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.