Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Array of Food Fitting For a Birthday Girl

Last week I celebrated my birthday... several times. You see, I kind of skipped my birthday last year and decided I had to make up for it this time around. As a result, I had several small birthday celebrations with various friends in New York City. Obviously, food was a central theme in all of our gatherings. I'd like to share some yummy pictures and thoughts from my delicious birthday meals!

Fate - Elderflower, Pineapple, and Prosecco $12

First off, my friends Samantha, Crystal, Justin and I hit up Buddakan, a popular Asian fusion spot in the Meatpacking District. I have reviewed it before, and looked forward to trying more of the menu including some delicious cocktails as well. My first drink of the night was called Fate, a concoction of elderflower, pineapple, and Prosecco. It was a great start to the evening.

Charm - Passion Fruit Liqueur, Apple, Fresh Berries, Prosecco $12

I followed up with Charm. It was served in a Champagne flute and contained passion fruit liqueur, apple, fresh berries, and Prosecco. My companions tried the Solid, Fever, and Dream, and after passing our drinks around the table, I think all of them were excellent choices!

Scallion Pancakes with Braised Beef Short Ribs and Green Apple $12

We decided to get several small plates and share. Each of us had our own favorites from the plethora of options. We settled on the following... first, the scallion pancakes with braised short rib and green apple. I had this one before, and must say I enjoyed it even more the second time around. It really has a nice balance between the pancake, the juicy and flavorful meat, and the crisp apple. In fact, one of my friends requested I attempt to make this for her in my own kitchen. I look forward to the challenge :-D

Tuna Tartare Spring Rolls $13 (for 3)

We also got the tuna tartare spring rolls, another past favorite of mine. They are cool, crispy, and delicious. Instead of the 3 that would normally come in an order, our waiter adjusted it to include 4 so we could each have one. Delicious!

Carrot Dumplings with Carrots, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Scallions $11

The carrot dumplings were simply precious. They were made to look like actual carrots, so very clever! Not only were they adorable, but they were very tasty as well. I'd happily recommend these, and would plan on having them again on future visits.

Lobster Egg Rolls with Mint, Cabbage, and Sweet Chili Sauce $14 (for 3)

The lobster egg rolls were another order that was adjusted to include 4 portions. I'm a big fan of these. The flavor of lobster permeates the entire roll. They are a great option, and a far classier version than the bland and boring versions found at neighborhood Chinese restaurants. The dipping sauce is also fantastic.

Yellowtail Yu Sheng with Smoked Chili and Pineapple $14

We also LOVED the yellowtail yu sheng, a delicious raw fish option that is topped with spicy smoked chili and also contains some pineapple for sweetness and acid. This was well-balanced and a definite highlight for all of us.

Chili Rock Shrimp with Toasted Ginger $14

The chili rock shrimp rounded out our meal, and was a delicious punctuation packed with bright ginger flavor and a slightly-crisp texture. It is a popular menu item, and we were definitely on the chili rock shrimp train after our very first bites!

For dessert, we had a bittersweet chocolate concoction (I can't remember the exact name, and it's not currently on their online menu). It boasted a caramel popcorn sherbet, which was half the reason we ordered it! A really lovely ending to part one of our evening!

After Buddakan, we moved onto another couple of bars, which included my favorite sports bar in the city, Professor Thom's. It's a Boston bar in the heart of Yankee-land, and a welcome sight for me and my fellow Rhode Islanders. We got there just in time to see the Bruins win their first playoff game in sudden death overtime! 

Nachos De Tomas $9.95

We also indulged in the city's best nachos! I can never get enough of these, and the portion is so insane that I don't really have to worry about not getting my fill :) They make them on a pizza tray! These nachos have accompanied every New England Patriots win (and loss) that we've experienced at Professor Thom's. This is bar comfort food at its best.

Over the weekend following my actual birthday, I ventured out on a couple separate brunch excursions. The first was to Five Points, a very popular restaurant in NoHo that actually has it's own brunch cookbook, so you'd hope their brunch would be impressive :) With the exception of the over-starched linen napkins that left fibers on ALL of our clothes (boooo!), our experience here was absolutely birthday worthy...

From our corner booth, we enjoyed some scrumptious brunch fare. My good friend Joanne of Eats Well With Others dined on the angry skillet, an egg dish containing not only goat cheese and seasonal veggies (in this case I believe it featured ramps), but a hot-hot jam on top. She assured us that it was as hot as they warned :)

Angry Skillet $15

Another of my friends, Nick, my fabulous partner in crime for my Arthur Avenue trip, had the roasted tomato and eggs with creamy polenta and ricotta cheese. I snuck a taste and can vouch for its deliciousness. Between the rich polenta and decadent ricotta, this is an Italian's dream :-D

Roasted Tomato and Eggs with Creamy Polenta, Ricotta Cheese, and Good Olive Oil $14

My other friend, Maria, and I both enjoyed Bloody Marys as well as the breakfast sausage benedict, a delicious variation on the old-school version, but this contained cheese scones as the base, fresh breakfast sausage, and crawdaddy Hollandaise. A lovely balance of flavors, utilizing gorgeous farm-fresh eggs poached to perfection.

Breakfast Sausage Benedict with a Cheddar Scone and Crawdaddy Hollandaise $15

My Sunday brunch experience returned me to one of my favorite spots in Chelsea. I've reviewed dinner at Cafeteria here at Mission: Food, but had never tried their brunch. This gave me the perfect opportunity! I elected to try the biscuits and gravy, featuring their famous biscuits and a tasty and creamy sausage gravy. My poached eggs were a great addition along with a light green salad. I didn't prefer this to the breakfast sausage benedict at Five Points, but it was not disappointing either. Very good, but not my favorite brunch dish to date.

Biscuits and Gravy $11

My good friend and amazing baker Sydney tried the lemon ricotta pancakes. Although I usually sway toward savory when ordering brunch, these pancakes were fantastic! They were light and fluffy with just the perfect hint of lemon, along with tart and plump blueberries. An absolutely lovely pancake option at one of my favorite comfort food spots in the city.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberries and Cream $11

75 9th Ave
(between 15th St & 16th St)
New York, NY 10011
(212) 989-6699

Professor Thom's
219 2nd Ave
(between 13th St & 14th St)
New York, NY 10003
(212) 260-9480

Five Points
31 Great Jones St
(between Lafayette St & Bowery)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 253-5700

119 7th Ave
New York, NY 10010
(212) 414-1717


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