Tag Archives: New York

Prune

I have a lot of opinions. If you know me in real life, this is not news to you. Some opinions are totally founded, others… not so much. I’ll admit it either way. One opinion that I think is completely justified is the aversion to trendy restaurants. If the chef is incredible, the food the best you’ve ever tasted, the ambience outstanding, then great. I want to eat there. If the food is mediocre but no one is willing to say it because the backer is a Vanity Fair editor and Jerry Seinfeld dines with Brooke Shields at this place on the regular… I just can’t buy it.

Enter Prune. Anthony Bourdain endorsed. Frequented by celebrities. And wholly worth the money.

photo c/o Foodie in Denial

Prune 54 East 1st St, New York, NY. Prune is a teeny, tiny American restaurant with an open kitchen, bright lights, and zero pretension. The menu is small but hearty, the wine list extensive, and each bite worthy of a “wow.” Reservations must be made at least a couple days in advance for weekend spots but it is so very worth it.

On the menu:
Roasted marrow bones with parsley salad and sea salt
Pork braised in octopus broth with clams, kale, and beans
Lamb blade chop with potatoes skordalia and dandelion greens
Cornmeal poundcake with poached pears, whipped ricotta, and rosemary syrup
Candied pumpkin with sugared “hay” with greek yogurt and honey

Verdict: Oh mama. This is one of those meals where in two weeks I’ll probably forget what I had for my main course because the starters and desserts were so incredibly out of this world. I had a slight apprehension when my dining partner suggested the bone marrow. It literally showed up on the table looking like the picture above, and all I could think of was, “My dog chewed on bones like that.” But friends… oh, friends. You dig out the roasted marrow with a little spoon and spread it on oiled toast, top it with the crunchy greens, sprinkle a little sea salt on top and inhale. If you can get past the consistency of the marrow, you will LOVE this dish.

The other standout of the meal was the dessert. After a full bottle of wine, I was feeling just adventurous enough to order something called “hay.” I am so very glad that I did. Little cubes of candied pumpkin are nestled in shredded wheat, with a dollop of greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey. I wanted to lick the plate. It was just that good.

For a take on Prune’s fabulous “hay” dessert, take a cup of greek yogurt, crunch up some shredded wheat cereal into the cup, and add a drizzle of honey. I don’t know if this dish is commonplace somewhere in the world, but if not… I’m patenting it right now. Hey breakfast.

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Midtown Restaurant Recommendation

People ask me all the time for restaurant recommendations, usually in the form of, “My family is staying in the West Village and they want an affordable Moroccan restaurant that will seat all 17 of them at 7PM on a Saturday and one is a vegan and one is lactose intolerant. Do you know of anything?”

The one neighborhood I’m asked about the most is midtown. “Can you recommend something affordable and delicious in midtown that isn’t tourist central or Europa Cafe?”

I’m happy to say I finally can.

Remember this beauty?

(click the pic for the original post!)

Mia Dona is a relatively affordable, incredibly delicious Italian restaurant in midtown Manhattan (58th Street and 3rd Avenue) that is chic enough to make out-of-towners feel like they’re eating haute cuisine but rustic and friendly enough that they won’t stare down at something foreign and squishy and green that they’ve never seen before and ask, “What do I do with this?”

Recommended dishes:
Anything with meatballs
Ricotta gnocchi with roasted cauliflower, peas, pancetta, and basil
Chocolate cake with rosemary creme brulee (this was to DIE for)

It should be said that the service was a bit slow and the decor kind of strange (my dining partner commented, “I like the… farm equipment?”) but it serves its purpose: a reliable, relatively affordable, upscale dining experience that I’d recommend time and again.

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The Martha Stewart Show

The studio

Yesterday was such an amazing experience. Not only did I get to fully participate in a taping of The Martha Stewart Show, but I met some amazing food bloggers and got to see the inner workings of a talk show that focuses on food. If you didn’t follow the live Twitter feed yesterday (you can still read the Tweets here) this is a brief recap.

After waiting in the freezing November cold at 8:30 AM, the audience was ushered in, given name tags, and then the Twitterers were herded into a separate green room to get the low down on what would happen during the show. After the intro, we got a quick tour of the studio and then we sat down. I was front row. Because that’s where they put the prettiest people, in case you are not television-savvy.

There were two rows of Twitterers, all posting to #MarthaTweets and we even caused a trending topic! Word.

Now on to the important stuff. The cookies. Oh, the cookies. Did you know they bake all of the cookies on The Martha Stewart Show right there in their very own test kitchen? So when they hand out these cookies to the audience members, you’re eating something that was baked that day right in the same room.

A sugar cookie with organic milk from Manhattan Milk (click the pic for a link!)

The sugar cookie was followed up by a Mexican hot chocolate cookie, an almond mouse cookie, and a coconut sandwich cookie. We also got to taste a cranberry coin cookie. I knew I skipped breakfast for a reason.

The Martha Stewart Show also premiered the brand new Martha Cookie app for the iPad, which made me sad that I am poor, and lustful for that beautiful piece of technology. A girl can dream…

The Tweeters with Martha Stewart

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Le Weekend!

Happy Friday, friends! I’m ashamed at my week of blogging, or lack thereof. Sometimes you have big plans to make ground chicken tacos and you end up eating DiGiorno instead. Pretend I never said that.

I hope you all have magical weekends, and to get you in the autumn mood here are some things that are currently on my radar.

If you’re in New York City this weekend, go to New York Magazine’s Grub Street Festival! There are so many incredible vendors that will be there, you’re sure to get a jump start on packing on that holiday weight.

I’ve always had mixed feelings on Halloween because on the one hand, it is a holiday about ghosts, monsters, and being scared (none of which I have ever enjoyed) but on the other hand, it’s about CANDY. And sweets are something I can get on board with. Look at this cake! I want to make it. So, so very much.

Are you carving pumpkins this weekend? I am! And with all the beautiful leftover seeds, I’ll be making snacks. Roasted pumpkin seeds tossed with a little salt and oil are standard and delicious, but why not try something really tasty like rosemary/sea salt, brown sugar/bacon fat, or garlic/parmesan (for this last one, roast whole cloves of garlic on the baking sheet with the seeds and then toss with grated parmesan straight out of the oven).

Speaking of pumpkins, can you believe this? It’s a tiny pie inside a tiny cake topped with a tiny cookie! Did Jesus hear my inner most dreams?!

If you’re inclined to stay indoors this weekend, check out How to Cook Your Life (a documentary about Zen food master Edward Espe Brown) or Pressure Cooker (a documentary about three high schoolers from Philly fighting for spots in a citywide cooking competition), both streaming instantly from Netflix.

And lastly, if you’re really in the mood for fall food (and if you’re not then I don’t think we can be friends anymore) check out the newest issue of Food and Wine magazine. The cover alone will make you salivate. Not that I did. I’m just saying.

Have a beautiful weekend!

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Viva Italia!

 

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Joseph Bastianich, and Mario Batali: three of the brains behind Eataly (photo c/o Serious Eats)

 

On Monday, in honor of Columbus Day and being Italian and all, I finally made the trip to Eataly! I’ve been reading about it for months now and figured since I have my new camera and (I hoped) the crowds have died down a bit, I thought I’d make the trek.

Eataly is chef Mario Batali’s newest venture. It is essentially a mecca of Italian food, wine, and culture in the form of meats, seafood, cheeses, wine, gelato, espresso, homemade pasta, pastries, and even books. If it has something to do with Italy, you can find it at Eataly. Chefs and specialists prepare your food and answer any questions you could have about how to cook something, what to pair it with, and other details you never even knew you wanted to know.

Sounds pretty perfect, huh? Sure. Kind of. Uh huh. Every time I picked up a block of cheese or a slice of prosciutto I thought, “Yikes, that’s expensive.” Every time I walked by a table of people snacking on salami and sipping wine I thought, “Really? You like standing in this echoing warehouse packed with people trying to enjoy your twelve dollar glass of pinot noir?” Every time I smelled something delicious I was instantly distracted by the flashing flat screen TVs advertising trips to Italy and sponsors of the market.

I began to dream of the little Italian shop in Chelsea Market called Buon Italia with endless Italian cookie imports and meats and cheeses but at standard prices served by traditional little Italian men and women who barely speak English.

Call me a traditionalist (or maybe I’m just poor?) but Eataly struck me as a glorified Whole Foods, and I’m a simple girl myself. I think for now, I’ll keep my distance.

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Burger Blitz

Is there anything better than a burger? Anytime I ever think I could become a vegetarian, I think of a hot, juicy, cheesy burger and the thought flies right out of my head. I just couldn’t give it up.

Gratuitous picture of delicious burger in 3… 2… 1…

Petey's! In Astoria, Queens

Luxury Travel Advisor just posted a story on New York’s 7 Best Burgers, as compiled by The Brooklyn Nomad.  While Petey’s is not on the list, it’s certainly my favorite burger spot in Queens. I guess I’m willing to try the 7 listed here. You know… so I can keep YOU informed. I’ll just keep telling myself that.

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Free Sangria!

There’s a headline that’ll get your attention, am I right? This past weekend I went out for a delicious brunch with my lovely friend, Ben. When he sent me a list of possible new brunch spots, I saw the words “free sangria” and all other information was null and void. If there’s a better way to kick off your Sunday, I have never heard of it.

Combination plate with scrambled eggs, chorizo, and yuca frita

Agozar 326 Bowery and Bleecker St, New York, NY. Agozar is a Cuban-inspired restaurant positioned in a trendy neighborhood but with friendly prices. The brunch can not be beat! For around $15 – $17 you get an entree and two-hour unlimited free sangria.

On the menu:
Eggs benedict, Cuban style (Spanish ham, poached eggs, chipotle hollandaise, and Cuban toast) with salad
Combination plate: scrambled eggs, chorizo, yuca frita, and Cuban toast
Sangria!

Eggs benedict, Cuban style

Verdict: I don’t know, I’m still drunk.

Kidding! The food was DELICIOUS. An unlimited brunch drink special is no good if the food isn’t worth going for alone, and Agozar did not disappoint. Most would tell you I have an eggs benedict addiction and while they may be borderline correct, I just love trying out a new take on my favorite dish. My only criticism is that I like a thick slab of ham and you can see that this was sliced deli thin. In my opinion, when you have a hearty dish like eggs benedict you need the meat to stand out on its own. The chipotle hollandaise was a slightly spicy take on your standard hollandaise and while not a fan of anything spicy myself, I was putting this stuff on my lettuce and debating licking the plate clean. The chorizo was also perfectly done, crispy and hot off the grill and served in link form, which I prefer to the chorizo crumble you get in a lot of restaurants.

It should also be said that while the sangria was free, it was also very tasty. And they are not shy about refilling your glass! I highly recommend it.

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