A Visit from Across the Pond
October 4, 2010 § Leave a comment
Only a few days after my mom and sister’s departure from New York, Rupert’s parents arrived on Thursday to spend the weekend with us from England. We had a wonderful weekend of catching up (we hadn’t seen them since last Christmas!) and, of course, eating. Here are the highlights (aka why I will be going to the gym this week!):
Dinner at Maialino was the meal I was most looking forward to this weekend and it did not fail to exceed my high expectations! Of the myriad dishes we tried, my favorite of the starters was a refreshingly crisp escarole salad. In the pasta department, the Bombolotti alla Norcia, a short, fat tubular pasta with sausage, chard and a light cream sauce, was spectacular. On an autumnal, slightly sweeter note, the Butternut Squash Agnolotti was decadent with the toasted pumpkin seed garnish adding a perfect salty, crunchy contrast. Of course, desserts made an appearance and I went straight to my favorite olive oil cake and was impressed by what I believe was a flourless choclate torte as well. Along with dinner we began some refreshing Prosecco, moved on to a wonderful Fontodi Chianti Classico (as Rupert’s parents had just visited Tuscany) and a taste of Barolo from Maialino’s incredibly unique Nebbiolo Bar.
I’ve done my share of singing the praises of City Bakery in the past, but this weekend marked my first encounter with their whole wheat croissant. A bit of a croissant purist, I have to admit I was skeptical about any healthy sounded ingredients being incorporated into something that is inherently indulgent. Rupert and his parents when to City Bakery while I was at work on Friday, so I discovered this souvenir in our apartment on Saturday morning when looking for breakfast. Even a day old, this croissant was soft and would have been wonderful as it was, but I took it a step further by slicing it in half and running it beneath the broiler for a few minutes. The whole wheat flour actually adds a bit of a sourdough-like tang and heartiness making this the best croissant I’ve had thus far in New York. I highly recommend trying it…asap! And, with the weather turning cooler, I would not hesitate to pair it with a mini-shot of their hot chocolate.
On Saturday night we ventured to Tribeca to the new Tamarind. I love the original location and had heard wonderful things about the new outpost. The space itself is breathtaking with a very modern, austere design. We were seating along the glass wall upstairs, an ideal perch for viewing the goings-on in the kitchen and at tables below. The food was every bit as delicious as that of the original, and the service is impeccable without being obtrusive. Tamarind’s chicken tikka masala is creamery and a bit sweeter than what I normally encounter and I enjoyed the selection of flavored rices in addition to basmati. The tomato coconut variety was especially unique without being overpowering. Broccoli and cheese naan, albeit a bit untraditional, was a fun twist on the staple. I would highly recommend Tamarind to people who are unfamiliar with Indian cuisine and it sets diners up for a delicious and unintimidating introduction. More than once managers (and perhaps even an owner) visited our table to ask how everything was and it was clear their aim was for people to have the perfect experience
For a late (post Arsenal v. Chelsea match) brunch, we walked a few blocks to ABC Kitchen. Having been once before, I knew this would be a crowd pleaser with a few healthy selections after a long weekend of eating out. Rivaling the impeccable seasonal, local food at ABC Kitchen is the gorgeously designed dining room and unique glassware and serving pieces sourced from ABC Home next door. We had some wonderful juice elixers to start while taking in the atmosphere and perusing the menu. Finally we narrowed our selections and came out with the signature peekytoe crab toast, morel, parmesan, oregano & farm egg whole wheat pizza and avocado & roasted carrot salad. All were spectacular with the pizza vying for first place with Pulino’s. We also tried a cauliflower soup which was rich and creamy featuring Rupert cheese. Apparently Rupert is a lot like Gruyere – not a bad cheese to be compared to if your name happens to be Rupert! On my next visit, I must save room for dessert as I’m sure they do a fantastic job with those as well. Easier said than done! I’d also like to visit for dinner soon as I’ve only been for brunch.
Tonight’s dinner, after a long run along the West Side Highway, featured Special K with Strawberries, which was exactly what we wanted after such a delicious but filling weekend!