We were looking for a seafood restaurant Midtown and decided to go to Blue Fin, the restaurant of the posh W Hotel in Times Square. I admit that we were not sure what to expect as many restaurants in that area care more about foot traffic than returning satisfied customers. And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised!
We were in Bushwick, Brooklyn for a media event and then looking for a place to eat. Our first choice was Roberta's a popular pizza joint that was unfortunately packed, having an hour wait that we did not even consider. Our backup plan was Momo Sushi Shack with large communal tables and I did not have too many regrets that our first choice did not work. Overall, the food at Momo, consisting in the large majority of small plates with a wide range of Japanese specialties, was good, but they were short in staff that day and the food took a bit of time to come.
My friends have been talking about B Side Pizzabar so many times that we decided to go after I came back from a trip from France. This place, located in Hell's Kitchen, has a nice rustic decor, quite warm. Quite minimalist as is the menu that Chef Jason Neroni crafted, that features some quite creative pizza cooked in their authentic Pavesi wood-burning oven.
I love lobster rolls and always mention the fact that French people are always surprised to hear that such a delicacy that is lobster can be served in a sandwich! But when they try, they get hooked. I did for sure. I remember the first time I tried it: it was at the food truck festival in South Street Seaport. After eating the food from food trucks, here it was: the Red Hook Lobster Pound. I remember the big chunks of lobster simply cooked in butter, the almighty crustacean being the star of the dish. Since then, I tried quite a few, but Mary's Fish Camp was missing from my list.
I recently received some bottles of Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce. Little I knew that this company has been created by Dexter Holland, the lead singer of The Offspring, a multi-platinum American Punk Rock band. I still remember some of their songs that were really popular when I lived in France. Apparently, Interestingly, the adventure started as gifts to friends:
Known for its burger, but also pizza, Emily opened recently in the West Village after feeding an hungry crowd in Brooklyn. I was really looking forward to trying that place and we got an early reservation there. Well, maybe too early and we were the first ones to arrive for dinner, diners arriving a bit later, especially families with kids. The place is of a nice size with lots of light thanks to its large windows.
We were set to eat at a Pizza place in Hell's Kitchen when, on our way, we stumbled upon Yonekichi, a tiny restaurant that opened last November, which serves rice burgers. I admit that I would have never noticed this place if it was not from the sign outside.
Back in May, we celebrated Jodi's birthday at Habanero Blues, a Mexican restaurant located Midtown Manhattan. There, we had a great time and very good food, certainly thinking about going back. Little we knew that one of the owners, Willy Reichenbach would invite me few months after for a meal there. Willy is a great guy, with lots of energy and passionate about the restaurant and ensuring his patrons have a great time. He gave me a few bits of interesting info about the place:
Going to Brooklyn is always an adventure especially with the trains, but I was looking forward to trying Alice's Arbor where I was invited. Located in Clinton Hill, this is a cute place, with a rustic and warm feel. Wood is omnipresent there and I love the use of old doors as backs for banquets.
I went to The Great Kabab Factory two years ago and forgot that this all you can eat place serves a phenomenal amount of food, to the point that, to my regret, I skipped dessert...Located in a hotel, the Radisson Blu (formerly Park Plaza), this is a nice place, with the dining room overlooking the kitchen that I only photographed at the end, busy talking to my colleagues explaining why the photo shows an empty room.
Each time I go to Delhi, I end up at Bukhara, the world famous restaurant. Don't be fooled by restaurant using that name: they are not part of the brand created by ITC and they try to use the notoriety of this fantastic establishment. I love this place that is a bit touristy but still serves some amazing food prepared in the kitchen that you can observe from the dining room (the first time I went there, I even got a tour of the kitchen).
During my last trip to India, i was really curious about the influence of the West on food, not that it is a new topic as chains like McDonald's or KFC have been present there for a long time, adapting their menu like, in any country where they invest, but with the added rule of not serving beef, cows being considered a sacred animal. I went to a mall in Noida as well as a tech center in Gurgaon, the Cyber Hub, where there were lots of chains that we know, reminding me a bit of Singapore.
Le Relais de Venise, the outpost of the French restaurant that simply serves steak frites smothered in a secret sauce that one believes has chicken liver in it, has opened a new location in Soho. A big place with the same feel and decor. Not French but Italian, with big paintings representing life in Venice. No, you are not mistaken: I said Italian. I love the story of Le Relais de Venise. It all started in 1959, when a winemaker named Paul Gineste de Saurs decided to buy an Italian restaurant in Paris with the intention to use it to showcase the wine produced by his family, Château de Saurs, wine still proposed at the restaurant.
When you are a blogger and get an invitation from PRs and restaurants, it is always tricky as one would wonder how objective you would be. I always follow certain rules: always disclose that I was invited, be honest about the food (if I do not like it, I will write it), never talk about the service as they know that you are coming for a review and for sure will give you extra attention. People sometimes ask me: if you get invited and do not like the food at all, what do you do? Frankly, I would not post as a courtesy to the person who invited me. Benares is an interesting case though: I went two years ago and did not like it.
For Bastille Day, we decided to celebrate in a French restaurant and chose La Gamelle, a place we passed in front of quite a few times. Nice place with live music, it definitely has a Parisian feel and not just because of the French music or French speaking staff.
It has been so long since I wanted to go to Sik Gaek in Woodside to try their live octopus, but I needed to find adventurous people to come with me to have a fun experience as Jodi categorically and understandably refused to come with me. So, I went on a Friday night with two of my colleagues, Abe and Fabien. I was not sure what to expect besides a crowded restaurant: not crowded when we showed up at approx. 6:45pm, but then, it filled up with quite a lot of people there to enjoy Korean food.
I love donuts and, as we were in Philly, we decided to try their famous Federal Donuts, a place that, outside of Philadelphia, only made it so far to Miami. We went for breakfast and, as we entered, our nose got filled with a delicious smell of fried dough.
I am a fan of Chef Anthony Pino who I got the chance to meet recently at Porter Collins, his new restaurant in Uptown Hoboken. I simply love his restaurants, including Bin 14 where we went quite a few times for brunch. So I was excited when I got invited for dinner at Anthony David's, his very first restaurant in the mile square city. It is not as big as Porter Collins, but has its charm and benefits from quite a number of seats outside, and from a large private room that I only saw from outside, a party taking place when we went.
I was really happy to find a Del Frisco's Double Eagle in Philadelphia. I know the steakhouse in New York where I went a few times and was never disappointed, and was looking forward to see if the one in Philly would deliver showing some consistency.
For our 10 year anniversary, we went to Philadelphia and picked Aqimero, the restaurant from acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval. Located in the Ritz Carlton, this place is beautiful and big. There are two areas: the lounge when you enter immediately in the hotel, and the restaurant on the left side, with its kitchen in the back where you can see the magic happen.
July is not only National Ice Cream Month, but it is also National Beer Month. So, Our Name Is Farm, a digital media and event production firm had a great idea to merge them together and asked Tipsy Scoop, the boozy ice cream parlor, to come up with some creation for Lantern Hall, the largest beer hall of Bushwick, Brooklyn that consults with them. Bars always fall short when it comes to dessert, so it is a very interesting way to fill the gap.
I have never been to the Liberty Science Center (aka LSC) in Jersey City and was excited when they invited me for an evening called LSC After Dark: Electric BBQ, an all adult event with booze, food, a DJ and an electric show to conclude the evening. This was a media preview of their event on July 20th. Interesting concept: although lots of adults love science, this kind of place is often associated with kids and the Liberty Science Center decided to create specific events for adults the third Thursday of each month. I think their first one was called LSC After Dark: sexy science party that was probably not as X-rated as the name may suggest, and more recently, LSC After Dark: nerd prom and wearable fashion show.
For our 10 year anniversary, we decided to go to Philadelphia, before a big trip that we are planning as a true celebration at the end of the year. I like Philly: food wise, it has lots to offer besides the usual cheesesteak that is undeniably associated to this city. As we arrived in the afternoon by train, I looked for a restaurant close to our hotel, keeping the option of a cheesesteak for later, our dinner being already steak. Looking on OpenTable, we found Estia, a Greek restaurant located near the city center.
When I went to Porter Collins several weeks ago, I had a fantastic dinner and was planning on going back there to try their brunch, when I received an invite from their PR. So, we just went yesterday and got the chance to see Chef Anthony Pino that I was looking forward to finally meeting, having dined at his other restaurants, Bin 14 and Anthony David's, multiple times. During our discussion, he explained that he decided to become a Chef at 10 years old, wanting to save his family from bad food: well, I am sure that his family is grateful now! I asked him why he decided to open another restaurant in Hoboken instead of New York and his answer defines well his character: he wants to stay close to his family as they are important to him.
I recently received, for just $1, some wine from Blason Louis, a French Wine seller that teamed up with more than a dozen winemakers in France and is reaching out to bloggers. But it is not a bottle that I received: no, it was four flacons in a box, that I admit looked pretty sleek. These tubes full of wine are great, especially if, like me, you do not drink enough wine to open a bottle, thinking that it would go to waste fairly quickly, turning into something that would only be good as a cooking ingredient. Restaurants offer wine by the glass, but at home, the choice is limited: you can find half bottles, but, usually, they will be located close to the cashier, like a pariah.
Located off the beaten path on the Lower East Side, El Maguey Y La Tuna is not unknown to me: I went few years ago for a press dinner where I was amazed by the delicious food that place serves. There, I met again Maria, the owner, who ensure that patrons feel welcome in this small restaurant where the food matters more than anything else.
Southern Hospitality use to be my favorite BBQ place. Used to...After I went back, I cannot say that anymore: the menu has changed and not for the better. I wonder what happened! I was really looking forward to go back there and have one of their combos, but, they were not proposing it anymore and some of the great dishes they use to propose were changed, such as the fried green tomatoes that are topped with a house-made remoulade and pickled tomatoes. The fried tomatoes were not great, a bit soggy.
The last time we went to Empellon Taqueria was few years ago, for brunch, where we had an amazing churro French toast. So, as we were celebrating for a second time Jodi's birthday, we decided to go there for dinner. We went on a Friday and the place was packed. I have to say that I love the colorful decor of that place and the setting of the dining room that has some warmth to it, but like less the noise level for dinner that was very loud and not really suited for a romantic dinner...
Ichiba Ramen by Shinokubo is a Japanese restaurant in Union Square, that serves creative Japanese and Korean influenced dishes (Shinokubo is named after the Shin Okubo Koreatown in Shinjuku, Japan). Ichiba is quite a big place compared to the usual hole in the wall type of ramen restaurants that popped up in the past few years and it has a colorful and cool design, with a beautiful painting on the top of the wall.