Cafe Sabarsky

I would like to come here more often, probably by myself during the not-so-busy days on campus.  It’s pretty close to Columbia (on 86th and 5th ave.), has the best chocolate cake ever, and has what must be the most beautiful piece of cheesecake in the world (both pictured above).  Cafe Sabarsky is also famous for its authentic, truly very delicious coffee (and its interior design & live music @ night).  The entrees I’ve had however are just okay…perhaps it’s just not my type?  It’s very Austrian/German.  It’s kinda pricey but considering that it’s housed inside a gallery, it’s not that bad…  Great for tourists and for people watching!

Cafe Sabarsky
1048 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10028 40.781449 -73.960498
nr. 86th St.

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Some Summer Pictures

I had a lurvely summer filled with yummy dishes and pretty much zero cookery…a huge change from last summer which I spent studying for various standardized tests.  Some lessons I learned: DC restaurant week is highly recommended.  I need 3 lactaids in order to be able to consume my pizzas in peace.  And I have a very unhealthy love for Dunkin Donuts coffee and glazed munchkins.

Clockwise: Cookie monster & a gorilla in Times Sq.  A cute dog I saw @ Citibank.  Delicious sour cream ice cream w/ Anna.  Quesadillas?

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A Return to Old Favorites

Hello!  So it doesn’t look like I’ll be cooking particularly frequently this summer.  It’s hot…cooking just adds to the heat.  But I’m more than happy to go dine in air conditioned restaurants, and over the past couple of weeks, I’ve revisited a few places I loved the first couple of times around.

1 – Otto: I took my family here post-graduation ceremony (during which I was drenched and from which I caught a cold…), convinced that Michelle would love it here.  Sadly, everything was over salted, poorly presented, and just not nearly as good as I remembered it…  I also found it funny how the waitress immediately removed the wine glasses from me and my sister…

Otto
One Fifth Ave.

2 – Peasant: My first time at Peasant, I loved the rabbit gnocchi but hated the pretentious Italian-only menu that needed to be translated by the waitress.   The second time around … I was super excited to come again as I had become a huge fan of Jonathan Waxman (owner) while following this season’s Top Chef Masters.  I liked Dan’s smokey pork dish a lot but my rabbit gnocchi didn’t live up to my memories.  But on the plus side, we got a nice view of the wood burning oven, and they finally decided to provide translations on the menu.

Peasant
194 Elizabeth St.

3 – Spice Market: Of the three, this restaurant fared best in my book.  Rather than order apps and two entrees, we decided to order a bunch of appetizers and one entree for my bday.  I loved the coconut tea and appetizers (minus the lobster roll) but I found the short rib entree to be “meh…Alex can make better at home”.  The chicken samosas though were particularly outstanding as were the beef skewers and the wings!  I’ll definitely be back…maybe next year during Malaysian Restaurant Week (apparently, yes there is such a thing – June 14-20 2010).

Spice Market
403 W. 13th St.

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Lifted from Top Chef Masters: Susan Feniger’s Tailgaiting Tacos

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, partly due to my growing distaste for doing the dishes (and thus not cooking to avoid this) and partly due to my forgetting the password to my WordPress account.  I don’t have real pictures of the dish, only those lifted from Bravo.com but they’re pretty accurate representations of what it ends up looking like.

Instead of beef, I used shredded roast chicken from Westside Market as well as firm tofu for the vegetarian/vegan option.  I would highly recommend beef instead of chicken.  The entire time I was eating this, I was thinking “something is missing”…it was the taste of beef.

The recipe isn’t written out on the Bravo site but they do have a Hulu video with Kevin from last season’s Top Chef making the dish….which apparently I can’t embed.  Carla would have been so much more fun to watch in these instructional videos…

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Recette, a quick review

I had been very excited to try Recette for a long time.  I interviewed the executive chef two years ago when I was working for the now defunct dining website, Gobbl, and was impressed by his kindness and clear passion for cooking.  Back then, Recette was a private dining company run by the executive chef Jesse Schenker and the pastry chef Christina Lee (who, if I recall correctly, is a Columbia grad) housed in a bakery by day, swanky dining room by night.

Today, it’s a full fledged restaurant on the corner of 12th and Greenwich with TWO stars from the NYTimes.  It’s amazing that these two chefs and their partners have been able to realize their dreams of owning their own restaurant.  I liked the interior and the staff a lot; there are more servers and waiters than you would expect for a relatively small restaurant (think Little Owl size) and so the service ends up being very prompt and attentive.  The cocktail and wine selections were great as was the food.  I think if I had to come up with one word to sum of the meal, it was balance.  Every dish we tried (from the diner menu) was carefully thought out and clearly balanced.  The saltiness of the caviar and mussel vinagrette atop the tuna crudo was carefully and perfectly balanced out by the caramelized, refreshing oranges on top of each piece of tuna.  The sweetness of the berkshire pork belly (it was glazed with sherry caramel) was undercut by the salty and spicy side of romesco.

I would definitely go back to Recette but perhaps when I have a fuller wallet.  Dinner there was pricey…especially when you take into consideration the portions…which are very very small.  It’s meant to be more of a tapas sharing type situation I think…  I was treating Alex to a b-day dinner that day…which also happened to be Mother’s Day and they had a Mother’s Day tasting menu for around $50; I think that actually would have been a better bet (and similar in cost).  Their tasting menus feature 4 courses with larger portions…

Recette
328 West 12th St.
New York, NY 10014

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Chicken Tacos a la Bobby Flay

We had a lot of ingredients left over from the fish tacos I made earlier in the week, so Alex made a chicken taco recipe from the Food Network (p.s. I’m excited to see what they’ve got going on their new network the Cooking Channel).  Apparently this dish is a Yuctan inspired taco; it’s very elaborate – requiring 2 different sauces and yielding 3 sinkfuls of dishes…which are now my responsibility since he did all the cooking.  Fun fun times.

But despite the many dishes in the sink, it’s worthwhile and the sauces (of which you’ll have a TON left over) work well in so many other dishes.  Over the past few days, we’ve used it as a glaze on baby back pork ribs and as a sauce for chicken breast and applewood smoked bacon sandwiches.  Yum!  Perhaps next up will be some baked meatballs to go on a sub?

In other news…tmrw I take my last final of college.  I’m so sad…despite being rather lazy and hermity in college, I will miss being a Columbia undergrad.  I know I’ll be coming back next year but it won’t be the same w/ more responsibility!  Am I being insane?  Probably.  Recipe after the jump.

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Fish Tacos!

Sorry for the lack of pictures!!!  But these fish tacos were seriously good and on the healthy side!  I also served them with a side of asparagus (sprinkled with a little black pepper and truffle olive oil).

Fish Tacos, as inspired by Daily Candy:
<Serves 4>
+Flour tortillas
+Two limes for garnish, one for the sauce
+3 Tbsps mayo, 5 Tbsps regular yogurt
+Store bought salsa
+1 tomato, diced
+1/2 red cabbage

+1/3 cup red vinegar, or to taste
+3 tilapia filets
+cheddar to taste

For the fish: season generously with black pepper & kosher salt.  Cook well on frying pan.  Cut in cubes.
For the sauce: mix the yogurt and mayo with juice of one lime (or more, depending on taste).  Add black pepper and 1/2 of a clove of garlic finely minced (or more, depending on taste).  Let sit for a bit.
For the red cabbage: julienne cut, mix with red vinegar (1/3 c or to taste) plus black pepper; let sit for 20-30 minutes.

Next time, I really want to use jalapenos also!!

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