Archives for category: Restaurants

Sunday was the perfect end-of-winter day in New York: sunny, 50 degrees F, gorgeous. I dragged my lazy Sunday bones out of bed, hopped on a 3 train, and expressed it all the way up to 125th Street. Since I was going to be in the neighborhood, I stopped by the Studio Museum for a look around. I know it’s not food, but I have to stop for a moment to plug the Studio Museum. It’s off the beaten museum path and it’s not an enormous museum, but they always have great stuff on display and their gift shop also has a fantastic selection of cookbooks. My favorites from last weekend: Cauleen Smith’s The Changing Same, Dawoud Bey’s Harlem U.S.A., and Tanea Richardson’s He’s Actually Very Intelligent.

But onto the food: the true object of my trip to Harlem was two blocks away, tucked neatly in the bottom of a residential building. Tonnie’s Minis reached out to me on Twitter last week and I promised them I’d stop in on Sunday, partly because I love being contacted on Twitter and partly because cupcakes are one of the most efficient ways to bribe me.

The store itself is cute and cozy, with a long, glass-paneled counter through which you can watch your cupcake be constructed. There are also a few tables in case you want to order a coffee and hang out or, as I obviously did, shovel your cupcakes into your face as fast as possible. Everyone working at the bakery was super friendly and jovial, happy to make recommendations, and handing out the cutest mini-cupcake samples.

Coming, as I do, from the South, I of course ordered a red velvet cupcake and also snagged a sample of the carrot cake cupcake. The great thing about Tonnie’s Minis is that they put the icing on your cupcake when you order it, so your icing is still rich and moist and creamy. I’m very particular about my cream cheese icing and I’m happy to declare that Tonnie’s passed my test. I’m also a pretty big fan of carrot cake and my mini cupcake was also delicious.

Bottom line: Tonnie’s Mini’s is worth the trip to Harlem. They also do large orders, custom orders, and cakes, so be sure to check out their website and follow them on Twitter!

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This girl loves a burger. I really mean it. More than the perfect medium-rare filet mignon, more than the mouth-watering herb and mustard crusted rack of lamb, more than Joel Robuchon’s succulent quail (you know we’re serious now), the idea of the juicy, meaty cheeseburger makes me certain that I could never ever be a vegetarian, not even for a day. And being the lucky girl I am, I live in a city of unbelievable burgers. I feel that it is a personal calling to try as many of them as possible, from the small but excellently dressed Wall Street Burger, to the standard-of-all-comparisons from Shake Shack, to the positively divine DB Burger at DB Bistro Modern.

A side-effect of all the burger splendor the city has to offer is that I will never complete my task of eating every burger I want. It’s difficult, because, as you might imagine, when it comes to food and lust I have very little restraint. So when I do encounter a new burger, it is always a happy day for me.

{image by Melissa Hom for New York Magazine}

Enter Carmine Club Cafe and their absurdly delicious Pork Burger. Last week after a night of drinking on an empty stomach (it’s a crime that some mistakes are so fun), a burger was just what the doctor ordered. Having heard about the various virtues of the Pork Burger multiple times, I decided it was time to bite the porcine bullet. Luckily, Carmine Club Cafe has a near perfect location in the West Village (um, hello it’s across the street, literally, from Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books, what more do you want?), so I happily trekked out through post-snow storm Manhattan.

I’ll cut to the chase: the burger was everything I hoped it would be. A thick pork patty, smeared with smoked gouda, topped with a slice of farm-raised bacon, and dressed with smoked pepper mayo. Add the pile of salt ‘n’ vinegar fries, and it was a perfect lunch. The bun was great, maintaining structural integrity without being too bready. The cheese was rich and gooey and my only complaint is that I could have had more of it. The pork was juicy, the bacon nice and crisp. In short, if you are craving a burger, head over to Carmine Street.

Check out Carmine Club Cafe and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Greetings from Queens! I’m having a delicious lunch at M. Wells, currently working on this seafood cobbler with bechamel, Gruyere, and biscuits. Also tasted the beef tartare (filet mignon, poached egg) and a gravlax special that involved potato and creme fraiche. Yum!

“With enough butter, anything is good.” – Julia Child

If you have read almost any other post on this blog, you know that I love buter. So I was pleased to see this article in the Wall Street Journal last week about the rise of artisanal butters, particularly in fine restaurants in China. If you open just about any French cookbook, you will inevitably come across some sort of warning about how butter, flour, milk, etc. from the United States is not the same as the stuff in France. While I often find this sort of preaching about the superiority of French ingredients annoying, I can’t help admitting that they have a point.

I have very strong feelings about butter. I love eating it. I hate when restaurants serve butter too cold; it shouldn’t be difficult to spread. And, at the risk of sounding like a snob, I am feverishly fascinated by tasting different kinds of butter. I will not pretend that I have an over-developed palate that can taste the “terroir” of butters of different origins, but I do find it an interesting experiment. I couldn’t tell you exactly why, but different butters DO taste different, and I want to taste them all.

A butter list seems a bit excessive in the same vein of a bottled water list, but, like food-blogger Celine Flamain says in the WSJ piece, “The cuisine of a chef reflects his personality, and that holds true even of small details like what butter he chooses to serve. Chefs should look to promote small traditional and artisanal producers.” And I am always looking for ways to promote the consumption of butter.

{read the WSJ article}

Okay, remember the other day when I was cheerfully saying things like, “One of the fantastic things about living (and drinking) in New York is all the wonderful food you can consume late at night“? Well I forgot to mention that this can come back to bite you in the ass. I generally frown upon moderation, but there are definitely times when New York is the ultimate enabler of over-indulgence.

For example, last night I met my dear friend Alice for a few post-work drinks at Barrimundi in the LES. After several rounds of absurdly cheap happy hour drinks, we ventured out to find some food. Even though I was drooling over Falai‘s menu, we decided to pass in search of somewhat cheaper eats. Eventually we arrived at Tiny’s Giant Sandwich Shop, where I stuffed an open-faced tuna melt in my face and Alice finally got the grilled cheese she wanted.

This is where the evening should have ended. But the most dangerous part of going to Tiny’s Giant Sandwich Shop is that Schiller’s is right across the street. Schiller’s always elicits a complicated emotional reaction from me. I feel obligated to dislike it on the grounds that Keith McNally is kind of irritating to me, but in reality, I love Schiller’s. I mean love. Everything from the drinks to the food to the decor to the DJ playing Depeche Mode all night.

Last night I discovered a new dimension to my love: the sticky toffee pudding. When I wasn’t bouncing in my seat to the music or pouring a bellini into my mouth, I was stealing tastes of Alice’s pudding. I got the caramelized banana split myself, but was already so full of food and liquid that I was barely interested (and actually, in the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that we also split an order of French fries when we arrived as well). Luckily New York Magazine put together a handy blog post about how to make Schiller’s sticky toffee pudding, so I will probably be trying that soon. But not before I nurse myself out of this stupor caused by caloric over-indulgence. Damn you, New York.

One of the fantastic things about living (and drinking) in New York is all the wonderful food you can consume late at night. I have a number of late-night snacking favorites, but last night my friend Kevin insisted that we all go to Kati Roll Company in the West Village. Kevin has raved about this place for a while, and I was not disappointed. A kati roll or kathi roll is a kind of Indian street food that comes from the Indian state of Kolkata. It used to refer to a kati kebab wrapped in a parantha, but now any number of other versions go by the same name. At The Kati Roll Company, kati rolls are “a spicy mixture of meat and vegetables rolled in Indian flat-bread.” Kevin and I both got chicken tikka rolls, which we promptly inhaled (though not before I got this lovely picture of Kevin with his kati roll). Although they only serve rolls, there are many different filling options, ranging from the expected chicken and beef options to the achari paneer roll (Indian cottage cheese marinated in spicy pickles) and the aloo masala roll (spicy potato mixture). If I find myself needing a snack in the West Village, I will be sure to stop by The Kati Roll Company again.

{The Kati Roll Company}