Showing posts with label Downtown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Downtown. Show all posts


I Tried a Sundae the Size of My Head at Bagatelle

I'll admit it. I was a bit of a glutton last week, and this post only reinforces that. Trust me, I'm still full. Now on with it...

I was invited back to Bagatelle (1 Little West 12th Street) in the Meatpacking District a year and a half after my first visit there to check out some of their newer (or new-to-me) dishes as well as sample some old favorites. Truffle was still the predominant flavor among all the courses, yet the summer setting led me to favor lighter, more refreshing dishes compared with some of the richer items.

Jocelyn from Chic & Sweaty and I opted to start with some Bootie Calls ($17) from the bar (get your head out of the gutter!) because watermelon. Elderflower helped that decision also.

Bootie Calls
Bootie Calls
We got started with Bagatelle's famous truffle theme with the Pizza a la Truffe Noire ($26). You might say, who goes to a French place and orders a pizza?, but trust me, you want to order this pizza. The crust has gotten thicker since my last visit, but I like the change. I wish you could at least smell the super-satisfying. earthy truffle scent through this blog. It's heavenly.

Pizza a la Truffe Noire
Pizza a la Truffe Noire 
We tried the Salade Bagatelle ($14) with hearts of lettuce, parmesan cheese, fresh garden herbs, and a mustard vinaigrette. There were also two tartares--Tartare de Thon Bagatelle ($19/$29) with ahi tuna, avocado, and taro chips and Tartare aux Deux Saumons ($19) with fresh and smoked Scottish salmon, shallot, and dill creme fraiche. These were all very similar to the last time we came, however the presentation is different. I loved that the salmon tartare was served in a shell dish.

Salade Bagatelle
Salade Bagatelle
Tartare de Thon Bagatelle
Tartare de Thon Bagatelle 
Tartare aux Deux Saumons
Tartare aux Deux Saumons
Then, lest we forgot about the truffles, we were presented with a giant heaping bowl of Gnocchi Truffes a la Parisienne de Nicolas ($25/$36), AKA: truffle gnocchi. I tend not to order gnocchi from restaurants unless I know the dish is spectacular because often they can be made so dense that they just fall like giant bricks down your esophagus and land with a thunk in your belly. To make a light and fluffy gnocchi is a skill that I admire, and Bagatelle has it DOWN. These are truffle pillows and you should order them.

Gnocchi Truffes a la Parisienne de Nicolas
Gnocchi Truffes a la Parisienne de Nicolas
Now for the main course. (I know, right?) First I have to point out that going to a blogger dinner is unlike any other outing. Tons of food is brought out, it smells delicious, you can see the steam wafting off of each dish, and then we all break out our iPhones, Androids, and for some fancy pants bloggers, giant cameras. If lighting is low, iPhone flashlights come out to create makeshift studio spotlights. You just have to see it.

Dinner with Bloggers
Dinner with bloggers
But I digress. We sampled the catch of the day filleted at the table ($MP) which was served with pea and corn risotto. This was a perfect summer dish as it was light and gently flavored with lemon and salt. The other seafood dish we tried was the Calamars Snackes a l'Encre de Seiche ($19) with sauteed calamari, saffron risotto cake, and squid ink vinaigrette. This was an unusual dish, but I enjoyed it.

Catch of the Day
Catch of the Day
Corn and Pea Risotto
Corn and Pea Risotto
Calamars Snackes a l'Encre de Seiche
Calamars Snackes a l'Encre de Seiche
For the meat, we fulfilled our iron quotient for the month with the Steak au Poivre ($45), a 12 oz. NY Strip from Thunder Ridge Farm served with pommes frites and cognac peppercorn sauce, and the Poulet Fermier Roti et Truffe ($35), roasted chicken with truffles and country style potatoes. Presentation is everything with the chicken as it comes in a sautee pan. I remember this dish because the chicken goes against the "dry restaurant chicken" assumption. Rather, it's juicy, flavorful, and maintains a rustic vibe even in this trendy setting.

Steak au Poivre
Steak au Poivre
Poulet Fermier Roti et Truffe
Poulet Fermier Roti et Truffe
Then after we finished all of that, they brought out the Chateaubriand for two ($125)--a 24 oz center cut beef tenderloin, truffle potato puree, and red wine and peppercorn sauce. The waitstaff needed the whole table just to put down this giant plate of meat. I was pretty stuffed by this point, but sampled a piece of it and was very, very satisfied. I know the menu says this dish is for two, but I'm sure glad there were 6 of us to finish it off (I hate wasting food!).

All of us knew we weren't escaping this marathon dinner without dessert, but the folks at Bagatelle literally made me utter "Oh my God" when they brought out their "Mauboussin Mega Sundae."

Mauboussin Mega Sundae
Mauboussin Mega Sundae
Just LOOK at that thing!

For perspective, of course, I had to pose with the behemoth.

Me with the Mauboussin Mega Sundae
Me with the Mauboussin Mega Sundae
Normally when ordered, this sundae comes with jewelry to make it worth the $1,000 price tag. It also features countless scoops of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, granola, strawberries, an avalanche of whipped cream, brownies, cookies, and a Jackson Pollock of caramel and fudge sauce. Oh, and a sparkler. I don't know who Mauboussin is (was?), but he must've been a hell of a dude to have a sundae like this named after him. (Editor's Note: Mauboussin is a French jeweler who I'm assuming must make the baubles that go in the sundae).

To round things out, we also tried the Apple Tarte Tatin, Dark Chocolate Mousse, and Creme Brulee (each $12). While the sundae was sensational, the Creme Brulee was probably my favorite taste-wise. You can't beat a candied shell in my book.

Apple Tarte Tatin
Apple Tarte Tatin
Dark Chocolate Mousse
Dark Chocolate Mousse
Creme Brulee
Creme Brulee

Another epic one bites the dust in my gastronomy book. Bagatelle knows how to deliver solid food for all tastes (but especially for those who like truffle). With a DJ spinning beats, sexy art flocking the walls, and a killer mixology program, this is the place to be if you want to impress. As long as the weather stays nice, request a table right by the patio--the doors stay open until the sun falls and you'll get the best of both indoor vibes and outdoor warmth (and people watching!). Just prepare your wallet however, because this is not a meal for the frugal.

Disclosure: Bagatelle provided me with a comp meal in exchange for this review. However, all opinions are my own.

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Say Buh-Bye to Cars on Park Avenue for the Next 2 Saturdays

While walking around Union Square post-yoga on Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Park Avenue was closed to cars. And then I remembered...IT'S AUGUST! Summer Streets!

Summer Streets

Summer Streets is one of my favorite city programs because it opens up the streets to people wanting to truly enjoy the city sans cars. Walkers, joggers, cyclists, and even skaters have full use of the avenue from Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park from 7am until 1pm. That's about 7 whole miles with nary a yellow cab in sight! The program will run for 2 more Saturdays: August 8 and August 15.

Summer Streets Map

All activities are free and open to anyone. I stumbled upon the Midtown rest stop where you could rent free skates and get fitted for a bicycle helmet. NYC Water was also on hand with drinking fountains so you could refill your bottle and keep hydrated on a hot day. If you want to get involved, you can apply to volunteer here.


Satisfy Your Crustacean Craving at Ambrose Beer and Lobster

Last month the Seaport got a new venue that has our vote for awesome summer hangout spot. Ambrose Beer and Lobster (18 Fulton Street) hosted a fun-filled event featuring the longest lobster roll I've ever seen, music by DJ Kalkutta, and an appearance by Dashca Polanco from Orange is the New Black.

Ambrose Beer and Lobster

 First things first, we headed for the bar. Vaction-y drinks we sampled included the Starboard--Absolut Mango, watermelon juice, and Saint Germain--and the Shipwreck--Sailor Jerry rum, Malibu, Bacardi, lime juice, and grenadine. Just add sand :)

Ambrose Cocktails
Ambrose Cocktails
The decor is great. Very shipwreck meets fun times. There's even a giant lobster!

Ambrose Beer and Lobster

Ambrose Beer and Lobster

The food was just want you'd want while sipping a beer outside on the cobblestones. We tried the giant pretzel with spicy honey mustard and cheese sauce, lobster avocado lettuce wraps, truffle fries, and the aforementioned lobster roll. Can you tell they like their lobster here? Dascha Polanco likes it too (see below!).

Giant lobster roll
Giant lobster roll!
Awesome in New York with Dascha Polanco
Look who we met!
 lobster roll
Lobster roll
Dascha Polanco loves the lobster roll too!
Dascha Polanco loves the lobster roll too!
Lobster lettuce wrap
Lobster lettuce wrap
Giant pretzel
Giant pretzel
Truffle Fries
Truffle fries

Check out Ambrose Beer and Lobster for a warm summer evening of fun and let us know what your favorite menu items were!

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Sneak a Peek into the New 190 Bowery Tomorrow

I'm a sucker for NYC architecture, especially when talking about old-timey buildings with substantial, and often grungy history. If you have lived in the city over the past decade, at least, and EVER walked down the Bowery, you will have undoubtedly noticed 190 Bowery in all its graffitied glory.

Photo credit: Gothamist
But if you have walked down NYC's old skid row lately, you will also stumbled over the fact that this building has been buffed of all of its colorful vandalism. The gorgeous old 190 Bowery, formerly Germania Bank, has been a private residence of photographer Jay Maisel for the past 5 decades. But it was recently sold to a developer and is being converted into an office space.

For those curious lookie-loos and architecture appreciators alike, this Saturday from 5-8pm, the new owner, developer/art collector Aby Rosen, will open the doors of the historic building to the public. So sneak a peek and let us know what you think!


SPONSORED POST: FREE Cone Day at Carvel on 4/30

Raise your hand if you ever had a Carvel Ice Cream birthday cake growing up! All those who just raised their hands are going to be excited about the news in this post...

Nutella ice cream in a waffle cone at Carvel

Carvel wants to start your Spring off right with FREE CONE DAY nationwide on Thursday April 30! Pop into any store near you for a free soft serve Jr. cup or cone.

Also, they are celebrating the grand opening of their new Financial District store at 9 Broadway by kicking of 8 days of delicious deals STARTING TOMORROW! Mark your calendars peeps:

  • Saturday, April 25: Buy one shake, get one for 80 cents
  • Sunday, April 26: Buy one sheet cake, get an OREO® Lil’ Rounders® 6-Pack for 80 cents
  • Monday, April 27: Buy one sprinkle cup multi-pack, get one half off
  • Tuesday, April 28: Buy one small cup/cone, get a kid’s cup or cone free
  • Wednesday, April 29:  Buy one classic soft ice cream sundae get one free
  • Thursday, April 30: Free Jr. Cup or Cone (soft serve only)
  • Friday, May 1: Buy one Sundae Dasher™,  get one half off
  • Saturday, May 2: Grand Opening, Free Jr. Cup or Cone (soft serve only) and buy one Flying Saucer® multi-pack, get one half off

The Carvel storefront at 9 Broadway
The storefront at 9 Broadway

Last weekend after the MS Walk, my boyfriend and I headed downtown to check out the new location for ourselves. It is decorated in the style of the new Carvel shoppe design, which the brand unveiled last year to commemorate its 80th anniversary. Updates include new dipping cabinets and a topping bar, digital menu boards, and an inviting atmosphere with wood-finished floors, vibrant colors and new brand imagery, including a revamped logo.

Carvel shoppe interior at 9 Broadway

Topping bar at Carvel Ice Cream 9 Broadway

I wanted to try the new Nutella soft serve, but unfortunately the machine was taking a vacation day. So instead the friendly cashier recommended the Nutella hard ice cream, and since I was going for it, I opted for the waffle cone. Oh yeah. My boyfriend ordered the Oreo Sundae. We walked a lot that day...

Me with my giant Nutella ice cream waffle cone at Carvel
Me with my giant Nutella ice cream waffle cone

Oreo Sundae at Carvel
Oreo Sundae

The best part of the new shoppe is it's location right off of Bowling Green--a perfect place to enjoy your tasty (and FREE) treats.

Nutella cone in Bowling Green
Nutella cone in Bowling Green

The store is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, please call (212) 785-5688, visit, follow them on Twitter @CarvelIceCream, or like Carvel on Facebook.

Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by Carvel and our ice cream treats were comp'd but all opinions are my own.


Down Some Brews with Flying Dog

If you consider yourself a beer connoisseur, I'd highly recommend you check out the Flying Dog Brewery event taking place at Clinton Hall this Tuesday 4/22 from 7-10.

If you go, you will be one of the few to enjoy the incredible and rare 9.5% Barrel-Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from the Maryland brewery. It is aged 180 days in whiskey barrels, which results in vanilla notes and whiskey warmth to compliment the sweet chocolate flavor and velvety texture. You will also be one of the first to try the new 10% Amarillo Single Hop Imperial IPA. This is brewed all for the hops, with a light malt backbone showcasing the floral, spice, citrus and sharp hop bite of Amarillo!

The event is free, but pay as you eat/drink, with new specials released every half hour including:
  • El Dorado Single Hop Imperial IPA - aromas of dried apricot and pineapple
  • Brewhouse Rarity Mint Chocolate Stout - made with brewery-grown mint, with more cocoa and peppermint. Sweet, minty and creamy!
  • GABF Gold-Medal winning Horn Dog Barleywine - 10% alcohol!
  • Kujo Coffee Stout - brewed with flaked oats
  • Doggie Style pale ale - in a live cask on the bar with a very special prize going to the person who taps the last glass
RSVP here to save your spot!

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A Truffle-tastic Tasting

'Tis the week of feasting and boy have I feasted. It all started with one of the best blogger dinners I've ever been to at Bagatelle in the Meatpacking District. 

I'm not going to lie, I've always been a little weary of the Meatpacking, whether for fear I would not fit in or because I'd be scared to go home to an empty bank account at the end of the night. While you're not going to be particularly frugal if you go to Bagatelle for dinner, I felt very welcome upon walking in the front door. What first caught my eye was all of the 'out there' art that adorned the walls of the restaurant. It was highly entertaining.

One of my favorite pieces of art from Bagatelle
Fellow blogger friend Laura with a colorful sculpture
The main dining room
They even have a DJ under a fabulous chandelier

Headed by chef Sébastien Chamaret, Bagatelle offers a menu inspired by the South of France, and parties like it as well, closing the blinds after dinner and throwing a hopping party (as told to me by a friend who was recently there for a bachelorette party). I decided to get my own party started with a Girl from Lima ($14), a cocktail combining jalapeno infused pisco, passion fruit puree, lemon juice and mint. Because I neglected to read the "jalapeno infused" part, I was a little shocked at how spicy this drink was and didn't think I'd be able to finish it. However, I warmed to it, and would highly recommend it!

Girl from Lima
I don't know about you, but when I typically go out to dinner, I don't order the entire menu, but at this awesome event, they practically sent out everything the kitchen was cooking up. For appetizers, we had the Pizza a la Truffe Noir with black truffle, flat bread, crème fraiche, scamoza ($22); the charcuterie board ($24) which came with a variety of house-cured meats and whole grain mustard; Salade Bagatelle with hearts of lettuce, parmesan cheese, fresh garden herbs, and mustard vinaigrette ($13); Tartare aux Deux Saumons ($17/$25) fresh & smoked Scottish salmon tartar, shallot, salmon caviar, dill crème fraiche, olive oil crostini; Haricots Verts et Canard Fumé string beans, radicchio, smoked duck prosciutto, truffle vinaigrette ($18); foie gras creme brulee (off-menu); and finally the Tartare de Thon Bagatelle ($19/$29) ahi tuna tartar, avocado salad, lime soy vinaigrette, taro chips.

My favorites were both of the tartares, although I always favor salmon. The fish was fresh and super flavorful. I was very intrigued by the foie gras creme brulee, but I still concede that foie gras is an acquired taste. Hence, I only had a couple of bites as it was very rich, but I would definitely say it's worth a try. The salad was simple and fresh, but I might opt for one of their other more creative salads next time. The truffle pizza was OMG amazing and not just because I like anything with truffle.

Pizza a la Truffe Noir
Charcuterie board
Salade Bagatelle
Tartare aux Deux Saumons
Haricots Verts et Canard Fumé
Foie Gras Creme Brulee
Laura with the Tartare de Thon Bagatelle

After all that, I honestly thought that was the entire dinner and was ready to put on the coats and head home. But no! Chef Sébastien came out to answer questions and explain a bit about his background in preparation for the main courses. Yes, plural main courses, because, why not?

I'll start with the pasta and fish dishes. First we had more truffles (!) with the Gnocchi Truffes à la Parisienne de Nicolas ($25/$36) homemade gnocchi, black truffle pesto filling, truffle sauce; Calamars Snackes au Beurre Aille ($18) sautéed calamaris, tomato confit, polenta fritter, garlic butter; Coquilles St.Jacques Rôties au Parmesan ($36) thyme & parmesan crusted scallops, artichokes mousseline, cabernet demi-glace; and the Filet de Saumon Sauvage Grillé ($28) grilled wild salmon filet, asparagus hollandaise sauce.

I could have eaten the entire vat of gnocchi, no joke, it was that good. Do you SEE the giant truffle shavings spread over the top?!?! Other favorites from this course were the onions that accompanied the salmon. Yes, the salmon was good to but it didn't feel particularly special. The onions, however, were of the giant cippolini variety topped with chantarelle mushrooms. Yum! I would also highly recommend the scallops as they were seared perfectly with a fragile parmesan crisp that will melt in your mouth.

Gnocchi Truffes à la Parisienne de Nicolas
Calamars Snackes au Beurre Aille
Coquilles St.Jacques Rôties au Parmesan
Filet de Saumon Sauvage Grillé

Now for the meat! We sampled the signature Poulet Fermier Rôti et Truffé ($30) truffled roasted chicken, country style potatoes, chicken jus and the Côte de Boeuf - Pour Deux ($95) natural fed grilled black angus bone-in ribeye (26 oz), pommes frites, spinach and roquefort salad – for two. You may remember me saying I like to judge a restaurant based on it's chicken before, and according to that rule, Bagatelle passes with flying colors. The truffle sauce was decadent and the chicken was moist and crispy on the outside. The beef was tender and cooked to a nice medium/rare. The French fries that came with it (do you see that giant pile of them!?) were among the best tasting potato wedges I've ever tasted. 

Poulet Fermier Rôti et Truffé
Côte de Boeuf - Pour Deux
As for sides, we sampled the mixed mushrooms, grilled asparagus, and roasted Brussels sprouts & 
butternut squash with candied pecans ($9 each), with the latter definitely a favorite all around the table.

Hahaha, you think the feast is over? No way, Jose! (Or should I say no way Jean Pierre?). The chef sent out five different desserts for us all to share. Wowza! In picture order, we tried the Apple Tarte Tatin, Floating Island, Profiteroles with chocolate drizzle, chocolate mousse, and brioche and pear bread pudding. The floating island was the most interesting dessert; meringue-y and literally floating in a vanilla sauce and topped with almonds, it almost felt healthy (haha, yea right). My favorite was the tarte tatin, a classic done right, although the brioche and pear bread pudding was a close second.

Apple Tarte Tatin
Floating Island
Profiteroles with chocolate drizzle
Chocolate mousse
Brioche and pear bread pudding
Head to Bagatelle the next time you feel like you deserve a culinary treat. My perfect meal would be the salmon tartare, truffle gnocchi, scallops, cote de bouef, and the apple tarte tatin. Don't forget the Girl from Lima!

Good food is better with great company! Head to Laura's and Dave's blogs for their take on our dinner (and even more pictures!).

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