#SCBDRecipe: #Easter Recipes

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Easter is the Sunday, April 20th. Whether you’re hosting your family for an Easter feast or heading to a friend’s house for dinner, these simple recipes are sure to be a delicious crowd pleaser!

Kings Food Markets, a gourmet food market located in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, is the one-stop destination for all of your holiday needs. Here is a sampling of their unique Easter products to keep your holidays fresh and delicious.
Give the traditional chocolate bunny a facelift this Easter with these tasty treats!

  • Chocolate Covered Rice Crispy Treats: What’s better than these crispy-yet-gooey bars? Dipping them in chocolate! Kids and adults alike will love them. Be sure to try Kings’ Long Grove Easter Playful Pals.
  • Ice Cream Bars: Warm weather (which we hope is on the horizon!) calls for a cool treat, and the song rings true – we all scream for ice cream! No matter your age, ice cream bars are a favorite among all. Check out Kings’ favorite: Long Grove Ice Cream Bars.
  • Organic Gummy Bears: Switch up the jelly beans to gummy bears this year with Kings’ Yummy Earth Organic Gummy Bears Easter. With real fruit extracts and no gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, or artificial colors/dyes, you can rest easy that these treats are good beyond their taste.

Easter foods can be delicious but typically aren’t the most healthy. While most people tend to save their cheat days for holidays and throw calorie counts out the window, there are still delicious ways to indulge without the guilt this Easter. Natural food Chef Jesa Henneberry specializes in preparing nutritious meals for people who are trying to lose weight or for those who have food allergies. After graduating from the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, Henneberry has made savory Vegan and Paleo dishes for celebrity clients that you can now recreate at home!


Jerk Chicken with Mango 2

Grilled Jerk Chicken Thighs with Mango Chutney

Jerk chicken ingredients:

  • 1/3 C sliced scallions
  • ½ small red onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1T coconut sugar
  • 2T lime juice
  • 2T extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1T habanero mustard
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper seeded
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1½ lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

Mango chutney ingredients:

  • ½T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion medium dice
  • 1 T minced fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 cups diced mango
  • 1 red bell pepper medium dice
  • ¼ cup coconut or apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

  • Combine scallions, red onion, garlic, sugar, lime juice, olive oil, allspice, dried thyme leaves, mustard, jalapeno pepper and salt in a food processor; process until smooth.
  • Pour onion mixture over chicken into a medium bowl, toss to coat and allow to marinade for 30 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from marinade, season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a grill pan on high heat. Grill chicken for 5 minutes on each side or until done, allowing nice grill marks to appear.
  • Heat ½T olive oil in a small saucepan on medium heat. Sauté onions, ginger, jalapeno pepper, garlic and salt until onion is becoming translucent. Add diced mango and bell pepper; continue to sauté until mango starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour vinegar into pan and continue cooking until mango is fork tender and most of the vinegar has cooked off. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  • Spoon mango chutney over grilled chicken thighs to enjoy!

Caviar and Yogurt Topped Cucumber Slices

Caviar and Yogurt Topped Cucumber Slices:

Caviar is one of the most festive and elegant party foods. It is considered the “food of kings,” not just because it is such a delicious indulgence, it is also incredibly healthy. Usually served on miniature pancakes potatoes or crackers with sour cream, we are it up with a low carb cucumber base and a small dollop of Greek yogurt. Just as divine!

Serves: about 15
Serving size: 3 slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup plain full fat Greek yogurt, strained through a coffee filter overnight.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 English cucumbers, sliced on the bias ¼” thick
  • 1, 2 oz jar of caviar (I used whitefish caviar)
  • 1, ¾ oz box of chives, cut into ½” lengths

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl, fold the yogurt with paprika, cumin and salt until well mixed.
  • Using a teaspoon or small scooper, place a dollop of yogurt mixture on the center of each cucumber slice. Top the dollop of yogurt with ¼ tsp caviar. Top each with 2 pieces of chive in a diagonal “x” fashion.
  • Arrange on a platter to serve. Enjoy!

Porcini Risotto

 

Who needs marshmallows and jelly beans when you can celebrate Easter Sunday (and the day after, which is another holiday in Italy known as Pasquetta, meaning “Little Easter”) on a feast filled with springtime Italian cuisine?!

2014 New York Emmy Award Nominee Vic Rallo is the host of the PBS show, Eat!Drink!Italy! with Vic Rallo. Vic is also the author of 21 Wines, owner of Rallo Wines, and owner of two Jersey Shore restaurants—Basil T’s Brewery and Italian Grill in Red Bank and Undici Taverna Rustica in Rumson. Below are two of Vic’s modern recipes for classic Italian dishes.

Porcini Risotto

  • 1 pound of aborio rice
  • 4 cloves of peeled garlic (crushed)
  • ½ cup fine chopped onion
  • ½ pound fresh porcini (cut into quarters length wise)
  • 7 ounces extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound fresh ripe grape tomato
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • ½ ounce dried porcini mushroom
  • 40 ounces water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

As you make the risotto you will continually need liquid to add to the risotto. On the back of the stove in a pot that will hold 6 quarts of water, heat the pot until the water is simmering. In that water put ½ ounce of dried porcini and sea salt to taste. The water should taste seasoned. This will flavor the water so your risotto is not bland and flavorless. In a large fondo (a pan six inches high and approximately twenty inches round) add 4 ounces of olive oil at medium heat, when heated add the finely chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Now add the rice to the fondo, the idea is to lightly toast the rice before adding the liquid. Using a wood spoon stir the rice until so it does not stick, until it starts to toast and turn light brown approximately 4-5 minutes. Use the spoon to push the rice against the sides of the fondo as stirring. This process allows the rice to release more starch during cooking. Once the rice is lightly toasted using a 6-ounce ladle begin to ladle the hot liquid from the pot on the back of the stove into the rice one ladle at a time. Remember to keep stirring the rice as it prevents the rice from sticking to the pan but it also helps the rice release its starch, which is vital to the creaminess of risotto. As each ladle of liquid is absorbed by the rice, it is gaining flavor and texture, as each ladle of liquid is absorbed add another ladle to the rice. Making great risotto is tedious but worth it in the end! Keep stirring the risotto with the wood spoon and adding liquid until the rice becomes very creamy and tender, but the center of each rice grain should still be firm, al dente. This entire process should take approximately twenty minutes and use eight to ten ladles of water. Place in serving bowls immediately.

Porcini Mushrooms:

In a fourteen inch sauté pan put three ounces of olive oil and heat at medium heat. As oil starts to get hot add the crushed garlic to the sauté pan.  Continue to sauté the garlic until the garlic starts to brown.  At this point add the porcini mushrooms, tomatoes, parsley and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cook for five to seven minutes until tomatoes start to split open, place a spoonful of the porcini mixture on top of each serving of risotto. Finish the serving plates with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Artichoke 2

Carciofi Ripieni (Stuffed Artichoke)

Yield: One artichoke per person

Ingredients

  • 4 jumbo – 18 count artichokes
  • 1 piece of day old focaccia or Italian bread (grind in food processor)
  • 8 ounces grated Grana Padano
  • 2 ounces chopped fresh Italian Parsley
  • ½ cup chop fresh garlic sautéed until light brown
  • ½ cup of onions chopped fine and sautéed till translucent
  • 10 ounces Paesano extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

In a medium-mixing bowl combine ground focaccia, parsley, garlic, onions, 8 ounces Grana Padano, Fresh ground black pepper, and 6 ounces of olive oil. In a 8 quart sauce pan fill it ½ full with water add 1 teaspoon sea salt. Cut and clean artichokes. Spread artichoke leaves open and push bread mixture into each artichoke. You want stuff each artichoke to the top with bread mixture. Place artichokes in saucepan they need to fit snug but not tight. Cook at medium heat for approximately 45 minutes. The true test is to pull on artichoke leaves to check if they are done. If leaves fall off easily artichokes they are cooked. Serve each artichoke in a bowl spoon some of broth left in pot over each artichoke. Finish with Paesano extra virgin olive oil and grated Grana Padano cheese.

#SCBDExclusive: Must-Know Fon-DO’s for National Fondue Day Today!

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Do you fondue? This classic Swiss meal has its own holiday. April 11th is National Cheese Fondue Day, a time to fire up the fondue pots for food, fun and good conversation.  I don’t see a better way to spend a Friday night then to Fondue it up!

To celebrate, Emmi Roth USA, whose Original Cheese Fondue is made using the traditional Swiss recipe,  is sharing the must-know fon-DO’s of fondue – everything from how to treat the host to tips for when you dip – along with some other touches of etiquette that sometimes get lost in translation.
Mind Your Manners
The simple staples of etiquette sometimes tend to go by the wayside, but they go a long way in showing the host that this hard work in creating and hosting the meal is appreciated.

  • Don’t arrive empty handed. Bringing something to dip is always a good hostess gift.
  • Be a little adventurous by tasting everything you are served (the exception to the rule is a dietary restriction, in which case you may politely decline).
  • Sample before salting. Try a bite of your food before adding anything. Fondue is already seasoned with spices and wine, so it might be perfect just the way it is.

Be A Delightful Dipper
While fondue is all in good fun, there are a few basic guidelines to follow in consideration of other guests.

  • Skewer like a pro. Be sure your food is secured to your fondue fork or skewer before dipping to avoid losing it in the cheese.
  • If you missed the first step and drop your dipper into the fondue, politely ask for the host’s help in removing it to ensure the pot remains clean for all.
  • Perfect your twirling and swirling. It is polite to make one to two small swirls before removing your food.
  • Resist the urge to double dip. Food that has been bitten should never return to the communal pot.

, Fondue

Tasting Notes
It’s all in the details, and these simple suggestions will ensure that you keep it classy, but still casually cool, when indulging.

  • Wait your turn. Allow one person to dip at a time and proceed in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion around the table.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Dip larger pieces and then cut them into smaller bits on your own plate.
  • A moment on the lips is frowned upon. Your fondue fork or skewer should never directly touch your mouth. Transfer your food to your plate before indulging.
  • Let it cool. Never blow on freshly dipped hot food. Avoid splatters and allow your food to cool slightly on your plate.

Emmi’s Original Fondue comes in in a ready-made pouch – all you have to do is heat it up and stir, making the meal a snap to prepare for a fondue fete that’s as easy as it is fabulous.

Fondue Original Box

#SCBDEvent: Get Your Tickets for The 20th Annual @TasteofTribeca on May 17th

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Source: Rebecca Yale, Tribeca Citizen

Source: Rebecca Yale, Tribeca Citizen

Taste of Tribeca is a one-of-a-kind outdoor culinary festival that celebrates downtown local flavor. Celebrating its 20th year milestone, this highly regarded annual event will take place on Saturday, May 17th from 11:30am to 3pm, rain or shine, on Duane Street (between Greenwich and Hudson Street) in Tribeca.  All proceeds will ensure the continuation of arts and enrichment programs at local public schools, PS 150 and PS 234.

The festival will bring together Tribeca’s top chefs and restaurants, including Bouley, Tribeca Grill and Walker’s, who have all participated in the annual event since the beginning; as well as exciting newcomers.

Source: Rebecca Yale, Tribeca Citizen

Source: Rebecca Yale, Tribeca Citizen

In addition to restaurant tastings, there will be a special VIP section, live entertainment, wine tastings, and more!

Tickets are on sale now at www.tasteoftribeca.org

Options include:
·      General Tasting Card ($45/advanced purchase; $50/day of event), provides six tastes from any of the participating restaurants.
·      Premium Seating ($350, $680, $950 for tables of two, four and six), includes personal food runners, reserved seating, designer t-shirts and a gift bag from the Taste of Tribeca sponsors.

Source: Rebecca Yale, Tribeca Citizen

Source: Rebecca Yale, Tribeca Citizen

Follow the event on Twitter! @TasteofTribeca #tasteoftribeca #tot2014.

#SCBDExclusive: .@ManonRestaurant’s New Spring Special and Bar Menu!

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Despite these chilling weather patterns, spring has officially sprung! In honor of our release from the worst winter ever, Manon is celebrating April Showers and May Flowers with new after work specials and bar menu!

Stop in to Manon’s main bar during the week from 5 PM-8 PM for 30% off all beverages. For dinner, try one of the dishes from their recently launched spring menus: Smoked Duck on Buckwheat, Bar Crudite, Blue Cheese and

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White Chocolate Crab Cakes, Braised Pork Sliders or Beet Duo.

Whether you’re stopping in for an after work pick-me-up or looking to try some new and exciting dishes, kick of springtime with Manon, located at 407 W 14th Street.

 

#SCBDEventRecap: NYC Craft Beer Fest: Spring Seasonals

scbdeventrecapNot only was this our favorite NYC Craft Beer Fest yet, but it gave us a chance to sample NYC’s most delicious up and coming craft beers!

On February 28th, I had the pleasure of attending my favorite craft beer festival. Always on the look-out for the next big thing, I found so many that I had to narrow it down to my top 3 picks.

So here they are folks:

Weyerbacher Insanity. This wonderfully interesting beer is a barleywine. It’s aged in oak bourbon barrels. At 11.1%, it’s a bit more hefty than a regular beer, all the while keeping a pleasing fruity overtones.

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Great Divide Orabelle. This Denver brewing company has brought us a variation to the Tripel, a traditional Belgian beer. This variation is brewed with spices, offering a solid, refreshing beer.

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Original Sin Cherry Tree Cider. We’ve had Original Sin’s wonderful ciders many times before, but this time we’re brought a variation of their wildly popular cider. Cherry Tree has a dry cherry flavor that compliments the already wonderful apple flavor of Original Sin.
But seriously, what’s better than an unlimited supply of beers to try? Unlimited beers AND delicious food. That’s right, every year the New York Craft Beer Fest features a few of the most delectable food from around the city.


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My favorites were the giant, mouthwatering pretzels from the Brooklyn Pretzel Company and Morris Grilled Cheese, which is always a fan favorite.  The beer fest also gives attendees the opportunity to attend free workshops! We went to a workshop that talked specifically about New York craft beers and the best places to find them. Overall, we learned that the best places to find them are where you’d least expect them to be! You know, those hole-in-the-wall bars that you just randomly stumble upon? Yes, you got it.


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But, I saved the best for last.

Anyone like jelly?

Well, every year Potlicker attend the festival and brings her incredible variations of jelly! From jelly made with different kinds of beers to veggies and fruit, this shop can satisfy any taste. So of course, I just had to buy a few. (;

My favorites include Carrot Cake Jelly and IPA Jelly! check out her Etsy shop, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter!

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But seriously, you need to try this stuff!

If you ever plan on going to a beer festival, I highly recommend this one. This is my third time going and it honestly never gets old! The craft beer selections are different every time, and there are plenty of ciders for non-craft beer peeps to enjoy.

Feel free to check out my past reviews about the New York Craft Beer Festival and follow them on twitter for updates!

- S

tobe.baukhages.com

Follow me on Twitter!

 

 

 

#DealAlert: Work Out Comfortably with .@CoryVines #NeighborhoodCollection

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Hey readers! I have good news, I found my new favorite work out shirt. It’s by Cory Vines Activewear in the Neighborhood Collection.  I wore it when Kristen and I attended our Barre3 class and now continue to wear it because it’s so comfortable and perfect for when you are working out.

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Here’s why:

‘EVERYWEAR’ SHIRTS

Henleys for men and boatnecks for women – new around-the-town basics for busy people

 FOR ON-THE-GO LIFESTYLES

 Designed for post-workout wear, local errands, meetups with friends, or anywhere else your days – or nights – take you

 

SOFT, SIMPLE, STYLISH

Minimalist design, super-soft to the touch, and a fluid fit that looks good even when you’re running 24/7

 

ALL-NATURAL ‘FEEL-GOOD’ FABRIC

Made of Viloft® – a high-tech fiber that feels like a second skin and provides breathability, quick moisture transport and 100% biodegradability

 

A TRIO OF COLORS FOR MEN & WOMEN

Men’s henley – available in cobalt, cardinal and slate
Women’s boatneck – available in blush, sand and slate

and last, our favorite…

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LOW $35 EVERYDAY PRICE

Sold exclusively at www.coryvines.com – the #1 source for high quality, moderately priced activewear offering tees, tanks, leggings and more at $20-50

 

#SCBDReview: .@VictorsCafe – A Delicious Cuban Institution in #NYC

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If you haven’t been to Victor’s Cuban Cafe & Lounge in New York, I advise you RUN there, now! Founded by Victor Del Corral in 1963, with the help of his wife, Eloina Ruiz de Ugarrio, Victor’s Café has become a patch in the quilt of New York City. An immigrant from Cuba, Victor worked tirelessly until he realized his dream of opening a restaurant in NYC at Victor’s original location on Columbus Avenue and 71st Street.

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In 1980, the now iconic restaurant moved to its spacious new quarters at 236 West 52nd Street (near Broadway), where it has continued to capture the hearts of New Yorkers, theater-goers, and a creative cast of regulars including Barbara Walters, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, and Brett Ratner. The attached Cuba Lounge hosts a lively bar scene with live music in the evenings, serving colorful tapas and deliciously crafted cocktails.

The restaurant itself is divided into three spacious dining rooms, accented with warm lighting, colorful Cuban art and lofty sky-lit ceilings.  The Cuba Lounge is intimate and warm, featuring a tapas menu and a variety of traditional Cuban cocktails such as Mojitos and Sangria.

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When I came in, with two other bloggers we sat at a table in the corner with a perfect few of the space. It’s a gorgeous space, perfect for a business meeting or celebration. Our waiter came by and took our cocktail order. I decided to get La Coqueta ($12) which had Fords gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, wild strawberry puree, topped with Prosseco. It was a delicious, definitely a cocktail I’d get again. We were then sent out a few appetizers to try, everything was delicious, it was actually hard to pick a favorite. One of the appetizers that stood out was the 1492 Aperitivo Cubano ($29) which was an assortment of classic Cuban appetizers. It was nice mix of different Cuban classics for the three of us to try. The dish is made for two but can definitely serve 3-4, what a deal? I am a ceviche lover so the ceviche de pargo ($14) was also a favorite of mine! I’m getting hungry thinking about it.

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Just a heads up, all entrees come served with rice and black beans and can be substituted if you’d like another side dish but trust me, you won’t. The rice & black beans they serve are some of the best I’ve tasted and I’m Colombian. All the dishes they brought out were amazing, they brought out the famous, Ropa Vieja ($25), Churrasco con Chimichurri ($29), and Lechon Asado ($26). My favorites were the Churrasco and Ropa Vieja. They were cooked to perfection and full of flavor.

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Last, dessert came out and it was phenomenal. I grew up eating arroz con leche (rice pudding) and the rice pudding did not disappoint. It was delicious and perfect with a cappuccino. We tried three desserts but that one made me feel like I was home.

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If you’re looking for something different, whether you just want to join friends for amazing food and well-crafted cocktails or are celebrating a holiday or anniversary I highly recommend Victor’s, it’ll change your life!

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#SCBDExclusive: .@CarrollPlaceNYC makes it debut on Bleecker Street this Thursday!

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Carroll Place, conceptualized by Sergio Riva and AJ Bontempo, the team behind Osteria Cotta on the Upper West Side, will open at 157 Bleecker Street in the South Village on March 20, 2014. The 170-seat Italian-American wine bar and gastro pub will bring the successful Osteria Cotta concept, which Riva and Bontempo have always considered representative of a “downtown” experience to its geographic inspiration, while paying homage to the building’s and area’s history. At Carroll Place, New Yorkers will savor classic Cotta favorites in addition to more gastro pub-focused dishes amid a completely re-imagined space.

Carroll Place

The restaurant’s 6,700 square feet are steeped in history. Formally Kenny’s Castaways, where such rock stars as Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith and The Fugees took center stage early in their careers, Carroll Place’s new moniker is derived from the original circa 1830s name for the section of Bleecker Street between Thompson Street and LaGuardia Place. Riva and Bontempo opted to strip the building down to its core, removing all the nearly 200-year old floors and wood beams for re-purposing throughout Carroll Place to assure the new restaurant boasts an authentic patina of age. As the restaurant was rebuilt from the basement/ground up, they strategically recycled all the extracted wood beams and flooring for tables (including the bar area’s massive communal high-top), wall paneling, shelving and the hostess stand. Even Kenny’s old stair case railings were reused as decoration. The undulating, rustic tavern-esque 20-seat bar overlooks the custom built wood oven stove, where several of Carroll Place’s mainstay dishes and pizzas will be prepared. Upstairs, Carroll Place’s vintage brick and rose velvet banquette lined “Living Room” mirrors the intimate dining setting at Cotta with soft, romantic lighting, homey, mismatched-by-design furniture, area rugs and hidden alcoves, in addition to a cocktail bar.

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Carroll Place will present a selection of popular Cotta dishes on their new dinner menu including a slew of gastro pub selections and an extensive beer selection suitable for Bleecker Street including Wood Fired Rosemary Wings; Pork Ragu and Short Rib Sliders;  and a Burrata Burger with grilled tomato and prosciutto. Other signature dishes include:Wood Fire Free Range Chicken with broccoli rabe and olives; Linguine Vongole with clams, white wine, chili flakes and tomato; and a NY Strip Steak served with truffle fries and a watercress salad. Carroll Place has enlisted the help of famed pizzaillo Federico Crociani to oversee their wood fire pizza selections. The restaurant will introduce new signature pizzas including the Tartufo with speck, truffle cream, button mushrooms, fresh mozzarella and truffle oil. The Bruxellespizza combines pancetta, Brussel sprouts and fresh mozzarella. And for dessert, Carroll Place will adopt Cotta’s signatureWood Fired Nutella Calzone 

An extensive beverage program at Carroll Place will offer 20 wine options by-the-glass, five wines on tap, 16 draft beers, micro brews, imports and domestic. Signature cocktails will include La Cotta made with bourbon, Campari, maraschino liquer, pomegranate molasses and brandied cherry. The Bleecker Street Sour will feature Rittenhouse Rye, Amaretto, lemon, egg white and Angostura.

 Carroll Place, located at 157 Bleecker Street, will be open Sunday – Wednesday from 5:00PM – 2:00AM and Thursday –Saturday from 5:00Pm – 4:00AM. For additional information, please visit www.carrollplacenyc.com or call 212-260-1700. Reservations only accepted for parties of 6 or more. Follow Carroll Place on Twitter @CarrollPlaceNYC, Instagram @CarrollPlaceNYC or Facebook www.facebook.com/CarrollPlace.

#SCBDReview: Soho’s KittiChai and NYC Restaurant Week

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Every year I try to get a group of friends together to try out a new restaurant for NYC restaurant week. The past few times our plans had fallen through, but this year I was determined to get into the city. There are a lot of opinions on this twice yearly tradition of restaurant week. There are those who hate their favorite spots being flushed with newcomers and most likely one time diners. Others think the entire ”promotion” is a rip off because smaller portions are often served and items that aren’t on the regular menu are presented (Those who have worked in the industry will understand this most likely means items will cut costs, are about to go bad, in excess, or they want the diner to be a guinea pig for a new idea). But there are also the people (like me) who see it as an opportunity (and excuse!) to try out restaurants they might not otherwise be able to afford on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, my first 2 choices for restaurants to try out for this occasion were booked up for the day we chose to go out on within a day of the menus being posted online (The Marrow and Perilla-Harold Dieterle’s restaurants). I scanned through the participating list for other places that were on my to-do list (When you don’t live in the city it’s harder to make a dent in this list…it seems to just grows). I settled on Kittichai in Soho. It is an upscale Thai restaurant with some eclectic and contemporary flare.

The décor was eye catching with brilliantly lit vases with flowers in them, a large pond with floating candles in the center of the dining room, and wooden accents to tone down the bright lights of the other decor. It was a perfect symmetry of light and dark.

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We noticed that the menu not only had the $38 restaurant week Pre-Fixe menu but, it also featured 2 other pre-selected menu’s (for slightly higher prices) to choose from as well. Each menu had a $15 wine pairing option for your 3 courses. We stuck with the restaurant week menu but did add on the 3 course wine pairing (you can’t beat $15…but I will admit they were half glasses). We also threw in some side dishes to split with our table.

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I started with a cocktail before our wine flight began. It was a salted plum brandy with vanilla essence and orange peel. It reminded me of a whiskey sour. It had a great balance of sweet and tart.

I chose the Wild Mushroom Dumplings for my appetizer course. The dumplings were just slightly crispy and they came with a soy coconut foam sauce that I could have licked the platter trying not to waste any. Needless to say, I enjoyed it. I also tried the Hot and Sour Seafood Soup, the Duck Confit Salad, and the Crispy Rock Shrimp. ALL of them were delicious…but I thought my dumplings took the cake on that course. The wine selected for the appetizers was a Riesling. It is not usually my favorite varietal however; I thought it paired nicely to offset the heavy spices that were in each of the dishes.

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For my main course I chose the Braised Pork Cheek that paired with spiced palm sugar braise, truffle powder, and steamed buns. Whoa. These pork buns were awesome! I didn’t even want to share (Luckily 3 of the 5 of us ordered this dish so I didn’t have to share too much!). I nibbled on the Crispy Branzino and Chili-Smoked Hanger Steak from my dining companions as well. This place really understands how to pack in flavors. Our side dishes included the Roti with a Peanut Curry dipping sauce, Charred Cauliflower (SO good!), Stir-fried Jasmine Rice with Sausage and Cashews, and Stir-Fried Vegetables with Garlic and Ginger Soy Sauce. The wine presented for the main dishes was a Pinot Noir. It was light and fruity but a bit forgettable.

The portions were smaller so I was able to try everything on the table and still have room for dessert. I went for the Black Cardamom Lava Cake with Thai Basil Ice Cream. I love chocolate and the lava cake was a hit. However; I want to highlight how refreshingly good the Thai Basil Ice Cream was. I always wonder if the trend to put savory flavors into ice cream will work. This one did. It ended my dinner on a high note. Our pairing for the dessert was a sparkling wine. It was perfect for a cheers with good friends over the great meal we had just indulged in.

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This meal truly blew me away. I do have to admit that you are a bit fooled by the low price tag of $38. You can’t help but be suckered into drinks and side dishes so our bill was a lot heftier than that original price tag. But I do not intend to become a one and done customer at Kittichai. I can’t wait to go back and try more of what they have to offer.

#SCBDReview: Tea in Wondeland – Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter 2

scbdreview

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My boyfriend works in the city, one day his mom and I decided to meet him for lunch in the Upper East Side, New York City. We came across Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter 2 in the Upper East Side, on 64th street between Lexington Avenue and 3rd Street. We walked into a cute store front tucked away and into an Alice in Wonderland inspired restaurant café.

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Our wait was about ten minutes, due to wanting to sit upstairs. There are two levels. The downstairs area is small with a nice amount of tables and includes includes the main lobby area with a counter and host desk.

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Upstairs was so cute with Alice in Wonderland themed decorations all over the place; including large butterflies and paintings, tall ceilings, and tea cups all over.

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We started with ordering a pot of tea. The restaurant offers a deal where customers can order a pot of tea for three cups and two scones. Between the three of us, we have several cups of the tea- it was plenty. We decided to order one of their house specialties, called Herbal Detox Blend. This was a special blend of Alfalfa, dandelion, nettle bush, plantain, red clover and mint. It was light and smooth and tasted divine. I also decided to try one of their specialty Mar-Tea-Ni drinks. I got a Peach Bellini. It is infused with Peach Tea and Prosecco. All of the mixed drinks they offered sounded so good, and this one was excellent. It tasted fresh and refreshing. On a note with this drink and the service, I accidentally spilled this when I got it after taking a few sips, and the staff graciously came over and replaced it with a new one since it was pretty full when it happened. They have such great service and are so generous.

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After we received our tea, I got the cup of soup I ordered. It was an Artichoke soup. It had artichoke, mixed vegetables in a chicken broth. I love artichoke, but now I have a new favorite way to eat it. The broth made the artichoke so soft and smooth, it was so tasty. The flavors all mixed together to create a delicious soup. They always have different soups each day, so it is exciting to try another on a future visit. The soup also came with homemade rosemary focaccia bread. This tasted so good alone or mixed in with the broth of the soup.

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After finishing the soup, we were served our sandwiches and scones. All of our meals came with an option of fries or salad, so we all got a salad. The dressing that came with the salad was a ginger Soy dressing. This dressing was light but unfortunately they put only a small amount on the salad. I personally would have liked more, but it was so good. I ordered the Grilled Veggie Sandwich. This included Portobello mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes with goat cheese on pumpernickel. It included pesto which I opted to have it on the side. I usually am not a fan of pesto, but I tried this with this sandwich and it blended beautifully. The vegetables tasted so fresh and they were cooked perfectly. I loved having it paired with pumpernickel bread. I realized that too many places don’t use pumpernickel bread, it is under used.

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My boyfriend’s mother ordered the Lapsang Souchong Smoked Chicken Breast Sandwich. This was a smoked chicken breast on seven grain bread with granny smith apples and an herbed goat cheese. This sandwich was our least favorite. It was on the drier side. It needed something more to make the dry bread and chicken more moist, possibly a dressing. It was still very delicious though and would recommend it with an additional dressing.

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My boyfriend got the Croque Madame sandwich and added smoked grilled chicken to it. This sandwich was delicious, it was a heavier sandwich. The cheese made it a bit greasy. On this sandwich was grilled gruyere with mayonnaise and whole grain mustard. It was on golden raisin semolina bread. This did have a lot of taste but was very filling.

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Finally, we finished with our scones. I chose the Pumpkin Scone with a caramel glaze and my boyfriend chose the original buttermilk scone. They were served with clotted cream and a jam. The pumpkin scone was my favorite. It was so moist and rich. It tasted so fresh. The caramel on top made it sweeter, but it was not a sickening sweet, but instead a very enjoyable sweet. It went well with the last of our hot tea. I would highly recommend this. My boyfriend and his mom enjoyed the original one the most, they said they loved how flakey and moist it was, at the same time. It broke apart but was not too dry. I do have to say it was one of the best original scones I have had.

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I found out that they have three different restaurants, each called a different Chapter. I am excited to visit these other ones in the future and see the difference between them. They offer so much more than we had too. Other deserts, cakes, more drinks, so many teas, and salads and sandwiches of all kinds. The food was fabulous, servers were super nice and alert, and the atmosphere is like no other. Highly recommend this and I will be back in the future to enjoy another afternoon tea with friends.

Tea Cup

 

http://alicesteacup.com/

https://www.facebook.com/alicesteacup

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