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

Gramercy Tavern

Executive Chef: Michael Anthony
Cuisine: Modern American / Seasonal
Vibe: Main Dining Room: Upscale w/ Prix Fixe Menu; Tavern Room: Casual
Location: 42 East 20th Street (between Park Avenue South and Fifth Avenue)
Website: Gramercy Tavern

Had a wonderful time celebrating a very good friend’s birthday at Gramercy Tavern! I haven’t been here in years and am glad to be back. We all loved the Seasonal Tasting Menu, comprised of six bright, beautiful, and elegant courses. Most memorable dishes for me: the poached hake and the duck breast. Both were perfectly cooked, incredibly tender, and full of flavor. What a lovely meal!

img_6190

First course: Marinated Shrimp, Citrus, Caramelized Yogurt, and Coriander

img_6197

Second course: Lobster Salad, Kabocha Squash, Braised Kombu, and Trumpet Mushrooms

img_6199

Third course: Poached Hake, Heirloom Beans, Scallions, and Kohlrabi 

img_6205

Fourth course: Toasted Tagliatelle, Pistachio, Parsnips, and Bacon

img_6215

Fifth course: Duck Breast, Bacon, Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts, and Hazelnuts 

img_6232

Sixth course: Pear, Panna Cotta, Vanilla Tapioca Pudding, and Sherry Granite 

Gramercy Tavern

Maialino

Executive Chef: Nick Anderer
Chef de Cuisine: Jason Pfeifer
Cuisine: Italian / Roman-inspired Trattoria
Vibe: Casual / Upbeat / Neighborhood feel
Location: 2 Lexington Avenue (at East 21st Street)
Website: Maialino

I’m always thrilled to dine at Maialino. Over the past couple of years, it has become one of my absolute favorite restaurants of all time. We hosted an incredible wedding dinner here last year, and I’m really excited to be back with my parents for my mom’s birthday. My parents really love this place!  We devoured four pastas (including my favorites: Cacio e Pepe, Malfatti, Vongole, and now, the Amatriciana), two appetizers, dry-aged sirloin, the infamous Maialino Al Forno, veggies, and yummy desserts by Pastry Chef Jessica Weiss. Everything was phenomenal, as always! Many thanks to the amazing Chef de Cuisine Jason Pfeifer and the wonderful Maialino team for taking such good care of us!

img_6092-2

Fegato (Duck Liver Mousse & Aged Balsamic)

img_6095-2

Prosciutto di Parma and Mozzarella di Bufala

img_6100-2

Tonnarelli a Cacio e Pepe (Pecorino & Black Pepper)

img_6111-2

Spaghetti alle Vongole (Clams, White Wine & Garlic)

img_6108-2

Bucatina all’Amatriciana (Spicy Tomato & Guanciale)

img_6116-2

Malfatti (Braised Sucking Pig & Arugula)

img_6143-2

Bistecca (Dry-Aged Sirloin, Romaine, Potato & Bone Marrow)

img_6127-2

Maialino al Forno (Roasted Sucking Pig & Rosemary Potatoes)

img_6145-2

Carote (Roasted Carrots & Pistachios)

img_6151-2

Topinambur (Roasted Sunchoke, Maple & Anchovy)

img_6159-2

Tiramisu

img_6162-2

Assorted Italian Cookies

img_6168-2

Gelati: Chocolate & Fior Di Latte;  Sorbetto: Honeycrisp Apple

Maialino

Marta [lunch]

It has only been about 24 hours since I last ate at Marta, and I’m already back for more! This time I’m with a bunch of fellow food lovers, including my bestie SaraDish, Instagram foodie friend RestaurantGroupie, and the awesome Tabelog US crew: Sachiko (CutiePatroller), Kenta (LordoftheForks), and the Tabelog CEO, who is visiting from Japan. Now this is going to be a good lunch! So excited to try a few new dishes, including the green risotto balls (totally loved these and want ten more all for myself), the seafood fritto misto (so crispy and fresh), and the Capricciosa & Carbonara pizzas. I also got to enjoy some favorites from Monday night’s meal: the rabbit meatballs, cured octopus, Funghi pizza, and concord grape sorbetto. Hands down, the Carbonara is the pizza that I crave the most out of the six I sampled so far. There’s something about the combination of potatoes, guanciale (Italian cured pork cheek or jowl), pecorino, black pepper, and a luscious runny egg that I just cannot resist. Thank you so much to the Tabelog team for this marvelous lunch!

Marta: 29 East 29th Street (between Madison and Park Avenue South) 

SUPPLI ALLA TERRAZZA (Green Risotto, Mozzarella)

FRITTO MISTO DI MARE (Skate, Shrimp, Seppia, Bianchetti, Caper Mayo)

POLPETTINI DI CONIGLIO (Rabbit Meatballs, Black Olives, Ricotta)

POLPO (Cured Octopus, Sunchokes, Oranges, Castelfranco)

PATATE ALLA CARBONARA (Potatoes, Guanciale, Black Pepper, Pecorino, Egg)

img_6317

CAPRICCIOSA (Mozzarella, Artichokes, Prosciutto, Olives, Egg) 

FUNGHI (Fontina, Hen of the Woods, Chanterelles, Red Onion, Thyme)

img_6327

CONCORD GRAPE SORBETTO

TIRAMISU

Marta [lunch]

Maialino (Private Dining)

I have been a huge fan of Maialino for several years now, so it was truly an honor to host a very special celebration in their private dining room. From the incredible food & wine to the fantastic service, everything was magnificent! We chose a family-style four course menu, which included scrumptious antipasti (prosciutto di parma, buffalo mozzarella, assorted salumi), two of my favorite pastas (tonnarelli cacio e pepe & ravioli di ricotta), incredible entrees (olive oil poached sea bass & roasted sirloin) with an assortment of sides (sauteed spinach, mascarpone polenta, roasted potatoes), and delectable desserts (olive oil cake & chocolate croissant bread pudding). We loved everything. For me, the standout dish was the sea bass — it was my first time trying it and it was out of this world! To complement each course, we had a beautiful selection of Italian wines: prosecco, a rich white wine, and both light and full-bodied reds. My family and I had the best time feasting on great food and drinking up a storm. As an added bonus, I was escorted into the kitchen where I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Chef de Cuisine Jason Pfeifer and Executive Sous Chef Jon Lavelle. What an amazing night. Many thanks to the Maialino team for a fabulous celebration!

Maialino: 2 Lexington Ave (at East 21st Street)

img_2979

Prosciutto di Parma

img_2982-2

Buffalo Mozzarella

img_2987

Assorted Salumi

img_3000-2

Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe (Pecorino & Black Pepper)

img_3003

Ravioli di Ricotta (Spinach, Lemon & Sage)

img_3014

Bistecca (Roasted Sirloin & Sel Gris)

img_3006

Spigola (Olive Oil Poached Sea Bass Filets)

img_3018

Spinaci (Sautéed Spinach & Lemon)

img_3009

Mascarpone & Olive Oil Polenta

img_3015

Patate al Forno (Roasted Potatoes & Rosemary)

img_3022

Torta di Olio d’ Oliva (Olive Oil Cake & Vanilla Bean Mascarpone)

img_3025

Budino di Cioccolato (Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding & Hazelnut Gelato)

Maialino (Private Dining)

Maialino

Back at Maialino after three long months… I’ve really missed their pastas and pork. We started off with a bottle of Pronto Lambrusco (my new fave) and I went for the Testarella (crispy pig face salad) as my appetizer. When the dish arrived at our table, I was a little surprised at the presentation — a mild reaction compared to my dinner guests who were quite shocked. It was an actual pig’s face on the plate. Unfazed, I dug right in, “ooh”ing and “ah”ing in between bites of crispy skin, succulent cheek meat, and luscious fat. It was pretty amazing. The last time I dined here in July, I had the Trenette with summer squash pesto, which I was crazy about. The fall version is Cavatelli with winter greens pesto — a hearty, comforting pasta that was equally as delicious. An affogato for dessert was the perfect end to yet another fabulous meal at Maialino!

Maialino: 2 Lexington Ave (at East 21st Street)

img_0679

Pronto Lambrusco

img_0683

Testarella (Crispy Pig Face & Market Greens)

img_0688

Cavatelli with Winter Greens Pesto and Pine Nuts

img_0696

Affogato

Maialino