Showing posts from August, 2018


In between the boisterous sports bars and dark Irish pubs of Murray Hill sits Vatan; a neighborhood staple known for its bejeweled elephant facade, thatched roof tables and the distinct vegetarian cuisine from the Indian state of Gujarat.

Vatan has only one menu, a $34 Prix Fixe that includes appetizer, entree and dessert all served thali style.  Guests can reorder as much as they would like and the entire vegetation menu is also available vegan, gluten free and nut free. Simply choose your drink of choice, spice level (entree only) then sit back and let the parade of food begin.

Appetizer thali:  Chana Masala~garbanzo beans spiced with onions and coriander,  Khaman~ puffed cream of wheat flour cake, Batatavada~ fried potato balls in chickpea flour batter, Mirchi Bhajia~fried hot pepper with garam masala, Sev Puri~ crispy bread filled with potatoes, garbanzo beans, yogurt & chutney; Ragda Patis~ potato cutlet in white bean sauce, Samosas~ savory pastries filled with spicy potatoes a…

Monday Mornings at Chanson

Monday mornings are the absolute worst, but the final Monday morning of summer is just downright brutal.  I contemplated staying under the covers all day but I do have this thing called a job...  So I dragged myself out of bed and headed to Patisserie Chanson in hopes of some Monday motivation.

The aroma of fresh baked bread and coffee greeted me at the door; forcing my sleepy eyes open and luring me towards this flaky, sugar dusted Kougin Amann stuffed with tart Pistachio cream.  As I peeled apart each nutty, sweet layer I could feel my Monday blues start to melt away.

Of course this positive energy I was now feeling might not last all day so I grabbed a Lemon Yuzu tart for later just to be sure :)

Patisserie Chanson
20 West 23rd Street at Broadway
New York, NY 10010

Hanoi House

St Marks has always been one of my favorite streets in the city.  It's always so lively, with great spots like Cafe MogadorProletariat and the wonderful Hanoi House.  This cozy little spot is currently churning out some of the best Northern Vietnamese food in the city.

I suggest starting every meal with the crispy Pig Ear & Papaya Salad; it's bright and citrusy with a satisfying crunch from the peanuts and pig finished with a sweet soy dressing. 

Crispy Spring Rolls are another great starter, filled with creamy pork and crab alongside a salty, sour nuoc cham. 

And of course the signature Hanoi Style Beef Pho that's been simmering for 16 hours, filled with slices of Black Angus filet mignon, brisket and rice noodles.  Guests can add in bone marrow and oxtail if they choose but I find the classic broth has just the right amount of rich, fatty flavor to make my stomach incredibly happy.

Hanoi House
119 St. Marks Place
New York, NY 10009

The Dish at Hudson Clearwater

Does anyone else remember when pork took over the New York City dining scene? I think it began with the opening of Momofuku Noodle Bar back in 2004, where those Chinese-style buns stuffed with pork lit off a firecracker of excitement.  This was quickly followed by the insane popularity of Little Owl, where people lined up around the block for bite of Joey Campanaro's pork centric menu which included their signature pork & veal Meatball Sliders, pancetta topped steak and a big, juicy Pork Chop. All of these porky food memories came flooding back to me during dinner, where I had possibly the best Pork Chop I've experienced since those pig crazed days years ago at Hudson Clearwater.

This cozy West Village spot uses thick cut Berkshire Pork, cooked on a grill, giving it a charred, crispy outside and tender juicy middle.  It's then topped with seasonal ingredients like bacon & buttermilk ranch in the Winter and smoked chili jam, mint and peaches in the Summer.  It's …

4 Charles Prime

Chicago is known for many things; the classic Chicago Dog loaded with onions, mustard, relish, tomatoes and pickled peppers, the hefty Deep Dish Pizza, the Italian Beef Sandwich at Portillo's and of course the Burger at Au Cheval.   I haven't been to Chicago in years but luckily some of these iconic classics have leaked into NYC with deep dish pies at Emmett's, Italian Beef at Hanks and even the infamous Au Cheval Burger at Four Charles Prime. 

Hailed by many as the best burger in the country this brings together two grilled all beef patties layered with Kraft American cheese, then topped with thick slabs of bacon, fried egg, chopped red onions, Dijonaiise, and pickles all on a toasted bun.  It arrives at the table whole, then gets sliced at the table in order to reveal the inside in all of it's messy, juicy food glory.

This burger is absolutely orgasmic at first; the creamy yolk seeping into the juicy meat with the smokey, peppery backbone of bacon lingering after each …

Resturant Week at Babu Ji

Restaurant Week has descended upon NYC once again and this year and I decided to do a solo lunch at Indian favorite Babu Ji.  This place was all the rage a few years back and I never got a chance to go.  Luckily Babu Ji has since moved into a bigger space close to Union Square and I was able to easily grab a spot at the bar last Sunday afternoon. 

To begin the dish that Babu Ji is most famous for the Colonel Tso's Cauliflower; fried cauliflower tossed in a sweet and spicy Tso's sauce then finished with sesame seeds, chives and nigella seeds. 

The flavor of these fried nuggets were spot on, sweet and sticky at first with a gentle heat that grew the more I consumed.  However the veggies were cooked incredibly uneven; some bites were perfectly tender while others were so hard my knife didn't even make a dent.

Onto the main course Unauthentic Butter Chicken served with a bowl of basmati rice and garlic naan.

Wow- this Butter Chicken was exquisite.  Big flavors of garlic, tomato an…

New Brew Friday- Kiwi Melon Meerts

It's New Brew Friday and today we're celebrating at the shores of North Carolina with a delightful beverage from Wisconsin's Funk Factory Geuzeria, the Kiwi Melon Meerts.

This gueuze pours a bright yellow with lots of fizzy bubbles up top and aromas of fresh melon, lemon rind and funk. The flavor is tart kiwi up front with a strong acidity that smooths out with more funk and soft melon tones in the finish.  Clocking in at just 4.5 % this fruity, refreshing Meerts is the perfect beverage for sipping in the sun on a steamy summer day.  Cheers to New Brew Friday!

Funk Factory Geuzeria1602 Gilson Street
Madison, WI 53715

Green Goddess Cafe

There are so many reasons to love Vermont; the rolling green hills, the fresh mountain air and of course BREAKFAST!  Vermont does breakfast better than any other state.  They have forests of maple trees dripping with syrup, farms dedicated to the best slab bacon, cheese makers in every corner and of course Green Mountain Coffee.  It's hard to go wrong with breakfast anywhere in Vermont but the place that I currently love the most is Green Goddess Cafe in Stowe.

This tiny little spot uses only fresh, local ingredients (most organic) to create breakfast staples that are almost magical.  Like their bacon, egg & cheese sandwich, loaded with creamy Vermont cheddar cheese, thick slab bacon that somehow stays perfectly crisp in every spot, all on top of a flaky, buttery English Muffin.  A NYC Bacon, Egg & Cheese isn't even in the same category with this perfect sandwich.

Buttermilk Pancakes so wondrously fluffy inside with crispy charred edges and the perfect dollop of whipped …