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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

NYC Blog Post - 10.8.2013

This week's post has a couple East Village newbies but for the most part I headed uptown to traverse some new territory.  So for those in the UWS and Midtown who have felted neglected... enjoy!


Apparently this restaurant has been around since 2008 yet hasn't "blown up" and I have no idea why.  Every time I walk by it I always think "this place is so cute; I need to try it!"  So when an old coworker from L.A. dropped into town I knew exactly where I wanted to go.  We did the chef's tasting menu which they adjust for allergies and also for "diner excitement."  What I mean by "diner excitement" is that if there is a dish on the menu you HAVE to try they will incorporate it into the tasting menu.  I think that's really cool.

The food was beautifully presented and delicious.  It took them awhile to take our order but that could've been because we were so busy catching up that they didn't want to disturb us.  The standouts were the Creekstone New York Strip steak with roasted shallots, creamed spinach and red wine jus (yes, we insisted on this one and it costs extra), the Grilled Octopus with romesco, baby arugula and lemon (another request) and the Hamachi Crudo with avocado, hearts of palm and jalapeno.  Everything just tasted like it came straight from a local farm/ocean.  And the warm chocolate cake and peach tarte tatin were the perfect desserts!  So impressed with this place.  Perfect for a date, family dinner or coworker outing.  Love it!


My friend was looking for the perfect place for her birthday.  Her criteria was to find a place that she didn't need a list to get all her friends in yet had a club feel with good dance music/vibe that didn't insist on us buying three bottles for an exorbitant amount of money to have the tiny table in the corner.  The fact that they serve hookah was a huge plus!

Babel was the perfect solution.  We had no problem getting everyone in and the manager even gave the birthday girl free shots.  When some of the birthday party got a little too rambunctious dancing on the booth they were very politely asked to get down (no one getting thrown out rashly, etc).  At one point a hookah was broken accidentally and they were still super nice about it.  I was really really impressed.  And it was worth it because I'm pretty sure we spent three times what we expected to because we were having so much fun.  THAT'S how you run a business!  I would 100% come back and highly recommend it for a night out with friends or a birthday.  On another random note I liked how it was a nice combination of lounge and hookah bar.  It wasn't overly themed.

Photo Credit: Babel Website


I continue to have a love-hate relationship with this place.  I love the look of it, the fact that it's underground and the bouncer (he is the sh*t).  What don't I like?  The people there can be kind of weird/pretentious, it's often too empty to want to dance like an idiot (granted I'm there on random nights), and last time I was there a guy who worked there kept taking pictures of us without permission which was really off-putting and made me want to leave.  Not cool.  Hence this place is sort of dropping on my list of places to hit up late night especially when my alltime fav, Hotel Chantelle, is across the street.

 Photo Credit: Chloe Website


Ken and Cook
Another one that's been on the list for awhile.  I didn't even mean to eat here on Saturday.  My friend and I were running the East River knowing that we would "run to brunch" but I actually had a different place in mind.  Then my friend managed to get a side ache right in front of Ken and Cook and I thought to myself... how convenient!!

Best decision ever...this place is adorable and delicious.  I had the smoked salmon toast (it was a toss up with the fried chicken and biscuits but they had run out of biscuits so forget that).  The toast was thick and warm and toasty just the way I like it.  There was generous helping of fresh smoke salmon and a roast tomato that literally melted into tomato butter when I sunk my knife into and spread it on the bread.  I was in HEAVEN for the 60 seconds it took me to scarf this down.  I wanted to order another one.  I highly recommend and will definitely be back soon.

 Photo Credit: Ken and Cook Website


Jacob's Pickles
This place is all about two things: Pickles and Biscuits.  You don't say.  Those are two of my favorite things!  It took me about two seconds to order a plate of pickles and biscuits with all the fixings (house strawberry and orange preserves, clover honey, and organic butter).  This pretty much meant I just doused everything in honey.

It wasn't until my friend received her order that the food envy began.   I'm pretty sure this is the Southern B.L.T.  which is a biscuit with buttermilk fried chicken, fried green tomato, pickle slaw, and Niman ranch bacon.  As you can see from the photo it was a monster.  She had about two bites and tapped out at which point this B.L.T. and I tangoed.  After demolishing all of it I felt like a winner... until 30 minutes later when my large intestine tried to digest it.  Maybe next time I'll split!  Anyways, it was delicious, our waiter was hilarious and the restaurant has fun picnic table style seating conducive to making new friends.  My only comment was it was kind of expensive for pickles and biscuits.

I wouldn't go back just for a meal there since I'm lazy and this is in the UWS but if you happen by that area definitely make a pit stop.

Osteria Cotta
If you see a theme it's because I spent all day in the UWS.  Osteria was where my day began as part of a 20 person brunch.  We of course did the 2 hour unlimited drink menu with the purchase of a brunch entree.  The drinks were actually really good (mimosas, bloody mary, sangria) considering usually they are watered down or overly alcoholic when you do all-you-can-drink. 

We ordered the Eggs in Purgatory which is eggs baked in spicy tomato sauce with creamy polenta.  It was ALOT of polenta and not much egg but I still thought it was really good.  We also ordered a pizza (my friend and I shared our plates) and it was pretty good too although it had too much lettuce on it.  The waitress was a sweetheart and very patient and attentive considering the size of our party and the restaurant itself is cozy and homey.  I don't need to go back but I would recommend it if you find yourself on the UWS.



I was uptown for a lunch meeting and my coworker suggested this place.  He said it was probably the best Turkish food he'd ever had.  It was quite the recommendation and I've always been fairly unimpressed with the food in midtown.  It was SO good!  I had the chicken kebabs and they were juicy and huge.  The assorted "salads" that we got before (babaganoush, hummus, etc) filled me up so I had to take half of it home.  It was just as good as a leftover.  Can't wait to hit this place up again.

Tre Dici Steak
I went here for a work dinner and was surprised at how good the food was considering we were ordering from a prix fix menu.  The winner of the night was the slow baked macaroni with homemade crushed plum tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, hand rolled mozzarella and fontina di val’dosta  finished with basil oil.  It was steaming hot.  The steak I was less impressed with as it was kind of over-done.  I snagged a bite of the lamb chops though and they were excellent.

Photo Credit: Tre Dici Website