28 February 2010

a brunch at Harry's

Weekend brunch is an essential pleasure in my diary. Having been partial to the company kept at a certain bar that burned down this past week- I found myself a bit apprehensive that the group of vintage film discussing comrades would be divided. We met at Haru for happy hour and decided that Harry's in Hanover Square would be our new spot, until further notice. The Saturday menu offers unlimited champagne themed cocktails with any entree.

Collectively, we sipped Kir Royales. Harry himself came out to greet us- a move that impressed me greatly- as this gentle tycoon controls most of the Downtown dining scene (that's worth mentioning). To eat: gorgeous thick cut french toast with fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries and the Eggs Benny Florentine with a side of bacon. Both entrees are a steal at $14 (with the unlimited cocktails included). The detail in the dishes is quite lovely with crisp and colorful bell peppers and firm lemon zest in decorating the textures present. I'm in love. Read more at the New York Times.

Images: Harry's Website

a dinner at City Crab

Having had a big brunch Saturday afternoon, I didn't have the desire for dinner. Regardless, there's always room for oysters on the half shell. We settled into City Crab on Park Avenue in Union Square. The cocktail list tempted- though the bar keep admitted that most of my choices were quite sweet and I found myself sip sampling the Central Park (mojito) then opting for an Absolut Ruby and Soda, followed by house bubbly.

To eat, we shared the Maryland Lump Crab Cake and a platter of seasonal oysters. The crab cake came in a well formed cylinder with a mild Dijon sauce and garnished with edamame salad. It should be noted that this dish is the closest to the impressive crab cakes I've sampled in Baltimore: with succulent lumps of blue shell crab dominating the flavor.

The Oyster platter represented the East and West coasts with four each of British Columbia Fanny Bays, Long Island Saddle Rock and Fisher Islands. I tend to prefer the sweetness of West Coast shellfish to the briny East- but the Long Island were quite gorgeous this evening.

A word to the wise- happy hour on Saturday begins at 10:00pm. Enjoy half priced house pours with your seafood!

Image: from my iPhone.

a brunch at Smorgas-Financial District

Good Scandinavian food offers me the comfort of home I only enjoy on Christmas with my family...ergo taking brunch at Smorgas is an easy decision. I settled into a place at the bar with some reading that I've been meaning to get caught up on. The Financial District location offers a prixe fix for $16.95 with the option to add unlimited mimosas for $10. The menu consists of: one cocktail- bloody mary or mimosa, choice of entree and coffee.

I sipped a bloody mary made with Finnish vodka and dressed my coffee while mulling over my options. While the Swedish meatballs and mussels with frites are favorites, I've been on a bit of a Benedict kick. I requested the Florentine with parmesan and Carlsberg hollandaise with greens, and Jansson's. While quite rich with the gratin style potatoes and hollandaise, the greens and spinach offered a touch of balance. The crowd thickened as the two o'clock hour approached and a few girls tucked in a window seat sipped champagne quickly. Service tapered off towards the end- but the warm smiles of the Scandinavian accented waitresses lent forgiveness.

A few on the West Village location-

27 February 2010

The Open Door Gastropub

I'm beginning to think John Street is giving Stone Street a bit of competition- between recently opened Bonchon and my introduction to The Open Door Gastropub- I'm no longer as temped to lazily avoid better venues in further neighborhoods. We shuffled in at 1:00am with little confidence in food- thinking a few cocktails and a deli sandwich would suffice. A massive bouncer approached and requested my ID as he shuffled us to a place at the bar. He waved my lisense under a candle then apologized as he returned it- not requesting my bearded partner's.

We mulled over the list of libations- noting with a hearty chuckle that over half of the beers were misspelled. I selected the Spicy Cucumber Margarita. The cocktail came served up and compromised of Tanteo jalapeno tequila, fresh lime, agave nectar, muddled cucumber and a jalapeno garnish. The blend proved refreshing and could have bit more on the spicy side- but certainly even keeled enough to sip more than one. My partner indulged in a few of the adorably misspelled beers: Palm and the Dogfish Head 120 minute IPA. The 120 came served in a wine glass and earned its $20 price tag with each sultry, hoppy sip.

The victory came with: a gorgeously detailed menu of dishes still being served at this hour (full menu, minus the entrees). We selected the Truffled Blue Cheese Fries with tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, melted Gorgonzola and drizzled with white truffle oil. The heaping plate satisfied our palates while a middle aged group of men took Jager shots and lone soldier at the other end of the bar sang/clapped to the bartender's personal mix of tunes. Serpico played on two TVs overhead and a rousing snowball fight commenced on John Street.

images: from my iPhone.


You could be dancing to this for $1 at Webster Hall tonight.

25 February 2010

a dinner at Marc Forgione

We slipped into Marc Forgione's wine bar after a few failed attempts at uncomfortably crowded spots. The venue, also labeled as The Forge, is an epicurean throw on modern American cuisine-- accented by spacious communal tables, antique wooden shelving and shutters dating to 1857. We sipped on glasses of light, dining friendly Pinot Noir- while indulging in conversation.

After a few rounds, hunger presented itself: we decided to drink a plate of oysters while mulling over the entrees. The seasonal pick hailed from Virginia- small and aggressively briny, we elected to not finish the plate. The server noted that briny and Virginia rooted were signature favorites of the chef- he wouldn't offer any others. A disappointment in my opinion, the West Coast and North East offer gorgeous shellfish.

We moved on to course two.

While Forge is noted to execute seafood dishes better than poultry or meat, we decided to share the Suckling Pig for two. The dish came in wide-mouthed bowl with mustard crush fingerling potatoes. The ultra savory dish proved a bit too salty for the average palate. Pushing that downfall aside, the meat's texture was quite excellent and the potatoes balanced the dish well, albeit messy.

In closing, we were offered sugared mini brownies and our parkas from the coat check.

image (via)

Niseko Restaurant

Manhattan is cluttered with snowflakes again this morning. I'm hoping the storm will offer a cover on par with this gorgeous photo of Niseka Restaurant in Hokkaido, Japan:
It was away from the main road in the town so it was never very busy, but it stood out like a beacon in the darkness of the night. The food was mediocre. Still looked cool.

via Gadgetlam's Flickr

Japan. View more

24 February 2010

Stone House

I love this pretty Stone House in the mountains of Fafe, Portugal.
Photo set here.

23 February 2010

Chasing the tail.

If you haven't seen The Last Days of Disco, check it out on Hulu, or Netflix it!

Cassette & Walkmen Notepads

These clever notepads can be custom designed and come sized to match the real deal walkman and cassette tapes! Buy it here ($5 for cassette notepads - $15 for walkman notepad)

21 February 2010

evan b. harris paintings

Born in the woods of Medford, Oregon- Evan B. Harris' paintings are wrapped in fables and folklore. View more at his website.

Marcus Walters Illustrations

I like these.

Stilllife: Gisel Florez Photography

Within her diverse subjects, the precision meets off-kilter character of Gisel Florez's photos defines her style. The Williamsburg, Brooklyn based artist has an impressive resume including Henri Bendel, L'Oreal, Hugo Boss and Bebe.

19 February 2010

Multi-sensorial Gastronomy by Philips Design

Philips Design in Eindhoven has teamed up with Spanish restaurant Arzak to design a conceptual series of tableware that illuminates when food is placed on it. The Multi-sensorial Gastronomy aims to explore how we may experience and enjoy dining in the future. Further dialogue on the project at: A machine that prints food by Philips Design (September 2009)

Most Curious by Tracey Neuls and Nina Saunders

A calculated mess! London shoe designer Tracey Neuls has collaberated with Danish artist Nina Saunders to create an installation using fabrics by British textile brand Sanderson at Neuls’ London shop.

17 February 2010

Coby Whitmore Illustrations

You may recognize the art of Coby Whitmore- the Dayton, Ohio born artist was a staple for Saturday Evening Post covers in the late 1940's. After studying in Chicago, he settled in New York City.

Takashi Yasumura Photography

The neat division of space captured my attention in Takashi Yasumura's Domestic Scandals series. View more from the 2007 Yossi Milo Gallery show here.

MD. net Clinic Akasaka by Nendo

Japanese firm Nendo have completed their interior design of a mental health clinic in Akasaka, Tokyo, where the doors do not open and patients and staff move around the building by opening sections of the walls.

The facility includes sliding bookcases in which consultation rooms are found and a single opening door at the end of the corridor which reveals a window to the outside.

Nendo explains:

Rather than getting patients back to a ‘zero’, a neutral starting place, the traditional model for mental health care, the clinic aims to provide patients with something extra: a further richness in their daily lives that they did not have before starting treatment. The interior design is an attempt to express this philosophy in space.

Tiny Little Chairs

I love these! View more and purchase at Bruxe Design Shop!