Monday, October 25, 2010


We had a table but I saw two bar seats, stopped John (the bartender) to ask if they were taken and planted my butt down when he said they weren't. The bar is ALWAYS better than a table. I don't care where you are, this is a rule of life. 

Oh, y'all. I should have taken a photo of the menu tonight at Locanda Verde. Mostly because I took a cursory glance, saw that there was two of everything and looked at Ted to say, "Of course we get one of each." He responded, "Of course," and that was that.

We had an artichoke soup with some kind of mushroom and a dabble of some kind of cream with white truffles shaved on top. We had steak tartare with white truffles shaved on top. We had the usual focaccia with rosemary and truffle oil. There was a delicate ricotta ravioli with white truffles shaved on top. See the pattern here? We had a spinach pappardelle with walnuts and white truffles shaved on top. For dessert we had some kind of honeyed cake with white truffles shaved on top with a vanilla bean cream and a sorbet which Ted ate all of but which looked like it might have been made with pineapple? And also a truffled gelato that had white truffles shaved on top and also maybe a cherry (which, again, Ted ate). He drank Verdicchio. I had the Falanghina. We left with what felt like the permanent taste of truffles in our mouths. SO GOOD. 

I should also mention that Andrew Carmellini is blogging. Blogging gorgeous photos with bits and pieces about his new place that I'm highly anticipating because I think it's more fun to run a place in a restaurant not owned by some celebrity and huge corporate backers. I trust his taste and his vision and it'll be great to see him run a bit wild. 

We stopped into Smith & Mills next because they make a damn good Dark and Stormy, muddling all the ginger so that it's in itty bitty pieces that you suck up through your straw and get to chew on and it's sweet and spicy and all sorts of lovely.

I walked by the police stable on my way to the train and saw a stocky man showing a horse into his cubby. He held up a single index finger, letting me know it would be a minute and dragged the big tawny guy my way to say hello. I gave him some pats on his long white nose. He was wet. "He's just had a bath," was the minder's explanation. The horse, a boy, was fidgety. "I just gave him his dinner but brought him over to say 'hi' so he's telling me he's hungry." I gave him some long strokes along his cheek and the man caring for him brought him back to his carrel. The man's name was Daniel. He's from Panama but got his U.S. citizenship in 2006, though he'd moved here in 1990. He used to work on a farm in Panama. The police don't walk the horses around manhattan, but instead, bring them into boroughs and even New Jersey to navigate places that don't have paved roads. Daniel said the horses were treated well. He also said that horses at the racetracks are also mostly treated well. We both love Arlington, the horsetrack in IL that I grew up near. 

A lovely end to a truffle-filled evening. Sometimes this city is so beautiful I can't even stand it. 

A piece about raw beef with Mike Toscano is running on Esquire this week and I have a bit on schnitzel on a new site any minute. Will link them both when they show up!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jeffrey's dinner

Stopped into Gabe Stulman's new place the other night.

Shared the cheapest bottle of white on the menu, but it was totally drinkable. Then moved to red. Something with big lettering on the bottle, maybe about velvet? We'd possibly done some shots with the staff and things got hazy.

Lots of family/friends/regulars in the house.

Had a plate of oysters. They had three east coast and three west coast varieties so we got two of each though we should have just gotten a dozen Kumamoto since those were our favorites and we knew that before we started. Some shrimp and King Crab claws thrown in for good measure.

Moved to a cheese plate (humboldt fog, a goat and a blue) with the ham and beef (which are served with an amazing cornichon/mustard puree). 

Sea bass over lentils. Okay, I love a lentil. I just do. This was fantastic, it was a special though, so don't look for it on the menu.

Chef Eric tried his hand at a red velvet cake and we had a sliver of that. He said it needed more cocoa, we disagreed.

They're still trying to find a rhythm over there but everyone is pretty forgiving. Lots of Joseph Leonard regulars convening there because they don't know where else to go. Lost little puppies looking for a home. I am a lost little puppy. And I'm already going through bloody mary withdrawl. Might have to make my own

Monday, October 11, 2010

various food events

san diego was fantastic. stayed at the andaz, which is one of the best hotels in the city but we kind of hated it. the rooms had no light and no lamps and it was impossible to do work in the room. we got an "upgrade" which was just them moving us to a room with a king-sized bed which looked into the restaurant so we had to keep the curtains closed 24/7. they have this club on the roof which is pretty tacky but the pool is otherwise lovely and colin and i spent time getting sun and doing some work in a cabana in the rain.

the best part of the trip was searsucker, brian malarkey's new place. it was FANTASTIC. one of the best meals i've had in years. get the brussels sprouts.

i wrote up the new yorker festival for mediaite over here

i've pulled a bunch of my eating posts here and moved them to a separate blog: A.B.E. Always Be Eating. just made sense to separate it. sorry to andrew carmellini and the joseph leonard folks who will have that new place pop up in their google alerts some 15 times each due to the re-posting. i'm still deciding whether to keep the food stuff entirely separate or whether to just repost it there as it happens...suggestions? i use this here blog as a sort of livejournal and would hate to have my life separated into two like that, but feel the food stuff has to have its own place now that i've started writing. 

trufflepalooza is coming up again! ted is joining, I'll come back with a full report.

i've had such a busy few weeks that i'm starting to just forget where i've been and what i've done. BAD. 

had the honor of attending the Michelin Red Guide drop party. i'm possibly working on a story about supper clubs and talked to michael white, drew nieporent, jean georges, daniel boulud and others about them. the food at the party, cooked by supper clubs, was fantastic. the caliber of cooking these guys are doing blows my mind. whisk and ladle had this celery root soup with veal cheek croutons that i'm having dreams about. city grit did fried shrimp and grits which were awesome (and eater's favorite). i met the sweetest girl there, a travel writer for AOL who won a shorty! for weirdest tweets! she has a llama that tweets at people to do ridiculous things at their desks. small little tasks that are silly, and probably entertaining for those stuck in a cubicle all day. reggie watts performed and HE IS THE SHIT

then new york wine and food festival happened. had a steak sponsored afterparty at some random mid-town club. let me tell you, if you ever hear "steak sponsored" and "party" in the same sentence: GO. filet was all over, as much as you could eat. they had a beautiful rose champagne and some pretty awesome music. 

finally tried relais de venise, the outpost of the famous french place that i adore. in three words: not as good. the sauce is lacking kick (or salt) and the portion was small. service was spotty and there were a few screaming babies in attendance (due to location, i'd assume). but afterwards we hit rudy's. consumed 1 pitcher of blonde and no hot dogs. then stopped by joseph leonard which pretty much the best place to be at that second because the 2nd place winners in the burger bash, mo koyfman and ben leventhal were there celebrating and their award winning burger was being given out gratis to everyone still in the restaurant. AMAZING. getting the #2 burger without having to pay the $250 burger bash entry fee: priceless.

gabe's jeffrey's grocery opened last week too and i was luckily invited to friends and family there. wine and cheese were in abundance but it was a good chance to catch up with some regulars. met phyllis who immediately seized my arm and dragged me over to meet a cute bartender when she found out i was single. "it's my jewish grandmother's instinct," she said, apologetically.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

birthday at blue hill at stone barns

so, i had a birthday. i turned 30. i'm all kinds of whatever about it. in fact, i've been telling people i'm 30 for months now thinking that saying 29 seems a wee bit clingy to my 20's, which i'm certainly not! me and 20 of my nearest and dearest all took a train out to tarrytown (a train i almost missed because the subways were so completely fucked) and were all treated like royalty at blue hill at stone barns. a private lobby overlooking the gardens where they brought us bellinis and whatever other drinks we wanted and then all these yummy passed canapes. sesame seed crusted baby zucchini, tomato burgers, tomato foam things on tart shells that sound crazy but were INSANELY GOOD, and high class tater tots with pickle slices, polenta tarts, a few more tomato things ('tis the season). we sat down to a gorgeous tomato salad with ricotta and peaches. moved onto pork something (this is where the afternoon starts to get hazy because i'm drinking too much). david gave a lovely speech about how delightful i am. i cried (again, probably, with the alcohol). i gave a rambling speech about being so lucky and grateful for such awesome people in my life. and also that i was thankful for pork. dessert was some gorgeous cake with berries. we moved to the bar and drank some more. blaise maybe stole a tomato off a table. and an egg, which was presented to me as a present, which i presently dropped on the train platform. (grrr, alcohol.) oh, and then, THEN we thought it was a great idea to go to the frying pan and drink a lot of beer. 

i know my friends had a good time because one spent all night throwing up, another forgot she'd had sex with her boyfriend that night (she apologized about passing out before sex and he was all, "what do you mean? we had sex" HA). 

saturday was the jazz age lawn party at governors island. bill cunningham took a bunch of photos of us but i'd DIE, just absolutely be DEAD if any of them ran in the nytimes. we are here taking a candid shot!

i wrote something for esquire. seriously, try that bloody mary. it's off the hook. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

cabrito: my movie choice

labyrinth, by my request, was the monday night movie at cabrito. it's one of the first movies i remember being entranced by. (the other was west side story, which changed my life.) i used to try to toss kenny around and pretend he was toby and i was the goblin king. and we would sing and dance until we collapsed from exhaustion or until i dropped him and he'd cry and we'd both get in trouble. it makes me look at myself, my application to take the CFE (you guys, i'd be a bank examiner. grizz) and wonder where the hell i got lost, where all that creativity went. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

new friends, same old favorite places

you guys, i'm totally laura from the glass menagerie. except for that instead of figurines, i collect people. oh, and i'm also not shy and not crippled. but otherwise, we're the SAME PERSON.

it happened again. i was having brunch alone, minding my own business. all the gays are in fire island every other weekend now and this had promised to be a quiet weekend with them gone. i sit down, order a pulled pork sandwich special. the guy next to me was all, "oh, i wanted to order that but i should be good so i got the nicoise salad instead but i'm going to live vicariously through you." the sandwich was awesome. we keep chatting. he's a gay who works at macy's, his friend met up with us and we continued to drink. his boyfriend joined us, more drinking ensued. before i knew it i'd been recruited to go shopping with them and then also invited to dinner with one of their girlfriends. i made a phone call and we were put in the garden at locanda verde (i can't stay away, i know) and had a ridiculously debaucherous dinner. many bottles of wine, many apps and pastas and every single dessert on the menu. and more wine. we were sat outside so it was nice and quiet and perfect for story-telling and drunken bonding. our server was hilarious and didn't hate us, even though we were loud and silly. i didn't feel drunk until i was in the cab home and then had to start doing that split-second planning about how to vomit while in the cab. at what point would i ask him to pull over. would i open the door or throw up out the window? just utterly nauseous. 

anyhow: new friends! yay. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

food linkage

remember that amazing clip of david chang going to piece of chicken, getting wasted, then going to frankies? another installment from vice tv. this one with andrew carmellini from locanda verde. luke ostrom is there too. he may be one of the best looking people i've seen in person, next to nigel barker, though i suspect he'd much rather be less pretty so he could avoid the attention. my favorite part is AC talking about how he would have brought cheaper wine had he known they weren't going to open what he'd brought. that happens to me all the time. though, drinking all my good wine by myself at home doesn't sound like that healthy of an alternative. and i relate to not feeling that the job he was doing was good for his soul. in fact i'm looking to leave the legal profession altoghether. is this risky? SURE. is it liberating? YES. am i terrified? CERTAINLY. is it still probably the right thing to do? i hope so. i'll be 30 this year. i deserve to have a job i enjoy. something that feeds my soul. i'll work through my savings and if i run out of money, there's always stripping. kidding! (not really.) oh! and the video mentions 100 layer lasagna. i am so getting george to hook some of that up for me next time i'm at del posto. 
i got a lobster roll from the underground lobster pound. those things are really decent. he tells you to text him from a random street corner. he'll text you an exact address and you pick it up from the windowsill of a ground floor apartment. it feels very dangerous and 007. the roll is $14 and it's just huge chunks of tender lobster in some butter and old bay. no mayo. an excellent roll if you happen to be in whichever neighborhood he's selling from. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

valentines day

my valentine's day was spent loving myself, i guess. no, not THAT way. get your head out of the gutter. brunch at joseph leonard made me miss working in restaurants. there's something about the pace and energy in a well-run place. the owner handed a hostess $20 to run out and get more croissants. they were slammed sunday morning. were almost going through bloody mary mix faster than they could make it. from the west village i strolled to soho, sans ipod, and fell in love with the city all over again. you forget how much you lose by tuning out of the city's sounds and into your playlist. the artist talking about his inspiration to some passersby on west broadway. the bebop group on prince street across from j.crew. my favorite singapore importer has gorgeous cream frocks that i'll try to buy on sale. intermix, who no longer has the gorgeous suede brian atwood pumps now has sergio rossi peeptoe platform pumps but you'd be better off with the original YSL incarnation which would be 100% more comfortable and 60% more timeless. ginger citrus tea at balthazar. little pink hearts painted on the sidewalk on both sides of broadway between prince and spring, a small reminder that it was, indeed, valentine's day. decided to satisfy the craving for linguine with clams at esca, which boasts the most convivial bar in town. i've written about it before but things haven't changed an ounce. i was sat next to a longtime regular and friend of the chef. another regular, a 24 year old actress on the other side of him. they immediately started offering tastes of their food even though they didn't yet know my name. we were poured tastes of barolo as we chatted with the chef about where the best bbq in the city was (his answers were all places in kentucky and texas and states NOT new york). the florist came by and soon he was finishing off my pasta and trying my neighbors bay scallops. he returned with flowers (bunches of gorgeous calla lilies) for me and the actress. he does flowers at del posto too, so i had start raving about their lunch. the chef found out i was going to vancouver and gave me the name of someone to call to set me up at restaurants out there. she owns a fantastic cookbook store and knows EVERYONE in food worth knowing. and i have her number on speed dial. moscato d'asti was poured, an affogato ordered and hugs exchanged with friends new (me) and old, as we all departed.
i heart new york.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

food & wine best new chefs

oh my god, you guys. food & wine held their annual "best new chef" party at the four seasons tonight and i got to go! i'm still dying inside that i went. dana cowin (editor in chief of the magazine) held this little twitter contest where she'd dole out clues and the tweeps would try to guess who the chefs were. i mostly googled insanely and when i'd get it i'd find out that like 4 other people had it first. some of the clues were easy, some i still don't understand. regardless, some chick from chicago won! and she fucking flew out for this damn party! and i commented something to the effect of, "damn. i spent a LOT of time doing this and it sucks that i lost." and then i found out that i didn't lose at all! tickets were waiting for me at will call. HOLY SHIT. YES. it was at the four seasons which looks pretty much eleven madison park BEFORE it was eleven madison park. high ceilings, lots of 5 foot high flower arrangements (also like del posto, so i'll probably mention it to robert who does the del posto and esca floral arrangements to get his take), 3 staff members per guest and just decadent beyond belief. because i'm the fangirl i am, i recognized every damn person there. i finally met andrew carmellini from locanda verde. i had to say, "yeah, i'm that blogger. sorry." but he was as nice as could be and we had short, lovely little chat. he'd made meatball sliders. i was happy to report that my last dinner there was fantastic and that my friend brought a large work party there afterwards as well and they LOVED it too. "so you're friends with ahiram," he said, which was true. but he didn't know that we were only friends at all BECAUSE i was going to his damn restaurant so often. but anyway, yes, cheers to ahiram who is endlessly charming and a total superstar. 

lockhart steele was there. we discussed faustina's review in the nytimes, out tomorrow (but posted tonight) and hinted at by jeffrey tascarella's twitter feed. "but while his kitchen is exciting, faustina is not." is a killer of a sentence. sifton was right that the portions are described as small and then are bigger in person. sometimes much bigger. and i'm a prime example of someone who thought they weren't ordering enough but then ended up with WAY TOO MUCH. (and it's totally better to have more than less but the dishes aren't particularly cheap so some people might not want to over-order.) but his main issue was with the space, which is something that feels unfair to judge a restaurant by when they didn't build it and it's part of a hotel. so, yeah, the bathroom is outside the restaurant and down some stairs. and YES, the place is chic to the point of frigidity. it ends with, "all this would be depressing if the food weren't so good." which is kind of shitty. if the food is that good, it should get two stars, period. this is MANHATTAN. he knows how fucking hard it is to find good space on this island. 

but i digress. lockhart introduced us to his good friend sarah simmons,food and wine home cook superstar. she's amazing. she blogs here and she's pretty much just what i need. i'm a single girl who doesn't know how to cook for 1. she does. also, she loves dogs so we're totally going to be friends. sarah then brought us over to dana, the EIC of F&W who is so tiny and lovely. sarah and dana then turned me over to alessandra, a F&W assistant editor and she was also bubbly and charming and wearing a stunning green jewel-toned dress. and the F&W travel editor was wearing a stunning orange dress that (sadness!) was from india so i'll never own anything like it. otherwise, it was super star studded. the gorgeous seamus mullen was there. he has an asian girlfriend! which means, in my head, i have a chance with him in another life. todd english was there, the man famous for his asian fetish. marcus samuelsson looking sooo beautiful in a bright orange scarf. wyle dufresne, tom colicchio, anne burrell, danny meyer, drew nieporent, ad infinitum. we were there to honor the best new chefs and met roy choi who is cool as shit. he called out my half-asian-ness ("it's workin' for you") and told me i had to come visit the restaurant next time i was in L.A. we met an owner of blackbird in chicago who, of course, knew our friend pam. everyone knows pam. and for dessert, just as i was leaving some girl runs up to me and says, "i'm sorry, who makes your dress?" my answer: "h&m" "NO! you look like a million bucks!" she wailed. yes. yes indeed. i mean, i threw on a theory belt and some moderately expensive heels but the dress was a whole $25.00. she was flabbergasted. i was flattered beyond belief. we both win since h&m will likely make the dress again this summer so she knows to keep an eye out for it. but i'll seriously live on that compliment for the next two weeks, at least. 

but the best, BEST part? i'm kind of hating work. actually, i'm really hating work. my job sucks and i'm not cut out for it. and lockhart and sarah and alessandra all said, "quit the damn job and start doing something with food because you obviously love it." and it was just such a relief to have real people tell me to do what is floating around in my head as just a whim. and they offered to send my writing (you know, the food/travel stuff i do) to real editors. and my writing teacher has been super supportive and really thinks that i could write about food if i wanted (i do! i do!) so, well, maybe i'll start pitching the shit out of people to see if anything comes of it. colin is a prime example of someone who throws himself into stuff and gets rewarded tenfold. he takes risks, unabashedly, and they pay off. it's inspiring and i think i need to start trying it myself. virgo-risk-averseness be damned. 

congrats to the folks at locanda verde. a much deserved best chef and best new restaurant from time out. voted on by people who eat and, collectively, have pretty damn good taste in food. i'm proud to call myself a regular and a groupie. kate krader may be one of the few people to eat there more often than myself and she delivers the news that the fava bean crostini has returned! huzzah!!
also congrats to joseph leonard, another place that i might stop by weekly and totally adore, even though my beloved brussels sprouts are out of season and off the menu. harumph. but, like, they make a fucking KILLER bloody mary so i will continue to send them my business and wait for fall to hit again before the brussels come back into my life. 

other exciting food news that i keep forgetting to mention: i finally tried a mangosteen. i've been wanting to stumble across them in chinatown but for all my visits through, haven't seen the thing. it's illegal to import them to the US but not, apparently, to canada, which is where i found them all over the damn place. the skin is easily peelable and they're so much smaller than i'd imagined. i'd thought they'd be the size of an orange. they were the size of a clementine. so tiny! and a lot of work for the small amount of fruit that you actually end up with which tastes like a lychee but then there's this annoying pit in the middle. totally disappointing. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

when being a regular pays off

so lien came to visit. and she's blogging now! lunch at del posto, dinner atlocanda verde. in said post she compares eating dinner with me to eating dinner with bob deniro. the comparison is flattering, honestly! except for that i'm just a nobody who likes to eat and he's a famous person who is part owner of locanda. but yes, we probably get a lot of food bought for us either way. i swear that lien and i and our other guests at these meals got even better treatment than i'd have gotten being by myself. 

so maybe all the extras are the folks at the restaurant saying, "oh! that girl actually DOES have friends! lets treat them really nice and hopefully she won't keep coming back alone." i have no real explanation. all desserts were gratis (and the ricotta) at locanda and del posto brought over their awesome bellinis AND a moscato d'asti AND a trio of amuses with black truffle. the moscato was all george's fault (the maitre'd) because he told everyone it was liens birthday so then dessert wine came out, as did her plate with "happy birthday" written in so beautifully with chocolate sauce. i mean, it was OUT OF CONTROL.  

why aren't more people going to del posto for lunch?! i talk about it constantly. i need to start recruiting people there, hard-core, lest they decide that losing all the money for being open for lunch isn't worth the cost. now lien has left thinking that i'm someone to whom this happens all the time. and it doesn't, really. i mean, it happens occasionally at about 6 or so restaurants that i have on rotation. i stick to my favorites, all of which are truly GOOD places to eat. the end. no mayorship needed. but yeah, i came of looking pretty fancy for lien while she was here. i cannot wait for her to repay the favor next time im in in LA. she's a lot like me though; super chatty and inquisitive in a way that isn't annoying because we're cute, small asian girls. people remember us. she had a bartender at joseph leonard who knows me so now i'll have to tell the bartender i know the bone marrow obsessed girl. SEE! this is a small world.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

unanticipated attention because of this blog

i'd written about how i've had all these special experiences at other restaurants and then some so-so experiences at locanda verde where i feel a bit like a farm animal being shooed into and out of a pen for counting. the chef/owner commented on that post and asked me to call him. the internet is insane. we've played a bit of phone tag but he's asked me to come in and bring friends which is really unbelievably nice and totally unnecessary. i'd contemplate murdering someone for the fava bean crostini that was on his summer menu which is to say, i like the food there a lot. i never said i wasn't going to come in again, just that i'd noticed i was going there a lot less (monthly instead of weekly) and wrote why. honestly, i'd be satisfied if his staff were asked to be a bit nicer to everyone that walked in the door whether they'd been there 20 times or twice (superstar host aside). and maybe get a damn mailing list so i wouldn't be the next to last person to know about the truffle diners/all you can eat pasta deals and then have to scramble for a resy. or even a twitter account would do! i've worked in restaurants my whole life. i get that a lot of FOH people are actors and can't be bothered to give a shit about anyone but themselves but his restaurant is a busy one so maybe he's got some leverage in the request department. also, he's intimidating. an artist that you don't want to bother, who you sense really IS in it just to because he loves to cook, not because he wants to deal with people like me, which makes it all the more mortifying that he read the post and called in the first place.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


have been spotting lots of blogging creatures lately. i saw nick denton at bacaro, ricky van veen at joseph leonard and ben leventhal at the NBC food carts (click through that ben link and read that Q&A, because his answers in there crack me up. he might even be nice but the whole thing just reeked of overblown ego and he sounded SO high maintenance. my friend aviva read it and said, "i have a mini crush on lockhart", however). ricky, on the other hand, just looks nice. one word: dimples. he's one of the cutest grown men i've ever seen. and he's an adult and i'm sure hates being called cute because guys hate that word and they'd much rather be HOT. anyhow, i'd be disappointed if i found out from someone that he was a jerk. it all comes down to the basic desire to be able to trust your instincts. it's why i'm borderline obsessed with joseph gordon-levitt. he just seems so smart and thoughtful and perfect. although, my friends have had to work with a lot of celebrities at their jobs and someone will inevitably perk up with a, "oh, he's such an ass in real life" or "ugh, he's the hugest dick!" and they'll have several stories to back it up. so back to that times Q&A, i go to faustina with justy last night and none other than lockhart steele and sloane crosley (i have the hugest girl crush on her. she was actually on the list i'd e-mailed to doree when she wrote that thing on girl crushes) get sat right next to us. i talk to justin about whether i seem crazy if i tell them that 1.) i know who they are and 2.) admire their work. so i did just that. holy hell are those people NICE. i mean, SO nice. and funny. and lovely. and they ate the same food as us (plus some). i'm not sure i really conveyed my adoration/dependence i've developed with how i obsess about new restaurants and know the chef's name anywhere i go. and get opening night resys to almost every big opening. it's my favorite hobby.
so: faustina. i LOVED jeffrey tascarella's piece at eater on bruni. i started following him on twitter so was up to date on all things faustina. took up a wednesday resy, tweeted at jeffrey that i was coming and brought justin with me. the server recommended 3-5 dishes per person. we ordered 9 total (before dessert). it was WAY too much. i should clarify that, considering the mix of dishes we had, it was too much. the ricotta with truffled honey was a little dollop with two skinny bread sticks. something i could have eaten in a single bite. we got the sauteed olives. again, quite nibbly. the poached duck egg w/fonduta came with 3 massive pieces of grilled ciabatta, so, huge. we got the oysters (3) with mojito gelee and the orata with pink peppercorns and seaweed. both totally reasonable portions. i thought about ordering another crudo, or another of the orata itself which was so buttery, cut with just bit of bite from the pepper. so far, so good. when we ordered the server recommended one more dish, suggested a pasta. he said the servings were very small and indicated such with a little circle made with his thumbs and index fingers. so we got the black truffle risotto, which, i should just stop ordering risottos because i don't like them that much. everywhere i go the consistency is different and i'm not sure what it's really supposed to taste like but i'm never that WOWed by it. but, black truffles, so it's a wash. the pasta with tomato and sea urchin was awesome. savory and kind of creamy without being too heavy. the sauce's consistency reminded me of conant's famous spaghettithat he serves at scarpetta. his sauces aren't too wet which means they really cling to the noodle. here's where i'll mention that the pasta sizes were a bit larger than had been described. this is a good thing because we're getting more for our money but a bad thing because we were basically stuffed and dead at our seats by this point. and we still had two more dishes coming out. it was to the point at which we considered telling them to box it up before they got to the table.
the pork belly with mustard seeds and roasted potatoes (forgive me if i'm messing up the descriptions a bit, i'm doing it from memory and am too lazy to google the menu). i usually get pork belly because it melts in your mouth and feels a bit like meat butter. and it feels BAD for you. this one was a tad dry and much less fatty than i'm used to. though less decadent, it felt healthier. then we also had the short ribs with spaetzle which was perfect. exactly the type of thing you want to eat on a day when you got a foot of snow and things are slushy and miserable outside. the meat was tender, the pasta bits, garlicky. the bad thing was that justin and i were force feeding ourselves at this point with somewhat agonized looks on our faces and we'd slowed down substantially. then we got into this WHOLE conversation about our families and love and our expectations of both. they let us linger and the cramping had let up some so we ordered dessert. a chocolate hazelnut mousse parfait thing that came with biscotti and this itty milkshake. OKAY. let's talk. that milkshake was AWESOME and there needed to be more of it. a lot more of it. we almost got into a fight over the last sip. i would have thrown the first punch had jeff tascarella himself not come up to us and said, "are you jasmine? did you tweet me?" why, yes. yes i did. THE INTERNET IS GREAT. we chatted for a bit, i told him how much i enjoyed his writing (which he should do more of, or at least put it somewhere people can read it) and that dinner had been fantastic. then he brought over two glasses of what he described as his favorite wine, the donnafugata ben rye passito di pantelleria. it was a perfectly sweet way to end what was more of an epic meal than justy and i had planned for. if i had a do-over i'd cut out one or two of the fonduta/pasta/hot dishes and get another crudo. then i'd hopefully have room for two desserts. i'll report back after my next visit, which will be soon.
oh, and re: those NBC food carts, it was kind of a fun way to spend an afternoon. I'd figured out all the answers and gave them to my co-workers and we all ended up winning but in different slots so when most people get to go to 1 cart, i maybe went to three of them? this is a wrap-up of the three carts i saw. i missed the porchetta sandwich but that's okay, i can go to locanda for that. the winner was boulud and his burger. medium rare, tomato relish, buttery brioche, YES. and he had on the cutest hat with earflaps and a shirt that read "eat my sausage" and looked like he was having a really good time. anyhow, daniel boulud flies right to the top of my list of people i want to adopt as my grandpa. right next to roger angell.
i would PAY to be josh capon's friend. how cool is he?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

terrible brunch at berimbau

oh my god, you guys. the day started with justin sending around this in preparation for brunch. we went to berimbau. there was one girl to make all the drinks, take orders, run food. basically everything took ages AND the place was advertised as having a free drink with brunch but then we get there and they're like, "oh, not anymore, sorry!" i order a veggie omelet (tomato, mushroom, asparagus, pepper onion and goat cheese). BUT this fucking omelet comes and it's dry as shit and has only tiny cubes of carrots and green beans in it. like the frozen kind from a bag. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! never ever go to this place. it's terrible. but we were drinking caipirinhas and they were strong, we had two each. we then thought it was a great idea to go across the street to cabrito for jalapeno margaritas (again, two each). oh god. THEN we went to kettle of fish and i think had beer? and then went to fat cat and a few PBRs each and stole some pool table from a birthday party that had reserved it. and then went to some other place that i never even got the name of but our friend knew the manager who bought us vodka sodas and then i knew the bartender who bought us more beers. WASTED and at like only 11pm we head to the local hell's kitchen diner and then to rudy's for another beer. suffice it to say today has been rough. really really fucking rough. colin ended up at kenny's castaways and the barenaked ladies were there and gave a surprise acapella performance! GAH! i missed it. 

looking at my phone this morning i found 20 or so text messages from people that i responded to but don't even remember reading. invites to super bowl parties. justin's name in my phone was now "hora hora from bora bora" which i vaguely remember colin being responsible for at some point. questions about my increasingly crazy status updates (many with egregious spelling errors), texts from the bartender telling me how i left without saying goodbye, maybe some pictures of my boobs sent to the cuban drummer boy who says they've got gigs in nyc next month and can he just bring my blazer back to me instead of mailing it? ugh. also, that he wants me to come to cuba with him next time. right. my friends keep joking that he'll wear it onstage at the grammys. something that would be hysterical but he's not going to the grammys so isn't a possibility, however funny. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

movie night at cabrito

i've done the math and figured out that i will actually end up with a net loss while working down here because there are so many awesome restaurants. i've stopped into the grey dog cafe every morning for overpriced lattes and breakfast. on monday, bernadette and i discovered movie mondays at cabrito. we drank with the bartender until last call and i see myself becoming a regular there quickly. i mean, i've been there once but i think i might be a regular there already.

locanda verde trufflepalooza

truffle monday at locanda verde! black truffles this time. am bringing colin with me, again. i feel i've been cheating a bit on locanda with joseph leonard. i'm a woman torn between two lovers. locanda has the ricotta. joseph leonard, the brussels sprouts. locanda, the gorgeous open space. joseph, the cozy bar. locanda, the cute hosts. joseph, the chatty bartenders...what's a girl to do?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Liveblogging Lunch: Del Posto


Stool for my purse!





del posto lunch

you all know i'm an eleven madison park devotee. that my lunches there when i'm between cases and have the rare weekday off, are blissful. i knew 4 stars would change that. what i didn't predict was the fact that they'd stop participating in restaurant week. that, never again, would i get 3 courses for $24. EMP, i love you but you've priced me out. i can't afford your dinners and i found a much more satisfying place for lunch.

when i read this post, lunch at del posto jumped to the top of the list. AND, LO, IT WAS GOOD. i mean, HOLY HELL: YES.

service is beyond gracious. really proper without being stuffy. billie and ella and edith and nina played in the background. i had the bastianich sauv blanc because it was from friuli and i'm slightly obsessed with his tocai (or friuliano or whatever it's called now, available by the glass at esca! sit at the bar with victor!). my server (though i don't think they're called servers. maybe head waiters?), though not flirty, was italian so he pretty much oozed sexiness. it's the italian swagger and i love it. he greeted me with a hearty "buon giorno!" and recommended the duck. and then did NOT ask me come come out back and get naked but in my head, that's what ALL italian sounds like. it all sounds like, "let me make love to you, bellissima"

tre amuses and one hell of a bread basket served with both lardo and butter. lardo, for those uninitiated...think gourmet bacon fat. but bacon fat so good that you briefly think of eating it with a spoon. or bathing in it. but then you remember that 5 minutes ago someone came over with a brocade stool for your purse. a chair! for a purse! i mean, how silly! but also: fancy. which is what stops you from rubbing said lardo all over your face. 

i started with the roasted vegetables because i'm a sucker for robiola. and though you'd think i'd be truffled out, i am not. my favorite part was the slice of apple  (granny smith?) on the far side of my plate. i ordered the duck. OH MY GOD. it was gorgeous and so tender, the skin so crispy. it's the best dish i've had in a long time. (i mean, it might have been better than the ribeye from carnevino, incidentally another batali place that pam recommended, which cost an arm and a leg and was my birthday dinner out in vegas.) people, i seriously moaned every time i took a bite. it was transcendent. there are no words for this duck. i'm totally wasting my time trying to convey how incredibly awesome it was. if i could have sex with meat, i would screw the crap out of this duck. i would propose. i'd move into its brooklyn apartment even though i SWORE i would not leave the borough of manhattan.

mark ladner was in the house. and joe bastianich also arrived as dessert was delivered. i asked for a skim latte and was told "we do not use skim milk" which, you know what? that's fine by me because whole milk tastes so much better and i never order it because i've got some female guilt that i'm sure i got subconsciously from looking at skinny models on magazine covers in the grocery store checkout aisle. i respect a restaurant that full on refuses to give you something they know doesn't taste that great in favor of the stuff that tastes better, even if it may be fatty (mmmmmm.....lardo......)

dessertCHESTNUT Cake Warm Plum Macedonia, Crushed Chestnuts & Yogurt Gelato. i liked dessert but i liked all my little amuse desserts better. i'm not a real sugar person anyhow so might have sweeted out with them prior to even dipping a fork in my cake. delivered on a cheese grater were a teeny tartufo on a stick, an eensy lemon tart, a baby beignet, a sliver of truffle and something else i can't remember. so twee and perfect. and they also brought over a glass of moscato, gratis. i love when restaurants do that. bring over a free glass of something to the nice lady who came in to eat all alone.

but people: the food was only $29. that is bonkers and, as seen with my dear EMP, who knows how long it'll last. so GO. NOW. ORDER THE DUCK.