Friday, February 25, 2011


One of the first things my sister Elissa said to me after I told her the location of our new apartment was that I had to try this incredible sandwich shop on Sullivan Street.  After doing some digging, she remembered that the name of the shop was Alidoro & it's located on Sullivan between Spring & Prince. 

After meeting for lunch 5 months later, I now get where her enthusiasm comes from. The shop is a hole in the wall and normally you'd walk right by and think nothing of it. Looks can be deceiving. The inside has a cluttered feel, as the walls are lined with Italian books & pictures and there are two tables stuffed in a corner. There's enough seating for 6-8 people and barely enough room to stand and wait in line. This is one of the reasons why there's often a line out the door. 

As for the service... there are two people behind the counter making each sandwich fresh to order. I read some reviews in which the woman was referred to as the "Sandwich Nazi" and I can see why. She yells at you to give your order and if you speak too fast, she's not afraid to yell some more. There's also a long list of "NO's" taped to the wall to ensure that diners aren't foolish enough to ask for salt, pepper, basil, tomatoes, or anything else you might expect at a restaurant. This is no ordinary restaurant and you better get that in your head before you speak to the Sandwich Nazi. It takes a little while for the guy to make your sandwich because he's half slicing your meat and half watching whatever is on the 10 inch TV on his side.

You deal with it because when you finally sit down to enjoy your sandwich, you're transported to the Italian countryside. Full disclosure: I've never been to Italy. But if the sandwiches there are half as good as what they've got at Alidoro, then I can't wait to get there!

All of the ingredients in your sandwich are assembled after you place your order and you can taste the freshness of the meat & veggies in every bite. I ordered the Pinocchio sandwich on sfilatino bread (hallowed out so it's nice & crunchy and not too bread-y) while Elissa got her favorite, the Pavarotti, on focaccia bread. The pinocchio is stuffed with prosciutto, sopressata, fresh mozzarella, sweet roasted peppers, & olive paste. The pavarotti has salami, smoked mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, & sweet roasted peppers. Personally, I thought the pinocchio was superior to the pavarotti but it's all a matter of your personal taste. Order whichever sandwich tickles your taste buds. Check out the full menu here.

The sandwiches cost anywhere from $9-11 and if you veer away from their white or whole wheat breads then you're going to have to pay $1-2 for the bread of your choice. This may seem to be a bit much but the sandwiches are HUGE and can easily last for 2 meals. We both stopped eating half-way through and were quite satisfied. The other half made for a great dinner alongside the red curry tomato soup Jess cooked up later in the day.

I'm not gonna lie.. I was a bit skeptical about Lis' recommendation, but I was proven wrong. Alidoro is an amazing sandwich shop and I will definitely be back real soon to try some of the other oddly-named sandwiches on their menu.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bar Pitti

A classic village Italian eatery. A great place to eat outside. Consistent in delivering delicious meals. There aren't too many NYC restaurants like it. On the first warm day of the year (in February?) we headed to Bar Pitti in hopes of sitting outside for a Friday night meal. As the sun set, it became a tad cold so we opted for an indoor table.
Having lived in Italy for 5 months while studying abroad, I can honestly say that this place feels like a true Italian restaurant - the host, chefs and waiters are all Italian and the dishes are authentic Italian, not Americanized or fancy Mario Batali Italian (not that there's anything wrong with that).

We started off with some house wine and the caprese salad with burrata, which comes in a huge blob like this:

I certainly learned what I was missing all these years by getting buffalo mozzarella instead. Burrata is more expensive but once you cut through the outer shell, the cheese oozes out and is creamy and delicious. Burrata is made from mozzarella and cream and literally means "buttered" in Italian. The cheese with fresh tomato and basil was heavenly. The texture was like a mix between ricotta and mozzarella.

Eric went for the Rigatoni Pitti: turkey sausage, peas, cream, tomatoes & parmigiano. The dish was just enough pasta (cooked just right) and each bite was just creamy enough - perfect balance between the meat, peas and cream.

Jess went with a chicken special: grilled chicken over greens, leeks and sundried tomatos. There was also a lemon dressing that really brightened up the dish and made each bite flavorful and delicious.

This is a great local spot and we're happy to be around the corner! We'll be back again real soon for an outdoor meal when the sun stays out til later in the evening!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Welcome to this place we call PARK CITY!

After having a blast in Vail last winter, we decided that going out west every winter for ski trip for the rest of our lives is a smart move.  We've stuck with that plan and this year, our travels took us to Park City, Utah. This cute, artsy mountain town is 30-45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City and the drive through the mountains is breathtaking - especially when you're not driving in a VW Bug the morning after a snow year we will be splurging for a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

While we couldn't tell much of a difference between the quality of snow, connoisseurs say that Utah has high quality "pow pow" & some of the best skiing in the country (I guess that's why Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002). Surrounded by 3 resorts - Park City, The Canyons, & Deer Valley (beware: skiers only!) - your options are plentiful & you could easily spend a week or more shredding the gnar without ever going down the same trail twice.

We spent 4 nights & 3 days in Park City and had ourselves a ball.  We stayed on Main Street at the Treasure Mountain Inn. Mainly because of the location & affordability, we would recommend this hotel to anyone going to PC. Naturally, we did lots of research before heading out there and spent our evenings dining at the following spots:

Located on Main Street in The Sky Lodge rests a beautiful, classy French restaurant. The dining room has a lodge feel to it with exposed wood & a fireplace.  We decided to go all out and after putting in our order for two dirty martini's & a half dozen oysters, we were off to a good start. 

Highlights included the calamari appetizer, a wonderful server, and an act of G-d that forced Eric to order the delicious Easy Street Burger (blue cheese, caramelized onions, bacon & roasted garlic!?!?!) that he had been craving for weeks. Jess was a happy camper with a big bowl of mussels in front of her & some crunchy garlic bread to soak up the tasty juices. We wanted a celebratory, grand night out & Easy Street delivered with flying colors.

This "fit for foodies" hot spot on Main Street with a decidedly western feel serves local, sustainable meats. To start, the BBQ Chicken Tamales were just OK. What stole the show was the veal meatloaf that we both ordered. It was a heaping portion of flavorful meat served on top of a sweet pepper salsa & next to mashed potatoes & brussels sprouts. After seeing an order being delivered to a table nearby, we decided that it looked too good to share and I think we're happy with our decision...Purple Sage is a must if you're heading out to PC.

On night 3, Super Bowl Sunday, we had a little trouble finding a restaurant that was open. This turned out to be a blessing as we ended up dining at one of Park City's finest establishments, Chimayo. Glittering with white x-mas lights and a lot of Southwestern pizazz, the atmosphere inside of Chimayo is part of what you are paying for (and you will pay A LOT). We weren't terribly hungry that night,  so we shared two appetizers & one entree. The soup sampler appetizer was perfect & the highlight of the meal. Four different soups (tortilla, pumpkin, potato leek, & crab/corn chowder)
were placed in mini bowls and each one was unique and tasty. It was just the right portion size for two people. The other app (ahi tuna salad) & entree (cod) were delicious but a tad overpriced for what they were. 

While we're happy we checked out Chimayo for the dining experience and good eats, we're also happy we went on a night when we weren't too hungry & didn't have to spend an arm and a leg.

On our last night in Park City, we headed down to an old whiskey distillery/bar/restaurant. We had an amusing British server who said "no worries" to everything we said. Not surprisingly, the drinks here were the best in Park City. Eric got the whiskey old fashioned & Jess got the whiskey lemonade. They tasted great & packed an alcoholic punch! For an appetizer, we shared 3 side veggies - squash "linguine" & fried eggplant, roasted b-sprouts, and sauteed spinach. We both had excellent things to say about our entrees - Jess and her chicken schnitzel & Eric with steak (served w/ whiskey steak sauce & parmesan-dusted fries).

We also stopped at the Back Door Deli during our first afternoon in Park City. The sandwiches there are fantastic (turkey/pesto & veggie were our choices) and it's worth stopping here one afternoon. The warm, crunchy bread and fresh ingredients are what set this place apart from most sandwich shops.

In terms of apres-ski, our favorite spot was the No Name Saloon. It was one of the most happening spots on Main Street & for good reason. It had ample seating, lots of drink options, & very cheap beer. Since most things in Park City are expensive, we'll gladly take a bar that allows you to get 2 pints for less than $10 w/ tip. We also stopped into the downstairs bar at Bandits & had ourselves some mighty fine buffalo wings.

Park City is a world-class ski town with a great vibe, top notch powder, and an abundance of dining/drinking options along the quintessential & appropriately named Main Street.

Here are a couple of the friends we made in Park City:

Franz The Bear

Molly The Moose

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Fat Radish

On Saturday, we met up with our friends Danny & Lindsey (check out her LTUL blog!), for some brunch at The Fat Radish. TFR recently opened & is located where the Lower East Side meets Chinatown - which, we all noted, is a completely different world. A cute coffee bar greets you upon entry and after walking down a small hallway, you are introduced to the dining room, which has a very hip and rustic feel to it.

I'll start with the negatives...the location and the service. I shouldn't have to ask multiple times for water or coffee. At brunch, these things should be flowing! I would think that this will only improve as the restaurant ages.

File this under "odd," but the entire staff breezes by in plaid button-downs. Waiters, hostesses, bus boys, etc... I'm not sure how I feel about this but it seems a little like they're trying too hard. We get it... you're hipsters.

Now, on to the goods... the food! My pumpkin pancakes were out of this world delicious and I will 100% be back again when I'm more hungover and these suckers can soak up some alcohol. Served with a maple mascarpone, candied walnuts, & a side of syrup, each bite was simply heavenly. Besides being a sucker for all things pumpkin (whoopie pies, what what!), what made these pancakes better than most others in Manhattan is that they were just a bit undercooked. This caused the middle of the pancakes to have a batter-like feel to it and who doesn't like that? It was like pumpkin cookie dough was greeting you at the end of every bite of flapjack.

This is what I looked like after my meal.

The rest of the table got eggs & while everyone enjoyed, I didn't get the sense that they LOVED the dishes. Maybe that's because I was too busy savoring each bite of my own dish. Lindsey's dish sounded the most interesting - spaghetti squash, candied bacon, & crispy egg. It should also be noted that the portions weren't particularly large. This was OK for the pancakes b/c no matter how you portion 3 pancakes, you're going to be full. But for the egg dishes, it was problematic. Eggs should ALWAYS be served alongside potatoes &/or toast. We had neither. Major no-no.

Oh, and the bloody mary's were quite delicious!! We'll be back soon enough.. Either for the pancakes or to see what they got for dinner.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Lupa seemed liked the perfect place for a Tuesday night birthday celebration with family, especially because the weather was inclement - no surprise there this winter! - and it's right around the corner from us.

A Batali joint around the corner that we hadn't tried in the five months of living circa Thompson Street? We know. We're disappointed with ourselves too.

On a "side street" in Greenwich Village, Lupa looks low key from the outside but once you enter, it has a busy, crowded feel that's amplified by the hordes of people waiting for tables. For the most part, this frantic feel disappears when you sit down at your table. We were seated in the front room by the bar but they also have a dining room in the back that is probably a bit more relaxed and would make for a more intimate dining experience.

The loaf of bread lightly sprinkled with rosemary & sea salt was served alongside a tasty bowl of olive oil. The perfect way to get your guests into an Italian mood. We started with two bottles of wine - a red & a white.

We shared a few appetizers for the table: marinated olives, beets w/ pistachios, brussels sprouts w/ apples, & squash w/ hazelnuts. Sharing apps for the table is definitely the move at Lupa since they are served in well-portioned (not too big, not too small - a theme for the meal) bowls in the middle of the table. This allowed everyone to sample each app & then go back for seconds. Aside from the olives, the 3 "star" veggies were a major hit at the table - they tasted fresh and were complemented by flavors and textures that worked very well together.

Spaghetti Carbonara, Ricotta Gnocchi, Chicken alla Diavola, & Arctic Char with Cauliflower & Meyer Lemon: it was an all-star line-up of Italian dishes. The first thing we noticed was that the portions were not very large. I guess Italians don't like to eat a lot. Hmmm.... that's not true. Maybe it's just a Lupa thing - they want you to go with three courses.

However, the chefs at Lupa do a phenomenal job of packing a ton of flavor into their smaller-sized dishes. There were a few "ooohs" & "ahhs," a "you have to try this," and by the time we cleaned up our plates, everyone was quite satisfied. I would be remiss to say that this was the best Italian we've ever had. Jess' dad & I both agreed that we'd had better versions of our dishes elsewhere - Carbonara & Gnocchi. I will say that having a smaller portion made you appreciate each bite that much more. There's something to be said for that. And, the smaller portions turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as we had enough room for dessert, which is usually not the case after eating a bowl of gnocchi or carbonara.

Despite pleading, Jess was faced with the b-day candle attention she tried desperately to avoid.

The Tartufo & dates with mascarpone provided the perfect sweet-tooth satisfaction after a fun-filled and tasty Italian meal. For a nice dinner out, Lupa doesn't break the bank and with a diverse menu filled with attractive options, we'll definitely be back.

Check it out yourselves and let us know what you think... just make sure you make your reservation 30 days out as it's tough to get a table.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Yes, you're in the right place...we've just spruced up our image a little with the help of the new Blogger editor.  RestoHoppers 2.0.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Corsino and the story of the dish so nice, we ordered it twice!

Corsino has been on the top of our list for a while and on a snowy Friday evening last month, we finally busted our cherry. The restaurant has an Italian wine bar feel with it's dark interior, wooden tables and wine glasses everywhere. The menu options make it hard to choose between the shared plates, pastas and meats.

We started with a big ole caraff of red wine and that immediately warmed our souls & brought smiles to our faces. We ordered the following crostinis:
  • sweet onion & walnut
  • brussels sprouts & pecorino
  • ricotta & orange honey
  • radicchio & goat cheese
  • basil pesto
Each was large enough for the two of us to split and have a few bites. Some were better than others, namely the ricotta and orange honey, which was so delectable that we got another order for DESSERT! The balance between the smooth and subtle saltiness of the ricotta was perfectly complemented by the sweet and tangy orange honey. A perfect bite.

After the crostinis, we debated back and forth about what to share next and came up with the fusilli with lemon, scallions, chili & pecorino romano as well as the heritage brisket meatballs.

The pasta was recommended by our server and I don't think it would normally be a dish that would catch our eye, but it was simple and very flavorful. The chili and scallions really added a nice element to the dish. And the brisket meatballs? Well, how can you go wrong when you've got a meatball made with brisket? They came in a delicious tomato sauce and felt just downright old school Italian.

The vibe at Corsino paired with that heavenly ricotta honey crostini will definitely lure us back. A great "go-to" restaurant. Get involved.

Shorty's .32 - Girls Night Out!

For a recent dinner with my gal pals, we headed to Shorty's .32 - a cozy (literally - they only have 32 seats, hence the name), American restaurant with a neighborhood-y feel. The chef, Josh Eden (an apprentice under Jean-George Vongerichten), opened Shorty's as a feel-good, affordable, low-key dining establishment and I think we would all agree with that assessment. It feels like an underground apartment with the walls knocked down that was turned into a restaurant. This perception makes for an intimate dining experience but does not make for a pleasant waiting experience, which brings me to the only negative aspect of our experience...

...One minor hiccup was wait time. Shorty's surprisingly had several open reservations for a party of 5 on a Saturday night, in less than a week's notice. However, when we got there we waited for over half an hour because our table wasn't ready. The host was nice enough to throw us some glasses of champagne...but we came to eat! And once we did, the wait became worth it.

Everyone enjoyed the dishes and some highlights were:

Sea Scallops, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Acorn Squash, Smoked Maple


Roast Chicken, Chilled Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Fried Garlic

The green beans that came with the chicken were AMAZING. And the scallops, which I got, were full of flavor and tasted very fresh.

I would definitely revisit Shorty's and would suggest you check it out if you're looking for a warm dining experience and fresh, seasonal food.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Katz's Deli - I'll have what she's having!

On a recent dreary winter day, Eric and I headed over to Katz's Deli to scratch an itch that Eric had been feeling for a while. Maybe it's the lines, or that the heaping pile of meat isn't the healthiest dish, or that our first visit was a little confusing (we didn't know which line to wait on, where we could sit and how to order), but I just hadn't been wanting to go back. However, I'm quite happy we did because it verified in my mind why Katz's is a NYC establishment.

With the help of our friend, Howie, Eric knew to ask for lean slices of meat, which is MUCH better for us non-fat-chewers. Side note: the crew at the table next to us wouldn't stop going on about how ridiculous it is for people to ask for lean cuts of meat, when the best part is the fat! We highly disagree - who wants flavor to be interrupted by blobs of chewy, tasteless fat? Not us, but to each his own....

We tasted the corned beef and the pastrami before Eric opted for the pastrami, clearly the tastier of the two. The pastrami reuben was piled high with meat, russian, kraut, & swiss cheese. He had a smile on his face throughout the entire meal and the sandwich exceeded his high expectations.

I went with half of a turkey and mustard sandwich on rye and a matzoh ball soup and I was in Jewish heaven! I had no clue a turkey sandwich could taste that good. The meat was not dry at all and the bread was fresh and delicious. And don't get me started on the mustard....I am a HUGE mustard person and I could have eaten theirs by the spoonful. And I may have done that a little - don't judge.

We left Katz's feeling satisfied, full and craving more!