Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Sum of my Travels

thistle hill tavern: photo from

Well folks I think I managed to hit my top stops on my visit back to New York a few weeks ago.

Let's see what happened....

Made it into Blue Apron Foods for some goodies for a New Year's Eve party I attended. Loaded up the mini with all sorts of nuts and basics from Sahadi's. Didn't make it to Frankie's 457 for the ultimate BLT, but I did go to Prime Meats twice so that makes up for it! And Prime has a teeny little market set up in a teeny little space round back where I found the most amazing butter from Vermont (thanks to my galpal Li for the tip!) I actually toted that back with me in my mini in a teeny cooler.

I didn't quite make all the places I had set out to, but along the way I actually discovered some new places to get excited about....

Thistle Hill Tavern in Park Slope was a major bonus find. Forget about what used to be in that space-(Olive Vine) it is now a totally different vibe. Sort of looks like a gastro-pub but with way way better food than a typical pub would serve! Dinner was so dee-lish: to start we had the Sicilian style local cauliflower with spicy white anchovy vinaigrette- which has now become my favorite way to prepare cauliflower- (they slice it super thin on a mandoline)-that with the dressing was just out of this world! The menu changes frequently to utilize the local ingredients that are available. I had scallops for my main course and they were seared to perfection- nicely carmelized on the outside and creamy goodness on the inside! The fried chocolate donuts for dessert are a total must have! The service was splendid and the owner, David Massoni, was on hand to guide us through the menu and wine list with a totally friendly and relaxed ease.

Court Street Grocers was another amazing find- located on Court almost all the to the end by 9th Street, this cute little grocery store is rocking out some terrific goodies- like Orwasher's Breads and pastries, and Sullivan Street bread (to die for and the reason I am on a fast right now!) Their breakfast sandwich of Eggs, Arugula, Shelburne Farms Cheddar on Ciabatta was a far cry from any I have tried-tasty and hot and wrapped in brown paper- so cute!

I wound my way up north for a visit to my sister in Ithaca NY before making the 11 hour drive back to Chi-town and we had a most amazing meal at Mercato Bar & Kitchen. Eric Trichon, our bartender extraordinaire, set us up with some tasty cocktails and wine, while we munched on their oh-so-yummy clams casino. The highlight had to be the hangar steak that was done to my medium rare liking and was such a generous portion, that I had to take some of it home-served with some of the best fries I have ever had- I ate the entire portion of those and still stole some more from my sister's plate! My brother-in-law ordered the special: a braised lamb shank with white beans- it was perfection!

The meal would not have been complete without dessert-and we hit the jackpot with a killer pine nut tart with vanilla ice cream drizzled with a balsamic syrup- all kinds of textures and tastes going on there! If I have to have that flown out here to Chicago I will- especially if I don't get back for a visit for a while!

So back in cold Chicago but heading out tonight to check out the newly opened Maude's Liquor Bar on Randolph- let you guys know how that turns out on my next post!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Travels in NYC

Happy New Year! I can't believe how fast this new month is already going and how fortunate I have been to have spent the holidays in Brooklyn.

The highlight of this particular trip has been hands down, my visit to Eataly in Manhattan. This place is absolutely amazing if you are a foodie-and if your food of choice is Italian. Yes and yes, for me.

It's really a "food court" at it's heart, but with a lot more class and style. Everything is separated into food categories, like "pesce" (fish), "vegetale" (vegetable), "gelato" (ice cream), etc. There is a grocery section where they have tons of different dry pastas, sauces, olive oils and much more.

You can get lost for hours there......

the pasta bar

sardines and julienne of peppers

kale and crouton salad