I admit that at first, I did not intend to go have dinner at Georgia's Eastside BBQ with my friend Benny. No, we wanted to go get some fried chicken at Sweet Chick located a block away. Unfortunately, and despite the info I got on the Internet, the place was closed for "staff appreciation day". Nice thing in retrospect, but at that point, I was more thinking about "client appreciation day"! So, the other alternative was Russ and Daughters on Orchard and it is while walking towards it that I noticed Georgia's Eastside BBQ.
I passed so many times in front of Rice 'n' Beans in Hell's Kitchen, thinking it was a takeout place and not realizing that, first it is a Brazilian place (I could have by simply looking at the flag, but did not pay attention because, again, I thought it was a takeout place), and second, that it is serving a pretty good food, beyond the simple casual feel the place gives.
Finding Adrienne's Pizzabar, a restaurant located in the Financial District, is like finding a needle in a haystack. You definitely need a GPS to find this amazing place and, once you do, you will be blown away. First of all, the area where it is located, Stone Street, has a European feel with its cobblestones as well as multiple tables and benches installed in the street by the various restaurants. Except that the day we went, it was raining cats and dogs and only few courageous patrons dared to eat or grab a drink outside.
With its casual yet trendy decor, Kurry Qulture is the kind of restaurant you wish you had in your neighborhood. Serving authentic Indian cuisine, the dishes there are of the quality of some of the best restaurants in New York, but for reasonable prices, in part thanks to the differential in rent between the Big Apple and Astoria. Well, it might be also because Sonny Solomon, who, with his wife, opened this place a year ago, has an impressive resume, having worked at Devi and Tulsi, two renown Indian restaurants crowned with Michelin stars, thanks to the collaboration with Chef Hemant Mathur who helped create the menu of Kurry Qulture.
Food and wine are two components that, with good company, contribute in making a meal a great experience. So, when a renown wine maker celebrates 80 years of wine making with a celebrity Chef, you can expect an amazing experience. And it is what I witnessed at Todd English Food Hall at the Plaza Hotel. I admit that I did not know when I arrived that Chef Todd English would be there and was surprised to see him talking to his staff when I entered in the restaurant. That place is beautiful, spacious, with a bit of a brasserie feel.
Last Monday, I got the privilege to attend the Japan Rice Peace Project seminar, chaired by Jeff Santos from The Santos Marketing Group, in the presence of Mrs Akie Abe, the wife of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This project emphasizes the role of rice in food action, whether it is sustainability, crisis relief or social responsibility. We often say that rice is in Asia like bread in western countries: a common staple. Well it is a bit more and the recent natural disasters in Japan, such as the earthquake in Tohoku in 2011 followed by the Fukushima nuclear incident, or even more recently the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes are reminders that food is key in case of crisis.
Alright people: listen up! If you love bacon, you cannot miss this week end's event called The Great Big Bacon Picnic in the Old Pfizer Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There, you can taste bacon, bacon, as well as bacon, in many different ways. This bacon-palooza features so many restaurants that I ended up with a bacon coma at the end of our visit. They are there the entire week end, so check them out at: http://greatbigbacon.com
As its name indicates, Jun's Macaron Gelato serves...macarons and gelato. In fact, I mistakenly thought that they even serve a macaron gelato sandwich, but I guess I was close to reality...It is a small shop that opened in August 2016 and proposes a wide variety of gelato: chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, cookies and cream, etc...
If you are looking for a great lunch deal, you should stop by Room Service, a Thai restaurant located in Hell's Kitchen (who would guess with that name that it is a Thai joint?). It has been a while since we wanted to try it, but it seemed to be always packed for dinner, so, one Saturday, we decided to try it for lunch, without knowing that they propose one of the best lunch prix-fixe I have seen so far. And it is not only the price ($8.50), but also the quantity that makes it awesome. So, for that $8.50, you get an appetizer and an entrée. For $1.50 more, you can add a Thai iced tea or a Tom Yum soup.
I love steaks and I am always curious to try non classic steakhouses. This time, we went to Bistecca Fiorentina, a Tuscan steakhouse located in Hell's Kitchen. I admit that I was not sure what to expect when we arrived: it was not that crowded and the person standing outside trying to convince people to come eat there was a sort of warning that they were dying to get patrons, at least it was my interpretation. Well, I was wrong: we had a pretty good dinner there.
We were looking for a less traditional steakhouse, following our dinner at Prime and Beyond, a Korean steakhouse, few months ago, when we stumbled upon K Rico, a South American steakhouse located in Hell's Kitchen. I was definitely curious to see how this Latin flair would translate in the cooking of meat. And I was not disappointed.
So, there is a new pizza joint in uptown Hoboken and they are up to a good start. As soon as Urban Coalhouse Pizza and Bar opened, that place has been packed with crowds overflowing into the sidewalk. For sure, it is a good addition to the north part of the city, replacing Puerto Spain that closed several months ago.
Street food is a big thing in India, but I admit that when I travel there, I am always careful with what I eat, especially avoiding this kind of food, my westerner's stomach not being used to it. So, I enjoyed it in restaurants either in Mumbai few years ago, or in New York City. So I was excited when Dilli Junction opened a month ago in Hoboken, replacing Fresh Tortilla Grill, a Mexican restaurant not unknown to us.
Yesterday, we got invited at an event called Death in the afternoon at Raoul's, a French restaurant located on Prince St in Soho. This event is an interesting concept: inspired by classical art salons, Ward 8 founders, Fay Leshner and Andrew Ousley, bring together various artists in a single location around one theme. Death in the afternoon, makes you travel to the prohibition era, a time that, as a Frenchman, I have always seen as unique, fascinated by the stories and related movies or TV series such as The Untouchables or more recently Boardwalk Empire. It is a period that I cannot imagine happening in France. Yes, it was interesting to see such event in a French restaurant, considering that trying to impose some ban on alcohol there would have resulted in riots, if not another revolution, apéritif or a glass of wine during a meal being sacred there!
When looking for an authentic restaurant, I often ask people native from the cuisine I want to eat what places they would recommend. For Chinese cuisine, I asked my colleague Victor and ended up at Shanghai Asian Cuisine in the heart of Chinatown. When we arrived, we thought that all the people in front of us where going to that place, but it was not the case. They were going to Jing Fong, a spacious place that serves Hong Kong style dim sum. So, needless to say that we got a table in couple of minutes in that little place that is Shanghai Asian Cuisine.
What better place to eat amazing Greek food than Astoria, aka Greektown because of its large Greek population? That is where I got the opportunity to try Jimbo's, a family restaurant conveniently located a couple of minutes from the train. Their philosophy: cut out the middleman and offer quality food (large portions) at reasonable prices, from fish to meat. They are apparently known for their steaks, but I admit that I wanted to taste some of their Greek recipes.
Taking its name from Ko Samui, an island in Southern Thailand (Ko means Island), Samui is one of the most unexpected restaurants I went to in New York. When I received the invite to try their food, I did not imagine to find such a place, off the beaten path in Fort Green, that opened two weeks ago: from the vibrant yet elegant decor to the fantastic food, this is the kind of restaurant I would definitely go back to, even if I have to walk 6 blocks from the train station. I cannot comment on the authenticity of the food, but, considering that the Executive Chef, A Napadol is from Thailand and grew up learning how to cook with her grandmother, I would think that this is fairly authentic, although, as you will see, the Chef added her own touch to some dishes.
This week, I was invited for a blog dinner at The Malt House in the Financial District, where I had the pleasure to dine with my fellow bloggers The Restaurant Fairy, Johnny Prime's and The Cake Dealer. The Malt House is not unknown to me as I went to their first location in the West Village at the beginning of the year. But I was excited to go to their outpost in the Financial District (aka FiDi) as I heard it is amazing. And for sure, I was impressed. This place is huge and the tour we took with one of the owners, Darren, took a bit of time as, each time I thought that was it, he showed us another room, like being in a labyrinth, where each room had its own atmosphere.
My last post about our trip to San Francisco is in fact the first meal we had there. We arrived late and had no energy to walk around to find a place, especially as we did not know the area where our hotel, The Pickwick, was. So, we ended up in the hotel's restaurant, like many other tourists who were staying there (note that it was not that crowded anyway).
If there was another item I wanted to eat in San Francisco, it is donuts. So Jodi's cousin, Rebecca suggested that we go to Dynamo Donut + Coffee. There are two places in the city and we went to the location on 24th street. Interesting decor for sure, with the donut with legs and boots on the roof, as well as the various paintings representing donuts (sometimes with a panda) from Alexandra Blum that were for sale.