Commerce [Click the photo above to go to Commerce’s website]
80 Commerce Street New York, NY 10014
Stupid sandy has really affected my blogging and eating. If it wasn’t Ritz crackers it was Tate’s chocolate chip cookies, and if it wasn’t a snack it was mac ‘n cheese for dinner. People are suffering, but my biggest complaint was my nutritional sustenance (and no power for 5 days). So this is my version of an apology for anyone who has missed my amahzing blog posts!
So to kick off my return to GirlyFoodie I give you a delicious restaurant I got to try: Commerce.
I went with my friend after not seeing her for weeks, possibly months, on end. I was starting to feel like a nagging girlfriend: why didn’t you call me back? Why don’t you call me ever? Work is not an excuse…you get the idea.
You would think she would pay for me with the way this was going, but that is not how it went down.
She lives in midtown so she scooped me up in a cab going all the way to the West Village. It seems that after Sandy all I see are cabs with a final of of $15 and up (mother effing traffic) so I was not surprised to see this sucker ring up at $20.00 as we turned on to the quaint little street of Commerce.
We arrive, and I’m already patting myself on the back for this restaurant pick. It has warm lighting, it’s crowded but not overcrowded, and it’s a mix of young and old, and I was able to squeeze into a spot at the bar, while we waited for our table.
“I’m so excited to try this place. I heard the bread basket alone is amazing.”
“I was hoping to skip the bread basket, but I guess not now.”
“What do you want to drink?”
“I think I want Rose.”
I then see the bartender pour a woman a glass of red wine and hear her say, “this one is my favorite.” I have no mind of my own.
“I’ll get that.”
A few minutes after we pay for our drinks we are seated.
“I think I want to get the red snapper.”
“I hate you. I wanted that. I’ll get something else if we can each have a bite.”
“Of course.” Thank God!
I go for the lamb meatballs with creamy polenta. It’s cold out, and I love polenta. I think it’s got the comfort food vibe.
I haven’t dined with my friend in a while (we usually order in sushi, drink wine, and then get too tired to go out, yes we do sound like we’re dating), and I am unsure what else she wants, but I don’t do just entrees…you crazy?
I offer for us to share an appetizer, but not some crap salad. I want something wild. The waitress has recommended the Hamachi, but the last thing I want is raw fish.
“How about the sweet potato tortelloni?”
“And maybe a side to share?”
“The waitress recommended the broccoli.”
Great! 1 app, 2 entrees, and a side..and dessert.
My friend is rocking a full blown sock bun, that I still have yet to perfect.
“I like the bun. You look dressed up.”
“It’s not. It’s just that I’m lazy.”
“It looks nice and big. When I do a bun it’s small and weird.”
“I YouTube’d how to roll my hair with the sock. I like your hair”
“I learned how to curl it with a straightening iron on YouTube.”
As the conversation of hair could go on forever we are distracted by the plates being passed around. The table next to us was seated ahead of us so we keep watching each platter get served next to us.
There was a point where my friend’s face was actually in our neighbor’s plate as she tried to smell the dish as it passed our table (to be fair we were seated very close).
The bread basket arrives, and it’s so pretty and warm and amazing. I start snapping photos of the bread, the butter, the pasta (very low carb meal to begin), and I see a group of older diners sitting at a round table nearby staring at me like I’m an alien.
I’m a little drunk (I ordered a second glass), so I figure I’m probably imagining this.
The main dishes arrive, and I really can’t begin to describe how delicious it was. I look at my friend and she’s not really digging into her fish.
“What’s happening here? I look crazy compared to you.”
“My stomach hurts.”
“Move past the pain. Let’s go.”
But instead I just continue to eat her meal, while she reluctantly puts her fork down in agony.
It’s time for dessert!
We have been watching the waiters carry out plates on plates of the coconut cake, so I mean let’s do it right? I get that with some tea, but sicky says she’ll never go to sleep with the tea, so she’s out.
As I’m snapping my final photographs of the cake, a lady at the round table musters up enough courage to turn around and go, “Excuse me, but why are you taking pictures of the food?”
“Oh, I’m a food blogger!” I reply.
The whole table erupts, “OHHH SHE’S A FOOD BLOGGER!”
Commerce (bread basket & butter)
Look at that bread all bundled up in that napkin. Each piece of bread was delightful, and yes I had a bite of each. There was one loaf of bread that had pancetta in the center when you bit into it. You had me at pancetta.
Commerce (Roasted sweet potato tortelloni with hazelnuts, pomgrante & buerre noisette)
I don’t know what buerre noisette is, so I’ll just say that outright.
This dish was a. beautiful b. interesting flavor combiniations
The sweet potato made the dish sweet, but then there was a tart flavor in the sauce. I would say that it was a very thoughtful dish.
[Please click on picture to see full photograph. Tumblr is not working properly at the moment]
Commerce (Veal meatballs with creamy polenta, creamy polenta 7 charred mushrooms)
Fab dish! If you’re ever in a bad mood and want to eat your feelings, order this. You can convince yourself it’s healthier than ordering the spaghetti carbonara.
[Please click on picture to see full photograph. Tumblr is not working properly at the moment]
Commerce (Red snapper with eggplant & bok choy in a Thai inspired herb broth)
One word: UNREAL. I could have eaten the broth alone, the fish alone, I would eat any and every single part of this dish. I can’t remember the last time I had an outstanding fish dish. Well, now I can.
Commerce (coconut cake)
Delicious way to end the meal. It tasted a bit like pound cake with coconut mixed in. Did I make it sound good? Because it was!
Taureau [Click the photo above to go to Taureau’s website]
558 Broome St (between Varick & 6th Avenue) New York, NY 10009
It is now autumn in New York City, which means it’s back to going out to big group dinners and then attending 4 Facebook birthday events in the two days that make up the weeknd, and I obviously did just that!
I set up dinner with my gal pals at Taureau in Soho for Friday night. What is Taureau you might ask? It is a byob fondue restaurant with a prefix menu of 3 courses of fondue: cheese, oil, and chocolate.
You dip bread and vegetables in the cheese, meat in the oil, and fruit & bacon (yes bacon!) in the chocolate. There is a stove in the center of the tables where they place the fondue bowls, so they remain heated throughout your meal. Quite an idea!
Just to get more specific for you, if you’re bored, just skip this information:
First course, you pick a cheese, and then any number of vegetables you would like to dip in the cheese.
Second course, you pick a type of oil (some are more fattening than others), and each person picks a meat they would like to order with the oil: could be chicken, filet, bacon, pork etc.
Third course, you pick a type of chocolate, and the fruit & marshmallows etc are standard.
Each table of two has a burner, so that means 2 people to 1 pot. So, if you go to dinner with 1 other person, then you share one burner. If you go with a party of 4, then there are 2 burners, party of 6 is 3 burners, you get it, you’re not dumb. So this means that since I went with a total of 6 people, we ordered 3 different combinations for all 3 courses…it was a lot of food!
I have been here multiple times, but I have yet to blog about it, because it’s hard to get a cute snapshot of a tub of cheese. However, despite the lack of aesthetic beauty, a tub of cheese is delicious, and I always get drunk from the bottle of wine I bring for myself, so basically it’s an amazing place.
I arrive second, and see my friend standing outside on the phone giving directions to our other friend. I then hear, “Nancy is here I gotta go.” For the record, my name is not Nancy, she just likes to call me that.
I decided right away that I wanted the cheese flavored with truffles (who wouldn’t?) for my first course, so we ordered the Perigord (parmesan, white American cheese, with truffle mushrooms and truffle oil) and I didn’t really care what everyone else picked.
However for your benefit they ordered:
Pyreneese: swiss with whine wine, garlic & nutmeg
Cheddar Monterey: tangy & milk, cheddar Monterey.
So boring right, well it took like 20 minutes for everyone to figure this out, and then pick the cheeses and vegetables.
“Do you like squash?”
“I like broccoli.”
“I don’t like broccoli.”
“I don’t eat squash.”
“I love asparagus.”
“I like potatoes.”
“What did we order last time?”
“Did we like that?”
Final decision: broccoli, white asparagus, and potatoes.
“Where is the bathroom?”
“Do I look like I work here?”
“You do work here.”
“I think it’s over there where the sink is.”
One second later…
“You’re already back?”
“I just wanted to wash my hands.”
2nd course! I got chicken, my fondue partner got hangar steak, so we just shared, and we ordered vegetable oil.
The other table got vegetable oil as well, and they both ordered steak.
Then there was the other table, the vegetarian table. What is this weirdo gonna do if she can’t eat meat? Don’t worry! Taureau offers a second cheese course as a substitute that includes an order of 4 vegetables as opposed to meat.
So they ordered the alpine (gorgonzola and swiss blend with hazelnut notes), and we took this as an opportunity to pick different vegetables we haven’t ordered yet, two of them being the squash and cauliflower, and the other being miniature pickles.
“If you could only eat one vegetable for the rest of your life what would it be?”
“Tomatoes. Are tomatoes a vegetable?”
“No, they have seeds.”
I picked onions, because there are so many different kinds and you can cook them. I’ll smell but I’ll be happy inside.
I also asked, “is garlic a vegetable?” Do you think it’s a dumb question? Because no one had the answer.
It is a vegetable, and is part of the onion family. Score, even smellier.
“I love asparagus. Asparagus.”
“Your pee is going to smell all the time.”
Dessert time! This was easy we ordered: one dark chocolate, one milk chocolate, and one white chocolate!
I was the only one wanted to eat the bacon dipped in chocolate (you’re all so dumb!) so they put 3 trays of bacon in front of me.
“I said I liked it, it doesn’t mean I want to eat all of it!” as I dip a chunk in the dark chocolate.
“Is anyone else sweating?”
“Yes, is it hot in here or is it the alcohol?”
Check comes…someone didn’t get the memo that this place is cash/Amex only, so she didn’t bring enough cash. I’m not spotting her, that’s for sure. Off she goes to an ATM and one of the nice girls offers to go with her.
“What are we doing later?”
“Who are you texting?”
“We have to split up in 2 cabs.”
“I don’t understand if we should meet them now, or they’re leaving. Help me write this text.”
“No, I don’t like that. I’ll write this.”
It’s freezing out! “Nancy let’s go!”
Taureau (First course: 3 cheese, broccoli, white asparagus and potatoes)
The best course of course (see what I did there). It’s fricken cheese! Obviously the truffle’d cheese was by far the best one! It’s the close up pot with the whitish coloring.
The yellow is the Cheddar Monterey. I don’t recommend that one.
Taureau (2nd course: vegetarian option with squash, cauliflower and pickles)
Here is the vegetarian dish. Yes we got miniature pickles. Sort of weird to dip in cheese, but whatevs, we were running out of vegetables. It was a limited menu of produce!
Taureau (2nd course: vegetable oil and meats)
Both tables got vegetable oil, because it is one of the healthier options. It takes about 30 seconds to cook the meat, they say. I personally kept taking my skewer out of the pot, and either awkwardly bit into the chicken/steak or tried to cut a piece off to see if it was still raw. It’s not an easy game to play.
This course also comes with an assortment of sauces for dipping as you can see. It’s fun to try all of them!
Taureau (3rd course: fruit platter)
Here is the final course! By the time this rolled around I could barely look at food, but bacon is a fun addition! Can you see my friend’s little finger blocking the plate? She is blocking the strawberry cake, although she claims she was “pointing” to it.
Taureau (third course: white chocolate, milk chocolate, [dark chocolate not pictured])
Here is the beautiful dessert fondue! Dark and milk looked the same, and I was getting sick of taking pics. The white chocolate is not heated. It’s the only fondue dish served cold, crazy!
Here we are! I asked our amazing waiter to take the picture for us. Also please look around and notice how no one is sitting near us. We were the last people to leave the restaurant!
Salinas [Click the photo above to go to Salinas website]
136 9th Avenue (between 18th and 19th Street) New York, NY 10011
After just seeing my dad a few days ago, I guess he felt it was pertinent to see me again and expand my waistline. Thanks. So off to dinner I went with my dad and sister.
My sister goes to grad school at Columbia (She is getting her masters in literacy, going to be a teacher molding children’s minds, some crap like that) so it made sense to meet on the west side, and I compromised by not going too far uptown.
Besides I thought, how bad could tapas really be for you? They’re small portions. Yeah, I don’t know about that.
I somehow managed to get there first, and the hostess says that I can wait at the bar for the rest of my party to arrive. I was originally not going to drink anything, but when the bartender asked me what I wanted, when I expected to say water I said, “something spicy please, with tequila.” I don’t know what happened.
My sister comes in next, orders sangria, and tells me that Dad is parking the car. She informs me that they’re not giving me a ride back to my apartment, so now I’ll have to spend $15 on a cab ride to accommodate the rest of my family (what is that about??).
Late Larry comes strolling in, comes up to us, and goes, “the table’s ready,” as if he’s been waiting on us.
“You’ll take care of the bar tab?” Thanks.
We get seated, and I start shooting out ideas for what to order. My dad doesn’t do well with tapas (he was a disaster when he visited me abroad in Barcelona. The only thing he learned was “café con leche merci beaucoup.” Yes, the last part is not Spanish, and his flavor palette expanded as much as his vocabulary).
“Wow, someone read the menu ahead of time.”
“I really didn’t. I just know you are particular so I thought I’d throw some ideas out.”
“She definitely read the menu,” my dad says to my sister.
Why am I defending myself?
Our waiter rattles off a few specials, we ask for recommendations, and the amount of dishes we should order. The waiter says that main plates take about 30-40 minutes to prepare, and we immediately nixed that idea. Waiting? Nope, we don’t do that. Ready for our order?
One order of brussel sprouts
One order of flat bread
One order of shrimp
One order of baked goat cheese
One order of lamb meatballs
One order of a cured fish special
One order of patatas bravas
Two orders of pasta (large not small) because we couldn’t agree on one.
My dad wanted a pasta with chicken, chorizo and cockles. My sister and I wanted one with lamb and goatcheese (we like goat cheese duh).
“What are cockles?”
“It’s pasta,” my dad says.
“There is no way it’s a type of pasta. I’ll look it up,” I say.
“Let’s ask the waiter.”
“Excuse me, what are cockles?”
“I knew it!” said my dad. No he didn’t…
Dishes came out a few plates at a time. The flatbread and brussel sprouts arrive first. The brussel sprouts are standard; the flat bread was crunchy and crumbled into pieces when you tried to rip off a piece, my sister and I were not into it.
“This is pretty good,” chomp chomp, my dad says.
I was tired and didn’t have much to say so I let my sister take it away for this round, and once she starts talking about Columbia she doesn’t stop. She once spent ten minutes discussing the address of the school she worked at, and the driving route she took to get there (snoozefest).
Sidebar: Lets be real, whether it’s finance, social media, public relations, or education, work is boring. I’m sorry it is. It’s called “work” it’s not supposed to be fun, and if you do actually like your job then everyone will resent you for it anyway so keep your mouth shut: unless you love your job and make no money, then whatever.
I did however perk up when we discuss how my sister could use her love of cheese as a teaching method for kids with pronunciation issues.
“Mozzarella, muenster, goat cheese, gouda, swiss…”
“So many kinds!”
Meatballs arrive: good, but the cucumber the meatball sat on needed more crunch.
Fish special: tasted like miniature brunch dishes, cured fish (if that’s a thing), and lentils that looked like capers.
“I have to do this…so they like me here…this person gave good advice…I have this lesson plan to do… this is challenging…the content doesn’t get covered all the time…social studies…this is below average on spectrum…I took the bus with my metro card”
“Rates are goin’ up on that,” my dad chimes in.
“You took the bus?”
“I did, but it was too much traffic, so I got out and hailed a cab.” Now that’s my sister.
Shrimp dish is ok, but the oil it swims in is good for dipping with bread. The baked goat cheese is actually a bowl of tomato sauce with hot goat cheese in the center that you spread on bread (boom, best dish we ordered).
Now that the goat cheese dish has woken me up, let’s talk about something I’m interested in. Perspiration.
My sister and I were blessed with my dad’s horrible perspiration gene, and it never gets old discussing it.
“I don’t sweat that much!” my dad says. For the record until the age of 18, I didn’t know that a. not everyone sweats bullets from dancing at a bar/bat-mitzvah before the candle lighting ceremony and b. that not all guys smell that way after playing basketball. True Story.
“It’s not ok for a girl to sweat.”
And since I pre-gamed with my sister and her friends this past weekend in a small converted one bedroom in Murray Hill (oh, wait I live in one of those too), with raging 22 year olds, I was reminded of how uncomfortable it is to actually sweat surrounded by a group of people, while also trying to be the cool older sister (not easy, I tell you).
My dad’s favorite thing to tell me is how I can’t party like I used to.
“You faded real fast.” It’s true, I can no longer pound shots, but there are also no more pictures of me on Facebook with my eyes rolling to the back of my head.
Pasta! My sister and I like our pasta better than our dad’s, but he insists that his is better, and when my dad insists on something he gets louder and enunciates his words.
Should we get dessert? Why not?
My sister says she doesn’t like the way it jiggles. “It’s like a weird jell-o.” She’s so expressive.
“So I heard I’m not getting a ride back home?”
“Oh, your sister told you that already?”
“Yep, so you’ll pay for my cab fare right?”
“Yeah, what is that like $10?” What a sport!
“More like $12.50. You can just give me a 20.” Doesn’t he know? The fares went up.
Salinas (Coles y Colifor: brussel sprouts, green cauliflower, citrus yogurt & pimenton de la Vera)
Maybe this multicolored veggie plate is a trend right now, since this is the second time in two weeks I’m seeing it, gotta say I don’t love it. Dish needed more brussel sprouts in my opinion and more of the yogurt sauce. I was thinking it’d be like the brussel sprout dish at Alta…I was very wrong.
Salinas (Crujiente Mahones: flat bread, Majon cheese, honey, thyme & sea salt)
Mixed reviews on this! I wanted something that was less crunchy and more bready. My dad couldn’t get enough of it!
Salinas (Montadito: Colorado lamb meatballs, pickled cucumbers, tomato sofrito & Spanish toast)
Only 3 per dish, so minimal guilt for this order, because I only ate one, and it was served on a cucumber! I try to forget that meatballs are made with breadcrumbs. Really good!
Salinas (fish special)
Sorry, they didn’t give me a description for this! I really liked this! It wasn’t overpowering or super fishy. It reminded me of smoked fish they serve on a brunch platter, but you know, without the bagel.
Salinas (Gambas Al Ajillo:sauteed shrimp, wild mushrooms, garlic, guindilla pepper & parsley)
This is a very standard shrimp dish I see on tapas menus. I don’t really like shrimp served this way, but my dad and sister wanted it, and I knew they would want to dip the bread in the oil/sauce. It’s an easy dish to order if you’re not into cured meats or a tapas beginner.
Salinas (Queso Al Horno: baked spanish goat cheese, spicy tomato sofrito & Spanish toast)
It was my favorite dish we ordered! It was also freezing in the restaurant so it warmed me right up!
P.S. My sister’s loved the name, obviously, horno, horny. Her favorite movie character of all time is Alota Fagina, so you get the idea.
Salinas (patatas bravas)
I almost always order patatas bravas whenever I go to a tapas restaurant. I feel like it’s a sign of a good tapas restaurant. These were different in that they were diced small, and they were good, but I don’t know, they weren’t the highlight of the meal. I don’t think you need to order them.
Salinas (fideos pasta, braised lamb shank, wild mushrooms, seasonal greens & goat cheese aioli)
I have never heard of goat cheese aioli, and I think it was the best part of the dish mixed with the lamb. A little mushy but we finished it.
Salinas (Rossejat Rapida: fideo pasta, all natural chicken breast, fava beans, chorizo, cockles & saffron alioli)
It looks good doesn’t it? This was the “large” portion. For large it isn’t so large. It was ok. This was also sort of mushy in texture, and reminded me of the macaroni you get in Easy Mac.
Some people don’t like flan. I’m not one of those people. My dad felt the need to say “boy, you like flan,” 3x to me while I was eating. He’s rude.
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.
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.
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]