Friday, December 11, 2009

Managing Expectations for the Peep Show (aka Peep Soho)

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Remember the first time you went to a strip club (ok...we're girls - but we've all gone ONCE), you had these somewhat glamorous preconceived notions and images in your mind of what your experience would be like …but then you walk inside the “joint” and come to find out that its nothing like you imagined – kinda greasy, a little dirty, with some highlights (read: alcohol), but all around awkward. That’s kind of how I felt at Food Club’s first Thai restaurant, Peep…

This subtly lit, Lady Gaga-Gothic style restaurant is tucked away in the Village on Prince Street. After you walk past the rubber-band bar stools (that Anne swore her ass would get stuck in) you get a feel for a trendy nightclubish VIP scene before you hit the restaurant area. "Subtly lit" being the key words, some of us wished we had our Owl Lites to read the 12 menus that were on our table (one for specials, one for drinks, one massive one for all the food stuffs). I’m not complaining about the selection but c’mon, if you’re going to use size 4 font with Pantone color PMS-1485 (aka light peach), then turn the lights up a tad!

But I digress, the “highlights” of the evening were the fact that it was DD’s bday and we had some delicious cocktails! With names like Split, Faint, and Flirt they were the perfect after-work de-stress mixtures and went down a little too fast! After the drinks we were feeling saucy and asked our waiter if he could wipe down our table which was really sticky…he proceeded to bring us a dry napkin – guess you have to work for it at Peep ;)

On the main event, the food - we opted for curry chicken puffs, a teriyaki-like crispy duck salad, delectable beef rolls in a super thin outer shell and an old-time fav, Thai spring rolls. For our second plate, we put Peep’s Thai-ness to the test and went with a traditional Pad Thai with chicken, shrimp, peanut and egg. It was the piece de resistance – spicy, sweet, sour, delish!

I should probably just stop my review there because the main plates were nothing to write home about and honestly, pretty disappointing – a braised half duck that was too gamey for our taste and a five-spice pork chop that was super fatty and a little bland (we think they only used about two spices!). Surprisingly, we were too full for dessert so just downed the rest of our Pinot Noir (which was V. average) and called it a night. But before we end this adventure, one interesting characteristic about the restaurant to call out was the bathrooms that we found out you can kind of see into. When you are inside (we had to try them out!) you can see everything that is going on outside, but from the outside you can see in a little (again, this fact was tested) contributing some awkwardness to the evening. Overall, it was a good experience, but similar to how I felt after my first strip club, I do NOT have the desire to ever go back...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

FC Nibble Part 2 – Martha’s Vineyard Field Trip

Pin It Ok – now to part 2 of my Martha’s Vineyard culinary extravaganza. We had 2 great meals at restaurants that came highly recommended. But just because you expect greatness doesn’t mean you enjoy it any less!

Our first night – a cold rainy one in October – we went to the nearly empty Restaurant Détente. It’s a very cozy (read: maybe 11 tables) restaurant tucked back off Water Street in Nevin Square.

To celebrate our vacation, we kicked off the meal off with a bottle of 2003 Gramona, Gran Cuvee Cava – a sparkling rose wine from Spain. It was the perfect start to the meal. The bubbles seemed to sparkle away the stress of the nearly 6 hour ride to the Vineyard! We then shared an appetizer of creamy croquettes and savory olive tapenade.

My dinner of braised short rib (no knife necessary) was nothing short of fabulous – but by far the star of the show was the wine. We decided to splurge - and on the recommendation of our (kinda snotty) waiter – we ordered the 2007 Emeritus Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. It was by far one of the best bottles of wine I’ve had in a long time - - and it was liked by everyone at the table – always a bonus!

The only place that Détente fell short was dessert. We shared the Nutella Pot de Crème with hazelnut cookies. And – look – as many of you know – I am a dessert whore - - -errr…I mean maven. So pretty much anything with Nutella is OK in my book - - but it was a strange cold, crumbly, chunky consistency – like it should have been warmed and creamy. But I think that the meal itself was so outstanding that perhaps we were just “wow”ed out at that point.

The next dinner that’s worth blogging about is our experience at Alchemy. An island staple that usually has a wait over an hour long and a line out the door – was perfectly empty. This was the night where my brother Kevin and his girlfriend Pam went to Atria (which is totally on the list for my next MV adventure) – and my mother and I had a girls night at Alchemy.

Our waiter – Matt was too cute for words and he took great care of us! We shared a great bottle of Cabernet - - but nothing compared to the wine at Détente! I had the special of beef tenderloin with chorizo puree, peas, mushroom and balsamic reduction. Soooo - I tried to be good and write down what I was eating into my blackberry - and I must have been a little tipsy because I wrote that my dish came with “a side of potato au gratin thingy”… clearly the food coma was kicking in…..

‘Till next time - - Chow down!

Monday, November 2, 2009

FC Nibble Part 1 – Field trip to the Martha’s Vineyard Annual Food and Wine Festival

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So – this food clubber went on a wonderful epicurious excursion to the lovely Martha’s Vineyard for their annual Food and Wine Festival! We (my family and I) had tickets for the Grand Tasting and started off with a yummy cocktail made with St. Germain liqueur – a love-er-ly French bevvy made from Elderflower. They served it over ice and mixed with sparkling wine, sparkling water and a twist of lemon (NOTE: we found out later – it tastes better sans the sparkling water – just double the sparkling white wine or champagne and it’s delish!). It was heavenly…the perfect palette primer!

We then moved on to pork belly sliders with freshly popped popcorn. This was made by Levon Wallace the chef from our hotel – the Harborview Inn. His secret was popping it in DUCK FAT (I know!!!) with sugar, honey powder (we didn’t know that existed either) and vanilla salt! Pam (my brother’s girlfriend and trusted foodie friend) absolutely LOVED the filet mignon au poivre sammy – but they were a little too peppery for my taste. Then – to satisfy the sweet tooth – we moved on to the mini-pumpkin whoopie-pies – little bites of moist-autumn-creamy goodness (my brother Kevin had like 12 of them…).

Now – the wine. We tried a bunch – and I would be lying if I said I remembered them (all) – ha or any of them by name. But I will say that I tried a really interesting white Châteauneuf-du-Pape (I had never even heard of the white version!). It was something I would like to explore beyond the nominal “sip” we tried… There was also some very yummy Oregon wines (I am in love with Willamette pinot noir ever since a trip to Oregon in 2007).

I also walked up to a table (this is well into the tasting - after a quite a few “sips” of wine) and said – “I want to try this wine because I like the label” and he was like – “great – that’s a photo rendering of my grandmother!” Now I don’t know if this guy was BSing me or not – but he said he produced a limited quantity from some Napa Valley grapes. Either way – I loved the label - - the wine…not so much.... But I was happy he didn’t slap me for being so shallow!

All in all – fun way to spend a rainy afternoon in the Vineyard! More on the rest of the trip (and food of course) later!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

FC Nibble: Momofuku, I think I love u

Pin It Took my second trip to Momofuku this past weekend and it was just as good as I remembered it to be when I ate there more than a year ago. Even at 9:30 in the evening there was a wait, however, the hostess was surprisingly friendly and even allowed us to order drinks on line.

My cousin and I sat at the counter w/ a front row view of the ramen chef doing his thing, making delicious noodle soupy goodness, and sautéing pork to order....Our meal was simply delicious - comprised of fabulous pork buns, Momofuku ramen, sautéed cabbage and potatoes with a soft egg. Nothing was left on the plate when we were through. The simple good ingredients used, make each dish something special (the restaurant lists all the farms where they buy their ingredients on boards around space).

Momofuku is not a place for big crowds (unless you make a reservation for the fried chicken dinner (which I hear is fabulous)) during off hours and is not a place if you like dessert – they only offer frozen yogurt. However, Momofuku is an homage to salt and pork... If you need dessert and aren’t a salty fan than you may want to skip this one, but if you are, go immediately!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Best Paella in New York City....

Pin It at Socarrat Paella Bar on 19th St (b/w 18-19th).

This VERY cute two-table (one long communal table and 1 4-top in the front window) paella bar was amazing. We got the 4-top in the front and it was totally worth the wait (they actually took Danielle's cell phone number and said they'd call her when our table was ready!!).

Not only did they call us back on time – but they said that our table would be ready in 10 minutes – but to come back in 5 so that we could pre-order our paella. We got there – and after Danielle vigorously defended our table (go D!), we sat and ordered a nice Tempranillo and some tapas - which were fantastic (though I have yet to meet a patatas bravas I didn't like…).

And then came the paella. We got 2 dishes – one with seafood and one with meat. The hardest part was when the waitress told us to let it sit for 2-3 minutes to let the flavors fully soak into the rice (why bring it out to the table then?! We were like a pack of vultures….)

And the meat paella was INCREDIBLE (I don’t eat seafood – so I’ll let the others weigh in there). It was made with chorizo, pork, chicken and duck. It was this smoky, crusty delicious heaven! And then the waitress (from the Basque region – cue the crickets… I don’t know why…) came and scraped the bottom – the socarrat – which was THE BEST PART. I said to her that this was better than the paella I had in Spain and she said that’s because of 2 things: 1) the ovens in restaurants in Spain usually don’t have flames or really hot brick ovens – which is key in the crispy deliciousness; 2) People in Spain don’t go “out” for paella – they make it at home in brick ovens or over outdoor grill pits. Sounds like our version of a BBQ!

We topped off the dinner with this cheese “cake” (more like a mousse) – I didn’t think I would like it – but it too was heavenly. The perfect ending to a fabulous meal!

So THAT’S the story of the best paella I ever had!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Food Club of NYC: The Beginning

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It's been a little more than two years since that fateful night when four girls with very different backgrounds, but one common bond, sat down at Frank and shared an amazing NYC meal. Last night, while sharing yet another amazing meal at The Spotted Pig (review to come!), they had a revelation (in the form of a curly haired waiter with lots of rings) that they were enjoying all of this great food and not sharing their experiences with friends, family and the world. Zagat is for the elite; Yelp is for the kids; we are Foodies in NYC and know a good dish when we see -- or more importantly -- eat one!

So we hope you enjoy our restaurant reviews - and can share your experiences as part of our foodie family!