Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Craftbar - Flatiron

My friend Teresa was visiting me before she went back to L.A. and we decided to grab a late night dinner followed by one (or four) cocktails. Since I live in Flatiron I decided we would stay close by and go to CraftbarCraftbar is just one of the restaurants founded by Chef (and Top Chef judge) Tom Colicchio, with its bigger (and more expensive) sibling Craft located right around the corner. 

I made a reservation for 8:30 pm and we were seated immediately upon our arrival. We decided to start with a bottle of prosecco and began perusing the menu. We decided to start with a cheese plate to enjoy with our booze. 

The waitress read us a selection of approximately 12 available cheeses for us to chose from (notice Teresa texting in the background).
After we enjoyed our cheese board we put in our entree orders. Teresa decided to go with the Skuna Bay Salmon with Cauliflower puree, and I went with the Maccheroni Bolognese. 

Skuna Bay Salmon
Both of the meals were delicious. The maccheroni was rich, flavorful, and the perfect portion. Teresa really enjoyed her salmon which was perfectly cooked to her liking (our plates were basically licked clean).
Maccheroni Bolognese
I'm going to keep this review short and sweet. Craftbar is a great place to dinner, or a few drinks. It provides a warm and trendy atmosphere and does not completely break the bank. In addition to the meals I just listed, I've also tried the Veal & Ricotta Meatballs & Capellini and the White BBQ Chicken Confit. They were both tasty. Overall Craftbar will remain on my list of go-to places. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Happy National Pasta Day!!!

Eat Up!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Portobello Mushroom Burger

At the grocery store I saw some big beautiful portobello mushrooms and decided to make a portobello burger for dinner. This is just as easy to make as a beef burger, just as tasty as a beef burger (in my opinion), but it's better for you than a beef burger!

I started by prepping the portobellos for cooking. This involves breaking off the stems, cleaning the gills, and making sure the outside dirt is washed off. There are some great online tutorials that demonstrate this process. 

As I was cleaning the mushrooms I also preheated the over to 400 degrees. After the mushrooms are clean, place them in pan lined with tin foil and coated with olive oil. Place the mushrooms top side down in the pan, cover with a little more olive oil and some chopped garlic (I chopped up one clove of garlic for three mushrooms).

Chopped Garlic

 Instead of hand chopping the garlic you could also use a garlic mincer -- I often use one, especially when I am making sauce.

Foil lined pan

Make sure the pan is nicely coated so the mushrooms don't stick to the bottom.

Portobellos drizzled with olive oil and topped with garlic

And it's that simple. Pop the pan into the oven for 10 - 12 minutes (until tender) and then you are ready to create your burger! The great thing about burgers is that the possibilities are endless for what you can top them with. 

Even Max wants my burger

With this burger I decided to pair it with some blue cheese dressing, hot sauce, cole slaw, onions, and cheddar cheese. The cole slaw added a nice crunch and the blue cheese gave it some tang. I still have two more mushrooms left so I can wait to try another pairing tomorrow.

Portobello burger on a whole wheat bun
Portobello mushrooms (large)
Anything else you enjoy with a regular burger!

It's that simple.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sala One Nine - Flatiron

After a long day at work (for my cousin Roe), we decided to go to Sala One Nine around 6:30 pm for some dinner and drinks. Sala One Nine is located in Flatiron, on 19th between 5th and 6th.

We arrived to this dimly lit spanish tapas restaurant, and were asked if we would be partaking in happy hour or traditional dinner service. Since we still had 30 minutes left for happy hour we decided we would like to take advantage of it, and were seated in the front bar section. 

We each ordered a glass of sangria (red and white) and began catching up and perusing our menus. Since my cousin had been here before she took the lead with some recommendations, and eventually we decided on the dishes. 

Side note - I ended up trying both the white and red sangia ($5 on happy hour menu) and I think I preferred the red. The white ended up being a little too sweet for my taste. 

Although our waiter struggled to manage all of the tables in the bar area (including those actually seated at the bar), he was easy enough to flag down when we were ready. I will also give him credit because he didn't write anything down which tends to make me nervous, however he got everything correct so I guess I can trust him now.

We started with an order of Datiles, aka dates filled with almonds and wrapped in bacon. Obviously anything wrapped in bacon is amazing, and these were no exception. The bacon was perfectly cooked, the dates were soft and sweet, and the almond added a nice crunch. Five dates come in one order, but I probably could have eaten 100 of these... so yummy!

Mouth watering Datiles

The next dish to arrive was "Queso de Carra con Miel," or fried goat cheese served on a bed of honey and topped with candied onions. SO GOOD. The outside was nice and crispy, the inside creamy and tangy. The honey and onions both offered a sweet component that went perfectly. All and all this was a simple and well executed dish. 

Queso De Carra Con Miel
I would also like to note that they sent out a nice hunk of fresh Italian bread which came in handy with our dishes. They also kept it coming which is greatly appreciated.

Next was the Patatas Bravas - red bliss potatoes on top of a spicy red pepper sauce, topped with alioli. The fries were very yummy, pretty spicy, and very gone by the time we were done with them. I usually don't order potatoes because they just seem like a waste of space in my stomach, but these were actually really good. They were definitely on the spicy side, but not so spicy that I wasn't able to eat them (I'm not usually a fan of spicy). My only complaint is I would have preferred more crunch from the potatoes. They had a nice firmness to them, but I still would have liked a more crunchy component. 

Patatas Bravas
Lastly (well what was originally intended to be last) was Gambas Al Ajillo, or shrimp sauteed in olive oil, garlic, and guindila peppers. Our shrimp arrived sizzling hot  - which Roe and I BOTH learned the hard way... my tongue still hurts. Again, really great dish. Lots of delicious garlic taste, the shrimp was perfectly cooked, and the broth was perfect for some serious bread dipping. I should also mention that with these tapas came several more glasses of Sangria. 

Sizzling Shrimp
After the plates had been cleared and we were enjoying exchanging stories of our crazy, I mean colorful, mothers (they're sisters), our waiter approached us with a request. He asked if we would be willing to move to the bar because they needed a four top and we were seated next to another empty two person table. In exchange for our compliance they offered to provide us with a complimentary drink or dessert. We happily moved (we were a little tipsy at this point), and sat patiently at our new location waiting for the dessert menu to arrive. Once it was delivered we briefly looked it over and ultimately decided on the roasted golden delicious apple, vanilla, and cinnamon in puff pastry with caramel - "Manzana Asada. 

Manzana Asada

This was basically a whole apple, baked inside puff pastry, served with fresh whipped cream and carmel sauce. It was a very light dessert, and although I felt the apple needed a little bit more seasoning, overall it was a solid dessert, and a great end to our night. 

I would say the only major downfall of Sala One Nine is the one stall coed bathroom situation happening (not okay), however that turned out to work for my cousin who was asked for her number while waiting in line (lucky bitch). 

Sala One Nine was every bit as delicious as Roe told me it was, and I will absolutely be visiting this Flatiron gem again soon.