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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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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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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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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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Haven’s Kitchen Supper Club!

photos: m&j

This past March 27th we were fortunate enough to attend the first ever (and first of many for us!) Haven’s Kitchen’s Supper Club – wherein Chef Eric Milley of Jeffrey’s Grocery and James McDuffee of Joseph Leonard – collaborated together on a wonderful family style menu for a lucky 40 of us in the upstairs event space on 17th Street. Thanks to a willing and adventurous bunch of close friends (a group also quite interested in celebrating dear Dave’s big 45th on the eve prior), we were able to commandeer an entire 10-top. And on that evening the group unilaterally decided to reserve a table at the Supper Club (where a new team of chefs will cook each month and where group members out of town for work or fun will let other friends in on the fun) for every month from now on as long as we all have the resources. It was a truly wonderful meal of amazing courses and wine pairings, beginning with specialty (beet flavored!) cocktails and hors d’oeurvres (including duck confit & lovely, fresh oysters to name a couple) in the downstairs kitchen and then upstairs for a first a first course of beautiful beet, citrus and ricotta salad and a warm mushroom salad with kale and a lovely Marie-Pierre Manciat Macon Les Morizottes. The second course featured completely delectable sweet & sour rock shrimp and a chilled calamari salad, paired with 2009 Domaine de la Solitude Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. The third course featured roast leg of lamb with pan gravy, gnocci as light as air and Sicilian greens with olives, fennel, raisins and black pepper gastrique, warm toasted barley salad with mint, almonds, confit shallot and manchego – all paired with 2009 Domaine de la Solitude Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge. And, last but not least, the fourth course brought it all home with a buttermilk panna cotta with citrus and granola and a light and (of course) amazingly delicious fried bread with honey, paired with Anselmi Il Ceppo Prosecco NV … The hospitality, harmony and sheer bliss of the evening’s food, creativity and camaraderie were beyond any of our wildest expectations – none of us can remember having a better evening of food and friendship in years! Thank you, Dave, Chris & Maria, John, Eddie, Billy, Steph and Betsy for sharing it with us. And thank you Ali, Rachel and the Haven’s Kitchen team for making this the first of a series of stellar gustatory, celebratory and just all-around amazing evenings to look forward to and remember for the rest of our lives!!

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The Dutch

photos: thedutchnyc.com

From the first moment we read about their devil’s food cake with boiled black pepper icing in Bon Appetit, we’ve been dying to try The Dutch. Located on Prince Street in the former Cub Room quarters, this popular new eatery sports a month-long waiting list for reservations due to its fabulous menu, pleasing décor and epicurean, yet slightly snippy staff who can get away with it and why shouldn’t they? They work at The Dutch, after all. Not to be missed are the fabulous cocktails (we enjoyed the New York Sour), little fried oyster sandwiches, Barnstable Oysters (a new one to us and, shockingly, even more turgid and delicious than our former global favorite, Glidden Points, with whom they shared an icy platter). Any supper menu that sports an “oyster room” is good by us! And when you factor in the sumptuous burrata with figs, arugula salad and toasted freshly baked bread, the Asian White Boy Ribs, The 18oz Dry-Aged Bone-in NY Strip with house-made Steak Sauce that was absolutely to die for (and, sadly, not available for purchase) and the Smoked & Roasted Chicken, Mushroom Stroganoff with Paprika and Garganelli with Artichokes, Cherry Peppers & Basil you’ve got quite a feast on your hands (oh, and we almost forgot the sautéed Brussels sprouts with zingy horseradish sauce that showed up as a special little gift that was “on the house” for ordering like such piggies). Top it off with Buttermilk Pie and that now famous Chocolate Cake with Boiled Black Pepper Icing (in which, to be honest, the pepper was hardly detectable, but still delicious), you are going to have to squeeze out the door. And happily so!

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a 26-year-old work of art

photos of journal: m&j, Illustration and all artwork: Marvin Davis

This gorgeous treasure of a journal from an Italy trip taken in November, 1985, belongs to our dear and fabulous foodie friends, Marvin and Cathie. We can only imagine what a grand adventure they took – in the Henry James style – one that allowed them to eat at all the finest restaurants that Rome, Venice, Tuscany and Milan had to offer, while still reserving the precious time to relax, sip wine, sketch and just do nothing and “be” the Italian way. Marvin, your drawings are beautiful and the two of you are our culinary adventure heroes!

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