German brunch at Heidelberg on the Upper East Side

German brunch at Heidelberg on the Upper East Side

Located on the Upper East Side, Heidelberg is one of the last German restaurants in Yorkville, reminiscent of the German neighborhood this area used to be. Next to Schaller and Weber, the old school German market, it has kept, some opening in 1936, its rustic and comforting atmosphere, serving a fairly large menu where pork is the star. But no worries: if you are vegetarian, they offer several options like the popular giant pretzel, that I wished was served with a cheese sauce rather than just mustard or the potato pancakes, these crispy thick patties made of grated potato, onion and garlic that are fried, traditionally served with apple sauce. Perfect to share.

Chinese food and steaks at Brooklyn Chop House

Chinese food and steaks at Brooklyn Chop House

There are places like that that mark your memory because of their originality. Brooklyn Chop House is one of them. The name surely indicates a meaty meal made of steaks and burgers, but it also surprisingly offers Chinese dishes. Not so surprising when you know that the person who runs the place, Stratis Morfogen, was one of the people behind Jade Sixty, a restaurant on the upper East Side with the same concept that had to close due to a water main break (too bad because I did not get a chance to visit it!). I tried the ribeye at Brooklyn Chop House and was blown away: their meat, aged 50 to 60 days is tasty, tender and juicy. And they surely know how to cook it!

The Mill in LIC

The Mill in LIC

I often tell people that I love so much coffee that it is probably this dark juice that is flowing through my veins. I have been drinking coffee since I was a teenager: I love the smell of the freshly ground beans and the strong taste an espresso has, but not the bitterness that is sometimes in the bottom of a cup. So it was with excitement that we went to The Mill few times as we were in Long Island City. This quaint joint with its rustic feel serves artisanal coffee, sweets and sandwiches in a relaxed atmosphere. They have good espresso and macchiato, but if you are not into coffee, you can opt for a tea. In term of sweets, …

Spot dessert Bar in the East Village

Spot dessert Bar in the East Village

When I think about creative desserts, I immediately think about Spot Dessert Bar in the East Village. This place is amazing and proposes truly original desserts crafted by Iron Chef of Thailand, Chef Ian Kittichai, like the matcha lava, a warm dark chocolate cake filled with matcha ganache and served with matcha green tea ice cream, or the Golden toast, a warm crispy honey buttered toast served with strawberries, and condensed milk ice cream (this is so buttery!). We recently went back after Jodi saw their coconut monkey bread on Instagram. This dessert is a monkey bread covered in fall spices, thai tea drizzle served with coconut milk ice cream. It comes sizzling hot and they will pour the Thai tea on top of the coconut milk ice cream. This was quite good, but not as good as…

Dessert at Two Little Red Hens on the Upper East Side

Dessert at Two Little Red Hens on the Upper East Side

Its been a while since we went to Two Little Red Hens on the Upper East Side, but, as we were having lunch with our friends Jen and Gary at Heidelberg, next door to it, we decided to stop by for dessert. And what a treat! This tiny place has so many delicious desserts that it was hard to choose and I went from thinking about ordering the banana cream pie, then the pecan pie and finally settled for their NY cheesecake that was very good, not as good as Junior’s (less dense also), but worth trying, with…

Jacques Torres in Dumbo

Jacques Torres in Dumbo

Each time I pass in in front of Jacques Torres, I cannot resist it! For me, it has the best hot chocolate, better than Max Brenner or even City Bakery that is considered by many the best in town (their chocolate chip cookie is though). It is literally like melted chocolate, not bitter but quite rich. So, recently, we were walking around in Dumbo when we saw Jacques Torres has a location there and ended up having their hot cocoa and a delicious chocolate chip cookie that had lots of chocolate and was buttery.

Brunch at Maison Kayser

Brunch at Maison Kayser

There will soon be as many Maison Kayser than there are Starbucks in the City! It is as if they were opening one in each corner of New York. Not that I am complaining, this place being delicious, serving fantastic bread (they won the title of Best Baguette in NYC recently), succulent pastries and viennoiseries (croissants, chocolate croissants, etc), as well as some pretty decent food. So we decided to go on a Sunday for lunch, before celebrated my birthday for dinner. So yes, we limited a bit what we ate as we knew we would have a feast (well, mainly me considering we were going to a steakhouse), but, as you will see, we had quite a few items…Here is what we had:

Interesting treats at Supermoon Bakehouse

Interesting treats at Supermoon Bakehouse

I just realized that I completely forgot to post about our visit last September at Supermoon Bakehouse in the Lower East Side: yes, It has been a while, but still, it is worth mentioning this place that sets itself apart from other bakeries by proposing creative baked goods like the cruffin, a croissant and muffin or the banoffee croissant, a banana and toffee croissant, names that seem to be inherited from the cronut invented few years ago by Chef Dominique Ansel. Still, Supermoon Bakehouse is trying to stay original, without copying what others are doing.

Charlie Palmer Steak

Charlie Palmer Steak

For our birthdays, Jodi and I are always picking where we want to have dinner and not surprisingly, I always choose a steakhouse…So this year, it was Charlie Palmer Steak in the Archer Hotel. I was looking forward to it as I heard so many great things about that place. Unfortunately, it did not meet my expectations. The steak was just ok: I ordered a ribeye, my favorite cut, medium rare; it was cooked medium and when I mentioned it to the waiter, he first denied it but upon my insistence, apologized and sent it back. The bone-in ribeye is a $65 dish, so, it should be cooked well, especially in a steakhouse and if not, I think it is normal to send it back.

Italian dinner at Da Andrea

Italian dinner at Da Andrea

I often crave Italian cuisine and, as we were passing by Da Andrea, we decided to stop there for dinner. A light dinner as I like to call them: no appetizer, only entree and dessert…And the entree was superb: I went for the Tagliolini neri alle vongole, a homemade squid ink tagliolini with clams, cherry tomatoes in a garlic white wine. I loved it: the pasta was really good and the sauce delicious, so good that I dipped some focaccia bread in it…And yes, I always put cheese on my pasta, even if it has seafood in it: this seemed to have shocked the waiter who did not want to give me any cheese before, until I insisted.

Proper West near Bryant Park

Proper West near Bryant Park

Holidays are the best time to go to noisy places and we were glad to end up at Proper West on Good Friday: it was literally empty! This place is pretty big with large TVs on the walls of the main dining room and I cannot imagine what it is when full. Anyway, this allowed us to enjoy a quiet dinner (there was just some music in the background), sharing various dishes vegetarian and non-vegetarian typical from a bar. Here is what we had:

The Harrow in Hell's Kitchen

The Harrow in Hell's Kitchen

When people think about Hell’s Kitchen, they often think about 9th Avenue, neglecting the great restaurants 10th Avenue has to offer. The Harrow is one of them. This farm to table restaurant that serves new American cuisine is a true find: great atmosphere, courteous and efficient service, and delicious food are their recipe for success. If not for food, it can be a nice spot for cocktails with interesting creations like the Queen V, made with blended scotch, lemon juice, plum shrub and cardamom bitters. More interesting is the fact that they mention the type of glass it is served in.

Dinner at Valerie

Dinner at Valerie

When I picked Valerie for a Friday evening dinner, I did not know what to expect: French firstname, description on Opentable saying they propose an American fare and menu featuring Asian inspired dishes like the Korean BBQ fried chicken sandwich. I was at a loss. And did not expect either to end up on such loud place, the saving grace being the end of the happy hour!

One Girl Cookies in Dumbo, Brooklyn

One Girl Cookies in Dumbo, Brooklyn

Located in Dumbo, One Girl Cookies is the kind of place that you are looking forward to visit, expecting, based on its name, to get giant cookies that would make you be unreasonable and defy your doctor for a minute or two. But no, no big cookies, rather tea treats smaller than the size of a dollar coin if you discard cupcakes, whoopie pies (the red velvet one is delicious) and the linzer torte that is not to be confused with the linzer cookies with its crumbly cookie and confectioner sugar: …

Mexican Dinner at Vida Verde

Mexican Dinner at Vida Verde

We were looking for a Mexican restaurant Midtown Manhattan when we found Vida Verde on Opentable. So we decided to go there on a Friday evening, not knowing that it would be so loud, the noise level making the entire experience there a bit painful. This bi-level restaurant with a rooftop would definitely satisfy margarita lovers and other guacamole aficionados (it is made table side but do not expect a cart coming to you like some places do: there is not enough space between tables to allow that and they simply put all the ingredients in a bowl, mixing them in front of you).

Ravagh Persian Grill in Midtown

Ravagh Persian Grill in Midtown

Operated since 1998, with few locations in New York City, Ravagh Persian Grill is, according to one of my co-worker who is Iranian-American, the best Persian restaurant in the city. So we had to try it and did so on a Saturday evening. With its two floors, the place slowly filled up as the evening went by, with quite a lot of Iranian patrons, a good sign that this place had some authenticity. Food wise, we were there for a treat, with large plates coming in front of us, enough for this diner and another.

Choc O Pain in Jersey City

Choc O Pain in Jersey City

As I had to be in Jersey City for an early meeting, I could not miss an opportunity to go to Choc O Pain few steps from the Grove Street Path Station. Smaller than its sisters bakeries, Choc O Pain has a nice neighborhood feel, with a rusticity that gives some coziness to the whole place, an a French touch from food to music.

Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook, Brooklyn

It has been a while since I wanted to try Hometown Bar-B-que in Red Hook, but I admit that going from New Jersey to Brooklyn can feel like a whole trip, especially on the weekends with all the construction in the subway. But, I saw that it was possible to go there using the ferry to the neighboring IKEA, a ferry that is free on week ends, but can be packed. So we ended up going the week end of Labor Day (yes, I know: this post is long overdue) at Pier 11 with my co worker Quentin, for what would be a phenomenal meal. 25 minutes after boarding, we approached the restaurant, noticing a nice smell as well as a small “portable” smoker on the side of the street, smoker that I guess is used in fairs like Smorgasburg.

Aunt Jake's Wine Bar and Pasta Lab

Aunt Jake's Wine Bar and Pasta Lab

I often crave Italian food, especially pasta, and was glad to discover Aunt Jake’s Wine Bar and Pasta Lab in Greenwich Village. I am sure we passed in front of it several times, unnoticed, until I found it on Opentable. Crowded for a Wednesday evening, a reservation was needed and people without one were turned away. We sat at a table, but I admit that my eyes keep looking at the counter where one guy kept making pasta over and over, wondering if he would not get bored at some point. Yes, they propose fresh pasta at Aunt Jake’s and I like the fact that you can make your own dish, choosing first the pasta (fettuccine, tagliatelle, cavatelli or rigatoni to name a few), and then the sauce to pair it with (marinara, arrabbiata, meatballs, all vodka, etc.), making each visit different. Of course, you can pick a specialty dish like I did:

Dozzino, pizza in Hoboken, NJ

Dozzino, pizza in Hoboken, NJ

Located off the beaten path, Dozzino serves pizza cooked in a wood fire oven with rustic decor and a relaxed atmosphere. It is one of my colleagues who recommended this place and told me that it is packed on week ends, but going during the week right after they open is perfect for some quiet time. The pizza itself is not that big, probably enough for one person, but perfect to share, with a nice mix between vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The crust is crispy and not floppy in the center, with the outer part being puffed up and nicely charred. La Pizza is their classic, made with fior di latte that they make in house from curd from Caputo Brothers Creamery, tomato and basil.