Monday, July 26, 2010


This restaurant in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, has been on my list to try for quite some time!  So last Friday, after an impromptu trip to DUMBO to surprise Nana with a Chocolate shopping spree @ Jacques Torres, we decided to explore some more neighborhoods in Brooklyn. When I crossed Court Street I remembered that I've been thinking about checking out a lot of restaurants nearby, so we drove up Court Street and located a few on the way then found Buttermilk Channel.

From the outside our impression was that it would be an enjoyable place to dine, ambiance-wise, and if the food was as good as it's been touted to be. that would be a great bonus.  Kept on driving discussing the reviews and dreaming about a day when we would go prepared to eat there. 

Now neither of us is hungry so we do the IKEA shopping experience: (strolling the showroom and then hitting the marketplace) purchased one package of lime green cocktail napkins!  I've never, ever, left Ikea having spent less than $3.00!  Unless I was only there to measure and design!

At this point it's a little after 7 and the thought of going all the way back to Queens in Summertime Friday City-exiting traffic and then to start dinner was not a happy one.  So we drove around Red Hook for awhile and found the Red Hook Lobster Pound, perfect! A Lobster Roll is just what the Doctor ordered!  Whipped the car around to see that they were locking up....they close @7 p.m.   Arghhhhhh!

Now we figure we're dressed OK for an outdoor cafe and we'll head back to Carroll Gardens and find something casual on Court Street or a side street.

As fate always plays it's hand at the most opportune times, I drove up Huntington Street to Court forgetting that Court is one-way! At the light of  Huntington and Court we notice that we're at Buttermilk Channel--AND--there are empty tables outside--and better yet an EMPTY parking space directly across Court Street.  I say--let's go for it! Nana agrees and I make a rather illegal maneuver with the car to snag the parking spot and we are now justifiably excited for dinner!

Buttermilk Channel is named after a tidal strait between Brooklyn and Governor's Island you can read the legends here.  And a great interview with Doug Crowell, owner here; and of course one with Chef Ryan Angula here.

The biggest buzz about this restaurant is the Fried Chicken w/Cheddar Waffles and Savory Slaw. And all that Buzz is deserving! This is picture from their site: 

We started with Grilled Flatbread with House-Made Buttermilk Ricotta, Squash Blossoms & Lemon Oil.  It was a slice of heaven on our plates. The Creamy Ricotta had just enough body to keep the Flatbread crispy underneath the generous bed of cheese! And Squash Blossoms and Lemon Oil were the perfect bonuses!  Score two points! Pictures are not great as they are from my Blackberry and photog I'm not!

Nana ordered the Caputo's Fresh Linguini with Sweet Corn, Roasted Mushrooms, Brown Butter & Pecorino and she loved it!  It was a very healthy portion and provided her with enough for lunch!

I was really torn-the Duck Meatloaf was calling my name but ultimately I had to try the Fried Chicken. I was pretty sure that was the way to go but I still asked the advice of our waiter.  He pointed out that we were dining outdoors in 90º weather and what better way to enjoy Fried Chicken and save the meatloaf for when we dined indoors or in the fall!  And really, honestly, truly I was a very happy "picnicker"  The chicken was crunchy on the outside and perfectly cooked, moist and tender on the inside.  The waffle was a great foil for the chicken and the slaw just enough to ensure you ate your vegetables! Good thing Buttermilk Channel isn't on the corner of our block! 

We drank a wonderful bottle of Vino Bianco from Channing Daugthers Winery from the Hamptons on Long Island. This blended table white wine as perfect for a hot day, very sippable al fresco, and excellent with our food choices. It's made up of: The 2007 version is made up of 32% Tocai Friulano, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, 17% Pinot Grigio, 9% Chardonnay (Dijon clone 96) and 17% Chardonnay (“Musque” clone).  Crisp and golden in color, lots of tropical fruit flavors and a very slight hint of oakiness.  Good thing, cause I'm not a big fan of any Chardonnay that is very Oaky.

We topped off our meal with one scoop of Van Leeuwan pistachio ice cream!  Couldn't pass it up on a hot night.  The perfect end of a great meal...another impromptu adventure and part of Nana's extended birthday celebration!

Our server, Doug, was quick, bright, efficient, friendly and just chatty enough to make our experience enjoyable beyond the setting and great food. Everyone we had contact with here were professional and friendly.  We observed the hostess telling many people about the wait for tables inside and she always smiled and maintained her excellent demeanor while some of the potential guests expressed their frustration at least with visual facial expressions! Kudos to all for providing us with a great evening.

Throughout our time dining outdoors we watched the sky darken with clouds and become a bit threatening.  Eventually, by dessert, there were some lightening flashes in the dark sky and we had joked with our waiter that we'd be grabbing and running inside if it started to rain. We asked for our check and it was brought with promptness. The second it was signed the first of many large drops of rain fell onto us. Nana grabbed the check and ran inside to return it to our waiter and thank him again, while I dashed across the street and got the umbrella out of the car.  I went back to the restaurant and got Nana to the car in a dry state (for the most part).  By the time we were a block away the downpour had lightened up to a drizzle.  Listening to the radio on the ride back to Queens we heard all the reports of wind damage, rain-caused accidents AND that Manhattan had been under a tornado watch much of the time we were dining outdoors in Brooklyn!  They also said the storm hit the Bronx, Queens and Long Island the hardest and seemed to barely skim over Brooklyn!  Chalk that up to the same fate that provided us with a parking space and empty table at our new Favorite Brooklyn restaurant: Buttermilk Channel!

We'll be returning to Buttermilk Channel soon!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ratatouille Flatbread Pizza

We loved Trader Joe's Ciabatta Flatbread as a pizza base, see the original post here, so we grabbed one last week thinking they might get popular and then be in short supply.  We weren't sure when we would use it so we threw it into the freezer to test the frezzeability.  Defrosted it today for dinner and used up the last of the Ratatouille as a topping.  Added some fresh oregano, bufalo mozzarella, shredded pecorino romano and chopped parsley.  Ten minutes later we enjoyed some awesome pizza!  It was just as good defrosted as the first one that we made fresh.

Finished Pizza

Today's salad accompaniment was Jersey Tomato on Butter Lettuce with Tzatziki for a dressing.  Simply delish!

And look is that all that's leftover???  MMMM lunch tomorrow!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Simple Summer Dinner

Another fridge cleaning turned up some great morsels for dinner. We had been to Trader Joe's and bought boneless skinless chicken breasts and corn on the cob.  The first planned part of the meal was the grilled chicken breasts with roasted pepper coulis.  This came to me while standing in front of the jarred roasted peppers in Trader Joe's trying to remember if I had any at home!  So I bought a jar just in case and sure enough it was a good thing I did. 

I used two whole peppers from the jar, two cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon chopped basil.  Pureed it all in the blender.  Simple right? And yet so tasty! 

Used Penzey's Galena Street Rub on the chicken breasts, marked them in my enameled grill pan and finished them in a hot oven. Napped the finished chicken with sauce when plated.  I grilled 5 chicken breast halves and saved 3 for future salads, easier than heating up the kitchen every night!

Next I stumbled upon a nice bunch of late asparagus I had bought with the intention of making an asparagus salad, but forgot!  So I was lucky enough to catch them in time before they went south!
Spread them on a sheet pan tossed with kosher salt and pepper and olive oil and roasted for 10 minutes next to the finishing chicken breasts!

For the third dish I had the 3 ears of corn we purchased, so I cut the kernels off the cobs. Then sauteed red onion, red and green bell pepper, and corn seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for 5 minutes. I steamed a few broccoli florets in damp paper towel in the microwave for 1 minute. Tossed the broccoli in the saute for 2 minutes then added quartered Campari tomatoes, 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 6 leaves of basil chiffonade.  Sauteed for another minute or two and served immediately.  All the ingredients other than the corn were leftover scraps from other recipes throughout the week. We're really getting better at using up the odds and ends, finding them before they become refrigerator science projects!

Doesn't it look fresh and inviting?  Simple yet so delish!

Friday, July 16, 2010

More Summer Soup

Can't believe I haven't posted since the weekend!  Where did this week go??  After catching up on my blog reading I decided to try this recipe from the blog 101 Cookbooks for Buttermilk Squash Soup.  It truly wasn't difficult to make at all.  The reward for the easy labor is a wonderfully refreshing soup.  I didn't make the cumin butter that she includes in the recipe, but I did garnish it with lots of chopped chives.  The side was a spring mix with raw veggies, bacon and chunks of blue cheese.

Here's the recipe

Buttermilk Squash Soup Recipe

Recipe By :101 Cookbooks

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 cup unsalted butter
fine grain sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions -- chopped
2 cloves garlic cloves1 pound / 16 oz / 450 g potatoes
1 pound potatoes -- cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 1/2 pounds yellow summer squash -- cut into 1/2 inch slices
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup buttermilk
1 bunch chives -- chopped

In a skillet, over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds until they are fragrant. Just a minute or two. Use a mortar and pestle to pound the seeds into a fine powder. Alternately, you can use an electric spice grinder. Set aside. In the same skillet, melt the butter and cook until it's brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma. Remove from heat, stir the cumin into the butter along with a generous couple pinches of salt, then set aside in a warm place. You want the butter to stay liquid until you're ready to use it.

To make the soup, heat the butter in your largest pot or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and a bit of salt. Saute for a few minutes, or until the onions start to get translucent. Stir in the potatoes and squash and cook for another 7-10 minutes, or until the squash starts to soften up. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of the stock (most of it) - the stock should just barely cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, roughly another 25 minutes. Remove the soup from heat, puree completely with a hand blender, then stir in the buttermilk. If you need to thin the soup out with a bit more stock, you can do so. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve each bowl topped with plenty of the cumin butter, and a sprinkling of chives.

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Enjoy!  The second night we enjoyed it with Ratatouille/Bufalo Mozzarella Panini's!  A great summer soup and sandwich combo!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Things I learned this weekend!

I was a bachelor this weekend, Nana took a trip to Rhode Island and joined up with our Daughter-in-law and her posse and they all went to Cape Cod for a Melissa Etheridge concert. 

So Saturday I had made a plan to go to the Brooklyn Flea Market to check it out but the TV weatherman was reporting thunderstorms in New Jersey were moving in and flash flooding warnings were posted. So I figured I'd stay in and avoid getting wet.  PS we had a 20 minute shower around 6 p.m.

After collecting some new recipes from the Internet and putting them into Mastercook, I decided to clean the kitchen.  I started by scrubbing a grill pan that didn't get a good cleaning last week.  I heated up some water and baking soda in it and it boiled over making a mess on the stove top.  So once the pan was clean I cleaned the stove top.  Then I started on the counter top, put all the utensils and their crocks into the dishwasher and scrubbed the counter top and the stainless steel back splash.  A few hours later I was done and made dinner.  After dinner I unloaded the dishwasher and put everything back together the way it should be and made a plan to wash the floor in the morning.

Today, I decided to try out the new Beer Can Chicken Roaster I got via UPS on Thursday.  I'd make a nice roast chicken for Nana's return home dinner.  So off to the store I go, returning with a bounty of food and a plan to spend the afternoon cooking.  I started by brining the chicken with Herbes de Provence added to the salted & sugared brine.

Then I started to make Ragu Bolognese from a Mario Batali recipe. I had printed it out but hadn't made the adjustment for smaller quantity so I was dickering with the calculations in my head.  I rarely measure out olive oil but decided I'd better make a perfect mis en place so I didn't need to continuously recalculate the measurements as I was cooking.  I put the needed 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small prep bowl and set it onto the cutting board.  Just as I was putting the last two items for my mis en place in their containers I bumped the little bowl of olive oil and it spilled onto the counter.  Since my bamboo cutting board sits on feet, the olive oil ran under it.  

So here's what I learned: always resize the recipe before printing; don't bother measuring out olive oil, since I'm a klutz and will probably spill it; and the kitchen counter is not level as the oil ran down the entire length of the counter towards the sink.  Once it was spread out it looked like a lot more than 1/4 cup!!

I debated about cleaning it up, which would now require removing all the mis en place to another location.  I decided to blot up only the section of counter nearest the stove, (possible fire danger) and start cooking, and once all the mis en place was used, and the sauce simmering then I could clean up the mess!

Eventually, I was able to get this accomplished and moved onto making a big batch of Ratatouille; a Summer Squash & Buttermilk Soup to be eaten cold tomorrow night; and the Roasted Chicken we enjoyed for dinner.  I filled the container with red wine and a fresh bouquet garni of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme.  Along with the chicken I roasted onions, potatoes and baby carrots.  With a salad of Spring Mix Greens and thin slices of Ciabatta toasted we had a very satisfying meal!

And the other thing I learned, I probably shouldn't deep clean the kitchen the day before I'm cooking four meals for the week!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chicken (under a brick) with Black Pepper Maple Sacue

This is another recipe from Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie that I was inspired by while working on the elliptical!  They used two cast iron skillets and cans for weight.  Since storage is an issue in our NY apartment I've never invested in a second Cast Iron skillet--especially since I'd probably only ever use one at a time anyway! So I decided to finally go buy two bricks from Home Depot.  Bonus: they only cost 65 cents each!  A lot cheaper than another skillet! 

Now wrapped in foil. I didn't have heavy duty so I double wrapped them to in case the foil ripped:

First you Spatchcock the chicken:

If you've never done this along with the description in the recipe this site Cookthink has beautiful step by step photos!

I used a combo of canola oil and butter in place of all butter.

Cooking the chicken this way was awesome, filled the apartment with a delicious aroma.  There are many recipes for this process and many will have you start it on top of the stove and finish in the oven, which I do with lots of recipes, but I followed the recipe and cooked it on top of the stove the whole time.  Didn't need to heat up the kitchen more than it was!  Also listening to the crackling of the chicken was complimentary to the wonderful smells!  I did cook my chicken a little longer based on my instant read thermometer checks.

The sauce is amazing! Nana, who isn't the biggest fan of Chicken on the bone devoured her portion including the wonderful crispy skin!  Enjoy!

Chicken with Black Pepper-Maple Sauce

Recipe By :Paul Grimes and Ruth Cousineau

Serving Size : 4

1 whole chicken -- 3 1/2 lb
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 sprigs rosemary
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup dark amber or Grade B maple syrup
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Special equipment:kitchen shears; 2 (10-inch) heavy skillets (one well-seasoned cast-iron or heavy nonstick); a 10-inch round of parchment paper; 5 to 6 lb of weights such as 3 (28-oz) cans of tomatoes

Cut out backbone from chicken with kitchen shears and discard. Pat chicken dry, then spread flat, skin side up, on a cutting board. Cut a 1/2-inch slit on each side of chicken in center of triangle of skin between thighs and breast (near drumstick), then tuck bottom knob of each drumstick through slit. Tuck wing tips under breast. Sprinkle chicken all over with salt and ground pepper.

Heat 3 tablespoons butter in 10-inch cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Add chicken, skin side down, and arrange larger rosemary sprigs over chicken. Cover with parchment round and second skillet, then top with weights. Cook chicken until skin is browned, about 15 minutes. Remove and reserve weights, top skillet, parchment, and rosemary, then carefully loosen chicken from skillet with a spatula. Turn chicken over and re-place rosemary sprigs, then re-cover with parchment, skillet, and weights. Cook until chicken is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Make sauce while chicken cooks:

Toast peppercorns in a dry 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board and coarsely crush with a rolling pin. Return peppercorns to saucepan and bring to a simmer with syrup, 1/2 cup broth, and small rosemary sprig, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a platter and loosely cover with foil. Add vinegar to skillet and deglaze, boiling and scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in maple mixture and remaining 1/4 cup broth and boil until slightly syrupy, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and swirl in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season sauce with salt and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Serve chicken with sauce.

"Diary of a Foodie: Season Three: Montreal: Cooking on the Wild Side"
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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A Confluence of Summer Salads

I've been saying for years that most people find it hard to eat in the summer heat and tend to loose weight, but I'm the opposite.  Since everything is so fresh, and usually has less fat involved I tend to eat more!  So as I approached the kitchen tonite to make something with Shrimp from the freezer I knew I'd like to make a plated salad with avocado and an heirloom tomato I'd just purchased while out today.  Other than that I had no plan. 

I created a rub for the shrimp with a plan to marinate for awhile and then grill in the grill pan.  So instead of following a recipe I found calling for lots of dried herbs I subbed lots of fresh herbs that I had on hand.  I combined Cilantro, Oregano, Chives, Lime Zest with Garlic Powder, Ancho Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika,  Ground White Pepper and Kosher Salt.  Tossed the defrosted and dried peeled and deveined shrimp with the rub and drizzled with olive oil.

Next I combined shredded carrot, julienned jicama, celery, red pepper, and cucumber and chopped cilantro.  Salted with kosher salt and dressed with rice wine vinegar combined with small amount of sugar and a dash of olive oil spiced with chili pepper.

Digging through the fridge I found some frozen Edamame and decided to combine them with the extra Farfalle pasta I cooked and cooled with only a drizzle of olive oil.  So chopped red onion, red pepper and celery combined with the pasta and edamame needed a dressing.  Aha, let's make a Miso dressing!  A quick Internet search turned up this one on Recipezaar!  It was perfect adding a healthy helping of chopped cilantro, see the theme?

Sliced up the heirloom tomato and avocado tossed them with lime juice, lime zest, cilantro and kosher salt.  Grilled the shrimp and plated all over a bed of torn romaine!  A very filling meal!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Beet Gazpacho

One of the DVR'd shows I enjoy while I'm working out on the elliptical is Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie.  I'm always trying to make a mental note to go grab certain recipes from thier site on the Internet but then forget after the workout and a shower.  Last week I finally sat down and reviewed the recipes online for two seasons worth of shows.  Grabbing some I didn't even remember seeing!

This one for Beet Gazpacho was one of those that I only have a vague memory of seeing on the show.  But as I read it I imagined the glorious color it would be and thinking the mouthfeel would be awesome so I decided it would be worth the effort.

On Sunday I hit the kitchen to make a few things, Beet Gazpacho, Sun-dried Tomato Foccacia, English Muffin Bread, and Chicken en Papillote.  My theory being that if you're gonna be hot, might as well cook a bunch of stuff and get it over with!

The plan was for the soup to be Monday's dinner with a Chef's Salad after cooking in Manhattan.  It's a very simple preparation here's a picture of the sauteing of the ingredients:

Two adjustments to the recipe that I made: 1 cup of vegetable broth and 3 cups of water in place of 4 cups of water. And the garnish--remembering the many gazpachos we've enjoyed over the years one of our outstanding favorite things to do is add some cut up veggies at the table.  So I chopped some cucumber tossed it with sea salt, white balsamic vinegar and lots of dill, after 10 minutes I combined this with Greek Yogurt and placed dollops in the center of the bowls. YUM!!!

Here's the original recipe:

Beet Gazpacho


Serving Size : 6 
1 medium leek (white and pale-green parts only) -- halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped
2 beets (3/4 lb without greens) -- peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 medium onion -- sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 Granny Smith apple -- peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar -- or to taste
1 bouquet garni (2 large sprigs fresh parsley and 2 large sprigs fresh thyme tied together with kitchen string)
2 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped dill

Wash leek in a large bowl of water, agitating it, then lift out and drain well.
Cook leek, beets, onion, and apple in oil in a heavy medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add water, vinegar, bouquet garni, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and cook at a bare simmer, uncovered, until vegetables and apple are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Discard bouquet garni.
Puree soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then chill, covered once cool, until cold.
Just before serving, season soup with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Serve cold, drizzled with yogurt and sprinkled with dill.
Cooks' note: Soup can be chilled up to 3 days.

"Diary of a Foodie: Season Two: Baja: The New Provence"
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Monday, July 05, 2010

Sun-dried Tomato Foccacia

As promised here's the story:  I don't bake great bread, but I will put the ingredients into the breadmaker and enjoy whatever comes out!  A year or two ago I discovered this recipe for Sun-dried Tomato Foccacia and I  attempted it and it (surprisingly) came out great.  So I've made it a few times since.  It uses only the dough cycle on the machine, plus 1 minute of hand kneading, a short time in an oiled bowl, then rolled out onto the baking pan for another rise and finally baked after brushing with olive oil and adding cheese and seasoning.  I did something different this time, I used Napastyle Citrus Rosemary Gray Salt on top with the cheese, in place of garlic salt and rosemary and it is amazing!

Sun Dried Tomato Foccacia

1 cup water -- plus 1 tablespoon water
3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons powdered milk
3 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
Olive oil
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons crushed rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Place water, flour, powdered milk, sugar, salt, butter or margarine, tomatoes, and yeast into bread machine in the order suggested by the machine's manufacturer. Set to Dough cycle, and start the machine.

When the bread machine has finished the Dough cycle, take the dough out. Knead for 1 minute by hand. Place in an oiled bowl, and turn a few times to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise for 15 minutes in a warm place.

Dust a 10- by 15-inch baking tray with cornmeal. Roll out dough to fit the pan. Make indentations in the dough with your finger tips. Brush top surface with oil, and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with Parmesan, rosemary, garlic salt, and mozzarella. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until nicely browned. Cool slightly, and cut into squares for serving. 

"Bread Recipe.Com (ABM recipe collection) at"

As in Life: you need to Try It so I can say---He Likes It--Hey Mikey!!

Saturday in the City

We trekked into the city on Saturday afternoon, in the heat!  Our theory was that Sunday was promised to be hotter and more crowded!  Nana wanted to head to Central Park to snap some pictures of Victorian Gardens so we strolled through the park, something we haven't done in a very long time.  After the gardens we hit the Carousel; The Mall with many performing street acts; Naumbung Bandshell; Bethesda Terrace and Fountain; the Lake and checked out the menu at the Loeb Boathouse; and finally on to the Conservatory Water pool where they sail model sail boats and we rested near the Alice in Wonderland statue.  It was a great time revisiting sights we remember seeing for the first time 40 years ago and then showing them to our kids 20 years ago.

We exited the park at 76th Street and caught a bus down 5th Avenue to the Plaza Hotel.  Walked to 57th window shopping in Bergdorf's  and across to 6th Avenue.  Our destination was Rue 57 Brasserie Parisienne et Sushi Bar.  We had stopped here a few years ago after a Saturday Matinee on Broadway for drinks and ended up having a few appetizers at the bar.  This time we were going to have a proper meal and a bottle of wine. We sat on the Sixth Avenue side in the open window just one table from the sidewalk cafe portion. Thus taking advantage of the airconditioning but enjoying the ambiance of alfresco dining!

The restaurant bills itself as: The city's only brasserie-sushi bar! Not sure why they went with the combo, but it seems to work.  They offer a good amount of seafoods in addition to the sushi.  As we are much more into Francophile favorites we chose to stick with the Brasserie side of the menu.

We shared the  BUTTER LETTUCE SALADE sliced pear, sundried tomatoes, parmesan, house vinaigrette.  The vinegar pronounced dressing complimented the sundried tomatoes and sparked up the butter lettuce and pear slices. A very good choice on such a hot day. The wine of choice was a Californian Fume Blanc with just the right amount of crispness to be cooling and refreshing.

Nana's entree was the Plat Du Jour: SEA SCALLOPS with truffle mashed potato, spinach and asparagus and crispy onion garnish. She said it was great, I tasted the truffle mashed potatoes and could have made a meal of them!

My dish of choice was: POTATO CRUSTED SALMON with melted leeks, crimini mushroom ragoût and barolo sauce.  It was really very good. The Barolo sauce was perfectly reduced to that just before syrup stage and added a nice depth to the dish.

While this is no 5 star establishment, we found the food tasty, well cooked and beautifully presented. Our server was friendly and attentive and plates were cleared by staff efficiently and only when we both had completed our courses.

We skipped dessert and decided to walk over to the Time Warner Center for some retail therapy.  Our two favorite spots there are of course Williams-Sonoma and Borders.  No purchases this time, just loads of drooling! 

From there we trekked home on the subway, air-conditioned thankfully!  It was about an 8 hour visit to the city starting around 2:30 and returning home just after 10:30.  We always enjoy our holiday treks, seems like so many depart the city and we invade it! 

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Keep an eye out for these reports:
Chicken cooked under a brick with Black Pepper Maple Sauce
Chicken with Mustard/Lemon/Shallots en Papillote
Beet Gazpacho
Sun-dried Tomato Foccacia
English Muffin Bread