La Pecora Bianca

I had the most delicious dinner with a longtime friend (we go all the way back to middle school!) at La Pecora Bianca (which means “The White Sheep” in Italian).  They have an adorable little sheep logo that can be found all over the restaurant, from the drink coasters to the mini chocolates at the end of the meal. Everything about our experience was wonderful — the modern farmhouse decor, the seasonal menu, and the incredibly friendly service. Our server, Tommy, was super sweet and really helpful. My expectations for the food were totally exceeded — every dish was fresh, beautiful, and full of flavor. I am still dreaming about their signature pasta, the Gramigna. It was sensational! La Pecora Bianca just opened up for lunch service, so I’m going to try to head back there in the next few weeks. Can’t wait!

Pera (charred pears, sheep’s milk ricotta, hazelnuts, lemon zest)

 

Polipo (crispy octopus, ‘nduja, potatoes, olives, crispy shallots)

 

Gramigna (housemade pork sausage, broccolini, chili flakes)

 

Toscano Insalate (Tuscan kale, squash, sheep’s milk ricotta, pumpkin seeds, Parmesan bread crumbs, charred lemon citronette)
La Nostra Aranciata Italian Soda

 

La Pecora Bianca

The Little Beet Table

Executive Chef: Franklin Becker
Cuisine: Local / Seasonal / 100% Gluten-Free
Vibe: Casual / Upbeat
Location: 333 Park Avenue South (between East 24th and 25th Street)
Website: The Little Beet Table

Finally made it to The Little Beet Table! I gave up beef and pork for Lent, so this is the perfect spot for yummy non-meat eats. For those of you who can’t eat gluten, you’ll be happy to hear that LBT is completely gluten-free. Tonight I’m with my foodie bestie, SaraDISH, and we are ready to get our healthy eat on. Bring on the veggies! We loved the roasted carrots w/ ricotta and roasted sweet potatoes — simple and perfectly prepared. The prosciutto & mozzarella flatbread was really good, too, except that I had to remove the prosciutto (I was so sad). Being the amazing friend that she is, SaraDISH ate it for me. Friends don’t let good food go to waste. 😉  The salmon with avocado caponata was one of my favorites of the night — I will definitely be back for more of that omega-3 deliciousness. SaraDISH, you’re the best for treating me to this dessert-worthy dinner!

img_6501-2

Such a cute logo!

img_6504-2

Green Preservation Society (Hendricks gin, cucumber juice, lime, cracked pepper)

img_6515-2

Roasted Carrots with whipped ricotta, sumac, and pistachios

img_6511-2

Prosciutto Flatbread w/ arugula, pecorino, mozzarella and fresh tomato

img_6517-2

Slow Cooked Salmon w/ avocado caponata, pistachio, and black olive

img_6527-2

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with smoked sea salt and olive oil

img_6530-2

White Bean and Kale Soup

img_6532-2

Roasted Apples, vanilla-walnut haroseth, and battenkill cream

img_6539-2

Chocolate Mousse, chocolate chip cookie, and kona caramel

img_6543

The dining room

img_6546

The bar

The Little Beet Table

Craft

Craft, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. And by ways, I mean dishes. Super delicious dishes that fill my heart (and stomach) with happiness and keep me coming back for more! My family and I are the BIGGEST fans of Craft and we’re always excited to come back for another great meal. Tonight I’m here with my awesome hubs, sis, and bro-in-law. We are ready to stuff our faces until our plates are wiped clean. Literally. What a feast we had! Are you ready for it? Crispy Cacon, King Salmon Crudo, Wild Arugula Salad (the hubs loves this), not one but TWO bowls of Tagliatelle with Shaved White Truffles (say whaaaaat?!?), Braised Pork Shank, Roasted Amish Chicken, Orecchiette with Lamb Ragout, Gnocchi, Brussels Sprouts, AND the infamous Beef Short Ribs. Think we ordered enough?! Of course, the meal is not complete without the Sugar & Spice doughnuts (BEST EVER). My sis & her hubby never leave without devouring one order of doughnuts at the table and taking one order to go. It’s amazing. We were THRILLED that our favoritest person in the world was our server tonight, Mr. Cesar Caicedo! His genuine warmth and hospitality make every meal at Craft a truly memorable one. He’s got a great sense of humor, too! We love Cesar and the entire Craft family. Thank you for always treating us like family and feeding us the most delicious food ever!

Craft: 43 East 19th Street (between Park Avenue South and Broadway)

img_3573-2

Amuse bouche: Scallop with creme fraiche & caviar

img_3577-2

Crispy Bacon with kohlrabi & pickled cauliflower

img_3585-2

King Salmon with dill & horseradish

img_3589-2

Wild Arugula, lemon & parmesan

img_3595-2

Tagliatelle (before truffles)

img_3597-2

Cesar shaving those beautiful white truffles

img_3602-2

Tagliatelle & white truffles 

img_3606-2

Tagliatelle & white truffles, round two

p1020523

Orecchiette & lamb ragout

img_3607-2

Braised Pork Shank topped with brussels sprouts & pears 

img_3644-2

Inside that gorgeous pork shank

img_3629-2

Potato Gnocchi

img_3623-2

Roasted Amish Chicken

img_3611

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

img_3632

Braised Beef Short Rib

img_3618-2

Roasted Cauliflower

img_3651-2

Sugar & Spice Doughnuts

img_3655-2

Banana, Coffee, and Pumpkin Gelato

Craft

Obica Mozzarella Bar

A couple of friends and I were planning to have a casual dinner in Flatiron, but the restaurant we chose closed early. How fortuitous that we stumbled upon Obica Mozzarella Bar located right across the street. After checking out the menu (which looked great), we decided to give it a shot and were seated immediately. The service was fantastic — everyone was super friendly and helpful. We started off with a few glasses of a beautiful sparkling wine, Asprinio d’Aversa, and sampled a bunch of dishes, including the burrata (scrumptiously creamy), mozzarella in carrozza (I love fried cheese), caponata alla Siciliana (Italians know how to prepare eggplant the right way), and the fregola insalate (one of the best salads I’ve ever had! That Sardinian couscous was absolutely delicious). We shared the tiramisu for dessert, which was awesome. There were still so many dishes on the menu that I was dying to try — especially the pizzas, pastas, and more of the amazing mozzarella that Obica is known for! I learned from Obica’s website that Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, made from the milk of water buffalos,  is the best mozzarella in the world. This special mozzarella is imported twice a week and is DOP Certified (Denomination Origin Protected). Can’t wait to return for more delicious eats by Executive Chef Enzo Neri!

Obica Mozzarella Bar: 928 Broadway (between East 21st & 22nd Street)

img_4354

Asprinio d’Aversa DOC Metodo Classico – I Borboni Asprinio

img_4356

Burrata

img_4358

Caponata alla Siciliana (Sicilian Eggplant Stew)

img_4357

Mozzarella in Carrozza (Deep Fried Mozzarella di Bufala Toast)

Fregola Insalate (Sardinian Couscous with Seared Tuna, Marinated Artichokes, Boiled Eggs, String Beans, Mint)

img_4360

Tiramisu

(Footnote: Please excuse the poor quality of the photographs. I didn’t have my Canon camera with me and had to resort to using the flash on my iPhone — which I normally hate to do. I’ll be back soon to get some much better pics!)

Obica Mozzarella Bar

Craftbar

It’s so much fun to have dessert before dinner! Tonight I was in good company at Craftbar with some of my best high school and undergrad friends. We started off the night by ordering every dessert on the menu — I’m a big fan of Pastry Chef Abby Swain, who creates amazing desserts for both Craft and Craftbar. My absolute favorite was the PB & J Sundae — it was incredible! After a couple of hours of enjoying wine and desserts, we moved to the dining room where we sat down for a proper meal. All of those sweet got me craving something savory! The fried chicken and the veal ricotta meatballs with capellini satisfied those cravings and then some. YUM! We couldn’t resist ordering one more dessert at the end of the night — naturally, it was the PB & J Sundae. We had to bring it back for round two because it was THAT GOOD. :)  Thanks to all of my awesome friends who came out to celebrate with me. Love you ladies!

Craftbar: 900 Broadway (between East 19th & 20th Street)

img_2241

Loved this Sancerre!

img_2248

Apple Crumb Tart, Oatmeal Streusel, Cardamom Ice Cream

img_2254

PB & J Sundae (Vanilla Ice Cream, Concord Grape Jam, Peanut Butter Caramel, Honey Roasted Peanuts)

img_2251

Assorted Sorbet

img_2245

Chocolate Cheesecake, Brûléed Marshmallow, Smoked Cinnamon Ice Cream

img_2255

Milk & Cookies

img_2271

Pinot Noir makes me happy

img_2281

Veal Ricotta Meatballs & Capellini with Basil and San Marzano Tomatoes

img_2273

Buttermilk Fried Young Chicken with Cornbread, Anson Mills Grits, and Braised Greens

img_2284

Round 2: PB & J Sundae (Vanilla Ice Cream, Concord Grape Jam, Peanut Butter Caramel, Honey Roasted Peanuts)

Craftbar

Barn Joo

My lack of tolerance for spicy foods has prohibited me from experiencing a lot of great eats, especially in Asian cuisine. I made a resolution to challenge my palate and step outside my beloved Italian / French / American food comfort zone. What better way to start than with Korean — I’m taking it back to my roots. A fellow Korean adoptee joined me at Barn Joo for a light dinner of kimchi fried rice (with the very interesting addition of gruyere cheese), a bulgogi-pot, and ribeye skewers. I have eaten Korean food before, but I always go straight for the mild stuff (like galbi) and steer clear of the hot stuff (like kimchi). This time I will not shy away from gochujang (translation: hot pepper paste) — a savory and pungent fermented condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt. It’s a staple in Korean cuisine and usually strikes fear into my heart with it’s bright red hue. To me, red = heat = pain. But I’m convinced that with slow and steady exposure to increasing levels of hot & spicy foods, I can built up my tolerance.  I enjoyed the kimchi rice a lot, but it was about a 5 or 6 on the spicy scale and I need to start out at a 1 or 2. Baby steps. I tempered it by adding some extra white rice. I really like the chill atmosphere at Barn Joo and will definitely be back again soon for more good food!

Barn Joo: 893 Broadway (between East 19th and 20th Street)

Kimchi Fried Rice (bacon, kimchi, gruyere, fried egg) 

Bulgogi Pot (soy-garlic marinated thin sliced ribeye, farmer’s greens, mushrooms) 

Ribeye Skewers

Barn Joo

Maysville

I’m back at Maysville for more of Chef Kyle’s fantastic food! I love sitting at the bar so that I can gaze lovingly at the Great Wall of bourbon. What a beautiful sight! Tonight, I was hanging out with a bourbon virgin <gasp>. Yes, you read that correctly. It was my duty to introduce him to some of my faves and sample some new stuff too. He started off with a bourbon cocktail, which he liked, and then dove right in to the good stuff: Basil Hayden’s on the rocks. BH is my go to bourbon — I just adore it.  In between all of the whiskey, we managed to squeeze in some amazing eats, including the cornbread muffins (to die for), oysters on the half shell and hay roasted oysters with salsify and pickled shallots (super good), sweet pea & ricotta filled pasta, the famous crispy grits with country ham and bourbon aioli, and a special treat from chef Kyle: slow cooked arctic char (bright, fresh and absolutely delicious). We rounded off the night with this rye whiskey recommended by our bartender: Smooth Ambler Old Scout Rye (made in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia). Loved it. Huge thanks to Chef Kyle and the Maysville team for a magnificent meal!

Maysville: 17 West 26th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue)

Buffalo Trace bourbon

Cornbread muffins

Zucchini burgers with confit tomato and Sunflower crackers with head cheese

Sunflower crackers with head cheese

Basil Hayden’s bourbon

Chilled Puffer’s Wellfleet Oysters on the half shell

Slow Cooked Arctic Char with chilled tomato gazpacho, peppers and yogurt

Hay Roasted Oysters with salsify and pickled shallots 

Sweet Pea & Ricotta-filled Pasta with sheep’s milk cheese and black pepper

Crispy Grits with country ham and bourbon aioli

Smooth Ambler Old Scout Rye

Maysville

Craft

In celebration of my fiancé’s birthday, I took him to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants of all time: Craft. We were thrilled that Cesar was our server once again — he always makes sure that we have an amazing experience. That night we were in luck because soft shell crabs were on the menu! Gotta have ’em.  I tried the Wagyu carpaccio for the first time and it was mind-blowing. All of the pickled accompaniments (quail eggs & white shallots) along with the crispy shallots just made this dish sing with a perfect blend of flavors and textures. The soft shell crab, which was dusted with rice flour and pan fried, was superb. We also feasted on the cod (so tender with a luxurious potato purée cream sauce) and a few of our go-to favorites: wild arugula & lemon salad, braised beef short ribs, and the potato gnocchi. These are truly three of the best things I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. To round out the night, we enjoyed our favorite sugar & spice doughnuts, a beautiful brown butter almond cake by Pastry Chef Abby Swain, and a variety of yummy ice cream flavors (the pistachio was to die for). A million thanks to Cesar and the Craft team for yet another phenomenal meal!

Craft: 43 East 19th Street (between Park Avenue South and Broadway)

img_9726

American Wagyu Carpaccio with pickled quail eggs, pickled white shallots and crispy shallots

img_9729

Soft Shell Crab from North Carolina (dusted with rice flour)

img_9719

Wild Arugula, Lemon & Parmesan

img_9733

Cod with crispy skin and a potato puree cream sauce

img_9709

Spring Ale (fresh cucumber juice, lemon, agave, ginger ale)

img_9756

Braised Beef Short Ribs

img_9762

Close up of the amazing beef short ribs. Incredibly tender and fatty, just the way I like ’em!

img_9751

Gnocchi

img_9740

Rapini with fish fumet, garlic and arugula flowers

img_9779

Sugar & Spice Doughnuts with apricot jam and chocolate fudge

img_9782

Brown Butter Almond Cake with apricots, vermouth, and lavender ice cream

img_9792

Vanilla Bean, Coffee Caramel Swirl, and Pistachio Ice Cream

img_9797

The dining room

Craft

Barn Joo [lunch]

I enjoyed a tasty lunch at Barn Joo, a Korean gastropub that is known for its farm to table approach with “a touch of Korean soul”. The name means “musical accompaniment” or “drinks accompanied by your meal” in Korean. Sadly, I gave up white rice for Lent so my options were limited. I ended up going with fried udon noodles and galbi (Korean BBQ marinated beef short ribs) — so good! The galbi was tender, fatty, and super flavorful. Will be back for dinner once Lent is over!

Barn Joo: 893 Broadway (between East 19th and 20th Street)

img_6677

L.A. Galbi Fried Udon (Korean BBQ marinated beef short ribs, sauteed vegetables and mushroom)

img_6680

L.A. Galbi Fried Udon and side salad

Barn Joo [lunch]

Maysville [lunch]

Maysville is an American whiskey bar and restaurant named after the Kentucky port town where bourbon was born. How awesome is that! No wonder they have an incredible selection (read: entire wall) of bourbons to choose from. A foodie pal and I stopped in for lunch — we had limited time and I was only able to order two items on the menu, instead of five or more like I usually do. I chose carefully and went with the crispy grits and slow roasted arctic char, which both sounded amazing… and were ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! The crispy grits were tiny fried cubes of creamy grits nestled on bourbon aioli and topped with paper thin slices of ham. Pure perfection! I think I could take down two or three orders of this by myself — they were that amazing. My arctic char was incredibly fresh and tender — it literally melted in my mouth. The accompanying spring veggie broth was a bright, refreshing complement. I was thoroughly impressed with both dishes and cannot wait return to Maysville soon for dinner and bourbon!

Maysville: 17 West 26th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue)

img_8245

Crispy Grits with Country Ham and Bourbon Aioli

img_8256

Slow Roasted Arctic Char with Spring Green Broth, Roasted Lettuce, and Radish

img_8261

The Great Wall of Whiskey

img_8263

The dining room

Maysville [lunch]