Tag Archives: lamb

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.

alta_brussel sprouts
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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June 2015 Yelp Elite Events

I recently reached Elite status on Yelp.com and have finally experienced several amazing Yelp events, from an ice cream tasting, to dinner at an Australian restaurant and an outdoor affair with appetizers and treats.

The first event I went to was the Milkmade Tasting Room ice cream tasting in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Milkmade is a small shop that is easily missed if you’re not looking for it. They had 5 unique flavors and I was able to try all of them. Below, are the flavors in order from my favorite to least favorite.

RVC

Red Velvet Cupcake was creamy sweet and delicious. I enjoyed the cream cheese flavored ice cream with a multitude of red velvet crumbles.

Fingerlakes PB&J

This peanut butter and jelly flavored ice cream was a wonderful smooth base of peanut butter, accented with a jelly swirl.

Open Sesame

This was black sesame with caramel. It had a strong nutty flavor with a lovely sweetness.

Blueberry

This flavor was simple, light and tasted perfectly of blueberries. Beautiful purple-blue color as well.

Chinatown Chocolate

This chocolate flavor had traces of cinnamon, sichuan pepper and fennel so it was quite interesting. I found the extra flavors to be a little bit too busy and wasn’t sure if I liked all of them together.

yelp_icecreamAfter the ice cream tasting, my friend and I headed to the Elite Only event in Queens: Outback to Astoria at The Thirsty Koala, which is an Australian restaurant. The food was delicious and there was plenty to go around. There was ceviche on a circular tortilla chip with sea bass, which were tasty 2-bite size pieces. It tasted both fresh and flavorful.

yelp_cevicheThen there were Australian meat pies, which had sausage in them and they were amazing! The meat was seasoned beautifully and full of robust flavor.

yelp_meatpiesThen there were corn fritter sliders, which came with a jalapeno sauce which was actually quite wonderful, even though I don’t normally like spicy food. The corn fritter was so good, while the sauce complemented the corn fritter well.

Yelp_slidersWe also got to try these delicious meatballs and calamari which had the perfect amount of crispiness. There were also lamb chops, which was a crowd favorite, but not my favorite because it was a bit too rare for me and there was too much fat on it.

yelp_lambchopsThen our table noticed there were kangaroo empanadas going around which we didn’t get a chance to try so my friend asked about it and they made a whole tray just for us! What incredible service… It tasted pretty good. Kind of tasted like well seasoned beef – I would not have known it was kangaroo if no one told me.

After that came the desserts. The first one was called Koala Ball, which was basically a chocolate ball: Hard chocolate outer shell with a soft, gooey, rich, chocolatey brownie-like center. It was absolutely delectable!

yelp_chocolateThe other was a chocolate caramel bar with a shortbread-like base. This was also incredible and the chocolate complemented the caramel just right.

yelp_chocolate caramelMy third Yelp Elite event: Studio Lot Affair, took place outdoors yesterday, at the Kaufman Astoria Studios with foot from Astor Room and cocktails provided by Buffalo Trace. I enjoyed the chicken salad on toasted bread, as well as the chicken skewers with balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. However, my favorite, by far was the maple-candied bacon. It was extremely crispy, both sweet and salty, chock full of sweet maple flavor and just the best bacon I have ever had.

yelp_baconI had such a great time and met some awesome new friends at each of the Yelp Elite events, so can’t wait to attend future events!

MilkMade Tasting Room
204 Sackett Street
Brooklyn, NY

The Thirsty Koala
35-12 Ditmars Boulevard
Queens, NY

The Astor Room
34-12 36 St
Queens, NY

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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

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Afternoon in Williamsburg

I don’t go to Brooklyn often, but I visited my friend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn the other weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Loved all the cute shops, great restaurants, cool graffiti. Plus, it’s very close to Manhattan, which is a big bonus. I got to check out my friend’s new loft and rooftop.

rooftop_me

The rooftop had gorgeous views of the city: Lovely buildings, Williamsburg Bridge, what used to be Williamsburg Savings Bank (now used as a premiere luxury events space)…

williamsburgThere were a lot of beautiful sights on that rooftop. This heart shape in the chain link fence, right in front of the gorgeous domed Williamsburg Savings Bank is one of those sights.

williamsburg_heart
For lunch, we headed to an Indian restaurant called Mahal Kita.  The interior was spacious and elegant, with chandeliers and brown/tan color scheme.

mahalkita

As per usual at any Indian restaurant, I ordered a Mango Lassi drink. Since my friend frequents the restaurant, we got our drinks for free which was an unexpected and gracious gesture. The Mango Lassi was tasty, refreshing and not too sweet.

mangolassi

I chose the marinated rack of lamb with potatoes and peppers for my main course, which was delicious. The lamb was juicy, succulent, full of flavor in a delectable sauce and was slightly charred which is the way I like my meat. The medley of vegetables in an orange sauce was quite wonderful and paired with the lamb well, giving it an extra layer of flavor.

mahalkita_lamb

The meal at Mahal Kita was wonderful, the service attentive and they had a 20% off dine in special!

mahalkita_me

After our meal, we stopped into Pies n Thighs, the restaurant well known for its Southern cuisine which usually has an hour long wait to be seated… Luckily, they have desserts that can be purchased to go, so I got myself some apple pie (which I ate later). It was flaky tasty cinnamon spiced apple pie with a rich all butter crust… That crust was amazing.

williamsburg_pie

Then on my way back to the L train, I had to stop at Williamsburg Creamery, known for its homemade ice cream. I selected the White Raspberry with chocolate chunks and it was delectable and oh so mouthwatering and sweet! I also had the Vanilla ice cream with fudge and peanut butter, which I expected to like a lot more. It was actually too plain for me- The vanilla didn’t have enough of the fudge and peanut butter mixed in.

williamsburg_creamery

 

Mahal Kita
184 Havemeyer St
Brooklyn, NY

Pies n Thighs
166 S. 4 St
Brooklyn, NY

Williamsburg Creamery
201 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY

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Brooklyn Night Bazaar

BrooklynNightBazaar

It’s not often that I venture into Brooklyn, but when I heard about the Brooklyn Night Bazaar “A night market and concert space that brings together independent vendors, musicians, chefs and artists,” I knew I had to experience it for myself. The Bazaar is located in a warehouse in Greenpoint, open on Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm to midnight. Admission is free, but it’s a good idea to get there a little early because there will be a line and they stagger entry. There was still quite a decent sized line when I left around 9pm.

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Upon entering the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, you’re hit with an array of lights, color, hip and cool clothes, jewelry and other merchandise. We headed in toward the back where we were met with a barrage of food vendors, such as The Morris Truck (grilled cheese), The Lobster Joint, Oaxaca Taqueria, and Arancini Bros (rice balls). The first thing I had to try was the only $5 lobster slider from The Lobster Joint and it was delicious. I’m usually not a huge fan of lobster rolls because I dislike cold lobster, but this slider was not super chilled. The lobster was fresh and tasted full of flavor, with the perfect amount of mayo and accompanying coleslaw.

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I also had to get myself a bubble tea drink from Tea n’ Milk. I chose the iced Chai House Special with tapioca pearls. The tea was brewed fresh and tasted wonderful. I enjoyed it with the thick, sweet condensed milk and the sprinkling of cinnamon.

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Then I got to try some mac and cheese with truffle that was pan fried and then breaded & fried on top of that! This was a heaping dish of pure yummyness, along with the sauce they added to it. It was perfectly crispy, juicy, cheesy and completely fattening and indulgent.

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I couldn’t resist trying the lamb bun after seeing the lamb roasting slowly in front of my eyes. It came with sweet dark brown sauce, pomegranate seeds, parsley. It unfortunately did not taste as wonderfully as I had expected and ended up liking the pork bun quite a bit more.

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I was able to taste a few other items: Thin crust sausage pizza (tasty), risotto rice ball (decent), truffle grilled cheese sandwich (divine), and much later, some ice cream. I chose two flavors: Vanilla caramel and tres leches. Both turned out to be delightful, smooth, sweet, rich and complimented one another. The tres leches even had pieces of tres leches cake swirled in, which took it to the next level of deliciousness.

I spent some time checking out the vendors, which were all wonderful and unique in their own way. Some of my favorites were BlissfulCASE (pale pink glitter for your cell phone, anyone?), Milly & Earl (nautical-themed and other gorgeously designed jewelry), Strumpet (sassy retro-style apparel) and more.

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There was one vendor that had cool books that were transformed into clocks.

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Besides all the food and shopping, there was an area for live performances. Several different bands performed throughout the evening, adding an awesome element to the whole experience. Also, there’s a section for mini golf, complete with neon lights, disco balls, a huge cut out of Glinda the Good Witch, a zebra, and more!  There’s even table tennis!

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The Brooklyn Night Bazaar is something new, creative, full of life with trendy vendors, art, food, music and more! It’s great to go with a group of friends or just your bestie and can be an adventure that doesn’t break the bank, as it is easy to share the small bites, mini golf is only $5 and you’re able to choose how much you spend.  Well worth the trip!

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Brooklyn Night Bazaar
165 Banker St
Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Night Bazaar

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