Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Tavern by Another Name

College life in the East Village is something taken for granted. Yes you're going to get drunk at Off the Wagon and stumble into the tattoo pallor across the street (relax, it was a piercing). But do you ever think to make an actual reservation for good food? No, past Laura, you are an idiot. For Minetta Tavern, growing older is a thing I cherish. When you're 22 you drunkenly sit at the bar, drink old fashions, and don't order food. You are, in all sense of the word, an idiot. When you're 26 you make reservations, order a carefully pre-meditated meal and enjoy life. Ah... the simplicity of old age.

Thank God/Allah/Tom Cruise for the maturation process. Anyway.

For years I've been eyeing the black label burger, now that I no longer need to feel guilty about spending more than $20 on a burger, I was finally able to indulge in a life long dream. Yes life long. I was once, at 4 years-old, yelling at the waiter to bring me drawn butter for my crab legs. This is not an exaggeration. So what do I do? In true Laura fashion, I fuck up. I order the French Dip.

Now, now, now, reader. don't get on your high horse and start telling me about how the last meal out you were at KFC. I am not you. My body literally has a physical aversion to franchised/poor quality food. I should have ordered the damn burger. But I don't feel regret. There is no, should I say, meal FOMO experienced. Did I just unlock Minetta's hidden gem? Was I just drunk? Was it the duck hash (which is fantastic) that had me enamored? No. Culotte steak, sliced to order on a garlic butter smeared with pan drippings to dip into was so yummy. My favorite sandwich transformed. The pan drippings mimic New Orleans' debris, which is an extremely high compliment. The garlic butter toast melted in your mouth.

Fine I did have two bites of the black label burger and it was mind blowing. I can actually still taste the perfect balance of fat and meat. Obviously, I'd never dine without forcing someone else to share half their meal with me.

So readers, getting older isn't so bad, especially when it comes to the foodie game. Except now you have to exercise after.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Brunch To Remember

Well hello there. Let's just pretend my neglect over the past few years hasn't happened. I'm like the ex who you run into at The Royal, and realize how you should have never left at all.

I must admit, I have begun to feel a bit disenchanted lately. 26, still live with parents in a borough I dislike, and realizing how quickly I passed the milestones I once took for granted, has left me a bit sadden and frustrated. So, naturally, I needed a good meal. 

Step in, Jane. A west village staple, reminding me that my NYU years might be over, but my love for NYC is omnipresent. A classic store front and a cozy bar area when you first arrive, had reignited what seemed lackluster in my recent years. Classic New York. A good cup of coffee, a solid cocktail, and some hollandaise seemed to cure my now-entering-late-20s blues.

Jane brunch does something that most brunches should - a free cocktail. Yes, I want need some vodka in my OJ. Doesn't every one around noon? Drinks were delicious, and the coffee was strong. I insisted on calling the strawberry butter that accompanied our bread "dip", to rationalize my over consumption. After all, I'm almost 27, have an ulcer, a slight liver issue, and am on a "low fat diet" as per my doctor. The Dante's Inferno of prognoses for a foodie. Back on track... The benedict Jane - poached eggs, crab and crawfish cakes, spinach, and tarragon hollandaise - was on point. Not overly heavy, but rich and flavorful. My boyfriend had the benedict Johnny - crispy grits, maple chicken sausage, poached egg, and roasted tomato hollandaise - as we usually order adorable, counterpart meals. Though I preferred the Jane, the Johnny was equally delicious. 

Brunch has a connection with me, that maybe most people don't understand. It's therapeutic. I love New York, specifically Manhattan, and had almost lost track of that part of myself. Nothing a little hollandaise and screwdrivers can't fix.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

If bbq were a religion, this would be the holiest day of the year (BBQ Fest 2011)

I have recently learned that my sister isn't the only person who reads this blog, so hello all you readers. I promise to now write every week since I have lots and lots to share with you... that and megashare won't stream more than 72minutes of video. Not cool.

This past weekend was one of my most favorite weekends of the year, and no I'm not talking talking about Flag Day (which has now apparently been extended to a week). I'm talking about the one time of year when it is socially acceptable to wander down Madison Ave chomping on a short rib bigger than your face while wearing paper pig ear hat. That's right kids it's the The Big Apple Barbeque Block Party.

The 9th consecutive year (and my third), the Big Apple BBQ isn't so much a "block party" as a "let's shut down Madison Sq Park and the surrounding streets so we can all be fat asses" party. It's glorious. This year SIXTEEN pitmasters from 11 different states barbecued some delish food .. all for me! Well, and the 100,000 other people the BABBQ attracts. Since I'm already accustom to waiting on long lines in MSPark (see Shake Shack post), the lines for some brisket and slaw seemed like nothing. My favorite: Baby back ribs by Mike Mills from 17th Street Bar & Grill in Murphysboro, IL. The type of rib that's soo good you don't split evenly with your boyfriend. The type you take another bite when he's not looking and curse the damn "let's share plates" suggestion that suddenly feels like a harsh decree formed in the Middle Ages -- THAT GOOD!

Additionally, for those of you who also have an obese man living inside of them like me, the Shack is open during the entire event! Nothing goes better with some short ribs than a root beer float and a Shackmeister ale.

Here is the info... just um, don't buy a fast past next year. I want it. Thanks.

*****went to fix a spelling error and now blog is out of order BUT this does NOT mean I am not going to post about BBQ 2012*** thanks

It's not easy being green... with envy towards those eating at Red Farm right now

I've mentioned before that I like to exploit my boyfriend's celebrations into dinners for myself. Now, I don't want to sound callous -- I convince him that the restaurant of choice was entirely his idea. For his 25th birthday, we (me) decided to combine our love for Asian cuisine and small, trendy atmospheres. But where to? Hadn't our favorite restaurant closed years ago? There's a saying that "time heals all wounds", but there will forever be a lacking in my palate and heart.

Until Now. Until Red Farm. I'm not saying Red Farm will replace Kampuchea, but I know our love affair will last. Though Kampuchea was short lived and passionate, my now heart-broken palate is more wise and aware of those it now falls for.

Anyway, despite the almost hour long wait, Red Farm was still a wonderful experience. We decided to share plates, as if Chris had a choice. We started with spicy crispy beef, duck and fuji apple wrap, shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings, and pan fried pork buns. Yes, yes, four appetizers seems like a lot of food for two people. This is supposed to be a judgement free zone, reader.  Anyway, my favorite of the bunch was the spicy crispy beef - it sounds like it would be mundane, but I assure you it is a dish worth trying. Those crispy little suckers are amazing. Chris' favorite (and my second favorite) was the shrimp snow pea leaf dumlpings. While they were delicious, I thought their appearance was a little disturbing since the dumplings were made to look like they had eyes. Our main courses were purely delicious. I had the crispy skin chicken with garlic sauce, which tasted like pure gold. A little party in my mouth. I may or may not have found my new love. All I know is that I cannot wait to return.

It's not just me, right?

The dumplings KNOW I want to eat them.
Red Farm
29 Hudson Street
(btwn Charles and W 10th)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Promises, Promises

Well hello there. I know I've been elusive and the entire internet was on the verge of collapse without my blog. I'm sorry, dear reader. BUT GREAT NEWS - I'm finished with graduate school! Well, almost... I still have unpaid fieldworks until December-ish, meaning any hopes of this blog becoming classy will have to wait until AT LEAST next calendar year.

Because right now this is the amount of class I have.
Class being inversely related to money borrowed from the government and parents.

But hooray me! I'm not worried at all.
Anyway, here is a run down of some posts I **promise** over the next few weeks:
  • Extra Virgin
  • Red Farm
  • Sofrito
  • Apiary
  • Big Gay Ice Cream
  • Nomville: A Tribute to Nashville
  • Stone Park Cafe
  • Smorgasburg
  • Big Apple BBQ 2012
  • much more .... well maybe
Speaking ze Smorgasburg, I ran into the most AMAZING greeting card maker yesterday at a flea market on N 7th in Williamsburg. I think everyone should take a peek at her website (her being Sam) : I'm obsessed with her cards (and a little bit with Sam) and hope you will be too.

So stay tuned and SUBSCRIBE!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I'm Going Going Back Back to Back Forty FORTAYYYY

What up home slices? I know, I've been neglectful as per usual. In my defense I was stuck in a few extra days Florida due to the hurricane.... two months ago..... err yea...

Anyway, jumping to something completely different, fall might not be my favorite season, however it is a great time of year for brunch. Yes, I'm sure that I've written that about every other time of year, but just roll with it. While Manhattan is a large borough, my favorite 'hood for a cup of coffee and something delicious on a Sunday at high noon is the East Village/LES. Maybe it's just my favorite area in general because I fit in with the ironic twentysomethings that teeter the line between hipster and awkwardly amazing. Ray-bans, Vampire Weekend, and MK watches anyone?

Unfortunately, there's a lot of hungry hipsters, hippies, homies, happies, and hippos in the EV. After once being told that the wait for Clinton St. Baking Co. was "hours" - no not an hour, not two hours, just "hours"- I decided I needed a plan. I suddenly had an epiphany - why put your name on one list when you can put it on two? So that's what I did. First stop, as always, was Prune. Hour and a half wait? No biggie, I had already planned to run the 15 or so blocks to Back Forty and attempt to get in there. I may not be religious but God/Buddha/Allah/Tom Cruise must have known the extent of my hunger because at 12:15pm on a Sunday I was able to get a table for two RIGHT AWAY. No, I'm not kidding. I couldn't believe it either.

Scanning the menu caused a little confusion - do I want eggs? No no, maybe a burger? Maybe some doughnuts? why does EVERYTHING sound so good? PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER WOMAN! I took a deep breath and was finally able to find exactly what I was looking for: Brisket with a yucca hash. Amazing, and also a nice deviation from the usual corn pancake pairing. Focusing my energy on rearranging my utensils, I anxiously waited for the first bite. Delicious. The brisket fell apart with the touch of my fork. Perfectly fried eggs sat atop the dish, longing to be blended into the brisket, yucca, bread and red onion mixture. Each bite was divine. Chris had ordered the soft scrambled eggs and romesco with peas, sweet corn, ricotta, and bread. Perfectly cooked eggs with a balance of sweet and salty from the corn, peas and ricotta. It was delicious, but mine was better.

And for that, Back Forty, I thank you. Even though I know next week you'll probably have at least an hour wait and I'll be forced to run around the EV.
Back Forty on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

'Tis the Voice of the Lobster

Lewis Carroll has nothing on me.... well maybe a famed writing career, mathematical conquests, and a myth about pedophiliac suggestions in his literature. But, I am better off than Lewis Carroll. You may at this point be asking for a sense of relevancy and be thinking "what the fuck". Let me explain:
I live in the present. I am able to eat at Ed's Lobster Bar. Lewis Carroll does and is not. Therefore, I am better. A simple axiom.

After scouring Michelin's Bib Gourmand list, lobster seemed the be a perfect treat on a hot summer day. Since I'm not white enough to have a summer house in Maine, Ed's would have to do. A small storefront across from the 6 train, the restaurant has a 1950's soda bar feel to the decor - pristine, homey, and inviting. The menu consists of various shellfish items, with a section dedicated to all things lobster. Yum.

Some may find it hard to decide between the shelly choices, but I knew immediately what I wanted - a lobster roll. Not ordering one would have been like leaving half a pint of beer unfinished. You just don't do that.

While lobster rolls are some of my favorite goodies, I haven't had one that satiated me quite the way James Hook & Co in Boston had.... that is, until now. One thing was for sure - SIZE MATTERS. Ed's was great AND there's enough to fill you - unlike some other great lobster rolls that are meagerly sized and leave you frustrated, wanting more. The roll was buttered and crisped to perfection. The lobster meat was ample. Vinegar soaked pickles and a side of fries accompanied the roll. The pickles were a nice acidic cut to the fattiness of the lobster roll. I also tried some of my friend's lobster pot pie, which was basically flakey pastry in lobster bisque awesomeness. A little salty but sooooo yummy.

Since the waiter/bartender was super nice, I trusted his dessert suggestion. We had an ice cream sandwich which was basically homemade vanilla ice cream on the same buttered roll used for the lobster roll. Yes mom, ice cream on a buttered roll. While it may not have been the healthiest thing I've eaten, it definitely was delicious.

Now reader, I do my research. I've seen some mixed reviews online about the lobster rolls, but TRUST ME. I'd almost never let you down.
Ed's Lobster Bar on Urbanspoon