I have an obsession with those spiny little globular animal’s gonads. I can’t get enough of their creamy custard-like texture that dissolves on your tongue and tastes like a delightful ocean mist with a sweet after tone. Anytime, I hear about a restaurant serving up the best oceanic foie gras, especially one whose menu reads like a Jacque Cousteau book, a visit is a must. It took me two years to get there but Marea, and its warm sea urchin wrapped under a cashmere blanket of melted lardo, was well worth the wait.

FUNGHI acquarello risotto, wild mushrooms, parmigiano

RICCI sea urchin, lardo, sea salt

ASTICE nova scotia lobster, burrata, eggplant al funghetto, basil

SAN PIETRO new zealand john dory, sunchokes, pomegranate, brussel sprouts, hazelnuts

SPIGOLA NERA local black bass, beluga lentils, cipollini onion, trumpet royal muchrooms, red wine jus

TAGLIOLINI manila clams, calamari, white wine, hot chilies

FUSILLI durum wheat pasta, red wine braised octopus, bone marrow & SPARNOCCHI sweet main shrimp, lava salt, lemon

BOMBOLONI deep fried doughnuts, zabaglione crema, espresso crumble chocolate sauce, white espresso gelato & NOCCIOLA PRALINATO hazelnut, dark chocolate lemon, mint

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Radegast Hall & Biergarten in Williamsburg, Brooklyn conveniently located right next to one of my favorite chocolate stores, Mast Brothers Chocolate, is a great place to bring friends and family for afternoon of eating and drinking. With a wide selection of beers and traditional German fare, I often end up spending hours laughing with friends new and old. The pretzels and pickles are a must.

Munich Pretzel with Spicy Mustard and Cornichon

German Folk Band

Beer, Bratwurst, & Radegast “Easter” Sausage

Beer on Tap

Pickles & Bratwurst

Friends

Donna D.’s signature sandwich is fresh mozzarella on a roll with tomatoes, shredded iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced pickles, a small amount of white onions which must be sliced paper thin and honey mustard sauce. As simple odd as this sandwich may sound, very few delis have been able to perfect it. Either the bread is stale, they don’t shred the lettuce, or even **gasp** use processed mozzarella or even **larger gasp** don’t use the right honey mustard sauce (which I actually don’t even know the name of the brand I prefer). Only two delis have been able to master my sandwich, Toasties in NYC and the Ave in New Rochelle (yes I’ve schlepped to Westchester for my favorite sandwich). You would too if you have ever experienced the amazingness of the Ave.

But at last I have found another deli that can not only perfect my sandwich but also offers da bomb sandwiches for DIRT cheap. I’m talking $7.50 for a foot-long sandwich that can easily feed two people. Sal, Kris, & Charlie’s Deli is just north of the Triborough bridge in Astoria and is an old school deli. Their signature sandwich “The Bomb” is basically every meat and cheese that they offer loaded into a freshly baked Italian sub. The sheer weight of it could easily knock out anyone trying to steal it from you. The sandwich is that good. So be prepared to use it as a weapon to fight off perps.

Sal’s is a cash only joint and doesn’t have any seating so be prepared. For an inexpensive date I suggest grabbing food from Sal’s then heading over to Socrates Sculpture Garden or Astoria Park for a picnic.

Sal, Kris, & Charlie’s Deli’s store front

The bomb & Root beer

What shall I eat?

Slicing cheese

Fresh mozzarella, lettuce, tomatoes, honey mustard, and finely sliced onions & pickles on a roll

23rd Ave Astoria

Located in the heart of Long Island City’s business district, LIC Market is a charming farm house inspired restaurant that serves up local seasonal food. I stopped by here one Sunday morning to enjoy their brunch. We arrived at few minutes before 11:00am to avoid having to wait for a table, like most popular brunch places in the city this place can sometimes be a bit of wait. But the food and price are well worth it. The gazpacho, a favorite of mine was perfectly chilled and tasted like the tomatoes were just picked from the vine. It was a very refreshing start to our meal. We also enjoyed roasted baby turnips, juicy shredded brisket with a tangy red cabbage slaw, fluffy buttermilk pancakes, and slow roasted duck hash. I can’t wait to go back and try their dinner menu.

Roasted Baby Turnips with Parsley, Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Aged Balsamic

Complimentary Pastries with Housmade Berry Jam & Butter

Fried Eggs Over Easy

Gazpacho

Slow Roasted Duck Hash with Crisp Potatoes, Red Onion, Peppers, Dried Cherries & Pine Nuts under two Fried Eggs

Buttermilk Pancakes with Toasted Pumpkin Seed Butter & Maple Syrup

Shredded Brisket & Red Cabbage Slaw

Here’s a little post from Donna D on desserts!

I don’t consider anything to be dessert unless it is chocolate and am usually happiest when I am consuming it. I don’t waste precious calories on any type of chocolate. For starters “white chocolate” is an insult to the chocolate family and should seriously be renamed and second of all I really can’t stomach generic mass produced chocolates. At the end of the day, life is too short to eat cheap chocolate. If you share my proclivities, you should be stopping by Mast Brothers Chocolate in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Their chocolate is orgasmic. My favorite is their Maine Sea Salt which is the perfect balance of salty and sweet. If for some reason [which I really could never understand] you don’t care for chocolate, visiting their factory is an experience in itself. You get to see the entire chocolate making process from bean to package. Speaking of package; I am in love with their packaging and design. I seriously couldn’t get enough of this place and can you believe that I just happened to stumble upon it?

Mast Brother Chocolate Factory

Samples of Chocolate

Mast Brothers Double-Chocolate Cookie

Mast Brothers Baker

Bags of Cacao Beans & San Martin Chocolate Samples

Truffles

Chocolate Making Machinery

Mast Brothers Double-Chocolate Cookie & Truffles

Mast Brothers Assorted Chocolate Bars

Macroons

While I ventured Upstate for the weekend, Donna D stayed local, and spent her Saturday taste-testing Williamsburg. Check out her great shots!

Every Saturday on the Williamsburg waterfront between North 6th and North 7th St., from 11am to 6pm, Smorgasburg brings together food entrepreneurs and established purveyors from New York City and across the region selling both packaged and prepared foods, fresh produce, and other food-related stands. The market is open rain or shine, and man-oh-man, did I get my eat on this past weekend. As you can see from all the photos, I sampled a lot of food. I think I managed to hit up 50 vendors. Some of my favorites were the Lime-in-the-Coconut candy bars from Liddabit Sweets, the S’morgasm from S’more Bakery, braised Pork Belly with sliced cucumber, pickled jalapeno, scallions and hoisin from Bite Size Kitchen, and a shot of Vichyssoise soup from Sea Bean Goods [they are a micro-soupery which I’m dying to try their soup subscription]. If you don’t already know, I have an obsession with carbonated water – so obviously Brooklyn Soda Works‘ Apple Ginger Soda was a major hit to my taste buds. I also picked up some of Grady’s Cold Brew which is a New Orleans–style coffee concentrate and the best staple for a girl that doesn’t have a coffee maker.

Is it Summer Yet?

March 14, 2012

Last night I was strolling around the neighborhood in short sleeves after I thoroughly enjoyed a dinner at the New York Historical Society. The streets were buzzing, the restaurants overflowed onto the sidewalks and the smell in the air was that of a summer evening. Whether it’s here to stay or not, I’m daydreaming of the months to come, especially for those weekend trips out to the Hamptons. Here’s a little taste from Donna D…

Last April the bf, babies, and I headed to the Hamptons for a weekend of rest and relaxation. It was one of our first times experiencing the far East-end of Long Island and it was the perfect escape from the craziness of NYC. I am quite happy that we chose April because it saved us some major money and it wasn’t crowded with all the cool kids that come during the summer. The weather was also perfect despite forecasts of rain. We stayed at the charming Hampton Beach House and spent the weekend playing on the beach, eating good food, and touring the many dog-friendly wineries. Some of the highlights of our trip included breakfast at the Mexican inspired Estia’s Little Kitchen, sampling wine at Paumanok, Duckwalk, and Pindar vineyards, shopping for our picnic lunch at the The Village Cheese Shop, and watching the beautiful spring sunsets on the beach.

Paumanok Vineyards & Pindar Vineyards

Owner, Rosemary, putting together the cheese for our picnic at the The Village Cheese Shop

The Village Cheese Shop

Owner, Rosemary, preparing a sample of cheese at the The Village Cheese Shop

The Village Cheese Shop

Lunch

Duckwalk Vineyards

Paumanok Vineyards' wine & Bread, goat cheese, fig jam, and olive

Blueberry Port at Duckwalk Vineyards

Bread, goat cheese, and fig jam

Pindar Vineyards

Picnic Lunch

The Cook at Estia's Little Kitchen preparing our breakfast

Sophie’s Crab ‘n’ Eggs with avocado on an english muffin at Estia's Little Kitchen

Guacamole, chips and salsa at Estia's Little Kitchen

Morning coffee at Estia's Little Kitchen

Spring sunset on the beach

Sunset