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.”
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.
OYSTER FESTIVAL [Click the photo above to go to Oyster Festival’s official website]
Stone Street, Finanical District, New York, 10004
Fall seems to be the season of food festivals, so after the San Gannero festival, I decided let’s keep the ball rolling with the Oyster Festival. I went to the gym hoping it would negate the damage I’d do to myself later in the day (it didn’t) and texted my friend while on the bike, the standard question we text all our friends…
“How do I get there?” We know we can all look it up ourselves, but why not make someone else do it for us? I’m lazy, and I’m poor (and by poor, I mean my mom is going to strangle me when she sees the credit card bill) so I figured if I had to get down to Wall Street, I probably didn’t want to pay for a $15 cab or find out how to get there. My friend informs me the 4 or 5 will get me to Wall Street. I continue to text her while on the bike, which means I clearly worked my ass off at the gym.
My 21 year old hungover sister has decided to use me for my apartment once again, and sleeps soundly as I get myself ready for my day out. I tell her to get up so I can make my bed and she struggles to get up telling me she forgot where she was (oh to be young).
I manage to take the 6, transfer to the 5, and get to Wall Street, and felt like an absolute baller until I looked at my google maps and got completely lost trying to find this stupid Oyster Festival.
I keep walking left then right, and staring at my map as I watch the blue avatar of myself go to the left and right of where I’m supposed to be going. I don’t get it! I call my friend, and she tells me our other friend can see that on google maps she’s the closest so to come to her. Sure I say.
Forget this! I hail a cab tell him I’m supposed to go to Pearl Street, he legitimately drives me around the corner, and I’m magically in the center of Oyster Festival. Made it!
My friend calls me, “where are you??”
“Oh, I’m already at Oyster Festival, you can just meet me,” I say as if I’m the queen of Manhattan.
I never told them I took a cab so if you’re reading this, now you know. I’m a liar.
We walk in, and apparently this street is a wind tunnel and the tank and shorts I have on are just not cutting in.
My friend offers me her scarf or her cardigan.
“You can wrap the scarf around your head”
“I think I’ll just take the cardigan.”
We haven’t even started drinking yet.
We manage to stroll and get a look at all the stands, to see what we’re working with. I decide I have to try oysters, but end up ordering a lobster roll (two rolls for $10 and chips included). We begin our drinking. I start with a mimosa which was $8 for two sips of orange juice, and my 2 other friends are chugging sangria that might as well have been called rum.
My other friend runs to get a bloody mary, and ends up watching the ice melt, because it’s too strong for her to drink. Woops.
As we manage to walk through the mosh pit that is Oyster Festival I notice there are a lot more guys here than girls, and they’re actually good looking. My friend looks at me, “We need to come here for happy hour.”
We find a table, I upgrade to sangria, and then next thing I know I ate everything.
Pizza special: two slices and a beer for $10. (I didn’t get this, but I had a bite)
$1 Pizza Special: somewhere else. The pizza is tiny, and its $3 if you want a meat slice.
I decide it’s time for me to learn to like oysters: FAIL. I eat 6 slimy suckers for $8, and want to cry the whole time I’m eating it. They were east coast and briny, and I don’t know why people choose to eat these things.
We all somehow manage to go through 3 servings of Cajun fries: always leaving one fry left in each basket, because no one wants to eat “the last one.”
We end up finding a somewhat clean porta potty and pretend it’s our private bathroom. I end up talking to some random guy who is “from the desert” (I’m quoting here) while waiting on line, and he tells me how he’s not used to oysters, because he’s never lived by the sea. I don’t know I have to pee. He was sort of cute, but he sounded like he was giving me a presentation and I wasn’t biting.
Next thing I know I’m exhausted, pretty drunk, and full. All I want to do is shadily dip, take a $20 cab home nap, and maybe order Chinese food. But noooo my friend corners me into sharing a cab with them so we can go to a sex toy party. They’re not as cool as they sound fyi.
I end up going to this party, and realize I can’t find my friend who dragged me here. I end up finding her face down on her bed, fully dressed, make-up on, and heels hanging off her bed.
Maybe I am just like my 21 year old sister.
I stole this picture, but just so you can see how crowded it gets. It really is just one street filled with people everywhere!
Oyster Festival (beer and bloody mary)
I took the beer picture by accident, as you can tell from the quality of the picture. But don’t go to this if you’re not going to drink! It’s crowded. It’s loud. It’s really fun!
Oyster Festival (lobster roll)
It was a really good lobster roll! Not too mayo-y. I haven’t had one in a while, and I didn’t start drinking yet when I ate this, so I know it was good!
Oyster Festival (cajun fries)
Looks like we ate everything except the oysters. We ordered this THREE times. The guy saw us coming, and screamed “they’ll be ready in 10!” Considering they had to make them in bulk they were pretty good fries! Crispy and not overcooked or soggy.
Oyster Festial (pizza: two slices and a beer for $10)
It was decent pizza. It’s just a good alternative to seafood, if you don’t eat shell fish. It also is never a bad idea to eat pizza when you’re drinking.
Oyster Festival (East Coast Oysters)
I hate them. I’m sorry. I thought I could like them a little bit, but I can’t stand East Coast oysters. I can stomach West Coast. EEK
122 East 7th Street (b/t 1st and Avenue A) New York, NY 10009
Since starting this Dukan Diet I have literally been shoveling in all forms of steak, turkey and chicken, and even sashimi and any baked fish I can get my hands on (I mean I had been trying the Skinny Bitch (vegetarian) diet for a while so this was a whole new world for me).
With that being said, I’m sort of sick of all this food, so I was dying to come up with a new way to continue my diet (after two weeks of doing this and I had already cheated…I mean I have a food blog what did you expect?) so my mind wandered to oysters.
I don’t die for them like some people, but I thought this was a good opportunity to expand my palate, so I found Desnuda, a Cevicheria (and oyster bar) and wine bar…an anorexic alcoholic’s dream. Yay!!
I convinced my lush of a cousin to join me (she had oysters the night before, but I think the wine bar swayed her), and I was on my way.
Desnuda is on a block in the East Village, which has a million and one amazing restaurants, so as I was aimlessly searching for the restaurant (no sense of direction AT ALL) I walked by three restaurants I was interested in for my next adventure (still haven’t been to Pylos or Luke’s Lobster) before I made it to Desnuda to be greeted by my cousin already sipping a glass of wine at the bar.
“Is there seating in the back?”
“I think it’s just the bar, “wine bar.””
“Oh, I get it.”
I order the same glass of rose as my cousin (I trust her) and scan what’s happening around me. There is a date happening next to my cousin (which I will agree, it is a fab date spot), and two gay men and their lady friend sitting to my right.
The bartender plops down truffle popcorn in front of us, and I slide it closer to my cousin and I. I suddenly realize it might be for the whole bar.
“I’m sorry is this yours?”
One of the gay guys looks up and replies, “no, it’s yours. They give it to everyone once they order a drink.”
“They must like you better than me, because they didn’t give me popcorn when I sat down,” my cousin says.
While that’s nice of her to say, I’m pretty sure they were just waiting for the rest of her party to arrive. I don’t think they thought my cousin came to a wine bar to sit by herself and drink (that’d be so sad).
My cousin had already scanned the menu and decided she was very into two tuna ceviche options, and a lobster ceviche. I really had my heart set on oysters so we figured we’d split one ceviche, and go our own way on one dish.
“Which tuna do you want?”
“I can’t eat fruit on my diet, so whichever one doesn’t have fruit.” (I already had popcorn woops).
“They both don’t.”
“Let’s do the spicy one.”
Then the bartender/waiter/chef (he does it all!) tells us about the specials of the day. I can’t tell if he lists two specials or one, because I only caught the first sentence and the last sentence, but I was into it.
“Maybe we should get a special and a ceviche, and then see what happens next.”
“Excuse me, was that one special or two?” (we’re dumb)
“We’ll get the first one,” (which was hamachi).
I sadly was buzzed from the one glass, and my cousin was cruising to her second.
“I like to try new drinks,” my cousin says.
“What are you getting next?”
“Can you get white wine after you have red, or is it the other way around?”
“I have no clue.”
“I don’t want the waiter to think I’m dumb.”
“Who cares if he thinks you’re dumb, just order a drink.”
She gets the cava, while I just get a second round of the rose. What do I know??
I then watch the bartender/waiter whip out a weird gadget and place glass bobbles on the table that look like round light bulbs: smoke starts going everywhere, and we hear him instruct our neighbors, “wait a minute ½ for this, and then eat this one minute after…”
Sounds complicated, but I’m jealous. What are they eating?
Tea smoked oysters.
Our tuna ceviche comes first, but I was convinced it was the hamachi, because when I ordered I said “we’ll have the Hamachi and the tuna ceviche” so I had assumed it’d arrive in that order, which in retrospect makes absolutely no sense, but like I said I had one glass and was tipsy.
So good! and SO spicy!
Hamachi is prepared next, and is just so so pretty. I like the tuna better, but the Hamachi was yummy, but they put salt and pepper on top, and it was just way too salty.
My cousin is up to glass #3, while I’m treading lightly with #2. I decide it’s only right if we get a third dish, and the lobster ceviche is ordered, which was my favorite by far, probably because it was the least healthy according to my diet. It came with mango (oops), and it was mixed with coconut milk (douple oops).
“The guy next to me keeps bumping his elbow into me,” my cousin says.
“Do you want to move seats?”
“No, it’s ok. I think he has an accent. Maybe he’s Israeli.”
“If he’s bumping into you then he’s definitely Israeli,” and we start cracking up, we’re hysterical! (she married an Israeli, judge me if you will, but they’re pushy sometimes, but I’m ride or die for my homeland).
As we’re paying the bill, I realize I’m not even one step closer to liking oysters more, but I like ceviche more.
Desnuda (rose wine)
It’s a wine bar so I have to highlight the wine. Here it is. I know nothing, and I can’t give an ounce of an educated summary of the flavors, but I drank it, and it increased my BAC, so I’m into it.
Desnuda (truffle popcorn)
The beginning of the end of my diet. Some people are a little over truffle’d everything. Sometimes I agree, but not this time. I don’t know why I’ve never had this before! AMAZING, and worth just going for wine and the popcorn!
Desnuda (tuna ceviche with jalapenos and scallions)
This was SO spicy. I really liked it though, and I thought it was good quality tuna. It was the right cut, and had good flavor!
Desnuda (hamachi: with scallions and salt and pepper)
A little salty but I scraped the salt off and threw the scallion everywhere! You can see the jalapeno on the side, which was accidentally left over from the tuna. I’m messy.
Desnuda (lobster ceviche: coconut milk and mangos)
I couldn’t find the detailed description on the online menu, but trust me when I say I died for this. I love lobster in general, and I was obsessed with the mango/coconut milk combo.
CaliU [Click the photo above to go to CaliU’s website]
557 Hudson Street (between 11th & Perry Street) New York, NY 10014
CaliU (bacon wrapped dates)
I could eat a million of these!
CaliU (butternut squash fritters)
Super sweet, but good. I swear it was almost dessert like.
Spanish meatballs, fresh tomato sauce, pickled squash. The pickled squash was the only unique part of this dish, besides that, it’s your basically meatball. The sauce it was mixed with was delicious!!!
Smorgasburg [Click the photo above to go to Smorgasburg’s website]
Williamsburg Waterfront between North 6th and North 7th St
What.a.weekend! How perfect! How sunny! Couldn’t think of a better way to pop my Smorgasburg cherry (too gross?). For any of you that do not know, Smorgasburg is an outdoor flea market in Williamsburg (get it!) where food entrepreneurs and established purveyors from New York City and across the region sell both packaged and prepared foods, fresh produce, and other food-related stands for a total of approximately 100 vendors (yes I 100% stole this from their website). I hear food, I come running.
I am extremely lazy and have a large fear of the unknown, so I was a bit apprehensive about hauling my cookies to Brooklyn. Fear not, it’s not that difficult. I decided to meet an experienced Brooklynite (she is also my friend) there who knew her way around. I didn’t want to aimlessly wander this joint. I wanted to walk with purpose. I requested directions days in advance via gchat. She told me to take the L from Union Square 3 stops to Bedford. Ok, I can handle that.
As I sat on the train, I spotted a cute surfer type boy, my future husband. As the train came to a jolty halt, my arms flew up in the air, and I almost collapsed on the train. Our romance had ended.
I aimlessly pick an exit, and stroll up the steps. I call my friend.
“Walk toward (muffled noise)”
“Actually just wait there.”
I look around to be more specific with my location, “Oooh! I’m in front of Crift Dogs!”
“Ok, great give us 5 minutes” (so us means, you and your boyfriend. Ok, I guess I can dig it…)
“Are you scared I’m going to get lost?”
“Yes” (fair point)
5 minutes my butt. I managed to make two phonecalls while I waited, one being my mom, and that’s never a 5 minute conversation. I didn’t mind waiting though actually, which is weird for me, but the weather was so nice I was chipper. I just busied myself and people watched until my friend and her boyfriend arrived.
Suddenly, I see a couple in matching colored apparel appear on their bikes, here are my friends!
(Um, should I have brought my bike? Kidding, I don’t own a bike.)
My friend led the way, as I walked next to her and her bike, while her poor boyfriend trailed behind. Stay, sit, heal.
Then we arrived.
“I didn’t know it was on the water!” I scream. It is, and it’s really fricken pretty. I felt like I had just found something no one else had…which is completely untrue, but maybe if I scream it’ll sound more normal.
“K, we just need to lock our bikes, and we’re off.” Sure, sure whatever.
“Let’s do a lap,” says the boyfriend.
“Which way do we start?”
“That looks good, is it good?”
“Let’s do a lap.” DO YOU WANT TO DO A LAP? As we walk, my friends briefly explain the lay of the land. Some places like the dessert counters, and cold dishes are served immediately. However at other places, you wait on line, order, they take your name down, and call you when your order’s ready, which can sometimes take twenty minutes.
So, snack time?
We stopped at a Greek stand, and I buy a small Greek salad to nosh on, while my friend ordered the spanakopita. This should hold us over until our orders are ready.
We make two stops.
1. Handsome Hanks Fish
2. Cemitas Mexican Sandwich
Handsome Hank’s line was wild, and we ordered two classic fish sandwiches.
Cemita’s line was a tad tamer, and we just ordered one sandwich for all three of us to share. We went for the build your own sandwich with carnitas.
Cemita’s sandwich was ready first, and I was stuck staring at it, while we waited for our fish sandwiches to be prepared.
I expected the experience to be insanely overwhelming with pushing and pulling, and rude people behind the counter. I didn’t get any of that at all, for serious. I was shocked. Everyone was really nice and helpful at the food stands, and they didn’t even rush you to order, and all the patrons politely waited on line until it was their turn. WHERE WAS I???
After we had all of our sandwiches, we gripped our dishes and walked to a bench area to dig in. I ate half of the fish sandwich, it was too gigantic to finish but still amazeballs, and took bites of our cemita sandwich in-between. I was saving room for dessert.
“I’m full,” my friend’s boyfriend announced.
“Um, we’re getting dessert too, right?” Don’t start with me boy.
“Of course!” My friend says. THANK GD!
First of all, there are a million bazillion choices, ice cream sandwiches, donuts, s’mores, the list goes on. But I didn’t want to feel sick, I wanted something refreshing, popsicle sticks!
I got raspberry basil. Yum.
“You should probably take the ferry home, instead of the subway.” Is my friend a genius? MAYBE. It’s $4, and I could get dropped off 5 blocks away from my apartment…and a possible tan. Yes!
“Ok yay, but let’s take some pictures first! Genius idea for me to do this after we just ate popsicles, our teeth are going to look so white!”
Smorgasburg (greek salad and spanakopita)
My salad was light and just enough to hold me over, and the spanakopita was so delicious it’s hard to explain (I should have gotten the baklava!). Just be careful, both of these items are green and means there is a good chance it will get in your teeth!
Smorgasburg, Cemitas Mexican Sandwich, cemita sandwich with carnitas.
[Click the photo above to go to Cemita’s Website] Also please note how awesome my picture is in similarity to the website’s!
This continually grew on me with every bite. You need to get a taste of all the layers to really love it.
Smorgasburgh, Handsome Hank’s Fish (classic fish sandwich)
I had to give you both views so you could understand the size of this baby. Cole slaw, fried fish, soft white bread. Stop it right now!
Smorgasburg (raspberry basil popsicle)
YUM! Enough said.
P.S. my nail color looks unreal! Just sayin’
Smorgasburg (Snow Cone)
My friend’s boyfriend went for this. He clearly has not gone to Jew Camp, and does not know that they look better then they taste. I mean it’s just ice dude! It’s only good unless they dowse the whole thing in artificial flavoring. He didn’t love it, but who LOVES ice???
Boqueria [Click the photo above to go to Boqueria’s website]
53 west 19th street (between 5th and 6th Ave) New York, NY 10011
After fully gorging myself from a holiday weekend, I decided to continue this path of destruction by going out to dinner with two friends.
I had just seen American Reunion (it’s what you would expect), and we decided to keep the momentum going by walking to a place nearby for an early dinner. Only two of us went to the movies, so the other one met us at the restaurant. In the interim we decided to grab a drink. While drinking, we decided it would be a great idea to get another drink at dinner. What planning!
We’re idiots and decided to eat “light” by going to Boqueria for tapas (light, I’m sure). We were trying to keep kosher for Passover, so NO bread! How bad could we possibly eat?
The two of us walk into the restaurant, and it’s pretty empty. I would say it’s a surprise, but most people don’t eat dinner at 6pm on a Sunday (or ever).
The hostess looks around the restaurant like it’s packed to the gills and responds, “Sure, just let me know when your other person is here.”
Yes, because people are climbing over each other to get a seat. Let’s definitely make us wait in the front. Our friend arrives with ballet flats on and announces her foot keeps cramping up, “I hate when that happens.”
The hostess then seats us at a communal table. There are 3 of us, and no one is in the restaurant. Lets seat us at our own table. I know you don’t know us, but you don’t want us near the other guests.
As soon we sit down, my friend goes, “I want the spinach. I want the mackerel. I definitely want the steak. We need to get steak.”
It’s tapas so the menu isn’t that extensive, but we are really diving in.
“I want the patatas bravas. If you guys don’t want them, I still have to have them.” Wow, easy killer. Who said we couldn’t get them (they fit the Passover bill)? I picture her with this plate in front of her never coming up for air.
“I love those. Definitely!” I say.
Then little Miss Spinach goes, “There are four things, we definitely need to get. The rest I don’t care.” FOUR THINGS?? Most people put in a two dish request, she puts in for four, and they’re all mandatory.
They were: the spinach, the hanger steak, the shrimp, and the lamb meatballs.
I wasn’t opposed to any of this, so those were put on our definite lists.
I threw out the bacon wrapped dates. Bacon is kosher for Passover!
Miss Patatas Bravas overlapped with Miss Spinach on the meatballs on her top 5 list, so we were good to go.
The waitress comes over, “Can I get you guys something to drink?”
Sangria! Ay ay ay ay!
This poor waitress. She was on the quiet side, and we’re just not on the quiet side.
Time to order. After feeling like we had gone overboard I ask the waitress, “is this too much?”
She shockingly comes back with, “I would get one more if I were you.” Ok, wow! We decide we can just order another dish as we move along, to see how hungry we are.
We all dive into to each dish as they are served somewhat staggered. Stuffed dates first, amazing, but there are only three. Biotch please.
Then spinach and potatoes.
“My type is Michael Cera.”
“Really? I don’t know one person you have dated or hooked up with that remotely resembles Michael Cera.”
“Yeah, like cool but a little dorky, but not dorky and kinda cool.”
I continue attacking the patatas bravas.
“No one else is eating this.”
“Are you kidding? I am too!”
Then comes meatballs and hanger steak. Both great!
“What is that with the steak?”
“I think it’s squash.”
“I like squash.”
“Which movie did you like better, 21 Jump Street or American Reunion?”
“I haven’t seen 21 Jump Street yet.”
Check magically appears and we realize we never ordered a sixth dish. UH OH.
“Let’s get Tasti.”
Boqueria (red sangria)
Great! Picked some of the fruit out and nibbled on it…in public.
Boqueria (datiles con beicon)
Dates stuffed with almonds and Valdeon, wrapped in bacon.
It was a blessing and a curse that there were only 3 of these. I could have eaten ten more!
Boqueria (espinacas a la Catalana)
Sauteed spinach, garbanzos, pine nuts, garlic, raisins.
Just because it’s green doesn’t mean it’s great for you. Smothered in oil, it was yummy and sweet, but who cares? I kept Passover.
Boqueria (patatas bravas)
Crispy potatoes, salsa grava, roasted garlic allioli
Crispy potatoes with a garlic sauce on top and a red sauce at the bottom to shmush (that is a big girl word) the potatoes in at the bottom? It’s never a bad idea.
Boqueria (gambas al ajillo)
Shrimp, garlic and Guindilla pepper in olive oil.
It tasted like it was doused in butter and oil. Not to say that is bad, but don’t think you’re being healthy by ordering shrimp. Lies! All lies!
Lamb meatballs, tomato sauce, sheep’s milk cheese.
I don’t know if I’m one to judge what is deemed light, and what is deemed heavy, but I’d venture to say that for meatballs, it tasted light, and didn’t make you feel weighed down afterwards.
City Grit [Click the photo above to go to City Grit’s website]
38 Prince Street (between Mott and Mulberry) New York, NY 10012
After hearing about the wonderful concept of New York culinary salon, City Grit, I decided I just HAD to try this out!! I don’t want to butcher the explanation of what City Grit is so I would just click on the link if I were you, but I will try anyway. Pretty much, this little lady named Sarah Simmons hosts different food events in a space in Soho. They host about 15 events per month, and each one is a multi-course meal with a theme. Each dinner is completely different from the one before. Sometimes they have guest chefs, but mostly Sarah runs the show.
Anywho, back to me! After e-mailing my fake boyfriend aka gay best friend about this, he wrote me an e-mail saying he wanted to go to an event called “Best of the Best” for a mutual friend’s birthday, and asked if I wanted to go (it was my idea, don’t even think about claiming it). I bought my ticket (it was $60 for a 5 course meal, alcohol not included), and decided to be shmoozy and e-mail the host, Sarah Simmons, for a sneak peak of the menu. She obliged, and swore me to secrecy. I was thrilled to know more than my friends so I didn’t tell them anything.
As the day approached, I wanted a plan for the night. Did I need to print a ticket out for this? (You don’t.) Where was I meeting them? (It was my gay bff, the birthday girl and her boyfriend.) My best friend may be gay, but he’s a dude, which means his planning skills are minimal at best (he didn’t make reservations for his boyfriend’s birthday until the day of his birthday… SUCH A BOY).
I gchat the birthday girl asking what the deal is (she usually knows what’s up, and I felt like I could trust her game plan). Turns out, it was a surprise…woops. You would THINK that my friend would include that in the e-mail, but no, he did not. Like I said HORRIBLE PLANNER.
The birthday girl and I conspired to not tell him the surprise was ruined (so if you are reading this, you already know, the house has been boarded up and we are staying at the Holiday Inn). P.S. it’s your own fault.
I meet them outside their apt (they all live together. Three’s Company, hit it!), and as soon as I arrive I announce, “Let’s go I’m starving!”
Mr. Horrible Planner gives me a crazy look and goes, “It’s a surprise!”
“It’s a surprise we’re eating? It’s almost 7:30. This is a surprise to no one.” (Isn’t he so annoying?)
So, we arrive, and if the birthday girl really didn’t know where we were going, she actually WOULD be surprised, because the outside of the building says, “Furniture Shop.” They are so tricky (think speakeasy sorta), and a sign was written on the door that said, “we will be right back.” Ok….
“Are you going to tell her yet?”
“Badaya.” (that is a made up word that he kept saying over and over again on the way to dinner)
“Ok, well we’re here, so maybe it’s time.” (Am I a crazy actress? I might be).
We only waited a few minutes until they opened the doors for us. You walk in, give your name, and then they seat you in assigned seating, (it’s assigned by group, so my friend called ahead of time to say that I was with them, because we didn’t sign up together so keep that in mind if you go!).
The space is kitschy. It is an old Catholic School turned into I guess a culinary salon, so do what you want with that knowledge, but the bathrooms are far away with low toilets (it was an elementary school). Also, they made it unisex. It wasn’t so bad, but it wasn’t the highlight of the event. I digress…Guests sit in two rooms with long tables scattered throughout, dim lighting, dark wood, and “Western” accents. It’s definitely not a sexy vibe, but it’s fun!!
“Are all events held in this space?”
“Yes, I think so,” I reply.
“No, they change it,” responds Mr. Horrible Planner.
Disagreement. I looked up other events, and I know they are all held on Prince Street.
“No, they’re all here.”
“I think they change it.”
“I think you’re wrong.”
The menu is posted on a blackboard, but I had it in my hands on my IPhone (I win).
“Does anyone want to read the menu?” I point to my phone.
“I’ll take a look at it,” says birthday girl.
“It’s on the blackboard,” responds Mr. Horrible Planner. (Ok, squint at the blackboard butthead…someone doesn’t want to give me any credit)
I glare at my best friend turned arched nemesis and am about to make a scene at our table, when our waiter comes over to save the day. He introduces himself as Dan Brown (he did not write the DaVinci Code, and it took a lot for me to NOT make that horrible joke at the table), and lets us know our wine options. I am allergic to white wine (if I’m ok with this you can be too) so we decid to share a bottle of red between the four of us, it eventually turned into 3 bottles…woopsies!
First, we are served with an amuse bouche of a fried oyster wonton with spicy mayo (are you salivating?). I know an amuse is just supposed to be one bite, but I was starving! KEEP IT COMING!!
I was really feeling the wine by the first course (shocker), which was a seared scallop, another baby plate. I get it. I get it. It’s a progression, but my stomach really didn’t give a flying…
As the first course was being distributed to the last few people, Sarah and her business partner spoke, giving some background on City Grit (p.s. her partner said all events are held in the same space, booyah!), and then a description of our meal. Sarah said the meal were the top dishes of their past events, so rock on! She was just so cute. She’s from the south, and while I usually despise anyone using the word ya’ll she made it sound so endearing! Let’s be friends Sarah!
However, that doesn’t mean I withheld all judgment (puh-lease)! When describing the third course, a fried chicken biscuit with deviled egg, she said…
“A friend once told me, a dinner with deviled eggs, is better than a dinner without deviled eggs,” laughter ensues, and then she goes, “And I couldn’t agree with him.” Period.
Couldn’t agree with him more Sarah. You forgot the word more. You just changed the meaning of that sentence.
“I said more in my head.”
“That’s like when people say, “I could care less.” It’s “I couldn’t care less.”
“I don’t know which one I say…”
I hope the people next to us were not listening to our conversation.
The 2nd course was gumbo, a bigger portion score! Then came the chicken course, which tasted just like a gourmet McDonalds chicken filet, but with a twist. I tried to eat it slowly, because I wanted my last bite to include the biscuit, but it was just so hard!
Since the space is two rooms it takes some time for the servers to distribute all the plates to each table, so there is quite a bit of time between each course. We were over two hours in with two more courses to go!
“You had a weird friend at your birthday party.”
“What did he do?”
“We were in the elevator and he said everyone in the elevator had matching jackets on.”
“Nope, they were all different colors! And when we pointed it out he said, “That’s such a Samantha thing to say.”
“I think he was in a weird mood that night…”
Fourth course! Boneless short ribs with paramesan cream grits and braised collareds. It was our biggest portion yet. Suddenly I was full, and I couldn’t finish the plate. I became a new woman.
“I get the progression now. Makes total sense.”
“Yeah, it’s perfect.”
Amazing how easily one’s mind changes when they’re full.
My friend was scraping the parmesan up with his utensils, and I started to gag watching him use his fork and knife so intently just for a tiny puddle of cheese. I was definitely satiated.
I tried to not look at him, “I got a gel manicure for the holidays!” as I wiggle my fingers jazz hands style.
“So it stays!”
“Do I look like Barbie?” My nails are currently bright pink. The lady applying my gels asked if I was going away, they are just THAT tropical looking…
Dessert!! Banana pudding with salted Caramel. I am not the biggest of banana cream pie, and that’s pretty much what it was, but in a jar. However our awesome waiter, Dan Brown, brought out one with a candle.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Hap-py birth-day dear ___ (silence in the Catholic schoolhouse as the patrons wait to hear her name, and then when we say it, everyone laughs like they knew the whole time)
Happy birthday to you!
Big tip for Dan Brown.
As we were leaving…
“Hey what was that word I kept saying on the way here?”
Happy Passover/Easter everyone!
City Grit (menu, Best of the Best)
Here is the menu of the 5 course delight!
City Grit (fried oyster wonton with spicy mayo, kimchi, ginger scallion sauce)
This was described as Asian food with southern ingredients. I would have eaten 10 more fried oysters. Great way to start off the meal!
City Grit (seared scallop with harissa carrot puree, bacon marmalade)
Smiley Face!! Bacon marmalade, need I say more?? This was my probably my favorite, and it was just so teeny tiny. I wanted more!
City Grit (Gumbo Z Herbes: green gumbo with white rice grits, pickled ramps)
I know this looks gross, but it was not! It was very hearty!
Sarah also told a great story about how this specific gumbo recipe is one of the oldest gumbo recipes and was almost extinct, but was revived after Hurricane Katrina, when people would make large pots of this dish to survivors of Katrina’s aftermath)
City Grit (Chicken & Egg: fried chicken biscuit with deviled eggs, shaved celery salad)
I loved this! Classy fried food is where it is at.
City Grit (boneless short ribs with parmesan cream grits, braised collards)
This was definitely the biggest portion we received all night. It was a little chewy at first, but once you dug into the middle it melted in your mouth!
City Grit (banana pudding with salted caramel)
Not my favorite part of the meal, but if you like banana flavored dessert then you’re in the clear! Please not the Christmas themed birthday candle!
Yuca Bar [Click the photo above to go to Yuca Bar’s website]
111 Avenue A (corner of 7th Street), New York NY 10009
Thirsty Thursday + March Madness = great time to go out.
After much anticipation, I finally made it to Yuca Bar! Yay! Wisconsin and Syracuse game was also on (I’m a Wisconsin alumni, and the rest of my family is Syracuse alumni, smack talking was wild all day) so it was hard for me to choose: yummy dinner or supportive alumni. I went with yummy dinner (I have a food blog! Sports are never going to win unless I’m dying to see some guy that’s watching the game), and decided to bother my friend for constant updates via texts.
We opted to walk there (nice out, and burn some cals before a not so skinny meal) so armed with a Wisco t-shirt (Look! I’m hardcore!) and sunglasses, I grabbed an iced coffee, and strolled to meet my friend further downtown closer to the restaurant.
As soon as I meet up with her, she points to my coffee, and makes this gesture with her hands that look like she’s suffocating a wildebeest: “Supress!” she screams.
“If I didn’t get this iced coffee I would have made us stop and eat at the closest restaurant.” And I wanted to make it to Yuca Bar.
The walk entailed a few screaming outbursts and a debate if we were on the right side of the street (I think it’s there. I think you’re wrong…I was wrong)
It is over 70 degrees and my jeans are sticking to my body.
I point to my pants, and scream, “Glued!”
We suddenly realize there are people next to us listening to us talk about how sweaty we are, and start laughing and keep screaming, “Gross! Disgusting!”
I then see a big black Labrador sitting outside the restaurant and I go to pet it.
My friend goes “ew don’t do that.”
My hand is 4 inches from the dog’s face, and I pause, “no? This is a bad idea?”
“I mean to each their own”
I pet the dog and go, “I’ll just wash my hands.”
We walk into the restaurant.
“2 please, can we sit outside?”
The host points to my iced coffee, and I look for a place to throw it out, and instead just put it on the hostess stand (whatever).
“Nothing is available.”
I look outside and I see a bunch of tables. “But there are seats right there?”
“Oh for dinner!” then seats us (are you confused, because I was!)
We sit down and the waitress tells us about their drink specials ($5!!). She described one as “alcohol mixed with alcohol.”
“What should we order?”
“I think I’ve been looking at the wrong menu all day.”
The waitress walks over and we order guacamole to start (who needs to look at a menu to order that? Puh-lease!)
We order the arepa con carne, fish tacos (pescado…see I can do Spanish), and plantains stuffed with pork.
“So we’ll get meat, fish, and pork.”
“We’re so easy!” (are we??)
“I kind of want rice and beans.”
“So we can get them, we’ll just need a second table to fit all the food.”
The waitress comes over to take our orders, and at the last minute my friend goes, “are the rice and beans big?”
“No, they’re small.”
“And that too!”
Everything was yummy! My favorite dish was the arepa, because it was sweet and it soaked up all the flavors from the meat. We had to move plates around to put it closer to me.
“Everything is so good!”
“I know it’s really good.”
“Your voice went up at the end. You don’t think it’s that good.”
“I do, I think it’s really good! It went up again didn’t it?”
“I don’t know that’s weird.”
The meal went off without a hitch except that not one, not two, but THREE homeless men stopped to ask us for change. Do my friend and I attract that sort of attention? This is our new dating pool??
The owner politely scurried them away from us as we awkwardly cringed and tried to pretend they were not there. He was really nice and apologized, explaining that because the restaurant is near a park there are a lot of homeless people in the area (so we’re not causing this? Phew!).
“She has a food blog!” my friend screams in the owner’s face.
“Oh, wow, you do?” We got a free round of drinks! I couldn’t believe it!
Strong drinks, good food, friendly wait staff, I was in heaven with exception to the threatening texts I received from my family through out the whole meal about the basketball game: Booyah! You’re going down! Fool’s Gold (I was confused by that one)!
I was a little drunk and I told my dad to suck it after Wisconsin lost. That is not appropriate, and I don’t recommend texting that to a parent.
On that note, I will be returning to Yuca Bar just not when a basketball game is on.
Yuca Bar (happy hour special drink)
It was mixed with real acai berries, which are supposed to be super healthy! I don’t know if this drink was healthy, but it was strong and good!
Yuca Bar (salsa and guacamole)
Basic but always good. So easy to fill up on this!
Yuca Bar (tacos de pescado)
Deep fried what up! I love crunchy cole slaw with fried fish. It was good, but the fish need a little somethin somethin so I dipped it in the guac.
Yuca Bar (arepa con carne)
Here is my favorite dish! Isn’t it just so pretty? It was difficult to cut in half, and it didn’t look so cute afterwards, but I did not care one bit!
Yuca Bar (platano relleno)
I have a soft spot for plantains, I have no idea why. Some people don’t like pork, but it’s a juicier meat, and the whole dish was delic!
Kanoyama: 175 2nd Avenue New York, NY 10003
Momofuku Milk Bar: 251 E 13th St # A New York, NY 10003
After a celebratory St Patty’s Day I was really looking forward to a relaxing Sunday. I went to the gym to burn off yesterday’s alcohol and pizza, but I don’t know how productive it was since I spent the majority of the expedition texting (what? I was on the bike!), and then I showered and settled in to start Book #2 of the Hunger Games. I scheduled dinner with 2 friends for later so I wouldn’t get antsy in my apartment.
After reading only G-d knows (I know too) how many pages I realize I have to get up to go the lady’s room, because I haven’t moved in quite a long time. I decide to take a brief reprieve and check my phone, and see that my dinner plans friend has called. Slight panic creeps inside me: She’s cxling! She’s changed the place to something really unhealthy! No, I didn’t answer in time and she went for linner. Plans foiled!
Nope, she’s gone for a walk with our other friend and wants to know if I want to join them.
“No, but if you sit outside somewhere I’ll meet you.” (I didn’t want to give up on Hunger Games quite yet).
“I think we might sit at BBar.”
“K, let me know!”
Legitimatley 2 minutes later I receive a text, “we’re outside BBar.”
I realize I’ve been sitting inside like a cavewoman and need to get myself together.
“Are you guys wearing leggings, because I am?”…a minute later “Nevermind, I’m not changing.”
I throw on lipgloss and sunglasses, debate about wearing a scarf (veto it), and head out.
As soon as I get there…
“I love your lipgloss!”
I see they’re wearing spring attire on their feet, while I’m sporting my new sneakers (girlyfoodie + Justin Bieber = same closet). Win some you lose some.
“You have to go inside to get a drink.”
…decisions, decisions. Get the drink before I get settled, or hear stories and then get a drink? I don’t know! I don’t know!
“You do not want to know what we’ve eaten already today…”
I guess I’ll wait to get the drink.
“I’ve had the worst day!”
“She’s had the worst day!”
(sometimes they mimic each other)
They went to support their friend who ran the half marathon, and on the train ride home a runner puked on my friend.
“She puked on me”
“She got puked on!”
“The lady said it was spit up, but I got thrown up on.”
“She had the worst day!”
Bartender lady was sort of a biotch. She was wearing a beanie, and I immediately wasn’t her biggest fan (she wasn’t mine either). She took forever to pour me my beer (Listen lady, I am having serious FOMO, and I didn’t bring my phone to distract me. HAND ME MY DRINK so I can go back outside and socialize!).
When I return:
“I want guacamole.”
“We’re eating dinner soon.”
“Should we get guacamole?”
“Well, with the kind of day we’re already havin…”
“I want to have room for dinner.”
“Where should we go for dinner?”
“I still want guacamole.”
Dinner plans are decided on. We shall go to Kanoyama. Sushi, a few blocks away.
“Should we get the sushi for 3?”
“Do you want sushi pieces?”
“It’s like sashimi with rice underneath.”
“Should we do it?”
“I want a seaweed salad”
Waitress comes over.
“We’ll have the sushi for 3 please”
“It really is such a great deal. We’ll definitely be happy with it.”
Turns out we were really happy with it: wide assortment and TONS of sushi. It’s hard to feel fat and weighed down from sushi. Although I always say it just takes that one last piece to put you over the edge. We ended up leaving 3 pieces behind on the oversized plate. Probably so later we could say we didn’t eat the whole thing.
“I got my palm read on a date, and the fortune teller said I’m going to have a baby…soon. And it was really awkward, because it was our first date.”
“I don’t want to get pregnant.”
“I’m going to get so fat.”
“I don’t think you will.”
“My face will be huge.”
“I’m going to have a c-secton”
I should point out that there is a couple sitting 6 inches away from us not even speaking to one another, and just listening to our conversation. GET YOUR OWN CONVERSATION AND STOP JUDGING US. What kind of couple are you that just sit there and hold hands over your miso soup? I’m realizing it’s a pattern that my neighboring patrons always seem to be listening to my conversation. Do I have weird conversations? Am I just loud (yes, I’m definitely loud)? Am I paranoid? Or am I just THAT interesting?
“Where is our check?”
“Is she ignoring us?”
“I’m getting antsy.”
“We’re still going to Momofuku Milk Bar right?”
“There’s a line. I’m cold, I’m going home.” (man down, she leaves but turns around twice to see if we’re still on line…we are)
I have never been to Momofuku Milk Bar before, I’m not goin’ anywhere.
“What do I order here?”
“Everything is amazing.”
I end up ordering the peanutbutter cookie, and shove it in my sweatshirt pocket. I stroll home and do back to back conversation with my dad, and then my mom.
As I’m heading into the elevator, my impatience gets the best of me, and I start chomping on my cookie. It was SO delicious! Unfortunately I was holding in my delight so my mom wouldn’t ask me why I was making such weird noises.
My mom pauses for a second, “What are you eating?”
Kanoyama (seaweed salad)
That is a lot of sesame seeds. My friend wanted a seaweed salad with her sushi combo. She said it had “a lot of different types of seaweed in it.”
Kanoyama (miso soup).
Sushi for 3 comes with a choice of soup or salad. I opted for soup, and it was a great start to the meal.
Kanoyama [Click the photo above to go to Kanoyama’s website]
You can see my friend’s claws going at the sushi as I try to take a picture of it. I attacked piece after piece.
Momofuku Milk Bar [Click the photo above to go to Momofuku’s website]
I know they look like regular cookies, but they are definitely not. My friend got the cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip and the blueberries and cream cookie. I opted for simple peanut butter. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It was so gooey. I hesitated in turning on the television, because I didn’t want to stop eating my snack.