April 21, 2014

My Weekend Brunch

So after my favorite bartender at Maialino jumped ship I've decided to start making brunch at home more often.  My go to is soft scrambled eggs, bacon and challah toast.  Sometimes simple is better.  For two, I usually whisk 5 eggs plus a dash of half and half and cook on low heat - stirring often.  It usually takes about 10 minutes to cook, but out come delicious fluffy scrambled eggs.

Add a couple strips of bacon - cooked on medium heat on my DeBuyer iron fry pan (bacon comes out totally crisp - and the more you use the pan, the better it tastes!)
plus toasted challah from the greenmarket and voila!

I've also started grounding coffee beans and doing french press in the morning as well. Nothing is better than fresh ground coffee...!  I use the Chambord french press - after years of using a plastic french press, I realized of course glass is better - retains the heat and cleans more easily!

Easy breakfast in less than 30 minutes!!

Joseph Leonard - An oldie but a goodie!

Recently on a warm Saturday afternoon (finally I know after what must have been the world's longest winter!) we found ourselves out in the West Village around 6pm thinking where should we eat?  Wanting to take advantage of the early time and the fact that the weather was so nice no one was thinking about eating dinner so early, for fear of missing out on much needed sunshine I though - now would be the perfect time to try somewhere I've always wanted to go.  Joseph Leonard!  Seriously, over the past I don't know how many years, I have walked by this restaurant countless times, driven past it in cabs - always noting how crowded it always is!

I've been to the sister restaurants - Fedora, Chez Sardine and Jeffrey's Grocery...but always wanted to try the original.  So now was my chance.  

We were seated immediately right by the window (I guess since it's so tiny, every table is by a window)...but it was lovely to say the least.  This restaurant is probably the definition of quintessential West Village style.  The staff was super friendly, and I settled in for what ended up being a two hour dinner.  Not rushed one bit - no matter how crowded it got.

The food was delicious - every dish complemented with spring vegetables and cooked wonderfully.  Mussels and fries, and a deliciously flaky hake dish smothered in truffled mushroom and spring peas.  A side of the stuffing with gruyere to boot and I was in heaven.

The best part was dessert - how can you ever turn down monkey bread?  The portions were big, the drinks strong, and the ambiance and staff perfectly lovely.  If I lived in the neighborhood this would definitely be my go to spot.  Even with the customary 1 hr+ wait.

I have been to their other sister restaurants, but I have to say - as with most restaurant groups...the original usually can't be topped. 

170 Waverly Place at West 4th

No reservations

March 12, 2013

Make your own fresh O.J. and Grapefruit juice!

So I got really scared about the "flu epidemic" that seemed to be going around NYC this winter and decided it was time to amp up my vitamin C intake.  Given I don't really believe in flu shots (I know, I know...many people will have me crucified for this), I decided I was going to show everyone that I could protect myself naturally against the flu this year by just sleeping better, exercising and some fresh O.J.!

Knock on wood...so far it's worked.  Anyhow - to help me out I ordered the Tribest CS-1000 Citrus Juicer on Amazon.  After perusing the dozens and dozens of different juicers, this one seemed to be the right fit.  Not very expensive ($43 bucks), electric and simple and easy to use and clean.  The simple and easy to clean was major.

All you do is slice your fruit in half (larger fruits like grapefruits and larger oranges seem to work best) and place on top of the juicer.  Press down and it spins around squeezing all the juice out.  Voila!  So easy!  Not much pulp, all juice.  To clean, there are really only three components that need to be rinsed.  Really as easy as you can ask for..

A warning though - this isn't a cheap endeavor - you have to buy fresh fruit (a lot of it, and often).  For reference it takes about 2 large grapefruits to make one full glass of juice.  For oranges, try 4.  That's a lot, I know...

BUT, it's worth it.  Just order from FreshDirect and it comes to your doorstep - no heavy lifting or anything!

I highly recommend it - although after drinking fresh squeezed, you will become one of those overly annoying people who needs clarification at restaurants on whether the juice is fresh squeezed or not.  Oh well - sometimes we become the people we roll our eyes at...


March 1, 2013

il laboratorio del gelato on FreshDirect!

Yay!  So I've been meaning to write about this, but a while back FreshDirect (my savior for groceries!) started carrying il Labortorio del gelato!  Super exciting - no more having to go all the way down to the LES and enduring those lines...

Now it comes every Sunday morning with my groceries - all packed up and delivered to my door.  It's like Christmas every Sunday.

They don't carry a ton of flavors, but I expect that will change over time and seasonally.  One of my favorites is the Thai Chili Chocolate.  Delish.

It's not cheap, $9.99 for 20oz container, or 2 for $18 right now.

One note - which is odd to me, on their website you can order a giftpack of 4 20 oz containers for $60 + $10 shipping = $70.  On FreshDirect, you can get 2 for $18, or 4 for $36 - with free delivery with the delivery pass.  AND you can only buy 1 if you want.  Sure they don't have all the flavors, but that sounds like a good deal to me!

The Raines Law Room - Take me back in time

From http://harrietmagpie.com/
So I finally went to The Raines Law Room last Friday night - and boy was it worth the wait!  Which by the way is probably the most atrocious wait I've ever endured to go to a bar.  After having a failed attempt the past Sunday night when we dropped by at 11:30pm (!) to be told it was an hour wait - at which point they would be having last call, we decided to try again another night - and go MUCH earlier.

By MUCH earlier, that meant for us dropping by to put our name down around 8:30pm, knowing fully well we wouldn't get called back until 11pm.  WOW.  I know.  It's not something I would ordinarily ever have the patience for or tolerate.  I'd likely rather just go to bed.  And it set me up to try really hard to go in and just not like it - to be able to say - it's not worth it, I'm over the whole speakeasy thing.

Well, it was pretty worth it.  The bar is really small, but as soon as you get in you feel somewhat transported to another world, another time. Like I really felt like I was back in prohibition days (not that I know what that was like, but you get the drift).  Each of the table areas had a cute doorknob that you would press which would alert the "kitchen" that you needed assistance.  How clever.  There were several types of seating arrangements, some being enclosed in drapes, others in open in the front like a cozy lounge.  You sort of felt like you were at someone's home - and intimately involved in everyone's conversation.  I kind of liked that.

The bar itself - be forewarned, you will likely be told upon entering that they have "two standing room" spaces for you at the bar.... (trust me - this fired me up, I was like woah, wait - I waited 3 hrs to stand?)...but bear with it.

The "bar" is at the back and is really more like an open kitchen where the bartender is making all the drinks.  It's honestly like being in someone's kitchen with an awesome bartender.  Front row seat for the action!  I honestly loved it, and bit my tongue that I had acted a little less than proper when originally being sent back there to "stand."

The drinks are strong - and well described in the menu.  Think old fashioned cocktail time - with unique and novel twists.  Honestly, I'm no cocktail connoisseur, so I can't really describe many of them, but know that I had something that had the "peat" smell.  Everyone found this fascinating (not sure I really got it, but okay).

All in all - I say it's definitely worth a try.  Just plan ahead so you put your name down before dinner in the neighborhood. Otherwise you might end up passing your time at Rye House down the street...

If you do go before 6:30 or so on a weeknight, you may be able to walk in...after 7ish though get ready to wait.  Once people get there, they don't tend to leave quickly.

They take reservations Sun-Wed

The Raines Law Room
48 West 17th St (between 5th and 6th)
It's down some stairs - there's a doorbell.  Ring it and someone will answer.
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