Tag Archives: dessert

Dining at Girl & the Goat

A few months ago I was in Chicago for a work conference and I had the most incredible and wonderful dining experience at Girl & the Goat. Stephanie Izard, the owner of the restaurant won “Top Chef!” For our team dinner, we had our own private room downstairs. The room where we dined was lovely and rustic, featuring a beautiful setting on a wood table with candles and a plant in the center.

Table_Girl&GOat

We met Gary, our go-to server for the evening and he was awesome. He knew the menu well, listened and tended to our dietary needs, and was completely gracious throughout the night.

I asked if any of the amazing-sounding cocktails could be made without alcohol and so I got The Royal Rubus that way. It was citrusy soda with lemon bitters, blackberry and lime. It came in a brilliant raspberry red and was very tasty and refreshing.

Drink_Girl&Goat

The meal started off with an assortment of breads: One sourdough with little pieces of ham in it, which was okay. I didn’t have a ton of flavor but I liked the green peas and ham that came with it. There was also muffin top bread, which was nicely moist and it came with yummy seasoned butter.

Bread_Girl&Goat

Next we had “Fried Naked Cowboys” which were fried oysters with egg salad on the bottom. These came in cute little spoons and one bite form. Even though I’m not a huge fan of oysters, it was quite good fried and the sauce on top worked well with it.

Oysters_Girl&Goat

Then there was salad which consisted of fennel, evalon cheese, toasted almonds and blueberries. This was nice and I especially liked the cheese, which was a sweet goat cheese with fruity and nutty finish. It added an additional layer of delightful flavor to the salad.

Salad_Girl&Goat

The goat empanadas were one of my favorite dishes. It had strawberry, white asparagus with it and smashed avocado underneath. The empanadas were perfectly crispy and the goat meat was so very flavorful and melted in my mouth!

Empanadas_Girl&Goat

We also had green garlic pierogis which was decent, but I didn’t taste a strong garlic taste. The filling was like mashed potatoes.

The vegetables we had were cauliflower, broccoli and string beans. The cauliflower dish had pickled peppers, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. It was slightly crispy and had a nice burst of flavor. The broccoli had little crisps and the green beans had yummy cashews!

Veggie_Girl&Goat

The entrees were pasta, fish and pork shank. The pasta was spiral with tons of appetizing beef, which was wonderfully juicy and incredibly savory. There were also little orange tomatoes and tomatoes on top that were fresh and flavorful. We also had wild striped bass in a coconut green curry, new potatoes and artichokes. I enjoyed this dish, especially the slightly charred skin on the fish.

Pasta_Girl&GOat

Last, was the crisp braised pork shank with naan and the following dipping sauces: Grilled spring onion kimchi and buttermilk dressing. The pork was so wonderful and tender!  I loved the crunchiness of it.

Pork Shank_Girl&Goat

After all that, there were 5 different types of desserts. My absolute favorite was vanilla gelato with chocolate shell, caramel sauce and caramel popcorn. This dessert was truly delectable and so decadent. I could have a whole bowl of it if I wasn’t already so stuffed.

Dessert1_Girl&Goat

My second favorite dessert was balls of coated gelato with peanut butter inside and candied peanuts.

Dessert2_Girl&Goat

There was also a tres leches cake with strawberry and some pudding, as well as fruity sorbet. It was a nice, light and yummy treat.

Dessert3_Girl&Goat
Then there was a pudding-like dessert with a blend of pure toffee pieces, expresso and vanilla. The last dessert was different and interesting. It consisted of gelatin, blueberries and pieces of meringue.

Dessert4_Girl&Goat

Each dish from appetizer, to entree, to dessert was well thought out and unique in a good way. All of the food exceeded my expectations and was mouthwateringly delicious! The service was impeccable. Everything came together seamlessly. This is absolutely one of the best dinners I have ever had!

Girl & The Goat
809 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Food

Filipino Dinner at Tito Rad’s

I came here with a medium sized group and we shared everything family style… Tito Rad’s Grill & Restaurant is perfect for that!

The appetizers we started off with were the lumpiang shanghai (lumpia) which is my all time favorite Filipino food and ukoy (bean sprout fritters). The lumpia had a mixture of pork, shrimp and mixed vegetable and was a perfect blend inside the extremely wonderful crispy shell. The bean sprout fritters were something new for me… The bean sprouts are fried in a batter, along with shrimp and vegetables. It was quite good as well with a nice bold flavor.

titorad_lumpia
We also had quite a few main courses, such as pork adobo, a departure from the usual chicken adobo dish. It was really good, marinated in soy sauce, peppercorn and spices, cooked with onions. The pork was perfectly tender and well seasoned.

titorad_pork

I also liked the BBQ pork chop and we even ordered another serving of that because we enjoyed it so much! The meat was juicy and very tasty. The accompanying sauce was worked really well with the pork chop.

titorad_pork

Then there was the grilled tuna belly, which was great as well. The skin was grilled just right and tasted wonderful with the meat.

titorad_tuna
We chose 2 noodle dishes: Pancit and crispy noodles. The one I liked better was the pancit – sautéed egg noodles cooked with chicken, shrimp, chinese sausage, carrots, lettuce, other greens. It was a great medley of ingredients and each one tasted fresh and full of flavor. The other one had carrots, green beans, broccoli, chicken on top of a bed of crispy noodles. I liked the crunch of the noodles but it wasn’t quite as flavorful as the pancit.

titorad_noodles
My least favorite dish was called Laing – taro leaves cooked with green peppers and apparently some sort of meat but I couldn’t taste any of that. It looked like a mess of green and I didn’t find it to be that good. It was lacking in flavor and I wasn’t a fan of the consistency and texture.

titorad_liang
After all that, we had to try some dessert. I was sold on the Halo Halo, which is shaved ice with ice cream, condensed milk, sweet beans, jello, taro cake, fruits! One of my table mates declared that it was good for one person, so I ordered that and it came in a HUGE cup. There was so much in there and it was delightful, although difficult to finish because the shaved ice was really cold (pointing out the obvious here, I know)! The ice cream was French Vanilla with strawberry jelly swirl on top and though I don’t normally enjoy vanilla ice cream by itself, this ice cream was incredibly delicious: Creamy, sweet, milky and most of all, intense and fresh vanilla flavor! All the other ingredients were also quite good and the condensed milk tinged everything and gave it an extra level of sweet yumminess!

titorad_halohalo

The service was pretty good and there was a lovely lady who came by several times to make sure we were doing okay and we got everything we ordered. She was a very gracious host.

All in all, a wonderful evening filled with quality Filippino food and great company!

 

Tito Rad’s Grill
49-10 Queens Blvd
Queens, NY

Leave a comment

Filed under Food

Popbar: Gelato on a Stick

I love Popbar in the West Village. It’s the perfect dessert spot for summer and any other season. It’s gelato on a stick… Made with fresh, natural ingredients and dipped in different types of chocolate with the option to add toppings. Such a simple, yet delicious concept.

popbar_me1I’ve been to Popbar numerous times and twice this weekend! Some flavors I’ve tried (all dipped in milk chocolate): Dulce de Leche (probably my favorite flavor- extremely sweet, rich, wonderful); peanut butter (just delicious); pumpkin (seasonal treat- nice and yummy).

popbarRecently I had the coffee with milk chocolate and that was delectable. Loved the smooth coffee-chocolate taste. Today I had the strawberry yogurt with a new dipping sauce: Caramel dark chocolate. I loved the strawberry taste- Very creamy, sweet (but not overly so), refreshing! And I enjoyed the dark chocolate, but I felt like the caramel flavor was not that strong.

popbar_popsicleI really want to try the blood orange, green tea, hazelnut, pistachio & mixed berry flavors next. Looks like I’ll have to come back quite often… Which is perfectly fine by me. This is one of the few establishments I would travel out of my way to go to!

Tip: The Popsicles melt quickly, so it’s better to stay in the store/sit right outside to enjoy/eat it versus walking out with it.

popbar_me

Popbar
5 Carmine St
New York, NY

1 Comment

Filed under Food

Dinner at Sao Mai

I went out with friends to Sao Mai Vietnamese restaurant and we ordered family style, so that we would be able to enjoy a wide variety of dishes.I started off with the Vietnamese Iced Coffee, which was quite strong and not creamy/sweet enough for me… It didn’t enough condensed milk, but it was still pretty good.

saomai_coffeeWe tried many different appetizers, such as the house special platter, which consisted of spring rolls, barbeque chicken, pork and beef and was served with lettuce, pickled carrots, mint leaves and light sweet dipping sauce. I enjoyed the barbeque meat, which was charred slightly (the way I like it).

saomai_appetizersI also really liked the shrimp summer roll with lettuce, mint leaves and vermicelli noodles, wrapped in rice paper and served with peanut sauce. The summer roll was delightfully airy and wonderful. Another appetizer we had was a steamed rice crepe, with minced pork and mushroom which was not one of my favorites.

saomai_summer rollAs for the main courses, we selected one dish per type of meat/fish/veggie: Lemongrass chicken, beef cubes, grilled pork chop, crispy whole fish and tofu with mixed vegetable in traditional Vietnamese sauce. The chicken had a nice flavor to it, while the beef was succulent, juicy and tasty. The pork chop was cooked perfection and had very nice seasoning.

saomai_porkchopThe crispy fish was red snapper with a ginger lime sauce and while it was a bit difficult to cut, it tasted delicious with a great amount of crunch.

saomai_fishOverall, a very full and fulfilling meal. The only downside was that they do not have any dessert, but all was not lost! Afterwards, we headed to nearby Veniero’s pastry shop. For once, I was actually did not need to have my own dessert so we shared amongst ourselves. I tried a little bit of the blood orange/chocolate cake and some of the chocolate cannoli. Both were quite lovely and enjoyable, especially the chocolate parts. The orange cake had a nice delicate quality to it and the cannoli was a bit richer with a more robust sweet flavor to it.

dessertsIt turned out to be a great night of culinary treats and was happy I had the opportunity to try so many different menu options first at Sao Mai, then at Veniero’s.

saomai_me

Sao Mai
203 1 Ave
New York, NY

Veniero’s
342 E 11 St
New York, NY

2 Comments

Filed under Food

RW Lunch at Fig & Olive

I had been yearning to try Mediterranean restaurant, Fig & Olive for quite some time now so I jumped at the chance to dine at Fig & Olive for lunch during Restaurant Week. My friend and I ate at the Uptown location, which was beautiful, sleek, elegant and cozy with comfortable seating, which had an intimate feel.

figolive interior

After we settled in, we were served a plate of rosemary focaccia bread pieces and three different types of olive oil: Two from Spain and one from Italy. The bread was mediocre, a little bit dry but the olive oil was rich and tasty.

figolive bread

For my appetizer, I chose the truffle mushroom croquettes, which were delicious fried balls of cremini mushroom parmesan and béchamel, served with truffle oil aioli. They were incredibly flavorful, fresh and wonderful!

figolive appetizer

The main course was Rosemary Lamb, which consisted of grilled lamb and red bell pepper on skewers with rosemary ends, a fig and cous cous with red onion, scallions and tomatoes, and sauce made out of Greek yogurt base. The lamb was amazing… Perfectly cooked, tender, well-seasoned and incredibly appetizing. The cous cous was also quite good, and I normally don’t like cous cous that much. I enjoyed both the lamb and cous cous with the sauce, giving the dish more depth.

figolive me

There were only two options for dessert, so my friend and I ordered one of each so that we could try both. The “Dessert Crostini” was Amarena cherry and mascarpone on top of pistachio shortbread with basil. There were two of these so it was perfect and I liked the taste of mascarpone on the shortbread but I thought the cherries were way too sweet.

figolive dessert

The chocolate pot de crème, which came with a crunchy praline financier (basically a fancy Kit Kat bar) and vanilla cream on top, was out of this world delectable. It was incredibly chocolate-y and had a lovely smooth consistency with just the right amount of sweetness.

figolive chocolate

I really enjoyed my meal at Fig & Olive. The service was also high quality. I would highly recommend trying out this restaurant!

 

Fig & Olive
808 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY

Leave a comment

Filed under Food

Winter Restaurant Week 2014

Winter Restaurant Week has now passed, but here is a  sampling of restaurants I tried this time around. Let’s begin with lunches…

City Lobster

City Lobster

Appetizer: Lettuce wedge salad, complete with cucumbers, tomatoes, crispy onions, bacon, and bleu cheese. Even though I’m not a huge fan of ice berg lettuce, I really liked the toppings.
Main:
Fish and Chips were great. The cod was extremely flaky and I would have liked slightly more crispy but the French fries were spot on.
Dessert:
Profiteroles (large cream puffs) with coffee ice cream and chocolate on top. This was delectable. The coffee ice cream inside complements the full sweet chocolate flavor.
Service: Good.
Location:
City Lobster
121 W 49 St
New York, NY

Craftbar

Craftbar

Appetizer: The warm pecorino fondue w/ acacia honey, hazelnuts & pepperoncini, as well as 4 long pieces of crostini, was out of this world amazing— I love the creamy taste of the thick pecorino cheese. The honey and pine nuts worked well with the cheese, while the crunchy crostinis were the perfect accompaniment.
Main:
Lumache Pasta Bolognese. The pasta was cooked al dente and the ragu with the sauce worked together beautifully. I would have liked a little more cheese on it, but overall was a solid choice.
Dessert:
Chocolate peanut butter pie with honey roasted peanuts was yummy. It was light, and had chocolate mousse as well as slight peanut butter flavor. The honey roasted peanuts added a layer of deliciousness.
Service: Very competent and friendly wait staff.
Location:
Craftbar
900 Broadway
New York, NY

Now, onto the dinners!

Rayuela

Rayuela

Starter: Cheesy bread was amazing. We were only given one piece, but I definitely could have had many more.
Appetizer: Garlic shrimp with foccacia bread. The garlic shrimp was extremely flavorful but had some specks of hot pepper so was a bit spicy. The foccacia bread was disappointing, as it seemed to be just regular bread.
Main: Salmon with butternut squash and brussel sprouts was good. The sauce was enjoyable and I liked the crispness of the salmon.
Dessert: Bread pudding with caramel sauce and bananas were okay. It wasn’t bread pudding in the traditional sense, but the pieces were still quite moist and I liked the sauce.
Service: Pretty good
Location:
Rayuela
165 Alllen St
New York, NY

L'Ecole

L’Ecole

Appetizer: Spinach fettuccine with braised duck leg ragu made with tomato jam and carrots. This was well done- Wonderful pasta with plenty of meat.
Main: Braised pork osso buco with risotto Milanese and gremolata was mouthwateringly good. The risotto had a robust flavor and the pork osso buco was perfectly tender and came off the bone easily.
Dessert: Chocolate with apple crisp was light and delightful.
Service: Attentive and thoughtful
Location:
L’Ecole
462 Broadway
New York, NY

Brasserie 8 1/2

Brasserie 8 1/2

Amuse-bouche: Chestnut soup had a nice flavor to it.
Appetizer: Consommé de Boeuf – Short Rib Consommé, Ravioli, Parsnips, Black Truffles
Side: French fries were so good, with just the right amount of crunch.
Main: Filet Mignon – Petit Filet, Potato Croquettes, Espelette Pepper Bearnaise
At first, my filet mignon did not come with the potato croquettes but they made up for it by giving me an extra one. The petit filet itself was delicious enough on its own… Perfectly tender, flavorful, but would have liked more of the sauce. The potato croquettes were decent, but I preferred the French fries.
Dessert: I was able to try both.

The tarte au citron (Meyer Lemon Tart) was pretty good. There was a strong lemon flavor and it was both tangy and sweet. I enjoyed the crust, however did not discern the taste of thyme scented honey and the crème fraiche was tasteless.

Macaron – Vanilla Macaron, Valhrona Chocolate Ganache, Hazelnut Ice Cream
I enjoyed the macaron more. The French Macaron was large, dusted with powdered sugar and had the perfect consistency and chewy texture. The Valhrona chocolate ganache was rich, creamy, delicious. The hazelnut ice cream was very tasty as well.

Service: Not the best and had a long wait time in receiving our meals. We received a plate of mini treats to make up for it: Sea salt caramel macarons, raspberry cookies, biscotti and mini chocolate chip cookies. All of the sweet treats were wonderful, especially the macaron and chocolate chip cookie.
Location:
Brasserie 8 1/2
9 West 57 St
New York, NY

Leave a comment

Filed under Food

Otto Enoteca Pizzeria

otto_homepic

I recently received a gift card to Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (thank you, Chris!), one of my favorite Italian restaurants in the city. “Otto Enoteca Pizzeria is modeled after an Italian train station and located on 8th Street, in the historic One Fifth Avenue building,” … at the edge of Washington Square Park in the heart of Greenwich Village. Upon being seated, we were given a large, thick piece of bread wrapped in white paper and a packet of long bread sticks. The bread was decent, but would have been nice to have butter or olive oil and vinegar.

It was tough choosing between Spaghetti Alla Carbonara and one of the pasta specials, which contained radicchio, pancetta and gorgonzola. My friend and I ended up sharing, so I was able to have the best of both worlds.

The pasta special was pretty good. The radicchio (leafy purple-ish vegetable with a slightly bitter taste) was a bit wilted but I liked the pancetta. The gorgonzola was overpowering though. Overall, this dish was a bit too rich for me.

DSCN6770

I liked the Spaghetti Alla Carbonara better, which had pancetta, scallions, black pepper, and egg. The pasta was cooked al dente, there was just enough black pepper (and salt), the pancetta added a lot of delicious flavor, but I couldn’t really discern the taste of egg and the consistency was a little gummy.

DSCN6769

Then, of course I had to get dessert! I’ve had the Olive Oil Coppetta before and it is incredibly delicious, but wanted to try something different so went for the Parfait Carotina, which is described as “carrot & cashew cake, cardamom orange caramel, ricotta crema, cashew brittle, carrot orange marmelatta, cardamom orange gelato.” It was completely different from what I was expecting… There were grated carrots on top of the cake and the gelato didn’t have a strong flavor of either cardamom or orange, though I did like the cashew brittle. The flavors were ultimately not pleasant enough for me enjoy, so I switched my order to the Black & White, which did not disappoint.

DSCN6776

The Black & White was truly delectable. It was a beautiful concoction of milk chocolate chip gelato + chocolate sauce (the Black), crème fraiche gelato (the White), and hazelnut croccante, topped with caramel crema and a crispy waffle wedge. While the caramel crema had a delightful light flavor of caramel, it was too much to eat just by itself. However, when combined with the rest of the dessert, it added an extra layer of deliciousness. The crème fraiche was light, fresh, divine and the milk chocolate (with actual bits of pure chocolate) was rich, creamy, wonderful, while the sugary crispy hazelnut brittle added a satisfying sweet crunch.

DSCN6777

It is a testament to the quality of this restaurant that I’ve come back to dine here several times. Also, the service is quite good and the prices are affordable.

DSCN6771
Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
1 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY

1 Comment

Filed under Food