Maison, French Brasserie located Midtown, NYC, New York

image of Maison French Brasserie, NYC, New York

Maison is a brasserie located Midtown that is opened 24/7. Its decor is really impressive, between the high ceilings and the giant old ads. The place is of medium size, benefiting from the outside area that is perfect on a warm day.
image of Maison French Brasserie, NYC, New York

It has ben a while I did not go there: at least since I started this blog! The last time was with our friends Diana and Peter, for brunch, and I had a succulent duck confit crepe that is not anymore on the menu.
image of coffee at Maison French Brasserie, NYC, New York

We went for brunch and did not start that well as they kind of forgot us...The manager came and apologized, offering us some drinks; I just went for coffee (sorry, no bellini)! But we thought the service would be better once they realized we were there, unfortunately, it was not the case: it was the poorest service we had in a long time! And it was so unusual for that place.

Concerning the menu, you will find lots of basic dishes you would find in brasseries, although the restaurant features mainly specialties from Brittany, such as crepes, as well as standard brunch dishes such as eggs Benedict.

Jodi decided to try their Croque Monsieur, made with ham and beer marinated Swiss cheese:

image of Croque monsieur at Maison French Brasserie, NYC, New York

When ordering, they ask you if you want fries or the mixed salad. She picked the salad. The presentation was wonderfully rustic and appetizing! And the croque monsieur was delicious! The bread was soft and there was a lot of cheese.

On my side, I ordered the smoked ham and gruyere cheese crepe with a fried egg on top:
image of Ham and cheese crepe at Maison French Brasserie, NYC, New York

Similar to Jodi, I had choice between fries or salad: I picked salad. The crepe itself was just ok: too thin, you could barely taste it! However, there were a lot of ham and cheese and I loved the fact that the fried egg was cooked over easy, so I could dip the crepe in the runny yolk!

And it is only few seconds before our dishes came that they asked us if we wanted some bread with some sort of pepper butter and olive oil!!!
image of Bread and butter at Maison French Brasserie, NYC, New York

Despite the service, it was a good brunch and we will probably go back. This time, hopefully, it will be a more enjoyable experience!

Enjoy (I did)!

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Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

image of Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

The last time I went to Zafra's was in March this year. We went there few times before, but that time, it was to drink their hot chocolate with machica that was ranked number 15 of the best hot chocolate in the US! We tried it and it was delicious, however, we were out of luck because their fryer was not working and they could not prepare some of the dishes we wanted to order. 
image of lime at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

So we decided to go back for a Sunday brunch! The place was crowded: normal, considering it is a very popular restaurant in Hoboken!
image of Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

I love this colorful tiny place, that serves some delicious Cuban and Latin food crafted by Chef Maricel Presilla!
image of Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

Of course, we started off with the hot chocolate:
image of Hot chocolate with machica at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

It was fantastic! Not too sweet, it had this fantastic flavor that emanated from the cinnamon.

Then, we decided to start with arepitas con queso, small arepas with cheese:

image of Arepitas con queso at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

We got three of them, served with creme fraiche and salsa. It was very good: I love the taste and texture of the corn flower. The cheese was probably queso blanco. It was a great, inexpensive appetizer, perfect for sharing.

Then, Jodi ordered the Carimañolas con Huevos or Yuca Cheese Croquettes with two fried eggs:
image of Carimañolas con Huevos or Yuca Cheese Croquettes with two fried eggs at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

It was served with pressed buttered Cuban bread that was delicious. It was an ok dish: the croquettes were a bit dough-y.
image of Carimañolas con Huevos or Yuca Cheese Croquettes with two fried eggs at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

On my side, I ordered the Tortilla de Huevos y Maduros  or egg and ripe plantain omelet:
image of huevos with maduros at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

It was served with the same Cuban bread. I liked it, but would have liked a bit of cheese or cream to jazz up the dish a bit. However, the omelet was perfectly made.
image of huevos with maduros at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

We were hesitating to get dessert, when they brought us their tres leches, complimentary, because we accepted to switch tables to accommodate a large party.
image of Tres leches cake at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

It was a nice gesture that we could not refuse! And trust me: we would have been crazy to refuse! It was delicious!
image of Tres leches cake at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

It had this thick layer of meringue on top that was flambéed, and then, in the bottom, was the sponge cake that was drowned in the milk mix. This was fantastic: tasty and not sweet at all! Needless to say we finished it!
image of Tres leches cake at Zafra's in Hoboken, NJ

I will definitely go back there to try some other dishes. If you do go to Zafra's, I suggest the hot chocolate and the tres leches cake!

Enjoy (I did)!    

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Brunch at The Smith in NYC, New York


We were looking for a place to have brunch before going to the Moma for the Magritte exhibit, and ended up at The Smith, on the Upper West Side. We reserved of course as each time we passed by the place, it was packed. Good move I would say! Yes, it was fairly crowded, outside and inside, and people kept coming in! 

I like the place: bright, it has an interesting decor, like a modern brasserie, but with some retro elements. This place is owned and operated by Jeffrey Lefcourt and Glenn Harris who also own and operate Jane on West Houston Street (always packed too!). 

As we sat, they brought us some bread (baguette), butter, as well as tap and sparkling water. I admit that it is the first time they brought free sparkling water in a restaurant!

So, we first ordered some beverages. Jodi got herself a tea from Steven...Smith (not sure if it was on purpose...). 

I ordered a double espresso. Good, but $7 was a bit pricey! Was there gold in it???

Then, our first appetizer came: hot potato chips with blue cheese fondue. 

We could not resist ordering it! Chips and blue cheese pair so well! But we did not foresee that it would be so big! For sure, they were not cheap on the blue cheese either and it was a fantastic start! It is definitely a dish I recommend!

Then, Jodi ordered the ranchero scramble, their take on Huevos rancheros.

It was served with chipotle salsa, black beans, cheddar and avocado, on top of tortilla. It was ok for me: I prefer when the yolk is runny, mixing up with the salsa and the black beans. Theirs was a bit dry for my taste. 

On my side, I ordered the vanilla bean French toast. 

Presentation wise, the bananas did not look that appetizing. I also found them cooked uneven. However, the bread itself was delicious! Well soaked in the batter, it was thick and the vanilla taste came through. I also appreciated the fact that they served it with good maple syrup, not too sweet. 

At the end, we were stuffed and, even if I did not like everything, I would certainly go back to try some other dishes of their mouth watering menu! Maybe the burger or the lobster roll next time!

Enjoy (I did)!

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Little Town NJ in Hoboken, NJ


image of Little Town NJ in Hoboken, NJ

For brunch, we decided to go to Little Town NJ, not the city in New Jersey, but the restaurant in Hoboken. Opened recently by the sons of the Manzo family who own the Brownstone, apparently an institution I did not get a chance to try. In fact, one of their dishes is the Brownstone Tenderloin.
image of Little Town NJ in Hoboken, NJ

The place is pretty big, with an impressive bar, solid wood tables and leather banquettes that give this place some warmth. 

In the back, they even have a game of skee ball!
image of skee ball at Little Town NJ in Hoboken, NJ

But I admit that the noise of that game is not the most pleasurable to the ears, especially if you are looking for a nice and somewhat quiet brunch. 

We were there early and decided to order from the menu instead if waiting for their buffet to open. 

Jodi ordered the cranberry bog salad.
image of cranberry bog salad at Little Town NJ in Hoboken, NJ

It was made of crumbled goat cheese, mixed greens and dried cranberries. Good salad, although more cheese would have been much appreciated. 

On my side, I ordered the crab Benny or Benedict if you did not guess. Surprisingly, the waitress asked me how I wanted my eggs. I responded "poached", surprised by the question, but realized that it is probably because they propose any style in case people do not like poached eggs. 
image of crab benny at Little Town NJ in Hoboken, NJ

With it, I had a choice between fries and mixed greens. I went for the mixed greens, trying to convince myself I was having a healthy lunch...
The plate was impressive! Usually, they serve you a little salad, but at Little Town NJ, it is a good size. The eggs were perfectly poached, with a nice runny yolk and topped with a delicious thick Hollandaise sauce. The crab cakes, probably made with the meat of the claw were good but salty. Too bad! Last, in the bottom, was a piece of Taylor ham, all of this on an english muffin.

Despite the saltiness of the crab cakes, I really liked the dish and I am looking forward to going there for dinner!

Enjoy (I did)!

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Brunch at Craftbar in NYC, New York

image of Tom Colicchio's Craftbar in NYC, New York

I have become a fan of Tom Colicchio: not for his personality on TV, but his food! We tried Colicchio and Sons and the famous TC Burger that is for me the best burger so far in New York City. So, last time, we were close to Union Square, trying to find a place for brunch and decided to try Craftbar as it was on my wish list of restaurants (trust me: it is a very long list). The place is gorgeous: high ceilings, dark wood with a gateway across the restaurant joining the wine cellar that you cannot miss.
image of Tom Colicchio's Craftbar in NYC, New York

Similar to Colicchio and Sons, although a bit industrial looking, there is this sense of space, modernity and warmth. 
image of Tom Colicchio's Craftbar in NYC, New York

For brunch, the menu offers pretty standard brunch dishes, but just reading their description, you know that it is different and you wish you could order everything! After a difficult time to make up our mind, we ordered our food. Jodi ordered the croque Madame:
Image of Croque madame at Tom Colicchio's Craftbar in NYC, New York

Croque Madame is a croque Monsieur with a fried egg. It was served with mustard and pickles.
image of pickles for Croque madame at Tom Colicchio's Craftbar in NYC, New York

What definitely made this dish successful is the sauce Mornay that is the Béchamel sauce with additional shredded or grated cheese. This was fantastic and very filling. 

On my side, I ordered the braised mushrooms and poached eggs:
Image of braised mushrooms and poached eggs at Tom Colicchio's Craftbar in NYC, New York

Even if I preferred the croque Madame, I liked that dish: the eggs were perfectly poached (I hate when the yolk is overcooked), there was a lot of fontina cheese and lots of mushrooms that gave an earthy dimension to the dish and contributed to the balance of flavors.

This was definitely a great brunch and I look forward to going back to try their Craftbar “Double Stack” Burger!!!

Enjoy (I did)!

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Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York


Image of Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

For Jodi's Birthday, we went to Sugar and Plumm's location on the Upper West Side, the reason being that the last time we passed by that place, Jodi immediately noticed their coconut cake!!! So, it was Her day! 

The place is fun because it mainly caters to families and it definitely is not where one should go for a romantic dinner! If you really want to go there, but would like to avoid family crowds, it is better that you go after 2pm if not 3pm. 

When you enter Sugar and Plum, you will notice three areas:

The candy area on the right that is amazing! 
Image of candies and chocolates at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

Not because if the regular candies by the pound they sell, that are pretty standard. 
Image of candies at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

But because of the ones made of chocolate, some if them being spectacular, like this red shoe (Jodi loved it!):
Image of red chocolate shoe at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

or a bottle of champagne:
Image of Chocolate champagne bottle at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York


In the center, various items:
Macarons
Image of Macaroons at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

Croissants, pains au chocolat or cookies
Image of Cookies at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

Pastries, cakes and cupcakes:
Image of Cakes, pastries and cupcakes at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

or ice cream and sorbet:
Image of ice cream and sorbet at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York


Last, on the left, the dining room with its colorful mosaic on the wall, accentuating how fun this place is. 
Image of colorful mosaic at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

We started our lunch with the following. For Jodi, the ham and cheese crepe. 
Image of Ham and cheese crepe at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

The darker color of the crepe was a clear indication that it was made with buckwheat. There was a nice amount if cheese, however, for $12, I would have expected a salad on the side. Besides being pricey, it was very good and similar to a crepe I would have eaten in Paris. 

So, as there was no salad, Jodi ordered one!
Image of Mixed green salad at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

Let's face it: it was just a salad. Nothing to dream about. 

I decided to order the chicken and waffles. I love this Southern concept and it is the perfect example of how sweet and savory can be successfully combined together!
Image of Chicken and waffles at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

I immediately saw that the chicken was not fried, but probably baked. I did not like it: fry with a weird taste and with the skin missing some crispness. For sure healthier, but who cares!
The waffle however was delicious! Dense but not too much, with a fantastic taste enhanced by vanilla. 

To go with the chicken and waffles, I went for a vanilla milkshake:
Image of vanilla milkshake at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

It was very good: tasty, it had the perfect consistency which is that I did not have to struggle to get it through the straw, even if that straw was a bigger one.

Then was time for the long awaited dessert!!! The coconut cake:
Image of coconut cake at Sugar and Plumm in NYC, New York

It was quite appetizing and we liked it although it does not measure up with the one at Balthazar or the coconut cream pie at Billy's. 

I think that if you like waffles or have kids, Sugar and Plum is the place for you. For instance, we witnessed the patience of the staff and their kindness toward children (also the adults!). Otherwise, I thought that some items were overpriced. 

Enjoy (...)!

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Sweet Revenge in the West Village, NYC, New York

image of Sweet Revenge in the West Village, NYC, New York

Sweet Revenge: what an interesting name! It kind of make you think that what they serve is decadent and sinful. We went to that place many years ago, thanks to the recommendation of one of Jodi's friends and, roaming around West Village, we decided to go back, but not only for their cupcakes, also for brunch as we were curious to see what kind of food they propose on their menu.

This place is tiny, so if you are a large group, good luck! Otherwise, it has this type of atmosphere that makes you think it is an old place that is a hole in the wall, kind of secret and reserved to the cupcakes lovers. 

We ordered from the menu that proposes some traditional dishes, but with a twist, such as the Croque Monsieur Savory Cake!
image of Croque Monsieur Savory Cake at Sweet Revenge in the West Village, NYC, New York

I think it is a great idea to mix the two concepts: croque monsieur that is a pretty standard brunch dish and a cake, and I admit that the presentation was beautiful. The Croque Monsieur part was made of ham and jarlsberg cheese cake and was served with a delicious warm honey Dijon mustard. With it, there was mesclun greens, cranberries and chipotle pumpkin seeds. I wish I ordered it instead of Jodi! So good! But a bit small though! You definitely got the texture and taste of the cake that complemented well the saltiness of the ham and cheese. Great dish!

On my side, I ordered the Scotch Eggs:

Image of Scotch eggs at Sweet Revenge in the West Village, NYC, New York

This dish was composed of two hard boiled eggs, wrapped in chicken sausage with a cracked black pepper panko crust. They served it with roasted thyme potatoes and some fruit.
image of Scotch eggs at Sweet Revenge in the West Village, NYC, New York

It was the first time I tried such dish and I did not like it: it was dry and bland, especially the chicken sausage! Now you understand why I wish I had ordered Jodi's dish!!! 

Well, we could not leave without trying cupcakes! So we went for the Pure:
image of Pure cupcake at Sweet Revenge in the West Village, NYC, New York

Made with Mexican vanilla cake with Mexican vanilla buttercream. And the Crimson & Cream, made with a raspberry red velvet cake and a cream cheese frosting:
Image of Crimson and cream cupcake at Sweet Revenge in the West Village, NYC, New York

Both cupcakes were delicious: the cakes were moist and the frosting tasty and not too sweet. For the Pure, you could really taste the vanilla. The red velvet was good, but not the best I had (I am a big fan of Sweet in Hoboken, NJ that has the best cupcakes so far!).

Despite the Scotch eggs, I had some good food at Sweet Revenge and will certainly go back there to try some of the other cupcakes they serve, as well as the Croque Monsieur Cake that makes me salivate as I write that post...

Enjoy (I did)!

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A visit to the Brooklyn Museum: Brunch at Sunshine Co and treats at Joyce Bakeshop!

Image of Brooklyn Museum, NYC, New York

Jodi wanted to see the exhibit of John Singer Sargent at the Brooklyn Museum and we planned for few weeks to go with our friends Gary and Jen. So the rain did not stop us and we were certain to add to this artistic experience a culinary one, especially considering that more and more delicious restaurants are opening in Brooklyn! We did not pick in advance a place and just used our mobile phones to find out where to go. Unfortunately, the first two choices we had were not possible, because of the waiting time. Usually, we do not mind, but with the rain, waiting was a big no-no! That is how we found Sunshine Company! 
Image of Sunshine Co in Brooklyn, New York

We immediately got a table! The place was nice with a rustic although modern feel, very bright thanks to the large windows going up to the high ceilings. 
Image of Sunshine Co in Brooklyn, New York

Most of the items on the menu looked fantastic and it was a tough choice! I started anyway with a double espresso, my drink of choice for brunch...
Image of espresso at Sunshine Co in Brooklyn, New York

Then, Jodi got the baked eggs:
Image of Baked eggs at Sunshine Co in Brooklyn, New York

The baked eggs were served with grilled zucchini, grilled eggplant, tomatoes and feta cheese, topped with some salad. It came with two slices of buttered bread.
Image of Baked eggs at Sunshine Co in Brooklyn, New York

The eggs were perfect: the yolk was slightly runny like I love it! I was even surprised to see Jodi eat them as she usually do not like runny yolks! Also, having all these vegetables made this dish very earthy. 

I decided to order the Tres Leches French Toast:
Image of Tres Leches French toast at Sunshine Co in Brooklyn, New York

It looked fantastic and the French toast itself was good with the bread perfectly soaked. I just wished it has more tres leches taste, similar to the one at The cuban in Hoboken!

We definitely had good food and a good time at Sunshine Co and it was great that we found this little gem just walking desperately around!
Image of Joyce Bakeshop in Brooklyn, New York

Then, after the museum, we wanted to see if there was a bakery around. Same modus operandi to find a place: cell phones...And we ended up at Joyce Bakeshop!
image of Joyce Bakeshop in Brooklyn, New York

It is a nice little place, perfect for a coffee in the afternoon to catch up with your long time friends. Their pastries looked delicious and very tempting and what I liked was the fact that they propose a large and a regular version of most of their cakes!
Image of Lemon tart at Joyce Bakeshop in Brooklyn, New York

Gary and Jen had a Woopie pie and a black and white.
image of Woopie pie and black and white at Joyce Bakeshop in Brooklyn, New York
We ordered a chocolate chip cookie
Image of Chocolate chip cookie at Joyce Bakeshop in Brooklyn, New York

and an almond and pear tart:
Image of Pear and almond tart at Joyce Bakeshop in Brooklyn, New York

It looked better than it tasted! The almond and pear tart was dry as was the cookie, despite all the chocolate in it. The crust in the tart was a bit salty too: it definitely needed butter!

Look, we tried and you never know: sometimes you find great places just walking around, like the Sunshine Co!

Enjoy (I did)!

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A trip to Montreal - Part 6: French Patisserie Boulangerie O Gateries in Longueuil

Before reading this post, please note that, in accordance with the FTC guidelines, I must disclose that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!

image of O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada


When my friend Malika came to New York, we told her that we were going to Montreal for a week end and she suggested to visit her friends Jean-Francois and Lise who own a Pastry shop in Longueuil, a suburb that is a few minutes from Montreal. 

Jean-Francois is a French pastry Chef who was trained by Les Compagnons du Devoir, a companionship that originated in the Middle Ages, during the construction of Cathedrals. The goal was to  teach and train very skilled workers during many years of apprenticeship. They then expanded to more traditional jobs. Being part of Les Compagnons du Devoir is not a small thing and not everybody can be part of it: you have to be dedicated, motivated and skilled. It is during his apprenticeship that Jean-Francois ended up in Canada, where he met Lise, and together, they opened O Gateries, that will celebrate 20 years this year, in July.

Besides talking about personal stuff with Jean-Francois and Lise, we spoke about being a boulanger - patissier and I could really sense a passion that I always like to find in people. One thing that I still remember that Jean-Francois said, was about technique: when making something, what matters is not the ingredients, but the technique. It makes sense, otherwise, each time I follow a recipe, I should have the same result as anybody, no? No.

To give you an idea of O Gateries, now: I was expecting a smaller place, but it was of a good size, with a terrace and a dining room. In fact, O Gateries is not only a bakery and pastry shop: it also does some catering (apparently their duck confit pie is a big hit) and serves meals. 

image of O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada
But, because of all the work, Jean-Francois decided to hand over part of the products he sells to local artisans: for the bread and the chocolates (at the exception of the truffles that he makes). This way, he can focus on making viennoiseries (croissants, chocolate croissants called in Canada "Chocolatines" and in France, "Pains au chocolat",...) and pastries. He tries to stay traditional and looking at the pastries, we saw the classic ones: eclairs au chocolat, mille feuilles, religieuses...

As we were there for breakfast, they proposed us to try few things. Jodi ordered the chocolatine or Chocolate croissant.
Image of chocolatine or chocolate croissant at O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada

It was very good: flaky and buttery!

Lise suggested to me to get the Eggs Benedict: I could not refuse, especially as I love that dish! But the way they prepare it is with a French twist!
image of eggs benedict at O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada

It was composed of a slice of French bread, sauteed mushrooms that were fantastic, brie and a perfectly poached egg topped by Hollandaise sauce. They added some moutarde de Dijon / Dijon mustard that gave a nice kick. 

We also got the opportunity to try the palmier or elephant ears that were delicious: fresh, flaky, crunchy and buttery.
image of elephant ears at O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada

As well as the religieuse that is one of my favorite pastries!
image of religieuse at O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada

I really appreciated the fact that it was not too sweet and we could really taste the chocolate in the custard that is inside the puff pastry. 

We definitely had a good time there whether it was for the food or the company! O Gateries is definitely an address to know!

Enjoy (Id did)!

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Brunch at Nizza in Hell's Kitchen - NYC, New York

Image of Nizza, Italian Trattoria in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, New York

I noticed Nizza few times while walking in Hell's Kitchen and always thought that it would be nice to try it. We ended up there really by chance as we originally wanted to go to another restaurant across the street, that, although we had a reservation, was closed when we arrived! 

It was early and the place was not that crowded. At first, I did not really think about it, but, after looking at the menu and one particular dish that I will describe later, I realized that Nizza means Nice in Italian. Nice is a city South of France, that is close to Italy, that I visited often when I was a kid, to see some Family. But, despite its French translation, Nizza is still an Italian restaurant that serves pizza, pasta...
Image of Nizza, Italian Trattoria in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, New York

The place is nice, yellow being the main pattern to the decor, with an amazing bar.

After we ordered, they brought us some delicious focaccia bread with olive oil.
Image of Focaccia bread and olive oil at Nizza, Italian Trattoria in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, New York

The bread was light, airy and fresh. I could not stop dipping it in the olive oil!

Then, we shared the Gorgonzola crostini:

Image of Gorgonzola crostini at Nizza, Italian Trattoria in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, New York

They were served with dolce latte and a fig jam. It was very good. The bread, that was toasted, had a nice crunch and the Gorgonzola cheese paired very well with the fig jam.

Jodi ordered the Socca:
Image of Socca with eggs at Nizza, Italian Trattoria in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, New York

Socca is a thicker version of a crepe made of chickpea. This is the dish that made me do the link with Nice; although it originated in Genoa, in Italy, you cannot visit Nice and not have Socca! At Nizza, it was served with two over easy eggs, Swiss chard, onions and fontina cheese. I liked it. It is different from the Socca I know, because I use to eat it simply with salt and pepper, but I liked it wen mixed with the eggs (especially the runny yolk) and the cheese.

I ordered the Eggs Benedict:
Image of Eggs benedict at Nizza, Italian Trattoria in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, New York

It was composed of 2 poached eggs, toasted focaccia, Italian ham and parmesan cream sauce. That was fantastic! The eggs were perfectly cooked, with a runny yolk where I delightfully dipped the focaccia bread, adding to the bite some very good ham. 

We skipped dessert as we had to go see a movie, but had a very good brunch at Nizza. In fact, I was very happy that the other restaurant ended up closed....

Enoy (I did)!

And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!
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Lunch at Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar in NYC, New York

Image of Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar in NYC, New York

It has been a while since I wanted to go to Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar; I was curious, probably because of the word Chocolate in the name.  I was imagining dishes made with chocolate like Seppi's, the restaurant that used to be at the Parker Meridien Hotel proposed in its Chocolate Brunch. I was wrong. Only desserts and drinks have this fantastic ingredient.

Anyway, we were there, one week day I was not working, so we could benefit from the lunch prix-fixe at $9.95. The place was nice and modern and the service courteous and efficient.
Image of Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar in NYC, New York

Before we started, they brought us some bread with some tapenade, a black olive spread that was delicious and not too salty.
Image of Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar in NYC, New York

I ate it with a sip of Coke...
Image of Lime at Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar in NYC, New York

Jodi decided to order a salad. She ordered the Italian Fruta Mista:
Image of Italian Fruta Mista salad at Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar in NYC, New York

The salad looked fantastic: colorful and very appetizing! It was delicious and very refreshing with all the fruits (mango and strawberries) that paired perfectly with the mozzarella.

On my side, I ordered the prix-fixe for $9.95. For a starter, I ordered the eggplant spread and for the main, a mini panini, Prosciutto Di Parma, composed of prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, aged parmesan cheese and basil. It was served with a salad. When the plate came, I was really surprised by the quantity...
Image of Eggplant puree and panini at Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar in NYC, New York

It looked nice, but was quite small. For sure, if you have a good appetite, this is your appetizer! It was good though! The panini was crispy, however, I wish there was more stuff inside as you could barely taste the cheese. The eggplant puree was very good and tasty.

As I was still hungry and wanted to experience the chocolate part of the restaurant, we decided to order the chocolate molten cake:
Image of Chocolate molten cake at Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar in NYC, New York

It was good and the chocolate inside was gooey. That is what I am talking about!!!

Lunch at Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar was good but clearly not enough for me! Fortunately, we had other eating plans for the afternoon...But this is another story!

Enjoy (I did)!

Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar on Urbanspoon

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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!

Burger at Colicchio and Sons in NYC, New York

Last year, we went to Colicchio and Sons for Jodi's Birthday and had a memorable dinner there! In my post (check out my review of Colicchio and Sons here), I mentioned this guy at the bar who ordered a burger that looked delicious. So this time, we decided to try it out! 
Image of the TC burger at Colicchio and Sons in NYC, New York

Imagine this burger, called the TC burger: the blend of meat (apparently secret) is topped with drunken onions (in wine) and aged pecorino cheese, and then gently squeezed between a homemade brioche bun previously toasted. 

The burger was served with homemade BBQ chips and a pickle.

image of TC burger at Colicchio and Sons in NYC, New York

The ratio patty / brioche was perfect and the burger was cooked to the requested temperature (medium) with a nice char outside. When I cut it into two, it rejected lots of juice: definitely not a dry burger and I enjoyed the juiciness of the meat until the last bite (sometimes all the juice is gone and you end up with a dryer piece of meat between your fingers). 
Image of the burger at Colicchio and Sons in NYC, New York

It had fantastic flavors and that day, there was truffle in it (not sure they put some all the time) that we could definitely taste. The meat had a strong taste and did not get overpowered by the aged pecorino or the drunken onions that liberated wine flavors that paired well with the meat. The first bite was divine, as were the ones following it. Quickly, you realize your plate is empty...so sad...

With the burger, were served some BBQ chips that were good, but I wish they were just homemade potato chips; it is just a personal preference though. 
Image of the Pickle from the burger at Colicchio and Sons in NYC, New York

What was great on the plate was the pickle that had a surprising sweetness. It reminded me of an episode of Top Chef where the contestants had to serve a dish where a pickle was the star. CJ decided to serve a burger that was, according to Chef Colicchio not that good. After tasting his, I understand why CJ screwed up...

I would like to mention the service also: I think that Colicchio and Sons knows what hospitality is! The service was courteous, efficient and made us feel welcome. Seems to be the motto there: hospitality! 

To conclude this post, I would say that the TC burger is for me the top in its category (burgers more than $15, this one being $18 at the time of this post). I will definitely recommend it moving forward to the burger fans I know!!!

Enjoy (I surely did)!

And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!
  Colicchio & Sons on Urbanspoon

MBG burger at Madison Bar and Grill in Hoboken, NJ

Image of the Entrance of the Madison Bar and Grill in Hoboken, NJ

Madison Bar & Grill is a very popular Bar / restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey. We went there couple of times and had mixed experiences about it: their Sunday brunch buffet is fabulous! They serve a wide range of dishes that can satisfy any palate: from seafood, with fresh shrimp and oysters, to meat, to the fantastic creme brulee French Toast! If you have a good appetite or want to try plenty of delicious dishes, this is a good deal.

Then, we went to their first seating menu: for a little over $18, you get an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. When I went, I had the crab cakes, the free range chicken and the cannoli. This was a very average experience: the crab cakes were just ok and a bit greasy, with lots of filler; the chicken was dry and bland and the cannoli not good. 

But this time, I went specifically to try their burger! It is called the MBG signature Blue Label Burger. Such name is an invitation to indulge! 
Image of the Burger at the Madison Bar and Grill in Hoboken, NJ

As you can see on the photo above, they branded the brioche bun! So, the burger comes with skin-on French fries. I asked for the patty to be cooked medium and picked cheddar for the cheese (they also proposed Swiss, provolone or American).
The meat (dry aged beef) was perfect: medium as requested and very juicy, it had a bold taste making me think that they do not use any filler in it. There was a perfect ratio bun to meat and the bun was deliciously toasted. This was definitely a great cheeseburger! They just need to perfect the French fries that were good, but did not have anything extraordinary (you know what I mean if you went to Minetta Tavern).

On a healthier side, Jodi ordered the Warm Herbed Goat Cheese Salad:
Warm herbed goat cheese salad at the Madison Bar and Grill in Hoboken, NJ

It was made of mixed greens, carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and dressed with an oven-roasted tomato vinaigrette. I liked the fact that it was a different take on a classic salad: it was not just goat cheese put on top of the veggies or on top of a piece of toast. It was like a croquette and a good one in fact: not greasy, it added a nice crunch to the dish. Perfect!

We finished the meal with the Chocolate Molten Cake:
Image of the Chocolate molten cake at the Madison Bar and Grill in Hoboken, NJ

The presentation was very appetizing! It had three components that worked perfectly together: the chocolate cake, a tahitian vanilla gelato and a strawberry sauce. It was good, but I was a bit disappointed because I was expecting the chocolate to ooze in the center; the cake was probably a bit overcooked! 

I did not regret giving another chance to the Madison Bar & Grill and was pretty satisfied at the end of the meal! It is definitely a good spot for brunch or for a good burger!

Enjoy (I did)!

Madison Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Brunch at 44&X in NYC, New York

Image of 44 and X in NYC, New York
Few weeks ago, when my brother visited us for few days, we went to 44 1/2, a restaurant located on 44th street and 10th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen. On our way, we noticed this joint just one restaurant away called 44&X that was packed. So, we decided to go back to the area and try it.

In fact 44 1/2 and 44&X have the same owner, Bruce. The common element of the restaurant was both the modern decor, the impeccable service, and the little muffins they put on the table, muffins that are a bit addictive...
Image of Muffin at 44 and X in NYC, New York
The menu offers classic brunch dishes, so we went straight for eggs!

Jodi ordered the scrambled eggs served with wild mushrooms, smokehouse bacon and herb toast.
Image of Wild mushroom scrambled eggs at 44 and X in NYC, New York
On my side, I ordered herb scrambled eggs, Vermont cheddar cheese grits and sweet breakfast sausage.
Image of Herb scrambled eggs with cheddar grits at 44 and X in NYC, New York

Let me tell you the portion she got as well as my own dish were very generous and I could barely finish (probably also because of the muffins I ate...). The eggs were fluffy and well cooked, although I prefer mine a bit runny. I think the star of the brunch was the cheese grits: it was succulent! They did not cheat us on the amount of cheese and it was deliciously creamy! The sausages were as advertised: sweet and the bacon was fantastic and crunchy. The potatoes in Jodi's dish were just ok for me, but she loved it.

Like at 44 1/2, they put a bit of fruits on the plate, nice way to finish the meal and clean our palates. 

So, it was very good and I think that if you are looking for a nice brunch in New York, in a modern setting, 44 1/2 and 44&X are great places located steps away from the noisy Times Square!

Enjoy (I did)!

44 & X Hell's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

South Indian Dosa at Matt & Meera in Hoboken, NJ

Image of Matt and Meera Indian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ New Jersey
I have already written a post about Matt & Meera, an American-Indian fusion restaurant in Hoboken, NJ. Since they opened, I went few times and I have become a huge fan of this place. So, I was somewhat curious to try their brunch menu!

Jodi and I decided to try the dosa, a lentil crepe from South India. The first time I tried it was many years ago in Mumbai, during the Ganesh festival. The one I had was vegetarian and delicious from what I recall!

Jodi ordered the potato dosa.
Image of Potato dosa at Matt and Meera Indian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ New Jersey
When it arrived, it looked fantastic! It was served with some chutney, one of them being the tomato mustard chutney that is amazing! It is certainly a big portion if you compare to the knife and fork on the photo.
Image of Potato dosa at Matt and Meera Indian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ New Jersey
But not the entire dosa was filled.
Image of Potato dosa at Matt and Meera Indian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ New Jersey
The filling in the potato dosa was very tasteful and a bit spicy, with some nice sweetness added by the onions that were deliciously soft.

I decided to go for the lamb dosa.
Image of Lamb dosa at Matt and Meera Indian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ New Jersey
I love lamb and it had the same flavor profile as the samosas or the lamb burger that I still crave! It was packed with spices that exploded in my mouth!
Image of Lamb dosa at Matt and Meera Indian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ New Jersey
In this dosa too, they added some onions that added not only sweetness but also texture to the dish. I loved it!!!

Of course, we had to finish with dessert. I was intrigued by their dessert menu as I love Indian desserts! We shared the caramel kulfi, that is a kind of ice cream.
Image of Caramel Kulfi mousse at Matt and Meera Indian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ New Jersey
It was succulent with an great caramel taste. The texture was denser than ice cream and a perfect way to end the meal!

That was a great brunch and I will definitely try other traditional brunch dishes that I am sure have a nice Indian twist such as the Huevos Rancheros or the steak & Eggs!

Enjoy (I did)!

Brunch at La Petite Abeille in NYC, New York

Image of La Petite Abeille in the West Village NYC, New York

We went to La Petite Abeille in the West Village on a Sunday. The restaurant was a bit crowded and the poor waiter was alone to attend all the patrons inside and outside. He did a good job!
I went to this place many years ago and wanted to go back specifically for "The Mitraillette" (machine gun) sandwich, a Belgian sandwich made with steak and fries. Where I come from, we use to have an equivalent: beef patty, French fries and ketchup in a baguette; we called it "The American". I remember that I loved it, although the idea of fries in bread can seem weird. 

So, La Petite Abeille (The Little Bee in English) is a Belgian restaurant. I was surprised to see some posters of Tintin as well as comic books from this Belgian hero (Tintin is big in Europe and has been big way before the Steven Spielberg's movie released last year). The atmosphere was casual and homey.

The menu was proposing a wide array of dishes that can satisfy anybody who would like to have a nice brunch: eggs, burger, salad, bread and of course waffles.

We started off with a fresh squeezed orange juice.
Image of Orange juice at La Petite Abeille in the West Village NYC, New York
The OJ was just ok: it was a bit watered down!

Looking at the menu, I did not find the sandwich I was coming for! No Mitraillette! Apparently, they are making it in other locations! So I had to pick something else. I went for the egg cocotte.

Image of Egg Cocotte at La Petite Abeille in the West Village NYC, New York
The dish looked pretty good, but I was expecting something different. Oeufs cocottes are eggs that are baked. They made them with a layer of tomatoes, bacon, goat cheese, eggs and then gruyere cheese. I liked it although the tomatoes rendered water in the bottom, I would have preferred the yolk runny and there was not enough goat cheese. It was served with mashed potatoes that had some leeks in it: weird side! I would have definitely preferred a brioche toast or fries. Not sure I would order this next time!

Jodi ordered the croque monsieur.
Image of Croque Monsieur at La Petite Abeille in the West Village NYC, New York
This was pretty good: way better than the one we got at Pastis or Felix! There was a lot of cheese and they used a nice artisanal bread. It was served with some nice fries.

Of course, we could not leave without trying a Belgian waffle!
Image of Gauffre or Liege waffle at La Petite Abeille in the West Village NYC, New York
We went for a Liege waffle that is is a richer, denser, sweeter, and chewier waffle. It came very hot but was so delicious! A bit doughy, but still delicious! I did not regret that choice and would have easily eaten a second one (even a third...)!

La Petite Abeille is not a bad choice for brunch. Some items might be overpriced, but otherwise, it is decent. I would give it a second chance, especially to try the Mitraillette sandwich!

Enjoy (I did)!

Petite Abeille on Urbanspoon


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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!

My brother's culinary visit...

Last week, my brother stopped by to see us on his way back to France. On top of the fact that it was great to spend time with him, it was a great occasion to make him try some cuisine or food that are not that common in France or that he cannot find in the city where he is living. There is so much diversity in New York that I had to pick just couple of choices that I proposed to him. I'll pass on the first night when we went to Benny Tudino's in Hoboken so he could have a good taste of pizza. We also ordered chicken wings as it is something that he never tried (it is only served in few restaurants, mainly in Paris, such as the Indiana Cafe where I used to go with my cousin Sandrine when I was living there). 

The pizza was good as usual, but the chicken wings were like fried chicken...Disappointing...In fact, I never ordered anything else other than pizza over there and several people told me that the rest of the food is not very good!
Image of Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
The next day, I proposed to go for Venezuelan as where he lives, there no such restaurants and he never tried before. We ended up at Caracas Arepa Bar that is one of my favorites! Caracas Arepa Bar is a small place in the East Village that has these amazing arepas, which are some sort of buns that are grilled and baked, filled with different ingredients, from chicken to beef, to beans and cheese. They offer a nice selection of vegetarian dishes.
Image of Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
The decor has an authentic feel with its wooden tables and chairs that are a bit run down and plenty of religious figurines on the wall.
Image of Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
 as well as satiric figurines of politicians...
Image of Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
I admit that the only one I recognized was Hugo Chavez...

The service in the restaurant was efficient and extremely courteous. The menu is simple and features items that cost less than $8, at the exception of course of the tasting platters that they propose.

We started by ordering some banana milkshakes.
Image of Banana shakes at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
They had a little bit of cinnamon on top. It was more liquid than a traditional milkshake, that is good considering that it was more a drink to go with the meal rather than being a dessert. Unfortunately and contrary to the last time we went there, it did not have as much banana taste.

For appetizers, we first ordered the guasacaca & chips.
Image of guasacaca and chips at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York

It is in fact guacamole with chips made with plantains and taro roots. The guacamole was very good and fresh, while the chips were deliciously crispy and not at all greasy.

The second appetizer was the tajadas.
Image of Tajadas at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
It is fried sweet plantains with cheese. The cheese was salty, making it a perfect ingredient to counterbalance the sweetness of the plantains. This was a fantastic appetizer and I could not stop eating it!
Then came the arepas. My brother picked the one called "De Pabellon".
Image of Arepa De Pabellon at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
It was made of shredded beef, black beans, white salted cheese and sweet plantains. I did not try it, but my brother loved it and told us that it was his favorite food from the whole trip!

Jodi chose the one called "La Del Gado".
Image of Arepa La Del Gado at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
It is an arepa composed of plantains, avocado and white cheese. These are simple ingredients, but I have to say that it was the best! It has some nice flavors and the avocado added some freshness to the dish. The salted cheese and sweet plantains complemented each other well. This was a hit!

On my side, I picked the "La Mulata".
Image of Arepa La Mulata at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village NYC, New York
An arepa filled with sweet plantains, black beans, jalapenos and sauteed red peppers. This was very good, but when you eat the jalapenos, your mouth starts quickly to get on fire! It is a bit attenuated by the cheese and plantains, but still, it is a bit hot!

We skipped dessert as we were full! When you see the arepas coming, you may think it will not be enough, but trust me: it is!
Caracas Arepa Bar on Urbanspoon


For dinner, we went to have a steak at Dino & Harry in Hoboken (review of Dino & Harry here). Each time I have visitors from France, I tell them that they should try the meat in a steakhouse; there is no doubt in my mind: the meat in the US is way better than the meat in France.
Dino & Harry is a great steakhouse, but, as most of the restaurants of that kind, it is pretty dark inside, so the photos are not great...I therefore decided not to publish them!

Jodi and my brother ordered the petite filet mignon that was very tender and juicy, served with mushrooms. I decided to order the ribeye that was magnificent: perfectly cooked medium rare, juicy, extremely tender with a nice char. For sides, we went for the French fries (mediocre) and the onion rings (delicious and not too greasy). Oh, I forgot to mention the sauces: the bearnaise sauce is always perfect, but I did not really like the roasted garlic aioli.

As we had a bit of space left after this fantastic dinner, we went for the chocolate mousse: it was very dense, not too sweet with a very pronounced chocolate flavor.

I have never been disappointed in that place!
Dino & Harry's Steak House on Urbanspoon

On Friday, we decided to go to Little Italy and see if for San Gennaro, we would find some succulent food!
Image of San Gennaro in Little Italy NYC, New York
I was a bit disappointed because, besides the stands for iconic places such as La Bella Ferrara pastry shop, it was the usual sausage and meatball stands you would see in a street fair. So we decided to eat in one of the restaurants over there. We first went to Da Nico, but nobody bothered taking care of us. So we left and ended up at Benito One. 
Image of Benito one Italian restaurant in Little Italy NYC, New York
We picked this restaurant simply because we saw people already eating there and we were in kind of a rush (I tried to check on the internet which restaurant was the best, but unfortunately had no service...).

Jodi ordered a tomato and mozzarella salad.
Image of tomato and mozzarella salad at Benito one Italian restaurant in Little Italy NYC, New York

It was served with roasted peppers and basil leaves. I think it is the worst tomato & mozzarella salad I ever had, that is pretty incredible considering how easy it is to make! It was under seasonned, had barely any olive oil and the mozzarella was horrible! The roasted peppers were the only things I enjoyed.

My brother ordered the homemade cheese ravioli.

They were served with a tomato and basil sauce. It was a good dish: the ravioli were not too doughy and the sauce was good although simple.

On my side, I ordered the homemade gnocchi.
Image of homemade gnocchi at Benito one Italian restaurant in Little Italy NYC, New York

They came in a tomato, shallots and cream sauce. The gnocchi were ok, but overall, the dish was bland.

Benito One was clearly not a good choice for lunch! I will definitely have to try to find the best Italian restaurant in Little Italy: this will be my next quest! Anyway, if you know any, please send me an email at jp@ijustwanttoeat.com

Benito One on Urbanspoon

So, of course, we skipped dessert at Benito One and walk few feet away to the Stuffed Artisan Cannolis! We saw them on a TV show and were dying to try them!
Image of Stuffed Artisan Cannolis in NYC, New York
They started 5 years ago and their idea is to put a twist to the traditional cannoli. So, for instance, they have coconut, French toast or nutella.
Image of Stuffed Artisan Cannolis in NYC, New York
We decided to try (from left to right): nutella (of course!), French toast, Birthday cake, regular, regular and chocolate. Of course, these cannolis are not full size! They are half the size of regular ones.
Image of Stuffed Artisan Cannolis in NYC, New York
The shell of the cannolis was good and crispy, but the filling was not: the nutella one barely tasted nutella; the regular had an off taste; the birthday cake was just ok. The French toast was good with a nice maple syrup flavor, but it was not something I would crave. 
Stuffed Artisan Cannolis on Urbanspoon

For dinner that Friday, we decided to go to Southern Hospitality (review of Southern Hospitality here). BBQ is an amazing thing to discover as we do not have that in France. We have grilling, but not the slow cooking so particular to BBQ! And Southern Hospitality is the perfect place for some tasting!

We decided to order several dishes: for appetizer, we went for the fried green tomatoes.
Image of Fried Green Tomatoes at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
These are amazing! Not greasy, very tasty, the tomato had a nice crunch. It was served with a BBQ ranch dipping sauce that is so good that I would just drink it!

We also shared some corn bread and Mac & Cheese.
Image of Corn bread and mac and cheese at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
The corn bread was wonderful and came warm with a delicious honey butter. The Mac & Cheese was perfect! Creamy and full of cheese!

Then came the meat! What I like about Southern Hospitality is that they propose some tasting portions so you can try different meats. We started off with the fried chicken.
Image of Fried chicken at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It was good, but not the best I ever had: the breading was falling off as we started cutting the bird...Southern Hospitality also proposes fried chicken and waffles that I love!
By the way, as an anecdote, the first time I tried fried chicken when I was leaving in Paris was at...KFC...

Then we got the brisket.
Image of Brisket at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
That was a fantastic piece of meat!!! I did not even need a knife to cut it! It was amazingly good, tender and moist, that is what is sometimes a miss with brisket. I would have eaten more...

Last was the dry rub Memphis style spare-ribs.
Image of Spare ribs at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
Delicious as usual: the meat was falling off the bone and was incredibly tasty with some nice fat in some areas (yes, fat can be good!).

We could not leave that place without having a dessert...My brother went for the key lime pie.
Image of Key Lime pie at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It was very good: creamy and not too sweet with a nice whipped cream on top to counterbalance the acidity of the lime.

But my favorite was the banana pudding.
Image of Banana pudding at Southern Hospitality in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
The banana pudding at Southern Hospitality is the best I ever had! It has vanilla wafers and caramelized bananas on top. It is pure heaven: very creamy and rich, each bite makes you want more. Then you reach the bottom and you get some crumbled cookies, wishing that there was more! It is definitely something to try!

That dinner at Southern Hospitality was definitely a hit and a perfect way to showcase some specialties from the South.
Southern Hospitality Hell's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Saturday was the last day...We decided to go to brunch. The brunch concept is not as popular in France as it is here. Many years ago, when I was living in Paris, I used to go with my friends for a Sunday brunch, but it was a novelty (we used to go to Le Loup Blanc that still serves a brunch for 22 EUR with all you can eat croissants and chocolate croissants!).  

I checked on opentable.com and found this place few blocks from Times Square as it was one of the places we were supposed to see. We ended up at 44 1/2 on 44th street and 10th Avenue.
Image of 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
This place is pretty cool, very modern and very bright.
Image of 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It has a nice patio in the back...
Image of Corn bread at 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York

...that you can see behind the corn bread!

They serve traditional brunch dishes such as eggs, French toast...

Jodi went for the California Omelet.
Image of California omelet at 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It was made with egg whites, tomatoes, spinach, mozzarella and avocado on top. It was pretty good. The eggs were perfectly cooked and it was a great healthy dish. On the top left side, you can see some fruits cut into cubes: all the dishes had some. Great idea to clean your palate at the end!

My brother ordered the andouille sausage frittata.
Image of Andouille sausage frittata at 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It was made with green onions, white cheddar and truffle oil. Very good dish too, although I missed the taste of the truffle oil...

On my side, I ordered the crab cakes benedict.
Image of Crab cakes benedict at 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It was served with a homemade Hollandaise sauce that was delicious. The crab cakes were not the best I ever had, but I enjoyed it! It had a bit of sweetness that reminded me my first attempt at crab cakes!

This was a great brunch, but we were so stuffed at the end that we decided to pass on dessert and walk on the high line...

44 1/2 on Urbanspoon

Of course, after that walk, we needed a snack and we thought that it would be a great idea to go, before my brother took his flight, to the Doughnut Plant (review of the Doughnut Plant here).

Jodi got her coconut donut, my brother the peanut butter and banana one and for me, I simply ordered the tres leches that is one of their best selling and always a hit!
Image of Tres leches doughnut at 44 and a half in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
We had a great time with my brother and wish we had more time together. I would have had for sure found so many other places to try: deli (Junior's), bagels,...It will be for another time!
Doughnut Plant on Urbanspoon

We enjoyed (we did)!

And remember: I just want to EAT!

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Brunch at The Standard Grill in NYC, New York

The meatpacking district is an interesting neighborhood, filled with renown restaurants, some of them with a crowd a bit pretentious and obnoxious, making it a great area for people watching. This is where also people go to see celebrities...We ended up there for brunch after a friend's recommendation. It was for sure packed and the service suffered a little bit of it, although it was very courteous and tried to satisfy any demand we had.


Each table had some cute kissing dogs that were in fact salt and pepper, that you could purchase (I am sure some people did!).

So we started off with the Bibb Royale:
It was bibb lettuce with a white-wine dijon vinaigrette and chives. This is my favorite lettuce and it was nicely made and delicately presented.

Then, they had a soup of the day: a chilled carrot soup.

It was the first time I had a carrot soup and to serve it chilled was perfect as it was a hot day: very refreshing!

Then, we shared some homemade cinnamon sugar donuts:
They were fantastic! Not greasy, airy with a scrumptious cinnamon sugar coating.

Following the donuts coma, Jodi got her scrambled eggs that she ordered:
They definitely know how to make scrambled eggs: fluffy and very moist! If it was not for Jodi, I would have eaten her plate!!!

On my side, I got the Belgian waffle with buttered rum, walnuts and bananas:
That was a great waffle: crispy outside and chewy at the same time. You could definitely taste the rum also...

For sure we had a sugar coma after leaving The Standard Grill! It was one of the best brunches I had in NYC!

Enjoy (I did)!


And Remember: I Just Want To Eat! The Standard Grill on Urbanspoon

Pastis restaurant in NYC, New York - Overrated!

www.ijustwanttoeat.com Pastis
Pastis is an anise flavored spirit that is served mixed with water. It originates in South of France. Instead of Pastis, you may also hear the names Pernod or Ricard that are derived from the name of the company Pernod Ricard who use to produce pastis.

The Pastis I am talking about is different though: it is a popular restaurant in the Meat Packing district of NYC, New York. Pastis is a French bistro opened by Keith McNally with Executive Chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson. These names do not ring a bell? They are the same cast as Balthazar in NYC. In fact, the bread served at Pastis comes from Balthazar. 

Having heard about it so many times, I decided to go few years back, but did not become a fan of Pastis. As the restaurant is still there and always crowded, I decided to give it another try. 

I went on a Friday, for lunch. Let me tell you: it was packed! At the entrance, they tell us that they cannot sit us right away and that we have to wait at the bar for approximately 30 minutes, until lunch is served (there were several empty tables). Interestingly enough, five minutes after we order a drink at the bar, they sit us and we wait for 20 minutes before ordering. I am kind of suspicious that they sat us at the bar so we would consume a drink. I hate this type of practices!
We decide to go for the croque monsieur and the cheese burger. The waiter warns us that the croque monsieur does not come with any side. I am a bit surprised. Ok, no side needed. The food takes a bit of time to come.
www.ijustwanttoeat.com Pastis
When the croque monsieur comes, several parts look burnt. That's fine, we love burnt cheese. We taste it and it is disappointing: there is not enough béchamel sauce and it is salty. Not worth the $15 it costs! I really prefer the croque monsieur at Brasserie Cognac!
www.ijustwanttoeat.com Pastis
When the burger came, it was promising: lots of cheese, good ratio meat / bun and a nice bun (not sure if homemade by Balthazar). Unfortunately, the meat was a bit dry. The fries are a bit overcooked. Disappointing too!

On top of this, the noise level was pretty high with loud psychedelic music playing! Only the service was good.

So my re-visit to Pastis did not meet my expectations. The food was disappointing and overpriced. I think this place gets its reputation not because of the food, but because of the sceney atmosphere. Not a recommended restaurant for me!

Enjoy (I did not)!

And remember: I just want to eat!

Pastis on Urbanspoon

The New French Restaurant in NYC, New York

We were walking around in the West Village when we noticed this small place called The New French.
But do not be fooled: this restaurant, opened in 2008, is not serving French cuisine, but more an American cuisine, although some dishes can be associated to France, such as the crepes!
I like the place that reminds me of places you would find in certain areas of Paris such as La Buttes aux cailles. The furniture looks like a typical bistro / brasserie tables and chairs.
In one of the walls, there is a big mural from local artist Maira Kalman.

We went for brunch. The menu at The New French is pretty simple. At least, you do not have in front of you a huge menu and are not wondering what to eat! But it has the basic brunch items: pancakes, French toasts, eggs...

We went for the crepe filled with goat cheese, mushrooms and spinach. It was served with some salad. I have to say that the crepe was good! The crepe itself was well done and the filling delicious.
We also tried the buttermilk biscuit sandwich served with bacon, eggs and cheese. For the side, you could pick potatoes, fries or salad. I went for the potatoes that were pretty good and not greasy at all!
The sandwich was awesome too: there were a lot of flavors that mixed well together and the biscuit was amazing! They put some honey that added a nice sweetness to the salty taste. But it was on top of the biscuit, so either you end up having sticky hands or have to eat with your fork and knife.

At the end of the brunch, I was stuffed and did not get a chance to try the sugar crepe. I bet it is really good!

If you are looking for brunch, I definitely suggest The New French!

Enjoy (I did)!

And remember: I just want to eat!

New French on Urbanspoon