Archives for April 2014

Foie Gras and a Million Dollar View at Bouchon

*I’m blogging on a boat from Athens to Mykonos! So far, I have eaten a room service burger topped with a fried egg, airborne welsh rarebit, and the most sensational tzatziki on planet earth. I’m thrilled beyond words, but the WiFi leaves something to be desired, so pictures for this post will be published tomorrow!!*

Anyone who left for her honeymoon the day after her wedding…bravo to you. Frankly, the next morning, it was all that I could do to order some eggs Benedict, Facebook stalk some guest photos, and crash back to sleep until noon.

But that didn’t mean that our honeymoon didn’t start right away.

We actually made it a point to have one of the most delightful lunches I have had in some time at Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s casual Times Warner Center eatery.

The setting is quite nearly spectacular. It’s just an upscale casual cafe but it looks out onto the most magnificent view of Central Park and Columbus Circle. On a clear day, you could just sit for hours with a glass of champagne or a cup of cappuccino and watch the world go by.

But why stop there?

Foie gras terrine

If you don’t order this, do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Don’t even come home. This is the biggest must get from the entire menu. Terrine so smooth and soft that it almost melts onto the warm brioche. The apricot jam is sweet and simplistic next to the meaty, creamy foie – it reminded me of peanut butter and jelly! The brioche is clearly house baked – it’s soft and eggy. You might think that this is too much soft and rich, but no it truly isn’t. Foie is an example of too much is never enough – you always need and want more soft, rich, umami flavors and textures.

Nicoise Tartine

One of the rare ways that I enjoy tuna salad. The tuna is mixed with a small amount of mayonnaise and layered with salty capers, soft olives, and olive oil doused radishes. The radishes are wonderfully peppery and the bread that it comes on is layered with a creamy aioli and fresh bib lettuce. This is a fork and knife affair, and don’t forget the brightly dressed salad that comes alongside. It’s a grown up tuna salad, and quite a good one!

Kale salad with garlicky croutons and chicken

This isn’t your local deli’s kale salad. The kale is in large, tender leaves and tastes almost like spinach, but without that often slimy texture that spinach gets. It’s tossed in a creamy, pleasantly salty dressing (gotta be some anchovies, right) and the world’s best croutons. Honestly, these oil soaked crunchy bits of bread aren’t too hard and they don’t get soggy…I could eat a pile of them. And now that I don’t have to fit in a wedding gown any time soon, maybe I will! The chciken is soft and perfectly paoched, so it is still juicy and not at all mushy. Some fresh lemon zest adds a much needed zing of acid without watering down the dressing.

This isn’t a cheap meal. It’s a honeymoon meal. A meal where the service is excellent even when you spill the diet coke and where the portions are large enough to fill you but not so big that you feel bogged down afterwards. I had a wonderful time and would totally come here for a glass of wine and some foie gras.

Honeymooning before the honeymoon is awesome.

Sarabeth’s – One Great Rehearsal Dinner

When you plan a rehearsal dinner, there are many factors to take into account.

For example: Where will it be? Will the room be private? Will there be a dedicated bar and bathroom for your event? How far is this event from where most of your guests are located? What is the RSVP policy? How flexible are they on allergies and dietary restrictions? Must you have alcohol at the event? How expensive is it per person?

And…of course…how tasty is the food?

For my own rehearsal dinner, we decided on Sarabeth’s Central Park South, a restaurant that I would never normally frequent. However, I have to say that it was such a good experience that I would recommend it  for any large dinner affair, without reservation.

First, the not so great:

It is hard to get ahold of the banquet manager. She is extremely busy, since Sarabeth’s has so many locations. The onus is pretty much on you to call her and keep calling until you get through to her. Once you do, she is very responsive and answers your questions quickly.

That’s it..that’s the only somewhat con.

The rest are all pros. Yep, it is great for these reasons:

1. You don’t have to include alcohol, but you can. You don’t have to include an appetizer hour, but you can. You don’t have to use the whole back room, but you can.  Get the picture? You have so many options – you can really make the rehearsal dinner yours.

2. The space is fabulous. Large, comfortable, spacious, and very private. Trust me, we were hooting, hollering, and sobbing in tandem the entire night and never once did we get asked to quiet down. There is a dedicated bar, bathroom, and servers just for your party. It’s awesome.

3. The price is extremely reasonable. I men, it’s still insane because it’s Manhattan but it’s INFINITELY less insane than any other place in town for the amount and quality of food.

And speaking of which…

The food. Shall we get to it?

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Mixed greens

Simple, but who wants to eat something super complex or rich before she has to squeeze into a tight white dress, right? This is fresh and well dressed, with freshly cracked pepper, a bright but not overly acidic vinaigrette, and tart tomatoes – no limp, soft tomatoes here. I would eat this again with pleasure.

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Tomato and cheddar soup

My now-husband ordered this and to quote him “This is like Campbell’s had a baby with Chef Boyardee and I love it.” Yeah, he pretty much got it. This lacks acidity or any complexity of flavor, but somehow it’s still just delicious. Creamy, savory, and thick with a little salt from the cheese and many hunks of soft, sweet tomatoes. It was much improved by some Tabasco and though this is a little tame on th flavor for my tastes, a lot of people enjoyed it.

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Salmon with carrot-ginger broth, salmon caviar, and parsnip puree

Okay. The salmon was clearly made ahead of time, because it was a little overcooked and chalky and the skin, while pleasantly salty, was soggy instead of crisp. However, the broth was delicious – very sweet with a little gingery kick that was slightly reminiscent of Indian food – some freshly cracked black pepper added a deep and savory edge. The puree, interspersed with fresh spinach, is earthy and creamy – perfect to sop up those gingery juices. The salmon roe atop is a luxurious, salty touch.

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Chcoloate truffle cake

The high point of the night. Dense and chocolaty, more on the milk than the dark side of things. It tastes so comforting and honey, like grandma’s cake might taste. It’s topped with some light, airy, freshly whipped cream and the frosting is so fudgy that you might want seconds.

Don’t worry, you can get a girdle for the dress.

Was this the best meal that I ever ate? No, of course it wasn’t. It was made to please a lot of people, some of it was made ahead of time, and the flavors were far too bland for my tastes.

So why would I recommend this place? Because it is a perfect rehearsal dinner spot. Everyone liked it and some people loved it. My dad couldn’t get enough of the dessert and my husband (WOW…THAT’S STILL SO COOL TO SAY!) doused the soup with hot sauce than actually lifted it to his lips to lick the bowl. The service was excellent, speeches were uninterrupted, and drinks were constantly replenished.  They even offered t let us take home the bottles of wine that we didn’t’ finish! The prices are extremely reasonable for the city, and it’s a really perfect spot to sit with old and new friends and family for a relaxing night. The vibe is nice but extremely laid back and don’t forget chow down on the cake and an insanely delicious cheesy breadstick from the bread basket.

Next up: lunch at Bouchon!

Not a Bride Anymore…I’m Just Somebody’s Wife

So, it’s just me. That old married lady. 

Yep, tied the knot this weekend – between my now husband rocking the guitar onstage to my college voice teacher singing at my parents house the next day it was a pretty awesome weekend.

That being said, I don’t know how some brides claim that they don’t eat all day. I couldn’t STOP chowing down the whole damned time!

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I had a healthy breakfast.

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A hearty lunch with the hair and makeup team (yes, for one day, I lived like a Kardashian)

cake via

And – of course – the cake of my dreams (Spoiler alert: Ron Ben-Israel is not only the sweetest man to work with but also a certified magician: He can make any bride bust out of her perfectly fitted dress because she can’t stop eating his otherworldly cake.).

Tomorrow, we are back in business to chat about the rehearsal dinner. For the next 2 weeks, expect guest posts, wedding recaps, and maybe a few posts from abroad.

That’s right, I am going on my honeymoon tomorrow and can’t wait to send you all sorts of tasty tidbits from…

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GREECE!

Tree Bistro Girls Night

*Here’s what I have been eating:

French fries.

Like, literally, that’s it.

Just fries. I haven’t been eating anything interesting, I haven’t been cooking anything at ALL, and I doubt that it will change until after I get back from my honeymoon. Don’t worry, I should have new blog posts up next week.

Until then, won’t you indulge me while I am in program-making, last minute dress-ripping, urgent breakable wine glass-finding hell and take this trip down memory lane with me?

Thanks so much.

PS…remember when I was cool enough to do Sunday Funday?*

 On a rainy summer evening, a girlfriend and I  made our way down to the village to Tree Bistro, a tiny restaurant with a very sweet hostess/waitress.  She led us out back to a lovely, covered garden area.  It was a humid, rainy night, and to sit outside with the rain pattering down on the roof was really relaxing and fun!

 The restaurant was very casual but the menu looked very serious.  Which was good, because we were seriously hungry.  Luckily, there was some very serviceable, if unremarkable, bread and butter.  We carbo loaded and talked about our upcoming marathon..well, LAUREN’S upcoming marathon…mostly, I just text her “good luck” on the morning of the race, then go back to sleep for a few hours.

Pickled beets with goat cheese and walnuts

This is GREAT!  The beet is sweet, velvety, and soft next to slightly bitter spinach and nutty breadcrumbs.  Breadcrumbs on salad is SUCH an awesome play on croutons!  This way, each and every bite had some carby goodness!  The salad was lovely, and although some blue cheese would have been a welcome addition, the dish was satisfying as it was.

Roasted vegetables.

Normally I would say-LAUREN!  WHAT A WIMP!  Get a REAL meal, girl!!!  But she had indulged in a Sunday Funday the day before (If you have never had a Sunday Funday, please post your name and email in the comments below, and I will be most happy to take you on the best, booziest, cheaper- than- you- thought- it- could- be day of your life).  Sunday Funday leaves you a little bit meat-logged and under the weather, so these veggies were just what the doctor ordered.  The juicy tomatoes, sweet zucchini, earthy fingerling potatoes, crisp haricots verts, and gently caramelized onions all worked beautifully in the tangy and gentle balsamic vinaigrette.  It also came with a tiny tub of goat cheese that Lauren eventually polished off with her fingers.  Now do you see why I love her?

Salmon appetizer

It came with a small tangle of watercress and crisp slices of toasted baguette.  The baguette was dressed in DELIGHTFUL honey mustard dressing-seriously, I would like to buy this, pour it on my arm, and lick it off my own body, that is how great it is!  And the salad was fresh, slightly bitter, and a wonderful contrast to the fatty salmon and sweet dressing. The salmon itself…kinda meh.  The chunks were tough and some were even stringy-it looked like remnants of the salmon entree, versus a dish on its own. The fish was fresh, but not particularly seasoned beyond parsley and a few capers.  If it were not for the honey mustard, I would not have wanted to finish it all.

Pommes frites

  Like gourmet McDonalds-greasy, crispy, flecked with herbs and glistening with oil-they were totally delightful.  And seemed so light and delicate as I shoveled them into my mouth hand over fist, trying to beat Lauren to the crunchiest little morsels.  She is an athlete…she has fast reflexes. I had to literally smack her hand away sometimes.  Our friendship is now on shaky ground, but it was so, way worth it!

When we paid the bill, after tipping on the full price that the check would have been without the Scoutmob discount (of course-please always do this if you use a discount at a restaurant), I still only ended up paying $25.  WHAAA??? I have paid that much at a PAX deli, for way lower food quality and absolutely NO atmosphere!  Tree was a charming and well serviced restaurant, and though the prices would have been a bit high without the discount, with the discount it was just what the doctor ordered.  And with a fun friend like Lauren? What could be better??  Now, if you will excuse us, Lauren has to go running, and I have to watch “Teen Mom”.  We are both really dedicated to what we do.

Tree on Urbanspoon

 

My Chametz-Free Eats

Tonight is the end of Passover – congratulations, participating Members Of the Tribe! You did it!

Did your week look like mine?

Did you make the world’s easiest beef stew with kosher for Passover meat?

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I have never knowingly bought kosher meat of any sort, besides hot dogs. It’s always so expensive, and I’m like…what’s the last time that something kosher was more delicious?

But I’ll be damned if this wasn’t some phenomenal beef stew. It wasn’t the rest of the ingredients – only onions, garlic, red wine, broth, tomato paste, and spices. Yet, the taste was so rich and hearty ans the meat was SO tender and juicy that it stood out from other, much more complicated stews. I just chucked all of this in the slow cooker and let it cook for 6 hours. My dinner guests were impressed and so was I. It’s not just the chosen people…it really is the chosen beef.

Did you eat the world’s best salad?

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So simple and so tasty. Fresh lettuce (red oak or Boston Bibb is best), avocado, candied pralines, diced green apples, paper-thin slices of red onion, and a very bracing sherry vinaigrette. The key here is that vinaigrette – it must really stand up to the creamy avocado and sweet candied nuts. Additionally, it kind of cooks the onions and reduces the bite, making for a wonderfully textured and flavored salad with no one flavor overpowering the other.

Did you eat multiple servings of potatoes and dairy on a daily basis?

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This happened way too many times for my own good. 

And to those of you who don’t abstain from chametz…be prepared. The rest of us are taking over bakeries and pizzerias tonight with a vengeance.

FPB Flashback

*I am getting married this week – Wow! I am working, taking care of  my small family, and also tying programs and please heaven let me have time to get a pedicure. This week is going to be cray-cray. In light of that fact, today I am featuring one of my oldie-but-goodie posts that no one got to read when I posted them because…well…I think I had 47 readers. Enjoy!*

Bakery opening!  Woohoo!!! Is there anything quite so thrilling as entering a bakery?  The savory scents of butter and flour in the air?  The chocolate and fruit glistening before you?  A whole place devoted to CARBS and DESSERTS???

…ANYWAY…

 

Francois Payard Bakery recently opened in Soho, and when I was walking by before lunch, I popped in.  Because what is a better appetizer than sweets?  Am I right? 

 Payard is a very well respected French pastry chef with expensive and luxurious pastry shops all over the world. It is not unusual for a creation of his to go for over $60 a pop.  Yikes! But this new incarnation is a much more casual, relaxed, and inexpensive one.  Flavor stays, expense goes.  Me likey.

 

 

 

 

 

It is a small space, but well laid out, with a glass pastry case lining one wall and a few small tables facing it.

 

You can also see the bakers at work through the plate glass wall!  I love seeing bakers and chefs doing their thing-to me it is really seeing an artist at work.

 The pastries all look gorgeous and the smell in that shop was DIVINE-it was reminiscent of a time before Splenda was part of our vernacular.  Oh, sweet memories.

 There was a huge selection of savory goods too-creamy quiches, cheese laden sandwiches, and even pissaladiere-my FAVORITE use of caramelized onions!  But I had my eye set on one thing and one thing only:

 The coffee macaron

 

A macaron is a cookie made out of egg white, almonds, sugar, and whatever flavoring you like-anything from plain old vanilla to passion fruit to chocolate chili!  Then you take two of those cookies and sandwich them together with a rich ganache-it can be a different flavored ganache, complimentary to the cookie flavor, or it can be the same flavor ganache.  These cookies are crispy, light, very sweet, and very rich all at the same time.  People are obsessed with them. They are the Justin Bieber of the cookie world.

They are often small, like the size of Nilla wafers.  This was closer to a whoopie pie in size.  NICE.  And the taste?

 Oh sweet Caffeine Deities, bring me to your lair and let me live with you. This was COFFEE! Rich, deep, sweet with butter and sugar, slightly salty from the almonds, and just barely bitter from a true, well roasted coffee bean.  Seriously…these were to DIE for.  Taste wise at least.  Texturally…this was not the macaron I am used to.  Fluffy and soft versus light and crispy, this did lack the necessary crunch that makes a macaron a macaron.  But the flavor was really so delicious, I can overlook that.  The ganache was LITERALLY the stuff of dreams.  Thick and rich as nutella, powerful and flavorful as an Italian espresso…this was some seriously outstanding ganache.

 Not a cheap place-$4 for a macaron-but what do I always say?  Ya get what ya pay for,  kid!  And here you pay for world class ingredients, made fresh every day, right in front of your eyes.  My only regret about this place is that I didn’t get 2 macarons.  Will I ever learn?

 

François Payard Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

Passover and Easter Hostess Gifts

Passover is in full swing chez Fritos and Foie Gras, and I know that Easter is this Sunday.

Truth be told, my family is holding our seder this Saturday, even though it’s a little late in the game – growing up, my dad didn’t have a 9-5 job and we didn’t always know ahead of time when he would be home. So, we always held our Seder on the weekend that covered Passover, and it’s something that just stuck!

So, if you are attending a Seder or an Easter egg hunt this weekend, you might want to know some treats to bring? Have no fear, here are some of my favorite holiday appropriate hostess gifts.

Just remember…you have to gie them to the hostess. So that means that if you throw the shindig…you are in LUCK!

Macarons from La Maison du Chocolat

The perfect chametz-free treat. These aren’t cheap, but they are among the best in town.  They are almost as good as what I have had in Paris. Exceptionally light on the outside and rich on the inside. The cookies are crisp and airy, with just a touch of chew, and the ganache is very rich and creamy. The flavors are also excellent – the passion fruit is bright and tangy, the pistachio is nutty and creamy, and the chocolate is so dark  and handsome that you will probably run away and marry it.

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Spanikopita from Poseidon Bakery

This year, Greek Orthodox EAster and WEstern Easter fall on the same day – that almost never happens! To celebrate, why not indulge in your Greek side with what is, without a doubt, the best Geek bakery in America? This is the last bakery int he country to hand make its own phyllo dough,with nothing weird or unpronounceable added to it. It’s a tiny shop owned by a family who will direct you to the best pastries and treats. The baklava is memorable, with layers of crispy dough soaked in honey and chopped walnuts, and there are other pastries soaked in sugar syrup and filled with creamy custard, but I love the savory pastries the most. Parcels filled with meat, with cheese, with vegetables, and with all three; in cylinders, in tubes, in squares. The spanikopita is of course the best known, and this creamy, garlicky pastry is just to die for. It’s rich and savory, with fragrant dill, sauteed onions, and creamy feta cheese. It’s seemingly perfect.

Scratch that. It IS perfect.

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Lemon poppy seed doughnut from Doughnut Plant

Simply the best doughnuts in NYC. Better than any doughnuts in the world except for Krispy Kremes and the honey soaked zalabia that I ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when I was in Cairo.

These yeast doughnuts from Doughnut Plant are phenomenal in their own right – airy, squishy, and loaded with pure, bright, tart lemony flavor and crunchy poppy seeds. They are such an update on the classic lemon poppy seed muffin that you may never be able to order that basket for Grandma for Mother’s Day again. She will like these doughnuts more anyway. They have an extra layer of sugary, sticky glaze that is the perfect amount of sweet to counteract the lemon. Count on 2 per person and count on a nap afterwards.

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Lamb Pie from Tuck Shop

The traditional Easter food in a hand held package! I haven’t actually tried this version, but I am a big fan of their other pies, and would be willing to be that this one has the same flaky, buttery crust and well seasoned inside with tender meat and fresh vegetables. Plus, you don’t need to slather this with acid-green mint jelly to make it palatable.

#winning.

Lemon egg-ceptional from Pomme Palais

I’ve said it before and I have said it again. I work here, but the lemon eggceptional really is one of a kind. It’s tasty, it’s beautiful, and it’s something that even kids will take delight in eating. Plus, could there be anything more seasonal for the spring? It’s perfectly sweet and light, and I can’t anyone disliking it.

If they do, shun them instantly.

Happy holidays!

Paleo Asian Sloppy Joes

This is something that morphed as I made it.

It was gonna be paleo Asian burgers. Sounds great, right?

Follow me on the journey to see what ended up happening:

Paleo Asian Sloppy Joes

marmie cooking class and il mulino

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground white meat chicken

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 serrano pepper, diced

2 tsp. chile paste (I used these pastes that I seriously love for those times when you don’t have the fresh stuff on hand – it’s LEAGUES better than the jarred stuff and doesn’t have any weird chemicals)

1 cup cilantro leaves, washed and diced

1 package fajita or Asian mix, diced

1 tbsp. oil

to taste: ground ginger, coriander, soy, hoisin (ignore that bottle of mayonnaise there!)

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1. Sautee the onion, garlic, spices, and other veggies (but not the serrano pepper) in the oil for about 5 minutes, or until they start to turn translucent.

2. Now, put  lid on the skillet and turn down the heat. Cook the veggies for another 15-20 minutes or until they are incredibly soft. We don’t want to caramelize the veggies, we want to soften them and stew them until they become a jam that we can…

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mash with a potato masher or drinking glass! This makes the meat very moist and the vegetables palatable for even the harshest of critics.

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3. Combine the chicken with the hoisin, soy, and diced pepper.

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Don’t try to form them into patties. With so much moisture from the veggies, they will just fall apart. 

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instead, just add them to the veggie mixture and mash it all around.

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4. Cook until the chicken is totally opaque and cooked through.

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5. Serve on portabella buns or mixed greens with a garnish of hoisin and Sriracha.

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These didn’t turn out the way that I thought they would, but they are still great. The important part is the extra fat from the oil used to sautee the veggies – it makes the meat very tender and juicy instead of the hard, crumbly discs that you occasionally get when using low fat meat. The vegetables literally disappear into the meat. The sweet, spicy, and pungent flavors of the sauces and spices make this a great filling for a taco or topping for a salad – I would even serve this with fried wonton crisps as a room temperature party dip!

Bottom line, mistakes aren’t all bad.

Some of them are pretty damned tasty.

Norma’s is a Dud

Remember when I was so hoity-toity and proud about ignoring reviews and doing whatever the hell I wanted?

Wow, that was short sighted of me.

I recently went to the much maligned Norma’s in the Parker Meridien hotel. It is written up everywhere for serving huge portions of overpriced foods, for having lackluster service, and for feeling totally mechanical without any warmth.

I’m sad to say that the stories are true.

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The atmosphere is basically at the end of the hotel lobby – it doesn’t feel any more special than your standard Vegas hotel coffee shop. Which wouldn’t matter if the service were great. Or even good. But when you spend a majority of the meal flagging down your server to beg for some water and HEAVEN FORBID that you need hot sauce before you eat your eggs…it takes away from the uniqueness of the place. And even that wouldn’t matter if each entree wasn’t over $20.

Which, of course, each one is.

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Huevos Rancheros

Good. Not great. Not Cookshop, that’s for sure. The quesadillas are a great idea – decadent pockets of melted cheese and crispy tortillas topped with properly fried eggs. But there is no sour cream. No piquant pickled onions. The hot sauce is generic and the beans are watery. Don’t get me wrong, I ate this – it’s tasty. But it is not craveable. And it’s not worth it.

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The smoothie shot at the beginning of the meal was the best part. Guava, pineapple, orange, and passion fruit made for a surprisingly tropical way to start the day in chilly NYC.

However, it’s still not enough. Not nearly enough.

Do follow my review or don’t; the choice is up to you.

But dont’ say that that I didn’t warn ya.

The Surprisingly Delicious Il Mulino

I try never to listen to reviews. I don’t trust them because one man’s Dos Caminos is another man’s Taco Bell – and who is to say which one that man prefers.

Sometimes this gets me into trouble. Sometimes, it’s a draw. And sometimes, it lads me into a wonderful meal for which my expectations were really low.

Such was my delightful experience at the uptown Il Mulino.

Il Mulino is a veritable institution in the west village. It’s slightly easier to get a reservation there than its inspiration, Rao’s. It’s a club to which everyone belongs, as long as you come in with a reservation, which will likely be on the very early or somewhat late side.

Hey, I could be down with some prosecco at 6pm.

The vibe and atmosphere is old school elegance – break out your Birkin bags, and no ripped jeans, gents. The lighting is so low that even we, four young and healthy people, had to break out our iPhone flashlights. But you won’t read your menu for the first few minutes that you are there anyway.

First, you will order a bottle of wine from the rather small and overpriced list – how can you not? It’s such a celebratory feeling being ushered to your tiny, lamp lit table by a tuxedoed Italian man who spouts nothing but compliments, bella this and prego that….you need to drink to keep that buzz going!

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Then, you will receive a chunk of parmesan from a large wheel. It’s nutty, salty, and a little sweet.

Then, there is the spicy hard salami.

Then there is the zucchini, oily and addictive.

Don’t forget the mussels bruschetta, where the mussels are a little blah but the crostini is downright fabulous. Tart, juicy, sweet, and a little earthy. Just a hint of garlic. Sorry for the lack of photos – toldja that the restaurant was insanely dark!

I wish I got a photo of the overflowing bread baskets. Yes, multiple. Spicy, crispy foccacia, fresh doughy tomato foccacia, wheat country bread, and garlic bread so cheesy, savory, and delicious that it must be baked with pure crack cocaine.

Yeah, it’s that tasty.

Only then do you get to look at the impossible-to-decipher-in-this-darkness menu.

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Porcini ravioli

Keep your oysters and other aphrodisiacs. This is the sexiest dish that I ave ever eaten. It’s swimming in a creamy, truffle inflected sauce. It’s firm but pillowy and light on the inside, with cheesy, woodsy, meaty porcini mushrooms. The pasta is tender and the serving is gigantic – easily enough for 2 light eaters. It’s rich and heavy in the most wonderful way. It’s almost heady with all of those mushrooms and cream. It’s intoxicating. 

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Chicken alla Romana

The most shocking of the night, because it tastes so home cooked. If you told me that your nonna was back there cooking it, I would believe you in a heartbeat. The most tender chicken in a lemony, almost velvety sauce with capers, mushrooms and artichoke hearts. The chicken reaches that magical point of fall apart tender but not yet mushy. It’s so bright and comforting – it’s really tasty in every way. It doesn’t come with a side dish, but get some more of the garlic bread to sop up that wonderful sauce. Trust me, you will want it all.

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Veal Milanese

A lighter option to veal Parmigiano. Thin, wonderfully tender veal that is so soft and sweet that my fiance announced that it must have been smuggled into the country, because he had never tasted veal like this. It has a crunchy, thin breading that isn’t at all soggy and is well seasoned with salt and dried oregano. It’s covered with fresh tomatoes that are so sweet and juicy that it reminds me that the crap I have been eating all winter is finally giving way to spring and summer fruit. I would order this again, but would also like to try the much more sinful Parmigiano version.

Il Mulino gets an unfair rap as overly pricey and subpar. It was absolutely fair for the amount and quality of food that we got. The servers asked us if we wanted appetizers or dessert but did NOT push us. We were not rushed, pressured to upgrade our wine selection. or made to feel in any way that we were less than because we only ordered entrees. We were even gifted some fig grappa at the end to entice us to return. The service was efficient, warm, and genuine. It was an excellent meal, and though not a cheap one, a fairly priced one.

So even though I don’t  follow reviews, you should follow mine. For that time when you don’t  have to pinch pennies, Il Mulino is too delish to miss!