Saturday, December 31, 2011

NYC Staycation

A final blog for 2011...

My boyfriend and I didn't take a big vacation this year and instead of traveling over the holidays, we decided to take a staycation right here in New York.  We've been so busy with work and school since we moved here a year ago, that we haven't had a chance to go to all the places we've wanted to check out.  I've made endless lists of places to visit and places to dine and even when I get to cross one of them off my list, I end up adding two more new ones.

So here is my Holiday 2011 New York Restaurant List

1.     12/29  The Dutch:  12pm lunch with my old boss, Chris, who was in town to ring the bell at the NYSE from Washington, DC.  We went a little overboard with ordering, but there was no stopping us.  Chris and I have a history of frequently dining out at top restaurants, as we both love quality food and trying new places.  What better place to try than The Dutch?  It has been topping many NYC critics' lists as a top restaurant of 2011, even Sam Sifton's numero uno.
Steak tartare to start (I would say this was the most mediocre item we ordered; it was good, but I've definitely had better).  Followed by some St. Simon oysters for Chris.  Our entrees included the beef ravioli with porcinis and robiola sheep cheese and the seared scallops with saffron rice and a gumbo "sauce" which was more like a foam.  Both were fantastic.  After a few martinis and bubblys, and after sneaking a peak at our fellow at-the-bar diners' plates, we also decided to order the fried chicken.  YUM.  Now, I'm not an advocate for eating fried food, I am a nutrition student after all, I also know that an occasional indulgence is worthwhile.  We each enjoyed a few bites and called it a day; the dish came with four pieces of fried chicken and two honey biscuits.

All anyone needs to savor a dish are two bites.  I think I even read in one of my anatomy books that the first 2 bites of anything are when our senses, taste and smell, are focused the most.  Each bite after that, we aren't paying as much attention and eating becomes a routine rather than a savory sensory experience.

2.     12/29  Blue Hill:  Good thing I made 9pm reservations a month ago when I called to get a table, because I was pretty full from The Dutch all day.  Reservations here are not easy to come by and I've been now been spoiled here twice since moving to New York...once on my birthday in July and again this time for our 2nd anniversary.  We did the Farmer's Feast, which is $78 for 5 courses and various treats in between.
Started off with a mini beet-burger with ricotta cheese on an almond bun.  Then collard green chips, served as "leaves" in a gold wire tree.  Then we enjoyed poached hake with brussels and pancetta.  Next was a farm fresh egg over creamy kale.  The main course was milk-fed pig (jowl, shoulder and loin) with fresh tart cranberries and fennel.  The first dessert was ginger ice, poached pear, and yogurt sorbet.  Finally, ginger cake, poached lady apple and almond gelato.

3.     12/30  Arturo's:  Cousin dinner with Mike, James, Jason, Mike's friend Emily from UVA, and mio amore Mark.  Had a bottle of chianti and 2 large pizzas.  One meatball and one with eggplant and added ricotta.  Live jazz, lively atmosphere, great company and great food.  Well, the pizzas were a little overcooked, but still good!

4.     12/31  Bouley:  Nothing beats the $55 lunch tasting menu at Bouley in Tribeca.  Seriously.  It was divine.  Five amazing courses with truffles galore, impeccable service, tasty cocktails (Hendrick's Gin, fresh sage, and pineapple puree), and the most beautiful ceiling of any restaurant I've been to.
Squash soup with chestnut cream, toasted pine nuts in rice paper.
Housemade olive bread, fig bread, and french sourdough
Asparagus salad with comte cheese, basil dressing; Mark had various tuna carpaccios
Wild mushrooms, white truffles; Mark had crab with spanish flan
Duck, persimmon, turnip puree; Mark had braised beef cheeks with blue kale gnocchi
Mashed potatoes; best I've ever tasted.
Fig soup dessert with some sort of ice cream topping
Red wine (beaujolais) sorbet
Valrhona chocolate soufflé
Peppermint tea
Selected homemade cookies

Coming up...
5.     1/10  Locanda Verde
6.     1/13  ABC Kitchen

p.s. the best part about all of these restaurants is that they are all within reasonable walking distance of our apartment ... i love new york.

H A P P Y   2 0 1 2 !

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