Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Amazing Weekend in Montreal - Part I

Sooo this blog post is VERY late. I was briefly seeing this guy, Let’s call him Batman (long story), and much like Carrie and Big, we have broken up before the story has gone to press. I was going to scrap the blog completely, but it being my first great Montreal dining experience, I decided to re-write with a few modifications. Enjoy.

I was sitting around my apartment on a typical Tuesday night when I got a text from Batman, asking if instead of him coming to NYC this weekend, if I would prefer to take a trip to Montreal. Ummmm.... YES. I began my packing process immediately – This consists of me making amateur sketches of all my outfits prior to putting everything in suitcase… I’m not sure who I think I am. Ultimately I ended up with way too many clothes packed, and now had to wait until Friday.

Finally Friday rolled around and I took the Amtrak home to Albany. We had dinner and attended the Siena basketball game Friday night (Our alma mater, Go Saints!!)… courtside obviously (Batman wouldn’t have it any other way), and then went home to get a good night sleep before leaving for Canada.  We dropped off his adorable golden retriever with my parents the following morning, and were on our way to Montreal.

Since Batman thinks he's a race car driver we made it there in record time, even before our 3 PM check-in time. Unable to head up to our room yet we decided to have a celebratory glass of champagne in the hotel's restaurant/bar. The hotel was very boutique, so the bar was fairly basic, but the bartenders were charming, and after a few glasses of champagne we were finally ready to head up to our room.

After extensively reading every yelp review for every fine dining restaurant in Montreal, Batman decided that the first night we would have Italian, and made reservations at Da Vinci. We arrived at the restaurant and it was rustic and cozy. Exposed brick walls are a favorite of mine and the dim lighting made for a romantic atmosphere. We ordered a bottle of wine and began to review our menus.

Probably the coolest cork thing ever....

While looking over the menus our waiter brought over a huge bread basket and some oil and vinegar.

All in one oil and vinegar

As an appetizer we ordered the "carpaccio di manzi 'All'Emiliana"' aka thin slices of angus beef tenderloin seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, parmigiano reggiano cheese and shredded arugula. It was classic, and we had no complaints. Batman inhaled it.

Beef Carpaccio w/ Parmesan

As a dinner entree I obviously ordered pasta (hence the name of my blog) -  "Cavatelli con pancetta, funghi shiitake, tartufo nero e formaggio asiago” or cavatelli pasta with pancetta, shiitake mushrooms, black truffles, and asiago cheese. It was heavenly. The cavetelli had great texture, the truffles weren't overpowering, and the pancetta was just crispy enough.

Homemade cavatelli

Batman got the "Linquine fink del pescatore" which was linguine with lobster, scallops, shrimp, and clams in a spicy tomato sauce. Obviously during the first bite he managed to get a tiny dot of sauce on his crisp white shirt. I don't know if any of my readers are How I Met Your Mother Fans, but it reminded me of the time Barney got a dot of sauce from his meatball sub on him..... catastrophic meltdown status. There were generous portions of all the seafood, and considering it was gone in minutes I’m going to go ahead and say he enjoyed it.

Dinner was delicious. Since we ended dinner at a reasonable hour, and because we are in our 20’s, we decided to find a place to grab some drinks afterward. We ended up stumbling into a night club, a little early, but staying and grabbing a few drinks. Sadly, Batman had one too many and we ended up calling it an early night. We headed back to the hotel where he promptly passed out, and I snap chatted with my friends for the next 30 minutes or so until I finally fell asleep. 

Stay tuned for part II.... 

Lemon water hand cleaner haha

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.