Saturday, September 20, 2014

Carbone: "Red Sauce" at it's best

A "Red Sauce Joint". I'd first heard this expression a few years back while talking to friend about Italian-American cuisine. For a restaurant to fall in this category, they need to serve familiar “Italian” dishes such as Lasagna, Spaghetti and Meatballs and Veal Parmesan. Italian comfort food at it’s best. Manhattan’s Carbone takes the idea of "Red Sauce" to the next level. Think big flavors and even bigger portions. Keeping up with Italian tradition, everything is served family-style. Perfect for sharing. The vibe is hip and the space almost always packed. The food is decadent and the wine list long. 

I took Ryan to Carbone with a few friends for his birthday. We had a fantastic time. The service was standard but good. The food however was very good as was our sommelier who was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. 

Let’s get to the food. The must order dishes were the Baked Clams, Spicy Rigatoni Vodka, Veal Parmesan and the Mushrooms (side dish). The mushrooms were the best I’ve had. We also ordered the Prosciutto with Melon (good but you can get in anywhere or easily make at home), the Branzino (also very good but I’ve heard the Scallops Francese are to die for...) and a few desserts (Nutella Tiramisu anyone?). We’re actually going again in a few weeks and I can not wait to try a few new dishes. Carbone has one of those menus where EVERYTHING looks yummy. Additional pasta dishes and the Scallops will be a must. 

Make reservations way, way in advance. I had a friend tell me he called and they were booked for months. Yikes. It’s been open for a few years now and it’s still hot. Carbone is under the fabulous Major Food umbrella which also houses ZZ’s Clam Bar (one of my favorites) and Dirty French, their newest opening which I can NOT wait to try. 

Our outstanding Baked Clams. This was my favorite appetizer. They came in three variety's,
one topped with fresh Uni. They were delicious.

This was hands down my favorite course. Our Rigatoni with Spicy Vodka Sauce and Carbone's house-made Meatballs. The pasta was, of course, perfectly cooked. The sauce creamy and flavorful. Everything you'd want from a vodka sauce. The Meatballs were perfection. Together, a match made in food heaven.

Our lovely Branzino. Presented whole tableside before being taken to the kitchen and prepared. Very light and flaky. 

My portion of their signature Veal Parmesan. Presented as a full dish, then cut into individual servings for each guest. It was excellent.

Nutella Tiramisu. Is a description really needed here? :-)


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Last Week's Food Porn: Jackson Hole, WY

Ryan and I just got back from vacation with a couple of friends out West. We had a blast. We spent the majority of our time in Jackson Hole, WY and then a few days in Yellowstone and Victor, ID. Jackson had such an amazing food scene, I felt the need to share some of our yummy pics which, by the way, easily measure up to some of our fabulous nature shots;-) 

There were so many images I decided to write up a summary for a few of our best dishes with full posts for some of the spots to come. Please enjoy the following food porn and message me with any and all questions about where to eat and drink in Jackson Hole...

in Teton Village (about 8 miles outside of the main town of Jackson)

The Seared Elk Chop: Ryan got this dish and it was fantastic. Cooked rare to juicy perfection. 

My Linguine with Clam Sauce: This was heavier than other clam sauces I’ve enjoyed but just as good if not better. The sauce is more of a pesto. Amazing. The pasta’s fresh and the hunks of thick pancetta round out the perfectly salty, savory flavors. Isn’t it gorgeous?!

in the heart of Jackson Hole in a lovely little historic house. Too cute. 

The Roast Rack of Lamb: This came as a recommendation from a friend of mine from high school. Hands down the best lamb dish we’ve ever had. Both Ryan and I agreed. Get the Lamb. 

The Grilled Beef Tenderloin: Wrapped in bacon and cooked to perfection. These were the two best dishes of the night, however everything we had here was top notch. 

in the heart of Jackson Hole

This little gem has the best happy hour in town. The cocktails are fantastic and during happy hour you get complimentary bar bites from the kitchen. I mean, what’s not to like about this place? 

Our delicious little Crab and Corn Fritters. Another fave was the Fried Brussel Sprouts. YUM!

in the heart of Jackson Hole, toward the end of town.

There was so much to love here. I think this was our favorite restaurant of the trip. Very classy. Reminded me of restaurants in NYC with prices to match. The best bite of the week was by far their signature Steak Tartare Pizza. This flavorful concoction is topped with tender raw steak, garlic aioli, capers and fresh raw red onion. OMG. 

in the heart of Jackson Hole, across from the aforementioned Snake River Grill

The best brunch in Jackson! Great coffee, better Bloody Mary’s and one hell of a Spanish Fritta. 
Get there early or be prepared to wait... 

Enjoy eating and drinking up in Jackson Hole!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The South has risen in NYC!

Root & Bone came to my attention via a fellow foodie friend of mine. I knew they served fried chicken & pimento cheese about 8 different ways so my southern heart fluttered. The restaurant is sister to Miami’s award-wining Yardbird brought to us by Chef Jeff McInnis and his new partner Janine Booth. I was so in. 

The place is hot. No reservations and there was a wait at 6pm on a Wednesday. We waited. The space is very charming although tiny and the bar only sits about 5 people and was of course packed. We were seated at high top chairs by the front windows. The seats were great as we faced the hustle and bustle of Alphabet City. If only it wasn't 90 degrees. 

What came next could only be described as a legit southern fat fest. We ordered the Deviled Eggs and Fried Pimento Cheese Caprese to start. We did not get the biscuits which I read were fantastic but we were trying to save room for the main event. The Chicken and Waffles. They do serve a Chicken and Waffle Sandwich but it’s made with white meat. I much prefer dark, so we opted to order a few pieces of dark meat and an order of a la carte waffles to make our own. Very good call. Both the chicken and the waffles were outstanding as was the syrup and hot sauce served on the side. We naturally needed some additional southern goodness so out came the Cheese Grits (loaded with corn and pimento cheese) and the Mac and Cheese (loaded with what seemed to be more pimento cheese). Both sides were insane. So good. There were two of us so obviously this wasn’t enough food...we decided to share the Banana Pudding for dessert. It was tasty but next time I’ll just save room for more pimento cheese... 

Get there hungry and early...GO!

Root & Bone located in NYC's Alphabet City. Way downtown, way east and way worth it.

Our fantastic Deviled Eggs. Delicious.

My favorite dish of the night. Our Fried Pimento Cheese Caprese with Grilled Peaches.

Waffles are always better with cheese...and fried chicken.

Our decadent Pimento Cheese Grits with Corn. This even beat out the Mac and Cheese. Order it.  

Banana Pudding. Very good but like I said, just leave more room for the savory stuff. 
Or I may try the Mississippi Mud Pie on our next visit...

Eat up y'all!