Sunday, January 31, 2010

Restaurant Week: Artisanal

For restaurant week, I decided to go to Artisanal. After having been a fan of their cheese for years it was a great opportunity to eat at the French bistro.

The cavatelli carbonara was a great appetizer, with chunky pasta, bits of cauliflower and pancetta in a thin creamy cheese sauce.

The chicken under a brick was incredible, with perfectly salty crispy skin and super rich mashed potatoes in a garlic broth.

The short rib was rich in flavor, melted in the mouth and came over a bed of carrots, turnips, onions and Parmesan polenta.

The chocolate marquis was a rich dense brownie served with caramel sauce.

The creme brulee was amazing and left me wanting more. It was super creamy with a crunchy top layer - a perfect example of all a creme brulee should be.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Heart Cake

I'm dying to have this beautiful heart cake from i am baker. It's gorgeous and although the cake looks way to ambitious for me to attempt, I might have to track it down the next time I'm in Minnesota.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Wright

The Wright Restaurant, located in the Guggenheim Museum, recently started serving dinner in a stunning modern setting.

The curved ceiling is reminiscent of the museum's exterior and the white interior is punctuated with strips of bright warm colors.

After starting with two delicious cocktails, we ordered the tasting menu of amazing modern American cuisine.

The first dish was a delightful amuse bouche of lobster salad, with a chunk of lobster, truffle foam, avocado and fingerling potatoes.

Next came my favorite savory course of the night, yellowtail with topped with ginger oil, sweet white onions, apple, cucumbers and just the right touch of sea salt. Amazing!

The striped bass with crispy skin striped bass was cooked perfectly and served over a bed of baby calamari and fingerling potatoes in a sweet paprika sauce with fennel.

The Maine lobster was also delicious, with black trumpets and Marcona almonds in a buttery clementine sauce.

The suckling pig served with quince, violet mustard, Shimeji mushrooms and an apple bacon jus was very good but fell just short of the excellent seafood courses.

The dark chocolate souffle with warm caramel filling and vanilla ice cream had an incredible taste of toasted marshmallow that kept me wanting more.

We ended with the beautiful tropical fruit mousse with kiwi, coconut foam and margarita sorbet. The mousse was unexpectedly dense and creamy and was the perfect ending to an amazing dinner.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Billy's Bakery Tribeca

I was walking through Tribeca this morning and stumbled upon a branch of Billy's Bakery that opened last June.

All the cupcake bakeries in the city have their own special characteristics that make each cupcake unique, and what I love about Billy's is their dense, moist cake with creamy but not overly sweet frosting. And I really love the supermoist banana cake, with unadulterated banana flavor and a rich but not sweet cream cheese frosting.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jamón Ibérico de bellota

There's nothing quite like jamón Ibérico de bellota. The meat comes from black Spanish pigs that run happily around the hills and eat acorns until they become the some of the most expensive cured meat in the world. The meat has a nutty, sweet quality unlike any other that's catching on around the world...the NY Times just covered it, and there's even a jamon flavored lays potato chip available in Spain. I'm just happy it can be found throughout Manhattan, including at my go-to place for all edible things Spanish, Despana.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I love, love Ardesia. A cozy wine bar on the west side, the interior is gorgeous with a deep marble bar, lovely lighting and a elevated wine vault.

We started with the perfectly cooked pork belly - crispy on the outside and melts in your mouth. Normally the pork would steal the show, but the bed of apple salad was unexpectedly delicious in a dressing of grape seed oil and sherry vinaigrette. I scooped up the last of it even after the pork was gone.

As great as the pork belly was, the quail egg over toast with hollandaise was my favorite dish of the night. The house-made pancetta had just the right amount of saltiness to take this dish to another level.

We finished with the s'mores - a toasted marshmallow on a cinnamon graham cracker with dark chocolate on top, a great ending to an incredible small pork plate series.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Help Haiti with Bespoke Chocolates

Jeffrey Fehder

Today one of my favorite NYC chocolatiers, Bespoke Chocolates, is donating 100% of their profits to the Americares Disaster Relief fund for Haiti. Their pretzel covered sea salt caramels, French milk chocolate truffles, rosemary vanilla and other flavors are incredible - rich and decadent with strong flavor notes - all the more reason to pick some up today and show support for our Haitian neighbors!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

La Papa

I have to admit that this time of year does not inspire me. Between the gray days and the icy temperatures, I just want to curl up inside with some comfort food and a big blanket. However, as soon as I saw this post on La Papa in Time Out, I was on the next train to Astoria.

La Papa's signature is the kumpir - a street food that was one of the foodie highlights of my trip to Istanbul last summer. It's a baked potato that's mashed with Kasseri cheese and butter, then piled high with some unexpected toppings. This one is the "classic" with sliced beef franks, Russian salad (like potato salad with peas), pickles, green olives, corn and more cheese.

This is the version I had in Istanbul.

La Papa also has several other offerings on the menu, including this Turkish style hot dog with tomato sauce, Russian salad and pickles on a buttery toasted bread. Originally I went for the potatoes, but I'll be back for this dog...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Kefi is a great go-to spot on the upper west side for Greek cuisine.

We started out with a bottle of this nicely balanced Ampelou Gis wine from Messinia, Greece.

The house-made Cypriot sausage came on a skewer with cucumber, radishes, olives and tzatziki.

This meze platter was fantastic, with creamy yogurt, salty caviar, eggplant and rich chickpea spreads.

This roasted lemon chicken with potatoes was perfectly flavored with garlic and dill. The portions are huge and filling - we couldn't finish everything and had to skip dessert!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Celery Soup from Bon Appétit

One of the reasons I'm always on the lookout for new and delicious restaurants and bakeries is because I don't cook. Ever.

However, a friend stayed with me over the holidays and brought this recipe from Bon Appétit for a super-simple celery soup. So simple, even someone with one small pot like me can make it (provided the recipe is cut in half). Nearly all the ingredients are shown above. With some chopping, minimal cooking and a blender...

...violá! A creamy, flavorful, easy celery soup!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cafe Pedlar

I could get used to weekend afternoons at Cafe Pedlar on the Lower East Side. This americano was perfect - strong but not too bitter and complimented nicely by the pretzel roll, one of several baked goods provided by the Frankie's 17 next door. On the weekends there's a brunch menu in addition to the many tasty pastries, including olive oil cake, french toast and stout cake.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


After all the great reviews, I was looking forward to trying a few bites from the Baoguette empire - with 3 existing locations and 3 on the way Thao Nguyen and Michael Bao must be doing something right.

The St Marks location is a cute little space, with seats at a bar, the bar tables above and a communal table.

The chicken noodle soup was amazing, with juicy and perfectly seasoned chicken and broth.

The enormous sloppy bao is a nice take on the sloppy joe with spicy curry beef, mango, cilantro and jalapenos. It's also available with a fried egg which made this a perfect brunch on the go sandwich.

The equally huge banh mi baoguette lived up to the hype with strong flavors, crunchy veggies and a healthy dose of cilantro complimenting the trio of pork meat - a great option that's enough for both lunch and dinner.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I'm loving the reopened Japanese bakery, Panya, in the east village.

There are lots of delicious looking treats, both sweet and savory.

The curry pan is amazing - a rich dough stuffed with sweet curried vegetables.

The cookie custards (plain and green tea) are addictive, with baked custard tops and soft centers.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lilly Handmade Chocolates

I'm loving these handmade chocolates from Lilly, an artisan chocolatier in Ohio. This is the Mike - creamy milk chocolate with chunks of Neuskes bacon and organic maple butter.

The chocolates are stunning - like the above Cinn-a-bunny with Vietnamese cinnamon, ginger, sea salt, clover honey and vanilla. I can't wait to try the rest, with flavors like Rocco (black truffle honey) and Chomp Monster Bar (black mission figs and walnuts)!

Friday, January 1, 2010


A great dinner on new year's eve is a special treat, and Cookshop lived up to the expectations of the evening.

The lamb tasting was incredible, with a richly seasoned lamp chop, succulent lamb shoulder that melted in the mouth, and lamb sausage over polenta, olives and pomegranate seeds.

The porchetta was also perfectly cooked - tender on the inside with a seasoned crispy skin over a bed of beans and bacon.

The trio of chocolate bars for dessert included devils food cake, gianduja crunch, and peanut nougat all coated in rich dark chocolate.

The ice cream was a delicious ending with scoops of intense fresh banana and rich brown butter topped with a small butter cookie - a great way to end 2009!