Tuesday, 16 December 2008

New York: Sunday lunch at the Gramercy Tavern.

The Gramercy Tavern is a bit of a New York institution. It was one of Danny Meyers early successes and has been around for donkeys. I don't know what it looks like at other times of the year but they always seem to have a good Thanksgiving vibe going on.

One of the reasons I like the place it that it had a good noon alcholic selection- Gewurztraminer juice and sparkling French cider. We had lunch there last year and HI really like it for the little saucepan of duck confit he was given, which was a meal in itself. This time round I was left a little cold and it's only now that I read this article that I realised why.

My cauliflower starter was a little too healthy.

The cauliflower was barley cooked with little caramelisation that can turn this veggie into a tasty morsel. The pine nuts and raisins were good but it was all a little too sweet for my liking. My next dish the chorizo stew was again too refined,

it lacked the heartiness of a stew was more of a soup and the chorizo seemed to be behaving itself. HI's meatball is a huge protein fest but HI wasn't impressed by it's sheer volume and couldn't really see the point of it.

Would I go back, only to sit at the bar and drink juice.

Monday, 8 December 2008

New York: Ssam bar.

I love Ssam bar.

Lots of plates of savoury goodness and quite heavily meat orientated too. In case you didn't know David Chang can do no wrong at the moment (well, unless he is offending vegans, vegetarians and pescetarians that is). And that not just in my opinion, but according to most of New York too, it would seem. First there was the noodle bar, then ssam bar, then ko and now the milk bar. Ko has a ridiculous reservation system that makes it very difficult to get a reservation and people seem to devote their lives to securing a seat. I can't be bothered with that and instead prefer the casualness of Ssam.
I think this was one of my most satisfying meals of the trip. Unfortunately I don't have any photos as we were sat right in front of the kitchen and I know that David Chang can't abide people taking photos of their food, saying they should just eat it instead, so I didn't dare wipe it out.If you want to see what all the fuss is about the look here at wandering eaters flickr photostream. It was all washed down with Sprechers root beer served in a natty Mason jar. This was so yum I drank two.

We had the yummy benton’s smoky mountain country ham (madisonville, tn) with red eye gravy. Then a succession of intense taste sensations.

The Brussel sprouts of my dreams:satur farm's fried brussels sprouts – mint, scallions, fish sauce vinaigrette. Honeycrisp apple kimchi – burger's smoked jowl, maple labne, arugula. Bánh mì – ham & chicken liver terrine sandwich. Spicy pork sausage & rice cakes – chinese broccoli, crispy shallots- this was knock your socks off hot, but tasty and the rice cakes had a pleasing texture to them. We were actually full before rice cakes arrived but still forced them down.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

New York: lunch at the Spotted Pig.

And this time I mean it!! I have read much about how difficult it is to get a table here especially at brunch. I think the trick is to go at 11 am. We were the second folk in, and got seated at a lovely table upstairs which I much preferred, as it's a lot less cramped. We had a couple of cocktails to start, it is brunch after all.

Of course HI had the burger and I the cubano.

The burger was all that. The fries were great: rosemary and fried slivers of garlic, very moreish.

My cubano was disappointing.

I forgot I don't like warm sandwiches and this is pressed. The cheese kind of absorbs the flavour of the pork and although there are gherkins in I felt it could do with more of a kick like some jalapenos.

As for the place it is very much done up like a little house of pig horrors,

See what I mean? Some of the pigs are cute some are darn right scary. You also feel as if you are in middle england or little britain. Very kitsch.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

New York: 1st and 2nd breakfast.

Being jet lagged has it's advantages. Waking up at 5am allowed me to go for a run, get washed and changed and hit the streets by 7am. I headed straight to donut plant.

Suffering from eyes too big for belly, I bought the coconut glaze, the peanut butter glaze

and the tres leche.

I didn't like the tres leche as it is a cake donught, I much prefer yeast ones. The coconut was interesting.

The flakes were real and inside was coconut milk as oppose to coconut flavoured condensed milk which was what I was expecting. I don't know if I would get another. The peanut glaze was ok but there was not enough jelly in it to give that good old pbj magic. I obviously didn't eat them all there and then but took them back to the bat cave to share with his Highness. On the way back I stopped by at Falai which

was practically the only other place open at that time. As well as coffee they do some nifty pastries.

A pear and chocolate danish. nice flaking.

Now after all that sweet stuff what could be better than something savoury?! Time to engage second stomach. Fortuitously Russ and Daughters was just round the corner. Even though I hit it dead on at 9am it was pretty busy. Just as well I knew what I wanted 'the super heeb'. I have to admit my ignorance but in this case I think it's good that I didn't know that Hebe is a derogatory slur and heeb an attempt to reclaim it. So in more ways than one this was a serious bagel.

Look at it.


White fish, horseradish cream cheese and wasabi infused roe. Very satisfying and could easily feed two for lunch. My only grip was that the horseradish could have more kick but that's probably just my whacked tastebuds.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

New York: Arturo's

More than a little tipsy we headed to Arturo's, our dinner destination that evening. We had fond memories of the last time we were there. Hot off the plane it was a cold night and Arturo's was warm, bustling with live Jazz. That and Pizza. What more could you ask.

This time was good but maybe not as relaxed as our table was squished tightly between two others. The pizza was good, although I prefer more charr on my pizza.

Feeling very stuffed, squiffy and jet-lagged we wandered back to the hotel ia Whole Foods. I know one has opened this year in London and all I can say is lucky London. I felt like a small child in a sweetie shop. This place suffers from an embaressment of riches. I live in a developed country but to have so much choice astounded me. Look at all these pumpkins!

And this mountain of cheese.

I even saw a fruit I had not seen before a Buddha hand

You learn something everyday!

Monday, 1 December 2008

New York: snackage & drinkage: Pinche and Pegu.

Sounds like a place that dear Pingu would hang out. If he were over 21 that is.

Suitably fortified by our free drinks we unpacked and admired the view from the room before heading out to explore the city.

Knowing we were headed to the Pegu Club for some serious cocktail action I thought it best that we line our stomachs and Pinche seemed perfect.

I consider a taco a Mexican form of sandwich. We shared the carne asada, which was very tasty if a little messy.

I was less impressed by the Mexican soda, which I had heard much about.

I like my drinks sour but this was way too sweet to be refreshing and had a kind of luminous green colour that spoke of many additives.

Tummies protected we found a spot at the bar at Pegu.

HI almost died and went to heaven when he realised that Audrey Saunders herself was behind the bar.

HI loves Audrey

She started off at Bemelmans bar at the Carlyle before opening up the Pegu club. Quite a few of the cocktail bars on our list have some association with her in one way or another.

Normally a man of few words he was dumbfounded with awe. I was all for respectfully saying hello, but bless him, he was too shy. So, we just watched her do her thing and ordered some very well-made, potent cocktails

I am ashamed to say that I can't for the life of me remember what we had other than they were very good.