I just want to eat!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Café Blossom on Carmine, New York, NY

Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!  

image of Café Blossom on Carmine, New York, NY

A few years ago, the idea to go to a vegan restaurant would have made me cringe. Today, I am kind of excited at the idea to try some new flavors. So yes, I was excited when I got invited to try Café Blossom on Carmine, especially after reading the statement from one of its founders, Ronen Seri:

My vision for Blossom was to create a place with outstanding food, not just for vegans, but for everyone to enjoy.

Yes, I am not a vegetarian and much less a vegan, so going to this kind of restaurant can be a real test.
image of Café Blossom on Carmine, New York, NY

I like the place: simply decorated, I love the contrast of the dark wood with the white brick wall, like the ying and yang.
image of dining room at Café Blossom on Carmine, New York, NY

They push the concept to having a communal table situated right in front of the open kitchen.
image of dining room at Café Blossom on Carmine, New York, NY

image of dining room at Café Blossom on Carmine, New York, NY

The menu offers small and large dishes, some of them looking familiar such as the Caesar salad or the pipette Margherita, but with a vegan twist if I may say: the cheese is for instance replaced by tapioca cheese, bacon by tempeh bacon.
image of menu at Café Blossom on Carmine, New York, NY

We started off with some drinks. Jodi ordered their belvoir sparkling elderflower lemonade:
image of belvoir sparkling elderflower lemonade at Café Blossom on Carmine, New York, NY

And I ordered the house brewed fresh ginger ale:
image of fresh ginger ale at Café Blossom on Carmine, New York, NY

Then, we shared two appetizers:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Restaurant Week: The Russian Tea Room in NYC, NY

image of The Russian Tea Room in NYC, NY

I always wanted to go to The Russian Tea Room, but I admit that I heard so many things about it: food not good and overpriced, and poor service, that it was on the bottom of my list. But then, Summer Restaurant Week happened: it is a great way to try pricey restaurants at a discount (three course meal for $25 for lunch and $38 for dinner), as long as the restaurant embraces the event's purposes and does not cheap out on quality or service. 
image of The Russian Tea Room in NYC, NY

So I went to The Russian Tea Room for lunch after booking a table on Opentable. I mention it because I looked at the description of the restaurant and it said that the dress code was business casual meaning long sleeve shirts, no t-shirt or shorts. Well I guess that they are more relaxed for lunch, Midtown being full of tourists, because I saw many people wearing these supposedly not recommended outfits. 
image of The Russian Tea Room in NYC, NY

The decor of this place, created in 1927 by former Russian Imperial Ballet members is incredible, a bit over the top, as if we were transported to the 1900s. There is of course the bright red banquettes that seem to be made of plastic (it is not), the chandeliers, and the multiple paintings on the walls (not sure if there is any space left to hang another thing!). 
image of dining room at The Russian Tea Room in NYC, NY

The first experience on how pricey the place is is the cork fee: one of my friends brought a bottle of champagne from France for a celebration. Apparently, the cork fee was $55! We surely declined. 

So, as we were making up our mind as far as the menu goes, they brought us some bread and butter. I admit that I thought that the bread was not that fresh at that point...
image of bread basket at The Russian Tea Room in NYC, NY

Then, I chose an appetizer: goat cheese and mushroom blinchik that is a crêpe filled with goat cheese, wild mushrooms, melted onions, served with a sauce made with lingonberries. 
image of goat cheese and mushroom blinchik at The Russian Tea Room in NYC, NY

When the dish came, I thought that it was a small portion. Fortunately, it was delicious, goat cheese and melted onions pairing very well together, the later having a nice sweetness. And if you love mushrooms, you will not be disappointed either as they definitely stood out. The crêpe itself was perfect: very thin and well cooked, it was nicely soft. I just wished there was more of it. 

For the entrée, I got the chicken à la Czar that is sautéed chicken breast with roasted red peppers and mushrooms in a light cream sauce.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bacon and Beer Classic at Citi Field, home of the NY Mets


Jodi and I got invited to Citi Field for a Bacon and Beer Classic where visitors got an all-inclusive experience: walking through the stadium,  sampling craft beer & bacon-inspired treats by local chefs and supporting local charity, Citymeals-on-Wheels. 

I admit that, coming from France, I am not really familiar with baseball. It is not a practiced sport there and is mainly known because of movies or TV series like Seinfeld (I know: wrong stadium!). 

So, I was anyway excited to learn a bit about baseball and discover the backstage of this sport, as we were allowed to go on the field, under the stadium, in the tunnel, where photos were restricted. 


We saw for instance the players' lounge, the gym, the locker room, as well as the press conference room.



After the amazing tour, we went back to the stadium:

I should mention that we sat a bit in the dugout that is the team's bench area:




So, let's talk about food and beverages: they had more than 80 restaurants and breweries, the first ones proposing dishes made with bacon. So I got to try a bit of everything...Here is some of what I tried:

Sylvia's - Sweet potato and bacon roll.

Big Daddy's - Cinna-Bacon cupcake (cinnamon maple batter, cinnamon frosting and candied bacon):

Friday, July 25, 2014

Parmys Persian Fusion in NYC, NY

Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!  
image of Parmys Persian Fusion in NYC, NY

I admit that Persian cuisine is not something that I eat often, having dined to only one Persian restaurant in the city; I went few times though, but not enough to make me a connoisseur of such an exotic cuisine. So I was excited to go there, intrigued by the fusion side of the name. 
image of dining room at Parmys Persian Fusion in NYC, NY

This small 50 seat restaurant, whose name comes from a Persian princess name, opened a year ago. It is a family business: the owner Amir Raoufi used to work in his sister's restaurants, Ravagh, before deciding to open Parmys with his other sister Mojgan, who is also a Chef. 

Menu wise, they specialize mostly in kebabs (meat, seafood or vegetarian), but you can get other dishes such as stews. Before we started, they brought us some bread as well as Persian salsa, made with veggies like carrots, cauliflower and cabbage.
image of bread and Persian salsa at Parmys Persian Fusion in NYC, NY

Then, I wanted to try the droogh, a Persian yogurt drink close to an Indian lassi, except that it is made with club soda.
image of droogh at Parmys Persian Fusion in NYC, NY

image of droogh at Parmys Persian Fusion in NYC, NY

For the entree, Jodi got a koobideh, a minced meat kebab (it was made of beef):

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bobby Van's Grill in New York, NY

image of Bobby Van's Grill in New York, NY

There is a large amount of steakhouses Midtown: Ruth's Chris, Empire Steakhouse, Quality Meats, Quality Italian, Smith and Wollensky, Wolfgang Steakhouse...No wonder there are so many considering all the businesses located there. Because, let's be honest: steaks are fantastic in the US, but it comes at a certain price and you will not see that many families in steakhouses, especially now, as the price of meat is going up. Whenever I have visitors from Europe, I tell them to try a good steak if they can afford it, suggesting few places I tried and liked. So this time, I tried Bobby Van's with some of my friends.
image of bar at Bobby Van's Grill in New York, NY

Established since 1969, this family business has several locations across the US, five being in Times Square. We went to the one on 50th street that opened in 2006. It has all the characteristics of a steakhouse: masculine, warm and noisy. You may think looking at the photos that the restaurant was empty, but in fact, these photos were taken when I left, a little after 10pm; because, believe me, when we arrived, it was packed!
image of dining room at Bobby Van's Grill in New York, NY

We had a small room reserved for us and we were all thinking: thank God, we will be able to hear each other. When we sat, I noticed that there was a small notepad on the table, wondering what the usage could be at the time of the smartphones and their note applications.
image of notes at Bobby Van's Grill in New York, NY

Menu wise, there is no surprise: you find the usual dishes a steakhouse proposes, such as crab cakes, shrimp cocktail or Caesar salad. Meat wise, they have the traditional cuts: filet mignon, ribeye, sirloin and of course a sizzling porterhouse.
image of menu at Bobby Van's Grill in New York, NY

As we were choosing from the menu, they brought us a bread basket with a nice variety, as well as some butter. Some say that the bread brought to the table makes the first impression: try in a way and so, for a steakhouse, you always expect one with different breads, breadsticks being a must have (don't ask me why...).
image of bread basket at Bobby Van's Grill in New York, NY


To go with our meal, we decided to order some wine. Red wine of course as pairing with a white wine our steaks would be a blasphemy. We chose a Bordeaux: Chateau Simard Saint Emilion 2004.
image of Chateau Simard Saint Emilion 2004 at Bobby Van's Grill in New York, NY

It is a wine that has a full and round structure, perfect with red meats, especially my favorite cut: the ribeye.

But first were the appetizers. I ordered one of my favorite in steakhouses: the crab cake.