Restaurant Review – L2O

Michelin-rated restaurants, if personified, remind me a bit of family. All restaurants in the “3 Star Michelin Family” have slightly different “personalities,” so to speak. You have the glamorous and impeccably put-together aunt (Daniel in NYC), the humble and wise grandfather (Le Bernardin in NYC), and the super-cool, at times advant- garde cousin who probably curates at the MoMA (Alinea).

Yeah, we had fun with the souffle...

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Restaurant Review (International Edition!): Tapeo de Cervantes (Málaga)

Apologies in advance for my hiatus from life.  I’ve been in Spain, studying away, with a temperamental 56k internet connection.  I know, I should be out and about and NOT surfing the ‘net (but I need to research places to eat!).

This review is either a real-life incident or a Spanish soap opera.  You decide. Continue reading

Restaurant Review: ilili

Would you take your dad to a restaurant that blasts only the finest in Top 40 hits (that Barbra Streisand song) and has a clientele that resembles Pascha circa 1998?  Cut me some slack.  It was Dad’s idea to come to ilili.

Photo courtesy of Citysearch

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Restaurant Review: Tarry Lodge (Port Chester, NY)

Sometimes I have to scratch my head about Mario Batali.  He’s done some fairly odd things (e.g., worn those atrocious orange Crocs all of the time, befriended Gwyneth Paltrow, lacked the foresight to arrange the space in Eataly to not form lines a la Space Mountain), but I’ll have to forgive him.  The positive experience we had at Eataly makes up for some of these quirks.

Photo courtesy of Moffly Media

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Restaurant Review: Alinea

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” – Paulo Coelho

Photo courtesy of

It was a year ago when I discovered I was going to be one lucky lady and dining companion at Alinea.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be able to experience the work of Grant Achatz, one of the pioneers of molecular gastronomy.

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Food Review – Caliu

How cool would it be if there was an algorithm to find people who have common restaurant preferences?  It would be a slightly less creepy version of OK Cupid!  Barack Obama and I would practically be best friends and apparently I’d be pretty tight with Lady Gaga, too.  She’s been sighted eating at Caliu, but not on the particular evening that I was dining.

Jamon Serrano was the perfect start...

Thankfully, we were spared having to listen to songs about boys, partying, and disco sticks and were pleasantly surprised to hear Radiohead, Pulp, and The Cure.  Not only did the musical selections deviate from the norm for a tapas restaurant, but the overall experience was quite different from Franco Barrio’s other restaurant, Boqueria*.

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Food Review – Cafe Atlantico

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jose Andres.  He has truly brought Spanish cuisine to the culinary forefront and made tapas much more mainstream. After a few extremely disappointing trips to Jaleo, I was hoping that the Jose Andres empire could redeem itself.  And that it certainly did.



Tuna ceviche - thanks for sharing, little sis!


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Restaurant Review – Gramercy Tavern

I’ll find an excuse to celebrate anything.  So when I was accepted to a graduate school AND received a significant scholarship, it was only my natural inclination to apply those savings in education to more important things, say,going out and eating.  Which is why I found myself at Gramercy Tavern.


I even had something to eat the next morning!

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UPDATED: Restaurant Reviews – Espana (Westchester)

UPDATED 3/29/2011: Westchester County has been experiencing a culinary renaissance lately.  Although there are many restaurant concepts that would (sadly) fail in Westchester, I was excited when I received an invitation to dine at Espana in Larchmont: Chefs Manel Marques and Javier Castellarnau from Suquet de l’Almirall in Barcelona would be preparing an 8 course tasting dinner.


At $75 per person, this is a bargain! Let the eating commence...

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Review – Bar Basque (updated)

Sauté Of Spicy Garlic Shrimp, Diver Sea Scallops

UPDATE 3/16/11: JEFF’S REVIEW – Agree with what Dana said, for the most part. Although we were not rushed last night, the service was unattentive. You know there’s a problem when the busboys do a better job than your waiter. They started us off with a complimentary cod plantain fritter which was tasty but stringy. The Lahoz EVOO was delicious and had us dipping many a hard crusty dinner roll here. The food here is good, but not great. Dishes are properly seasoned but the love in the food is questionable. Throwing watercress on a plate, as witnessed on the Shrimp ($15/pc) and NY Strip ($36) entrees, does not constitute a masterpiece nor love, far from it rather. Price points are high and you do feel like you paid for Chodorow’s renovations slash rent. With many dishes shared and $40/pp lighter, I left hungry and unamused. More gimmicky than authentic, the food here is playful at best. If you’re been downstairs at FoodParc, you’ll know what we mean, as they are the same owners. Continue reading

Recipe – Filloas

Food is a quintessential part of any celebration, and Carnival is no exception.  Filloas are typically prepared in Galicia around Carnival, although when I was in A Coruna for a fiesta this past summer, there was a vendor making these delicious crepes on a hot stone. (This was actually my first time trying filloas!)  Just in time for Mardi Gras, I’ll give you the background story on filloas and share a recipe; the custard filling is an extra treat!

Filloas...don't dare call them crepes!

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CSA in NYC Conference Recap

On Saturday, March 5, the Just Food CSA hosted its 11th Annual conference at the Food and Finance High School.  The day included opening remarks and a keynote speech from John-Paul Courtens of Roxbury Farm, two workshops throughout the day, a farmer’s panel, and a CSA expo and reception, where participants such as Jarden Home Brands and Kelso of Brooklyn, showcased their products.

Keynote Speech by John-Paul Courtens

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Recipes – Torrijas (just in time for Mardi Gras!)

Torrijas are typically consumed in Spain around Carnival and Easter.  Many Americans are more familiar with torrijas in their breakfast manifestation, also known as “French toast.”  It appears that torrijas made their first documented debut in Spain in the 1400s and the dish was touted as being suitable for women recovering from labor.  (Can’t make this up.)  In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was very popular to serve torrijas with a glass of wine in taverns in Madrid.

There are many variants on torrijas recipes and I will share one that I have tried with you below.  (I am preemptively getting ready for Carnival, as it is arriving pretty late this year.  Oh, and this was a nice way to recover from the Wine Expo.)

I used ciabatta, but feel free to use any old bread.

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Event – CSA Conference MAR5 – we’ll be there

We’ll be at Just Food’s 11th Annual CSA Conference this Saturday.  Be sure to check out the live tweeting, blog recaps, and photos we’ll be posting.

Event Recap – NY Wine Expo

From the looks of my blog posts, you’re probably wondering, “Dana, when are you NOT drinking?”  I swear, I don’t drink that much!  But it was that time of year again, the NY Wine Expo, which means it was time to break out the water crackers and spit bucket.

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Recipe – Caldo Gallego

My immune system is failing me.  AND I’m pressed for time.  AND I have zero appetite.  So when I’m feeling under the weather and need to keep my strength, what better cure than an easy-to-prepare, hearty soup?  Most recently, I fixed up some Caldo Gallego.

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Restaurant Review – Le Bernardin

My Bucket List is probably a reflection of my Type A, perfectionist personality.  Although I have scratched riding in a Ferrari off the list, I still have an onslaught of other important items, such as living in Spain, having my bachelorette party during Oktoberfest in Munich, skydiving, and eating at Le Bernardin.

Photo courtesy of Mariani's Virtual Gourmet

The 5 to Try and Bucket List is one item shorter now because I had the honor (yes, it really is an honor) and pleasure of dining at Le Bernardin this past week.  Deep down on the inside, I was hoping that Eric Ripert (swoon!) would be on location, but this just means that I am going to add “Meet Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin” onto my Bucket List.

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Gildas – A Superbowl Party Snack

With the Super Bowl this weekend, I want to have snacks that are easy to prepare and pair nicely with beer and wine.  Tostitos and dip aren’t the most thoughtful things to bring as a guest, plus they’re kind of boring.  So what am I making?  Gildas!

Gildas are very typical of the Basque region of Spain.  The pepper that tops the gilda is a guindilla, which is also indigenous to the area.  Guindillas are delicious – they are a great combination of sweet and spicy and the vinegar they come packaged in provides tanginess.

To make gildas, you will need the following: a baguette, green olives, guindillas, anchovies, and toothpicks.  Really simple stuff!


Slicing everything is the most complicated step...seriously!

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Restaurant Review – wd-50

Special occasions call for special dinners.  As my good friend and dining companion, Sarah, can attest to, the reason for dining and celebrating at wd-50 was “I Survived 2010.”  Seriously.  (If only you knew.)


Guess who got to hang out in the kitchen...

In order to celebrate such an incredible feat, Sarah and I decided to order the nine course tasting menu.  Because it was a “work night,” we did not do wine pairings, but I ordered a glass of Albarino.

It could be that I’ve been to a few restaurants specializing in molecular gastronomy (taking field trips to Chicago for the sake of research), it could be that I’m spoiled, but the “mad scientist” element was missing.  What makes Alinea and Moto so much fun are that there are lots of little unexpected surprises and the waiters will play along.  The service was outstanding, the tastings were thoughtfully prepared, but there were no theatrics at wd-50. Continue reading

Gran Reserva y Mas: Spanish Wine 101

Now that you know the basics on the classifications of Spanish wine, we are ready for our next lesson: the aging of wine.  If you pick up a bottle of Spanish wine, you may notice the words “vino joven,” “crianza,” or a few others scrawled across the label.  Does it matter?  Absolutely.  By the end of this post, you’ll be speaking like a sommelier.

Driving Around La Rioja

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