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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Weekly NYC Blog Post - 2.6.2012


Pierre Loti
So I'm tempted to not even write about this place because I think it might become my special local spot and I don't want all of you to go rushing over there...but this place is awesome. Super small, dark, great first date place. The food is Mediterranean/middle eastern and very good and the bartender, Mustafa, is a doll. We had the hummus and beef dumplings which was plenty of food for two. Definitely coming back here!

Photo Credit: Red Lion Website


So for those of you who don't follow this blog often...I am allergic to shellfish. Thus, when I go out with big groups of people to sushi/Japanese restaurants I tend to order my own stuff separate. That being said the yellowtail and spicy tuna handrolls here are delicious as is the wine by the glass. Everything else looked amazing and my friends said it was tasty so I will have to let you know next time I go - which I will be doing. The interior is very hip, although the service is a little slow. It was a 2.5 hour dinner mostly because I felt like the staff took so long to bring drinks and food. For us it didn't matter because the conversation was good but I wouldn't go here if you are in a hurry.

Photo Credit: Kibo Website


Red Lion
Ah, it's that time of year - rugby season. And what better place to watch it than the Red Lion on Bleecker where the Scottish men are hot, the food is English, and the television screens are everywhere. Be prepared for a plethora of accents and crowds during sporting events and a chill, hang out atmosphere at night. The owner, Joe, is almost always there adding a "Cheers-esk" flavor to the place. Definitely a good time.

Photo Credit: Red Lion Website


Hotel Chantelle
This non-hotel restaurant bar is going to give Bounce a run for its money as my new favorite party hangout. Much more hipster, artsy than Bounce so you won't run into the same type of clientele but the music is amazing. The mixed drinks are pretty horrible (definitely well vodka) but they do their job. The place consists of a rooftop bar/restaurant which I haven't been up to yet, the main floor which is a pretty standard bar, and then the basement which is just a massive dance party. Already planning on making this Laura Birthday 2012.

Photo Credit: Hotel Chantelle Website

Woohoo! I made it to a second Restaurant Week place. I'm on a roll! Always love saving money and still eating well. I'd heard great things about this place and was very excited to finally go. The restaurant itself may be THE coolest-looking place I've seen outside of Vegas. There is a frickin' TREE growing in the middle of it! I felt like I was eating in a tree house bungalow deep in a forest.

Photo Credit: Rayuela Website

For dinner, we did the Restaurant Week menu. Appetizers included:

creamy yuca balls stuffed with tetilla & manchego cheese,
served with poblano pepper black bean sauce, frisee salad and crème fraiche

These were good but too bland for me.

crispy pork belly in a curry lentil soup, with fried quail egg,
and green apple-smoked bacon salad

This was my order and I was definitely the winner. The pork was cooked perfectly but I wish there was more of it! I'm not a huge lentil fan which overpowered the dish a little.

lamb meatball drizzled with a mahon cheese-sesame fondue,
sprinkled with Serrano ham powder and crispy mint leaves

These were tasty but second to Pipa's albondigas in my opinion.

My entree was the Entrecot Callao which was grilled ribeye marinated in panca-pisco, green pea puree, cherry tomato chimichurri with crispy applewood tocineta. It was perfectly cooked and the egg on top was a great touch!

Dessert was lackluster, again because I'm a dessert snob. The Tres de Chocolate was chocolate cake, white chocolate ice cream, chocolate and toffee sauces. The cake was dry, the ice cream was delicious and creamy but there wasn't enough of it and I didn't even taste the toffee. It takes a lot for me not to finish a dessert and I didn't finish this one. Enough said.

I know I sound super harsh regarding this meal but that's just because I'm picky especially in NYC where there are so many amazing restaurants that I can find anything wrong with. The service here was also a little absent. However, I would still say it falls under a good restaurant to eat and you should go just for the ambiance. The booths are also very private so another good place for a first or fortieth date or a birthday party because they are bigger.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekly NYC Post 1.30.2012


Manhattan Inn
This marks my first official nighttime foray in Brooklyn! My first warning is that every bar in Brooklyn seems to be cash only so ladies come prepared.... They sell a beer at this place called Pork Slap which tastes terrible but seems terribly fitting. The front half of the bar is mostly standing room only unless you can get the large wooden picnic table at the front near the door. In the back you enter a cesspool of crazy dancers which if you're drunk enough to an epic party...and if you aren't you can sit and have just as fabulous a time people-watching hipsters. The music was awesome and I would definitely hit this place up again.

Photo Credit: Peter D on


La Promenade des Anglais
So glad that I finally made it to a Restaurant Week restaurant! We arrived and the manager charged my phone for me while I was eating! He also came over and offered to pair each of our courses with wine for $50 per person instead of the Restaurant Week menu of $35 per person which was a great deal considering he filled the glasses pretty high!

For dinner, I had the kale and red cabbage salad with duck prosciutto, candied walnuts, pomegranate and shaved cheese which I gobbled down in about three minutes. The duck prosciutto was inventive and delicious! The second course was gargarnelli pasta with fennel pork shoulder ragout which was also tasty especially since the pasta was homemade. The finale was warm chocolate fondant with stracciatella ice cream which was just the right size. The restaurant was warm and inviting and obviously the customer service was impeccable. I'm happy to find another great restaurant close to home for me to frequent.

This was sort of a last minute, let's eat here, option that was actually quite refreshing. I had the Croque Monsieur which was very simple, toasted Paris ham and cheese on whole wheat toast, but was nicely toasted and melty in the middle. Definitely a good local option but not a stand out.


ABC Kitchen
ABC stands for Absolute Best Cuisine! This is by far my favorite restaurant in NYC so far. The dishes are inventive, delicious and beautifully presented. It's impossible to walk in and get a table but you can reserve a table or sneak to the back bar which is first come, first served, which is what we did. The restaurant is decorated white with lots of exposed wood and high-top tables. Very eclectic. Very cool. We also gorged ourselves....

1) Roasted beets with homemade yogurt - I would NEVER order this normally but the waiter convinced us to try it and it was amazing. The sweetness of the beets with the slight tangyness of the yogurt made this almost like a dessert. It was light yet rich. SO GOOD.

2) Roasted kobocha squash toast fresh ricotta apple cider vinegar - My other favorite of the night. The sweetness of the squash, ricotta and vinegar paired perfectly with the saltiness of the toast. Perfectly cooked - not soggy at all.

3) The special was a baked burrata with black truffle that was good but not worth the $40 price tag. I've had better but it was still very good.

4) Roast carrot and avocado salad crunchy seeds sour cream citrus - This dish was also very good although a little spicy for my palate. The fire of the spiced carrot was lightened by the softness of the avocado.

5) Roast suckling pig, plum and smoked bacon marmalade and braised turnips - I'm sure just reading that description gives you a pretty good idea of how good this was. I was so full and still couldn't stop eating this. Crispy on the outside; melty on the inside.

6) Sundae with salted caramel ice cream candied popcorn chocolate sauce (didn't get whipped cream and candied peanuts) - I really liked the ice cream but this might have been just a touch too much sweetness, but that could also be because I was bursting at the seams at this point.


Donut Plant
Another famous little spot in Manhattan, but not that tasty in my opinion. Granted I'm not a huge donut person to start but I tried both the cake and yeast donuts (they have two different types) and wasn't that impressed. The cake donut, The Blackout, was SO rich that I couldn't eat more than a few bites.

So I'm pissed because I took pictures of my amazing brunch at this restaurant and they came out blurry! This is the BEST brunch I've had in New York to date. I had the two piece fried chicken with coleslaw, biscuits and honey butter. The chicken was crispy and flavorful without being overly breaded and the coleslaw had large slices of cabbage and minimal mayo. Overall an explosion of tastes! As a lover of biscuits, these biscuits ranked just below the continuing incumbent - John O Groats, Los Angeles.

My friend as the brisket breakfast burrito with beef brisket, scrambled egg, guacamole, potatoes, tomatillo salsa and red onion wrapped in a flour tortilla with sour cream & cheddar which was HUGE but looked very good. We finished off the breakfast with a side order of the biscuits and cream gravy with sausage which was rich but delicious. I will DEFINITELY be back.


El Liberador
This little neighborhood parilla is located at 1725 2nd Ave (between 89th St & 90th St) deep in the Upper East Side. It was my first trek into unknown territory but the restaurant had great customer service and a friendly atmosphere. I ordered the yellowfin tuna carpaccio, ham and cheese and beef empanadas, skirt steak with garlic mashed potatoes and pappardelle bolognese. The carpaccio wasn't very high quality fish, the empanadas were a little greasy and the skirt steak with a little chewy but the pappardelle is one of the best I've ever had and we all know how often I order meat pasta. They also had delicious Argentinian wine by the glass.


Back Fence
This place brings back memories of Hermosa Beach/Manhattan Beach dive bars like Shellback. Home away from home. The band was mildly terrible, the drinks were cheap and the bachelorette party by the bar was entertaining. Lots of seats to sit and relax which is nice but if you can't get a table there isn't a lot of room to stand which is annoying. Great place to go if you just wanna chill and have good convo with friends.