My Jen
Hot Chocolate
Pesto Capellini
Carrot Pappardelle
Finger Limes
Modern BLT


P-Review for Valentine's Day: Angel Delivery

Stuck for something romantic to do on Valentine's Day and a personal chef out of the budget? What about a delivered gourmet dinner at home?

Restaurants will be stacked up with reservations so unless you've ordered early, it will be tough to get last minute comes  This cool new company (based out of New Zealand, they just opened shop in Brooklyn yesterday!) features occasion specific gourmet menus with delivery.  The meals even come with oven-proof, microwave-safe dishes and plating instructions so you look like the boss!

For Valentine's they've launched a special $199 package featuring two four-course fixed menus that look fantastic:

Option A

Roasted pear and ricotta on crostini with arugula and honey drizzle

Spanish style chicken roulade with tomato saffron sauce
(served with scalloped potatoes, and green beans with toasted hazelnuts and shallots)

Option B

Fig and blue cheese tarts with a balsamic reduction drizzle

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Lasagna
(served with a fresh seasonal salad with a new Fall dressing and warm walnut and olive bread with olive oil and balsamic drizzle)

Both Options

Sticky toffee cake with creamy caramel sauce, and creme fraiche

French Vanilla Macaroons, with sugared heart cookies

And after dinner...well, keep up the creative imagination...I'm sure you'll think of something.

Angel Delivery
(888) 542-6435

Sssshhhh - pass on the secret ... GiltCity has an incredible offer - just $79 for the Valentine Package! That's 60% off! If that's not a deal, I don't know what is!

Images from Angel Delivery and Gilt City


Valentine Ideas: Chocolate Figs

A couple of days ago, I posted about some Valentine basics for the guys out there and was reminded that I should probably elaborate a bit, so here's my first...

On the topic of chocolates, I mentioned good chocolates and here's a suggestion ... Chocolate Figs from John & Kira's.  These cool nuggets of rich Spanish Calabacita figs aren't just chocolate covered but chocolate filled with an incredible whiskey-infused Valrhona dark chocolate ganache.

Jen and I had a taste of these from a Gilt Taste special in the summer but fortunately you can get 12 of these spectacular treats boxed and delivered so you don't even have to go outside and hunt any down.

Images from John & Kira's


Have You Made Your Reservations?

This is for the guys. It's January 28. There are 16 days until Valentine's Day. If you have not yet made yours...MAKE THEM NOW!

If you're like us and you live in a fairly big city, by now you know that spots fill up really fast and if you wait too long, you'll be out of luck and look like a chump.  If your town has OpenTable, check out their site for a list of good spots with slots still open (here's the NYC Open Table Valentine's list).

But don't despair. It's not the end of the world. You can still do something and make it count! So here's my recommendations:
  1. Can't make a reservation? Make a dinner! OK, so making a home meal isn't in and of itself romantic but you can MAKE it romantic by how you do it. First, invite her on the date...go all out and send her a card in advance (yea, even if it's to your wife to your own house)! Second, make something great - or order it in advance! Plenty of restaurants have takeout early on V-Day - get it made, take it home, heat it up! And be sure to plate it nicely. Or check out a personal chef for the night.
  2. Flowers. Yes, flowers. For me, roses are so boring. They do the trick but God made thousands of varieties and there is no doubt one that she likes better than roses. If you ask the right way on the sly, you can probably coax it out of her before then. Since roses are often twice as much on V-Day, it can even save you a few bucks.
  3. Do something else. Been married for awhile and fallen into the hum-drum? Do something different - go ice skating, take a pottery class or even a picnic drive-in movie. Do something that says "I spent more than 10 minutes thinking about this" for once. Out of ideas - check out the site How About We for couples. For just $22 bucks a month, they offer a bunch of really neat "dates" for discount or even free.

  4. The Card. The V-Day card is one of the most overlooked and highest impact items in your romance arsenal. Why? Did you ever write that letter that really said how you feel? If yes, do it again. If no, do it for once! And don't pick out a cheesy Hallmark card at the local drugstore...put some thought and a few extra bucks into one - maybe one completely blank so you have an empty canvas to work with. And if you really want something special, make your own. But Crayola on corrugated cardboard isn't going to cut it either, put a little effort into it. You need not be Picasso, you need to be yourself.
  5. Chocolate (or candy). Always a good idea. Do not, under any circumstance, buy cheap crap. Visit a real chocolatier and get some good truffles, hand-picked, and boxed and bowed. Or try something else like chocolate-covered strawberries or maybe some salted chocolate caramels.
  6. An "end of evening" clincher - make a dessert. Seriously - making something with your own two hands, even if you have two left thumbs, does wonders. There's some really simple and quick things you can make, like some Mariebelle's hot chocolate with a foam splash, a pastry puff with fruit, or even French toast (pain perdu) with figs and chocolate!

Anyway, to be honest - I am behind a little bit. Yes, I've made my reservations and we're trying something new at a hot little spot in Flatiron. I'll let you know how it goes!

Images from MadeByGirl and an unnamed restaurant


P-Review: Manzanilla

Anticipated. This is a new Spanish (think Spain) brasserie with a Michelin 2-star chef pushing a new agenda on food. Highly decorative and no doubt delicious, Manzanilla ("little apple") opens January 28th in NYC. Walk-ins only at this time.

345 Park Avenue South at 25th Street
New York, New York
(212) 255-4086

Images from Manzanilla's website.


P-Review: Astor Room

What's a P-Review? That's when there's a food place that I would love to try out but haven't been yet. Such is Astor Room. Located in Astoria (Queens) in the former commissary of the Kaufman Astoria Studios, this place rocks Old Hollywood. But more importantly, the food looks incredible.

I honestly have no idea what these dishes are but when I saw them on Gilt City, I started drooling (ok, that's gross, but you get the picture).

Food. Wine. Music. Cocktails. Did I mention food? Crisp calimari, maybe? Yum.

The Gilt review:
If the walls could talk at The Astor Room, they would reveal gossip traded over dinner by Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino and the Marx Brothers. This atmospheric restaurant, refurbished in 2011, was once the commissary of the Kaufman Astoria Studio, where countless classic films were made. Visit today and you’ll feel the spirit of early American cinema in a luxuriously appointed, Art Deco–style room that hearkens back to a more elegant era. Expect dishes that evoke the elegant cuisine of more refined era, like French onion soup and short rib stroganoff. With its dark wood, piano and tiled walls, the only things The Astor Room lacks today are the clouds of cigar smoke and Prohibition-era bootleg whiskey.

Definitely on my list of places to hit. Soon.

PS - if you happen to read this near the post date and live in the NYC area, Gilt has a great special dinner offer!

The Astor Room
34-12 36th Street
Astoria, NY 11106
(718) 255-1947

Photos from Gilt City and The Astor Room


New Year, New Start

It's the new year and after a hectic but restful holidays I looked back and realized that it's been nearly a whole month since I did any semblance of a post. Ooops. Ok, so time to get back on the horse. Frankly, it's been difficult lately - in the wintertime, it gets dark out before I even leave work and photos of food look terrible without good daylight - so even though there's been a few good dishes (see some on Jen's Instagram), I haven't been inspired to post them because the pics were so bad.

That being said, I'm still getting my daily dose of food inspiration from Gilt Taste's online store and thought I'd post a few of my favorites here today and get myself kick-started.

Fresh Manchego
Mushroom Mix
Fresh Raw Oysters
Rose Apples

And Jen, my love, Happy Anniversary! Love you more than ever!