Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cape Cod Rocks the Lobsta!

During a recent ladies getaway to Cape Cod, I had the chance to enjoy some superb seafood.  Living in New York City, I benefit from the island location, as well as having some of the best chefs the country has to offer, but there ain't nothing like fried seafood and fresh lobster on Cape Cod.
Our first stop for lunch was Cataumet Fish - a bare bones fish shack with a plethora of raw fish, clams and lobster for sale.  We ordered basically the only thing on the take out menu- lobster rolls - plus a pound of shrimp with homemade cocktail sauce.

That beautiful image above had to have been the best lobster roll I've ever had - Pearl's Oyster Bar included.  It was filled to the brim with chunks of fresh lobster and despite how the image may look, it did not have too much mayo.  The flavor, the freshness, the soft was amazing.  And the shrimp was definitely a nice side dish - the homemade cocktail sauce was nice and horseradish-y, which I love.

Check out Cataumet Fish if you're ever in the area - it's definitely a quintessential Cape Code experience.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Peter Luger Steak House

Well, well, well... after 3+ years of living together, my 2 roommates - Howie & Danny - and I went out to eat. Amazingly enough, this had never happened prior to Friday night. We had shared many meals together in front of the TV and many more in restaurants where we were joined by our friends, but it was never just the 3 of us. With the 3 of us leaving our current digs at the end of the month, we needed to change this ASAP. Where do you go to celebrate 3 amazing years of living together? We decided to go big-time and went to the best steak house in all the land.. Peter Luger Steak House (The #1 Steak House in NYC for 26 straight years!)

We were looking forward to this meal since we made the reservation a month prior. After a pre-dinner cocktail at our apt and a short cab ride from the East Village to Williamsburgh, we found ourselves in the famed Steak House. It was crowded and had an old school vibe with wood surrounding you on all sides & a wait staff dressed in all white. We were seated upstairs and immediately greeted with an above-average bread basket filled with my favorite, pretzel rolls. Don't be a newb and fill up on the bread!! There's much, much better food to come!

We didn't even need a menu as the waiter took one look at the 3 of us and told us exactly what we were going to order. He was spot on! Tomato & Onion and 3 slices of bacon to start, steak for 3 as the entree with french fried potatoes & creamed spinach on the side. Boom! We got started with some cocktails and then the food just kept coming.

The key to the tomato & onion appetizer is the Peter Luger Steak Sauce that's served alongside it. The steak sauce is a blend between traditional steak sauce and cocktail sauce.

The key to the bacon appetizer - one slice per person - is that it's sliced super thick. Thinking of this as one slice of bacon is deceiving because it's more like 3 normal slices of bacon packed on top of each other. Obviously, the bacon is just oozing with flavor!

The entree is served family style and the steak comes on a sizzling hot plate. It was cooked perfectly (what else do you expect?) and had loads of butter-y flavor. From what I hear, the steak is marinated & cooked in butter and in addition to being great beef, this is what gives it a lot of it's flavor. You can dip it in the steak sauce or you can just have it straight up. Either way, there will be a big smile on your face. Throw in some creamed spinach and a funky french fried potato dish (that's similar to hash browns) and you have yourself one helluva meal.

You don't get voted the best Steak House for 26 years by leaving people disappointed. We were no different. And Howie made sure that we left nothing on any of our plates:

It might have taken us 3 years to sit down and share a meal, but in one evening, we reached the pinnacle of New York dining.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pizza! Brunch! Thai! Oysters! Chinese! & MORE!!

Jess and I are in the process of moving in together (!!!) so we have a ton of expenses to deal with right now. As a result, we have not been eating out at as much recently and spending all of our money on food.

Instead, we've gotten our eats from take-out, pick-up, etc... And since we are fortunate enough to live in New York City, the options are plentiful AND delicious. Here are some notable spots for good, quick, cheap food:

Yummy House - With so many grimy Chinese take-out places, YH is refreshingly just the opposite. Their food always delivers (no pun intended, well, maybe it was) and this past occasion was no exception. Orange Chicken, Chicken w/ Cashews, & Shrimp Lo Mein were enjoyed by all who got involved. Plus, their dinner pick-up special is one of the best around. Check 'em out!

Gracefully Market - This is a go-to favorite of mine when I want something healthy & hearty. They have a grilled chicken & vegetables salad that is MORE than enough for one person and it only costs $6.99. It comes with your choice of dressing & I suggest trying out the Sesame Ginger. I will have this salad anywhere from 1-2 times per week. They can be found on 1st Ave btwn 18th & 19th.

Kati - Jess and I tried their Thai food for the first time and were both impressed. It was delivered in no time and was very affordable (less than $10/person). The Pad Thai & Curry Tofu dishes were exactly what you'd expect... yummy!

Artichoke Pizza - If you haven't been here, do yourself a favor and go right now! It can be argued that their famed artichoke slice is more similar to artichoke dip than it is to pizza, but that's for another time. The slice is phenomenal & can fill you up for a mere $4.50 (recently raised from $4). The simplest description of this slice is artichoke dip topped with parm & muzz cheese placed on top of thick pizza bread. It will make you melt!

The Sicilian & Margarita slices are some of the best I've ever had, and this comes from someone who grew up eating LI/NYC pizza (yeah, I just tooted my own horn). They skillfully combine marinara sauce, parmesan & mozzarella cheese, and basil on their pizza to stand out (and way above) almost all of the other pizza joints in the city. The best part of their Sicilian slices is its crust - crunchy, crispy, & oily!

Oh, and I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't make mention of a few more things:

1) Aside from a couple of benches in front of their shop, it's all take-out.
2) There's always a line in front of their small pizza shop (14th St btwn 1st & 2nd).
3) The service is unfathomably bad so expect to wait & don't get frustrated. It's hard to know if they don't know how to efficiently run their store or if they like the buzz they get from the line. Either way, grin & bear it cause the pizza is well worth the wait!

Our one splurge of late was a brunch we shared at Cookshop last Saturday morning. Our friend was in from out of town (of course I took him to Artichoke to have New York's finest). So, we went out hard the night before (to my favorite bar, Hi Fi) and woke up needing a hearty breakfast to aid in our recovery. Plus, we wanted to get there one last time before Jess moved away from the neighborhood. I got their pancakes, and since they are big, light, & fluffy... they are perfect for a wicked hangover. They come topped with caramelized bananas & a cinnamon butter. I requested some chopped walnuts on top for an added crunch. Plain & simple, these flapjacks are some of the best NYC have to offer.

Jess followed suit by ordering one of her brunch staples... the egg white frittata. It comes baked in a small skillet filled with fresh vegetables, cheese and is nice and crispy on top. It's healthy, filling and delicious.

Did it cure our hangovers? Pretty much, yeah! Did it give us the necessary fuel to enjoy a sun-soaked day in this great city we live in? You're damn right it did!

We're sad to move away from Cookshop but I got a feeling we'll be back sooner rather than later.

And to celebrate a friend's birthday, Jess recently went to Mermaid Oyster Bar down in Greenwich Village (our new hood!), a sister restaurant to the Mermaid Inn (East Village and Upper West Side)...

It's a casual joint that serves up a variety of fresh oysters and yummy treats from the sea. We started with some drinks and the seafood tower, which comes packed with oysters, crab and other goodies. For four people, it was the perfect way to go. I also got the the sauteed calamari with shiitake & cremini mushrooms, feta cheese, and frisee lettuce, which has got to be one of my favorite dishes in all of NYC. It's a starter but is enough for an entree if you get something else as a starter. The calamari is complemented by the flavors of the mushrooms and cheese - everything melts together. It's a nice change from fried calamari or an Italian calamari with tomato sauce - it's definitely something you should try!

And so is Mermaid Oyster bar - with their cute complimentary cup of chocolate pudding and red fortune teller fish at the end, it's a fun eating experience!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Marlow & Sons

On Saturday we had plans to go to a friend's rooftop party in Williamsburgh, so we decided to hit up Marlow & Sons before. It's not every day that we find ourselves in the outer boroughs so when we do, we want to take advantage of the great food options that exist.
It's not very big but the space is filled with soft lighting, old school decor (think lots of dark brick & chandeliers), good music and people everywhere. We sat at the bar since there were no tables available and we got placed right in the heart of the hustle and bustle.

Even though the menu is tiny, we still had trouble deciding what to order (not surprising for the two of us)! It's one of those places where you know anything you get is going to be tasty, but you still want to make sure you nail your order. We opted not to get oysters, which seemed to be a big deal there, because there were too many other items we wanted. We started with the fried corn which was buttery and delicious. It's not coated in anything, just simply fried until the edges get crispy and super tasty. It was served with tomatoes, herbs and a delicious butter sauce. Corn & butter is a classic combination.

For the entree, I got the seafood salad appetizer because it sounded too good to pass up. Scallops, calamari and clams in a white wine sauce with huge chunks of tomatoes served over crusty bread - it was deliciously flavorful.

Eric went with the brick chicken. What's brick chicken? I think it's chicken served on a brick, but I really can't be sure. (NOTE: I've since learned "brick chicken is usually chicken that is cooked on a grill or griddle with a brick on top so as to smash it and make it cook more evenly." Thanks Val!) What was put in front of me was a half chicken (bones in) oozing with flavor juices. The bird was cooked perfectly and wasn't the slightest bit dry. Just the opposite as there was more than enough juices so that each piece could be dipped in said juices. The skin was crispy & seasoned well, providing a little texture to each bite. Served alongside the chicken is eggplants, zucchini, capers, & squash. All well & good, but the star of the dish is the chicken. And you should know by now that nothing was left on my plate.

All & all, we both really enjoyed our entrees (hooray for good ordering!) and would happily come back here with some friends to try some of the other tasty offerings on the menu. We recommend you check it out & let us know what you think.

Rooftop view of NYC