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 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

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.

December 7, 2012

Eleven Madison Park - Be wary. They don't honor reservations

I just have to say everyone knows how hard it is to get a reservation here so I am just appalled and shocked that that they would not honor a reservation that had been made a month ago. You have to call first thing in the morning 28 days before to make a reservation.  And if you are "lucky" you get a reservation on your desired day.  Unfortunately, you will never know until that day comes whether or not they will decide to honor it.

Our reservation was made for Saturday evening 12/8 (early at 6pm!) and when we called to confirm they said it had been made for a Monday evening, which was not our understanding at all since we will be out of town on Monday and would have never made the reservation for Monday.
I am just really surprised that a restaurant of that stature would make such a big mistake and be utterly unapologetic about it and provide no make good. Its truly disappointing as this was for a birthday dinner and we all know birthdays only happen once a year.
Just shocked that they make these kinds of mistakes.  I'm just lucky I didn't travel across the country for this only to be turned away....

August 17, 2012

Vinegar Hill House - Best Pork Chop I've ever had

Last Saturday we were feeling somewhat adventurous and since we didn't have any plans that night we decided to go a bit off the beaten track and travel to Vinegar Hill House, located in "Vinegar Hill" a small area in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Knowing that it doesn't take reservations for parties under 6, I prepared myself for the hour + long wait that I was definitely expecting.

Lucky for us, as soon as we walked in I zeroed in on two empty seats at the bar and was happy to learn you can order off the full menu.  Mind you, the bar is first come, first serve and petite - maybe fits around 10 people at a time. As we sat down, I sort of patted myself on the back knowing that we were the last people to sit down and everyone else was just starting their dinner - unlucky for the next pour souls who walked through the'd be in for a wait.

Off to a good start, it only got better...  We started with a green papaya salad with ruby shrimp and the watermelon/melon salad with shishito peppers.  Delicious! Both salads were crisp and refreshing and I especially loved the surprising combination of the watermelon with the peppers.  Sweet + Salty = my favorite combo!

For our main dishes, I went for the Spaghetti with Lobster sauce.  I'm not sure why, but somehow I thought it would be refreshing and light. Ha!  Not sure if it was all that refreshing, but it was great.  The sauce had a perfectly infused lobster flavor and the spaghetti was cooked nice and al dente.  My boyfriend of course ordered the Red Wattle Country Chop - the whole reason we came - and it did not disappoint.  I have to say it was probably the best pork chop I have ever had.  Served sliced like a steak (and honestly it even kind of tasted like a juicy steak), the pork was wonderfully tender, with a light pink center.  Served on cheese grits, I could not think of a more perfect meal.  Plus the portions were pretty generous (always a plus!).  Lastly we also had the sweet corn side dish - served cold (surprising to me), and seemingly freshly shaved off the cob, it was crunchy with bursts of sweetness.  I've never quite had corn like this...

For dessert we finished it off with the Mexican chocolate bar - rich and fudgy with a hint of spice.  Unfortunately we were both a little knackered and didn't have wine - but have heard wonderful things about their very reasonably priced wine list.  Plus they just opened a wine bar next door (which I imagine will be a very convenient place to wait out the long waits during the winter...)

Lastly, I just want to talk a little about the decor - it feels like a really quaint farm house/cottage with both a downstairs area as well as a backyard garden.  It is about a 10 minute walk from the York station in Dumbo and in a slightly remote/desolate area.  But no worries - car service is available for your ride home if you so desire...

As I am pretty discriminating on new restaurants (most of the time I think "ehh it was good, but I wouldn't come back.."  - I would definitely come back to Vinegar Hill House.  Everything that came out of the kitchen looked wonderful - I was like, I want that, I want that.....

Vinegar Hill House
72 Hudson Ave
Brooklyn, NY

From Manhattan - take F to York.  Walk south on Jay street, turn right onto Front Street and make a left 3 blocks to Hudson.

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