Sauver It

If you aren’t a Vegetarian you should try ABCV

The title, ABCV is abbreviated to mean ABC Vegetarian. Jean George, chef, and culinary gastronome owns restaurants around the country, with a few more locations in NYC. His first ABC kitchen lies in the ABC Carpet and Home store on 38 east, 19th street. Vegetarianism is quite trendy today so opening a veggie-forward restaurant was a successful idea. I had never been to a vegetarian/ vegan eatery, but I really wanted to delve into this one, another seemingly unique concept like the other Jean George restaurants.

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I always wear a hat to NYC, something I started doing when I was younger. I only own two good hats though, one for winter and one for summer. Of course, this hat seems a bit pretentious, but it was actually a hand me down. Posing the Sparkling Rosewater Lemonade next to my hat was just a way for me to say “I have landed at my eating destination!” I was waiting for my friend Alison while seated at the bar enjoying this “prim and proper” lemonade. A combination of bubbles and lemonade that will probably become my new favorite combinations. 

 

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Avocado Lettuce Cups,  Fresh Sauerkraut, and Slow Roasted Beets

The essence of the restaurant was feminine, and I really liked that. Every detail, from light fixtures,  chairs, tables, and plates were relatively dainty with a splash of pastel shades of pink, bright white, or neon yellow. The restaurant aesthetic was beautiful. Every decoration matching the variety of colors on each appetizer or entree; it just flowed you know? 

The beets were fabulous. Before I went to ABCV I watched a video on how to make this dish. I don’t think I could imagine anyone utilizing a tortilla press for something this brilliant. Chef de cuisine Neal Harden seeps flavor all over the dish; under and over the beets and within the avocado mash. This meal was delicious, and yes I was satisfied. 

I love the creativity here!

https://www.eater.com/video/2017/8/3/16086194/roasted-cauliflower-abcv-nyc-video

 

 Chika Hits a Homerun Experience at the Chikalicous Dessert Bar

I ventured through the lower east side where I came across an all dessert bar. This Small, white walled space housing two tables and a counter with stools, is run by pastry chef Chika. The counter seats watch over the two chefs that assemble the desserts to order each day. Each dessert comes with an amuse bouche and a few mignardises. Dessert wines are paired with sweet entrees to the guest’s discretion.

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After my Darjeeling tea gelee with a honey thyme sorbet, I selected the dessert shown above. Vanilla Semifreddo placed in the center of strawberry gazpacho with a tuile cookie and balsamic gelee cubes to garnish the plate. It was the right level of sweetness along with the pillowy semifreddo and gazpacho. 

 

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The assembly of  Russian cookies, chocolate Cream Disks, and Coconut Marshmallows

I literally hopped, across the street a half hour later to Chika’s other location. This one was a small take out dessert counter where they sell ice cream encased in churro cones and cream puffs filled to order.
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It was nice to eat a cream puff filled to order. The pate choux maintained its crispy exterior and crunchy sugar coating, compared to cream puffs that are filled hours before eaten. I chose Boston Cream of course, due to its chocolate exterior and vanilla pudding center. I usually don’t appeal to Boston Cream desserts but this was different. It was an airy creamy, silky chocolaty delightful pouch. 

 

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This was ooey gooey amazing!

So many sweets but so much satisfaction for my sweet tooth. Check out Chikalicous dessert bar in NYC. 

Franki Goes To: Irving Farms

irving farms og

http://blog.ciachef.edu/franki-goes-irving-farms/

Franki Goes To: Harney and Son’s

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http://blog.ciachef.edu/franki-goes-harney-sons/?utm_campaign=Blog&utm_content=53319839&utm_medium=social&utm_source=face

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Ravioli: The Trip to Mario Batatli’s Castle of Fine Dining

The experience file1 (3).jpegwas as this, extraordinary. Our stomachs chose to be bottomless pits that evening, but we didn’t we feel like giving up anyway. The ambiance of the restaurant was exciting, with a grand staircase leading down to the wine cellar, mini balconies gated with rod iron, brilliant gold accents, and the soft noise from the grand piano.

After seated, we were presented the wines list with hundreds of varieties including Tuscany’s Chianti, Piedmont’s Barolos and Barbarescos, and Veneto’s Amarone. Their idea of a warm welcome was an aperitif of Franciacorta sparkling wine. Then, we were given warm lavender scented hand towels and two amuse bouche to begin. One amuse presented itself in a porcelain white cup and the other in a glass bowl. Our table captain took the order in which we pleasantly asked to switch the dessert course with another pasta tasting. I am a “freak” when it comes to pasta and there were seven or more to choose from!

Two apps, three pasta courses, and a few wine pairings into the meal I asked for the fourth round of baguettini with whipped creme fraiche; I could not stop eating! After placement of our protein course, the captain poured the jus over Chris’s veal chop and the tomato bouillabaisse around my Cacciucco stew, while explaining intricate detail about the dish. He left a hot lemon and rosemary wrapped napkin next to Chrisfile (2).jpeg for him to waft as he ate, which we were in awe about during its delivery. The sommelier surprised us with our last wine pairing, offering myself a Nero d’Avola from Sicily to sip with the stew. After taking my wines class a few weeks earlier I was not in favor of reds, but I doubted too soon. After the final wine pairing I changed my opinion about red wines. I realized that sometimes it takes the right person selling the wine and the environment you are in to acquire a special taste for a particular style.

We thought dessert wasn’t an option because we gave that up at the beginning of the meal, however the captain presented us with a Pear Crostata and Hazelnut Tartufo before we could ask for the check. As if the tart and ice-cream weren’t enough, we were also treated with a box of mignardise consisting of caramel wrapped in edible paper. That was the finest finale to a great date night at Del Posto.

In for the Cause

A day well spent working the New York City Food and Wine Festival! I have always had a love for food television and was thrilled to be a part of an event that Food Network and the Cooking Channel were sponsors of; where all of the proceeds went to the NYC food bank and Share our Strengths Foundation. I was paired with a young female entrepreneur who was asked to run a booth at the event. Her idea of cornmeal crusted skate wing was definitely an item for adventurous eaters, as the common question of the day was “what is skate wing?” And to everyone’s surprise, skate wing is classified as a sting ray, a cartilaginous bottom feeding fish. Its flaky and mild so it paired well with the red island beans, wild spinach, mustard greens, and cranberry coulis in the picture above. We must have pushed out over 1000 tastings!

 

The Fine Dining Experience

Although I work behind the scenes in a fine dining restaurant, I had never before dined out as a guest in one. The very day I started working I wondered what it’d be like to be on the receiving end of a restaurant that serves four course meals and chefs tasting menus. Whether in Rhode Island, San Francisco, Chicago, or New York, fine dining restaurants surround the public eye, inviting guests only for an evening affair to experience their wild and glorious menus. During Restaurant week in Newport Rhode Island I wanted to treat myself to a true culinary experience, knowing in that week dining out would go easy on my wallet. From my daily walks through the city, I came across a placed called Tallulah’s. Curious about their menu, I asked some highly acclaimed chefs of Newport about its concept and was told to check it out. It took me about and hour to figure out what I was going to wear, and then I set out for my 5:30 dinner reservation.

Once inside the acute dining room, hosting eight tables of two tops and four tops, I noticed the open kitchen, where three cooks stood before the executive chef. They were all wearing bandannas, which I thought was a rustic touch to the usual chefs attire. While watching the cooks pre- game for their first dinner ticket, two waitresses sat my friend NJ and I, giving us the restaurant week menu to browse over, and asking if we would like sparkling or distilled water. There were two routes to travel on the menu, I chose the first and NJ chose the second, so that we can see everything the kitchen was offering that evening. What I find very interesting about some fine dining experiences is that you are bombarded with intermezzos between each course; and there is never a time you are sitting without a utensil in hand.

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Starting from top left: Thai coconut soup and kafir lime, house made focaccia with a sweet butter quenelle, white grapefruit sorbet garnished with micro mint, pate de fruit mingled with Mexican wedding cookies

First, set down in front of us was the amuse bouche (bite size appetizer), which was the Thai  inspired soup. I think the amuse bouche is a great way to ease the guest into the larger courses they get to experience next. And the great thing about intermezzos, is that every diner in the restaurant is receiving the same amuse or pre dessert as the other. The only room for a guests meal preference, is when choosing main courses.

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Roasted chiggoia beet salad, buttermilk emulsion, mixed nut tuile, and goat cheese

After eating first course which was a beet salad (above) one of our two waitresses that evening brought us our focaccia. Some upscale restaurants have a bread service between meals, where a front of the house employee walks around with a tray of four or five varieties of bread to choose from. But at Tallullah’s they pre- decided our choice of bread that night. I devoured the focaccia soaked in olive oil, and was so close to asking for another piece.

Depending on the place you eat at, front of the house will change your silverware between courses as well as crumb the table, if it has become a little messy. Something I also enjoy in fine dining, is synchronized service, when the waiters placed food in front of the guest simultaneously. When each course was brought to us, I got to experience this. Finally I received my entree, which was hanger steak, and most likely the best way I have ever eaten it. It was cooked perfectly, the chimichurri was course and spicy, and the sun-choke puree was so buttery.

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Top: hanger steak, spicy chimichurri, fried sun-choke, sun-choke puree, and affilia cress. Bottom: Dark Chocolate cremeaux, pistachio ice-cream quenelle, caramel nibs, chocolate smear, and red sorrel.

After the main course, we were brought our pre- dessert. The role of a pre- dessert is to cleanse your palate after a savory meal, getting you ready for something sweet. For this reason, it will most likely be an acidic treat. The perfect melon balled scoop of grape fruit sorbet was just the right amount of tang, washing away any meaty, buttery, and salty flavors from my main entree. The dessert I experienced there after, was dark chocolate cremeaux, similar to a pastry cream. It sat on top of a chocolate smear and aside a pistachio ice cream quenelle. It is very common to see desserts in elegant restaurants plated this way; the main component in the middle of the plate, a spread of chocolate, caramel, or fruit puree beneath, a quenelle of sorbet or ice cream resting somewhere on the side, and a crumble around the dish that acts as garnish. Overall the evening spent at Tallulah’s was spectacular, and am ecstatic about my first fine dining experience.

 

AN HOUR SPENT IN ASIA

The food culture influences of Eastern Asia are incredible. I mean, it’s so amazing that it has me fantasizing about ramen noodles at 1 AM. This is true, the thought of ramen noodles and steamed pork buns kept me from getting a good nights sleep last night. And instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour, I was researching Rhode Islands frequently talked about noodle bar, Boru. I figured, since I had the day off from my internship as a chef, I should take myself on a date to devour a meal that was long overdue. I had a carb filled, glorious afternoon, as I was poised on the wooden bar stool, chopsticks in hand, adjacent to my ramen and pork belly buns. Do I have regrets? No way! The meal put me at ease, and got me thinking deeply about Asian ingredients and techniques. I took some pictures while I sat alone; the owner must of thought something odd of me, but what he didn’t know was that two hours in the latter, I would be writing a rather optimistic review about his food.
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Tai Iced Tea

Technically I started with dessert first, and to me that is quite alright. I had tai iced tea, which is not like your usual Saturday afternoon run to Starbucks. Tai iced tea is a traditionally a combination of the ceylon tea leaf but, a more inexpensive type called bai miang is often used, and mixed with food coloring to create its vibrant orange color. It is then mixed with ice, condensed milk and sugar, and finished with splash of evaporated milk.  In Thailand however, the tea, condensed milk, and sugar are combined before the addition of ice; and finally finished off with evaporated milk. The Tai people were not joking around when they invented this sweet delicacy. And Boru chefs, played with the ingredients just as I imagined from prior experiences.

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Steamed Pork Belly Buns

Two was all I got. I wished and hoped for more! These steamed pork belly buns are  renowned in our country; an insane treat that people drool over. Every ingredient plays a vital role in this dish, every single ingredient. Mantou or steamed bun, originated in northern China, making this dish  a spin off of one of China’s immaculate yeast dough’s.  Chinese chefs make make and stuff the buns a little differently than those above. Hoisin sauce which is a popular Asian condiment, is the background note in this musical of flavors. The rest of the ingredients make the dish more Americanized. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that! Pork, found in most of Eastern Asia’s cuisine, is truly the star in these buns. Eating braised pork belly makes you feel victorious; cooks prize for its amazing aesthetic. Boru chefs add the radish and pickle for color and to offset the rich flavor of the sauce and pork, creating an unimaginable tone in the whole dish.

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Short -rib Ramen

The star of my lunch hour, came out after the tea was half gone, and the pork buns were devoured, and fingers licked clean. The bowl was massive, and I appreciate a chef who prepares good food in larger than average portions; it gives me a lot to look forward too. So, ramen noodles are a Japanese tradition, prepared many different ways, and in their own way at all different Asian inspired restaurants. Boru made me very happy, giving me the option to eat beef short ribs with my ramen. I could not possibly pass up this opportunity, fifteen dollars later. But like I said before, no regrets! Ramen noodles are a Chinese wheat noodle that the Japanese adapted and used in different variations of soup. Many times ramen noodles are seen in a pork or chicken based broth with pork, beef, boiled egg, mushrooms, scallions, menma (dried bamboo shoots), and nori (seaweed). The noodle bowl is so diverse that there are endless variations to choose from, all over the country. An interesting aspect of Boru’s take on the dish, was its boiled egg. It tasted like the flavors of Asia had been saturated inside the egg; with a gooey and tacky texture. Every bite of this ramen, full filled my hankering for a bowl of soup.