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 🙂
Ainsworth [Click the photo above to go to Ainsworth’s website]
122 West 26th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenue) New York, NY 10001
Sunday football is back! I decided to be proactive and make at reservations in advance at Ainsworth to watch the Jets game (I’m a Giants fan, but in reality I don’t watch football by myself…ever) at 1pm.
I e-mailed them the Monday before to secure reservations. They request a credit card on file in order to secure the reservation, and there’s a dress code. Oh, and for a party of 6-8, patrons have to spend a minimum of $250. Unless there are 10 or more which means you must spent $500. What kind of place is this!
And, they’ll charge the credit card on file if you don’t show up to your reservation…this place better be amazing. It…was not.
I arrive first, because why wouldn’t I arrive first, and they seat me right by the door.
“Excuse me would be able to sit farther in?”
“I’m sorry people are seated in according to how quickly we receive your reservation.” (I didn’t sneak out of temple to make this reservation or anything. It’s fine). I sit alone on my phone trying to figure out the new upgrades to my IPhone. Youtube is gone, what else?
Two of my friends arrive after me with an elaborate story about how they planned on wearing sweat pants to defy the dress code, and then surprise the bouncer with an outfit underneath (they didn’t do any of this, but they really thought about it).
My friend is telling me how she worked out and started this new diet for a wedding she has coming up, and I have to interrupt her to tell her she has something in her teeth, and I cannot stop staring at it.
“It must be from the bagel. Why didn’t you tell me?” she says to our other friend.
“I didn’t see it. It’s black right?” She saw it.
“I thought you said you were on a diet.”
“I was up since 8!” Ok ok.
We each order a beer (they’re out of Blue Moons), and my friend orders some fancy pants Raspberry beer which comes in a champagne flute, and looks just like Manischewitz wine. It tastes sort of like juice, but I don’t know, I don’t mind it.
We decide we want tuna tacos to split, and I guess I’ll be good and get a salad. Our other two friends arrive.
“Why didn’t you guys get pitchers?”
Everybody caaaalm down. We order a pitcher.
One of my friend is convinced she’s sea sick from a booze cruise she took the night before, doesn’t even touch her beer, and orders a coffee…
I get up to use the restroom. The beer has already gotten to me, and apparently the door to the unisex bathroom does not lock, and 3 people open the door on me. I walk out and decide I’m not telling anyone what happened, because there’s nothing more embarrassing than someone walking in on you screaming, “No don’t! Someone’s in here!”
Luckily my friends don’t care. “You missed it! Kris Humphries just walked in with his hood on!”
I seem to like to go to the same place C List celebrities like to hang out. First Kim D and Teresa, now Kris Humphries (and weirdly enough I’ve seen him a few times watching football on Sunday). He is sitting in VIP. I mean is that cool? I don’t really know. I don’t think so, but all my friends are like, “we gotta find a way in to VIP.”
No thanks! I’ll eat my salad (which sucked). Everyone orders a salad, but we still get a pitcher of beer and nachos, so who were we really fooling? No one.
As I crunch on my dressing-less salad, we all watch girls decked in heels, hair done, oversize bags…we’re “watching” football you freaks. Girls have full faces of make-up, and the restaurant/bar is now just a bar so it’s pitch black. No one can see your face anyway!
Our last friend arrives, and orders a caprese salad, and decides she’ll wait it out for her next dish. We do have to make this stupid minimum.
My friend decides she wants to seek out Kris Humphries, and I have to pee again so off we go. This time I go into the Ladie’s Room. Eff that unisex bathroom. I hate you. She then makes me walk around to the back where the VIP section is, and she is awkwardly standing there just staring. Now I feel weird.
“I don’t see him. Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know where is he?”
I see someone waving furiously at me. Some guy I met in a Hampton sharehouse a few years ago, sitting on a couch in the VIP section. I wave back.
“Can we go?”
We sit back down, and try to figure out if we have reached the minimum amount we have to pay to sit in these seats.
“Did you see the Hump?”
“No, but we saw some guy I know from a sharehouse.”
“Was that the pale guy waving at you?”
We have not reached our minimum yet, and the game is still going.
“It got so dark in here.”
“How much longer is this game?”
“Is it going to go into overtime?”
We are $10 off from the minimum after already ordering mac n cheese for the table (huge portion, ok flavor) and we are about to just suck it up and pay for it when my friend screams, “I’ll have a bloody mary!”
“We might as well make the minimum.” She already had 3 bloody marys, and made me take a picture of it, because “it looked pretty good.”
We pay, and the game goes into overtime, and the bar is pitch black. I cannot bear to watch one more minute of the Jets. I’m out of here. Maybe i’ll see Kris again next week.
Ainsworth (bloody mary)
Everyone knows what beer looks like, so here is a different drink. The same person who ordered this also ordered one of their lemon specialty drinks. It was 1 in the afternoon. I don’t know where she thought she was.
Ainsworth (mac n cheese)
Everyone agreed that this was disappointing. It was a dish we ordered to make the minimum. It’s fine macaroni and cheese, but it’s not that great. The best part is the parmesan bread crumbs baked on top.
Ainsworth (tuna tartar tacos:red onions, scallions,red chili vinaigrette, guacamole)
They were actually pretty good!! Also for tacos, not that messy either. I was pleasantly surprised!
Ainsworth (nachos:tri-color corn tortillas, shredded jack and cheddar,black beans,pico de gallo, guacamole,sour cream)
I didn’t eat the nachos. I think they were ok. It’s just a pile of fat on top of carbs, so I’m sure this has to be decent bar food. I did like the guacamole that came on the tuna tacos, so at least I know that was good.
Ainsworth (Tomato Mozzarella Caprese: buffalo mozzarella, basil oil, red and yellowtomatoes, balsamic reduction)
I asked my friend how it was, and she crinkled her noise and said, “eh.” In other words don’t get it.
Ainsworth (truffle Mushroom Stuffed Burger: bacon,swiss cheese,truffle mayo)
I stole some of the truffle fries. It was decent, but my friend did not finish it, so maybe she deemed it not worth the calories or maybe she wasn’t hungry. I don’t know, but probably not a great sign.
Ainsworth (Ainsworth Chopped Salad:romaine lettuce,grape tomatoes,corn, hearts of palm, feta cheese, cucumbers, carrots, asparagus,red onions,white balsamic vinaigrette, add chicken $3, shrimp $5)
I added the chicken, and removed the feta. They put all the contents on top of the salad so it looked like it was going to taste great, and then the rest of the bowl was filled with lettuce. Crap salad.
Ainsworth (Spinach Salad: baby spinach, red peppers, red onions, mushrooms,artichoke hearts,goat cheese,apple cider vinaigrette, add chicken $3)
My friend was craving goat cheese so she immediately eyed this salad. It looks fine, but it’s not a healthy salad.
Ainsworth (caesar salad)
Ok caesar salad. You can see by the quality of the picture how dark it really does get in this restaurant/bar.