Posts Tagged ‘NY’

Salad in the Style of Nice

July 13, 2009

Nicoise SaladThe Nicoise Salad is a classic salad from the 1800’s.  I had mine, last night at the Warwick Hotel in NYC as I was in for the MM&M Awards judging.

The Warwick makes their classic Nicoise with Fresh Greens, Hard Boiled Eggs, Jersey Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Boiled PotatoesGreen Beans and Tuna with a Balsamic vinaigrette.  I think the beauty of this salad is that with that many different ingredients that you get a different taste sensation in every bite by just changing the combination of items. You can also play with different texture and flavours by combining crispy greens with the soft eggs and salty olives with the sweet tuna, crispy green beans with the smooth boiled potatoes.

It was a great salad and just what I needed after all the burgers and steaks I have been eating lately.  Thanks to Joe for taking the photo for me.  BTW If you haven’t the Salad Survey yet, do it now.

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BLT Prime Time

June 28, 2009

Ryan and I spent most of Friday being tourists in New York City visiting the Howard Stern studio, wandering around Times Square, visiting the Hard Rock Cafe, going to a comedy club and having dinner at BLT Prime, one of the best steakhouses in the city.

We were met by Facebook friend Steve and his boss Erin who work a major digital agency.  They have recently re-branding their agency and wanted to share with me what the changes could mean for my company. Over a great dinner we talked about social media and how that was changing the way we communicate with our customers. I also found out that Steve and Erin are both into the food scene and participate on several blogs of their own. Erin also blogs about the wine she drinks and that has made her learn a great deal about which wines to drink.  Good for us LOL. So interesting people, in an interesting place all set to have a great meal so let me tell you about what we drank and ate.

The Last Ride at BLT Prime

I like to try the signature cocktail at the restaurants I eat in just to change things up from the usual glass of wine or standard cocktail. At BLT Prime, they have a few signature cocktails that would match most people’s taste. I went for The Last Ride since the ingredients sounded like the drink would be an upscale Manhattan, and since I was in Manhattan, why not? LOL.  The barmaid created my cocktail by muddling a half dozen cherries and then combining them in a shaker with some Makers Mark Bourbon, Cointreau, Carpano Antica (an upscale sweet vermouth) and some Ice. After some vigorous shaking, she poured out the wonderful libation in the photo.  not overtaking the drink as many house Manhattan tend to do. The Last Ride brought notes of orange and cherry but not making the drink overly sweet and sappy but well balanced with the Bourbon.  A very nice cocktail and highly recommended by me.

 Popovers at BLT Prime

Every order at BLT Prime gets their signature Popover as their take on an amuse-bouche. In most restaurants that serve amuse-bouche, it a bite size appetizer that gets you started for meal. Here, they give you a six-inch Yorkshire Pudding-looking piece of bread. Erin had been here a few times before so she knew that the best way to attack this was tearing off a piece, dabbing on some BLT Butter and then shaking on some of the Sea Salt. I was expecting a bland Yorkshire Pudding without-the-gravy-taste but it actually tasted like butter popcorn. The top of the popover was covered in melted Gruyere cheese, giving that section of the popover a cheesy popcorn flavour. That was a bit of a surprise for me but quite nice and enjoyable while we waited for the appetizers.

 Tuna Tartare at BLT PrimeWe all decided to share the different appetizers so we could all get a taste of them and then compare.  I had the Tuna Tartare.  The generous portion of tuna was served over avocado and lime soy sauce with potato crisps.  I liked this dish.  The sweet tuna and avocado matched well with the salty line-soy sauce.  The creamy tuna and avocado contrasted nicely with potato crisps giving each portion a nice mouth feel. A tasty and filling appetizer.

 Crab Cakes at BLT Prime

Steve ordered the Crab Cake. It came with Meyer Lemon sauce and a tiny Radish Salad.  The small bite I had was pleasant with the lemon contrasting nicely with the sweet crab meat and the radish salad offering some nice crunch to the chunks of crab meat. It was a good crab cake with some interesting textures you don’t usually see.

Cesear Salad at BLT PrimeRyan went for the classic Caesar Salad.  BLT Prime serves a generous portion with two large croutons. For some reason the prepared the salad by placing the dressing in the middle of the salad leaving the top leaves of lettuce undressed. After mixing the salad and getting all the greens dressed it turned into a very good Caesar Salad but Ryan was kind enough to say it wasn’t as good as mine.  LOL He’s a smart kid. The small portion I tried was nice.  Crisp lettuce, creamy dressing, nice level of garlic (I like more) and great cheese. Very acceptable.

Grilled Bacon at BLT PrimeErin called it the most “Bad Ass” appetizer ever, Grilled Double Cut Bacon. The dish came with four slices of double thick, slightly smoked grilled bacon. The great grill marks, sauteed garlic and parsley bites and bacon aroma made this appetizer a new classic for me. We each tried a slice and it was the best bacon I have ever had. Meaty, sweet, slightly smokey and a nice char from the grill. Definitely Bad Ass. Try it.

 NY Strip steak at BLT PrimeRyan went for the NY Strip steak. Sixteen ounces of 28 day aged meaty delight. Perfectly cooked to a medium rare and accompanied by a selection of sauces; Bearnaise, Peppercorn, Red Wine and Horseradish.  Ryan was loving this steak.

BLT Cut at BLT PrimeErin and I decide to split the BLT Cut, Bone in Double Cut Sirloin. Again 28 days of dry ageing and cooked to perfection medium rare.  At 32 ounces it was perfect to share giving us a reasonable amount of meat each.  The staff carved the steak before presenting it to us making it easy to select portions from the serving dish to enjoy on our plates. The first bite was amazing, tender, a lite char on the outside and earthy sweet meat on the inside. Meat perfection in a bite.  I tried the meat with the different sauces and each one brought a different note to each bite but even on it’s own the steak was perfect.

Italian Steak at BLT Prime

Steve ordered the Steak Special of the day, steak imported from Italy. I didn’t write down the name and now can’t find it on the Internet. I did manage to get a bite from Steve and it was very interesting. The first taste sensation was dry, not dry in a bad way but rather a concentration of meaty flavours. This steak seem to take to the dry aging more than the steak from the US. I had never tasted anything like that.  It was quite good and different from any other steak I have ever tasted.

We tried several sides and shared them; Gnocchi Pomadoro, Creamy Spinach, Grilled Asparagus, Stuffed Mushroom Caps and Hen of the Woods Mushrooms. Most were average at best with mushroom caps standing out. The gnocchi had too cheese and didn’t match weell with steaks. The creamy spinach was too runny for me but still flavourful. The asparagus was well grilled but needed some sauce to make it truly tasty. The Hen of the Woods muchroom arrived as surprise in place of the Blue Cheese Tater Tots we actually ordered.  The Hen of the Woods mushrooms were ok but the mushroom caps were much better.

Carrot Cake with Ginger Ice Cream

For dessert, I chose the Carrot Cake with Ginger Ice Cream. The classic dessert was well excuted with a great carrot flavour coming out of the cake and ginger coming out of the ice cream. It was a perfect size for one person and I managed to keep most of it for myself LOL but Steve did try it and commented strong ginger and carrot flavours.  Very nice.

Blueberry Crumble Dessert Special at BLT Prime

Erin went for the daily dessert special the Blueberry Cobbler.  The large portion came with Vanila Ice Cream. The biscuits covering the blueberry sauce were light and sweet and they made a nice contrast in texture with the blueberry sauce and ice cream.  The Blueberry sauce was warm making the cold ice cream melt into a delicious sauce soaked up by the biscuits. A classic dessert well executed in a very generous portion. Make sure you try it if it’s on the menu that night.

It was a great meal and I got to enjoy it with Steve and Erin, two leaders in the digital/social media space and of course my son.  BTW BTL Prime offers a $60 Prix Fixe menu, where you get to order of the specials menu, one app, one main, one side and one dessert. I am sure our meal was more expensive than that but if you want to try BLT Prime, the Prix Fixe maybe a more affordable way. 

Tell us your favourite cut of steak at the poll here and recommend the Best of Bucks Co-Steaks here.

Read other review on BLT Prime here, here and here.

BLT Prime on Urbanspoon

BLT Prime, 111 E 22ND St, New York, NY 10010-5400              (212) 995-8500

Hard Rock Wings

June 27, 2009

Ryan and I got to spend Friday in New York City doing some touristy things. We started our visit out by getting a personal studio tour of the Howard Stern Show, then a tour of Times Square including a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe, a visit to BLT Prime (more on that later) and finally a comedy show at Ha! It was a great father-son day.  You can see the photos of the Stern Studio tour at my and Ryan’s Facebook pages.  

No visit to Times Square is not complete without a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe.  The Cafe is almost a museum that also serves food and sells T Shirts.  They have some great Rock ‘n Roll memorabilia all over the store if you haven’t been there before.  Ryan and I stopped in around 4:30 for a drink and some Chicken Wings. I knew they could not qualify for my Best of Bucks Co. Wings Top 5 list but I thought I should report on them in case you are in the neighbourhood. LOL.

Hard Rock Cafe Chicken WingsThe Chicken Wings were good but not great.  The Medium Sized wings arrived quickly from kitchen despite a large crowd on a Friday afternoon. The skin was not crispy but cooked thru.  A little more cooking time could have done the job here. The wings come spicy or BBQ but we stuck to trying the spicy and they were Spicy.  The first bite put the heat in you mouth and it stuck around even after you swallowed.  Not really a flavourful heat but just a burn. Once the burn died down, you did get a good chicken taste.  The celery was fresh and crisp but two different sizes that was a little weird for me.  The “White Blue Cheese” dressing had obviously made hours before because all the cheese pieces were at the bottom of the container.  Once I fished out a piece of cheese, it was pretty bland and missing of the tang that a good blue cheese has. The cheese did cool some of the heat from the sauce so it was OK. The wings were big enough that it made a enough of an appetizer for Ryan and me to share.

Read another review of the Hard Rock Cafe here.

Hard Rock Café, 1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036,                   (212) 343-3355

Triple Crown Finish

June 6, 2009

The final race of US Horse Racing’s Triple Crown in The Belmont and that race happens later today. There is a lot of tradition at the three Triple Crown races; each race has a flower – Rose, Black-Eye Susan and Carnation, the painting of the winning jockey’s colours and different cocktails; the Mint Julep, the Preakness Cocktail and for today the Belmont Breeze.  It seems like we have our own traditions too. Betting on the long shots in the races, making the race cocktails, and toasting my dad while watching the race with my mom on the phone.  I look forward to these races.

Facebook Friend and Poker buddy Matt is placing our bets on a combination of long shots so that if we win, we win big.  It’s fun to have a little money on the race and I have always been a fan of the underdog. Not sure exactly who we are betting on but will update the post closer to race time.

Belmont Breeze ingredientsAs for the official cocktail, it’s called at Belmont Breeze. To make it you need; 1 1/2 ounces Makers Mark Bourbon, 1/2 ounce Dry Sack Sherry, 1/2 oz fresh Lemon Juice, 1/2 Simple Syrup,  a splash of fresh orange juice, a splash of cranberry juice, 5 mint leaves, 1 mint sprig, and 1 orange zest. Donna and I made enough for four drinks.

Belmont Breeze

The three fruit juices mellow the taste of the Bourbon and give the Belmont Breeze a clean finish.  The Simple Syrup brings sweetness to the party but not over whelming.  The Mint and Orange aromas are pleasant.  We like the cocktail but prefer the Preakness Cocktail a little more. It is interesting to me that all three drinks are whiskey based given that the most popular alcoholic drink in the USA, after beer, is vodka but being Canadians we like our whiskey. This bourbon thing is getting close to Canadian Whiskey but that’s another blog.

So now we are prepared, I can call my mom, toast my Dad and watch the race.  Come on Long Shot.

Update:  WE WON $8.  Matt picked the right horse and couple of trifectas and we got our money back plus $8 each.  Yeah!  LOL.   Can wait until next year.

Do Something with Random Photos

June 5, 2009

Last night I was in NYC attending the Do Something.org Awards at the famous Apollo Theatre. Our VP and Chief Media Officer Kim was being honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to Do Something.  If you don’t know, Do Something, check it out, it’s a great Not-for-profit org that help teens do something important with their lives and “rock social change”. Last night five outstanding young people were profiled on how their projects made a real difference and each was awarded $10,000.  It was pretty impressive with accomplishments like getting 18 year-oldsto register to vote, speaking out about getting tested for HIV when you, at 19, have HIV yourself , documenting your trip across America, when you have DMD, to raise money to fund finding a cure for it, teaching future leaders in Uganda and housing, adopting and placing 700+ orphans in Nepal all when you haven;t reached your 22nd birthday.  I didn’t really know Do Something.org going into the session but came away with a great deal of respect for what they do and the “Kids” that are doing so much.

Between performances by big teen favourites Boys Love Girls and AkonFilet Steak, I got two SMS messages on my Blackberry.  I took a look and saw photos of steak and pasta plus a PA telephone number but not a name or message.  LOL this food blog thing is getting out of hand when people are randomly sending me food pictures.  Not sure if this happens to other bloggers but the thought of people drunk dialing me food pictures was very funny to me.

I later found out that the photos were not that random, come to find out that Donna and Ryan were out at our local favourite Italian restaurant and had ordered these dishes.  When the dishes came the owner and staff wanted to take pictures of the dishes for me. Donna doesn’t have a camera in her phone and Ryan’s camera is broken so they had to use the bartender’s camera to make it happen.  It’s funny to me that just a few weeks back they thought it was really weird that I was taking shots of my food and here they are tweaking the dish, taking shots from different angles and being very fussy with the way the food looked. LOL.  Penne ala Vodka

Donna had the steak and Ryan had the pasta. Donna’s steak dish had four Mini-Fillets that were cooked medium well. The meat was tender,  juicy and full of flavour.  Asparagus was cooked el dente and the Risotto was well cooked and creamy with a beefy flavour. The entire dish was circled with a beef reduction.  Donna enjoyed the meal with some wine.

Ryan thought his Penne ala Vodka was really, really good. The sauce was creamy and rich with pieces of Tomato and Prosciutto mixed in.  Phil’s 22 year old nephew cooked both dishes like an old school pro.  Nice job.

So a fun night in NYC, impressive kids, a musical experience and I still managed to get a food post out the evening. Too much. LOL

Cafe Europa Trattoria,  Logan Square, New Hope,  PA 215-862-9600

Peter and Joe’s Late Night Food Adventure in NYC

May 18, 2009

I am attending a gathering of health eMarketers in New York City next month.  The meeting organizers are planning a late reception Monday night followed by an early Tuesday morning start to the session. Fellow Facebook Friend and marketer Joe is going to the same meeting so we thought we would plan a Food Adventure in NYC.  So readers what do you suggest we do between 9:00 pm and 8:00 am on a Monday night and Tuesday morning.  We are staying within walking distance of Times Square and the gathering is near Columbus Circle.  I am not that familiar with NYC so please provide addresses. Please use the comment box to suggest NYC Food Adventure for Joe and I.  The location should be photo friendly so we can report back.  Suggest away.

Road Trip – New York

May 8, 2009

One day every quarter, some of the best and brightest digital marketers from my company and our digital advertising agencies meet in NYC to review what each other have been doing and bring in some outside speakers to enlighten us even further.  That day was yesterday and it was a very good and productive meeting organized by Vaughn, Pam, Adam, Matt, Marcelle & et al.  After the meeting, Everyday Health, a large digital health care advertising network sponsored a reception for attendees. 

Everyday Health - Spread Platter

Everyday Health - Veggie Platter

It was actually very impressive what the caterer pulled off in the small space the reception  was held in.  There were two food stations, one with bruschetta and hummus spreads plus grapes and three different cheeses – blue, brie and cheddar (left photo) and veggies, dip, olives,  more grape and cheeses – goat, Parmesan and Swiss (right photo).

In addition to the fixed stations, the staff from ScooziEventsNYC  passed plated appetizers to the hungry company and agency folks.  I managed to get shots a few of the decorated plates from the very cooperative staff that must of thought very strange things of me as I took photos in the middle of the reception. (What I do for my art. LOL)

Mini Lobster Sandwiches - Appetizers

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On the left are Mini Lobster Sandwiches and on the right are Mini Crab Cakes.  The lobster sandwiches had a nice ratio of lobster to mayo to celery allowing the sweetness of the lobster to come thru.  The mini crab cake also had a nice ratio of crab to bread crumb.  The little dollop of what I thought was horseradish cream was a delicate touch that finished the crab cake nicely. Both of these were very nice seafood appetizers  and very well presented.

Mini Mac'n' Cheese appetizers  Mini Neapolitan Caprice

Two other appetizers  I enjoyed and were able to capture with my camera were the mini Mac ‘n’ Cheese and the mini Neapolitan Caprice.  The Mini Mac ‘n’ Cheese were bit size morsel of the classic kids food. Very cheesy but with a enough texture to make it interesting.  The Mini Neapolitan Caprice appetizers were layered mini sandwiches of sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese with a dot of aged balsamicvery tasty.  I didn’t get photos of the Kobe beef mini burger and the shrimp appetizers but both were worthy of note and inclusion if you decide to use this caterer.

Net – net it was a very enjoyable reception with a focus on mini version of classic foods.  Personally, I like this approach and the caterer executed it very well.  Good food, good drinks and good company – a great combination.

ScooziEventsNYC  Contact Gianluca Ballarini – 212-799-0080

After the reception, I joined Facebook Friend and San Francisco Agency honcho Barbara for dinner at BRASSERIE 44.  This upscale brasserie has some strong culinary heritage with John McDonald (Lever House, Lure Fishbar, Chinatown, and MercBar) and Chef Scott Ekstrom (formerly Daniel and Oceana) creating the space and the menu.

Salumi  - Brasserie 44

Barbara is a big fan of salumi so when Eric, our waiter, described their version as homemade, she suggested we order it.  It was a good choice as this appetizer came with three meats; Genoa salami, prochuttio and capicolla; grain mustard, toast points and cornichons.  The meats were very tasty.  The Genoa salami was cut paper thin with a mild garlic and pork taste.  The photo makes the prochuttio look fatty but the taste was moist and slightly salty.  The  capicolla on the other hand was less fatty but had a more intense pork flavour.Oysters Brasserie 44  The portion size was larger than I anticipated so I was glad the two of us were sharing.

We also decided to share some oysters.  The old adage that you shouldn’t eat oysters in months without “r”‘s is passe since most oysters are now raised in farms and not susceptible to red tide and other seasonable oyster aliments in the open water farms.  The oysters that night were Deer Point oysters from the West Coast.  We tried for a state but the best info we could get was the West Coast.  These small to medium oysters were plump and meaty.  The oysters had a fresh briny taste that often reminds one of spray off the ocean.  The oysters came with classic cocktail and red wine vinegar sauces and a lemon wedge.  I usually like a little sauce with my oysters but these ones were delicate enough that the sauces took away from the core oyster taste so that the sauces were not needed.  A little lemon did bring out the flavour but not much was needed. Very tasty even if it was May (without the r).

Fresh Skate

 Barbara’s main was Skate with crushed potatoes and beurre noisette.  You often don’t see skate on menus because it is such a delicate fish with a short shelf life so Barbara decided to give it a try.  The first try and the piece Barbara shared with me were very salty. We speculated that using sweet butter with the beurre noisette may have been an option but as Barbara got into the thicher pieces of fish the saltiness decreased making the dish an acceptable dish.  Both Barbara and I have Irish heritages in our background and found the “crushed” potatoes reminding us of boiled potatoes our parents served us in our childhoods.  Good memories but at these prices, I would have expected a starch offering of higher quality.

 My main was the Halibut with creamy endive and speck ham with truffle oil. Mine was a winner.  The well Halibut Brasserie 44cooked halibut flaked at fork point and was moist and sweet to the taste. There was also a light crust on the outside of the flesh which I think came from pan frying the generous portion of halibut.  The creamy endive was a first for me but I enjoyed the slightly bitter taste of the endive matching well with the sweetness of the fish.  The earthiness of truffle oil also matched well with the fish and endive.  This was also the first time for me with the speck ham in a sauce.  I expect salt from hams but the oil seemed to negate the salt making the dish a complete success. 

The wine list at Brasserie 44 is suppose to be a highlight of the restaurant and it was working for me.  Barbara tried a couple of different reds but I stuck with my Pinot Noir.  It worked for me and Barbara seemed to enjoy her choices.

Thanks for meal Barbara, I enjoyed our foodie outing – photos and all and I look forward to the next one.

BRASSERIE 44, 44 West 44 Street, New York City 10036 212 944 8844