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
Such an awesome idea—What Happens When is a pop-up restaurant that changes everything about its concept (food, design, music) every month for nine months. I love the collaborative creativity behind this project, and the fact that it’s in my neighborhood (and not Brooklyn, where it most definitely would be at home).
I was so excited to finally try the second “movement” last week (reservations are difficult—probably more so now that the Times review came out the nite I was there). I had heard such great things about the first menu that I was willing to fork over $58 for the three-course prix fixe.
With tax, tip, and one glass of wine, I ended up spending almost $100—a huge splurge for me. Unfortunately, the meal didn’t blow my mind. The complimentary Prosecco and pine liqueur cocktail was unpleasant, the forest mushroom salad was somewhat soggy, the brook trout with beets and orange spice panna cotta were both average.
If I’m going to pay that much for food, I better go nuts for it. And for something that was funded by mostly $5 and $25 donations on Kickstarter, this place should be more accessible to foodies of all income levels (perhaps that’s why it’s in Manhattan).
I’m torn about trying it next month. I really wanted to love this place so much, but it just fell short for me. Has anyone else been? What did you think?
Balaboosta (Yiddish for perfect housewife) is the new-ish Mediterranean restaurant from Einat Admony, of Taïm fame (aka best falafel sandwich in the city). Her more upscale restaurant (in terms of cooking) made many “Best of” lists for 2010, and rightfully so. I love the homey way it’s decorated; bookshelves actually full of books and trinkets, a cozy dining room with a long communal table, and a big open window kitchen that faces the street.
The food was absolutely delicious, although I don’t see this being a go-to spot for me. It’s great for a date or a subdued dinner with friends or parents, but you can definitely find similar food elsewhere at a lower price point. But fun for a splurge now and again.
We ordered way too much food, from the grilled pizza with carrot purée, caramelized onions, goat cheese, and cilantro to the half chicken cooked under a brick with Israeli couscous with dried apricots. That’s in addition to what’s pictured above and below: the falafel-wrapped meatballs, the hummus (served in a mortar and pestle), and a delectable caramel apple tart. Everything was perfection.
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).
Here are my Top Four Meals for 2010 (clockwise from top left):
What makes a best meal? It’s the meals you can remember exactly what you ordered, and what every bite tasted like. It’s the meals you remember screaming “This is the best day of my life!” while you chowed down. And it’s the meals you want everyone to experience.
Can’t wait to taste what 2011 has in store. Happy New Year, Chowers. Thanks for following this blog.
"I made it! I made it with one minute to spare. It’s 5:59!" a dining companion exclaimed as he reached his friends, one minute before Torrisi opened for supper. Luckily only a handful of parties were gathered outside this Tuesday evening (still impressive because no one eats dinner at 6 in New York) versus the line of people sometimes queued up, patiently waiting for the no-reservations, small Italian grocer to open for dinner. We had already tapped on the door, put our name in with the hostess when she poked her head out, and were told we were guaranteed a seat when they opened.
In the cozy dining room, the nitely-changing prix fixe dinner ($50, and the only option) includes several appetizers, pasta, your choice of one of two main courses, and a dessert platter. No substitutions (not even no cheese sprinkled on top!) and choice or red, white, bubbly, or beer for an additional cost.
Trust me when I tell you the hype is true (NY Mag, The Times). Get here early, wait it out if you have to (as the Italian man sitting next to me loudly proclaimed into his cell phone “Yeah I’m in! I’ve never been able to get in, and I know everyone in this town!”), and pray they’re serving the mozzarella in olive oil (best darn mozzarella you’ll ever have).
Click through for more photos from our amazing dinner. Best experience I’ve had in New York in a long, long time.
Pichet Ong’s Village Tart, which opened earlier this year, is something right out of my jelly bean and gumdrop dreams. Honestly, it’s exactly what I want my house to look like someday. (That’s right, complete with a bakery counter up front.) It is just so darn charming that I can’t help but love it.
Pots of tea? Check. Gorgeous sugary treats displayed on antiquey cake stands? Check. It has everything this girl could want, but I’m still figuring out what role it’ll play in my life—coffee shop, bakery, brunch spot, cozy wine bar? Hopefully I can work on that this weekend.
Iced Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Baked Eggs with Mushrooms and Cream, and a crazy awesome to-go tea cup with closable hole. Have you guys seen these? I was thoroughly amused.
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
This bright, bi-level café recently opened in my hood, and I’ve been dying to try it. The French tartine sandwiches (an open sandwich on thin, crispy bread) made the perfect late lunch/snack before an early dinner. Four of us split two tartines, the Crottin (goat cheese, frizée, fresh thyme, honey, olive oil) and the Poulet Rôti (roast farm chicken, homemade herbed mayo, shaved fennel, olive oil).
Both were delicious, although I can’t imagine having a filling meal here if you’re starving. The four-piece sandwiches (with a house salad) average around $15, and if you really want a complete meal, you’d have to accompany it with soup or a dessert. That’s starting to get pretty expensive for what you’re actually getting. Maybe this is part of the “French women never get fat” phenomenon.
My favorite part about the restaurant is just its airy atmosphere. The upstairs area has large floor to ceiling windows that open on to Mulberry Street, and it’s a great spot for people watching. I’ll return at some point, but definitely on a day that I’m not ravenous (which is rare).