Park Avenue Summer
260 Park Avenue South (between 25th and 26th streets)
New York, NY 10010
OMGOMGOMGGGGG it’s almost WINTER and I have yet to post about my INCREDIBLE dinner at Park Avenue Summer from… the SUMMER! I’m sad on so many levels: 1) summer is over, 2) fall, my favorite season, snuck up on me and is on its way out already (I haven’t even taken out my fall clothes yet!!), and 3) I’ve really abandoned this blog :( I’m currently working on all kinds of things so that one day my food life and work life can maybe merge and become one. How amazing would that be?? This blog has been such a crucial outlet for me so THANK YOU ALL for being so supportive!
Okay. I know. You don’t care. I’m a sap (it’s not that time of the month I swear). Onto the food.
B.J., K.C., R.Y. and I had a ladies’ dinner here in August during Restaurant Week ($38 for an appetizer, entree, and dessert). The restaurant used to be uptown but recently moved to Flatiron, “offering a more casual, accessible version” of the restaurant. Casual and accessible is right. The place was super classy and the food was definitely high-end cuisine but the mood was light – something I loved about the restaurant. Our waiter made us laugh (THE FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS #insidejoke) but was professional at the same time. In general, I’m not the biggest fan of going to fancy restaurants because they’re usually stuffy and overly polite (and my table of friends somehow always ends up being the loudest). Park Avenue Summer allowed me to have amazingly delicate food without the stuffy package.
Oh, and for those of you who don’t know, the restaurant changes seasonally (the name of it, the menu, the decor – everything) so is worth going to at least four times a year.
Our amuse bouche: watermelon cubes on a stick with a creamy spicy sauce on top. Tres refreshing. Continue reading
200 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010
You all know now that I love Eataly (especially after my trip to Italy). LAW and I were in the neighborhood and decided to grab a quick lunch. G.B. had told me numerous times that him and N.T. always split the Prime Rib sandwich from Eataly’s Rosticceria. This butcher counter sells a different meat per day of the week (for example, porchetta Thursdays and meatball Fridays). You can buy roasted meat and rotisserie chicken by the pound, or buy freshly made sandwiches and sides (they have roasted brussels sprouts!). Continue reading
200 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010
I’ve been to Eataly a countless number of times for fresh pasta, squares of focaccia, some balsamic vinegar, etc., but have never been to the restaurants. The lines are always too long and the reviews too average for me to bother. But since getting back from Italy not too long ago, I’ve been CRAVING Italian food. I’ve been wanting meats, cheeses, wines, pizzas, pastas, ugh! LAW and I were doing some shopping in Flatiron area and decided to “just go to Eataly” since it is right there and we’ve never been.
The wait for La Pizza & La Pasta was an hour so we parked at a corner of a standing table at La Piazza and decided to have some appetizers first. La Piazza is at the center of the bustling supermarket. You find an empty spot and servers come to take your order of various meats, cheeses, and wine. It feels very casual and friendly.
LAW and I shared the Grande Piatto Misto Di Salumi & Formaggi ($22), an assortment of the best meats and cheeses of Eataly. I also had a glass of the Pinot Nero 2011 ($12/glass), a medium bodied fruity red that the server suggested (great suggestion). The platter came with four types of cheeses that ranged in hardness and sharpness. It also came with a salumi, a ham, and three types of prosciuttos. Oh, and ENDLESS delicious sourdoughy bread! So worth the $22. Continue reading
9 E 18th St
(between 5th Ave & Broadway)
New York, NY 10003
Thanks to M.B., I was lucky enough to be invited to sample Rosa Mexicano’s new brunch and late night menu to be offered from February 23rd to March 10th (starts tomorrow!). I stepped out of work for about an hour and a half on a Tuesday morning and started off the day with a shot of tequila. Rosa Mexicano skips coffee.
I was then offered a chaser, a Chilled Horchata de Coco, which is a classic Mexican beverage made from pressed rice milk infused with coconut. The smooth and creamy flavor of coconut soothed my stomach from the tequila and prepared me for the rest of my meal. The aftertaste was subtly of sweet rice. Mr. Howard Greenstone, president and CEO of Rosa Mexicano, explained to us that they chose to add more sugar than typically added in traditional horchatas to better suit the palate of Americans. I appreciated his honesty. Truly. One of my pet peeves is when Chinese restaurants that clearly know they are not making Chinese food, market their food as “authentic.” There’s nothing wrong with a good regional twist. Continue reading
37 W 17th St
(between 5th Ave & 6th Ave)
New York, NY 10011
I’ve been raving about this place for quite some time now and have already gone a bunch of times. For some reason, my photos are never satisfactory when I come. I think this is because we usually decide to go on a whim and I only ever have my iPhone with me. This time, we went with our out-of-town Turkey guests and as proper host, I finally had my camera with me. As background, Basta Pasta is a pasta place (derrrhhh) run by a Japanese owner. The dishes are subtly influenced by Japanese cuisine with a few exceptions that clearly show a cultural marriage, such as the Linguini Ai Ricci Di Mare, which is a linguini tossed with fresh sea urchin and basil in a pink sauce.
The meal always begins with a basket of assorted breads and little toasted slices of bread with a thin layer of gorgonzola spread. Bread is not warm but is pretty satisfactory, with a classic white, a golden raisin, and some other crisper/toasted white. Toasted bread and gorgonzola provides just barely enough flavor to whet the appetite. It’s surprisingly good.
We started with two orders of the Insalata D’ Anatra ($12), a salad of watercress and arugula with cherrywood-smoked sliced duck breast. This is one of my favorite simple salads because a) they give you a TON of duck for a salad; b) the vinaigrette is not too sharply acidic; and c) the arugula and watercress provides the perfect balance of tenderness and crispness. The vinaigrette is a little sweet and coats the smoked duck breast, forming what some would probably call umami. The duck is smoked such that the meat is still incredibly tender. The consistent thin layer of fat adds a bit of creaminess to the whole affair. Continue reading
Brother Jimmy’s BBQ
116 E 16th St
(between E Union Sq & Irving Pl)
New York, NY 10003
We wanted to watch the game. I wanted some ribs. The guys wanted some beer. And so off we went to Brother Jimmy’s!
Notice how I angled my camera so that the focus of the photo is the brussels sprouts. These brussels sprouts were a-m-a-z-i-n-g. They were pan fried to crispy perfection and there was a ton of them. This plate is the Combo Rib Platter ($21.75) which consists of three types of ribs, two sides, cornbread, and pickles. The three types of ribs were Northern Style (smoked and grilled with bbq sauce), Southern Style (smoked with memphis style rub), and Jimmy Style (smoked with Jimmy rub). I tend to like the saucier ribs over the dry-rubbed southern style ones because dry rub is easily made too tough. The memphis-style rub actually tasted better the next day with our Chinese meal at home. I slow roasted it in the oven a bit to warm it up and softened the meat. It tasted a little like Chinese 蒜香排骨 (garlic ribs): a little sweet, salty, crispy, and sliiightly spicy. Yum. Again, brussels sprouts were amazing. It also made me feel like I was having a healthy meal… veggies, protein, and sweet potato! Fries were good. Crisp on the outside and mushy on the inside. Corn bread was good…. but not as good as….
35 E 18th St
(between Broadway & Park Ave)
New York, NY 10003
ABC Kitchen is one of those staple NYC restaurants that everyone recommends to their out-of-town friends because it is a safe recommendation. It was opened by a famous chef, Jean-Georges, and it boasts a cool NYC vibe with its rustic wooden farm chic decor. The kitchen uses only fresh organic and local ingredients, which is all the talk now. It also has a cool concept as it is attached to its own furniture store that sells all the furniture and kitchenware that the restaurant uses, forcing you to pay attention to not just your food, but also the $55 ripple porcelain plate that your food sits on. Its pricing is also standard NYC pricing for a decently “nice” restaurant, with entrees ranging from $18 to $37 and appetizers ranging from $6 to $17. As you can tell from the large price ranges, the menu is pretty large and so I didn’t post about ABC Kitchen until I had been there twice, once for dinner and once for lunch. I’m going to combine the dinner and lunch items so you get a larger survey of their food (you’ll notice the change in lighting in the photos).
This is the Roasted Carrot and Avocado salad ($14), probably my favorite item on their menu. I got it both times I was there because it is so unique and really defines the restaurant for me. The salad features a large handful of fresh greens with roasted carrots, fat slices of avocado, crunchy seeds, a dollop of sour cream, homemade garlicy croutons, and a citrus dressing. The roasted whole carrots (each about 5 inches long) were caramelized and exceptionally sweet. The ingredients are reminiscent of a simplicity and charm of the “countryside” yet when combined, produces the complexity that you would expect of a stylish NYC restaurant. The textures are crunchy (croutons and seeds), soft (avocado and sour cream), and leafy (greens), while the flavors are sweet (carrots) and sour (citrus). Yum!
This Chicken Liver Toast ($10) was from their Market Table section of the menu. Their menu items consist of quite a few “toast” options, including a Roasted Kabocha Squash toast and a Crab Toast. My friend is really into liver pates so we chose the chicken liver, even though I am a bit wary of chicken liver because bad chicken liver has a horrible, horrible, gamey and iron taste. Thankfully, ABC Kitchen’s chicken liver was quality; it was very creamy and smooth and was not as dense as most pates. Despite the fact that it was lighter with almost a mousse-like consistency, the kitchen slathered on the pate really thickly and so was still too dense for me. The bread, though had a nice crisp crust and soft interior, was not nearly as thick as I would’ve wanted it to be. I ended up supplementing my pate with the bread basket because the pate was just so overwhelming. I’m a bit of a liver pansy though; I imagine that if you were a diehard Liver Lover, you would wolf up the toast with relish, like Y.P. did. Continue reading
79 Madison Ave
(between 28th St & 29th St)
New York, NY 10016
Woooo! Hannah invited me to be her plus one at Pranna’s Spring Preview Event. Like Rosa Mexicano, Pranna is launching a new spring menu and we got to try it first. We had the option to try 4 cocktails and 6 various little food things. Pictured above is what I started out the night with – the Eastern Berry, which was a concoction of raspberry lemongrass reduction, fresh lime juice, Velvet Falernum (an almondy syrup), and Bombay Sapphire East. There is nothing Eastern about raspberries but since the drink is made with raspberries and lemongrass, a native Indian herb… following the transitive property, it makes the berry eastern as well. Good job, Pranna. Also, Bombay Saphire East, which if you didn’t know, is a gin made with a variety of eastern ingredients such as Chinese liquorice and Indonesian cassia bark (fun fact of the day). The drink was definitely on the sweet side and had very little gin. I pretty downed one of these immediately because I was so thirsty and didn’t suffer an repercussions.
Ever since visiting Rome over a year and a half ago, I’ve missed everything about it. The cobble stones (which I can get a tiny taste of here on Bond St.), the incredible ancient Roman ruins that are just embedded within the modern city fabric (we stumbled upon Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane), and of course, the FOOD. Even the little panino stands on the random corners of the streets had amazing bread and prosciutto, a combination that can last me many, many meals. Olive oil was amazing… thick and green from every bottle at every restaurant. Great Italian food, like Japanese food, involves the best and the freshest ingredients cooked simply. LAW and I headed straight to Eataly to for our ingredients because… Eataly sounds like Italy.
200 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010
Eataly is a high end Italian food market chain that sells fresh bread, cured meats, cheeses, gelato, freshly made pasta, olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, Italian cookies and chocolates, etc.! They have locations throughout Italy and apparently a few in Tokyo. In New York, the food market surrounds a center hearth that consists of a number of high end food-court-esque restaurants. Mario Batali is one of the owners and describes it as a “grocery store with tasting rooms.” Continue reading