Category: Food

Marea: One of New York's Finest (And a Crudo Recipe)

There are so many choices in NYC for fine dining, and it seems that bar gets raised higher and higher as new restaurants open, new concepts explored, new trends established.  Marea is not so new (opened in 2009), relatively speaking, but it is still “young” – and still has the feel of youthful exuberance in its atmosphere, service, and menu.  It’s hard to believe that an Italian seafood-oriented restaurant can rival the great Le Bernardin, but Marea is at the same level. From start (amuse bouche) to finish (house-made mini chocolate cake), we were “wowed,” which is no small feat.  Highest quality crudo in the city, done with elegance & creativity.  And probably one of the best pasta dishes in the world (octopus & bone marrow – simply amazing!).  Worth the trip, and worth the price.   We also want to greatly complement the wait staff.  We were there the day before the Super Bowl, with every football dignitary in town. A well-known group from the Washington, DC area requested a last minute change – from a table of six to twelve.  The wait staff performed an incredible ballet to accommodate, orchestrated by Maitre d’ George, which minimized any inconvenience […]

Five Wines to Wow Your Valentine – Wine & Chocolate Pairings

Wine & chocolate seems strange to some, but the right wine with the right chocolate is a beautiful thing.  There is so much exploration to do, since there are so many interesting taste combinations to discover – nuts, fruits, types of chocolates – it really is an endless experiment.  We’ll give you some pairing tips to keep in mind, then some fun wines to discover. Tips for Successfully Pairings Wines with Chocolate Here are a few simple rules – not hard and fast, but more like guidelines: Chocolate is very complex – just like wine.  For pure chocolate, you’ll find some subtle flavors which are inherent to the region, the cocoa content, and the fat content.  It is best to do some experimenting to find the best wine and chocolate combinations for you. Try to detect some underlying flavors of the chocolate, then the wine separately.  Play with the matches. In  general, try to keep the wine sweeter than the chocolate.  However, some dry wines with strong flavors will also work, depending the prevalent flavor notes of the wine.  For example, wines such as Argentinian Malbec with a mocha undertone works well with chocolates having mocha flavors. More elegant chocolates […]

Duck Hash Recipe Inspired by 39 Rue de Jean

During our January 2014 foodie road trip, we made a stop to Charleston, SC.  We had dinner reservations at some fabulous restaurants (check out the other reviews), and wondered around the town during the day.  We stumbled on 39 Rue de Jean just as we needed to get brunch/lunch, and decided to give it a try.  The TripAdvisor.com audience seemed to like it – and it was very active on a generally slow day in Charleston. The style of the restaurant can be best described as New Orleans funk – lots of wood, a bit of wall clutter, up beat music.  We were in time for brunch – the menu had a lot of standard, slightly up-scaled fare (such as eggs benedict done in about 24 styles), but one item caught our attention:  duck confit hash.  We’re big fans of good hash, and this one made it to our all-time best list.  The hash mix was a perfect combination of duck confit, potatoes, onions, sweet red pepper, and a heavenly gravy that was rich and incredibly flavorful. One of our favorite exercises is to back-engineer restaurant dishes, and to see if we can come close to matching the flavors.  We […]

Italian Easter Pie – Torta Pasqualina alla Mickalene

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Growing up in an Italian Catholic family was all about family, food, and tradition.  One great tradition was making the Easter Pie. During the Lenten season, we all fasted, especially on Good Friday (no meat) and on Holy Saturday.  When it came to Easter Sunday, we splurged. I can remember the smells on the Saturday before Easter, when Mickalene was frying off the sausage, making the crust, then baking the pies.  We couldn’t wait until we dug into the cheesy, meaty, dense delight – but it was reserved for Easter Sunday morning.  The dish was incredibly labor intensive, and my Mom make enough to feed a small army. There are many varieties of the “Easter Pie,” based on the regional Italian cooking.  It’s called Pizzagaina, pizza piena (stuffed pizza), pastiera in the Naples, pizzachino, pizza rustica, but we called it  Torta Pasqualina (which is simply Easter Pie). For the most part, it is a quiche-like savory pie, but I have also seen some sweet versions.  The basics of the savory version call for eggs, cheese, meat, often a green vegetable (we used spinach, our Tyrolean parts of the family used asparagus, and we’ve seen others use swiss chard).  My Mom’s […]