Thursday, October 22, 2009
Each dinner begins with asking, "Gail, what's good?"
Gail does her homework. She visits blogs, reads online reviews, peruses local papers, talks to other foodies, and maybe even hides outside of restaurant kitchens taking copious notes.
Without pause she ticker-tapes, "Bacon wrapped dates and olives, fried goat cheese, asparagus tempura, white truffle and porcini deviled eggs, crispy brussels sprouts, grilled gulf shrimp and chorizo skewers, Catalonian flatbread, pulled pork empanadas, house-made grilled Merguez, and braised short ribs of beef." So, that's what Ann, Jessica and I go with. (Donna was out sick with a sinus infection.)
We all began the night at Alta's bar drinking their super punchy sangria. Gail swore she wouldn't need a second drink. Ok, I did too. An hour later at our table we over ruled our swearing off a second drink and each ordered a glass of Cava.
When we checked in for our 7:30pm res, instead of the hostess (who looked like Lisa Loeb enlarged twenty-five percent) saying, "Welcome, enjoy your meal," we heard, "We have to turn the table at 9:30pm." And then we were lead to our table situated in one of the nosiest dining rooms in Manhattan. I guess the sound level is specially designed to drive diners out in two hours or less as well as the easy-to-gobble-up, delicious tapas. And if that doesn't work maybe they crank up some Lisa Loeb tunes?
Since our last meal together, Ann had ventured into the world of brown dating, and Gail had been subjected to her sister's friend decreeing that she must wear shocking pink to her sister's bridal shower. Gail was aghast, "Who owns shocking pink?!" Possibly clowns, Mary Kay reps and blind people.
No floosie dinner is complete without something breaking. As Gail was driving home the difference between Thai-American and Thai-Thai to Jessica, her arm hit her champagne flute. The glass shattered as it hit the table, Jackson-pollacking Jess's white blouse in Cava. Luckily it was white and not red.
We ended with four desserts.The most amazing were the dark chocolate liquid truffles. They tasted like they had been plucked from the interior of a warm car. Each exploded in your mouth with a fruity filling. Much tastier than new car.
9:30pm came and went without being given the heave-ho by our Lisa Loeb on steroids hosteess.
We're skipping November and regrouping in December when it's Gail's pick. See you Floosies then.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I was the first floosy to arrive at Scuderia, Donna's pick. There are some pluses to working in DUMBO, Brooklyn. You can get to West 4th Street in 20 minutes without breaking a sweat or talking to yourself. I hit the bar and ordered a glass of prosecco while I waited for the others. As I sipped my dirnk, I noticed a pair of sneakers hanging over a pipe that hung over the bar. Immediate fear of shoe dust falling in drink hit me. I scooted down to next seat.
Half an hour later and two and half glasses later, we moved to our outdoor table. We ordered the Salumi e Formaggi platter. Using an 'e' instead of the word and really transports one to Italy. Before moving on to listing the mains we wanted I threw in an order for the olives. I feared one app wasn't going to cut it.
Lo and behold the first item to arrive were the.... seven olives in a bowl the size of thimble. I imagined the chef figured a thimble would make the seven olives look more like twenty-nine. I quickly did the math at $5.50 for seven olives that's 79 cents per olive. Maybe I should start a math club? The olive I ate was fresh tasting and crunchy. If it had been a bad olive, I was prepared to ask for a credit.
Our main dishes included an assortment of delicious pasta dishes. I think you can't go wrong ordering any of them so I won't bother to list the ones we ate.
To end the evening on a sweet note we ordered the Tiramisu, Pizzetta con Nutella e Mascarpone and something else that was basically a sundae with a thick bottom layer of peanut butter stuff.
The pizza (I won't bother with the extra letters) tasted like a rice cake with Nutella. In other words the waiter could have sent over a vaht of Nutella and five spoons. As for the sundae thing, the restaurant should change their name to Sundaeria. One wasn't enough for all the floosies. As I went in for second bite, my spoon knocked the dish off the table and to the ground. Gail quickly and professionally announced, "We can still eat it." I'm sure broken glass chards covered in gelato are delish. However, I waved my drunken arm and explained the series of events and the waiter cut me off by saying he'd bring a fresh one.
The photo above isn't of the chef, but sure would be funny if it were.
Friday, September 26, 2008
"I know this is last minute, but I got free tickets to tonight's Rangers game. Wanna go?" Donna asks via cellphone.
"Can I call you back in five minutes?"
I hang up with my fellow floosy and look at my calendar. I'm supposed to go to an infant CPR class tonight. I call Donna back in less than sixty seconds and accept her invite. Let's face it, a Rangers game with Donna sounds like so much more fun than sitting in a two hour class and learning how to save my ten-month-old son's life. Ok. I'm a bad mom. But, I'm also a tired mom who has been on five job interviews in three days. I could use a break from reality. And the free tickets work with my unemployed budget.
I meet Donna at The Molly Wee Pub and order a glass of Cabernet. For a mere $6.50 I experience a smooth and spicy glass of red, which warms me up against the slightly chilly evening air. Actually, it's the bar's air conditioners set on Siberia. Donna enjoys a goto vodka cran for the same price. She shares her annoying day with me and I share my equally annoying past three with her.
I explain to Donna, "The interviewer asked, 'What did Jenn (recrutier) tell you about the job?'"
"That it involves writing for a catalog."
"No it doesn't"
"It doesn't?" I swallow.
"No. It's to write a marketing proposal for a new beauty website."
"I can do that."
Needless to say, I didn't get the job.
We down our drinks and head to MSG. Before sitting we grab a potato knish, pretzel and two waters. The potato knish tastes like the amazing mashed potatoes I had at Telepan for last year's Thanksgiving meal. During the dinner, I was six days from my due date and terrified of going into labor early and missing out on dessert. I rest easy eating the knish, knowing the only thing I may birth is gas. The warm pretzel is standard but perfect as we dunk it in shots of mustard. Our seats come with waiter service. I tell the waitress I'll have a glass of the Cabernet. She asks, "A double?" I've never heard of a double Cabernet. I imagine being served a pitcher of cheap red wine. I tell the server, "A single." Donna goes for a single vodka cran. When I get my Cab, I'm relieved I only ordered the single. It's like drinking Rubitussin. MSG's sommelier should meet with Molly Wee's.
I extract from my purse a bag of Autumn mix comprised of candy and Indian corn plus pumpkins. It's our first of the season and it's delish. Sugar upon sugar mixed with bad red wine. Mmmm... I hope I don't puke later. The candy attracts the two guys behind us. We give them each handfuls. And they give us their dinner recommendation: the roast beef sandwich at the snack stand. We're too full from our knish and pretzel, but next time for sure.
The Rangers lose to Tampa. However, I feel like a winner having enjoyed a wonderfully, cheap night out with my buddy. And I managed not to puke.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I wore all black to Bar Blanc. Except for the patch of blanc skin blaring between tights and shoes. I'm pale. I wear sunscreen even when it's raining. Enough about my skin. It's time to discuss the skin of some animal I ingested.
Only four floosies were in attendance. Ann was away in France. Not a bad excuse.
Let me put my fork down for a minute to explain that The Fork Floosies formed two years ago as a group of five women who get together once a month to explore and experience New York City's restaurants. Each month one of us picks a spot to meet and eat.
Back to Bar Blanc. We kicked things off with a bottle of Lambrusco, which we thought was a sparkling red. Wrong. Sparkling white. This is not Bar Rojo. We ordered the special appetizer, duck pate, baby boston lettuce and hearts of palm salad, crispy sweatbreads salad and haricots verts with boquerones salad. I thought sweatbreads were brains. Seems like a sensible name for a vital part of the body. However they are thymus glands. I admit, I was scared to try brains or glands. I channeled my inner Bourdain and tasted. Sweatbreads are light and airy. I could eat a popcorn vat filled with em. I even went in for a second helping. Our appetizer course was quickly overtaken by Gail's story of her birthday dinner at Per Se. She's the first of us floosies to make it there. We were all so proud. And jealous.
We swallowed our envy along with our mains. We shared the summer vegetable risotto, crispy milk-fed "baby pig" porcelet and the roasted free range duck breast. My fav was the granny smith apple green risotto.
In between our entree and dessert, Donna and I visited the ladies room and discovered a few ladies snorting Bolivian marching powder. Maybe that's how the place gets its name.
During the mains, I spat an inedible bite of porcelet into my napkin. Upon returning to the table, I found the waiter shaking and then refolding my napkin. The chewed up hunk of food fell out of the cloth and landed on my seat. The waiter picked it up with his bare hands. He deserves a raise for subjecting himself to my DNA and mouth bacteria.
We ended the evening with marinated strawberries, a chocolate raspberry cake with a fancy name that isn't coming to mind and squash blossoms filled with (I think) marscapone cheese. But, I can't really remember what they were filled with it. They were good. And that's what matters.
Would I return to Bar Blanc? Considering all the other eateries yet to visit, probably not. The food wasn't amazing. It wasn't bad. It was fine. What I really ate up was the company and decor.
So, nice pick Jessica. Donna, you're up next.