Monday, February 22, 2010

A Food Club Favorite: The Italian Wine Bar that keeps on giving…

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Uva Wine Bar was an unexpected surprise. We were sort of flailing on a cuisine one month…and picked a safe bet for everyone – Italian (prego!) We rocked out on the appetizers - a tried and true FC strategy so we can try as much as possible! Their appetizer list is extensive and they have great cheese and meat (affettati – which means cured meats) plates that you can customize. So we decided to get only 2 entrees HOWEVER – the meal was so delicious – we ordered another entrée! What little piggies we were! What stands out for us was the antipasti - with these delicious meaty green olives, the gnocchi di ricotta with creamy black truffle and chive sauce (they smallest gnocchi we’ve ever seen!) and the AMAZING bruschette with sheep’s ricotta cheese and black truffle honey.

I personally liked it so much – I brought my aunt and uncle there when they made their annual pilgrimage into the city (they were kind enough to treat us! thanks again Uncle Ken and Aunt Linda!). I ALSO recently took my mother there as a “thanks” for helping me with some apartment decorating. We had parppardelle alle ragu di vitello (home made pasta ribbons sautéed with ragu of veal and montasio cheese!) and the chicken filled with caciocavallo cheese, with plum tomatoes and artichokes. Tip on the pasta – eat it quickly – it’s so fine and thin that it cools fast! We went with a simple Sangiovese that pulled the whole meal together. It was just what we needed after a hard day’s work!

The net here is that Uva is consistently great yet unique – meaning it’s not the typical Italian-American heavy sauce/gooey cheese meal. The service is always great – and they always fit you in.

Now go – Manga!

Uva Wine Bar
1486 Second Ave (at East 77th Street)
New York, NY 10075

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dumont: The Comfort Food Cure

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So its cold out there, I mean FREEZING. We are facing the kind of days that make me want to curl up in bed and hibernate. The days that you just want some comfort food to keep you warm. Perhaps a perfectly cooked burger….maybe some mac & cheese…Whatever your poison is to get you through the winter months, Dumont has it.

For the first time EVER, Food Club made its way to Brooklyn. Now, it has been quite some time since I made it to the Borough and I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant, but the commute was quite easy (the restaurant is located right across the street from an L stop), and I was really surprised at how cute the restaurant was. Even in the freezing temperatures, we were able to eat in the garden, which was tented and filled w/ heat lamps (warning, even though you stay warm w/ the lamps, you may want to wear extra warm shoes)…

First, the cocktails were delish and fairly complex. We highly recommend the
Garden Champagne Cocktail (St. Germain, Crème de Violette and fresh lemon). I had a gin and rosemary drink that gave me quite a buzz and set the mood for evening. Once we were seated, our very aloof waiter (probably my biggest complaint about the whole experience) took our appetizer order. For me, appetizers are always my favorite part of the meal and these were delightful – the crispy artichokes with baby arugula and parmesan is a must try and the fried poached egg over a salad with pancetta (a special that night) was pretty awesome. However, I may be biased because I love anything with a runny yolk.

For a main course we ordered a few burgers (with gruyere), a half roast chicken and some mac & cheese. I tried the burger and the mac. The burger was very good and each one was cooked exactly as we asked, but the standout was the mac, by far. The combination of cheddar, gruyere, parmesan and bacon is just divine. I would go back just for this dish many times over!

Believe it or not, we saved room for dessert…and I am glad we did. We ordered an apple crisp and a brownie with hazelnut ice cream (okay, we ordered two brownies J). Both desserts were fabulous. At one point, when my pants reached a tightness of great proportions, I wanted to stop, but I just couldn’t! I liked the apple crisp more than brownie, but I don’t think that was the consensus at the table. The apples were al dente and the crispy crumble was the perfect compliment. We were happy to agree to disagree.

My recommendation, check it out. Make the trip and please, please, PLEASE order the mac & cheese.