A fun lunch date with a coworker!
Big ass steak, it's what's for dinner
Taking a Lunch Break in the Bahamas!
Happy Hour with Sad Oysters
Yummy Restaurant Week Dinner with Wine/Beer Pairing!
An unlimited brunch without a time limit..sounds dangerous!
$27.50 Gets You a Fancy 3-Course Lunch
I read recently that Tao is offering a Dim Sum lunch on Sundays. I brought it up to Melissa and she suggested that we check out the $27.50 3-Course Lunch instead. It is from Monday - Saturday till 5pm.
After we spoke to the server, I knew what I had to order as my appetizer. I got the Crispy Vegetable Rolls with Duck Mustard Sauce. I figured it would be a small serving but it was actually three large rolls! I was impressed.
Melissa felt like venturing into the soup option. It looked delicious and had ample (4!) dumplings!
I haven't had good Kung Pao Chicken in awhile so when I saw it on the menu, I knew what I wanted. It was a large serving and I took a lot home for later!
Melissa got the Hanger Steak with Miso and Asian Spiced Fries. She ordered it rare and really enjoyed it. I tried one of her fries and it was much better than I expected from an Asian joint.
For my dessert, the most interesting option was the Chocolate Zen Parfait. It had layers of milk and white chocolate with nuts mixed in between. The scoop on the top was whipped cream and disappointingly not ice cream. Looks can be deceiving!
Melissa got the Mango Sorbet, Seasonal Fruit and Coconut Milk. It looked like a fruit chowder with an island in the middle.
I loved checking out the Koi fish under the "floating" Buddha. Adorable!
This lunch special is a great deal if you want to eat at this otherwise expensive Asian hotspot.
You Will Definitely Have Room for Dessert
Aish and I were in the mood for Italian, specifically pizza. My family has gone to Vezzo (http://www.vezzothincrust.com/index.html and had rave reviews. I knew it was thin-crust. Sometimes I'm on the fence with thin-crust. Especially when it is priced the same as New York Style pizza. Since there is less bread, it is much less filling. Also, if you like toppings on your pizza (like most people) the thin-crust does not support much weight. Anyway, onto my experience at Vezzo!
I've been drinking more beer lately and I was craving a Peroni. I noticed that it was on draft, so I was excited! My server informed us that the draft system wasn't working, so I opted for a Pacifico.
I noticed Sweet Italian Sausage was an option for a topping, so I went for that and fresh basil. The level of basil was a little overwhelming and seemed like a salad instead of a topping since it wasn't wilted down.
Aish got the vegetarian pizza (Giardino). The weight of all the vegetables didn't stand a chance to the thin crust. Also, there were full pieces of roasted garlic. Aish commented that it was a bit intense. Chopped up garlic would likely be better and more enjoyable. The size of the toppings were just too huge for such a thin pizza.
I don't think I'll be coming back here. The pricing is the same as pizza places I prefer with thicker crusts (like Garlic) that are more filling. It is more of a personal preference.
They Excel at Pastrami and basically everything else
Of course we had to return to Sarges (http://www.sargesdeli.com/) during my parent's visit to NYC! We came for a late breakfast / early lunch.
My dad ordered a Swiss Cheese and Bacon Omelette, while my brother got the Cheddar, Bacon and Spinach Omelette and my mom got Eggs over easy with Grits. I got the pastrami with macaroni salad - duh! I didn't snap a pic though :(
My mom can't help herself either - she loves taking food pics!
Just come here ok? You're welcome.
A New York Deli Hits the Spot!
My parents are in town for my graduation from Stern (yay happy times!). They love a classic New York deli that is near my brother's apartment: Sarge's (http://www.sargesdeli.com/). Unfortunately, it was closed due to a fire in 2012. It recently reopened! I was pleased because I had never tried it while it was open and now was my chance!
Before my parents visited, I had ordered Sarge's through Seamless. I got a turkey sandwich and the pasta salad - both were incredible! There is something about eating in the physical restaurant that is much better than Seamless, so I was excited to try it on site!
My dad wasn't the biggest fan of the fries before, so he was curious to try them out. Based on his reaction, I am 100% sure they are much better! Before they were the thick steak-cut fries - these are a much better size ratio. The onion rings were awesome! I hate when you bite into one and the onion separates from the batter; this one stayed in tact! The waffle-cut sweet potato fries were great, but I would have preferred the normal shape.
I should also mention, you get a bowl of coleslaw and a bowl of pickles for the table. The serving size of coleslaw seemed appropriate for our group size (4) but the pickles were far too plentiful!
I ordered the turkey sandwich (as did my dad and brother) and my mom got the pastrami. It is KEY to order it lean. You can get it normal (which is somewhat fatty), lean (still tasty and delicious but not as gristly) or super lean (a bit drier but much less fat).
The turkey is REAL turkey, unlike deli meats you may get at a grocery store. The meat is carved from an actual turkey vs. some monstrous reformed blob of meat. It is divine. You must try it.
The pastrami? Where to start??? It is the best pastrami I've ever had. Katz's does not impress me - it is WAY too thick. Also, Carnegie is great but just cannot compare. The waitress gave me a funny look when I asked for mayo and said she "wouldn't tell anyone" - I realize it is a cardinal sin to not have mustard, but, deal with it. I appreciated that she didn't rat me out to the culinary police.
Also, the macaroni salad is AMAZING. It is the perfect combo of tangy with a hint of sweetness. Some are overly sweet or have too much mayo - this was awesome! Normally different shaped pastas in the same dish freak me out, but I actually liked the elbows and larger shells. WIN.
You may have noticed that these sandwiches are MASSIVE. I recommend requesting several additional slices of bread (I always get rye), so you can make a couple more sandwiches with the left-overs you will likely take home! You can get 2-3 sandwiches, at least, depending on your preferred meat-to-bread ratio.
Depth of Flavors Delight the Senses
Ah! Restaurant Week, you are amazing! Not only do you deliver delicious food to my mouth at a huge discount, you last for WEEKS! Melissa and I hit up one of her favorite spots, Riverpark (http://www.riverparknyc.com/), for dinner. As an aside, Melissa already came here 3 times (!!!) for Restaurant Week. I knew this was going to be a delicious meal!
A unique feature of this Tom Colicchio is that the entire menu is featured for Restaurant Week. Naturally, some of the menu items have an upcharge due to the ingredients featured. I forgot to snap a picture, but we started our meal with a delicious piece of fresh baked bread. The bread is made on site and so yummy!! We were offered another piece but I said no because I already stuffed a slice of pizza in my mouth at Beer Blast (the Happy Hour at Stern). See, I have self-control! ha
We both ordered the same pasta as an appetizer. It featured cocoa spaccatelli, pork ragu, Honeycrisp apples and sage.
The pasta was tasty! The cocoa was likely added for color as I couldn't taste it directly. Though, the overall profile of the dish was very complex, so I'm sure it added to the taste.
After looking at the menu, we found two entrees we both wanted to try. So, we ordered one of each! We got the Whole Roasted Dorade with baby artichokes, capers, fennel and olives and the Cocoa Spiced Pekin Duck with blood orange, fennel, pearl onions, red cabbages and chiles.
It is hard to pick which of this dishes was my favorite! The fish was moist, light and flaky. You can't really tell from the photo, but once you lift it from the middle, the fish was completely deboned and ready to NOM! It is nice to not have to pick out the bones. The assortment of vegetables and spices was lovely and not overwhelming to the fish. The duck was tender and tasted great with the blood orange.
For dessert, we ordered "Cereal & Milk" - the restaurant's signature dessert. Melissa assured me that it was worth the $3 upcharge! The dessert is composed of a chocolate ganache cake, caramelized rice puffs, and vanilla malt (hidden within the chocolate shell). We also got the Beignets that were served vanilla custard and spiced chocolate sauce.
We totally messed up and should have ordered TWO Cereal & Milk desserts!!! The beignets were ok but could not stand a chance compared to this delicious dessert. You break the chocolate shell and the vanilla malt inside covers the entire dessert. I should have taken a photo of it after we broke the shell but we were too busy eating it!
This is an incredible restaurant with phenomenal food! It is a much better value to come here during Restaurant Week but worth a visit regardless JUST FOR THE DESSERT!
Demarco Coffee Stole my Heart
Last weekend, I needed to meet up with a classmate to finish an assignment. He lives on the Upper East Side and I'm in Herald Square. We both didn't want to trek down to campus, so I looked for some coffee spots that were located between our apartments.
I checked on Yelp! (because I do this automatically) and Demarco Coffee (http://www.demarcocoffeenyc.com/) caught my eye. Not only were the reviews for the coffee overwhelming positive but it also offered free WiFi! I tend to do my homework at my apartment or school, so I'm not sure if free WiFi is not much of a perk anymore. At this point, is it like a hotel room offering bath towels? Is it such an essential amenity that it is no longer a perk?
After looking at the menu, I decided to order a cappuccino.
The coffee was great and hit the spot. I needed some caffeine to get my Sunday jumpstarted. If you're in Midtown East, check it out!
Divine Short Ribs
I first visited Hill and Bay a couple of weeks ago for drinks and planned to return for a meal. The opportunity struck when I wanted to grab dinner with a date before a movie at Kips Bay Theater. Side Note: We saw Dallas Buyer's Club and it was great.
I looked at the wine list and decided to order a glass of red wine. I can't recall which varietal I ordered - all glasses are price between $9 to $12. I knew I wanted to order the Braised Short Ribs, served with creamy polenta and crispy shallots ($23). Based on Yelp! reviews, this seemed like a safe bet and I do love cooking this dish at home!
The meat was absolutely tender. The wine I ordered really complemented the sauce. I was so happy with what I ordered!
When I looked at the dessert menu, I knew exactly what I was going to order! I love bread pudding, so naturally I ordered the Brown Butter Chocolate Bread Pudding, made with dark chocolate and served with ice cream ($8).
This is my favorite type of dessert: the juxtaposition of the hot (bread pudding) and the cold (ice cream) rocks my world. So yummy!
I'm glad I came back to this spot. Solid entrees and desserts!
A New Cocktail Spot in Midtown East
Last week, I checked out a newly opened bar (within the last three months) and was pleasantly surprised by the overall awesome-ness of the location: Hudson Malone (http://www.hudsonmalone.com/). Previously, it was a different bar and changed ownership. The entire décor of the spot was redone. I especially loved the detail on the ceiling. I forgot to snap a photo but it is tin pressed - beautiful, ornate detail. The overall feel is intimate - you can enjoy a cozy conversation with your friend or date while perched on dark wood furniture, seated at the polished bar.
The owner, Doug Quinn, built his reputation at PJ Clarke's, a New York institution. The bar is named after his two sons - ADORABLE. He also has his "Quinn's Laws" posted. My favorite is: Mediocrity Sucks! I don't recall the name of our bartender but I do remember he introduced himself and shook my hand! When does that even happen anymore? This simple gesture demonstrated to me the commitment to customer service and creating an enjoyable atmosphere.
From the cocktail menu, I ordered the Manhattan No. 2, made with Bulleit Rye, Sweet Vermouth and Bitters. It was DELICIOUS!
My date ordered the New York Old Fashioned, made with rye, sugar and bitters.
As my next cocktail, I ordered the Sinatra Smash, made with Whiskey, Lemon, Mint and Sugar. Really tasty!
He ordered a pint of Guinness, so I didn't take a photo. I'd love to come back here for a bite to eat. The beef in the burger is ground daily from a top NYC butcher, Pat LaFrieda.
I look forward to my return!
Oh My, Is That a Spotted Dick?
After our drinks at Hill and Bay, we headed over to The Peacock (http://www.thepeacocknyc.com/), a new British restaurant and cocktail parlor that recently opened in The William Hotel. It opened earlier in January 2014 and has a sister pub downstairs, The Shakespeare. How British! I just cannot help myself.
We arrived a little bit before our reservations, so we enjoyed a cocktail in The Library Bar. The setting is very much like a library with alcohol, so whoever named it should be promoted. I was automatically a fan. After reviewing the cocktail menu, I decided on the Bramble, made with Tanqueray, Lemon and Blackberries. It is served in a Julep Cup - love the detail!
Courtney ordered the Arbor Blush, made with Rose, Kapp a Pisco, Green Grapes and Chandon Rose.
When Courtney tried my cocktail, she did have buyer's remorse. This is why you order more than one! We brought our cocktails into the main dining room for dinner. It is set at the back of the hotel lobby and separated by French Doors; it is a nice touch. It makes you feel like you're at a super secret location, especially since the dining room is fairly small. Nice touch! Additionally, the tableware was personalized.
Even the BREAD PLATES had a Peacock - I was so impressed!
While we reviewed the menu, we both ordered a Bulleit Rye Manhattan. It was delicious and STRONG. I sipped that puppy.
After I reviewed the menu, I decided on the Lancashire Hot Pot. It included Braised lamb shoulder, roasted vegetables, rosemary and Yukon potatoes. It was PHENOMENAL! I loved it! Since this is British food, it was a bit hearty/heavy. The portion was the perfect size since it was so filling.
Courtney ordered the Braised Chicken and Red Wine Risotto - she loved it! I didn't snap a picture though - my b! I was too focused on my meal, so you know it was yummy!
We had to get dessert. A group next to us had ordered four desserts and we asked their favorites. They said the Sticky Toffee Date Pudding and they ranked the Spotted Dick last. I was going to make a comment, but I contained myself. Naturally, I would hope most would not prefer to order such a thing! I kid, I kid.
The Sticky Toffee Pudding was served with a toffee rum sauce and sticky toffee ice cream. It was yummy!!!!! LOVED IT.
Overall, I look forward to returning. The service was VERY slow. I will give this spot the benefit of the doubt since it is a new operation and a new staff. Hopefully that will turn around quickly or people will not want to return. I'm sending good wishes to The Peacock! Go get um!
New Spot Makes Murray Hill Less Awful!
Before our dinner at another spot in Murray Hill (2x in one night, I should be ashamed!), my friend, Courtney, and I wanted to grab a drink. We had just finished a movie at the Kips Bay theater and I saw Hill and Bay (http://www.hillandbay.com/). I'm in this area frequently since my brother lives up the street and I never saw this spot. It looked cool and I knew I had to check it out. So check it out we did!
We each ordered a cocktail. I'm all about trying new drinks and the Hill and Bay Spicy Martini, made with chipotle vodka, pickle brine and blue cheese stuffed olives, caught my eye.
I requested extra olives so I could drink it. The drink was a bit zesty with the spicy vodka, so I sort of chased it with the olives. I am a cocktail Macgyver. Courtney ordered the CB6, made with Gin, Amaro, Marmalade, Regan's Bitters, Lemon Juice and Zest.
Although she drank it, she commented that the drink was very lemony! Overall, I love the vibe of this place and feel that the cocktails will get better over time. It is a new restaurant, so I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt.
Check it out before/after the movies!
Where the People are Terrible and the Food is Great
After getting some drinks at Pierre Loti, we walked down the street to The Smith (http://www.thesmithnyc.com/) for our dinner reservation. I chose this place because I had heard good things about it from multiple people. Given the location, however, I was a bit worried that the place may be chockfull of the crowd that the area (Midtown) tends to attract (read: terrible people). Anyway, I was deadset on going here, so I was just going to have to block out the awful conversations held by the people sitting next to us. Topics ranged from unreturned Snapchats to Juice Cleanses.
As I mentioned in my prior post, dinner with a romantic interest is a rare event for me. This whole "online dating" situation I've found myself in doesn't tend to led itself to second dates or breaking bread with people. To say I was excited would be an understatement.
After looking at the menu, I decided to order a unique cocktail I had not seen before, the Dirty Jane. It was a reinterpretation of a dirty martini but instead of olives, it was made with pickled tomato. I tend to prefer a dirty martini made with pickle juice over olive juice, so I was looking forward to trying this - I'm glad I ordered it. It was practically an alcoholic salad.
For my main course, I got the salmon. It was served with mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, leeks, parsnips and bordelaise (a red wine sauce). It was quite yummy. The salmon was served as two smaller pieces instead of a larger piece. Which I think made it a little dry, even though I ordered it medium.
Of course we ordered dessert. Their menu is pretty tempting and when I read "S'mores Bread Pudding" I was done. It was made with a chocolate brioche bread pudding, graham cracker crumb bottom and homemade marshmallow topping with a honey anglaise. It was one of the best desserts I've had out in a restaurant. I would be happy to go here and just get drinks and dessert in the future. Cut out the crap with ordering entrees. Who really needs actual food? Desserts for life.
Anyway, this is a nice place, especially for cocktails and dessert . Be forewarned, it attracts a certain type of Midtown / Murray Hill-ish crowd.
Pierre Loti, Where the Seats are Not a Loti
The excitement and panic of a second date! Where to go? What to do? To my complete shock, my date suggested that we meet for an actual meal...dinner! I cannot even remember the last time I went on a date with someone and had food. This is likely because many of the men I have met never make it to the second date, either by my or their decision. It is hard to find two people that are mutually attracted to each other.
Before we met for dinner, I suggested drinks. As the forward thinking woman that I am, I planned to make a move to pick up the tab for this portion of the date. I was successful at doing this because I am a swift ninja when it comes to paying the bill. I also wanted to demonstrate that I didn't need to be wined and dined. I like him and by paying for something, I feel it shows you're also into the other person.
Anyway, I digress. I suggested Pierre Loti's Midtown East location (http://www.pierrelotiwinebar.com/midtown/index.html). For our first date, we were going to go to the Union Square location but we ended up changing the location and time. I was clearly still determined to go here with this person. I did not realize, however, that this location has super tiny tables and small chairs. If you have some junk in the trunk (like me), the barstools can be a bit of a challenge. At least I could work on my core muscles as I attempted to balance myself.
We ordered two glasses of wine each. I cannot remember which ones I got. I recall that they were very good and red. So, there you go. My wine knowledge as defined by color. The spot gives out random Asian crackers to nibble on (think wasabi peanuts and puffed sesame sticks), yet it is described as "Turkish" on Yelp!, so who the hell knows.
Anyway, I like the selection at this place (there are three locations in NYC). I would recommend Union Square as the set-up (and seating) is better.
Is Murray Hill Cool?
I went on what ended up to be a really great date this past Friday after my pre-date with Christine (heart her!). My brother lives near a bar I've walked by multiple times: Tuttles (http://tuttlesnyc.com/blog/). My date also lives in the area, so I suggested going there.
A great feature of the spot is its exterior garden - it's a little too late in the season for it though. We sat at the main bar and had a great time. Sometimes it is too awkward to take photos of drinks on dates, so I didn't end up taking one. I ordered a Bulleit Rye Manhattan - if it ain't broke, right?
This is a great casual spot that is worth checking out if you're in the area, especially in the warmer months!
Have a good one,
Drinks at the Ginger Man
I'm trying to be more spontaneous in my dating life. If you read in my previous posts, I seriously injured my foot wearing a pair of super high heels the other night out on a date. In the effort of looking hot, I was left being forced to wear a hot flesh colored (yes, I hope you are uncomfortable reading that) bandage on my foot. I look like some sort of limping mummy-footed person - it is really an awesome look for my first couple days of school as an MBA2.
I had been chatting with a new suitor on OKC. The title of this post can hint at his occupation. I think in the initial stages of dating new people, you need to keep your options open. The first date could be great and then go downhill very quickly on the next date. It is incredibly time consuming to go on many first dates, but lately, there has been a flood of new people on my radar on OKC, so when the getting is good, get after it, right? Anyway, back to this new gentleman. We had originally discussed going out a week from now. I figured, by then, I could wear normal shoes. I HATE wearing flats/flip flops on first dates. I feel much more confident in heels. I was out with my some school friends and got a text from this gentleman, he said he would be free tonight and asked if I wanted to meet for a drink. Again, in the spirit of spontaneity, I said yes! I gave him a heads up about my foot and he didn't seem to really care, if anyone cared it was clearly me. Sometimes I need to learn to get over myself. This is proof that dating teaches you a lot about yourself.
He said he liked beer bars and I wanted to check out The Ginger Man (http://www.gingerman-ny.com/). It is fairly close to where I live, so I wouldn't have to walk (read: limp) that far to get there. The first drink(s) I ordered was a flight of Fruit Beers.
St. Louis Framboise; Elysian Omen;
Sea Dog Blue Paw Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale; Ithaca Apricot Wheat
This isn't a shocker, but I knew that the Framboise would be my favorite beer. This is because this style of beer essentially tastes like raspberry juice. The Omen was GROSS - way too dark of a beer for me. The Blueberry and Apricot beers were ok, but weren't that cold. I think most people can agree with me that a cold beer is much better.
Read Glass Above
Next, I ordered a Hoegaarden. This is typically a safe bet, light and with a hint of citrus.
St. Louis Framboise
My final selection was my "go to" beer. I was very happy with this selection. Solid choice. This is a great spot to check out for beers. The setting is also good for a date - it isn't too "fratty" or loud for Midtown. It is respectable.
Until next time,