Monday, November 30, 2009
Insane? Absolutely. Likely? Not reeeeally.
So yesterday, to keep on with the "throw all caution to the wind and continue to eat whatever you damn well please" we happened upon Craftbar. After perusing ABC Home followed by Fish's Eddy for new stemless wine glasses with my mom, she spotted Craftbar out of the corner of her eye. "How about that for lunch?"
How about that for lunch?! We were seated in a corner booth near the back and presented with their menu printed on brown craft paper for Sunday, November 29th (changes daily). I noted, with a bit of hesitation, that I'd never done any research on the restaurant and/or their menu. Something that I hadn't realized till then was a bit unnerving to me when in reality, it should be thrilling.
We decided to split the following: white anchovy bruschetta with slow poached egg and leeks, Spanish octopus with fingerling potatoes and lemon confit puree, and the veal and ricotta meatballs.
Not often (although more often than not as of late) am I blown away by food. And I mean really, truly, OMFG, I can't believe how unfreakingbelievably delicious everything is that I'm eating. But yesterday afternoon, I had one of those moments. The bruschetta could not have been more perfectly up my alley if it had tried. The briny, slightly sweet white anchovies mixed with the soft, silky slow poached eggs, hints of muted onion via the leeks, all served atop the epitome of perfectly toasted country bread. I could have been served two or three of these and called it a day. A week. A month! This was my perfect bite of 2009. Yes. I said it.
The Spanish octopus, too, was delectable. Not a hint of chewiness, the meat was gorgeously tender and quite substantial when paired up with a piece of fingerling potato, some delicately dressed baby arugula, and a swipe through the lemon puree. If the first dish was an A (are A+'s allowed?), I'd grade this an A-.
Lastly, the veal and ricotta meatballs arrived at our table and they were absolutely just that. Impeccably seasoned, and ridiculously juicy, I don't think I've ever encountered a meatball quite as good. Even the tomato sauce was mind boggling because of it's simplicity. There were very few ingredients going on (that I could detect) but each and every one was of such pristine quality, that little else was needed. If my stomach had allowed me to, I wouldn't have left a drop in the bowl.
But alas, my weekend food fest had finally started to catch up with me. I was officially stuffed. And thank God.
Tom Colicchio, it seems, knows absolutely what he's doing. Not that I ever really had a glimmer of a doubt, but everything was solidified upon dining at one of his many establishments. Craftbar, my friends, is kind of phenomenal. I can't wait until the next time I'm able to indulge.
That is, after this upcoming anti-solid food phase is over.
Recently, they started serving lunch and we couldn't be happier with the addition. The menu consists of a selection of open-faced sandwiches and a couple of other various Swedish treats and I love to accompany whatever it is I order with one of their black currant sparkling drinks. This time around, we had the Swedish meatballs sandwich with beet salad, a salami and cucumber sandwich, and a Swedish hot dog (so not your average dog; snappiest casing, uber flavorful spice combination).
The room is warm, cozy, and inviting and so is the food. A great little escape in the most unassuming of neighborhoods, I urge any and all of you in the area to make an afternoon of it.
30 High St., Norwalk, CT
Well, you see, things, err, changed.
The mother bought a turkey and I was forced to forfeit. So straight to Cook's Illustrated I turned (do you still hate bloggers, Chris Kimball? I'm about to put you on a pedestal) for what I hoped would be a foolproof turkey recipe. It would brine in salt water overnight then would be brushed with butter. Breast side down and into a 400 degree oven, it roasted for 40 minutes and then was flipped (let's just say thank god no one was watching me do this. but, kiira 1, turkey 0) and roasted for another hour until the breast meat registered 165 degrees F.
Then it just sat on the counter for a few hours, covered loosely with foil, while I put everything else together for the meal.
Now look. I'm sorry, but the turkey was freaking unbelievable. Never have I ever experienced (nor thought it was remotely possible) such tender, such juicy, such flavorful turkey. Get rid of every other recipe printed or torn from various magazines (as I just did) and replace them all with this one. You too will be in awe.
On to battle #2: Oysters. Now, I'm an absolute oyster lover. Every Sunday that I get the chance, I love to pop on over to the Lobster Place on Bleecker Street and have them shuck me an oyster of my choosing on the spot. Squeeze of lemon, throw 'em back. But that's not to say that I've ever purchased them and shucked them myself. But after all the hard work and the three little guys that were most unfortunately lost in battle + 1 knife (yikes, Kiira), they most certainly were worth it. Gorgeous and down right truly special tasting, a guest so generously noted "these are the best oysters I've ever had in my life."
That said, I don't see myself shucking my own oysters again any time in the near future.
And now, I'll politely shut up and allow you to take a look at this year's Thanksgiving spread.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Ingrid Leess to me show details 10:18 AM
K... i got turkey yesterday... on sale at Stop and Shop... i'll make it if you are nervous....
And there we have it folks. Turkey it is. I mean at this point, I'm just laughing. Out loud.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Let me know if you notice a certain someone who appears a couple times in this video, delivering well thought out and entertaining commentary.
Thanks, Matt! (follow him @mattsito)
Friday, November 13, 2009
Needless to say, I will miss you. But know that come Monday, November 23rd, I'll be refreshed, bronzed, and rip roaring to go with exciting, innovative, and seriously entertaining posts. While we'll be cooking the majority of our meals in our kitchen-equipped beach front condo (don't hate me), there will be a night out at a local seafood shack on the water that I can't wait to try.
And of course a visit to the local Manatee Conservation Center. I'm a lover of the Manatee. Little known fact.
And on that note, have a fabulous week!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
That said, I wouldn't recommend 'ino as a first date kind of place; more like a third, fourth, or fifth (hats off) date place or a spot to catch up with a good friend. Good food (we split the fennel and arugula salad, the cacciatorini, red onion and tomato tramezzini, and the soppressata, fontina and rucola panini), good wine (half bottle of verdicchio, half bottle of sangiovese) and an intimate, cozy atmosphere all add up to a totally decent experience.
21 bedford st.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
WTF is a Maxican Pepper? Not only is this casually politically incorrect but I just don't understand the need to package 12+ Maxican Peppers (read: jalapenos) instead of selling them individually. I picked it up and looked at the lady at the register with a "WTF?" kind of look followed by "who buys this many jalapenos?" to which she responded "I don't know. Restaurants?"
This is a produce bodega. Not a restaurant purveyor.
Either way, fix your labels. And your jalapenos-sold-only-by-the-package rule too, as it caused my Sunday Brunch homefries to suffer a bit.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I glanced at the back of my box of Carolina rice to see, much to my apprehension and casual abhorrence, Microwave Directions.
I glanced over at Megan with a, "Welp, screw it," kind of look and a shrug of the shoulders as I started to fill my microwave-safe tupperware with water, a pat of butter, salt, and the uncooked rice. Worse comes to worse, we'd just have to enjoy a carb-less meal. Meh. Oh well.
After five minutes on high and then 15 minutes on 50% power, I opened the microwave door, frightened at what the final product would look like. Visions of dried out, hard pieces of rice filled my head. I slowly lifted the lid and began to inspect the rice...
It was some of the most perfect, fluffy, slightly sticky, rice cooker-style white rice I've ever made. I was beaming at this new found discovery which I had doubted, relentlessly, for the entire 20 minute trip it took in the microwave. Rice, for whatever reason, has always been a sort of Achilles Heel for me. Embarrassing, really, but it's just one of those things I feel like I don't have enough control over. Add the rice, stir, put lid on, cross your fingers and hope to God it doesn't stick and burn to the bottom of the pan. But fear no longer. Never did I ever think I'd default to Microwave Directions but you guys? It delivers a near perfect product.
Give it a shot. I think you'll be just as pleasantly surprised as I was. If not more.
But not more than Michelle. Because after taking a bite of my Asian Pork Tenderloin, Michelle, my friends, had eyes welled up with tears. She was having an ethereal food moment.
Hate to toot my own horn in front of you all. But. Toot, toot.
Surprise parties, or parties in general, should really be thrown more often.
Happy Birthday, Donna. We love you so much.
Me, Ing, and Donna the Birthday Girl