Summer is here!

We kicked off the fourth of July weekend in style by heading up to Stone Barnsfor lunch.  I love this place.  I haven’t been here in a while (probably since last 4th of July) but I really need to go more often just for the lunch!  Everything is made locally and it’s just sooo good.

There’s always a bunch of baked goods, bottled jams and pickles, as well as a salad bar and assortment of open-faced sandwiches (pictured above).

Fig & Olive Review

The other night I met up with Ryan and 2 of our friends for a dinner out at NYC’s Fig and Olive.  Being the bad blogger I am I took only 1 very blurry picture of the night so instead I poached pictures from Fig and Olive’s website to pretty up my review.

The service wasn’t very good (they didn’t take our drink orders for a long time, got one appetizer mixed up, didn’t bring out another appetizer, and I have a feeling that the delay in my pasta order stemmed from the fact that they forgot about it).  But that being said, I thought the food was excellent and no one else (on yelp, chowhound, etc) seems to complain about the service so maybe it was just an off night.

We started out with focaccia bread served with 3 different house olive oils.


They have 12 different crostini on the menu so we tried out 4 different types (crushed tomato and basil pesto; cucumber and greek yogurt; manchego, fig spread and almond, and shrimp, avocado, cilantro, tomato) as well as their mixed olives dish.


Then we all went with their prix fixe meal for $36 / person which got you an appetizer, main meal, and dessert.  I went with the avocado soup with crab and lime which was basically creamy guacamole (if you are in love with guacamole like I am).  It was one of the best soups I’ve ever tasted.

Dinner for me was the penne funghi tartufo because despite what I learned in waiter rant – I am a sucker for anything that says truffle (and it was listed twice in the description).

For dessert I went with the mascarpone pot de crème.

So, portions were small (my friend had a paella that was the size of my hand and I have the tiniest (adult) hands that you will ever see) and service wasn’t great, but I’d come back again and again because I really loved the food.  I would have the avocado soup every day if I could.  And it was reasonably affordable.  True, the price was over $100 for me and Ryan but if you took out the two blueberry lychee martini’s I drank and the crostini, $36 for a 3-course delicious meal in the city doesn’t seem all that unreasonable.

Memorial Day Weekend has begun!

Last year I spent half of the holiday working so this year I’m living it up!

First stop: Shake Shack. What’s that you say? Where’s the “shack”? It’s at the end of the c-like line that I only captured half of in this picture. It is moving though. Because a few people in front of me have given up waiting… But it’s movement nonetheless.

Mermaid Inn (UWS edition)

Friday night’s dinner in the city was at Mermaid Inn specifically because I’ve spent so much time drooling over other tumblr’s pictures posted of the famed lobster roll.

The weather was gorgeous and I was loaded up on heavy-strength allergy meds so we opted to eat outside.  I must say – I’ve only been to the UWS once before but after spending Friday night up there I definitely plan on coming back again and again and again.  The blocks were filled with the most inviting restaurants with tables that spilt out into the street.  Plus I love gushing over apartment buildings that have a rent or mortgage probably 4 times what mine is (on the low end).  Plush plush plush.

But back to the food – we started by splitting a half-dozen oysters (and by the time we were done eating them we learned that we are west coast oyster people not east coast oyster people).

Ryan also had the heirloom tomato salad with red onion and fresh herbs…

while I went with the more unhealthy salmon tartare.

For my entree I had to have the lobster roll (of course).

I was worried I wouldn’t actually like it.  I’m not a big fan of lobster.  I love crabs.  I love mayo and buttery bread.  And I love Abbott’s Lobster Roll up in Mystic, CT, but I tried a lobster roll in Maine (where I assumed they would be experts on the matter) and it was horrible.  But oh holy goodness, at Mermaid Inn it was amazing and ensured that I will be making a trip back here.

Ryan went with the roasted fish of the day… they truly did bring the entire fish.

And best of all (or second best… after my lobster roll) was the fortune teller fish they handed out with our bill.  I used to play with these all the time as a little kid but probably haven’t seen one of these in years.

The hubby and I have recently (as in a couple weeks ago) started a new tradition where he meets me in the city on Friday for date night.  Two weeks ago we hit up Ssam Bar, which was excellent (of course) and the wait wasn’t too bad either.

Due to his recent stint in the hospital, the Hubby is on a strict no-sugar-no-fat diet so I’ve been trying to come up with fun places to eat at that cater to his dietary needs instead of having him watch me eat a sizzling steak while he downs lettuce leaves (I do that enough at home).

So Counter, a vegetarian restaurant (with some raw and vegan options), seemed like the perfect place for last Friday’s date.  Tumblr folks gave the place great reviews but Yelp had mentioned that the service was bad so I was pleased by how attentive our waiter was.  The food was good (especially the hot food) but it finally made both Ryan and me believe Thomas Keller’s notion that the palate tires after 3 bites.  Maybe it’s the spam-eggs-steak-pizza-sushi lover in me, but there is only so much popcorn chickpeas and quinoa salad I can take before wanting to taste something else.  Not that the dishes weren’t tasty, they were, but there was just a lot of the same taste.  So it’s a good thing they serve little plates so you can have an entire menagerie to taste.

Also, price-wise it was one of the cheaper dinners we’ve had out.

NYC’s Tavern on the Green files for Chapter 11

Oh no!  My friend just sent me this article.  I love this place.  Growing up I envisioned how beautiful Tavern on the Green must be and how lucky people were to get to eat there.  When I first moved to Stamford my dad would take me there when he’d come to visit me.  But we’ve stopped going in recent years after discovering the gorgefest that is Norma’s.

A lot of companies come out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy’s though, right?  I still like the option of being able to go there even if I haven’t done so in years.

Super excited!  This is where I will be tomorrow night: Rare View Rooftop Garden in NYC.  With my recently longer work schedule and more nights out than usual, I’m getting tired and so wasn’t thrilled thinking about commuting into the city tomorrow night for a friend’s birthday party.  But while looking up the address for Rare View I stumbled upon this picture.  Now I cannot wait!

Momofuku Ko, I is going!

I am so excited. I can’t believe I got reservations. For our anniversary the Hubby and I have typically spent the closest weekend to our anniversary at a hotel and enjoy a nice dinner. This year we’ve been so busy that our first free weekend was half a month after our actual anniversary. This year we decided to spend it in NYC and instead of a dinner I wanted to try Momofuku’s weekend only (they only offer it Friday through Sunday) lunch. It’s a 3-hour affair that is supposedly more elaborate than dinner. According to The Wandering Epicures whom ate there in March, there were 18 dishes provided. (Note to self: go STARVING.)

For those of you who don’t know, Momofuku Ko is David Chang’s twelve-seater restaurant in the East Village (NYC). And there is supposedly only one way to get reservations, go to the Momofuku website at exactly 10 AM two weeks in advance of when you would like to have lunch (and only one week in advance if you would like to have dinner). According to Momofuku, the average open reservation lasts approximately three seconds. I agree with this comment as I didn’t do the math correctly and tried to make reservations yesterday. In the seconds it took me to realize that the latest day they had reservations for was August 15th (I needed August 16th) the reservations were all taken. Supposedly David didn’t even make an exception for his parents, who had to use the same reservation system to get to eat their son’s food.

I wasn’t very confident at my ability to get reservations today as when I tried yesterday I was at home with a great internet connection, 3 computers, and 2 people (I made Ryan also try to get reservations). Today it would be just me (Ryan was going to try but he seems to not have as much time as me during the work days to do non-work things), my 1 crappy work computer and an internet connection that only works about 25% of the time. So to say that I feel unbelievably lucky that it worked out is a huge understatement (my internet connection went down for almost 2 hours right after I booked the reservation).

So be prepared for post after post of yummy food eating this coming August 16th (albeit with no pictures – as there is a no-photo-policy at Ko – oh, boo!)

Dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Basically, this was the fine dining version of the lunch we had the previous day.

The menu was definitely different. It was a listing of the current ingredients they had available on the farm to work with. You could tell them if there was anything you wanted or didn’t want, if you minded if food was served raw, etc. We are easily pleased and said that anything goes. And so a new night of ridiculous gorging began.

I was definitely skeptical of dish number 1. It takes a lot of creamy, cheesy, fatty sauces slathered on top of vegetables to make me eat greens and their just-as-yucky-tasting vegetable siblings so I didn’t think I was going to be very receptive to carrots, turnips, and cauliflower propped on a serving log. But you know what? It was actually REALLY good. There was a slight taste on salt but other than that, it was the freshness of just-harvested veggies that won me over. It was served with homemade golden Yukon and faro chips.

Next were mini beet and goat cheese burgers. The goat cheese they have here is much more mild than what I’m used to and it gave a sweetness to the burgers. I LUV goat cheese but have never had a mild version of it before and I don’t think I would have figured out what it was without the server’s description of the dish beforehand.

Even bread was not a normal fare. It was served with homemade butter, homemade ricotta (so yummy and I’m not the biggest fan of ricotta usually), and two salts: a beet horseradish salt and a arugula salt.

Also pictured behind our bread accompaniments was our next course, warm parsnip soup.

Troutlings (I’m guessing it’s the name for baby trout). Deep fried and sooo fresh tasting.

Spanish mackerel in a lettuce vinaigrette and topped with Swiss chard.

A little too much flash from my camera…  But this was a crazy (and delicious) beet and mache salad with yogurt, pinenut butter, and maple gelee topped with foam.

Maine scallops with fortified pistou (and no, I had never heard of that word before last night).

I got it trouble for using my flash (who knew?!) so it’s back to iPhone pics after this.

Deep fried goose egg. Prior to this dish our server came over with this huge bird’s nest encased in glass and showed us the different types of eggs they were currently collecting on the farm.

Pasta made with goose eggs. We also got into a conversation with our server about one of the newest undertakings going on at the farm: breeding geese in order to obtain foie gras, through natural means.

Lamb and fried polenta.

And now on to the desserts. Starting with a sorbet over some fresh fruit.

Ryan’s dessert included a chocolate AND beet cake.

My dessert was a little more traditional with pineapples.

And lastly…. A little cookie to seal the deal.