Monday, June 30, 2014

ABC Cocina: Another hit from Jean-Georges & Dan Kluger

Per my previous ABC Kitchen blog post, you know I’m a huge fan of Chefs Jean-Georges and Dan Kluger.  The ABC Cocina concept is the newer of the two and takes their already fresh and locally sourced practices and combines them with diverse, Spanish tapas inspired plates. 

The space is stunning. Very sexy with dark exposed brick and lovely light fixtures. We made an early reservation on a Friday evening and to my surprise there was actually a seat at the bar. I was (of course) early so I made myself comfortable until the rest of my party arrived. Note: Make a reservation waaaaaay in advance or plan to grab a bite at the bar. It’s very popular, very packed & very good. The gentleman next to me was devouring his Spring Pea Guacamole...why are my friends always late?

Once my party arrived we were sat at a great table in the center of the room. The kitchen is very open which I LOVE! I so enjoy seeing all the action. The cocktail list (like Kitchen) is fabulous and well developed with a nice selection of margaritas. The food menu is a long list of small plates with a few more “entree" options. I knew a week before what I wanted to order and luckily my friends let me order for the table...:-)

We enjoyed the following items (keep in mind the menu changes often):

Spring Pea Guacamole-Voted one of the best Spring dishes in NYC and I can totally see why. Imagine the best guacamole you’ve ever had. Add fresh Spring peas, a little heat and serve with perfectly salted warm tortilla chips and voilĂ !  

Raw Shaved Fluke-So amazingly fresh. The green chili dressing is to die for. One of my faves. 

Shrimp with Sizzling Garlic and Chili Oil-A MUST order. So.good.

Patatas Bravas and Gooey Ham and Cheese Fritters- Both very tasty with mouth-watering sauces. 

Crispy Fish Tacos and Short Rib Tacos-Both off the charts good. I read up and the general consensus was that these were the two best tacos on the menu. I’m not sure which one we liked the best...

Arroz Con Pollo- This is one of their signature dishes and also one of the “entree” options. Also one of our favorites.

Just about every dessert on the menu-Save room and def order the Warm Vanilla Fritters.

Keep reading for images and more delicious deets... Eat up!

And the meal begins...

The epic Spring Pea Guacamole 

Gooey, Spicy Ham and Cheese Fritters! So good. The sauce was key.

Sizzling Shrimp with Garlic Chili Oil. The shrimp were wonderful, perfectly seasoned and cooked but the garlic chili oil was the real stand out in this dish. I took their insanely delicious house made bread and dunked to my heart’s content. They should consider bottling and selling that oil. 
I alone would buy enough to keep the production going. 

Killer Fish Tacos

The Arroz Con Pollo, one of their signature dishes...for good reason. 
I didn’t get as much crispy skin as I would’ve liked but a solid dish none the less. 

Warm Vanilla Fritters aka some of the best doughnuts you’ve ever tasted served with Mexican chocolate. Save room for dessert friends...


Monday, June 23, 2014

This Weekend’s Food Porn: New York City

I had quite the “foodie” weekend so I thought it was imperative to share. From one of NYC’s hottest tables to legendary desserts to quirky novelties, this was one epic weekend of all things food. To make this easy, I’ll map my weekend from Friday though Sunday and give you all the delicious deets...and don't worry, additional, more detailed blog posts to come.

Friday: Cocktails at Commerce and dinner at The Clam. This was my first time at Commerce. I hear the food is also phenomal but we only had time for drinks as we had an 8pm reservation at The Clam. The location is just adorable. Right in the West Village on a tiny side street. The interior is classic New York with dark woods and exposed brick. They have a nice little wine selection and their cocktails are insane. Try the Sazerac made with bourbon, absinthe and orange bitters.

The Clam is fairly new and still considered a very hot and difficult to get table in Mahattan. This seafood centric, 50 seat restaurant is another collaboration from Chef Mike Price and Joey Campanaro, the same foodie geniuses that opened The Little Owl. Menu standouts include ANYTHING off the raw bar, the Clam Dip and the Clam Fried Rice.

Saturday: The epic Cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery. The Cronut debuted in 2011 and there are still lines everyday to get a taste of the coveted pastry. It took me a while to come around but I finally made the decision to wait...and wait I did. Two hours to be exact. Was it worth it? Hell yes. I don't think I'll be doing it on a weekly basis or anything but I highly suggest making the effort at least once.

Sunday: Smorgasburg! This insanely popular foodie destination houses over 80 food venders from across the boroughs but mainly out of Brooklyn. It's heaven for any food lover. I went to the one on Sunday located on Pier 5 near the Brooklyn Bridge. They also have one every Saturday in Williamsburg. One must go several times to try all the awesomeness. I just didn't have the room to try everything (remember, over 80 vendors) but my first-time favorites were the Beef Scallion Pancakes from Outer Borough. It may have been the best thing I tried all day. The flavors were outstanding and the cucumber and scallions gave the dish just the right amount of freshness. The unique and also very yummy Ramen Burger and of course, no trip to the BK would be complete with out an ice cream cone from Ample Hills Creamery. The Ooey Gooey is everything.

Please enjoy the following and I apologize in advance for the cravings that will soon follow...


Oysters, Chilled King Crab and (of course) Clams! So fresh, so good.

Creamy Clam Dip with Crispy Chips

My Clam Fried Rice with pork belly and pickled onion.


The legendary Cronut. This month's flavor: 
Strawberry Balsamic Mascarpone with Basil Sugar. 


Smorgasburg! Starting from the top! BFC Fried Chicken and Waffles, The Ramen Burger with Cheese, Beef Scallion Pancake from Outer Borough, The German Corn Dog from Jack's Chedbread and a lovely bottle of A&B American Style Garlic Pepper Sauce, 
which we of course bought to take home.

Me enjoying my delectable Ramen Burger. 

Eat Up NYC!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Beecher's Handmade Cheese: "World's Best" Mac And Cheese & So Much More...

Beecher's Handmade Cheese is one of may favorite places in New York City. I literally take everyone who visits us here. I first heard about Beecher’s from Oprah. Yes, Oprah. She didn’t personally tell me or anything but did make a big fuss saying it had the “World’s Best” mac and cheese. At the time, this cheesemonger’s paradise only had one location in Seattle, WA. Thanks to the food gods, a location opened up a few years back right here in Manhattan. I was stoked.

We’ve been about a hundred times. It’s a travel destination if you’re uptown or in the boroughs and also a perfect spot for a drink or bite if you happen to be in the Flatiron neighborhood. What makes Beecher’s so awesome? Read up...

1.) It’s a cheese shop! Cases upon cases of handmade cheeses with samples to boot! This is reason alone to go. 

2.) They have a small cafe towards the back of the shop serving up gooey cheese sandwiches, soups guessed it! Their famous “World’s Best” mac and cheese. This mac and cheese is so flavorful, almost peppery with the consistency of a super creamy alfredo. Heaven. You can take your goodies togo or eat them right there in the cafe. Seating is limited so a nice option is to walk up to nearby Madison Square Park and enjoy. 

3.) The Cellar at Beecher’s. When you walk in, straight ahead are staircases that lead you down into The Cellar. The Cellar is a full on restaurant. Very loungy and sexy. There’s both a long bar and table seating. I almost always sit at the bar as the bartenders are amazing. The dinner menu is great as is their cocktail program. Try their Heirloom Tomato Flatbread and The Meatballs. If you’re feeling adventurous, try The Players Club cocktail. Four Roses Bourbon, Ginger, Egg White and Lime. Hungry yet? Getting thirsty? It gets better...they have HAPPY HOUR! They have a $5 infused vodka cocktail which changes periodically (Once during the holidays the infusion was Toasted Marshmallow!) and $6 wines. To top it all off, you can get their “World’s Best” mac and cheese for the bargain price of $8. It’s even big enough to share...not that you’d want too. 

Happy hour at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese anyone?  :-)

The one and only, “World’s Best” Mac and Cheese.

Eat Up, Drink Up!

Monday, June 2, 2014

NYC's Hottest New Bagel Joint: Black Seed

You can't run through any social media feed, foodie link or review with out seeing a mention of Nolita's newest neighborhood opening, Black Seed Bagels. I mean, the attention is pretty astounding considering this is New York and there are a plethora of places to get a good bagel. Other than being in a great hood and having a spectacular name (I mean, it just rolls off the tongue so well...Black Seed Bagels...), this already popular bagel joint has a lot to offer. 

First of all, the bagel is a little different that your typical New York bagel. Most bagels around these parts are massive, puffy, doughy rounds of deliciousness with about a pound of your choice filling; cream cheese, egg salad whatever, you're getting a lot of it. Black Seed is a Montreal/NYC bagel hybrid. What is this you ask? Well, the bagel is smaller with a larger center hole. The bagel itself is firmer, more dense. The fillings are also on the modest side. Some would say this is a bad thing as it's less food for the same outrageous prices us New Yorkers are used to. Black Seed may actually be a little pricier. Most sandwiches go for $9-15 and a medium iced coffee is $4 (more than even Starbucks). But the flavors and freshness are on point. The bagel is so fresh in fact that when I went the first time, the bagel was right out of the oven (good!). Then after my cream cheese was added and I finally got to sit and bask in all my bagel glory, the cream cheese had melted right into my bagel (bad!). The bagel was still amazing so I decided to go back again and try one of the bagel sandwiches. Egg salad, onions, lettuce and cracked pepper. The egg salad was the jam. Seasoned perfectly. The bagel again was very good, on the small side but flavorful. They have a creative menu of specialty sandwiches like Beet Cured Salmon with Horseradish Cream Cheese and Ricotta with Apple and Honey plus a long list of spreads, salads and cheeses.  

I think all in all Black Seed Bagel is a perfect addition to the New York bagel scene. Pricy yes but different and delicious enough to stand out and on their own. A great neighborhood spot for sure. 

Tip-if you do get a bagel with cream cheese, ask for it on the side. 

Eat up! 

My bagel goodness. Look at all of those sesame seeds!!!