[Lunch & Dinner] Charlie Bird

If you know me, you know I have a slight obsession with Charlie Bird‘s farro salad. Why obsess over a salad, you ask? Because it’s delicious, fresh, intriguing and somewhat guilt-free.

Charlie Bird NYC Farro Salad Beaches & Brie

This salad helped me appreciate pistachios in a brand new way because YES, it has pistachios! The parmesan shavings on top just add another level of saltiness greatness, making each bite come to life a bit more.

I have yet to recreate this salad at home but NYT Cooking and All Day I Eat have some great ideas on how to start!

Charlie Bird Cacio e Pepe NYC restaurant Beaches & Brie

Another Charlie Bird favorite? Their Cacio e Pepe. Creamy but so good, I mean, just look at it! They also have a prix fix lunch menu during the week where you can get a small plate (think: farro salad)  AND a pasta for $32. Not super cheap, I know, but it’s worth treating yourself to a nice lunch if you are in the area, especially if it’s a nice day out and you can take advantage of their outdoor seating.

gnocchi Charlie Bird Beaches & Brie

The gnocchi is also another solid option. Try starting with the burrata option, another great pick, but NEVER as a substitution to the farro salad. Promise?

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[Dinner] Casa Apicii

Do I try a new restaurant for a chance of greatness or do I go back to a restaurant I already know and love?

This is hands down my biggest challenge when deciding where to go eat. Sometimes I feel defeated by the realization that I will never be able to eat at every single restaurant in NYC and just opt for a classic spot, but more times than not I go to my ever-growing restaurant bucket list and just pull the trigger. 

Last week I went to Casa Apicii and despite the heat inside their back dining area, had an amazing meal.

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Let’s start with their house cocktail, the Casa Apicii. Their online menu says this drink is made with vodka, crème de peche, aloe, lemon and bitters… but I could have sworn the menu at the table said something about ginger. I love ginger. Still, whatever it had, it was absolutely amazing. Not too sweet or too bitter, and super refreshing.

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Next, the burrata. I mean, burrata by itself is already all my little heart needs but for it to come served on top of a pea purée with some crunchy, yet super thin bacon strips? Perfection. All the flavors came together nicely and took the burrata to the next level. Yes, such a next level exists.

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Last but not least (because let’s face it, am I really gonna have space for dessert?) … pasta! Now, before you go ahead and judge me for what looks like a very plain dish, let me tell you that the pasta was insanely good. It is as thick as pasta can be before it crosses the line to being too thick. It was also perfectly and evenly cooked. I don’t think I had ever enjoyed a pasta this thick. The sauce was not super heavy, yet it was loaded with flavor. Can’t go wrong with a classic! Brian had the pasta alla carbonara but was too hungry to let me take a picture of his plate. Ah, marriage.

Oh yeah, I got married. 🙂 (How about I tell you more about that soon?)

Back to Casa Apicii. Great meal, but come prepared to spend a little bit as things add up pretty quickly. Afterwards, you can enjoy a stroll through the neighborhood and admire the gorgeous buildings. Or you can be like me, get on the Path back to Hoboken and accidentally stop by Insomnia Cookies. 🙂

[Lunch] Italian Patio Vibes in Greenwich Village

In the hustle and bustle that can be New York City, I am always delighted to find a little oasis that makes you feel like you’ve traveled elsewhere, even if it’s just for a moment or in this case, a meal. Romagna Ready 2 Go is an authentic Italian restaurant, you can taste their commitment to quality food from your first bite.

Instead of starting with an appetizer, me and my friend decided to split a piadina. It resembles a panini, but it’s not quite the same. The stracchino cheese used was excellent and left me wanting for more.

For the main event, we went with two of the classics: the traditional cannelloni with ricotta and spinach and the lasagna. Both were made with fresh pasta and the combination of ingredients was the perfect culmination to our meal.

Romagna Garden

Just like the food, the space is full of little authentic Italian treasures, like the owner’s grandfather’s racing bicycle straight from Italy. Even if you are not in the mood to stuff your face with fresh Italian food (which if you are not, I’m judging you) the vibe at their outdoor patio is always welcoming and perfect for anything from a business lunch to meeting friends for a drink after work.

 

* Thank you to Romagna Ready 2 Go for a great meal and lovely service. Opinions are my own.*

Last Night for NYC Restaurant Week!

 

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NYC Restaurant Week, you know it’s happening, you’ve seen your friends snap about it, but have you actually made a reservation yet? Well, tonight is the last night, don’t miss out. To me, NYC Restaurant Week is an opportunity to go to those fancy restaurants you wouldn’t be able to afford without a special pre-fix menu, am I right? As you probably know, $38 gets you an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert. Not too shabby. If you are like me, you probably end up at a place where wine is $18 a glass and are forced to throw caution to the wind.

While we are in the subject of not caring about anything and eating what makes you happy, below are some pictures of my NYC Restaurant Week experience. I went to Montebello Restaurant and Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro. Italian and French, that’s my jam.

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Dinner at Montebello Restaurant was filling and satisfying. Our waiter was super nice and made some excellent recommendations. I got an eggplant parm… as an appetizer! You know you are about to feast when your appetizer is delicious and generous. They also had a nice selection to choose from, as opposed to other places where you can only pick from about two choices. My friend and I, avid eaters as we are, ordered two different entrees and shared. The Crespelle was delicious, think about a crêpe and a lasagna having a baby. Gross in theory, amazing in real life. It doesn’t stop there, we also ordered the Pollo Montebello, a delicious Parmesan crusted chicken, followed by cheesecake AND chocolate cake. Oops.

artisanal nyc restaurant week fondue beaches and brie

Last night, I went to heaven, I mean Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro. I got my own little Artisanal blend fondue as part of the restaurant week menu. Oh dear lord, hands down one of the best fondues I have ever had. I need to come back and try their truffle fondue, I can’t even imagine the goodness. I really enjoyed my fall cavatelli entrée with roasted squash, orange poppy seed cream and ricotta (yum, ricotta). Prices are a little high, so think about this as a place for celebratory dinners and special occasions.

It’s not too late to enjoy restaurant week, you still have lunch and dinner today, what are you waiting for?

[Dinner] Grano Trattoria

I love Italian food, as any sane person should. Cheese is everything, no questions asked. When it was time to pick where to go for my first birthday dinner (yes, there is more than one, duh) I wanted to go somewhere Italian.

I’ve been dying to try Rosemary’s in the West Village, many friends have recommended it, but there were no reservations available when I checked. Thanks to the Open Table app I discovered another option for dinner, Grano Trattoria.

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Obviously, I started with the daily selection of cheese. These were particularly more special since I had been on some sort of cheese deprivation period, which basically means that I was eating normal amounts of cheese and no the ridiculous amounts that my heart desires.

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This is what got me. This risotto was DELICIOUS. It was the perfect balance of thick and creamy. I think by some, this risotto can be considered more on the cheesy/creamy side, but in my eyes that equals perfection.

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My boyfriend got the veal parmegiana, which looks messy but was actually pretty good. I’m not a big fan of veal, but he said it was good. He’s usually an easy chicken parm kind of guy, so I think that says a lot.

So that’s how my birthday celebrations began! If it was up to me, I would celebrate all month (which I kinda do in some way) but I tried to be normal and kept the celebrations down to a week. I always love to go out to dinner and try new places, but there’s always a nice extra touch when you’re going out for a special occasion. You don’t need to get me any presents, just feed me, seriously.

Otto Strada Brunch

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It’s been a few weekends since I’ve tried a new brunch place. Ideally, I would love to try a new one every weekend, but that would leave no space for me to return to the ones I already love! Yes, I know, #firstworldproblems.

That’s why I was excited to find out that Hoboken restaurant Otto Strada was introducing a new brunch menu. A place I already visited and liked, together with a new brunch experience? Of course I was in.

I was delighted to see so many options on the menu and I was even more excited to be there with my boyfriend because that meant we could order a few things to try and eat it all together! You know I get very excited for food.

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I ordered the Frittata di Asparagi, an egg-cake made with potatoes, asparagus, onions and topped with basil pesto and parmesan.

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I forgot the name of what my boyfriend ordered and the brunch menu is not up yet, but you can see it’s quite a breakfast pizza!

I loooove breakfast pizzas and this one did not disappoint.

 

Otto Strada, New Restaurant in Hoboken

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A few months ago, Otto Strada opened up its doors in Hoboken. If you are looking for delicious Italian food and good ambiance, this is your place. My personal struggle when visiting an Italian place is that I am never sure if I am going to want pizza or pasta, but Otto Strada had solid choices for both desires.

Another plus? It’s BYOB, bingo!

I also expanded my Italian vocabulary by learning that Otto Strada means Eight Street, which, voila, is where this new spot is located. Ah, the genius.

Although my food comma kept me away from ordering dessert, I was drooling over a gigantic dessert calzone. That’s right, calzone for dessert. I was creeping, but I could not look away from the Nutella drizzling from the inside of this wonderful thing. I recommend you leave room for dessert, highly encouraged.

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One of the specials for the day: a delicious pesto with roasted tomatoes

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My boyfriend is trying to learn to take food pictures, he is getting there very slowly, so cut him some slack! – Pollo alla Milanese con Prosciutto: breaded chicken pounded thin, pan seared, topped with prosciutto, homemade mozzarella and tomato bruschetta over a bed of arugula tossed with a lemon vinaigrette