Tag Archives: Brunch

Norma’s

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.

Norma’s Scores:
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.

Overall: 5.5/10

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San Francisco Megapost

It’s that time again ladies and gentlemen, for me to take you on an extraordinary photograzing journey through another amazing city. This time it’s the hella delicious city of San Francisco.We’ll start with some delicious breakfast/brunch items at Mama’s.

Mama’s Northern Italian M’Omelette is a hearty egg omelette filled with Pancetta, Mushroom, Fresh Basil, Tomato and Garlic Jack Cheese. Next up is their Smoked Salmon Scramble with Green Onions, Home Fries and a Bagel with Cream Cheese. Too be honest, I thought the best part was the bagel. The actual scramble was pretty uneventful. Finally the Piece de Resistance, the famous Monte Cristo. Basically a Ham and Cheese sandwich grilled up french toast style and served with a Raspberry Preserve. This thing is phenomenal! Maybe it’s my love of melding sweet and savory in the early morning, but I’d have to say that it’s one of my all time breakfast faves.

What you need to know that I eventually ended up eating ice cream for breakfast for the final 2 days. How awesome is that? Stop number 1, Bi Rite Creamery. Now I know usually there’s a nice little line that you have to wait in to get your ice cream. Not for me! I’m a pioneer! Cup of coffee for breakfast? No way! Cup of ice cream please!Armed with a unique set of rotating flavors such as crème fraiche, honey lavender, salted caramel, and balsamic strawberry, it’s clear why Bi Rite is such a popular favorite around town.

Me? I ordered up a special known as Kris’ Kombo. A heavenly sundae comprised of 2 scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream, drizzled with Blood Orange Olive Oil, sprinkled with Maldon Sea Salt and finally topped with fresh Whipped Cream. Is it safe to say that this was the best ice cream that I’ve had in my life? Yeah, it sounds mundane with plain Vanilla, but once all the simple flavors marry together. It becomes my favorite ice cream in the world.  Bravo Bi Rite!Another thing to note is that I also got a Snickerdoodle cookie. My advice, just stick with the ice cream.After filling up on delicious sundaes what else is there to do besides grabbing more food? We headed a few blocks up to the famous and now closing (because of neighbor law suits for noise and people complaints, yada yada) Ike’s Place for sandwiches.Things to note about Ike’s Place: Cons: Long line, no dining area, very messy sandwiches. Pros: Great bottled drink selection, helpful staff, you get a free lollipop (the caramel apple one), and lastly, out of this world delicious novelty sandwiches.Did I mention that the sandwiches were also ingeniously named? We ordered their famous Manage a Trois and the (Name of Girl I’m Dating). I know I’m going to catch a lot of crap for not remembering what the third sandwich was, sue me.The Manage a Trois was a sloppy combination of Halal Chicken Breast, Real Honey, Honey Mustard, BBQ, PepperJack, Swiss and Smoked Gouda. Despite the saucy-ooey-gooey-stickiness, the flavor was phenomenal. Maybe I should’ve ordered it on Italian Hero instead of the Sourdough, it could’ve probably kept the sandwich better in tact.Next up, the (Name of Girl I’m Dating) is made with Halal Chicken Breast, Honey Mustard, Avocado, and PepperJack cheese. A fresh, cleaner and just as appetizing sandwich when compared to the Manage a Trois.

So Day 2 of my ice cream for breakfast adventure led me to Humphry Slocombe. Now if you thought Bi Rite had unique flavors (which I did), the ones at Humphry Slocombe will absolutely blow your effing mind. Flavors include Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Secret Breakfast (Bourbon and Cornflakes), Red Hot Banana, Balsamic Caramel, and lastly Jesus Juice (a sorbet comprised of Red Wine and Coke, go figure).Another great stop in San Francisco is their weekend Farmer’s Market at Ferry Building. With fresh food and a ton of vendors, it’s one of the biggest outdoor markets that I’ve been to. We ended up stopping at a vendor that created fresh sandwiches with produce obtained from the other purveyors at the market.Their Sockeye Smoked Salmon on Sourdough with Cream Cheese, Onions, Capers, Lemon, and Lavender Salt was jaw-droppingly good. The open face sandwich embodies the pure freshness associated with outdoor markets.Head up a few miles and you’ll hit the famous Pier 33, which you have to stop and grab some Clam Chowder. Lucky for me I bought a sourdough roll right before I left the Ferry Building. So I had something to slop up the warm chowder.Finally, my journey concluded in famous Chinatown. And what do you have to get when you’re in San Francisco Chinatown? That’s right, the Egg Tarts or Dan Ta’s at Golden Gate Bakery. After what seemed liked a half-hour wait (which I’ve been told is relatively short), I got my hands on a couple piping hot Dan Ta’s. Now, I’ve traveled all the way to Macau to grab a few bites of their famous Portuguese style Dan Ta’s, but can I tell you a secret? The ones in SF are better. The custard was perfect, albeit a tad hot, but hey, it kept me warm on a cool San Francisco night. Just thinking about that flaky crust makes me want to ask my pilot to divert this flight up to San Francisco (I’m writing this on the plane by the way). My favorite part of these Dan Ta’s? Standing outside and exaggerating my orgasmic face after slowly savoring each bite and making the people in line suffer while they wait patiently (or at least they try) for the next batch. What an asshole.

Cafe Habana

Ever since moving to New York, I’ve developed this insatiable desire for great Mexican food. However, great Mexican food and New York City are far from synonymous and actually non-existent (no matter what individuals may claim). So I guess I have to opt for the next best thing, some Cuban food. But it turns out, Cuban food is abso-fucking-lutely delicious. Make sure you get here early before Brunch/Lunch rushes because it definitely gets packed. But once you’re able to grab a seat, you feel as though you’re instantly transported to Havana with their well decorated ambiance. Let’s just start right off the bat with one of Cafe Habana’s most popular dishes, their Grilled Corn Mexican Style. The corn is grilled, buttered and then topped with chili powder and cheese. The addition of a squirt of lime will help you complete what will most likely be the best corn you’ve had in your entire life. A warm bowl of delicious, spicy chorizo is a perfect complement to any meal.On a fatty note: It’s 3:30AM at the moment, and this picture is making my tummy roar. The Cuban Sandwich is stuffed with delicately roasted pork, flavorful ham, with warm melted Swiss cheese, with pickles thrown in for an extra snap. I might have to run out tomorrow to pick one up. Actually, I might just run out to Cuba and become the anti-Elian Gonzalez. You know the dish is authentic when you probably can’t even pronounce it. The Chilaquiles Verdes con Pollo is just that. Corn tortilla and shredded chicken casserole cooked in a green tomatillo salsa and topped with crema and cotija cheese. Although it looks like a plate of mush, it’s a delicious plate of mush. Introducing the Sloppy Pepe, an open faced “Hangover Sandwich” that is topped with BBQ pulled pork hash and 2 eggs with habanero pickled onions. To be honest, even though the sandwich was marvelous, save yourself some time and money and go with the Cuban Sandwich. I didn’t touch the salad, because it just looked unappetizing.

Cafe Habana Scores:
Food: 8/10 – I may have found a great substitute for classic Mexican food.

Restaurant Environment: 7.5/10 – Getting a short trip to Cuba, without having to step onto a boat and without having to worry about any military forces is a definite plus. However, the restaurant is on the petite size. Ask Marshall Eriksen, he’ll tell you all about being too big for New York.

Service: 7.5/10 – Pretty average, but it is amazing how they can keep track of all the people waiting. However, a couple of mishaps led me to call the hostess a bitch, which I think she heard.

Value: 7.5/10 – Finding a NY restaurant with consistent items under $10 is splendid, but compared to Mexican food, I might be breaking the bank.

Overall: 7.5/10

Balthazar

So Today I had a nice New York Sunday Brunch at Balthazar before shopping around in SoHo.Upon entering, we were told that the walk-in wait would roughly be around 45 minutes. But we could try our luck at the cafe. Again, a 45 minute wait at the cafe. HOWEVER, we could sit at the ultra super tiny table in the middle of the cafe without waiting. We happily obliged.

O well, it definitely beats waiting. A $4 small cup of coffee?? only in New York.What to order… what to order…

Balthazar bartenders busy at work; and their beautifully stocked bar.I opted to get the Bar Steak with Maitre D Butter and Balthazar’s world famous Pommes Frites. Also made famous by Bobby Flay’s spectacular piece on Food Network’s ‘Best Thing I Ever Ate’. Yes, that is the same Chef Lee Hanson from Minetta Tavern; which was from the previous post – giving Minetta Tavern a share of the title of Best Fries Ever. As far as the steak, it was a little tough, but edible. It’s almost acts as though the steak is the side dish for the fries.

Oeufs en Meurette (Eggs in Red Wine) – Poached eggs in red wine with mushrooms and slab bacon.

Balthazar was a spectacular meal indeed. However, with all the strings attached (long wait, limited seating, impossible reservations,etc) it definitely dropped to a somewhat mediocre restaurant. I’m not extremely ecstatic to return back to Balthazar, but if you told me that we were going to grab a bite there, I’d definitely give you a “sure why not.”