Thursday, October 28, 2010


If you are interested in auditioning, PLEASE EMAIL IMMEDIATELY:

Please put "HELL'S KITCHEN" in the subject title :
You MUST include your full name, age, telephone numbers, PHOTO, where you live-state, about your culinary experience, why you would be the perfect contestant for the show &
what sets you apart from the rest! Do not just send us your resume! YOU MUST WRITE US AN EMAIL and include the info requested!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rouge Tomate: 10 East 60th St. NY NY

My mother and I were spending a lovely day together and when lunchtime came, we found this listing recommended on her Iphone on Yelp. Yes, that's right. Mom is more technologically hip than I. Well, it came in handy for both of us when it pointed us toward this large, bright, open space with a menu that invited trying new things. I was hoping to find a current menu on their website so that I could give more precise descriptions of these unusual ingredients, but it looks to be an outdated version. I will do the best I can. The business lunch is a fair price for an upscale, 4 star restaurant and it included three courses. I started with a soup made from parsnip, mushrooms, (I think they were chanterelles but I'm not sure) thyme, (which added a warm, earthy undertone that I loved and initially mistook for rosemary) and honeycrisp apples. It was really excellent. Creamy- but not too rich and filling. Each flavor stood on it's own but complemented the others. The presentation was lovely, in a whimsical, lopsided bowl. My mother had the autumn squash soup which was also superb. The lovely foam on top was anisette flavor- but it was so subtle that it didn't disturb me at all. Maybe this taste is actually growing on me after many years of loathing it. With our soups we had some grainy rolls and sourdough with a cauliflower and curry spread. My mother really liked the spread, but I only appreciated the consistency of it. The bland flavor wasn't appealing to me at all,  and I couldn't detect the curry. For my entree I ordered the scallops which came atop a bed of salsilfy that was soaked in red wine (it looked like beets, but had a more crunchy, fibrous texture to it) and some awesome shredded brussels sprouts. The presentation of my entree was so beautiful with crunchy fried strips of yucca (?) on top and a red wine reduction in dots around the plate. The scallops were super fresh and perfectly seared, but slightly over-salted.  For dessert, I had the pumpkin pie with spice cake and pear sorbet. Although it was plated beautifully, my eyes enjoyed eating it more than my palate. The pumpkin part was a wonderful flavor, but no one wants creamy pumpkin jello and it was that springy. The cake underneath was spicy and moist, but I wanted a little sweetness to contrast the savory pumpkin and it was no where to be found. The pear sorbet on the other hand, was fantastic. My mother had rice pudding with fruit and an apple cider sauce. Also, not my favorite dessert, but it was creative, pretty and very seasonally appropriate. Overall, there was so much on the menu that I wanted to taste that I would definitely consider going back. I love that they clearly know what is good at the farmer’s market and showcase the best produce they can find. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

6 Train: MTA. NY. New York. (this was just on the way TO a culinary adventure, not the culinary adventure itself...but I thought I'd share anyway)

6 train

by Carey Yaruss on Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 10:35am
Wedged into the subway. Stuffed in by the doors and so sensory aware, it throbs. The lights flicker, the rhythm and motion should rock me into nap time but instead throttle my brain inside my head. We are squished. My messenger bag is rammed into my back as the desperate passenger throws all logic aside and becomes that one more person guaranteed to make this less than comfortable. The guy seated in the last bench spot keeps nodding off, his greasy hair touches my hand every time he dips and lands on the bars. The girl getting hugged by a man thrice her age has her goddamn overstuffed backpack on, taking up the space of what could be another 2 people. Why won't you middle-of-the-car people move further in? Assholes with plenty of room to gesticulate to one another in animated conversation. Give us a little break here would ya? Stop hugging the pole, lady in fur next to me. How do you not see the 4 other people vying for a handhold on your personally claimed teddy bear substitute? Older gentleman straphanger apparently feels that it is his right to lean his aching back down the whole length of the bar behind him. Are you really that oblivious to the rest of the situation? Don't worry, we'll all just fall onto you when the train stops and we lose our footing.  Dude with metal in your headphones, the whole car has no interest in hearing your mundane bass line, and no one will think you're cool when you have to wear a hearing aid at age 15 because of your lack of concern about it now.
I get a seat. I get a seat!
I get kicked 3 times by the suit next to me, presumably to make sure that I've seen just how quirky and cool he is for wearing orange socks, the same color as my shoes, underneath his seemingly conservative pinstripe grey. Someone should tell him that a grey suit with orange socks and brown wingtips does not make for an attractive fashion statement.  The 8 year old who ignores his mother's repeated urges to hold on to something air surfs until the train screeches to a halt and he falls into me. I smile at him and say, 'maybe now is a good time to start listening to your mother'. He reddens and sulks back to her outstretched hand, refusing to make further eye contact with me. Across the way, a 20 something wears a black and white striped shirt and pants with stripes that almost do, but don't quite match, and I look away rather than get a migraine from it. Beer belly drunkish dude weighs approximately 400 lbs and let's his jeans start well below where his shirt ends. This is not a muffin top. This is a whole new level of inappropriate. Popover. Woman with baby takes the seat graciously given up by Mr. misstriped and parks her stroller smack in the middle of the lane. Gives dirty looks to anyone trying to squeeze past. The greasy hair, acne prone, pierced chin boy who was nodding off wakes up and gives disturbingly dirty looks to the baby. We are only at 33rd st. 5 more stops to go and I think I'll make it. Oh yes. Increase my fare MTA. This is an experience I'll gladly pay more for. Or maybe next time I'll walk.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Burger Joint: Inside La Parker Meridian 118 West 57th Street. NY, NY

The coolest thing about Burger Joint is that it's tucked away inside of the opulent Le Parker Meridian Hotel. You feel like you know about a wonderful insider's secret when you see the little neon burger hanging behind a hallway of dark velvet curtains and step inside. This tiny burger den looks like it could be found in the back of a bar in random small-town USA, but nope, here it is in a fancy NYC hotel lobby. The walls are covered in the scrawl of teenagers and tourists alike, and it was really surprising to see a sign urging patrons to stop doing so. Really? The wood paneling is so far gone, it looks like it's meant to be written on.
After waiting in a short line (which, as we saw can sometimes get quite long) we placed our order and scored a couple of seats. I had a cheeseburger with the works (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayo, ketchup and mustard) and shared mediocre fries. I also had a taste of my dad's chocolate milkshake which was frosty and creamy, but a little bit icy. The burger was a complete mess, but a very tasty one. I wouldn't rank it higher than my favs: (J.G. Melon, Shake Shack and Dumont Burger) but definitely better than average. The hole-in-the-wall atmosphere actually enhanced the overall experience and I would love to go back to bring someone else who likes hidden finds there.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hale & Hearty Soups: 1129 Lexington Ave, NY NY

Today is the third rain, raw, chilly day in a row and I am pretty happy to have no reason to leave my cozy apartment. I walked the dog this morning and am working from home this afternoon/evening. I've also logged 15 miles in the past 3 days running-wise, so I really don't feel guilty about hunkering down and ordering in.
Hale & Hearty is a NYC chain that actually makes pretty good soup. I've tried a bunch of different flavors over the years, but have a new favorite as of today! I ordered the chicken and corn bisque with sourdough and it was really the perfect lunch for a dreary day. The velvety chowder was loaded with fresh kernels of corn and shreds of white meat chicken. Creamy but not heavy, with a touch of tomato and parsley. The sourdough is fresh and moist, but not quite as sour as it should be. It really tastes more like Italian or white to me. Either way, it's tasty and very useful for sopping up soup. Since they have a $7 minimum for delivery, I also ordered a small veggie soup with a piece of seven grain bread. All this for $11 including tip! Great deal for 2 meals! (p.s. other favorite flavors are broccoli/cheddar, Senagalese chicken with peanut, and clam chowder. I am not a fan of the chicken noodle soup, it's way too salty and there's too much 'stuff' and not enough broth)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Abitino's Pizzeria: 1592 First Ave. New York, NY

I have a very suggestible appetite. This morning, one of my friends had a Facebook status update about simmering meatballs in spaghetti sauce all day and it sparked an insatiable craving in me. This was at 10am. At noon I went for a 4.5 mile run and it was pretty much all I could think about the whole time. MmmMMM pasta and meatballs on a chilly autumn day. I ran pretty fast in order to get home in time to order delivery and chow down before my first voice student was due to arrive.
I chose Abitino's to try because it had some great reviews online and was priced very reasonably. Less than $20 total for a lovely green salad, a roll, and a huge portion (that will feed me for 2 or 3 meals) of ziti, marinara sauce and about 6 big meatballs. This is not your run of the mill average pizza shop trying to make decent Italian food. I was SO pleasantly surprised, especially since the expectations my all-day-craving had could easily have set me up for disappointment. The salad was made with romaine, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and olives with a great light Italian dressing on the side. Yay! No useless iceberg here! The huge roll was also excellent! Fluffy, buttery, chewy, fresh and light. I'm guessing that they actually make their own rolls there instead of ordering from their distributor...Very nice touch. The meatballs themselves were very impressive. Very flavorful, not too dense, not too salty, not too breadcrumby. Just the way I like them. The pasta was not overcooked as it often is from similar restaurants, and the food all arrived steamy and piping hot. Overall, this lunch was a complete success...and I'm excited to eat the rest of it for dinner.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Otto: 1 Fifth Ave @ 8th st. New York, NY

How sad is it that I'm eating a pretty awful Lean Cuisine microwaved pizza for dinner as I'm writing about my amazing lunch at Mario Batali's casual restaurant, Otto? So sad I could almost cry about it. The food was so incredible that not once did I find my mind wandering to Mario's horrible trademark orange Crocs and gnarly hair!
My dear friend had been raving about this restaurant for months and I finally had the chance to join her there for lunch today. She affectionately calls it her second home and now I totally understand why she'd want to return twice or more per week. It really is a great choice for dining alone; with friends, with clients or even with a large group. There are so many wonderful dishes that are perfect for sharing that I bet it's really great to go with a party of 4-6. They also have a ridiculously long wine list that would impress the most selective connoisseur.
I let C choose for us since she has tried pretty much everything they offer. There was SO much on the menu that I wanted to eat. I think I may require at least few more visits for the meats, the pasta and the pizzas...not to mention the myriad flavors of gelato. The bread that came out right away was crusty and chewy and moist and ooooohhhhhhh. Yes, please. We shared 3 unbelievable cheese selections that were served with OMG the most outstanding dipping sauces. I wanted a straw. Or an I.V. catheter. Honey with truffles, brandied cherries and apricots. WOW. As if melty, creamy, velvety cheeses even need a dip...but oh, once you try it you realize that of COURSE they do and the bread does too! Wow. I'm truly almost speechless about how much I loved those incredible cheeses. We also had a few antipasti: corn with fregola- autumnal amazingness; octopus, celery and lovage-light, summery and wonderful; and  a small green salad of romaine and red onions over a thin slice of excellent provolone, which was fine but kind of on the boring side with just a simple vinaigrette. When we finished everything in front of us, I was comfortably full, but not overstuffed. I also wanted to re-order everything for a second round just to have a few more precious moments with all of those wonderful tastes.
For dessert we each had a delicious cappuccino and shared the Olive Oil Coppeta. What an interesting dessert! Olive Oil gelato has gotten very trendy around here lately and I was looking forward to trying it. As a true chocoholic, I'm can be a fairly tough crowd with non-choco desserts, but It was VERY good. I was surprised at how much I loved the olive oil flavor. It wasn't at all 'oily' which was what I was worried about. It was served with lime curd, basil syrup, raspberries and little anisette crumbles on top. Although I do NOT like the flavor of anise, I did really surprisingly enjoy the slightly bitter contrast to the sweetness of the berries. Overall, this was not my favorite sugary indulgence in the world, but very unique, unusual and refreshing.
Strong recommendations to visit Otto if you are in the area...or even if it's a little out of your way. It's definitely worth the trip.