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About

NYC Nom Nom is a blog about food. Restaurants and recipes... from the good, to the bad, to the un-nommable. Recently, I joined Weight Watchers. But I refuse to give up my love for food. Join me on my journey of recipes and restaurants (whether you're dieting or not).

I am very fortunate in that I get to try many of the best restaurants in NYC. I also am realizing that I love to cook and have been expanding my culinary skills with my boyfriend, Mike. So what better way to chart my path through the world of food than with a blog?

I would not consider myself a foodie, as that moniker carries with it some level of expertise, of which I have none. I just really love food and am very lucky to have both access to good restaurants and a really great kitchen (by New York City standards anyway).

If you want to reach me, you can email me at sara@nycnomnom.com or if you have more questions, visit the NYCNomNom FAQs

So without further ado, enjoy nomming.


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12 October 10

Glass House Tavern

It will be hard to blog about this without a twinge of bitterness.  I suggested a few restaurants to a friend and was unceremoniously SHOT DOWN by his boyfriend (and I believe my choice of Becco was called “pretentious.”  BECCO!)  Now I will try to forgive as I was warned that the boyfriend was picky, and thankfully he’s nice enough to make up for it… but BECCO?!?!  Ok… /rant

So the end choice was to go back to a place where they had been before and enjoyed.  I was slightly concerned when they made the choice to go to a place that was in my neighborhood but I had never heard of:  Glass House Tavern  (on 47th between 8th Ave and Broadway). 

The decor was lovely inside.

And I appreciated the aesthetic.

We started with apps.  Fresh Mozzarella & Tomato Salad sweet garlic, basil & extra virgin olive oil.

Organic Green Salad roquefort apple brioche.

Malfadine Pasta Primavera zucchini, yellow squash, fresh tomato & basil

Grilled Filet Mignon smashed potato, caramelized shallots and red wine

Free Range Roast Chicken garlic roast potato, tarragon jus

Then some dessert… Buttermilk Panna Cotta with berries

Pineapple Bread Pudding caramel, vanilla sauce

And then I, of course, ordered the Warm Chocolate Cake fresh berries, vanilla ice cream.

Notice the lack of commentary for this post?  Yeah… that’s pretty much how I felt about the meal.  Nothing stood out.  Nothing was even good.  Even that warm chocolate cake was bland and dry.  And it looks like they just plated an upside down cupcake without frosting.

This place was fine.  Just… fine.

Total Nom Points: 5 out of 10

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15 September 10

Origin Thai (2) in Morristown, NJ

My sister became my hero when she donated 10 inches of her hair to Locks of Love.  When we were in the area, we stopped by Origin Thai for lunch.  There are two more locations in Somerville and Basking Ridge, NJ and they bill themselves as being a French/Thai fusion.  I have only previously been to the Somerville location, and it was actually the first place I ever tried (and liked) Thai.  It never fails to impress.

Both Stacey and my mom chose the Massaman Curry.  Even I like this dish (and I am just not a curry fan).

The sauce is just perfect and the ingredients are fresh.

I chose the Pad Thai.  I’ve tried many different Thai dishes, but Pad Thai still remains my favorite. And Origin does it just right.

And see that little cigar on the side?  It was delicious, however, as it turns out that lovely sauce was filled with spicy chilies.  Both Stacey and I suffered after trying it, as we are both allergic.  It wasn’t pretty.

Overall, Origin is set apart because of the quality and freshness of the ingredients compared to most Thai places.  It just has a leg up on the rest.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

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11 September 10

The New Montenapo

I was completely blown away last time I went to Montenapo (in the NY Times building on 41st between 7th and 8th).  So much so, that I nominated it for the #4 meal of all of 2009.

They closed down for a few months when a new owner came on board.  I’m not sure what they changed, however, I was so excited that it opened back up that I ordered take out.  Very expensive take out to be exact. 

I chose the Pappardelle alla Genovese (with braised pork, beef, and veal).  It sounded great, but I was kinda bummed when I opened up the lid to find… this…

I mean, you pay $20 for pasta from a restaurant that you were blown away by last time, you expect more than this lump of goo.  And it was fine… just… fine.  Nothing even remotely interesting about it.  I still had hope for Mike’s dish…

Linguine alle Vongole e Zucchine (with littleneck clams and zucchini).  It was… fine.  Fair… Okay it was boring. 

And the side of sauteed spinach? Also… bland.   

I was beyond disappointed.  It was SO good in the restaurant before and this was just so bland.  For a $50 delivery, I expect more to begin with, but to have such a great place turn to so boring just sucks.  Maybe it was an off day… or maybe they just don’t do delivery well.  I MAY try to give them another try by dining in… but this was so uninspired I might just throw this on the “give up” list.  Bummer.

Total Nom Points: 5 out of 10

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6 September 10

Birthday Dinner at Le Bernadin

Continuing the amazing tradition of treating each other to fantastic birthday dinners, Mike surprised me this year with a meal at Le Bernadin(on 51st Street near 7th Ave).  Le Bernadin is famous for having 3 Michelin Stars and a famous chef, Eric Ripert, who did not disappoint (and was also present that night!) 

It is designed simply yet elegantly, with beautiful tall flowers that filled the large space.  The bar was nice, yet really seemed to be more of a quick waiting area than a destination place to drink.

The thing that struck me all night was the incredible service.  They even gave me a stool for my purse! (Sorry for the terrible shot)

I was especially enamoured with the candle center pieces which were simply wire, water, and a floating candle. 

We chose the Le Bernadin Tasting Menu + wine pairings, which in addition to the listed 7 course meal included an amuse bouche of watermelon soup and something I just cannot remember.

But it was such a great little touch to have mini watermelon slices.

Our first course was layers of thinly pounded tuna; foie gras and toasted baguette with shaved chives and extra virgin olive oil.  The wine was Bontani Moscatel Seco, Sierras de Malaga, Spain 2009.  You’re impressed with my memory?  Ha!  (They were nice enough to give me a printed menu as we left… like I said… SERVICE!)  This was absolutely delicious.  All of the flavors and textures just perfectly fit together. And the wine was a great compliment.  We started off impressed.

Next up was charred octopus - fermented black bean, white peach sauce vierge, ink- miso vinaigrette, purple basil.  The wine was a Savignon Blanc, Paul Cluver, Elgin, South Africa 2008.  Mike said that this was sensational.  Unfortunately, this had peppers, so they gave me the choice of an alternative.

I chose the stuffed zucchini flower with peekytoe and king grab; “Fine Herbs - Lemon” Mousseline Sauce (from the Four Course Tasting Menu).  Unfortunately, I didn’t write down the wine that went with this one… but it was actually my least favorite of the bunch.  Great on their own, but just took something away when they were together.  The individual pieces were so good that I had trouble determining which was better.  I think the Peekytoe just barely won out though.  Delish!

Our next course was great.  Warm Lobster Carpaccio; Hearts of Palm; Orange Vinaigrette.  And the wine was so good that I am currently asking my mom to go out of her way to pick us up some in NJ (the closest place I could find it to NYC).  It was a Chardonnay (we loved a chardonnay!)- Patz and Hall Russian River, 2008.  This was the best chardonnay I have ever had. Hands down.  I was scared it would retail for a few hundo, but I found it for an average of about $50 and on sale for about $35 at this place in NJ.  A little more than we’d usually spend, but totally worth it!  The dish was perfectly rich with the citrus being a great acid balance.

Next up was a baked wild striped bass with corn “cannelloni,” light Perigord Sauce.  It was paired with Rioja, Reserva, Vina Bosconia, Lopez de Heredia, Spain 2001.  This wine was also great.  And the striped bass was such a perfectly cooked piece of fish.  Absolutely fantastic.

It was at this point of the meal that I realized it was more than half over… bummer.  Next up was Escolar and Seared Nebraska Wagyu Beef with Sea bean Salad and Eggplant Fries with Mr. Kaufman’s pesto and red wine sauce.  The wine was La Croix de Beaucaillou, Saint Julien, Bordeaux 2004.  Now that description doesn’t even sound remotely familiar, nor does the picture really match.  The escolar and seared beef was definitely there (and WOW was it good… I must remember to order Escolar whenever possible), but the little accompanying items were more like light, flavorful, cheesy curds.  I guess it could have been bean salad with eggplant, however, all I know is that it was delicious.

We moved into the the dessert course next.  The description sounded quite risky: Basil Ice Cream with Peach Broth plus a tomato and a blackberry.  I wasn’t too sure, but it was GREAT. The wine that went with it was a Torrontez Sparkling - Deseado Familia Schroeder, Patagonia.  It was sweet and desserty without being sacarin.  Delicious!

Our last scheduled course was pistachio mousse, roastted white chocolate, lemon, and cherry.  The wine was Chateau La Rame - Reserve, Saint Croix du mont 1999. 

The cherries were beautiful.

I always think it’s fun when they have a stuffed dessert.  It’s like a little surprise inside.  It tasted great, though I can’t say it blew me away.

They were incredibly sweet and quickly realized that it was my birthday.  They brought me this.

Which, as you can tell by the next picture, was inedible.  (Ha!)  I have NO idea what it was. But it was gooooood.

I was a bit bummed, however, that there was no chocolate.  But not to be faulted in any way, a miniature dessert course came out right before the check.

A fantastic assortment of teeny pastries.

Overall, this was absolutely a top 5 meal.  Nothing completely took our breath away, but the meal was fantastic from start to finish.  This was the first time we ever did a wine pairing with our dinner and I was VERY happy we did.  The pours were almost full glasses, so we left the dinner QUITE happy.  We also got to try many different wines along the way and came out loving almost all of them, with one incredible gem.  Well done Mike… well done!

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

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28 April 10

Houndstooth Pub

When Mike suggested we go to a Pub in our neighborhood, at first I thought I couldn’t do that.But I embrace the Weight Watchers philosophy that you can eat whatever you’d like to as long as you honestly track it (everything has a point value) and then balance it.  Sure, you can have a giant piece of cake, but it could cost you your entire point value for the day.  You do that once or twice and you realize you’d much rather have something filling and then a bite of chocolate cake. It’s all about trade offs and balancing your food, like a bank account. I’ve realized the more honest I am about what I eat, the better I do (psss… 11 and a half pounds down!)

Houndstooth Pub is an unassuming bar and restaurant on 8th Ave between 36th and 37th.  Turns out, a lot of people go there for drinks. I never knew it was so hopping, but it was quite LOUD on this weekday night.  Luckily, their tables are a bit set back from the bar, so it wasn’t too bad and I didn’t notice the noise much after we tried to squeeze through the crowd to our table.

Mike saw frog’s legs on the menu and decided that this was the place for him to try them for the first time. Now I’ve never been a fan, but seriously? At a pub?!  I tried not to make too many faces… but I thought he was pretty f-in crazy (sorry honey!)

I tried one… it was pretty bad. The frog meat was pretty greasy and rubbery (how I remember frog usually being) and the breading just tasted stale.  Bleh.  Mike tried a few… and then that was it.  Poor Kermy…

Mike chose the Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast, Homemade Mozzarella, Arugula & Onions, served on Toasted Rosemary Herb Bread with Mission Olive Mayo.  The menu says sweet potato fries, but clearly they were not.  The sandwich was good for pub food. Juicy and flavorful.

I went bold (perhaps inspired by Mike’s frogs leg choice) and went with a stew. I think it was lamb stew.  I had done well with points for most of the day, so I ate the stew and went without the bread. The stew was 1 cup for 5 points. Not terrible! I was actually glad the portion was a bit on the small side.

Overall, I thought the Houndstooth was actually quite good for pub fare.  I think it would probably be a good place to grab a drink and a bite, but it’s just a bit too crowded.  I’m not sure if I’ll be rushing back though.

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10

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15 February 10

Pacific Blues- Napa Valley

This trip was literally our last stop before starting our “eat healthy and go back to the gym” kick.  And we really did it to the max with all our epic eating (especially in Napa).  By the end of the last day, we just wanted a salad before heaing to the airport.  We were recommended to go to Pacific Blues which is in the same complex as Bottega.  It was very casual.

I went with the Cobb salad and it was just what I wanted.

Mike went with the Taco Salad and seemed to thoroughly enjoy.

Tough to judge a place on salads, even if they hit the spot.

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10

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12 February 10

Taylor’s Refresher- Napa Valley

We woke up so stuffed from the day before, that our last day of vacation left us without much desire to eat.  We were drinking, however, so we decided we should fill up quickly and then continue our wining.  We saw a very long line at Taylor’s Refresher the day before and when I looked it up, it was #1 on TripAdvisor… so we stopped.

It’s a little highway burger joint that (thankfully) has some heat laps on their outdoor tables.

We went with the garlic butter and parsley fries.  They were better than I even though! Totally delish.

I went with a special “burger” that had either chicken or pork and apple slaw.

Mike went with the patty melt that had a burger with swiss cheese, grilled onions, mayo, and dijon on grilled rye.  I heard no complaints from him.

As a fast food joint, Taylor’s is definitely a winner.  Definitely worth a stop for a quick bite if you’re in the area.

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10

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10 February 10

Bottega- Napa Valley

Well… we’ve finally made it.  The #1 question I was asked upon my return to the East Coast was “How was Bottega??”  Well… in case you didn’t get it from the Top 10 Noms of 2009, Michael Chiarello’s restaurant did NOT disappoint.

The ambiance was beautiful, though Mike and I were both surprised that the restaurant was in the middle of what we would term a “strip mall” (though much nicer).  I guess land there is so valuable that all of the places have to be on the same space!

We ordered Burrata Creamy mozzarella burrata with roasted butternut squash, caramelized mushroom & shallots, brown butter vinaigrette, balsamic caviar.  Um… HELLO!  I would like to go back in time so I can eat this again.

But then the entrees came.  Mike got the short ribs.  The flavor of these was so incredible that I had a tough time not asking for additional bites!  They were sensational.

I went with Wood Grilled Grass-Fed Lamb Rib Chops fresh figs with tarragon, fennel seeds, white balsamic vinegar, California olive oil, creamy ancient grain  .  OH SO GOOD! 

The hotel (which made the dinner reservation, and that we REALLY liked) had asked me if we were celebrating anything.  I tried to think of a good thing to say and mentioned we were celebrating our 2 year anniversary (it was 2 weeks prior).  I guess they really took it to heart and even told Bottega who did a lovely yet reserved nod to our celebration on our dessert plates (see photos below).

Looking at the menu is conflicting with my memory and the picture.  I THINK I ordered the chocolate and caramel tortino with espresso stracciatella gelato and milk chocolate peanut butter bar.  But now I see bananas in the picture below.  Hmmm.  Either way, it was REALLY good. If I hadn’t just had the tart at lunch from Mustards, it probably would have shined even more.

Mike got the apple and honey panzerotti with apple grappa mash, vanilla bean gelato, and pink peppercorn apple pearls.  Another hit!

Overall, this meal was just so enjoyable from first bite and every bite there after right up until the very sad moment when it ended.  They took such care with every little detail and it showed in every morsel of their food.  If you go to Napa, go to Bottega.

Total Nom Points: 9 out of 10

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8 February 10

Mustards- Napa Valley

When I said I was going to San Francisco on Facebook, it was pretty unanimous that I should also go to Napa.  I had no idea they were so close, but I sure am glad they are!

On our second to last day, we rented a car early in the morning and drove up to Muir Woods (INCREDIBLY beautiful!) and then to Napa.  Our first stop was for lunch at Mustards Grill (recommended by Randi and Chris).

Our waiter was incredibly knowledgable about not only the menu but WINE!  As soon as I told him what kind of wine I liked, he said he had something perfect and he hit the nail on the head! Amazing wine.

He also recommended the “onion rings” which were more like onion straws.  They were actually quite tasty, but I probably wouldn’t order them again.

Mike and I both went with the special.  Mike got the lamb burger special with arugula, fontina, onions, and paprika aioli.  I couldn’t eat it due to the spicy factor, but Mike seemed to enjoy.

One of the specials also called to me as it had a number of my favorite ingredients in it.  Petrole Sole with brussel sprouts, chanterelles, golden beets, bacon, and blood orange vinaigrette.  It was delish!

This was a place that just screamed “get dessert here!”  Oh am I glad we did. Mike went with the rum golden raisin ice cream

But I chose right with a dessert that sounded absolutely irresistible: warm chocolate hazelnut truffle tart!  HOLY CRAP! This was probably one the best desserts I have EVER had. 

I almost picked this plate up to lick it.

Overall, the food was sensational and this was my favorite meal of the trip (up until our dinner that same night!)  The wine and entrees were great but that dessert just shot it over the top.

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

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All artwork and photos copyright of Sara Axelrod unless otherwise stated. Originally themed by Hunson and Josh
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