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