Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rumor: DC Restaurant Week Summer 2012 Dates

A brief update: my move to a new city has been complete, and I've finally secured a great new job after months of searching, so hopefully I will get back to posting more frequently!

In more important news, I've been checking the official DC Restaurant Week website frequently, hoping to catch the announcement of the dates of DC's summer restaurant week this year early so that I'm not locked out of perennial RW faves like Birch & Barley, but nothing has been posted yet.  However, when investigating restaurants for the boyfriend's first celebratory dinner in the nation's capital, I visited Rasika's site and noticed a link for an RW menu!  Upon clicking, it appears that Rasika will be offering their prix fixe menus during the week of August 13-18.  It's ok to take this with a grain of salt, but it also can't hurt to snag a few choice reservations now on Open Table before the news becomes widespread, just in case!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: Lunch at Ippudo

Despite living in a neighborhood with a ramen restaurant on practically every block, I had never eaten in one - a problem I knew I had to fix before moving away.  Ippudo is famed for their Tonkotsu ramen and the wait time to access it.  On a recent daytime stroll through the East Village, I stopped by and learned that going for a weekday lunch is clearly the key to avoiding the infamous hours long wait at dinner; after walking in, I barely had time to check in on Foursquare before I was escorted to a communal table.  After much research on the best bowl of noodles to get, I knew to order the Akamaru Modern which was by far the most heralded dish on the menu (which isn't to say others haven't received props on the interwebs - I'd love to try the Shiromaru Hakata Classic sometime).  What I received was a revelation.  I tried British import Wagamama when it opened up in Harvard Square years ago to much hype, then shrugged and went back to Cup 'o Noodles for my college budget ramen needs.  This soup however, was incredible. the broth was silky and porky (it actually made me thankful my parents didn't raise me particularly religiously, I would hate to be missing out on this or have lapsed guilt).  The noodles were thin and perfect.  I am definitely getting the option with extra pork next time, that one perfect slice of tender pork belly left me scraping the bowl to see if there was more. I didn't fare too badly with the chopsticks either ::pats self on back::  The service was fantastic as well: fast and friendly, and I appreciated the cup of tea that came with the bill.  All in all, I'd say this place is definitely worth the hype - just try to come for lunch if you can!

Ippudo NY
65 Fourth Ave
New York, NY 10003

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Deal: $10 Pizza - today only!

Forcella is selling their pizzas today for $10 at their Manhattan location, using the promo code: tenbucks.  Thanks to a Groupon, I tried a variety of Forcella's Neopolitan pizzas at their Brooklyn location, and each pie I had was amazing. I particularly enjoyed the calzone pizza (it's hard to go wrong with soppressata!)  Check out the full dinner menu and grab a cheap, tasty pizza for dinner tonight - it's good for both dine-in and take out.

334 Bowery
New York, NY 10012

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Lunch at Del Posto

New York, I love you, but you can be so, so expensive, especially when it comes to your much revered dining scene. Luckily, I have all the patience in the world to research great deals. I've spent the majority of September saying farewell to this particular NYC chapter of my life, mainly by eating at many of the places I've been meaning to visit but just never got around to (typical).

First up was lunch at Del Posto. It's got a Michelin star and was fairly recently upgraded to 4 stars in The New York Times. Dinner can be as much as $175 for the seven course prix fixe, but for reasons I don't question, they offer a 3 course lunch for $29. One of the most wonderful things about fine dining is that there is almost always more food than the listed number of courses (look at me make such declarative statements! One day they'll come from actual experience and not just hours spent procrastinating on teh internets). Amuse bouches abounded even with this deal of a lunch: a lobster and caviar sandwich (a decadent and delicious 3 bites), a chilled pomodoro soup (it was basically a fancier gazpacho and was expectedly tasty) and speck-wrapped sauerkraut (a pleasurable surprise). Following this was the bread; I'm used to cold, hard bread served with cold, hard butter, but what I got here was an assortment of warm breads with a small dish of whipped sweet cream butter and - wait for it - a dish of pork fat spread. Simply amazing (not sure my poor arteries agree!) On to the courses I requested!

My raw veal and tuna antipasto had a great chewy in the right way texture; the accompanying fennel hearts just confirmed to me that I don't like fennel (a fault of my taste buds, not the preparation). You get a choice of either primi or secondi for the prix fixe, and I of course couldn't resist the pork dish. What this meant though, was that I was brought a compliments of the chef dish of perfect, buttery, tender ravioli filled with just salty enough ricotta. Upon serving it to me, my waiter explained that I should experience the pasta since I had gone with the secondo; I wonder if they do the reverse if you order a primo. The accompanying asparagus had just the right amount of bite to it.

My grilled pork was juicy but not overly pink and I once again blessed the existence of pigs as I savored each bite. The pickled cherries with the dish didn't really do it for me though: the cherry flavor was too overwhelming in the bites that included it, so I mostly tried to push those aside - the only misstep of the meal if I was forced to choose one.

For dessert, I got the celery sorbetto, and all I can say is wow! The essence of celery in a cool, refreshing form, it was delightful - exactly what I expect from a fine dining establishment with an excellent dessert reputation. This was followed by the mignardises - complimentary bite-sized desserts served at the very end of the meal (have I mentioned how much I love all of this extra food?) The candied grapefruit tasted like a raisin I actually liked; the mini bomboloni was my first one ever and I think I can say I've added a new favorite to the dessert list (it's hard to go wrong with sugary fried things). I don't like ice cream and I don't care for most chocolate (the majority of exceptions are for darker varieties), so desserts can be a difficult course for me, but I enjoyed the chocolate covered olive oil ice cream lollipop (yes, you read that correctly). I actually don't recall much of the taste because I was surprised by what the chocolate gave way to once I bit into it. I definitely don't mind whimsical food. My last bite was the chocolate truffle which was expectedly heavenly: intensely dark and so airy - a memorable finish to the whole experience.

On my way out, my waiter stopped me to offer me a small box of chocolate truffles to go, score! "Just for the ladies," according to him; if that's true, sorry dudes. I'm sure a nice girl wouldn't mind sharing though.

Last but not least, a plug for Foursquare. I've scoffed at the service for a while, seeing it as little more than an invitation for stalkers to easily locate you and an annoying outlet for over-sharers, but I've also been hearing more and more about the deals you can get with the app. Finding that even a restaurant such as Del Posto with its refined setting participated, well, that was a good excuse as any to join. Checking in upon arrival, I unlocked a special for a free glass of prosecco with my meal. I felt a little nervous about shoving my phone in my waiter's face for a freebie (I fear being judged by snooty waitstaff!), but he quickly and smoothly accepted it and I was poured a generous glass of deliciously bubbly prosecco that I certainly made last. And with that, I became a Foursquare convert.

All in all, if you're looking to impress someone on a limited budget and have the time in the middle of the weekday, I highly recommend lunch at Del Posto: fantastic food and great service in an upscale location at an unbeatable price.

Del Posto Ristorante
85 Tenth Ave
New York, NY 10011


I'm jumping into the deep ocean of blogging and I hope it'll be a fun experience.  The goal is to keep myself productive when I'm at home and to keep my friends informed when I'm not: I'm a hunter of free things to do in the city, a lover of great values, and a chronicler of fun experiences.  Pictures (if any) will likely be crappy, I just want to share my adventures and finds, and hope someone out there gets something out of it!  Welcome to the journey :-)