NY State of Food

A recent girls weekend to NYC found me in front of some positively fantastic meals.
Let’s dive in!

First and foremost, I have to give kudos to Chef Omar Zerrei. My friend generously invited Chef to our loft to cook us a Moroccan breakfast feast one morning. Chef is part of
Kitchen Surfing, a site where Chefs (of all distinctions) can be hired for events (and rates) ranging from an intimate dinner for two to Thanksgiving dinner for 35. Chef arrived early, cooked magnificently and left the kitchen spotless. A wonderful experience.
Now, to his food!

Our brunch started with Harissa-spiked (blurry) Bloody Marys. Off a to beautiful start indeed.
The first course was this gorgeous little yogurt and berry parfait with honey.
Refreshing, tangy and a perfect start to the meal.

Next up, were the Moroccan style blueberry pancakes. Luscious is the only word to describe these. Light, delicate; but perfectly crisped all around. I asked Chef how he got such perfect crispness. “Butter, just lots of butter.” Love it. IMG_0953
After the pancakes, we were served a refreshing (and unpictured) Avocado and Almond milk smoothie which was the perfect break in the decadence.

On to a Moroccan style Shakshuka! This is an absolute favorite of mine (hello, I live for eggs), so I loved Chef’s spin on it. Poached, but not completely runny eggs, gently cooked in a chunky, rich, tomato sauce with just a hint of spice. This was warming down to my toes.  IMG_0956
If you can believe it?  There was more. Homemade Pumpkin and Sugar glazed mini donuts with Haagan-Daaz Vanilla ice cream. End scene.  Please note that we walked the high line after this to be able to fit into our pants again. IMG_0957
Our experience (and photo-op 🙂 with Chef Omar could not have been better.

Our NY weekend was off to a delicious start.

Not wanting to be rude to the restaurants nor my dining companions; I kept the picture-taking to the minimum (and in some cases, it was so atmospheric (aka DARK) that no picture was possible! Enjoy these little nibbles of our weekend!

First up, an unexpected twist on Paella from Gato; a Bobby Flay restaurant that is focused on Mediterranean-style fare. I always enjoy Paella, as I’m a fool for rice dishes and the Wild Mushroom and Kale version on the menu intrigued me. The crispy artichoke flowers were beautiful and added a delicate crunch to the dish. And (spoiler alert), it came with an egg on it (seeing a pattern?). Mixed with the crispy pot rice, I would put this up against any sausage and seafood filled paella.

Friday dawned windy and cold. This simple cappuccino from Spiegel and unpictured croissant warmed me from the inside out while chatting with a friend. Bonus? When I asked for jam on my croissant, the server apologetically informed me that they didn’t have jam, but could I try their HOUSE-MADE DULCE DE LECHE on my croissant instead? Hmm, instead of the corn-syrup filled jelly packet I was assuming you may have,  you’d like me to slather house-made, creamy, dreamy caramel on my croissant? Let me think. #itshandled. (Incidentally, I’ve been watching alot of Scandal lately…).

I knew we wouldn’t leave New York without getting some pizza into our faces, and after such rich meals at Gato and Lebanese Valhalla, Ilili (unpictured, see atmospheric), it was nice to cozy up and just chow down on some pizza. And this was SOME pizza. A large Artichoke pie from Artichoke Basille’s.

I’m not a huge fan of red sauce, so when I see a good-looking white pizza, I jump to try it!
In addition to weighing the same amount as a small child, this pizza was topped with Artichoke Hearts, Spinach, Cream Sauce, Mozzarella and Pecorino Romano Cheese.
Eight women ate this pizza for two days, that’s how giant it was. Worth. Every. Bite.

One afternoon, we enjoyed a leisurely brunch at Hudson Clearwater.
I enjoyed slightly lighter fare in their Argula salad with  gala apples, dates, shaved fennel, toasted pine nuts, crumbled ricotta salata, balsamic….and I added a fried egg.
I have an egg problem. #nojudgement.

Sunday was another windy and cold day, so nothing to do but head to the St. Regis for a bourbon and cider to while away the afternoon. Am I right?
IMG_0996Sadly, after this (and a few more bites of pizza), we packed ourselves up and headed home. A gorgeous weekend with lovely people and excellent meals! Win!


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