Archive for April, 2012

caramelized cocoa nibs & grinder

photos: m&j

Leave it to the most inventive gift giver we know to do the traditional wooden anniversary gift and make it this foodie-friendly – a Pure Dark Caramelized Cocoa nib grinder in gorgeous, natural wood! Pure Dark roasts the hearts of their cocoa beans, leaving them nutty, caramelized and crunchy (and slightly sweet and, more importantly not bitter!) for grinding. There is nothing better on ice cream of any flavor to add just the right amount of that much-coveted crunch factor – Happy 6th and thank you, D!!

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The Breslin

photos: m&j  & The Breslin

What a great place to spend one’s seventh wedding anniversary! For absolutely delicious food and that casual vibe that we were so in the mood for – the Breslin delivered in spades. We began with some sea salt & black pepper crisps and  cask conditioned ales, a lovely seafood sausage with beurre blanc & chives and a citrus salad with herbs, delicate butter lettuces and crunchy little quinoa bits (!) and crème fraiche that excited the palate and was just so refreshing and, frankly quite a welcome and pleasant surprise at this Anglican monument to all things meat in the lobby of the Ace Hotel! We shared a savory Vinegared poussin with grilled onions, wild ramps and romesco and pan roasted dourade with beer steamed cockles, beans & monk’s beard and a side of spigarello with anchovy & chili – yum! And finished it all off with some tepid coffee (not so yum) and a delicate creamsicle sundae pudding that more than made up for the slight coffee impropriety – sweet, pink cara cara orange, yogurt sorbet, crushed meringue, candied ginger and lemon – a traditional fool turned on it’s head, if you will. Quite a lovely dinner & Happy Anniversary, my dearest!! xoxo

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fresh fiddlehead ferns!

photos: m&j

We know it’s really spring when these alien-looking, delicate, little, leafy baby fern scrolls begin to unfurl and peek their heads up in the forest and make their way into our skillets for pastas and veggie dishes that truly wonder and delight and are just a tad Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones in a great way, if we do say so, ourselves!

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teeny tiny cupcakes!

photos: m&j

Could there be a more perfect sweet birthday gift for a lady than a box of eensie weensie cupcake minis from Baked by Melissa? We do not think so! With eleven cleverly scrumptious varieties – each that perfect little bite of deliciousness and not a crumb more – a gal can really get a good many tastes for herself,  be a generous friend and do some sharing and even feel quite virtuous all the while because it is, after all, her birthday. Thank you, dear Daryl, for the perfect ending to the ever slightly less than perfect day xoxo

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Jacobsen hand-harvested sea salt

photos: m&j

Ben Jacobsen recently started the Jacobsen Salt Company where he makes bespoke, hand-harvested, pure, local sea salt just outside Portland, OR, using water from the nearby Netarts Bay. The beautiful salt he produces is bright, flaky, airy and tastes like the ocean and nothing more – which is the very reason it’s been snatched up by restaurants and foodies all over the Pacific Northwest (that and the fact that it’s the only salt harvested locally in that area – making it über chic with the Portland area locavore set). And, fortunately for us, it’s also the reason we just received it as a lovely early b-day gift from our dear transplanted Portlandian, gastronome friend – thank you, once again, lovely JJ, for giving us delicious treats whist making us look cool and in the know!

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Grimaldi’s

photos: m&j

It’s been too long since the last time we walked across the beautiful Brooklyn bridge for pizza at the legendary Grimaldi’s (since before both kids were walking, actually!). The bridge was as lovely as ever – framed with purple flowering trees on the Brooklyn side that seemed to underscore a phenomenal spring day. We got mango “flowers” on sticks as our appetizers on the way over, which added to the otherworldliness of Brooklyn on one of the season’s first really warm days with everything fully laden and bursting with blooms. And we’re pleased to report that Grimaldi’s is as good as ever in its new digs down the street – perhaps even better. The crispy coal-fired brick oven crust with its giant, delicate air bubbles rivals the best Roman fare. The guys in the kitchen – like dancers – move in prefect harmony as they pat, sprinkle and toss. And the coal fired brick oven is like an amusement park ride for foodies (the first coal fired brick oven in America was at Grimaldi’s, back in 1905, and today, this kind of cooking is truly a dying art). They moved down the block to their new space a few months ago (with barely a down day in between) and the new high ceilings, giant windows and tons of natural light really set the stage for the pizza cooking show for all patrons to see. It doesn’t hurt that the new merry-go-round is right around the corner, overlooking the water. And the fact that we got to take the ferry back to Wall street was a real cherry on top of a great weekend day for all that attended, especially those 5 and under! NO CREDIT CARDS – NO RESERVATIONS – NO SLICES – NO DELIVERY and worth every minute of the 45 min wait with two hungry kids.

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4.12.12 White Cow Farm yogurt

photos: m&j

This locally produced maple yogurt from White Cow Farm in Cattaraugus County, NY is not only tangy, delicious and made from the milk of sweet cows who’ve been grazing on fields of yore lovelies like coltsfoot, beebread, burdock, violet, fescue, buttercup, birdsfoot, chamomile, peppermint, chickweed, wild strawberry, yarrow, yellowdock, feltword, orchard grass, nettles and clover – it’s also packaged in the cutest, little glass jar – just like old-timey home made baby food – that we are completely kvelling over. Just how adorable do we need our yogurt to be? The answer: very.

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brunch at The Spotted Pig

photos: m&j

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As if our love of all things pig/piglet isn’t enough – this West Village favorite does not disappoint on any level. If you can bare the line at The Spotted Pig (with no reservations accepted) on a Sunday, April Bloomfield’s brunch is a gastro delight to behold – from the French press coffee and superb Bloody Mary with seasoned sea salt and pickled veggies to the deviled eggs and chicken liver toast “bar snacks” to the superb entrees like French toast with bananas & bourbon syrup, fried duck egg with sautéed ramps & anchovy dressing, char grilled burger with Roquefort cheese & shoestring fries, grilled cheese sandwich with onion marmalade & mustard, fluffy frittata with ricotta, ramps & nettles (yes, these are, indeed, the burr/thistles that get stuck on your socks when you’re hiking), arugula salad with house smoked trout, pickled onions & peppery créme fraiche dressing. Finishing up with a ginger cake & freshly whipped cream and a much needed walking tour of West Village flora sets the Sunday mood just right.

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goat milk caramels

photos: m&j

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What a delightful find at Murray’s Cheese Shop – Big Picture Farm Sea Salt and Pure Bourbon Vanilla Goat Milk Caramels. Handmade in Vermont with the most adorable packaging and name, to match. And, fortunately, with a creamy, soft and silky texture and buttery, sweet/salty flavor they taste even better than they look!

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Sunday Brunch at Whitehall

photos: m&j

We just enjoyed a terrific Sunday brunch with friends at the recently opened Whitehall on Greenwich Avenue between 6th and 7th Avenues, serving what they call the “new British” cuisine (which basically means fresh, locally sourced yummy food and cocktails) in a pretty, new, but made to look worn and old & comfy setting with worn white painted wood, subway tile, super cool ceiling fans and light fixtures with filament bulbs and lots of lovely branches full of spring blossoms right now – just perfect for a weekend meal with a group of hungry foodies. We particularly enjoyed the avocado toast with baby rocket, chili flakes, poached/scrambled eggs with roasted tomato, whisky French toast with roasted pineapple and vanilla mascarpone, baby gem lettuce, poached egg, crispy bacon, ouray cheese, red onion and hazelnuts with pear vinaigrette and the (total rock star) Whitehall burger with cheddar, pickled beetroot, caramelized onions, lettuce, fried egg and house cut fries -  all accompanied by delicious coffee and the requisite spicy bloodies – YUM! The meal was finished off with a fabulous butterscotch (with a hint of the actual – Scotch – whiskey spirit – just a hint!) pot de crème accompanied by the most delicate almond flour shortbread cookies, delicately sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar to share – for that perfect last sweet bite that lets you know the meal is over without totally weighing you down midday (although we could’ve easily eaten an entire, adorable little pot de crème each)! And thank you dear John, Cary, Dave, Bruce, Alexa and Daniel for letting us photograph it all before you dove in!

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