Food Bloggers Unite!
I haven't met a carb I don't like
A rare and unusual beer bar
Are you ready for a bloody good brunch?
Fried Chicken that is Finger-Licking Good!
An Alphabet City Hang out!
A relaxed venue with a great happy hour (2 for 1 till 8pm!)
A new East Village/Alphabet City bar features an outdoor garden
Fresh Vegetables Served Up in the East Village
I caught up with my best friend's (WARREN!!) sister-in-law Tammi last night for dinner! She was visiting the city from Philadelphia with some of her girlfriends. As the resident local, I knew I needed to recommend an awesome spot for dinner that was very New York! Two friends, Lauren and Elizabeth, recently raved about B4 (http://www.b4nyc.com/), a New American restaurant that serves up reinvented comfort food in the East Village.
While we were looking over the menu, we were enjoying the delicious bread. There is a toasted garlic-bread and a fluffier focaccia style bread. I was glad they were generous with the refills! I ordered a glass of the Cabernet Sauvignon. Serving it in a mason jar was on theme for the restaurant but I prefer a wine glass. My grandma heavily influenced me into believing that the glassware changes the taste of the wine. I'm sure it's in my head, but it does change my perception.
We ate our meal family style and shared all of the courses. The first course was a bit tricky - Butternut Squash SOUP! The dish was fantastic so we got over sharing from the same bowl.
The flavor of the soup tasted like the butternut squash had been prepared with apple juice, onions and a hearty broth. Like a traditional casserole, it was dotted with marshmallows. This sweetness brought out the flavor. It also had a sherry-infused cream drizzle.
The sweetness of the pears and the sharpness of the Gorgonzola balanced the peppery bite of the arugula. It was topped with a honey chili vinaigrette and spiked pumpkin seeds. Loved it!
Kale is still super popular, which is great for me because it is yummy! This salad was served with an herb buttermilk dressing, cucumbers (HUGE slices), pickled red onions (gave great flavor and color) and cornbread croutons.
This meat was delicious and moist!!! The pan seared heritage pork chop was served with an apple bourbon reduction and a warm fennel-cabbage-red onion slaw. The combo of the slaw and the sauce were scrumptious!
This dish was my least favorite. The raviolis were served in a sage brown butter sauce. The filling wasn't that flavorful or that plentiful - they could have been a bit more stuffed. Also, the duck confit seemed a bit overdone - I think it was potentially over fried. It was still good, but compared to all the other knock-out dishes, it didn't stand a chance.
I loved this dish! The butter poached salmon had a mustard glaze, shitakes, red peppers and an INSANELY awesome butternut squash wild rice salad. I could eat that salad by the bucket! The salmon was also the perfect temperature - medium/medium rare and so tender.
If you come here, YOU MUST GET THIS DISH! By far the star of the night. A pan-seared Moulard Duck Breast is prepared in a General Tso's style. It is served on top of a ginger carrot puree with haricots verts (fancy Fresh green beans). I wish I just ordered this for myself so I wouldn't have to share it, it was THAT good!
Check out the awesome vibe of the spot - so relaxed and welcoming.
This is a wonderful restaurant. It has outstanding food and an inviting atmosphere. I look forward to coming here again and trying more dishes.
Veggies for DAYS
Friday was a fun day! I had two girl catch-up dates on the calendar! Lunch and manicures with Kate to kick-off the day and THEN dinner and a cocktail crawl with Aish to round it out.
Kate suggested we meet up at Westville East (http://www.westvillenyc.com/) for lunch. I've heard GREAT things about this place from multiple people. I was glad she picked this spot. We both ordered a coffee to get the day going. Our server was very attentive and kept our cups full - this matters when you're thirsty AND tired!
We ordered a plate of three veggies to split. Each day, there is board outside and inside listing all of the vegetables and there preparation. We picked the Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and kale. They were delicious, fresh and tasty!
Our entrees came right when we finished up the veggie plate - perfect timing! Kate ordered the Grilled Salmon Salad with mixed greens, fresh mint, baby spinach and cherry tomatoes. She seemed to love it! I didn't snap a pic but trust that it was beautiful.
I ordered one of the daily specials: a frittata! It was an Italian-style one, with mozzarella, red pepper, spinach and prosciutto. It was served with the choice of a side salad or fries - I went with the side salad. It was dressed lightly and delicious!
I look forward to coming back to Westville for dinner and trying some different veggies! For vegetarians and all good food lovers out there, check out this spot. There is also a West, Chelsea and Hudson location.
PDT Cocktails Pack a Punch!
Stop 3 of the East Village Bar Crawl led us to Please Don't Tell (http://www.pdtnyc.com/). I tried to go here once before unsuccessfully, so I was very excited when my phone rang that our reservation was ready!
Please Don't Tell is one of the worst kept secrets in NYC speakeasies. I guess you should blame the internet for that. Clearly, this blog post is only perpetuating the non-exclusivity, but I believe in the democratization of fantastic cocktails. PDT is located within Crif Dogs, an unsuspecting hot dog shop. The food is great fast food - who doesn't enjoy processed, shaped meat wrapped in bacon?
Within a phone booth, there is a number to call to make a reservation. A hidden door opens and a very small lady opens to invite you to give your phone number. I imagine if it isn't busy you can sit down right away, but I've never had the pleasure.
After checking out the menu, we got the Shark, made with butter-infused Bacardi Silver Rum, overproof rum, Frangelico, Blue Curacao, Lemon and Pineapple Juice, Cream, and Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters. It is a beautiful blue hue and accessorized with a teeny-tiny umbrella.
The décor at PDT is interesting to say the least. Many taxidermed animals decorate the walls. It adds a certain "something" for sure.
This is worth a visit for any serious cocktail fan. Just be prepared to wait - there are plenty of bars nearby to stick around for a drink or two while you wait for a ring!
Finally Made it Here!
I put together a list of cocktail places I wanted to visit during my time off (http://www.personalitini.com/cocktailandculinary/2013/12/22/cocktail-places-to-explore-in-january) and Evelyn (http://evelynnyc.com/) was in the East Village section. After our dinner at Back Forty, it was only a couple of blocks away to get to Evelyn. We ran since it was cold and we were THIRSTY!
The cocktail list is very interesting. There is a section called "Spirited Phosphates" which are carbonated beverages spiked with booze and charged with CO2! The drinks are "poured" from an old-fashioned seltzer container, super cool. The smaller size is $7 and the bigger size is $11. OF course we got the bigger size. I chose the Bramble Cup, made with Four Roses Bourbon, Pimms, Blackberry Syrup, Mint, Lemon, Angostura Bitters and Phosphate (the Bubbly stuff!). The quality of this photo sucks. I tend to use my iPhone but hate using the flash when I'm out. I don't want to be annoying when others are enjoying their cocktail or meal with a BRIGHT FLASH. So, sometimes we get ehhh photos.
Since Aish and I were having a cocktail crawl, we only got one drink here. The back bar was interesting. It looked like someone was trying to be romantic with the candles and then things got out of hand. It adds a certain mood for sure.
I'd recommend exploring this spot and sticking around for a couple cocktails. I wanted to be able to walk to our next location, so we kept it tame with one.
A Dinner Out with a New Friend!
Last week, I planned a fun evening out with Aish, a lovely lady I met in one of my classes at Stern. She is HILARIOUS and I knew I had to impressive her with my knowledge of restaurants and cocktails. I knew Back Forty (http://backfortynyc.com/) would be a solid option for dinner. Although Aish is a gluten-free vegetarian she does not suck as a person. She was flexible in my restaurant choices and knew that I could find something suitable for her particular dietary needs. I instantly knew we would be best friends.
During my internship, we had a dinner at Back Forty and it was yummy! Fantastic cocktails and entrees. I really wanted to order the corn bread so naturally it was no longer on the menu - a "seasonal" issue. I was "upset" but managed to find something else on the menu. We each started with their signature cocktail, The Back Forty. It is made with George Dickel #12, Maple and Lemon. Each cocktail is $11; there is also an option for a large format carafe for $55.
While I was sipping on this delicious cocktail, I selected the Crispy Duck Confit, served with Fregola Sarda (a style of semolina pasta from Sardinia, Italy), Turnips, and a Citrus Marmalade. It was absolutely delicious. I love duck and this one was prepared perfectly. I highly recommend it.
Aish ordered the Housemade Pappardelle, served with a broccoli pistou, winter vegetables and Toussaint Cow's Cheese. It didn't look that pretty so I forgot to take a photo. What it lacked in looks, it made up for in taste, at least according to Aish and her gluten-free vegetarian palate.
Back Forty has great desserts but it was the first stop of our evening, so we wanted to have room. The donuts are yummy!
Pick Up Your Phone When You Give PDT Your Number!
After Scott and I finished dinner and dessert, we wanted to visit PDT, located within Crif Dogs. You go within the unassuming hot dog spot to discover the hidden speakeasy. The phone booth has a number that you call. Then, someone within PDT opens up the phone booth and either 1. Invites you inside or 2. Takes your phone number for a reservation. We fell within 2 and Scott left his phone number. We decided to kill some time at a bar right down the street, Ten Degrees Bar (http://10degreesbar.com/).
I've been here before as it features a pretty awesome Happy Hour. 2 for 1 Drinks, 7 Days a week from noon to 8pm! Of course we entered the bar right after 8pm. I ordered a glass of red wine, I believe Montepulciano. It was $9 and quite nice.
While we were at Ten Degrees, Scott's phone rang. Naturally, he didn't have the volume up or the phone even out, so we missed the reservation. When we showed up at PDT, we were told it would be another 30 minutes. So, we just went home. I am still determined to go there sometime soon! If you're in this area, check out 10 Degrees for an affordable drink.
When You Need a Fix, Hit Minca!
One of my good friends, Meredith, visited me from California this past weekend. We met up with some of her friends for dinner. Originally, we wanted to conquer Ippudo. I've lived in the city for over a year and I still haven't gone. There really is no excuse since it is so close to Stern. I haven't wanted to wait. This past Friday was no exception! The wait (at the no reservation restaurant) was over 3 hours! So, we decided to walk over to Momofuku Noodle Bar (which also does not take reservations) which had a 1.5 hour wait.
One of Meredith's friends suggested going to Minca (http://www.newyorkramen.com/) instead, where the wait was *only* 30 minutes for the five of us! We walked over (by this point we had quite an appetite after searching for ramen!) and waited for our table. I have not gone to many ramen spots, so I wasn't sure what to order. The waitress suggested their most popular option: the spicy miso ramen. It was delicious!
The broth had a fantastic flavor, the pork was perfectly fatty without being gross and the noodles were perfectly tender. This meal was for sure a "cheat meal" as I've been doing Atkins for the past month and a half with great success. Sometimes, you need to live on the edge, even if that includes eating carbs.
Spicy Miso Ramen!
I'm not a ramen expert, so I may not be the best judge. I really loved what I ordered. It was a big bowl and I left very satisfied having only spent $13 on the entree. Also, because this isn't as much of a tourist trap as Ippudo, you likely won't have to wait as long. I only have a sample size of 1 (my own experience) so I cannot guarantee a timely meal. Put your name down and grab a drink across the street at Ace!
Check it out!
Backup Plans Can be the Best Plans.
This weekend, three of my friends (Sherri, Leslie and Tom) hosted a birthday party at The Royal (http://theroyalnyc.com/). The Royal is located near Union Square and tends to be a bit of a cluster-f. I arrived around 10:45pm and the place was already OVERFLOWING. The bouncers are some real winners (read: asshats) too. Some of my friends left the inside party and we left to start our own party somewhere else. Someone in our group suggested Ella (http://ellalounge.com/), a lounge that features live music in Alphabet City. The venue is a bit narrow but also has a basement..but the basement was booked for a private party, so it looked like we would be hanging on the main level. I took a photo below, the lighting is cool but not as cool as my photo (due to an illuminating effect on my camera, sooo not cool to use a flash in the club!).
The signature cocktail, appropriately named the Reyka Vodka, St. Germain, Watermelon and Lemon Juice. They use fresh watermelon, evidence below.
Overall, it was a fun spot, but the narrowness of the venue makes bumping into people almost a guarantee. If I come again, I'd come for the live music and then leave before it converts into more of a dance venue (after 11pm).
Until next time,
Checked Off Another Speakeasy!
I had heard about Pouring Ribbons (http://www.pouringribbons.com/) and wanted to check it out but had not found myself in Alphabet City. After my mid-year intern celebration (I've been bad in posting!), we went to Pouring Ribbons, since we were right down the block!
Drink #1 - bartender's choice with Zacapa Rum as the base. I thought it was ok but wasn't a fan of some of the bartender's mixer choices - sometimes it pays to be VERY specific of what you do/don't like. Wasn't feeling too adventurous that night.
My next cocktail was straight off the menu, a classic Champagne cocktail. Delicious and refreshing!
Overall, I thought that Pouring Ribbons was a beautiful space and was quiet enough to have conversations with your friends or date. I will keep this in mind to visit in the future!
Mid-Summer Intern Celebration!
I have heard good things about Back Forty (http://backfortynyc.com/) and was pleased to see we were having our dinner there! I have been meaning to spend more time in Alphabet City, so this is great way to do that! In order to celebrate our brands, I ordered the Back Forty. It is made with George Dickel #12, maple and lemon. I absolutely loved it! I'm trying to get more into whisky and this was a non-intimidating introduction.
After I enjoyed my cocktail for a bit, the food (and there was plenty!) started to come out. I didn't snap pictures, but the cornbread and fried chicken were delicious!! Really brought me back to Charlotte and Price's Chicken Coop. Below is a shot of the pork shoulder, slaw and bread (some sort of pita). Really good. We just ate obscene amounts of food, typical.
Also, there were DOUGHNUTS! So good! Check out this spot!
After, we went to Pouring Ribbons which is right down the street. A super exclusive, swanky cocktail spot. I wouldn't rank it as high as some of the other "list-only" places I've gone (Raines Law Room is much better), but I do like the atmosphere. If you're going to pay $15+ for a cocktail, I like to have service and a seat! It is worth a visit.
New Favorite Spot!
Last night, I visited a fantastic cocktail bar, suggested by my very cute date. I don't tend to venture to Alphabet City (something about the street names turning into letters is intimidating). I need to start expanding my horizons by including this in my go-to neighborhoods. What Elsa lacks in a website, it makes up for in lovely cocktails (the spot does have a Facebook though, https://www.facebook.com/elsabarnyc. While I waited for my date, I ordered two drinks...for research!
This feisty and spicy cocktail is a mix of bourbon, jalapeno, honey, lemon, cinnamon, and cardamom. It is simply divine. I'd recommend it to anyone that wants to try a bourbon based cocktail with a little character. Next...onto something a bit smoky...
Death of a Ladies' Man
With this choice, I was adventurous. Sometimes, trying new things doesn't pay off, this was one of those times. The drink was a bit too smoky for me! The ingredients included: rye, maple, Laphroaig 10 yr old scotch, lemon and tobacco bitters. This experience taught me once again that I'm not a huge fan of scotch or tobacco (but I knew that). Once my date arrived (I got there a little early...research!), I ordered a sweet drink.
Two French Sisters
This drink is my JAM. A dreamy blend of vodka, St. Germain, lemon, orange bitters, and topped with Champagne. If I hadn't already had 2 (strong) drinks, I would have ordered another one of these babies.
I highly recommend discovering the cocktail menu at Elsa. It is a great place to spend some time, especially on a great first date!