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 🙂
Essex [Click the photo above to go to Essex’s website]
120 Essex Street (between Rivington St & Delancey St) New York, NY 10002
Let’s first start off this story by saying, I know Essex isn’t the newest restaurant in town; It’s not the most delicious…blah blah blah, so for all you people reading this, and being like “why’d she go there?” You guys can suck it, because Essex is FUN.
Sunday Funday + Drunk Brunch + Birthday = Amazingness.
I think that sums it up. The End.
Kidding, I have a lot to say.
I woke up hung-over after a Saturday night that we will just say included a 4am pit stop to the Meatball Shop, only to get up and continue drinking. I thought I would at least have a few extra hours to sleep since brunch was at 1, but no. I was woken up by the birthday girl at 10 am reminding us to be there at 1. Thanks.
I slather on make-up the best I can (I bought luminizer and I want to use it), and checked how I could subway myself (yes I’m using subway as a verb) to my destination. I give myself a peptalk: you’re broke, you’re an adult, you can do this. Get on the subway.
I made it!
I was 4th out of 6 to arrive. I’ll take it. You can’t be seated until everyone is there, and there was a wait anyway, a 20 minute wait. Don’t worry I didn’t mind the wait, because I ate the remaining 1/5 of my meatball sandwich this morning, so I was good.
We sit down, and I don’t know what I’m more excited for, the water or the mimosa.
“We need a picture of us.”
“Should we take it now?”
“Let’s wait until we have a few more drinks.”
I scan the menu, do I want sweet or savory?
“I think I want French toast,” my friend says.
“I don’t know if I want that or potato latkes.”
“Do you want to split?”
I almost punched both of them. They went in for sharesies without me. W.T.F.
“I’m having a bite of that,” I say. I get real authoritative sometimes.
The watiress comes over, and orders are put in, we all went different routes and order something different. As the waitress walks away my friend is absolutely convinced the waitress gave her a dirty look when she ordered. Maybe she did.
Ready for the brunch brigade? Scroll down to hear how it was, because you don’t go to a drunk brunch for the food, but at least this place makes pretty good food.
Potato Latkes with lox and poached eggs
Matzoh Brie with Mexican toppings
“I have gifts for everyone,” the birthday girl announces.
Oooh gifts. Ok!
She whips out 5 dreidels and cheap blue sunglasses.
“Happy Hanukah everyone!”
“Aren’t these the give-aways you got at that charity event you went to a few days ago.”
Whatever, we’ll take anything. Everyone starts spinning their dreidels, and trying on the sunglasses.
“You only gave out 3 sunglasses. I want one.”
$5 sunglasses are the hottest thing at this table right now. Now everyone is taking what I can only describe as Gangster Jew pictures with sunglasses and holding up dreidels.
Birthday girl hates her potato latkes, but at least it’s picture time.
“So we all agree we want to take another.”
Before we know it our waitress has shooed us out of our seats with the check, and some of us haven’t even received the 3 drinks our brunch comes with. So what do we do?
We complain until we get more free drinks, and a birthday cake with a candle.
Our waitress/manager produces 20 carnival tickets, and tells us we can use them for free drinks at the bar.
What better way to spend your Sunday than badgering Romanian bartenders to give you free drinks with carnival tickets, and magically whipping them out from our pockets, bags, and bra straps with such pride, like they’re $100 bills.
“Vodka soda. Here you go.”
“What should we do now?”
“Let’s go to another bar and then get dinner.”
From brunch to dinner, that’s how we do, and that’s why it’s Sunday Funday.
I like that they were so generous with the bread, and it gave you something to nosh on while you sipped on your drink, and waited for your food. It’s probably a preventative method of keeping patrons from getting too drunk before their meals arrive, and I like it.
The Aristocrat: potato pancake topped with house-cured salmon gravlax, salmon caviar & poached eggs
I guess I’m just a more is more person. I liked that it was a bite of everything. It doesn’t come close to my mom’s potato latkes, but it was still great. What’s brunch without lox?
Mexican Matzo Brei: scrambled eggs with tortilla crisps, monterey jack, avocado, black beans & pico de gallo
I was originally wary of this dish, because this was like “everything but the kitchen sink” in my mind. However, it was a hodge podge of Mexican delight.
Challah French Toast with bananas foster sauce & fresh fruit
Totally fine dish. The banana part looks a bit yuck, but it was good. It’s a good alternative to eggs.
8 oz sirloin burger with french fries
Well done fries can’t be bad! Going for brunch, but just want lunch? Burger and a bloody mary work. At least that’s what my friend did.
Probably would NOT recommend this dish. Lobster was a bit fishy. Maybe crab cake is better? If you have to think about the quality of the seafood I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Crispy Potato Pancakes with sautéed apples & honey cream sauce & spinach-shiitake-black bean hash
Not a pretty lookin’ dish. I’d rather get the Aristocrat if I’m going to get the potato pancakes, but I guess it borders on simple if you’re in the mood for some potato pancakes.
Peanut Butter Cake
Tasted like pure peanut butter. It was free so ok, but ehhhh.
Here we areeee. Look at these idiots.