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!!

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