Because I’m a pig…

Jusssstttt got back from dinner at Mercat. The reason was this. We ordered every savory dish on the special menu by the two guest chefs (12ish) + razor clams with bacon vinaigrette and brussel sprouts. A lot of food and wine as usual. Nothing to write home about really and especially since my favorite was the razor clam dish which came from the regular menu. By the end of it I was just really hungry for real tapas…pan con tomate, sizzling shrimp in garlicky olive oil, boquerones, bacalao fritters, you name it…argh!!!

For desserts we went with the churros with hot chocolate on the regular menu. It was disappointing to see the least. I needed real, satisfying desserts!!! Our group parted ways and on my way home I couldn’t stop thinking about my last Michel Cluizel bar and how good it would taste on a piece of toast with a sprinkle of sea salt! (infinitely better than the tragic churros)

My favorite!

For your reference, I was in Spain about a month ago (hence all this Spanish craze). We had a layover at Charles de Gaulle and that’s where I picked up all these Michel Cluizel bars for cheap! This one pictured above is my favorite so far (Noir – Sao Tome) – smoky and spicy with loads of character or as the back panel described it, “[the beans] make this highly aromatic chocolate, whose exceptionally long taste combines toasted, spicy and herbaceous notes with flavours of ripe tropical fruits and liquorice sticks.” And that long taste bullcrap, YOU’LL KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY MEAN AFTER YOU TASTE IT!

So I got home, took a pee (because my bladder was exploding!) then got right to business. Here’s the deal: Amy’s sourdough bread toasted and slathered with olive oil, cut it up and top each with a square of the aforementioned chocolate, then broil and finish with a sprinkle of sea salt.

YUM YUM YUM! I had four pieces of those. With a glass of sherry. After a 4-hour dinner. I’m a pig, and damn proud of it.

Mercat
45 Bond St.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 529-8600

Teaser

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Zucchini mini cupcakes with lime curd, cream cheese icing and pistachios
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They’re green!
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Perfect for adding a little pzazz in the depth of winter

From fish taco to pancakes

Yes, fish taco to pancakes, that is a natural progression. What better way to use up leftover buttermilk than making thick fluffy pancakes?!?

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Vanilla bean pancake with caramelized peach and apple and strawberry butter

Vanilla bean pancakes with caramelized peach and apple

1 peach
apple
2-3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 stick butter

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1/2 pod vanilla bean butter

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Caramelized peach and apple

To caramelize the fruit, heat 1/4 stick of butter on medium high heat. Add the fruit. Let them soften a little bit then sprinkle the sugar over. Let the pan sit for 5-7 minutes until the sauce thickens.

To make pancakes, mix dry ingredients together. Beat eggs with buttermilk and scrap vanilla seeds into the mix. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Brush the pan thoroughly with butter and ladle the batter into it. Turn when the surface gets bubbly (about 2 minutes on each side).

Strawberry butter

6-8 strawberries
1 stick butter (softened)
sugar

Mash/puree the strawberries. Mix everything together and keep folding until well-blended.

Fish taco

We started this thing called communal dinner in my new house. I like to cook. They like to eat. It’s a happy story.

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Pepperjack and bicolor corn quesadillas

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Taco fixings: fish, heirloom salsa, guacamole, pickled red onions

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Fish taco

Recipes for the quesadillas here and fish taco here. I opted for the cheaper tilapia instead of halibut/bass and it was just fine. Also added a couple tbs. of mirin to the pickling liquid. The onions were lovely.

Filling the void

I bought two jars from Ikea a couple days ago. You know one of those this-is-so-unnecessary-but-I-absolutely-have-to-have-it moments — oh yeah, I do have lots of those moments. The small one was quickly filled with free candies (temporary of course since such a glorious jar is destined to hold bigger and better things), but the big one — oh poor big one — it was sort of just sitting there on the kitchen counter empty, desperately waiting for someone to come fill the void.

Well…

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Empty no longer!🙂

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Pear-almond biscotti

I used this recipe from Epicurious but substituted 1 1/2 tbs. of almond extract for vanilla extract, omitted the aniseed, and added 1 cup of chopped dried pears.

Now I need help getting rid of these biscotti so I can start filling the void again!

Happiness for 3 bucks at Ronnybrook

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$3 Ice Cream Sammich!! (strawberry ice cream with chocolate chip cookies)

This got me so giddy I forgot to pay for it! I don’t know what inspired me to pick that girly flavor since I’ve always associated strawberry ice cream with this cloyingly sweet, artificial tasting pink glob of crap. Well whatever it was, I am now a convert, thanks to Ronnybrook. It was sweet AND tart and fragrant of fresh strawberries with a killer creamy consistency. Pair that with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and you’ve got yourself edible happiness for just 3 bucks!

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Free Range Chicken Sandwich with Avocado, Bacon and Grafton Cheddar

Those not looking for a sugar rush, Ronnybrook Milk bar offers a few simple savory options to suit your appetite. The brunchy items were passable and entirely skippable, so those not looking for a sugar rush, go get yourself a sweet tooth implant or you shouldn’t be coming here in the first place.

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Cast-iron Eggs with Asparagus and Roasted Potatoes

Though, to be fair, they definitely deserved credit for the exceptional roasted potatoes. But if you’re going to eat a whole bowl of potatoes — which I positively encourage — then might as well finish with an ice cream sammich, right?

Ronnybrook Milk Bar (at Chelsea Market)
75 9th Ave. (between 15th & 16th St.)
New York, NY 10011

Fish

Had an intense sushi craving yesterday, and being the destructively indulgent person that I am, I took the proper measure to quell the craving…

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Tomoe Sushi-Sashimi Combination

The portion was generous and the pieces ginormous, repeat, GINORMOUS — you really have to be in the mood for big big pieces of raw fish or it can be repelling. I got stupendously full as usual, though the fishies weren’t quite as amazing as I’d remembered…

And since we’re on the subject of fish, here’s an homage to my top weekday dinner choice for the last two months:

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Chirashi!!!

Via SeamlessWeb of course! Oh how the memory of you evokes flashes of nostalgia and nausea at the same time… This very beautiful version here was from lunch at Gari a few months back, courtesy of my former boss.

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Salmon

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More Chirashi

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Left: Mille Crêpes; Right: Gari’s Choice (lightly fried dough filled with red bean paste, green tea ice cream)

Despite the gorgeous presentation, Gari’s fish was kinda meh. One of those strictly corporate restaurants (i.e., expensed meals only)

Tomoe Sushi
172 Thompson St. (between Bleecker & Houston)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 777-9346

Sushi of Gari 46
347 W 46th St. (between 8th & 9th Ave.)
New York, NY 10036
(212) 957-0046



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