Washington DC: Pi Pizzeria, a St Louis Deep Dish Heaven

Washington DC: Pi Pizzeria, a St Louis Deep Dish Heaven

As Jodi loves pizza, I looked up for a place close to the National Portait Gallery in DC and stumbled upon Pi Pizzeria, à joint known for its St Louis style cornmeal crust that is said to be President Obama’s favorite pizza. Apparently, while in St Louis, campaigning for the election, President Obama asked one of his staffers to bring him pizza. That is how Pi Pizza ended up on his lap or should I say in his stomach.

Washington DC: Dinner at Michelin Star Kinship

Washington DC: Dinner at Michelin Star Kinship

I could have passed in front of Kinship without even noticing the one Michelin Star restaurant of Chef Eric Ziebold and partner Célia Laurent. Inconspicuous from the outside and undeniably delicious from the inside, it is like a secret gem that is not anymore secret considering how crowded the place was on a Sunday night. We arrived 5 minutes earlier than our reservation and they sat us in their waiting area with a fireplace that was welcome considering that for our last day in Washington DC, the temperature dropped.

Washington DC: Raw-Vegan dinner at Elizabeth's Gone Raw

Washington DC: Raw-Vegan dinner at Elizabeth's Gone Raw

If I were vegetarian I would for sure want to eat regularly at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw in DC. Well maybe I should more say, as a non-vegetarian, if I wanted a vegetarian meal, I would for sure want to eat at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw. This raw-vegan place is simply unique, elevating vegan food to fine dining like I never experienced before. And although there is no doubt that I love meat, I left this place as excited as if I just had the best steak of my life (I did in fact in Japan but it is another story).

Washington DC: Mediterranean brunch at Zaytinya

Washington DC: Mediterranean brunch at Zaytinya

We went to Zaytinya so long ago that we were really looking forward to having brunch at this Mediterranean tapas restaurant from Chef José Andrés. After our great experience at Jaleo, we were sure we would not be disappointed. And we were not. Meaning “olive oil” in Turkish, Zaytinya proposes a wide array of small plates with a large selection of vegetarian dishes.

Washington DC: Spanish Tapas at Jaleo

Washington DC: Spanish Tapas at Jaleo

Meaning “fuss” in Spanish, Jaleo is a Spanish tapas restaurant of acclaimed Chef José Andrés that I discovered few years ago on Top Chef and while dining in its other DC restaurant, Zaytinya that we also visited during our trip to the capital. Jaleo is a little jewel, with an incredible menu that can be a bit overwhelming, having many choices to pick for the vegetarians and carnivores. But do not think you can just show up on a Friday night for dinner: reservation is highly recommended.

Washington DC: Breaksfast at Maison Kayser

Washington DC: Breaksfast at Maison Kayser

On our trip to Washington DC, we ditched the breakfast at the hotel that are always overpriced and decided to go to Paul, a French bakery that is our go to breakfast spot when we visit my family in France. There is none in New York so I could not miss trying it in DC. Unfortunately, it was still closed 15 minutes after opening time and we changed our plan for Maison Kayser a couple of blocks away.

Dinner at Parm where a dish is a must have!

Dinner at Parm where a dish is a must have!

It has been too long we went to Parm and had an occasion recently to go back being in their neighborhood. Parm is a sort of old school Italian that serves some amazing dishes. Must have is their baked ziti that take 15 minutes to get ready. On its own, this dish is superb, but what makes it even better, besides the fact that it has tons of cheese and a delicious tomato sauce, is that they fry the sides in a pan, giving a nice crispness to it.

New: Seven Valleys, Persian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ

New: Seven Valleys, Persian restaurant in Hoboken, NJ

Sometimes, when I see restaurants opening in Hoboken, I am wondering if the owners did some research before and it is sad to see some of them closing after only few months. But, when we learned that a Persian restaurant would open on Washington street, we thought it was very smart: there is no such restaurant in Hoboken. So we were looking forward for Seven Valleys to open. Know that The Seven Valleys is a book written in Persian by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í faith, that is the faith from the owner, Dale Ryan, who also owns Bwé on the next block.

Dinner at Vandal in the Lower East Side

Dinner at Vandal in the Lower East Side

Sometimes I get so excited to try a restaurant that I may forget that the reservation is not for that day, but a week later. So, when we arrived at Vandal on a Friday evening and saw the restaurant closed for a private party, I was a bit surprised and upset, thinking that they probably have tables in their lounge or somewhere to accommodate our reservation. But when the hostesses looked at me as if I had three heads, I realized that I was one week early...We’ll, it was not so bad as we finally ended up at The Musket Room that day and came back a week after to check out the food at Vandal.

Brunch at Bocce in Union Square Park

Brunch at Bocce in Union Square Park

Tucked on the side of Union Square Park and hidden by the farmers’ market is Bocce, an Italian restaurant that takes its name from the talion ball game inspired from the french boules (pétanque) and the British bowls. They even have a small bocce court on the side by the way if you want to play while waiting for your food to come. So I never really noticed it until we passed in front of it at night, as we heard music and patrons having dinner there. So, few days later, as we had to be in the area, we decided to try their brunch. Light brunch as we had a big dinner that day.

Le Privé, French restaurant in Hell's Kitchen

Le Privé, French restaurant in Hell's Kitchen

Le Privé is a new French restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen that replaced Hallo German, going from one European country to another but elevating quite a bit the dinning experience from beer and sausage to wine and escargots. Opened few months ago, we decided to try it as we were dining with Jodi’s cousins.

Not that busy for a Thursday evening, I like the Victorian-era space that has a nice feel, relaxed, with a very good service during the whole meal. Food wise, we in for a treat, each dish I tried being quite good. Here is what we had:

Vegan French dinner at Delice & Sarrasin

Vegan French dinner at Delice & Sarrasin

What do you do when you become vegan and crave French food? I am not talking about me but of Christophe Caron, the owner of Delice & Sarrasin, a French vegan restaurant in the west Village. French and vegan is a bizarre association, French cuisine being known for using lots of butter and cream, as well as meat, poultry or fish. So, if you want to eat a boeuf bourguignon or a cassoulet, you might be out of luck. Well, not anymore with Delice & Sarrasin: they offer a menu that can satisfy a carnivore like me. See for yourself what we tried in the two times we went there...within three weeks.

The Freckled Moose in Astoria, Queens

The Freckled Moose in Astoria, Queens

Last week, I got invited to The Freckled Moose in Astoria, a restaurant that opened last July and whose name comes from a Northern saying: “In the contest of moose vs car, the moose will always win.” and was also one of the nicknames of the owner, Peter Lyman. I got to talk a bit with Peter who has an interesting background, growing up in Massachusetts and learning skills of a chef on the job. The menu is his creation, inspired by his childhood.

Dolce & Salato in Hoboken, NJ

Dolce & Salato in Hoboken, NJ

There is a new Italian Bakery in town: Dolce & Salato. I never hid the fact that I was not impressed by Carlo’s Bakery that, for me, gained success thanks to its TV show, The Cake Boss, rather than to its pastries. No, for me, the best Italian Bakery is Giorgio’s Uptown Hoboken. Old school, it is consistently good. So I was curious to try Dolce & Salato, located on Grand Street. Result of the passion for Italy from Maurizio Dolce, Michael Nirchio and Brian Mazzei, it proposed not just pastries, but also various Italian products like cheese (not just Italian by the way:

Celebrating the 100 years of Kaukauna Cheese at Fedora

Celebrating the 100 years of Kaukauna Cheese at Fedora

Last week, I was invited at Fedora, a restaurant in the West Village to celebrate the 100 years of Kaukauna cheese, a company making spreadable cheese. Kaukauna is a city in Wisconsin, approximately 100 miles North of Milwaukee, where the founder, Hubert Fassbender, created a distributing company, which soon became known as South Kaukauna Dairy and eventually Kaukauna Cheese.

The surprising location of Empire Steakhouse

The surprising location of Empire Steakhouse

Last week, I was invited by the Sinanaj Brothers to their outpost of Empire Steakhouse Midtown East, attached to the Kimberly Hotel. That place is impressive: it used to be an Opera house before becoming a club called Versaillles where Edith Piaf, represented in a large painting in the main dining room, performed. Smartly, they kept the spirit of it, setting this place apart from the traditional wood, leather and low light steakhouses.