Salinas is a Spanish restaurant where Chef Bollo who grew up in Spain is serving a contemporary Spanish menu. Opened in 2011, this place is pretty nice and the dining room where we were seated seemed to cater to couples with its small tables arranged in an intimate setting. So I was excited but my excitement was short lived, the inefficiency and rudeness of the service ruining a bit the whole experience. Food wise, it was interesting and just ok. Know also that if you are vegetarian, the choices are going to be very limited. Here is what we had:
I was craving pasta and our last visit to an Italian restaurant did not satisfy my craving. So, on a Friday evening, I reserved a table at Fabio Cucina Italiana, Midtown East. Nice place, with apparently few regulars and the Chef, Chicco Asante, omnipresent in the dining room.
Food wise, we were there for a treat, and the meal was delicious from beginning to end. Here is what we had:
There is a new Italian restaurant Uptown Hoboken, replacing Las Olas, the Asian fusion restaurant that I will always remember for its delicious wings. Yes, Apulia just opened and I was hoping to see something different considering the number of Italian places in Hoboken, the latest being Zero Otto Uno few months ago. The owners, Franco (originally from Apulia in Italy) and his nephew Frank completely gutted the place that is awkwardly in a U shape, giving more space at the entrance, with a dining room dominated by their wood fire oven. Service was courteous but the noise level was a bit too much for me, the music being too loud.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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: