13 8 / 2012
During restaurant week I got the chance to visit the houses of some big boys: Maze by Gordon Ramsey, Sho Shaun Hergatt by Shaun Hergatt, Ai Fiori by Michael White and North End Grill by Floyd Cardoz. As always it is Restaurant Week and it can be a hit or miss, I have experienced both, but is always worth it to try new places that otherwise we could not afford. Below are my favorite dishes:
From Maze the Roasted Spanish mackerel grilled romaine lettuce, tomato marmalade, parmesan and basil.
From North End Grill the linguini with summer squash, peanuts and baby calamari.
From Sho Shaun Hergatt the sweet corn risotto, charred scallions and summer herbs.
From Ai Fiori the tagliatelle with broccoli rabe pesto and parmesan.
Desserts from North End Grill: pistachio cheese cake with plum marmalade – sponge rosemary cake with raspberry sorbet, and Ai Fiori: chocolate cremeaux, salted caramel, hazelnut, and fior di latte gelato – ligurian olive oil cake, lemon confit and berry sorbet.
18 7 / 2012
I have passed by the Milk bar near my house many times, and never felt the urge to go in. I had tried one of the cookies in a food market and had almost spitted it out. However last week I saw a review on TV on their Cereal Milk soft serve ice cream and I became curious. I had to try that. And I did. That ice cream is heaven on earth, it tastes exactly like cereal milk and they even put Captain Crunch in the bottom and on top. Given that I was hooked, I decided to go back and try other things. I got 3 cookies chocolate, compost (Milk is known for it same as the ice cream) and corn, and 3 birthday cake truffles. There are no words to explain, the corn cookie is both sweet and salty, the chocolate one has a touch of sea salt that cuts through the sweetness perfectly, and the compost one, although my least favorite, tastes like everything: pretzels, potato chips, sugar, all in one. The birhtday cake truffles are great, a bit too sweet for my taste, but worth very bite. Enjoy!
27 6 / 2012
The minute I got the email from Tasting Table announcing that Babbo, Mario Batali’s signature restaurant, would be serving lunch I immediately logged on to Open Table and made a reservation, today was the big day. I had been to Babbo before, a long time ago, and always wanted to go back, lunch seemed perfect.The amuse bouche was a crostini with chickpeas and black olives, we then had asparagus milanese with duck egg, grilled quail with fennel, beef cheek raviolis, crispy branzino with celery and for dessert a strawberry gelato with 15 year old balsamic and rosemary cake with olive oil gelato. Batali never disappoints. They offer a prefix menu for $49 but there are no choices, so we decided to go a la carte. It was not too expensive, so if you had the chance don’t miss it. Although Open Table didn’t show much availability the restaurant was not full, so I am sure walk-ins are more than OK. Enjoy!
Where: Babbo What: $115 incl a bottle of wine, tax and tip
16 5 / 2012
Last night I attended one of the dinner events that Zagat NYC organizes at Vitae , as described in the invite it was a five-course exploration of Italy through handmade spring pastas and wines from a delicious variety of regions. We visited Sicily for hand-rolled cuscussu and then headed north to Piedmont for agnolotti dal Plin with braised beef cheeks and favas, all courses came paired with two world-class wines. I wasn’t expecting the dinner to be so interesting, the chef Edwin Bellanco came by, and the wine director Emily Iverson gave us a detailed explanation of each wine, and a map of Italy so we could follow.
The food was very good, although to be honest by dessert we were more than a bit tipsy, we had drank Prosecco and 7 glasses of wine! My favorite were the Pappardelle with lamb and fresh garbanzo and the gianduja ice cream- it really was out of this world.
The joke of the night, us telling the waiter: “you are going to kill us with all this wine”, and he answering back: “I’m sorry tequila is not italian”.
Where: Vitae What: Zagat Presents Dinner $90 p/p
29 4 / 2012
Every time I visit my family in Caracas I have a list of all the favorites things I like to eat that I cannot find in NYC. It always becomes a sort of Amazing Food Race, organizing my days around places where I can make a quick stop and have a chicha ( a sweet concoction of cooked rice and water), a cachito (a doughy sort of croissant filled with ham) or a bomba (donut filled with cream and covered in sugar).
Although this was a quick trip home, and I didn’t get close to finishing my list, I had the chance to eat an hallaquita ( a corn based dough steamed in a leaf wrap) which is very similar to a tamale. My mom took me to this little shack in some side street where you can order your hallaquita with 4 different types of fillings: chicken, corn, beef or chicharron. Then you can choose what kind of cheese you want as a side, the options are endless from soft and creamy mozzarella type to strong aged cheddar. I decided to go with the traditional corn and guayanes cheese. It was so good, the dough was salty and sweet at the same time, and the cheese was super soft and fresh. The man attending the place was very nice, and willing to let us try different types of cheeses just so we made sure we chose the best one, a definite highlight.
Enjoy a little piece of home.
25 3 / 2012
A few weeks ago I had the chance to visit Paris, and I could miss the opportunity to taste and compare the macarons from Laduree with the ones from Pierre Herme. I am not a fan of macarons but if I was going to be turned it had to be by the best and most beautiful ones.
So let’s start with Laduree. The store is as pastel and traditional as it can get, the macaroni of different colors and flavors are exposed on straight lines that seemed endless. I got a small box with chocolate, citron, pistachio, framboise, strawberry, coffee and sal de caramel. The packaging was so nice that I didn’t want to open it but I had to dig in. The macarons were soft and crunchy at the same and the filling was the perfect amount, my favorite one overall was the sal de caramel.
Now Pierre Herme. The store is very modern and besides macarons there are cakes, tarts and pastries that are so beautiful and delicate that they honestly belong in a museum. The service is very fast and straightforward - imagine the soup man on Seinfeld - you order, you pay, you leave, there is definitely no room to hang around. I got the small box that included: the flavor of the month Ispahan (rose, litchi and framboise), olive oil with mandarine, creme brûlée, chocolate and caramel. As you may have notice Pierre’s flavors are more complex and my opinion superior. My definite favorite was the chocolate one, it had such depth of flavor, a sweet chocolate that got stronger and more bitter with every bite making you want to have more and more. The creme brûlée was also amazing.
For us in New York Laduree awaits on 71st and Madison Ave, let’s just hope Pierre Herme joins soon.
09 2 / 2012
Like I said in my previous post NYC restaurant week can be a hit or miss. However when it’s a hit it can be a home run, and that was the case with lunch at Sho Shaun Hergatt. The food was divine and the service impeccable, each plate looked like a work of art. For starters we had the potato and leek espuma with hot panna cotta and truffle powder and the pear barley risotto. For entrees the spice dusted flounder with cardamom -carrot -citrus emulsion and the cocoa pappardelle with wild mushroom ragu, and finally for dessert sticky toffee sponge ( my favorite dessert in the whole world) and the lemon meringue. Everything and I mean everything was superb. So hit this 2 star Michelin restaurant as soon as you can find a reservation. I think the pre-fix lunch is year round. Enjoy!
Where:Sho Sahun Hergatt What: Restaurant Week Lunch $24.07 p/p
02 2 / 2012
I am fan of NYC’s restaurant week and take full advantage of it when I can. However it can be disappointing to go to a great restaurant that has stood the test of time and not get delicious and memorable food. Unfortunately that was the case with Nobu, a restaurant I have been wanting to try for so long. I do understand that restaurant week is not always the best way to try the food, but hey! is on them not to put their best dishes forward in the menu. We had the Sashimi salad, the squid pasta, assorted Sushi, beef Teriyaki and finally a caramel puff crust almond dust something something for dessert. What I did love was the Shiro Sangria - to die for. Enjoy!
Where: Nobu What: Restaurant Week Lunch $24.07 p/p
29 1 / 2012
This Saturday I went to one of my favorite places in New York: Chelsea Market. There are a lot of great stores to visit. My first stop is always Eleni’s, the cookies are not the best in flavor but I love the decorations and the variety of themes, below is the box for NYC, they are expensive but they do make an excellent and memorable gift. Next is The Lobster Place, the fish is super fresh and the sushi is amazing, although I recommend the Steamed Lobster to order with lots of butter. A mandatory stop is The Filling Station where you can choose any variety of olive oils ( that you get to try and fill your own bottle) vinegars, and salts - I love the black truffle salt great with pastas and eggs Benedict, there is also one with Merlot that is out of the ordinary. Finally for dessert Jacques Torres chocolates the most beautiful and delicious pieces of chocolate. Enjoy!
21 1 / 2012
Lately I’ve been in a Paris state of mind, so I decided to go to dinner at cozy french bistro near my house that I had been wanting to try. The menu looked good, and the tasting menu looked even better just $35 for 4 courses. The first course was a mushroom veloute with shredded chicken and parmesan croutons it was hearty and tasty. Then we had a tuna tartar ( lacked seasoning), seared scallops with butternut squash puree and finally a chocolate molten cake - now that was amazing. I have to say it was an OK meal, bread was very good, so for Ok french without hurting your pocket Le Comptoir may be the way to go.
Where: Le Comptoir What: Dinner / Tasting Menu $35 p/p