All I have been doing is eating out. Shame on me! I secretly don't feel bad. Its a combination of a tough schedule, being far from home and feeling like, "I worked hard! I deserve a fancy cocktail and a great meal!" Normally my brain goes, "Jen, you should go home and eat all those fresh veggies that are spilling out of your fridge." But lately there is another voice outside my head, the voice of a Saint, that encourages this irresponsible spending/eating behavior. I thought that gluttony was a sin but meet St. Martin. (he just started a blog....TODAY. he is an awesome writer and super funny. this is the plug for his blog: read it.) The Life of St. Martin Blog.
I met Martin because I bought a painting from him, (he is also an amazing artist) and he tirelessly helped me put together the art shows for the Greenpoint Open Studios. He is one of the nuttiest people I have ever met in my life and after a long day of studio visits he is the first to suggest we blow a whole bunch of dough on a "spoilio," as he puts it, meal. And don't forget the cocktails and the secret bar!
I normally don't do restaurant reviews on Morta Di Fame, but I have a few things to say...(sorry there are no photos!)
Rye. The cocktail geniuses here are the best and most consistent in all of NYC. Get the Old Fashioned with the giant hand carved ice cube. Stay for dinner. Duck leg confit!
I finally went for brunch... twice. It was a great brunch but the returning factor was the Retox cocktail, which is fresh chilies, maple syrup, lime juice and soda. "Two more please. And we will be back next weekend!"
To be honest, I really don't remember the actual meal. There were eggs and bacons. Goodnesses. One lovely details is they pour your coffee out of the fanciest-ever antique coffee pourer(?). The dainty visual of it makes it just taste better!
Mrs. Kim's. Brunch here with Jules and Martin was really lovely. Outdoor seating, great company and another great brunch cocktail. I am noticing a theme here. The Flavio (I love that name!) is jalapeno infused hornitos reposado, ilegal joven mescal, cilantro and lime.
Dinner was also lovely. A $30 jug of wine: gruner veltliner 98, zum martin sepp. Somebody thinks they should be canonized for real.
The fava beans, grilled in their husks were fabulous. The duck dumplings and the pork buns were succulent, and the watermelon salad for dessert was divine. Mrs. Kim, who is always there and super smiley really knows how to work fresh herbs into her dishes.
5 Leaves. After the water balloon fight we went here with a bunch of peeps. It was Brook's, (The Pizza Commander), first time trying oysters. Very exciting. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu. The grass-fed burger, the ricotta, the fresh fish special. All cooked to perfection. And the cocktails. Let's talk about the cocktails. The Bee's Knees (Hendrick's Gin, honey syrup and fresh squeezed lemon juice) and the Corpse Reviver (gin, lillet blanc, fresh squeezed lemon juice and absinthe) are old delicious friends.
Julie and I did a VIP girlie brunch there that sadly and embarrassingly I was too hung over to enjoy. She got a BLAT! BLT with avocado. Anytime with my wife is perfect time, sick or not.
And there was an "in between" dinner right before the big show at Paulie Gee's. Bee's Knee's please!
And more night caps, Devil's on Horseback and truffle fries late night action.
A lot of people complain about the service, but to be fair they are always very polite considering how constantly slammed the place is, and if they screw up, like the time I got my cocktail at dessert time, they give it to you for free. Sweet!
EAT. I love the theory behind this place. And the owner Jordan is awesome. Only local and all vegan is his motto. But, I can do local vegan much better. Nothing is cooked through enough to have much flavor and every dish falls flat in the all-the-ingredients-just-don't-get-married department. So I'm eating kale and farro and mint. Well you might as well put them on three separate plates because thats how it tastes. The desserts are usually great. Also, there is no music and zero atmosphere. And I think its intentional.
The only way to remedy a disappointing (but at least healthy) meal is fancy cocktails at Manhattan Inn, where if I could remember how many cocktails I have had there in the last month I would remember. And since it is always a night cap destination, dinner there is always an afterthought. Never ate a lick of food there. I always get the bicycle cocktail. It has some french name I am never interested in trying to pronounce. Sit in the back at a fancy table and enjoy the piano music. The waiters at the bar in front are paid to be douche bags. Good job, guys.
Diner. Always awesome. But no brunch cocktails. Perfect situation is cocktails from Rye and food from Diner. The sausages at breakfast sausage specials at Rye are consistently surprising and amazing and the staff there is always friendly.
Roebling Tea Room. Old favorite that always surprises me with their ever changing seasonal menu. We had a delicious heirloom tomato salad over toast and some type of delicious ravioli topped with caviar. This is the place that if you are going to be boring and get the chicken you will be blown away. I think it involved dark chicken meatballs. Did you say meatballs? Honored to enjoy our meal with Caroline, amazing photographer and art consultant.
Paulie's Gee's. Greenpointer Pizza (Top 10 in Time Out) and Gragniano, a fizzy red wine, plus a nice chat with Mary Ann and Paulie. Doesn't get much better than that.
Le Gamin. I think this is where Joann started her espresso addiction. Boy was that a scary week. Great monkfish and snails. And, after the Nuit Blanch light fest, the closest place to rest my weary feet was there and I had a delicious Nicoise Salad with seared tuna and the steak frites were to die for with that big pat of herby butter! It was one of those plates that after Martin ordered it I wanted to be like, "oh did I forget to mention that we are sharing." They have a garden, but its really nice and cozy inside.
Northeast Kingdom. The considerate St. Martin complained when a couple beat us to the door and took the only available seating for 2. But that only meant fancy cocktails in the den downstairs, two of my favorite things, while we waited. We sat at the bar and ate one of the best meals out of all the above mentioned. Really. Eat could learn a thing or two about vegan yumminess. The cauliflower, red quinoa salad with toasted chili and garlic vinaigrette was so happy! So was the pulled pork sandwich and the amazing duck breast special. It was very fitting that on the last night of Greenpoint Open Studios we ate in Bushwick, because the next show, THE BEAR SHOW! is going to be a part of the Bushwick Beta Spaces!
And the night cap that night was very peculiar. St. Martin was wearing the most ridiculous orange coat that he stole from who I won't say, because the person who he stole it from is a reader of this blog. And he wanted to bum a cigarette, but in desolate Bushwick another human on a rainy Sunday night is not easy to come by, especially one with a smoke. But I spotted a lone stranger, an artist in fact, Andrew Ohanesian, and he invited us into a gallery where he had an installation.
From the outside it looked like two doors side by side. There were a few other friendly people there and he asked them to go into one door. While waiting for St. Martin, who was finishing his smoke, I was getting a little impatient, like let's get this art installation thing over with. Andrew asked me to go into the other door. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, which turned out to be a bar called Mandie's inside a closet and directly across from me, separated by a beer tap and a few feet were the other two people.
Now go read The Life of St. Martin.