NYC eating…

I was lucky enough to be back in NYC recently for a day of eating.  FE and I hadn’t been to Lupa for a while, mostly because we were spending our time at newer places, i.e. ABC Kitchen, Upland.  There’s only so much eating one can do in a day!

Lupa did not disappoint.  We’ve been eating there for about 8 years, and the food and service are consistently great.  We shared the veal saltimbocca, which was delectable as usual.  The irony of this is that I don’t really like veal, nor do I like prosciutto.  Go figure.

I had the cacio e pepe pasta, and FE had the bucatini l’amatriciana.  Both were stellar.  Lupa is a great place for a leisurely weekday lunch, right by the open front on a nice day. We rolled out for a long walk afterwards.

It was back to our favorite restaurant of all time (really), Union Square Cafe.  We were lucky enough to snag a dinner reservation in the dining room on a weekend night.  We started with the complimentary whole wheat sourdough bread with homemade butter and olives, as well as the polenta.  I was skeptical about ordering the polenta because it seems like such an ordinary item to order in a restaurant.  However, this polenta may have been the best thing I ate on this particular day.  It was creamy, and it was obvious that the pesto and roasted tomatoes on top were made with a lot of care.  I could have eaten an entire meal of this.

FE had the burger, which tasted great.  Even the pickles were tasty.  I had the chitarra pasta, which was made with heirloom tomatoes, ricotta, and calabrian chiles.  The flavor of this dish was indescribable, but I’ll give it a try – crunchy, delicate, and subtle, all at the same time.  I can’t see myself ordering anything else next time we return.

Even though I was full, I had to order the black forest tart for dessert.  It didn’t disappoint.  I’ll admit that their chocolate pecan tart is still my favorite, but this was a good summer substitute.  I ordered it sans caramel and with mint chocolate chip ice cream, instead of the fior de latte.

I’m already planning our return.

 

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NYC eating…

Cincinnati eating…

Just realized that my last post was my 100th post – yay!  This will be quick, I wanted to mention a restaurant I tried recently in Cincinnati called “Smoq”.  Generally, I’m not a big fan of red meat.  However, I was on a work trip and the people I was with wanted to meet at this place.

I had the beef brisket sandwich with homemade bbq chips.  It was delicious!  I probably won’t eat bbq again for a long time, but it was a nice treat.  Highly recommend.

Cincinnati eating…

My thoughts on #thespoilsofwar and #ripolenna

Wow, sorry readers.  I just realized I was so jammed up last week that I didn’t get to post on the passing of one of my favorite characters, The Queen of Thorns.  May she rest in peace.  “The Queen’s Justice” was a great episode, but this week’s was even better.  We finally got to see some real dragon ass-kicking.

I’ll admit I was disappointed by the Jaime death fake out, which seemed a bit cheap considering the usual high quality of this show.  As FW pointed out, D2 would have made it crystal clear if the hottest knight in Westeros was really dead (“hottest knight” being my phrase, not his).  FW also has a theory, which I think is plausible, that Jaime has to stick around so that we believe he killed Cersei, when in fact the killer is Arya, disguised as Jaime.  Did you get all that?

I enjoyed the Jon Snow/Theon reunion if only because all the worlds are coming full circle now and colliding.  I presume they’ll band together to defeat Euron and save Yara, but since that is an easily-predicted theory, I’m probably wrong.

I feel like the show is really building us up for a spectacular Cersei fall/death.  I may have more thoughts on this episode once I rewatch it this week.

 

 

My thoughts on #thespoilsofwar and #ripolenna

My (delayed) thoughts on Stormborn

I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot to say about this week’s episode.  My regular readers know that I find Arya terribly boring, and the same applies to Samwell.  Since they took up a lot of space on this episode, I’ll keep this brief.

It’s obvious that Sam is going to cure Jorah, and Jorah will probably save Daenerys out of nowhere at some point.  I’ll admit I’m over Jorah and his lack of a storyline.  He served a purpose for the first few seasons but his character feels extraneous to me.  Especially since there are so many other delicious characters to spend time with (see Lady Olenna, Lady Mormont, et al.).

How long have we waited for Daenerys to be in the same room with Ellaria, Yara, AND Olenna, with a side of Tyrion and Varys?  You can see how D2 is bringing all of the various factions into one place for the wars to come.  The irony is that no one besides boring Jon Snow is focused on the real threat.  I’m still trying to figure out who the leaker is.

I guess I have to talk about the ambush scene at the end.  The special effects were awesome, to be sure.  However, Euron and his crazy eyes are just too much.  FW believes he’ll get killed by the end of this season, and I hope he’s right.  I like Yara’s character but I’m not sure what will happen to her.  I expect that Ellaria is the “gift” Euron promised to Cersei.

Oh, Theon.  I have no words.

My (delayed) thoughts on Stormborn

NYC eating

We made our second visit to the revamped Union Square Cafe in NYC recently.  I’ve now confirmed that it is my favorite restaurant of all time.  The best way to describe it is simple, comfortable elegance.  Even though it’s an expensive, fine dining establishment, I always feel welcome and everyone who works there is dedicated to ensuring that the patrons have a great time.

We were lucky enough to snag a table on the second floor this time.  We started out sharing the beef carpaccio appetizer.  It was served with crostini, and it was delicious.  Sourdough bread was complimentary (also delicious).

FE had the frascatelli, which had guanciale, peas, and black pepper cream.  He enjoyed it.  I had the ricotta gnocchi.  Gnocchi can be tough to get at a restaurant, but here it’s always on point.  This time was no exception.  The gnocchi were light and fluffy, and the sauce was the perfect amount.  Ironically, it was topped with pecorino cheese, which I usually hate, but on this it works.

The finale was of course, dessert.  I can’t go to this restaurant and not get dessert.  This was my last dessert before I embarked on my #nodessert challenge (I’m now on day 15 of 30).  FE had the chocolate espresso cake, and I had the chocolate pecan tart.  Both desserts were phenomenal!  The tart had the edge for me, because of the simplicity of the chocolate mousse paired with the crunch of the crust and pecans.

I can’t wait to return, but not until I finish day 30!

NYC eating

So many random thoughts #dragonstone

My mind is all over the place today for a lot of reasons, one of which is that I stayed up past my bedtime to watch the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere (so worth it!).  I’ll leave the detailed recap to the rest and just give you my randos:

1.I am still bored of Arya’s storyline.  I know, it’s crazy, she’s a cool child assassin and all, but it took too long to come to fruition and frankly, I don’t give a crap about the Freys.

2.I couldn’t see anything in man-bun’s fire?  Was I supposed to?  Is it a hoax?  Does my failure to see it simply confirm my atheism?

3.Speaking of which, did someone bring The Hound back to life?  I just presumed he recovered after his fight with Brienne.  However, I think I missed something because they referenced him being resurrected last night.

4.Was Dragonstone this cool when Stannis lived there?  I seem to recall that most of those scenes were shot at night, and he never sat on that cool dragon throne.  Perhaps the Lord of Light frowns on such indulgences.

5.It seems obvious that Arya will be the one to kill Cersei so I’m going with Jaime.  I suspect she’ll plot something truly evil that will threaten ordinary citizens (a la the mad king) and history will repeat itself.

6.I need Brienne and Tormund to get together.  That is all.

7.Who is kissing Yara in the scene’s for next week?  It looked like Jon Snow but I can’t imagine that’s true.

8.Euron’s new look is very American Idol contestant, season one.  I loved the leather jacket though.  I think he’s planning to bring back Tyrion as a hostage.  Perhaps that’s where theory #5 comes in.

9.Sam Tarly is so boring.  I love books and libraries, but he and his storyline are so dull.  Please shortcut his scenes, D & D.

10.Wondering how and when Lady Olenna and the Sand Snakes will make an appearance?

 

So many random thoughts #dragonstone

Miami eating…

Fellow eater and I spent some time in Miami recently and had a great time eating, especially since it was raining and/or overcast most of the time.  No complaints here though as we still had a culinary blast.

We had lunch at Stephen Starr’s “Le Zoo” in the Bal Harbour Shops for the first time.  FE had the burger and fries, and I had the crab and avocado salad.  Both were delicious.  I’ve noticed in the past that the portion sizes in Bal Harbour and its environs are smaller, and Le Zoo was no exception.  The portions are designed for the “ladies who lunch” crowd and the exceptionally thin people who reside in South Florida.  So order accordingly!

We had dinner at another Starr location, “Upland”.  We’ve been to the NYC location (see prior post) and the menus are similar.  I personally thought the food was better at the NYC location, mainly because the dessert I had was not available at the Miami location (chocolate budino).  This meal was still very good.  We decided to order two pastas each.  I had the bucatini cacio e pepe, which I also had at the NYC location, and we both had the rigatoni bolognese.  FE also had the sausage and kale pasta.  All of the dishes were excellent.  I’m giving a slight edge to the NYC location since that bucatini had more pepper on it, which I love.  I had the chocolate mousse for dessert, which was just ok.

We had lunch at yet another Starr location, “Steak 954”, which is in Fort Lauderdale.  This was a repeat visit for us and did not disappoint.  We sat outside on the covered patio even though it was pouring rain.  No matter.  FE had the grouper sandwich, and I had the grilled chicken sandwich.  Both very good.  Dessert was ice cream at Hoffman’s on Las Olas in FL, which was definitely my favorite dessert this trip.  I had the stellar coffee with calypso chocolate, and FE had a chocolate milkshake.

We had dinner at “Zuma” in Brickell, which is another repeat visit.  Zuma never disappoints.  FE and I shared the rock shrimp, spicy beef tenderloin, sushi, and grilled scallops.  The sushi was my favorite dish of the week (FE agreed).

We had two lunches at “The Grill” at Bal Harbour, both of which were excellent.  The Grill is located on the second floor of the Bal Harbour Shops, with a lovely view of palm trees and Collins Avenue.  FE had the french dip sandwich and the caesar salad with chicken.  I had the veggie club sandwich with chicken and the seared ahi tuna salad.  We shared the warm bread plate and dip duo for appetizers.  These were probably our favorite lunches on this trip.  The Grill does everything right, from service to food quality.

I’m looking forward to returning to South Florida soon to revisit the above, and to check out some new places.  Happy eating!

Miami eating…