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.
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.
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
Angelo’s [Click the photo above to go to Angelo’s website]
146 Mulberry Street New York, NY 10013
After a few years of wanting the full experience at the San Gennaro Festival it finally happened. Somehow 8 girls found a night that worked for everyone on a Thursday night, and made reservations at a restaurant without any fuss at Angelo’s. So far so good right?
“How are you getting to dinner?”
“I have no idea,” I replied on gchat to my friend. Me, get anywhere downtown without a cab, and through public transportation instead? I think not.
“We can take the 6 to Canal Street.” (Cool)
“Want to meet at the subway so we can go together?” (Yes, I have no idea where I’m going, and I could definitely use a budget friendly ride)
As I’m running to get ready (is it cold out? Do I need a jacket or maybe just a scarf? Am I going out after this? Should I put on liquid liner?) I get a text from my friend saying she’s getting her nails done two blocks away from me, and she’s taking the subway with my other friend and me.
Great, you can come up to my apt, and I go on to give her my apt #, and she writes back “Ehhh.” Thanks?
I get to the subway, and she tells me she couldn’t find my building (she was on my block…she probably just had to look up). Now I’m starting to sweat as we wait for the 6 to arrive, and I realize why I hate the subway. I pull one arm out of my sweater so it’s half on/half off.
“I’ll fix it once we’re on the train”
“Yeah, I’m dripping.”
We get off the subway, and wait for our other friends who took the subway, and as they arrive, something gets into my eye, so I am now walking through Chinatown (is it Chinatown?) trying to get an unidentified object out of my eye without smudging my liquid liner (yeah, I decided to wear it).
We walk through the hustle and bustle that is San Gennero (Honey eat here! Want to be a winner? Look at this menu!), and just as I see the word “Angelo” in view, my two friends get distracted by a hustler offering them a “free game” outside the restaurant (you know where you have to throw ball in a container, and it looks so easy, but it never works, and you spent $45 trying to win a gigantic banana stuffed animal).
“Guys! The restaurant is right here!”
“He said we could have won a tv…” (no you couldn’t)
As I’m standing outside the restaurant waiting to be seated, I see a possibly drunk platinum blonde looking right at me in the restaurant, OMG IT’S KIM D FROM REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY.
“Is it her?”
“Are you sure it’s her”
“Is that Teresa next to her?” I see a bundle of black coifed hair.
We are escorted to our table, and all 8 of us awkwardly try to turn our heads to see if it’s her as we walk past their table to ours.
“IT’S DEFINITELY HER!”
I HAVEN’T EVEN BEGUN…
Two of my friends run off to talk to Kim D and Teresa as the rest of us settle in.
“Do we want wine?”
“Red or white?” ….(what do you want? I don’t know what do you want? You pick, no you pick. SOMEBODY PICK! 1 bottle of red, and 1 bottle of white…and then two more of each….heehee)
Our friends return, “We got a picture! We got a picture!” My friend shows us a picture of the two of them, Kim and Teresa, as my friend explains she didn’t know where to put her hand so she put it on Teresa’s chair.
“We told Kim about your scarves go talk to her!” They say to my friend who sells scarves (that makes sense).
Shameless plug: http://www.justjamie.com/
My friend runs off, her shawl flowing behind her, as she heads directly for Kim. She comes back victorious, “I’ll be making a trip to New Jersey this weekend…”
“I think we should get a few appetizers to start, and we can each get our own mains.”
“I just want a salad,” says my friend.
“How about baked clams?”
“I’ll do baked clams,” say the same friend. I thought you just wanted a salad? Fickle pickle.
Pasta, pasta, pasta, “I think I want seafood,” says my friend. Idiot… (ordered: orecchiette with sausage, rigatoni a la vodka, cappellini in a spicy tomato sauce, gnocchi in a tomato sauce, and gnocchi with pesto…and octopus)
We finally put in all of our orders with the waiter.
“I like him he keeps calling me Bella.”
“He called me Bella too…”
“But he smiled at me.”
Is this happening?? At least the man knows what he’s doing.
Every time the waiter puts something on the table I have my camera out before he even puts it on the table. These girls aren’t going to wait for me to take a picture before they dive in.
When the pastas arrive, I pick my fork up like it’s a magical wand, and start going from dish to dish scooping up noodles so I can “appropriately blog” (I haven’t described a dish yet).
So want to hear about the dishes? I do too.
Baked clams: amazing!
Salad: why’d we even order this?
Bread: I meannnn who doesn’t dip their bread in the baked clams sauce? A moron, that’s who.
Mains…look at the descriptions under the pictures for that. This story is long enough as it is.
My friend next to me got the gnocchi in a pesto sauce with melted mozzarella on top (I know!). We should have switched plates because I was essentially sitting on her lap eating the dish. At least they’re large portions.
“Where’s the wine!”
“Let’s take a picture.”
“I like the second one.”
“I like the first one.”
“Put up both.”
“Just put up one.”
“Let’s get dessert outside.”
The bill comes, and it reads, $440 to split by 8.
“That’s like $100 each!”
“No, no it is not.”
“Oh right, like $20 each!”
“No, that isn’t right either.” (this all happened)
“That’s definitely going in the blog” (WHY WOULDN’T IT GO IN THE BLOG!)
We should definitely get dessert…dessert seems smart. What seems smarter than dessert, fried oreos as dessert.
6 for $5. 3 of us get a bag, and I somehow eat three of them. Woops!
“I’m definitely taking a cab back.”
As we’re sitting at a red light, my friend screams, “That’s Lorelai!” (from Gilmore Girls)
“Lorelai!” We scream outside the cab window (that’s not her name).
She waves back.
“Maybe she’s going to San Gennaro.”
I don’t normally do this, but I can’t help it…IT’S TERESA!
My friend wanted fully body, I wanted well not full body, another just wanted wine, another just wanted red, so we got chianti. It did the job.
Great way to start the meal! It also wasn’t too salty, which was nice, so it didn’t overwhelm you before the meal started.
Angelo’s (baked clams)
This is a double order. It was delicious! It had a good ratio of breading to clam, and there was of course extra sauce to dip your bread in.
Angelo’s (insalata misto)
It was ok. The end.
Angelo’s (Orecchiette Con Broccoli Rape: Small Ear Shaped Pasta with Broccoli Rape and shredded sausage)
This is my dish. I thought it was simple with minimal sausage, but I ate my friend’s pasta next to me with plenty left on my plate, so maybe it’s not the number one thing to order, but it’s definitely simple and a change of pace if you don’t want something too saucy.
Angelo’s (Capellini Angelo: angel hair with mozzarella & rugola in a spicy tomato sauce)
This was not that spicy and a teensy bit saucy, but overall a good dish. Not my favorite on the table.
Angelo’s (Gnocchi Sorrentina: HalfMoon Ravioli in Cream Tomato Sauce)
It was a really nice bite. My friend said it looked like ketchup, which it sort of did.
Angelo’s (Gnocchi in a pesto sauce)
Hands down the best dish at the table. It’s super rich, and you don’t NEED to finish it, but I think everyone deserves a bite of this.
Angelo’s (rigatoni a la vodka)
The noodles were cooked perfectly, and the sauce was delicious. This dish was completely clean by the end of the meal, and was finished first.
Angelo’s (grilled octopus in wine sauce over arugula salad)
It’s “healthy” I guess, but it is still dipped in oil, and not nearly as good as a bowl of pasta. If you’re in Little Italy, just go for it.
San Gannero Festival (fried oreos)
I have never had a fried oreo before, and it is just so much better than you would think it is. It is a ball of fried dough with powdered sugar, and inside is a chewy gooey oreo! It doesn’t scream class, but whatever.
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.
Barbuto [Click the photo above to go to Barbuto’s website]
775 Washington Street (between west 12th and Jane Street) New York, NY 10014
Being that my last dinner with my dad and sister was such a success, they were ready for their next round, so I made a reservation at Barbuto in the West Village. After watching Top Chef Masters a few seasons back I was all up in Jonathan Waxman’s business and was intent upon eating there a while back, so this was my second trip, and I was thrilled about it.
I knew the food would be good, and I like the “neighborhood” vibe.
My sister texted me that she was in crazy traffic, but as it turns out so was I, so they beat me to the restaurant.
I ended up hopping out of the cab and walking 4 blocks, because we sat through two red lights, and my patience was running thin, two blocks away my sister texts me, “where are you?”
I arrive and see olives have already been placed at the table. Score!
I sit across from my sister and dive into the olives as we wait for my dad (he was parking the car).
We’re all obviously starving, and the dinner reservation is for 7:15, so imagine if I had made it for 8pm.
“Where’s the waiter?” My dad exclaims. He asks two different busboys to summon our waiter (we had already finished the olives).
I have such a strange love for this place, and kept mentioning weird facts about it, as we strummed our fingers waiting to eat.
“Isn’t the garage style windows so cute?…Don’t you love how casual it is?…I like the area.” (uch put a cork on it).
“The apartments around here are pretty nice. Would you live here?” my dad asks.
“Maybe.” Are you paying my rent for this? Yeah I didn’t think so. I’ll just have to go here for dinner instead.
Finally the waiter arrives, and we order wine and food.
My sister and my dad got white, and I got red (because I can’t have white, stupid allergy!).
I ordered the green salad and scallops (knowing full well I could just have bites of the fattier options off of the other table members).
My sister gets Burrata cheese (like anything else on the menu stood a chance), and pork ribs with peaches.
My dad orders the chicken, because it’s their specialty, but can’t decide on an app.
The waiter recommends a half order of the gnocchi, and it was like…the most ground breaking moment of the whole dinner.
“Done!” my dad says.
“Would you like any sides?”
I pick the sautéed greens figuring we’re bound to eat some of it.
“Do they not give you bread here?”
“Ask for it.”
We asked for it.
Our appetizers arrive, and my dad and sister look like they’re ready for battle.
“Wait! I need to take a picture!”
They look wounded, and I try to snap the photos as fast as I can, and then they go in for the kill.
No one wants one bite of my lettuce, while my sister and I nearly stab my dad’s thumb aiming our forks at his pasta.
As we shovel it in, I go into my past weekend in Fire Island.
“I threw up.”
“Ewwww, you did.”
I did! What can I tell you I did! It happens! I usually reject rocket fuels, but I had made an executive decision that it was go hard or go home, and I guess I went hard, and then I went home and threw up.
“Did you make it to the bathroom?” my dad asks.
“Yes of course I did!” I mean give me some credit.
The throw up was just a lead into another story anyway, and yes I tell my dad this stuff.
“So as I was stuck on the couch dying I was with all the guys because the girls left to get food, and watching guys bro out is just weird.”
I went on to explain that I watched my guy friends play beer pong at noon on a Saturday morning, and when I finally got my act together and the girls left for the beach, we could hear the guys rocking out to Katy Perry as we left…
Mains arrive. The plates are not the prettiest, but that’s why I sort of love it. It reminds me of eating at home, where presentation is secondary to taste.
I dig into my scallops with corn and scallions, and the corn was so sweet! I don’t think my dad was originally so into the chicken, but he grew to love it, and needed like 3 extra napkins. Dad, stop.
My sister proclaimed that her dish is the best, and I don’t know maybe it is, because after I finished my scallops I pulled her plate closer to me and screamed, “give me some of it!”
We soon realize we never got our side of veggies, because we clearly needed more. The waiter was super great, and didn’t even charge us for it. They were good, but probably would have been better had we eaten it with the rest of our meal. I thought they were sort of lemony.
“We’re getting dessert right?”
As the dessert menus are handed out. My dad stares at the menu, looks at my sister, and is like “well we all know who wants the cheesecake.”
My sister humbly shrugs like it’s a compliment.
“Actually the cheesecake DOES look pretty good,” my dad says.
So we got it. Again, it looked like a bunch of mush when it came over with the sauce on top.
“Too much raspberry sauce,”my dad and sister agree. Of course we don’t like the fruit portion.
But boy was it good…
As we’re getting ready to leave, I mention another restaurant I’m considering for our next dinner.
“Yeah I went with my friend and his boyfriend” (yes he’s gay).
“Where is it?”
“Of course it is…” Watch it Dad, because that might be our next stop.
Barbuto (gnocchi con granoturco: local corn & burst cherry tomatoes)
I can’t put into words how great this was. I also hate that guys can order pasta as an appetizer while I chomped on lettuce. It’s so unfair.
Barbuto (insalata stagionale: peaches, watermelon & burrata)
Summer is the time for fruit, and cheese is…for every season. Refreshing salad. I didn’t love the cheese, because I expected it to be creamier, but still very good!
Barbuto (giardino verde: garden greens & lemon-olive oil)
It’s just lettuce, and it was a little salty, but I wasn’t expecting the world when I ordered this.
Barbuto (costine di maiale: pork ribs & caramelized peaches)
I rarely dip into the red meat pool these days, and this is so totally worth it. Pork and peaches are a fab combo, and the portion is piled high. My sister almost didn’t finish it…don’t worry she did.
Barbuto (pollo al forno: jw chicken & salsa verde)
The Barbuto specialty! Chicken can sometimes be boring, but this has crispy skin, and is super juicy, and could feed a whole family…or just my dad.
Barbuto (cappa sante: grilled scallops, corn& scallions)
Most places give you like 3 scallops, and they give you 5, so yay to that! I loved the corn and scallions, and the scallops were delic! It’s a great summer option.
Barbuto (sauteed garden greens)
It was a bit lemony. I don’t think you absolutely need to order it, but it’s still a good veggie option.
So so so so yummy! I missed the last bite, because a raspberry was obstructing my view!
It’s my fav day of the year, National Tequila Day! [Click the photo above to read How to Celebrate National Tequila Day, July 24th]