A Night of Liquid Gold With Redoro 100% Italian Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

I must’ve been Italian in my past life because anything that has to do with Italian indulgence is my absolute kryptonite. Pasta, pizza, olive oil, wine and everything in between was made to make me weak in the knees. So when I heard about a night of all of the above, I knew I had to be there!

On a cool summer night in New York City, food lovers from all over gathered for an intimate dinner with the Redoro family for an exploratory conversation about the olive oil and wine making process.

Set high above in a beautiful penthouse at the Hotel Giraffe in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood, the night began with a lovely lesson in olive oil making by  Lou DiPalo, an expert in the field. As he spoke, we tasted three different oils, each processed in its own particular way, slightly changing the taste and texture of the product.

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Nikki Takes Taste of Tribeca

It was Saturday afternoon and the skies were grey but the crowd was bright and cheery because Taste of Tribeca was in full effect. With over 60 participating vendors and endless plates of delicious goodness, the streets between Greenwich Street and Hudson Street were lined with what seemed like unlimited small plates of some of the best chef’s creations in New York City.

Grilled Chicken Wing Over Ancient Grains and Ramps by Marc Forgione

Everything from scrumptious Steak Tartare at American Cut, to an entire ice cream cone filled with a cold creamy concoction at The Odeon, to an entire Pulled Pork Sandwich at Walker’s, there was something for everyone and then some. Some of my favorites included Grilled Chicken Wing Over Ancient Grains and Ramps by Marc Forgione, the Mini Bagels Topped With Lox by Zucker’s, and of course a perfectly prepared slice of pizza by Bar Cyrk (well, because this pizza princess can’t go anywhere without indulging in her kryptonite).

Sometimes I think I am a large man who can eat endlessly, but unfortunately that is not the case. Despite me telling my self I could do it, and wanted to do it, I simply could not sample all the tasty treats at the festival. Oh, the struggle.

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Join Us at Taste of Tribeca This Weekend!

This Saturday, May 20th, the 23rd annual Taste of Tribeca will take over the streets of downtown Manhattan for one of my favorite food fests of the year! The annual gastro get-together benefits local public schools by bringing together the area’s top chefs for a day of pure indulgence and stuffing your face. I mean what’s better than food, fun and philanthropy?

This year, I’m super excited to chow down until I fall down. With bites from places like Bouley Restaurant, Bubby’s Tribeca, Duane Park and Tribeca Grill, no wonder this is a fave among the NYC foodie masses.
Chef Scott Burnett of Tribeca Grill – Image Courtesy of Taste of Tribeca
Tribeca Grill Dining Room Credit: Evan Sung

And I even got an extra special advanced treat this year – I got to sit down with one of this event’s favorite culinary masters, Chef Scott Burnett of Tribeca Grill, for a “taste” of what to expect.

Tribeca Grill is considered one of the golden restaurants and has been participating with Taste of Tribeca every year since the fundraiser started 23 years ago (in 1994).

Why did you decide to participate in Taste of Tribeca?

Tribeca Grill opened in 1990, 27 years ago, and  is one of the restaurants that helped establish the Tribeca neighborhood. The Grill has participated in Taste of Tribeca from the very beginning, to support the local schools, and to help foster a sense of community.

What is your favorite thing to eat that isn’t on of your creations?

I have a diverse palate and like to eat many different things. A simple roast chicken at home always satisfies.

If you could go anywhere in the world for a culinary experience, what would it be and why?

I’m intrigued by the idea of going to Morocco and North Africa. I love the spices and herbs that are part of the cooking there. 

What inspired you to become a chef?

I grew up in a restaurant family, and started working at many different tasks at a young age. I enjoy cooking in a business that extends hospitality, so it’s a very natural and satisfying career for me.   

What’s your favorite item?

We’ve just started offering Fried Calamari coated with Masa, that’s gluten-free. It’s a very tasty dish. 

Besides your items, are there any special foods that you’re excited for at Taste of Tribeca?

I know that our sister restaurants Bâtard and Nobu Downtown are going to have great choices, and I’m looking forward to meeting our neighbors and fellow chefs. I know that there is going to be a lot of creativity on the plate!

Join me in sampling the best dishes in town to support the arts and enrichment programs at local schools! Tickets are $45 and on sale now at www.tasteoftribeca.com.

Each tasting ticket includes six food tastes from any of the participating restaurants, a beverage and two pours of beer or cider. Tickets will also be available full price on the event day ($55).

 

Exploring Spring Cocktails at NYC Speakeasy Seamstress

Located behind a leather goods store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, this cozy cocktail lounge is a refreshing addition to a neighborhood that’s been known for it’s stale social scene. Now on the circuit for nearly two years, Seamstress is a neighborhood go-to providing innovative tasty cocktails to Manhattan’s top tipplers.

Seamstress
339 E 75th St, New York, NY 10021
http://www.seamstressny.com/

Recently, we got to go behind the scenes for a first look at their new Spring cocktail menu and it did not disappoint.

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The Essence of Espana: Tertulia in NYC

FullSizeRender 3While Spain may be several thousand miles away from the U.S., you only need to go as far as New York City to feel like you’re worlds away, thanks to a small tapas-style restaurant in the heart of the West Village – Tertulia.

Tertulia
359 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014
http://tertulianyc.com

After discovering the cider houses, or sidrerias, in the northern region of Spain, Chef Seamus Mullen was inspired to bring a little slice of that heaven back to New York City. Hailing from another NYC Spanish staple, Boqueria, by way of Vermont, Chef Seamus has been pairing the finest ingredients in a variety of dishes similar to those found in Asturias since 2011. From tostas and sartenes (smaller sharing dishes) to platos familiars, or larger main courses, there are endless options on this menu to satisfy your Spanish cravings.

Situated along 6th avenue just off West 4th Street is a beautifully decorated and warmly lit eatery,FullSizeRender 5 making you feel like you’ve stepped off of cobblestone streets into the warm and welcoming home of a Spanish native. With elegant exposed brick, dim lighting and a homey décor, you may want to settle in for the rest of the night. That is, after you’ve found your favorite glass of delicious wine from a lovely selection of the grape juice. Whether you’re sitting at one of the small tables for two or one of the larger communal tables, there’s no bad seat in the house.

During a recent visit to this downtown gem, we became familiar with a wide variety of Spanish favorites including Huevo Diablo (deviled eggs), Croquetas de Jamon (Iberico ham croquettes), Albondigas (lamb meatballs), Pulpo a La Brasa (grilled octopus), and of course Paella… no, there’s no need for a translation for that!

IMG_4690While some dishes were better prepared than others, each had its own authenticity and was packed with flavor. The deviled eggs were creamy and smooth. The croquetas were perfectly fried and placed over a drizzle of sweet membrillo glaze. And the octopus, well, that was just perfect.IMG_4700But nothing was more tasty and satisfying than a small serving (by comparison, because they’re typically huge) of paella. While not the traditional seafood type this Spanish senorita is used to, the rice was cooked to perfection over an open flame and the essence of España was all there in that one paella pan. It even had the authentically crispy bottom texture. Washed down with a cold, sweet glass of their signature sangria, I was quickly saying “Mas por favor (more please)!”IMG_4702Open since 2011, one would think this Vermont native cooking Spanish cuisine wouldn’t last in a city of serious sharks (a.k.a. food critics). But here we are, five plus years later, and there’s no shortage of table guests in the house.

Queen of the Kitchen: A Visit to Chef Roxanne Spruance’s, Kingsley in NYC

As I walk down Avenue B in Alphabet City on the Eastside of Manhattan, I’ve noticed tons of cute little restaurants. Some fancy, some not so much. And of course, I want to add them all to my famous “list” of Big Apple dining destinations (I’m known for this roster). But recently, on one New York City summer night, as I strolled in front of one of them, a warm light and amazing aroma wafted through the big glass windows that pushed right up against the sidewalk I was standing on. I couldn’t help but stop and peer in, noticing a lovely epicurean environment, quickly moving this one to the top of my list. Enter Kingsley.

Kingsley
190 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009
http://www.kingsleynyc.com

Just off 12th Street and Avenue B, this beautifully decorated foodie haven is something straight out of a magazine. When I had the chance to check it out recently, I was stoked. 

IMG_4497Not really knowing what to expect, I was ready for anything (sometimes, that’s how you gotta roll). After sitting us at our table by the window (the one I was once on the other side of), we were immediately greeted by our server offering us three types of water (I always ask for New York’s finest – tap… it’s the best in the country!). We, of course, followed up with a proper adult beverage order – the Roselle (champagne based) for me and a Gin Gimlet for my guest. Between those and our first tasting order, the Bone Marrow topped with Tuna Tartar, we were well on our way into discovering the wildly delicious world of Chef Roxanne (Kingsley) Spruance. IMG_4500

Before we could start our dinner conversation, we had drinks in hand and the first of many courses (and probably my favorite of the night). The Roselle was light and refreshing, as was the Gin Gimlet, and the bone marrow… well that, I don’t even have words for. But, for your sake, I’ll tell you it was packed with flavor, texture and really, was the ultimate party in your mouth. Not too oily or fatty, like some bone marrow can be, and paired with a shot of some bold, bourbon infused broth, the Chef’s creation was simply magical…leaving me wanting 17 more pieces, of course. But because I just had to try everything else on the menu, we stuck with just one.

IMG_4504As I browsed the menu, I couldn’t help but want it all. Too bad, my stomach doesn’t have room for so much scrumptiousness. Instead, I went with some of the server’s recommendations including the Chilled Zucchini Soup, Celeriac Agnolotti topped with Foie Gras and a special chef’s offering, the Charred Octopus over a yogurt base. And that was just to start!

IMG_4509
IMG_4506I can’t say that each of these was better than the last, because they were each so damn delicious, but I can say, the creamy pasta filled pockets topped with melt-in-your-mouth foie gras was out of this world!

Let me move on, I know your mouth is salivating. But not before making note of the impeccable service. The wait staff constantly checked on us, refilled our water, changed our plates and cutlery and all with a smile… the way it should be!

IMG_4524Soon, we were onto the “main” course. Ok, not gonna lie, I probably could’ve stopped here, but why? Under advisement of our knowledgeable and friendly waiter, I opted for the Wagyu Basses-Cotte Steak on a bed of Fairytale Eggplant, Grilled Potato and Chimichuri (yes, I know, you’re drooling). My guest opted for the Long Island Duck with Summer Peach, Almond and Anise Hyssop. And while I LOVED my tender, perfectly cooked dish more, the duck was pretty on point!

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By this stage in the game, I was pretty much done, but I wouldn’t be the feasting princess I am if I didn’t top it off with dessert. There’s always room for dessert! For this final portion of the meal, we ordered the Chocolate and Mint option, as well as the Popcorn Crème Brulee. 
 Holy dessert gods! I think I could’ve gone straight for the dessert and been completely content. 

Finally, after a two hour, tastebud-bursting, belly-filling, grin-bearing meal, I can honestly say Chef Spruance and her team are rockstars. While I try not to visit the same Gotham gastropub twice (I mean, c’mon, there are too many to limit yourself that way), this is one I’ll definitely make an exception for!

Bravo, Chef, bravo!