose on the market perfect for just about any palate.  Here's a few of our favorites for your weekend festivities all under $25.00.

Camille Braun Cremant D'Alsace Brut Rose- $22.00
This beautiful bubbly from the Alsace region of France is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes aged in stainless steel.  It pours a pale pink with tight, tiny bubbles and gentle flavors of strawberry and raspberry with a soft creamy finish. This is the perfect apertif for any occasion.

Gouguenheim Malbec Bubbles Extra Brut Rose- $12.00
This Argentinian sparkler comes from the foothills of the Andes Mountains at Gouguenheim Winery.  It's crisp and juicy with bright flavors of cherry, strawberry and rhubarb.  It's refreshing enough to drink alone but also the perfect pairing for grilled meats.

Montonale Ros…

Vini e Fritti

Friday night bites at Vini e Fritti; always a fantastic way to kick off the weekend.  This Roman style apertivo bar located in the Redbury Hotel was opened last year by my favorite restaurateur Danny Meyer.  

The small space is adorned simply with a handful of four top tables, a long marble topped bar and big windows up front perfect for watching the busy streets outside.  I always intend to just pop in for a drink but once those small plates of fritti start to stream out of the kitchen, its impossible to resist.

Gnoccho Fritto con Proscuitto e Parmiginao; impossibly light fried pockets of pizza dough topped with layers of proscuitto and pepper dusted parmigiana cheese.

Crostino di Straccistella con Pomodorini; some of the creamiest mozzarella cheese that ever existed drizzled with olive oil & preserved tomato on focaccia bread.

My favorite spot is at the windows up front with a glass of champagne or a classic Negroni; slowly watching the evening slip into night.

Vini e Fritti
30 East 3…

New Brew Friday- Map of the Sun

All of this rainy weather has really been getting me down this week.  I need some serious sunshine and if the weather won't cooperate I'll create my own with today's new brew, Map of the Sun from The Rare Barrel out in Berkeley, California. 

This beautiful beer is a blend of golden sour ales, aged in oak barrels with the addition of apricots.  It pours a bright, white foamy head that dissipates almost immediately leaving behind almost zero bubbles.  The smell is straight sour apricot with a sharp citrus and funk aroma while the flavor is a more balanced blend of sour and juicy, almost like biting into a ripe, fleshy apricot with just a hint of vanilla and oak on the finish.  Every time I have this beer I'm blown away; definitely one of my all time favorites.  Cheers to Friday!

The Rare Barrel
940 Parker Street
Berkeley, CA 94710

Row House Harlem

Friday night was spent diving into comfort food up at Row House; a lively new spot on Harlem's restaurant row boasting an outdoor patio up front and a large, spacious interior filled with people celebrating the start of the weekend.

It was such a cool, chilly night it seemed like the perfect excuse for a hearty bowl of Macaroni & Cheese. This sizzling cast iron skillet arrived loaded with plump shells of pasta, dressed in a five cheese mornay sauce with panko bread crumbs on top.  I loved the different textures of the cheese throughout the skillet; thick and crispy on top with a rich, creamy interior similar to the classic Velveeta Shells & Cheese of my childhood.

We balanced the hearty pasta with a classic Brick Chicken served with roasted potatoes, broccoli rabe and light lemon jus that really brighten the entire dish.  I highly suggest splitting both of these dishes for a fantastic meal.  

Row House is open for brunch, lunch and dinner and even houses a gorgeous speakeasy …

Cocktail Crawling Through the Weekend

I can't remember the last time Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby fell on the exact same day.  Not to mention it being a fabulous sunny Saturday on its own.  This called for some serious day drinking away from all of the crowds over in Alphabet City.

First stop The Wayland, one of my all time favorite Avenue C spots for a Rose Sour garnished with fresh leaves of basil.

Then onto the new hot spot Loverboy for a boozy brunch carafe of vodka, St. Germain and peach puree with a slice of the signature Loverboy pizza.

Cut square with a crunchy buttery bottom (reminiscent of Pizza Hut) and a blend of melted house cheese, crisp pepperoni and ramp ranch dressing drizzled on top; this was one messy, decadent and delicious slice.

Then up the block to Mace Bar for a round of herbaceous drinks including this fantastic Fennel Pollen cocktail which tasted just like a warm McDonald's Apple Pie (in a very good way).  

The Wayland
700 East 9th Street
New York, NY 10009

Loverboy Bar
127 Avenue C
New Yor…

Simon & The Whale at The Freehand Hotel

On the first floor of the Freehand Hotel sits Simon & The Whale, one of the city's hottest new restaurants helmed by Chef Matt Griffen formerly of Fedora and Bar Sardine.  The sleek space features a long wooden bar, cushy circular booths and wrap around windows that showcase the busy city streets outside.

The menu is composed of delicious small plates like the bacon and gouda Zeppole served piping hot with a creamy mustard sauce...

...and a bright Arctic Char Tartare dotted with finger lime and smoked cream cheese on top of crispy multigrain toast.  I highly suggest beginning every meal with one of these dishes. Then move on to more hearty fare like Spaghetti Acqua Pazza, Roast Chicken or the delicious Fish Sandwich served on soft, fluffy poppy seed challah with creamy coleslaw and spicy dijonnaise on top.  This massive sandwich is a little bit unruly but it's worth it for the excellent flavor. 

Simon & The Whale is only open for dinner and has been getting rave reviews f…

The George Washington Bar at the Freehand Hotel

Yesterday we checked out The Studio at the Freehand, today we'll go across the hall to the cozy little cocktail bar the George Washington.

Situated inside the hotel's old library this beautiful room is decked out with dark mahogany walls, antique furniture and an all star line up of cocktails like the froth For Sarah, a blend of gin, rose, cardamom, pomegranate, creme, egg white and soda...

...and the bright, fizzy Opulent Cartel made with basil, fennel seed and preserved lemon.

In addition to drinks there's a small menu of bar snacks including deviled eggs, Osetra Caviar and a buttery pretzel twist served with creamy goat cheese and a sweet drizzle of honey.

The George Washington bar opens daily at 5:30 PM.  The small bar usually gets packed by 7:00 PM so head early to guarantee a spot.

George Washington Bar at the Freehand
23 Lexington Avenue
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10010