Tag Archives: salmon

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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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

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Stanton Social Feast

I indulged at Lower East Side restaurant hot spot, Stanton Social, getting to try many of the specialty treats, by sharing the small plates. I started off with a non-alcoholic sweet crushed strawberry drink, with a rind of orange. It tasted fruity and delicious. The strawberries at the bottom were a nice touch.

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Our feast of a meal started off with potato and goat cheese pierogies, which came with caramelized onion and truffle creme fraiche. They were melt-in-your-mouth delicious: Crispy and flavorful, the goat cheese and potato were a perfect combination.

pierogies

Then the Maryland Jumbo Lumb Crab Cake “Corn Dogs,” which were just okay… The sauce it came with was delicious and complemented the crab cake well, but the overall crab flavor wasn’t very strong.

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The Mushroom & Fontina Quesadilla was wonderful – the mushroom tasted fresh and of great consistency with the delightfully tasty melted cheese.

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We also had one of Stanton Social’s signature dishes, French Onion Soup Dumplings – A unique and interesting concept that lacks the proper execution. The dish came extremely hot, but the soup got absorbed into the cheese, so it wasn’t actually soup dumplings… It was more like cheesy french onion melded together with croutons on top. The taste was okay, but the texture was  bit too chewy and dry. A note to Stanton Social: Leave the soup dumplings to the Shanghainese!

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We also tasted the spicy lamb souvlakis, which were unimpressive. The lamb wasn’t spicy at all, the taste was a bit bland and overall not memorable.

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Then came the entrees. We had to try the Chicken and Waffles. It was brick pressed chicken on aged cheddar waffle, corn pudding and balsamic spiced maple syrup. This was also a disappointment. The waffles were soft and had very little flavor. The chicken were also not great.

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The next dish, Spaghettini Carbonara, on the other hand, which came with braised pork belly and sunny-side up quail egg, was delicious. The spaghetti, pork and quail egg were bursting with delightful flavor and combined to make an inspired treat.

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Then there were the shrimp and grits, which was mediocre to me. The pan roasted shrimp was pretty tasty, but I could have done without the cheddar grits.

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The Sriracha Pea Crusted Salmon, with Asian pesto and soba noodle-beet salad, was simply put, delicious. I loved the crispiness of the crust, the tender flakiness of the salmon itself and the light soba noodle. Everything came together perfectly.

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We also had hanger steak. The steak was decent: Nice and juicy, with robust flavor. I also enjoyed the french fries with crumbles of bleu-cheese and bacon, which was a bit much but still tasty, nonetheless.

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The last main course plate we had were the baby back ribs. The meat was tender and the flavor was good. We couldn’t finish it though because we were so stuffed(!), so we took the rest to go.

As for dessert, we tried the Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel Mousse, which was delectable. This came with caramel popcorn and popcorn flavored ice cream. The caramel popcorn was quite sticky and the ice cream was light, fluffy, and worked wonderfully with the cake, which was incredibly rich, dense, chocolate-y and divine. We also couldn’t finish this… Next time, I would like to try the S’mores Creme Brulee and Bourbon Peach Cobbler Sundae (bourbon ice cream, roasted peaches, oatmeal streusel).

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Overall, a wonderful dining experience, with the following highlights:

  • Potato and Goat Cheese Pierogies
  • Spaghettini Carbonara
  • Sriracha Pea Crusted Salmon
  • Hanger Steak with Bleu-Cheese Bacon Frites
  • Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel Mousse

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Location: 99 Stanton Street, NYC

 

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4th of July Weekend

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BBQs and 4th of July are synonymous to me, so I was happy to attend my friend’s BBQ and enjoy bacon-wrapped mini sausages, chicken wings, salmon steak and grilled peaches. We also had a wonderful white frosted cake with red trim, and a blue flower. Inside was layered white cake with chocolate frosting in between, which was so darn delicious (however, a bit overly sweet)!

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We enjoyed several different street fireworks displays and the next day I prepared to go camping at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania with a group of people.  I had a wonderful time. Once again, there was soo much food… I had salmon on top of fennel and sprinkled with thyme. There was also marinated ribs, jerk chicken, steak, sausage, corn, yams!

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Saturday morning dawned bright and beautiful, despite the rain from Friday night and we took a hike through the forest and along the waterfalls. There were trees and green plants, babbling streams, bridges, and more- Such a charming scene in nature. But by far the most magnificent, most glorious creations were the many waterfalls… Some were small, while others spanned the distance of entire boulders. They were absolutely breathtaking and I enjoyed being in the presence of such beauty, taking in the refreshing spray of the water and the sound of the water streaming down.

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After the hike, we decided to head to the beach where I enjoyed being in the lovely water and just chilling in the shade, making conversation and having ice cream.

beach

Back at the campsite, we started preparing dinner and this time I learned how to make a new delectable tasting dessert. Take a banana, split it length-wise, add a caramel piece, Reese’s Pieces (or chocolate + peanut butter), marshmallow pieces, wrap it all up in tin foil and put it atop the fire for a few minutes until everything is melted together in a wonderful gooey mess. Yes, it is over indulging, but it is so worth it!

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I had a great 4th of July weekend and hope you did as well!

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