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.
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?”
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.
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.
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?”
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.”
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?”
I grab my coat as the guy grabs his lady’s butt, and off we go.
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.
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.
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.
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 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).
My mom was again jealous that she couldn’t eat this. Solid eggplant dish.
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 for pork belly, sold at specialty markets.
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.
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 🙂
Sip Sak [Click the photo above to go to Sip Sak’s website]
928 2nd Ave (between 49th & 50th St), New York 10022
Finding a good lunch spot is hard. It is so difficult to strike the perfect balance between undereating and stuffing yourself to the point of no return.
Undereating means feeling like a savaged beast by 3pm clawing at paperwork and pens at your desk, while overeating can lead you to wanting to take a nap under your desk. Not to mention you don’t want to have wasted all your calories before dinner. I bring you Sip Sak!
Sip Sak is technically a Turkish restaurant, but I like to say Mediterranean, because it sounds way less intimidating. I have been there a bunch of times, and it is always a great alternative to my usual salad.
Their appetizers are delic’. The bread comes toasted (I try to avoid the carbs during the work week, but sometimes I give in), and their hummus is SOOOO good. It tastes authentic and it’s also on the creamier side (i hate when you get hummus that is stiff like a pate). Their spinach appetizer is my favorite (it’s cold by the way)! I don’t even think it tastes like spinach (it tastes like crack. No it doesn’t. It does. No, but it’s good) It comes with a dollup of yogurt on the top too (I will sometimes just get this and a soup and call it a day).
I actually ordered spinach again as my main too, but this time it came hot and with mushrooms (relax, Popeye). Mushrooms and spinach are a super filling option if you don’t want meat (I do not observe Lent but some peeps do. I am one of the chosen people, but it is also a vegetarian option too. I am just trying to stay current).
My sister got lamb kebabs that I was pretty jealous of. They were perfectly spiced and had great texture. It also came with rice and cabbage. I am a weird sucker for a good cabbage salad (I really don’t know), and I reached my fork across the table and scooped it off her plate, eventually screaming “JUST PUT IT ON MY PLATE ALREADY”
My mom went for a traditional greek salad with grilled chicken. SipSak just added some fava beans. She has been here before, and if she likes a place…we go back.
There are seriously a ton of options. I drag everyone in my office to this restaurant. I think they’ve had enough of me.
Sip Sak (interior)
It’s just too cute.
Sip Sak (lamb with rice and side salad)
There are no words. I know some people are not lamb lovers, but this is legit. You can see my cabbage salad peeking over the lamb’s left shoulder (was that weird?).
Sip Sak (greek salad with grilled chicken)
They gave a ridiculous amount of grilled chicken, and my mom was definitely full.
Sip Sak (spinach with mushrooms topped with peppers and tomatoes)
You know how I feel about their spinach. No need to beat a dead horse.
Sip Sak (toasted bread)
I could fill up on this alone, but I held myself back and let my mom and sister take some too (they’re so selfish sometimes).
Barbounia [Click the photo above to go to Barbounia’s website]
250 Park Ave S #1 New York, NY 10003
Weekend Brunch! What girl does not love brunch, and being that I live in Murray Hill (stop judging me fellow New Yorkers), finding a decent brunch spot is near to impossible, especially since my friends never want to go very far. Since I was able to drag them to L’express before I figured I could force them to try the restaurant across the street, Barbounia, and thank gaaaad for Barbounia.
For 1, they have a drinking special (boom). $18 for unlimited mimosas and bellinis. One mimosa is $12, so it is a deal in my book.
Not to mention there were men there, MEN AT BRUNCH. Unless there’s a big screen television, beer and tater tots, it is hard to get a man to brunch. Barbounia somehow managed to make that happen.
Crowded? Drinking Special? There must be a wait. The brunch gods were shining down on me that Saturday, because we were seated right away (next to a group of drunk girls but we were seated: i’ll take it).
And the food did not disappoint. I picked up the menu about 3 times before I decided on the crab benedict with truffle oil (yes, truffle oil), and it was delicious. I did not leave one morsel on my plate.
My friend got the burger, and she cleaned her plate as well. I also want to point out that while I am an adventurous eater, my fellow diner is not. Caesar salad wraps are her go to choice, and Barbounia managed to please both of us.
Overall it was an enjoyable experience, except while we were paying our bill, the manager asked if we would be willing to move to the bar so they could seat a larger party (back off buddy). He’s lucky I finished my mimosa so we just paid and left.
Here is the burger my friend ordered. She was sick and coughing up a lung, so I was too scared to take a bite, but I really wanted to sneak a few fries (if it’s not on my plate it’s like it never happened).
Barbounia (crab benedict)
Here is my crab benedict that I went to town on. I haven’t met a dish with truffle oil I did not like, and if you do not like truffle oil…i’m judging you, harshly.
Barbounia. (bloody mary and mimosa)
I got the mimosa, and my friend got the bloody mary. She has never met a bloody mary she did not like, and this one fell under that umbrella. I sipped my mimosa like a lady, of course.