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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

(Culinary) Week in Review

Monday evening, upon hearing the good news that I was to officially begin my server training, I decided the occasion called for some bubbly. Along with a bottle of Ca' Furlan "cuvée Beatrice" prosecco, I also picked up a bottle of sweet Freixenet spumante from PJ Wine--a bottle which I'd never seen before from Freixenet...

Tuesday, in the mood again for something sweeter, I selected a lovely bottle of Cascinetta Vietti moscato d'asti from Heights Wine & Spirits. The wine was delectably sweet, but not cloyingly so, with fine, elegant bubbles. ($16)

The moscato paired nicely with peppery watercress, which David balanced with a delicious smoked salmon spread.

(cream cheese, ....(cream cheese, smoked salmon, garlic powder, salt)

Saturday evening found me with some time to kill before I was to meet up with some friends in Brooklyn. Having just left work and still being in midtown, I decided to (finally) give South Gate, at the Essex House Hotel a try. Being Restaurant Week, I thought about opting for South Gate's prix-fixe menu, but upon examination, decided it didn't appeal to me. I instead ordered: a glass of prosecco di Conegliano ($14)

and seared Hudson Valley foie gras ($21). The $14 prosecco was fine enough and was soon accompanied by a (complimentary) amuse-bouche--cold cucumber soup with feta. The soup was okay and was soon replaced with my main dish.

The presentation of the seared foie was elegant, but the taste was amiss. The foie tasted gamy and smoky, and rather unpleasant. Ultimately, I think it was burnt. However, the level of service at South Gate is where it should be and my server was pleasant and proper. My meal ended with

a complimentary butter cookie and a square of chocolate fudge.

Yesterday was the birthday of my good friend DJ Shawn Lisle and he decided to celebrate with a cocktail hour at Peels on the Bowery. I went

with another friend, Danny and after we'd said a few hellos, saddled up at the bar for some dinner. We first selected a bottle of "Argyle" Oregon sparkling ($55) before moving onto a dozen beausoleils, andouille corn dogs and fried ipswich clams. (believe it or not, champagne and corn dogs is one my favorite combinations!) Everything was just fine, but the atmosphere at Peel's is quite impressive (go upstairs)--a lovely view of both 2nd Street and "Joey Ramone Place."

After leaving Peel's, Danny and I stopped for a quick glass of champagne at The Mercer Hotel lobby before stopping for cava and seafood at Blue Ribbon.

Bartender Will set Danny and I up with two glasses of cava while I quickly decided, "I want some lobster!" The oyster shucker went to work cutting a lobster in half and before long (I was seated directly in front

of the seafood), I'd also selected a crab. My crustacean treats had both hit the spot (along with a few complimentary shrimps) and one 'PPX' bill later, Danny and I parted ways in the humid evening air... At least the cava was cold!

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