April 8, 2011 · 2:00 am
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m never really one to be on top of the newest and most exciting places. I view this blog as more of a way to bring you along on my journey of discovering “new to me” places and hopefully inspiring you to go or stay away from some of the thousands of restaurants in New York. So when the BF told me he had heard about a new bar located in Kaufman Astoria Studios (the film studio where Sesame Street and The Cosby Show film/filmed at), I figured he had stumbled upon an old article. Turns out the place has only been opened for 2 months. So… ahem… you heard it here first.
The Astor Room
34-12 36th St, Astoria, Queens. You enter the restaurant down a marble staircase, surrounding by gold-framed mirrors and peacock wallpaper. Enter to the left and a piano greets you, followed by a dark mahogany bar and a feeling that you’ve stepped back in time. The bar just reopened but in its hey day in the 1930s, it was frequented by silent movie stars that were filming at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The menu is a throwback, too, with dishes like Dover sole, lobster thermidor, and short rib stroganoff.
On the menu:
Crispy fried calamari over roasted tomato paste with green pepper shavings
Double cut coca-cola porkchop
Smoked seven layer chocolate cake
Verdict: It’s aces! It’s keen! It’s swell! (I had to Google “1930’s slang”… in the interest of full disclosure, you know). This place is awesome. The food was SO well done; the pork chop was juicy but crisp and sweet, the spaghetti smooth and buttery, and the seven layer cake sprinkled with gold. Yes, gold. Edible gold. Old world luxury and glamour at its finest, gals and pals. I also have to give props to the amazing staff. I read many reviews of The Astor Room that criticized the service, but I could not have been more impressed. Our wine glasses were never empty, an empty plate never sat on the table for more than two minutes, and on our way out the maitre’d asked if we needed umbrellas to battle the rain. We were never smothered, always taken care of. Loooove love love this place.
January 18, 2011 · 2:00 am
Happy Tuesday, kids! I had a glorious day off from work yesterday so I spent it making omelettes and eating out at an Italian restaurant (more on that tomorrow!). Also, have you noticed that this is the season when oranges show up in your local grocery for mere pennies? It’s like I can’t help but eat 7 a day.
Over the weekend I went to Hartford, Connecticut and dined at my favorite BBQ restaurant in the world, Black Eyed Sally’s BBQ and Blues. Granted, I’ve never had southern BBQ in the south, but someone told me that the owners of Black Eyed Sally’s went to Memphis to perfect their Memphis-style ribs recipe. Let’s just say it’s worth the Amtrak trip.
Black Eyed Sally’s BBQ and Blues
350 Asylum Street, Hartford, CT. Black Eyed Sally’s is a Memphis style BBQ restaurant that features nightly blues music and cajun-inspired dishes. The atmosphere is casual and comfortable, the prices affordable, and the food authentic.
On the menu:
Fried calamari and crawfish tails
Memphis-style ribs with red beans and rice
Pulled pork sandwich with homemade salt and vinegar chips
Cornbread with honey butter
Verdict: So good! So good! So good! Gosh, I love this place. I lived in Connecticut in the summer of 2005 and fell head over heels for this place, so when I went back this weekend I prayed it was the same. And ooooh friends… it did not disappoint. The ribs have a ton of meat that falls right off the bone, with a distinct but not overpowering smoky flavor. The skin was crispy with almost no sauce at all. The calamari and crawfish were also outstanding with a tangy dipping sauce that I could’ve eaten with a spoon (don’t worry, I didn’t… at least not while anyone was watching). Another meal highlight was the cornbread: cakey and moist and sweet and smeared with honey butter… even after the button on my jeans was about to pop I had another piece. It’s a sickness, really.
Hartford might not be the most likely spot for delicious BBQ and jaw-dropping blues music, but trust me, if you ever find yourself in this little New England city, stop into Black Eyed Sally’s. Elvis would approve.
April 13, 2010 · 6:33 am
Sometimes, even as a lover of food, I forget why New York is great. It’s loud, its manic pace is constant, and as the weather gets warmer, the city gets smellier. I’m ready for a change. But then, out of the blue, I have a New York moment and I remember why there is no place like this place and how I will never be able to find another like her.
Jean-Georges with a Lady Who Lunches - a blurry camera picture because we were trying hard to be classy and discreet
When I sat down at a Jean-Georges restaurant near Central Park on Wednesday for lunch and Jean-Georges himself walked out of the kitchen, I felt like 13-year-old-Lauren would have felt if Jonathan Taylor Thomas had walked out of the kitchen. I’m not ashamed to say I got butterflies. He’s just that good.
Nougatine New York Magazine praises this little sun-filled restaurant at 1 Central Park West as “possibly the least heralded and most overlooked restaurant in town.” My good friend Becca invited me to lunch as payment for a cake I made her (seriously, does baking have its perks, or what?) and on the hottest day of an unseasonably warm April, we sat down for a posh meal where the dining room is run like a well-oiled machine and the Ladies Who Lunch throw birthday parties with Tiffany blue boxes as table favors.
On the menu:
Warm Beets and Rich Yogurt field mache and lemon oil
Shrimp Salad with avocado and tomato champagne vinegar dressing
Salt and Pepper Calamari with citrus-chili dip
Roasted Red Snapper with broccoli raab and sweet garlic-lemon broth
Pan Seared Beef Tenderloin with miso butter and roasted brussel sprouts
Creme Caramel with sacristan (puff pastry twisted and dipped in sugar) and citrus
Jean-Georges Warm Chocolate Cake with vanilla bean ice cream
[the prix fixe meal allows you to choose 2 small plates plus a dessert for $26]
Salt and pepper calamari
Pan Seared Beef Tenderloin (blurry because I barely had time to snap this picture before I dove into the deliciousness)
Verdict: To. Die. For. “What’s in that, crack cocaine?” I wish I could say my dining partners and I said this only once. Everything was so delicious, warm, inviting. Each bite left all the right pleasant notes in my mouth. The portions were perfect, and I left the restaurant feeling sated and glowing. Forget the temperatures outside. I was radiating sunshine from inside. The prices at Nougatine are far more reasonable than any of Jean-Georges’ other restaurants in Manhattan, but it’s still not a cheap meal. I make it a point to seek out affordable, delicious meals in New York so believe me when I tell you this: if I had only $100 to spend on one final meal in New York City, I would take it to Nougatine.
The famous Jean-Georges Chocolate Cake with vanilla bean ice cream
Filed under Chefs, New York Restaurants
Tagged as Beef, Beets, Cakes, Calamari, Dessert, Fish, Ice Cream, Lunch, New York, Red Snapper, Seafood, Shrimp