Food + Wine, Fun, Style

…there’s nothin’ you can’t do…

Let me see…last we left off my husband and I had just left the taping of The Chew.  Had myself a grand ole time there.  Once we walked out of the studio, I was in desperate need of changing out of my ‘bright colored business-casual yet trendy’ taping clothes, most importantly the platform pumps.  (Ouch)  So we headed back to the hotel to change into something more comfortable and New York walking appropriate.

(which, I suppose to me, meant Fraggle Vest, Carly Simon hat and Beatle booties)
We headed into the West Village in search for a late lunch and beers.  I texted Sharon (Daily Meal Sharon) and asked where we should go.  Without a beat she wrote back and said The Spotted Pig.  Yes!  Of course!  We’d heard so much about that place and Chef April Bloomfield– perfect!  And we were right around the corner from it.  The place was adorable.  Small, quaint, adorably cluttered- there were tons of framed paintings and pictures all over the walls, the tables were smushed together, the wait staff was young and sweet…it kinda felt like you were in your favorite quirky aunt’s house.  We immediately fell in love.  And then we immediately ordered our beers- Citra Dog IPA’s in pirate mugs.  Argh.
The beer was DELICIOUS.  So good.

 

Grew a couple moustaches…
…then sat back and waited for our food.  We ordered the Chicken Liver Toast to start, then the Burrata with Wild Mushrooms and Kale and Radicchio Salad with Pomegranates and Parmigiano.  Everything was incredible.  So so good.  Everything.  No frills, no fuss, just perfection.  What I found so lovely about every morsel of food was the attention to acid.  Not every chef or cook knows how beneficial acid is to a dish.  And each of her dishes had that tiny bite to it that made your tongue beg for more.
The chicken liver toast was so good, even my husband (who HATES livers of any kind) adored it.  The thick toast was buttered and heavily charred, so the smokiness of that char was paired so perfectly with the rich and creamy spread.  It was chunky, instead of smooth, which I really liked.  And the liver flavor (which I happen to love) was quite subdued, which I’m sure helped my husband enjoy it more!  There was a delicate herby flavor, a bright freshness…lemon thyme maybe?  Or maybe just parsley.  There was a mild onion flavor…I’m thinking shallots, and a fortified wine…I’m gonna say Port or Madeira…because I can’t remember it being as strongly sweet as Marsala.  I would guess there could be butter involved in the liver browning, because there was such a fantastic browned richness to it, but you can achieve that flavor pretty easily with just the livers browning in some good olive oil…  Either way, it was phenomenal.  (And I will definitely be trying to recreate it at home for my holiday party, so stay tuned for that!!)
After lunch we went a-shopping in SoHo.  (And I passed by many a Fraggle Vest and Carly Hat on the streets- those are my people.)  Then headed back to the hotel to start getting ready for fancy dinner number 2.  But first things first- It’s our anniversary and I don’t celebrate a darn thing without my favorite beverage…y’all know me better than that!!
So we bought a half bottle of champagne from the hotel bar…
(And what will you be having, dear?  🙂 That’s Piper Heidsieck Brut– one of my fav lesser-expensive Champagne’s.)
We sipped on our bubbly in the hotel room, windows open, overlooking the bright lights of Manhattan, and got ready for the fun night ahead!  Getting ready for fancy fun is always the best, isn’t it?  There’s a certain element of excitement attached to it…it’s just always been one of my favorite things.   But when you combine it with the NYC energy, it’s almost magnetic.  We had reservations at Del Posto for our anniversary dinner that night.  (That’s one of Mario Batali’s restaurants…you know, my friend from earlier that day?)  And for the special occasion, I decided to go classic and elegant.  The night before I went all funky-chic in my black jumpsuit, but tonight I was pullin’ a 180.  Lots of layers to me, folks.  Lots of layers.I had this white brocade dress that I got for my birthday that I was saving just for this.

(I got you fooled into thinking I’m a lady, huh?  Dress-H&M/Nude pumps-Target/Gold Jewelry-H&M (purchased that day!) and beaded gold cuff-from a friend 😉
My favorite part of this picture is if you look closely at my feet, It appears as if I’m floating in the air…
which really is the honest truth.)
We later walked through the heavy doors of Del Posto and let out audible gasps.  We tried to keep it together, we really did, and I think we did pretty well, but the place was UNBELIEVABLE.  It was the most elegant and ‘rich’ feeling place I’d ever stepped foot in.  I felt like I was in Manhattan in the 1920’s.  Dark wood, giant staircase, classical pianist, dimly lit chandeliers, candlelight, wait-staff walking in straight lines up and down the steps carrying their trays of wine and food.  It was breathtaking.  Our table wasn’t quite ready yet so we sat at the bar and I ordered…what else?…a glass of sparkling wine and my husband ordered something called The Avenue– a bourbon-calvados concoction with passion fruit and lemon and house made grenadine.  It was delightful.  The cocktails were served in vintage champagne coupes and my champagne flute was giant.  No, like really, really big.  Three times the size of most.  Which totally made me almost too giddy to act cool.We were escorted to our table shortly after, led up the wide staircase and around the balcony over to what we believed to be the best table in the house.  Our seats were right on the edge of the balcony, overlooking the main dining room.  I could rest my arm on the rail and look down like Pretty Woman at the Opera.  It was magnificent.  I felt magnificent.Once we sat down, we knew we had our choices in ordering that evening…we never actually saw a menu, but once the sommelier came over to discuss wine, we decided we wanted the chef and somm to make all of our dinner and wine choices for the evening.  We aren’t allergic to anything, or on any stupid diet, we love everything, we are always open to adventure, so it seemed like the best choice.   Our somm was thrilled, to say the least.  He told us we were his favorite table.

So we sat back and let them do what they do best.

And that they did.  Course after course after course of amazing food came our way.  And everything had a wine to pair.  The bread course, which is something that can easily be forgotten about my most, was incredible.  I’m a hardcore bread fan.  HARD.  CORE.  And the bread at Del Posto was killer- they had focaccia rolls, whole grain buns, tiny Italian baguettes…it was bread heaven.  But, what came with the bread needs to be discussed right now.  Are you listening?  OK.  Good.  We had whipped sweet butter (always a crowd pleaser), and…wait for it, wait for it…whipped lardo.  Whipped freakin’ pork fat, people.  Holy Goodness.  This was so good I couldn’t stop smelling it (remember, I like to smell my food…).  I wanted to bathe in it, be perfumed by it, eat it all day long.  This stuff was incredible.  There were flavors of allspice and ginger and salt and lusciously rich pork fat…and when you spread it onto a crusty piece of warm bread, your heart, along with the lardo itself, simply melted.  I became putty in my fancy balcony seat.  I will forever remember that whipped lardo.  And I shall do my best to recreate this.  I assure you that.We were presented with so many courses and wines that it is so difficult to pick favorites.  But if I had to pick, and this is going off of which meal I couldn’t stop smelling…or talking about…or continue to dream about…If I had to pick, it would perhaps be the meat course.  The veal and beef.  It was, I believe, Veal Neck wrapped around Beef Tenderloin that was served with blistered Green Onions, Tomato Raisins and Parmigiano Zeppole.  Those zeppole, man.  Whew.  Good.  Ness.  Savory cheese doughnut holes?  Come on now.

And the wine my husband and I both loved the most would perhaps have to be the 2013 Franz Gojer Kerner from Alto Adige- a Riesling cross-breed (bred with a red grape!) that had bright grapefruit and soft apple aromas, and very mild acidity that came from Northern Italy, near Germany.  It’s a popular German grape varietal but what I love about Italian cuisine is that, depending on where in Italy you are, you’re getting food and wine influenced by various places.  It was a fantastic and fun wine that I’m gonna search for here and hope to write more about soon!!

Even the table crumbers at Del Posto were perfect.  And by perfect, I mean very Mario-esque.  Every other restaurant has the same ones, the metal scrapey ones that look like a tiny shoe horn.  But nope.  Mario Freakin’ Batali (and Lidia and Joe Bastianich, let us not forget them here!) have their servers use two spoons that tightly clamp around a folded napkin to de-crumb the table.  (I always get a good look at table crumbers when I’m out…I tend to crumb a lot.)  It’s so very Italian, so very Mario to not bother with fancy, unnecessary equipment, but to instead use something us normal people have been using for centuries to clean a table- a damn napkin.

Even the glasses at Del Posto were amazing…

(Look at this glass!!!!  It’s HUGE!!  My face could fit in there.  And it did.)
(Or my ears.  Hey! I hear the ocean!)
Before the meal ended we were presented with a hand crafted chocolate sculpture.  I called it a chocolate dragon.  It was this gorgeous piece of edible artwork that perhaps, if I wasn’t under the influence, I would have stared at longer instead of diving in like a…well, like a dragon would I suppose.  It was merely sea-salted, slightly sweet dark chocolate and bitter cocoa (one of life’s perfect combinations) but it was incredible.
(forgive the quality of this shot…dim lighting is not kind to something you want to later show every detail of.)

And this chocolate dragon arrived AFTER our actual desserts.  Don’t you just love a place that gives you things you didn’t ask for?   I mean, technically we didn’t ask for anything there…we let them bring us whatever they wanted to bring us.  But still.  Love that.  We were fed GOOD there.  Just like at Daniel, the night before, where they also brought out a special anniversary bonus plate for us…

 

(um yeah, that’s an edible white chocolate candle, ya’ll.  Boom.)

 

Every single course was incredible, every single wine was perfect.  And because they knew my job was food and wine, and because I’m sure they could tell that I was, we were, perhaps more enthusiastic and interested in what was described to us every time they sat down a plate of food or a bowl glass of wine, they printed out our exact menu we had that evening.  The menu that was created just for us, for our special day.

 

(oh, you know that’s gonna be framed)

 

Every single detail of the entire evening was seemlessly orchestrated to be utterly enchanting.
Magnificent.
Intoxicating.

And speaking of…At the end of the meal when the plates and glasses had been cleared, chocolate dragon taken away (or the plate that housed said chocolate dragon), our server/somm asked if we wanted a private tour of the restaurant and wine rooms.

Um.  Yep.

And here’s my reaction when I first walked in to the Barbaresco and Barolo room…

(blurry, but you get the picture…)
And here, our somm is explaining their categorical system…
(in awe)
It was so, so great to be able to do that.  And by that time in the evening, or that time in the whole trip for that matter, my oh-so-tight dress was becoming harder and harder to maneuver in, considering what I had just packed inside of it.  And my shoes, my beautiful nude platform pumps were beginning to win the fight with my tired toes.  We had walked all around the great city of New York for the past couple of days, met amazing people, saw wonderful things, tasted incredible food and drink… we had done it all.We headed back to the hotel, so content, so full of love and happiness and delicious food.  We rode quietly in the car, looking out at the busy city that passed us by, each privately going over the events of the past couple of days.  We knew that we were walking away from perhaps the most perfect way we could have celebrated our anniversary.  We knew it was coming to an end.  We knew it was our last night.  And although it’s always hard to say ciao to something you love, there’s something also quite exciting about it.

If you love something, set it free.  If it comes back, it was, and always will be yours.  
If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with. 

That trip was ours.  And we set it free that night.  But it will come back to us again one day.

Perhaps in another ten years…

 

Goodbye, New York.  Thanks for the memories.  Until we meet again, dear friend.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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