Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What I Ate This Week

What I Ate This Week - March 24th, 2014 Edition, Part 1 of 3

This week's post will come in three parts, because my sister was in town, we dined out quite a bit. I learned some exciting things this week! I learned I actually do like artichokes, which is very exciting as I feel this opens a whole new spectrum of starters and sides to order from! I am also obsessed with the idea of egg yolks on things from pasta to breakfast pizza. You know who else likes egg yolks? Cooper, my beloved (furry) nephew. No wonder we get along so well!

Frankie's Spuntino
Last week Aaron and I met two cool people, Anna and Kris, at the MAD Mondays event. At the event, we passionately discussed important things like how to take quality food photos in dim light. We decided a dinner date was in order, and we picked Frankie's because Kris and Anna got Frankie's card at the event and none of us had been before.

Well no one told us we would be in for a four hour feast! And thanks to Anna for most of the photos, and thanks to Aaron for holding his iPhone flashlight over all the dishes so Anna's photos got enough light!

We started with some crostini - ricotta with honey, and mushroom with truffle oil. The crostini was delicious. I preferred the ricotta with honey more, but I devoured both.

There were two specials of the day for appetizers - spanish mackerel and burrata on top of an apple compote type thing. I was a little skeptical of the burrata because I have only had mediocre burrata experiences recently, but we decided to order it for comparison sake, but the chef also sent out the spanish mackerel. I was very impressed - I'm normally not a mackerel fan but this was great. It didn't have an overly fatty or fishy taste.

The burrata was incredible - it sat on top of an apple compote type mix, which I've never seen before. Usually I have burrata by itself or on top of a piece of toasted bread with some garlic. The apple added a sweet element to the dish - it was like dessert served with cheese.

I ordered the sweet potato gnocchi with oxtail ragu as my main. Aaron ordered the cavatelli, Kris ordered the meatballs, and Anna ordered the eggplant parm. The chef also sent us the papardelle and an off menu dish featuring Wagyu steak with charcoal grilled artichokes.

The steak medallions were seared to a rare perfection. They were served with some artichokes, and I'm normally not a fan of artichokes, or so I thought! Kris exclaimed that these were "out of this world", so I decided to sample one. Yes, they were in fact out of this world. The artichokes were braised and then cooked on top of a charcoal grill, so they had a magnificent smokey flavor.

Sadly, my gnocchi was more of a dumpling consistency, but the oxtail ragu was fabulous. But this was the only disappointing entree we had.

My favorite dish was the paparedelle. It was rich in all the right ways.

The chef sent us the tiramisu, creme brulee, chocolate tarte, and prunes with mascarpone. Believe it or not, the chocolate tart was not my favorite! I thought the prunes with mascarpone were great and I liked the hot/cold combination of the warm prunes served with chilled mascarpone. I normally don't order tiramisu and creme brulee as dessert because there have been so many times this has just been a miss at other restaurants. Not here! I just about licked the bowls clean. And didn't even have time to take photos of this.

Frankie's wasn't on my radar, but I was impressed with basically everything we ordered. If you are looking for a quiet spot for a Monday night meal, this would be a good choice.

Verdict: Yes, I would come back here if I wanted a quality, low-key dinner on a weeknight. It wasn't hard for Anna to get us a reservation, and the restaurant was pretty quiet on a Monday night.

Frankie's Spuntino
570 Hudson Street
NY, NY 10014


Yes, back here again. I was in a grumpy mood and I decided that some bucatini with uni would be a good cure-all. That combined with the chocolate tart definitely helped. I squeezed into a spot at the crowded bar and just about inhaled my dishes.

Yep, this bucatini turned my frown upside down. Temporarily at least.

I ordered the brussels sprouts as a side - and they are prepared with pistachios. I'm really liking the pistachio/vegetable combination I am seeing around town.

I ate this entire thing by myself too. This is why I work out almost every day of the week.

Verdict: As evident by my multiple visits, I would certainly come back for the pasta. This time, I ate at the bar, and saw several other solo diners, but I think you may need to email or call for a reservation, which may be harder to come by.

22 East 13th Street
NY, NY 10003
(212) 231-2236

Macaron Parlour

By some strange coincidence, my sister arrived on National Macaron Day. We found out that some macaron stores were handing out complimentary macarons, and we found one close to me.

In very exciting news - I can proclaim that I like Macaron Parlor more than Laduree! If you are in the East Village, stop in for a not too sweet but still very flavorful, light, airy, delight.

Verdict: I was sort of over macarons after I ate one too many in Paris, but these are more my taste. This is where I will be getting all future macarons from!

Macaron Parlour
111 St. Mark's Place
New York, NY 10009
(212) 387-9169

Caracas Arepas Bar

I've been in love with arepas since my trip to Venezuela (and possibly even before). This is one of those things that I have noted as "food I want to make at home" but have never gotten around to. I brought my sister here for a snack since she was hungry after traveling all night.

I ordered the De Pabelleon arepa, and she ordered the La Pelua - both with shredded beef. I used to loooove Reina Pepiada, but I think De Pabelleon is now my leading arepa.

Verdict: Yes, yes, yes, I would come back here for more! I haven't been too impressed with most of the starters, but the arepas are solid. We did take out, but the restaurant was pretty open around 3pm on a weekday. I know that if you go for dinner, you can expect a wait for a table.

Caracas Arepas Bar
93 1/2 East 7th Street
NY, NY 10009
(212) 529-2314


Before my sister arrived, I spent time devouring my Zagat guide (ha, ha...pun intended). She told me she wanted gnocchi or really great pasta, so I knew where to go. L'Artusi, of course.

A must-order plate is the house made ricotta cheese. I'm not a ricotta connoisseur, but I can appreciate a creamy, perfectly smooth ricotta. This was it. This is something I would go back and eat by myself (mostly so I wouldn't have to share with anyone else). 

Per our waitresses' recommendation, we started with the escolar. It didn't sound all that enticing on the menu, but it was fantastic! The oil-ish looking sauce you see in the photo below was very tangy and went well with the raw fish.

Tragedy struck twice this week. We ordered the gnocchi, and it was just okay. Not as dumpling like as Frankie's Spuntino, but still not the pillowy soft gnocchi you can find at L'Apicio. Next time I'm taking my sister there for the good stuff! The good news is that it was covered in cheese, so, almost all non-pillowy gnocchi sins could be forgiven. 

We also shared the octopus, and it wasn't anything special. I wouldn't order this again here.

And now, for the highlight of the evening. The special of the day was a pasta with a pancetta carbonara sauce. I can't articulate how YUM this was. I'm STILL thinking about it four days later. Do you see that nice yellow farm egg yolk in the middle? Yeah, breaking that and mixing that into the pasta and carbonara was phenomenal.

I am now inspired to try to make carbonara at home - maybe after I am back from Coachella! 

We shared two desserts, the semi freddo and the passion fruit panna cotta. My favorite out of the two was the panna cotta.

{Semi freddo}

{Passion Fruit Panna Cotta}

Verdict: I want more of that carbonara, and I want to eat it all by myself (sorry sis!). I would come back here for dinner and order that, the ricotta, and the passion fruit panna cotta, as there is only so much I can eat by myself. I made a reservation for 10pm on a Thursday because we had an event before, but I changed it the day of to 9:15pm, I definitely think you will need a reservation. The restaurant was pretty packed all evening, including the spots at the bar, but I would definitely come back and try to snag a spot for more of the home made pasta!

228 W. 10th Street
NY, NY 10014
(212) 255-5757

And this gets us through to Thursday dinner. There is a LOT more to come! Stay tuned! 

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