Category Archives: {Drink Me}

Do This!: Brooklyn’s Depressingly Awesome Industry City Distillery Creates Handcrafted Vodka

Industry City Distillery

Down a quiet brick-laid industrial street, on the edge of Sunset Park and Greenwood Brooklyn, lies an undiscovered gem that has the makings of being our very own NYC Willy Wonka factory. But instead of chocolate, the team behind Industry City Distillery is mastering the art of handcrafted sugar beet vodka. And handcrafting their own letter-pressed labels with a reclaimed 1930s machine to boot — Depressingly Awesome indeed!

1930s Letterpress Machine for Handcrafted Vodka Labels

Rich Showing Off the Depressingly Awesome 1930s Letterpress Machine for Handcrafted Labels

You’ve heard the catch-phrases bean-to-bar, grain-to-glass, farm-to-table — these guys are bringing us still-to-spirit. After taking over the 6,000 sq ft. space only six short months ago, the team of six bearded Brooklyn brains have built an in-house kitchen, machine workshop, laboratory, distillery and bottling station to dissect and build the entire process of distilling vodka by hand. And they have their first product run coming to market next week on April 20th — did you hear me when I said this started only six short months ago? Again, Depressingly Awesome. With an intense focus on efficiency and controlling every stage to keep costs low, they have built their own stills to tweak the entire process, using different grades of heat for incoming an outgoing product to share supply and waste lines.

Industry City Distillery Stills

Dave Shows Off the Industry City Distillery Stills and Machine Workshop

Why is this cool? Because lighter alcohol will vaporize at different heat points, they have created a fractional still that enables them to extract different types of alcohols at different heats  and then selectively add these back together for the final product {or handmade cleaning supplies}, wasting nothing. They call these “the cuts” or “the flavor character,” which they are constantly experimenting with to mix at different ratios, producing a range of flavors akin to sweeter, buttery and even rubbery vodkas {I tasted it — it was booty!}. True to the Wonka nature of the tour, we sat down in the handcrafted kitchen for a tasting — beakers lined up in front of us and droppers at the ready to mix and match and see just how quickly a vodka can go from smooth to robust.

And Now for a Vodka Tasting

And Now for a Vodka Tasting

Tom, Our Fermented Friend

Tom, Our Fermented Well-Loved Friend

To put this production efficiency-flavor controlled process in perspective, a typical big-industry vodka is distilled 5 times. It’s boiled and produced from 5 cuts. Industry City Distillery passes the product through their fractional still once and from it, they take 30 cuts! The product is also made from beet sugar, instead of cane sugar as it has a higher energy density and they’re making their own algae-encapsulated yeast beads {meet Tom, the inaugural batch that has been put through the test-lab ringer} in a small climate-controlled, and apparently groundbreaking, fermentation environment that they plan to open-source in the future.

Impressed? Intrigued? Totally geeked out and ready to sample? Good news, Industry City Distillery’s inaugural product launch is happening April 20th and you can get your hands a bottle of Industry City Distillery “No.2″ Vodka by pre-ordering at DrinkUpNY here and for a limited time it’s on sale for 25% off. I’ll drink to that! Want to know more? Check-out their website for cool diagrams, photos and more about the secret sauce — oh, and sign-up for their newsletter so stay in the know.

More Brooklyn Gems You Should Know About:
Do This!: Learn to Forage in Prospect Park for Edible and Medicinal Plants with Expert Leda Meredith
NYC Best: Brooklyn’s Frej Should Be Your New Dining Kinfolk
Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time
Rustic Space Features Really Good Wood-Burning Oven Pizza @Roberta’s
NYC Best: Source Your Spices and Specialty Foods @ Sahadi’s

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St. Paddy’s Day Delicious Pots of Gold

Just a few things to help you prepare for St. Paddy’s Day. Who doesn’t want to brew your own beer and then make a steak puff pastry pie with it {with cheese}? Yes please!

MAKE: Irish Steak & Guinness Puff Pastry Pie
{click for recipe}

Steak and Guinness Pie

Steak and Guinness Pie

BUY: Everyday IPA or Chocolate Maple Porter Kit 

1-gallon brew kit includes everything you need: 1 gallon glass fermenter, 3-piece chambered airlock, screw top stopper, thermometer, plastic tubing, tubing clamp, racking cane, and sanitizer

Craft Home Brew Kit and Beer Making Book

Craft Home Brew Kit and Beer Making Book

DRINK: Wilfie & Nell: Not Grandpa’s Watering Hole

Wilfie & Nell

Wilfie & Nell

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8.ate@eight Deliciously Different Valentine’s Day Gift and Dinner Ideas

♥ Text Me ♥ Recipe 4 Love ♥ Table 4 Two ♥ Be Mine ♥ Cool Cat

You’ve found that special someone who likes long walks on the beach too, but you’re late to the game planning Valentine’s Day? Never fear, if you’re in need of some good inspiration to show your love, here a list of a few of my favorite ideas — whether you’re looking for a romantic night in, a unique meal out or a gift of food that is the way to your love’s heart.

♥ Labor of  Love With Your Own Hands ♥

Cocktail Kick-Off: Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
When In Doubt, Roast a Chicken: Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
When in Doubt, Roast a Hot and Spicy Chicken: Some Like it HOT Pollo alla Diavola
Spice it Up: Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes
Bourbon and Flames to Heat Things Up: Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster
Bedtime Snack: Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Breakfast in Bed:
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg w/ Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits

More 8.ate@eight Recipes HERE

♥ Wine & Dine ♥

10s Across the Board: The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
An Aphrodisiac’s Evening: Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
Interactive Eating: Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
Butt. ‘Nough Said: Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!
Slurping is Sexy: NYC Ramen Wars: Ippudo vs. momofuku noodle bar
Smoked Meat is Sexier: 18 Meat Dishes for Men & BBQ Heaven @Fette Sau
Cozy and Romantic: August in April
Single and Looking for Love: Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole

More 8.ate@eight Favor8 Restaurants HERE

♥ Gifts A Dozen Times Better Than Roses ♥

Take a Kick-Ass Specialty Class: Sign-Up for an Underground Sidetour 
Ice Cream Gram:
Send Your Valentine an Ice Cream Gram from Milkmade
A Gift to Warm the Soul: Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time
Artisanal Meats, Cheeses & Chocolates! Artisanal Specialty Foods Digested

♥ Text Me ♥ Recipe 4 Love ♥ Table 4 Two ♥ Be Mine ♥ Cool Cat

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Dang It’s Cold Out. Cool Things To Do, To Keep You Warm.

Finally, snow last weekend — confirmation that Winter is not extinct {although I’m starting to second guess that assessment this week}. If you’re anything like me right now then you’re looking for a cold weather distraction. If you can’t leave the city like I just did, then here’s some wintry stay-put inspiration:

Warm with Scotch | Host a Robert Burns Night Party:
Boozy Robert Burns Night w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park Scotch
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata 

Let Cute Bartenders Warm You | Spend the Evening at Highlands:
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails

Slurrrp & Snuggle | Ramen + Crowded Hot Spots Warm the Bod:
NYC Ramen Wars: Ippudo vs. momofuku noodle bar 

Stay Warm With Man’s Best Friend | Dine & Drink @TheBeagle:
The Beagle: A Restaurant You Should Be Loyal To 

Go Off the Beaten Track | Sign Up for a Sidetour
Take an Underground Sidetour to Get You Through the January Blues 

Stick it To Your Ribs | Eat Soul-Warming BBQ:
18 Favorite Meat Dishes for Men & Barbeque Heaven @Fette Sau 

Escape the City From Home | Host an Easy-Prep Dinner Party:
French-Inspired
Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Flaky Cheese Straws, As Easy As Being Barefoot 
Wild Child Broccoflower and Celery Root Soup
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken

Italian-Inspired
Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Homemade Ricotta and Melted Leeks
Bursting Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta-Orange Reduction
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother 

Hunker Down and Stir it Up | Cook From Scratch {eat Leftovers!}:
Best Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Wild Child Broccoflower and Celery Root Soup

Braised Grass-Fed Beef Brisket and Polenta
Irish Steak & Guinness Puff Pastry Pie

Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

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NYC Best: I’m In Love with Jacob’s Pickle

Jacob's Pickles Warms West Side

Jacob's Pickles Warms West Side

At first glance you might think this picture is of a really cool bar in Brooklyn. Lucky for upper west siders, it’s the newly opened Jacob’s Pickles — an outpost that took over a former lighting store and is bringing a new brightness to the neighborhood’s dining scene. Serving a menu centered around artisanal Beer, Biscuits, Pickles, Jams and Sustainably-Raised Meats, owner Jacob Hadjigeorgis saw an opportunity to bring simple American craft-comfort cuisine to an area that doesn’t welcome news-worthy restaurant openings with the same frequency as stops below 14th-street. I think Jacob is going to be a new friend.

American Craft-Comfort CuisineThe atmosphere has a casual elegant buzz about it. Soft lighting illuminates a wood-planked wall of bottles and jars behind the bar. The opposite wall is lined with tables intimately spaced along an elevated black leather banquette — the looks of which any man’s man would like in his own living room. Sit across from the banquette or at the bar and you’ve scored a seat in the most comfortable and cool looking bar stools I’ve seen in a long time. I should have taken a picture of these perfect perches, but with a deep seat, a back and arm rests, I promise they are the vehicles fit for a lengthy pickling session {you, not the gherkins}. The music is subtle so you can still have a conversation, but adds to the warm vibe — if I didn’t know any better, it could have been my ipod playing. It was the energy of the crowd that was really humming — I was enthralled.

The menu: 25 American craft beers on tap list some of my favorites {Founder IPA from Michigan}, as well as others begging to be sampled {Speakeasy-Prohibition Ale from California}. Intriguing cocktails include the Dirty Aphrodite, a martini made dirty with dill pickle brine, and the B.L.T Bloody Mary, which sounds like breakfast in a glass with peppercorn vodka, Niman Ranch bacon and a jalapeno pickled egg. There’s also a selection of artisanal root beers on tap, lemonade and other craft sodas if you’re looking to keep things simple. But even those can be converted to a float if you want to take it to another level. For the truly over the top treat, try the Sixpoints-Otis Oatmeal Stout float or the Allagash Black float. Beer and ice cream? Awesome.

Honey, Chicken and Pickles Southern Biscuit Sandwich

Honey, Chicken and Pickles Southern Biscuit Sandwich

But don’t get too carried away with the drink selection before you order up some grub. Like pickles? You’ve come to the right place — special or hot sours, candied beets, salt & pepper asparagus, sweet & spicy carrots, sour green tomatoes are just a few ways to get started. There also seemed to be a lot of fried pickle plates coming out of the kitchen {everything tastes better fried}. Our neighbors were ooohing and aaahing over the mac ‘n cheese — not surprising, since Jacob owns a mac n’ cheese shop in Boston, which was his primary focus before gracing us with his presence. The southern biscuit sandwiches all sounded outstanding — we tried the creamy mushroom gravy smothered chicken and the honey, chicken & pickles versions. The latter of which was my order and was the perfect sweet-salty-vinegary marriage of flavors. I swapped out the cheese grits for fries and the house ketchup {which I would bottle up and take home, if I could}. Speaking of which, if you just can’t get enough of these specialties, you can take home jars of their house-made pickles, preserves and 32- or 64-oz refillable growlers of beer. I’ll have to speak to Jacob about adding his ketchup to the pantry. Full menu here.

As if you don’t already have enough reasons to hop on the northbound subway, Jacob’s Pickles will be hosting a daily beer tasting from 3-6pm, which will also feature specials. Sounds like a perfect reason to leave work early.

The Skim: Good vibe. Good beer. Good grub. ‘nough said.  Will be back for more — tomorrow. This newcomer has quickly won me over and despite only opening a month ago, I’m adding it to my Favor8 list.

Map: 509 Amsterdam Avenue {Between 84th / 85th}
Reservations: Not taken
Phone: 212.470.5566 


8.ate@eight Favor8
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Other Favor8s:
The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
Rustic Space Features Really Good Wood-Burning Oven Pizza
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand 
18 Favorite Meat Dishes for Men & Barbeque Heaven @Fette Sau
The Beagle: A Restaurant You Should Be Loyal To


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Holiday Recipe Inspiration: Small Bites and Seasonal Sippers

‘Tis the season to stock the bar. While it’s a time for tradition, it’s also a time for surprises. So if you’re looking to spice up the table with a few new twists as well, I hope you find inspiration in the list below.

Happy Holidays from 8.ate@eight! 

BREAKFAST {energy for gift deluge}

Blueberry, Lemon & Coconut Pancakes
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
Royal British Cranberry-Almond Breakfast Scones

How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg
Southern Breakfast Egg Casserole

DRINKS {we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet!}

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Mint Julep
Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}

Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Smokey Margarita {a la Tippling Bros.}

Stand-Out Spanish Sangria

SNACK’EMS AND SWEETS {can’t resist ‘em}

Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata
Homemade Ricotta and Melted Leeks
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}
Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries

Union Square Bar Roasted Rosemary Nuts
Millionaire’s Shortbread Worth a Billion Bucks
Perfect Pear Cranberry Pie 

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Socarrat: A Seductive Spanish Cellar Worthy of Date- or Girl’s- Night

Socarrat Paella Bar

I’m craving the warmth of the holiday season. And I’m not talking about the 61 degree day we’re having on December 6th. I’ve tried turning on the TV Yule Log and listening to a little Annie Lennox Christmas Cornucopia, but what I really want is a night out at the kind of place that warms your face and your mood the moment you push aside the winter-proofing velvet curtains hung inside the door.

I first discovered Socarrat Paella Bar in the Fall. Brick walls adorned with antique mirrors, wood-planked ceilings dropping tulip-shaped lighting, high tables forcing the intimate lean toward your dining company — I loved it before I even placed the napkin in my lap.

Socarrat Paella

But of course it’s the measure of the menu that truly wins my heart — and Socarrat seduces successfully. Choose from any number of traditional tapas, from the steeply priced{and worthy} $22 24-month dry-aged Jamon Iberico, to the more reasonable and finger-aioli-lickin’-good, patatas bravas. The left side of the menu offers a generous list of bite-sized options that can be shared amongst friends or in a friendly game of toothpick wars with your date.

But what you really want to hold out for is one of Socarrat’s eight paella options {menu here}. Placed atop cleverly elevated and off-set paella pedestals, you can easily sample several pans despite the intimacy of the small table setting. The pricing averages $23 per person, but the paella pays back 10-fold with its heaping dish of fresh seafood, spanish-seasoned meats, colorful veg and the prized caramelization of the rice bed {know as the socarrat}.

The Skim: Even if it is summer, Socarrat Paella Bar is an option you want to keep high on your dining list when you’re looking for warmth. Excellent Spanish wines, flavor-bursting paellas, easily sharable tapas are all encased in a perfectly intimately-lit setting that is suitable for a fingers-crossed date night or an evening with your closest friends.

Map: 259 W. 19th {8th Ave} or 284 Mulberry {Houston}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone:  212.462.1000

Seconds on the Spanish Senorita!:
Barcelona Digested: Food for Foodies
recipe goodness :: peppers padron at home
recipe goodness :: celebrate with stand-out spanish sangria
recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad

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The Beagle: A Restaurant You Should Be Loyal To

Fresh Baby Corn with Mayo, Lime and Cilantro

Sorry for the hiatus — sometimes life just gets in the way. But there have been no shortage of delicious eats since the last post and if you’re on the hunt for some doggone good chow, then sniff away at The Beagle — the latest addition to my Favor8 list.

The Beagle opened only two short months ago, but has already established itself as a dining and drinking establishment to be loyal to. The space is small, but spacious, and its decor is inspired by the servants’ working quarters of a grand country house. I half expected to see a roaring hearth with some spit-roasted chicken and a sleepy dog {obviously a Beagle} curled up in front of the fire. But while the atmosphere has the throwback comfort of a country home, both drink and dinner menus are inspired lists of exciting and innovative fare.

There is something for every appetite — from small “tidbits” to full-on “pairing boards,” which feature smartly paired dishes of creative kitchen wizardry, with superb cocktails that will have your head spinning {especially if you order up the barrel-aged White Dog Manhattan!!}

It didn’t take much to be impressed by the clever baby corn on a stick with a lick-able dipping mayo that had me panting for more. But that was just a taste of what was to come with the Sweetbread & Calvados and Lamb Neck & Rye pairing boards. The lusciously tender sweetbreads with a perfectly crispy outer edge were served with raisins, caramelized fennel, capers and delightfully etched glass of Drouin Calvados.  It was rich, sweet, salty and perfect. Sadly I was sharing with a table of other hungry hounds, but I could have easily devoured the entire dish on my own. The Lamb Neck & Rye competed for a second fav — served with anchovy relish, cucumber and a mini preakness cocktail — it too showcased the brilliant appeal of hitting on all your tastebuds.

Sweetbread & Calvados Pairing Board

While they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I may beg to differ when it comes to The Beagle’s roast chicken. We’ve all had our fair share of roast chicken over the years, but when I heard theirs had cheddar and roasted fennel stuffed under the crispy skin, my ears perked up and I quickly sat at attention. There was something about that simple twist that just made sense. If you can improve on apple pie with a few slices of cheddar cheese, why not a roast chicken? The sharpness of the cheese, with the sweetness of the fennel had us all jumping through hoops and begging for seconds — and seconds we did order. It was that good.

Roast Chicken with Cheddar and Fennel

The Skim: If you’re trying to track down an evening of fantasticly innovative dining and imbibing, while feeling like you’re enjoying everything from the comfort of someone’s dining room, then The Beagle is your new home. Go hungry or with a sharing-friendly pack and taste your way through all the goodness.

Map: 162 Avenue A {@ east 10th}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-228-6900


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recipe goodness :: strawberry chamomile tea

Strawberry Chamomile Tea

Strawberry Chamomile Tea

It’s strawberry season! And when life gives you strawberries, make strawberry chamomile tea, of course! We gave this tea to all our freshocracy customers for mother’s day and I fell in love. The main ingredient is Berried Treasures Farm’s tristar strawberries that were frozen to preserve through the winter. After boiling them in cheesecloth with some chamomile you get this spectacularly red and sweet all natural drink that tastes just like summer. It’s the perfect thing to give your kids or enjoy yourself on a scorching day. And while it makes for a perfectly delightful refresher on its own, top it off with some seltzer, champagne or even tequila to jazz up your glass. Go to Ikea, buy some inexpensive bottles with rubber stoppers and show off your new concoction. This also makes a fantastic party or *just because* gift to share with friends.

Makes 6 quarts {if you don’t want to stock up, cut in half}

Courtesy of Chef Rick Jakobson 

2 lbs. frozen tristar strawberries
8 chamomile tea bags
6 quarts cold water
6.5-8 oz honey
2-3 lemons
generous pinch of kosher salt

  1. Wrap frozen strawberries and chamomile tea bags in cheesecloth and tie tightly to ensure no strawberries can get loose.
  2. Place cheesecloth in a large stockpot and cover with water. Add 6.5 oz honey.
  3. Bring to a boil and let simmer until strawberries release their flavor. Once water begins to boil, use a wooden spoon to squeeze the cheesecloth against the side of the pot to release the juice of the strawberries.
  4. Turn off stove and let steep for ~10 minutes. Squeeze cheesecloth one last time to release all the juice and remove from the pot.
  5. Add juice of 2 lemons and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Stir and taste. Add more honey or lemon as desired.
  6. Let cool and pour into bottles or pitchers.
  • Variation 1: Serve with a sprig of mint, topped off with a little seltzer
  • Variation 2: Serve with champagne {one part strawberry chamomile, 2 parts champagne}
  • Variation 3: Mix with white tequila and fresh of lime {2:1:1 tequila:strawberry tea:lime}

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Do This!: Brewers PicNYC on Governor’s Island

Are you one of those people who gets excited when everyone else leaves the city for the weekend? “Be gone and leave us to enjoy some of the finer things this city has to offer — like good food and good beer on an even smaller island than we live on…with sand!”

Brought to you by Food Karma Projects (producers of Pig Island, Meatopia 2010 and Brewers 4 Brewers), Brewers’ PicNyc {how clever} is a two-day celebration {May 29-30/11am-5pm} of everything that makes NYC great: street food, craft beer and music on Governors Island’s historic Colonels’ Row.

A portion of the proceeds will go to Added Value Farm – a sustainable farm on Governors Island. This is Governors Island’s official 2011 kickoff, and the unofficial beginning of summer, so spend your Memorial Day weekend eating well and doing good. What a lineup!

Food Vendors: Asia Dog • The Bistro Truck • Cup Cake Stop • Desi Food Truck • East Village Meat Market • Familia Camarena Tequila • Gorilla Cheese NYC • Gotham Artisinal Sodas • Izze • Jimmy’s No. 43 • Joy Ride • Kimchi Taco Truck • Kombucha Brooklyn • Luke’s Lobster • Orwashers Bakery • PizzaMoto • Pizza Truck NYC • Sour Puss Pickles

Beer Vendors: Brooklyn Brewery,Goose Island, Sixpoint and Two Brother’s!

Free ferry to Governors Island from Manhattan and Brooklyn. For more directions click here.

Buy Tickets Here

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Memorial Day Menu

Proud to be and American

The forecast is 75 and sunny — do I need to knock on wood? I hope everyone is gearing up for a fun Memorial Day weekend. It’s one of my favorite holidays because it kicks off everything good about Summer — outdoor grilling, cold beers and late night BBQ parties. Every year I host a little rooftop shindig for friends — sometimes it’s all about the slow-roasted ribs, but this year I think I’m doing BBQ’d pizzas. They are so easy and great to do when you’re hosting a lot of people. Just line up the ingredients and let people get creative. This is also less work for the party host, leaving more time for sipping suds. Here are some of my favorite BBQ menu items — I hope this inspires some great backyard bashes. Happy Memorial Day!

DRINKS {start the party out right}

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Mint Julep
Bottle of Baron {Refreshing “Island Cocktail” a la Tippling Bros.}

Fresh Lime-Margarita Marinated Watermelon
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita
Pink Fizzy Lemonade Cocktails Beat the Heat

Stand-Out Spanish Sangria

SNACK’EMS {your guests eat, while the grill heats}

Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa {also good as an entree side}
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa
Fresh Lime-Margarita Marinated Watermelon{double duty bites}

SALADS {beautiful and delicious}

Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad
Tomato, Basil & Feta Salad

PIZZA & BREADS {d’oh! why didn’t i try this yet}

Creative Crowd-Pleasing BBQ’d Pizzas {this is what I’ll be serving! So FUN}
Flaky Cheese Straws, As Easy As Being Barefoot
Red Chili-Lime Cornbread Muffins

FOR THE GRILL {that’s what it’s all about}

Bison, a Better Burger Worth Biting Into
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
Pistachio-Encrusted Spring Lamb w/ Pickled Red Onions & Cumin Yogurt Sauce
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops
Grilled Thyme-Cumin Vegetable Kabobs

DESSERT {life is short, eat it first}

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster w/ Bourbon Ice Cream
Banana Puddin’ Chocolate Cups
 {bottom of post}
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake with BBQ’d Summer Berries{bottom of post}

Grilled Pizzas

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Barcelona Digested: Hang with the Locals – Cava and Cafe Catalonian Style

Barcelona: Where the locals go

When I travel, I want to know where the locals hang out.  What’s the best bite in town?  Where do they go to grab a drink?  How do they spend their Saturday afternoons.  Of course I’m sure there is some overlap with where the non-local, tourist types visit as well, but in an effort to sum up the recs I got, tried and loved, here’s a list of favs to get your cava and cafe con leche Catalonian style.

El Xampanyet {Cava & Tapas Bar | La Ribera}
Must do. A fantastic cava and tapas bar, serving the bubbly in ‘50s style champagne glasses. Hang out with locals standing at the bar for a few bites before going out. Family-owned since 1929, it has both good energy and an historical air that makes trying a bite of this and a bite of that, that much more enjoyable. Its bright fluorescent lighting gives it the feel of an old-school NYC Jewish deli, serving up great food in an unpretentious setting. And since the Catalonians like to come and go frequently, the people watching never stops.

El Xampanyet

Mercat de La Boqueria {Food Market | Barri Gotic}
It’s on every list. Stop here to eat what you see. Mounds of beautiful fruit, roasted nuts, chocolates galore. Also fun to admire the fresh seafood, chickens with their crown still on and even a few lambs heads w/ eyeballs – no prepackaged grocery store cuts here. Go early and enjoy watching the owners set up shop or eat at two of the best food counters in the market before it gets too crowded with tourists {Pinotxo or El Quim}.

Piles and Piles of Sweet Goodness

Pinotxo {Coffee & Tapas Bar | Barri Gotic, in La Boqueria}
A tiny family run bar, but the owner is one of the most well known in Barcelona. Go early for breakfast (9am), ask for the specials and hang with the owner and other market locals who stop in for a quick coffee and bite before the rush of the day begins.

Pinotxo

Meson del Café {Coffee Bar | Barri Gotic}
Tiny 100-year old café with delicious picardia (coffee w/ condensed milk and whiskey). It’s small and kitschy, which makes it a great place to perch and people watch while reenergizing.

Meson del Cafe Picardia {mmm}

Cal Pep {Seafood Tapas | Born}Great tapas bar known for their fresh seafood. Cal welcomes his patrons with his raspy voice and personal recommendations. It’s diner style seating with an impressive line-up of waiting patrons along the wall, but the distraction of watching the excitement behind the counter will keep you entertained.

Cal and his team

Fresh Clams from Cal Pep

Quimet y Quimet {Tapas Bar | Poble Sec}
Small little tapas bar where you rub elbows {literally} with the locals in a small, standing room only space. The walls are attractively lined with bottles of wine and spirits and the bar showcases all the tapas basics. Inventive combos still rely on the traditional canned food items, but stack up bites like roasted pepper, cream cheese, canned crab, langoustine, caviar, drizzled in balsamic, olive oil for a sensational snack. Also try the dried beef with truffle oil and olive tapenade.

Um, Yes Please. Thank you Quimet y Quimet!

How could you say no to these tapas?

Can Manel la Puda {Paella Outdoor Cafe | Barcelonata}
Excellent paella along a café strip in Barcelonata. This is the perfect Saturday afternoon destination to enjoy a glass {or bottle} of cava and some of the most delicious, fresh seafood paella I have ever had. This is how the locals spend their weekends — a lifestyle I could get used to rather quickly.

Outdoor Paella Cafes in Barcelonata

The right way to spend a Saturday afternoon

More Barcelona Digested:
Barcelona Digested: Chocolate Central
Barcelona Digested: Mercat de La Boqueria
recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad

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Filed under Do This!, Eat Here!, Travel Bite, {Drink Me}

Found: Coffee Foundry Hides Secret Joe Gem in Karaoke Bar

Clever Coffee Dripper

What do you do with a Karaoke bar during daylight? Turn it into a coffee bar, naturally. I have walked down west 4th many a day and night and can honestly say I have never paid attention to the karaoke bar, let alone noticed this super cool coffee cupper called The Coffee Foundry. You have to keep a sharp eye out for the sandwich board out front beckoning you to pay a visit to this boutique brewer because the facade is only marked with the karaoke bar signage. Alas, a hidden gem serving everything from single origin pour-over joe to microbrew beers.

The space has the appeal of a cool late-night joint with rich blue backlighting and bar seats to perch upon while watching your cup prepared to order. The pour-over method has an entertaining appeal, but is also their preferred method of brewing to enjoy the best flavor coffee beans have to offer. And yes they even roast their own beans in LIC to ensure the freshest bean to brew possible. Using the cleverly named Clever Coffee Dripper, the brewmasters combine the best features of French press and filter drip brewing. With French press brewing, you can control steeping or infusion time, but heat loss and sediment in the cup can be a problem. Whereas, brewing with a paper filter usually loses the control over steeping time as the coffee begins to drain immediately. The Clever contraption adds a stopper to a filtercone, combining control over steeping time with a sediment-free cup. Voila, a delightful cup of hot, rich, caffeinated goodness.

So next time you’re in the mood for a little coffee Journey, hang out with the very fun and knowledgable Coffee Foundry brewers. If you stay there long enough, you can witness the switchover from coffee dripper to bar shaker and move right into your best rendition of Don’t Stop Believing.

Map: 186 West 4th Street

Love Me A Good Cup ‘o Joe:
Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time
Crop to Cup Creating Quality Community Coffee
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants with Kicking Horse Coffee

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Filed under NYC Best, {Drink Me}

NYC Ramen Wars: Ippudo vs. momofuku noodle bar

momofuku noodle bar vs. Ippudo Ramen

All this talk of it being the coldest and snowiest January in NYC history and a mercury-dropping forecast on the horizon, beckons the need for a piping hot bowl of really good ramen. Not the kind you buy for $0.25 and live on as a college kid, but true to Japanese blood ramen. Having already gone to momofuku noodle bar and written about it recently {here}, I went back to another favorite, Ippudo for comparison. Instead of giving you a recap of each drop of broth and the flavors you missed by not being there, I thought I would pit one against the other and see which would come out victorious in 8.ate@eight’s Ramen War.

My evaluation criteria:

  • Wait {inevitable}
  • Music {necessary for the wait}
  • Bar {also necessary for the wait}
  • Atmosphere
  • Service {the Japanese are known for it, afterall}
  • Steamed Buns {who doesn’t love a good set of buns}
  • Ramen {what really matters}
  • Overall Winner

WAIT: 90 minutes @Ippudo vs 30 minutes @momofuku
In all fairness, and an important disclaimer to the entire evaluation, I went to momofuku noodle bar at lunchtime and Ippudo for dinner, so there should be an expected difference in the amount of time.  That said, when both of these places are open they enjoy a constant stream of patrons, so I would expect them to be equally as popular for lunch or for dinner.
Wait Winner: momofuku

BAR: Yes @Ippudo vs No @momofuku
If you’re going to make me wait, you’ve got to give me a place to rest my elbow and quench my thirst. And while bigger isn’t always better, Ippudo’s sake, beer and cocktail menu is more extensive than the more focused selections at momofuku. Plus you can’t really beat the 2:1 happy hour special during the week.
Bar Winner: Ippudo

Ippudo Bar

 

MUSIC: House @Ippudo vs Rock & Hip-Hop @momofuku
I liked the music at both places, so it all depends on your mood. I have to give a slight edge to momofuku for the range of toe-tapping tunes that make you move in your seat {once you finally get there}.
Music Winner: momofuku

ATMOSPHERE: Dark @Ippudo vs Bright @momofuku
Momofuku has a clean, bright space with light, blond wood tables and stools lining the narrow restaurant. It’s simple and all about the food. Whereas Ippudo welcomes you with a cozy, dark bar that does not let on as to how much room actually exists beyond the hostess stand {perhaps adding to the mystery of the wait}. When your number is finally called at Ippudo you are guided to the back and welcomed with the traditional shouting of “irasshaimase” from all of the staff, making you feel a little important and excited about what’s to come. Both places have open kitchens to entice the hungry diner with the bowls of genius Japanese goodness you are about to be served. There are other great pieces of eye-catching art at Ippudo that lend to the tipping of the scales in this face-off.
Atmosphere Winner: Ippudo

SERVICE: Traditional Japanese @Ippudo vs American @momofuku
Having recently been to Japan, I will say one of the most noteworthy elements of my dining memories was the service — attentive, instantaneous and discreet. At Ippudo the service lived up to traditional Japanese expectations – a welcoming shout of “irasshaimase” to start the dining experience off with a feeling that the entire staff has just personally invited you to their table. Water glasses were filled before they were even a quarter empty and often without even noticing it had been done. Plates were cleared the instant the last scrap was devoured. And after a complimentary cup of tea to end the meal, the bill was promptly delivered after our server made sure there was no additional food or drink we wished to order. While the service was not bad at momofuku, it was only as good as you would expect at any American restaurant.
Service Winner: Ippudo

STEAMED BUNS:  Pork @Ippudo vs Shiitake @momofuku
Yeah, yeah, so they shouted something indecipherable at you — who cares? All that really matters here is the steamed buns you stuffed in your mouth and the ramen you slurped with satisfaction. True, and who doesn’t love a good steamed bun? Light, pillowy and slightly sticky, these are the wonder bread of the Japanese sandwich. In Ippudo’s case, a tender and a somewhat sweet and spicy pork treasure, and in momofuku’s case, an earthy and generously portioned stack of sautéed shiitakes with thin slices of Japanese cucumber.  If I could say this was a tie, I would, but that’s a cop-out I’m not willing to take. It might have something to do with how hungry I was after a 90-minute wait, or that all things pork are Godly, but I had a strong urge to double down on my Ippudo pork buns, and would have if my bowl of ramen didn’t come out so quickly — giving Ippudo the edge over my momofuku order.
Steamed Buns Winner: Ippudo

Ippudo Pork Steamed Buns

 

RAMEN: Brothy @Ippudo vs Substantial @momofuku
This, of course, is seemingly the most important of all categories. We are talking about Ramen Wars afterall.
  • At momofuku I ordered the momofuku ramen — pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg.
  • At Ippudo I ordered the Karaka Kogashi Miso Ramen — ‘Ippudo chintan’ based noodle soup, a dark, rich broth made from charred miso with Ippudo special blended hot spice, topped with pork belly chashu, 1/2 boiled egg, cabbage, spinach, naruto. I have also had the more directly comparable Shiromaru Hakata Classic — pork loin chashu, kikurage, menma, 1/2 boiled egg, red pickled ginger, sesame & scallions.

I think by just reading the description, you can image that there is so much ‘yum’ swimming around in each bowl, you will never again enjoy that orange package of instant ramen. The clear deciding factor for me, however, was that momofuku showcased these ingredients, only pouring a small amount of the broth into the bottom of the bowl, whereas Ippudo generously filled the bowl to the brim with soup. My preference was for momofuku’s balance in favor of the delicious pork belly, mushrooms, runny poached egg that are the main attraction to this dish and only complemented by the broth and ramen. But let’s be clear – both bowls were empty by the time I was done.

Ramen Winner: momofuku
 

momofuku ramen w/ eggy goodness

Ippudo Karaka Kogashi Miso Ramen

 

OVERALL WINNER: Ippudo
It’s like never winning a tennis major, but still being ranked number one. I never exactly understood how that happened, but when you evaluate the overall performance in all match-ups large and small, you don’t have to win the ramen crown to come out as my favorite NYC Japanese ramen player. You will very likely come away from both Ippudo or momofuku noodle bar feeling warm and full of Japanese goodness, but you might as well enjoy a 2 for 1 happy happy hour while you wait! I’ve also nominated Ippudo as one of 8.ate@eight’s Favor8 — congratulations!


8.ate@eight Favor8
Seal of Approval

Arigatou. More Things Japanese Kudasai:
NYC Best: Momofuku That Noodle Bar is Good Too!
Behind Bohemian
Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
Sensational Summer Sushi @ Geisha

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Filed under Eat Here!, NYC Best, {Drink Me}

8.ate@eight’s Boozy Robert Burns Bash w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park

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What do you get when you put 30 lassies and laddies in a room with an abundance of top notch Scotch and Tippling masters who know how to shake up a mean cocktail menu? A boozy bash celebrating Robert Burns with uninhibited poetry recitation and a memorable gathering of new friends.

Who is Robert Burns you ask and why are you throwing a party in his honor? In addition to writing many well-known poems, Robert Burns can be thanked for contributing Auld Lang Syne to our annual celebration of the New Year. In his honor, Scots {and non-Scots alike} gather each January for an evening of uproariously informal drinking, noshing and a little poetry recitation to pay tribute to the Scottish Bard.

So many splendid things from the evening to recap, so without further ado…

8.ate@eight + The Tippling Bros. + Highland Park & The Famous Grouse =
A Grand Robert Burns Menu:

The Menus

Scottish Inspired Bites

Inside-Out Scotch Egg
w/ lamb sausage & harissa yolk,
topped with panko gremolata breadcrumbs

Scottish Smoked Salmon
w/ sweet red onion crème fraiche

Chevre Devils
w/ thyme-spiked chevre & spiced pecans

Lamb Sausage Roll
w/ harissa aioli

Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie
Sautéed in Highland Park Single Malt 12 Year Old

Millionaire’s Scottish Shortbread
w/ Maldon salted caramel & semi-sweet chocolate

Food Prepared by: Christina DiLaura


Scottish Inspired Handcrafted Libations

Mother Club Punch
Hendrick’s Gin, blood orange, heather honey,
cranberry and ginger beer

Roberto Roy
Famous Grouse blended scotch whisky, vermouth,
Galliano Autentico, Averna Amaro, orange bitters

Hudson Highland Cup
Highland Park 12 year old malt whisky, NY State apple butter
and maple syrup, lemon juice, sparkling dry cider

Smoke in the Hills
Beefeater dry gin, Islay malt whisky, Yellow Chartreuse,
honey, lemon, smoked salt

Tam O’ Jerry
A Scottish take on the classic Tom and Jerry, made with Highland Park 12 yr., Drambuie liqueur, fresh organic eggs & exotic spices

Cocktails Prepared by: The Tippling Bros.
Sponsored by: Highland Park and The Famous Grouse

Behind the Food and Drink

The Famous Grouse and Highland Park Contribute to A Great Robert Burns Night

Departing from both a traditional haggis-centric Robert Burns menu and my typical 8.ate@eight four-course dinner, I wanted to create a bite-sized menu inspired by a range of Scottish flavors that would be easy to enjoy while moving about the room with cocktails in hand. One very obliging guest with an authentic Scottish accent blessed the bites, reading the traditional Selkirk Grace.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.

Scottish Smoked Salmon w/ Sweet Red Onion Creme Fraiche

Inside Out Harissa and Lamb Scotch Eggs

 

As guests arrived, The Tippling Bros. packed a mean punch that quickly warmed the crowd, fresh from the wintry 15º wind chill. And they continued to pour one outstanding whisky cocktail after the next, heralding a new appreciation for an otherwise standalone spirit, each with unexpected flavor combinations that went down like water. Whisky, after all, means water of life. As each new drink was distributed, this dynamic duo provided an explanation as to what inspired the creative concoction, while also sharing some useful Tippling trivia.

  • Did you know Burns wrote a song about barley? An ingredient so important to Whisky making {and the Scots}, it warranted personification as the character John Barleycorn.
  • ‘Blended’ Scotch Whisky – is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery from a combination of malted barley and other cereals.
  • Single’ Malt Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery entirely from malted barley.

Tippling Bros. Making the Mother Club Punch

One Beautiful Block of Ice

Smoke in the Hills

Derek, our consummate venue host and true Scotsman, also regaled us with some previously unknown facts about Burns. Good ‘ole Rabbie apparently was a man about town, fathering twelve children by four different women, seven of which were illegitimate. That aside, his literary contributions were also abundant, warranting this day of national celebration and his depiction on the £5 banknote. Well I’ll drink to that!

Derek Shares His Robert Burns Knowledge

Tippling Bros. Trivia

After consuming this useful trivia and half the Tippling menu, we had arrived at the pinnacle of our Robert Burns night agenda: make guests read indecipherable Scottish poetry in their best Scottish accent. The prize for the best channeling of Robert Burns was a highly sought after bottle of Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky, aged 18 years and a roaring round of applause. It’s amazing how the competitive spirit will inspire sensational Scottish brogue. With everyone in good spirits {literally}, the collective participation in reciting verses from Tam O’Shanter, To a Louse, and two non-Burns toasts To the Lassies and Reply from the Lassies, ended the evening with much laughter and also a very passionate rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

 

Easier to Watch

Poetry Recitation Begins! {4 Cocktails In}

Colette Made An Impressive Run for the Highland Park Prize

Nervous Poetry Readers -- Get Them Another Drink!

In an effort to warm my guests before they headed back out into the dark and cold night, we opened up more Highland Park Single Malt 12-Year and 18-year, as well as the blended Famous Grouse for sampling neat. After enjoying several standout cocktails, it was also a treat to taste the complexity that exists even in a single pour of Scotch. The 12-year exhibiting a more gentle, lighter sip to the smokier, almost caramel-like 18-year. Not a bad way to end a full-on Scottish evening. To top it all off, the winners of the best poetry recitation and most impressive tartan garb also took home a bottle of Scotch to share the spirit of Robert Burns with friends.

 

Aaron Was Determined to Win the Highland Park 18 Year {and did!}

More Party Gifts -- Menus, Recipes and Stickers!

 

Tapadh Leibh {thank you}!

Thanks, as always, to my guests for participating in the 8.ate@eight evening {some traveling from as far as Chicago!} Thanks to Sarah and Derek for letting me takeover your apartment for two days and for all your help in seamlessly orchestrating a memorable Robert Burns night. To the Tippling Bros. teamTad, Paul, Gianfranco and Amanda for contributing the necessary liquid courage to a room of 30 people asked to recite poetry {!} – with your artful handcrafted cocktails and mixology genius, I’m certain we made Robert Burns proud. To Highland Park and The Famous Grouse, for so generously supplying that liquid courage and introducing a fine range of Scotch to the 8.ate@eight crowd. And to Kristin and Karen for capturing the whole evening on camera.

Full Album of Photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=42802&id=128649143836083&saved

Stay tuned for news of the next 8.ate@eight event. If you aren’t on the invite list, email me at 8ateATeight@gmail.com to be added. Hope to see you at the table!

Recap of past 8.ate@eight dinners:
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic

 

Wild Mushroom Shepherd's Pie w/ Highland Park 12-Year Old

Recipe Goodness ::

 

Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Highland Park 12-Year
Serves 8 | Cook Time: 45-60 Minutes | Preheat Oven 400º

Mashed potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

Mushroom filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms
1/2 pound white button mushrooms
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup Highland Park 12-Year Scotch
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
45 mini phyllo pastry cups

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.
  3. Move oven rack to top position and preheat the oven to 400º F.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
  5. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook until browned and tender.
  6. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, Scotch, vegetable broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine.
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  8. Add the peas to the mushroom mixture and remove from heat.
  9. Line up phyllo cups on a baking sheet and fill using a teaspoon with mushroom mixture.  Top with the mashed potatoes, using a pastry bag and large tip or a plastic baggie with the corner cut off.
  10. Place on the top rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown.

Final Thoughts:

The horse and cow live thirty years,
And nothing know of wines and beers,
The goat and sheep at twenty die,
And never taste of Scotch or Rye,
The sow drinks water by the ton,
And at eighteen is nearly done,
The dog at fifteen cashes in,
Without the aid of rum or gin,
The cat in milk and water soaks,
And then at twelve short years it croaks,
The modest, sober bone dry hen,
Lays eggs for years then dies at ten.
All animals are strictly dry;
They sinless live and quickly die.
But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men
Survive for three score years and ten;
And some of us, the mighty few,
Stay pickled till we’re ninety-two!

 

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Filed under 8.ate@eight, @home {recipes to love}, Do This!, Eat Here!, NYC Best, {Drink Me}

Water of Life Whisky Wednesday With The Macallan

The Macallan Whisky Wednesday

Admittedly I’m not much of a Scotch drinker. I have previously thought of it as the kind of thing that puts hair on your chest — and well, as a woman that’s not so attractive. But on Wednesday night I went to The Macallan Single Malt Scotch tasting and may have discovered a new love.

The evening opened with a welcome reception, some passed appetizers and The Macallan Fine Oak 10 Year Old, the lightest and easiest to drink of the line-up. If you’re new to the Scotch drinking world and want to ease your way in, this is the perfect starting point — it’s extremely smooth and delicate and makes for a simple sipping companion.

The Macallan 10 Year Old Fine Oak Scotch

As our glasses were drained, we headed to a seated set-up for a schooling on Scotch tasting and Scotland 101. With The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Year Old pour in hand, a lovely smooth selection with a hint vanilla that Macallan is known for, we learned that this mahogany hued Scotch is exclusively aged in Sherry-seasoned Spanish oak casks for a minimum of 12 years.

We also learned what makes a Scotch Whisky and the difference between “blended” and “single” malts — interesting trivia facts to keep in the back pocket:

  • ‘Scotch Whisky’– In order to be classed as a ‘Scotch’ Whisky, the spirit, must have been matured in an oak cask in Scotland for a minimum of three years. It must also be bottled at a minimum strength of 40% alcohol.
  • ‘Blended’ Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery from a combination of malted barley and other cereals.
  • Blended ‘Malt’ Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery entirely from malted barley.
  • Single’ Malt Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery entirely from malted barley.
  • You will also notice that Irish and American Whiskeys have an “e”, whereas Scotch Whisky does not.
  • Whisky or Whiskey means “water of life” — of course it does!

If only every class we took involved note taking and spirits, we might all be better students. After The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year Old Scotch arrived we started to enter the zone of more viscous and impactful flavors. 60-70% of the flavor in a Whisky comes from the wood, so it’s not surprising to learn The Macallan spends $20M each year to create their casks, which amounts to ~$1,400 per cask. Now here’s an interesting fact — the 70+ other distilleries only spend $10-15M collectively and the bourbon industry only spends an average of $200 per barrel.

Given those kind of numbers, it’s not surprising to also learn that The Macallan’s premium quality spirits just broke a record, selling a rare 64 year old whisky at auction for $460,000 {read more HERE}. The good news is, all proceeds go to charity: water, an organization that provides access to clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. And so “the water of life” comes full circle.

Kick off 2011 in Good Spirits…

And so I am a convert. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the tastings and could see how all that investment in the casks pays off in the bottle. I’ve been inspired so much by our Scottish friends, that I may just have some news to share about an upcoming winter 8.ate@eight event. I won’t reveal anymore now, but it will be an event not to be missed and will kick off 2011 in good spirits. Stay tuned…

More Good 8.ate@eight Drinking :
Getting Tipsy with the Tippling Bros. @NYCWFF Mixology 101
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
8.ate@eight #3: Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
NY Craft Beer Week, Get Your Goggles On

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Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time

Blue Bottle Coffee Brooklyn

It was several months ago during a trip to San Fran that I found myself at the Ferry Building on a brisk Saturday morning. With sleep in my eyes and jet lag fogging my weary head, I decided a steaming cup of coffee was in order. And so I stood. In a 30 minute line. For coffee. This is not something I would normally do, but the craving had settled in and my interest was piqued as I noticed many others patiently and happily waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for a single cup of freshly ground, individually dripped, piping hot and made to order Blue Bottle Coffee. Was it worth the wait? Was an individually dripped cup of java really that good? Of course it was. So imagine my delight when I learned Blue Bottle was bestowing it’s bean to brew love on Brooklyn.

Blue Bottle Coffee One Cup at a Time

The brilliance of this brew rests in the fact that the beans are roasted onsite, allowing for the absolute freshest possible cup to be prepared specially — for you and only you. Once ground, the beans are placed in a paper filter that is nestled in a ceramic drip cup, and which magically come to life as prime temperature water is poured from the spout of a swan neck kettle. Drip. Drip. Drip. Wait. Wait. Wait. And so is born your beautifully crafted cup of Blue Bottle joe.

“I will only sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster to my customers, so they may enjoy coffee at its peak of flavor. I will only use the finest organic, and pesticide-free, shade-grown beans.”
– Blue Bottle Coffee Founder Vow

Blue Bottle Roasting

It is no small thing to walk into a minimally marked building, down a minimally trafficked street, on an off hour of a weekday, to find a concentrated crowd of eager Brooklyn Blue Bottlers. The intense perfume of fresh beans, the hum of the roasters, the casual conversation of a loyal caffeine crowd, all welcomes you with open arms as soon as you enter the garage door fronted store. This isn’t your typical coffee stop that lures you in with free wifi and tables at which to pitch your tent for hours. No, Blue Bottle offers a standup bar to encourage socializing while you tip the mug, and a great view of what it means to create small production coffee in the freshest way possible. The only thing wrong with it? It’s 30 minutes from my apartment.

Brooklyn Blue Bottlers

Map: 160 Berry Street, Brooklyn

Warm Me Up:
Crop to Cup Creating Quality Community Coffee
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants with Kicking Horse Coffee
Do This!: Eataly is Big Box Batali

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Filed under NYC Best, SF Best, {Drink Me}

The Art of Brunching Well @ L’Artusi

L'Artusi Bloody Mary

It was not long ago that I was raving about my dinner at L’Artusi, the attractive, open-kitchen Italian spot tucked down one of those non-perpendicular West Village streets.  So when they asked me to come preview their newly created Brunch menu before the public unveiling this Sunday {October 17}, I couldn’t help but spread the love again. I am an encourager of exemplary eating establishments. When I have a great meal, I want you to know about it. I want you to go. Tomorrow! So pick up the phone, make a reservation {212.255.5757} and then keep reading.

Every good brunch deserves a bloody mary. And every good bloody mary deserves some “hmpf”. What I mean by that is I want spice and all sorts of goodies in my Sunday cocktail — I want veggies, I want olives, I want lots of little bits floating around giving me that liquid-salad-with-a-kick kind of feeling. Because frankly, if I’m drinking on a Sunday morning {thank you Tippling Bros.}, I need to feel like I’m getting some sort of nutritional benefit. L’Artusi’s Mary does just that — and with a cherry, err, pancetta cube on top.

Graciously our very helpful server also suggested we start with the bread basket. This isn’t just any roll and butter basket. This is a collection of seasonal, bready goodness — a cranberry muffin, cherry scone and some dark, nutty bread that I couldn’t get enough of. All served with a side of whipped, soft, creamy butter and a lovely plum jam.

L'Artusi Bread Basket

My favorite of the two mains we ordered was the Eggs Florentine. We already know my obsession with eggs,and that I assert high expectations for any egg dish that I order at a restaurant. And this exceeded them ten-fold. Served on crispy polenta {clever Italian substitute to the ‘ole english muffin} with lovely, bright green spinach and a perfectly poached egg that oozed creamy, golden goodness, the florentine was then lovingly topped with a tomato-hollandaise, again adding a unique flavor profile and twist to the classic preparation.

L'Artusi Eggs Florentine

We were also treated to an unexpected dish that has my vote for best contender on the menu. The Polenta Amatriciana is probably best shared between two people because of its richness. A bowl of polenta {that I’m sure has no shortage of butter in it} is topped with the same amatriciana sauce that graces their bucatini on the dinner menu. This stuff is amazing — a combination of tomato, pancetta and red chilis, it is smoky and slightly spicy. What else would you want on top of a bowl of creamy polenta? An egg? Yes, I thought so — a perfect poach floats on top of this bed of delight, just waiting to be broken open so all the eggy yumminess can swim around with all the other flavors. And to really round this out, the entire dish is finished with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

L'Artusi Polenta Amatriciana

How about the sides? You can’t go wrong with the pancetta bacon or the super crispy rosemary potatoes. I agree with the person verbally singing the praises of that pancetta bacon and if you need a little crispy, salty potato to soak up your Saturday night, well then you’ve found them!

“This the the best bacon I’ve ever eaten in my life” — overheard @ L’Artusi

The Skim: And that, my friends, was a brunch worth sharing. I expect L’Artusi’s sunday brunch will be just as popular as their dinner is, but even if you can’t manage to get a reservation, you are always welcome to walk in and eat on the really comfy stools at the bar or start with one of their creative morning cocktails or fresh juices while you wait.

Map228 west 10th {btw Hudson & Bleecker}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-255-5757


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I ♥ Eggs Too:
The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
A Better Brooklyn Breakfast @ Dizzy’s Finer Diner
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare
Weekend Brunch: Eat Eggs @ Edward’s
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table

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Brooklyn Fare Fares Well, Earning 2 Michelin Stars

A year ago I went to Brooklyn Fare with 7 other close friends to dig into an evening of fine dining and free flowing wine, while seated at a superbly intimate and unique, but casual, chef’s table in the kitchen of Brooklyn Grocery. So I am extremely excited to hear and spread the word that the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare Grocery was just awarded 2 Michelin stars — one of only 10 restaurants in New York and the only restaurant in Brooklyn.

Michelin Guide director Jean-Luc Naret said the eatery was one of the best 300 restaurants in the world.

In honor of their honor, I thought I would recap the memorable meal. A picture is worth 1,000 words with this post! For a fixed price {wine is BYO}, we watched our meal being prepared table side, chatted with chef, Cesar Ramirez, and left happy, satiated foodies. Reliving this meal through photos makes me want to go back tomorrow! As you can see, what was supposed to be a 5-course tasting menu, actually turned into 13 — hence why we had to call the local wine store to restock our supply {come prepared}!
The evening started out with a shot of Lemon Verbena Foam

Starting out with a shot of Lemon Verbena Foam


And A Bite Sized Parmesan Macaroon

Followed by a fried ball of liquid foie gras. WHAT! Amazing liquid gold in a bite.

And then Crispy Crab Balls {not pictured}, leading to Fresh Oysters w/ Sea Water Gelatin Film

Fresh Oysters w/ Sea Water Film


On to more foamy goodness — Parmesan Foam, Shaved Lemon Zest and a generous heap of Truffles

Parmesan Foam, Shaved Lemon Zest and Truffles



And a lighter Hamachi Crudo w/ Soy and Lime

Hamachi w/ Soy and Lime


Finished Product


The beginnings of Crab and avocado wrapped in bibb lettuce, topped with button mushrooms and shaved porcini — An amazingly rich, but light; fresh, but earthy contrast of flavors.

Laying the Avocado Foundation


And then the Crab Roll


Crab and avocado wrapped in bibb lettuce, topped with button mushrooms and shaved porcini


Our taste buds were doing jumping jacks, but this was nothing compared to the next dish: Egg, truffle foam and fried italian black rice. You can only imagine how well this combination of both consistencies and flavors played together. I quickly started to lose track of which course we were on or if these dishes were even on the listed menu — it was one tantalizing bite after another. With a lot of wine to wash it down!

Egg, truffle foam and fried italian black rice. A-mazing.


And just when the rich flavors start to make your head spin in glee, Chef Ramirez lightens things back up with a Fish stew with lobster, frog legs, octopus, cod cheeks, topped with lobster foam.

Fish stew with lobster, frog legs, octopus, cod cheeks, topped with lobster foam


And a most interesting John Dory with Veal Jus – redefining surf & turf?

John Dory with Veal Jus


And to finish off the savory menu, a highly seasonal and highly delightful, Milk fed pork, baby leeks, shaved apple stack topped with melted powdered caramel.

Milk fed pork, baby leeks, shaved apple stack topped with melted powdered caramel.


Of course, the evening also ended with something sweet, colorful and fantastically fun to eat. Poached plum, topped with ricotta, 26-year aged balsamic, muscato gelee and plum marshmallows.

Poached plum, topped with ricotta, 26-year aged balsamic, muscato gelee and plum marshmallows.


I could not begin to describe the complexity and brilliance of this meal with words, so hopefully the photos are enough to make your mouth sing. I’m guessing the wait list is longer than a line at Whole Foods on a Saturday afternoon, so get your friends, set a date many months from now and get involved. When you make your reservation be sure to ask for the recommended local wine store that will help pair wines with the meal the day prior {just plan for more courses than revealed and don’t be shy about sharing with Chef Ramirez and his team}.

Map200 Schermerhorn
Reservations: Required!
Contact: Heidi at 718-243-0050 or email kitchen@brooklynfare.com

More Brooklyn Fare:
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
NYC Best: Source Your Spices and Specialty Foods @ Sahadi’s
Crop to Cup Creating Quality Community Coffee

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Aria Sings a Harmonious West Village Wine Bar

Chef-owner Roberto Passon {of Bocca di Bacco} opened his own venture Aria in the past few months, featuring small plates {cicchetti} and small glasses {ombre} of Italian food and fruits of the vine. Like most wine bars, it’s small, dimly lit, with exposed brick and a chalkboard menu — and lacks a full kitchen. But just because they’ve constructed a quaint atmosphere, doesn’t mean they haven’t figured out how to send out lip smacking food that you’re reluctant to share.

Aria Grilled Lamb Chops

We started with the burrata {just say the word and I’ll order it}, but followed that with the best plate of the evening — two grilled lamp chops in a balsamic vinegar sauce. They were just the right amount of salty with each sweet, juicy, herby bite. I found myself wanting more than the one I was alloted {my half of the plate} but our over-excited bartender-waiter insisted we order the gorgonzola stuffed dates. This is the type of thing that you know is probably not good for the waistline, but you enjoy every bite — dates, stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in prosciutto before being cooked to a crisp outer layer. It’s a rich morsel of chewy goodness. Four was too many though, so these we did happily share with our new bar stool friends perched to our left.

Aria Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates

The Skim: You don’t have to go for the food to enjoy Aria though. With a generous amount of bar space given the size of the bar {seats wrap around to the bar tending side}, it’s easy to order a few ombres of wine or house cocktails, quickly make friends with the bartender {who is all too eager to pour you a shot of Italian liquor} and have a harmonic evening. It makes for a great date destination, place to grab some vino with friends or perhaps make some new ones.

Map: 117 Perry {Btw Greenwich & Hudson}
Reservations: Not Taken
Phone: 212.242.4233

Fill Me Up:
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo
Wintry Wine & Whiskey Warm-Up @ Vintry

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Reliably Good American Bar and Bites @ Rye House

RYEHOUSE: 11 West 17th Street

Sometimes you just want a good reliable NYC bar and restaurant — a place you can grab lunch mid-week, a cold beer after work with friends or a handcrafted cocktail on a saturday night with intriguing ingredients such as orange blossom water, egg white and small production rye. It’s hard to find all those things in one destination, but Rye House has succeeded in creating a reliable bar and restaurant menu with reverence for traditional American spirits and cuisine.

I met my friend for lunch on a cold rainy day and shook off the chill with a soup and sandwich combo. It pleasantly reminded me of something I may have been able to order if I sauntered in off the cobblestone street of New York City circa 1850. The Spring Onion Potato Soup with a sourdough crouton and provolone was served in a sturdy handled bowl and was just the hearty starter I needed.

RyeHouse Spring Onion Soup

The “Pittsburgh” sandwich was the perfect pairing to go with the simple flavors of the onion soup and had its own warming qualities with a unique combo of grilled andouille sausage, provolone, house slaw, fries all stacked together and served on a wooden plank. The spice of the sausage was nicely mellowed out by the crisp slaw, and while the fries weren’t exactly necessary on the sandwich, they added a different sort of salty, crispy bite that made this a lunch to remember {lunch menu HERE}.

RyeHouse Pittsburgh

The Skim: With a long welcoming bar placed near the front and high tables along the wall, the casual atmosphere of Rye House invites you to stop in for whatever you’re in the mood for — a good craft draft, a creative cocktail or memorable, but simple American cuisine. Rye House also holds weekly beer tastings featuring a changing selection of craft brews, so this may just be the perfect place to discover some of the names appearing at NY Craft Beer week.

Map: 11 West 17th Street {Btw 5th & 6th Ave.}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212.255.7260

Pour Some More Por Favor:
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
Not so Standard Biergarten
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole

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NY Craft Beer Week, Get Your Goggles On

NY Craft Beer Week is an annual celebration of New York City and its craft beer community. The week’s events range from neighborhood beer walks and bar promotions to tasting festivals, food pairings and beer dinners. So when I was invited to the NYC Brewer’s Choice event at City Winery this week, I grabbed my drinking stein and shoes and headed downtown for what was sure to be a hop-ping good time. City Winery rolled out the wine barrels and rolled in the kegs to throw the best beer bash I have ever been to {even if you count college}. The space was packed with beer aficionados and regular eager amber samplers like myself, who had about 20 breweries to sip suds from and several artisan food purveyors generously pairing our brew with some tasty bites.

Patience and a penchant for tipping back a glass swiftly is what it took to power through the crowds and extensive selection in order to cover the spread thoroughly. There were definitely some highlights and unique brews worth making note of and keeping on your short list for the next time you visit the local pub.

Crafting Crowd

Empire Brewing Company: Roasted Pumpkin Ale (Syracuse, NY)
Made with over 100 lbs of fresh roasted pumpkins from Critz’s Farm in Cazenovia, NY. The pumpkins are added to the mash and then the beer is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and clove. Deep amber in color, this autumn ale is the perfect cross between a cream soda and a pumpkin pie. It is a DE-LIC-OUS draft!

Ballast Point: Navigator Dopplebock (San Diego, CA)
Brandy barrel-aged, this brew was deep brown with a thick foamy head and strong chocolate and coffee flavors. It was easy to drink and the brandy added a complexity that paired very nicely with the 70% Mast Brothers dark chocolate they were serving.

Ommegang: Cup o Kyndness (Cooperstown, NY)
Appropriately named after a line from Scottish poet, Robert Burns’, poem Auld Lang Syne, this Belgian-Scotch style ale was a wee bit smokey and reminiscent of, well, a glass of scotch. One of the more unique pours of the evening, I would highly suggest this on a cold, rainy evening or when you’re looking for something a little different to warm the soul.

Stillwater Cellar Door (Baltimore, MD)
A light golden color, Cellar Door, exhibited hints of tangerine and sage, two delightfully refreshing flavors that made this brew a selection I could sip on a stellar summer day or as a perfect pairing with some salty cheeses or seafood.

Turns out I’m actually bad about taking pictures of drinks, so you’ll have to settle for snapshots of some of the highlights from the food pairings.

Betty Brooklyn, a brooklyn based private chef and caterer, whipped up some amazing deviled eggs with pancetta topping off the delicacy. The yolk was incorporated with some of the rendered pancetta fat homemade mayonnaise and dijon to create a salty, creamy, smoky pillow of flavor in one bite.

Betty Brooklyn: Deviled Eggs

Mama O’s Premium Kimchi was cookin’ up some crazy good kimchi chili and kimchi salsa. That makes so much sense — hot peppery, gingery, pickled Korean flavor goodness meets American classics — why hasn’t anyone done that before!

Mama O's: Kimchi Chili and Salsa

Orwasher’s Bakery crafted some creative crusty breads using Six Point Ale, combining old world technique with new world flavors to create a super soft center surrounded by a crust that echos when you tap it…just how good artisan bread should be!

Orwasher's Artisan Rustic Beer Breads

Clearly a evening to remember — if I can after all that beer. So next time you visit your local Cheer’s, ask if they carry any of these craft drafts and give these suds a sip or two to suit your mood.

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TRAVEL@8: New on 8.ate@eight

Hungry for more inspiration from 8.ate@eight?

TRAVEL@8:
Some of the best food experiences and discoveries can be found when away from home. I know when I travel, the first thing I do is ask friends who have been to the same destination for recommendations of favorite local eateries. Now you can easily access 8.ate@eight’s favorite Travel Bites from the new tab at the top called TRAVEL@8. I hope this page inspires you to try new things, wherever your passport takes you. Eat up!

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The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi

La Scienza in Cucina e L’Arte di Mangiar Bene (The Science of cookery and the Art of Eating Well) is an iconic cookbook found in nearly every Italian household and is also known by the shorter name of its author, L’Artusi. I don’t know if it’s more fitting to say the NYC restaurant L’Artusi lives up to that iconic name or to say they are creating their own modern version of the Art of Eating Well through the complex, yet traditional Italian flavors that grace each plate. Either way, it was my selected destination of choice to celebrate Puglia Wine Week, and yes, we ate and drank very very well.

L’Artusi, the sister restaurant of dell’anima, partnered with Apulian wine producer Agricole Vallone to feature several of the best wines from this region and complement each pour with dishes inspired by Apulian cuisine. Agricole Vallone produces wines from three different estates located in Brindisi and Salentino, both found in the most southern region of Puglia known as Salento {the stiletto tip of the boot for those of you less familiar with Italian geography}. The region is known for its breathtaking views of the Adriatic and producing the Negroamaro grape using a traditional Pugliese tree technique. Sounds like a place I need to visit, but for now I’ll settle for an enjoyable evening of local pairings while sporting my own heels.

L'Artusi

To start, we ordered the housemade ricotta with sea salt and lemon, served with a side of raisin-mustard seed marmalade jam and homemade buttermilk crackers, as well as the scallop crudo, sliced thinly and served simply with lemon and olive oil. Our server paired this with the Vigna Flaminio Brindisi Rosato doc 2009. The creaminess of the ricotta and surprisingly light buttermilk crackers were outstanding on their own, but also worked perfectly with the deep pink rosé that exhibited sweet floral and cherry aromas.

L'Artusi Housemade Fresh Ricotta with Sea Salt, Lemon and Homemade Buttermilk Crackers

One of the reasons I love L’Artusi {and dell’anima} so much is because of their small plate, sharing approach to the menu. It’s a great way to sample new flavors and also solves the menu indecision problem that I’m often faced with {just bring a few friends and start ordering!}. The next two plates that followed were unanimously agreed around the table to be two of the best dishes of the evening. The beef carpacio with horseradish crema and rye crisps was so simple, but the crunchiness of the crispy bits and the mustardy kick of the horseradish added a unique depth. The roasted mushrooms with pancetta, fried egg and ricotta salata was my personal favorite — it was sharp, creamy and earthy and had a subtle kick from the pickled chili that was an unexpected, but welcomed surprise. Both dishes went extremely well with the Vereto Salice Salentino Riserva Rosso doc 2006, a 90% Negroamaro red with hints of pepper and chocolate.

L'Artusi Beef Carpacio with Horseradish Crema and Rye Crisps

L'Artusi Roasted Mushrooms with Pancetta, Fried Egg and Ricotta Salata

To finish off the evening we ordered two pasta dishes, but the highlight was an off-the-menu item that arrived from the kitchen and was an incredible celebration of the fall season. Butternut squash ravioli — not an uncommon menu item, but add marscapone cheese, a brown butter sauce and fresh grated parmesan and you have a perfect little package of flavors that would make any taste bud happy.

L'Artusi Special Butternut Squash with Marscapone and Ricotta

“I want to sleep in a pillow of whatever is in that ravioli”
— overheard @ L’Artusi

To pair, we closed out the meal with two reds tasted side-by-side, the Vigna Flaminio Brindisi Riserva doc 2006 and the Graticciaia Salento Rosso igt 2005. Both ruby red in color, the Graticciaia was made in an amarone-style, with 30% dry grapes and 70% fresh, which resulted in a dryer finish but opened up nicely over time and held up to the heavier pasta plates.

Agricole Vallone Wines

Table with a View - L'Artusi's Open Kitchen

The Skim: Uno) Eat at L’Artusi. With a menu featuring an artful list of crudo, veggie, pasta, fish, meat, cheeses and desserts, you won’t have a hard time eating well or creating a satisfying shared table evening. Due) Drink Apulian vino. Next time you’re looking through a wine list and perplexed by the plentiful picks, opt for a Negroamaro, Bombino Biano or Primitivo, three varietals common of the region. And for those of you who care, Puglia is the second largest producer {after Sicily} or organic wines, an indication of the important role agriculture plays in this unique Italian region. Buon Appetito and Salute!

Map: 228 west 10th {btw Hudson & Bleecker}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-255-5757


8.ate@eight Favor8
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Mangia, Mangia!

The Art of Brunching Well @ L’Artusi
Travel Bite: Puglia on a Plate
Do This!: First Ever Puglia Wine Week
Bistro Don Giovanni: Napa-Sourced & Italian-Inspired
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo

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Do This!: First Ever Puglia Wine Week

Don’t let the rain keep you inside, there is so much to DO! this week. In addition to being EAT, DRINK LOCAL Week, it’s The First Ever Puglia Wine Week! You don’t have to live in NY to get excited either — the Puglia Wine restaurant roadshow is taking place in NY, L.A., San Francisco, Houston and Chicago! Find your favorite participating Italian restaurant, make a reservation and start swirling and twirling! My brother and his wife just returned from their honeymoon in Puglia and after seeing video of homemade burrata and pasta from the trip, I got very excited when I learned about a week of opportunity to explore more about this lesser known, but amazingly delicious region in Italy.

All food and wine lovers that will dine in these restaurants will have the chance to start their meals with delicious regional specialties, try wines from one of the best wineries of the region, and personally meet the producer in a casual, relaxed environment. Each sommelier of the participating restaurant will guide and educate the customers about the winery and each chef will create special recipes inspired by Apulian cuisine to exalt the wines and celebrate the occasion. During the course of the three days, restaurants will continue to propose diners pair their recipes with glass of wine from the host winery.

Find a participating restaurant HERE and get involved! Reservations can be made directly with the restaurant of choice.

Can’t make dinner? Try some tastings at participating wine stores HERE.

Discover More of Italy!:
Bistro Don Giovanni: Napa-Sourced & Italian-Inspired
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo

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