Sunday, December 13, 2009

P.J. Clarke's

I'm not one who loves exploring the depths of New York. There are probably rats, or something else nasty. However, when I had just finished my high school application test, I was game for anything. P.J. Clarke's is exactly what you would expect from a New York establishment that has been around for more than 125 years. Businessmen drinking at the bar, 25 year old women fawning over their 60 year old boyfriends, and overwhelmed tourists are only part of the experience at P.J. Clarke's. The other ingredient in the mixture is the food. Despite the 30 minute wait, the cold table situated next to the door, moving tables, 20 more minutes for our food to come, and frustrated tourists asking us questions, the meal was still memorable. Now, you ask, how is that possible? Two words. Creamed Spinach. For those of you who have never met my mother, she can also be described in two words; Health Fanatic. While I do not participate in her strict diet prohibiting sugar, dairy, fat, meat, and anything else that makes the life worth living, I am sometimes unwillingly drawn in. So when I came home from school a weeks before and was told to expect creamed spinach, I was salivating at the mouth. As it approached, I noticed an abnormality among the greens. "Mom," I asked, "Where's the cream? You said that it was creamed spinach." "Oh no," she replied. "This is the white house special cream-less creamed spinach." Then came the dreaded words: "It's healthy." I could have sworn that I cried myself to sleep that night. Anyway, as the "real" creamed spinach came, life stood still as I watched the cream soak down and down into itself. I demolished it in the time that it takes my dad to make a tasteless joke and moved on to the next course, the burger. The hamburger is an American classic, but the one that I ate there was not. It was bland, the fries were dried and tasted like McDonald's fries, and the bun was too fluffy. Overall, it was a pretty horrible burger. At the end of the meal, the greatness of the spinach had evened out the badness of the burger, and brought it back down to 0. The only thing that gets this restaurant a good review apart from the spinach was the ambiance which was interesting, old school, and a new experience. P.J Clarke's deserves a 6.1/10.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Corner Shop Cafe

After a long, trying day at at school, I was in desperate need of some form of respite. Now, if I was asked what paradise would be for me, I would probably say anything that involved Corner Shop's cheeseburger. While I don't have the Corner Shop's history memorized, I do know that it was the idea of seventy four year old Carlos Green after going through a tough divorce with his wife, and needing somewhere to express himself creatively. Just kidding. All I know is that it has a really great burger made from grass-fed beef, and I always enjoy myself there. Anyway, as we entered the restaurant, I noticed that it was rather empty, unlike other times when it had been packed full. However, we were also eating abnormally early at six thirty, so that could have been the cause as well. We did not wait as we called the waitress over to order. I was very specific as I asked for a medium rare cheeseburger with provolone and mushrooms, as well as plain french fries. Despite the small number of customers, the kitchen still succeeded at failing to bring our food in a normal amount of time. However, it was worth the wait. The juicy meat flowed into a mouth followed by a cascade of cheese and mushrooms. The texture was great, and it satisfied everything I ever imagined in a perfect burger. It was one of the best burgers I've ever had. I give the Corner Shop a 9.1/10. Happy Thanksgiving to all my loyal readers!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


To all of my faithful readers,
I apologize for not posting in a while. Due to the stress of my bar mitzvah (November fourteenth), high school applications and school work, it has been extremely difficult for me to post recently. Expect posts of The Corner Shop for NYC people, and The Bear for Woodstock people.
Thanks for bearing with me,
The food vigilante, Julian

Sunday, October 11, 2009


While art may not be my favorite class, I still like my art teachers. So, when they asked me to go with them to Momofuku, I happily obliged. Even though it took more than a year in the making to make that plan be realized, it was worth every minute of the wait. As the wind blew against my face, I finally saw my visual arts teacher, Carin, approaching me. As we hurried to the restaurant, located on first avenue and 11th street, I pictured all of the delicious food that we would be enjoying in less than an hour. After walking for an extremely extended period of time, we finally met up with my old art teacher Melissa, and her friend Ari. We entered the densely packed restaurant, the warm air compensating for the cold, the wafting smell of noodles drifted into my nose. We sat down at our crowded table, and immediately ordered our meal. Some of the items on our list included steak tataki, sliced fluke, roasted pesto cauliflower, seared scallop, chicken buns, pork buns, rice cakes, chilled spicy noodles, and ginger scallion noodles. We finished it off with angel food and strawberry lemonade soft serve. It was a lot of food. We ordered the prix fix menu, along with about twelve other courses off of the menu. My favorite course was the chilled spicy noodles. With all of the other dishes, the serving was immaculate and beautiful, but this dish was sloppy and undecorated and messy, which made it so much better. It had spinach and nuts and sausage all mixed in with it, and it was a perfect blend of spicy and cool. The other noodle dish was loaded with vegetables, which made it healthier, but less enjoyable. A few high points of the meal were the pork and chicken buns, which were both very intense, and the steak tataki, which was grilled to perfection. I really enjoyed Momofuku because I got to enjoy some time with my teachers, and also because I got to experience a new restaurant. While the service is cold, and the decor a little bland, I still feel that Momofuku deserves a 8.7/10.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Knickerbocker Bar and Grill

There are many options for a midday lunch in New York City. You could run into a cafe to grab a bagel and some chips, or you could go to a sit down restaurant and be gluttonous. Since it was raining, my friend Will and I, inadequately dressed in shorts and T-shirts, had to run to my dad's office, our stomachs incessantly reminding us of our hunger. After what was supposed to be ten minutes of work, but ended up being an hour, we departed swiftly into the swirling mist and rain that some call University Place. Forty-nine seconds later, partly drenched, we stumbled into Knickerbocker, one of my dad's favorite restaurants. My dad had already promised me a hamburger, so I didn't even have to glance at the menu, but I did, noticing there was a variety of choices: seafood, steak, pasta, burgers, you name it. Then, after ordering with our Kristen Wiig look-a-like waitress, we noticed something life changing was taking place at the very same time. The people next to us had ordered a mouth-watering chocolate souffle, and we ordered one on the spot, even though it was three o'clock, and I rarely even get dessert. Our bacon cheeseburgers arrived, beautiful, and fresh. We devoured them and the fries, but knowing that, even though the burgers were amazing, they would not be the high point of the meal. Out of the abyss the waitress arrived, every step resonating in my head, just waiting for the delicious chocolate, whipped cream and more chocolate to reach my salivating stomach. The chocolate sauce was gently poured over the souffle. The whipped cream softly spooned over it. Then all madness erupted. In less time than it had taken us to run to the restaurant from my dad's office, the souffle was gone, and still-hungry spoons were leading the rescue parties for last bits of cream and chocolate sauce. While we may have been pigs, and we may have gotten fat, this was still one of the top 10 meals of my life. Knickerbocker definitely earns a 9.2/10.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rino Ceronte

While some people believe that everything is better with bacon or butter, I personally believe that everything is better with garlic or mayonnaise. Therefore, when I noticed that the new sandwich shop, Rino Ceronte offered garlic and mayo mixed together as a sauce, I knew that I had to try it. Rino Ceronte is located right between NYU and LREI where I attend school. There are a lot of snack shops as well as smoke shops, so large variety of people shop there. It’s a great place to open a store because there are many hungry children released from school every day. The way that Rino Ceronte works is that you first pick your bread, white or whole wheat. Then you choose your protein; steak, chicken, mushrooms, shrimp or goat cheese. Then you choose from all of the sauces, of which I obviously chose the garlic mayo. After, you choose from a number of sides. Some of the sides include onions, olives, potatoes, cheese, pickles, jalapenos, and romaine lettuce. Some of the sauces that they offer include: mustard vinaigrette, lemon and olive oil, basil pesto and chili mayo. My main complaint about Rino Ceronte, of which I do not have many, is that they do not offer enough sides. My father’s only complaint was that the stools were too hard, and that there was not enough leg room. Some people can be a little picky. My usual choice for my sandwiches is chicken on wheat bread with garlic mayo, black olives, and Swiss cheese. While the sandwich can be a little too juicy, the flavors are very intense, and robust. I really love the food at Rino Ceronte because it is fresh, and tasty. I would recommend it for people who have about five to ten minutes to get their snacks, since it takes a little while. I love Rino Ceronte, and I give it an 8.3/10. Oh, and everything does happen to taste better with garlic mayonnaise.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Farm to Table Dinner

There are many idyllic places to eat a meal, such as: a boat, a forest, Grandma's house, but in the midst of a beautiful field at sundown, has got to top the list. So there I was, late at night, enjoying a completely organic meal, with my family and our friends the Cohens. The idea of the meal was that all of the food that was eaten there had to be organic, and from a 100-mile radius of New York City, therefore, benefiting local farmers. The meal was held at Katchkie farms, somewhere in New York, though I have no idea where. My mom's friend Liz Neumark was hosting the party, and her catering company, Great Performances was cooking on location. The meal included: Katchkie Farm Icicle Radish and Coarse Sea Salt, Katchkie Farm Tomato Water with Basil Ice, Potato Cakes with Hudson Valley Foie Gras and Apples, Katchkie Farm Pickled Vegetables, Mixed Greens, Tomato Jam, Katchkie Farm Veggie Burger Bite, Zehr & Sons' Wild Mushroom Tart with Warmed Nancy's Camembert, Katchkie Farm Beet Salad, Fresh-Snipped Rosemary, Flecked Old Chatham Blue Cheese, Baby Greens with Hot Bread Lavash, Grilled Pigasso Farm's Chicken, Katchkie Farm Roasted Turnip, Tomato, and Eggplant Salad, Roxbury Farm Sweet Corn on the Cob, Tomato and Tarragon Vinaigrette, Roasted Samascott Orchard Peach Tart Tatin, and Milk Thistle Farm Cinnamon Ice Cream. As you can see, it was a very comprehensive menu. All were excellent, but my favorites were the potato cakes, and the wild mushroom tart. Even though the tart was overwhelmed by the enormous amount of dough and eggs in the tart, the mushrooms had a very nice flavor. The ambiance of the meal was very nice, and the location was beautiful. We were able to explore the garden, tasting as we went. As the sun began to set, people began to leave the meal. I looked back where the 130 people had been before, and I remembered the highlights of the meal; the juicy, tender chicken paired with the buttery corn on the cob. The peach tart covered in cinnamon ice cream and blackberries, the cool beet salad paired with the warm Chatham bleu cheese. My mouth watered for more. One other highlight that had nothing to do with the meal was that we got to talk to an original Woodstock festival attendee, and I could relate between his story, and the book written by Michael Lang about the same exact thing. We left in the pitch black darkness, having eaten a meal in a field of dreams. I give the 100 Mile Menu dinner a 8.4/10.

Here's a link to their web site in case you want to enjoy one of these Farm to Table dinners yourself.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Texas Roadhouse

While my friend Matan is not the healthiest eater in the world, he does know a few restaurants that have healthy options. Texas Roadhouse was not one of them. (Personally I've noticed that my blog has featured some less "high-quality" restaurants. I have also noticed that I enjoy posting much more.) Anyway, walking in we heard music from the likes of Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. It was vaguely refreshing. The floor was dusty with cracked and treaded-upon peanuts. This provided good and bad options. the bad was that it was rather easy to slip, and the good was that it was even easier to moonwalk. A few of the people there looked like the kind of people you would want on a bear hunting trip in Denali. With their wives and pubescent children.
We sat down, and our charming waitress Linda came to take our order. Linda was a middle aged woman who was actually quite attractive. She called everyone darling, and she seemed a naturally born Texan. I ordered an eight ounce steak with mushrooms and cheese. Some of the other orders included: ribs, barbecue chicken, a Cesar salad, chicken wings, tater skins, and jalapeno-cheese poppers. The jalapeno poppers were excellent and flavorful and I had three. Many firsts took place in this meal. It was the first time I had ever eaten jalapeno/cheese poppers, it was the first time that I had ever had tater skins with bacon and cheese, and it was the first time that I ever had, yes, chicken wings. All were tasty and unhealthy. All of the courses were excellent as far as I could tell, apart from my steak. It was dry and salty, as were the fries.
At the end of the night my mother got to ride on a saddle because we had lied to Linda, and told her that it was my mother's birthday. However, I was not surprised. Hoping to withhold some of our decency, we left without dessert, even though "Mom's big brownie" sounded tasty. I really enjoyed this meal, and I would really enjoy returning to Texas Roadhouse one day in the near future. I give Texas Roadhouse a 7.1/10. So, in spirit of the Texas Roadhouse's catch-phrase, "Saddle-Up!"

Saturday, July 4, 2009


If any of my readers enjoy my blog, be sure to check out my new blog on all pop culture things Jewish at: It's going to be as funny as this one, and there are a bunch of new gadgets on it such as a poll, and a newsfeed. Hope you guys check it out!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ihop, The Great American Pancake House

While I try to refrain from eating too unhealthily, I must say that I indulge myself at least once per day. So when I arrived in San Antonio, Texas, I immediately requested Ihop. For those who are not familiar with the most formidable pancake houses scattered around America, keep one thing in mind: they have a meal called the "big" chicken fried steak with eggs and pancakes. Just keep that in mind, as well as comparing your big to Texas big. My mother had warned me that around 60 percent of the customers were going to be obese, so I was not expecting to see a bodybuilding champion there. My overall goal was to order something that was not potentially life-threatening, so I requested sausage, two sunny side up eggs and two chocolate chip pancakes. My cousin began to slowly munch on a napkin. the service was nothing more than you would expect from a mid-western truck stop. The waitress was nice, just seemed more content focusing on her nails. After a much longer wait than I expected, the food arrived, dripping with oil. I quickly gobbled down my hash browns, eggs and sausages, leaving only the pancakes left. As I gently dripped the artificial blueberry and strawberry syrup onto it, I salivated slowly. It was good but not too good. The crust was overcooked, and it was unsatisfactory. On the other hand, my mother's egg white omelet with peppers and mushrooms was quite good while staying healthy at the same time. I hope that Ihop will be satisfied with a 2.4 out of 10. Hey, they do have very good-tasting syrup.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2nd Avenue Deli

While my cholesterol is not dangerously high, I do have to pay attention to it. So when my mother's friend from college, David Weinstein, invited me to the 2nd Avenue deli, I was pumped, yet I was worried. I knew from previous experiences that only about 3 things there did not have a life-threatening level of artery-blocking fat molecules within them. So I tried to grin and bear it, and ordered fried chicken skins for my appetizer, and a pastrami, corn beef and salami sandwich for my main course. I was hoping that I would survive another twenty years after that meal. The gribenes (fried fat) arrived, and I dug in, munching on it rather discreetly, as if that would make me look any less gluttonous. I only finished around half of it, then my high-rise of a sandwich arrived. The fat blended well with the sourness of the rye bread, and I felt as if I had been transported back to the day when people did not pay attention to the amount of calories they ate in a meal. Putting that aside, it was delicious but I only ate half because I did not want to end up resembling a hippopotamus. After our hearty meal was finished, we decide to go into the Empire State Building which was great fun. Even though we had to wait in line for about an hour, it was interesting to be behind the tourists and to hear what they were talking about. I had a wonderful time at the 2nd Avenue Deli, and I hope to go back some other time. The 2nd Avenue Deli earns a 7.2/10.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Qdoba Experience (never going back there)

Today, May 4th, 2009 something truly terrible happened. Well, it wasn't that bad but my friends and I were pretty pissed. After school, as always, we went to get a snack. However, we were not in the mood for pizza, so we decided that we would split a burrito from Qdoba despite the risks of catching swine flu (yeah, right). Qdoba is the franchised burrito chain a block from my school where the food is delicious, and the prices are fairly reasonable. So my friend Noel and I walked in and went straight to make our order. The place was empty so we guessed that they were probably in dire need of business. The guy at the register took our order and placed the tortilla in the cooker. We were excited for the scrumptious meal to come. We ordered our burrito with ground beef, cheese, beans and rice. All this time the guy at the counter was chatting us up, and being really nice. When the food was about to be paid for, I shelled $4.75 out of my wallet, as that had always been what I had paid for the burrito. As we asked the price, an absurd thing tripped and stumbled from his mouth, "$8.19," he said. Noel and I both began to nervously laugh. "You're kidding, right" we said " It's only $4.75." "No" he replied, his tone becoming more and more cold by the second. "I'm not playing around with you guys." "Give me the money." Now, naturally we had no idea what to do because, between the two of us, we only had $6.75. When we told him that, he became outraged, and committed the unspeakable crime that I must write before you now. He took that juicy, beautiful, amazing, slice of heaven, rolled it into a ball, and threw it into the trash. Our mouths dropped. Why would he even think of doing that? For a brief moment we both thought of jumping the counter, slapping him, and running with the burrito. However, our inner adults took over, and we walked sullenly out of the chain. Our lives scarred forever. All I know is that if we ever see the same guy at the counter, we won't give them our service or our money. Oh, and by the way, I ended up spending the money on a slice of pizza at Pizza Box which was surprisingly satisfying.


My friend Max's dad works in the restaurant business, he publishes a magazine called Great Places, so naturally he would have connections in the resauranteur world. Therefore when we heard that Marco Moreira, the owner and proprietor of Tocqueville and 15 East, two Japanese/French restaurants located on 15th street and 5th avenue wanted us to eat at his restaurant, Tocqueville, Max and I were very thrilled for two reasons. The first being that we got to go to a world-class restaurant for FREE nonetheless, and secondly we got to go alone. Now going alone brought many dangers with it other than crossing the street safely, and things like that. Not once, but twice, I had to convince Max to not get the 96 dollar tasting menu, in fear of appearing too snobby. We did get many comments from a very funny couple sitting next to us. They thought that it was very strange for us to be eating at the fine establishment all by ourselves. Well we thought it was very strange for them to be at the restaurants by themselves. Hey, we had to take the pressure off of us. However, they were very nice people who were very interesting. However, their conversations were a little bit too intense, so we stopped listening in. Max and I both the same thing, the pasta with Sea Urchin. It came in a bowl, and it looked delicious from the second we first saw it. The only problem with it was that there was a cream overload, and it was a little too filling for an appetizer, falling into the category of risottos and heavy purees. However, I was rather sure that this restaurant's dessert would continue the paragon of virtue that had made it so famous and reputable. The entree that I ordered was the sea bass, which I found very interesting. However, while the quality of the fish was excellent, the meal itself continued to be a paradox; starting off good, yet gradually losing points as something just did not quite fit in with the dish. Max order the steak which he said was excellent and hearty. For our desserts, Max and I both ordered the churros which we found to be delicious. It came with two dipping sauces, chocolate and caramel, the former being the more preferred of the two. However, one of the funniest things that took place during the meal was when Max blew out all of the candles near us, frustrating our beloved server Mary, to no end. Overall, Max and I greatly enjoyed the meal, and had a ton of fun, especially when Mary and I made up a secret handshake together. I think that Tocqueville fully deserves a 7.8/10.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Waverly Diner

Recently, I have been trying to go to less expensive restaurants in the hope of making my blog more kid-friendly, and enjoying the process more. I think that when you go to expensive restaurants, it puts a damper on the blog because technically, I should not even be going to those restaurants. Therefore, when my dad got two tickets for him and I to see the Thornton Wilder play, Our Town, I wanted to pick a cheap place for us to eat in before the play started. I had been looking forward to eating a burger all week. I had been promised one in hopes of breaking out of the restraining (times 100) diet of my mother. We chose The Waverly Diner because it was very near the theater, and it was known to be very quick. However, I had only been there for breakfast, and after waiting 45 minutes for the burger we were becoming increasingly worried. I thought that the service was extremely inattentive, and they did not make an effort to change, when requested. The decor was extremely interesting, because it was one of the gems of New York's olden day's, where everyone had big fros, and wore tight spandex that were constricting to the extremities of the body.. That time was otherwise known as the 70's. The diner seemed like an oasis in the desert to people who were not part of that dainty movement. After an extremely long wait, I had to wolf down my bacon cheeseburger which was very bland, and not unique from any other burger that I had eaten in the past. However, the night was very interesting, and I had a lot of fun. The burger was definitely not the crown jewel of the evening. I give the Waverly diner a 4.6/10.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Arigato Sushi

When I went to California on spring break, many surprises lurked around the corners. I ran into Kobe Bryant at Disneyland. I noticed that pretty much every single restaurant in The Golden State has garlic bread on their menu. And finally, I discovered that California's sushi was rather good. I went to Santa Barbara with my grandmother, and we decided to eat at a sushi restaurant named Arigato. After driving to the restaurant in my uncle Max's Mazzerati, and running into the Bachelor's Andrew Firestone on the way there, the six-person group that we made up entered the two-level cosmopolitan sushi restaurant. However, there was a 45 minute wait, so we stopped by Oprah's favorite bar. After returning, we ordered a magic mushroom roll which had five types of mushrooms, asparagus and avocado. We also ordered a Dracula roll with tuna, ahi, albacore, endive and onion. Another of the strange dishes we wanted to try was the wiki wiki roll with crab, shrimp, papaya, sprouts and avocado. While all of these rolls were unusual, and did not use the most commonly mixed ingredients, the gold shot topped off the list for just plain weird. The components of it were: sea urchin, quail egg and lime juice. It was unbelievably good, and it made my tongue tingle. Also, we ordered two orders of the shrimp gyoza just because it had such tenderness, and tastiness. I asked for two pieces of the smelt roe sushi which had been just prepared in the kitchen. It was very good, but it had too much of a salty component to it. Our last dish was the foie gras which was very rich, and I hated it. But that was just my opinion. Overall, I really loved the food, and the service was quick, elegant and polite. The decor was a little plain and simple, but that probably was because we were on the top floor of the restaurant. The dinner was a little bit expensive, but the meal was definitely worth it. I give Arigato a 8.1/10. It's main highlight was the gold shot.
I felt really grown up.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


For me, math is the hardest subject. After all, I write reviews, not equations. So on a Thursday evening, with twenty math problems on my palette, I was not excited for the upcoming night. However, there was one bright side to the evening, other than it being my grandmother's birthday. She was taking us to Jean-Georges, the casual part. When I was told, the first thing that went through my mind was not: "Oh, yeah, I'm so excited!" No. Not at all. Instead, it was: "Jesus, I am so fricking spoiled." After doing most of my math problems wrong, and having to correct them, we began the three block walk through the chilled air to the ridonculously big Trump Hotel. Yes, I meant ridonculous, and not ridiculous. As we entered the restaurant, the warm draft of air brought back partial feeling to my extremities. We relinquished our coats to the coat check, and half walked, half plodded into the restaurant. My grandma had already arrived along with her partner, and my gangster cousin Ivan and his wife. After a long discussion, I talked him out of the $65 steak, and advised him to go with the chicken. Then, when everyone started talking about the recession, I began to doze. Stocks, and market trading are not my thing. However, the aroma of freshly fried salt and pepper calamari will wake someone just as well as Ambien can make someone sleep. The calamari was delicious, its crispiness providing a great contrast to the aioli, and the lemon. After that amazing appetizer was taken away, my pasta and lobster arrived. I am not very familiar with lobster, so eating it was an adventure. It was served with passion fruit, which I felt took away from the dish, by making it too sweet. The excessive sweetness was one of the lower points of the meal. The service was elegant, but seemed a little bit too relaxed. The waiters were socializing with each other, and talking when they were not supposed to. I had read the same thing in Zagat Survey. The decor was simplistic, but very beautiful. For dessert, I ordered some mixed berry and green apple sorbet. It I was very satisfied with the meal, but it could have been improved. I give Jean-Georges a 8.6/10. However, I think that in the event of my family going to another fantastic restaurant like this, I believe that I should stay home. After all, we are in a recession.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


If anyone has any suggestions or constructive criticism on how my blog could be better, or could improve, please write a comment saying how. Or, you could say something nice too.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Souper Bowl

I was in the midst of a very large predicament. As I entered the restaurant I had two reasons to be afraid. The first one was that I was judging in a soup contest that was hosted by the New Shul, and I was not even close to competent compared with the other guest judges. Marco A. Moreira owns the much-respected Franco-Japanese restaurants Tocqueville and 15 East. Akhtar Nawab is the owner of Elettaria and has worked at Craft and Gramercy Tavern. And last, but certainly not least, Stephen Lyle is the chef and owner of Village restaurant, which hosted the event. There is a second thing I was afraid of: who I would choose as my winner. Many of my friends’ parents were entering, as was my mother. I had a conflict of interest.
However, I overcame my difficulties and began to judge. Here are the soups that were good, just not among the elite.
- The Minestrone soup was an interesting take on a contemporary favorite.
- The Steelers Broccoli and Cheese paid full homage to the Super Bowl qualifying team.
- Everything but the Kitchen Sink was a quaint soup with a strange name.
- Sanchocho de Gallina tasted like it had just arrived from a South American country.
- The Chicken soup was one of the better chicken soups, even though it was a tad bit salty.
- The Matzoh Ball Soup (thanks to Joan) had a perfect Matzoh ball.
- A Jew Married an Italian was a play on a most traditional Italian soup.
- The Chicken soup with Farfaline and Pesto was under-spiced, but still flavorful.
- Just the Broth was an interesting concept that was extremely under-spiced.
- The Herkimer New York Chicken soup was one of the more Jewish soups that I tasted, which is a compliment.
- Safta's Chicken soup had a good blend of broth, noodles, Matzoh ball and carrots.
- The Bean soup nicely arranged, but it was not really a soup, because it did not have a broth.
- The Mushroom Barley soup was well executed except for the fact that the barley was overcooked.
--The Pistachio Soup was so creamy that one couldn’t possibly eat a whole bowl of it.
- The Chicken Soup with Cabbage was one of the more spicy soups, and there was a little bit too much cabbage in it.
My three favorites over all were the Butternut Squash soup, The Carrot Ginger Coconut soup, and the Jewish Penicillin.
The Jewish Penicillin was the over all winner for the chicken soup category, because of its supreme taste, and its contrast between hearty and light flavors.
My mom made the squash soup, but since it was my mom, I could not give her the title, because it would seem biased. However her soup was refreshing, and it was an excellent feat on her part to pull off a squash soup as she did.
The overall winner of the contest was the Carrot Ginger soup, as it was the most creative and it had the most taste over all. It was made by my good friend Steve Fried who had no doubt been assisted by my friend Max, or the soup would not have been half as good. No, Steve is a wonderful chef, and his soup was scrumptious.
I was very content with most of the soups, and I thank the contestants for letting a child decide who gets the $65 gift card to Cowgirl Hall of Fame restaurant.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Locanda Vini e Olii

Brooklyn is far. So far that I almost finished an entire People magazine in one trip. Also I had the time to ponder how far away Brooklyn was. In fact, it was so far that we had to drive. But that was OK. I knew we were in for a great meal, and I also knew that we had some great company, some of my parents friends, Tod and David. After I exited the car, I was not able to find the restaurant, since the name of it looked like it was placed upon a drugstore's awning. We entered the dim room and immediately saw our hosts. We were quickly informed that they had ordered the six-course tasting menu that everyone was going to share. After waiting for about ten more minutes, the dishes arrived. In fact, I will tell you about my favorites only, or else most of you would spend an hour reading about them. One of my favorites was the shrimp with black chick peas because it was unique and new, and I had never had something so scrumptious before at an Italian restaurant. I loved the calamari in the tomato sauce, as well as the Branzino, as both tasted like they had been plucked from the sea only minutes before we devoured it. I also loved beef carrpaccio with roasted porcini mushrooms because it was fresh and flavorful. However, I thought that the Kitchen over-powered the dishes, over-spicing them. I found the service to be slow, and I also noticed that you felt important in the restaurant, but that was not due to the help. The decor was beautiful and rustic, and it made the restaurant much more welcoming. I really liked the meal we had that was made up of pasta, meat and seafood, but I also found the dessert delicious. I ordered a cake that was like a cookie. It was hard, fresh, energizing and crunchy, but it also had a very concentrated flavor. Overall, I would give Vini e Olii 7.4/10.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Souper Bowl

I have recently been invited to be a guest judge in the Souper Bowl, a soup cook-off that is being hosted by my synagogue, the New Shul. There are going to be many entries of which I will have to rate and judge along with three celebrity judges who I am going to be in awe of most of the time. The judges include; the chef who owns the restaurant Village, the chef/owner of Ellataria and former chef of Gramercy Tavern and Craft. And last, but certainly no least, the third judge will be the woman who took over the Second Avenue deli after her father unfortunately passed away. I will soon get back to you about the winner etc.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gramercy Tavern

I was wet and I was pissed. After driving for around 20 minutes with my grandmother in the pouring rain, I was very happy to set foot in a place in which water didn't outnumber people by one million. We were welcomed rather discreetly, but I hardly noticed since I was so excited to finally be there. We sat down and were immediately greeted by our waitress who informed us about the specials. I ordered the oysters which I shared with my grandmother, Francine, along with the octopus and the Kielbasa. Kielbasa is a very strong German sausage. The oysters were succulent and rich, both with and without the delicious chili sauce that it was served with. The octopus, which was my appetizer was served with a very peculiar looking pink mayonnaise sauce that greatly enriched it. I enjoyed it very much, and I believed at the time, and I still believe today that along with the oysters, the octopus was the strongest point of the meal. My Kielbasa came, and even though it looked very appetizing, I found it rather coarse and heavy. I also found that it's potatoes served as an unnecessary starch. I soon ordered my dessert, which was a German chocolate cake. It was, as I found, more or less only focused on decor, and not so much on taste. And in a way, that was how I mostly felt about the restaurant as well. I thought that it was not in any way comparable to Union Square Cafe, the other Danny Meyer restaurant that I have visited. All together, I was very, very disappointed with the way that the meal turned out. Other than the oysters and the octopus, the only thing that I found was positive was the beautiful decor. Overall, I give Gramercy Tavern a 7.7/10.