Downgraded my gym membership because I hadn’t been in so long… The laziness didn’t stop my greediness when Jerrell came to hang out for a few days. She’d started doing TRX a couple of days a week, now she’s up to 7. Whatever.

We wanted to repeat a couple of places and finally try a couple of others… First up was Mario Batall’s Eataly. An indoor marketplace and fancy “food court” that takes you on a greedy tour of Italy. The rosé helped us settle in and decide already! Pizza and pasta… Boring? Nope!!! Thickish crust, fresh real mozzarella, real Italian sauce, anchovies, mushrooms, asparagus and olives…oh my! We decided on the pasta,  after watching the woman next to us devour her entire plate… Pasta pillows, parmesan and pistachios- for a little crunch- with the smoothest, lightest, most velvety cream sauce I’ve eaten in all of life. VERY tempted to order another to share. Didn’t.

Thinking we could “walk a little off”, we headed to Viniero’s… It was the same as I remember it in ’06!!! Cannoli for good measure, strawberry shortcake and a piece of the most moist, airy white cake layered w. lemon curd and whipped creme. Home to change before our “dinner” reservation @ Beauty and Essex. Midnight made it easy for us to lounge and enjoy and wander… And pretend it was time to eat again. Grilled Chipotle Shrimp (charred perfectly), Lobster Mac n’ Cheese, (the cheesiest), Tuna Poke Wonton Tacos (touch of wasabi kewpie) and Fried Oysters (quick bites). Every flavor overlapping the other, creating thee most incredible taste profiles that made it worth the wait and wonder why it took us long to head down to the LES.

As Jerrell and my food tour was coming to a close,  Tara met us for something sparkling and food @ Ginny’s Supper Club. I wanted them both to try it since it had been upgraded. Well planned… Gin and St. Germaine while I waited… Substituted chicken for one of the sliders and had catfish on the other 2… Slider sized dim sum-esque buns made it easy to finish all three. Always against my better judgement, we skipped dessert and opted for champagne. A couple of glasses from my favorite host, a couple more from the gentleman who was interested in knowing Jerrell a little better. Then we and the DJ turned it up. SO deserving of being called a “supper club.”

The last morning, we rushed to brunch before it turned to dinner… Alfama has my favorite daily brunch deal that includes unlimited mimosas or Bellini to start and entrées large enough to share. A huge, fluffy omelet w. goat cheese and spinach (tomatoes on the side). Enjoyed the quasi saltiness because of the creamy cheese and butter. The sweet and salty of any meal always gets me. This Portuguese Style French toast was accompanied by blue-, straw- and rasp- berries, pineapple and a ruby port reduction… Added a bit of the house made maple syrup to the whipped topping. Whoa… Half of one, then half of the other. Lots and lots of sips and laughs in between.

I’m not quite sure how many TRX classes it took to burn all those calories.. I’m positive  that I never thought about them again.


Harlem Nights.

The full moonness at the beginning of the week had sparked the invitation for Tara to come hang out Uptown with me…  The Pacquiao fight party ended, it was early and we hadn’t eaten. We were lucky to get around the crowd and the lateness of the hour into Corner Social… Just missed the cutoff for food, so we drank and chatted instead. Caught up with a couple of neighborhood regulars, hid from some. As they couldn’t keep us there all night, they herded us out into our search for late night food… Found street meat, as some call it, and I bravely went in for the lamb gyro. Tara had the lamb over rice… A few blocks later, I found myself standing in the corner of my kitchen taking VERY big bites of this deliciously seasoned meat, cool yogurt sauce, salad (chopped lettuce and tomato) atop this fluffy flatbread until it was gone…

Nate Lucas had been at Corner Social and mentioned he would be playing at Ginny’s the next night. Having been to Red Rooster’s downstairs before the transformation, I was excited to go. Happy to see Adrian at the door and he escorted me to the best seat in the house… Right off the stage w. family and friends of The Nate Lucas All Stars… A little late, the table had already ordered. I waited to see if anything served caught my attention. It didn’t, but the things that did!!! Maitake Mushroom Wontons… Shrimp & Walnut… champagne. Sounds simple enough… Not even close… The four lightly fried wontons were chocked full of diced mushroom, cabbage purée, garlic and served laced with a sweet chili sauce and topped with a gorgeous and tasty foam. The shrimp of the next dish were mini, fried and sprinkled on top of crisp endive leaves. Both the shrimp and the walnuts shared the sweetness of the wontons’ drizzle and were the perfect complement to each other. A bite of one, sip champagne, a bite of the other, the Nate Lucas All Stars as the soundtrack… Belinda and her friend joined our little roundtable and pointed out the newly signed Knicks coach, Mike Woodson had stopped by…  And Mr. Samuelson making the rounds, wishing me luck on my Wednesday Wendy Williams appearance! This neighborhood…

$20 is pretty affordable for a show/ concert ticket these days… $20 for Ne- Yo @ Ginny’s is hard to believe. Impossible to pass up. Dressed in one of my favorite MaishaBahati Designs, I headed right back- the next night. More his showcase than his performance, the DJ played songs w. him on the hook, he did a couple of favorites and introduced us to some great new talent to check for (Kevin Ross, Elijah Kelly, Alexis Jordan)! Somewhere in there Chrisette Michelle graced us, Tichina Arnold and Belinda Munro showed out and I ate. A very different version than Roscoe’s, my Chicken and Waffles were nonetheless incredible… Not too crispy, dark (!) meat next to a single waffle square with really bourbony maple syrup and chicken liver butter. The sweet, salty, soft, crunchy elements made up one of my new favorites…

Situation Manifestation.

If you follow @ChefRoble, this title makes sense to you… On April 13, 2012, I tweeted that I was looking forward to writing about @cook4quest (Questlove from the Roots) and @ChefRoble (Roble’ and Co.) and that I just needed to figure out how… Then the retweet. Chef Roble’ was supporting a fundraiser for the Water Creates Life Project- a 501c3 who’s intention is to provide water for villages in the Sudan- and wanted to invite his followers to join him. Donated to the cause and received my EventBrite ticket. #situationhydration.

Headed to Brooklyn as if I knew the way and got pretty close… Met Patrice on the way and found that we were headed to the same place. On the strength of the food, Cornerstone is apparently the place to be, even when there’s nothing happening… Couldn’t wait. Patrice mentioned that he was meeting his friend, Anitra and invited me to join them. As is the randomness of my New York, I said yes. On the way up, we ran into Chef Roble’ and asked for a quick photo. He said yes and dismissed the idea that it was an annoying request. THEE coolest rock star I’ve ever met… Patrice mentioned a designer and her twin who were often present @ events he attended. Turns out I’d been to their Spring ’12 show last September! We find Anitra, take a seat and I notice Marlene- the stylist who did wardrobe and hair on my shoot last month. She’s with Greg, an artist that she represents and whom I’d met randomly @ Saks Fifth Avenue. #situationassociation.

We peruse the menu and Patrice heads to the bar for drinks. The Niletini is In-credible. Could totally imagine a pitcher or more @ the next event I host. Vodka, citrus, agave simple syrup and bitters. Absolutely delicious, totally refreshing, sweet, sour, bitter… Next up was the Chef Roble’ shot. A bit intimidating, but worth the risk… We watched and waited while he mixed the base.  Still waiting and I order the Lamb Burger…  I sip the shot and wish it was bigger. Thought I’d mind the chipotle in the puree. I didnt.

A nice guy invited me to join his table while I ate the lamb burger… Between bites I manage a little bit of conversation. Ulysses is connected and Lady works @ Rustik w. our friend Rudy, that we met in New Orleans looooong ago… After they leave, I go in. The bun is soft and fluffy… the burger is juicy and extremely well seasoned… the feta is appropriate for obvious reasons and then because the coolness and creaminess balanced the weight of the meat. Every. Bite. Gone.  Couldn’t finish my fries, although I tried. #situationappetition.

Said bye to all my connects and headed home. A gorgeous night, delicious food and cool conversations made me glad for the millionth time that I made this move to New York… #situationsatisfaction.




Basketball Wife.

Our food adventures started a couple of months ago… We met @ “the French spot” next to Red Rooster. Cute, quaint place w. great cocktails, cool staff and unintimidating escargot. I had the blue ahi tuna tartar, he had calamari. The aioli beat out the marinara and I helped him finish the plate. Many hours and the new Denzel Washington movie later, we found ourselves @ MOCA, local lounge w. soundtracks that never disappoint… Sipped champagne, Heineken, Patron and ate honey- barbeque chicken wings… All of them…  straight off the bone.

Finally tried Mobay’s in Harlem… Blackened salmon, macaroni n’ cheese, peas and rice, steak, mixed vegetables and really strong Long Island Iced Teas… Ricardo’s in Spanish Harlem… A pitcher of Mango Sangria and great convo… He treated Tamiko and me to oysters @ The Coffee Shop… I thought he was crazy for ordering 2 dozen to start.  A little bit of home cooking in between… Then, my favorite.

He mentioned checking out Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine… Being a newer Knicks fan, I still have a lot to learn. Coming from a basketball-ish family, I’d heard of Walter “Clyde” Frazier. Never like this… Hall of Famer, Knickerbocker franchise record holder, Dr. Suess of broadcasting, style icon. So happy I get to share my city w. him! First of all, the space is unbelievably cool… the minimal sports bar feel even w. a mini court, huge bball wall and column graphics, the 50-ish tv screens lining the walls, and the Spalding like covering on the cocktail menu. Faux chinchilla lined walls in the lounge, cutouts of his famous suits along the ceiling, custom menu covers (snakeskin, cow print, leopard) and then the food.

We decided to try a 1/2 dozen Bluepoint Oysters… the easiest release of any oyster ever… only a splash of Tabasco needed. The elevated version of a Caesar Salad… the dressing a complement, not a bully, to the anchovies, garlic croutons and shaved parmesan (Accused of eating all the anchovies… didn’t mean to). The  Jumbo Buffalo- Style Shrimp were served w. out the tail and with Buttermilk Blue Cheese. The buffalo-ness that I usually don’t like was so mild and not @ all spicy… I let him have 3 to my 1 and ate the shaved celery and carrots that accompanied the plate instead. Steve (our server) thought we should try the Hearth Roasted Mussels. Baked in cast iron w. panko bread crumbs, garlic and Pernod. Love that the heat caramelized the liqueur and left a little bit of sticky w. every bite… Since he didn’t like the licorice taste, I had about 10 to his 2. We went 1/2 on the lightly fried calamari and ate the order with forks, most bites included fried onions… Finally dinner. I had the the sea bass special… truffle mashed potatoes sealed the deal… He had the falling- off- the- bone Dry Rubbed Smoked Beef Short Ribs that was so juicy and flaky and moist and perfect and infused, we ignored the barbeque sauce on the side. An order of Baked Macaroni and Cheese that I think he meant to share went almost untouched. Everything had been scrumptious and we left clean plates the whole way, I ordered dessert anyway. We were both pleasantly surprised that the cheesecake wasn’t gigantic and unnecessary… A pineapple sauce base for the cheesecake round. Passionfruit, citrus sorbet, pineapple bits on top.

Still feeling our first and only drinks (The Loosey Goosey and the Bounding and Astounding), we paid and took a tour of the rest of the space. Bar area suited for groups or one, huge screen in the lounge area. We stopped for a minute to take a few shots. The other kind and I think I lost there. I’ll get him next time!

Probably a lot more to the story, but it’s been said that the way to man’s heart is through his stomach… add a little basketball, a million channels, a cute smile, a greedy girl and you might be onto something…



Next Stop…

The evite was for “A Ladies Afternoon at the Theatre.” Details about the location, discount code for tickets and the address for the brunch before followed.. Ummmmm… YES!!!!!!!

I met Traci and her sister, Jackie @ a Lucky Shops event several months ago. They’d invited their friends, Sharon (from DC) and Lillian (NY native) and my girl Janet also came (See Hotel Lawrence). Conversation always interesting and exciting and creative and intelligent and fun… We talked about “Right to Thrive,” spa parties, new and wonderful relationships, latest passport stamps and then we ate.

I’d had dinner @ Bar Americain a few weeks ago and loved it… Couldn’t wait for the brunch version of delicious. Excited about the size of the crew because it meant I got to try more things… As is customary at brunches with ladies who do afternoons at the theatre, we started w. cocktails… Fascinated by the Pimm’s Cup, curious about the Kentucky 95, and interested in the spin on the Bellini, we ordered. While we got our food radar together, we got into the huge basket of bread yummies… the mini cornbread loaves were spiked w. cayenne remaining true to Bobby Flays Tex- Mex influences… The coffee cake may have been the standout… Fluffy, not too sweet, w. dark chocolate and pecans baked into the bottom. I think a couple of us went in for seconds… No judgement. I had already tried the cheesy puff-like muffin w. strawberry jam. Three orders of the Shrimp and Grits w. Scallions and Garlic (one w. no bacon), one order of the Buttermilk Flapjacks w. Roasted Apricots, Pecans and not-quite-enough Maple Syrup, the Blue Corn Fried Eggs served w. Red and Green Chiles on top of Black Beans and Red Pepper Crab Cakes w. Poached Eggs and Tarragon Hollandaise (on the side).

Janet and I were sharing the crabcakes and the blue corn fried eggs… Crabcakes a bit heavy on fillers for my taste, but made Janet totally happy. Those blue corn chip fried eggs? Perfectly cooked and runny, surprise guacamole under the black beans, the corn chips a wonderful vehicle for taking the next bite! Both chiles were stars and I never noticed that I was kind of eating fried egg nachos? DELICIOUS!!! The sprimp and grits seemed familiar, but the really creamy grits set them completely apart,,, Forgot to order the Potato Chips w. Blue Cheese Sauce and thought about them all the way through Broadway!

Appropriately stuffed, we headed to see Blair Underwood and Nicole Ari Parker in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Never having read it in school or seen it in a different production, I was so excited and equally pleased w. what we got!!! Loved everything about it and needed a cocktail after it all. Walked the 10 blocks to one of my favorites… Pazza Notte!!! Ever confident in the response, I made suggestions… Blood Orange (splash of club soda), French (splash of champagne), Cosmopolitan, Lychee martinis (all 2 for 1) and the the apple tartin were absolutes. Then… the super smooth lemon cheesecake and gooey, gushy molten chocolate cake… More greedy than hungry, I forced the Funghi Portobello Pizza onto the ladies- sauteed portabello mushrooms, (spicy) true oil, mozzarella, fontina & goat cheese, caramelized onions & fresh herbs. Not at all embarrassed about the 4 thin crust squares packed to go.

Cars to pick up, trains to catch, Tribeca Film Fest. tix… Blanche’s directions to find her sister started w. taking a street-car named Desire. I think we all start there. And then…

Fait Accompli…

Twitter became a part of my life when my big brothers asked me to join and follow them… “They didn’t have enough…” Reluctantly, I found a cute photo, threw a few words together and became part of the”Twitterverse.”   I haven’t let it take over, but I do pay attention to those that I folllow… There’s tons of debate, lots of silliness, great wisdom, and even info about cool deals and happenings… @UncleRush tweeted about ”The Kings of Rock” exhibit… Three days only… Sure. Cool crowd, but not overwhelming. Young, old, Def Jam commemorative book for sale, open bar… Signature drink for the night was tequila based, I had sparkling rose’. Two trips around the gallery to  make sure I’d seen everything… Comfortable that I had, I turned into @thatgreedygirl.

Operation use all my “deals” had begun a couple of weeks ago and I was making great progress… w. a week to go, I made it to L’ybane. Busy bar for their Happy Hour specials, but I wanted a more quiet night… The menu was so exciting to me I needed to study it a bit more. In the meantime,  I started w. prosecco and ordered one of my favorite things… the cheese plate. Sourdough loaf, mozarella, gruyere, brie and brie w. almonds and a huge red grape stack in the center of the board… My brother and I loved gruyere when we were little, nothing’s changed. On it’s own or melted into its stringy, loveliness… This “fresh” mozzarella was a little dry, but the brie w. almonds was velvety and tart and creamy and had the crunch element that makes all things better. I stopped trying to avoid the seeds in the enormous grapes and loved every sweet, salty, cheesy, seedy bite!

The very French waiter told me that the menu wasn’t only French, but Medirerranean. And for all of the options… Salads, veal, seafood, pastas, savory sounding appetizers (hot and cold), tons of sides… I still kept it simple. Sesame crusted tuna (served medium) w. a mixed green salad… apples, tomatoes, red and green peppers. Ordering tuna, for me, is like ordering duck… LOVE it every time, but don’t often eat it… This tuna was browned and crusted perfectly. The center super tender. So pleased w. my side selection…just couscous. And way more. The Moroccan variety- fluffy, tiny and moist. Even w. the endless possibilities of the grain, this was served on its own. The most appropriate complement to my tuna…

The crowd at the bar had thinned and the restaurant was filling up a little…. Dates (lots of shared plate options), tourists (middle of Times Square), greedy girls (self explanatory). My very French waiter suggested the lemon tart for dessert… I ate every bite and totally appreciated the crushed pistachio on top… All with the theme of the night… simple, crunchy and yummy. Mission accomplished.



World Tour.

Easter, this year, started w. brunch @ Lido in Harlem… Baked eggs, grilled artisan bread, and unlimited mimosa. Hours later and hungry again, I trolled through my collection of Living Social, Groupon, TravelZoo and Daily Candy deals… La Cerveceria defined itself as a collection of  ”complex, classic flavors of Latin America.” That sounded good. The offer was great- $50 worth of food for $25! A lovely day to find my way to the East Village for more…

Seated next to an Austrian woman and a French man, from Paris… I listened to their stories of partying in London, their lovers in Italy and how they had found their way to New York. The small tables, crazy mix of Easter dress codes and the menu in front of me kinda made it seem like I was somewhere far away… Anyway. I’d read about the vast beer collection the restaurant had and opted for the Ginger Sake Mojito. Decided that maybe I do like ginger after all. I started with the Grilled Corn Salad… hearts of palm, black beans, cilantro, chocio (South American corn), grilled red pepper. Served w. tortilla chips topped w.a healthy dollop of spiced sour cream. So fresh and lively in flavor! (I hope that my summertime recreation will be  just as good!)  My next tapas order was the Nachos Mixto… Chicken, mushrooms, cheese, pico de gallo… My favorite things were the abundance of and perfectly melted cheese and the meatiness of the mushrooms. At this point, I wondered if that couple was judging me… They’d only ordered beer and the Lobster Guacamole so far… The Grilled Shrimp Skewers hadn’t even come out yet. Three skewers, 3 shrimp on each, served con piña… the tangy, sweetness of the grilled pineapple was THE best complement to the saltiness of the shrimp.

My to go boxes packed, I asked for my check… After running everything, Eric found that I had enough money left to spend on dessert perhaps? Panna Cotta w. Fresh Strawberries and Toasted Almonds. Only one panna cotta better… years ago, @ the now closed, RNM in San Francisco. Custardy, creamy, smooth and the exact sweetness… Eric comped my glass of Paul Louis, sparkling because we’d chatted about our time spent in the Bay Area. (His move there from Mexico was a bit more exciting)! Headed home a different way, I found myself at Urge? “Let’s Talk About Sex” blasting… Neon lights and an instant throwback to my beloved Castro! My intention was a Patron Shot and a solo toast to a pretty good and greedy day, but the 2 for 1 threw me off. A few sips of my pear vodka, amaretto, sweet and sour concoction, then the shot. Salt, gulp and before I could touch the lime,  Jimmy walked up. Asst. Mgr. @ a business I ran in Sacramento… Years later @ Bloomie’s in San Francisco… Now the Urge Lounge in New York, where he works part time. He mentioned serendipity… Soon see…

Store 22.

Always positive that I’m going to have fun w. Lisa.. this included every day of the year and a half that we ran the Men’s Floor @ Bloomingdale’s in San Francisco. We made up words, spit rhymes, laughed a lot and ran a multi, multi million dollar business. A sucker for Groupon, Daily Candy, Living Social and TravelZoo deals, I was excited to find a deal for a restaurant that claimed to be “Northern California cuisine…” Freshness, seasonal ingredients, seafood options. Yes, please. Our 7pm meeting coincided w. happy hour… 1/2 price Pinot Grigio for Lisa,1/2 price Veuve for me. We caught up on all the happenings of the last couple of months, then decided to order.

I like to announce my coupons before ordering, on the chance that menu changes have been made. Chris, the bartender, told us we couldn’t “combine offers.” So, we closed that “offer” out. Then, ready to make our selections, the host told us he didn’t know anything about the deal? After lots of hemming and hawing and communication w. his SF corporate office, he suddenly came to us w. all of the restrictions and rules. We could only use one (I’d purchased one for each of us) and he was making an “exception.”

Based on how long we’d waited for him to make his decision, we remained and made ours. Looked like a fun menu of tasting dishes, crostini and even cheese plates to share. Considering a few dietary restrictions, we figured it out… Feta Lamb Meatballs were Lisa’s choice. Even as a non meat eater, I had a flavor expectation… A savory, full something that lasted after the bite was finished. Instead these were a bit dry and could have been any ground meat. The “lemon scented yogurt dipping sauce” didn’t help. The Grilled Shrimp, on the other hand, were just what I wanted them to be! Enough to share, a charred smokiness and a great cherry balsamic reduction drizzled on the plate. Don’t really remember them, but the accompanying potato scallion cakes were gone at the end… We ordered a selection of 3 crostini… These all seemed really N. CA- Cured Salmon w. Roasted Beets and Horseradish Creme, Zucchini Pesto w. Truffle Oil and Cranberry Gorgonzola and Walnut. Very Napa Valley- ish… on the menu. In real life, too much gorgonzola on the cranberry walnut crostini bite and we didn’t get to try the Zucchini Pesto… we were served the Asparagus w. Truffle Oil instead. Maybe part of the reason we were good business partners. Lisa stopped me from sending anything back, rationalizing that the mistake wasn’t worth the conversation…  She said her Marsala Style Braised Beef Short Rib entree was pretty good… I thought it was sauce heavy. I couldn’t finish my Lobster Linguine for the butter bath that it was in. Enough left for a to go box, maybe for someone not expecting a California cuisine.

No dessert.  We paid the remainder of the check and got the heck out before anything else could go wrong! Lovely night to walk home and laugh some more… Now, what to do w. the 2nd deal? “Gift” it? Or give the new Summer menu a try…