30 March 2014

I Want To Be In NYC For All Of My Birthdays, Part 4

I broke tradition and decided to eat birthday dinner in Brooklyn and not in Queens.  I read about Marco's and had eaten at Franny's previously (same owners) so I knew the food would be very good.

We all loved the food but my happiness came from being with these friends.

28 March 2014

Robert Moses Curiousity

If you ever want to know why NYC looks the way it does, you need to know about Robert Moses.  If you ever want to know about a single man who held so much power over the city for most of the 20th Century, you definitely need to know about Robert Moses.  I read The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert Caro in October 2011 and I still think about it.  There is a part of me that wishes for more men like him because things actually happened under his rule but the other part would hate him as his actions were anathema to my moral code.

I took off after Martha's to finally visit the reopened Queen's Museum. It's a long trip but there are two things that made it worth it to me.

The Unisphere, a remnant from the 1964 New York World's Fair.  I remember driving by it years ago from the airport and couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Robert Moses was a fanatic about this World's Fair and so much work went into it and this is what remains.

Inside the museum is this incredible Panorama of New York City, including all of the boroughs. It's built on a scale of 1:1,200 (1 inch equals 100 feet), it occupies 9,335 square feet.

This is where I used to live.

The view from Midtown out to Brooklyn and Queens.

I made the trip back to Brooklyn, specifically to OddFellows to eat this ice cream - cinnamon blood orange and sprinkles.  Most ice cream pales in comparison for me to this place.

25 March 2014

I Want To Be In NYC For All Of My Birthdays, Part 3

I woke up on my birthday and did something that I've been wanting to do for a long time.  There are no photos but I rolled out of bed and went to Soul Cycle to join the masses of folks that have fallen in love with this place.  It started the day right for me and I did it again on Monday morning.  I think it's just one of those NYC things for me now.

I went back to Brig's place and basked in the glow of his new shoe happiness for a little while.  We then traveled out to Brooklyn to eat at Martha which is one of my new favorite restaurants.

We enjoyed our surroundings while waiting for Lauri and learned a little bit about the name Martha.

Our server was the best and said we must eat the brussels sprouts with fish sauce, honey, peanuts and pickled jalapenos.  We ate every last pickled jalapeno.

She also recommended the cauliflower fritters which were good but paled in comparison to the brussels.

We ordered an extra duck fat biscuit to eat with the fried chicken but we ate it before the chicken even arrived.

And finished it off with a sunny egg & spicy pork with fermented black beans, Korean chile, pickled leeks and creme. 

This was the best brunch to be had on my birthday.

21 March 2014

Happy First Day of Spring!

I know this is one day late but I really wanted to recognize that it is finally spring.  It's been a rough winter in DC but an even rougher one in NYC.  My birthday weather was so great that Brig was finally able to wear his new pair of shoes without the fear of snow.  This is the kind of joy that spring brings.

He didn't even remember what they looked like since they've been in the box for so long.



19 March 2014

I Want To Be In NYC For All Of My Birthdays, Part 2

I've been wanting to eat at M. Wells Steakhouse since it opened late last year.  I talked about it with Brigham and I made a plan. I called for reservations exactly when I could and reserved a spot for 8 pm on a Friday night.  I was ready to be wowed as I already knew that the folks at M. Wells could deliver.

I admit my expectations were set very high even when the reviews for the restaurant were mixed.  I knew that this was a steakhouse where we were told not to eat the steak but everything else was good.  You can tell that Brig was super excited as well.

The warm bread and pretzel roll came out in a bag and they were good.

The Wedge Salad was my favorite thing that night - perfect combination of bacon, sweetness and cream.

But then things were just kind of good but not great.  The Korean Breakfast which was kind of like an English Breakfast with blood sausage, pork belly, kimchee and egg. Yeah...I'll try blood sausage but it's not my thing.

The special which was a plate full of pork.  

The poutine which I kind of loved.

They brought out a free dish for us just because of pommes puree which is a lot of potatoes with even more cheese.  Eating it was like eating heated up plastic.  Not a fan at all.

The side of mushrooms was really nice.  But the general feeling after the meal was "ok".  We knew it could be so much better and we mourned the closing of M.Wells Diner.

Even dessert was not all that good but it sounds like it should be - cinnamon cake.  

We walked out a little disappointed but the patio looks awesome for when it's actually warm enough to sit in a patio.

18 March 2014

I Want To Be In NYC For All Of My Birthdays, Part 1

I got on a train in DC, got off at Penn Station and headed directly to the Gotham West Market to eat at the Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop.  The NY Times called it one of the best ramen in Manhattan and I haven't tasted all of the ramen in NYC but it was good.  I had the classic shio and added egg.  It was a nice "just got off the train, walked over a mile with a roller suitcase, and it's kind of cold outside" meal.

I met up with Brigham in Times Square to grab his keys so I could drop off my stuff.  I was so happy walking through Soho and seeing lots of these kinds of buildings.

I wandered up to Union Square and happened on the Bedford Cheese Shop on Irving Place.  I passed my old apartment walking there and it does make me a little sad.  I couldn't believe that I found my absolute favorite chocolate at the cheese shop - Xocolatl de David, a Portland-based company - and realized how good it is that I don't live anyway near there anymore.

Towards the end of the evening, I found myself around Lincoln Center and was reminded how beautiful it is.

Can you tell how much I love this city?

17 March 2014

Cookbook Club - The Book of Tapas

There are a few lessons that I learned about tapas last month.  The first was that they often taste much better than the look.  The second that they can taste better the second day.  And the third is the lack of dessert tapas.

Kate hosted for February and wisely chose tapas.  She searched a few different books including the one by DC chef José Andrés but The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega just seemed the most complete.

I loved looking through this book but it was too difficult to choose just one dish.  Many of us started picking multiple dishes also because they were pretty simple.

I promise you that the dishes tasted much better than the looked (see above in lessons learned).

Megan made the Serrano ham with Melon Mousse.  The mousse was more like a soup because the gelatin would not set but the flavors were still delicious.  It was more like a sweet gazpacho with ham.

Marissa made the Patatas Bravas with garlic mayonnaise on the side.  I could eat anything with that garlic mayonnaise.  I was using it as a condiment with all of the dishes.

She also made the Manchego cheese and fried onion.  The recipe calls for Idizabal cheese but she couldn't find any. Thank goodness for Manchego.

Jocelyn made toast with ground beef.  This is so simple but so good.

I made the carrot salad with orange and the lentils with sausage.  I made a really good carrot salad recently from the Rose Bakery cookbook and I wanted to compare it with another.  It called for Orange Blossom water which I could not find and I wonder how that would change the flavor.  It was a sweet dish with the oranges and a little powdered sugar but still nice.  I liked the lentil dish the night of but I loved it the next day.  It's so simple with garlic, onion, bay leaf and chorizo sausage but it has a very nice flavor.

In addition to the fancy drinks, Kate made the chicken brochettes with spices and honey.  This was another good dish.

Tara kept apologizing for this dish because of how it looked but don't let appearances fool you.  This is what fried asparagus with garlic, vinegar and paprika should look like and it tastes as good as it sounds.

Jenica doubled up as well and made fried zucchini which I loved with the garlic mayonnaise and the olive caviar. Delicious brown food could have been the theme of the night.

Julia recognized the need for dessert and made chocolate stuffed beignets from a non-tapas cookbook.  I could eat these everyday.

Consensus was it's a great cookbook and a few folks bought it.  I'm excited to make the lentils again.