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May 27, 2014
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NEW YORK – PART 2

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Keeping up with the New York trip part 2… When you are in a different city, walking without a destination like we were in NYC, everything is so big and sometimes getting lost is a good thing, right?!. Well, we left Chinatown walking  and trying to head to Wall Street when we noticed that the Brooklyn bridge was right there in front our eyes! We had no idea it was so close. It’s such a beautiful view!!! On our next trip we want to explore  Brooklyn for sure. I want to apologize in advance for the awful photos …most are from our Instagram. I don’t know what I did with my camera but all the photos were extremely blurry. Sorry!

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I almost forgot to say that we got the CityPass for three days. It was a little expensive but it was worth it to avoid lines and buy tickets. I have been to NYC many times  but I never visited all  the tourist places… I don’t know why… Sincerely, all the lines and tourists… I think that kept me away  from these places, but I was with Marilyn and it was fun to do them with her and I also thougt I should see them  at least once. We went to see the Statue of Liberty after Brooklyn and I was surprised that it was a lot smaller than I would have imagined seeing it from all the movies or comparing it  to Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. The story behind the statue and the museum is very interesting as is Ellis Island which is included in the tour. A good tip is to book your tickets early (3 moths) if you want to climb up to the Crown.

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After the statue I was done with the tourist things for the day. Walking thru Broadway Marilyn saw  Craftbar, Chef Tom Colicchio’s  (Top Chef judge’s) restaurant. We looked at each other and we knew that we wanted to try something from his menu. Surprisely, the restaurant carries a very nice Happy Hour Menu that a manager (I believe) told us they started one month ago. The happy hour is between 4-6pm on weekdays. We both ordered the house red ($6/glass) and were pleasantly surprised! It was quite refreshing and robust, and a great pour. We tried all the food from the happy hour menu. Everything was amazing including the price! We couldn’t believe it!!

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We left Craftbar without any destination and while walking around the FlatIron district I saw Eataly and I was dying to show this place to Marilyn..We stumbled upon this place. What a brilliant place and idea. Loved the food and the ambiance. We were lucky to find a spot in the wine and antipasti area right way, but usually it’s a very long wait for a table, but worth it. There are 5 or so different restaurants in it. Each has their own menu specializing in certain things. For example, in the cheese and antipasti area there are stand up tables with a couple sit down areas but we saw that at other bars there you can sit down. They have also lots of fresh Italian produce on sale for New Yorkers to cook at home, and a roof top bar with lots of Italian craft beers that we visited . They have a selection of at least 80 different types of cheese, 15-20 different types of Italian meats (from bresola to coppa to mortadella, etc.), fish, ground meats (lamb, beef, veal, whatever you need), and whole cuts of meat, .  Last but not the least, Eataly has a Nutella Bar. It’s a room full of Nutella containers on their wall and fresh crepes.We didn’t try their food,  but it looked so delicious and fresh… We would go there again for sure!!

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The next day we went to Grand Central Terminal, Empire State Building (ridiculous the line and wait) and our first brunch. It was a warm, sunny and  beautiful Saturday in NY.

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We stopped by at ABC Cocina, very excited to try the food of Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten. ABC Covcna serves tapas style but the portions are all pretty reasonably sized. The flavors are a combination of Spanish and Latin American. The margaritas that we had were amazing: passion fruit with a smoked salt rim and basil jalapeño with a basil salt rim. The food was incredible and I couldn’t avoid ordering  the churros with pineapple cajeta.

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After this indulgence, it was time to walk to burn more calories. We went to see the World Trade Center memorial, but it was closed to the  public until late May  (here). It was very emotional seeing the pools with water streaming down and the names of the people that died….

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We walked  through Greenwich Village, Tribeca and Chelsea (here, here). After this tour we headed to our hotel to take a shower and get ready to go to Wd-50. It’s a molecular restaurant by chef Wylie Dufresne that I booked as a surprise for Marilyn. One of the things that immediately surprised me was the fact that this type of food was served in such a casual atmosphere. I was expecting some sort of mad scientist, foams and crazy things. It was not as innovative as I expected  it to be, but the service we got at the bar was so amazing that it made our night unforgettable..  The restaurant has two tasting menus (here). We did the 2 course bar special: 2 courses for $25. And you can add more for $15 each. The reason we wanted to sit at the bar was the freedom to choose dishes from the two tasting menu. In other words, you can “create” your own tasting menu. The bartender (I forgot his name – shame on me!)  was outstanding and most of the drinks at the restaurant have his signature. We had a couple of  different drinks like this one made with bourbon, oatmeal milk, and apple. The other one was made with  vodka, pomegranate, and champagne and it was really good. Marilyn loved the one  made with gin, Kaffir lime, raspberry brandy and egg white. As we were at the bar we saw the bartender breaking the egg and mixing it up… I don’t drink gin but this drink was really good. Now about the food… It’s pricey and the portions are really really tiny.While the flavor combinations of some of the plates were very interesting, for me, I never got that “WOW” moment. But there were some highlights…moments with cured duck breast, curds-n-whey, sweet potato and rice noodles, hanger tartare, pickled asian pear, amaro, béarnaise ice cream, the lamb loin, hibiscus-date, barley and aged goat cheese. These dishes were flavorful and the meats was perfectly cooked. The presentations of  these dishes were plated beautifully and certainly stand up to Michelin star standards. In the end, the bartender offered us a tour of the kitchen.

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Sunday was our last day and we wanted to enjoy it as much as  we could. In the morning we went to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA and The Met. We had brunch at Boulud Sud.

Conceptualized as a Mediterranean restaurant, the menu includes everything from burgers and pastas to egg dishes and pastry plus a number of Southern French and even African influences. The highlights were the falafel with baba ganoush and hummous with house made crisps that were incredible and the lamb burger that was cooked perfectly  with the best fried polenta that we ever had. We had also desserts that were delicious!!

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To finish this long post we ended up having dinner in an unexpected place. For our last dinner we decided to go to Momofuku Noodle Bar without a reservation. To get a table was a 30 minute wait. So we decided to walk around and we saw this funky restaurant, Duck’s Eatery,  and we decided to have a drink or maybe an appetizer. We looked at the menu and were impressed… Short story, we decided to stay and try their food. They  have great food, but be patient… the service is not very good!!! My favorite of the night was the crispy pig ears. It was wrapped in  butter lettuce,  flavorful and crispy! The sauce was so good. The pickled cabbage helped round out the dish just perfectly. We also had the house made brisket jerky.  Marilyn loved the smoked goats neck….a great and tender dish.  They specialize in smoked foods and you can just smell and feel the great ambiance.  They also show movies on the wall which was so much fun!

That’s a wrap!

Beijos e Tchau!

Ludmilla

Ludmilla Ramos and Marilyn Chudda
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Brazi Bites Jalapeño Popovers
Ingredients:

1 bag Brazi Bites, defrosted

4 ea. Jalapeños

2 oz. shredded mozzarella

1 oz. cream cheese

1 T. Green onions, diced

Directions:

Cut the ends off of the jalapeños and slice down the middle.

Clean out seeds and place flat side down onto a sheet pan.

Brush lightly with oil and broil in oven until skin blisters. 
Peel the skin off of the jalapeños and small dice.

In a medium bowl mix diced jalapeños, mozzarella, cream cheese and green onions until combined.

Place Brazi Bites onto an oiled sheet pan. With your finger, press down into the Brazi Bite to create a small indentation in the top.

Place 1/2 tsp. Of the jalapeño mix in the indentation.

Place in a 400F oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

Serve warm.
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