Thursday, July 11, 2013

What I Ate This Week

My baybay sister was in town for the weekend! This meant lots of eating and also lots of shopping at Aritzia.

First, we went to Empellon Cocina. I would skip this place. I was completely underwhelmed given the good things I've heard about this place - the food wasn't awful, it was just okay. The item I enjoyed the most was the bacon guac.

{Order this, and only this. You won't be disappointed.}

I have a running list of places I read about and want to try, and Wylie Dufresne's new spot, Alder, was high on that list. I was semi worried because I had heard mixed reviews, but off we went on Friday night. Overall, I enjoyed everything I ate, minus the special of the day (the hamachi).

The following is "pub cheese". It looks like it could be some kind of meat pate, but it is really cheddar cheese mixed with mustard and red wine.

{Pigs in a Blanket}

{Foie gras terrine}

The day boat scallops (below) may have been my favorite thing. They were seared perfectly and served with hush puppies - a unique combo!

Below is the hamachi special of the day. I think the presentation was cool - it looks like a tray of BBQ! The hamachi even looked like a chicken wing...but I wasn't particularly keen on the flavors. 

On Saturday morning, Cooper really wanted to dine al fresco. So we tried to find a place that would accommodate his request. Calliope!

{Prince Cooper gets to dine outside}

Calliope was formerly known as Belcourt, and I haven't been here since it was Belcourt. My sister and I ordered the croissants - which were the special of the day (home made?). They were fantastic! Remember, Costco croissants are not what croissants should taste like - they should be flakey and a little crisp (see images below). Nice work, Calliope! 

{No brunch is complete without some bubbles!}

Cooper thoroughly enjoyed mommy's prosciuotto and fontina sandwich, but my german pancake was kind of a miss. Despite the pancake, I liked everything else about Calliope, especially how accommodating and friendly the waiters and hostesses were to Cooper.

After  various snacks at Balthazar (Keith McNally!) and shopping at Artizia, my sister and I headed to Minetta Tavern (Keith McNally!) for my beloved black label burger. My sister only recently started eating burgers, so naturally we had to head here. We also decided to indulge with the bone marrow appetizer and the chocolate souffle for dessert.

Here it is! The burger we all know and love! Once I am back from Yacht Week, I think I should make it a weekly ritual to come and have a burger here. Okay, maybe not...but it sounds like a nice idea.

There is only one way to order this burger - medium rare. And no cheese. The bun is a special bun made for this burger, by Balthazar. It is some kind of brioche with sesame seeds on top. Supposedly this helps absorb the juiciness of the bun, but I don't think anything will help with that.

{Baybay loves her burger!}

When my sister was a baby, she would often not be able to finish her meals, and declare, "I"m fuwwwwwl". Those words were are music to my ears. I readily swoop in and eat any remaining morsels off her plate. Well, lucky for me, this still happens (babies have little tummies!), so I usually get a bigger portion of any dessert we are sharing. The souffle was no exception...except that I was also "fuwwwwl".

Usually I find desserts "for two" a joke because I can eat the whole thing by myself. However, not this time.

Sunday was brunch at Mai & Pauls. Cooper met Jack, which was a pretty big deal. We learned that Jack doesn't like to share toys with anyone.

{Jack hoarding toys}

The boys had fun playing while the grown ups made brunch, including mimosas, sweet corn pancakes, and a delish scramble with potatoes (separate post on this to come!).

Our last meal together was at Estela, a new spot on Houston, on top of Botanica. We were lucky - there was no wait when we stopped in for dinner. Everything my sister and I ordered off the menu was a hit!


{Blood Sausage Croquette}

{Ricotta Dumplings}

My sister and I weren't too full after our dinner, so we decided to each get a dessert. Normally, I'm not a fan of panna cotta (really easy to mess up), but this one was prepared well! Plus, strawberries & rhubarb are the perfect summer pairing. 

I've only become a fan of chocolate & coffee pairings in the past year or so. I think this serves as inspiration for my next ice cream flavor! Also, the crunch from the hazelnuts was a nice touch to the smooth, creamy sorbet.

Then, I had a work trip to Chicago! I was upgraded, which is bizarre. Usually mere gold level plebians like myself are not upgraded on flights to places like Chicago (or LA, or SF, or Atlanta). The flight was delayed by 2 or more hours, and once on board, I scarfed down the PM snack box. It included Stacey's pita chips, a hummus thing that came in a orange frozen pop looking like package, acai and chocolate covered berries. I was so hungry I didn't take a photo.

The first order of business was to see if I could get a table at Alinea. No luck. After scouring Chicago Eater, I decided to try Avec for dinner. This was on par with places I love like Pearl & Ash and Estela! The menu was sprinkled with tapas style dishes with unique flavor combinations. Avec does not take reservations, and the wait for just one person was about 20 minutes (it was PACKED when I arrived).

Seared shrimp with limoncello vinaigrette? You had me at limoncello!

Before you write this off as plain ol' was not! The sauce was a combo of strawberries and english peas. How clever! I never would have thought those two items go together!

Salmon...yum I am licking my lips looking at this photo! I normally don't eat salmon with the skin on - but the preparation here made it crispy and tasty. 

The meyer lemon ice cream was the special for the night, so I knew I had to order it. The problem was, I also wanted the nutter butter squares. So, I ordered both. The meyer lemon ice cream tasted home made, and it was delicious. I could have skipped the nutter butters.

Hi, Avec dessert pastry chef person, can you come over and make me some ice cream, please?

And I licked my plate clean.

Then my flight was canceled and I overdosed on Milano cookies and tillamook cheese in the lounge until my re-booked flight took off. Oops!

I've decided that I want to visit Chicago for a whole weekend and basically stuff my face. I have already penned down GT Oyster, but there are several other restos on my list, including Alinea (if I can get a res) or Blackbird. Any other recommendations? Marya and I are already devising a girls weekend!

1 comment :

GlamorousGirl said...

looks yummy!