Monday, December 7, 2009


colin met me for the trufflepalooza dinner at locanda verde tonight. we didn't have a resy and i wouldn't let the hosts sneak one in for me but we got seats at the bar within minutes of arriving. 3 truffle-filled courses for $50. two choices per course meant colin and i tried all of them. barely boiled egg over oyster mushrooms and polenta, lots of white truffle shavings on top. kobe beef tartare, fried quail egg, lots of white truffle shavings on top. veal with garganelli with lots of get the idea. dessert was a truffle gelato and a truffled cake with ricotta that i'd die for. we couldn't stop groaning and moaning and mmmmming over this dinner. it was DIVINE. gorgeous luke brought over our apps and i could feel all the blood rising to my face. CURSES for inconvenient blushing! i think ken friedman was in the house by the time we left. erika had invited me to some private john mayer concert something or other and i'd thought about skipping dinner but 1.) i heart locanda and 2.) i'm not the hugest john mayer fan so i passed. she texted later saying the line was long and that it wasn't as exclusive as it was made out to be and that she didn't even wait in line to get in so i definitely made the right choice. i'm still tasting truffle two hours later. it's like cigar smoke. i'm thinking i'll still be tasting it after i brush my teeth even...

Thursday, November 12, 2009


maialino opening night: from the three gleaming smiles you that meet you at the front door to the warm, super-attentive service, this place has danny meyer written all over it. he runs his restaurants like walt ran disney. his staff is culty but unfailingly professional and kind. the space is warm without seeming cramped. crisp without seeming sterile. ruth reichlat the next table. the wine recommendation (something soft and full-bodied from 45 minutes outside of rome) was perfect for the $46 price point in that it tasted more expensive than it was. we started with the prosciutto di parma (delicate and salty) and a spicy/unusually tender sopressata, accompanied by a basket with a variety of breads (a foccacia, cheddar sticks, a semolina). antipasti was the octopus, served in impossibly thin little slices with a sea salty purple potato salad and arugula. anna wintour enters: gets a table in back. the carbonara was perfect. actually, it could have used a tad more pepper but otherwise, it was probably the best i've had this side of the atlantic. (someone tell mario batali that his is always too salty.) dana cowin gets sat next to us and seems to smile apologetically at me every time someone else comes by to welcome her but i'm loving watching someone else get this much attention. danny meyer himself comes over, chats with her about how easy it was to open the place, he knew what he wanted so there wasn't too much to think about. it all came from the heart, not his head. he asked if they could tell that they were on the park. they said yes. (for the record: i disagree. the windows sit too high, the curtains even higher that, no, there's no way you have any idea you're on gramercy park, sorry danny.) a wide smile flashed at me and sharon, a quick inquiry as to how we were enjoying our meal and then off he went to eleven madison park (which, coincidentally, he says opened on this exact date 11 years ago...he said he hadn't planned on them having the same opening date but compared it to birthing, that you can't control when that baby wants to enter the world).

sidenote: YES, OMG, i couldn't help but eavesdrop on all this, soooo guilty as charged. i'm sorry, danny meyer is a god as far as these things are concerned. i can't ever thank him enough for bringing new york the only decent chicago dog that this city has (and oh, how i miss my vienna dogs...) and i worship eleven madison park. i think i've mentioned a hundred times how much i'd like to get married there but how it'll never happen unless i win myself some lottery. my solo lunches (the only meal there i can afford) there are blissful and i'm treated like i'm the most important person in the room which is nice for a diner alone, where i'm often passed over or just plain ignored because my check average isn't enough to motivate a server. meyer and his people have treated me right and i'm devoted, eternally, for it. the locanda verde folks are fantastic too, which is why i keep going back. i sometimes want to walk into restaurants that weren't happy to have me and be all pretty woman on their asses, "hey, remember me? big mistake. big. huge! i have to go eating now."

so ANYWAY, the veal arrives and it's just massive. at least two inches thick and the most flavorful veal i've ever had the pleasure of meeting. served with some pancetta and wilted kale, we made ourselves finish it even though we were both so full we thought we might be sick. i mean, until the dessert menu showed up. two glasses of moscato d'asti and a tartufo later, we drag ourselves out. i run into my friend alex on the way out and feel quite proud of myself because he's so cool and whatnot and i'm a huge nerd and we somehow managed to both score a table at the same place, on the same night. small victories. the girl at the coatcheck asked what we had and approved, nay, seemed downright jealous, of our meal so i think we chose well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

eleven madison park

my beloved eleven madison park, now a 4 star restaurant. that, my friends, is bruni going out with a bang. congrats to danny meyer and the gang. i couldn't be happier for a restaurant. although, i'm sure that in the end this does make it infinitely more difficult to think of renting the place out someday for my wedding.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

chang lunch cart, paula deen

i'm getting lunch cooked from a cart by dave chang. so yeah, i won but since i pretty much only have an hour i have no idea whether i'll have time to even eat. may send lacey to stake it out first, then join and have her wait in a line. if there is one. it's all very hush hush. have no idea where it's taking place. will report back when it's over if i get there and actually have time to eat.
this episode of wait! wait! don't tell me was hilarious. paula deen is my new pretend best friend. woman is an absolute riot.

Friday, January 16, 2009


went to esca last night. whenever i'm craving pasta, about once a month, i'll go and try to stake out a seat at the bar. the bar over there is like this top secret club. getting there and snagging a seat means that you're on a first name basis with the bartender who knows everyone else at the bar and will make introductions. (if i were the kind of person who could afford going there once a week, i would. the crudo is also lustworthy.) next thing you know, even though you may have thought you were going out to eat alone, you're now with a party of 4. you all share food. it is the most collegial thing i think i've ever been drawn into. the chef comes up, hangs out to chat. victor, the bartender, makes sure to introduce me. "jasmine, this is david pasternack, chef and part owner here." i shake hands, refrain from saying something embarassing like, "i know who you are! i've read about you! i like food!" i didn't even say, "you're david pasternack!" which is also something that may have slipped out had i not been as composed. or sober. and because the esca bar is a "zone of extra-friendliness" or something david says, "hey, i got a new pasta machine! come down and look at it!" my response, "are you serious?" "yeah! come on down!" and off he went. off my stool i hopped and followed him through the kitchen and down the stairs. past some trays of post dinner biscotti, past freezers containing trays of frozen pasta. he showed me the process, the part of the machine that broke and couldn't be replaced on his last machine (which is why he had to get a new one). he was a proud daddy standing over his bright, shiny hunk of stainless steel with polished bronze working bits. pretty damn neat. ALMOST makes up for missing the pork butt. almost. maybe.