Saturday, December 24, 2011

Go West

This was one of the best brunches I've had in a while. You normally have to twist my arm to get me to go over the West Village but lately I've been pleasantly surprised. The last few restos I've been to over there have been more than okay, they've been great. And I didn't even mind the crowd this time either! It was Federico's birthday and we hadn't seen each other in a while... we had the loveliest time. We ordered our own dish and also shared the waffles. Everything was fantastic. The portions were perfect. Both eggs dishes, one with tomato sauce and the other over asparagus, were both amazing. The waffles were simple yet devine. I was really impressed. The vibe was casual but carefully considered. It was good. It really set the tone for the wonderful Sunday I was about to have. They have some great looking omelettes on the menu that I look forward to trying next time. I could definitely get used to brunching in the West Village, maybe even live there... shh, don't tell anyone.

Sant Ambroeus
259 W. 4th St. (nr. Perry St.)
New York, NY 10014

Friday, December 23, 2011

That's the Jam

A few months ago my girl (aka our Icelandic Princess) gifted me some wonderful homemade organic jam. I've been devouring it ever since so I thought I should blog about it before it was all gone! Please make me some more, I will never buy jam again I swear! The texture is so amazing, big plump blueberries with the fresh lemon taste. I've been putting it on everything... besides toast and bread, its fantastic on ice cream and plain greek yogurt. Homemade is where its at! Let's start selling it in NYC!

This Little Piggy

I finally made it try Maialino, Danny Meyers restaurant at the Gramercy Hotel. The name, which means "little piggy" in italian is good. Good enough for a simple Sunday brunch. We enjoyed a few mimosa's before hand which always helps and the service was quite good overall. The food was nice. I enjoyed my poached eggs over some winter vegetables, nice a light and quite flavourful. I need to go back and try the pasta. I'm curious because the overall brunch experience isn't very italian at all.

2 Lexington Avenue (Gramery Hotel)
New York, NY

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oh, Monsieur!

I finally went to Bubby's for the first time about 2 months ago. I've been wanting to go for years and just never made it around to going. Then in one week, I went three times. It's great! It has been a Tribeca staple for years. The menu is tight, the vibe is good and most importantly the food is fantastic. This was the Croque Monsieur that we ordered along with the Sour Cream Pancakes which also blew my mind. I had the most fantastic fresh grape juice that was served cold in a glass jar. Loved it.

120 Hudson Street
New York, NY
(212) 219-0666

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Real Gelato, Non E Vero!

This is the most authentic gelato I've tasted in New York. But hey who I am? I'm not the biggest gelato connessieur in the city. I usually don't even risk it. I save myself for my yearly trips to the Italian Riviera to eat the real deal... every single night. But last weekend all that changed when my friends wanted ice cream after one of our typical epic dim sum Sundays. At first I just watched as they all happily devoured their ice creams... then I decided to treat myself to my favourite combo, limone and cioccolato together. I know it sounds weird but it's that sweet creamy mixed with the tartness of the lemon that I love. It was fantastic! The woman working the shop explained to me that they make the ice cream from scratch every morning and that their other location is in Capri. There is only this one location in New York and the other in Italy. Although I hate their branding and overall design, legit is the word.

La Cremeria
178 Mulberry St
New York, NY
(212) 226-6758

Sunday, November 20, 2011

That's The Juice

To me there's something so satisfying about going to the grocery store and buying really fresh ingredients, all the fixings and most importantly good meat to make some juicy hamburgers at home. Especially with a nice bottle of red wine. Pure heaven.

False Advertsing

I have been to Peels a handful of times. Each time being a little more annoyed than the last because the waiting time has seem to have gone from bad to worse. Every time the food has been nothing more than just fine but I saw this very incising image (left) a few months ago in Bon Appetit magazine and I quickly took a snap on my phone as reference. It was of the shrimp and grits dish at Peels. I couldn't help myself to go back and try it one last time to see if maybe this was the one dish that I had just skipped over. As you can see the actual dish (right) looked nothing like the photograph in the magazine and sadly the taste didn't leave up to my expectation. The overly smokey flavour of this dark brown sauce and the thick bacon bits overpowered the eggs and grits to such a point that I couldn't taste anything else. And although we had the most adorable waiter ever, I left feeling disappointed, again.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Epic Alchemy

Tea that tastes like tomato soup.... all I can say it wow. Last Wednesday night I was a very lucky girl and had the opportunity to dine at Eleven Park Madison. We sat at the bar just to have a few drinks and appetizers and were treated to the full hors d'oeuvres service from the very famous tasting menu there. Since it is one of the top 25 restaurants in the world, this was nothing short of amazing. Sadly I did not bring my camera and therefore have borrowed a few images I found online. The chef Daniel Humm is also an alchemist and is playing with reductions and foams. I can't believe I am saying this but I am now am a believer... I was very anti-foam food up until this point. I think the beauty of his dishes is that he leaves enough food to chew to still satisfy my love of taste and texture.

It started with the amazing tea, a very intricate hand tied bundle of dried leaves, that of course tasted like tomato soup. I have no idea how. It then went on to course after course of delicious and beautifully presented hors d'oeuvres of raw fish, egg, uni, caviar and the very wonderful powdered beet goat cheese lollipops. Every dish was a work of art and the tastes were each unique, full of surprises and very delicious. The bread even came with butter and goat butter, something I had never seen before. As for our actually ordered appetizers we shared a seafood gnocchi and another pasta dish, a variation of tagiatelle with lemon and alaskan king crab. Both were extremely light and delicate and insanely delicious. It was truly epic. Thank you Tanner.

Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Avenue
New York, NY
(212) 889-0905

(images from

Friday, May 27, 2011

Oh Bresaola

Bresaola is an Italian cured beef salami which I bought at Gaia. It's from the north of Italy where my family is from, so I eat it a lot there in the summers at the beach. It's the perfect thing on a hot day or night. It's nice and light and has a wonderful taste. Here I topped it with fresh wild arugula, parmigiano-reggiano, fresh squeezed lemon and olive oil. This is my favourite olive oil right now, from Buon Italia in Chelsea Market. So so good.

A Taste of Italy in the LES

Gaia is this adorable new Italian café hidden just below the street right on Houston. It remains so far farely under the radar because it's easy to miss. It has just a few tables where a few local italian-americans who live in the area were enjoying their lunches. The menu consists mostly of delicious-looking panini's and a few salads. In addition, they seem to have a daily special pasta and salad on the menu board as well. They bake all their bread fresh there. I popped in just to take a look and ended up buying some sliced meats. The owner, Gaia, is from Milano and has a lovely selection of cold cuts and cheese. I picked up a quarter lb of mortadella and bresaola. She also gave me some freshly baked bread out of the oven for free. I can hardly wait to go back and try their special salads which looked fantastic.

Gaia Italian Café
251 East Houston (nr Norfolk)
New York, NY

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mexican Bakery Still Holds Strong

The breakfast burrito at Mexican Bakery is one of the few things I really crave. All their food is good, I especially love their shrimp tacos. But as for breakfast, their steak breakfast burrito is pretty awesome. It's the perfect mix of black beans, sliced steak, cheese and egg. I even dream of the texture and taste. I also love the random mix of people in their too. The delivery boy hates me because I love to order it Saturday mornings and eat it in bed. I call and he always makes me wait till 1pm when they officially start delivery, so I call at 1:01! This time we went and ate it there.

Downtown Mexican Bakery
69 1st Ave
New York, NY
(212) 254-1757

Blessed Balls

Summer time for me means bubble tea! Growing up in Vancouver, where bubble tea is just a part of everyday life, it's nostalgic for me to drink cold tea and chew on those ever-so-yummy tapioca pearls. It was a lovely evening strolling through Chinatown sipping a refreshing lychee green bubble tea. There's nothing better.

237 Grand St (btwn Bowery & Chrystie St)
New York, NY

Get Fresh

The weather is finally turning here in New York and summer is almost here! This called for a celebration, so after our weekly tennis lesson my girl Erika and I toasted the new season with a lovely dinner and a nice glass of white vino! I have one of the most amazing salads ever at Westville in Chelsea and she enjoyed their super tasty hot dogs! We all know how great Westville is with their fresh market vegetables and their awesome burger and dogs.... well pretty much the whole menu is solid. But this salad was quite spectacular. It was your basic caprese salad but the secret ingredient was pickled ramps and red onion (which were somehow sweet) It was super refreshing and the perfect thing for my post-cleanse tummy. I tried to recreate it at home without much success.

Westville Chelsea
246 West 18th Street
New York, NY
(212) 924-2223

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spring Cleaning

That's right, I am not eating. Food is my entire life so this have been really hard. And I have never denied myself of food, EVER! So this is a big deal for me.

After a very long winter, I finally decided to do a cleanse. It's been an interesting experience, or experiment. Cleanses are all the rage this year I feel like more than ever. People want to detox, reboot, get skinny. I wanted to do something that would help me feel rejuvenated and off to a fresh start. There were some great deals recently on both on Refinery and on Groupon. I am doing a 3-day Deep Love Cleanse from Organic Avenue.
I figured since the bottles were cute I'd be more likely to drink them. Not so much. It's a 3-day regimented program of nothing but juices and liquids. (7 bottles/day) I've never been much of a juicer and the whole experience of eating and texture of solid foods is what I live for! That being said there's something empowering about forcing myself to do something like this. And best of all, I feel great! I have a lot of energy and my skin feels soft and younger somehow.

The interesting part of the experiment is that it's made me really conscious of what people are eating around me. The first night all I dreamt of food, in all shapes and forms... everything from my favourite foods to anything and everything I could get my hands on. It was wonderful and awful all at the same time. I woke up feeling like I had cheated on the cleanse. No doubt that I was probably chewing in my sleep. I can't wait to get a chewy breakfast burrito in my mouth again! I think I will appreciate food even more after this experience. I'm on Day 3 and still going strong. And I don't feel hungry. It's wild considering I am ALWAYS hungry. Tomorrow I start eating again. I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Turn Up the Heat

I have officially NEVER had Sri Lankan food, until last Tuesday. I loved it! It's unlike anything I've ever tasted. The flavours are so unique. It's often compared to South Indian food because they also uses a lot of coconut but it's way spicier! I've read that it's some of the spiciest cuisines in the world. Our server told us that their mild is a medium in Indian food. So we got everything mild except for the fish curry, which she made medium by default. And it was spicy enough for us. But I'm thinking to move up to "medium" level next time! She was amazing because she took care of us once she knew it was our first time there and eating Sri Lankan food. She gave us a nice sampling of great dishes to share.

We started with some great appetizers, these fried patties and fish balls. We did the whole meal vegetarian and fish because Ama doesn't eat meat and it was fantastic. We then had 3 vegetables with rice, fish curry, this insane Dahl dish which was lentils stewed in coconut milk. That was one of our favourites! The other huge hit was this dish called Kotthu Roti. It was kind of the pad thai of Sri Lankan food we were calling it. They say its a Sri Lankan road-side speciality prepared from doughy pancakes shredded and stir fried with vegetables, onions and egg. I could eat it every day! For dessert we had the fried bananas and ice cream it was delicious! It's byob so we grabbed this great spanish white wine next door at this cute wine shop next door. It went perfectly with the food.

The food and experience was great. The place is small and dark so you feel like you've stepped out of busy New York and into a calm and cozy place. It would be hard to go there with more than 4 people. I can't wait to go back or get take-away (no delivery) because it's right in my hood.

91 1st Avenue (btwn 5th + 6th St)
New York, NY
(212) 614-9333

I Spy on Thigh

Northern Spy Co. is yummy and nice and bright for brunch. Although we waited longer than usual this time it was relaxing by their open window as we sipped on lovely gruner cocktails and bloody mary's. I always go for the same dish, the kale salad with 2 fried eggs on top, it's amazing! (or the polenta and eggs in winter) But this chicken and egg sandwich has always caught my eye :) And boy is it's nice! It's a poached egg, over a super juicy piece of crispy chicken thigh (organic no doubt) with chimichurri sauce. I loved it! And the bun was nice a squishy. Don't forgot to have a biscuit there too, their biscuits are the bomb. Boom!

Northern Spy Co.
511 East 12th Street
New York, NY

Friday, April 29, 2011

Snap Crackle Pop! Will the Bubble Burst?

The pop-up craze is only getting crazier in New York and the latest one is the James Beard Foundation at Chelsea Market. For only 27 days, top chefs from all over the country are cooking dinner for 3 days each. Tickets are selling in advance and selling out in only a few hours. I got tickets to the chefs from Frankie's Sputino since I knew it was guaranteed to be decent fare. It's a 4-course dinner, and wine and tip IS included! So once you are finished you just get up and go because everything is paid ahead.

The food was good, although nothing mind blowing. Lots of their famous olive oil on everything! The appetizer was a lovely smoked salmon with olive oil and aged peperoncino. Then the first course was a faro risotto which had a nice chewy texture. The second course was this meat in red sauce thing, which I can't say that I loved. It was like a pizza or a pasta without the pasta. The flavour of the sauce was good but the meat was a bit chewy and had too much fat on it. The dessert was really good. it was a simple piece of olive oil cake with marscapone and rhubarb on the side. Each course came with a glass of wine 1 prosecco, 1 white and 2 red. It really added to the meal, the wines they chose were really great!

The space itself was a bit funky. It felt like you were in an emptied out Gap store, it was quite big and clearly not designed for a restaurant. But the cafeteria-like style suited the 3 long communal tables that were placed in the middle of the space. It was nice because as soon as you sat down you quickly realized that you wouldn't be dining alone but rather with the whole table. The people were a total mix of eager foodies who were all too excited that they had managed to get their hands on one of these hot tickets. They all seemed to frequent every pop-up in town... they were pop-up crazy! I think Terry and I were the youngest people in there, and we aren't that young! But it was nice to do something out of the ordinary, outside our hoods and usual scene.

JBF Pop Up
at Chelsea Market