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.
PETE’S TAVERN [Click the photo above to go to Pete’s Tavern’s website]
129 East 18th Street (on the corner of Irving) New York, NY 10003
As all group dinners with girls are, this one was a process: after a 6 part group email, a few side gchat sessions, and possibly two private texting sessions (all about where to go for dinner), we eventually decided on Pete’s Tavern in Gramercy.
The only way I can think of to describe this place is just straight up old school. It’s dark and pub-like, with quality food, and pictures of the celebrities that have walked through its doors, and oh yeah, it was on Sex & the City.
I usually have an opinion about where we’re eating, and being the pretentious person that I am, I would have preferred to eat at a trendier place, and not a spot my dad or grandpa would be into going to, but this time I kept my opinion to myself.
Because this idiot (that’s me) is on a diet, the Dukan Diet. Yes I am! After hearing all my friends talk about the diet and then watching them shed the pounds, I figured I had to try this thing out since “it’s so easy.” I know what you’re thinking, why would you start a diet when the summer is ending…well let me tell you!
I don’t know about you, but I beast on the weekends in the summer. Either I’m away or I’m hungover or I’m away AND hungover (“I’m away!” “I need bacon” “it’s whole wheat it’s fine” “it’s ok it’s scooped”), and I see no reason to watch what I shove in my mouth even if I’m in a bikini while I’m eating it. I think it doesn’t count, but it does. And I give myself a serious period of recovery before I start being a human again after these weekends, so my gym time has been limited…SO DUKAN!
Dukan diet has no portion control which I’m fully down with, and it’s ALL protein, so I really couldn’t complain about Pete’s Tavern knowing full well I could order a steak and be in my diet guidelines (I’m also allowed diet soda and coffee. It’s absurd).
I obviously arrive first as my friends are not timely people, plopped down, ordered a glass of wine (whatever I can cheat with alcohol), decided on the kobe beef burger (with no bun and no garnish), and possibly a side of vegetables (which I was finally allowed to eat after completing the “attack phase”…order the book if you’re confused) and waited for them to arrive.
I tell the waiter I want something dry, and he tells me he doesn’t know much about alcohol (lie to me). He throws a full glass of wine down on the table.
I taste it, cringe, and go, “It’s good. Thanks!”
The other three eventually arrive, and one looks particularly peeved.
“I’ve been setting up my classroom all week.” Her hair is back in a ponytail. She has no make-up on, no heels on, and her face screams misery. She’s clearly not going anywhere after this dinner. (I mentally cross her name off my list of people going out tonight).
As I am not a teacher, and have not had a full summer off, my sympathy is minimal.
“What is this diet you’re on?”
“I’m essentially starving my body of all sugars, but I can eat as much steak as I want.”
My friends peruse the menu as our wacky waiter asks if anyone wants something to drink. He is speaking super-fast, and almost looks like he’s running around the restaurant when he zooms past our table.
He returns with wine for one friend, no alcohol for the sad teacher in the corner, and the house ale for my other friend, which he describes as a medium beer.
“So what’s it taste like?”
“It’s not light, and it’s not dark.”
“Can you relate it to another beer.”
“It’s in the middle.”
“Ok whatever I’ll get that.”
It just tastes like beer is all I know.
They end up ordering a hamburger with sweet potato fries, pasta WITH chicken added (I guess she’s hungry?), and a cheeseburger with fries.
As the waiter sprints off we begin our conversation.
“I can’t believe you guys went to a male strip club.”
We did. Magic Mike in the flesh (pun intended). It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever done, and I highly recommend it.
“Why did you go?”
“We walked by it, and this one thought it’d be fun to go,” I say pointing to my ale drinking friend.
“It’s amazing they make you feel great.” (she got a lapdance, which was worth watching)
“They made me feel weird.”
“We got drunk.”
“I high-fived one while they were giving a lapdance.”
“I want to go for my bachelorette party.”
“We should go every week,” says the ale drinker.
“No, we shouldn’t.”
I see our waiter doing an Olympic like run towards us with our food, and I see my non bun burger has onion rings, and I sadly lift them up and move them to the corner 😦
The kobe burger was delicious, and my friends loved their burgers. My friend got the spaghetti ala Pete, which has tomato, garlic, basil extra virgin olive oil, and oh yeah, chicken.
As the busboy is cleaning up our table, he spills water over the teacher’s Iphone. Bad idea.
We all fear for the worst that the busboy is going to have to pay for a new phone, but thank goodness it still works.
We split the check, and as we’re leaving, my friend has pulled up the Hunkamania schedule for the upcoming weeks.
“Guys, mark it down.”
Pete’s Tavern (side of grilled vegetables)
Veggies are allowed in the second phase of my diet (score for me) so this was my big splurge (I know I sound like a freak, but who doesn’t sound like a freak when they’re dieting). I was pretty pleased with myself.
Pete’s Tavern (spaghetti a la Pete’s: tomato, garlic, basil, extra virgin olive oil)
Pasta with basic classy ingredients is hard to say no to! My friend added chicken. I don’t personally love chicken mixed with pasta (maybe clams?), but if a girl wants some protein, do what you gotta do.
Pete’s Tavern (hamburger with sweet potato fries)
That just looks amazing! The bun, the fries, it’s a shame my diet prohibits me from eating this. I love myself. I hate myself.
Pete’s Tavern (cheesburger with fries, pickle and cole slaw)
My friend approved of her burger. Pete’s Tavern’s reputation remains in tact.
Pete’s Tavern (kobe beef hamburger, no bun, onion rings)
I sadly removed the onion rings, but it was delicious! I asked for it medium, and I thought it tasted rich and velvety (is that a good description?) I don’t know if it the level of fat qualifies for the Dukan Diet I kan (get it) do what I want.
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.