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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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1 March 10

Angelo and Maxie’s- Restaurant Week 2010

After a lovely mani/pedi date with the incredible Lori, she recommended we visit Angelo and Maxie’s where not only was her friend, Carlotta, tending bar, but it was also Restaurant Week.  Even though I’m supposed to be on a diet, I figured I could make it work at a steak house with portion control.  Plus, I just need to enjoy SOME of Restaurant Week like I have in year’s past (Summer 2009 and Winter 2009).

In case you don’t know how restaurant week works, here is the menu from Angelo and Maxie’s (they all work similarly with a prix fixe of an app, entree, and dessert with lunch for $24.07 and dinner for $35):

*****

RESTAURANT WEEK 2010 MENU

Sunday-Friday

January 25th-February 28th, 2010 

(excluding Saturdays and February 14th)

_____

First Course

Choice of:

Maxie’s House Salad

Angelo’s Caesar Salad

Soup of the Day

_____

Second Course

Choice of:

Grilled Filet Mignon (au poivre or béarnaise available)

Charbroiled New York Sirloin Steak

1 ½ pound Herb-Roasted Chicken

Broiled Salmon over Fresh Sautéed Vegetables

Marinated Roumanian Steak with Grilled Onions (dinner only)

Maxie’s Chopped Steak with Sautéed Onions (dinner only)

_____

Third Course

Choice of:

Cheesecake

Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream

Fresh Fruit

_____

LUNCH:  $24.07

DINNER: $35.00 

*****

Lori and I both chose the caesar salad (per Carlotta’s recommendation) but only I went all in with the anchovies.  (Lori got them on the side but couldn’t bring herself to try one).  I LOVE salt, so I like anchovies, though only in small doses.

We also both chose the Filet, however, I went with mine sauceless (hoping to save some calories).

Lori chose au poivre.

For my dessert, I sucked it up and chose the fruit salad.  It was a sad moment in my life, but I knew I couldn’t have both the steak AND the cheesecake.

Or could I? Lori was gracious enough to give me a few bites. Thank GOODNESS I didn’t get this… it was so insanely good I never would have stopped eating it.

I love the take-home bags with all the cows.

We also each enjoyed a glass of the Malbec, again as recommended by our lovely bar tender Carlotta. It was a Carolores Del Sol and we both enjoyed it very much! Will have to be on the lookout for that little gem.

Overall, I thought our meal was great, and for $24 it’s hard to beat! The steak was cooked perfectly and, if you’re not slaving over a diet, you MUST try the cheesecake.  Holy cow!

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

Lori, a fellow food blogger (and lover), wrote about our experience here if you’d like to see her perspective on the same meal.

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3 August 09

Wrap Up: NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2009

Restaurant Week is something I do look forward to, even if we have a love/hate relationship.  I understand that many restaurants hate it because it forces them to serve sub-quality food to, what I have heard us being referred to as, “riff-raff.”  (Nice).  Now while I understand 3 courses for $35 ($24.07 for lunch) means that the ingredient cost usually outweigh the profit, however, I know I have proved many times that I can cook a damn good meal for less than $35 per plate (Hell! Less than $20 per plate!)  I also always buy a bottle of wine (usually one more expensive than I would otherwise) and if I get to sample a meal that is outrageous, I will go back, and probably bring my reps with expense accounts.  Now I know some people will go there, be rude, take up tables, not tip well, and probably never come back… but for those of us who can’t afford the BEST meals in the city every day, it’s a nice treat to get to sample for an affordable price. 

I try to do some research before I make the reservations to make sure that I go to the places that have already been tasted and approved by fellow food lovers.  I’m not overly concerned with size of portion (I could use a little portion control anyway!) however, I want to have food that is delicious and a reasonable selection of what’s actually on the menu.  This year my Restaurant Week research informed me that the two places (that had openings) we wanted to try were Delmonico’s and Aquavit

Our first stop was Delmonico’s on a Thursday evening (65 Beaver Street at the corner of William).  I usually don’t travel much to the Financial District, and I think I’m always pleasantly surprised when it takes me less than 20 minutes from Times Square (my office) to get there.  It was pouring, but the glow of the NYC rainy streets and the umbrellas gave the great restaurant entrance an old New York feel, which was quite appropriate.  (Turns out Delmonico’s has been around since the 1820s).

The restaurant itself was beautiful inside.  The first thing I noticed on the wine menu was that they had a Vouvray (by the glass).  My favorite wine in the world is a Vouvray (first tasted on Valentine’s Day 2008, and always proves very hard to find).  This one did not disappoint, but it wasn’t quite the amazing Domaine Du Viking 1999/2000 I have fallen in love with.  I was still thrilled to have it though!

I had a toss up on the appetizer selection as there was a pasta with artichokes listed, however, I went with the lobster bisque, since it’s something I don’t eat very often.  This one was great, though not in the top 5 (maybe even top 10) in my honest opinion.

Mike went with the iceburg wedge and the blue cheese was exceptional.

Mike and I both ordered the fillet that billed itself as “served with accompaniments.”  This turned out to be 3 strips of root veggies and 3 string beans and a pile of mashed potatoes.  Now there was nothing really wrong with the entree, however, it just wasn’t what I thought it would be.  The presentation reminded me of a wedding, and I just couldn’t get that association out of my head.  The potatoes were just okay and the 6 slices of veggies seemed very sparse and bland (especially seeing as though veggies are typically a thing restaurants can doll up inexpensively to make the plates look better for restaurant week).  The meat was good, but not exceptional.  I had no “wow” moments at all.

Until dessert…  and even then it was only a mini wow.  I should have gone with my gut and tried the Baked Alaska on the regular menu, however, I was quite pleased with what we did get.  I believe mine was called a “Yankee Doodle” Cake and resembled a homemade hostess cake with a rich chocolate outside and drizzled with caramel.  It was good, but forgettable.

Mike had a panna cotta parfait.  The blueberries smelled heavenly, but the parfait itself was somehow lacking to me.

One other thing of note: The service was so quick that it honestly felt rushed.  I couldn’t imagine that they can cook fillets made to order in under 15 minutes, however, I’m pretty sure that’s about how long it took to get through the app and then immediately be served the steaks. I love good service, but this was so quick I hardly had time to sip my wine between courses. Also, the restaurant was not full (and I noticed those around us ordered off the Restaurant Week menu as well, so they may not have even been there at all otherwise).

Total Nom Points: 6 out of 10

_____________________________________________________

Our next restaurant week stop was Aquavit Cafe (aka AQ Cafe) which is the more “casual” version of Aquavit Dining Room (we tried for the dining room but they didn’t have an open reservation.).    AQ Cafe is located at 65 E. 55th Street between Madison and Park Aves.  Aquavit came as a recommendation from the incomparable Lori (a fellow food lover and blogger), who went there for Restaurant Week this past winter.

I liked that rather than the usual bread, we were started with popcorn that had fresh shaved parmesan and what I think was dill on it.  Unfortunately, the popcorn tasted as though it had sat out in a humid room for a bit, but I love popcorn even when it’s stale, and the cheese really was delish on top.

We decided to try the flights of Aquavit.  I’m not a fan of vodka nor licorice (two comparisons I’ve heard to the taste), however, since it was the namesake of the restaurant, I figured it couldn’t hurt.

We each picked three.  I went with Blueberry & Elderflower, Coconut & Espresso, and the Lingonberry sampler.  Mike chose Fig & Cardamon, Pear Vanilla & Black Pepper, and Pineapple & Thai Basil.  I definitely chose the winning flight, as I thought all three of mine were better than all three of his.  The ultimate winner, however, was the Coconut & Espresso, which would probably be the only one I’d reorder.  Overall, I think Aquavit just isn’t for me, but it sure looked pretty:

I started with the Herring Plate.  It was really great, and each piece of herring was either in a different sauce or had a different topping.  I’m still not sure what all of them were, except I can guess that one was roe, one was something sweet and fruity (pear maybe), and one was scallions. The fourth one I was clueless about, but I enjoyed.  I would have liked a little information on what I was eating exactly, but it didn’t deter from my enjoyment.

Mike ordered the chilled corn soup with smoked salmon and beets.  He had never had cold soup before and this was an instant turn-off for him.  Personally, I like cold soup, although this one could have benefited from a bit more flavor.

I went with the exact same entree I got as Smorgas Chef a few weeks ago (I heard that branch is now closed!) except this one was hands down better in every way.  The potatoes were more potato-y, the lingonberries were perfectly sweet, and the meat balls had a perfect flavor and were even more tender.  Not to say that Smorgas Chef wasn’t good, but it was too easy to see a difference since it was so recent.

Mike went with the Herb Roasted Chicken with green beans, corn, and mushrooms.  The corn mush on the bottom was yummy, but the chicken was a bit too dry and flavorless.  Surprising.

Desserts stood out bar none. I had the chocolate mousse with peanut powder and grape sorbet.  I wanted to lick the plate.  There was something a bit off with the texture on the bottom of the mousse, but I value taste more than texture.

Mike’s dessert was even better.  He got the “Arctic Circle” which was a goat cheese parfait, passion fruit curd, and blueberry sorbet.  The whole thing was great, but the sorbet was sensational.

The service here was quick but didn’t feel rushed.  I liked the atmosphere as it was open without being load and nicely decorated.  The idea of specialty flights of aquavit was also quite nice.  The entrees were very variable for us, and I would probably award a 7 to mine and a 6 to Mike’s, however, the desserts pushed this one out in front.

Overall Nom Points: 7 out of 10

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29 April 09

Cooking class at ICE

For our anniversary, I gave Mike a gift certificate to The Institute of Culinary Education (AKA ICE) since we have been enjoying cooking together so much. He was nice enough to take me with him to learn how to make “Great New York Restaurants’ Signature Dishes.”

From ICE’s website: “Thanks to Chef-Instructor Loren Banco, enjoying your favorite dishes from some of New York’s best restaurants is only a class away. You will learn the following signature dishes and desserts: from Balthazar, Salad Balthazar; from Babbo, Mint Love Letters; from Craft, Hanger Steak with Bordelaise Sauce; from Le Bernardin, Roast Monkfish on Savoy Cabbage and Bacon-Butter Sauce; and from Gotham Bar and Grill, Warm Chocolate Cake.”

Mike and I had a great time making the recipes, and we specifically focused on making the filling for the raviolis (“Mint Love Letters”) and the fish.  Everything was delicious and I learned quite a bit.

The teacher was a bit… militant, however.  He stressed everyone out by yelling at them for odd things (like keeping a single piece of fish in a pan for the moment in between transferring in a new one).  I wanted him to teach us more about techniques that I can use every day and less about “well this ingredient is impossible to find for regular people so you can try to substitute xyz but it won’t be the same.” 

We also met some fun people there and overall it was really fun.

Unfortunately my camera battery was dying (and I seem to have misplaced the charger, which is the reason I haven’t been posting as I have no pictures), however, I managed to get a shot of the steak (the sauce was incredible) and the fish (bar blanc sauce is amazing) right before the camera fully died.

http://inlinethumb58.webshots.com/44729/2458438840033748419S425x425Q85.jpg

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8 March 09

These Are a Few of my Favorite Things

I absolutely love steak. It may not be very girly of me (though I’ve never been good at “girly” anyway), but give me a big hunk of beef over a salad any day. I try to eat well, but when it comes down to it, I’m happiest eating fatty, sweet, and starchy delectables.

I’ve tried a number of steak places in the city. From Peter Luger’s to BLT Steak to Smith and Wolensky’s, they’ve all been good. Some really good. And while I do sometimes dream about the Popovers at BLT and Peter Luger’s was a great experience, the steak place that has my heart is Keens. It just never dissapoints. Every meal I’ve had there has been flawless. The mutton (which is what it’s famous for) is fabulous and the prime rib is the best I have ever had.

Keens is a very old restaurant (124 years old to be exact) that looks like it was furnished by the antiques I only dream of one day putting in my home, but they were installed when they were new. In the entry-way there is a display of the “Dinosaur Sirloin” which looks about 100 years old. The sign says Keens thinks it is still not yet aged enough.

My favorite part is that there are old pipes hung on the ceiling. The story goes that when smoking was permitted, Keens’ regulars stored their pipes at the restaurant for the next time and they had a “pipe club” (both real and honorary) with members like Babe Ruth and Steven King. There are supposedly more than 50,000 pipes and I think it just adds a really cool look to the place.

Typically I go to Keens with a publisher for my job and the meal is on the house. The one time I went with Mike, it was more expensive than I realized, but well worth it. I observed the last time I was there that their pub menu is different and very reasonable (as far as steak places in Manhattan go anyway). When Lori and I were looking for a place to eat on a random Thursday evening, I was more than happy that she agreed to try to Keens Pub menu with me. The pub menu is served Monday - Friday, 11.45 Am To 10.30pm and on Weekends 5pm To Close.

It absolutely did not dissapoint. For a semi-small menu, it had more than a few options that sounded great. Lori and I each ordered a glass of wine and anxiously awaited our meals.

Lori had the Miss Keens Burger, which was a burger without a bun, fries, and a green salad. The burger had somewhat of a salt glaze to it. The meat itself TASTED like good meat. Even the salad had the perfect dressing and the fries were expertly crispy.

I went with the Prime Rib Hash. It had many of my favorite things in it. Fried potato hash with onions, prime rib, and topped with a fried egg. (Very healthy). It was absolutely phenomenal. It was like the best latke I’ve ever had but with an excellent meat and a perfectly cooked egg.

Lori and I moaned throughout the entire meal.

I had been tipped off the last time I was at Keens that the meringue was especially good. It’s greek yogurt with whipped cream, pieces of mirengue, and fresh raspberries and strawberries. I absolutely loved it and was all too happy to share it with Lori. I don’t think she liked it quite as much as I did due to the mirengue’s texture, but she seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.

We left with full, happy bellies.

Total Nom Points: 9 out of 10 

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16 February 09

Valentine’s Day Surf and Turf

This year for Valentine’s Day, Mike and I decided we would cook together (one of our favorite activities).  We decided on Surf and Turf and went to Chelsea Market, one of my favorite places in NYC. 

Chelsea Market was the old Nabisco Factory. Now it is home to multiple bakeries, food stores, wine merchants, and restaurants as well as the home of a few marketing companies and Food Network TV studios. 

(<— LOOK! DEATH!)

I love the look of the building.  It’s industrial and artsy at the same time.  They left certain pieces from what it was and made it into something completely reimagined. 

There are many performers that entertain there as well.

While walking around the market, we spotted Whitney Port (from “The Hills”/”The City” on MTV).  She had the longest, thinnest legs I’ve ever seen.

Mike and I went specifically for The Lobster Place.  They specialize in wholesale to some of the best restaurants in Manhattan, but they also sell to commoners like me.  After a lap around the store (and our comments in stereo: Sara- “It smells like Maine” and Mike- “It smells like Boston”), we decided on a half pound of jumbo scallops and a 1.5 pound lobster (live).  We proceeded to name the lobster “Whitney Port” in honor of our celebrity spotting.

On the way home, Mike and I stopped at a Meat Market and bought a very large flank steak and some pancetta.  As soon as we got home, we set the steak to marinate in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, honey, vinegar, and oil.  A few hours later, we whipped up the scallops in butter, garlic, and shallots.  It was tasty! So tasty, in fact, that I forgot to take pictures.  But we did pop the wine that we went on an adventure to find. This is a wine from 1990 and it is just very, very good.

Next up we started boiling the big pot of water for Whitney and then browned the pancetta for the brussel sprouts.  We originally fell in love with a similar recipe that we ate at Babbo, and then saw Guy Fieri cook a similar version on The Food Network.  We altered it slightly, however, and loved it so much last time we made it that we added it to the Valentine’s Day meal. 

While the Brussel Sprouts were baking, we started the steak on the grill.  We proceeded to set the fire alarm off, almost burn the steak, then threw WAY too much oil on the grill top (my fault) to prevent the other side from burning.  WHOOPS! It unfortunately turned out a bit tough, but delicious. (And even better the next day when the meat had time to absorb more of the marinade and garlic!)

Of course, we set Whitney to boil as soon as we could, and then I hacked her to pieces.

The completed meal was absolutely delicious!  Yet again, somehow, the brussel sprouts still prevailed as the highlight.  Go figure!

After dinner we went to see Guys and Dolls on Broadway (good, but not great… though definitely a classic).  Our plan was to go to Marseilles on 44th Street and 9th Avenue for dessert.  We went in around 10:30pm and there were at least a dozen empty tables with no one waiting.  The hostess proceeded to inform us, however, that they were booked solid for the next hour and we were welcome to take a seat at the bar (the seats were a single on either side).  I asked her if she was kidding and she regretted to inform me she was not.  We incredulously left and decided we’d be better off with dessert on the couch.  We picked up 2 pints of Ben & Jerry’s and I have decided that their Pumpkin Cheesecake may just be my favorite ice cream ever.  It’s on Limited Batch right now, however, so I will shed a tear when it is gone.

All-in-all, it was a fabulous Valentine’s Day!

*****************
Here are the recipes from the evening:

Steak Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • Blend, Spear steak with fork, Marinate for many hours (we did 4, but I think it would benefit from at least 8), and Grill.

    *****************

    Brussel Sprouts

    Ingredients

    • 6 ounces pancetta, big dice
    • 1-2 pints Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup pine nuts

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a medium pan over medium heat cook the pancetta. Remove from pan, reserving a little of the pancetta fat in the pan. Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and cook over medium heat to begin to brown. Dress with balsamic and olive oil, a little salt (pancetta are salty) and pepper. Place into the oven and roast, tossing a couple of times, until nicely caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes.

    Put the pine nuts in a small, dry, saute pan and toast over a low flame, tossing a couple of times, just until lightly browned, 3 or 4 minutes. (we used some oil to prevent burning, but it probably wasn’t necessary)

    Once the sprouts are ready, remove them from the oven and put into a big serving bowl. Add the pancetta and pine nuts. Toss and check for seasoning. Serve.

    *****************

    Lobster

    Boil water with salt
    Put lobster in head first for about 8-10 minutes per pound
    Remove and hack (or if you have nut crackers, skip the hacking)

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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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