FINALLY got Top Chef Isabella’s Pepperoni Sauce in me – Graffiato

All dressed up and definitely know where I wanna go tonight… It’s been a long fun day of food and play… but I’ve been craving something….

*SQUEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL*

FINALLLLLLLLLLLLLY got to eat at Graffiato, Top Chef Mike Isabella’s babyyy!!!!

Remember I met him back at Eat + Pray + Heal Japan in NYC last year?!  I’ve always been a HUUUUGE fan of him on both of his seasons of Top Chef and wanted him to win All Stars SO bad. Yep. I want his pepperoni sauce in me.  And OH EM GEE, he remembered meeeeeee :D WOOHOOO!!! SOOOO psyched to finally eat here, been wanting to since the huge hype of Graffiato before it even opened!!!! *dance dance*

Yep. This guy.

Awww what a cutie :D He was smilie and talkative just as I remembered :]  I always get so chef-struck #fattienerd

Ok, back to the food MMMM, check out the menu…

We got seated so that I had the PERFECT view of the open kitchen… I couldn’t stop staring….. it was like a chef’s table without the fancy price tag

Do you see the pepperoni sauce?

Close up!!! It’s blurry and bright but yes it’s in that tub of red <3 YAYYYYYY

My champagne flute was flowing with bubbles from the Prosecco tap. YES PROSECCO ON TAP!!!!! [at least that’s what W told me, blame him if it’s not true hahaha jk] – I need to get this installed in my house!

First up?! W knew what I REALLLLLLY wanted… Isabella’s sauce…. *cough*

Flat Bread & Pepperoni Sauce

SOOOO excited to dip my bread in the sauce…

Up close of the Pepperoni Sauce *orgasm*

It was like liquified pepperoni… HOLY MOLY this was just as amazing as I thought it would be. I can finally check this off of my dreamlist of things I must eat.  I could dip my leather shoe in this sauce and eat it up. WOW, I’ve never used that and always wanted to LOL…

W hiding from my picture taking again… I left my digicam back in my other jacket so everything tonight was from iPhone…. HAHA good thing I’m photo ninja and caught him in the act of covering his face…

Delicious Meat Plate <#

That *points* was my favorite. You’ll just have to try them all to figure out which one I’m pointing at!

Burrata

Honey Glazed Onions, Nigella

This jumped straight out at me on the menu. I. LOVE. BURRATA.  Creamy happy deliciousness melting on my tongue and down the back of my throat.  Delicious with the tangy sweet onions, scallions and just HAPPINESS.  This was amazing and I could eat a tub of this.  Swim thru and just inhale into my lungs.  I. LOVE. BURRATA.

Broccolini

Spicy Pepper Relish, Walnut, Feta

I also love broccolini, I eat it a couple of times a week… and I love feta and walnuts SOOOOOO why not?! The only downside to this dish was that it was cold – I expected it to be hot; It kinda thru me off a bit…

Glazed Pork Cheeks

Sweet Potatoes, Pecans

Tender, juicy, meaty and just melted in my mouth.  SOOOO delicious with the silky sweet potato mash and the crunch of the pecans. LOOOOOVE pecans. MMMMM I should re-create this for a thanksgiving dish this year! SOOOO HAPPPY in my mouth!!

Roasted Cauliflower

Pecorino, Mint

“We’re gonna be farting all night” – W

HAHAHA.. these were yummy..  a little bit overcooked for me but I LOOOOVE cauliflower – YUM!  And no, no farting… hahahaha.. there was a bit of tang to it, definitely

Marinated Octopus

Romesco, Olives, Almonds

Soft, slow cooked, long cooked… Most of the time I eat my octopus with a bit of bite and chew to it… but this was creamy and had delicious flavors…. I missed the chew but adored the flavors that came with it… PLUS.. I’m a sucker for tentacles.. I’m such a texture whore…

Crispy Potato Gnocchi

Wild Mushrooms, Stracciatella

AMAZING!  Toasted and creamy.. MMMMMM I’ve had good gnocchi but mostly BAD GNOCCHI..  These were delicious…. Scrumptious mushrooms… creamy creamy melty and drippy Stracciatella OMG happiness… have you noticed the theme lately? Happiness and happy is being used a lot.

Porky’s Revenge

Sopressata, Pepperoni, Sausage, Tomato, Stracciatella

OMG look at that gooey deliciousness!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAMZING. Meaty, juicy, CREAAAAAAMY ooey gooey sexy cheese… the crust was just as amazing as the toppings – SUCH a great way to end a huge dinner – I can never eat too mucuh pizza. LOOK AT THAT.  I was trying to figure out what was Porky’s revenge – the fact that we were EATING porky OR that we would probably have a fun time on the toilet after eating this. THAT decadent and amazing BUT SO SO SO WORTH it!

W was full and even tho I PICKED the dessert, he didn’t wanna share.. again.. hahahaha

Just kidding :] I ended up eating most of these…

ZeppolesAutumn Spices, Pumpkin Caramel

SOOOOOOOOOO GOOD. Tasted like autumn and Thanksgiving.  I smothered EACH BITE with the marscapone – SOOOO GOOOOOOD!!!!! SOOO DECADENT – I’m an indulger… MMMMM…. Creamy happy orgasm…

Thanks Chef for exceeding my already super super super high expectations for your delicious food! I’ll be back soon :] #stalk!

Osteria Morini, Best Way To Complete a Day of FUN

Monday night, a friend was in town for work from Cali, so we all decided to hit up another Michael White baby.. Osteria Morini… Yep, just the night before we were at Marea and a few days before that, we were at Ai Fiori :]  After a long day of shopping, eating at DD, Dim Sum Go Go and Xi’An Famous Foods [omg Cumin Lamb Noodles are TO DIE FOR! – YOOO Hand Pulled NOODLES!!!]

  
  

Click here to see my Video of making Hand-Pulled Noodles @ Xi’An

Tons of shopping bags, a full belly, too much walking and a bottle of champagne in us later…. we got ready for another Chef White dinner – woot woot! 3 Michael White restos in a week?! AWESOME!


Me and Rhino.

Famous Celebrity Penis and Boob wall next to Osteria Morini – teehee…


Their sign actually reminds me of Yakitori Totto‘s :]

After sitting down at a table in the back near the kitchen we ordered a bottle of wine [and then another since it was so yummy] and picked out a slew of delicious yummies…

We were first greeted with a complimentary dish from the Chef.

Carciofo Fritelle
Artichoke, Chickpeas, Red Pepper, Nepitella Crema

Basically a chickpea veggie fritter or croquette minus the potatoes — Delicious, light, fluffy – full of creamy chickpea flavor and hints of artichoke and peppers.. delish!  Fried to perfection and over a drizzle of Nepitella cream on the bottom…. Nepitella is a wild herb of the Mint family grown in Italy

Battilardo Di Affetatti
Cured Sliced Meats with Grilled Bread & Tigelle Modenese
FegatiniDuck Liver Mousse, Passito Wine
Coppa Cured Pork Neck
& LardoProsciutto Bianco
The liver was TO die for and definitely the hit of the night for the charcuterie.  Creamy, full of flavor and paired SO well with the nice crunchy grilled bread.  The white round disks were flat fluffy bread.. I preferred the grilled crostinis though.  The coppa was salty, porky and full of flavor.  A nice balance of meat and fat… delicious.. and of course, the lardo, the fat, sliced super thin I could’ve eaten it all straight, but instead daintily placed it on my crostini and nibbled like a lady :]

Spiedini Per La Tavola: Assorted Skewers Alla Piastra
MaialeSausage, Sweetbread, Zucchini, Cauliflower, Tomato
LumacheGrilled Snails Wrapped in Rosemary Lardo

The sausage was delicious… which was a blend of lamb and pork…. the sweetbread was a tiny piece but perfectly cooked… the zucchini and cauliflower and tomatoes were also grilled to perfection. Delicious.. which I had my own skewer though…

The snails were SOOOOO tender and delicious.  It was great with a nice squirt of lemon and was great with the crostini but I enjoyed it better without – I like tasting things for their very own flavor. A GREAT run with snails lately…. First Plein Sud, then Marea and now here. YUM.  New trend :]

Carpaccio
Thinly Sliced Beef, Arugula, Lemon, Parmigiano

This was actually very similar to a Bresaola.. a cured/salted and dried beef.  I was kind of disappointed since I was expecting melt in your mouth paper thin beef.. these came in hugeeeee salty pieces that were pretty thick for a carpaccio, covered in a delicious olive oil [White is good with his oil] and the flavors packed a mean punch.  A little bit too much oil for me but was much better balanced with the parm and the bitter arugula. Mwahahah I still ended up eating like half the dish anyways :] NOM!

Ventresca
Olive Oil Poached Tuna Belly, Fava Beans, Fagioli

This was SUCH a good pick!  Definitely my favorite non-pasta dish of the night.  The tuna belly, while I usually don’t like fully cooked tuna was poached SO beautifully.. instead of the fat becoming overpowering, it just turned into butter and made the flesh soooo tender and succulent – super juicy.  The nice balance of some pickled red onion and perfectly cooked fava and fagiolis really added a nice freshness to the dish.  Felt like spring.  YES, spring is here.

Rigatoni
Ground Seppia, Shrimp, Fava Beans, Stracchino Cheese

The rigatoni was cooked to perfection, per usual, the fava beans [yessss!!!! I LOOOOVE spring!!!]  The creamy cheesiness of the stracchino and the flavorful seppia really added SO much to the dish. LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Not to mention how the green favas added a beautiful punch of green to the dish.

Gnocchi
Ricotta Dumplings, Pomodoro, Speck & Basil

Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve had amazing gnocchithe best probably being Le Cirque or Mizuna….I mean the last time I had gnocchi was horrible.  Horrible gnocchi which ended in a horrible night. [Long story] Horrible gnocchi sucks… heavy, dense… NOT fluffy… but these WERE not.  Super light tomato sauce, which I ADORED…a hint of speck and basil…. but omg the gnocchi… SO fluffy and pillowy.. they tasted more like pasta dough pillows and not the fluffy potato-y kinds but it was a good kind of chew and yum!

Garganelli
Pasta Quills, Cream, Truffle Butter, Prosciutto

Like long skinny pennes.. model pennes?  While regular pennes are regular people? I duno, bad analogy.  Creamy, simple, the prosciutto was SO delicious and while there wasn’t a lot, it added SO much flavor to the dish.  Very light truffle but definitely did a lot for the pasta.  Once again PERFECTLY cooked pasta.

Before we get to the final pasta dish of the night, AND my favorite — I just have to say while I loved Marea, I was disappointed in their pastas being slightly undercooked…  especially when I had White’s other restaurant the next day.  I know that Marea is “prized” above Osteria Morini to some foodies but for me, DELICIOUS.

Ok, sorry for the break, continue.

Stracci
Pasta Rags, Braised Wild Mushrooms, Rosemary Oil

My favorite of the night.. here it is in all it’s glory.  Thick juicy flavorful mushrooms admist the large “rags” of thin delicate pasta. SO FREAKING GOOD.. and addicting.  It was like eating delicious thin thin egg wonton wraps – WHICH I’m SO thinking of doing tomorrow night :] Hahaha…  We ended up adding more cheese and some hot pepper flakes to all the pastas.. well, I added the hot pepper flakes, everything else just had TONS of cheese :D

We were super happy and had warm bellies.. but since we were still on our second bottle of wine and I needed some chocolate and sweetness to push down all the savory we ordered one dessert to share amongst the three of us.

Gianduja Budino
Chocolate-Hazelnut Custard, Gelato Alla Caffe

SO FREAKING DELICIOUS.  The thin crunchy, flakey puff  topping on top was TO DIEEEEE FOR.  Delicious gelato and the MOOOOOST CREAMMMMMY hazelnutty and chocolatey,BUTTTTTERY custard. OH EM GEE.  It also came with whole roasted hazelnuts in a delicious light sauce drizzled around it.  Sort of burnt caramely if i remember correctly.  BUT, anyways. continue. SOOOO GOOOD.. I don’t even ever usually order hazelut/choc desserts since they all taste like nutella!  I LOVE nutella.. but since I buy it and religiously eat them out of the jar like crazy it’s not too big of a deal usually when desserts taste just like them. THIS is NOT the case. GET THIS.  DEVOUR IT. SAVOUR IT. LOVE IT. LIVE IT. Ok. Done.

Delicious.  After a great meal we walked over to Madame Geneva.. but since it was Memorial Day and it was closed, we ended up heading over to the rooftop, Plunge bar/lounge, at the Gansevoort Hotel.

Ai Fiori’s Chef’s Tasting – Oh Michael White…

Back in February I won the auction for SOBE Wine&Food Festival for a Chef Tasting for 2 with wine pairings at Michael White’s baby Ai Fiori.  You guys should know by now that I rarely go to the same restaurants again… so when I do, it really means that the restaurant [and Michael White] made a huge impact on me.. my stomach… which basically is where my heart lievs.

Delicious soft gooey butter with black pepper to go with my olive bread!!!

And then began the Chef’s Tasting… I marked all the add-ons we really wanted to try/eat that ended up being complimentary with a “*” :] Seriously, Ai Fiori has some of the BEST service and staff and everything everrrrr *ALL SMILES*

Amuse Bouche…
Steak Tartare, Tuna Tartare and Salted Cod Croquette
The tartare was super tender, very very clean tasting with a nice crunchy buttery crostini on the bottom… er, crouton?  The tuna tartare was just as clear, light and refreshing as the tartare.. and the croquette, which I had last, wasn’t overly salty, or fishy… definitely heavy on the potatoes… all three were an excellent start to the meal.

Chilled Asparagus Soup Shooter

Tasted like my favorite, BPC Green Juice :] Very very refreshing, clean and healthy tasting.. not very much on the asparagus taste but definitely full of fresh veggies…

Ricciola
amber jack tartare, cara cara oranges, cucumber, uova di trot

The cleanest tasing amberjack… SOOOO fresh… the caviar was SO delicious – popped in my mouth but wasn’t overly fishy or salty… perfectly complimented the raw fish. NOM!

The sexy version…

Uovo *
slow poached egg, lobster knuckles, crispy veal sweetbreads, nuage layon

Delicious and foamy… delicious chunks of lobster and sweetbreads with the most amazing cheesy tasting foam… all which complimented the ever rich, smooth and creamy perfectly poached egg… gooey amazingness.

Wait wait, what is this?

Vellutata
lobster velouté, périgord black truffles, chervil

Definitely the most TENDER lobster I have EVER eaten. SUPER SWEET… sooooooooooooo perfectly cooked.. and I’ve eaten a LOT of lobster… raw, cooked right, cooked wrong, overcooked and undercooked, but this was perfection. To be honest, better than the last time we had lobster here.

Agnolotti
braised veal parcels, fava beans, black truffle sugo

I LOOOOOOOOVE Michael White’s Agnolotti.. I literally daydream about these things everytime I crave pasta… SO tender, perfect dough….. MMM creammmmy veal center… I also adore fava beans, tastes like spring – and this whole dish was completed and complimented with delicious black truffle sauce… all of the elements, while perfection all on they’re own, just totally brought the dish together as whole

Vitello
amish veal chop “au four”, asparagus, peas, spring onion blanquette
They gave me the “man” dish…

And they gave Z the girl dish.. hahaha

YESSSS… I gots the bone :D

I’m a sexy bitch when I eat aren’t I? NOT!!! But it was SOOO tender and delicious…. YUM! Ever since my Resto Veal dinner I’ve been in love ever since.. OKAY, to be honest I never would fully seek out veal.. I do now… hahah thanks to Resto… and YUM YUM YUM was this good.  The bone was soooo fatty, delicious and FULL of amazing flavor.  Once you go veal, you never want regular again.. OKAY, that’s a lie.. just wanted to think of something clever to say.. hahaha

Gnocchetti *
semolina saffron gnocchi, blue crab, sea urchin, tomato, fresh herbs

Yeah, okay, we had this before, but we were still hungry so we decided to add to our order… we EACH got our own dish – YUM! The portions were so much larger too.. amazing, delicious, licked the bowls clean. YUM! YUM! YUM!… Michael White and his PERFECT pasta and sauces.. so balanced… chewy tender, perfectly al dente, creamy uni, melt in your mouth crab… OH FREAKING MAN… and then the crunch of the buttery breadcrumbs on top – so heavenly its like a dirty dirty secret.

And because we were super curious about the lamb dish that was usually on the Chef’s Tasting….. Chef gave us some to try :D

Agnello *
rack of lamb en crepinette, swiss chard crochetta, sariette

Yep, Chef got me to eat lamb. Lots of lamb, this was delicious.  SUPER SUPER tender and PERFECTLY cooked.. it wasn’t too gamey or “lamb”-y in my words, at all. Just plain deliciousness.  The swiss chard was cooked down and also super tender… the sauce was soooo flavorful.. yum yum yum.

Panna Cotta ♥

This definitely had a light light goaty or sheep flavor but I found it absolutely amazing.. DEVOURED… Super creamy and delicious – not too sweet definitely to die for.  I ate it up SO fast… crunchy, creamy, cold, amazing.


Okay, I honestly don’t really remember what was in this.. I remember there were SO many layers of tart textures and flavors…. there were candied walnuts and it was SO interesting.. so refreshing and new. Delicious nonetheless…

Thanks Chef Chris Jaeckle.. He was SO nice and charasmatic… we got to chat with him for awhile and I couldn’t stop praising the food… nom nom nom. Ai Fiori, my favorite place for pasta in NYC :] And probably ever… When you have time PLEASE try the Chef’s Tasting and definitely go with the Wine Pairings as well.. absolutely BRILLIANT!!!

GROTTO: Good Shoes, Bad Pasta…

All dressed up and somewhere to go…. this is me showing off my new shoes.. I bought awhile ago, that I totally forgot about. Tonight was the perfect night — I hadn’t seen Z in like 2 days and I needed to look fabulouso.  I was at a Bridal Shower, Dressing Fitting and running errands all day so Z made all the details and reservations for the night. Tonight? Grotto.


GUCCI Leopard Gradient :D

Grotto is on the bottom of a HUUUUUUUUGE HUGE hill… we parked at the top, but Z was such a gentleman and carried me down.  Some weirdo yelled “I see her thong”.. except I wasn’t wearing a thong… yay granny panties [haha kidding] STILL.. awkward.. hahaha.. maybe Z should’ve carried me a different way.. hahaha..

Dense bread and EVOO and Olives…

Grilled calamari, White beans, Peppers, Greens, Lemon

Underneath all the delicious fresh arugula was 3, ONLY 3 pieces, but some of the most tender, perfectly grilled calamaris EVER. SO GOOD!!! The sauce, the freshness of the peppery green – AMAZING!!!

Arugula, Proscuitto, Reggiano, Lemon vinaigrette

Delicious Balsamic Vinegar… also came with EVOO and Lemon Vinaigrette 

BUT THEY FORGOT THE CHEESE!!!! FOUR ingredients and they forgot one HUGE major one… like, WTF.  But when we asked for some they gave us a mini bowl of parm :] YUM YUM YUM. I love cheese!

Salad overload much? It’s okay we still had fondue and mussels on the way… but that’s when the meal started going downhill.. at least my shoes are hot [haha]

Fontina cheese fondue, Beef tenderloin, Aged balsamic, Truffle oil, Portobello mushrooms

It smelled truffly but the cheese was soooo thin and runny.. very watery.  I wish it came with crudites.. bread cubes, something.. other than a few sinewy pieces of beef and some flabby cuts of mushroom. SO disappointing. I freaking ADORE fondue… and I miss good quality fondue.  Need to stuff ourselves silly at Artisanal ASAP [where’s your fav place for fondue in the City?]

And then the night just got worse from there [at least food wise, we were having great convos].  They forgot to put the order of mussels in, but then they came out with the pastas beforehand — so we just cancelled the mussels. WRONG MOVE… still hungry :[

Potato gnocchi, Short ribs, Mushrooms, Gorgonzola

Just LOOK at them. HOW THE CRAP IS THAT GNOCCHI?!?!.. they’re ginormous and so rough looking.. it tasted like raw dough balls… not pillowy, not fluffy not okay. NO BUENO.  I had half a gnocchi and a bite of the short ribs.. the SHORT RIBS were SOOOOO tender, melt away.. but the sauce was so bland… and .. waaaa BAD GNOCCHI…

Spaghetti, Meatballs & Grotto’s insanely fabulous tomato sauce
As soon as we walked into Grotto we saw the spaghetti and meatballs, EVERYWHERE. And we were craving. CRAVING.  Earlier that day my BFF [bride-to-be] ordered off the bridal shower menu and got a spaghetti and meatball, so I was def craving.

THIS was the WORST spaghetti and meatballs I’ve EVER had. The tomato sauce was so off… smokey and too many jumbled herbs.  The pasta was OKAY.  But the worst was the MEATBALLS – which is so sad because ya’ll should know by now I’m ALL about the meatballs.  They were SOOOO salty, mushy and just… rosemary or thyme or something just OVER herbed.. *sigh* SO frustrating…

Crab ravioli, Asparagus, Almonds, Saffron

This was the only edible one IMO.  The vegetables were SO fresh tasting… it was delicious.. the only gripe is the pasta.. and the fillings could use more crab in it. But all in all, minus the tough, pasta [not even like under cooked more like pre-cooked and sat out]  So SO happy with the asparagus and the tomatoes.  I sprinkled extra cheese and hot pepper flakes on it for added oomph.. I ended up just not eating most of the pasta part… Z was a sweetheart and let me eat the whole plate [minus one hehe]

So all the pastas were pretty… not good.  Which partially might also because we always have a good time when we go out for italian [ok that last link was MY pasta I made hahahha].  We’re obsessed with good pasta and these just felt like they were sitting out way too long.

Lemon panna cotta, Raspberry sauce, Crispy pizzelle cookie

The flavors were great, but the texture was off. OK so it tasted, texturally, like cheesecake.. a thick creamy cheesecake… NOT panna cotta like  Jay Rayner said “A good panna cotta, if it’s set right, is meant to wobble like a woman’s breasts.” Mwahahahahaha… and it was only half a pizzelle :[ I adore pizzelles.. hahaha wish they had a dessert option of a plate of fresh pizzelles.

Banana bread pudding, Caramel sauce, Caramel ice cream, Spice nuts
Also dense, not bread pudding like… just like a banana spiced bread… banana nut bread minus the nuts… but the burnt caramel ice cream was FREAKING AMAZING!!!!… i gobbled it up with the nuts :]

Ok. No bueno. But the wine was pretty good.. and it was a fun atmosphere.  Definitely not a go to spot for Italian…

I’m in l♥ve… Ai Fiori

Ai Fiori” directly translated from Italian means… “to the flowers…” which is exactly what you see when you walk into this restaurant…. “Located a short walk up The Setai Fifth Avenue lobby’s sweeping grand staircase to the second floor, Ai Fiori’s ambiance is elegant yet welcoming. The restaurant’s striking floral arrangements and décor will embrace you in warmth and refinement. Setai

Z and I are and have been huge fans of Michael White…. while we still need to try Marea [who could resist Uni and Lardo on Crostini <3] Convivio has been at the top of our favorite go-to spots of pasta… now that Michael isn’t linked to Convivio anymore [sadness… wonder if it’s still good?!] we need a replacement….. Ai Fiori with it’s French/Italian flair “Franco-Italian gem” completely fills that void!!! [we actually met Michael at SobeWFF’11 the next night!!!! And ate at his Dolce brunch at the Delano hotel the following day… BEST EVERRRRR!!!]

I had never been to the Setai Hotel before. It’s really pretty…. my cabbie was actually really funny he was so into telling me about my chinese astrology [he was Indian methinks] and even whipped out a book to read to me while driving. Mad funny. He was telling me who my future hubby was gonna be and compatibility and how my current relationship was. TOO FUNNY. Kinda freaky tho too…. he dropped me off two blocks away. I was just happy to get out…. still, a fun cab ride



“A winning defense of fine dining from the chef Michael White offers a soulful amalgamation of French technique and Italian passion” NYT

Above two pictures stolen from google search :]

Olive Bread and MultiGrain Bread

French and Olive Bread

Olive breads were good – I’m a sucker for olive bread anyways :D Always a good choice.. the multigrain just tasted super healthy… I like my multigrains with big chunks of seeds in it :] Good texture, it was pretty good nonetheless tho… [finer grains] and the French Bread was just…. french bread… after Blue Hill bread from Vday, though, other breads just can’t compare……. still dreaming about Maze bread tho….

Amuse Bouche — Parsnip Rosemary Soup

It was okay, but since we didn’t order it I didn’t mind not liking it. It was too much milk/cream for me. Kind of like thick thick frothy lukewarm cream with too much rosemary in it..

[sidenote: We ordered a delicious bottle of Spanish red – Bold & Spicy just the way we like it…. but forgot to take a pic, OOPS – I’m distracted by dinner date & good food ;D]

Mare e Monte

diver scallops, celery root, black truffles, bone marrow, thyme

Amazing. Simply amazing. I am coming back again for this. Perfectly cooked, thinly sliced scallops atop pureed celery root. The celery root was sooooo creamy and buttery… the scallops were sandwiched between black truffle slices and topped off with strips of bone marrow. OH EM GEE.Every bite made my heart skip a beat.

Crudo di Passera

line caught fluke, sea urchin, ligurian lemon oil, sturgeon caviar

Paper thin, super fresh.. the light pop of the caviar, light light AMAZING fruity citrusy evoo and the amazing crunch and “heaviness” to the light bite of the fried uni. OMG. So well pairing of flavors and textures.  Very very delicious.

Since the Uovo [the poached egg] we wanted was OUT for the night we had our waitress pick a surprise app dish for us…. we were between too many dishes.. Foie? Squab? Sardines? Crab?

Unfortunately the one she picked was the one at the bottom of our list of to-eats….

Ostriche

poached wellfleet oysters, cucumber, sturgeon caviar, beurre blanc

The sauce overpowered the oyster… I wish it was either hot or cold but it was lukewarm… kind of weird… the caviar made it too fishy tasting so it just tasted like a goopy butter fishy thing. :T But I didn’t choose it and neither did Z sooooooooo we had no one to blame but the waitress hahaha jk :D She was a sweetheart and took it off the bill for us. I like my oysters raw or cooked in Taiwanese food… [oyster pancakes FTW]… the only time I ever liked poached oysters was last year at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon….

Tartufo Nero

riso acquarello, parmigiano, black truffle, veal jus

Since Z and I share the same brain [he’s a brain sucking eating stealer zombie] we’re both obsessed with squid ink pasta…. so NATURALLY we’d be getting it if it’s on the menu :D The bread crumbs were amazing and the pasta was so perfectly cooked.  OMG it was so simple and delicate, yet bold and just BAM in your mouth as you chewed the black bits of heaven. In love <3

Gnochetti

saffron gnocchi, crab, sea urchin

This is NOT your typical gnocchi. Not pillows of potato fluffs.. BUT the gnocchi was just sooooo tender, delicate and cooked PERFECT. It tasted of the sea… but in the most amazing way.  Chunks of uni and sea urchin mixed in with every yummy bite. I wanted to lick the bowl clean.

Astice

butter poached nova scotia lobster, root vegetable fondant, chateau chalon sauce

New York Times on Foursquare told us to get poached lobster. One of the few and last times I got flavor-poached lobster it was meh too… not that this was bad, just didn’t taste like what it was poached in… per usual. Z and I are both New England babies at heart… Bostonians FTW, so we KNOW our lobster. And we know what we like. Nothing like a fresh steamed lobster. No gimmicks just tasty tasty lobster meat… THAT or sashimi <3 Anyways.. this lobster was cooked well…. the sauce was a bit on the salty side tho so I tried not to eat too much of it. I loved the baby balls of carrots and cippolinis.. :D It’s the little things in lief… hahaha

SO our original plan was to get the poached egg app [which came with sweetbreads] THEREFORE without sweetbreads overload, w were gonna opt for the beef cheeks. cuz, hey they’re beef cheeks… a bit iffy on the flavors… but I love cow :] And beef cheeks are sooooooo tender adn soft <3 ANYWAYS…

Plans changed. We ordered this insead… sounded yummier PLUS…. a delicious sweetbread sauce!!!

Vitello

amish veal chop “au four”, sweetbread-choux farci, sauce perigueux

A tad bit over-salted and perhaps over-spiced but it was very delicious, cooked really well….. [extra rare] The little sauerkraut filled cabbage was kinda mehhhh tho. I didn’t like it at all :[ I ate so much of this. Thanks to Bobby I ADORE veal like no other now… nothing like eating a whole cow to change your mind about these things…. sorry PETA

C oulant di Cioccolato

warm chocolate sformato, lemon-honey, stracciatella gelato

As soon as I cut into it, the chocolate LITERALLY squirted out of it. LITERALLY SQUIRT SQUIRT <3 Warm, chocolatey and delicious. AND of course, Z knew I love stracciatella gelato [fav gelato flavor] so we HAD to get this :] Hahaha.. Z has such a good memory :]

orta di Olio

ligurian olive oil cake, ricotta, pear confit, port, gelato al caffé

I loved the coffee gelato it was really good… the cake itself wasn’t as fluffy or olive oily as I thought. No fruity evoo exuded from it :[ Sad. I was thinking a delicious olive tasting angel cake… it was also not moist enough. It was…. damp at best. But not moist.

AMAZINGLY MEMORABLE DELICIOUS DINNER

Great experience with great company… will definitely be up there in the top food memories :]

I love you Michael White, you never do me wrong – esp with your pasta <3

Salts Makes Tummies Happy

Z was back in the Bean for Thanksgiving so we decided to let loose Saturday night and go all out and grab a bite [or two, or three] at Salts… we started off at M Bar at the Mandarin Hotel… the Monsieur is DELICIOUS if you’re into bubbly and vodka :] They also have great olives and almonds to snack on while you drink!! But onwards… usually I only come ’round here for Craigie… but today was all about Salts!!!!

The restaurant reminds me of a cute little home-turned restaurant in NYC or Europe. Definitely reminds me of a little farm restaurant. YUM!

Warm rolls.. still not sure why the look different… but both were good… 

Creamy delicious butter…

Amuse Bouche
Parsnip Soup

It actually just reminded me of pumpkin soup, it was good and warm in my belly tho – super creamy and was a super tease. SO HUNGRY SO HUNGRY….

I put my trust in Z for picking the wines for the night, we’re both big Spanish wine fans [bold & spicy] so that’s what we decided to drink….

Bottle #1

Nantucket Bay Scallops

Salts Farm Heirloom Turnips, Bartlett Pear, Foie Gras, Sichuan Peppercorn

One of the best dishes of the night…. perfectly cooked scallops – they were tiny but full of flavor, not overly salted [I don’t like salting scallops since they’re naturally already so salty]… Little bites of Foie really upped the dish. The radishes gave a great refreshing crunch to the dish… not sure what the cream was… creme fraiche?

Wild Japanese Hamachi
Salts Farm Radish, Heirloom Apple, Honey Soy Gelee, Petite Shiso Leaf

EDIBLE FLOWERS!!! Me thinks Salts like flower petals.. apples gave a nice crunch but I wasn’t obsessed with this dish. It was really fresh and not fishy at all… but sashimi dishes, to me, are getting played out… they all end up tasting pretty much the same. Of course, except for Black Bean Tuna at Toro haha…

Coriander Fried Veal Sweetbreads

Spiced Squab, Compressed Green Apple, Banana, Curry, Coconut

They cut the sweetbreads in half and then fried them – this is the first time I’ve ever had fried sweetbreads.. they were so light. Foam Foam Foam… hahaha… don’t really recall the creams and flavors, but LOVED the sweetbreads. SUPER creamy and delicious.

Bottle #2…

This stuff is SO good that I found some at a local wine shop and bought two bottles :]

 

Sturgeon

Heirloom Potato Gnocchi, Pickled Beets, Black Truffle “Caviar”, Dill Emulsion

Before I continue, Z picked this. Hahahaha.. it was okay. *meh face* It was a bit tough and overecooked?!.. the gnocchi was good though. I like gnocchi. Z likes gnocchi, we ate the gnocchi…

Roasted Local Cod

Petite Root Vegetables, Razor Clams, Ginger Lemon Grass Beurre Blanc

Wait… razor clams?!… I didn’t see razor clams.. I loved the carrot balls tho, those were a hoot.. I don’t know why I called them a hoot, but they were cute and even cuter in my belly. But wait, seriously? Razor clams?!… But the cod was great. I love things wrapped in lettuce and steamed.. don’t know why.

Whole Roasted Boneless Duck for Two
Lavender Honey Glazed, Roasted Pears, Heirloom Carrots, Petite Farm Turnips

I love that they take it out and cut it up tableside :] How AMAZING does this look?!.. FABULOUS!!!

His Plate:

Her Plate:

I look like a psychotic serial killer

I’m usually more of a crisp crisp duck skin girl [but sometimes the meat gets overcooked and dried out]  but this perfectly glazed duck was fatty, meaty and delicious…. It was LUSCIOUS!!! I DE-VOURED it… DEEEE-VOURED… Loved the veggies and adored that they had roasted pear in it as well.

Btw, there WAS bone.. helloooo?!?!.. LEGS?!?!.. I duno I just thought that was funny…

We were super full and ready for more drinking so we opted out of dessert [told you it was a trend] But they gave us a little something something anyways :]

A little ice cream some almonds, yum yum yum… creamy, crunchy and not too sweet :] Loves.

The staff at Salts were amazing and soooo friendly – the hostess is absolutely adorable. Definitely a go-to place if you want something delicious and homey <3

Salts
798 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02139-3510
(617) 876-8444

Convivio, Best of the Best

Dear Chef Michael White… you have made me fall in love with pasta all over again. For me, Italian food is something I have to be in the mood for, but I can see me coming to Convivio over and over and over again, just for your food… and your amazing perfect pasta. I haven’t had such amazing pasta, maybe ever [aside from the homeland in Rome], since dell’anima…. and I still keep pushing Scarpetta back… but I think my heart now lies here…. in your creations.

Convivio is the new Southern Italian restaurant from Chris Cannon and Chef Michael White. A restaurant rich in conviviality, flavor and passion, this acclaimed restaurant offers a pure translation of soulful dining—the Southern Italian way. Inspired by warm memories of Italian kitchens and the country’s unforgettable flavors—tomatoes, pancetta, sea urchin, and pesto—White’s menu travels through Italy’s Southern towns and creatively interprets revered recipes. Located in Manhattan’s charming Tudor City neighborhood, in the space of their former award-winning L’Impero, Convivio offers guests an irresistible opportunity to dine leisurely, sensuously and with gusto.

My date arrived later than me so I sat down first and ordered some champagne, a nice bubbly glass of Brut Nicolas Feuillatte NV

Delicious whole wheat bread with a burnt crust and the most amazing extra virgin olive oil to dip it in – EVER…. I was in love and ate at least 4 pieces of bread that night… amazing.. I could bath in that oil and lick it off my toes…. oh wait, TMI?

Delicious delicious wine

2006 Etna Rosso ‘A Rina Girolamo Russo

Round One

Barbabietole
beets, mozzarella, almonds

The creamy mozzarella combined with the earthy roasted beets [cooked perfectly might I add] and then the crunch of the almonds – delicious. I am a sucker for fresh mozzarella… everytime I buy a huge ball of it, it never lasts for more than a day… aside from homemade pizzas and homemade caprese salads… I just eat it like there’s no tomorrow…

Insalata di Mare

warm seafood salad, caper berries, lemon

I wouldn’t call it a “salad” perse but it was a nice light combo of seafood… perfectly cooked shellfish with a nice crusty garlic bread on the side. Didn’t really notice the caper berries or lemon too much but it was amazing nonetheless…

Arancini

saffron risotto croquettes

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. The first time I had one of these was in Denver at duo… and since then I was hooked. These were even simpler than the duo ones… a light dusting of cheese atop the perfectly fried risotto balls… orgasmic.

TMI ALERT TMI ALERT — A certain someone once suggested me eating a Bahn Mi, drinking bubble tea and getting some loving = Ultimate — tempting but I think these would be even better ;D Hahaha…

Round Two

Zuppa di Ceci

chickpea soup, pig trotters, escarole

Tenderly cooked chickpeas [garbanzos, whichever — you say toe-may-toe I say toe-ma-toe] A delicious thick, but light, blended – super creamy – chickpea soup, almost chowder like, with nice tender veggies, some crunchy buttery garlicky [best word ever] croutons… not sure where the pig trotters were tho… pureed in the soup? irregardless… droool* I licked the bowl clean [obviously]

Polipo

tomato braised octopus, polenta, asiago

I love octopus and while there was more polenta than anything else on the plate, the octopussy was tender… and the polenta was AMAZING… I gobbled it all up!!!

Polpettine en Brodo

pork meatballs, broccoli rabe, ricotta salata

You know I’m obsessed with meatballs….  Obsessed… ;D These were tender, succulent and oh so tasty… love love lovessss… mine are still better tho ;D

Round Pasta [aka Three]

Then came the pasta dishes…. dinner date and I actually ended up ordering TWO more pasta dishes because they were so so tiny…  I’m a growing girl [horizontally] and I need my carbs!!!!…

Malloreddus

sardinian saffron, gnocchetti, crab, sea urchin

MMMM…. love gnocchi, love Sardinia [speaking of which, still need to go to that special restaurant to eat in the wine cellar with that certain someone…… I was stupid not to go last time I was offered to…. sigh*; and then there’s that Sardinia episode of No Reservations when Anthony Bourdain goes to his wifey’s homeland and that SEXY gooey cheesy scene… effing orgasmic…]  and of course, crab + Uni are just……. breathtaking…. the uni was super subtle, whereas if I didn’t know it was already in there, I wouldn’t be looking for it…. but the gnocchi was magnificent and perfectly cooked.

Orecchiette Nero

squid ink pasta, seppia ragu, lardo, broccoli rabe

SOOOO good…. I’m a huge fan of squid ink pasta, maybe it’s just the blackness of it, but I’m convinced the flavor is just as fantastic… and then of course… LARDO.. freaking LARDO… and broccoli rabe…. :D

This is when I ordered another set of pasta dishes.. still hungry for more carbs…..

AHH, this was the special of the day… totally forgot what it was… some squash tortellini – I remember it being a bit too sweet for me….. so I only ate a little bit of it and gave it all to the dinner date….

But then it gave me plenty of time to focus on my gorgeous….

Maccheroni alla Carbonara

pancetta, pecorino, scallion, egg, black pepper

The first time I ever had carbonara was my sophomore year in college… one of my close friends, Dave Choi, made me the most delicious and memorable dinner of my life. This was one one of the first meals that made me really fall in love with cooking… and truly appreciate egg yolk for more than a sunny-side up. This was also the first time I learned about pancetta.. and bacon being the lamer, but still good, substitute… since then, this is my go-to meal when I only have a few simple ingredients to create something wonderful… I even got my dad to fall in love with carbonara… and he hates cheese [except on pizza]

Round Four

My choice, a delicious side of Funghi Arrosto

wild mushrooms, garlic

I could never resist mushrooms.. altho I DO find while getting them in restaurants, they’re often too oily… but nonetheless, while they WERE, they were SO flavorful and there was SO many varieties of ‘shrooms… oh joy <3

Along side it, the “MAIN” course of the night… the duck.. quack quack… I’ve had so much pig that I decided to stick with duck and just duck as the main course [altho now I kinda wish I had gotten the suckling crispy piggie as well ;D hehe… The glutton in me…

Anatra

long island duck breast, grilled sausage, sunchokes, apples

Look at that perfect balance of skin, fat and rare medium rare meat… Delightful… not super memorable, but good

The night ended on a sour note with the date, so I opted to skip dessert… [altho I already had my choices picked out] … I paid the bill and we left in a hussy….

One a side note… when I went to the restroom…

SOOO many rolls of toilet paper to choose from on the wall…. Awesome, yet… why?

Good Intentions…… [Oceana]

So I finally went to Oceana. My date had already been there before for a previous birthday but was lame and only got some fish entree…. no raw bar or anything. LAME. So obviously we had to do it up. I got all dolled up and was ecstatic that I could get a 8:15 reso the day of.

I had been on an intense detox diet and just gave up because I was craving oysters. So Oceana it was, close by, fairly famous, oh and should I mention that they have Chicken Fried Blowfish?!?!?! To be honest, they were on my list of to-go’s but it was their tweet that got me to their restaurant the day after I saw it.

I want to tell you that it was an amazing experience, delicious and totally worth the $400+ check but…. it wasn’t. The champagne was good tho. Altho I may be biased to how it started off. Well, it started off great – we were 20 minutes early and seated immediately. But then our waitress came over to ask what we wanted for drinks. NO DRINK MENU. So we say water. 5-10 minutes later she comes back with menus. NO DRINK MENU. We had to hunt her down and ask for one. Then she got all weird when I asked her what her favorite champagne/sparkling wine was. Sommelier was great tho, super nice guy – great choice in champagne for us :]

[Read more…]

my sweet six-twen part duex

I woke up to flowers, balloons and pancakes & crepes w/eggs and bacon in bed… well.. in couch, while watching the Ren&Stimpy marathon all day.

The second chosen Birthday Dress :]


Elizabeth & James Dress, YSL Shoes and my new Chanel Bag

amuse bouche

creamy chickpea puree with pickled melon
We were sitting around looking at the menus when this delicious and creamy concoction came to us… smooth rich chickpeas emulsified into the creamiest I’ve ever had… with the surprising crunch of the pickled melon with a drizzle of fruity evoo on top.


The best bread and butter I’ve ever had… I literally ate more than 20 pieces of this… apparently NO one has eaten this much bread and butter before and they ended up serving us huge baskets – instead of pails of it :]

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“Spring” Pesto Gnocchi in the Summatime

Gnocchi… oh so fluffy and delicious when done right [even mind-blowingly amazing] but it’s usually done totally wrong.

The word gnocchi means “lumps”, and may derive from nocchio, a knot in the wood,[1] or from nocca (knuckle).[2] It has been a traditional Italian pasta type of probably Middle Eastern origin since Roman times.[3] It was introduced by the Roman Legions during the enormous expansion of the empire into the countries of the European continent. In the past 2,000 years, each country developed its own specific type of small dumplings, with the ancient gnocchi as their common ancestor. In Roman times, gnocchi were made from a semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs, and are still found in similar forms today, particularly Sardinia‘s malloreddus (although they do not contain eggs).

The use of potato is a relatively recent innovation, occurring after the introduction of the potato to Europe in the 16th century.[4]

Source: Wikipedia

I’ve been staying in a lot lately and cooking dinner. In fact other than going out to Boston for the weekend it’s almost two weeks since I’ve dined out :] Last night I made a little something something more jazzed up. I think of it as a “Spring” inspired dish but you could have it any time of the year… Why not make it GNOCCHI NIGHT!!!!! :D I was between a creamy sauce and a regular tomato-based sauce… but since we did that the night before [read on to hear a brief recap of that] I decided that it’d be creamy sauce time…

There’s no set recipe for this since I tend to just cook by taste and how I feel…

The pesto is just a big handful of basil leaves, about a cup of toasted pinenuts, 7-8 cloves of garlic and evoo drizzled in.

I pre-steam some sweet peas and ribbons of carrots for a few minutes.

I cook the gnocchi is salted boiling water until it floats…. I cheated and used freshly made gnocchi that I bought from Russo’s over the weekend back home in Massachusetts… I LOVE their freshly made pasta.. the night before this we had some of their raviolis for dinner :] — sweet pea/riccota, spinach/cheese and butternut squash. YUM.

Continuing on….

While I wait on that I take some pesto in a pan, add some cream and a LOT of freshly greated parm reg and mix it all together. When the gnocchi is done I scoop it into the pan, add in the veggies and toss it together.

Even tho I’ve been going pretty vegetarian for awhile, decided that a little protein is good… so I grilled up a garlicky chicken breast on the side, sliced it up and topped off the bowl of gnocchi with the succulent chicken.

Simple. Quick. Easy. Delicious.

Refreshing, the veggies add a lightness to the creamy pesto just covering the pillowy potato goodnesses :D Yay.

And we have extra pesto to make other yummies/pastas with :]