Aquavit, Herring, Bouillabaisse and Stone Fruits

2011/09/24 § 5 Comments

Dear Friends – I know it’s been a while.

And I’ve missed you all.  

But I’ve been unspeakably busy (in a really good way) and owe you many, many posts.  I still have leftover summer stories though fall has crept in slowly.

A friend posted a photo of an aquavit bottle which reminded me of one of my last summer dining adventure here in New York.  I had several errands in midtown east and was quite starved when I found myself in front of Aquavit.  And since I haven’t been there in years, I decided to pop in for lunch.

You will love the restaurant if you are into mid-century everything.  Look at the beautiful Arne Jacobsen Swan sofa set here.

And the Swan and Egg chairs.  And barstools.

Under the long, undulating, wood ceiling.

Even the plates, charger and cutlery are mid-century.

Here is what I had for lunch –

Assorted bread

with butter sitting on volcanic stone…

Matjes Herring

with pickled beets, red onion, egg, sour cream 

Scandinavian Bouillabaisse

with cod, mussels, root vegetables, parsley aioli 

(which I truly adored!)

Macerated Stone Fruits

vanilla panna cotta, long pepper ice cream, chocolate muesli

And although I did not have aquavit this time…I love looking at their display of housemade ones with the most delightful flavors –  anise, carraway and fennel, cucumber, horseradish, lemon and juniper, mango, lime and chili pepper, grapefruit, fig and cardammon, linie, and more.

Mmmmm….a great excuse to go back.  When the fall nights get chilly.

Though my days are absolutely rosy.

Hope yours are too!

xxx

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Cafe Sabarsky

2011/08/02 § 4 Comments

My other favorite cafe in New York City.

Viennese.  Old world and elegant.

Cozy booths by the large windows.  Dappled sunlight streaming in.  White marble-topped tables and black bentwood chairs.  White-apronned waiters in black ties.  Buffet table laden with cakes and pastries.  Lacy paper doilies.  Fireplace.  Grand crystal chandelier.

Klimt Tortehazelnut cake layered with bittersweet chocolate

Oh beautiful Vienna, you are on my mind.

xxx

Chelsea Market

2011/07/25 § 4 Comments

Walking is my favorite activity in New York.  

But not in the midst of a heatwave like we have now.  Where I melt in a puddle of sweat before I even reach the end of the block.

This is when I, who don’t like malls, actually long for one.  To find shops and eateries under one air-conditioned roof is a godsend on days like these.  So thank heavens for Chelsea Market (which isn’t really a mall but will do for my purposes).  It used to be the old Nabisco factory and this now enclosed urban retail arcade has retained many wonderful architectural features such as…

…exposed old bricks and pipes, vintage clocks, lamps and ceiling fans, corrugated iron sheets…

…water wells and the like – that I absolutely adore!

The market is a long, winding alley of shops selling local and organic produce, fresh seafood, gourmet items, baskets, plants and flowers.  Plus tiny outposts of some of the city’s best deli, brunch and sandwich places….

My good friend and I feasted on lobsters, oysters, salmon sandwiches, lemonades, eldelflower bubblies

…and gelato – before braving the searing heat outside.

So glad New York has Chelsea Market!

xxx

Millesime

2011/07/19 § 4 Comments

A dear, dear friend was in town.   So a long, lingering lunch was in order.  We met at Millesime.

And were seated at this alcove balcony table overlooking the elegant lobby.

Many stories were told over wonderful dishes.

Gazpacho Soup

 Salmon Tartare 

Aquavit, Fennel, Sweet Mustard 

 Chicken Paillard 

Figs, Arugula & Feta Cheese 

 Linguine Piperade 

Rock Shrimp & Basil 

 Strawberry Soup 

Crème Fraiche Ice Cream & Balsamic 

Chocolate Almond Tart 

Raspberry Ice Cream, Almond Brittle 

We even had a great view of a fashion photoshoot from our balcony seats…

Hope you had a great time in NYC, Mr. B!

xxx

Apple, Soho, Nespresso

2011/07/01 § 9 Comments

My computer crashed.  Which gave me an excuse to go to Soho to have it fixed. (Not that I ever needed an excuse to go)

There’s always something interesting to see in Soho.

Vintage clothes sold in street corners…

…the Apple store with its fantastic staircase and skylight (and the dizzying array of gadgets I long to have) 

…subway map embedded on the street…

…a door to what I can only presume is Mad Max’s residence…or that opens up to the Thunderdome.

I never get tired of the buildings there and just watching people walk by.  I could easily come up with a fashion photographer’s portfolio standing in one corner for five minutes.  There are so many interesting outfits.

The stress of having my computer crash on me also gave me an excuse to sit and recuperate inside the beautiful Nespresso boutique bar.   And order my other most favorite cake, Louvre.  Paired with a ristretto latte.

There is a silver lining to everything, n’est-ce pas?

xxx

Charlottes, eclaires, tartes, sorbets, crumbles and everything Raspberry

2011/06/28 § 10 Comments

I dropped by the Farmer’s Market last weekend and saw tables crammed with raspberries.

Raspberries are my favorite dessert berries.

They are especially refreshing in the summertime.  Raspberry-rhubarb crumble showing up on the menu signals the season.

This raspberry infatuation started in France.

There, I gazed and marvelled everyday at the beautiful tiny cakes displayed on patisserie windows.  I could never choose what’s the prettiest or what to try first.  But I especially adored the ones with raspberries sitting daintily on top.  Finally, I went in and picked a charlotte aux framboises.  And never looked back.  I couldn’t get enough of the light, creamy, refreshing cake.   Since then, without fail, I would drop by the village patisserie to get one.  I would rush home so I could start eating.  But I end up nibbling on my jewel of a cake while walking through the park, more often than not.  

It became my end-of-the-day-walking-home treat.

In Paris, our usual after-dinner “sweets” at home was a bowl of simple fromage blanc with confiture de framboise.

Here in New York, I add a dollop of raspberry jam to greek yogurt, which works just as well.

I get more of my raspberry fix  from Financier with their tarte chocolat – framboise

and their fabulous chocolate raspberry eclairs…

…which Serious Eats described as choux pastry “split open and lined with custard, dotted with fresh raspberries and finished with a whirl of thick whipped, lightly sweetened cream. Finally, a scatter of toasty slivered almonds. Meant to be eaten in hand—but it can get awfully messy, so proceed with caution. The rewards are delicious.”  

They are very much, indeed.

For a summer cooler, nothing beats Berthillon’s framboise sorbet.  So tart and intense.  Pure raspberry essence in ice and cone.

But that shall have to wait til my next trip to Paris.

In the meantime, here in my beautiful Brooklyn neighborhood, I settle for the Berry Crumble ice cream (paired with Salted Caramel ice cream and pretzels) from General Greene that’s a perfect pick-me-up on sweltering days.

I love raspberries!

xxx

NYC Summer: Rooftop Birthday Brunch

2011/06/22 § 6 Comments

A dear friend hosted birthday brunch in his building’s beautiful rooftop with a wonderful view of midtown Manhattan and the East River.

It was a day of blue skies, sunshine, balloons…

…chats , laughter…

…skinnygirl margaritas, homemade bloody marys,  mimosas, wine, wraps, quiche, salads…

…cheese, fruits…

And amazing Tarte au Chocolat.

Half-melted from the heat – rich, dark ganache atop the crispy, light, buttery shell.

We ate and drank and baked in the sun and left an empty table

Hope you had a happy birthday, M! Thank you for all the wonderful food and wine 😀

xxx

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