What A Girl Is Really Thinking When It Comes To Food

Category Archives: American

the madelyn

The Madelyn [Click the photo above to go to the Madelyn’s website]

82 W 3rd St (between Thompson St & Sullivan St) New York, NY 10012

My dream in life is to get free food, and it finally came true when I went to my very first tasting at the Madelyn.

Here’s how it went:

The first decision I had to make was who was I going to take? I felt it was appropriate to invite my friend who I went to the Madelyn opening with, but he told me he had plans, so he’s a dill hole.

Who else?

I could invite my friend who also has a food blog, but he’s going to some art show. He gets gayer and gayer (politically incorrect I know, but it is what it is) I swear.

I also had my holiday office party the night before so I was not in good shape to say the least. Who could I invite where I wouldn’t have to over extend myself for at dinner?

“Mom, do you want to go with me?”

Ding ding ding ding.

I unfortunately told her while I was still at work, and might I add a busy day, and she was a machine gun of questions.

“Where is it located?”

“How do I get there?”

“What time?”

Text me this. Text me that. I think my favorite suggestion of hers was she wouldn’t pick me up at my apartment, but I could have the cab drop me off somewhere on the west side, and she could pick me up from there.

So I would tell a cab driver a random corner, so I could drive downtown with my mom and her GPS, which she fights with…constantly…absolutely not.

“I’ll meet you there.”

Dinner was at 8:30, and of course my mom arrived at the restaurant at around 8 o’clock. I have to take extra care with whatever outfit I put together for my mom, because according to her I almost always a. need to iron it b. need to fix my hair c. need to put on more lipstick. I decide on a button down with a sweater.

When we arrive I order some wine, and we are seated at a couch in front of the fire place.

“Romantic”

It is very romantic, and hot. I start pulling off my sweater, and I see my mom make a face.

“It’s ironed. Don’t worry.”

I can see she didn’t believe me until she saw the shirt for herself.

Lucky for us, a couple next to us found the fire place very romantic, and proceeded to make-out the entire meal, which was 5 courses by the way.

“How drunk do you think they are?”

“Why do you think they’re drunk?”

“Who makes out like that sober?”

The waiter and owner ask us if we have any special requests, and the only piece of information they need to know is that my mom is allergic to tomatoes.

“Did you tell them I’m allergic to tomatoes?”

“I just did.”

First course arrives: oysters and champagne. I am not an oyster person, but had I brought a man: champagne, oysters, fireplace…that’s like out of a movie. Except in reality I was trying to figure out a way to slip an oyster on my mom’s plate so it looked like I ate more, and my mom drank the champagne before I could cheers her.

Next course arrives: Guanciale “pork jowl” pizza with black truffle and egg.

They had this at the restaurant opening, and I picked at it, but this time I had to hold myself back. It was sooooo good. The egg is cooked in the center of the pizza, and you dip the pizza into the runny egg. I asked for this pizza to go, because if I finished it I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat anything else.

I’m already in reclining position on the couch.

Next!

Home made burrata cheese on naan bread with pesto and tomato. My mom’s portion had no tomato (touché). The naan bread was toasted perfectly, and I never ever everrrr don’t like burrata cheese.

As the courses continue, my mom and I are served different dishes to accommodate mi madre’s allergy.

I get spicy shellfish soup. She gets fried artichokes on a bed of lettuce.

“I can’t find my contacts list anymore on my phone.” My mom got her first Iphone, and before that she was using the Blackberry Pearl, so you can imagine the delightful questions my sister and I get asked.

“Is that why you emailed me that you were here, and didn’t text me?”

“Yes.”

You probably put it in another folder.”

“How do I call people now?”

“You have the address book in the “phone” section when you make a call. The green button.”

“O…”

I get eggplant parmesan. She gets pork belly.

“Why is it green now? I need the brown button.”

“It’s two different buttons.”

We both get veal ravioli, which tasted exactly like my grandmother’s kreplach. It’s always exciting with a restaurant dish reminds you of a home cooked meal.

And finally: apple crisp.

“Do we tip the waitresses?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never had a tasting before.”

“What are we supposed to tip?”

“I’ll give it to them. You know, like the mom, doing it. It’s a mom thing.”

As long as I don’t have to do it. Miss Awkward over here.

The owner Lou comes over to ask us how our meal was. He plops down next to me, so I’m a little sandwich between him and my mom. I can barely focus, because I keep staring at the couple next to us.

“You ready to go home?”

“Yep.”

I grab my coat as the guy grabs his lady’s butt, and off we go.

champagne

oysters

 Champagne and Oysters.

These are East Coast oysters, hence their size. I am not a fan of the texture of any oyster, but I did enjoy the flavor of these.

pizza

Guanciale “pork jowl” pizza with black truffle and egg.

This is just sooo delicious when cooked right. Bacon, eggs, cheese, bread (no tomatoes)…its like a food pyramid of yummyness.  I was beyond excited for leftovers, but my mom ate it instead.

burrata cheese

with tomato, without tomato

Home Made Burrata Cheese: grilled naan bread, pesto, roasted tomato

This bread had the perfect amount of crunch. Creamy cheese, and pesto. It’s not a cute thing to eat: potential green in the teeth, and requires more than one bite, but seriously I don’t care. It’s worth it.

spicy shellfish soup

Madelyn’s Spicy Shellfish Soup: shrimp, scallops, little neck clams, garlic, tomato broth

This is perfect for the winter weather. It’s hearty but not heavy. I had a few bites, because soup fills me up very quickly, and I had to save room.

fried artichokes

Fried Baby Artichoke Salad: parmesan cheese, chili oil lemon vinagrette, parsley

This was light and crunchy. They served this to my mom, while I received the soup, and I popped one of those chokes right into my mouth. I actually preferred this, and I think my mom preferred the soup (but she couldn’t eat it heehee).

eggplant parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

My mom was again jealous that she couldn’t eat this. Solid eggplant dish.

porkybelly

Berkshire Porkbelly with vinegar sauce.

I sort of died for this.  The porkbelly was crispy on the outside and a little fatty, and the vinegar just gave the dish some acid. This was the first time they made this dish with the vinegar sauce, and I loved it. The waitress even brought over the vinegar they used, so my mom could use it for cooking at home. Here it is below.white vinegar

White Vinegar for pork belly, sold at specialty markets.

veal ravioli

Veal Ravioli with balsamic reduction.

I try to stay away from pasta dishes at restaurants that have a lounge/bar vibe. It just seems too heavy for a cocktail, however this was delic. If it tastes like something my grandma made it’s a great sign.

applecrisp

Apple crisp

FYI: this was just for me, and they served another apple crisp just for my mom. I was about to keel over at this point. My mom lovesss apple crisp, and it was very good. However, it was still very hot when it was served to us, so I think the crisp needed to sit for a bit longer so it wasn’t so oozy. Still a great end to the meal 🙂

Advertisements


ESSEX

Essex [Click the photo above to go to Essex’s website]

120 Essex Street (between Rivington St & Delancey St) New York, NY 10002

Let’s first start off this story by saying, I know Essex isn’t the newest restaurant in town; It’s not the most delicious…blah blah blah, so for all you people reading this, and being like “why’d she go there?” You guys can suck it, because Essex is FUN.

Sunday Funday + Drunk Brunch + Birthday = Amazingness.

I think that sums it up. The End.

Kidding, I have a lot to say.

I woke up hung-over after a Saturday night that we will just say included a 4am pit stop to the Meatball Shop, only to get up and continue drinking. I thought I would at least have a few extra hours to sleep since brunch was at 1, but no. I was woken up by the birthday girl at 10 am reminding us to be there at 1. Thanks.

I slather on make-up the best I can (I bought luminizer and I want to use it), and checked how I could subway myself (yes I’m using subway as a verb) to my destination. I give myself a peptalk: you’re broke, you’re an adult, you can do this. Get on the subway.

I made it!

I was 4th out of 6 to arrive. I’ll take it. You can’t be seated until everyone is there, and there was a wait anyway, a 20 minute wait. Don’t worry I didn’t mind the wait, because I ate the remaining 1/5 of my meatball sandwich this morning, so I was good.

We sit down, and I don’t know what I’m more excited for, the water or the mimosa.

“We need a picture of us.”

“Should we take it now?”

“Let’s wait until we have a few more drinks.”

I scan the menu, do I want sweet or savory?

“I think I want French toast,” my friend says.

“I don’t know if I want that or potato latkes.”

“Do you want to split?”

I almost punched both of them. They went in for sharesies without me. W.T.F.

“I’m having a bite of that,” I say. I get real authoritative sometimes.

The watiress comes over, and orders are put in, we all went different routes and order something different. As the waitress walks away my friend is absolutely convinced the waitress gave her a dirty look when she ordered. Maybe she did.

Ready for the brunch brigade? Scroll down to hear how it was, because you don’t go to a drunk brunch for the food, but at least this place makes pretty good food.

Potato Latkes with lox and poached eggs

French toast

Matzoh Brie with Mexican toppings

Potato Latkes

Lobster Benedict

Cheeseburger

“I have gifts for everyone,” the birthday girl announces.

Oooh gifts. Ok!

She whips out 5 dreidels and cheap blue sunglasses.

“Happy Hanukah everyone!”

“Aren’t these the give-aways you got at that charity event you went to a few days ago.”

“Yeah.”

Whatever, we’ll take anything. Everyone starts spinning their dreidels, and trying on the sunglasses.

“You only gave out 3 sunglasses. I want one.”

$5 sunglasses are the hottest thing at this table right now. Now everyone is taking what I can only describe as Gangster Jew pictures with sunglasses and holding up dreidels.

Birthday girl hates her potato latkes, but at least it’s picture time.

“It’s ok.”

“It’s fine.”

“So we all agree we want to take another.”

Before we know it our waitress has shooed us out of our seats with the check, and some of us haven’t even received the 3 drinks our brunch comes with. So what do we do?

We complain until we get more free drinks, and a birthday cake with a candle.

Our waitress/manager produces 20 carnival tickets, and tells us we can use them for free drinks at the bar.

What better way to spend your Sunday than badgering Romanian bartenders to give you  free drinks with carnival tickets, and magically whipping them out from our pockets, bags, and bra straps with such pride, like they’re $100 bills.

“Vodka soda. Here you go.”

“What should we do now?”

“Let’s go to another bar and then get dinner.”

From brunch to dinner, that’s how we do, and that’s why it’s Sunday Funday.

Bread basket

I like that they were so generous with the bread, and it gave you something to nosh on while you sipped on your drink, and waited for your food. It’s probably a preventative method of keeping patrons from getting too drunk before their meals arrive, and I like it.

The Aristocrat: potato pancake topped with house-cured salmon gravlax, salmon caviar & poached eggs

I guess I’m just a more is more person. I liked that it was a bite of everything. It doesn’t come close to my mom’s potato latkes, but it was still great. What’s brunch without lox?

Mexican Matzo Brei

Mexican Matzo Brei: scrambled eggs with tortilla crisps, monterey jack, avocado, black beans & pico de gallo

I was originally wary of this dish, because this was like “everything but the kitchen sink” in my mind. However, it was a hodge podge of Mexican delight.

challah french toast

Challah French Toast with bananas foster sauce & fresh fruit

Totally fine dish. The banana part looks a bit yuck, but it was good. It’s a good alternative to eggs.

cheeseburger

8 oz sirloin burger with french fries

Well done fries can’t be bad! Going for brunch, but just want lunch? Burger and a bloody mary work. At least that’s what my friend did.

lobster benedict

Lobster Benedict

Probably would NOT recommend this dish. Lobster was a bit fishy. Maybe crab cake is better? If you have to think about the quality of the seafood I don’t think it’s a good idea.

crispy potato pancakes

Crispy Potato Pancakes with sautéed apples & honey cream sauce & spinach-shiitake-black bean hash

Not a pretty lookin’ dish. I’d rather get the Aristocrat if I’m going to get the potato pancakes, but I guess it borders on simple if you’re in the mood for some potato pancakes.

essex cake

Peanut Butter Cake

Tasted like pure peanut butter. It was free so ok, but ehhhh.

the ladies

the girls

Here we areeee. Look at these idiots.


5 napkin

5 Napkin Burger [Click the photo above to go to 5 Napkin Burger’s website]
150 East 14th Street (corner of 3rd Avenue)
New York

Being the lamest of the lame, I was really not in the mood to go out the Saturday after Thanksgiving (sometimes it’s nice), but my sister convinced me to go to dinner with her and her friend.

It really went more like:

“I don’t know if I wanna go out.”

“Come with me and Jamie to dinner. It’ll be fun.”

“K, where do you want to go?”

Fickle Pickle.

So, now that I was in for dinner, guess who gets to decide where we go? Me.

Having a food blog everyone assumes you always have a restaurant suggestion at the tip of your tongue. (every bar conversation: I have a food blog…what’s the best restaurant in the city? Shut up.) All it means is that I like to eat, and weird things happen to me when I go out to dinner. Anyway, I reached into my magic hat, and I picked out 5 Napkin Burger.

It’s reasonably priced, supposedly good fare, and considered relatively cool.

I still wore heels though and looked like a complete idiot. Everyone was casually dressed, and here I was with a collared necklace, sequin booties, and dark lipstick on (OVERDRESSED, OVERDRESSED, is all I could hear the other patrons saying in their heads).

Being that this was right after Thanksgiving, I decided let’s try the Dukan Diet again. Lets cleanse this body of mine, so I ordered two burger patties with no bun, and no fries as my dish. I love that meat is “cleansing.”

My sister and her friend however decided to split a rainbow roll. Yes, 5 Napkin Burger has both sushi and burgers, and then they each ordered a salad.

I decided to order the side of cabbage and vinegar to start, so I didn’t just watch my sister and her friend eat.

“How’s the sushi roll.”

“It’s ok. It’s like a California roll.”

“Yeah, but is it good?”

“It’s fine.”

“Would you order it again?”

“No.”

So, it’s supermarket sushi. Got it.

The cabbage salad I kid you not: amazing. I know it’s weird. It’s cabbage, but it’s crunchy and acidic, and I was munching the bejeezus out of it.

Then the mains arrive (come to mama). My burgers (notice the plural) were pretty effing delicious, with caramelized onions and pickles on top (vegetable garnish is allowed on the diet).

My sister got a salad with a burger patty on top so I don’t know, but one can convince themselves that anything is healthy when there’s lettuce. She ordered the dressing on the side, but the dressing was Thousand Island dressing, and she dunked each bite into the dressing, and ordered more. She didn’t say she was on a diet, nor does she want to be.

Her friend (my friend too) got the Asian chicken salad, and as it turns out it is actual chicken salad, not a salad with chicken.

“I wish it wasn’t chicken salad,”so she was pretty disappointed not gonna lie.

Don’t worry we fixed this problem, “we’ll have an espresso brownie sundae please.”

Oh, good-bye diet. I dumped you for ice cream.

Next thing you know my sister is practically making out with the ice cream so I managed a few bites (probably eight).

“Share the sundae!”

“You gotta get in there,” she says as she digs for brownie pieces.

After 2 courses, 2 drinks, and dessert, maybe an hour has passed by, so don’t give yourself to much time if you’re going straight to the bar after.

“This went by so fast!”

“Let’s just go to a bar before we go to the open bar,” my sister’s friend says.

Oh, to be young.

“Yeah, I’m gonna go home,” I say.

Guess I did spend the Saturday night in afterall.

Vinegar Slaw

Vinegar Slaw

Vinegar Slaw: now I know this look sort of meh, and it’s just a side, but it was sooo good!! It’s a great side dish to get to avoid fries or mac N cheese.

rainbow roll

Rainbow Roll: It looks nice right? Don’t be fooled by the colorful row of fish and avocado. The rolls are thick with rice, and the sushi is not bad per say, but it’s not the freshest and best in town.

burger patties

Burger Patties: I swear, they were delicious, and filling, and they didn’t overcharge for ordering two patties. Who knew the bun would increase the cost so much, because you know I’d have to pay full price for two burgers??

Burger Salad

Burger Salad: beef, , endive, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, red onion, radishes, celery, blue cheese, pickled onions, red wine vinaigrette & 5n sauce.

5n sauce is Thousand Island dressing,and my sister loved every bite of this. It’s like a deconstructed Big Mac, so I don’t think of this salad as wimpy.

Asian Chicken Salad

Asian Chicken Salad: napa cabbage, watercress, romaine, cucumbers, celery, apples, onions, scallions, peanuts, radish sprouts, creamy sesame – soy dressing & ginger vinaigrette.

Somebody show me where in that description they tell you it’s “chicken salad” and not grilled chicken. With exception to that crucial error in the menu, my sister’s friend seemed to like it, and was able to look past the chicken incident.

Espresso Brownie Sundae

Espresso Brownie Sundae with 3 spoons

Do I think the brownie was homemade? No. Do I care? No. It’s a friggen sundae. Look at those nuts sprinkled on top, and whipped cream is my favorite. It’s not exactly breaking the mold in the dessert department, but I don’t think someone goes to 5 Napkin Burger for something innovative.


Commerce [Click the photo above to go to Commerce’s website]

80 Commerce Street New York, NY 10014

Stupid sandy has really affected my blogging and eating. If it wasn’t Ritz crackers it was Tate’s chocolate chip cookies, and if it wasn’t a snack it was mac ‘n cheese for dinner. People are suffering, but my biggest complaint was my nutritional sustenance (and no power for 5 days). So this is my version of an apology for anyone who has missed my amahzing blog posts!

So to kick off my return to GirlyFoodie I give you a delicious restaurant I got to try: Commerce.

I went with my friend after not seeing her for weeks, possibly months, on end. I was starting to feel like a nagging girlfriend: why didn’t you call me back? Why don’t you call me ever? Work is not an excuse…you get the idea.

You would think she would pay for me with the way this was going, but that is not how it went down.

She lives in midtown so she scooped me up in a cab going all the way to the West Village. It seems that after Sandy all I see are cabs with a final of of $15 and up (mother effing traffic) so I was not surprised to see this sucker ring up at $20.00 as we turned on to the  quaint little street of Commerce.

We arrive, and I’m already patting myself on the back for this restaurant pick. It has warm lighting, it’s crowded but not overcrowded, and it’s a mix of young and old, and I was able to squeeze into a spot at the bar, while we waited for our table.

“I’m so excited to try this place. I heard the bread basket alone is amazing.”

“I was hoping to skip the bread basket, but I guess not now.”

“What do you want to drink?”

“Sauvignon Blanc.”

“I think I want Rose.”

I then see the bartender pour a woman a glass of red wine and hear her say, “this one is my favorite.” I have no mind of my own.

“I’ll get that.”

A few minutes after we pay for our drinks we are seated.

“I think I want to get the red snapper.”

“I hate you. I wanted that. I’ll get something else if we can each have a bite.”

“Of course.” Thank God!

I go for the lamb meatballs with creamy polenta. It’s cold out, and I love polenta. I think it’s got the comfort food vibe.

I haven’t dined with my friend in a while (we usually order in sushi, drink wine, and then get too tired to go out, yes we do sound like we’re dating), and I am unsure what else she wants, but I don’t do just entrees…you crazy?

I offer for us to share an appetizer, but not some crap salad. I want something wild. The waitress has recommended the Hamachi, but the last thing I want is raw fish.

“How about the sweet potato tortelloni?”

“Done!”

“And maybe a side to share?”

“The waitress recommended the broccoli.”

“Ok!”

Great! 1 app, 2 entrees, and a side..and dessert.

My friend is rocking a full blown sock bun, that I still have yet to perfect.

“I like the bun. You look dressed up.”

“It’s not. It’s just that I’m lazy.”

“It looks nice and big. When I do a bun it’s small and weird.”

“I YouTube’d how to roll my hair with the sock. I like your hair”

“I learned how to curl it with a straightening iron on YouTube.”

As the conversation of hair could go on forever we are distracted by the plates being passed around. The table next to us was seated ahead of us so we keep watching each platter get served next to us.

There was a point where my friend’s face was actually in our neighbor’s plate as she tried to smell the dish as it passed our table (to be fair we were seated very close).

The bread basket arrives, and it’s so pretty and warm and amazing. I start snapping photos of the bread, the butter, the pasta (very low carb meal to begin), and I see a group of older diners sitting at a round table nearby staring at me like I’m an alien.

I’m a little drunk (I ordered a second glass), so I figure I’m probably imagining this.

The main dishes arrive, and I really can’t begin to describe how delicious it was. I look at my friend and she’s not really digging into her fish.

“What’s happening here? I look crazy compared to you.”

“My stomach hurts.”

“Move past the pain. Let’s go.”

But instead I just continue to eat her meal, while she reluctantly puts her fork down in agony.

It’s time for dessert!

We have been watching the waiters carry out plates on plates of the coconut cake, so I mean let’s do it right? I get that with some tea, but sicky says she’ll never go to sleep with the tea, so she’s out.

As I’m snapping my final photographs of the cake, a lady at the round table musters up enough courage to turn around and go, “Excuse me, but why are you taking pictures of the food?”

“Oh, I’m a food blogger!” I reply.

The whole table erupts, “OHHH SHE’S A FOOD BLOGGER!”

I’m back!

Commerce (bread basket & butter)

Look at that bread all bundled up in that napkin. Each piece of bread was delightful, and yes I had a bite of each. There was one loaf of bread that had pancetta in the center when you bit into it. You had me at pancetta.

Commerce (Roasted sweet potato tortelloni with hazelnuts, pomgrante & buerre noisette)

I don’t know what buerre noisette is, so I’ll just say that outright.

This dish was a. beautiful b. interesting flavor combiniations

The sweet potato made the dish sweet, but then there was a tart flavor in the sauce. I would say that it was a very thoughtful dish.

[Please click on picture to see full photograph. Tumblr is not working properly at the moment]

Commerce (Veal meatballs with creamy polenta, creamy polenta 7 charred mushrooms)

Fab dish! If you’re ever in a bad mood and want to eat your feelings, order this. You can convince yourself it’s healthier than ordering the spaghetti carbonara.

[Please click on picture to see full photograph. Tumblr is not working properly at the moment]

Commerce (Red snapper with eggplant & bok choy in a Thai inspired herb broth)

One word: UNREAL. I could have eaten the broth alone, the fish alone, I would eat any and every single part of this dish. I can’t remember the last time I had an outstanding fish dish. Well, now I can.

Commerce (coconut cake)

Delicious way to end the meal. It tasted a bit like pound cake with coconut mixed in. Did I make it sound good? Because it was!


Park Avenue Autumn [Click the photo above to go to Park Avenue Autumn’s website]

100 East 63rd Street New York, NY 10065

It’s Wine Week! Hooray to being in an office filled with drunk people, and hooray for me going to one! As I feel like work write-ups are awkward and weird and strange and what not…I’m going to do my best to write up an honest account of what occurred without potential termination, office gossip, or anything else that might happen from me writing this. With that being said, let’s get started:

Reservations were made at Park Avenue Autumn for two female coworkers and myself, and I obviously forgot what day we were going so I showed up to work in a black pant/leggings, combat boots, wavy hair (at least I sprung for the mascara) ensemble. In my defense it was raining out, but my attire was not really meeting the Park Avenue standard of classic business attire: button downs, pencil skirts, “smart” heels (maybe you don’t know this, but combat boots don’t qualify).

I tried to spruce myself up in the bathroom, but only found a hot pink Nars lipgloss in my oversize bag, and had no choice but to go with that. I flipped my hair 5 times, and I don’t know if it did anything but make me dizzy.

Once I’m seated I have to go through the whole process of telling the waitress I’m allergic to white wine, so the servers know to skip me on that go around and upgrade me immediately to red. The woman nods and then pours white wine in my glass.

“I said I was allergic.”

“Oh, I thought you were kidding.”

If that was a joke, that’s the worst joke I have ever made. Lady, you’re weird.

I peruse the menu. I think that maybe I’ll just get a salad in order to maintain some sort of dietary dignity for lunch. What I did not know about wine week is that they actually continue to serve you samples of wine throughout the entire meal (which obviously makes sense, but I don’t know that’s not where my head was at. I just imagined people ordering a lot of wine), so although I ordered a salad as my main, we still ordered two appetizers (tuna dish and fig and goat cheese salad), and two sides (roasted cauliflower and gnocchi) to share between three of us.

Oh work talk, work talk…

“When are you going to have a baby?”

“Where are you going to move to the suburbs?”

These questions were clearly not directed towards me.

Appetizers arrive. I’m already buzzed, but I see my salad being placed at our table with the appetizer.

“I ordered that as my main course.”

The waitress goes on to argue with me to say that I ordered a garden salad, which is an appetizer, but I ordered the salad under the entrée section labeled “garden salad with grilled chicken.”

“You said garden salad.”

“I said garden salad with grilled chicken”

“Oh, you meant the grilled chicken garden salad.”

Are you kidding me? I’m pretty sure this is improper etiquette for a waitress to mess up, and then argue with the customer about it. I hated her, and her curly hair (was it curly? My memory is failing), and her condescending smile. We’re on Park Avenue, but that’s not really carte blanche to be an ass hole (yes I wrote ass hole!).

The waitress went on to confirm the main dishes for the other two saying, “you got the fish, and you go the chicken right?”

“No, two fish.”

“Right!”

The appetizers were really yummy. It was advertised as tuna and avocado, but the avocado tasted more like straight up guacamole in texture and flavor, and the fig and goat cheese salad was delicious, a solid combination, and I did my best to focus on the tuna and avoid the cheese.

More wine is poured, and I don’t know much, but I found one I liked.

We are then served our main courses: one fish, one chicken, and a salad that was sitting under the heat lamp for the past 20 minutes (I’m drunk I’m not stupid).

We then have to tell the waitress that she messed up the mains, and that my chicken is cold, and I can see the salad on the edges are curled and soggy.

“You know the whole salad thing messed me up.”

“Oh, so it’s my fault?”

Yes, I said that. This woman was really pissing me off. We then get extra chicken, which I got to go and for free (for the price of on the house), a complimentary dessert, and something else I can’t remember.

So to celebrate we ordered 3 desserts and more wine. We went with a sorbet, the chocolate cube cake (which is what they are known for), and a carrot cake. I was doubtful about the carrot number, but it ended up being my favorite dessert. I had the best time knocking down the cube in my drunken stupor.

I suddenly realize I have to go back to work, and attempt to sober up in the bathroom. Instead I become best friends with some elderly lady, while I’m washing my hands, and we bond about the dim lighting and what we’re eating for dessert. I end up walking back to my table no less drunk but with more hot pink lip gloss on.

Oh, wine week!

My favorite wine was the Joel Gott, 2009, Relative Red Blend. I’m getting it again, it’s happening, don’t try and stop me.

The bread was pretty solid. The bread sticks were the most, then the onion bread, and then last the pumpkin loaf (it lacked flavor, maybe salt or sugar, maybe both)

Also PLEASE note the hot pink lipgloss on the wine glass.

Park Avenue Autumn (fig carpaccio: Hoja Santa goat cheese and yellowfin tuna with avocado: soy kalamansi vinaigrette)

Fig Carpaccio: I think this was my favorite thing we ordered! I love figs and goat cheese, and there were some almonds…delicious!

Yellowfin Tuna and Avocado: solid tuna dish. Not the most inventive, but not every dish has to be groundbreaking.

Park Avenue Autumn (roasted tri color cauliflower and potato gnocchi with sweet corn & truffles)

The gnocchi is offered as an appetizer, but we figured it would be nice to serve with the main courses, so we did! It was a tad bit too sweet to be honest, and didn’t live up to his nice description.

Tri color cauliflower: I’m always down for roasted vegetables, and I found it to be a nice seasonal dish with good crunch.

Park Avenue Autumn (Garden salad & grilled chicken)

Here is my sog-tastic salad. It was blahhhhh for all the fuss over it. Also the menu says garden salad & grilled chicken NOT grilled chicken garden salad.

Park Avenue Autumn (black sea bass: sweet potato, crispy kale, maitake)

Standard fish dish. I was pretty surprised by how much kale they used to top the sea bass. I feel like it’s usually served as a bed for the fish, and just less, but I’m not complaining, I just thought it was unusual.

Park Avenue Autumn (free range roast chicken, pumpkin pie)

Oh, the dish we never ordered. It was crispy chicken which I always like and had fall flavors, but I think it’s a little heavy for lunch.

Also Pumpkin pie? I don’t really see it.

Park Avenue Autumn (sorbet: pear, fig, chocolate)

Solid sorbet. I was actually impressed with the combination, but it’s wine week, I probably would have been impressed with Haagen Dazs.

Park Avenue Autumn (carrot cake and brie fritter, chai tea ice cream)

I didn’t taste brie, and I didn’t taste chai tea, but it tasted good. I don’t know what that gel thing is either, but as someone who isn’t a jelly person I really liked it, but couldn’t put my finger on the flavor.

Park Avenue Autumn (the chocolate cube)

Here’s the cube! It looks like a skyscraper. It was pretty good once you got into it. I want to say it had some sort of hazlenut taste, but maybe it wasn’t. This is a very true and accurate food blog as you can tell.


Ainsworth [Click the photo above to go to Ainsworth’s website]

122 West 26th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenue)  New York, NY 10001

Sunday football is back! I decided to be proactive and make at reservations in advance at Ainsworth to watch the Jets game (I’m a Giants fan, but in reality I don’t watch football by myself…ever) at 1pm.

I e-mailed them the Monday before to secure reservations. They request a credit card on file in order to secure the reservation, and there’s a dress code. Oh, and for a party of 6-8, patrons have to spend a minimum of $250. Unless there are 10 or more which means you must spent $500. What kind of place is this!

And, they’ll charge the credit card on file if you don’t show up to your reservation…this place better be amazing. It…was not.

I arrive first, because why wouldn’t I arrive first, and they seat me right by the door.

“Excuse me would be able to sit farther in?”

“I’m sorry people are seated in according to how quickly we receive your reservation.” (I didn’t sneak out of temple to make this reservation or anything. It’s fine). I sit alone on my phone trying to figure out the new upgrades to my IPhone. Youtube is gone, what else?

Two of my friends arrive after me with an elaborate story about how they planned on wearing sweat pants to defy the dress code, and then surprise the bouncer with an outfit underneath (they didn’t do any of this, but they really thought about it).

My friend is telling me how she worked out and started this new diet for a wedding she has coming up, and I have to interrupt her to tell her she has something in her teeth, and I cannot stop staring at it.

“It must be from the bagel. Why didn’t you tell me?” she says to our other friend.

“I didn’t see it. It’s black right?” She saw it.

“I thought you said you were on a diet.”

“I was up since 8!” Ok ok.

We each order a beer (they’re out of Blue Moons), and my friend orders some fancy pants Raspberry beer which comes in a champagne flute, and looks just like Manischewitz wine. It tastes sort of like juice, but I don’t know, I don’t mind it.

We decide we want tuna tacos to split, and I guess I’ll be good and get a salad. Our other two friends arrive.

“Why didn’t you guys get pitchers?”

Everybody caaaalm down. We order a pitcher.

One of my friend is convinced she’s sea sick from a booze cruise she took the night before, doesn’t even touch her beer, and orders a coffee…

I get up to use the restroom. The beer has already gotten to me, and apparently the door to the unisex bathroom does not lock, and 3 people open the door on me. I walk out and decide I’m not telling anyone what happened, because there’s nothing more embarrassing than someone walking in on you screaming, “No don’t! Someone’s in here!”

Luckily my friends don’t care. “You missed it! Kris Humphries just walked in with his hood on!”

I seem to like to go to the same place C List celebrities like to hang out. First Kim D and Teresa, now Kris Humphries (and weirdly enough I’ve seen him a few times watching football on Sunday). He is sitting in VIP. I mean is that cool? I don’t really know. I don’t think so, but all my friends are like, “we gotta find a way in to VIP.”

No thanks! I’ll eat my salad (which sucked). Everyone orders a salad, but we still get a pitcher of beer and nachos, so who were we really fooling? No one.

As I crunch on my dressing-less salad, we all watch girls decked in heels, hair done, oversize bags…we’re “watching” football you freaks. Girls have full faces of make-up, and the restaurant/bar is now just a bar so it’s pitch black. No one can see your face anyway!

Our last friend arrives, and orders a caprese salad, and decides she’ll wait it out for her next dish. We do have to make this stupid minimum.

My friend decides she wants to seek out Kris Humphries, and I have to pee again so off we go. This time I go into the Ladie’s Room. Eff that unisex bathroom. I hate you. She then makes me walk around to the back where the VIP section is, and she is awkwardly standing there just staring. Now I feel weird.

“I don’t see him. Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t know where is he?”

I see someone waving furiously at me. Some guy I met in a Hampton sharehouse a few years ago, sitting on a couch in the VIP section. I wave back.

“Can we go?”

We sit back down, and try to figure out if we have reached the minimum amount we have to pay to sit in these seats.

“Did you see the Hump?”

“No, but we saw some guy I know from a sharehouse.”

“Was that the pale guy waving at you?”

“Yes.”

We have not reached our minimum yet, and the game is still going.

“It got so dark in here.”

“How much longer is this game?”

“Is it going to go into overtime?”

“Please no!”

We are $10 off from the minimum after already ordering mac n cheese for the table (huge portion, ok flavor) and we are about to just suck it up and pay for it when my friend screams, “I’ll have a bloody mary!”

“We might as well make the minimum.” She already had 3 bloody marys, and made me take a picture of it, because “it looked pretty good.”

We pay, and the game goes into overtime, and the bar is pitch black. I cannot bear to watch one more minute of the Jets. I’m out of here. Maybe i’ll see Kris again next week.

Ainsworth (bloody mary)

Everyone knows what beer looks like, so here is a different drink. The same person who ordered this also ordered one of their lemon specialty drinks. It was 1 in the afternoon. I don’t know where she thought she was.

Ainsworth (mac n cheese)

Everyone agreed that this was disappointing. It was a dish we ordered to make the minimum. It’s fine macaroni and cheese, but it’s not that great. The best part is the parmesan bread crumbs baked on top.

Ainsworth (tuna tartar tacos:red onions, scallions,red chili vinaigrette, guacamole)

They were actually pretty good!! Also for tacos, not that messy either. I was pleasantly surprised!

Ainsworth (nachos:tri-color corn tortillas, shredded jack and cheddar,black beans,pico de gallo, guacamole,sour cream)

I didn’t eat the nachos. I think they were ok. It’s just a pile of fat on top of carbs, so I’m sure this has to be decent bar food. I did like the guacamole that came on the tuna tacos, so at least I know that was good.

Ainsworth (Tomato Mozzarella Caprese: buffalo mozzarella, basil oil, red and yellowtomatoes, balsamic reduction)

I asked my friend how it was, and she crinkled her noise and said, “eh.” In other words don’t get it.

Ainsworth (truffle Mushroom Stuffed Burger: bacon,swiss cheese,truffle mayo)

I stole some of the truffle fries. It was decent, but my friend did not finish it, so maybe she deemed it not worth the calories or maybe she wasn’t hungry. I don’t know, but probably not a great sign.

Ainsworth (Ainsworth Chopped Salad:romaine lettuce,grape tomatoes,corn, hearts of palm, feta cheese, cucumbers, carrots, asparagus,red onions,white balsamic vinaigrette, add chicken $3, shrimp $5)

I added the chicken, and removed the feta. They put all the contents on top of the salad so it looked like it was going to taste great, and then the rest of the bowl was filled with lettuce. Crap salad.

Ainsworth (Spinach Salad: baby spinach, red peppers, red onions, mushrooms,artichoke hearts,goat cheese,apple cider vinaigrette, add chicken $3)

My friend was craving goat cheese so she immediately eyed this salad. It looks fine, but it’s not a healthy salad.

Ainsworth (caesar salad)

Ok caesar salad. You can see by the quality of the picture how dark it really does get in this restaurant/bar.


PETE’S TAVERN [Click the photo above to go to Pete’s Tavern’s website]

129 East 18th Street (on the corner of Irving) New York, NY 10003

As all group dinners with girls are, this one was a process: after a 6 part group email, a few side gchat sessions, and possibly two private texting sessions (all about where to go for dinner), we eventually decided on Pete’s Tavern in Gramercy.

The only way I can think of to describe this place is just straight up old school. It’s dark and pub-like, with quality food, and pictures of the celebrities that have walked through its doors, and oh yeah, it was on Sex & the City.

I usually have an opinion about where we’re eating, and being the pretentious person that I am, I would have preferred to eat at a trendier place, and not a spot my dad or grandpa would be into going to, but this time I kept my opinion to myself.

Because this idiot (that’s me) is on a diet, the Dukan Diet. Yes I am! After hearing all my friends talk about the diet and then watching them shed the pounds, I figured I had to try this thing out since “it’s so easy.” I know what you’re thinking, why would you start a diet when the summer is ending…well let me tell you!

I don’t know about you, but I beast on the weekends in the summer. Either I’m away or I’m hungover or I’m away AND hungover (“I’m away!” “I need bacon” “it’s whole wheat it’s fine” “it’s ok it’s scooped”), and I see no reason to watch what I shove in my mouth even if I’m in a bikini while I’m eating it. I think it doesn’t count, but it does. And I give myself a serious period of recovery before I start being a human again after these weekends, so my gym time has been limited…SO DUKAN!

Dukan diet has no portion control which I’m fully down with, and it’s ALL protein, so I really couldn’t complain about Pete’s Tavern knowing full well I could order a steak and be in my diet guidelines (I’m also allowed diet soda and coffee. It’s absurd).

I obviously arrive first as my friends are not timely people, plopped down, ordered a glass of wine (whatever I can cheat with alcohol), decided on the kobe beef burger (with no bun and no garnish), and possibly a side of vegetables (which I was finally allowed to eat after completing the “attack phase”…order the book if you’re confused) and waited for them to arrive.

I tell the waiter I want something dry, and he tells me he doesn’t know much about alcohol (lie to me).  He throws a full glass of wine down on the table.

I taste it, cringe, and go, “It’s good. Thanks!”

The other three eventually arrive, and one looks particularly peeved.

“I’ve been setting up my classroom all week.” Her hair is back in a ponytail. She has no make-up on, no heels on, and her face screams misery. She’s clearly not going anywhere after this dinner. (I mentally cross her name off my list of people going out tonight).

As I am not a teacher, and have not had a full summer off, my sympathy is minimal.

“What is this diet you’re on?”

“I’m essentially starving my body of all sugars, but I can eat as much steak as I want.”

My friends peruse the menu as our wacky waiter asks if anyone wants something to drink. He is speaking super-fast, and almost looks like he’s running around the restaurant when he zooms past our table.

He returns with wine for one friend, no alcohol for the sad teacher in the corner, and the house ale for my other friend, which he describes as a medium beer.

“So what’s it taste like?”

“It’s not light, and it’s not dark.”

“Can you relate it to another beer.”

“It’s in the middle.”

“Ok whatever I’ll get that.”

It just tastes like beer is all I know.

They end up ordering a hamburger with sweet potato fries, pasta WITH chicken added (I guess she’s hungry?), and a cheeseburger with fries.

As the waiter sprints off we begin our conversation.

“I can’t believe you guys went to a male strip club.”

We did. Magic Mike in the flesh (pun intended). It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever done, and I highly recommend it.

“Why did you go?”

“We walked by it, and this one thought it’d be fun to go,” I say pointing to my ale drinking friend.

“It’s amazing they make you feel great.” (she got a lapdance, which was worth watching)

“They made me feel weird.”

“We got drunk.”

“I high-fived one while they were giving a lapdance.”

“I want to go for my bachelorette party.”

“We should go every week,” says the ale drinker.

“No, we shouldn’t.”

I see our waiter doing an Olympic like run towards us with our food, and I see my non bun burger has onion rings, and I sadly lift them up and move them to the corner 😦

The kobe burger was delicious, and my friends loved their burgers. My friend got the spaghetti ala Pete, which has tomato, garlic, basil extra virgin olive oil, and oh yeah, chicken.

As the busboy is cleaning up our table, he spills water over the teacher’s Iphone. Bad idea.

We all fear for the worst that the busboy is going to have to pay for a new phone, but thank goodness it still works.

We split the check, and as we’re leaving, my friend has pulled up the Hunkamania schedule for the upcoming weeks.

“Guys, mark it down.”

Pete’s Tavern (side of grilled vegetables)

Veggies are allowed in the second phase of my diet (score for me) so this was my big splurge (I know I sound like a freak, but who doesn’t sound like a freak when they’re dieting). I was pretty pleased with myself.

Pete’s Tavern (spaghetti a la Pete’s: tomato, garlic, basil, extra virgin olive oil)

Pasta with basic classy ingredients is hard to say no to! My friend added chicken. I don’t personally love chicken mixed with pasta (maybe clams?), but if a girl wants some protein, do what you gotta do.

Pete’s Tavern (hamburger with sweet potato fries)

That just looks amazing! The bun, the fries, it’s a shame my diet prohibits me from eating this. I love myself. I hate myself.

Pete’s Tavern (cheesburger with fries, pickle and cole slaw)

My friend approved of her burger. Pete’s Tavern’s reputation remains in tact.

Pete’s Tavern (kobe beef hamburger, no bun, onion rings)

I sadly removed the onion rings, but it was delicious! I asked for it medium, and I thought it tasted rich and velvety (is that a good description?) I don’t know if it the level of fat qualifies for the Dukan Diet I kan (get it) do what I want.



%d bloggers like this: