Sunday, February 19, 2012

Brunch at Bubby's

This past Saturday, with Jess in Austin for her bachelorette party, I went to Bubby's in Tribeca with my parents. Based on the name, I assumed that Bubby's was going to be an old, small spot that served Jewish food. I showed up and quickly saw house cured bacon on the Specials sign outside. My assumption was wrong. We got there at 12:45 and had to wait 30 minutes for a table of 3. Not too shabby since it was seasonably warm and the sun was shining.

Bubby's has a great, homey vibe in the main dining room... high ceilings with floor-to-ceiling windows give it a very open feel, and there's great art and decorations all over the room.

This would all be for naught if the food didn't live up to the expectations. All three of us got some combo of the griddle special (2 pancakes + eggs any style + bacon, grits, or sausage). I did banana-walnut pancakes with 2 sunny-side up eggs and chicken sausage. Pancakes were tier 1... light and fluffy with lots of taste. The walnuts were baked into the pancakes and were topped with a healthy amount of caramelized bananas. The eggs were cooked perfectly and along with the tasty chicken sausage & whole wheat toast, it was a fantastic compliment to the flapjacks.

My mom & dad both agreed that this was a fantastic brunch spot and well worth the 30-minute wait. It should be noted that I was full from this meal 8 hours after eating... it's hearty. I'll definitely be coming back here in the near future, and recommend you check it out as well. Enjoy!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Locanda Verde

A very long overdue apology for our lack of blogging – not only has the winter resulted in us cooking and eating in more, but the proximity of our Cinco de Mayo wedding means that a lot of our time is spent planning and looking forward to 5.5.12! Thanks to our pals Carly and Ilana, we booked a much needed meal out at Locanda Verde recently, and crossed one off the top of the list!

LV is great for so many occasions – a meal out with a group of friends, dinner with the parents, date night and even drinks at the bar.  It’s the kind of place that invites you in and makes you feel at home.  Do yourself a favor and sit in the back room - not only is there less traffic of people walking through, but the vibe is much better. 

We started out the night with some cocktails, naturally, and they have a great selection of wines and beers.  To kick the meal off, we ordered the Blue Crab crostini with jalapeno and tomato, as well as the Sheep’s Milk Ricotta with sea salt and herbs.

Any google or Yelp search for LV will have you reading people’s raves about the Sheep’s milk ricotta, and they’re pretty on-point.  Not only is the portion huge, but the soft and spreadable cheese is super fresh, which results in a simple yet amazing dish.  The crab crostini was very tasty, but didn’t feel very original or necessary.

Next up we shared a pasta, the Gigantone with Sunday night ragu and provolone picante.  LV makes their own pasta, and this dish was huge ribbons of fresh pasta with a tasty meat sauce.  It was good, but a little light on the meat sauce. 

The highlight of the meal for both of us was the Wood-Fired Pork Chop with Yukon gold potatoes, trumpet mushrooms and walnuts, which we also shared.  The chop was perfectly cooked and moist, and the accompaniments really complemented the pork well – the dish was fairly large and left us completely satisfied. 

And because we always need a little something sweet, we capped the meal off with the Chocolate Torta with hot fudge and hazelnut gelato – I mean, how can you go wrong there?

All in all, Locanda Verde left a great taste in our mouth, pun intended.  It was a solid, totally enjoyable meal and has a great atmosphere, so if you’re looking for your next dining experience, head on down to Tribeca!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


First off, Wogies is a Philly bar, so beware. Me and a couple of buddies were looking for a bar to watch some football (TEBOW!!), drink some beers, and eat some good food. Wogies was the spot and ended up three for three!

$3-4 draughts of Six Point can't be beat. Medium-sized TVs in every corner of the fairly-small bar was adequate enough to watch the game from any seat at our table. Plus, the wings, waffle fries, and cheesesteaks were delicious bar-style food.

Buffalo wings were some of the best I've had in NYC. Crispy on the outside, moist & tasty on the inside, with sauce that's loaded with flavor and the right amount of heat.

The bread and guts of the sandwiches we ordered (buffalo chicken cheesesteak, pizza steak, fat jimmy, cheesesteak) left us all quite satisfied. One of my friends went so far to say "the bread was definitely baked in Philly." Whatever that means. It wasn't. Waffle fries were awesome, taboot.

If you're looking for a sports bar with great food, cheap beers, and decent TV coverage, then Wogies is the spot for you. I'll definitely be back there.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Last weekend, Jess and I took a ride up to Tarrytown for a belated birthday lunch at the famed Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant. The trip from NYC takes about 60-90 minutes (subway > metro north > cab) but as you'll read it's well worth it.

The grounds at Stone Barns, a non-profit farm, are beautiful, especially in the fall with the foliage in full force. You're free to walk around the farm at your own leisure and we took advantage of this by spotting some cows, sheep, turkeys, and our favorite, pigs!

As soon as you enter the dining room in the restaurant, you know you're in for a special dining experience. The service is the best of the best... it feels like the ratio of wait staff to diner is 3:1. Plus, everyone is dressed up and the restaurant is decorated in a classy, cozy, fall-tastic manner.

There are no menus at Blue Hill. Guests select how many courses they want and tell the waiter about any allergies they have.  No matter what dishes they're serving the day you go, they are using fresh ingredients from their farm, with the goal being to highlight the food and flavors of the surrounding Hudson Valley.

They start you off with a handful of pre-appetizer bites including a shot of Blue Hill V9, potato & leek chips, as well as a pancetta skewer. The shot of V9 immediately brings a smile to your face when you realize the freshness of the veggies you're drinking. The whimsical presentation of the chips illustrates how much fun they are having in the kitchen with these ingredients.

Our first course was a beet salad. The beets were served alongside fresh yogurt and greens. It will come as no surprise that the beets were bursting with flavor and we polished off every bite on our plates.

Course number two was a vegetable soup, but this wasn't just any veggie soup. This soup was topped with a fried egg that oozed yolk as soon as you dipped into it. We weren't quite sure how they were able to bread the egg, hard boil it, and still serve it with a running yolk, but we'll let that remain a secret. All we know is that they hit us with another course that showcased fresh and delicious vegetables with a serious twist.

I believe it was at this time in the meal when they came out with the best bread we've ever sampled. Crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, baked with onions mixed in, and served alongside creamy butter. Good god this was unbelievable!

Course three was grilled pork that left a little to be desired. While the curried grains served alongside the dish and the flavors of the pork were both great, we felt that the pork was a bit too fatty for our liking.  It didn't 'wow' us the same way the previous courses had.

They ended on a high note with course #4... an apple strudel with lemon ice cream. It had just the right amount of sweetness and texture, and left us with a big smile on our faces.

After a 2+ hour dining experience, our meal at Blue Hill had come to end. We both loved the meal and the experience of Stone Barns and were hopeful that we'd find our way back here in the near future.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Los Feliz

Last Saturday night: we went down to Los Feliz to have a tasty meal, some delicious drinks and enjoy a fun atmosphere on the LES. LF has all the benefits of the La Esquina vibe (dark, subterranean feel), without the hassle of LE's exclusivity and lack of reservations!

There are two options for seating at Los Feliz, and downstairs is where it's at, especially for the aforementioned decor and vibe. They accept reservations for the downstairs room and even though we didn't have one, we were able to score an empty table for a little over an hour before it's inhabitants would arrive. Upstairs, the food is the same, but the room is well-lit and fairly cramped with tables - just not as unique as the dining room below.

They have a menu of many different margarita options. We took down some classics, as well as the jalapeno and cilantro margarita, which was not too spicy. Just perfect!

Any self-respecting Mexican joint has good salsa, and Los Feliz's is mention-worthy. It's pureed, not chunky, and very smooth and flavorful. The guacamole, on the other hand, wasn't as noteworthy. It was salty and lacked flavor.

On to the ceviche, which was arguably the best dish of the night: Mexican style tuna tartare, habanero, soy sauce, lemon-lime marinade, cucumber-ginger pico de gallo, sesame seeds, avocado & fresh sorbet - what a laundry list of tastiness! Each bite was delicious - chunks of tuna & avocado along with a little of the liquid citrus juice made the dish perfectly balanced. It was also served with a wonton-style tortilla chip perfect for adding a little crunch. Don't skip the ceviche!

As for entrees, it seems like the way to go is tacos - plus, two tacos per order makes it easy to share. We got the Pez Dorado: crispy sea bass, valentia aioli, avocado and cucumber-ginger relish, which was great, although we didn't really taste the fish under it's coating and all of the other ingredients. Along with the fish tacos, we got the Puerco: braised pork, chili pasilla, Cotija cheese, corn and pico de gallo - these were delicious! Corn + Cotija = automatic flavor town, but the pork was well-cooked and really flavorful on it's own.

Los Feliz is great for big parties, also and with the pitchers of margaritas flowing, it probably gets loud and rowdy later on in the evenings. Check it out if you're looking for good Mexican and a fun vibe!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ditch Plains

After walking around the West Village on Sunday morning, we worked up an appetite for some brunch and decided to finally try Ditch Plains. We've heard great things about their Lobster Bake but figured we'd check out what else they had to offer.

Turns out they have a lot to offer...for starters, the bloody mary was absolutely tremendous. Strong, spicy, and loaded with flavor, this hit the spot. Jess ordered an omelet stuffed with swiss cheese & mushrooms served alongside a salad & toast. It was a large omelet that was properly & evenly stuffed with the aforementioned additions.

Eric got the chicken burger topped with swiss cheese. The burger did not suffer from a lack of taste as many turkey & chicken burgers have a history of doing. Helped out by a healthy layer of swiss cheese and a soft, flavorful bun, this burger was well seasoned. Served with a juicy tomato, delicious pickles as well as a side salad and fries, it's a complete meal that will leave you satisfied.

We both walked out saying that everything we ate or drink was right on point. Add that to the relaxed vibe, great service, and convenient location, and I have a feeling we'll be back real soon for some more brunch and to check out their lobster bake.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Date Night!

This past Thursday night, we decided to change up our normal routine of having dinner at the table and relaxing on the couch. Keeping it local, we grabbed a drink at Blue Ribbon Bar on Downing Street and had dinner at Mermaid Oyster Bar on Sullivan Street. Blue Ribbon Bar is a great, little bar with a serious menu (food & drinks) despite being the size of a bedroom. With only a dozen or so bar stools, it has a very intimate vibe. While everything is very modern and has a shine to it, the walls are covered in wood and the lighting is dim so it feels very cozy.

I went with a pint of a recently-released Brooklyn Brewery beer, Concoction. The bartender said it had a smoky, almost scotch-like taste to it. He was spot on. With an alcohol content around 6.5%, it certainly tasted stronger than it was. It went down nice and smooth and I'd happily order another. Jess opted for a trio of red wines. They pour you 2 ounces (or a little bit more, if you get a nice bartender) of three different reds so you can sample them all. She was impressed with all of them.

By this point, our stomachs were growling so we headed over to Mermaid Oyster Bar. This place has become something of a local favorite for us as it always delivers and never feels like it's breaking the bank. I ordered a shrimp & oyster po boy with old bay fries, while Jess got her favorite, the calamari salad. We've had these dishes in the past, so it came as no surprise that they were delicious and led to us clearing our plates.

After a complimentary chocolate pudding to satisfy our sweet tooth, we walked around the corner to our apartment... home sweet home. Gotta love an impromptu, low-key evening with good food & drinks and the one you love.