Marinated fingerling potatoes
French food is my favorite cuisine. Hands down. And for my birthday, my parents took me to Gordon Ramsay’s Maze at The London where Monsieur Ramsay has created quite the menu. This $26 pre-fixe lunch is available year round, but right now it’s Restaurant Week and there is an additional pre-fixe menu for only $24.07. So… there’s really no reason not to go. Have you left yet? Okay, read the review first. And then go.
Tortellini of beef short rib
Maze by Gordon Ramsay at The London
54th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue, New York, NY. Maze offers a standard 3-course pre-fixe meal for lunch with tapas-sized offerings. The food is French-inspired but in true Gordon Ramsay style, there is an element of comfort food and Asian fusion.
Pan seared halibut
On the menu:
- Marinated fingerling potatoes with Holland leeks, poached quail’s egg, and prosciutto
Tortellini of beef short rib with escarole, trumpette royale and dashi
Cobb salad with free-range eggs and blue cheese
Pan-seared halibut with butternut squash and brown butter vinegar sauce
Chocolate pudding with stout ice cream, pretzel, peanut butter powder
Vanilla custard with citrus fruits, brown sugar oats and mandarin sorbet
Cobb salad (minus the bacon for my veg mom)
Verdict: DEEEEELICIOUS! I read very mixed reviews of this restaurant online, but I was so impressed, as were my parents, and that’s saying something. I won’t try to run through every dish for you, but let me tell you that the sauces made these plates. My gorgeous halibut was set down in front of me and then the waiter poured the brown butter sauce over and I almost dove in head first. The chocolate pudding was also a stand out dish, and I don’t know what peanut butter powder is but I know I need more of it in my life. I went back to work in a food coma and was effectively useless for the rest of the day. In my book: success.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the World Cup kicked off this past weekend. While I cheered for the USA because, well… I am an American, I don’t feel a strict allegiance to any team. I find myself pulling for the underdog in every match, despite my heritage, and therefore could NOT root for Germany on Sunday when they played Australia. They’re so mean! And the Aussie team is nicknamed The Socceroos. Can you stand the adorableness?
Despite my disdain for the German team, I am 25% German and therefore showed a tiny bit of support by spending 25% of my Saturday eating German food and drinking a ridiculous amount of Spaten Oktoberfest. Don’t worry, it was ALMOST noon.
The colors got weirdly wonky in this picture, but many, many thanks to Ben for capturing them at all, since I am a terrible blogger and forgot my camera
1648 Second Avenue, between 85th St and 86th St, New York, NY. This place has been around since 1964, in a neighborhood called Yorkville that used to be predominantly German. The food is traditional German fare, and the beer is served in pints, half liters, liters, or 2 liter boots. That’s right. Two. Liter. Boots. And you thought the boot was a mythical figment of Beer Fest‘s imagination. The decor is pure kitsch (the waitstaff wears lederhosen and dirndl…) but so enjoyable.
On the menu:
Bratwurst with sauerkraut and potato salad
Sauerbraten with red cabbage (not pictured)
Verdict: Jawhol! As a small aside, I dubbed this the year I will learn to love the foods I have typically shunned. On that list: sausage. I ordered a bratwurst because I felt like ordering potato pancakes was too safe, and I wanted to try a differently prepared type of sausage. Holy, holy mackerel, am I glad I did. This brat was lightly fried and spectacular; like a deep fried hot dog, with tangy sauerkraut and cool potato salad to smooth it all out. I did taste a dining partner’s potato pancake and it was SUBLIME. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and the size of my face. Did I mention I like pancakes? The sauerbraten was perfectly cooked and unbelievably tender, and I can not wait to go back to Heidelberg and order it for myself.
The remnants of a pesto/ham and tomato/marinara bowl of love
One of my favorite New York Deals comes in the form of pasta. All you can eat pasta, to be exact. On the 29th of every month, Piola in the East Village offers an all-you-can-eat special in which they walk around serving from giant bowls of their handmade gnocchi with different sauces that include traditional marinara, chicken and broccoli alfredo, four cheese, pesto, and a magical ham-tomato red sauce that I believe also includes unicorn tears and fairy dust. Yes, it’s that good.
Tell the waiter you want the gnocchi special and let the games begin. If you want more pasta, you leave your little card on green. If your pants are about to split, maybe consider turning the card over to red and the pasta man will stay away from your table. I know gnocchi seems like a heavy dish to offer endless bowls of, but there is a little story behind this. From Piola’s website:
“The story begins with a missionary arriving in a small village in Italy on the 29th of an unknown month. He arrived upon a very poor house asking for food. He was welcomed to their house and was offered the only thing they had on the table, ‘Gnocchi’. The missionary was very thankful for their warm reception and wonderful food. Soon after the missionary left the house, the poor family found some gold coins right under their Gnocchi plate…
Since then the ‘Lucky Gnocchi Legend’ has gained recognition all over the world. Families gather together every 29th of the month and enjoy Gnocchi in order to have luck and prosperity in their lives. PIOLA has adopted this beautiful legend, ‘Lucky Gnocchi Day’.”
Piola also offers a plethora of other deals, and the food is incredible. Let me tell you, dear readers, February is a sad, sad month.
Unless it’s a Leap Year. Then we’re cool.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am jonesing for a long weekend. And this one is especially spectacular because it’s Memorial Day weekend and it’s the OFFICIAL (drum roll pleeeeeease) beginning of summer! Prayers: answered.
This weekend, I’ll be eating a lot (I know, it’s terribly shocking) and to whet your palate, a few pictures of beautiful brunches inhaled calmly and daintily enjoyed last weekend.
6th Ave at 12th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY
On the menu:
French toast with real maple syrup
Lobster frittata with red bliss potatoes and an English muffin
Eggs benedict with red bliss potatoes
Verdict: Love this place! Let me paint you a picture: my old friend, Kristy, and I met at Magnolia to catch up after almost two years of not seeing each other. So we needed some time… a lot of time. The staff was incredibly sweet, amazingly patient, and they didn’t even judge us when we ordered three full meals between the two of us. “Can we uh… have the French toast for dessert?” Our waiter grinned and assured us that “people do it all the time!” Thank you for lying, waiter friend.
Another thing that completely sold me on Magnolia was their banana bread basket served before the meal. Tucked inside a linen napkin were squares of moist, flaky banana bread (without nuts! wahoo!) that Kristy and I munched on before, during, and after our meals. I love when a New York restaurant serves bread and water immediately after you sit down, as if saying, “Hangover cures while you wait!”
Happy Memorial Day weekend, friends! Enjoy every sun-filled minute.
Country Ham Biscuit
This was a weekend chock-full of amazing eats. So for the next three days, I’m going to regale you with stories of what I ate in a two day span. Prepare yourself. It’s a lot of food for one small lady, but I ate so I could report back to YOU. Seriously, you should be thanking me. And sending donations for a gym membership.
Egg 135 N. 5th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. Egg is a tiny white-walled hallway of a restaurant with a focus on Southern-style dishes. My lovely friend Sasha has been raving about this inexpensive brunch spot for months (“the biscuits! my GOD, the biscuits!”) so her sojourn into town from DC was a perfect excuse to make the trek to this neighborhood I otherwise steer clear of. Too much ironic-disheveled-Salvation-Army makes me itchy.
On the menu:
Eggs Rothko (easy-cooked egg in a slice of brioche, topped with cheddar, served with broiled tomatoes and kale)
Country Ham Biscuit (thick cut ham, fig jam, and cheddar on a country biscuit, served with grits)
French press coffee (NOTE: Egg serves each table its own French press; how swank is that?)
Verdict: Hipsters, be damned, I am going back to EGG! Oh, the beauty of salty, thick-sliced ham paired with sweet fig jam and salty melted cheddar. I feel I have to discuss the filling and THEN the biscuit because they are magic alone and perfection together. Some might tell you I peeled away the top of the biscuit to save for later and eat slowly at the end of the meal with fresh raspberry preserves… but those people would be liars.
The wait at Egg will run you at least a half hour if you go during typical brunch hours, but it is worth the wait, my friends. Sasha did not tell a lie: the biscuits are to die for. Everything tasted like it was straight out of your Kentucky grandma’s kitchen: farm fresh, made on premises, and prepared with love. More than once my fellow diners and I cried out, “Man, that is SOAKED in butter!” But y’all know that’s just fine with me.