I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Showing posts with label Bar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bar. Show all posts

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eating in Paris (and Dijon)

The number one reason I couldn't wait to go to Paris? To eat. And drink wine. And then do it all over again.

If I have to be 100% honest, the food on this trip wasn't overall as mind-blowing as what I remember eating in Barcelona. However, every single restaurant seemed to have solid, delicious food--even the touristy spots. I was rarely disappointed with a dish and never dissatisfied with a meal. Plus there were a few dishes that were among the best I've ever eaten. Really, can you go wrong when foie gras, escargot, oysters, sweetbreads, bone marrow and cheese are found on most every menu you see? The answer is a resounding "no".

I made this reservation for us for our first night in Paris. I knew we probably wouldn't want to just wander around hoping for a good meal after such a long plane ride and I have heard amazing things about this place. For good reason. The first two courses were seriously some of the best dishes I have ever eaten. Specifically the first dish was unlike anything I've tried: raw fish topped with goat cheese (!) hazelnuts, mushroom granita, anise. And the follow-up was supremely tender baby leeks with speck, poached egg, leek puree and perfect bread crumbs (there is such a thing as perfection in this simple ingredient). Unfortunately I became suddenly very sick by the 3rd course and couldn't stick around to finish out the meal. The staff were so helpful and wrapped up my veal steak for me to take home and got the husband his dessert as he took care of the bill. Unsure what happened (allergic reaction? plane food catching up to me??) but very disappointed to not be able to finish this one out. The wine and champagne were also possibly the best we had on the trip (wine was Les Foulards Rouge, La Soif du Mal, Cotes du Roussiollon 2011).

Vivant Table
The only other reservation we had for the trip. Beautiful space (in an old exotic bird shop), friendly staff, food that was not anything fancy or shocking but was perfectly executed in every step.

We stumbled upon this wine bar one night looking for a simple snack and some wine for dinner after a huge lunch. One of the other clients at the bar asked how we found the place and when we let him know we just walked by and thought it looked like our type of place he told us: "You are so lucky." Casual, with excellent wine and simple yet delicious nibbles, we felt like we were in our favorite neighborhood joint back at home. Highly recommend.


Yet another place we were insanely lucky to stumble into. A wine bar with a simple menu divided up by how long you'd like to stick around (i.e. "here just for an hour", "here for the night", etc.). We had just had dinner so only wanted some wine but our server told us he had the best cheesecake in Paris. With that bold statement we knew we would return another night to try it out and I can say that it is absolutely delicious, with an unbelievable crust. The cheese/meat/cured fish board was perfectly curated. The vibe is like you are passing the evening at your best friend's home.

Cafe Roussillon

On the north end of Rue Cler street market. Classic, hearty fare. Huge portion of gorgeous bone marrow with grey salt.


The ice cream gets a lot of attention, but somehow all of the good reviews did not prepare me for how perfect this ice cream is. Honestly have never had better. Salted caramel for me and wild strawberry for the husband.

Mireille Meringues
133 Rue Vielle du Temple
I love meringues and these were the most beautiful I saw in all of Paris. Huge piles with a variety of fun flavors.

Munoz Traiteur
33 Rue Rambuteau
A small shop in the Marais that sells many prepared foods. A great stop before a picnic or if  you are having a dinner party, if you are so lucky to live in Paris. Right next door to a bakery since you'll want some bread with that. I highly recommend the "Foie Gras Cone" filled with black truffles. Not to shabby for a picnic along the Seine.

Le Blanc Cassis

6 Rue du Petit-Thouars
A lovely spot for an aperitif. Perhaps a kir, rose, or absinthe?

At the top of the Marche d'Aligre, this fishmonger has a few tables and serves up oysters and seafood pulled right off their market shelves. They have an oyster special where you get 6 oysters, a glass of white wine, bread and flavored butters for 11 Euros. Lovely spot for people watching as well.

Bozart Bistrot
9 Rue JP Timbaud, 11th arrond.
Our last night in Paris we wanted to make sure to have an amazing meal. When we walked by this place, we knew that's what we would get. Scallop carpaccio with passionfruit vinaigrette, tartine with goat cheese, smoked duck and poached egg, cod crusted with chorizo: it was all good. Charming service, changing local art on the walls, regulars sharing wine at the bar, perfect cheese for dessert. Exactly the note we wanted to leave Paris on.

Grill and Cow
In Dijon, next to Les Halles in the old part of town. The decor is cheesy, and I probably never would have chosen to eat here if it wasn't Sunday and everywhere else was closed, but surprisingly the food was really good and I would recommend it to others passing through Dijon. Excellent steak and you get to choose from a large variety of sauces to accompany your meal (like an Epoisses sauce or Au Poivre).

Le Bistrot de L'Amiral
In Dijon. The man who ran the restaurant, the bar, and served us was warm, friendly and had a long conversation with everyone who was eating here. So pleasant and inviting. Lots of great classic Burgundy dishes, especially fond of the escargot in a Epoisses sauce.

E. Dehillerin

Of course we couldn't visit Paris without a trip to the well-known kitchen supply store. I came away with a couple of escargot dishes for our future French meals at home.

I'll leave you with a bit more French food porn:
In heaven oggling the cheeses at Marie-Anne Cantin (off of Rue Cler)

So many types of poultry and all more gorgeous than any we see in the states.

French breakfast radishes. 

Farmer's market fish stall.

Farmer's market cheese stall.
Pastries for breakfast.
Cake filled with a creamy, pudding-like interior, topped with crunchy sugar bits? Ok.

I'm obviously into that.

Making our Breton crepe at the Bastille Farmer's Market.

And enjoying said crepe. 

Picnic behind Notre Dame.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Cherry Treats

What a lovely summer it has been so far. The beer garden with new friends, Big Apple BBQ with old friends. Dinner with the husband on the rooftop at The Nomad. A truly inspiring dance performance from Cedar Lake Dance Company. And last week, my new baby nephew was born. I feel full of love and joy.

Plus, the greenmarkets have been full of delicious produce--with especially gorgeous cherries lately. I took home way too many (if there can be such a thing) and had to come up with a few ways to use them up before they went bad.

First up I made a mini cherry pie. I used my small cast iron pan instead of a pie pan, since Joe and I have a hard time eating a whole pie before it goes bad. This was a perfect little size. I halved the recipe from over at Smitten Kitchen and used half of the flaky butter crust recipe. I liked the idea of using a star cookie cutter to cut out shapes for the top instead of having to weave a lattice crust--easy and fast.

Next up, I used some more cherries to create a bourbon soaked batch to use for cocktails. This is the third year in a row I have been doing this and usually end up with just enough to make it through the year of manhattans and old fashioneds that we whip up. I like to throw in a bit of the spiced bourbon from the cherries into the cocktails before I shake them or drizzle it over of ice cream for a boozy dessert.

Bourbon Soaked Cocktail Cherries

1/4 c. turbinado sugar
1/4 c. water
1/2 cinnamon stick
3/4 c. bourbon
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 t. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 c. pitted cherries
1 quart jar, sterilized

Place the sugar, water and cinnamon stick into a small saucepan. Heat over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and then stir in the bourbon, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
Place the cherries into the quart jar *. Remove the cinnamon stick from the bourbon mixture and pour into the quart jar over the cherries. Place the lid on the jar and place in the fridge. Allow to sit for at least two weeks before using.

*I have read on a few sites that leaving the cherry pits in adds depth of flavor to the cherries. I would rather have pitted cherries in my drinks, so I toss a few of the pits into the jar with the pitted cherries to add flavor without having to deal with the pits in my cocktail cherries later on.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Little Branch

After work last night my crazy, fun coworker Alicja invited me out to drinks with her and our bartender, Ben. Ben is very picky about his drinks and he told us that he was going to take us to the place that makes the best mixed drinks in the city. Quite a statement for a city like this.

So when we arrive I felt partially scared and excited because this is the entryway:

There was no sign or any indication that this was a bar except the slightly scary looking bouncer outside (ok, so maybe he wasn't scary looking, but when someone is standing outside a club and is going to either let me in or not, I think they are scary...). Ben knew the bouncer well and after chatting for a second we headed down to the bar.

It is a little place, but definitely has a lot of character. Here's what Daniel Maurer of NY Mag has to say about it: "The third arm of hallowed drinkslinger Sasha Petraske’s empire is a kindler, gentler, larger permutation of its predecessor: The bartenders still wear suspenders and many of the old rules still apply (no talking loudly or misbehaving), but Milk & Honey’s pressed-tin aesthetic has been replaced with simple mustard-painted walls and low ceilings made from orange-painted sheets of corrugated steel. The color scheme lends warmth to the subterranean location, as does the old standup piano occasionally used by jazz trios. Yet although the vibe is looser, the mixology is still rigorous: The staff arrives two hours ahead of opening to squeeze fresh juice, chill glasses, cut blocks of ice (to keep the drinks from diluting quickly) and load garnishes into a custom-built ice block. Name your favorite liquor and they’ll give you an encyclopedic list of old-fashioned cocktails and egg flips that incorporate it. Yes, they may serve the best mojito this side of Havana, but why settle for that when they also make the Trinidadian version: the Queens Park Swizzle. This ruby-colored variation uses bitters to give it a tart, eye-opening flavor. An abundance of booths makes walk-ins a cinch. But for a lesson in libations the true alcohol aficionados will stand at the bar. "

Ben knew the bartenders as well and they whipped us up a few drinks that we all shared. It was amazing watching the bartenders at work--it was like watching mad scientists in the laboratory. And the drinks were definitely unlike any I have ever tasted. During one of the rounds I was given the Queens Park Swizzle that is mentioned above and it is great. Anything that has some fresh mint in it and I'm in love. We also had the Presbytarian--a drink with rye, lime, ginger, sugar, and candied ginger for a garnish. Delicious.

This is definitely a place that I will be returning to, and probably taking friends that come to visit from out of town. If you go remeber this: the drinks are delicious and go down easy, but have too many and you may regret it the next day! The drinks are all sweet and give you a killer headache/hangover! Make sure to add some water to the mix to, um, cleanse your palatte.

Special thanks to Alicja and Ben for the good times and definitely the best drinks I've had in town so far!