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.
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.
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” – Paulo Coelho
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.
Steph C. Provides Mini Restaurant Reviews for May Picks.
Ah...flower-blooming May. The most beautiful spring month, and perfect gateway into light, outdoor-sy food of summer. With key holidays such as Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day, I am all about super fresh places to try. Continue reading
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.
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*.
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.
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.
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.
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
Left: Greg Grossman: Wunderkind / Right: Zebra print..it’s what’s for dinner.
Definition of WUNDERKIND
: a child prodigy; also : one who succeeds in a competitive or highly difficult field or profession at an early age
This label was bestowed upon Greg Grossman on both the invite and menu. Some may say that when you have a privileged upbringing that allows for you to be surrounded by only good food, you are already ahead of the game. Commenters also indicate that the lad will crack under pressure. Others? They think that what he’s doing is totally against Child Labor Laws. Most recently, Culinary Critic Gael Greene tweeted this:
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!
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.)
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.
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.
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.
2011 WINTER RESTAURANT WEEK MENU
As noted in our previous article, Perilla is that oh so fragrant leaf that plays in the sandbox well with many. Chef Harold Dieterle of Top Chef S1 notoriety brings his creativity to this flagship restaurant. Since, he has recently opened Kin Shop, a Neo Thai restaurant concept that has received mixed reviews. We’re not here to talk about Kin Shop though. No fault of theirs, Perilla located in the West Village in an area difficult to navigate, as one minute you’re on W4St and before you know it, you’re on W11ST and realize that you’ve been mindf*cked. To the left of the Florence Meat Market (a yelp beast at 5/5 stars) where a sexy pig lies, Perilla is adjacent, welcoming you with a low key entrance.
Arroz con Pato (Courtesy: Yelp)
This place has been our hitlist since it opened. With a myriad of choices for their ‘pick any’ 2011 Winter Restaurant Week menu coupled with the amazing salmon served at the Wine & Food Festival a few months ago, the timing was opportune. Question: What do you get when you mix Peruvian food with chic decor? Besides pricey food, not much. Wait, you also get crappy service and long wait times. Had they known that we wrote for a food blog with a whopping 2 dedicated followers, maybe they would have thought twice before giving us the layman treatment.
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.)
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
Signage (Courtesy: Yelp)
At the helm of the kitchen is Hooni Kim of Daniel and Masa fame. Located in Hell’s Kitchen, a neighborhood inundated with Thai food, it distinguishes itself as a new player. Its niche are dishes are served ’Tapas’ style (sharing plates), perfect for those like myself who suffer from tongue fatigue easily. The only difference between here and a Tapas joint is that each dish here will set you back a few bucks more, and before you know it you’re washing dishes there. Continue reading
Welcome Chad to the site! He is not only my tennis buddy and ex-coworker, but also has a knack for all things food. You guys can read about this phenom over at our About page. Chad also put in his two cents on his Recommended places to nosh out. Lastly, see Chad’s input in his monthly5 to Try. He has this killer yeast culture descended from his grandfather for bread making that he refuses to share, cuz it’s THAT coveted. I’ve tried his brioches/gelatos and they are to die for! Always refining, tweaking, and never settling for subpar ingredients is why we think Chad is a good fit. Chad will be focusing heavily on How To/Recipes for our blog. Ahoy, mate!