Sunday, March 4, 2012

Our Gluttonous Tour of NYC!

A couple of weeks ago, hubs and I realized we had three days left to use of our 2011 Exclusive Resorts contract. and since we hadn't been to NYC in about 16 months that's where we decided to spend them.  Now February is NOT my favorite time of year in the Big Apple, but we arrived Tuesday morning to a beautifully mild and sunny day.  We dropped our bags at the Park Ave. apartment and hoofed it to Eataly.  Ahhh, Eataly.  If you call yourself a lover of food it needs to be on your NYC bucket list.  Check out my review of my fist visit shortly after they opened.

We had lunch at the bar of Manzo, Eataly's main restaurant.  Hubs ordered the pasta special and I had the ribeye sandwich special.  Both delicious!

And we may or may not have had a few of these!  We then picked up some snacks for the apartment at the cheese counter and some wine at Eataly's wine store next door and grabbed a cab back home for a little rest before dinner.  Since we usually head to the city for a long weekend and I tend to procrastinate on making dinner reservations, we've never been able to score a table at Mario Batali's Del Posto restaurant in the Meatpacking District.  But this time we were there during the week (and a slow one at that) and when I checked Open Table, well, Del Posto had an open table!!  I was beyond excited.

I didn't feel comfortable taking pictures in the restaurant (plus it was pretty dark) but what a beautiful space.  This would end up being our favorite dining experience of the week (and moved onto our Top-Five-All-Time List).  The food was incredible and the staff was knowledgeable, friendly and attentive (without being hovering).  Well done, Mario!

We each opted for the four course tasting menu with wine pairing.  I originally asked the sommelier if he would mind writing down the names of the wines for me (because I knew I'd never remember them), but apparently he's suffering from menopause also, because he forgot and so did I!  Anyhoo, here's what we ate.....

Charred OCTOPUS, Umbrian Garbanzo, Celery Hearts & 25 yr Aceto Tradizionale (hubs)

LOBSTER Fra Diavolo with Garlic Bread Panna Cotta & Seaweeds (me)

TORTELLO PUZZONE with Taleggio Dolce & Black Truffle Butter
(hubs and I both agreed this was BY FAR the best dish we had all weekend) 
Yesterday's 100 Layer LASAGNA alla Piastra
(we each got both of the pasta's)

Heritage PIG TRIO alla Paesana, Crushed Parsnips, Polenta Spuma & Savory (hubs)

Truffled Dover SOLE Soft Sunchokes, Wilted Romaine & Warmed Occelli Butter (me)

TARTUFO al Caffe, Dark Chocolate, Sant’Eustachio Coffee, & Candied Lemon (hubs)

Chocolate Ricotta TORTINO, Toasted Pistachios & Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gelato (me...but really hubs!)

A mere 14 hours later we walked the 32 blocks up Madison (in the rain because Lord knows we needed the exercise!) where w bellied (literally) up at swanky Eleven Madison Park (23rd and Madison) for a light 7-course lunch!  Click here for a copy of their menu.  Not a lot to go on right?  Their philosophy behind that being....

"Our menu format is intended to offer an experience in which our guests can enjoy the inherent surprise of a tasting menu, while still maintaining some control. Dishes are listed solely by their principal ingredients, and guests are invited to make their selections, share any thoughts or preferences, including any ingredient dislikes, and allow us to design their meal from there."

We're gluttons so we opted for the 7-course tasting menu with wine pairings.  What?  Doesn't everyone have eight glasses of wine for lunch??  Here's what we had.....

Tea with Quail Egg and Bacon
Vilmart, Grande Reserve, Brut, Rilly la Montagne, Champagne, France

Lolipops with Curry, Panisse with Yogurt

Sabayon with Chive Oil

(The three previous items were all "one bite" appetizers that counted as one course!)

Clambake with Chorizo, Apple and Potato
Southhampton, Saison Deluxe, South Hampton, Long Island

(I didn't take pictures of every course.  The guy at the table next to us took several pictures of every course which, frankly, got annoying.  I'll bet his blog is much more successful than mine!!)

Tabbouleh Salad with Olives and Orange
Yves Martin, Chavignol, Sancerre, Loire Valley, France 2010

Terrine with Black Truffle, Potato and Rye
Trimbach, Reserve Personelle, Alsace, France 2004

Roasted with Watercress and Horseradish
Pichler-Krutzler Lobner Klostersats, Wachau, Austria 2010

Poached with Burnt Leeks Bay Leaf, and Meyer Lemon
Comte Abbatucci, Cuvee Faustine Ajaccio, Corsica, France 2009

Roasted with Wood Sorrel, Pickled Mushrooms, and Bordelaise
Chateau Haut-Segottes, Grand Cru, Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, France 2006

Variations with Pumpkin and Apple
Foreau, Moelleux, Vouvray, Loire Valley, France 1999
(Cheese Course)

Orange, Cocoa Nib and Seltzer

Sorbet with Bergamot Creme and Caramilized Cocoa Crumble
Emilio Lustau, Emilin, Solera Reserve, Jerez

Tarte with Salted Caramel, Cocoa Nibs, and Chocolate Sorbet
Vinhos Barbeito (Rare Wine Co.), New York Special Reserve

The table next to us also ordered the tea service which I totally eavesdropped in on.  If you like tea, you need to order this.  By this time, I was in massive need of a quad espresso.  Tea wasn't going to cut it!

Needless to say, there were no dinner reservations Wednesday night.  I spent most of the evening in the fetal position moaning about how full I was!  Totally worth it.

Thursday morning we were again in massive need of a long walk so we headed toward Central Park.  It was still drizzling a little so we popped into the Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle for some brunch.  It finally stopped raining by the time we were done so we headed to Fifth Avenue to give hubs credit cards a little workout!  I went easy on him and just picked up a few really cute accessories at Michael Kors.  A girl has to have a little souvenir, right?

Since he didn't bark at my shopping I let him pick dinner (I so knew where this was headed!).  His favorite NYC restaurant is Felidia.  We've been there several times and it always delivers, plus it's just a few blocks from the Exclusive Resorts apartment, so it doesn't require hailing a cab.  Always a plus!  Here's what we had....

Burrata Cheese, Broccoli Di Rape, Spaghetti Squash "Carbonara"

POLIPO (hubs)
Octopus:  Grilled and Mosaic with Leeks, Blue Potato, Lemon and Oil

We split the Primi Piatti course with a Papradelle with Wild Boar Rago which was the special for the evening

Scallops, Lobster, Calamari, Shrimp and Razor Clams Cooked "Alla Piastra," Swiss Chard Salad, Lemon and Oil

MANZO (hubs)
Braised Beef Flat Iron Steak Tagliata with Colle Fiorito Chickpeas, Purgatorio Beans and Capezzana "Olio Nuovo"

Hubs also ordered an amazing Pecan Tart for dessert.  I settled my stomach with some Lemoncello!

Since we had a late flight out on Friday, we headed to Bobby Flay's Bar Americain for a light lunch before grabbing a cab to LaGuardia.  Now we both ordered salads (hubs had the cobb and I had the lamb salad) but you can't possibly visit Bar Americain without ordering the homemade chips with warm blue cheese dip.  So we did!  I can only eat a couple of them because they're quite rich, but they are amazing.

Just a little FYI for you Exclusive Resorts members reading this.....they've redecorated the Park Ave apartments.  I guess some people felt they had crammed too much furniture into the space previously.  I, personally, liked the prior decor.  Let's just say, I'm not a fan of the new "furniture".

Don't these chairs just scream "Curl up on me after a long day trekking through the busy streets of Manhattan."???

Yeah....not so much!

Granted it looks nice and I'm sure it's stylish, but something has to be comfortable to sit on here, people.  And BTW, that couch and the beige chair with it's back to you are hard as rocks.  It's a real competition between the furniture here and the furniture in the Vdara units in Vegas for most uncomfortable.  But maybe that's just me.

On a side note, I made the dining reservations for all four restaurants (Del Posto, Eleven Madison Park, Felidia and Bar Americain) on Open Table.  Most restaurants in most larger cities (including Birmingham) now utilize the on-line reservations system.  Check them out at

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