Hearth – The Booze Megillah

HearthI’m on page 18 of the so called “Wine List” at mothership Hearth, and I still haven’t seen any mention of wine.  I am about to get brainwashed into ordering a Riesling bottle by the 10 pages of why I should be drinking more Riesling, followed by an essay about the glory of Riesling, followed by a solid argument that Riesling is more fun than babies.  This is like letting one of those Jehovah witness pairs inside your house (Why do they always come with a kid?)  But just before the Riesling brainwashing, the champagne section chapter’s picture on top is reminiscent of the Torah I carried when I turned 13.  And it occurred to me at that moment… can this wine list be more difficult than my Bar Mitsvah studies? Readers, this thing is freakin 75 freakin pages.  It provokes you, it challenges you, and it makes you order Riesling

I called it the mothership because Hearth and its Megillah spawned a whole bunch of Terroir wine bars all over town.  I think their goal is to have one for every page.  We passed one just between the parking spot and the restaurant.  Inside its a little bit dark (for the camera), a little bit loud, and I’m a little bit hungry.  “Put yourself in our hands” the top of the menu reads.  NEVER!  Havent you done enough?  I’m sitting here writing this, drinking a freshly purchased cheap Riesling from the bottle while naked.  Anyway, no tasting menus tonight as we are with the kids this time.  Here’s what we ordered

Ricotta Sformato - A nice ode to the dysfunctional Broccoli family.  Roasted Broccoli, Pine Nuts,  Cauliflower, Spigarello (the uncle you see once every 4 years) and ricotta.  Enjoyed this one

Hearth Ricotta Sformato

Grilled Quail - Expertly cooked quail with rosemary, but what stole the show was the accompanying salad of Faro, Cucumber, Onions, Quail Egg, and very nice tomato preserve that tied everything together.  I would order just the salad

Hearth Quail

Rigatoni with pork ragu - Outstanding! Not your typical heavy ragu.  More like a light summary version.  In the picture you can barely see any pork, but there was just enough porky goodness. Which came with peas, ricotta and more rosemary, as if fellow Tuscan Cesare Casella of Salumeria Rosi came to visit.  Note:  Only two pastas at this Tuscan inspired joint, an attribute I actually find refreshing.  The smaller the amount the better

Hearth Rigatoni

Gnocchi side – This led to an uncomfortable conversation with the waitress as I remember reading years ago about the legendary gnocchi of Hearth as one of the best gnocchi dishes in NYC.  I asked the waitress if there was perhaps another more substantial gnocchi dish on the menu before (answer is no) and I had to repeat a few times “don’t get me wrong, this is great”.  This was excellent but basic cheesy buttery pillowy gnocchi side dish.  I do recommend getting this

Hearth Gnocchi

Spatchcock Spring Chicken – Good, moist, but after a few bites tasted like ordinary chicken.  Not as flavorful or imaginative as all the great chickens we’ve enjoyed over the years in the city (NoMad, Annisa, Louro, Scarpetta), but still a solid shareable option for the picky eaters.  If not for our Grouper fest last week in Turks and Caicos I would have ordered the fish here.Hearth Chicken

Veal and Ricotta Meatballs - Absolutely delicious meatballs.  But once you take out the Swiss Chard Cannelloni that comes along you are left with $10/meatball.  Perhaps the priciest in NYC?

Hearth Meatballs

Hen of the Woods side – Even though I’m the only one in my family that likes mushrooms I had to have this thing.  Its such a distinct earthy taste, and so so ugly looking (I cant even show you the picture or the selfie I took with it)

Panna Cotta – Good but could have used a little more berry compote.  Venice Panna Cottas spoiled us forever.  I also noticed they have an Affogato which made me wonder if Affogato can be without any sort of liquor (just ice cream and espresso) and lo and behold it can.  I learned something new today

Overall we enjoyed this one and can comfortably recommend Hearth especially to the pickier eaters out there

Hearth
403 E 12th St
$$$$
Recommended Dishes:  Quail, Rigatoni, Gnocchi, Meatballs, Hen of the Woods

Hearth Panna Cotta

 

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TCI – How to Gain 7 Pounds in 7 Days

Seaside - Tuna SashimiAnd still eat well!!

Visiting Providenciales any time soon? Want to know where to eat?  What to eat?  How to pronounce conch?  No worries, good ole’ Ziggy is here to help.   After years of experimenting and taking some for the team I recommend the following 7 day eating itinerary.  Of course, in order to have a great meal there are many variables involved, especially since most of these establishments are geared toward tourists and offer very full menus.  And you just never know when the executive chef leaves on maternity leave (happened) or just leaves (always happens).  Its a probabilities game folks.  And in my humble opinion the odds increase with this plan.  Click on the names where available to see reviews, pictures and suggested dishes

**UPDATE 7/19/14.  Added Chinson’s, Three Queens instead of closed Jerkies and an underperformer (I rather not mention).  Moved Flamingo’s to dinner because lunch is congested.  Besides Curried grouper tastes even better during sunset

7 Lunches:

Las Brisas – Starting with the obvious.  I don’t normally recommend places just for the view and I will not start now.  Luckily the food, consisting mostly of Spanish tapas is pretty darn good, and the view of stunning Chalk Sound can only help.  Try the killer Lobster Salad when in season.

Hemingway’s – By far my favorite Hemingway’s in the Caribbean (Is there a Caribbean island without one), and one of the better resort restaurants on the island.  Situated in the Sands resort, this reasonably priced old timer has been dishing out those Fish Tacos since.. well… I have no idea actually.  A long time!  Try also the luscious fish and chips

Chinson’s - Don’t worry about the views of Leeward highway.  The view will get much better as soon as you sit down and get greeted by Mr Chinson to the grooviness of Jamaican Reggae.  And once you taste the succulent BBQ ribs and jerked chicken and wash it down with the house ginger beer, the highway turns into an ocean.  An ocean of new Royal TCI police vehicles just arrived a few weeks ago.

Three Queens – An island staple in Blue Hills since 1970 and the definition of “Local”.  No menu, no problem.  You eat what the glorious Ms Marta made that day which could be fresh fish (grouper or snapper), oxtail stew, curried goat, or curried chicken.  You wont see this one on top of other lists (I’m looking at you Trip Advisor) mainly due to the location, but if you are seeking the more adventurous eats, it doesn’t get much better than this

Bugaloos – Another fun local spot.  Once you find this one in Five Cays you will get rewarded with one of the best setups on the island.  Try the conch salad (middle picture), and the fresh catch (sautéed – Yum!)

Lupo - Putting this among the lunches since my dinners are full, but something tells me dinners can be even more eventful.  Well, the fresh pasta filled menu told me.  But for lunch you can still enjoy the signature meatballs, the sick romaine lettuce (yes, that’s right, I said romaine lettuce), and don’t leave the island without trying the Lupo Tiramisu.

Mis Amigos – Gaining popularity with the locals as we speak.  Once you try the killer Margaritas at this new all in the family Mexican you will understand why.  If still not convinced the addictive chips and salsa, and lobster quesadillas will certainly do the trick

Bugaloos Conch Salad

7 Dinners:

Caicos Cafe – Starting with one of the musts.  Brilliant, inventive Italian with a Caribbean twist by a mad, menu OCD genius chef/owner Max Olivari.  Pay special attention here to the specials, the right side of the menu, and more importantly pay special attention to the left side of the menu.  Some of the best seafood on the island, like grilled Calamari, Wahoo Carpaccio and more

Coco Bistro – One glance at the dishes floating around and Coco the cat and you will understand why you are here.  Chances are you will eat well at perhaps the island’s favorite dining establishment.  Try the Tuna Sashimi and that Lobsta!

Le Bouchon - The former Caicos Cafe owner thankfully back in the game.  Sidewalk Parisian Champs-Elysées style without the Parisians and the tourists.  Hmmm, actually now that I think about it its pretty much all Parisians and tourists.  Try the Escargot, and if you don’t try the legendary Steak au Poivre, we are no longer friends

Seaside Cafe - This is not your old Seaside Cafe.  New owners took over a few years ago, brought in a Coco Bistro veteran who’s dishing out some marvelous stuff:  Great Tuna Sashimi (top), dazzling Escolar (white tuna), and a most satisfying lobster mushroom risotto.

Flamingo’s – Come here for one of the Island’s most celebrated dishes, the curried grouper.  Another local stunner right on Grace Bay.  But dont make the mistake I did (twice) and come here without cash.  Otherwise, No Grouper For You! We normally comes here for lunch, but sunset dinners are just as grouper friendly.

Seven – Only a few years old and taking the island by storm from the comfort of the Seven Stars.  Leave it to floor manager Alan Duffy to take good care of you and help you with the goodies filled menu.  Try the Vanilla rum butter poached lobster with papaya buttermilk risotto, or the best end of lamb.

Garam Masala – Ok, how much conch (pronounced Conk) can you eat already.  We know Indian! We love Indian!  This is good Indian!  Try the Conch Kebabs!   :roll:

Or… how about some more local food a the Thursday night fish fry, perhaps a splurge at Coyaba, experience the classic Tuna dish at Magnolia, or the new Via Veneto for authentic Italian.

A special mention for Breakfast and light lunch:  Caicos Bakery near Caicos Cafe.  Nice Baguettes, quiches, almond croissants and more.

Hope it helps.  Stay hungry my friends!

Bay Bistro Pecan Crusted Conch

Categories: Turks and Caicos | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sweet T’s – Sweet Compromise {TCI}

Sweet T's ChickenHave you ever taken a Bulldog to a park that also happens to be his favorite pooping ground?  Its quite a sight.  The anticipation makes him (and you) sprint with delight while farting the entire time.  “Does he always do this”  I asked my friend Val.  “Without fail”.  The same type of anticipation fills us while sitting on the plane that just arrived in Provo, trying to figure out if we are closer to the front or rear of the plane for quicker exit.  The fact that we are the only ones looking back while everyone else looks forward reminds me that everyone is here for the very first time, and some of them are staring at me wondering about my purpose.  “The front of the plane is this way buddy.  Too much to drink?”

Food is on my mind.  But in this case its more of a hurdle to the main treat.. Grace Bay beach.  I gotta have something delicious but quick enough so we could still make a run for booze and have a productive burn-fest (although in this trip it turned into more of a Burning Man festival due to the initial heat and pain).Sweet T's

Enter Sweet T’s.  Right off Airport Road, just pass the first major roundabout, after the pink flamingo sign on your right.  No sign, so look for this building.  There will most likely be a line of locals without a tourist in sight but do not despair.  The chicken is of the delicious kind.  Crispy, moist, juicy, and just enough of a kick.  The drumettes look like fat popsicles.  Oh, and “cheap” is an understatement.  You order by the dollar.  $8 of chicken (more than the 4 of us needed.  see picture above?  two of those containers.  $6 would have been fine), $2 of fries, and $2 cokes meant 2 cans of coke.  Thats a $12 meal for 4, quick bite, and off we go for this.  leave some chicken crumbs in your rental in the middle somewhere.  Chances are you will see at some point the same rentals (model, color) parked near yours, and the crumbs will help determine which is yours.Sweet T's Chicken

 

Categories: Turks and Caicos | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beautiful by Nature

photo (9)

That’s my youngest above, staring ever so watchfully at the looming cloud action over Grace Bay, Providenciales.  Knowing her, she must be wondering at that moment which direction the clouds are moving, and whether she’s allowed to have steak tonight.  She then remembers that she had steak yesterday and tonight is most likely fish night, and continues to wonder if she would be happier with another family where she could eat, like a lot more steak, and have more sleepovers.  Steak sleepovers!  Me and 3 of my closest friends, nails, hair, Peter Luger, sleepover.  What if that adopted family isn’t that close to Peter Luger or even a decent Hibachi.  Thoughts slowly shift back to “Pretty Little Liars”.  One out of many random thoughts during our 9 nights in our adopted home of Turks and Caicos.  Here’s a recap of what we did

Ate

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Lower East Side for Meshugenahs

Eastwood Israli Scotch Eggs****** Taking a much needed break in TCI beginning tomorrow which means no posts for a little while *******

009To continue our Meshugenah series we move over to the Lower East Side, a neighborhood rich with Jewish history.  When we parked our car we couldnt help but notice this beautiful red church right in front of us on Norfolk street.  However, by the time we came back to the car for the all important shoe change (women schwomen you know what I’m saying?), the church transformed into a synagogue, after overhearing a tour guide stationed with a group right by our car.  Evidently German Jews built all sorts of modern looking synagogues in “Little Germany” as it was once nicknamed, and some of those synagogues have been designated as historic landmarks by the city

In fact the entire Lower East Side neighborhood has been added to America’s Most Endangered List by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, who is suspect #1 in the case of Mission Chinese closings by the way.  Is it too late for Lucca style Kebab Laws?  Most likely.  But something tells me the Jewish identity will remain in the area for a while.  That something is the guidebooks and tour groups flocking the area.  You cant walk a block in there without a “And this place here is home to New York’s best Knish, but their Gefilte Fish sucks”.  Our food focus on our annual father’s day (delayed by a few weeks this time) neighborhood crawl wasn’t particularly on Jewish food, but it did start out that way…

Russ and Daughters loxRuss and Daughters.  Our only iconic stop of the afternoon was at this 100 year old legend.  I’ve enjoyed those sandwiches before, but not my family.  The new R&D café had a 90 minute wait so we settled for taking a number at the original which turned out to be a 45 minute or so wait.  Silky smooth, rich Scottish Salmon with cream cheese is as good as it gets.  Unless you get the same Salmon rubbed with Pastrami seasoning with onions.  Great stop at this old timer appetizer (an old NYC originated term for such Jewish places) that involves a little bit of pain.  But if you have a low pain threshold, consider the following lox stop, with less of the hoopla, and much of the flavor

Russ and Daughters Sandwich Russ and Daughters

Nordic Preserves Fish & Wildlife Company at Essex Market – One of the most talked about sandwiches on the forums is the Nordic…  Nova Scotia lox, black lumpfish caviar, some onions, dill, tomatoes, capers on a Ciabata from Pain D’Avignon, a high quality French bakery also in Essex Market (some of the best baguettes in town).  An outrageously delicious, high quality sandwich cheaper than the R&D sandwiches.  Nordic Preserves is unlike anything you will find in NYC, selling all sorts of imported Scandinavian items from candy to jams, caviar, game meat and more.  As hidden gem as it gets in NYC

Nordic Preserves

Schapiro’s – We then needed a rest after all that eating and stumbled upon this nifty looking bar.  One quick glance at the menu and.. Jewish theme is still very much intact (will be broken very soon though).  An Israeli Gastropub? Hebrewpub?  Very interesting menu filled with all sorts of inviting goodies.  Couldnt quite pass on the not so traditional, but still quite tasty Shakshuka (the Israeli version of Huevos Rancheros).  And to make the little one happy, her favorite dish in the world, Mac and Cheese – A slam dunk as far as crafty mac and cheese in the city goes.  Schapiro’s is an homage to another neighborhood icon, Schapiro’s wine company which ruled the neighborhood for 100 years (1899-2000) right next door.  A very nifty, inviting space

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That was a failed eating break by the way.  I just wanted to go somewhere for a drink while catching some of the Russia-Belgium world cup snooze-fest.  We then walked down to the east river for some nice waterfront views under Williamsburg Bridge and New York’s most hidden attraction…. the East River Sea Lion Park, a bunch of Sea Lions sculptures I discovered while Citibiking with a friend a few weeks ago.  Kids, summer, water, sea lions, what else can you ask for.  Tacos!  But that’s later (well that was the plan at least)022

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EastwoodEastwood – Its been over 45 minutes since the last Hebrewpub visit and my left hand started to shake.  What happens when you put a falafel and an egg in one room to the tunes of Michael Bolton with Brokeback Mountain showing the background?  Israeli Scotch Egg (top picture).  A hard boiled egg wrapped in a falafel, served with a side of Tehina.. a crafty and tasty little snack which I had before but wanted to show Mrs Z.  And surprisingly solid Fish and Chips (the things I do for the Brits here, and for what?) can be found in this fun, as local as it gets Hebrewpub.  I first learned of Eastwood at last year’s Grub Street Festival where I met its energetic and fun owner.

Eastwood Fish and Chips

Eldridge Street Synagogue exteriorWay before the term “Hebrewpub” was even invented (10 minutes ago), there was the Eldridge Street Synagogue, on you guessed it, Eldridge Street.  Arguably, the most important establishment in the LES with the richest history.  While its really inside Chinatown these days, the synagogue is as much part of LES as anything else.  Opened in 1887, it was the first Synagogue built by Eastern European Jews in the USA.  Late 19th, early 20th centuary saw roughly 1.5 million Jews moving to the Lower East Side, while less than that moved elsewhere in the country.  The hour long tour (included in your admission) on the hour can help you imagine the daily activities and what this place meant to the community.  Although we actually did not take the tour (kids started to get tired, and I started to get hungry) we briefly spoke to the young girl running the tours, and also saw her in action while inside.  This is a striking looking structure by the way that will surprise even the European church lovers inside with its craftsmanship

Eldridge Street Synagogue

Prosperity Dumplings, Vanessa Dumplings – Jewish theme continues.  It is after all what we eat on Christmas.  These dumpling places are on every Cheap Food list, and for good reason.  Four delicious dumplings for a buck just doesn’t get any more value than this.  Verdict: Prosperity (left).  Bigger, fuller, more flavorful Pork and Chive dumplings than Vanessa’s.  Also, there’s something about irregular shape anything food that I find more attractive.  Like pizza for example.

Vanessa's Dumplings Prosperity Dumplings

 

Melt Bakery - This first rate ice cream sandwich shop was more of a secret 5 minutes ago, before they opened their 4th location.  Delicious ice cream, and even better cookie dough (choc chip walnut, hello!).  I also love that they have mini sizes so you could try more, or just have a smaller one.  I’m finding many of the artisanal ice cream sandwiches out there too big and too expensive these days.  This is New York’s first Ice Cream Sandwich Shop, and they now also have a stand on the Highline

Melt Bakery

This was the end of our little LES adventure but… I came back for more after a few days…

Di Palo’s – While not technically in LES, close enough and worth mentioning to those that are not aware of this neighborhood institution.  This is as old school as it gets.  For over 100 years selling imported cured meats, cheeses, and other Italian specialties (pastas, truffle sauces, fresh red sauce, etc).  But what is so special about this store to me is that even when quite busy with people waiting with numbers in their hands, you still get what I call a “Salumi Concierge” that will guide you and let you try anything you want with zero hassle.  You can be with your concierge for 30 minutes and no one will mind, because the people waiting want the exact same experience.  Try the Prosciutto, Finocchiona (salami with fennel), Cotto (Cooked ham) including truffled, and top notch Mortadella.  And don’t leave without trying some of their Truffled Pecorino – yes, more than one kind.  A rarity in this town.

Georgia’s Eastside BBQ – While killing time waiting for Mission Cantina to open, I stumbled upon this tiny BBQ joint.  I did hear about this place before, but had no intentions of eating here on this particular day, as my mission was clearly on Mission and their highly regarded riceless Burritos which we didnt get to a few days prior.  Mission failed again.  Half a rack of spare ribs ($11) was simplify glorious.  Meaty, good quality, fall off the bone, perfectly seasoned dry rub with a side of homemade BBQ.   Plan was to leave room for the burrito, but I couldn’t help it and attacked this thing with full force.  Just solid!  The menu features all sorts of southern goodies like catfish and fried chicken.  Cant wait to bring the family here next.

Georgia's ribs

Luca & Bosco – The most famous dogs in the neighborhood will soon become the most famous dogs in the city, Luca and Bosco.  Their proud owners opened this Ice Cream stand inside Essex Market about 7 months ago, and folks, it just doesnt get much better than this.  Drunk and Salty Caramel with candied pecans was heavenly.  Light, fresh and very gelato like.  They are currently making the ice cream at an incubator in East Harlem, but soon moving to a new place with a bigger kitchen.  One of the partners studied in Florence, the gelato capital of the world, where she mastered a few techniques.  Anyone who ever visits Florence knows how standards get elevated.  Highly recommend this one.

Luca and Bosco

End of my eating adventures in the LES.  Other notable spots in the area:  Cata,  The new Ivan Ramen, Mission Cantina ;), Gaia, il laboratorio del gelato, and Katz’s of course

Follow my latest TCI eating adventure on twitter @Ziggy601

Stay hungry my friends.

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Categories: Lower East Side, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HK Guide Update

Annabel PizzaA Frenchman walks into a bar with a chicken on his head. ‘What the hell is that?’ asks the barman. The chicken replies, ‘I don’t know – it started as a wart on my ass and grew.’

A little French chicken humor for ya to set the mood.  The list is getting bigger, my sense of humor is getting smaller, here’s what I’m adding…

Pizza and Beer – Annabel.  Just tried it a few hours ago (the things I do for you people.  And for what?).  Just opened last week.  Kinda striking, woodsy space.  Great Neapolitan like wood oven pizza with nifty toppings like ricotta, duck prosciutto, blueberry chutney, an even better looking craft beer menu on tap, fresh pasta and more.  Cant wait to explore the rest of this menu.  Behind the name is another cow story

Vietnamese - Co Ba 53.  About time we get some decent Vietnamese here.  Nice Pho (soups) and Bahn Mi and very affordable combinations for lunch. Try the Banh mi thit -assorted cold cuts, grilled honey plum glazed pork, house made pickles, cilantro, jalapenos, and mayo.  For something a bit more exotic but really exceptional try the Bun Co Ba – Crispy spring rolls with grilled tiger shrimp, and honey plum glazed pork over rice vermicelli with fresh herbs, served with a chili lime dressing and peanuts.

Sushi – Ageha Sushi - So I went on a Sushi Sabbatical of sorts in the neighborhood and discovered.. new Italian bars that I’m very excited about!  And yes, decent sushi can be found here indeed.  At Ageha I felt most comfortable alone, and with a group.  Sashimi is nice and fresh, and the Chirashi although not too traditional, was plentiful and very satisfying.  For something slightly higher end looking but just as affordable consider Shimizu which also has excellent lunch deals.

Rotisserie Chicken - Poulette.  Little French Chickens invading Hell’s Kitchen.  Young French dude, quits his job in finance to follow his dream.. manufacture French style Rotisserie Chicken.  Only a few weeks old.  I tried the half with 2 sides which turned out to be a bit of a struggle to finish for a big eater like me, so a quarter chicken next time.  This thing was love at first bite — Moist, delicious, coated with plenty of herbs which was the difference.  Some of the best Rotisserie I’ve had.  This is more of a fast food place.  If you require more of a restaurant for your chicken needs, try Inti on 10th for Peruvian style Rotisserie chicken, and Ceviche.

Stay hungry my friends!

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7 More Provo Bites

Bugaloos - SnapperA sample of some of Provos top dishes as featured in the summer issue of Where When How.  For past Provo Bites, click here.  We’ll be there in a week for another culinary adventure.

Wahoo Carpaccio at Caicos Cafe – If there’s anything as exciting as the left side of Caicos Cafe’s menu it is in my humble opinion the right side of the menu.  All that excitement causing the specials on the board to look lonely and out of place, like the lone sock in your sock drawer missing its partner (Why do people keep the single socks.  Hard to say goodbye or are they waiting for a miraculous appearance of some sort).  At any rate, all sorts of food magic can also be found on that special board, and if there’s fresh Wahoo in the house there’s a good chance  “Mad Max” will add it in this Carpaccio form.  Expertly prepared, sprinkled with capers and pink peppercorns, perfectly cut, silky smooth, melt in your mouth buttery “When Harry Met Sally” seafoodgasm goodness, worthy of a run on sentence.  Get this!Caicos Cafe - Wahoo Carpaccio

Conch Chowder at Le Bouchon.  Yes, these guys make a killer Steak Frites.  Yes, their escargot will make you slap your mama.  Yes, the place is always full of beautiful people, and NO that’s not the main reason we keep going back there Mrs Ziggy, aka the most beautiful woman I know.  And yes, even the simple stuff like the smoky, perfectly spiced, uncreamy Chowder is a winner at Le Bouchon Du Village.  If there’s one dish that showcases Pierrick’s and Julian attention to detail, this may be the one.

Le Bouchon - Conch Chowder

Peruvian Conch Ceviche at Seaside.  Here’s a fun tidbit for your next cocktail party.  Most people don’t realize the role Peru had on our ability to function as society.  Transportation networks, roped bridges, The Pisco Sour, all invented in ancient Peru.  But the biggest contribution that most dont know about is the Ceviche, the grandfather of TCI’s national dish, Conch Salad.  Young master chef Francois mixes in various peppers including Scotch Bonnet to give it the proper pleasant heat with just enough acid from the lime.  And in true Peruvian style, he throws in plenty of fresh veggies including corn to make it the island Conch Salad to beat.  The equally outstanding tuna Sashimi made this choice a tough one.

Seaside - conch salad

Romaine Lettuce at Lupo –  We all have our routines right before heading to Turks and Caicos.  Mine is having my fortune told.  “You will choose wisely” was a common theme, and I have to tell you readers, those fortune cookies are correct more often than not.  So I went against my comfort zone more often and ordered things that I normally never do, like this play on Caesar Salad.  Quite possibly the best Caesar you will ever eat.  Smoky Romaine, sharp Parm and crispy Pancetta bits round this piece of deliciousness.  Nicely done Lupo!

Lupo Romaine

Kerala Chicken Masala at Garam Masala - Garam is becoming a regular for us due to its splendid kebabs and colorful curries such as the Dal Makhani, Chicken Tikka Masala and this South Indian delight from the Kerala region.  Bright, complex, flavor packed dish we couldn’t get enough of.  In a strange way it reminded me of white Alba truffles as in a similar matter I was still enjoying this hours later via a series of pleasant little burbs.  Much to the chagrin of the NJ couple I met on the Beach a the time.  I suppose I could say its payback for the smells of Central NJ, but I’m too much of a professional to say or write something like that

Garam Masala - Kerala

Fettuccine with Guanciale and Black Truffles at Via Veneto – The fatty, deliciously salty Guanciale (pork cheeks) plays an important part here.  But its all about that truffle essence that tells the brain “now this is gonna be yummy (foodie technical term)”.  Just like when you put your shoes on and it feels sort of wet inside and you suddenly remember that your toddler was playing hide and seek again in the closet the night before and got a wee bit excited, your brain tells you its time to remove those shoes from your feet.  Via Veneto is quickly becoming another Italian force to be reckoned with.

Via Veneto - Fetuccinne

Sautéed Whole Snapper at Bugaloos (top)- A Snapper a day keeps the doctor away… and brings the creditors closer.  Take your creditors to Bugaloos so they could understand.  Freshly caught Red Snapper doesn’t require too much handling.  Some coconut milk, onions, pepper, garlic, and simple seasoning is the best compliment for the mouthwatering perfectly flaky piece of fish.  The inner barbarian Ziggy came out to attack this one with full force.  While the inner feminine Ziggy required an emergency cookie stop 20 minutes later.

Categories: Turks and Caicos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Best Dishes in Hell’s Kitchen – Round 3

Pad Ped Moo Krob at Larb UbolPad Ped Moo Krob at Larb Ubol (above) – Everything I love about Thai food is bundled oh so nicely in this dish.  Crunchy, well cooked fatty pork, sweet pleasant chili heat, green peppercorn galore, that wonderful curry paste, and plenty of veggie action including Thai eggplant which I cant get enough.  Perfection on a plate, but not for the heat sensitive.  Dont confuse this unassuming Thai on 9th/37th with the rest of the mostly mainstream Thai on 9th and 10th.  This is Isan (North) cooking at its finest.  However, if you still hesitant to trek to Hell’s Kitchen out of fear of being kidnapped by the Westies,  Zabb Elee in East Village may do the trick

Rotisserie Chicken at Poulette - Little French Chickens invading Hell’s Kitchen.  Young French dude, quits his job in finance to follow his dream.. manufacture French style Rotisserie Chicken.  Only a few weeks old, and not in the Guide quite yet, but will be be very soon.  I tried the half with 2 sides which turned out to be a bit of a struggle to finish for a big eater like me, so a quarter chicken next time.  This thing was love at first bite — Moist, delicious, coated with plenty of herbs which was the difference.  Some of the best Rotisserie I’ve had.  This is more of a fast food place.  If you require more of a restaurant for your chicken needs, try Inti on 10th for Peruvian style Rotisserie chicken, and Ceviche.  Mrs Z wont allow me to quit my job and do what I do best… hard boiled eggs Rotisserie Chicken at Poulette Al Pastor Tacos at Tehuitzingo – Midlife crisis is pushing me into a taco craze as of late.  When I don’t eat out with my lunch buddies, I construct a little taco tasting in a neighborhood abundant with Taquerias and Bodegas.  Tehuitzingo, a bodega turned Taqueria is always the last stop, and their porky goodness Al Pastor is second to none.  When they closed, food tour leaders went on a collective hunger strike (only two meals a day), but not only they reopened, they multiplied (second branch on 9th/41st). tehuitzingo al pastor Ceviche Mixto at Inti - Talking of Inti, why not feature one of their specialties.  The Peruvians, I bet you didn’t know, invented quite a lot of things that keeps society ticking.  Transportation systems, roped bridges, Pisco Sour, and yes they invented the ceviche.  At Inti you get fresh chunks of fish, shrimp, octopus and calamari marinated in lime juice and mixed with red onions, cilantro and rocoto hot pepper, and served with sweet potatoes and baby corn.  Good luck finding this in a Pio Pio near you. Inti Ceviche Ice Cream & Popsicles at the Brooklyn Kitchen – “Winter Is Coming” says Game of Thrones.  Get the summer goodies while you can.  Enter Gotham West Market, go straight, look down, deliciousness awaits.  Amazing artisenal ice cream sandwiches, and popsicles from popular area vendors like La Newyorkina.  No mass production stuff here.   Small batches and high quality ingredients is key.  You will not taste anything better than this

Ice Cream Sandwich at Brooklyn Kitchen La Newyorkina Popsicle

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So I Shaved and Went to Marea

Marea OctopusI Ziggy the II, bite my nails!  I dont do it because I’m often nervous, gamble, or watch “The Bachelor” a lot.  Its just a habit I developed as a child that never really went away.  And after reading a report on Twitter by a reliable source that, get this, people who bite their nails tend to have a stronger immune system & rarely get sick, I’m not stopping any time soon.  I may even offer to bite other people’s nails if they suffer from this fetish.  I do very rarely get sick.  I also have this thing where I need to lick my fingers before using a napkin, no matter who I’m eating with, and where I am.  Using napkins on saucy fingers just feels very wrong.  I may have been also a tiny little bit stinky before this particular meal, after a 4 hour walking tour of Hell’s Kitchen I was conducting right before the meal.  Not to mention the bike run to Tribeca for Nish Nush Falafel for lunch.

MareaSo here I was…slightly stinky, tehina smelling, unmanicured fingers, on our anniversary dinner at the oil tycoon section of 2 Michelin Star Marea.  Being surrounded by big glamour, and wealth I felt as comfortable as watching a Cialis commercial with the kids.  But, after 2 drinks it didn’t take long until we settled down and enjoyed another fine meal at one of New York’s finest.  By the way, I did shave for this one.  I’m not an animal!

 

1st Course:

Crudo trio –  Pretty forgettable overall.  Exhibit A:  I don’t remember much of it.  Tried the razor clams, langoustine, and snapper.  The snapper (Dentice) had the most flavor, and the Razor Clams not nearly as good as little sister Costata.Marea Crudo

2nd Course:

Astice –  I was totally wowed by this a few years ago, but not this time.  This dish if you recall won a spot at the ultra coveted EatingWithZiggy Best dishes of 2012.  This time I felt the supporting cast.. the basil seeds and eggplant forgot their lines and stumbled on their faces.  All I was tasting was the lobster and your average burrata.  Nevertheless it was still far from terrible, and a dish I recommend targeting for first timers.  After the initial impression I was just expecting way too much

Octopus – (above) Outstanding!  Some of the most tender, flavorful octopus I’ve ever had.  Loved the accompanying smoky potatoes and the salad (onions, radish, chilies).  I twitted this dish after the meal and a response from Marea followed saying this was on the menu from day oneMarea Astice

3rd Course – Both half portions:

Agnolotti – (half portion) Stuffed with milk braised veal these pillowy ravioli simply exploded with flavor as properly made Agnolotti should.  Enjoyed this one a lot even though I was disappointing by the little tiny cube thingies they call “Porcini”.  We are from the amazing Porcini we had in Siena

Strozzapreti with Crab and uni – (half portion) One of their classics which they mistakenly excluded from the online menu at the time of this dinner.  So if you don’t see it on the online menu, don’t believe it.  Perfectly al dented, chewy “Priest Stranglers” with the Uni dominating in a very good way.  The sauce seems a little different this time around than two years ago but still quite lovelyMarea Agnolotti Marea Strozzapreti

4th Course

Fusilli (full portion) – Of course I had to have this again.  This is one of the most celebrated pasta dishes in town and I may have enjoyed it even more now.  Generous amount of octopus, perfectly cooked Fusilli but the red sauce with the bone marrow is as addictive as red sauce can be.  A joy with every scoop

Halibut – I wasnt too sure about this one.  I mean its a freakin halibut (firm, mild, dries quickly), and very often for us after all those rich primis, fish just doesnt deliver much.  This one did!  Halibut cooked nicely, not too dry, but what made the dish was the Fregola Sarda, little bubbly Israeli couscous-like pasta.  With a little pleasant heat the pasta worked very well with the mild fish.Marea Fusilli Marea Halibut

5th Course

Aria Mascarpone – very good sponge cake with pistachio cream and an excellent robiolina (cheese) gelato.  After two meals and having some of the their most popular items like the Bombolonis I still dont have a solid dessert recommendation.  But, cant recommend Marea highly enough.  Just make sure to shower

Marea
240 Central Park S
$$$$
Recommended Dishes: Astice, Octopus, Agnolotti, Strozzapreti, Fusilli, HalibutMarea Dessert Marea Check

 

 

 

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Orleans Sculpture Garden

NOLA 2014 739NOLA 2014 693 NOLA 2014 695 NOLA 2014 707 NOLA 2014 715 NOLA 2014 696 NOLA 2014 709 NOLA 2014 710 NOLA 2014 716 NOLA 2014 720 NOLA 2014 724 NOLA 2014 728 NOLA 2014 730 NOLA 2014 732 NOLA 2014 736 NOLA 2014 738 NOLA 2014 748 NOLA 2014 752 NOLA 2014 753 NOLA 2014 692 NOLA 2014 761

Categories: New Orleans | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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