To continue the journey of my final few days in New York, I decided to indulge in one of New York’s most beloved traditions. Brunch. Not just your mundane eggs benedict brunch at blah blah cafe, but the Gossip Girl-esque, Upper East Side brunch at the famous Norma’s located in Le Parker Meridien. The restaurant is always packed and you might have a better chance of winning the lotto than scoring a reservation here. That’s saying a lot for a restaurant that is only open till 3pm and serves only breakfast fare. As soon as you’re seated, you’re greeted with a delicious strawberry fruit smoothie shot, sweet touch (pun intended). Now Norma’s is notorious for a few items: the $1,000 breakfast frittata, and their fresh squeeze orange juice. Unfortunately, I can only afford the latter, but not by much. What do I mean? A glass of orange juice at Norma’s will not only cost you a pretty penny, but bring along a pretty gold bar as well. At a whopping $9, I better be served the damn nectar of the gods. The fact is hard to deny though, their orange juice is absolutely phenomenal and the silver lining is that you get unlimited refills, and boy did I exploit it.Another thing to note: The servings at Norma’s were not meant for those petite twigs you see on Gossip Girl, but for full blown lumberjacks with badass grizzly beards. The Scrambled Eggs and Bacon Breakfast Quesadilla with Monterey Jack Cheese, Guacamole and Salsa clearly represents what I mean. Despite the ginormous serving, the quesadilla is packed with flavor, mostly the juicy delicious bacon. However, a few pieces in you start to question yourself, is it really worth $21? perhaps..Next up we have the highly touted Potato Pancakes. As described in their menu, a James Beard award winning recipe with Homemade Cranberry Apple Sauce and Sweet Carrot Payasam. Simply put, this dish was garbage. The pancakes were cold and tasted like cardboard. I would’ve actually been irate if they served this to me on an airplane. No joke, but I’ve actually had better food at the free breakfast buffet at the Holiday Inn. If you told me this trash cost $21, I would tell you to gag yourself with a sock, blow your head off and drown yourself in the ocean.
Food: 5.5/10 – How could you honestly serve those potato pancakes? I’m still steaming..
Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – The restaurant is absolutely beautiful, but takes a hit because of the pretentious crowd.
Service: 6.5/10 – Service was a bit slow, but wasn’t terrible. My orange juice stayed refilled, so that’s a plus.
Value: 2/10 – Dinner prices for some bacon and eggs? I’ll pass.
Posted in Brunch
Tagged Bacon, Breakfast, Brunch, eggs, Guacamole, Le Parker Meridien, Normas, Orange Juice, Pancakes, Potato, Quesadilla, Salsa, Smoothie
Williamsburg, Brooklyn has started to assume the role of being the best place to grab a bite in New York. For some reason, even though I knew about all the deliciously wonderful food, I never found myself east of the East River all too often. After a recent visit to Fette Sau, Billysburg may start to become my new favorite eating locale. How can you not love a place named “fat pig” in French (edit: it’s German)?When you enter the dining area, you’re completely overwhelmed with the sense that you’re no longer in New York and that you’re simply within a dream. If I planted an Inception in your mind that this entire eating experience took place in Kansas, would you accept that reality? This is my ideal wallpaper, covered with labeled butchered meats. How awesome would it be, if it was like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and you could lick and taste the meat. Drool.Fette Sau is equipped with a rotating menu, so basically the meat that you can order for the night is based on luck. But trust me when I say, everything is marvelous. To order, you approach a tiny counter with a man taking orders on how many pounds of which meat you would like to have, butcher style. He weighs out your meat, throws it on a sheet pan, and you’re on your way.I’m terribly sorry for the horrific pictures. As many of you know, I’m an over-passionate food fanatic. And when I literally laid eyes upon the cornucopia of deliciousness, my mind had gone into a frenzy. The spread contains from top to bottom clockwise, Burnt Ends Baked Beans, Hand Pulled Berkshire Shoulder, Spicy Berkshire Sausage, Berkshire Pork Belly (Bacon), Berkshire St Louis Style Pork Ribs, Dante’s German Potato Salad, and Boneless Beef Ribs. They’re served with a mountain of dinner rolls and bottles and bottles of BBQ sauce. The epitome of food coma or the “itis.” This picture may send Bourdain into cardiac arrest. Every single piece of meat was seasoned and cooked to perfection. There wasn’t a single bite nor a single second that I wasn’t entranced in utter euphoria. I was in BBQ heaven.The Pork Belly is peeping out to say hi. So tender, so unctuous, so flavorful. The pork sausages were some of the best I’ve had, with the harmonious snap of their casing contained in every bite. The spicy heat that its packed with slowly creeps up on you and leaves you wanting more. I call it the “Flamin Hot Cheetos Phenomena.” Where if something is both equally spicy and delicious, you can’t help but continue eating to combat the heat. If you asked me what my favorite meat of the day was, I would probably have gone with the Boneless Beef Ribs. Now usually, I’m not a huge fan of beef ribs. But these badasses were succulent, juicy, and laced with flavor. Oh, by the way, did I ever mention that you can order beer by the gallon here? Bravo, bravo. Standing ovation.
Fette Sau Scores:
Food: 9/10 – I think it’s because I’m a sucker for BBQ.
Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – I love the outdoor seating, and the backyard BBQ feel. The mosquitoes buzzing around the obnoxiously drunk individuals added to the flair.
Service: 7.5/10 – Even though it’s cafeteria style and you find open seating. The people working behind the counter were genuine and helpful.
Value: 8/10 – Stuff your face as well as getting enough left overs to feed me for 2 days straight. That’s value baby. At around $20 per person its a steal for New York City, but for Brooklyn? We’ll see.
While stuck at work on a mundane day, my friend Christina decided to bring me over some sandwiches. Not just your average ham and cheese and be done with sandwich, but a couple of glorious ones from Tiny’s Giant Sandwich Shop in Lower East Side.The Spicy Rizzak, quite possibly their most famous sandwich, is comprised of Sliced Turkey, Crispy Bacon, Melted Cheddar, Tomato, Onion, and Hot Chipotle Mayo on a Sesame Semolina Hero. To be honest, it’s really really good, but I think it would be perfect with Chicken. Every little fluffy rabbit’s dream, the Cold Turkey Sandwich. Just eating this bad boy made me feel like I extended my life by a couple of months. The sandwich has Sliced Turkey over a spread of Avocado, Swiss Cheese, Alfalfa Sprouts, and Carrots on a 7-Grain Baguette. I felt like a rabbit eating the sandwich, and a bird picking the seeds off the bread. Joking aside, the sandwich is marvelous and I would definitely get it again (if I ever go on a diet and don’t order the Spicy Rizzak).
I never understood why hot dogs became synonymous with New York, never really had a good one here yet. Gray’s Papaya, Papaya Dog, whatever combination of the words Gray’s, Papaya and Dog have come up short. Actually, what I’m really craving is..
Anybody wanna take an impromptu trip to Chile with me just for hot dogs?
One day around St. Marks, I was craving a snack. What better than a simple hot dog. What better than the highly touted hot dogs at Crif Dog.
The entrance of both Crif Dog and the now highly public speakeasy, PDT (Please Don’t Tell). After you fight through the crowd of party people trying to fit into the small phone booth to reach their precious bar, you stumble into the diner-esque eating area of Crif Dog.My friend ordered the simple New Yorker with Mustard.Sorry for the bad picture, I was too excited to take a good one. Behold the Chihuahua, an all-beef Hot Dog wrapped in Bacon, topped with Avocados and Sour Cream. I was also craving Tater-Tots (which I totally should’ve topped with chili and cheese). Everything about this hot dog screams perfection. I love bacon wrapped hot dogs, I love avocado, I love sour cream, but I don’t love this hot dog. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it just doesn’t come together and seems to be missing something. Oh how much I want to go to Chile.
Crif Dog Scores:
Food: 6.5/10 – Maybe it would taste better after a night of binge drinking next door.
Restaurant Environment: 4/10 – I loathe crowds of people, especially when most of them are there for something else.
Service: 8/10 -Maybe it was the start of her shift, but the employee was full of spunk and was genuinely charming.
Value: 4/10 – Novelty priced hot dogs, without that Novelty Hot Dog Taste.
I came here with a couple of friends to grab a quick lunch before work. My friend ordered the Miss Patty’s Chicken Sammy, I didn’t try it so I can’t really rate it. But looks good with all that bacon! That’s all the positive comments you’ll get today Chat and Chew!Supposedly one of Chat and Chew’s signature dishes, The Quintessential Macaroni and Cheese. However, the only thing that’s quintessential about the mac and cheese is its name. Maybe they should just rename it to just plain Kraft Mac and Cheese, because that’s essentially what it is, albeit jazzed up a bit with some better macaroni and a layer of bread crumbs. You can’t knock Chat and Chew about their portion sizes though, with them trying to become the leading contributor of American obesity and all. Honestly though, I’m a terrible eater and I love mac and cheese, but there has to be a limit somewhere before eating a plate the size of a baby full of mac and cheese. At $11, no thank you, I’m heading over east to S’Mac. Now onto the piece de resistance, my plate, the TV Dinner with hair. WHAT?! Yes, I said it. The TV Dinner with a side of hair. Upon first inspection, this plate is pretty damn awesome with so many delicious sides. However, looking closer you find a smaller edible order of their Kraft Mac and Cheese, a green bean casserole that was simply some string beans (which were barely sauteed for a minute) topped with what I’m guessing was Campbells’ cream of mushroom, mediocre mashed potatoes, and a chicken fried steak with some packaged gravy. Now the kicker was that for that extra intense flavor, the chicken fried steak is breaded with real human hair! Revolutionary! After finding a long strand of hair attached to my steak, I raised my hand for what seemed like hours only to be ignored. I felt like Peter Griffin (sorry for the shitty quality). After finally noticing me, the waitress quickly took my plate back after I informed her about the situation. I waited for roughly 10 minutes and got my new and improved meal. COOL! they topped the nasty green beans with some nasty fried onions! No way! they gave me an extra piece of their hair breaded chicken! My appetite is officially satiated. It’s really disheartening trying to eat something in fear of finding a little something extra. No Thanks.
I guess the moral to this story is, if you find your portion size to small and just want more food, find some hair.
Chat and Chew Scores:
Restaurant Environment: 2/10
This weekend I had decided to make a very impromptu trip up to Connecticut to visit my friend and sample what he dubs the best pizza ever. I’ll be the judge of that.
After what seemed to be a very quick train ride (~1.5 hours), I arrived in New Haven. Instead of settling in, dropping my stuff, going to the bathroom, or whatever you would think of doing first – I wanted to get things done and experience this spectacular pizza for myself. Trotting through the quaint New England-esque streets of Yale, we quickly arrived at this bar like brick building which was called; well, Bar. This place already receives +10 brownie points for creativity (sarcasm).Brick brick brick everywhere! I feel like im in a BJs with the whole brewery ambience. The crowd is completely comprised of college students, maybe the proximity of Yale has something to do with it. When you glance over the menu it’s every college kid’s dream. Only beer, pizza, more beer, and a salad (for the days immediately after Thanksgiving and New Year where you vow to become a skinny bitch). The house microbrew Toasted Blonde was amazing. Smooth, crisp and clear with an intermediate texture of an Ale/Lager. Mashed potatoes on a pizza?! Damn right. Finally someone has the intellect to top something so awesome on a pizza. This might also be borderline thisiswhyyourefat material. My friend and I decided to go with a large half/half white pizza. Half bacon and mashed potatoes/half eggplant and sausage. When should I schedule my coronary?
Seeing all the other tables get their order was just torture. Hurryyyyy…..please…..
Now since I had to endure the agony, and because I’m evil – I’ll just let the next set of pictures do the talking. You better have ate your lunch already!
Crap. my stomach just growled. self-inflicted.
Mashed Potatoes and Bacon
Usually, when you get a novelty pizza so large, they cheat you on the toppings. Not at Bar. Every bite was covered with greasy flavorful bacon and garlicky smooth mashed potatoes. The other side was topped with tender breaded eggplant and a savory ground sausage. The New York style thin crust was crispy and light, but still had the strength to hold all the toppings. CPK you’ve met your match.
So this is the best pizza ever right?!? Not so fast. The pizza was great, don’t get me wrong. However, it was missing a key item that I couldn’t put my finger on that could tie the entire thing together and make it perfect. Maybe some sharp cheddar, green onions, sour cream.. I’m a fatty, but I just want to complete the whole mashed potatoes/baked potato characteristic of it. All said and done, the Bar pizza probably ranks in my Top 3 Pizzas of all time.
Restaurant Environment: 7/10