Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina
75 9th Ave
(between Avenue Of The Americas & 5th Ave, in Chelsea Market)
New York, NY 10011
PAAASSSSIONNNN!!! Chef Antonella Rana’s voice is STILL ringing in my ears. That was my major takeaway from the pasta class I went to at this new italian restaurant in Chelsea market.
There are perks to having a best friend in the food industry. M.B. invited me and my beloved intern, Y.N., to one of their many pasta making classes. It’s normally a $65 per person class, which I thought was too hefty for me to ever want to do out of my own pocket, but definitely reconsidered after experiencing the class. Rana’s class was exceeded every expectation I had about cooking classes.
The class comes with a complimentary glass of wine, any wine of your choice on their extensive list of wines-by-the-glass. We somehow managed to get two glasses… not sure if there’s a loophole in the system or if Y.N. and I were just looking really good Monday night. Continue reading
3102 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, CA
Last time I had In-N-Out in my adult life, I blogged about it and pretty much expressed severe disappointment. I was just in San Diego for A.C.’s graduation (congrats!!!! feasting on Xi’an’s noodles when you get to NYC) and the first thing we ate when LAW and I landed was In-N-Out. It was 11:00PM when we arrived and we drove straight from the airport to In-N-Out.
Heeding the advice of all my Facebook friends who left hateful comments on my last In-N-Out blog post, I got the Double Double Animal Style. The first time I went I had a Single Animal Style, not knowing how thin the patties are. With the double, the ratio of bread to meat is much, much better. In-N-Out tastes like a GREAT backyard BBQ kind of burger. The meat isn’t as beefy tasting as Shake Shack’s, but it is also less greasy. The vegetables are super fresh and they are certainly generous with it (not one, but two slices of tomatoes). Continue reading
Mad for Chicken
314 5th Ave
(between 31st St & 32nd St)
New York, NY 10001
Checked out Mad for Chicken with M.B. and Y.N. this week. I was told by a number of people that Mad for Chicken is better than BonChon. BonChon is my favorite wing but loyalty to food is not a trait I find in myself. It’s a meritocracy here. The best wins in my book. We started with a corn on cob with parmesan and lime. Corn was naturally sweet, which tasted great with the saltiness from the cheese. Though, Mad for Chicken isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel here.
We then just ordered the Mad Combo of 5 drums and 10 wings ($21.95). We did half soy garlic and half spicy. Very similar to BonChon’s offerings. Continue reading
80 Spring St
(between Crosby St & Broadway)
New York, NY 10012
The first time I came to NYC as an “adult,” I was a college sophomore rebelliously skipping Friday classes to make the 5-hour trek to the big city. The only meal I distinctly remember having was at Balthazar. We went for dinner and I remember it feeling super NYC… busy, trendy, with a hint of stuffiness. I hadn’t returned since…until Y.N. invited me to join her and L.N. for brunch. LAW and I decided to go for the bread (they have a bakery next door known for its baguettes) and for the company, of course.
Y.N. read my mind and asked if we could share the bread basket ($21.00). L.N. was on the same page and had apparently already asked for a bread basket… on the house. L.N. manages a number of restaurants in NYC, including Dos Caminos (which I need to check out), so he has the hook-ups. For a bakery that supplies so much bread to numerous restaurants and cafes in Manhattan, I expected more from Balthazar’s bread basket. It wasn’t bad. The croissant was buttery and light. The pecan sticky bun was fresh and properly glazed. The golden raisin walnut bread was dense and flavorful. But nothing stood out… the breads weren’t particularly moist, chewy, soft, or crusty. The bread wasn’t hot or cold. It was room temperature. Really nothing to write home about. Continue reading
231 E 9th St
(between Stuyvesant St & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
The way I feel about Robataya is the way people should feel about their significant others. It’s always a treat when I get to spend time with Robataya. I always feel better about myself after I spend time with it. The more I spend time with Robataya, the more I grow to love it. The reason I haven’t fully blogged about Robataya sooner is because all my photos have been pretty crappy. The lighting is not the brightest and there’s a yellow warm hue that my old camera just couldn’t handle. But LAW recently got me an awesome Olympus PL-5 so I knew it was time to showcase Robataya.
I hate using the word “tapas” but that’s kind of what Robataya serves up. The menu offers a variety of grilled (over an open hearth) vegetables, meats, and seafood. There are a number of appetizers on the menu as well but the stars are all in the grilled items. I ALWAYS get the brussels sprouts ($6). It’s ALWAYS the freshest, most perfect brussels sprouts. ALWAYS perfectly grilled. ALWAYS salted just right with Suzu Salt, a salt imported from the Noto peninsula in Japan. According to Robataya’s menu, this salt “can only be produced by using the cleanest seawater in the region. Its saltiness is rounded by acidity, bitterness, and sweetness.” Continue reading