Posts tagged Manhattan
Posts tagged Manhattan
“I feel cooler for having eaten here,” my friend said as we sat back in our seats, stomachs full, staring at the carcass of our bronzino and remains of mac and cheese. I couldn’t have agreed more. And not only that, I think my palate is grateful for the wonderful dining experience and angry at the same time that no meal for a while will live up to this.
Everything about our meal at the exclusive, hidden Bohemian restaurant was memorable. The service, the food and the other patrons, one in particular spilled invaluable culinary knowledge about dining in New York, D.C., Philly, and Tokyo. He had to be someone in the culinary world, and I will continue to try and figure out who until I see him on the cover of some big magazine. I learned, or attempted to learn, how to cut fish cheeks out of my bronzino and have a new documentary to watch. A meal at Bohemian is not just about the food, it’s being around other foodies, real foodies, and sharing the magical, ritualistic experience that is dining.
Walking down Great Jones Street at 9:45, we searched for street numbers on the dark, but crowded sidewalk. Finally, we saw the little number “57” on a graffitied doorway. A little paper taped sign, that one would not notice unless searching, directed us down the ramp way and through an open doorway. This scenario reminded me of the stories of horrors down hidden door ways, however we were confident and our fears disappeared once we went further down the rabbit hole.
I pressed the buzzer, and a trendy, young Asian women opened the door. Bohemian is an intimate restaurant, with simple decor of signed guitars and little Japanese flare with a simple plants and to in a cutout window at the far end of the restaurant. A sushi bar on the other side seats about four, with masterful chefs creating wonderful, intricate dishes. At the five tables in the restaurant, the seats were low and plush, with pillows attached to each one for added comfort. I immediately regretted wearing heels out, longing for slippers to curl up in a ball in the chair.
Every part of the restaurant, with the simple attention to detail, felt comfortable and special. The napkins were old sheets or rags of some sort. Each one unique from the last. Chopsticks sat on black stone, which reminded me of lava rocks. With this much detail and care put into the decor, I knew the food would blow me away. The waitress placed cold, lemon cloth towels in front of us to wash our hands, ridding us from any dirt from the outside world.
After drinks at Standard Beer Garden and dancing at Hog’s, my friend Rachel and I were starving for the dinner we had missed. Although Meatpacking is home to some of the best restaurants in the city, the prices were far from wallet friendly. We both knew a little salad would not suffice, causing us to turn to the best thing at that hour; burgers.
Rachel had been to the delicious, hidden Corner Bistro. I had actually been to this location a few summers ago for drinks, not knowing about their food.
We entered the dimly lit, dark bar. The place was packed for 11:30pm on a Tuesday night. Friends crowded around tables, digging into the food in front of them. The loud noise and fun atmosphere made this more then just a late night meal.
We sat down at the bar. Unknowingly I quickly ordered a Pilsner, my favorite Czech beer. We looked back up at the tap list and noticed that they served McSorley’s light and dark beer. Bummer. For next time.
The menu is on a board, showing very simple items and inexpensive prices. We ordered the Bistro Burger to share and fries, with a side of mayo.
I kept eying the food placed around us, inhaling the sweet aroma of melted cheese, sizzling bacon and meat, stomach grumbling. Finally, the paper plate of fries and burger were placed right in front of us. They brought a side plate with a knife on top to split the delicious burger. I took all my might not to dive in and devour the burger instantly.
Rainbows, Unicorns, and Ice Cream. Awesome life-changing ice cream. That’s Big Gay Ice Cream Shop for you.
Very few things would drag Upper West Siders down to the heart of the East Village on a Sunday night, with new TV premieres and HBO shows on. But this was not just any type of craving, this was Big Gay.
Formally an ice cream truck, Big Gay parked on 17th and Broadway, with lines down the street and twitter as your only guide for its hours of operations. My sister, Amanda and I waited for at least an hour last summer to taste its unique flavor and deliciousness. We had heard about the Salty Pimp, one of their signature dishes, from Gail Simmons on Best Things I Ever Ate and knew we needed to try. And with one bite, our lives were changed forever. No cone would ever live up to this. We dreamed about its salty-sweet complexity for days to come.
Recently, Big Gay opened a storefront in the East Village, offering extended hours and a permanent location for ice cream lovers far and wide. No longer would twitter dictate our discovery of ice cream or result in sadness when learning they had ventured outside of Manhattan.
We made the hike from 72nd and Broadway on the 2 train to 14th Street, transferred onto the L and resurfaced on 14th and 1st. We walked seven blocks to 7th Street between 1st Ave and Avenue A. With each step, our excitement level rose. Turning the corner onto 7th, we saw tons of people, walking down the street, extreme ice cream cone in hand. We couldn’t wait.
The last time I ventured down the stairs to Wonderland was years ago for my sister, Amanda’s 11th birthday. At Alice’s Tea Cup, her friends played dress up with the numerous wings, crowns and boas hanging from the walls and ate little scones, cucumber sandwiches, cookies and tea. An elegant meal for ladies in England transformed into a whimsical, playroom for children and adults of all ages. I sat at a table across from the girls, with an old boyfriend in tow, wishing I could truly enjoy the same pleasures as the young-care free birthday girl.
This morning, on a beautiful Friday, after readingComfort Me with Apples, Ruth Reichl’s book, on the balcony, I had a craving for something playful and delicious. I knew just the spot.
Located right off Columbus on 73rd Street, I entered Alice’s Tea Cup for the first time in years.
The awning outside had lost is shine over the years, but the playful chalkboard full of hearts and delicious sounding dishes reminded me of the beauty inside.
I entered to the sweet smell of fresh baked goods, lining the counter top. Scones, Cookies and Cupcakes of all shapes and sizes made me drool with excitement. Behind the counter, endless metal tins of tea leaves made your taste buds dream of all the endless possibilities and pairings. I walked past all the young women, with their children in tow, and groups of friends hoping to escape to Wonderland for the afternoon.
The adorable friendly gentleman behind the counter caught my eye staring at all of the wonderful treats. I asked for his opinion, and he gave the answer I had hoped for “Raspberry Chocolate, because what’s better then raspberries and chocolate together?” I couldn’t agree more.
Getting off the M train at Essex Street, my sister posed the question about up and coming areas in NYC. “What determines what is in and what is out? This whole area seems kind of sketchy.” At 10pm on a Wednesday night, without alcohol goggles and groups of friends, the Lower East Side gives off an unwelcoming vibe. The dark, unlit sidewalks, garbage on the street and unfriendly faces, made New York intimidating. However, I knew our destination and led my sister down Essex.
We arrived at our location, with the glaring yellow lights of “Beauty & Essex” giving some life to the dead street.
We walked through the glass doors, with the window displays revealing unwanted jewelry and nick-knacks you would find at your unfashionable Great-Aunt’s house, which hadn’t been redecorated since the first World War. We entered the storefront, with the little room filled with similar pawn shop items, blending in with the entire outside vibe of the street. A large, tough gentleman stood by a back door and a trendy young girl stood behind the check out counter. I said to the gentleman that we had a reservation.
He opened the door to another world.
We entered Beauty & Essex, a creation of Chris Santos’s imagination (he also owns the famed Stanton Social). The dark decor and restaurant gives off a Prohibition Era vibe, with the secretly hidden restaurant, elegant chandeliers, dark floral bouquets and up beat music at just the right volume level.
We approached the hostess stand, decorated with open glass and more pawn shop jewelry. We were immediately led towards the back of the restaurant, to a lovely end table, right off of the main dining room. I sat back on a black, leather couch staring out at the other tables and beautiful people occupying them.
I opened the menu, to the sweet inscribed message, “Start Sharing at Beauty & Essex.”
I met my sister after work at Momoya, a local sushi joint on Amsterdam. This Upper West Side restaurant has great outdoor seating and extremely reasonably priced food, perfect for our evening’s needs.
We ordered a bottle of cold saki to start, priced conveniently at $22. We toasted to a great evening, and glanced over the menu. It took us a bit t order after a deep political conversation (for real) but eventually decided our plan of action.
We decided to start the meal off with the Edamame Ricotta Ravioli, a unique dish to say the least.
Hidden behind the NYU Hospital in nameless Manhattan is a culinary gem and dining experience that should be discovered by all. Riverpark by Tom Colicchio (owner of Craft and Colicchio & Sons Restaurants and more importantly, head judge of Top Chef) combines the farm to table experience in a way that makes all others fall short. The reason, I assume, for the off the beaten path location is the vast amount of land available. Riverpark grows its produce in an adjacent farm, allowing for fresh seasonal ingredients, picked daily, to shine throughout all of their dishes.
After looking a bit confused, a security guard directed me into a lovely all glass looking office building, located across from the farm. I followed the signs and finally arrived at the restaurant. Elegant lights hung from the ceiling making the room sparkle. The light wooden tables and blue accents created an almost magical dining room.