AboutEating my way through the Big Apple and around the world.
Always in favor of extraordinary flavor versus saving a few calories, I’m constantly seeking the best restaurants, recipes, and random little food finds. This blog chronicles my discoveries, most of which are located in New York City, the foodie heaven I am fortunate to call home.
I am an editor at Zagat, but all opinions on this blog are mine and have nothing to do with my employer.
I take my photos with a point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot SD850. Which goes to show that if you're passionate about photography but can't afford fancy camera equipment, you can still take quality photos.
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New York Restaurants
Food in NYC
Eating Around The World
Recipes and Food Finds
I’m always going to have something against Rubirosa, the recently-opened pizza joint serving up dependable (but not groundbreaking) Italian fare to hip young things in NoLita. (It replaced my favorite neighborhood restaurant, Lulu’.) The spin-off of Staten Island’s famous Joe & Pat’s (and managed by former Beatrice doorman Angelo Bianchi) packs a trendy/hipster crowd, who throw back cocktails at the beautiful bar and bebop to oldies music. It’s a fun yet casual Friday nite out. Just don’t get the stuffed artichoke (although I really never understood how to eat those things, so maybe it’s just me).
There were two things keeping me away from Mario Batali’s 50,000 square foot Italian food hall, which opened at the end of summer: 1.) crowds and 2.) gimmick. But a couple weeks ago I braved it all (and on a Friday nite!) and finally experienced Eataly.
And unfortunately, like I assumed, I wasn’t too impressed with my dinner at the Pizza/Pasta bar (restaurants are broken down by food type: Fish, Meat, Vegetables, Pizza/Pasta, Wine/Charcuterie, and a more formal restaurant which is the only one that takes reservations). Portions were small and overpriced, and the place was hectic (securing a table on Friday nite at 8:30 was going to take an hour and a half, but counter seats came up in 20 minutes). It felt like eating in a brightly-lit, noisy mall, and when you’re constantly surrounded by people in this crazy city, why would you want that?
The food was tasty, but nothing special in my opinion, and not worth a wait or $16 for one average-sized square of lasagna with no sides. The best thing I ate was the pumpkin and butternut squash lasagna (second to top). The pesto lasagna was meh, the pizza, which go for around $15/six-slice pie, was good but not unique.
Click through to see what I did like about Eataly.
As professed earlier, I’m on a mission to try all ten Keith McNally restaurants. Although I’ve never been overly impressed with any of the ones I’ve visited, the man is just so fascinating that I want to love them all. Unfortunately interesting people don’t always create amazing restaurants.
Scrambled eggs “in” puff pastry, with wild mushrooms and asparagus
Towards the end of April I had brunch at Balthazar. Although I worship its take-out cafe (best croissants, best ginger citrus tea), the brunch menu was extremely underwhelming (only a handful of choices, less than what’s listed on the website) and extremely overpriced (everything around $20). When the food came out, it looked like it had been grabbed off a fast food line. French toast was flopped on a plate with two slices of bacon criss-crossed on top of it; a pile of scrambled eggs with a puff pastry thrown on the side. I have no problem paying good money for good food, but paying $20 for mediocre poached eggs? Never again.
And the service! I understand the draw of this place is the larger-than-life, wide open brasserie, and yes, of course it’s going to be packed. But when a food runner ran into my mom’s chair, spilled her water, looked at it, and then walked away without doing anything, that’s when I vowed I was so over this restaurant.
Grilled asparagus at Pulino’s
But not over McNally yet. Last week I finally made it to his newest venture, Pulino’s. What a difference a couple city blocks make. Although the food wasn’t anything unique, it was good. It wasn’t the best pizza I ever had, but the ingredients were fresh and delicious, and I’d come back if there wasn’t a wait. My favorite part of the experience was the inventive cocktail menu, chock full of liquors and concoctions I’d never heard of. An extra bonus: the staff was excellent. Without us saying anything, a manager came over to fix our wobbly table, and our waiter actually seemed like he was enjoying his shift.
Funghi pizza: mushrooms, tomato, mozzarella, pancetta & grana
Tourists and locals love this stuff, and I finally got to give it a try when I had a few friends in town.
The verdict? I wouldn’t wait 45 minutes again for it.
I’m not a huge thin crust fan, but I didn’t taste anything special that would warrant the wait. You can get the same thing at Angelo’s Pizza sans line. Seriously, what is the fascination with this place?! People be crazy!
But yay for root beer that’s brewed in Brooklyn!
After party at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory!
This past weekend, I decided to find out if always-packed Lombardi’s (America’s First Pizzeria!) is just a tourist trap, or if it actually serves respectable pizza.
To start, the menu is as basic as can be. Your choice of original margarita or white pizza, or a calzone. Sides include a couple salads and breadsticks. A basic menu is not necessarily a bad thing, if you can do those few things outstandingly. Lombardi’s, in my opinion, does not.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t go running out of there in a fit of total embarrassment and new yorker shame. The pizza isn’t bad (the sauce was delicious, although the crust was a bit too salty), it’s just not worth the price, waiting in line, or the poor service. I’d much rather walk one block west and hit up Pomodoro for a slice of their incredible vodka.