eat. shop. love. nyc.

Vivo in Vino
June 8, 2011, 9:12 am
Filed under: Drink, Listen | Tags: , , , ,

I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.

The good news is that I got tix for the next Vivo in Vino coming up in June featuring Brooklyn’s own Savoir Adore. The guys over at In Vino, my favorite neighborhood Italian resto, sporadically host an intimate wine salon featuring live music, musician Q&A, and 4 glasses of wine for $25. Past performers have included Bear Hands, Lenka, Franz Nicolay, and Holly Miranda.

In June, In Vino will play host to Savoir Adore, which began as a 48-hour challenge between best friends Paul Hammer and Deidre Muro. A cross between electro-pop and indie folk rock, Savoir Adore sounds a little like a cross between Vampire Weekend and She & Him. Listen for yourself.

The bad news is that Savoir Adore tickets are sold out. Sad face (for you).

But I’ve got some better news: the next Vivo in Vino has been scheduled for July 24 and it will feature NYC pop band Cookies.

Get your tix now (before these sell out, too)!

In Vino Wine Bar
215 E. 4th Street (Between Avenues A & B)
NY, NY 10009

Doors: 7:30pm
Show: 8:00pm
$25 – Includes 4 Glasses Of Wine


Tim Raue Berlin: almost too beautiful to eat
November 15, 2010, 7:45 am
Filed under: Drink, Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

But too delicious not to eat.

Just around the corner from Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, there is a phenomenal restaurant where you can have a painfully beautiful, truly stellar three-plus-course lunch for 38 euros. While I don’t often have the opportunity to drop mucho dinero on a single meal, we were on vacation and thought we’d treat ourselves to something nice. So instead of shopping, we decided to eat at Tim Raue. The menu changes seasonally, so you can check the latest offerings here.

The entrance to Tim Raue is via a courtyard, and once you walk into the restaurant you find yourself wondering whether you are in the right place or not because it actually looks and feels a lot like an art gallery. The reception is at a desk rather than at a stand, and I think that was the most confusing. Nevertheless, we were seated promptly, walking past the open kitchen, a grand magenta wall, and underneath a gigantic painting of trash bags and empty cardboard boxes along a tree-lined street. Artsy (not fartsy), right?

While we looked over the wine list, the wait staff brought over a few complimentary small plates to start: chili-, paprika-, and cayenne- spiced cashew nuts (maybe some allspice or nutmeg, too), butter lettuce in a white wine vinaigrette with radish, sliced radishes with sweet coriander sauce, and pickled daikon radish.

We weren’t familiar with many of the German wines on the wine list, but as we were in Germany, we wanted to try something local. We asked for a dry white with strong fruit and minerality and bright acidity. Also, not too expensive. The sommelier thought for a moment, and said he had just the bottle for us. He went to retrieve the bottle, and out came yet another complimentary dish, this time a lovely lobster consomme with sweet Chinese sausage, grape tomatoes, onion, cabbage, and star anise. I don’t care much for anise or anything with a licorice-y taste, but somehow it worked well in this soup and I found myself savoring each precious sip.

Our wine arrived as we were working on our soup, and we were presented with a chilled Dreissigacker Brechtheimer Riesling, 2008 vintage. Jochen Dreissigacker is a German wine producer who has 21 hectares of land in his Rheinhessen vineyards. To learn more about the wine, the grapes, and how it was produced, click here. If you’re satisfied with me telling you this is a damn good white, just try and keep an eye out for any wines from Dreissigacker as his wines have been making wine people talk (all good things) as of late. I understand it is difficult, but not impossible, to find outside of Germany given the low yield. We were charged 30 euros for the bottle, and it was well worth it.

We finally began moving into the courses that we actually ordered. For our first course, Sara ordereda tuna tartar with wasabi and cucumber sauce, topped with frisee and wasabi flying fish roe. I think there may have been some jalapeno in there somewhere, but I’m not sure whether it was in the tartar or in the sauce.

I opted for a heavier first course with the duck liver “peking.” I had no idea what to expect, but I thought it might be something akin to pate, which wasn’t entirely correct. The duck liver was chopped finely and served as a base for a leek and ginger mousse (also mixed with some pureed duck liver, I believe) piped in the shape of little kisses. There were two small dots of barbecue sauce, which tasted plummier than most, and was served with a side of sweet cucumber and some dark green puree I couldn’t quite figure out. Each bite was sinfully rich, and though the portion wasn’t huge, I was completely sated and didn’t need any more bites.

Sara’s second course was the beef filet with a sweet pea puree and soy brew. The sauce was sweet and fruity, like a more delicate hoisin, and again topped with frisee. They did not ask how she wanted the meat cooked, and it came out a beautiful medium rare. Check out the marbling on the meat! Drool.

I ordered the suckling pig with sichuan sauce and pointed cabbage. You can’t go wrong with succulent pork, unctuous fat, and crispy skin. This was decidedly the most delicious suckling pig I’ve ever had, though I do wish that the sichuan sauce had been spicier. The waitress actually warned me that the little orange dots of sauce were very spicy, but apparently Germans have a lesser spice tolerance than kids raised on kimchee and red chilies. The cabbage roll was great, stuffed with more cabbage and veggies like mushrooms, and also containing some pork.

We were then brought a surprise (complimentary) dessert course of a tangerine ice cream popsicle dipped in tangerine flavored white chocolate and sprinkled with freeze-dried raspberries. This was our dessert course number one.

The came the dessert from the course menu: the salted caramel ice cream with cream of coconut, grilled pineapple, pineapple foam, and a round of coconut meringue. Salty, sweet, tart, charred, creamy, crunchy, YUM.

Finally, we were treated to yet another complimentary dessert, which would make this our dessert course number three: green tea mochi filled with green tea jelly and topped with vermilion foam, raspberries, a mint leaf, and dusted with matcha green tea powder.

After polishing off our three desserts, I wandered downstairs to check out the bar and the bathrooms. The bar was dark and lovely with its dark wood, the walls of climate-controlled wine, dim track lighting, and marble counter. Do stop by and have a drink here one evening, even if you don’t decide to eat. What a great place for a date.

Back upstairs, we had the pleasure of meeting two Michelin-starred Chef Tim Raue and his dog Molly (or maybe Mary? can’t remember exactly anymore). I got a little flustered and wasn’t able to say much more than “Thank you; it was beautiful and delicious!!” But I really just wanted to rave about how amazing the whole experience was, from the artwork to the lighting to the white-gloved staff to the interplay of color and texture and taste… This was better than my gourmand lunch at Eleven Madison Park, and less expensive, too. Keep up the good work, chef!

Outside, someone had scrawled out “That sunny dome / Those caves of ice” along a wall in the alley exiting the restaurant. It felt very poignant in the moment.

And as we looked back to bid adieu to Tim Raue once more, our fabulous waitresses waved us goodbye!

Eat: Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany – near Checkpoint Charlie).Rudi-Dutschke-Str. 26, 10969 Berlin, Germany. +49 30 2 59 3 79 30. Lunch seatings from noon to 2 pm, dinner seatings from 7 to 10 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

Brunch & 5 courses of pig at ‘inoteca
October 17, 2010, 11:01 am
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It can be tough to grab a seat at always-bustling ‘inoteca on the Lower East Side. The constant bustle is understandable. The small plates are tasty, and ‘inoteca offers a vast selection of wine, featuring over 600 selections by the bottle and 25 by the glass or half carafe from the many wine-making regions of Italy.

One trick for scoring a table is to go for brunch instead of trying to elbow your way in at dinnertime. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am until 4:00pm, which is earlier than most LES restaurants which open at 11 or noon. Click here for the menu (scroll down for brunch under Prima Colazione).

My brunch go-to is the truffled egg toast ($9), which is essentially a fancy bird in a nest – just better bread with better cheese and a richer, truffle-oil laced egg served with bits of asparagus. Asparagus, eggs, and parmesan cheese are a combination sent from the heavens. You just can’t go wrong. Add truffle oil and some crusty bread and the combination is elevated to something otherworldly.

If you’re in the mood for something a bit heartier, go with the egg bollito (beef) or egg porchetta (pork). It’s an open-faced egg and meat sandwich, but the meat is so well seasoned and one whiff of the herbs will get you salivating.

If you’re in the mood for lighter fare, there’s also the warm farro with roasted fruit. Yum! And of course, it’s breakfast, so why shouldn’t you have a mimosa or some prosecco to wash it all down?

If you’ve got your heart set on dinner, you can take your chances with trying to fanagle a table sans reservation, or you can sign up for one the upcoming pig-centric dinners. Starting in October, the ‘ino restaurant group will be hosting a five-course dinner highlighting the choicest cuts of their Raven and Boar Farm pig prepared according to various Italian regional cooking styles. The first dinner is Tuscan-themed and takes place tomorrow at corsino, ‘inoteca will host an Emilia-Romagna themed dinner in November, and the third and final dinner will be Alto-Adige-themed at ‘inoteca e liquori bar in December.

  • corsino: Monday, October 18th, 8:00pm, Toscana
  • ‘inoteca: Monday, November 15th, 8:00pm, Emilia-Romagna
  • ‘inoteca e liquori bar: Monday, December 13th, 8:00pm, Alto-Adige

Tickets include the five-course dinner, wines paired with each course, tax and gratuity. The price is $160 per person. Additionally, if you’ve got money to blow and you love Italian cooking and more importantly, pork, then a ticket to all three dinners can be yours for the discounted price of $400.

Eat: ‘inoteca (LES) 98 Rivington at Ludlow, New York, NY 10002. (212) 614-0473

Scarpetta anniversary meal deal
May 7, 2010, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Drink, Eat | Tags: , , ,

A four course dinner INCLUDING wine pairings for $50 in celebration of Scarpetta’s two-year anniversary. Via Eater Dealfeed. Sunday May 9 through Thursday, May 13; rezzies available by calling 212-691-0555 or on Open Table.

Go: Scarpetta (Meatpacking) 355 W 14th Street (near 9th Avenue)

Volcanic ash is pas bon
April 16, 2010, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Go, Think | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m in Cannes for MIPTV and due to fly out from Nice via London to New York tomorrow, but what with the volcanic ash from Iceland, a whole lotta flights to and from northern Europe have been canceled since Thursday. As such, I’ve decided to pack up what I can in hopes that my flight will be on time tomorrow, but I suppose there are worse places in the world to be stranded due to flight disruptions caused by volcanic ash clouds. Today I took a ferry to the Ile Saint Honorat, where there is an active wine-producing monastery and surrounding vineyards, a breathtakingly beautiful ruined fortress, and crystal clear water amid glorious Provencal foliage. Life is not completely sucking.

Dreaming of Cannes, rose wine in hand
March 12, 2010, 5:41 pm
Filed under: Drink, Eat | Tags: , , ,

This is what my perfect picnic looks like:

On the beach near the Palais in Cannes, armed with two sandwiches from the corner bakery and Provence rose spritzers. I’m becoming increasingly excited for my return to Cannes for MIPTV in April. I drink rose like it’s the nectar of life for the two weeks a year when I’m in Cannes, and then I don’t drink it again for the rest of the year. It really is the perfect summer wine, though. There is more depth to it than in white wine, and it’s still perfectly crisp and appropriate for summer. For me, the drier the better, none of the sweet stuff (it makes me sick the next day). I hope rose comes back in fashion here in the US. Franzia and other sickly sweet white zinfandels have disgraced pink wines in the minds of Americans everywhere!

Also, why is it that the bread at these French bakeries in France tastes so different from the bread at the French bakeries in the US? What I wouldn’t give for a classic jambon beurre…

Jadis wins best wine happy hour in LES
March 8, 2010, 12:48 pm
Filed under: Drink, Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jadis is a lovely LES wine bar with a rustic but refined French sensibility. Not only does it offer a wonderful and reasonably priced selection of wines from around the world (about 30 available by the glass), it also offers phenomenal small plates that go perfectly with a glass of your wine of choice. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 5-7 pm, however, it gets better: all glasses of wine are half price and bottled beers are $4. (Mondays aren’t bad, either, as all bottles of wine over $40 are half price.) This means that during happy hour, you can have a glass of Riesling or Cotes du Rhone red for $3, an Argentinian Malbec or Italian Pinot Grigio for $3.50, a prosecco or Charles de Fere brut for $4, or a Sancerre (my personal favorite) for just $5.50!

The food is nothing to sniff at, either. Between two of us, we ordered the country pate ($7), the duck rillette ($8), and the bacon-wrapped scallops ($8) and we were stuffed. The charcuterie portions are quite generous, and the servers provided us with an extra bread basket to finish off our remaining pate and rillette. So dinner for two plus two glasses of wine apiece came out to $50 including tax and tip. Not bad at all!

The country pate was rich, slightly chunky, and had just the right amount of pepper. There were 5 large triangular slices served with mesclun greens and sliced bread.

Continue reading