Tag Archives: NYC

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Le Bernardin

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Le Bernardine

The intention of this blog is for describing our LAST fine dining experience at Le Bernardin when we still lived in NYC. Yes, it IS true that we moved from NYC to San Francisco Bay Area last month. Moving was not easy for us since we had a toddler that needed constant attention. We spent about two months for packing, finding a new apartment, moving to the new place, and unpacking. Even till now, we are still not completely settled down yet. Due to this reason, I can have an excuse for the long time of no new postings. :-)

Le Bernardine

To make a reservation at Le Bernardin was not easy. I fruitlessly tried couple times before. Since I knew I had to move to California soon, I made the reservation early ahead of time.  We got a very early dinner which worked very well with our schedule and my lil S’ bed time. Thanks to our best friend M and her family, who babysitted S during that evening. Without her help, our dinner plan would not be as memorable as it was.

Le Bernardine

For amuse bouche, we had cold crab meat with crispy wonton paper. It was light, cold and refreshing, simply a perfect way to start a meal.

Le Bernardine

First course, layers of thinly pounded yellowfin tuna served on top of  foie gras and toasted baguette, topped with shaved chives and extra virgin olive oil. This course was my favorite. It was truly outstanding. I don’t eat raw fish often, but I couldn’t pass on this dish. The combination of rich and creamy foie gras, fresh paper-thin tuna, and the crispiness of the toasted baguette created a very complex but wonderful flavor. Bravo, Eric Ripert! What an incredible dish!

Le Bernardine

Second course, peekytoe crab salad, spiced mango sauce and daikon nage. The fresh crab and the mango sauce gave a nice compliment to each other. A subtle yet very exciting dish.

Le Bernardine

Third course, pan roasted monkfish, sea bean, white asparagus, in a light bearnaise scented broth. First, taragon puree was poured alongside the fish, and then the broth was poured over the dish. Then, another waiter came drizzling a hollandaise sauce on it. The fish was cooked in perfection, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The béarnaise scented broth added a nice flavor to the monkfish.

Le BernardineFourth course, baked wild striped bass, baby carrot, herb salad, miso-butter sauce. The tasty miso-butter sauce gave a nice pungency to the fresh baked striped bass. However, I would rather pick a different fish other than a wild striped bass.

Le Bernardine

Fifth course, bread crusted red snapper, saffron, smoked sweet paprika sauce. I loved the crunchiness of the skin. The fish was cooked very well. And the saffron gave a nice touch to the pasta. The sauce was very bold. Well, I am not a paprika lover.

Le Bernardine

Sixth course, Greek yogurt pannacota served with strawberry rhubarb and basil. It is a bite-sized dessert you will love. It has a little flavor of everything. It was light and very thirst-quenching.  I really wished I had more. :-)

Le Bernardine

Seventh course, maralumi milk chocolate parfait topped with liquid apricot and ginger caramel. This second dessert was a bit heavier compared to the first one. The combination of the acidity in liquid apricot flavor and the sweetness in the chocolate parfait paired perfectly.

Le Bernardine

And I am lucky to get next dessert, passion fruit parfait over graham cracker crust and white chocolate. I think this is what everybody will get when they celebrate their birthdays here.

Le Bernardine

Petite four to conclude our meal. The mini pistachio macaron was my favorite. We very much enjoyed the dinner. It was our first “seafood” tasting menu and the food exceeded our expectation. I will definitely go back again to Le Bernardin next time. Kudos to chef Eric Ripert.

Le Bernardine

Quote from Eric Ripert: “Cooking is a holistic process of planning, preparing, dining and sharing food. I place food at the center of our humanity, as it nourishes not only our physical bodies but also our emotional and spiritual lives. Food is truly a cultural phenomenon that informs our traditions and our relationship with the earth. I genuinely believe that food connects us all.”

Le Benardin
155 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 554-1515

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Season’s Greeting

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MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone! Peace on earth and best wishes throughout the new year of 2010….

Season Greeting

I know I’ve not updated my blogs for a while, probably for almost two months, and I still need to finish my next blog: Cinque Terre part 2. Some of you dropped me emails asking what I had been doing lately. Thanks for your attention. These past two months have been very hectic for me. A while after I got back to US, we received a good news: A got a job in New York City. Really? Yes, we’re moving to NYC! Yay! We are super happy about that. Living in New York City has always been one of my dreams, which now finally comes true. Then, we were pretty busy collecting information about apartments in NYC, and we started packing. It was not easy at all since my belly was already big and kept growing bigger and bigger. Oops, I should have shared another good news with you guys months ago. Yes, now I am pregnant with a baby GIRL and the due date is sometime in late January. 😀

Soon after A accepted the NYC job offer, the moving process began and so did the busy, busy, busy time. In less than a month prior to the actual move, we had to find a new apartment, a new Ob/Gyn, a new hospital (to deliver the baby) and a moving company. Plus, we had to start packing and do many little things. It was stressful and a lot of work. But, finally we moved and we are in NYC now. Everything has almost settled down here. I just have a short to-do list: furnishing my current apartment and shopping for my baby needs. I have been postponing shopping for my baby until we move to NYC and settle down. With an after-Christmas sale still going on, now obviously is a very good timing for shopping, isn’t it?

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So, how is life after moving to a big metropolis like NYC? So far, we enjoy it a lot. There are too many choices of restaurants and food stalls are ubiquitous at every corner of the streets. Various kinds of international food from around the world are available in the city. One negative aspect is, however, the uncooperating weather. A week before Christmas, a heavy snowstorm hit the Midwest and East Coast areas including NYC. This time of the year may not be best for us to move to a new place with a cold winter like New York City. The facts that I am being pregnant and the cold winter has just begun limit my exploration of this new big city. But, I am still very grateful that we start the new year of 2010 in a new great place, with A’s new job (which he likes so much) and a new member of our family. Many good things happen in the same time, and I am thankful for that. I hope all of you also have a very good start in 2010. Have a wonderful and prosperous new year!

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Now it’s time for brunch

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I am not a breakfast person, but a big brunch one. At Norma’s I found a fantastic brunch experience. At the beginning of the brunch, they gave us fresh fruit smoothies (a mix of banana, blueberry and blackcurrant), which I truly enjoyed. Too bad that it was only a sample size. Their fresh squeezed orange juice, which cost around seven bucks with free unlimited refills, not only tasted very good but also had a great value as compared to other brunch spots that usually charge five bucks for only a glass of orange juice. I highly recommend you to try their orange juice.

One of my all-time favorite brunch menus is Eggs Benedict. You almost can find Eggs Benedict on every restaurant’s brunch menu, but finding a perfect one is also a challenging. Norma’s Eggs Benedict uses pancake which was uncommon for me. I was questioning of this dish since this was my first time eating Benedict not with english muffin. But, WOW… it was divine, a perfect combination of savory and sweet. The soft and mild pancake were a creative touch that worked well to replace an English muffin. The hollandaise sauce was fantastic and very rich. It was served with roasted asparagus stalks and home made potatoes.

Now let’s talk about what a friend of mine had. He had Eggs Florentine, which was egg and English muffin served with sautéed spinach, fingerling home fries potatoes, and applewood smoked bacon. And A had Waz-za, which was a big waffle decorated with fruits in the inside and outside, with additional brulle on the top. The waffle was impressive, not too crunchy and not too soggy. The pink sauce on the top of the fruits added the sweetness of the fruits. I think it was incredible viands especially for dessert.

Usually hotel restaurants are the last place we would go for food. However, Norma’s at Le Meridien Parker was exceptional. The menu looked great, the food was tasty, and the staffs were friendly. The only down side was a long waiting time to be seated. I would recommend making reservation online at www.opentable.com in advance to skip the long wait. Overall, I say that this is probably one of the best brunches in NYC. It was indeed an expensive meal for breakfast or brunch but it was worth the price.

Norma’s

118 W 57th St

New York, NY, 10019

(212) 708-7460

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Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca

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When it comes to Italian food, it always reminds me of Mario Batali, a host of two Food Network programs: Molto Mario, and Ciao America. Together with his partner, Joe Bastianich, he owns two successful upscale restaurants that have been awarded three stars by Frank Bruni of the New York Times. One of them is Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca. Due to lack of planning, I never succeeded getting a reservation here every time I visited New York City. But, during my last stop at NYC I tried to call them in one morning to check if they had any cancellations. And, surprisingly they said…”For two people, how about 10.30PM?” asked the lady over the phone. Even though it was a bit too late, but my excitement for some very high end Italian food made me reply, “Off course!”

Babbo’s a la carte menu is very broad and full of absurdly succulent dishes. Besides, they also offer two types of tasting menus: a pasta tasting menu and a traditional tasting menu. Their tasting menu requires participation of the entire table. Actually, I truly wanted to order their well-known pasta tasting menu for both me and Alb. But sadly, I had already eaten some dumplings before at Rickshaw Dumpling Bar since our reservation time was a bit late at night and I was so hungry. Hmm… if our reservation had been earlier, we would have ordered the pasta tasting menu that entirely focused on pasta and one dessert. We ended up ordering food from their a la carte menu.

First, we got amuse bouche of spicy chickpea Bruschetta in Olive sauce that was very yummy. The bread was perfectly crunchy outside and fluffy inside. The next meal was crusty Italian bread served with high quality of olive oil. Then, my favorite meal came, which was Black spaghetti with rock shrimp, spicy salami calabrese, and green chiles. The Morellino Italian wine and the spicy salami calabrese, which looked like bacon bits and was sprinkled over the black spaghetti, strongly enhanced the flavor. A said that this was the best pasta he had ever tasted. Babbo has made a name for itself by presenting such fantastic pasta. We completed our dinner with biscotti petite four, which were very mesmerizing.

The ambiance of the restaurant was upscale but cozy at the same time. The service was helpful and friendly. The food flavor also explodes in your mouth. The bottom line is that this place is worth every penny and Mario Batali is undoubtedly one of the finest chefs of our time. So, what are you waiting for? When you got a chance to visit New York City, this is one of the restaurants you must try. For me, I will definitely come back and order their pasta tasting menu to satisfy my curiosity.

Babbo

110 Waverly Pl

New York, NY, 10011

(212) 777-0303

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Balthazar

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This place has been very popular for both New Yorkers and tourists for the past couple years. Balthazar (a typical of French restaurant in So-ho neighborhood) will make you feel like you are in Paris. It has a lovely decoration, high ceiling and deco lighting inside. The warm and friendly atmosphere adds the value of the food it self. But, it doesn’t meant that my review will be biased affected by their cool interior and friendly ambiance.

Our brunch at Balthazar was absolutely a fantastic experience. Egg benedict was absolutely to die for. A warm and thick hollandaise sauce just tasted perfect eating with Canadian ham and poached egg. I had pan-fried potatoes that were served with a caramelized onion mash to go with my egg benedict. While I happened to taste what A had, scrambled eggs in puff pastry served with wild mushroom and asparagus. The scramble eggs were seasoned well, fluffy and very yummy. It was just a lovely combination between the egg, pastry, mushroom and asparagus. Another dish we had was beef stroganoff with buttered noodles. They used tenderloin steak beef quality that is a mouth watering.

I would love to come back here and try their extensive dinner menu. And another suggestion for you who don’t have enough time to sit down and enjoy a great meal at Balthazar, you can definitely stop by their bakery which is located next door. Expect for a long line! This should give you an idea how popular Balthazar is.

Balthazar
80 Spring St (between Broadway & Crosby St)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 965-1414