Category Archives: New York City

Red Rooster

Bourbon NegroniSure, the picture is a little bit blurry, but its a Bourbon Negroni from Red Rooster. I’m sure most folks would be hard pressed to enjoy such a drink without at least a touch of blur. Fig and pear-infused bulleit bourbon, campari, and sweet vermouth. The drink was strong. And brilliant. And actually not mine, but the boyfriend was kind enough to share a sip with me.

Last night my boyfriend and I dined at Red Rooster in Harlem. We were excited. Real excited. We made our precious 8 PM reservation 20 days in advance. 20! The boyfriend was still in Rome when we secured the table. Red Rooster has been on our list for quite some time as I live on the UWS just a few train stops away, but we never focused our game long enough on past visits to make the coveted reservation. They do claim to keep tables available for walk-ins, but based on the general brouhaha we encountered at the door on a Tuesday night, I wouldn’t attempt it, at least not at prime dining hours.

Asparagus and Taleggio Risotto and Some Thoughts on Running

HudsonLast Mother’s Day I went for a run for the first time in years and then I did it again the next day and the next and the day after that too. I kept going, taking at least a day off every week, but rarely more than two (minus a vacation or two) until I was injured in July, a swollen tendon in my left foot that was still adjusting to the new habit.  I obeyed my doctor’s orders and took three weeks off lest it be a stress fracture (I also couldn’t really walk) but then I was back the very next day and the day after that and the one after that too. There was a lot of icing of aches and pains as I brought my body back to where it once had been, until I coaxed and eased it into the long miles my newly acquired hobby demanded, until I reminded every last joint just how unbelievably amazing it feels to let the strength of your own muscles propel you forward at great speeds. Most days I run for nothing more than the pleasure and grace of running itself. I’m not training for anything. I haven’t run a race since my freshman year in college. I’m not running to lose weight–although I’m not disappointed with the amount of calories I need to consume to keep going either. I run because I love to run.

That’s my favorite running route above which runs along the Hudson River in New York City and where you’re likely to find me almost every single morning, come rain, snow, ice or fog.  Last Mother’s Day I ran only about a mile, just about to where the photo was taken. It hurt. I ran to the closest water fountain and dragged myself back. This Mother’s Day I ran an easy 8 miles, gaining speed at the end and feeling like a champion race horse. Oh what a difference a year can make.

My mother has always loved to watch me run and even as a single working mother, never missed one of my races while I was growing up (not a single one) so this seems a fitting reflection for a Mother’s Day post, as does asparagus and taleggio risotto.

Asparagus and Taleggio Risotto

This bright and elegant, but simple risotto is perfect for May when asparagus is in season and for a lunch outside on the lawn with plenty of sunlight and a glass of dry white wine. I followed the recipe from the blog familystyle food for the most part, but traded the parmesan for a more robust taleggio. Adding the pureed asparagus and spinach after cooking the risotto definitely preserved the gorgeous green hue of the vegetables, but unfortunately also made the texture more watery than I would have liked in a risotto. I think I would use less puree next time and add it more cautiously and gradually and forgo adding the water used to boil the asparagus to the puree, hoping for a more chunky vibrant green. I also, unfortunately, ate it inside without my mother, but perhaps next year  when I’ve perfected its consistency, we can eat it together outside in the sun.

It’s amazing what a difference a year can make.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

Birthday Brunch at Perla

Pici with Duck Ragu and Foie Gras

Glamorous? Not exactly. Divine? Completely.

On Sunday, I celebrated my 36th birthday with a proper NYC brunch at Perla in the West Village, complete with rich food, good friends and a bit too much wine.

The highlight was the pici with duck ragu and foie gras pictured above. The pasta was honestly cooked to perfection with an enticing blend of just the right chew against an almost sultry melt in your mouth give. The serving size was modest (at least for a runner’s diet), but when the full consequence of the foie gras the waiter coyly shaved across the top dawned on me, I was smitten. Intense. Wonderful.

I was less wowed with the mortadella Eggs Benedict with pistachio Hollandaise that actually led me to Perla in the first place. But perhaps I’ve just inoculated myself against the joys of Eggs Benedict over the years. I first fell in love with the delightful open faced rounds when I was about six and out for my very first brunch. For year’s after, it was my birthday dinner of choice which is just to say that I’ve eaten an awful lot of Eggs Benedict. This past fall, my boyfriend and I even created our own Italian version with pancetta in lieu of Canadian bacon while I was visiting him in Rome. It was marvelous. Eggs Benedict, in my opinion, if done right, should be done rich. Hollandaise sauce is not for the faint of heart, and based on the few (yes, plural) sticks of butter that go into it, no one should expect it to be. I felt the Perla Hollandaise sauce was good. I love, love, loved the pistachio addition and am going to give that a go myself one of these days, but the sauce was somehow more on the light side than this butter lover would like and the mortadella, again, no diet food, was almost delicate. Overall, it felt dainty whereas I expect my Eggs Benedict to pin me to the floor in all the splendor of its glorious fat. Ahem.

Across our table, we also tried the roasted cauliflower with little gem lettuce, currants, pine nuts and anchovy , the octopus with oven dried tomatoes, eggplant and fett’unta, the black spaghetti with ‘nduja, calamari and breadcrumbs and the gnocchi with spicy tomato sauce and ricotta. The octopus was cooked superbly and every pasta dish received a hearty round of applause–although, I personally am still rooting first and foremost for the duck ragu. We also all liked the cauliflower, sang praise to its anchovies, but felt it was perhaps more salad than roasted cauliflower, not a complaint, just an observation.

Of course, my birthday celebration isn’t quite over yet. The marvelous pasta loving brunch at Perla was round one. But the boyfriend, being on the wrong continent and all, couldn’t  join us and has therefore promised me birthday round two in Paris the week after next.  I can’t wait.

Pistachio and Mortadella Eggs Benedict