Thursday, June 30, 2011

PJ Clarke's: A NY Classic

The Burger

Turkey Club
We initially heard of PJ Clarke's being referenced in Mad Men, but I've also head they have a pretty good burger. So when we found ourselves hungry after a play on the Upper West Side we decided to finally scope it out. The food was solid, the wait staff was attentive, and the beers were nice and cold. It was a great place to bring folks from out of town since it's one of NYC's classics.

P.J. Clarke's on Urbanspoon

Head West to Ovest

After a trip to the USS Intrepid with some family, we found ourselves on the West Side Highway and starving. I used mobile phone technology to find the closest restaurant with the best reviews that would appeal to my company and discovered Ovest Pizzoteca. I had no idea what to expect, but was shocked to find a super trendy restaurant in Chelsea's no-mans-land.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gaga for Gazala Place

My parents are in town and I needed a new pre-theatre place that would be quick and unpretentious. I did a little research and kept coming across this Gazala Place being mentioned. It sounded delicious and low key- perfect for my parents. This place is small, doesn't have much in the way of atmosphere, and is BYOB. All good signs that the food is the main event.

Gazala's Platter

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Poll Winner: Tia Pol

Everyone raves about Tia Pol as one of the top Chelsea joints to eat. It's been top of my list of places to try (especially since we live half a block away), so with my parents in town and needing dinner, I dragged them in here. It definitely falls into the typical teeny, cramped NYC dining space camp. But we got a nice table by the bar where we weren't too jostled.

We started with two of our favorites, the shishito peppers and deviled eggs, aka pimientos estilo gernika and huevos rellenos al pimentón de la vera. These are straightforward dishes and did not disappoint. 
Shishito Peppers & Deviled Eggs 

Big Prices at Gorilla Cheese

My parents are visiting and I simply had to take them to The Lot on Tap. We got a bit piqued whilst enjoying our beers and the food truck options were a bit limited on a Monday night. I stopped by the Gorilla Cheese truck and picked us up a sharp cheddar grilled cheese and some tots. To go with it, I grabbed the vidalia onion and sweet chili thai dipping sauce. It was a great snack for sure, but for $8.50? The price tag is a bit steep for a pretty basic sandwich and tots.

Looney for Lulu Cake Boutique

Our coworker responsible for ordering the monthly Birthday cupcakes at the office decided to switch it up this time and got a selection of goodies from Lulu Cake Boutique. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a good baked goods critic, because, well I don't think I've ever crossed a cupcake I didn't like. These definitely distinguish themselves from Billys and Magnolia so are not just another ripoff cupcake shop. Notably, their frosting is a bit thicker. My favorite flavor was definitely chocolate hazelnut, which tasted like a bigger, fluffier Ferrero Rocher.

The thing that further sets them apart from the other cupcake shops are their "Lulus". These are basically what a twinkie would be if it was hand made and then dipped. We tried the lemon, red velvet and chocodiles. I'm not a big white chocolate fan, so the chocolate dipped chocodile was definitely my favorite. These are definitely worth stopping by for!

Lulu Cake Boutique on Urbanspoon

Lulu Cake Boutique on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 24, 2011

Killa Eats from Korilla

If you see this truck, stop immediately 
Bowl & Burrito
On yet another visit to The Lot on Tap we encountered the Korilla BBQ Food Truck. I've been hearing good things about these guys and just look at that tiger- he means business. So we were excited to check it out. The Mr. wanted a burrito with pork and I set my sights on a bowl with bulgogi.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grimaldi's vs Patsy's: The Secret Revealed

Best Pizza in NJ
I went over to my friend's apartment in Hoboken for a movie night and she told me that I had to try her favorite Hoboken pizza joint. Apparently, it rivals Patsy's across the river and there is some kind of rivalry between the two. She calls her pizza place (which is on her speed dial) and we get ourselves a mushroom and olive pie with some extra marinara for our dipping pleasure. Amazing! She is absolutely right, they've got pizza in Jersey which rivals the best-of-the-best in NY. She can't remember the name, but assure's me if I search for 'best pizza hoboken' it will be the first result...and that it starts with a 'G'.

So imagine my surprise when I find out that it's Grimaldi's! I didn't realize they had a Hoboken location- and in fact, they have two. Then I also happen to run across this little Wikipedia page about Grimaldi's. It explains that Patsy Grimadi opened Patsy's first, sold it, then opened Grimaldi's. But the recipes and ingredients remain the same between the two. Aha! So all the times The Mr and I have mumbled "this is just as good as Grimaldi's" with our mouths full of Patsy's Pizza- we were right!

The best part about the Grimaldi's in Hoboken? They deliver! No waiting around under the Brooklyn Bridge for an hour here folks...

Grimaldi's Coal Brick Oven on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 20, 2011

Olives Update

Escargot Flatbread and Carpetbagger Oysters
Re-visited Olives for a date night. For our entree, we went with our favorite- the pork chop, but tried a couple of new items from the Appetizer menu this round. The Escargot Flatbread was topped with Montrachet goat cheese, garlicky snails, and black truffle vinaigrette. While this was garlicky, cheesy, and very yummy, we didn't really taste the truffle flavor. We also got an order of the Carpetbagger Oysters: crispy oysters with beef carpaccio truffle mashed potatoes. Again, we enjoyed them, but didn't taste much truffle.  

On our next visit, we will definitely need to try the popular Fig & Prosciutto Flatbread!

Olives New York on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Long Island Edition: Nick's Pizza & Clam Bar

Lobster Pager

Crab Cakes, Calamari, Fish & Chips
Although we were technically out of New England, we continued our fried seafood extravaganza with a visit to Nick's Pizza & Clam Bar. It was a beautiful day, so we hung out on their patio with our lobster pager waiting for our food. Since it was so lovely out and kids were treating their dads to a special Father's Day dinner, we finally had to give up on getting a table on the deck. We picked up our food inside and kicked back with some crab cakes, calamari, fish & chips, and some cold ones. Although I find the 'Pizza & Clam Bar' concept to be kind of an odd mismatch, the pizza looked and smelled really good! We were so full from the seafood that we didn't sample it, but if it's as good as the offerings that we sampled, then they are really on to something here!

Clam Bar on Urbanspoon

New England Edition: The Breakfast Place

The Philly Skillet 
Benedict Special
It was time to head back to NY from our New England adventure, but on our way out we grabbed some breakfast at the appropriately named The Breakfast Place. It's a no frills, diner type of place which is obviously popular with the local citizens of Attleboro, MA. Low key seemed like the way to go considering it was Father's Day and there was probably a long wait at the fancier brunch places. 

The Mr didn't have to think long before ordering the Philly Skillet: Eggs with Shaved Steak, Peppers, Mushrooms, Onions, and American Cheese. I opted for one of the daily specials which was a veggie Benedict with tomatoes and pesto. Instead of home fries I took their healthier option of grilled apples. If you're passing through Attleboro and need a casual, laid back breakfast place, this is your option.

The Breakfast Place on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 18, 2011

New England Edition: Lobster Hut

Lobster Hut Feast
After The Mr finished a triathlon in Massachusetts, we were ready for another fried seafood feast. The girls in our hotel lobby didn't hesitate when we asked for a recommendation: if we were willing to drive over to Plymouth, then Lobster Hut was the place to go. Off we went, just in time to order a jumbo lobster roll, crab cakes, clam chowder and fries from the counter and scarf it all down on the deck down by the water. Fantastic!

After dinner, we took a stroll by the Mayflower reproduction and then, of course, to Plymouth Rock. On our way back, we stopped by Ziggy's for some soft serve. They had a few soft serve options which I've never seen before. They had these 'flavor bursts' which you could add to your soft serve to launch you way above and beyond your basic chocolate, vanilla, and swirl options. The Mr. got a vanilla with pistachio flavor burst. I was a little worried that maybe the flavoring would be too artificial or just on the surface, but the flavor blended well throughout the cone. The second cool option was pretzel cones! If you're a sucker for salty & sweet combos like me this is totally the way to go.

Lobster Hut on Urbanspoon

Ziggy's on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 17, 2011

New England Edition: Captain Scott's Lobster Dock

Ordering Counter

The Dock

Our Fried Seafood Feast!
On our way through New England, we stopped in New London, CT for our first bite of New England's legendary seafood. Through the magic of the interwebs, I was able to find a little place called Captain Scott's Lobster Dock. We would have never found this place without talking to a local because it was tucked away and we honestly weren't sure we were at the right place until we finally pulled into the parking lot. 

At this point in our trip we were pretty hungry, so we decided to go for what seems like a 'one-of-everything' approach: the hot lobster roll with butter, steamers, clam fritters, french fries, onion rings, and lobster bisque. The lobster roll was definitely yummy, but I think on the whole we prefer the normal cold with mayo variety (they have this, we just didn't try it). The bisque was incredibly rich with big chunks of lobster. Our favorite item of the meal was the clam fritters. These were like some kind of seafood-y donut hybrid which was delicious in the I-can-feel-my-arteries-clogging way. 

This meal was the perfect kick start to our New England adventure!

Captain Scott's Lobster Dock on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Light Lovely Lunch at La Lunchonette

The Skate 
We took a friend/coworker out to celebrate her birthday today and decided to make it fancy by going French. La Lunchonette is across the street from our office, but we've never visited before, I suppose because it's a little pricey for everyday lunch. But for celebrating a special occasion- it's perfect. Skate was on the menu and ordering Skate is kind of my thing right now, so that's exactly what I did. I've had a few rather disappointing Skate experiences around the city at this point, but this Skate made me happy that I haven't given up ordering this dish. Tender, buttery, and with a zing of lemon, this Skate is the second best I've had (#1 slot still goes to Sel el Poivre). The sides were similarly tasty (and with lots of butter in true French fashion). After enjoying our delightful meals in this charming cafe we found ourselves relaxed and refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of our work day.

La Lunchonette on Urbanspoon

Spanish Fare at Cafe Espanol

Sangria, Bread, & Dipping Sauce

Paella Valenciana

Paella Marinera with Lobster
To celebrate one of our good friend's birthdays we decided that the festive choice would be paella. We revisited a restaurant that we went to when we first moved to the city back before the blog was really up and running called Cafe Espanol. As we remembered, the sangria was delicious and the bread comes out with this wonderful olive and olive oil dipping concoction. 

For dinner, we all shared the Paella Valenciana (sausage, chicken, seafood, and saffron rice) and the paella Marinera with Lobster (shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, squid, and saffron rice). We enjoyed it a lot, but found it to be a bit on the salty side. Now that we've had paella from Soccarat and experienced the slightly burnt, magic, delicious crust that can be the bottom of paella, I don't think I can fully enjoy paella again without that. Unfortunately, this paella did not have the soccarat effect.

Cafe Español on Carmine on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

LA Edition: Umami Burger

Truffle Burger

The Mr is the resident burger expert of Newbie Foodies and I am usually quite satisfied with just a bite of his burger. When I do treat myself to a burger, it's usually of the veggie or turkey variety, and I'm usually all about the lettuce, tomato, ketchup and pickles. The Umami Burgers are just bun, meat, and cheese, so I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it that much.

Holy Cow! This is one of the best burgers I have ever tasted! Although I really wanted to order the "Umami Burger" as I tend to get dishes named after the dining establishment, I simply could not resist the "Truffle Burger". I also really appreciated the size of the burger- it's a little bit bigger than a slider, so it left me full without being overly stuffed.

We also got an order of Truffle Fries to split, but those are not pictured since we couldn't hold back long enough to snap a photo (don't judge until you are faced with the same situation). For the second time in my trip, I found myself experiencing a mix of emotions as I was elated by the amazing dish in front of me, yet was saddened that The Mr wasn't here to experience it. Oh well, this only further cements my resolve to come back soon with him!

Umami Burger on Urbanspoon

LA Edition: Alcove


Scramble with Mushrooms & Zucchini
At this point in my LA trip, I met up with my LA friend who took over the fantastic food finding duty. She started by bringing me to Alcove for brunch which was a delightful sunny and airy spot with enormous breakfast plates. I tried to keep it healthy by getting the egg white scramble with mushrooms & zucchini, but didn't count on the sheer quantity of it! A delicious start to another fun filled Californian day!

Alcove Cafe & Bakery/Big Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

LA Edition: Jinky's Cafe

Pumpkin Flaky Toast

My last and final incredible LA find is Jinky's Cafe in Santa Monica. Talk about a huge selection of breakfast foods! Normally I'm not a big french toast kind of gal, but when I spotted the Pumpkin Flaky Toast my search was over. Their flaky toast is thick cut egg bread diped in batter and covered with Honey Nut Corn Flakes. Yum, OK, with ya so far. Top that with pumpkin marmalade, whipped cream and powdered sugar on top and you've got heaven on a plate. My only mistake was not ordering it stuffed with cream cheese and more pumpkin for an extra dollar. Although, long term, perhaps this wasn't the worst thing. For the first time in my LA trip I'm glad that this deliciousness isn't within my vicinity, because there would be no holding me back from this unhealthy holy grail of breakfast items!

Jinky's Café on Urbanspoon

LA Edition: Jinky's Cafe

Pumpkin Flaky Toast

My last and final incredible LA find is Jinky's Cafe in Santa Monica. Talk about a huge selection of breakfast foods! Normally I'm not a big french toast kind of gal, but when I spotted the Pumpkin Flaky Toast my search was over. Their flaky toast is thick cut egg bread diped in batter and covered with Honey Nut Corn Flakes. Yum, OK, with ya so far. Top that with pumpkin marmalade, whipped cream and powdered sugar on top and you've got heaven on a plate. My only mistake was not ordering it stuffed with cream cheese and more pumpkin for an extra dollar. Although, long term, perhaps this wasn't the worst thing. For the first time in my LA trip I'm glad that this deliciousness isn't within my vicinity, because there would be no holding me back from this unhealthy holy grail of breakfast items!

Jinky's Café on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 13, 2011

LA Edition: Waterloo + City & Nic's

Went to a work dinner at Waterloo + City which really opened my eyes to what a "Gastropub" is meant to be. That term gets tossed around a lot in the restaurant world, but I never really understood the beauty of it until visiting this fine establishment. A gastropub is what happens when you take the best bits of a bar and mash them up with the great food of an upscale restaurant. Fantastic food, but in a more laid back setting and all paired with some fantastic draught beer.

We started with a selection of cheese and then moved on to the beet salad which featured burrata, panini, walnuts, horseradish, and bresaola. So amazing to get such wonderful and fresh ingredients paired together, but without the snootiness of a high end restaurant!

For the main course there was a pasta dish where the server shaved fresh truffle on top right in front of you. You better believe that's what I ordered. It was so incredible that I felt guilty eating it knowing that The Mr was back home in NYC where he couldn't taste it. Crazy thoughts of getting it in a doggie bag and putting it in a cooler with some dry ice back on the plane with me to NYC rushed through my head. In the end though, I simply vowed to bring him back with me and cross my fingers that they have another truffle based special dish when we return.

Waterloo & City on Urbanspoon

I didn't drink much at Waterloo + City (a shame, I know!) because I was nervous about having to drive around in unfamiliar LA. Our coworker suggested that we take a cab to Beverly Hills and have a martini at Nic's. Now usually when I peruse a specialty cocktail menu, one or two drinks jump out to me immediately. At Nic's, they all sounded so good that I had a really hard time choosing! In the end, I went with one that featured lemon and watermelon which was served with a frozen watermelon plank. It was light, fruity, and refreshing. We also decided to satisfy our chocolate craving with the Chocolate Caramel Torte- rich and delicious!

Overall, an incredibly successful day of eating in sunny LA!

Nic's of Beverly Hills on Urbanspoon

LA Edition: Espresso Profeta

Met up with a colleague here for a quick cup of cappuccino. I really wanted to sit in the courtyard which had adorable metal cafe tables and was well shaded by lush foliage, but we had to get some work done so we enjoyed our coffee inside. A perfectly darling little cafe, I only regretted that we didn't have more time to spend here!

Espresso Profeta on Urbanspoon