Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why Yes, I Would Like Some Locally Farmed Awesomeness.

Now readers (hi mom!), I don't want you think I am a food snob. I want you to know that I am a food snob. I crossed the border from foodie to snob when I gave my brother a nasty look for suggesting we eat at the Cheesecake Factory without any conscious thought. Franchised food? DON'T YOU KNOW IT MAKES MY HANDS SWELL AND CAUSE ME INSATIABLE THIRST?!... again, I am a food snob.

My boyfriend's new job gave me an excuse to take my food snobbery to a higher level. I was going to take me him out for a congratulatory dinner and since he enables my food obsession, I got to choose the place. Yes, yes maybe he should have chosen, but what's done is done, reader. After all, I choose a marvelous place: Blue Hill.

You may be asking:
"Laura, isn't it really hard to get reservations?"
- By some divine providence, an 8:30pm reservation for two popped up on my OpenTable account. Clearly, God/Allah/Buddah/Tom Cruise wanted me to eat there.
"Isn't it a bit out of your price range? Student loans aren't free money"
- 1)Yes, student loans ARE free money since I will win the lottery, and 2) It didn't cost that much.

Back to the food. For those of you who aren't food snobs, Blue Hill is an amazing tag team of farms and restaurants based in Massachusetts (Blue Hill Farm), Westchester (Blue Hill: Stone Barns) and the West Village. There is little gap from farm to table, making each ingredient more delicious than anything you have ever tasted. For an appetizer I had braised fennel with smoked apples and roasted fennel with, get this, HOMEMADE pancetta ($16). For an entree, I had pan seared duck with shittake mushrooms, a gingerbread sauce of some kind and the best sweet potato known to humans ($36). As we were both full and high from eating the best meal we've had in our lives (and slightly tipsy but that's another story), we decided to split the seckel pears with pecan cream and hazelnut sablé ($12) for dessert. I don't even know what sablé is, but I do know that it's freaking delicious.

I also felt slightly saddened that I had to spend around $200 to eat local, farm grown food - stupid America (a fast-food nation, with small farms and our import/export markets destroyed by Wal-Mart- I'll stop and save it for another type of blog). I have to admit, eating this meal caused me to pity the people who will never get to try this food. My life before this meal was void and dark.. now, it has changed (but still a bit dark, I have a reputation to uphold). Anyway, check your couch for coins, sell some stuff on Amazon, and do some odd (or weird) jobs to save some money for a Blue Hill dinner. Hands down: Best Thing I've Ever Ate.

Blue Hill Farm
75 Washington Place
New York, NY 10011
(212) 539-1776

New Day, New Nonna

Sweet home, Staten Island. As some of you may be surprised to know Staten Island is not only the home of tan-orexics, thick accents, and the failed MTV show "Bridge and Tunnel"; it is also the home of some pretty fucking amazing food. That's right kids, I've always eaten better than you. My hometown has better food than whatever random place of origin you're from - deal with it. The quicker you accept this, the quicker we can move on.

Now, while there are a plethora of amazing restaurants, I'm going to focus this post on Enoteca Maria. The concept of this restaurant is pretty cool - every day of the week, a different Italian grandmother (nonna) cooks her specialities. Menus are specific to the nonna and the crop from their own BIODYNAMIC garden. Additionally, being true to word "enoteca", Italian for "wine repository", Enoteca Maria has an extensive wine list. No, I'm not joking. This place does exist and you should go there, now. Anyway, there are NINE different nonnas, all from different regions of Italy. While I'm always partial to Sicilian nonnas, Carolina from Calabria makes a veal dish that almost made my father cry. Enoteca Maria's food is plated for optimal sharing conditions which is perfetto considering you should try as many dishes as possible.

Take the free ferry and walk the two blocks for Nonna-licious food or they'll slap you with a wooden spoon.

27 Hyatt Street
NY 10301-1801
(718) 447-2777
*Walkable from the Staten Island Ferry!!*

Grocery shopping the normal way

My Sicilian genes have given me curly hair, a yearning to farm eggplant, and an affinity for drinking copious amounts of vino. So, when I found out I could grocery shop while drinking a glass of Fontanafredda, I regained hope in humanity and cried tears of exaltation. After all, this store feels so normal to me - of course I should be able to munch on caponata while looking for truffle oil. Eataly combines my favorite things: drinking, eating, and buying things. The lovechild of Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, and Oscar Farinetti (or as I like to call them "two men and an awesome lady"), Eataly is not your ordinary market. Home to eleven restaurants, a shopping trip holds endless possibilities. Perhaps I will drink a Baladin Nora while picking up some slabs of formaggio... or maybe I'll check out the gigantic Barilla section while munching on some prosciutto di parma.. OR BOTH! Eataly, I salute you.

P.S. A birreria, or beer garden, is opening this spring - sunshine, Peroni, and antipasto misto anyone?

200 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Holy Grail

I want to write about Ippudo, but the line is too long and I don't want to promote any more patrons. So there. Um... it's horrible? I cannot even lie about this place... whatever I'm not providing the address SO THERE. Don't go.. but if you do bring me back one of everything.

I usually don't trust Gingers or anything to do with those sneaky bastards but.....

THE REDHEAD IS FANTASTIC! No, I'm not talking about an actual redhead since most of them scare me. I'm talking about The Redhead, an EV gastropub that features a delectable menu that adapts to chef's discoveries on a daily basis. The decor is adorable and would be perfect for a date, a dinner with friends, or an incestuous dinner-and-a-movie date with your sister (don't playa hate, appreciate). Our meal started off with homemade soft pretzels that come with a side of "Kentucky beer cheese". You may be wondering what exactly is Kentucky beer cheese but I don't know if words can adequately describe the perfect spreadable, well-balance cheese that accompanied the pretzels. Just know this, it's fucking awesome. For my main course I ordered the low country shrimp, anson mills antebellum grits, and andouille sausage. PERFECTION! I'm usually a bit weary about ordering grits since there are many possible horrible outcomes that may occur. However, these grits were perfectly creamy yet substantial. The seasoning in this dish took me right back to my time in New Orleans. My sister ordered the ridiculously good buttermilk fried chicken that was accompanied by the most perfect corn muffin mankind has ever known, and a small salad of spinach, strawberry, and almonds. Now, some of you may think fried chicken is beneath you. Good, then there's more for me; but, seriously, a well made piece of fried chicken is incredible and The Redhead did not disappoint.

The Redhead also makes bacon peanut brittle. Yes. BACON PEANUT BRITTLE. Furthermore, the restaurant recognizes that this is one of the best combinations ever and has packaged a sizable amount so that you can eat this wonderful, cardiac arrest inducing snack in the privacy of your own home! HOW THOUGHTFUL!

The Redhead
349 East 13th Street
(212) 533-6212

SHH SH SHAANNNNNGGGGG, Shang of foooolssssss

Why hello there reader! I know, I haven't posted. I know, you missed me... that was bound to happen. Anyway, since the last post I've had the opportunity to dine at Shang, owned by Top Chef Master Susur Lee. It was good. Not great but consistent and good. The restaurant itself was perfect; located in the Thompson Hotel in the LES, decorated beautifully, and (alas!) the bartenders were capable of making a fantastic Pimm's Cup. However, the food........

Perhaps it was my fault. After weeks of watching Top Chef, Susur was my favorite master chef. I spent hours wiki-stalking Susur and his menus. I think my own anticipation may have gotten the best of my palate. With that said, I do have to commend Susur on the thirteen ingredient Singapore Slaw.

I just wanted, well, more.

Maybe, I'll try it again. The food wasn't bad but I also felt I can get better noodles at Ippudo.

Take what you want with this post, I choose to neither rave nor rant.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

This Way. That Way. Yes Way.

I don't think I've appropriately recognized my sandwich obsession in my previous posts. I apologize, reader. My name is Laura and I'm a sammie-aholic (among other things). Like any other human, I have set some goals for myself that go beyond satisfying my basic needs and instinctual drives (sleep, eat, drink, the horizontal tango, safety, and soup dumplings). I have set myself on a quest to find the perfect sandwich. Now, don't get me wrong, I have had some beautiful, satiating sandwiches before, but none has been "THE" sandwich. With that said, the This Way and That Way sandwiches at This Little Piggy Ate Roast Beef come pretty close to perfection. This Little Piggy is open to 4am and makes for a wonderful late-night "snack".

THIS WAY: Hot roast beef, Cheez Whiz and au jus on a roll
Why care? The This Way visits the classic hot open roast beef sandwich and reconstructs it into a sophisticated mess of palatable textures and flavors.

THAT WAY: Hot roast beef, mozzarella, onions and gravy on a hero
Why care? The That Way is substantially larger than the This Way and can definitely be shared by two people -- like an extremely messy Lady and the Tramp. The gravy on the That Way sinks into the bread, complementing the textures of the beef-cheese-onion concoction. More googey and messy, but oh so good.

This Little Piggy (Had Roast Beef)
149 1st Avenue
New York, NY
(212) 253-1500‎
no website

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Ted Allen has named Butter Lane as one of the best things he ever ate on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate: The Classics". Congrats to my favorite cupcake place! Also, for those of you who were wondering (probably, no one) I am two stars away from a free cupcake on my cupcake card.


Reason #90,786 why I love New York: A restaurant dedicated to mac & cheese. S'MAC doesn't just try to reconstruct Kraft's Blue Box, S'MAC will set you on a mac and cheese voyage. Of course, I ordered the sampler and, thanks to help from my sister, was able to eat it all. No noodle was left unturned. S'MAC s creations are served in the skillet in which they're baked.. pretty sweet if you ask me. Here is a list and break down of the S'MAC Sampler:
  • All-American: American and cheddar cheeses combine to woo your taste buds.
  • 4 Cheese: Cheddar, muenster, gruyere and pecorino cheeses help save the world in this yummy dish.
  • Cheeseburger: I could have done without this sample. It kind of tasted like what I'd imagine Hamburger Helper would taste. Kudos for trying.
  • La Mancha: ARRIBA! MUCHO GRACIAS! TACO! BURRITO! TRES! Yes, I realize I just put a bunch of random Spanish words together. Whatever, I didn't grow up watching Dora the Explorer. I just wanted to express my love for this mac and cheese. Manchego cheese, fennel, and onions = delicioso
  • Cajun: The combination of cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, andouille sausage, green pepper, onions, celery, and whatever else is in this mac and cheese caused me to wish I was down by the bayou playing the harmonica while petting a gator.
  • Napoletana: Imagine Mr. Pizza knocked up Miss Mac&Cheese. This is their lovable, but slightly mismatched bastard child. Fresh Mozzarella, tomatoes, garlic, and basil, without tasting like regular pasta... my sister raved about this mac, but I thought it too garlicky.
  • Alpine: BACON and GRUYERE! The mac and cheese is cheating, and I like it. It is not possible to combine bacon and gruyere and create something unpalatable.
  • Parisienne: This S'MAC creation is slightly ingenious: brie, figs, shiitake mushrooms and, rosemary. If Chuck Norris made mac and cheese, this is the mac he would make. It's that awesome.

345 E 12th St btwn. 1st and 2nd
(212) 358-7912

and THIS little piggy likes to go in my belly

Now, some of you may have figured out from my previous posts that I'm having an intense love affair with pork. I cannot deny that I love all forms of the pig. But when I stumbled upon this pork sandwich, I was speechless. Dear Porchetta, thank you for taking my breath away. The Porchetta sandwich consists of perfectly seasoned pork with fennel, rosemary, sage, and a few other yummy herbs/spices on crispy, delicious Italian bread. While eating this sandwich, I bit on something unexpectedly hard ("please not a filling, I don't have dental!"), however, upon further taste I realized it was a crunchy piece of pork skin! PORK SKIN, PEOPLE! The Sicilian in me rejoiced - alas, a sandwich that struck my very core. Eating this sandwich had set free some sort of familial archetype. Carl Jung, would be proud.

AND for those who support our troops overseas, read this article: OPERATION PORCHETTA

Porchetta has good food and good people. Eating anything from there can make you happy. I'm serious. The Porchetta sandwich is nature's Paxil. Don't believe me? Try it yourself.
110 East 7th St. (btwn 1st and A)
(212) 777-2151

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WD loves me (part deux)

Below is a list of all the fantastic things I ate at WD~50, my thoughts are in parentheses:

  • Everything bagel, smoked salmon threads, crispy cream cheese (Awesomeness / mind blowing ice cream made from toasted bagels, yet SAVORY!)
  • Foie gras, passionfruit, chinese celery (The foie gras ball was a bit scary, since it leaked passionfruit but still amazing / dehydrated celery scrapings are one of my new favorite foods)
  • Scrambled egg ravioli, charred avocado, kindai kampachi (The best avocado I have ever eaten with dinner-time eggs. Awesome. Vanessa's favorite dish)
  • Cold fried chicken, buttermilk-ricotta, tabasco, caviar (Yumminess on a plate, caviar a bit fishy for my taste)
  • Langoustine, red pepper, black sesame, shiso (One of the best things I have ever eaten... I'm serious. If I ever was on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate", I would divulge this culinary gem. If I am ever arrested on the LES it is because I have broken into the kitchen and stolen some red pepper licorice)
  • Beef and bearnaise (TOO MANY BALLS!)
  • Lamb loin, black garlic romesco, soybean, pickled garlic chive (Awesome, but I was extremely full by the time this came around. There will always be a place in my heart for the black garlic romesco).
  • Vanilla-mango ice cream, yuzu, spruce (Adult creamsicle. Only 1000x better)
  • Hazelnut tart, coconut, chocolate, chicory (Best Thing I Ever Ate: Desserts)
  • Carmelized brioche, apricot, buttercream, lemon thyme (Oh how I long for thee)
  • Cocoa packets. Chocolate shortbread, milk ice cream (MORE BALLS, WILEY?! Oh okay, these are delicious...)

The meal was a true culinary experience - red pepper strings, everything bagel ice cream, bearnaise gnocchi, adult creamsicles. We snacked on a some extremely flat sesame flat bread made to look like Kleenex before our meal arrived. I realized the moment the flaky awesomeness touched my lips that this meal was something extraordinary. Each dish forced my taste buds to embark on a new journey, some more pleasant than others (foie gras and passionfruit do not mix, Wiley!), but each remarkable. The savory highlights, for me, were the langoustine, lamb loin, and cold fried chicken dishes... although I have to say, I never thought I'd fall in love with pink chicken. I loved all the sweet courses and cannot (honestly, I can't) pick a favorite. WD~50 stretched my textural, taste, and olfactory limits. Ohh Wiley, I wish I could have told you how much I loved the meal - OH WAIT, I DID!

A special thanks to my sister, Vanessa, and cousin, Ali, for making this night possible.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I'll write about this later. I just wanted everyone to see this picture. I am officially the coolest person I know.
Liquid nitrogen, agar, and xantham. Bagel ice cream and blackened garlic. Red bell pepper made into string. These are a few of my favorite things.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Pho" Pas

Upon reading an article on titled the "50 of The City's Tastiest Soups", I knew I had a purpose in life -> I must complete the list. I realized I had already tasted a few due to my obsessional thoughts about ramen - so what's a few more soups? After I carefully read every soup bio and cross-referenced the restaurants on and, I finally came to my first choice - Pho Bang. I was already craving pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup, and immediately needed a bowl after reading Pho Bang's reviews. I did keep in mind that their are an unreasonable number of places serving pho in Chinatown, but Pho Bang was on The List.

Pho Bang faux pas:
1- Random white meat-thing in soup (if it is meat? maybe cow stomach?) looks like drapery
2- An uneven ratio of noodle:broth:random soup things
3- Decent pho, not too great...

With over 50 types of pho, I knew that I should have read the menu more carefully, but I choose from the nymag list. Good soup? Eh, for $5.. sure. One of the 50 tastiest in NYC? No freaking way.

NYMag, I am disappointed in you. Go sit in the corner and think about what you've done.