Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In a Land Far, Far Away…The Foodies Explore Chinatown

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Once upon a time, three successful NYC women in their Bloomingdale’s best trekked through the fish juice glazed streets of Chinatown to explore the highly buzzed about 456 Restaurant.  Sam Sifton of The New York Times (and foodie celeb!) had us at the phrase "dumpling heaven" in his review of 456, so we decided it would be a fun adventure for The Foodies…

While some restaurants pride themselves on the overall dining experience – the peaceful ambiance, delivering the specials in poetic prose, the milieu of soothing orchestra music and a cellar full of exotic red wines – we don't always consider that the main attraction (as discussed previously).  That said, ordering at 456 was not a three-ring circus.  The menu was fairly straightforward (fish head casserole; chicken with cashews; Peking duck) and our experience with the staff was equally laconic:
Foodies in NYC: Do you have a wine list?
Waiter:  White or red?
Foodies in NYC:
Waiter: Bottle or glass?
Foodies (in unison): Bottle
Waiter:  Ok.  Do you want rice?
Foodies:  Yes.
Waiter:  Ok. How many?
Foodies:  Uhh...two?
Waiter:  Ok.

End conversation, cue the food.  We decided on a little bit of this (steamed juicy pork buns and steamed house veggie dumplings) and a little bit of that (cold noodles in sesame sauce).  The dumplings were moist and flavorful but the noodles fell a little flat – the sauce was too buttery and meagerly covered the dish, which made it difficult to get past the gummy texture.  On our two main dishes, General Tso's Chicken and Moo Shu Pork, we indulged in the simplicity of the sauces and quality of the meats.  The big, white chunks of chicken and fluffy pancakes made both dishes good to the last rice grain.

While fairly awkward in presence, the large, inexpensive plates of quality food at 456 took us all to our happy places, where we laugh, chat and munch (never at the same time, right mom?!) and always end the night with the phrase, "we needed that!" 

To ensure a happily ever after, we navigated back through the eel-streaked windows of Chinatown to end our night at Rice to Riches, a specialty, rice pudding Mecca.  “Strange” might be the first thought that pops into your head, but ours is, "why the #$%& didn't we think of that!?"  Served in Solo, Epic, Sumo, and Moby sizes, in flavors like Cheesecake, Cookies n' Cream, Banana, Rum Raisin and Coconut (among many others), Rice to Riches is a dessert dream come true.

The Takeaway:
Get out of your comfort zone with typical Chinese food.  Next time, leave the take out boxes at home and go out for the real deal!  And, in the words of Anne, "if you don't like rice pudding, seek professional help."

456 Restaurant
69 Mott Street (Canal Street), Chinatown
(212) 964-0003

37 Spring St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 274-0008

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Pie in the Sky

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Having some "early evening" pizza at Basile's in Hoboken!
On a valiant quest to secure the coveted “Pizzaiolo” badge on Foursquare (check-in to 20 different pizza places), I broke the half-way point this past weekend and decided to reminisce about some of the best and “just OK” so far, because honestly, I’ve never met a pizza I really truly disliked… 

-        Dozzino (Hoboken, N.J; – When restaurants pride themselves on “fresh and local” ingredients it can often mean a limited and boring menu – but fortunately Dozzino’s delivers.  The small pies – with several toppings from red pepper and calabrese salami to pecorino romano, fontina and basil – cooked by a wood fire, make this one of the hottest new pizza places in town.  And they have a bocce court too!  

-        Carmine’s Pizzeria (Brooklyn, N.Y.; – This may look and feel like your typical Italian restaurant, but Carmine’s offers so much more.  Not to be confused with the tourist trap in the city, this Carmine’s is a local legend that keeps patrons coming back – from the Chicken Parm to the Yankees Pie, this place is as Brooklyn as you can get.

-        Rosario’s (Hoboken, N.J.; – The debate between thin/crispy versus thick/doughy pizza has been around for ages (or at least since 1889, according to Wikipedia).  If you’re of the doughy camp, Rosario’s is the place for you.  It’s a friendly, neighborhood joint with five tables and a small TV that will always be playing some local sports team’s game.  The food is reliable, but nothing to write home about, especially if you live around the corner! (Full disclosure: I do…)

-        Gennaro’s (Hamilton, N.J.; – Run by an Italian family in Hamilton that your “mother’s sister’s cousin probably went to middle school with,” Gennaro’s is the place you go when you want home cooking but don’t feel like doing the dishes.  The Italiano Pie – topped with fig, prosciutto, arugula, red onion and goat cheese – is famous in Hamilton and one of the best topping combinations I’ve ever had. 

-        7 Stars (Hoboken, N.J.; – Following a friendly discussion on the characteristics that make a good pie, the term “late night pizza” (© BA) surfaced.  7 Stars may hit the spot after a long day or night spent at the bar, but it’s not the type of place you’d go without your beer goggles securely on first.

-        Napoli’s (Hoboken, N.J.; – Unexpectedly one of the best pizza places in Hoboken - and with more than 20 to choose from, that’s saying a lot.  The Margarita Pie was not too doughy or too crispy and the combination of the sweet marinara sauce and salty fresh mozzarella made it the Goldilocks of pizza!

With only eight check-ins to go, I’m at a crucial turning point where I have to choose whether to continue stumbling into whichever pizza “joint” I come across in my ‘hoods or be a tad pickier and rightfully earn the badge that rewards only the “true pizza connoisseur.” 

This badge has been my most recent foodie adventure – I’m so close I can taste it.  I just need to ponder where my finals check-ins should be, taking me one step closer to this lifetime achievement.  What are your most/least favorite pizza shops?  How would you spend your 20 check-ins?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Butter….eh – I’ve had better

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I still get excited about restaurant week. It’s a great excuse to connect with friends (one Scott A. Berwitz) who I haven’t seen in a while and a wonderful way to afford some of the great restaurants in the city.

That. Said.

My trip to Butter…was…well…not bad. But I’ve had better…

The dream child of Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Butter opened in 2003 to much fanfare in the East Village and became a bit of a “celeb” hot spot. So while it’s not “new” it’s always been on my list to try - so off we went. (Note – no celebs :(

The cocktails were great– I had a champagne cocktail called The Veranda with sparkling cava and St. Germain and Scott had The Butter Martini. The service was great and the décor was super cool. It’s all wood paneled and almost feels like you’re stepping into a high end spa. Very warm and serene.

But the food was…just OK and not what I was expecting. The appetizer of fried green tomatoes was three greasy tomatoes on a plate – no garnish, no dollop of creme fraiche or goat cheese or even a drizzle of olive oil. It looked like it had been tossed on a plate with all the care a fry cook at McDonald’s stuffing French fries into a happy meal (no offense to fry cooks!! We heart you in our own special way!). The goat cheese pizza consisted of a thick paste of strong goat cheese slathered on a very thin (what would normally be a very enjoyable crust) and then doused with onions. The best dish was the braised short rib. No knife was required and it was a perfectly rich, hearty dish that is always a favorite of mine.

The Takeaway
Go there if you are in the mood for a fun cocktail – but you can get better food elsewhere.

415 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10003

Friday, September 30, 2011

WTFoodie Friday Schweddy Balls – Good Times!

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We could hardly let THIS piece of news fly by without making it a WTFoodie post!

Ben & Jerry’s has a new flavor – Schweddy Balls! Who can forget the SNL sketch with Alec Baldwin – as Pete Schweddy – touting his balls (popcorn balls, cheese balls, rum balls and of course – his famous Schweddy balls!) to Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer who play very wholesome - quirky-as-hell radio show hosts.

Who doesn’t love a good bowl (or…ahem…a pint) of Ben and Jerry’s! My personal favorite is Half Baked and I also enjoy me some Pfish Food. Danielle loves Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Christa is partial to Strawberry Cheesecake.

But I think I speak for us all when I say – we may have a new favorite. Schweddy is Balls Vanilla Ice Cream with a Hint of Rum & Loaded with Fudge Covered Rum & Malt Balls. We can’t wait to try it!

What’s your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Try the Goat!

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It’s hard to keep up with all the foodie news in NYC. All too often, just when you hear about a new gem, The New York Times or some other dining bible will write a fantastic review making it impossible to score a reservation or even worse… it will become so crowded with tourists that what made it special suddenly seems sadly overdone.

Goat Town was right on the cusp. With a great review in New York Magazine touting its farm-to-table concept (my favorite) coupled with its Alphabet City location, I figured us Foodies should give it a whirl before ‘Best Thing I Ever Ate’ exposed it to the flyover states.

Now, before we get into the food, which was very good, a few things must be said:

1- We went during the July heat wave. It was easily 90 degrees at 7 PM and the restaurant’s A/C system could not keep up. This naturally sweaty Foodie was quite uncomfortable throughout her whole meal, and chugging 2 bottles of cold wine wasn’t helping. I mean, who wants to sweat in their roast chicken???
2- The restaurant’s ambiance is great. French bistro meets East Village meets down home style, BUT the last 2-3 new restaurants I’ve popped into (i.e. The Dutch and 100 Acres) look remarkably similar…. Is NYC running out of creativity?
3- The service was slow. We like slow dining, but the waitress was so aloof I almost felt compelled to use the ‘I have a food blog and will be reviewing your flipping restaurant so speed it up sista’ card.

Ok, enough about mediocrity - now it’s on to where Goat Town shines. Despite the slow service, hot dining room and pricey wine list, the food at Goat Town is actually pretty good!

We started with the ice box tomato and watermelon salad, which was divine. The balsamic vinaigrette perfectly complemented the salad. It was more than just refreshing given the heat (both inside and out), it was really satisfying. The goat neck French dip (made with actual goat) was also really fun. I am not one to order goat, but it actually melted in your mouth. The au jus was so good, I would have been happy eating it by itself as a soup, and sour cherries really balanced the dish. Another star was the cast iron chicken. You didn’t even need a knife, the chicken was so juicy and tender. We also did the burger with bone marrow butter. This fell a little short for all of us and the bone marrow added nothing to the dish except for extra calories (and definitely does not measure up to the Spotted Pig burger which I had again the week before).

Perhaps Goat Town deserves a second chance. However, for this Foodie, it will go to the back of her list as she sets out on a quest to try new things in the ever-evolving city.

Goat Town
511 Fifth Street (between First and A)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cocktail Alert: Hundred Acres

Pin It Hot? In need of a refreshing cocktail to quench your thirst and provide a great buzz? Go to Hundred Acres immediately and try the Spicy Watermelon Lemonade. This refreshing sweet yet spicy cocktail will blow you away.

Homemade jalapeño infused vodka with fresh watermelon juice and lemonade is to die for. My only regrets were (A)that I didn’t find this amazing drink at the beginning of the summer and (B) that I didn’t have a second!

Hundred Acres
38 MacDougal Street

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Foodies' First! Guest Blogger: Some Things are Worth Waiting Fore

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By FoodiesInNYC Guest Blogger – Mitch Wexler

As an avid home cook and outspoken foodie, certain things about a restaurant can really catch my attention –a menu printed daily featuring great ingredients, a functional open kitchen with an efficient system at work and a wood burning oven that serves as the cooking method for a third of the menu. Throw in owning a bakery underneath the restaurant that provides for an amazing bread basket – and I’m one happy guy. Fore Street in Portland, Maine got off to a great start for me before I even perused the daily menu. I’ve long wanted to visit, and on a recent trip to Ogunquit, we headed up to the big city to give it a shot.

Fore Street splits its focus three ways – veggie based items, locally sourced meats and seafood, and things that turn out awesome when you cook them in a wood-fired oven for a few minutes. My four dining companions and I had a diverse set of tastes that allowed us to embrace all areas of the menu, while finding common areas in wonderful places like a bowl of mussels and a plate of foie gras. The appetizers were highlighted by a tangy and unique mushroom salad – finished perfectly by a delightful vinaigrette. The seafood sampler was a creative array of raw seafood items, highlighted by an eye- opening flounder tartare. From the wood-fired oven, we had the mussels, which were plump and delicious, but did suffer from the unintended consequence of the inferno – cracked shells galore.

The main course is where the gem of Fore Street, and possibly all of the land-based meals in Maine, occurred. The rack of pork, a simple, thick, spit-roasted pork chop, served with sauerkraut, elicited an immediate ‘wow’ from me, along with a giggle. The strong but complex flavor, highlighted by the delightful aroma of fennel pollen, made this the second best pork chop I ever had. The first, for those scoring at home, resides at Centro Vinoteca in the West Village – try it if you haven’t, nod in agreement if you have.

Other dishes included a flaky, if plain, whole black bass, and a duo of duck that featured a nicely under cooked duck breast and some delicious duck confit. We were able to order a reasonably priced Cali Cab to complement the cocktails that we started the night with, and overall, the drink menu and wine list were well created and fairly priced.

Not one to do much with dessert, I was ready to call it a night, but the ladies at the table called for the closer, and out came two unbelievable desserts, a perfectly executed bread pudding and a chocolate dish so rich and divine they might have named it Oprah.

The Takeaway:
For anyone visiting Maine, your first stop has to be a lobster shack (or Barnacle Billy’s) for the best lobster in the world. But if you are near Portland, and love to eat, make Fore Street your second.

Fore Street Fore Street
Portland, Maine

Mitch Wexler is an advertising exec, part-time sous chef and full-time foodie based in Hoboken, NJ.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

WTFood Friday!?

Pin It Ok. It’s a known fact that I am not a seafood fan. That said,I’ve tried a lot – almost everything put in front of me (back me up girls!).

But I DRAW THE LINE HERE! This is why I like meat! A burger would not do this! A lamb kabob would not do this! Not even the rarest steak would do this!


This is much more my speed.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Home Sweet Hoboken

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Growing up eating your mother’s, grandmother’s or great grandmother’s traditional cooking can make almost anyone a food critic of their native country’s cuisine.  Italian cuisine in particular has been so altered and modernized that few restaurants can capture the simplicity and boldness of flavors in Italy's signature dishes.  So to get back to our roots (officially and unofficially), Foodies in NYC took a trip to the birthplace of Frank Sinatra and hard-crusted bread - Hoboken, New Jersey.

A little less than ten years old, Café Michelina sits off of the main strip, located on Bloomfield between 4th and 5th.  With several other highly palatable Italian restaurant options in the area – such as Augustino’s, Trattoria Soporito, Leos, and Piccolo Roma – Café Michellina holds its own against the competition.

So after grabbing a few bottles of red wine from a nearby deli (Café Michelina is BYOB), we experienced a little bit of a wait - typical for a Friday night in Hoboken.  Once seated outside on a beautiful June night, we quickly came up with four dishes we had to try – the Antipasto Michelina, Cavatelli e Broccoli, a special ravioli dish with smoked mozzarella and chicken in vodka sauce, and the Pollo alla Michelina.

Even though prosciutto, salami and provolone don’t seem like a light summer nosh, the components of the antipasto were refreshingly delicious when lightly drizzled with olive oil and topped with fresh basil.  The roasted peppers and homemade sundried tomatoes on the side completed the perfect bite!

For the main course, all three dishes stood out for their boldness and individual flavors.  The cavatelli and broccoli gave a soft and crunchy bite with the perfect amount of garlic-to-oil ratio.  The ravioli were a little thicker in texture than we’d like but the vodka sauce was very tasty with the smoky, rich flavor of the mozzarella packing the punch.  The chicken dish also received six thumbs up for the “zesty lemon sauce” and tender chicken and mushrooms over al dente penne.
We'd swim in that pool of vodka sauce!

To top off the meal, our awesome server TJ recommended we split a cannolo (Italian lesson of the day: that’s the singular of cannoli).  We proceeded to lick our spoons clean and (like good little foodies) did not leave one crumb behind!

Comparable to Frank in NYC, this Italian restaurant offers authentic, bold flavors and hearty portions so you can carb-load for your next marathon or catch up with paesans over a delicious meal. 

The Take Away:
Don’t be turned off by the old-school décor and non-flashy dining area; the food is very reasonably priced and the taste makes up for it tenfold.  Just grab a bottle of wine and be ready to mangi!  Boun appétito!
That WAS our dessert...
Café Michelina
423 Bloomfield St
Hoboken, NJ 07030

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We have Georgia On Our Minds….

Pin It Cue Ray Charles!

With the start of summer, who doesn’t get in the mood for some barbeque?! And believe it or not – NYC is a BBQ town! Scoff if you will Southern friends, but some of our NYC favorites include Blue Smoke, Virgil’s and Brother Jimmy’s. However, this time, we found ourselves with our good foodie friend Rob at the quaint (read: 5 tables), rustic (read: we teetered on our wooden chairs hoping they would hold us!) Georgia’s Eastside Grill.

Quick side note: Danielle is our captain of ordering – regardless of cuisine. She has this uncanny ability to corral all of our many opinions and cravings and order accordingly so that everyone leaves the table fat n’ happy. Seriously people – if they gave out a Nobel Prize for ordering, Danielle would win it!

So for appetizers –we started out with a full rack of dry rub baby back ribs and the potato skinz (with a “z”) special. The ribs were in no need of a pesky knife – the meat literally fell off the bone before our eyes.

We then went on to the fried chicken sandwich, two pulled pork platters and a fried catfish sandwich, sides of cole slaw, French fries, roasted beet salad and corn bread (don’t judge…we came hungry!). The BBQ pulled pork was rich and smoky and the fried fish and chicken were the perfect mixture of salty crispiness on the outside and juicy meatiness on the inside.

But we had one strange little star of the show – the homemade applesauce! It was on the special menu – so not sure they make it all the time – but if they do – ORDER IMMEDIATELY. It was a hearty mixture of smoothed apple puree with lots of warm cinnamon. Its sweetness perfectly complimented the savory dishes. Other hits were the coleslaw – which was not the goopy stuff you get at a deli – but rather, a lean, crisp slaw that went with the pulled pork like peanut butter goes with jelly! Like Oreos go with milk! Like fries go with ketchup…you get the idea ….

The Take Away:
This was a great BBQ experience and one we highly recommend. We do have 2 parting tips though: Go early (this place packs up) and don’t wear white.

Georgia’s Eastside BBQ
192 Orchard Street
B/W Houston and Stanton

Monday, May 23, 2011

FC Nibble: Cookshop

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Need a good brunch spot? How about lunch or dinner? Cookshop fits the bill for all your foodie needs. With all of the restaurant choices Manhattan has to offer, it is rare that I visit the same place within a six month period, let alone in one month. However, I did just that with Cookshop.

The ambiance is great – fresh and modern. The service is fantastic and the food is really really good and won’t break the bank.

One of the things I judge every brunch place by is the quality of their bloody mary, and let me tell you this was spicy, tangy and delicious. Spying on dinners around me, everything looked great and made choosing entrees very difficult. As I insisted on having a bite of everyone’s dish (in our party), I can confirm everything tasted good too. The burger rocked, the scramble was amazing, the fried chicken was crispy and surprising light, and the poached egg and house made sausage over grits will make any egg fan’s day.

For dinner – you would be remiss not try to the butcher block. It’s a big portion and great for sharing. I did the NY State Rabbit Milanese. It was fantastic. My fellow diners did everything from the duck to Lemon Poached Merluza. The simple, delicious flavors left you feeling like you were eating a meal just as the famer who raised the food intended. Who says you can’t have farm fresh food in the city.

156 10th Ave, New York NY10011 (At 20th St)
(212) 924-4440

Friday, May 13, 2011

WTFoodie Bite of the Day!

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Happy Friday Foodies!

Ok so this shouldn’t really count as a WTFoodie…it’s more like TGIFoodie! Urban Daddy, one of our e-newsletter bibles, has alerted us to TEQUILA SNOWCONES. I haven’t been this excited since I got my Snoopy Sno Cone Machine when I was a kid!!

What’s even better is that they offer it in a to go cup. Nothin’ screams “the summer is here” like some frozen tequila on the hot blistering streets of New York.

This is totally on our list to try!

(AND it’s conveniently located in my ‘hood – so expect to see a happy, slightly- tipsy, strawberry blonde when you go!)

Takeout Tequila Snow Cones
available at Cascabel Taqueria
1538 2nd Ave
(at 80th St)
New York, NY 10075

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2nd Avenue Deli: Our Bubbies Would be Jealous

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Coming out of a terrible, miserable, cold winter, most of the Foodies were under the weather. We needed a low key dinner that would give us the strength to get over our ailments… some Jewish Penicillin (matzoh ball soup) and all the fixings were in order.

Oy vey (oh no), where does one get great Jewish deli in the city these days, you may ask? Well, the question is not as easy to answer as it used to be. You see, Jewish delis have gone through a period of consolidation and disappearance. Where once there were hundreds there are now only a dozen or so worthy of your bubby’s (grandmother) stamp of approval.

2nd Ave Deli is a New York institution. While no longer located on Second Ave (it is now just off Third on 33rd St.), the deli returned with a force from a several year hiatus. While the deli meats are good, they aren’t as good as Katz’s, the king of all NY delis.

The foodies opted for a smorgasbord of Jewish delicacies. They included: matzoh ball soup, latkes (potatoes pancakes) with homemade applesauce, stuffed to the brim deli sandwiches (corned beef, turkey, brisket and pastrami) with coleslaw and Russian dressing (of course), and kasha varnishkes (bowtie pasta with barley)… OY GAVALT (on my gosh)! With a round of Dr. Browns’ sodas (cream and black cherry), we feasted until we were too full to kibbitz (make small talk / joke) and turned to kvetsching (complaining).

While the meal hit the spot, it was very salty. The corned beef was a little too lean, but the pastrami and brisket melted in your mouth! If you are going to make the schlep (the trip) to the 2nd Ave Deli, the matzoh ball soup is a must, and make sure you stay hydrated throughout your Jewish delicacy delight!

2nd Ave Deli
162 E 33rd St (at Third Ave)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flight of the Foodies: Oregon Wine Tasting at City Winery

Pin It Since it’s been a while since our last post, we thought we’d mix it up with a little tutorial on the Oregon wine region after having attended a special wine tasting at City Winery for an unofficial food club gathering. There’s no pop quiz at the end, just a few bullet points to wow your guests at a dinner party:

  • Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are the top two grapes grown in the region
  • The main wine regions in Oregon are the Willamette Valley, Southern Oregon, Umpqua Valley and Rogue Valley
  • Cuvée means blend in French (a popular type of wine for the region)
  • Oregon Wines are very similar to French wines because the regions fall on the same latitude line and therefore are affected by similar growing temperatures and elements
  • 2008 was a “textbook” year for the Oregon region so most pinot noirs from that year will be delicious
  • Some of the highlights of the evening: 2008 Beau Freres Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2008 Benton-Lane Winery 1st Class Pinot Noir, 2008 Boedecker Cellars Stewart Pinot Noir, 2009 Coleman Vineyard Estate Pinot Gris, 2007 Daedalus Labyrinth Pinot Noir, 2009 Eyrie Vineyards Original Vines Reserve Chardonnay, 2008 Iota Cellars Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2005 Left Coast Cellars Cali’s Cuvée Pinot Noir, 2008 Rex Hill Pinot Noir (see below for the full list of participating wineries)
  • Some Pinot Noirs can last up to 20 years on the shelf
  • (Warning: not a wine tip) – City Winery had fabulous finger foods that night including lamb skewers with a cherry chutney dip, mini egg quiches with red pepper mayo on top, truffle crab melt on brioche (the tuna melt’s ivy league cousin) and pulled pork sliders – all great compliments to the wines being served

All in all, a good evening for the Foodies because honestly, what goes better with a fantastic meal than a great bottle of wine? Maybe we’ll take our show on the road, Foodies in Oregon anyone?

City Winery
155 Varick St.
New York, NY
(212) 608-0555

Friday, March 4, 2011

Adios Taco Tuesday

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Taco Tuesdays are for the birds! After trying Dos Toros in Union Square, Foodies in NYC is taking a stand to invoke Taco Wednesday, Taco Thursday, Taco Friday and…well, you get the idea! Anyone who’s been to Cali knows that tacos are their “thing” and are very hard to imitate on the East Coast. It’s like how bagels and pizza are here – why can’t Cali make good pizza? So instead of travelling 3000 miles across the US of A, we decided to try Dos Toros in Union Square owned by two San Franciscans (or is it San Franciscoans) Leo and Oliver Kremer – yes, they’re brothers too!
Don't mind if we do!

So on a blistery cold and blizzard-y January night, Foodies in NYC ventured out in the ice storm to Union Square (ok, it wasn’t that dramatic – we just had to take the 4/5 downtown) to warm up with a pre-dinner bevy at Vintage with a fellow Foodie and Union Square local Rob, followed by some hot new Mexican food. The line was practically out the door and we had to throw some ‘bows to get a table, but we did it! And it was worth it!

Anne’s pork quesadilla won, hands down! It was warm flavorful pork wrapped conveniently in a soft and grilled tortilla. But our order envy didn’t go too far after we bit into our chicken plato (a burrito without the tortilla) and chicken and pork tacos. The meat actually had (gasp!) flavor and wasn’t loaded with condiments and hidden behind walls of sour cream so we were actually able to taste it! Hint, hint, Chipotle. To wash the meal down, we sipped on some Red Stripes and then somehow wandered into Chocolate by the Bald Man for some espressos and a peanut butter chunky chocolate crepe.

So for a taste of Cali right in your hood, Dos Toros is as close as it gets to the quaint but delicious taquerias of the west. Proving, yet again, NYC is the mecca for ALL types of cuisines!

Dos Toros Taqueria
137 4th Avenue
New York, NY, 10003
(212) 677-7300

Vintage Irving
120 East 15th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 677-6300

Max Brenner
841 Broadway (14th street/Union Square)
New York, NY 10003
(212) 388-0030

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Use Your Noodle - Try Ippudo

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To celebrate the start of winter, with the snow piled on the streets of New York six-feet high, the foodies headed out for the kind of meal that not only warms you up physically, it warms you from the inside out…We passed on the traditional comforts - mac & cheese, meatloaf and mash potatoes and opted for comfort food Japanese style, ramen. We choose Ippudo located on the UES.

Some very important facts before we share our “feelings” on the evening:

1) Ramen noodles are way more complex that that instant noodles that you got through freshman year of college. Good ramen noodles are hand-pulled. )What does that mean? Check out this video from the New York Times and their awesome Dining reporter Julia Moskin). Ramen is the official food of Japan (although it is believed to have been conceived in China) and is considered a staple in Asia—today most Asian cultures have there own form of the dish.

2) With NY-based chefs like David Chang and his Momofuku empire, ramen has grown significantly in popularity (see my Oct 28, 2009 post on Momofuku)

3) Ippudo, our pick for the evening, has 40 locations in Japan and has been around in more than 25 years. The NY location is its first forray outside of Asia.

4) The restaurant does not take reservations and even on a Tuesday there is a wait… a long one. Even with several feet of snow on the ground and on a “school night” we waited for more than hour….

At the bar, we partook in some excellent cocktails while we waited… and waited… Once we were admitted into the dining room, there was a certain bustling in the air. The wait staff shouts at each other in Japanese (including the Americans). We sat at a big round communal table. We were hungry.

Cutting to the chase… the pork buns were out of control… literally the best I’ve ever had… It was like eating perfectly cooked, not too fatty piece of pork belly on little clouds. The buns were so light they melted in your mouth. I wanted to order more for dessert, but was turned down! We also got a short rib and fried chicken appetizers, both were great, but if you remember one thing from this post – GET THE PORK BUNS!

We then shared two ramen dishes a Tori Ramen a classic ramen dish with a light, clear broth, pork, soft boiled eggs and other goodness. We also shared a special, darker ramen on the menu for the winter season.

If you like noodle soup, pork products and salt, Ippudo could easily become your favorite.

65 4th Avenue (between 9th and 10th)

Friday, February 11, 2011

FC Nibble: Commerce - It’s not JUST about the Birthday Cake…..

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So, my cousins, The Altenaus (Michael and Maureen), were coming to the city. They wanted to take in a day at The Whitney and then (very generously!) take me out to an NYC dinner. Because of our blog, they asked ME where to go for dinner. Oh the pressure! So I went to my go-to human Zagat and fellow Foodie in NYC, Danielle, who did not disappoint!

She had gone to Commerce (not a “new” place but one with a great reputation) for dinner on New Year’s Day and she was pissed. She was pissed because her boyfriend and fellow friend of the Foodies, Mitchell, talked her OUT of having the birthday cake at Commerce for dessert. The nerve! So Danielle, after having a fabulous meal at Commerce, she went home dessertLESS with birthday cake on her mind!.

Needless to say, Danielle had Commerce on the mind. So when I went to her with my dilemma, she immediately recommended I take my beloved Altenaus there immediately.

So I made a reservation (which is a must)! Right away Michael was drawn to the cocktail menu, specifically the Sazerac, which is an old-fashioned type cocktail with rye and absinthe - a la Mad Men. He was skeptical, but gave big kudos to the bartender (by ordering a second)!

What then followed was a wonderful dinner of gnocchi with Italian sausage, papardelle with lamb and finally, broiled skate. Did I mention the homemade bread?! I have to say, for someone who doesn’t like seafood, the skate was….good! I don’t know that I would order it, but I was pleasantly surprised (and Mo almost licked her plate).

But now onto the pièce de résistance – the birthday cake. Out came a four-layered vanilla cake with rich chocolate icing, sprinkles and a candle! We ordered the banana pudding as a side dish for the dessert and it was delicious! So Danielle, thanks for the recommendation – and Mitch, take her back to Commerce for the birthday cake!

50 Commerce Street
New York, NY 10014

Monday, February 7, 2011

WTFood Bite of the Day

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The McNuggetini: A Chocolate Milkshake With Vanilla Vodka, Rimmed With BBQ Sauce And A Chicken McNugget

While we, the Foodies In NYC, pride ourselves on being adventurous foodies (and drinkies!) we're not sure there is EVER enough alcohol to make THIS sound good!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

FC Nibble: Date Night Never Tasted So Good

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I’ve been to a lot of good restaurants lately, but it’s been a while since I walked away feeling that I just experienced true greatness. Feeling full, but wanting more…plotting my next visit, counting the menu items I must try. Joseph Leonard was that experience for me.

It’s a 35 seat joint (including bar seating) just off of 7th Avenue on Waverly. Its homey, like a hipster grandma’s living room (is there such thing?). It’s got a village charm and coolness, and doesn’t feel like its trying too hard. When we got there, we learned that restaurant just reopened – that week – with an updated menu and wine list, as it was closed for two months due to a basement fire.

The menu was exciting… not exotic… but had the type of items that just made your mouth water: a warm octopus salad, crispy braised pork hock, roasted brussel sprouts with siracha, YUM! And, the little open kitchen filled the small room with a perfume of goodness that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

We sat down to a jar of homemade sour gherkins – my date who has an aversion to sweet pickles was thrilled. For an “amuse-bouche” we were served homemade potato chips with sour cream an onion dip… Could there be anything better? For appetizers, we then opted to share deconstructed clam casino and the warm octopus salad – a definite highlight. For a main course, we split the New York strip which was perfectly medium rare, and the roasted cauliflower and roasted brussel sprouts with siracha – they were extremely hot and addictive.

Joseph Leonard is not for the faint of seasoning… each dish has big, bold flavors. The destructed clams casino was too salty, but everything else was perfect for my palate. I am counting the days until I can return. Next on my list to try – the crispy braised pork hock.

Joseph Leonard
170 Waverly Place (at Grove St)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WTFood Bite of the Day

Pin It One of our favorite gossip bloggers Perez Hilton posted the following article on his site today:

Man Shoots Friend For Eating His Cake Without Asking

Our initial reaction...but what kind of cake was it?!?!  C'mon, you know you thought the same thing!

p.s. - The cake in the photo looks pretty amazing, right?!  Time for our afternoon snack!

Thanks Perez!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Year!

Pin It Happy New Year Foodies!

Ok ok we’re 10 days late – but that doesn’t mean we can’t have resolutions!! (I mean – we are making this all up as we go!) So here goes. Um…we’d like to continue to eat great food! And write MORE about it! So…nothing surprising there…but here are a few specifics we’d like to do in 2011:

- We need to hit some more boroughs! Queens and the Bronx – I’m talking to you! Staten Island…we’ll keep you on our list for 2012 – m’kay? ;)
- We’d love some guest bloggers! We love it when friends join us for dinner! So if you’re interested in joining us and/or writing about a great food experience – by all means let us know!
- Be more international! There are a ton of cuisines that we’ve not yet tried! Any suggestions?

So the first post of 2011 is actually from the December Foodies In NYC Monthly Dinner. And we went to a place that is definitely different – check it out below!

Cheers and here is to a delicious 2011!

Anne, Christa and Danielle - - a.k.a. – Foodies In NYC

"Nothing Wrong with That!"

So as members of Foodies In NYC, we pride ourselves on trying everything! We love all types of food - from the diners to the five stars of the city - we love it all (errr...or most of it!) So December's choice came to us via a FINYC fan Ann Subveri - who also does some PR work for the casual dining chain Uno's (formerly Pizzeria Uno's and now called simply Uno Chicago Grill). Ann called us up and asked if we'd peruse the new menu for the blog. We were beyond flattered and got to work.....that is, to eat!

The night started out with a cozy little wine bar in South Street Seaport called Bin No: 220 ( It was a celebration of Danielle's birthday (Happy Bday D!!!) - so to help the celebration along - we started the evening off with a few glasses of 2002 Montepulchiano Zaccaginini. It was earthy, warm and a perfect way to start the night.

Then - on to Uno's in South Street Seaport. We aren't gonna lie - we were skeptical (some would say snobby) about going here but we forged ahead! It's perched on the second floor of the Pier with a breathtaking view of the lighted Brooklyn Bridge and majestic old ships keeping watch in the harbor. We settled into a booth and began perusing the PAGES of options! We needed a glass of wine to sort this all out - so we ordered (from our very cheery and attentive waitress) a bottle of Gnarly Head Pinot Noir. Good wine at a great price!

So while the menu boasts some healthy options - it's actually listed as America's Healthiest Chain Restaurant by Health Magazine - we did not opt for those (did you really think we would?). We started out with the Chi Town Tasting plate (typical fare with wings, cheese dippers, and chicken fingers) but the stand out of the NIGHT was a little dish called Pizza Skins. That's right kids - it's a deep dish crust filled with red bliss mashed potatoes topped with bacon, cheddar and sour cream. This was creamy carb heaven on a plate! "Nothing Wrong With That" was Danielle's comment as she dove into her second slice.

For dinner, we sampled some of the other “Chef's Signature Dishes” - which included a Meat Deep dish pizza w/ BBQ chicken and sweet peppers, the Wowza Chicken thin crust with peppered chicken, spicy banana peppers, bell peppers an array of cheeses and Uno's Wowza sauce infused with Sam Adams. We also tried the Chicken Spinoccoli which was a rolled chicken breast filled with mozzarella, feta, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, garlic and basil with penne in creamy pesto and chunky tomato. It was good - but I think the fan favorite for the entrees was the deep dish.
Not surprisingly...the foodies were too full (can you believe it?) for dessert! Next time Uno's - we promise!

While this is a bit off the beaten path for the foodies - we still had ourselves a good time. Good talks, laughs and lots of overeating. In fact, as we ordered - we all talked about our guilty pleasure restaurants. Mine (Anne) was Ruby Tuesday (LOVE their salad bar!), Danielle loves herself some TGI Friday’s, and Christa's a fan of Red Lobster (hello cheddar biscuits!). While we can't eat like this every night - we think that Uno’s is definitely on our list for some good ole guilty fun! What are your guilty pleasures?