Have you ever fallen in love with a restaurant? It happens to me sometimes, not very often, and especially for places I would have otherwise ignored if not for someone else’s feedback or my own curiosity.
Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce
Sky Ice is one of those places. Looking mostly like a dessert place, the ice cream counter overshadows its meal offerings we only realized existed after reading reviews online.
Cozy interior of this family-run joint.
Asian food always makes me suspicious, and I personally come up with a very biased set of criteria which includes whether a particular dish is something I could easily replicate at home. If I can make it, you’d better not charge me too much for it, or else you’d better blow me away. This is why we were disappointed in the last famous Thai restaurant we tried. Maybe my judgement is just flawed. Everyone else seems to love that place, except of course all the credible Asians I’ve asked. 🙂 Continue reading
Did I tell you New Yorkers are very particular with their pizza? I think I did here. Each resident of this lovely city has his or her favorite pizza joint, and mine is Lucali. Of course, it wasn’t always Lucali. I spent many years pre-Lucali making the trek to Grimaldi’s and Patsy’s, lining up for hours for a slice at DiFara’s, experimenting outside our shores in Rome’s Pizzeria Da Baffeto, and in Sint Maarten’s La Fregate. One cannot underestimate the joy of finding a good pie.
A good pie is crispy, brick-oven baked, with slightly charred edges, and not soggy. It’s all about the crust.
But I digress. Usually when I am asked if I have tried (insert name) pizza yet, I am skeptical, and depending on the reliability of the inquirer’s taste and the delivery of his feedback, I might give it a shot. Friends of friends recommended this place, and we’re glad we listened. It now tops our list. Continue reading
Aliseo reminds me of the little grandmother cooking in the back of this small hole in the wall retaurant called Alfredo e Ada in Rome, so I was glad to learn that its owner grew up in the kitchens of the Adriatic Coast of Italy. Situated in the newest restaurant hotbed in Brooklyn, Vanderbilt Avenue, Aliseo’s presence doesn’t jump out at you but instead fades into the background the way a word-of-mouth-famous restaurant should.
I like this area because I’ve lived in it for about a decade, long enough to be happy dining well in a part of town you wouldn’t walk at night just a few years ago.
Indeed, Vanderbilt avenue seems to the newest Park Slope Fifth avenue with the number of creative and exceptional restaurants to choose from. Among them are Cornelius, The Vanderbilt, Amorina, R&D, Milk Bar, Cataldo’s, and speakeasies like my favorite Weather Up.
Our pasta being made.
We walked in early on a weeknight when a gentleman was still making pasta at the bar. “This is fettuccine,” the owner said as he held up a batch of fresh noodles. We loved that it was empty and we had their attention to ourselves. In the busy New York restaurant scene this is rare unless of course the said place sucks. Continue reading
Weather Up is a speakeasy-style bar in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. For the uninformed, speakeasies were illegal establishments that served liquor during the time of prohibition in the 1900s when the sale and purchase of alcohol was prohibited by law. These kinds of bars are hidden from normal view, some of which required a password for entry.
Brambles (fresh blackberries, gin, syrup and lemon) are not on the menu so you’d have to ask for them 🙂
Weather Up was built in that style. While most people discover this place from friends who took them there, ours is (always) a special story. From 2003-2007, we lived in a duplex brownstone in Park Slope and walked our dog Greta at least three times a day. Next door a dog named Lily, a fellow pitbull with a beautiful tan coat, would bark from the window or come rushing out to say hi to Greta. Lily belonged to a guy whose name we never asked. He was dating a tall blonde model-esque lady and they walked Lily together for a year or so, until she disappeared and was replaced by another model-esque black woman who I guess became his girlfriend. (Where is this story going?!) Continue reading
Asian foodies are so demanding. When we first sat down at Pok Pok NY, our Japanese friend exclaimed, “Thank GOD there is no pad thai on the menu!” She said this because most New York Thai restaurants have identified themselves with the overused noodle dish which has become a staple as far as Thai cuisine is concerned – except that a good pad thai is absolutely rare in these parts. They normally come out dry, bland, and (sigh) Americanized.
So we welcomed the addition of Pok Pok NY into the neighborhood as authentic Asian restaurants were few and far between, plus we’ve grown tired of trying them only to be disappointed. Pok Pok was highly acclaimed, in fact we bumped into fellow food-obsessed friends who got in line with us that Sunday afternoon. Of course our group had to ruin that impression. Uggh, so demanding!
Papaya Pok Pok – Papaya, Lime and Chili Salad
We started with the papaya salad which was too hot that it was inedible. Continue reading