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.



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 😀


Cappuccino, Pancakes and Oysters

2011/03/14 § 7 Comments

What excited me most about staying at the Ace Hotel (see previous post) was the dining adventure it afforded.  I thought it would be the most wonderful thing to wake up in the morning, go downstairs, get coffee at Stumptown, have breakfast at the Breslin and late afternoon oysters at the John Dory. Which is exactly what we did.

We went straight to Stumptown after waking up for the divine cappuccino and barely beat the Sunday crush and the super long line.  Whew.

Then on to the Breslin for breakfast.  I so love their Pumpkin Pancake (which doesn’t taste like pumpkin at all) that is a tad spicy and sweet and both light and hearty.  It is lathered with spiced chili pecan butter and sprinkled with candied pecans and powdered sugar.  It goes really well too with their Full English Breakfast ( a rather trimmed down but perfectly cooked and flavorful version of the ones I’ve had in England and Ireland ) of juicy sausage, eggs, tomatoes, mushroom and bacon.

After walking around the city, we dropped by the John Dory for oysters and parsley and anchovy toasts paired with txakolina.  It was a beautiful, bright, colorful space and their Peconic Bay and Hog Island Oysters are the best oysters I’ve had in a while here in New York.  I would go back there as often as I could if it weren’t so difficult to get seats and if the hostesses weren’t the most rude people I’ve encountered lately.  Other than that though, the space has a brightness that’s somehow relaxing and the waitstaff more than made up for the rude hostesses by being very attentive and informative.

Oh, how I wish I lived at the Ace Hotel!


Sisig, Spam, Sarap…

2011/02/06 § Leave a comment

It was a freezing Sunday and I had no intention of venturing out of the warmth of my apartment… not even out of the comforts of my bed and duvet, to be honest, but I was browsing through the Restaurant Section of the New York Magazine and what do I see?  “Filipino Brunch Pop-Up Place at the East Village.” I make a call and was told that all tables are booked but I can walk in at 1130am and will most likely be accommodated.  I couldn’t get sisig and tocilogs out of my mind so I called a friend who luckily was as excited to go despite the forbidding temperatures.

There can be no warmer and more welcoming signage for Filipinos in another country than this:

The Pop-up, Maharlika, was housed in a quaint French bistro rich in details – brick ceilings and walls, old mirrors.  Very intimate. Tiny tables and chairs all squished together with nary a space to walk in between.  But there was an air of excitement as group after group of diners came in and lined up outside.

I must say that I am always prepared to be disappointed whenever I eat Filipino food outside of the Philippines.  It just doesn’t taste the same.  But we were given pan de sal while waiting for our order (which took quite a while) and the guava jelly and macapuno jam that went with it were outstanding.  Tocino and Tortang Talong were unremarkable.  The sizzling sisig however was very, very good.  Freezing hands and toes were worth it if only for the sisig.  My friend raved about the Pacquiao Punch, a salabat-based alcoholic drink, that better be good because it was priced the same as a main meal.

This was surely another  Sunday morning well-spent.


PB & J “Pain Perdu”, Earl Grey Milk Jam, Fresh Strawberries at the West Village…

2011/01/20 § Leave a comment

So nice to meet up with old friends especially in a cozy place that looks like a cottage dining room.  Met up with a friend from Chicago at the West Village for brunch in Recette and am happy to note that it still has that warm, lovely feel.  (I was there for dinner several years ago when it was still Jarnac and was impressed then at how rustic but elegant it was).

Fried eggs, chorizo and grits...

Grits, Eggs and Chorizo

Peanut Butter & Jam “Pain Perdue,” Earl Grey Milk Jam, Fresh Strawberries

…and Jambon de Bayonne made catching up even better.


Escargot and Bone Marrow for Breakfast, Anyone?

2011/01/18 § 2 Comments

It was a slow Saturday… watching the clouds and wondering what to do and what to eat.   Then I remember reading several great reviews of a “diner” supposedly serving “un-diner” food in Long Island City.  Curious, I checked Google Map to see how far away it is from me.  To my surprise – it’s less than 30 mins with no train transfer.  No long walk.  No reason not to go.  Called up a friend and we agreed to meet there.  In 45 mins.

I walk to the G Train ready for adventure.

Was a bit disoriented after emerging from the station as all I could see was 47 Rd around me.   All streets had 47 Rd sign…til someone pointed me to the right direction.   Apparently, it was just on the other side of the bridge where I was standing.  I cross bridge.  And, on the corner, of a gloomy stretch of street, on top of the train tracks – was this gray diner.  M Wells.

I went in to find a packed house.  Blues.  Pinks.   Warmth.  In stark contrast to the gray and cold chrome outside.

There was beautiful light streaming in from the wall of windows.  A vintage modern chandelier resembling stars in orbits.  On one side were  long rustic tables and a glass display filled with baked goodies.  On the other side were booths and a counter.  Although we waited a bit,  was more than happy to do so as it allowed me to watch the chefs prepare some of the dishes.  Every single thing coming out from behind the counters were objects of curiosity and amazement.

I had no clue what they were.  But they all looked good.  Take this photo for example:

First I saw yellow.   And pot.  Then chef kept throwing and piling things on top of yellow and pot looked yummier as it got buried in whatever was thrown on top of yellow.  I had to ask.  Apparently, it’s an Egg Souffle with Mushroom Broth and Bonito Flakes.

Upon being seated, we were presented with the Menu.   We couldn’t decide. We wanted to try all.   I wanted the Egg Souffle but friend doesn’t eat mushroom.  So one off the list.  I wanted the Pickled Pork Tongue but I don’t know if it was too early in the morning for that.  We ended up ordering the Escargot and Bone Marrow topped with crumbs….

The Caesar Salad with Herring Sauce

Coquille St. Jacques

…and Bacon and Hash with Brussel Sprouts

All pretty good!

It was after we ordered that we saw our neighbor’s Beef/Brisket/Foie Gras Meat Pie with homemade raspberry ketchup which he just had to tell us was outstanding.   Mmmm .  Some sense prevailed.  We resolved to come back for everything else we didn’t get to try.

As we were gathering our coats and scarves to leave, I was already dreaming of all the other dishes I’m going to come back for.  Add to list the Chicken Skin, Parmentier Soup and Banana Cream Pie (that they’ve ran out of when we ordered).

Who wants to go back with me soon?!


More Brunches and Desserts of 2010

2011/01/09 § 5 Comments

I thought I should post this before 2010 becomes but a distant memory.

LOCANDA VERDE was my restaurant find of 2010.  I was in Chicago when it opened so I only discovered it when I came back to New York in January of 2010.   I can never say enough good things about their sheep’s milk ricotta with truffled honey, sea salt and burnt orange toast.  I have gone back to Locanda over and over to satisfy my craving for this simple, heavenly dish.

Their Uovo Modenese (with cotechino hash, spinach and tomato hollandaise) as well as Scampi and Grits (with organic polenta, tomato, sausage and coddled eggs) are always excellent.  The eggs perfectly poached or coddled, the meat and the shrimps tender and juicy, the sauces just right.

NORMA’S. Haven’t gone to Norma’s in a while and was very glad to have gone right before the year ended.  I was reminded of how much I love their food.  Last time we had the Huevos Rancheros which was light, fresh and a tad spicy….

Paired with the decadent Waz-za (waffle with fruit inside and fruit outside with a crackly brulee top) that was simply outstanding.

ALTO. The gargagnelli (handmade pasta quills) at Alto was quite possibly the best pasta dish I’ve ever had.  Their desserts don’t come far behind.   I loved the Torrone – piemontese nougat semifreddo, hazelnut cake, warm chocolate sauce…

…and their Panna Cotta.   Blood Orange- Vanilla panna cotta, pistachio crema, candied pistachio.

CORTON. Finally, here are the artistic desserts at Corton that we had for my birthday.  Caramel Brioche with Passion Fruit, Coffee, Banana and Cheese.

Gold Bar. “Pedro Ximenez” and Smoked Caramel Ice Cream.

2010 was a full dining calendar and am hoping 2011 will be the same.

Here’s hoping this year will be a more delicious one!


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