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Monday, January 16, 2012

My Weekend of Culinary Delight

Brussels sprouts, chopped walnuts and DiPola's mozzarella pizza

Thursday afternoon, I decided to bring home a couple of treats to contribute to dinner, at home, with David. I decided upon a hearth stone pizza ($12) and assorted housemade treats ($11) from Cookshop. The hearty pizza topped with Brussels sprouts, chopped walnuts and DiPalo's mozzarella was a wintery treat and the assorted housemade treats of chocolate caramel, fig newton, turtle brownie, lemon cupcake, spicy almond brittle, chocolate almond cranberry cookies and chocolate eclairs made for a certain delightful end to dinner!

Cookshop's assorted housemade treats; to go!

FRIDAY, I met with my good friend, Danny and his friend Jessica for a "light dinner" at Tipsy Parson (my favorite post-work hangout).

... in a "Marie Antoinette" coupe!

Danny and I began (while waiting for Jessica) with a bottle of crémant de Bourgogne which was surprisingly served in champagne coupes! (how very old-fashioned!) While we took our initial sips, Danny asked what was good on the menu. Having only been to 'Tipsy' during lunch or late lunch hours, I could only recommend a handful of dishes. Danny decided upon ordering bourbon chicken liver toast ($10) as a starter, to share.

a perfectly dressed portion, topped with green tomato marmalade

The platter seemed to be somewhat skimpy with the grilled potato bread, this time around, so Danny and I went through the dish rather quickly. We decided upon an order of fried oysters ($9), from the snacks menu, as well.

fried oysters, minus one

The fried oysters were ever so moist and "oyster-y;" their flavor/purity was not minimized by frying. (they also came with the tallest cornbread I'd ever seen!) Shortly thereafter, Jessica finally arrived and we went straight away to ordering several small dishes for the table.

buttermilk-chive biscuit with honey butter

I only wanted to try the buttermilk-chive biscuit ($4) with honey butter while Jessica ordered: mac & cheese, hush puppies and a side of roasted delicata squash.

my favorite Tipsy Parson hush puppies!

Jessica insisted I try the hush puppies with the honey butter with which my buttermilk-chive biscuit came with (instead of the warm pimento cheese); and the squash, which Jessica complimented repeatedly throughout the meal, did not last long enough for a more suitable photo:

Jessica also insisted the dish contained brown butter

... suitable or not, the squash--with sorghum, rosemary and sea salt--was certainly a delectable treat! When I finally was able to invest my palate, wholeheartedly, in my buttermilk-chive biscuit with honey butter, I enjoyed it so much, I insisted on ordering a "round" for the table. From there, we were perhaps too full for dessert and opted, instead, for a few dessert wines.

beerenlausese!

Too full or not, I always like to enjoy dessert. I asked our server which of my two selections was more of a thick, syrupy wine. He directed me toward the beerenlausese, which did not disappoint.

SATURDAY, I met with my sister Kim and her new beau, Dejan which happens to be the chef de cuisine at a restaurant on East 52nd Street. Kim decided we meet at The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English--one of her favorite places to eat in the city. I arrived a few minutes before our reservation time and was kindly permitted to wait for the rest of my party at the table. Kim and Dejan arrived shortly thereafter and Kim and I promptly decided upon a bottle of The Food Hall's crisp Valdo prosecco.

Kim and Dejan had had a late lunch and weren't all that hungry so we decided upon slowly ordering several dishes to share. We began with Kim's favorite stuffed medjool dates--stuffed with cabrales cheese and wrapped in jamón serrano--followed by one of the evening's specials, black truffle flatbread ($30) with taleggio, caramelized onions and rosemary.

black truffle flatbread at The Food Hall

The highly aromatic pizza arrived amidst our conversation. Throughout the meal Dejan wouldn't touch a scrap of food until Kim was ready; I followed suit. When we finally selected our portions of flatbread, I must say, I was not impressed. The Food Hall's flatbreads are, hands-down, the best "restaurant pizzas" I've had in the city, but this particular flatbread seemed to impress more with its description rather than with its taste. The truffles could have been put to better use in another manner...

WE ordered another bottle of prosecco while we lingered over our conversations. Shortly after taking initial sips from the second bottle, a platter of sliders arrived, "on the house."

prime rib sliders with minced red onion and fontina "fondu"

Perfectly portioned for the three of us, we each selected a slider to enjoy ourselves. It wasn't my first time tasting the prime rib sliders, but it was for Kim and Dejan who'd enjoyed them thoroughly. After our three course "tasting," we mutually agreed we were satiated and departed from The Food Hall--for now. Kim and I agreed, The Plaza Food Hall is still our favorite place to eat in the city!
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