2.09.2014

Dirt Candy: Veggie to the NTH degree

When my vegan (and now gluten-free) friend wanted to meet for dinner, I thought Dirt Candy would be the perfect place to venture to. It was quite the experience. First off, the space is absolutely tiny, but the minimal, modern design manages to maximize the space. Peach-colored lighting sets the mood, an open kitchen sits at the rear. The concept: Each dish takes one ingredient, interprets it in different ways, and then is plated quite imaginatively. Service is so friendly, you almost feel like part of a family. As a matter of fact, my friend and I were not crazy about the bottle of wine we ordered, and did casually mention it to the server at night’s end (after we drank it!). Unbelievably, the charge was removed from the bill. We did not expect that! This place is a total treat, whether or not you are vegetarian. Portions are generous, and each dish presents complex and interesting flavor combinations. (Something to keep in mind, this restaurant is vegetarian, and will adapt most dishes to accommodate vegans, but only two of the dishes were able to be made gluten-free.)
Flatware was streamlined, perfectly balanced and a joy to eat with.

Servers pulled glasses from a thin shelf lining the wall down one side of the restaurant.

Flaky bread plus gluten-free crackers with dipping oil.

Spinach: spinach & grapefruit mille-feuille, with smoked pistachios and ricotta

Potato: warm potato salad, crispy Japanese yams, grilled sweet potato, olives, bitter greens, apples

Beans: coconut poached tofu, sea beans, saffron sauce, long beans with Moroccan herbs, sizzling rice

Beets: salt-roasted beets, thai green curry, beet gnocchi, whipped coconut galangal cream

Popcorn Pudding: salted caramel corn

Buvette: Swarming with Charm

On a perfect snowy day in December, friends visiting from Texas told me they were dying to head to Buvette, one of their favorite spots in NYC. I had it on my list of “places to go” so that was that, we trekked to the village. I don’t think we could have picked a more charming, and warm environment for that night. Buvette doesn’t take reservations, so we squeezed ourselves into the end of the bar near the window. While waiting for our table, we amused ourselves with samplings of charcuterie, cheese, and cocktails. Although crowded, the unruffled host constantly monitored the scene, and kept us informed as to our table status. The menu was simple, and the food presented nonchanlantly, but all was absolutely superb. Especially considering the prices of the entrees: $15. See details in the photos below.
A charming night awaits.
Super decor with tin ceilings, mirrors, antiques.
Erin, who loved being able to speak French for a night, and husband Jason peruse the cocktail offerings.
The book of cocktail selections.
The HOLIDAY cocktail looked sweet, but was just right.
The blackboard of cocktail selections was done with flair.
At the table, we were presented with their to-the-point, adorable, idiosyncratic menu.
We ordered a couple of side dishes to start. The beets...
and the carrot salad.
Cassoulet.
Coq au Vin.
Duck.
Tart Tatin.
Mousse.

County Restaurant: Rustic Modern

County, located on one of the best blocks for eating in NYC (Gramercy Tavern, Il Mulino, Veritas [you will be missed!], Mari Vanna) got a new chef over the summer. Chef Jan Feshan has worked in some of the world’s finest kitchens—in NYC, at Maloney & Porcelli he tutored under David Burke and before coming to County he spent some years at ABC Kitchen where Dan Kluger was a huge influence. You can appreciate the freshness of ingredients and Feshan’s confident approach at County. The menu focuses on classic dishes orchestrated with a masterful touch. Extraordinary ingredients dominate, like the honey that is drizzled on the house-made ricotta, as well as 95 varieties of pepper that add a touch of heat to many of his dishes. County is cozy and friendly—if you go, you will return. Worth noting: they stay open between lunch and dinner, so perfect for a rest from shopping and grabbing a bite, or a sip of one of their nicely-mixed cocktails.
This was potent. Candied Ginger Old Fashioned: Bourbon, Ramazzatti, Candied Ginger, Angostura & Orange Bitters
Light yet intense. Hudson Swizzle: Vodka, Fresh Blueberry & Lemon, Ginger, Pomegranate, Orange Blossom Water
A hefty portion. Apple Walnut Salad with Bibb Lettuce, Apple, Spiced Walnuts, Parmesan Vinaigrette.
This was the special appetizer of that night, fried shrimp. Quite good.
Pan Roasted Chicken: Organic Chicken, House Smoked Bacon, Roasted Corn Succotash
Another special: Deconstructed Black Bass. Those yellow dollops of sauce were on the spicy side.

1.12.2014

WHISPER Editions: Hand-crafted Limited Editions


What a fantastic idea! Whisper Editions teams up with very cool photographers, furniture makers, jewelry designers, artists, apothecaries, and other creatives to bring innovative, collectible goods in limited quantities. Once the run is done, that’s it. This idea is the brainchild of Judith Puckett-Rinella, who was a photo editor at TMagazine and Vanity Fair, and brings her discerning eye to each commission. As seen on the website this week: tinctures, teas and salves made from homegrown herbs by Field Apothecary, located in the Hudson Valley. Owners Dana and Michael Eudy are passionate about herbs and their healing properties. They also supplied the tincture for the cocktail at the launch party, which was quite nice. Sign up at the Whisper Editions’ website to see the covetable weekly offerings. Photos below are some of the pieces that caught my eye at the opening.

INDIAN SUMMER COCKTAIL
by Field Apothecary & Herb Farm
Tulsi Tincture with Lemongrass-Ginger Simple Syrup
Bourbon
Soda Water
(Tulsi—also known as Holy Basil—Tincture is part of Edition No. 15: Winter Wellness Bundle available on the Whisper Editions website)

A sheer curtain with projection divided the space at the opening.

No. 11 Gold Pumps by Joseph Heidecker 

No. 24 Secrets, Kauai, 2011 by Adrian Gaut

No.23 Steel Bench II by Stephen Schermeyer  

No. 9 Infinity Bracelet by Chorthip

12.01.2013

Louis Royer Cocktails: COGNAC for the Holidays

When the days start cooling down, there’s nothing better than a warm sip of cognac. Louis Royer’s Force 53 stands up to cocktail immersion, lending an elegant, weighty presence. Bartenders, like Claire Needham seen here, experimented with a broad range of ingredients, from ginger to Dubonnet. Use this roundup as inspiration for all your holiday get togethers.
above: Red Light District by Claire Needham of The Beagle
Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Cocchi Americano Rosa, Pimms No. 1, Ardbeg Scotch
above: Forced Start by Jeremy Oertel of Soho Grand
Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Lustau Amontillado Sherry, Lime Juice, Cinnamon Syrup, Ginger Syrup topped with freshly grated nutmeg
above: La Pomme Rouge by Jaime Rios of The Standard
Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Dubonnet Rouge, Lemon Juice, Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider with a sprinkling of fennel seeds
above: Monks Force by Raphael Reyes of the Experimental Cocktail Club
Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Elixir Chartreuse, Grapefruit Combier, Fresh Lemon Juice, Green Jasmine Tea with a rimmer of coconut sugar
above: Orchard in Manhattan by Sother Teague of Amar y Amargo
Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Cocchi Americano, Apple Brandy, Becherovka, Bar Keep Apple Bitters
above: The Big Sleep by Robert Krueger of Extra Fancy
Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Punt e Mes, Cointreau Noir
above: The Goodfellow Cocktail by Nicholas Bennett of Booker and Dax
Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Apricot Eau de Vie, Fresh Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup, Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters
above: Cocktail de Ruche by Jason Cousins of Mondrian Soho
Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Barenjager Honey Liqueur, Lavender French Honey, Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch Whisky, Bittermens New England Spiced Cranberry Bitters garnished with fresh cranberries and rolled orange peel
above: A Little Boom Boom by Christian Sanders of Evelyn Drinkery
Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Bonal Apertif, Lustau San Emililio Pedro Jimenez, White Burgundy, Hella Citrus Bitters
above: Bishop’s Wife by Joshua Perez of Middle Branch
Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Brancy Menta, Demerara Syrup, Water
above: The Wayside by Pamela Wiznitzer of The Dead Rabbit
Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Lemon Juice, Honey Water, Chai Tea, Dolin Sweet Vermouth

11.24.2013

Best Bites Fall 2013: Louro

Louro Restaurant: Chef David Santos’ Monkfish with Red Bliss Potatoes, Chorizo, Calamari, Ragu. All the dishes experienced on our visit were creative, fresh, and made with love. Planning to go back and experience a Nossa-Mesa-Supper-Club-themed dinner. See the schedule on the website.

Best Bites Fall 2013: County

The new chef at County, Jan Feshan, is creating superlative bites, including these sliders on the brunch menu. Cute addition to Flatiron.

Best Bites Fall 2013: Trattoria Il Mulino

At Il Mulino’s new location in Flatiron: This was available on the specials menu: Mixed Seafood and Vegetables in a Squid Ink sauce. Awesome. Hope they bring it back.

Best Bites Fall 2013: East Pole

Couldn’t resist ordering the Scotch Egg appetizer at East Pole—brought me back to my travels in Edinburgh. Be forewarned, though, when this place is at capacity it is quite noisy.