Novita [Click the photo above to go to Novita’s website]
102 East 22nd Street New York, NY 10010
After an incredibly rough weekend of celebrating my 22 year old sister’s birthday, it was time for me to continue celebrating with a big ass birthday dinner at Novita. I had already tried to keep up with her drinking, and now I had to try and keep up with her eating. Being a big sister is hard!
My mom originally told me that she didn’t care what time dinner was, because neither her or my sister had work the next day (my dad really doesn’t get a say either way), so I made the reservation for 7, figuring that was a normal time to eat dinner. Despite my mother claiming it was “up to me” she still called three times on Sunday to tell me she wanted to go to dinner earlier than originally planned. 6:30 it is (totally up to me).
I ask to get picked up due to the rain, and I wanted a free ride anyway, so they obliged.
“We’ll be there in 5 minutes.”
3 minutes later…
Just as I’m putting on my leather jacket, my phone starts ringing, it’s my sister.
“I KNOW! I GOT THE TEXT!”
I hop in the car to see three other people in leather jackets.
We get to the restaurant, I give them my name, and the host clicks my name on the computer monitor, and begins to scope out a table. Maybe two minutes have gone by…
“What’s the problem?” my mom asks.
He seats us at a table in the middle of the dining area. I have yet to sit at a table a host seats us at with my mother. We always move at least once.
She makes a face, and I know this isn’t working. He offers us another table, but I see that it’s in the corner by the servers, so we’re going to get a permanent breeze by the wait staff swooshing by.
“No, I don’t like that table,” I say (it’s my turn!)
“She doesn’t like this table!” My mom says, as if she did not disapprove of the first option. I’m the difficult one.
The host sees what’s happening here, and offers us a table for 4 against the wall, but not in the corner. Well played.
We sit down, and I immediately smell truffle oil.
“I smell truffle.”
“Yes,” the waitress says, “it’s our pasta special.”
Why did my sister even look at the menu? That was a done deal. My dad offers to get that pasta as an appetizer so we can all share. He then proceeds to cough up a lung. He has a cold. No thanks.
My sister is sitting next to him, gives me a weird look and goes, “but I want it as my main.”
I think I’ll be getting pasta as well, and say that I want the pesto.
“Those are the two best pastas on the menu,” my dad announces. What shall he do?
“Well, you can’t get them, because we are. Get something else.” It hubris in our family to get duplicate orders: how will we get a taste of everyone’s dishes if we all get the same thing???
As my dad contemplates pastas, my mom says she wants salmon, but the pesto I want looks good a well.
“I’ll split the pesto with you if you get a different fish.”
“The sea bass.”
We haven’t really decided on appetizers with exception to my mom who is getting grilled calamari stuffed with shrimp, and sliced like medallions. We listen to the specials, and I hear the word zucchini flowers, which I remember reading as a recommended dish. We order one round for the table, and the waitress asks if we’re ready to order everything.
My sister out of nowhere screams, “I’m not ready! I feel pressure! Stop rushing me!”
Need I remind you that she is already getting spaghetti with truffle (sauce? Truffles? I don’t know the correct way of phrasing it), so she could just order a simple appetizer, but apparently I’m an ass hole and rude for rushing the birthday girl, so the waitress leaves us, so we can all concentrate on the momentous decision ahead of us.
The waitress comes back. I have decided on the funghi misti salad (salad with mushrooms), my dad gets a salad with artichokes and decides on a spinach fettucini with Bolognese, and my sister still hasn’t decided, and asks the waitress to repeat the specials again.
“Blah blah blah blah, and a burrata cheese.” This is how I can assume my sister heard the waitress.
“I’ll get the burrata cheese.”
After ordering burrata cheese and spaghetti, my sister goes on to tell the rest of us that she’s lost weight, and her pants are big on her. I meanwhile already feel guilty for the pesto sauce that I haven’t eaten yet, while my sister’s face is pure joy. Not an ounce of guilt for the carbtastic dairy induced coma she’ll be in later.
The appetizers arrive, and they’re large portions for appetizers. I’m pleasantly surprised to find that the mushrooms are warm on the bed of lettuce.
My sister goes to town on the burrata; my mom scoops up the medallions, and my dad is upset with his “large” salad, and offers me a mushroom off his plate (you do know I ordered a salad with the word funghi in the name right?).
Mains arrive, and my phone freezes causing sheer panic in my heart. My family will never wait for me to take a picture of their food with this delay. In my haste I forgot to take a picture of pasta with pesto, and it still brings a tear to my eye.
Everyone starts scooping portions off their plates, and putting on each other’s bread plate or in sections on their entrée dish. I barely touch the sea bass, and nosh on a cooked artichoke my mom tossed on my plate, but I got to keep the pesto plate so my plate is extra saucy from my mom removing her portion of the pasta, I dig right in.
Ugh, I’m full, so let’s get dessert. What shall we get?
Not one of us like the same type of dessert, but we can all agree on tiramisu.
“It’s going to have a lot of liquor in it. That’s how it is at Italian restaurants,” my mom says (that is incorrect).
I see a crepe cake on the menu, and my mom and I decide that two desserts are ok.
“I don’t want that,” my dad says, but he has his tiramisu so he can pipe down.
“Guys don’t like crepes. All girls like crepes,” I say.
“That’s true. Guys don’t eat crepes or quiches,” my dad says.
“Why not quiches?”
“It’s for chicks.” K.
Both desserts arrive, and of course the tiramisu comes with a candle, and we awkwardly sing “happy birthday” to my sister.
The crepe cake was delicious, and I wish I could keep a bite of it always in my back pocket. I really do love crepes. The tiramisu was yummy as well, but it was not spectacular.
I get my ride home, we take a family picture in our matching jackets, and off I go to watch Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion.
“I wonder what she’ll write about,” I hear my mom say.
Novita (zucchini flower: stuffed with goat cheese and prosciutto)
SO SO SO SO good! It’s deep fried, but somehow you manage to convince yourself it’s not so bad for you, because it doesn’t taste heavy at all even with cheese melted inside!
My dad originally wanted “a bite” but didn’t get a bite with cheese, so he ended up a taking a whole flower.
Novita (burrata cheese)
My sister’s favorite. She gave me a few bites of it. they serve you balsamic vinegar on the side, and my sister was so excited to eat it, she forgot to put the dressing on!
Also, please note the text message I received after dinner in reference to her meal.
Novita (grilled calamari stuffed with shrimp medallions)
This was a specialty appetizer. It looks so elegant. My mom was in love with this, and was so thrilled with her choice. I split a medallion with my sister. the squid was a bit chewy, but it wasn’t greasy, and a light option.
Novita (insalata di carciofini: baby artichoke with mushrooms and parmigiano shavings)
Large portion of salad. I did not try it, but it seems pretty legit. Sorry that’s all the info I have on it.
Novita (funghi misti: grilled portobello, shiitake and oyster mushrooms with parmigiano shavings)
Pretty large salad for an appetizer! If you want to eat a light dinner, you could get this without the cheese, and I think you’d be pretty satisfied, but when is salad ever as good as spaghetti?
Novita (branzino con carciofi: pan-roasted sea bass with artichokes)
Cooked perfectly from the few bites I had since I was too busy scarfing down pasta!
Novita (pasta with truffles)
This was a special so I am unable to give you a detailed description of the pasta, but it was unreal. Some people are “over” the truffle craze, but they’re idiots. This had just the right amount where it was not overpowering. My sister did not leave one noodle!
Novita (spinach fettuccine with kobe beef bolognese)
A little before and after action on this one. This was really great! I despise when pasta is overcooked, and this was not: it was cooked perfectly!
Novita (mille foglie: 20 crepes layered with a light creamy custard)
A-mah-zing! What’s better than 1 crepe? 20 crepes.
Novita: tiramisu, sister
Here is the tiramisu, and the birthday girl! Delicious! And not too much liquor in it…at all!
Here we are in our matching leather jackets! Took the doorman 20 minutes to figure out how to work my sister’s camera…was it worth the wait? I think maybe.
Angelo’s [Click the photo above to go to Angelo’s website]
146 Mulberry Street New York, NY 10013
After a few years of wanting the full experience at the San Gennaro Festival it finally happened. Somehow 8 girls found a night that worked for everyone on a Thursday night, and made reservations at a restaurant without any fuss at Angelo’s. So far so good right?
“How are you getting to dinner?”
“I have no idea,” I replied on gchat to my friend. Me, get anywhere downtown without a cab, and through public transportation instead? I think not.
“We can take the 6 to Canal Street.” (Cool)
“Want to meet at the subway so we can go together?” (Yes, I have no idea where I’m going, and I could definitely use a budget friendly ride)
As I’m running to get ready (is it cold out? Do I need a jacket or maybe just a scarf? Am I going out after this? Should I put on liquid liner?) I get a text from my friend saying she’s getting her nails done two blocks away from me, and she’s taking the subway with my other friend and me.
Great, you can come up to my apt, and I go on to give her my apt #, and she writes back “Ehhh.” Thanks?
I get to the subway, and she tells me she couldn’t find my building (she was on my block…she probably just had to look up). Now I’m starting to sweat as we wait for the 6 to arrive, and I realize why I hate the subway. I pull one arm out of my sweater so it’s half on/half off.
“I’ll fix it once we’re on the train”
“Yeah, I’m dripping.”
We get off the subway, and wait for our other friends who took the subway, and as they arrive, something gets into my eye, so I am now walking through Chinatown (is it Chinatown?) trying to get an unidentified object out of my eye without smudging my liquid liner (yeah, I decided to wear it).
We walk through the hustle and bustle that is San Gennero (Honey eat here! Want to be a winner? Look at this menu!), and just as I see the word “Angelo” in view, my two friends get distracted by a hustler offering them a “free game” outside the restaurant (you know where you have to throw ball in a container, and it looks so easy, but it never works, and you spent $45 trying to win a gigantic banana stuffed animal).
“Guys! The restaurant is right here!”
“He said we could have won a tv…” (no you couldn’t)
As I’m standing outside the restaurant waiting to be seated, I see a possibly drunk platinum blonde looking right at me in the restaurant, OMG IT’S KIM D FROM REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY.
“Is it her?”
“Are you sure it’s her”
“Is that Teresa next to her?” I see a bundle of black coifed hair.
We are escorted to our table, and all 8 of us awkwardly try to turn our heads to see if it’s her as we walk past their table to ours.
“IT’S DEFINITELY HER!”
I HAVEN’T EVEN BEGUN…
Two of my friends run off to talk to Kim D and Teresa as the rest of us settle in.
“Do we want wine?”
“Red or white?” ….(what do you want? I don’t know what do you want? You pick, no you pick. SOMEBODY PICK! 1 bottle of red, and 1 bottle of white…and then two more of each….heehee)
Our friends return, “We got a picture! We got a picture!” My friend shows us a picture of the two of them, Kim and Teresa, as my friend explains she didn’t know where to put her hand so she put it on Teresa’s chair.
“We told Kim about your scarves go talk to her!” They say to my friend who sells scarves (that makes sense).
Shameless plug: http://www.justjamie.com/
My friend runs off, her shawl flowing behind her, as she heads directly for Kim. She comes back victorious, “I’ll be making a trip to New Jersey this weekend…”
“I think we should get a few appetizers to start, and we can each get our own mains.”
“I just want a salad,” says my friend.
“How about baked clams?”
“I’ll do baked clams,” say the same friend. I thought you just wanted a salad? Fickle pickle.
Pasta, pasta, pasta, “I think I want seafood,” says my friend. Idiot… (ordered: orecchiette with sausage, rigatoni a la vodka, cappellini in a spicy tomato sauce, gnocchi in a tomato sauce, and gnocchi with pesto…and octopus)
We finally put in all of our orders with the waiter.
“I like him he keeps calling me Bella.”
“He called me Bella too…”
“But he smiled at me.”
Is this happening?? At least the man knows what he’s doing.
Every time the waiter puts something on the table I have my camera out before he even puts it on the table. These girls aren’t going to wait for me to take a picture before they dive in.
When the pastas arrive, I pick my fork up like it’s a magical wand, and start going from dish to dish scooping up noodles so I can “appropriately blog” (I haven’t described a dish yet).
So want to hear about the dishes? I do too.
Baked clams: amazing!
Salad: why’d we even order this?
Bread: I meannnn who doesn’t dip their bread in the baked clams sauce? A moron, that’s who.
Mains…look at the descriptions under the pictures for that. This story is long enough as it is.
My friend next to me got the gnocchi in a pesto sauce with melted mozzarella on top (I know!). We should have switched plates because I was essentially sitting on her lap eating the dish. At least they’re large portions.
“Where’s the wine!”
“Let’s take a picture.”
“I like the second one.”
“I like the first one.”
“Put up both.”
“Just put up one.”
“Let’s get dessert outside.”
The bill comes, and it reads, $440 to split by 8.
“That’s like $100 each!”
“No, no it is not.”
“Oh right, like $20 each!”
“No, that isn’t right either.” (this all happened)
“That’s definitely going in the blog” (WHY WOULDN’T IT GO IN THE BLOG!)
We should definitely get dessert…dessert seems smart. What seems smarter than dessert, fried oreos as dessert.
6 for $5. 3 of us get a bag, and I somehow eat three of them. Woops!
“I’m definitely taking a cab back.”
As we’re sitting at a red light, my friend screams, “That’s Lorelai!” (from Gilmore Girls)
“Lorelai!” We scream outside the cab window (that’s not her name).
She waves back.
“Maybe she’s going to San Gennaro.”
I don’t normally do this, but I can’t help it…IT’S TERESA!
My friend wanted fully body, I wanted well not full body, another just wanted wine, another just wanted red, so we got chianti. It did the job.
Great way to start the meal! It also wasn’t too salty, which was nice, so it didn’t overwhelm you before the meal started.
Angelo’s (baked clams)
This is a double order. It was delicious! It had a good ratio of breading to clam, and there was of course extra sauce to dip your bread in.
Angelo’s (insalata misto)
It was ok. The end.
Angelo’s (Orecchiette Con Broccoli Rape: Small Ear Shaped Pasta with Broccoli Rape and shredded sausage)
This is my dish. I thought it was simple with minimal sausage, but I ate my friend’s pasta next to me with plenty left on my plate, so maybe it’s not the number one thing to order, but it’s definitely simple and a change of pace if you don’t want something too saucy.
Angelo’s (Capellini Angelo: angel hair with mozzarella & rugola in a spicy tomato sauce)
This was not that spicy and a teensy bit saucy, but overall a good dish. Not my favorite on the table.
Angelo’s (Gnocchi Sorrentina: HalfMoon Ravioli in Cream Tomato Sauce)
It was a really nice bite. My friend said it looked like ketchup, which it sort of did.
Angelo’s (Gnocchi in a pesto sauce)
Hands down the best dish at the table. It’s super rich, and you don’t NEED to finish it, but I think everyone deserves a bite of this.
Angelo’s (rigatoni a la vodka)
The noodles were cooked perfectly, and the sauce was delicious. This dish was completely clean by the end of the meal, and was finished first.
Angelo’s (grilled octopus in wine sauce over arugula salad)
It’s “healthy” I guess, but it is still dipped in oil, and not nearly as good as a bowl of pasta. If you’re in Little Italy, just go for it.
San Gannero Festival (fried oreos)
I have never had a fried oreo before, and it is just so much better than you would think it is. It is a ball of fried dough with powdered sugar, and inside is a chewy gooey oreo! It doesn’t scream class, but whatever.
Barbuto [Click the photo above to go to Barbuto’s website]
775 Washington Street (between west 12th and Jane Street) New York, NY 10014
Being that my last dinner with my dad and sister was such a success, they were ready for their next round, so I made a reservation at Barbuto in the West Village. After watching Top Chef Masters a few seasons back I was all up in Jonathan Waxman’s business and was intent upon eating there a while back, so this was my second trip, and I was thrilled about it.
I knew the food would be good, and I like the “neighborhood” vibe.
My sister texted me that she was in crazy traffic, but as it turns out so was I, so they beat me to the restaurant.
I ended up hopping out of the cab and walking 4 blocks, because we sat through two red lights, and my patience was running thin, two blocks away my sister texts me, “where are you?”
I arrive and see olives have already been placed at the table. Score!
I sit across from my sister and dive into the olives as we wait for my dad (he was parking the car).
We’re all obviously starving, and the dinner reservation is for 7:15, so imagine if I had made it for 8pm.
“Where’s the waiter?” My dad exclaims. He asks two different busboys to summon our waiter (we had already finished the olives).
I have such a strange love for this place, and kept mentioning weird facts about it, as we strummed our fingers waiting to eat.
“Isn’t the garage style windows so cute?…Don’t you love how casual it is?…I like the area.” (uch put a cork on it).
“The apartments around here are pretty nice. Would you live here?” my dad asks.
“Maybe.” Are you paying my rent for this? Yeah I didn’t think so. I’ll just have to go here for dinner instead.
Finally the waiter arrives, and we order wine and food.
My sister and my dad got white, and I got red (because I can’t have white, stupid allergy!).
I ordered the green salad and scallops (knowing full well I could just have bites of the fattier options off of the other table members).
My sister gets Burrata cheese (like anything else on the menu stood a chance), and pork ribs with peaches.
My dad orders the chicken, because it’s their specialty, but can’t decide on an app.
The waiter recommends a half order of the gnocchi, and it was like…the most ground breaking moment of the whole dinner.
“Done!” my dad says.
“Would you like any sides?”
I pick the sautéed greens figuring we’re bound to eat some of it.
“Do they not give you bread here?”
“Ask for it.”
We asked for it.
Our appetizers arrive, and my dad and sister look like they’re ready for battle.
“Wait! I need to take a picture!”
They look wounded, and I try to snap the photos as fast as I can, and then they go in for the kill.
No one wants one bite of my lettuce, while my sister and I nearly stab my dad’s thumb aiming our forks at his pasta.
As we shovel it in, I go into my past weekend in Fire Island.
“I threw up.”
“Ewwww, you did.”
I did! What can I tell you I did! It happens! I usually reject rocket fuels, but I had made an executive decision that it was go hard or go home, and I guess I went hard, and then I went home and threw up.
“Did you make it to the bathroom?” my dad asks.
“Yes of course I did!” I mean give me some credit.
The throw up was just a lead into another story anyway, and yes I tell my dad this stuff.
“So as I was stuck on the couch dying I was with all the guys because the girls left to get food, and watching guys bro out is just weird.”
I went on to explain that I watched my guy friends play beer pong at noon on a Saturday morning, and when I finally got my act together and the girls left for the beach, we could hear the guys rocking out to Katy Perry as we left…
Mains arrive. The plates are not the prettiest, but that’s why I sort of love it. It reminds me of eating at home, where presentation is secondary to taste.
I dig into my scallops with corn and scallions, and the corn was so sweet! I don’t think my dad was originally so into the chicken, but he grew to love it, and needed like 3 extra napkins. Dad, stop.
My sister proclaimed that her dish is the best, and I don’t know maybe it is, because after I finished my scallops I pulled her plate closer to me and screamed, “give me some of it!”
We soon realize we never got our side of veggies, because we clearly needed more. The waiter was super great, and didn’t even charge us for it. They were good, but probably would have been better had we eaten it with the rest of our meal. I thought they were sort of lemony.
“We’re getting dessert right?”
As the dessert menus are handed out. My dad stares at the menu, looks at my sister, and is like “well we all know who wants the cheesecake.”
My sister humbly shrugs like it’s a compliment.
“Actually the cheesecake DOES look pretty good,” my dad says.
So we got it. Again, it looked like a bunch of mush when it came over with the sauce on top.
“Too much raspberry sauce,”my dad and sister agree. Of course we don’t like the fruit portion.
But boy was it good…
As we’re getting ready to leave, I mention another restaurant I’m considering for our next dinner.
“Yeah I went with my friend and his boyfriend” (yes he’s gay).
“Where is it?”
“Of course it is…” Watch it Dad, because that might be our next stop.
Barbuto (gnocchi con granoturco: local corn & burst cherry tomatoes)
I can’t put into words how great this was. I also hate that guys can order pasta as an appetizer while I chomped on lettuce. It’s so unfair.
Barbuto (insalata stagionale: peaches, watermelon & burrata)
Summer is the time for fruit, and cheese is…for every season. Refreshing salad. I didn’t love the cheese, because I expected it to be creamier, but still very good!
Barbuto (giardino verde: garden greens & lemon-olive oil)
It’s just lettuce, and it was a little salty, but I wasn’t expecting the world when I ordered this.
Barbuto (costine di maiale: pork ribs & caramelized peaches)
I rarely dip into the red meat pool these days, and this is so totally worth it. Pork and peaches are a fab combo, and the portion is piled high. My sister almost didn’t finish it…don’t worry she did.
Barbuto (pollo al forno: jw chicken & salsa verde)
The Barbuto specialty! Chicken can sometimes be boring, but this has crispy skin, and is super juicy, and could feed a whole family…or just my dad.
Barbuto (cappa sante: grilled scallops, corn& scallions)
Most places give you like 3 scallops, and they give you 5, so yay to that! I loved the corn and scallions, and the scallops were delic! It’s a great summer option.
Barbuto (sauteed garden greens)
It was a bit lemony. I don’t think you absolutely need to order it, but it’s still a good veggie option.
So so so so yummy! I missed the last bite, because a raspberry was obstructing my view!
It’s my fav day of the year, National Tequila Day! [Click the photo above to read How to Celebrate National Tequila Day, July 24th]
Nicoletta [Click the photo above to go to Nicoletta website]
160 Second Avenue (on the corner of 10th Street), New York, NY 10003
I know what you’re thinking, I’ve never heard of Nicoletta, what is this place? I’m just so insanely on trend that I decided to a try the new Michael White restaurant that opened in mid-June (let me think I’m cool ok!).
I secretly knew there might be a wait since it’s a new restaurant and they don’t take reservations, but I didn’t tell my friend who I was meeting there (like I was gonna let her pick a different place), so I got there a few minutes early, put my name down, and phoned my mom to kill some time.
I see my friend approaching, and I tell my mom I have to go, “you called me!” She says and then hangs up. Jewish moms…
I break the news to her that there is a wait, and I have to say, she kept it together pretty well, considering she texted me that she was starving a few minutes before arriving, so plus 5 for maintaining your composure girl.
We opt to go across the street to 13th Step to get a beer, while we wait for our table (they call you when your table is up). Just as we order our Blue Moons (the girly beer), we get a call saying our table is ready. It was like 10 minutes earlier than they said, so I already loved them. We cancel our drinks and haul ass back to Nicoletta (it was 10 feet away, but we were hungry!).
“This place is so cute. I love the aesthetic….you can put that in the blog. aes-thet-ic,” my friend says it slowly like I’m about to whip out a pad and jot it down.
“I’ll be sure to note that.” That being said, it is cute. Brick walls, red décor, I’m gonna label it “laid back chic.” Do what you want with that information.
We order our wine and settle into the menu.
“Ok, what are we gonna get?”
We try so hard to look at the menu and decide, but we keep getting distracted, talking about how hungry we are, her “douschebag professor,” you get the idea….
I felt like my eyes were turning into ping pong balls as I tried to catch the waiter’s eye, maintain eye contact with my friend, and scan the menu (I’m a multi-tasker what can I say?).
“Ok, let’s just decide on a pizza first.”
“I’m not into red meat,” my friend replies.
“Great, I try to avoid red meat too.”
We go for the broccolo pie, which is broccoli rabe, peppers, and some pesto thing happening.
“Doesn’t your family think it’s weird that you don’t eat meat? Like your dad?” (referencing one of my blog posts, she’s a fan!)
“Yeah, he does, but then he does this…” and I motion him hitting his chin implying my face blew up.
“I hate that! My brother makes fun of me too, but did he run 3 miles before eating, no! I did!”
I’m suddenly wondering if we’re on the same page…
“You run 3 miles?”
“I work out like 5 or 6 days a week.” Hmm, do you? I work out 3 days a week, putting her at a 50% advantage in the aerobic department. I don’t like not being the fit one at the table (it happens often if you can imagine). I’m starting to doubt her.
We order two “small bites,” of a cucumber salad and risotto balls (her suggestion, my love for her is growing again).
We look over at the table next to us, and two skinny girls are eating 3 small bites. We will NOT be outdone.
“Maybe we should get that eggplant,” she says. I can forgive you for your 5-6 workout regimen. Consider it water under the bridge.
We order, and my friend rushes to wash her hands. The cheese stands alone. I whip out my phone, and pretend I’m busy.
She sits back down, and tells me there is a bathroom on the main floor. I am loving this place more and more.
The small bites are indeed small (my pictures below make them look large, but they are not, but they’re also $5 sooo I get it), but they’re really really yummy.
Cucumber salad is on the healthy side with a nice crunch; the eggplant has great flavor, and it comes with bread so yay to that, and the risotto balls are deep fried balls of rice, so I didn’t foresee that being a problem (only 4 of them though, so portion control!)
My friend notices little silver circles at the sides of our table.
“Is this for our bags?”
I look around at the other tables. “Nope, that’s where they put the pizza stand in.”
Honest mistake. She’s going to kill me when she reads this, because she’s going to say I made her sound like an idiot. I think it’s a normal question!
Before I can fully laugh at her, we look at the skinny girls next to us, and see their pizza has come. Looks like they’re eating tonight too. I wonder if they ate anything else today, or if they’re just naturally skinny.
Our pizza arrives, and it’s go time! It was yummy, but I’m gonna shoot you straight, I liked the small bites better. We decided we would have preferred a “saucier” pizza.
“Like the ones the girls have next to us…” Do you think these girls know how much trouble they’re causing for us?
I look down at my wine, and I see a little bug has lost its way into my glass of rose, and is now doing the free style in my glass. It looks like the bug is legit swimming in my glass, and I cannot stop watching it.
“Look at that thing!”
“It’s really swimming.”
I share with the busboy that I have an Olympic swimmer in my wine glass, and he takes it and returns with a new glass that is bug free.
“Would you ladies like dessert?” YES.
Gelato is the only option, and I’m not complaining.
“Would you like any toppings?”
We pick the pistachio nuts that the waiter recommends, and he looks at us all crazy and says, “that’s it?” Toppings are fifty cents fyi.
We go for the caramel sauce.
As we wait for our dessert, we see the girls next to us have ordered individual gelatos. Now they’re just rude!
We get ours, and it is definitely the best part of the meal. It’s amazing. 16 handles may be across the street, but ditch the fro yo and get the gelato for sure.
As we depart from the restaurant, I realize there is construction on 3rd avenue, and no cars are allowed on the street. Guess I’ll call my mom while I walk home.
This picture was taken before a bug flew into my glass. I don’t know much about wine, but I liked mine.
Nicoletta (cetriolo:spicy red wine vinegar marinated, cucumbers, black peppercorn)
This was delicious! I am a really picky cucumber eater (I don’t like when it has a mushy center), and this had the perfect crunch and mix of acid. I loved it!
Nicoletta (caponata: marinated sicilian eggplant, peppers, pine nuts, basil)
This was surprisingly amazing. I loved it, and tried to share with my friend, but I kept dipping my fork back into the little bowl.
And that bread? Crispy and unreal.
Nicoletta (suppli’ risotto, mozzarella, ragu antico)
A deep fried carb with dipping sauce. It’s not packed with flavor, but it’s not meant to be. It’s just yum.
Nicoletta (broccolo pizza: broccoli rabe pesto, smoked scamorza cheese, cherry peppers, spicy bread crumbs)
Looks pretty good right??? I think it’s the same pizza they have on the website, which makes me feel like I have superb photography skills. Anyway, it is really great, but I think it needed something like maybe more tomatoes or salt, and they dont serve the food with any of your standard pizza toppings.
Nicoletta (gelato with caramel sauce and pistachio brittle)
I could not help myself with putting up two pictures of this. It was just so good. They said the gelato was vanilla flavored, but I swear it had some marshmallow thing happening. Also, please note that it’s not a super large portion: they serve it in a regular size glass.
Morandi [Click the photo above to go to Morandi’s website]
211 Wavery Place (b/t 10th and Charles Street) New York, NY 10014
My dad is back! He said it was time for him to make another appearance, but this time with my sister. They both said they’re going to be famous. I’m glad they think my blog is so popular, meanwhile, I never even mention their names, and maybe 4.3 people read it, including my dad and sister.
I decide the safest bet with my dad is Italian so I make earlyish reservations at Morandi. I arrive right as my sister is ordering a glass of wine at the bar.
“Dad’s parking the car. He ran a red light on the way here.”
“Yea yea, I’m sure he said it was yellow.”
We get seated in a tightish booth, and we stare at the menu. Last time I was here I died over their brussel sprout salad, but the waitress told me they removed it from their menu about a month ago (damn you!).
“What’s good here?” My dad asks.
“The fried artichokes.”
“I love artichokes. That’s a definite.”
“Ooh, there’s burrata cheese,” my sister whispers.
“I thought we were dieting,” says my dad after he JUST decided on fried artichokes.
“Well there’s nothing else that I want,” she replies back completely undeterred. If my sister wants cheese, she’s getting cheese.
“I think I’m going to get the grilled octopus,” I say, I’m not letting my dad change this around. It’s bikini season, grilled, definitely grilled.
“Do you think we have enough appetizers?” (2 for 3 people? We haven’t even begun!)
“I don’t like artichokes,” says my sister.
“How do ya not like artichokes?” as he taps the menu.
“I just don’t,” (she just doesn’t).
The waitress comes over to tell us about the specials for the night, but she doesn’t have them memorized yet, so she keeps looking down at her pad of paper.
“You havin’ some trouble there?” My dad asks cracking up.
Let’s hope our waitress has a sense of humor, because my dad loves to “joke” with the waitress. We tell him they don’t like it, but he thinks he’s making their day (“you guys are crazy, they love it!”)
“Sorry, you guys are my first of the night. I don’t have it memorized yet,” she says with a smile.
Fortunately, one of the appetizer specials was a Boccaccini salad (that’s mozzarella cheese), so my dad said he would compromise mozz for Burrata. Really seems like the same thing to me, but whatever I still get the grilled octopus so I’ll stay out of this one.
Oh, but mains. What about the mains!
I originally decided on the salmon, but the waitress recommends the sea bass and to get a side of vegetables with it.
“It’s very popular.”
“Ok, sure.” I’m not paying. Bring on the sides.
My sister’s turn. She was already shot down on appetizers (but not really because she still got cheese, and we all ate it).
“I don’t know what pasta to get.”
“You’re gonna get pasta!”
“I don’t like any of the meat dishes! Maybe I’ll get the ravioli.”
Have you guys not met?
She finds another dish my dad was eyeing, and orders pasta with spicy crabmeat (this is fine, because he definitely wants a bite of it).
Pasta is pasta, and whether the meat is inside the noodle or sitting right next to it, it still gets in your stomach, so I have no idea why this was deemed the healthier choice.
Mr “RAVIOLI!” ordered the linguine with clams (whole wheat pasta).
“Just so you know there’s a charge for making it whole wheat.”
“Are you kiddin’ me?”
At least she warned him.
Apps arrive, and it is time to chow down.
“The fried artichokes are delicious!”
He plops one down on my plate, and offers my sister one.
“I DON’T LIKE ARTICHOKES!”
“But these are the hearts!” She doesn’t like ‘em!
Grilled octopus is delic, and I slice a tentacle off to give my sister.
“I want the celery too!”
I try to go for just the tomatoes and avoid the Boccacini cheese (I’m sort of successful) as I stab my sister’s plate.
I decide midway through appetizers that seltzer isn’t cutting it, and I order a glass of wine. Wow, I feel much better.
Mains are placed on the table, but my vegetable side is placed in the middle of the table. I blow a kiss good-bye to my vegetables knowing I won’t get one bite now that they are not right next to me.
My dad grabs his fork…”WAIT! SHE DIDN’T TAKE A PICTURE YET!” My sister yells.
I try to take the pics as quickly as possible, and off we go.
My dad is always super critical of fish as he refers to it as having a “fishy taste.” We have a very very mature palate.
I cut him a piece, “Not too big!”
He takes one bite, “wow that’s delicious! What is that?”
“Mediterranean sea bass,” my sister pipes in as she pop 2 noodles in her mouth.
“Oh, ok got it.”
I realize what’s happening here, and it’s not good. “Dad, no, it’s not a Mediterranean sea bass. It’s a sea bass cooked Mediterranean style.”
“Ohhh, are you sure?”
I shouldn’t have said anything until the next time we’re at a restaurant, and my dad orders sea bass and asks if it’s from the Mediterranean, because it’s the only fish he likes.
I go to grab a noodle off my sister’s plate, but I’m a little buzzed and grab crab instead.
“I can’t believe you just took my last bite of crab.”
I’m never going to live that down. “Mom, she took the last bite of crab…Oh, of course she did. So selfish” (I swear I thought it was a noodle!)
“Give me another bite of that fish,” my dad says as there is nothing left of his whole wheat spaghetti. He is now scooping the sauce up with the bread.
I hand him another piece. “The last bite was a little fishy.”
“That was a caper Dad.”
“Maybe we should get frozen yogurt for dessert instead,” my dad says as they clear the table.
My sister and I almost laugh in his face. “We’re getting dessert,” we say at the same time.
We order the tiramisu, but before we do we ask the waitress how it’s pronounced, because my dad pronounces it like Tammy Sue, and he swear it’s the right way.
The waitress pronounces it correctly, and we go, “our dad thinks it’s pronounced Ter-amee Sue, like a girl’s name.”
The waitress just starts laughing (she got a big tip, because my dad said she had a great sense of humor).
Guess what? Mr Fro Yo had a bite.
As we’re leaving, I ask my dad “did you run any red lights on the way here?”
“It was yellow.”
I am embarrassed to tell you how quickly this basket was gobbled up. That’s all I will say.
Morandi (Carciofi alla giudea: fried artichokes with lemon)
My dad’s favorite! Crunchy, yummy, you get the idea!
Morandi (Polipetti e sedano: grilled octopus with celery & black olives)
I could see how one might think this looks weird, but it was great! I finished the whole thing!
Morandi (Boccaccini salad)
Cheese was yummy, and the tomatoes were firm. I despise mushy tomatoes.
Morandi (Orata alla griglia: grilled whole sea bream with lemon-oregano oil)
Check out my main, it’s pretty and yummy, and I totally convinced myself I was the healthiest person in the restaurant.
Morandi (Broccoli Rabe)
I was able to sneak a few bites, and it had great flavor. I think they squeezed some lemon on it. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t care.
Morandi (Linguine alle vongole: pasta with clams, white wine & green garlic)
This sauce was unreal. It had more flavor than I would expect from a clam sauce.
Morandi (Fusilli con granchio e pomodorini piccanti: spiral pasta with spicy crab & cherry tomato ragú)
Look at it! So delicious!
Lattanzi [Click the photo above to go to Lattanzi’s website]
361 West 46th Street (between 8th and 9th avenue) New York, NY 10036
The best thing about going to a Broadway show is the dinner before the show, at least in my book.
I’m not a theatre girl, never have been, never will be. I hate fighting over the arm rest with strangers (or my sister), I hate the line for the bathroom at intermission, I hate the slow sad songs, and over animated theatre people weird me out. So, I was not excited to sit in an itchy chair and see “Once” to say the least. (I I know it won a million Tony’s, but they don’t even do a Fashion Police segment on it so please, it’s not a real show) I went because my mom wanted a girls’ night with my sister and me.
I spent my Friday nursing a hangover, and trying to pump myself up for this show. I shoveled in a bacon egg and cheese, and listened to Bernadette Peters sing “Broadway Baby” on YouTube (yes, this is really how I spent my Friday at work).
Dinner was at Lattanzi on Restaurant Row (Italian restaurant with a Jewish twist).
Lets be real, there was no way I was taking any form of public transportation with a day-long hangover, so I hopped in a cab and let it be my nap time.
I got there rather quickly considering I had to get across town at 6pm on a Friday.
“Left or right side?” The cab driver asked.
“Um, whatever side is good.” (I had no idea where I was going)
I find the restaurant after a few wrong turns (I’m an idiot), and my mom and sister arrive shortly after.
The bread basket is placed in front us, and I could not have dug in faster.
“Can I get you anything to drink?”
Do I drink to help the hangover, or do I get something caffeinated so I wake up? ALCOHOL.
“Can I see your wine list?”
The waiter hands me the wine list, and I realize I know nothing about wine.
Without even opening up the menu I just ask, “What’s your lightest red wine by the glass?”
I don’t even hear his reply, “I’ll have that.”
My sister gets wine, and my mom gets a club soda (boo).
I see the menu has an artichoke appetizer, “Jewish style.” I had no idea there was Jewish way to cook artichokes, but my mom thinks it’s just the funniest, and orders them. I get a house salad, because I’m about to choke down black pasta with seafood as my main, so better to save my appetite.
My sister gets a caprese salad, and rolled pasta. My mom wants the same dish as me, but she’s allergic to tomatoes (every meal she tells the waiter, “I’m HIGHLY allergic to tomatoes.” She breaks out in hives. It’s annoying, but sometimes really funny to watch her freak out).
Since the black pasta comes with tomato sauce, it makes sense for her to order something else, so she begrudgingly orders the veal. I weirdly do not have one of those moms that tells me to order the fish.
“I miss tomatoes.” (she acquired the allergy with age)
“We know mom!”
Appetizers come, and we quickly distribute little bites to each other of our dishes.
“What’s this play about anyway.”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t know.”
I whip out my phone and look up a brief description of the play.
“The mozzarella cheese is melted. Yes!”
“Can we get pepper please?”
My house salad was just lettuce, but I ate it like my life depended on it. The mains arrive super fast.
“They must be used to having people run to the theatre afterwards,” says my mom.
“Well, we have a lot of time, so let’s eat slowly,” (good one).
My spaghetti was sort of simple, but my mom’s veal was stuffed with cheese, and that was a great surprise. My sister had pasta with ricotta cheese and tomato sauce, so there was no way she wasn’t finishing that.
“I don’t even care. I drank last night, and my diet restarts tomorrow,” I announce.
Our plates are cleared, “do you want the dessert menu?”
“Can I get a cappuccino with skim milk?” My sister asks. Yep, the skim milk will totally save you from what you just ate.
“We only have whole milk.”
“Ok, I’ll still get it.” (you can’t deter us)
Napoleon ordered as well.
I then forklift myself up and trek to the theatre. When we arrive, the cast is singing on stage while people are being seated.
“Theatre people are so weird.”
Lattanzi (Mozzarella E Pomodoro: homemade mozzarella and fresh tomato with extra virgin olive oil and basil)
Surprise surprise, they melted the cheese a bit! The tomatoes were plump and not too mushy, too bad my mom couldn’t have any of it.
Lattanzi (arciofi Alia Giudia our signature dish of artichokes cooked jewish style; sauteed with garlic and olive oil)
If you like artichokes it’s a great app. Enough said.
Lattanazi (Insalata Mista mixed greens with endive and radicchio in a house vinaigrette dressing)
Your basic house salad. I ate it to hold me over so I wouldn’t keep eating the bread basket.
Lattanzi (veal stuffed with cheese and a side of roasted vegetables)
This was a special so I don’t have the fancy pants title of this dish. However, I really liked it. Maybe it’s because I try to not eat red meat, so when I do it’s super exciting, but it was a solid dish.
Lattanzi (black spaghetti in a spicy tomato sauce with seafood)
I would have liked a little more heat to the dish, but if you have a sensitive palette this is a good dish to order.
Lattanzi (Rotolo Di Spinaci E Ricotta: homemade rolled pasta filled with ricotta cheese and spinach topped with tomato sauce)
If you’re going to splurge on a serious pasta dish, this is a good one to do it with. I’d say the portion is equivalent to two giantic pasta shells.
So.good. I’m a sucker for napoleons, so it was a great way to end the meal.
I just want to apologize to my “many” followers aka my cousins and like 2 friends who read this for not posting that much lately. I’ve been trying to shrink my hips and butt for summer, and that means no eating out for extravagant 3 course meals. Weird, I know.
Instead of posting my incredibly entertaining stories, I have been posting links to food articles I like. As my cousin so nicely pointed out, “I can just look these articles up myself,” I am still posting another link.
I like to think of myself as your personal food filter for note worthy articles. (She also politely told me that I need to check out a map since I rarely take the subway or bus…deal with it)
So I promise to fatten up soon and go out to dinner, in the meanwhile [Click the photo above to read, What’s on Your NYC Bucket List?]
Little Italy Pizza
2 E 33rd Street New York, NY 10016
I decided to go to a happy hour the other night with my friends to support another friend’s charity www.lustgarten.org/helpblairrun (help a sister out) at Galway Hooker on 36th between 5th and Madison. I had just gotten a haircut, and it seemed appropriate to show it off. I met my friends there, and I kept texting them to see if they were there as I waited awkwardly at the bar. Turns out they were there the whole time and just weren’t answering their phones…awesome.
I lasted approximately 2 beers in. That allowed for 1 conversation about whether or not my friend will be moving in with her boyfriend, another conversation about my friend’s shoes, and about 5 mentions of how hungry I was to my friends until they got the hint. My other friend was flirting with a new man, and gave us the “leave without me” eyes, which we eventually learned were the “meet me outside” eyes (I couldn’t tell the difference).
Where should we go? It’s 9:00, we’re hungry, but we’re not looking to sit for a long time. All of us whipped out our iphones and pulled up: AroundMe, Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Foodspotting.
“What do you want to eat?”
“I don’t care I’m just hungry.”
“Totally up to you.”
“The app says there are like 10 Asian restaurants nearby”
“I don’t want Asian”
“There is a pizza place too”
“I could do pizza.”
“Lets do pizza.”
Ok, pizza it is. The app said it was on 31st and 5th so like 5 blocks away whatever. One dummy wore heels to the happy hour (sorry I said it, it was dumb) so every 5 seconds I would a hear a little whimper of “how about here?” The answer is no, we are not going to Pret a Manger, and we are NOT going to McDonalds. I didn’t drink THAT much to be ok with that choice.
Then as we are 2 blocks away we walk by “Papaya King” and “Little Italy Pizza” on 33rd and 5th.
“I love Little Italy Pizza!” My friend screams. Place looks like a dump, but I haven’t had great pizza in a while, so let’s do this thing. Why didn’t our dumb Iphone apps advise of this place OR Papaya King? Thank goodness you all have me.
I point to a slice, “what’s that?” I ask.
“I don’t know” the pizza guy responds.
“Great, I’ll have that and a ‘shroom slice.” It was actually a chicken parm slice with ricotta cheese.
We all order and awkwardly pace until our pizza comes out of the oven. I am a two beer queer, so I am not sure if I am giving an accurate review here, but there were no complaints. I finished my slices, and my friends liked theirs.
“Who uses oregano?”
“I brought it to the table” (guilty)
“Oh, I don’t like herbs.”
Miss Heels opted out saying she would eat a Lean Cuisine later.
“What are you anorexic?” my friend screams.
Peer pressure, she got a slice.
“I have to pee”
“You go first and tell me how it is.” (guilty, that was me…selfish)
It wasn’t a nice bathroom, but the pizza hit the spot.
“Hey, you should put this on your blog!”
Little Italy Pizza (buffalo chicken pizza)
This is without ricotta cheese, but something that fattening is hard to be bad: breaded chicken, cheese, sauce…
Little Italy Pizza (Sicilian slice)
I did not personally taste this pizza, but my friend dies for Sicilian slices, and she ate it right up.
Little Italy Pizza (mushroom slice)
The shrooms were a little cold, but I covered it in crushed red pepper so I didn’t notice. I love when pizza is so big it doesn’t fit on the plate (is that just me?).
200 5TH Avenue, New York, NY 10010
I know most people’s idea of Sunday Funday is getting drunk and watching sports at a bar, but my idea of a Sunday Funday is way different. My male bff is a wonderful chef, and I like to go for food adventures with him on Sundays especially when it’s nice out (good strolling weather). It’s literally the perfect Sunday: I get exercise (walking burns fat ppl), I get to be involved with food without spending any money, and I get to pretend he’s my boyfriend (he does not like the lady variety), while we walk arm in arm throughout the city. It’s pretty much a win win for me. Did I mention it was also the Oscars? SUNDAY FUNDAY
He decided his Sunday meal was going to be veal scallopine (sure whatever makes your meat loaf), so off we went to the Whole Foods in Chelsea. Unfortunately they had no veal medallions for my Sunday lover, and we needed to explore other options…
Having never been to Eataly I immediately suggested it for this veal medallion excursion. Eataly is not exactly for the el cheapo weapos, and my friend..well hes pretty effing cheap so I was SHOCKED when he agreed to purchase his meat there.
SCORE! I could explore Eataly without eating anything, and I could get a legitimate tour from my fake boyfriend. Apparently I was not the only one who thought Eataly would be a great place to go for a Sunday, because it was PACKED. We blew past the gelato line, hurried through the bakery section, scurried past the fish and caviar section, but no dice with the homemade pasta section. I ooh’d. I ah’d. Hinting in the worst possible ways that maybe we should ditch the veal and go for some good old fashioned pasta. “HAVE YOU EVER MADE PASTA BEFORE? ARE YOU GOING TO GET SOME? IT LOOKS GREAT..” I screamed as he dragged me to the meat counter (can’t blame a gal for trying).
The people behind the counter were super helpful and friendly, the customers not so much. In an approximate two minute span 3 snippy male patrons screamed “I WAS HERE FIRST,” while I got pummeled by a shopping basket. “Excuse me!” they yelled. YEAH EXCUSE YOU! I immediately wanted to be returned to my homeland, the pasta section. I then got sidetracked as I saw a pizza station in the back “have you ever made pizza before?” I asked. I was like an eight year old with attention deficit disorder learning fractions for the first time.
To my pal’s delight, they not only pounded the veal for him, they also charged him for veal liver instead of veal medallions (“IT’S HALF THE PRICE” he screamed. I thought he was going to have a heart attack. Relax it’s not like they gave us a free cheese platter. Now THAT’S something to shout from the rooftops)
Now that we had what we came for it was time to pay. NOT SO FAST. I’M NOT DONE HERE. Off we went to the cheese section. “ooooh” I screamed as I saw stacked blocks of cheese the size of fire logs. I went to touch it to make sure it wasn’t a mirage, and it definitely was not, because grease was suddenly smeared all over my hand. EW GROSS. I look up to see a sign that says, “Display. Please Do Not Touch” TOO LATE.
We then checked out the produce section. He was really having trouble with what mushrooms to cook with this veal. GET THEM ALL. GET THEM ALL. He browsed, but then decided he’d check out Chelsea Market without me to get the rest of his supplies. It was perfect: I went home and watched the Live Red Carpet special, while my friend slaved away in the kitchen. Like I said..SUNDAY FUNDAY!
I stole these pictures, because I was too overwhelmed to even think about taking pictures for this post. Please do not judge me.
Keste [Click the photo above to go to Keste’s website]
271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
Jump into a k-hole at Keste. Pizza is amazeballs. Split a pie and a salad and you won’t feel like you’re eating your feelings with a girl friend, and if you do feel like ordering an extra pie…it’s worth it!
The owner gave out pizza samples while we waited for a table, and they warmed us right up while we waited outside in the cold. Pizza before pizza is a great appetizer. We ordered the funghi pizza, but I would be willing to try any listed on the menu.