Tag Archives: dinner

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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Dining at Alta

altaAlta is a lovely, charming restaurant with an elegant, yet homey feel, in a converted townhouse in the West Village area. The place is easy to miss because there is no sign out front, so you have to be looking for it.

My friends and I were seated downstairs near the fireplace and we ordered 5 dishes to share.

First came the bacon wrapped dates and olives (I requested only dates since I don’t like olives) which were stuffed with almonds. This was amazing! The bacon was perfectly crispy, full of flavor and the dates were sweet, chewy, wonderful. The roasted almond added a bit of crunch and wonderful taste.

alta_baconThen, the brussel sprouts, mixed with granny smith apple, creme fraiche and pistachio. The brussel sprouts tasted so good and were juicy, with great seasoning. I would have liked more apple in the dish though.

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The lamb meatballs had a charred red pepper sauce and some sort of white cheese. They were pretty good, but not particularly memorable for me.

alta_meatballsRoasted salmon came on top a summer vegetable salad of squash, corn, tomatoes and string beans. I enjoyed this dish a lot. The salmon was charred just a bit with the skin still on it and was slightly flaky, not fishy at all and was just delicious. And the salad was nice and fresh.

alta_salmonWe also ordered the roasted trumpet mushrooms, consisting of porcini caramel and breadcrumbs. This was quite good with a very savory, appetizing sauce with the best tasting breadcrumbs I have ever had!

As for dessert, we tried two different ones: First one was the Chocolate Peanut butter Napoleon, which consisted of chocolate cream, peanut butter ganache and malted milk chocolate ice cream. This was delectable with perfectly flaky cake with layers of yummy chocolate and peanut butter. And the ice cream was creamy and sweet.

alta_napoleonThe other dessert we had was the Georgia Julep Parfait, which came with roasted peaches, bourbon ice cream, mint granita and pecan praline. I really enjoyed this. The bourbon ice cream was superb, with amazing rich bourbon flavor and paired perfectly with the refreshing peaches and roasted/sugary pecans.

alta_peachesThe service was top notch and since one of my friends knew the host, our drinks and desserts were free! We weren’t expecting that special treatment, so were pleasantly surprised. And I would absolutely come back to try other dishes and that’s saying a lot, because I normally don’t like dine in the same restaurant twice.

Alta
64 W 10 St
New York, NY

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RW: Sofrito | Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse | Bar Eolo

Summer Restaurant Week (July 21-August 15) is in full swing and so far, I have had the opportunity to have dinner at Sofrito (Pan-Latin), lunch at Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse and dinner at Bar Eolo (Sicilian Kitchen).

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Dinner at Sofrito

Appetizer: Empanadas… I chose beef filling for one of them and shrimp filling for the other. They were both quite tasty, but I enjoyed the beef one better. I also got to try my friend’s yucca crusted chicken which was wonderfully crunchy and came with sweet and delicious passion fruit dip.

Entree: Carved roast pork with Spanish rice and peas, as well as sweet plaintains. This meal was huge! I was only able to finish maybe half of it. The pork was tender like butter and the skin was incredibly crispy with great flavor. It would’ve been even better if there was more sauce. The rice was pretty good and went well with the pork, but the plaintains were just okay.

Dessert: Tres leches cake with whipped cream and strawberries. This was delectable: Intensely sweet, especially soaked in the wonderful cream and the fruit was a perfect companion.

Atmosphere: The dining area was chic and roomy, but we were not expecting the obnoxiously loud club music playing in the front. This made it extremely difficult to to hold a conversation and dampened the overall experience.

Service: Quite good… The waitress was attentive and nice.

Lunch at Nick + Stef's Steakhouse

Lunch at Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse

Appetizer: Chilled pea and lemongrass soup with peekytoe crab and garlic croutons. I was not a huge fan of the soup, but I did like the crab and croutons on top.

Entree: Steak Frites. (What else would you get at a Steakhouse?) The skirt steak came already cut up for our convenience, and was herb marinated with pesto sauce. The steak was delicious and full of savory flavor. The fries were thin and crispy, just the way I like them.

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse Cake. Rich, chocolate layered cake that melted in my mouth was sweet, soft, delicate and delightful.

Atmosphere: Classy, white and elegant

Service: Wonderful!

Dinner at Bar Eolo

Dinner at Bar Eolo

Appetizer: I was looking forward to trying the calamari but it was no longer on their Restaurant Week menu, so I had to settle for the saffron risotto ball. I was disappointed because there was only one risotto ball. Also, I couldn’t taste the saffron at all, but did like the cheesiness of it and enjoyed the beef and pea ragu in the center.

Entree: Seared halibut with roasted potatoes, tomato, mushrooms, capers with olive oil and sauce. The halibut was cooked to perfection, with a bit of crispy skin that tasted so good. I also really enjoyed the potatoes, sauce and everything combined together nicely.

Dessert: Warm flour-less chocolate cake with strawberries, pistachio cous cous and pistachio ice cream was well worth the $4 additional fee. The chocolate cake was truly delectable: Melt in your mouth, finger licking delicious. It was rich, velvety and tasted of pure chocolate. The pistachio cous cous was underneath the ice cream and tasted light, subtly sweet, luscious.

Atmosphere: Lovely, cute restaurant in Chelsea with outdoor seating.

Service: The hostess and waitress seemed to be a bit confused throughout the meal, but they meant well.

 
Sofrito
400 E. 57 St
New York, NY

Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse
9 Penn Plaza
New York, NY

Bar Eolo
190 7th Ave
New York, NY

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New Year’s Eve

2014

Flying from CA –> NYC on the Red Eye with a stopover in Atlanta, arriving back on the East Coast afternoon of New Year’s Eve and realizing that my luggage was not at JFK. Apparently it was still in Atlanta! Thankfully, it wasn’t a big issue because I had all my necessary items (including my NYE dress) in my carry on. After ensuring that I would get my delayed luggage delivered to my apartment, I headed home for some much needed rest before going out for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

So, what did I wear? Hot pink & silver glitter, an Enfocus Studio dress with filmy light pink V-neck top with black skirt bottom & sparkly black sequined middle, paired with black high heel boots that have silver sparkles.

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On the way to the venue, I ran into a friend who was going to the same party, which was great timing (also because he didn’t see me fall on the little pothole in the concrete). The venue was beautiful- Wood floors, high ceilings, glittering golden drapes, strung up blue twinkling lights, a stage with large projector and a gorgeous view of the beautiful New York City skyline, with the Empire State Building resplendent in flashing colors, front & center.

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As soon as we walked in, there were waiters with appetizers on trays. My favorite was the chicken filo cups- The chicken was shredded and had a hearty flavor, while the filo cups were flaky and wonderfully crispy at the same time. There was also smoked salmon stuffed cornbread. The cornbread was perfectly soft and buttery, with a slight flavor of salmon. I liked that the flavor of the salmon was not overpowering. Last, there were tomato basil mozzarella cheese balls. It was light, juicy and tasty. Then there were long tables beautifully arranged for a sit down dinner, with gold glitter down the middle and candles.

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For dinner, we had the choice of tomato basil soup or salad. I had the soup, which was not warm and tasted mediocre in my opinion. The entree more than made up for it though. It was stuffed pork tenderloin with a side of wild rice and asparagus with sliced almonds and Parmesan cheese. I really enjoyed the stuffed pork- It was wrapped with bacon, and so deliciously tender and full of great flavor. The wild rice was also quite good, with the right consistency and flavor.  The asparagus were cooked well and the almonds and parmesan combined together was a yummy touch.

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Then, we had some live entertainment and got to see some amazing singers and dancers perform. I enjoyed the heartfelt performances and the last song sung was “Twist & Shout” to get us all up and dancing. It worked. We danced for the next few hours with a live feed of the Times Square celebrations in the background.

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We took a break from dancing to raid the dessert/candy buffet, which had various pastries, yellow cake with cream and fruit, cookies, chocolates, marshmallows, chocolate + yogurt covered pretzels, white covered peanuts, golden gumballs and more!

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Before we knew it, it was the countdown to midnight! Champagne toast, shouting, hugs, kisses and love. I had such a wonderful time ringing in the new year dancing up a storm in the company of some great friends! And I even got a ride home. How I ask for a better New Year’s Eve?

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Dinner & Cannery Row

My family and I went to a friend’s place for a delightful and delicious dinner the other night. We started off with some appetizers of pork spring rolls with lettuce and a sweet/sour sauce that accompanied the spring rolls perfectly. We also had shrimp chips and a wonderful fruit drink that was made fresh that day, thanks to their juicer

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The main course was noodles with beef with cabbage and spinach in a slightly spiced soup. The beef was incredibly tender and full of robust flavor. The vegetables were fresh and crunchy.

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For dessert we had mashed sweet peas with a dollop of whipped cream. It was a unique dish but I really enjoyed it. The consistency was soft and the whipped cream gave the sweet peas an added layer of yumminess.

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After our dinner, we all took a walk along Cannery Row, which was beautifully lit up and quite a few stores still open. We stopped into Ghiradelli and other chocolate/caramel apple shops.

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We also passed the Cannery Row Christmas Tree,  which was tall with blue, green, yellow lights and a brightly lit blue star on top.

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