Category Archives: New York Restaurants

Pazza Notte **

Linguini Al Frutti Di Mare – shrimp, mussels, calamari, scallops, and clams in a white sauce served over freshly-made pasta

212.765.6288
1375 6th Ave
New York, NY

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After lunch at Brasserie 360, Jen and I continued to shop for a few more hours until our tipsy bubbly feeling turned into a headache/hangover. We had one of two options: (1) find advil and get on the next train home, or (2) keep on drinking. Obviously, being 21-year-olds we chose the latter option and posted up at the bar at Rue 57. I wanted a fun drink, but nothing on the drink menu was enticing me so I asked the bar tender to make me her specialty. She whipped up one of the greatest and freshest Pims Cups that I have ever tasted. The citrus from the fruit and the earthiness of the herbs was incredible. I would go back to Rue 57 for this drink alone. After 3 of these, Jen and I were ready to eat….again! Alcohol is just a vicious cycle of eating and drinking.

Pims Cup at Rue 57

 

So we walked, or stumbled shall I say, out of Rue 57 until we came across an Italian restaurant called Pazza Notte. To start, we ordered an appetizer of Fried Calamari with Marinara Sauce. It was delicious, as you expect any fried food to be! The marinara sauce was exceptionally good and a little spicy! They also brought out another sauce that was cream or mayo-based, which had a nice spice to it as well. We also ordered a side of Truffle Herb Parmesan Fries, which were out of this world good! They were served with ketchup and another mayo-based Cajun flavored dipping sauce.

Fried Calamari

Truffle Fries

For my main dish, I ordered the Risotto Di Funghi, which is wild mushroom risotto with white truffle oil and parmesan cheese. This dish is noted as the “owner’s favorite” and it sounds divine, but I was very disappointed. I found that the risotto was too mushy and entirely too oily. It actually made my mouth feel dirty after the first bite, and so I sent it back and continued snacking on the truffle fries instead!

Jennifer ordered her usual Linguini Al Frutti Di Mare, which is shrimp, mussels, calamari, scallops, and clams in a white sauce served over freshly-made pasta (photographed at top). She thought it was amazing and had no complaints, although I did not try the dish myself.

The one redeeming factor for Pazza Notte was the drink special—two for one martinis! Jen and I chose to sip on the Blood Orange Maritinis for the remainder of the evening and they were delicious! However, I am a foodie and not an alcoholic, so I probably won’t be going back to Pazza Notte anytime soon. I can get drinks at a bar—I expect good food at a restaurant.

2 for 1 Blood Orange Martinis

 

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Brasserie 360 ****

Warm Chicken Club, with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Bacon, Tomato, Boston Lettuce, and Mayonnaise between 3 slices of Whole Wheat Bread

212.688.8688
200 E 60th Street
New York, NY

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Still full from our Mexican meal last night, Jen and I woke up and headed straight to Bloomingdales without stopping for breakfast or coffee. But after just two hours of lugging around an arm full of shopping bags, we were ready to get some food. Unfamiliar with that particular area of the city, I asked the woman behind the handbag counter for some suggestions and she enthusiastically replied, “ohhh yes, there are so many great places around here to eat at!” Unfortunately, she then listed off places such as California Pizza Kitchen, Papa Johns, and TGI Fridays. What was worse is that she acted as if I had never heard of these places, and described them in detail to me, recommending her favorite menu items. I wanted to get out of the conversation fast but had no escape, Jen had to finish paying for her handbag. I tried to be polite, but I couldn’t even pretend to be interested in these places and she wouldn’t stop ranting and raving about the enormous “gourmet” salads offered by CPK.
I don’t mean to sound like a food-snob (which I openly admit that I am), but why would I ever want to go to a chain restaurant in a city filled with such culinary richness? I’ll save my fast food/chain restaurants meals for desperate times (such as Orlando), thank you!

Anyways, I realized that we were on our own for this one and that the best thing to do was just walk until we saw a menu that peaked our interest. So that’s just what we did. We walked out of Bloomingdales and headed down the block until we spotted Brasserie 360. I can always go for French food, and New York is filled with an abundance of fabulous Brasseries so I figured it was a safe bet. Sure enough, it turned out to be our best meal in New York!

To start we ordered a round of Mimosas and 2 glasses of Chardonnay (after all, shopping is always more exciting with a buzz!). Next we moved onto appetizers—Jen ordered the French Onion Soup baked with Gruyere and Provolone Cheeses ($9). It was probably one of the best French Onion soups that I have ever tasted (second to Nordstrom’s Café Bistro, which holds first place in my mind). It came in a large crock and the cheese was perfectly gooey and browned on the top. The broth was also a beef stock, which I think has a much heartier flavor than places that use chicken stock.

Glass of Chardonnay

French Onion Soup baked with Gruyere and Provolone Cheeses

I ordered the Tuna Tartar with Wasabi Whipped Avocado Cream served over Dill Marinated Cucumber Slices ($16). I was not used to eating tuna tartar without some form of cracker or plantain, but the cucumber slices were just perfect for the crunch (plus they are healthier!). The flavor of the wasabi was perfect and the creaminess of avocado helped subdue the heat, so it wasn’t too spicy. It was a little pricey for an appetizer but they used the highest grade of Tuna and the portion was very generous, as you can see in the photo below:

Tuna Tartar with Wasabi Whipped Avocado Cream served over Dill Marinated Cucumber Slices

For my main course, I ordered the Cobb Salad with Grilled Chicken, Corn, Avocado, Tomato, and Goat Cheese instead of Bacon. The salad came tossed in a light herb vinaigrette, and it was delicious. Of course, it is kind of hard to screw up a Cobb Salad, but I assure you that this was much better than any of the ones at CPK! The goat cheese was especially good, and the chicken had a nice herb marinade.

Cobb Salad with Grilled Chicken, Corn, Avocado, Tomato, and Goat Cheese instead of Bacon

Jennifer ordered the Warm Chicken Club, with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Bacon, Tomato, Boston Lettuce, and Mayonnaise between 3 slices of Whole Wheat Bread (photographed at top). I thought that the bread was a little bit bulky, and she removed the center slice as well. But the sandwich was awesome and certainly filling! Her entrée was also served with a side of Sweet Potato Fries, which were hands down the best sweet potato fries that I have ever tried, and best of all they were large cut steak fries! I kept sneaking my fork onto her plate to grab some.

Overall, amazing place, great atmosphere, and reasonable prices! Go!

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El Nuevo Amanecer **

Shredded Beef Quesadilla

212.387.9115
117 Stanton Street
New York, Ny

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Jennifer and I splurged on staying at the ritzy Gansevoort Park Hotel for our girl’s weekend, but found that we weren’t really in the mood for the ritzy hotel nightlife that took place at the rooftop bar. We went up there to find women snobbishly sipping on $25 cocktails, flashing the best of their designer brands and young men standing in circles discussing their plans for the evening, emphasizing how many bottles they planned to buy at the club. Jen and I considered mingling and then looked at each other and simultaneously said, “screw this, lets go dance and drink cheap beer.” So we bee-lined it for the door and took a cab over to Ludlow Street, which is a great little place to go bar hoping. We had a few drinks at Spitzers’ and then went dancing at little club, where we worked up a ferocious appetite.

We exited the club with sore feet and grumbling bellies, so we decided to stop at the first place within sight—a Latin American restaurant called El Nuevo Amanecer. It was one of the few food places still open, and there were an abundance of late night diners inside.

We grabbed a table and looked over the menu while noshing on the complimentary Homemade Tortilla Chips and Salsa. After noticing Guacamole on the menu, we also ordered a side of that for our chips! The chips, salsa, and guacamole were all delicious and definitely my favorite part of the entire meal.

Homemade Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Guacamole

For an entrée, I ordered the Beef Burrito, which I had expected to be shredded meat since the menu read “machada,” but much to my dislike it was like cubed steak. The meat was kind of tough and rubbery, but I was desperate for food and so it didn’t stop me from finishing the entire thing. The burrito was served with Spanish Rice and Refried Beans, and topped with Salsa Verde and Lettuce.

Beef Burrito with Spanish Rice, Refried Beans, and Salsa Verde

Jennifer ordered the Beef Quesadilla with Melted Cheese and Shredded Beef. Hers seemed to be a lot better than mine because the meat was prepared properly. Her was also served with Spanish Rice and Refried Beans.

El Nuevo Amanecer is a decent spot for late night eats because the prices are good, the hours are until late, and they serve alcohol. I didn’t love the food though and wouldn’t go back by choice, however it worked for a drunken food fix last night.

 

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Fika Espresso Bar ****

 

Assortment of Desserts Offered on Countertop

646.649.5133
407 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016

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This morning—after I had the pleasure of scrubbing hardened pasta noodles off the stove under my mother’s watchful eye—Jen and I set out for New York City. Of course, our St. Patty’s Day hangover (and my required clean-up duties) prevented us from getting out as early as we had hoped, but we were on the train by 3 O’Clock in the afternoon and in Manhattan by 5.  Our first line of business was upon getting there was finding some strong coffee, as we were still trying to kick the residual headache/tiredness/nausea. We saw a great little espresso bar called Fika located across from our hotel (on the corner of Park and 29th) and walked over after checking-in.

The place was quaint and very tiny with a monochromatic and modern décor. It is a Swedish owned company (Fika meaning “coffee break”), and traces of Ikea Sweish design are everywhere! On the counter, there was a great little selection of cookies and biscotti, as well as a large selection of house-made truffles in a refrigerated case. Fika is an espresso bar but equally as well known as a chocolatier. I got a Cappuccino with Skim Milk and a piece of Almond Biscotti, but the truffles were certainly calling me and I was sad to pass them up. The cappucchino was very good and steaming hot, with plenty of frothy foam on top the espresso. The almond biscotti was also a very nice crunchy treat and the perfect size. I hate places that serve a jumbo piece of biscotti because I like to finish it still wanting more, rather than be bored with the flavor or overwhelmed by the sweetness. People sitting at the limited number of tables inside the coffee shop were very artsy and youthful.

Inside of Fika Espresso Bar

Overall, I was very pleased with the strength of the coffee and the cozy little atmosphere. I suggest it for anyone that is looking to break away from the Starbuck’s movement, which has taken every street corner and rest stop by storm!

Assortment of Chocolate Truffles and Sandwiches

Cappuccino

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Db Bistro Moderne *****

The Original Db Bistro Burger – sirloin burger stuffed with braised short ribs and foie gras served on a parmesan bun

305.421.8800
255 Biscayne Blvd Way
Miami, Fl 33131

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Chef Daniel Boulud hails from Lyon, France and has opened an abundance of award winning restaurants in cities such as New York, Beijing, Vancouver, West Palm, and finally, Miami. His soulful dishes, inspired by traditional French cooking, are beautiful to look at and quite an indulgence to taste. Every detail in his restaurant is carried out to perfection—from the décor, to the to plate aesthetics, to the food flavors.

Db Bistro Moderne, which opened back in February of last year in the JW Marriott (downtown Miami) has a rich elegance that is incomparable. When my friend, Brooks, asked me to get some dinner with him there I could hardly wait. I spent the hour prior to going on my phone reading over the menu…again, and again, and again. I was salivating at the mere descriptions of the food, which were so detailed you could almost imagine the taste. I think that a lot of restaurants make the mistake of not describing their menu items in enough detail, but this is certainly not the case at Db Bistro! Here, if it is on the plate, then it is in the description.

Despite having poured over the menu for almost an hour, I still found it hard to make my final selection once at the restaurant. So I did what I often do, and asked the waiter to name the five most popular menu items. Without hesitation (no “depends on what you’re in the mood for” bullshit), he lists off his favorite five dishes. And when I asked about the beef bourguignon, which I was tempted to order, he was astonishingly honest and told me that there were better things to try. So I ordered my meal based on his suggestions, had not one regret! To start, I tried the Tomato Tarte Tatin which is puff pastry with tomato confit, herbed goat cheese, frisee, atop a swirl of basil pesto sauce. Although the combination of the cheese and puff pastry sounds a bit heavy, the dish actually came off surprisingly light. The dough was flaky and buttery…just kind of crumbled when poked with the fork, and the cheese was creamy and flavorful. I had originally been expecting freshly sliced tomatoes with the tarte, but when it was brought out I noticed that it was actually like stewed tomatoes (almost looked like a red sauce, with roasted tomato slices). Actually, when all of the elements combined in my mouth it tasted like a super gourmet pizza. The most interesting element on the plate, however, was the basil pesto. I took the pesto for granted as a garnish when I first saw the dish, but once I got a little taste, I couldn’t seem to get enough. The pesto is very thin and almost looks watered-down, but the strength of flavor is unexpected and incredible. Such a miniscule element, but it really pulls the whole plate together.

Tomato Tarte Tatin – puff pastry with tomato confit, herbed goat cheese, frisee, atop a swirl of basil pesto sauce.

Brooks had the Tuna Crudo with harissa-sesame sauce, cucumber radish, and crispy rice. Again, every element of the plate had a punch of flavor that lended itself well with the others. The tuna was prepared in small one-inch cubes and a total of 6 or 8 were served on the plate. I tried one, and the flavors just exploded in my mouth. I had really expected it to taste dull like tuna sashimi, but what a pleasant surprise. This is certainly a place where you eat the garnish!! Daniel doesn’t put anything on the plate that doesn’t enhance or compliment the food. There is no senseless parsley garnish or pickle to be wasted here. Every element of the dish is meticulously planned and the layers of flavor just build and build.

As my main entrée, I ordered The Orignal Db Burger, which is a sirloin burger stuffed with braised short ribs and foie gras served on a parmesan bun accompanied by a small pale of pomme frites. And, I think that’s about all I need to say! I mean, beef + short ribs + foie gras (all in one bite) = sheer bliss. The only way that this burger could have possibly gotten any better is if it was void of calories. But since this is impossible, it was utter perfection. I have never experienced a burger like this, and I really don’t think I would even call it a burger because it is just on another level. Obviously, I crushed the entire thing…much to Brook’s disappointment I think, because I sensed he was feigning for a few more bites (I’m not generous with sharing food I love)! His dish—the tasting of Lamb which included roasted loin, merguez, sweet and sour eggplant couscous, croquette, sheeps milk yogurt, and lamb jus—was also very good, but didn’t hold a candle to my divine burger. Also, the lamb was unfortunately a little over-cooked. The flavors were still great but definitely an apparent cooking error.

Tasting of Lamb – roasted loin, merguez, sweet and sour eggplant couscous, croquette, sheeps milk yogurt, and lamb jus

Just as I was tucking my now pregnant-looking belly down into the elastic waistband of my leggings, the server brought over the dessert menu. I was already stuffed beyond capacity, but each and every dessert taunted me…enticing my sweet tooth. Again, I asked the server what was best and finally agreed to let him just surprise us. He chose something that I wouldn’t have ordered for myself, but it was fabulous. It was tiny oatmeal raisin cookies, complimented by Jameson flavored ice cream and a dense chocolate mousse (it had the flavor of a mousse but did not have the air bubbles). Of course there was also homemade whipped cream and drizzled chocolate on top too! It was really refreshing and hit the spot with just a few spoonfuls. We also tried some of the Warm Madeleines, which were very light and had a terrific infusion of lemon flavor. They were topped with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar and were small enough to just effortlessly pop into your mouth again, and again, and again.

Warm Madeleines Sprinkled with Powdered Sugar

Overall, the meal was fantastic and I think that I will forever have cravings for that orgasmic burger. I am better off for having experienced it in this lifetime.

 

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STK ***

Japanese Wagu Sliders with Secret Sauce and Truffles on Seseame Bun

305.604.1000
2377 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, 33139
(In the Gansevoort Hotel)

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I’m not going to lie, after the break up with my ex-boyfriend, I turned into a little bit of a serial dater. I went through a period of like 2-3 weeks where almost every night I was wining and dining with someone different. I definitely wasn’t looking for anything, but figured I had to get my groove back somehow and why not through casual dinner dates? I thought I was killing two birds with one stone—eating my emotions and adjusting to the single life all at the same time—but in reality, I was really just steadily gaining 5-pounds over the course of those 3 weeks. The lesson learned: no one can help you get over a break-up but yourself. Sure, having other crushes provide a distraction, but you cannot really move on until you remember how to love yourself….and this can take some time, so be patient. But since this is a food blog, and not a Dear Alice column, I’ll quit giving love advice and get to the food already.

Obviously, I ate out at a lot of restaurants during my short-lived “serial dating” phase, but I have not blogged about any of them because I never know who might read my posts (aka one of my dates). So why start blogging about them now? Well I think that finally enough time has passed since my “phase,” and since so many of my dates have deleted me from facebook and bbm (upset that I wouldn’t do a second date) I feel like they might not find my new site?!? Ehh, I just don’t care anymore really.

So one of my first dinner dates was to STK in the Gansevoort Hotel on South Beach. If you didn’t already guess from the name, STK is a steak house and I was really excited to check this place out because I had never been before (I like it when a guy takes me out to a place that I have never tried before). The interior of the restaurant is very modern and elegant, mimicking a swanky nightclub. In fact, I believe that it does turn into a club/lounge after dinner hours. The only thing that I hated about the restaurant was the seating. Tables for two were one-sided booths!!!! It was a half moon shape bench around a small circular table. So you sit next to one another and look out at all the couples cuddling in other booths while you eat. Since I absolutely hate booth cuddlers—I think people should just focusing on eating at a restaurant and save the snuggling for home—the seating situation really bothered me. It’s also terrible for a first date because your awkwardly close and unintentionally playing footsies under the table before you even get to know them.

To start we ordered The Lil’ Big Mac’s, which were sliders made of Japanese wagu beef topped with special sauce and truffles served on a sesame bun (photographed at top). They were incredible!! We added on the truffles extra and I am so glad we did because they added an awesome rich flavor that complimented the creamy secret sauce beautifully. The secret sauce is some sort of mayonnaise-based spread. I couldn’t quite figure it out completely, but I guess that’s why it’s called secret sauce. (After having the rest of my meal, I decided that I would get to orders of these sliders for my entrée if I ever came back…yes, they are that good)

For my entrée, I ordered the 10 oz Filet and it was good, but not the best (I still believe that Meat Market on Lincoln Road is the best steak house in Miami). However, I did enjoy the STK Bold Sauce that I ordered to go with it. It had a great smoky kick to it that added a lot of flavor to the meat. I was less impressed with their Bordelaise Steak Sauce, which was standard and lacking in flavor to be quite honest. Of course, I finished the whole steak though and definitely did a number on the Parmesan Truffle Fries, which were presented as a tower. I thought that they were good but not as strong in truffle flavor. If you are into Parmesan truffle fries, the best are at Gotham Steak House in the Fountaine Bleau…woah are they good!

Tower of Parmesan Truffle Fries

Overall, I thought it was overrated for the price point and the hype. I wasn’t wowed by anything, except the sliders, and even those were ridiculously over-priced ($25). I enjoyed the meal, don’t get me wrong, but I had higher expectations based on others comments. I would recommend going to Meat Market for steak in Miami.

STK REVISED:

Ironically, the night after posting my review on STK, my girlfriend called me up and invited me out to a promotional dinner there. I was unimpressed the first time that I went, but thought I would give it another chance—I really just couldn’t resist the opportunity of a free meal. So we went and surprisingly it was fantastic. I couldn’t believe the difference in the quality of the food between my first visit and this time. Everything was a million times tastier. I had the Filet Mignon again and this time it was juicy and flavorful without even putting any steak sauce on it. I also had the chance to try a lot of other items on the menu, considering the food was brought out family style for everyone to share.

One of the first plates to come out was the Tuna Tartar, which was made with a citrus yogurt and jalapenos served with a roasted pineapple chutney, crispy shallots, and plantain chips. I thought it was the best tuna tartar that I have ever had, and the sweetness of the pineapple was a perfect contrast to the heat of the jalapeno. The pineapple chutney was really great, and I couldn’t get enough of the citrus yogurt.

Tuna Tartar with Citrus Yogurt, Jalapenos, Roasted Pineapple, and Plantain Chips

I also had a chance to taste the Hearts of Romaine Salad with garlic croutons and parmesan dressing. It was very standard but tasted good. The Blue Iceberg Salad with smoked bacon, blue cheese, and pickled tomato was better in my opinion, but again, very average.

Unfortunately we didn’t get any of the sliders, which are still my favorite thing in the restaurant…in addition to the tuna tartar now! But I did get to try the Organic Free Range Chicken, which is served with a butternut squash-salify-forested mushrooms. I was actually wowed by this chicken dish, because the aforementioned “butternut squash chutney” was delicious and added a great flavor to the tender and juicy meat.

As far as side dished go, we had the Mac & Cheese (basic, not my favorite), the Seasonal Mushrooms (very, very, good), the Creamed Spinach (I like creamed spinach a lot but theirs was gross!), the Creamy Yukon Mashed Potatoes (way too creamy, almost a polenta consistency), and the Brussel Sprouts (prepared sweet, not salty = big mistake and not good).

For dessert, they brought out a cool display with a variety of treats. The presentation was great, the desserts were not. I would not bother saving room for dessert at STK, instead I would fill up on the tuna tartar, the wagu sliders, and of course steak! Based on my experience tonight, I would give STK 4 stars but because they are so inconsistent I have to keep them at 3. I like a restaurant that is dependably good…not just sometimes good.

Homemade Bread Served with Chive Oil

Assorted Desserts

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Scarpetta *****

Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Basil

305.538.2000
4441 Collins Ave (At the Fountainbleau Hotel)
Miami Beach, FL 33140

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Certain restaurants in Miami offer young beautiful girls (who know the right people, of course) the opportunity to eat at their restaurant for free so that other people see these beautiful girls going and want to go too. It’s pretty brilliant marketing in my opinion, because half of the girls who show up are models that don’t eat a thing—they just sit there and look pretty, enjoying the free drinks, which costs the restaurant next to nothing (it doesn’t take much to get a girl weighing 100 pounds tipsy!). Anyways, I was invited to go one of these promotional dinners at Scarpetta by my girlfriend the other night, and unable to resist the temptation of free food, I did! I actually thought it was a pretty cool concept, but it would have been better if everyone at the table was in our group of friends. You see, they seat all of the girls at one long 20 person table, so you get to sit next to your friends but chances are pretty good that you’ll also be sitting next to someone you don’t know to your right or your left. Of course, this happened to me! I ended up sitting next to a beautiful girl from Australia that was most definitely a model, and she was joined by one of her other model friends (they were the organic and earthy looking type of models with their slicked back high buns and make-up free dewy faces…beautiful). I lit up like a Christmas tree as I took my seat next to them though because I assumed they wouldn’t be eating very much of the food, which is served family style to share with your neighbor. I was right…JACKPOT!

The breadbasket was brought out first and no oneflinched. I couldn’t believe it! No one reacted to an assorted basket of warm freshly baked bread. All I could think was I am not a model, and I brought my appetite….this place may reconsider promotional dinners once they see the damage I’m about to do! I tried every type of bread that was in that basket, and the one with filled with salami and cheese (looks like a slice of stromboli) was my favorite. There was also a really tasty eggplant spread served alongside the butter that I enjoyed on the rosemary-scented focaccia.

Next to be served were the appetizers. I started with a serving of the Burrata, which I thought would be pretty standard with Heirloom tomatoes, baby basil, and olive oil, but the burrata was the best I have ever tasted—it was so creamy and fresh that it was almost hard to keep on the fork. I was really amazed by how flavorful and delicious this simple dish tasted. Next I tried the Japanese Mackarel Tartar with balsamic vinager, avocado, and basil. I am not the biggest fan of tartar, but I thought it was tasty…I didn’t go for seconds though. The Raw Yellowtail with olio di zenzero, marinated onions, and baby greens was kind of the same thing for me, not into the raw fish but enjoy the single bite I had.

My favorite appetizer by far though, was the last to be brought out and it was the Creamy Polenta with fricassee of truffled mushrooms. WHOA! If someone told me that I had to eat one thing for the rest of my life, I would strongly consider this polenta as an option. Thankfully, the models wouldn’t even think about eating something as rich and fattening as polenta and so I practically got to enjoy the entire appetizer alone.

Creamy Polenta with Fricassee of Truffled Mushrooms

Next to be served were the pasta dishes, which included Duck and Foie Gras Ravoli in Marsala Wine Reduction and Spaghetti Pomodoro. I do not like the idea of eating duck or duck liver, but I could not possibly deny myself these triangle purses of pasta served in a marsala wine reduction. Each little ravioli was a bite of heaven, and tasted more delicious then I ever thought duck could. The Spaghetti, like the burrata, was delicious in its simplicity. The pasta was homemade and cooked perfectly Al Dente, topped with just the right amount of sauce.

Foie Gras Ravioli in a Marsala Wine Reduction

Finally, the dinner entrees were served which included Sliced Filet of Dteak with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Scallops served with Edamame. Neither of these entrée’s appear on the menu, leading me to believe that they were just specials for the evening, but they scallops were incredible.

My absolute favorite part of the meal though (other than the polenta!), had to be the desserts, which of course were left untouched by the models who instead decided to sip on herbal tea and watch me stuff my face!! I couldn’t tell if they were looking at me with jealousy as I poked my fork into every dessert, or with judgment but I couldn’t contain myself any longer and of course said to the model next to me, “You must have been saving yourself for these desserts all night, since you barely ate any dinner….want some?” She looked at me like I was crazy and told me that she was fine with her cup of chamomile. I genuinely felt bad for her.

I’ll start by telling you about my favorite dessert, which was the homemade Chocolate Donuts filled with Nutella.They were warm and rich and just sinfully sweet. They came with a side of warm frosting to drizzle over top…I was actually moaning over them. Then I tasted the Guava Crème Brulee with homemade whipped cream, which was very good but not anything wow. The Mocha Cheesecake on the other hand was out of this world. I believe that it was a coffee infused cheesecake, but it was the chocolate and espresso bean crust that took it to a whole other level. Finally, the last desert that I sampled was the Chocolate Molten Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. I am huge fan of molten cake to begin with, so I definitely savored every bite. I wouldn’t say that it was anything inspiring or creative, but they did it well. Overall, amazing meal…especially since a check never came at the end!

Here are some food porn images from Scarpetta:

Guava Puree with Sorbet and Cheesecake

Braised Short Ribs

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Uno Chicago Bar & Grill (no stars)

(Unfortunately Located Everywhere)

The biggest difference between going to New York with my girlfriends and going to New York with my boyfriend, all comes down to FOOD. When it comes to what and where to eat, my boyfriend and I are on the exact same page…mom-and-pop place over chain restaurants, fine food over fast food, and filling food over low-cal “chick food.” However, as I unfortunately learned this weekend, my friends are slightly more optimistic about the quality of chain restaurants than I am—I avoid them like the plaque—and they literally dragged me into Uno’s Chicago Bar & Grill after the World Cup Finals (VIVA ESPANA!!), while I made every last ditch attempt to avoid the greasy booths and smelly plastic cups of the chain restaurant. It came down to sheer strength in numbers…three against one and thus I walked (still waving my Spanish flag) into the meal from hell.

First off, when we sit down and open the menu we notice that every dish has the calorie count posted next to it. I went from not wanting to eat at Unos, to not wanting to eat EVER!! Is there no bigger food turn off?!? I mean I know that restaurants have to post their nutrition information somewhere, but normally they make it so small and hard to find that it never really stops us from shoving down the Big Mac or Chipotle burrito. But here it was in right in my face, and since I wasn’t drunk (I was actually wearing more beer than I could afford to consume that day, as pitchers of beer at the bar were $18 each) I couldn’t ignore the four-digit number next to the fully loaded nachos. Instead, I opted for the healthier option (and by healthy I mean practically the only food option under 1,000 calories), which was the Chili. I’m not even going to bother telling you what everyone else ordered because all of it was horrible and served cold. They actually brought my friend’s French Onion Soupwith an un-melted slice of deli cheese on top. She said to the waiter, “isn’t this supposed to be hot and bubbly?” My chili was served below room temperature—it was actually almost chilled…odd. The food was so bad that my friend, Ariana, leaned over to the table with the only hot food in the place (they had four pizza pies) and asked for a slice. Again, I remind you we were not drunk. They made fun of us for not ordering pizza at a pizza place and then gave her a slice of piping hot pizza, which she divided among the four of us at the table. The pizza was actually not half bad, but I think we just automatically thought it was good because it was hot.

Moral of the story; DON’T EAT AT UNOS!! It is gross.

 

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Corrado Bakeries ***

Almond Croissant

212.774.1904
(They are located all over New York)

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Before going to sleep on our last night in New York, I realized that I would want to pick up a quick breakfast before heading to the airport. I remembered that there was a great little bakery near the apartment and decided I would stop there in the morning to grab some food because as we all know, airport food is not only over priced but it is atrocious. So sure enough I got my butt out of bed extra early (which I would only do to satisfy my belly) and walked down to Corrado Bakery. I got analmond croissant, a ham and cheese croissant, and two fresh squeezed orange juices. The almond croissant was oddly disappointing, since I love their almond macaroon cookie (soooooo good). It didn’t have enough almond paste in the middle in my opinion so the almond flavor was lacking. The ham and cheese croissant was much better—I ended up eating it instead of my boyfriend. However, the best thing I have had from this bakery is the portobello and goat cheese sandwich, which sounds so simple but the foccacia bread that it is served on has a wonderful rosemary flavor and it is so much more flavorful than you would expect. If you like goat cheese as much as I do, then you have to try this sandwich. Also, the freshly squeezed orange juice is awesome…it just comes in the littlest cup so you have a couple of sips and it is sadly gone.

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MXco ***

Chicken Nachos

212.249.6080
1491 2nd Ave, New York 10075
(Corner of 78th St)

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It’s our last night in New York and after packing up the bags my boyfriend, Roberto, and I set out to find a late-night dinner spot. With no place in mind, we went walking around by his apartment basically looking for any place that was still serving dinner at the late hour of 11:30. We walked into one restaurant called Pil Pil (a Spanish tapas and wine bar) but it was so dark inside that we couldn’t read the menu. After using my blackberry as a flashlight, I discovered that I still couldn’t read the menu because well, it was in Spanish…with no translations! Although my boyfriend speaks Spanish, I wasn’t in the mood to hear him translate the entire menu and so the search continued. Next we found ourselves at a little Italian joint called Vero. Although they were running a great special—free Panini’s with the purchase of any drink (booze)—we were more in the mood for a real meal rather than a slice of bread to absorb our alcohol. The search finally ended when we sighted a couple munching on chips and salsa outside of a little place called Mxco. We decided to eat there since, as Roberto said, “you can never really go wrong with Mexican food!”

We ordered the Chicken Nachos to start and found ourselves pleasantly surprised by the combination of flavors. They used Chihuahua cheese (also sometimes called queso menonita) that was super rich and creamy, which kept all the nachos together nicely without making them soggy (soggy nachos are my pet peeve!). The nachos were topped with pico de gallo, a generous scoop of guacamole, and a drizzling of sour cream. But my favorite part of the nachos was the herb-pickled jalapeños, which had a really unique flavor when tasted on their own and added a great spicy kick to the dish overall (spice haters you’ve been warned). For our entree we decided to order two different types of tacos and share…we weren’t terribly hungry since our stomachs were still digesting our 5 O’clock breakfast. Each order came with two soft-shelled tacos so sharing was easy. First we had a Chorizo Taco, which had chipotle potatoes, salsa ranchera, queso blanco, and black beans. This one was undoubtedly our favorite of the two, and the flavors closely resembled those of Indian cuisine, almost like a samosa. It was unusual and unexpected but none-the-less delicious. Then we started on our Short Rib Tacos, which were simply prepared with pico de gallo and a tamarind-pasilla sauce. The meat was really tender and good, but not as interesting as the flavors of the chorizo taco. I must warn you though that the tacos were not, I repeat NOT, entrée-sized portions. They were more like tapas…I’m talking three bites and it’s gone!! Thankfully the nachos were rich and of a decent size so we left the restaurant satisfied, but we both agreed that the tacos, which ranged from $8-$10, were over priced for such a small amount of food.

As for the service at the restaurant…well it wasn’t that great. But I must remind you that we were seated at like 11:45 and they stopped serving at 12, and having been a waitress myself, I can understand that they were focused on closing the place. We did end up having to go inside to pay our check though because the waitress was MIA….annoying L

Overall, I would go back but only when I’m looking to have a light meal. I normally associate Mexican food with a full feeling afterwards thanks to Chipotle, which I love—I know it’s a chain, but I do love it—and Mxco did not have the portions to satisfy a hungry belly with just one entrée. However, the unique flavors were refreshing and all the ingredients were of high quality. I can only hope the service is better when they aren’t focused on closing at the end of the night.

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