Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Co., Company, whatever you call it, last night I finally made it over to Jim Lahey's (of Sullivan St. Bakery) much talked about and consistently packed Chelsea pizza spot. After getting negged for a table more times than I'd like to admit, I figured going in for the kill well over a year after their opening and at a little before 6pm on a Wednesday, I'd be safe. Some would argue too safe. Yes. It was early bird special time. With no discounted meal option.

Regardless, this place is pretty fabulous inside in an effortlessly chic kind of way: wood paneled walls, galvanized light fixtures, clean; simple. They're rocking the communal tables thing which I'm totally fine with and as evidenced earlier, they do not take reservations. But no need to fret. You either wait, patiently, or head on over to El Quinto Pino (go massacre an uni panini) or Txikito across the street. Or over to Tia Pol or Cookshop or The Red Cat. Or up on to 8th Ave. for Cuban at Casa Havana. You have options. Lots and lots and lots of options. But for pizza? And really, really good pizza? Oh you're most certainly staying put.

Glass of Sangiovese.

It's debatable whether or not I was more excited to try the Radicchio Salad with Shitake, Taleggio, Balsamic and Olive Oil (below) or the pizzas. You could add some Taleggio to nearly anything and I'd probably eat it, but with the sweet aged balsamic with the bitter radicchio, it made for quite the combination of flavors. The raw shitakes didn't really serve much of a purpose to my palette, but a lovely and interesting salad nonetheless.

Beet Salad with Pumpkin Seed, Watercress, Scallion, and Olive Oil.

Flambé Pizza: Bechamel, Parmesan, Buffalo Mozzarella, Caramelized Onions, Lardons. When this pizza first hit the table, I spotted weary eyes across the table. "It's a little burnt, no?" The worry of many a dining patron at Co. But when you take a bite: the thin yet satisfyingly chewy crust, with the beyond creamy combination of cheeses, and sugary sweet onions, and chewy, meaty lardon chunks, you need and want and crave that char. It's the flavor note that brings the whole thing together. That's not burnt my friends. That's strategy. That's seriously yummy intent.

Popeye Pizza: pecorino, gruyère, buffalo mozzarella, spinach, black pepper, garlic.

I'm not sure you can go to Co. without hearing about the Popeye. It's kind of the one inevitable menu item that's garnered some serious watercooler talk. And, I've gotta say, for damn good reason. Spinach can often go unnoticed. An incredibly nutritious yet flavorless green. But not here. This is the most concentrated yet pure spinach flavor I've ever come across. It tastes the way all spinach should taste. You know, spinach-y. And with the pungency of garlic and lots and lots of fresh cracked black pepper, it's no longer any wonder why this pie has been the center of food gossip.

So much to my content, Co. most certainly lived up to its expectations. Pizza, some salad, and a glass of wine will never not be a meal that I can't cozy up to. It's elevated and quite serious comfort food that keeps this place busy at all times. And I swear, it's because of that char. Not burnt.


230 Ninth Ave. (at 24th St.)

FOOD: 38


LOOK: 19



my playlist for songza sets

Y'all gotta head over to Songza Sets pronto and check out the set I did for them. I put together a bunch of songs to get down to in the kitchen or around the table, sure to have you boppin' and groovin' around while you're cooking and entertaining in no time. Totally sweet site concept, right? Have at it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

surprise! mermaid oyster bar

During our Senior year at Loyola College (now University) in Baltimore, there was an Alumni Event called the "Bull and Oyster Roast." While I can't really explain the Bull part, the Oyster part is pretty self explanatory. A semi-formal night with a seemingly endless supply of fresh shucked oysters, lemon wedges, and cocktail sauce. I say seemingly because the majority of them were consumed by none other than our best friend, Megan, who threw back more oysters than any one human being should be able to consume in one sitting.

Love you, Megan.

So what better way to celebrate her Birthday than with a surprise celebration at Mermaid Oyster Bar? The adorably beachy and nautical raw bar and restaurant that opened up a few months ago on MacDougal.


Unoaked Chardonnay for the table.

An assortment of East and West Coast Oysters.


Lobster Sandwich.

Fish Tacos (a total pass, fyi).

Grilled Mahi Mahi Sandwich.

Chocolate Pot de Crème

How NOT to take a photo.

Every night before 7pm, Mermaid Oyster Bar offers $1 oysters of the server's choice. So more often than not, you'll be able to find Megan and I (and whoever else is tagging along) cozied up to the front bar, throwing back oysters, sipping on a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and secretly keeping track of just how many oysters the girl can take down.

Mermaid Oyster Bar

79 MacDougal St.

FOOD: 37


LOOK: 19



bubbly birthday brunch at spitzer's

Due to technical difficulties, this post is two days late BUT, let's all wish Miss Arax Rae Van Buren of Kiss and Type a Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday (on March 28th)! And how did we celebrate the gorgeous Arax's 25th year of fabulousness? With a bubbly brunch at Spitzer's Corner on Sunday afternoon. With an intimidatingly long farm table filled with friends, we cheersed the Birthday girl over poached eggs, truffle mac and cheese, mimosas, and the occasional Bloody Mary (I so wish I was a Bloody fan. They just look so cool, don't they?).

Rob's non-organic (hah) Bloody Mary

Hydrangeas for the Birthday Girl
Truffle Mac 'n Cheese for Arax
Bacon and Gruyere Omelette
Panko Crusted Poached Eggs over a Spinach-Cheddar Fondue
Eggs Benedict over Pork Belly and Brioche with Chicory Salad and Homefries for yours truly
Money $hot

Cupcakes from Westport's Great Cakes

A few leisurely hours were spent around this table, laughing, telling stories, admiring the Birthday girl's new bling, and relishing in the company of old friends. Just the way a Birthday should be. Happy Birthday, Arax. Love, love, love you.

FOOD: 34


LOOK: 18



Thursday, March 25, 2010

bubbles, grub, cork'd, and icswi

A sparkling wine tasting with accompanying food pairings for free? FREE?! Promises of lamb neck ragu*? Free?! Looming illness or not, I was undoubtedly going to be in attendance for yet another Cork'd Tasting. Giddy up.

So up and over to the Roger Smith Hotel we went last Sunday for this special little event hosted by the ICSWI, the Independent Champagne and Sparkling Wine Invitational and led by Alva Johnson, Laura Maniec (one of 16 female Sommeliers in the world and the wine director of the B. R. Guest restaurants), and Jon Troutman of Cork'd. As a total amateur in the world of sparkling wines, I was ready and beyond willing and excited to learn as much as I possibly could from the arsenal of experts around me. Oh, and eat and drink my face off amongst fabulous company. Did I mention it was free?

The first pairing was Fish Tacos (and chips and guacamole) with a Champagne I most unfortunately did not note the name of. My apologies. Laura mentioned that while most would typically gravitate towards a margarita or corona with lime, the beauty of this champagne pairing is how much straight up lime zest comes through on the palette. It cut beautifully through the seriously spicy yet creamy guacamole and added just the right amount of piquant and vibrancy to the grilled fish. Flavor wise, this was a no-brainer pairing and one that should be considered as an option more often.

Next came the real show stopper of the night. Rosé and ribs. Who knew, right? Let me just spell this out for you: smoky, sweet, perfectly charred and meaty ribs (I forgot how much I love me some BBQ ribs) matched up with a light, fruity, and slightly floral rosé with strawberries on the nose for days? I'm not sure I'll ever be able to go for that beer the next time I'm presented with a big ole platter of BBQ ribs. I'll be waiting to be served a glass of NV L. Aubry Fils Champagne Rosé Brut. You're looking at a convert. This was absolutely divine. And kind of thrilling, really.

Bill's Burgers. Ever had one? This was my first go around at the burger from the place that I can practically see out my window at work. And while they had certainly been sitting out for far too long, I didn't seem to have any problem polishing most of mine off. And with some fries to boot. I was rocking quite the bottomless pit. But when you're matching it up with NV Paul Berthelot Champagne Brut Réserve you can't help but be dumbstruck by the seemingly lavish yet approachable fabulousness of it all. Burgers and champagne? I mean give me a break. Genius, really.

What's even more ridiculous about it all was the price tag on these bottles. Not a single one was under $50 and all generously poured for all of us extremely lucky attendees. Can you think of a better way to spend a Sunday night? No. You really, truly can't.

*You should have seen the look on my face when the news broke that we would not be served the lamb's neck ragu over gnocchi. But that frown was quickly turned upside down when half a grilled fish taco came my way, thanks to a super generous Troutmonster. What lamb's neck?

let's do brunch

This past weekend was so spectacularly gorgeous that we had no choice but spend every waking minute of it outdoors. And while our plans for Saturday morning initially entailed hopping on the L train over to Williamsburg for brunch at Egg, they were soon vetoed in favor of anywhere with outdoor seating. Besides, brunch is annoying, isn't it? There's always a wait at the hyped up places and the bill racks up way too easily for my wallet. Brunch is, in fact, super annoying.

Somewhat embarrassingly, we ended up at Silver Spurs (W. Houston and Laguardia), a diner with the world's most annoying menu. Due to the proximity to my digs, I've frequented Silver Spurs more times than I'd like to admit when the weekend rolls around. But we now know, I'm somewhat of a diner girl, so I often find myself craving some good diner grub. So I walked on over on Saturday afternoon to bag a table and soak up some sun while I waited for my friend, Berit.

And soak up some sun I did. The entire left side of my body was fried with a particularly unfortunate racer back tan line. The top was cute. I swear.

And what did I sip on while I waited? Oh just the most delicious and slightly tangy fresh squeezed orange juice perked up with some vodka. "So, like a screwdriver?" the waitress said to me with a puzzled look on her face. "Yes. Exactly. I'll have one of those."

Two poached eggs sitting delicately atop a toasted english muffin, smoked salmon, and avocado (hold the hollandaise, please) was what I treated myself. And this will now, undoubtedly be my go-to order here. Berit went with the turkey club. Was it fine dining? I mean, c'mon. Don't make me answer that. But it was a near perfect bite when washed down with a healthy sip of our fresh squeezed screw drivers and the early Spring sun willingly accosting our skin, the buzz of downtown New York City all around us, and a day with nothing to do but whatever we damn well pleased.

Silver Spurs
490 Laguardia Place (at W. Houston)

FOOD: 33
LOOK: 12

This gets bumped up an additional 10 points for their outdoor seating and availability there of. I didn't wait a second to get a table for two in the sun whereas every other place in the neighborhood was rocking an hour+ wait. Kudos, Silver Spurs.

pizza makes it all better

Sorry. So sorry for my long hiatus and absence of posts. I've been sick. And for far too long for a "I'm never sick" kinda gal. And since the Mucinex, Claritin, Advil thing didn't seem to shut my symptoms up, it was to the Doctor I went, followed by the Pharmacy Counter followed by bed rest. For three days. No, really. I'm staring at a legitimate Doctor's Note. While I'm still not in tip-top shape, I'm rooting for this Antibiotic to rid me of this overall feeling of awfulness once and for all.

And ahh, sorry for that unintentional sympathy-fest. Just wanted to clue you all in as to my whereabouts as of late!

Anyhow, needless to say, there wasn't much good eats going on to report about, besides a few bottles of particularly delicious Orange Gatorade and some rotisserie chicken of which I could not tell you what it tasted like. However, on Wednesday Ing wanted to have some friends for dinner and in a dire need to feel and experience some sense of normalcy, I started writing a grocery list and directed the meal into place.

The sun was shining and even if I couldn't sit outside and enjoy it, I sent Ing out to the grill with pizza dough and homemade garlic oil and instructed her to slap 'em on the grill, oil up the other side, close the lid, and let that dough get some seriously handsome grill marks. In the kitchen, I thinly sliced some white onion and zucchini and got ready for my perfectly charred and 3/4 of the way cooked through pizza bases to come inside.

Then they were topped with shredded mozzarella, onion, and zucchini and drizzled with just a touch more garlic oil and into a 400F oven they went as soon as guests arrived to lovingly melt the cheese and soften the vegetables just a tad. Out of the oven, they were sprinkled with plenty of fresh basil, mint, and dollops of fresh ricotta.

I'm not sure a lovelier Springtime meal (for lunch or dinner) exists. And for what it's worth, I could actually taste it. Enjoy it. Shower in the sensation of fresh, vibrant flavors.

Friday, March 19, 2010

zampa winebar + kitchen

Who doesn't love a good wine bar? It's unarguably the most ideal setting for a date (casual yet not a hole-in-the-wall) or a night catching up with a good friend. Intimate and unintimidating yet still chic.

Enter, Zampa Winebar + Kitchen. Located on the border of the Meatpacking meets the West Village on W13th St. near 8th Ave., this swanky little joint boasts an impressive wine list, predominately Italian, and a menu full of cheeses, meats, small plates, paninis, and more. I highly suggest grabbing a bite while you sip. If not, your night could take a turn for the worse. Such as it did for yours truly when I visited this spot a few weeks ago. While I'll spare my dignity (or what's left of it) by sharing the details, let's just say too much wine on an empty stomach and I abruptly disappeared. It's a miracle my plus one that night is still speaking to me.

Anyways, I know you'll be far wiser than I was that evening and will enjoy (responsibly, of course) tasting your way through a couple of wines, asking the dashing bartender to help lead you in the right direction (so, so helpful), and sharing a few small plates of food. From what I remember that night (yikes), it looks like the front of the place has the option of opening its windows up onto the street. Making it an even more desirable location this weekend with all the warm weather and sunshine on the way.


Zampa Winebar + Kitchen
306 W13th St.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

weekend dinner party

Photo courtesy of Kerry Saretsky of Serious Eats

The temperature is supposed to be on a steady rise this week and into the weekend and you don't even need me to tell you how ridiculously happy this makes me.

But, just to reiterate, this makes me infinitely happy. Permanent smile glued across my face. And I'm rockin' a dress with boots and...wait for tights! Bring it, Spring. Kiira's ready for ya.

So how about a light and bright and crazy thoughtful date night this weekend? Oui, oui!

A Wine Lover's Meal for Two
bibb lettuce and orange salad with shallot vinaigrette
french chenin blanc or new zealand sauvignon blanc
peaches (or strawberries) soaked in sauternes and topped with creme fraiche

Alright, listen. This menu is so seriously legit that I don't suggest making it for someone you're not entirely interested in. Because once this is served up, it's game, set, match. No doubt.

It's simple in its approach: a lovely salad and a bowl of spaghetti. Which means at first glance it will like you didn't have try too hard (and you don't need to. you'll dazzle with your personality) but at first bite, he or she will now know otherwise. Because the way in which this spaghetti is cooked (in a bubbling bath of white wine) is over-the-top indulgent and luxurious when finished with leeks, a little cream and parmesan. While the recipe calls for chervil (good luck finding it), you can totally go parsley here.

Arrange a few leaves of delicate, buttery Bibb lettuce on a plate and top with a few orange segments. Lightly drizzle with a shallot vinaigrette (my basic vinaigrette but subbing shallot for the garlic) and it's Springtime romance on a plate.

Dessert is really special too. Slice up some peaches, strawberries, or quite frankly whatever looks best to you, add them to a clear glass, top with a healthy pour of sweet Sauternes and finish it with a little dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream (sour cream will set you back far less than creme fraiche). It will send shivers down your spine. And that lucky date of yours.

Did it just get hot in here?

Music Recommendation: Kings of Leon CD. On repeat.

Monday, March 15, 2010

why we test recipes

Things are starting to get REAL up in here at Eat and Greet and quite frankly, I dig. Don't you? Sugar coating is for babies (and girls, myself included, when trying on outfits and asking for opinions) and there's certainly no need to do so when panning a recipe.

I watched my girl Ina Garten of The Barefoot Contessa (I ask you, who doesn't want her life?) make a mustard roasted fish and dilled potatoes a while back and the episode quite honestly moved me to tears. I realize I sound like an emotional freak. Truth be told, well, I am an emotional, err, freak. But the simplicity and Scandinavian-esque flavors she was highlighting just spoke to me in the sweetest way. I had to try it out.

And so I did just that. I tried the recipe before an upcoming dinner party to see how fabulous it was before my guests indulged with me. And, well. It was meh.

In Ina's defense, the recipe calls for Red Snapper to which I said no thank you, Salmon, please. I don't doubt that in many ways, the moderately unfortunate outcome of the recipe was my fault. I subbed without asking permission. But I'm the boss of me so I said "dooo it." What happened was the crème fraiche-mustard-shallot-caper sauce that gets spread on top of the salmon and then baked, took on a mayonnaise-y quality to it. Unpleasantly thick and gloppy, it turned a perfectly beautiful piece of salmon into a slightly unenjoyable one.

The potatoes too, need a little tweeking. They didn't come out nearly as crispy as Ina's looked which made us a little sad and feel slightly inadequate. What was going on?!

Was it a #fail? Well, not entirely. But would I make it again? No. No, I would not make it again. And to be honest, this was kind of the shocker of the century. Ina's recipes are fool proof. Classics. Always crowd pleasers. But her Mustard Roasted Fish? Well, it just fell flat for us.

But you need not worry. I got plenty of scrumptious pictures in the meantime.

Enjoy. xo.


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