Monday, July 1, 2013

Hiatus

Unfortunately the demands of life as of late have not been kind to Mad Wednesday. But on a brighter note, I am happily and busily working in the restaurant industry and gathering more insight to share in the future.
I hope to revive the blog in good time. Meanwhile, send any eating/food tour inquiries through my email. Happy eating!



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Restaurant Week: Gotham Bar and Grill

This year's Restaurant Week (aka Restaurant Month) led me back to Riverpark with the same wonderful results but to somewhere new as well, Gotham Bar and Grill:
Sunchoke soup: blood orange reduction, Satsuma mandarin emulsion
The Restaurant Week lunch menu at Gotham Bar and Grill started off promising and continued to get better with a few hiccups here and there. A creamy mellow sunchoke soup was made exciting with a tart citrus foam, warm mandarin sections, and halo of blood orange.
Kale and radicchio salad: apple marcona almonds, and parmesan muscat vinaigrette
Slow cooked chicken breast: couscous salad, grilled eggplant, apricot and golden raisin chutney, harissa yogurt
The entree was an impressive chicken breast dressed up with faintly Moroccan flavors. Crowned with a sweet chutney, the roast chicken rested atop a fruity couscous salad and some sadly charred eggplant and bitter demi-glace.
Orange parfait: butterscotch cake, passion fruit, brown butter ice cream, spiced meringue
The dessert, while surprisingly petite compared to the previous courses, was just the perfect size and tartness to cleanse the palate after an ample meal. Keep your eyes out for the next Restaurant Week to dine at wonderful restaurants you wouldn't have tried otherwise!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Salvation Taco: Doing the Most Good

Midtown East.
Bienvenido a Salvation Taco, the brainchild of April Bloomfield and Roberto Santibañez, now serving delightfully bastardized Mexican tacos. 
The new restaurant, located in the Pod Hotel, is still getting its sea legs but with its fun flavors and strong cocktail menu (micheladas and boozy horchata, anyone?) that should be no problem at all. Despite its origins as a sober Salvation Army building, Salvation Taco's playfulness is anchored by a ping pong table, Christmas lights, and eclectic menu. Try your hand at the tacos and ping pong soon, before foodies like myself bombard the newest Bloomfield joint with 2 hour waits.
Crispy pig ears
A nod towards Bloomfield's nose-to-tail cooking, the fried pig ears are crisp and cartilaginous. While the spice and lime juice mixture stains everything it touches, gnawing on them seems to elicit some great primeval satisfaction.
Ceviche verde con chicharones
Lime is a strong, if not too strong, theme in the ceviche and guacamole. The ceviche is alarmingly puckering with puffed chicharones and bits of apple that sadly make up half the appetizer. 
Roasted cauliflower with curried crema
 Issues of lime and size fall to the wayside when it comes to the tacos and especially the tortillas. Thankfully kept traditional, the tortillas have a flavor all their own and a coarse homemade texture you thought you could only find in an outer borough.
Cauliflower, roasted just enough to add some character, makes a great pairing with curried crema inside an uncompromising vegetarian taco.
Skirt steak with pecan and chipotle
While the pecans are hard to find, the smoky spicy chipotle is impossible to miss.  
Moroccan lamb on naan
Although entirely appropriate, the Moroccan lamb taco sadly replaces the tortillas I adore with miniature naan.  Once you get past the unwieldiness of the mini naan, the lamb and chutney pack just as much flavor as any Mexican taco.
Except for the tortas, the lunch menu is sized more like bar snacks than a full meal.
But come dinnertime, the taco list doubles in size to include a taco al pastor and a crispy sweetbread with chickpeas taco that is especially worth mentioning. Finish the meal with churros dotted with anise; the lively flavors even extend to dessert. 
The unabashed lack of pretense, in a city that usually exalts authenticity, is lighthearted and actually quite refreshing.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Real Eataly

A few bits and pieces omitted but without further ado, the final photos from Europe...
Rome
Artichoke quiche compliments of the chef
Buccatini all'amatriciana
Spaghetti alla carbonara
Various cornetti and coffees
Italian cornetti are actually different from French croissants. The Italian cornetti use less butter and are more sweet and doughy than buttery and flaky.
Porchetta
Porchetta sandwich
(Way too cheap) house wine
Antipasti plate: Italian swiss, caciotta, pecorino calabrese, prosciutto, salami, ham
Banana nutella tiramisu
Strawberry tiramisu
Pompi redefines tiramisu.
  Pizza al taglio from the famous Pizzarium!
Pasta suppli?
Mint and nutella gelato
Blackberry and strawberry gelato
Mint and cream gelato
Melon and dark chocolate gelato

Florence

Chicken liver crostini
Porchetta, mustard, tomato panini
Salami, pecorino, fig chutney panini
And the best cannolo that has ever graced my lips

Thursday, December 27, 2012

"We'll always have Paris"

A few dozen more photos from France and Italy then back to NYC's finest!
I won't even begin to try describing the city that takes food as seriously as religion. Everything that could be said, has been said (and said quite well by David Lebovitz). My only humble suggestion is Le Marché des Enfentes Rouges in Les Marais, one of Paris' oldest food markets and a true neighborhood treat.
There is no hard and fast rule for eating in Paris, where nearly every arrondissement overflows with the cooking of legends like Joel Robuchon or any talented brasserie chef. Follow the advice that my Parisian "grandmother" gave me: get lost in the streets of Paris and eat for yourself.
Chicken with lemon, orange, endive / Butternut squash risotto with moules au curry
Butternut squash risotto with moules au curry
Chocolate mousse, lavender panna cotta, espresso
For an overwhelming (bordering on traumatic) experience, visit La Grand Epicerie. This market can only be described as the Frankenstein product of some illicit liaison between Whole Foods, Eataly, Despana, and every supermarket in the world. You may need sunglasses to shield yourself from the heavenly glory of every possible foodstuff in the world in one place. It is where foodies go after death.
Some of the most beautiful tableware in the world: absinthe spoons and glasses.
The proper way to drink absinthe is to first measure out the spirit into an absinthe glass (the uniquely shaped bottom is helpful with this), place the slotted absinthe spoon with sugar cube on top, then drip cold water onto the sugar cube until it dissolves and the desired water to absinthe ratio is attained.
While re-legalized, absinthe sold in the United States does not have any hallucinogenic properties. 
Sorry folks.
Croissant
Let me let you in on a little secret...a good croissant in the city is just as good as a croissant from France. Mille-Feuille Bakery has what I consider the best croissant in NYC. 
Croissant aux amandes
Almond croissants aren't curiously flat by chance. Originally created to make use of stale croissants, the croissant aux amandes is traditionally squished after being baked for the second time.
Chausson aux pommes
Pain au chocolat
Buttery pastries modeled by the beautiful hand of Minji.
Beef bourguignon
A cold weather feast of beef, heirloom carrots, turnips, mushrooms, and potatoes.
Soupe a l'oignon
Soupe a l'oignon
French onion soup in France is simply called onion soup (obviously).
Ham, swiss cheese, and egg crepe
Crepe buerre-sucre
After all the nutella, banana, strawberry, whatever filled crepes I've had in my lifetime, the simplest crepe with butter and sugar could not have been better.
Croque madame
Exquisite pastries from Pierre Hermé
Ispahan
The French macaron is no stranger to NYC (La Maison du Chocolat, Laduree). And so, my time in Paris was spent looking for the original Pierre Hermé Ispahan, a rose macaron filled with rose cream and lychee then decorated with fresh raspberries. This is art.
Ile flottante
 A French treat impossible to find in the city, the ile flottante is an island of meringue floating on crème anglaise and drizzled with caramel.
When it comes down to it, simple bread and butter is all it takes to make Paris memorable. Fresh, almost cheesy butter with a baguette that smells and sounds as wonderful as it tastes.