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Thursday, February 28, 2013

NYC Weekly Blog - 2.28.2013

I swear the last seven days have been some of the best food I've had in NYC.  I feel like I hit some kind of jackpot!

I'm lumping Brooklyn together because on Sunday I spent the full day making my way over to Brooklyn and wandering throughout its neighborhoods.

It all started with a walk down the East River.  It was a fairly nice day out for February in New York.  Just crisp enough to keep you cool while briskly walking.  So nice in fact that we reached the Brooklyn Bridge and decided to walk over it into Brooklyn.  The weather wasn't quite nice enough to capture the view of Manhattan in it's glory but here is a little taste!

By the time we made it up Bedford to the "Williamsburg" area we were famished.  I had my heart set on Fette Sau but we passed Extra Fancy along the way and my "Maine" friend couldn't stop herself from checking out this place known for their seafood.

Photo Credit:

Since we already had our hearts set on Fette Say for dinner we decided to turn our night into a food crawl of Williamsburg and just stuck with appetizers and cider.  The Extra Fancy Deviled Eggs with pickled onions and fingerling chips were large and tasty.  The kale salad with artichoke was a lot of kale and not much artichoke... or dressing... or toppings for that matter.  Didn't really taste like anything.  We sat at the bar and the bartender wandered past us multiple times until I finally was like "Hi can we order??"  And then he calmly took our order like nothing was out of place.  Weird.  The cider was SO good.  I would come back just for that.  And the restaurant itself is really cozy especially on a cold day.

Feeling a little less "starvy" we made it to Fette Sau where we were lucky enough to jump in line right before a huge crush of people arrived.  Usually the wait here is outrageous and they don't take reservations so we totally lucked out!  We took full advantage of the menu ordering the brisket, pork ribs, pickles and coleslaw.  I also had to order a Cheerwine since this southern cult drink is hard to find in the Northeast. The overall review is that the BBQ was incredible, the BBQ sauce was even better (I slathered my beef in it) and the pickles/coleslaw were okay.  Oh and the Cheerwine was just as refreshing and sweet as always!

We thought the gorging would end at Fette Sau but we made friends with the guys at our table.  They asked if I was from Salisbury, South Carolina, because I was drinking Cheerwine (that's where they were from and super impressed I'd even heard of it).  This evolved into a long conversation about food resulting in them inviting us to try the best fried chicken in Brooklyn.

Five minutes later we were down the street at Commodore eating what I would agree was some pretty amazing fried chicken - heavy on chicken, medium on the fry, for some perfect crunch.  And the itty bitty toasty biscuits with honey butter really do melt in your mouth!  It took forever for them to serve it to us... and then offered us some nachos we didn't order ...but the food more than made up for the disorganized, albeit friendly service.

Photo Credit:

So that ends my little food trip through Brooklyn.  It has convinced me of only one thing.  I need to go back next Sunday.  On to more amazing food on the other side of the bridge back in Manhattan.


Willow Road
It's a little embarrassing that this place is literally across the street from work and I have never heard of it.  And even more embarrassing that it is TOTALLY my type of place!  It's a cozy little gastropub RIGHT next to Del Posto.  I started my evening with the Cinnamon Gimlet cocktail which lands in my top three cocktails of all time.  The limey-ness of the gimlet paired with the fire of the cinnamon did some crazy sh*t to my mouth.. and I liked it.

Dinner was a smorgasbord of flavors and plates from a jar o pickled vegetables to braised artichoke with fregola sarda and fava beans to wild black bass "en papillote" with leeks and minnesota wild rice.  And topped with a fried homemade "Snickers" bar with ice cream.

The veggies were, well, pickled.  The artichoke fregola sarda (a Sardinian pasta that looks like a larger version of couscous but tastes more toasted) was SO good.  The artichoke was soft but not mushy and the fregola sarda was so much fun to eat!  We were sharing our plates but I'm pretty sure I took far more than my share of this one!  The black bass was also good although not as memorable as the artichoke.

The fried "snickers" was also unique in that it is not really a Snickers bar, it's a homemade candy bar made with the same ingredients as a Snickers.  Then when it is deep fried it gets super melty and nutty on the inside while still staying crunchy on the outside.  Pair that hot with a little ice cream and you have a winner!  To top it off the ambiance of the restaurant is so nice as was our waiter.  I have already told three people about this place and plan on going back many times over!

Photo Credit: Willow Road Website



Horus Cafe
I'm huge into hookah and live near Ave A so I often switch between Horus and Kakuza.  Kakuza is my favorite in terms of the service, the atmosphere and the quality of the hookah but I really like the port they serve at Horus (and the hummus).  So I struggle some times with what is more important and then that's where I go.  But yeah, if you are a weirdo like me and like port with your hookah try this place out!

Photo Credit: Horus Cafe Website

I've never met the owner of this place but I imagine that he and I would make great friends.  After a quick tour of this place I came to the conclusion that he must have made a checklist of all the things he would love to have in a bar (stripper poles, hookah, swing sets, ice box vodka bar, Bulgarian dance music) then opened one and put them all in it.  Even though they don't make ANY thematic sense together.  AND I LOVE IT.  I was here for maybe an hour on Saturday and I have already insisted that my friends and I all go back this Saturday.  So many activities, all fun.  My only comment is come after 1:30am because that's when the real party starts.  See ya there!!

 Photo Credit:


Empellon Taqueria
I've already written a full report of this place before but just wanted to mention it's still great.  This time I had the queso fundido with shishito peppers, the shortrib pastrami tacos with pickled cabbage and mustard seed salsa and the octopus with parsnip and salsa papanteca.  The queso was drippy, peppery yumminess and the tacos were the perfect combo of salty pastrami, hot mustard and pickledness but the octopus was frankly kind of weird.  It tasted like rubber in salsa.   Not my favorite and I've been big into octopus lately.  Anyways still a top spot.


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