Friday, August 20, 2010

This Little Piggy had a Kelvin Natural Slush

Itching to get out of the office, I decided I'd make the trip down to the Kelvin Natural Slush Co. truck parked on 20th and 5th.  I read about the truck about a month ago and have been actively following them on twitter, but for some reason I hadn't gotten my slush fix yet.  Today was the day, and the 45 minute round trip walk from my office was definitely worth it.  Although I love guava, I decided I would go with white peach as my "mix-in" and opted for half tea/half citrus as my base.  The combination made for a delicious and refreshing treat, especially in this 200 degree weather.
Kelvin Slush flavors:

Spicy Ginger
Tangy Citrus
Green & Black Tea

Real fruit purée mix-ins:

- Açaí – Apricot - Blackberry - Blood Orange - Blueberry - Cherry

- Cranberry - Lychee - Mango - Papaya - Pink Guava - Pear

- Raspberry - Strawberry - White Peach

Buenos Dias, Two Tamales Por Favor

The other day on my way to work, I cut down 39th instead of 38th, and to my surprise walked right past the Mexican Consulate.  You're probably wondering what the big deal is.  A bunch of people standing outside speaking Spanish and trying to fix issues with their visas and green cards....
If that's the case, you clearly haven't passed by the Consulado around 9 am.  Low and behold a little woman standing out front selling tamales from a trash bag.  Gross?  Dirty?  I think not.  Incredible?  Most definitely.  These bundles of goodness wrapped up in corn husks are the real deal.  Stuffed with chicken (I think that's all she has), these tamales are moist, mildly spicy and absolutely delicious (Oh, and cheap!  Only $3 for two).  I think I've found my new "go to" breakfast spot.  Viva Mexico!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Evening at Daniel

After reading Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires, The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, it was apparent that I needed to start a new list of restaurants to survey in the city.  Though the book reviews restaurants ranging from one of the finest sushi places in New York City, Kuruma Zushi, to Le Cirque, clearly at the top of my list stood Daniel. Though a brief blog post of my experience at such a place could never compare to Reichl's review, (I apologize, I am just not as eloquent) it is certainly worth an attempt.

If I could describe my 4 hours spent at Daniel in one word, it would be "exquisite".  While Boulud's flagship, which opened in 1993, currently ranks 8th in the world, there is little doubt that it is currently in first place for me, and likely will be for years to come.  In addition to it's world class standing, it was also deemed Best Restaurant of 2010 by the James Beard Foundation.  Such awards are of little surprise after spending a night at Daniel.  The Executive Chef, Jean François Bruel, began working with Boulud in 1996 as a "Chef de Partie".  Since then, he has held positions as the Sous Chef at Café Boulud and the Executive Chef at DB Bistro Moderne.  Bruel returned to Daniel in 2003 as the Executive Chef.  Also notable, was his recognition as the James Beard Foundation's winner of the Rising Star Chef award in 2002.  His experience and magnificence as a Chef is definitely revealed in every dish that comes out of the kitchen at Daniel.

I was fortunate to make an almost unimaginable reservation for 2 at 8:30 on a recent Wednesday evening.  Upon arriving at the Bar, I knew I was in for quite a treat.  While waiting for our table, we enjoyed a glass of Rosé Champagne.  We were then escorted to our table in the middle of an amazing dining room.  Though renovated in 2008, I would agree with Reichl that, "The drama of the flower arrangements dominates the restaurant, transforming a bland beige room into a place with personality".   Also beautiful are the custom designed Bernardaud chandeliers, made of Limoges porcelain tiles, which were added by designer Adam Tihany. 

The service was nothing less than impeccable.  Our waitress was friendly, knowledgeable and eager to make sure our night was divine.  Not willing to pass up the six course tasting menu and wine pairing, though unwilling to forgo the Trio of Quebec Suckling Pig, our waitress kindly incorporated it into the meal.

Not much has changed since Reichl's 1994 review, where she states that "Mr. Boulud [sic] offers a changing celebration of the seasons: daily specials that depend on little more than great ingredients."  While every bite seemed to be better than the last, I particularly enjoyed the Chorizo Crusted Scallops, as well as the Gorgonzola Tortelloni.  Additionally, the pork belly that came with the Trio of Suckling Pig was incredible.  I am not sure if I will ever forget how it melted in my mouth, nor do I want to.  The menu played with seasonal ingredients in a way that left me wishing it was Summer at Daniel year round, though, I can only dream of what the Fall might bring.

Daniel is truly a dining experience that will change the way you view the culinary arts.  No one could say it better than Ruth Reichl did in her four-star review...
"...The restaurant is so exciting that you wake up the morning after a meal at Daniel eager to remember every bite."
Sicilian Pistachios, Sauternes Gelee, Young Salad
Tartar with North Star Caviar, Poached with White Wine Gelee
Plum Mostarda, Satur Farms Vegetable Salad
Von Heddesdorff, Reisling Kabinett "Winninger Uhlen", Mosel, Germany 2008

. . . . . . .
Warm with Cumin, Carrot Mousseline
Tartar with North Star Caviar, Poached with White Wine Gelee
 Sweet Pepper Coulis
Black Sesame Coulis, Early Mesclun, Radishes
Domaine Bailly, Sancerre Chavignol, Loire 2009

. . . . . . .

Stewed Gnocchi, Corn Fricassée, Nasturtium Salad
Tomato Confit, Caramelized Walnuts
 Capers, Snow Peas
Domaine Jean Marc Brocard, Chablis, Burgundy 2001

. . . . . . .

With Chanterelles, Yukon Potato Quiche
Tuscan Kale, Oregano Jus
Domaine de la Citadelle, Luberon Rose "Chataignier", Rhone 2009
Leek Potato Parmentier, Roasted Tempura Celery
Copain Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley 2008

. . . . . . .

Tandoori Spiced Shoulder, Minted Ratatouille
Ricotta Gnocchi, Broccolini
 Zucchini Flower Tempura
Black Angus Short Ribs with Young Spinach, Mozzarella-Bresaola Salad
Wagyu Tenderloin, Stuffed Tomato with Basil
Black Garlic Pommes Dauphine, Sauce Choron
Bosquet des Papes, Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvée Grenache, Rhone 2001

. . . . . . .
Mango-Thai Basil
Gelée, Poached Pineapple, Coconut Rum Sorbet
Chateau Pajzos, Tokaji 5 Puttonyos, Hungary 2000
Liquid Caramel, Fleur de Sel, Milk Sorbet
Rivesaltes Domaine de Rancy 4 Ans, Roussillon

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shake Shack, Blue Smoke Coming to Battery Park City

In other news, Zagat informs us that Shake Shack and Blue Smoke will also be coming to the tip of the island (unfortunately, not until 2011).

Super Exciting News for FiDi

This will be the shortest post ever, but I had to share the good news (for anyone who still reads this).... BLT Bar and Grill has finally opened in the new W Hotel in the Financial District!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bienvenue au Macaron Cafe!

 Ok ok, so I know I've been gone for a while, and I really have no good excuse why, but I'm back!  And... I'm dedicating my return post to Ellie, my biggest fan and connoisseur of French pastries.  For months now I have been anticipating the opening of a lovely bakery around the corner from my office called Macaron Cafe.  Finally, they have opened and the shop looks delightful.  Running into the office late, I poked my head in to grab an iced coffee and something to tide me over until lunch.  My options seemed fairly limited at 10:30 a.m., so I quickly chose a plain croissant.  Initially, I was sort of turned off by the prepackaging.  For some reason, to me pre-wrap screams "not fresh".  I was wrong in the case of the Macaron croissant.  It is as fresh as can be, and although simple, my breakfast tastes delicious (I'm eating them as we speak).

In addition to an assortment of croissants (plain, chocolate, almond, and bacon/eggs), the breakfast menu includes Tartine Organic Butter, Tartine O. Butter & Jam, and a variety of crepes (avec sugar, jam or nutella), as well as yogurt with granola and fruits.

ps. Macaron flavors include, but are not limited to, Dark Chocolate, White Choloate, French Vanilla, Violet Flower, Rose & Litchee, Espresso, Pistaccio, Praline, Nutella, Coconut, Cassis, Lemon, Raspberry, Strawberry, Passion Fruit

Attention! : the macarons cost a pretty penny, $2.25 for one, $13 for six, and the iced coffee is a little pricier than the street vendor's ($3.00)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This Little Piggy Read "Time for a Drink: the Michelada | Serious Eats : Recipes"

I love Micheladas more than almost anything. If I could choose one drink to enjoy for the rest of my days, this would be it. That being said, I am also fairly territorial so I find this article slightly annoying. Oh well... click here to check it.

My personal recipe:

- Rim glass with Mexican Seasoning (not telling you which one!) / sea salt
- squeeze limes
- add Worcestershire sauce
- add Cholula or Tapatio (Cafe Habana uses Tapatio and it is great)
- add Mexican beer (Corona, Pacifico, Sol, Modelo Especial, Negra Moldelo)
- Enjoy!

ps. I also love Clamato!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This Little Piggy went on a Brunch Adventure

On a happier note (from the below Bloomberg post), I must have gone on one of the most amazing brunch excursions ever this past Saturday.  Initially, we were just grabbing brunch at some place I'd never heard of in the West Village, but the plans changed.  We started our adventure off at Choptank (on Bleeker @ Grove) for a Bloody Mary and oysters and decided it would be fun to track down the best BM in the West Village.  This turned into an all day drinking and eating affair, eventually ending at a friend's apartment in Tribeca.  I'll let the pictures tell the story.  Enjoy!

The Choptank Oysters and Bloody Mary were awesome!  We surveyed four types of oysters, and though I can't remember what my favorite was called, the most clever name was the Naked Cowboy Oysters, which were from LI.  The BM was different than the standard Bloody Mary.  Besides using a secret spice they call "grains of paradise", they also drizzle the top with EVOO, which adds a surprisingly delicious touch.

At this point, we had decided to make this a Bloody Mary challenge, and headed over to Joseph Leonard (Waverly Pl @ Christopher).  We ordered the Bloody Mary No. 20, which came with a beer chaser, and the Lyla’s Mama’s Lemonade (maker’s mark, lemonade and cayenne).  This BM was smokier than the one at Choptank.  I thought both drinks were good, though I wouldn't write home about the BM.  We also ordered some french fries and the frisee and lardons (fried egg, brioche and red wine vinaigrette).  This was absolutely exquisite!

The fried egg clearly sparked conversation about the Truffled Egg Toast at 'Ino (Bedford @ Downing), so there we went!  This was fantastic as usual and went very nicely with the Chardonnay and Trebbiano we ordered.  Not much else to say about this, except that we had a table by the window and it was lovely.

Then we were off to Lure Fish Bar (Prince @ Mercer).  Obviously we ordered a Bloody Mary, as well as some sake, to accompany an array of sushi and sashimi.  Everything was great, especially the toro and kanpachi!


Between the oysters, egg toasts and sushi, clearly we had worked up a sweet tooth, so we stopped into Kee's (Thompson @ Spring) for some coconut and rosewater macarons and champagne and tiramisu truffles.  Then we paused briefly in Walker's (North Moore @ Varick) to share a beer, before heading to Turks & Frogs Tribeca (Greenwich St @ Desbrosses) for wine and a snack (Sigara Boregi - Phyllo scrolls stuffed with Turkish feta, cooked till golden brown).

All of this leading up to a girlfriend's Mexican-themed house warming party in Tribeca.  What an amazing Saturday!  Oink oink!