Tag Archives: Drinking

My Top 10 in New York City

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This summer, differing from my normal intentions of plenty of beach time and music, I spent my summer working hard during an internship, a taste of what my life is to become in the coming years post culinary school. I was lucky enough to land an internship at Gramercy Tavern, a New York institution as far as classic American fare is concerned. I was incredibly lucky to work there, and learned an incredible amount and was inspired every day, something for which I am very grateful.

I used my time in New York as wisely as I could, and tried to eat out as much and as often as I could, so I could get a feel for what the scene is like in New York.  I complied this list out of the places I’ve eaten in New York- my favorite 10- as a suggestion for those looking for places to eat during the colder and slower winter season, or even to save for the (thankfully) upcoming spring season. There are some standby spots and some newer places, so try and enjoy!

Any thoughts on those places? Suggestions for other places I MUST try?? I am SO willing to hear all about it in the comments.

 

Riverpark

Tom Colicchio’s East River hub has stellar views- and incredible food to boot. It was seasonal, fresh, and eclectic;  I loved the Burrata with tomatoes (classic, I know, but still delicious).  I had my first experience trying corn ice cream here, and throughly enjoyed it.  I can see what all the hype was about last summer (and probably this one as well).  Riverpark is also home to one of the smallest but most adorable farms, or outdoor large gardens– which supplements the restaurant.  Talk about local, and definitely a feat in any city, but especially New York City.

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450 E. 29th street

(212) 729-9790

 

 Upland

California–Inspired and incredibly chic, Upland has dishes with bold flavors inspired by the seasons. The decor is awesome, I spotted a few celebs while at the bar (if you’re into that sorta thing), but it still felt causal enough that I could roll through in jeans. The Beef tartare is a must, as well as the crispy duck wings. The pasta estrella was to die for, with chicken livers and sherry.

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345 Park Ave South

(212) 686-1006

 

Buvette

Probably the most adorable place I’ve eaten at in New York.  A tiny hole in the wall, food is prepared and served right at the counter, and menus are printed daily on small little booklets.  An outdoor patio also is available when the season is right, but watching the bustle behind the counter and their incredible practice of putting together dishes right in front of you was a treat.  A little slice of Paris in the big city; the sister restaurant is actually located in the city of lights (or romance? Not sure what the kids are calling Paris these days).  The menu is simple, homey French, done very well. Brunch is sublime. The wine, of course, is French and excellent.

Breakfast done right at Buvette

Breakfast done right at Buvette

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42 Grove Street

 

Virginia’s

Cozy and upscale, the food was so good here my group ordered the menu twice.  Although the menu has changed since I’ve been, their attention to detail and flavor profiles would get me in the door again.  Try the toast, which changes frequently but was a memorable moment when I went.

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647 East 11th street

(212) 658-0182

 

Burke & Wills

Australian themed restaurant in New York, which is awesome, as I’ve had a little obsession with Australia since visiting last summer.  Housed in an absolutely gorgeous space with windowed roof, intimate feeling and lovely decor that harkens of Australia, the food was awesome as well.  The kangaroo loin was delicious, as was the roo burger.  Opt for the cheese plate to finish, then head upstairs to their private cocktail bar with one of the most knowledgeable barkeeps in Manhattan.

Octopus and Kangaroo at Burke and Wills

Octopus and Kangaroo at Burke and Wills

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226  West 79th Street

(646) 823-9251

 

Momofuku Noodle Bar

The ultimate in tasty, David Chang’s ode to ramen is always busy for a reason.  They don’t take reservations, but if you can grab a seat, try the steamed buns with various fillings and don’t skip the Momofuku Ramen, in all of its porky glory. My only regret was not trying their fried chicken, which needs an advance order of at least 48 hours.  Now I know.

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171 1st Avenue

(212) 777-7773

 

Root +Bone

Tasty southern fare done right, by two Top Chef alums.  Adorable decor. The biscuits are wonderful, as are the dishes that come to mind when you think of southern food: the shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and strawberry shortcake are all incredible choices. Comfort food at its best.

Incredible biscuits and the grilled peach salad at Root and Bone

Incredible biscuits and the grilled peach salad at Root and Bone

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200 East 3rd Street

(646) 682-7076

The Finch

This newcomer is the brainchild of Gabe McMackin, an alum of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Gramercy Tavern.  Although being open for less than a year at the time, the spot won their first Michelin star last year, quite a feat for any well-known establishment, but a testament to the incredible food being pumped out of the open kitchen.  The atmosphere is open and beautiful, and the food is thoughtful yet innovative.  Smoked egg yolks, a component of one of their summer dishes last year, are an incredible thing, and introduced to be at this establishment.  It is always refreshing to see avant-garde cooking styles, flavors, and techniques, while still maintaining the natural beauty of the ingredients. A must see for any New Yorker, and especially those in Brooklyn looking for a new and invigorating spot.

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smoked egg yolk, puree of “green things”, and pasta

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212 Greene Avenue

(718) 218-4444

Mialino

What an incredible restaurant.  If you enjoy pasta and Italian cuisine (and who doesn’t?) then this is the place for you.  But I wouldn’t expect Chicken Parmesan.  Mialino does beautiful rustic Italian, what I imagine people in Italy actually eat.  They are inspired by classic Roman cuisine, and claim to be a “modern trattoria.” While I’m not sure if this is the case, I can be sure of the food.  A truly incredible meal, I had cheeses, cured meats, tomato salad and grape bruchetta, and of course pasta.  homemade and beautiful, this is how I want every pasta meal to be.  Malfatti with duck ragu was to die for, as well as garganelli with a tomato and olive sauce.  I would highly recommend this spot to anyone looking for an incredible environment and even better food.

Incredible pasta and, salads, and cured meats

Incredible pasta, salads, and cured meats

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2 Lexington Avenue

Inside Gramercy Park Hotel

(212) 777-2410

Gramercy Tavern

I will always love this place.  There is a reason why this restaurant has been a New York institution for over 20 years.  Having worked there (more on that later), I can say that every person in the kitchen– from the Chefs to the prep cooks– cares about the integrity of ingredients.  It is inspiring as a young chef to be exposed to such talent, and it is clear on the plate, whether of not you have culinary experience. I included so many photos because I couldn’t choose which was my favorite– this place was responsible for one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.  House–cured meats, homemade pastas, and beautifully composed salads are just a taste of what is going on there.  The menu is constantly changing due to seasonality, so these photos are out of date, but the attention to detail in not only the flavors but the presentation will remain the same.  While it is pricey, sometimes it is understandable to spend a great deal if you are receiving an incredible experience.  Sit in the tavern if you cannot make a reservation or would like a more relaxed experience, or sit in the dining room for more special occasions.  Either way, make your way here and prepare to be blown away.

One of the best meals in recent memory

One of the best meals in recent memory

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42 E 20th Street

(212) 477-0777

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Recipe: Roasted Salmon with a Dijon-Parsley Potato Cake and a Lemon-Parsley Burre Blanc

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More recently, I’ve decided to push myself and start figuring out some recipes of my own. I really love cooking, and one day I’d like to own a little food stand of my own, so figuring out some recipes and being more creative is really making me happy nowadays. I’ve been really meaning to try making a Burre Blanc, a white wine based butter sauce, also, so I slipped one in this recipe. Turns out, it’s simple to make (despite its fancy name), and super tasty with fish, like this roasted salmon. I made a mashed potato cake also and some fried capers and asparagus, just to make it a full meal. It met with rave reviews (though The Russian might be a touch biased), so try it out for yourself.

Ingredients
Parsley [$1.50]
2 baking potatoes [$2]
Unsalted butter and Dijon mustard, which if had on hand
White wine, any one sitting in your fridge will do
Salmon filets [$7]
Asparagus [$2]
1 lemon [.50 cents]
Capers (I had them on hand, but they normally cost around $3 for a jar)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400.
Make the potato cakes: cut the potatoes into small pieces and put into a pot with boiling salted water for about 10 minutes.
When the potatoes are tender, mash with a little butter, salt, Dijon, parsley, and a touch of milk. Form into cakes and place in a hot pan with oil or butter for about 5 minutes per side. When the cakes are browned, place in the oven to keep warm.
While the potato cakes are cooking, boil the water and cook the asparagus (or any other veggie, now that spring is here the options have really doubled).
Sear the salmon for about 3 minutes then transfer to the oven for 10 minutes.
Make the sauce: take about a half cup of the wine and let boil over heat until only a few tablespoons remain. Then take the wine off the heat and place cubes of the butter (unsalted, about a stick or so), in the wine, whisking constantly until all the butter is melted and the sauce comes together. Add a squeeze of lemon and some chopped parsley and serve with the other ingredients. Make sure to whisk very thoroughly. Quickly fry some capers in olive oil for a salty garnish if desired.

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The butter sauce with the salmon, the potato cakes, and the veggies is certainly a filling meal. Enjoy this Easter Sunday!
-L

Restaurant Week Bliss: Kitchen

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Restaurant Week was last week, guys. As I have stated before, I love Restuarant Week. Although the prices are a little north of what I usually post, since its still a steal (apps, entrees, and dessert at these places is definitely more than $38 a person) I think it still applies as frugal. This year, there were options in price for restaurant week, but I still decided to try the most expensive (my wallet is a sadist, what can I say).
This time, The Russian and I decided to try Kitchen in the South End. I was super excited before we even walked in the door, because they had pretty much a full menu offering this year, as opposed to just a few options. I also love that Kitchen models it’s dishes on classic recipes, and even dates each dish to its inception on the menu. As someone who is fascinated with food, how dishes are created, and now timeless classics can be enjoyed by our grandparents and grandchildren, this was a perfect choice for a bit of history with my dinner.

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The space is small, but super cozy. You’ll have to excuse my photos, which aren’t the best this time around. I didn’t want to disturb other diners by taking a million photos. You’ll get the idea.
I started off with the oysters Rockefeller, a classic dish. The oysters were huge and juicy, and the spinach mixture on top was creamy and rich, a nice counterpoint to the salty oyster.

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The Russian started with scallops wrapped in bacon (he can never resist bacon, but who among us really can) with grits. The scallops were cooked to perfection, although he thought the grits could use a touch if salt. A minor problem, if it can even be called that. The bacon was perfectly crisp as well.

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Then I moved on to the crispy half duck. This dish sold me on Kitchen. The duck was truly incredible, the fat was perfectly rendered, and the skin was crisp. It was also huge, so I felt like I needed to be rolled home after I finished the dish (The Russian helped of course). The risotto was some of the best I’ve ever had. I’m still thinking about it. Sometimes I’ll just stop for a moment and daydream about that dish.

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The Russian chose beef as his entree and wasn’t disappointed either. His sirloin steak was cooked perfectly and paired with luxurious ingredients, like a piece of seared foie and black truffles. It was decedent.

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We somehow managed dessert. I tried the donuts, which were good but by that point I was pretty done for the night (a bottle of wine and half a duck will do that to the best of us).

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The Russian, who is a bottomless pit, had some chocolate pudding. It was creamy and decedent and somehow light. Not sure how they managed that (witchcraft?). A really nice end to a fantastic meal.

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I was so happy to have discovered Kitchen. You can tell when food is made with love, and love was just bursting out of the dishes. Hopefully they will make another appearance for summer’s resto week, so that they can be enjoyed again by those who couldn’t necessarily afford them normally.
-L

Cheap Eats: The Hop, Beacon, New York

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Last weekend, I was lucky enough to get to go home and see my parents for a bit. I didn’t just steal my mom’s recipe from her, I also went out into the town as well. I’d been meaning to try The Hop for a bit, since I’ve only heard good things from friends that live in Beacon. Let me tell you, it was awesome. I’m really proud of Beacon for having awesome little spots like this. First off, it’s got some rustic and awesome decor (see photo above), and a tremendous selection of craft beers.

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They also have a crazy amount of cool jams, jellies, and specialty condiments just ready for purchase.

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It was a budding chef’s (like myself) paradise.
Did I mention they also have a menu? I should have started with that. I’m still thinking about the food. No, seriously.
The Russian and I started off with some brews, a raspberry cider for him and the Allagash Interlude for me. I loved my beer, and the fact that it was light and hoppy and somehow 10% alcohol. Definitely packed a healthy punch (the sneaky kind). I was okay with it, though. It was really great beer.

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We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the food though. It was marvelous.
The Russian and I had the olives and almonds, which were marinated in rosemary and olive oil. They were crunchy and well seasoned and a lovely compliment to the beer.

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Then they had these soft pretzels with homemade mustard and I could have cried. Pretzels are my favorite. Especially the big soft ones. The mustard was awesome, but it had a huge kick so using only a little was necessary.

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The crowning jewel was the chicken liver pâté. Dear god there was so much flavor. There was a homemade cherry (I believe, don’t quote me just know it was delicious) jam and a vinaigrette with homemade toast points. There was also a huge hunk of cheese. I was in love. There was a layer of fat on the bottom that tasted just like Sunday roast chicken. I was a very happy lady and giddy with excitement.

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The whole shebang cost me around $40, making it an affordable lunch for two.
The Hop was an incredible experience and a surprising experience to be found in Beacon, it makes me happy to come home and find so many delicious options springing up where my parents live. Also sad they don’t have something like this in Boston, that I’ve found at least. I cannot wait to come home and try more of The Hop’s menu offerings.
-L

Cheap Eats: Shake Shack

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First off, today is Frugal Foodie’s one–year anniversary! Super exciting, and the year has gone by super–fast. I certainly have a lot more to do in the kitchen so here’s to many more!

Let's rewind the clock a year, remember baby Ajax? One of the best things about this bog, I'm sure.

Let’s rewind the clock a year, remember baby Ajax? One of the best things about this bog, I’m sure.

Speaking of stuff to say about food, The Russian and I went to Shake Shack, finally, last week.  Everybody lost their minds when it came to Boston from my hometown of New York City, and I waited to go (since I’ve been to the one back home, it wasn’t as exciting), and I finally got my butt over there.  It was delicious, just what I needed (though I have to say, Tasty Burger is still my #1).

It's a close second, though.

It’s a close second, though.

We got a couple burgers, some fries, and a peanut butter shake and the ShackMiester Ale, the signature beer made by Brooklyn Brewery. We got a little of everything, and man, it was awesome.

So awesome.

So awesome.

The burgers were super juicy, the fries were crispy (and crinkle cut, which rock when done right), and the shake was so thick we needed a spoon.  Everything in you want in a lunch, at a causal spot with a lot of sass.

These let you know when your meal is ready

These cuties let you know when your meal is ready

It cost about $15 a person, and we went all out, so it’s definitely worth a trek up to Chestnut Hill.

-L

 

Trying Something New

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I don’t usually go out. I’m not anti–social or anything, I just like hanging out at home and eating and drinking with a few friends. You’d be hard pressed, however, to find me out at a bar on a typical Friday (or any day). I’m just that lazy.  When I checked my Twitter last week, though, I was invited to an event to try the new Mocha Chocolate Stout by Peak Organic, a New England brewery with a dedication to using fresh ingredients and bringing the hop–growing business over to the East Coast. How could I refuse when they used this video?


Their new beer uses chocolate from Taza, which I mostly knew as those chocolates they have at the register at Starbucks, so you know they’re fancy.  Turns out, they’re located in Somerville, and if this beer is any indicator, and you like chocolate, I’d try it. I really like small–batch brews, but I don’t normally like chocolate stouts.  This is one of the best, if not the best, I’ve tried so far.  It wasn’t bitter, but smooth, and actually tasted like chocolate.  Very seasonal.

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I also tried the Hop Blanc, which was a more wheat–y beer with a slightly hoppy flavor.  I met one of the gals from Peak, and she put some fresh hops in my beer to open up the flavor.

Pictured here

Pictured here (both the rep and the hops and myself)

I wish that happened more often. It was lovely. The beer was floral and sweet and easy to drink.

It even looked fancier.

It even looked fancier.

I guess I should go out and get a beer more often.

-L

 

Turkey trimmed to the nines: Thanksgiving at five luxury hotels

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Guys, click the link below, it was passed on to me by a travel site for those who cannot cook this year, there’s still time for you to head to one of these luxury hotels (I wish!) and try some delicious food without lifting a finger.  It’s not exactly frugal, but it’s the time of the year to splurge.

Enjoy!

-L

Link:

Turkey trimmed to the nines: Thanksgiving at five luxury hotels.