Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween & the City

If you have never experienced Halloween in New York, you're missing out. It's bigger than New Year's because it's a New Yorker's holiday, not a tourist's. The city goes off. The parade shuts down lower Manhattan. And if you're a tired 26 year old female sans costume, just finishing up family day in the city, here's my advice:

Grab a pint of your favorite frozen confection and cuddle up on your best friend's couch to watch Annie Hall. Especially if it's pouring rain. Happy Hutnick. Happy Halloween. :)

Josie's Midtown

This is one of my favorite restaurants in the world. If there was one in Newport Beach, I would be there at least twice a week. Everthing is organic. They use no dairy in preparation unless noted in the dish's description. It's the only restaurant I enjoy "family style" dining, because I know I can digest everything so I do want to share and try new dishes.

I have not been in five years because when I go back to the city I usually stay on the Upper East side or Central Park West. But this trip my parents needed to have dinner at a restaurant close to Grand Central*, so they could get the train back to Connecticut and be tucked in at a decent dinner at Josie's was ON.

It all came back to me. Fast. The sweet potato spread. The fresh foccacia and multi-grain bread. The ginger grilled calamari with golden pineapple and red pepper salsa (dish featured in photo). I actually wanted to get two entrees that's how happy and hungry I got just reading the menu. My "usual" when I first discovered Josie's was the warm macadamia crusted chicken breast with orzo and salad. This time I GOT CRAZY and tried something new...the seared tuna entree. It pretty much evaporated off my plate. My parents shared their dishes with me and they too were outstanding (filet mignon medallions with truffle mashed potatoes, mushrooms, and asparagus - all butter and cream free - and shrimp "un-fried" brown rice with tons of veggies and delicious seasonings).

If I ever have the luxury employing a personal chef, Josie's is the first place I will call. A girl can dream, right?!

*Josie's is a stone's throw from GCT on 3rd Ave. and 37th


Last night I met my friend at a restaurant called Cru. According to a few websites, they're famous for their wine list. Well, I had no idea what I was in for. I instantly dove into the twenty pages (maybe 30!) of Burgundies in attempt to pick a bottle for the night. The sommelier there was patient, helpful, and cool - like we wanted to invite him to the club with us cool. After a few too many minutes of shop talk with the somm, leaving my friend to nurse his cocktail, it was time to pull the trigger. I went for the prize vintage and producer. MAJOR value. A 1993 Roumier, Chambolle Musigny for under $300 (at a restaurant). So a village wine, generic AOC classification, but I was fine with that. A '93 premier or grand cru would have quickly launched us to four figure liquid assets.

The food at Cru was a bit of an afterthought. My attention was captivated by our Krug aperitif and the anticipation of the wine. After it was decanted and tasted, conversation and flavors unfolded and evolved on our palates in sync. Couldn't have been a better night...well, maybe if we splurged for a Richeborg :)

(Side note: Cru's address is 24 5th Ave (btw 9th and 10th Street). There is another Cru that sometimes shows up on a Google maps search way way west on 11th Street, where I arrived on time for dinner only to find out I had walked 10 mins in boots to the wrong place. This isn't the first time Karoline and I have failed navigationally. We should know to be more careful by now...)

Friday, October 30, 2009


Another night in New York. It's Friday, time to go big or go home. Which means two things to me...

1. Burgundy
2. New dress

Tomoe Sushi

One of my best friends lives in Greenwich Village and this trip to New York I stayed with her. She always raves about this hole in the wall sushi place near Washington Square Park, but we've never been able to power through our low blood sugar while waiting for a table. (Especially when Otto is around the corner from her apartment.)

Upon a late arrival last night, the sushi stars were aligned. By the time we arrived at Tomoe it was almost 10 and we got a table immediately. The place was cozy. The sake list was written on the wall. The conversations of the tables sandwiching us composed the soundtrack for our meal. I was back in New York and couldn't be happier. And then, the food came.

An assortment of some of the freshest looking, and, more importantly, tasting sushi I've had. I picked up a piece of yellowtail sushi, the fish gently hugging the fresh rice, and feared I would crush it. I didn't think raw fish and rice could ever feel like it was melting in your mouth. I stand corrected. Thanks Tomoe!

(Side note: They will substitute white rice in cut rolls with brown rice, but not sushi. And if you go the sashimi route, I think you're making a big mistake. There is an epic texture experience you will appreciate if you have tasted sushi anywhere else.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Viognier Rhymes With Sunday

What do you do on the perfect fall afternoon in Corona Del Mar?

1. Plant yourself with a friend on the Gulfstream patio (...may want to bring your own stems if you're sensitive to glassware)

2. Pop a bottle of chilled white wine and a red, pouring no more than two ounces at a time

3. Snack on peel-n-eat shrimp, ahi with ponzu, and roasted beets with fresh oranges, mint, and walnuts

4. Meet their cool GM, Natalia, and friendly server, Cindy, and invite them to taste the wines

5. Talk about why French wine rocks your world

6. Share a tale or two from the past week

7. Talk about candidates (white and red) for next Sunday afternoon

8. Make it home in time for a lovely fall sunset

(I had the pleasure of enjoying the first 2 last Sunday and the last 2 yesterday)

Bonneau du Martray (chardonnay)
2006, 13.5% abv
A BIG Sunday wine. Excellent balance and precision. Commanding nose and palate. More oak and butter on the nose than I anticipated. Stimulating minerality and acidity. Citrus and green apple notes. Lemon meringue too. Grand Cru finish that just can't be beat.

Janasse, Vieilles Vignes (grenache)
Chateauneuf du Pape, Southern Rhone, FR
2003, 14.5% abv
Another BIG Sunday wine that pulled a 180 on us after the militant Charlie. We jumped to liquid dark fruits - silky raspberry, blackberry, and boysenberry. Creamy texture and bakery (and a touch of savory) spices coast along the palate. Opaque purple color. Zero green. Ultra fine tannin. A dichotomy of innocent fruit purity and sinful decadence.

Mathilde et Yves Gangloff (viognier)
Condrieu, Northern Rhone, FR
2005, 15% abv
Integrated alcohol. Beautiful summer sipping wine. Developed aromatic nose with notes of honey and white flowers. Smoothe medium body white. Fun flavors of key lime, peaches, and cream soda.

Vincent Giradin (pinot noir)
Bonnes Marres Grand Cru,
Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, FR
Guttural, authenic, disciplined. Subtle fruit, more secondary and tertiary notes of spice, herbs, and tea. In no way aggressive on the palate though. A very sophisticated Bonnes Mare. Like a New York woman who always wear black couture with no visible label. Witty too. Maybe I'll be her one day ;)

Who Says

I really dig this song and music video by John Mayer. It captures "those nights" in the city so well. Can't wait to return in a few days!