Sponsored Post: A Match Made in Heaven with Rioja Wine and Friday Night Dinner

Every Friday night is family night in the Fritos and Foie Gras Household.
Why?
Well, because we are Jewish.
We aren’t great Jews (look, I like a cheeseburger as much as the next gal), but we are Jews. And one of our favorite things to do is light the candles and welcome in the sabbath with family and friends. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we have to stick to roast chicken and matzoh ball soup.
So, in collaboration with Honest Cooking and Rioja Wine for the Match Made in Heaven campaign, I invite you to host a(non kosher…told you that we weren’t great Jews) tapas dinner. Rioja is a great wine choice for family and friends because it isn’t too pricey, is always ready to drink as soon as it hits the shelves, and ranges in flavors from sweet and jammy reds to crisp, fragrant whites. Rioja is also super food friendly – a good bottle of rioja blends really well with savory, overt, in -your-face flavors. Luckily, those are all flavors that I love.  which makes it ideal to serve with these Spanish-influenced dishes.
I chose a Faustino VII Tempranillo 2011, which is light and fruity, with plenty of cherry notes and a little bit of woodsy background. It’s ideal with this tapas dinner!
My favorite tapas of all times. Sweet, savory, and juicy – this is easy to do as a make-it-yourself station at dinner. Just lay out a few tomato halves, some toasted bread, cut garlic cloves, and salt. BOOM! Interactive dinner, complete!
Be still my heart. Here is where the rioja really shines. It stands up to the intensely spicy, citrusy zing of the jalapeno and fragrant fresh herbs and vegetables. It softens the almost abrasive hit of flavors and rounds out the edges. This can be served in cups so people can just sip as they move around the buffet table.
Usually albondigas are made in a tomatoey sauce with garlic and aromatics, but why not add a little of the Jewish flavor into this sabbath meal? These sweet and sour meatballs have been at every family party since before I was born, and they are almost too easy to be good. Except that they are really are so, so good. They are a meaty, sweet component in a dish full of bright, spicy, vegetal flavors.
Because it’s summer and we have to get some fresh fruit in her somewhere! The kale can be substituted for baby greens or even finely shredded Brussels sporuts if you prefer, and the peaches can be changed for nectarines or plums. Basically, do what feels right. This is a food that almost mirrors the wine exactly – it’s sweet and robust, complementing all of the other flavors at the table.
Not quite patatas bravas, but the next best thing. Crispy, salty, creamy inside and golden brown outside. Thse are great plain, but if you serve them with a little garlic aioli or mayonnaise mixed with chipotles in adobo, you will be in heaven.  You will have halitosis, but you will be in heaven.
Creme Catalan’s lower maintenance cousin. Yes to condensed milk. Yes to creamy texture. Yes to rioja suddenly becoming a dessert wine…whoa, when did that happen?
This is a great meal to serve with friends and family. Throw some jazz on in the background, open up a bottle of rioja and raise a glass to sharing your culture with your loved ones.  Rioja Wine is even making it easier by offering to help you create a wine pairing dinner of your own – just click on the banner at the top of the post!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was compensated for writing it. 

Wedding Review: Ron Ben-Israel’s Delightful and Delicious Wedding Cakes

Remember when I said that I would go through all of my wedding food on the blog?

Okay,  after a quick jaunt to the Mediterranean, now we are back on track.

The most important part of my wedding was obviously the food. And, as I tend to do I focused most of my energy on the savory aspects. I agonized over samosas versus knishes, raw clams versus oyster croquettes, and franks in blankets or mini grilled cheeses. One thing I didn’t think about a lot was the cake.

Until I did.
IMG_20140217_085318_096 We were gifted an upgrade on our wedding package to include a cake by Ron Ben-Israel. Oh, you know, Mr. Sweet Genius himself. Lauded as America’s greatest wedding cake baker. Pastry chef extraordinaire to the stars.

And to us. Wow. Thank you for the this awesome gift, C – you know who you are.
IMG_20140217_090256_080 From the moment we walked into his SoHo studio, we knew this wouldn’t be the standard “here’s a spoonful of icing, what kinda cake do ya want” tasting. We were seated at a table and told to thumb through a book to see what kind of designs we preferred. No, not a picture book.
IMG_20140217_090312_827 An encyclopedia.  IMG_20140217_092925_178 As we waited momentarily for the main man himself, my then-fiance commented on how all the flowers looked so fresh. When I told him that everything on every one of the cakes was edible, he was incredulous.  IMG_20140217_092930_529 From the whimsical to the traditional, Ron Ben-Israel does it all.

And what a man he is. So kind. So funny. SO humble and so genuinely happy to be doing what he does. When he came out and shook our hands, you would think that he was a new baker who just needed his first gig. He seemed so grateful that we were working with him, instead of the other way around. He listened to our ideas and then gently steered us in a direction that would work better. He heard key words and tuned them into a concept. He did not rush or intimidate us. He was sweet, sincere, and was so happy when we asked to take a photo with him that you would never have known that he was a major tv celebrity chef.

But then we tried his cakes. And it was like…oh…this dude is very totally famous because J.H.C. is his stuff amazing.  IMG_20140217_093023_820 Citrus cake  -  moist and light, with a lemony, fresh zing that complements the gentle vanilla flavor. Sweet and refreshing at the same time.

Almond cake – my absolute favorite. Sophsiticated and subtle with slivers of crunchy almonds in a nutty, moist, tender crumbed cake. This was especially delicious with the Nutella ganache.

The best ganaches in this round were the lemon (bright, creamy, zippy), the coconut (fragrant, full bodied, utterly tropical), and the blood orange (tart, sweet, sharp). The Nutella was chocolaty, the raspberry was fruity, and the other flavors were all craveworthy, but these were just the standouts.  IMG_20140217_093028_441 Vanilla cake – very light and mild built to showcase the jewel colored ganache.

Chocolate - deep and fudgy, like Mississippi Mud.

Excellent flavors included the cookies and cream (I swear, they must have scraped the filling out of Oreos to get that flavor so precise!) the pistachio (intensely nutty and creamy), and the cappuccino (buttery, faintly coffee-esque, and quite sweet).

The flavors were all insane. We ended up going with the citrus cake (one of my best friends is allergic to tree nuts, and I couldn’t imagine her not being able to enjoy the almond cake at the wedding) with cappuccino, blood orange, and coconut fillings. I could have sworn that I would want a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, but Ron Ben Israel showed me the light. He assured us that this flavor combination would be sophisticated and delicious, which is just how we wanted the food at our wedding to taste.

It was supreme.

And it looked…well, you can see how it looked.

SarahJosh_Reception_011 I know. It’s the prettiest thing that I have ever seen, too.

SarahJosh_Reception_390 And the most delicious cake that I have ever eaten.

This cake is expensive. But if you are deciding between high end cake makers, I can’t recommend Ron Ben-Israel enough. He is a doll and he does beautiful, delicious work. He will make your wedding dress bust at the seams.

I’m proud to say that I ate a ton at my own wedding.

ron ben israel

Thank you so much, Ron Ben-Israel, for making dreams that I didn’t’ even know I had come true. 

The Ritz London: A Legend in its Own Time

The last hotel of our stay was one of the most beautiful hotels which I have ever frequented. It was the ever luxurious, ever personalized The Ritz hotel.

Sister to the famous Ritz in Paris, this  hotel has been privately owned since it opened in 1906, and its motto may well be “too much is never enough.”

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From the moment that you emerge from your taxi and a top-hatted doorman rushes to help you with your bags and usher you into the gold and pink lobby, your feet barely touch the floor. You are offered a small tour of the hotel, through its vast floral displays, its cherub-bedecked dining room, and the tea salon that spawned a thousand imitators. Of course, if you decline, you are whisked away to your room, wich is a jewel box.

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Each room is filled with fresh flowers and unique touches – an original drawing here, and antique vase there. The tones are soft and elegant mint and blue. The bed is thick and luxurious, with a soft mattress and a large king size – not so common in Europe.

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Our room came with a vanity table so delicate and beautiful that I felt bad sitting there before my makeup was applied.

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The bathroom is beautifully appointed, with a towel warmer (why don’t we have these stateside?!), a double vanity, and a shower tub combination with a supremely deep tub that is perfect for relaxing after a long day of museums and shopping (more shopping than museums, if I’m being honest).

The toiletries are Asprey…only the best for The Ritz. They are so delicious smelling that I gathered them up each time we entered the room and – lo and behold – each time I came back, they were dutifully replaced. I must have gotten 6 shampoos in 2 days.

Of course, you could always go for one of the shamancier suites:

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Beautiful bedroom…

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Complete with a sitting room…
DSC_1107 and a lovely view of Green Park.  DSC_1105

Objets d’art surround every private and public room in this hotel.

Not too shabby, right?

Of course, if you are a visiting sheik or got rich off of a Youtube video, you may want to check out the Royal Suite. This suite, housed in the recently acquired William Kent house is…rather extraordinary. Though I could say a lot, I might as well just let the pictures speak for themselves.

DSC_1118 The house, with its private, hidden entrance to the rest of The Ritz.
DSC_1121 Entering an incredible suite.  DSC_1126 Oh, you know, the plain ole drawing room, with a table big enough for 12 people.  DSC_1129 The loveliest round bedroom, overlooking Green Park.  DSC_1134 Fabulous dressing area. DSC_1135 Not too shabby, right? DSC_1136 A cool elevator, because who uses stairs to get places? DSC_1139 A mural painted when the home was bought by the Ritz and restored. It’s painted in keeping with the Georgian style of the house… DSC_1142 with one cheeky exception! DSC_1143 More drawing rooms in the Kent house complex… DSC_1145 Including a beautiful drawing room… DSC_1146 with a golden, sculptured ceiling that would rival the Sistine chapel itself.  DSC_1156 The gold, mint, and rose music room, where intimate weddings might be held.

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Every person we encountered was incredibly kind and seemed to actually want to be there. From the butler (obviously, each room has a butler) who brought us a welcome tray of hot coffee and biscuits when we checked in to the doorman who shared his favorite place for fish and chips (“not too posh, but it’s where me mates go for a bite after work”), everyone seemed so damned happy to see us. Even if they weren’t…okay! This is what sets the Ritz apart. The service. The ability to be called by name and feel as though you are visiting nobility who has stayed there for eons who happens to be passing through an old friend’s home on your way to the country.

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Plus, if you are on your honeymoon, you might get these delivered to your hotel room…

photo 1 (1) And this set up. Beyond romantic.

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So, while London is a great city, between the afternoon tea, the private club downstairs (private restaurant, cigar bar, and casino only for members of the club or guests at The Ritz…very 007), and the gorgeous rooms, you may have problems leaving your hotel.

The most British, most elegant, most over the top luxurious hotel that I could imagine. This is romantic to the hilt and you can’t help but fall in love with the city, the hotel, and your traveling partner.

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The perfect way to end a dreamy honeymoon.

Disclaimer: I was given a media rate. All of my opinions are my own and unbiased.

Tomato Sandwich Redux – No Mayo!

When I read about this tomato sandwich on some food forum or other (what, you don’t spend your days trolling sites for restaurant reviews and recipes?), I knew that I had to try it. I have had at least 4,000 tomato sandwiches in my lifetime, but never one like this.

This isn’t your traditional tomato sandwich. 

Why, you ask?

Well, for one, there is no mayonnaise. Now, I LOVE tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches, but sometimes, they can be a little too much – too creamy, too goopy, too messy.

Also, there are seasonings beyond salt and pepper. A TRAVESTY in the tomato-sandwich making traditional school of thought.

Also…well, it’s not really tomato season yet. It’s early. The tomatoes are fresh and juicy at the farmer’s market, but they aren’t quite those sweet, dripping with flavor, sun warmed tomatoes that August is sure to bring.

But it was a long winter. And I need some tomato sandwiches NOW. 

So, without further ado…here is the simple way to make a nouveau tomato sandwich.

20140702_074652 1. Take your piece of bread. I had sour rye, but fresh white bread or even some thinly sliced pumpernickel would work well. 20140702_074803 2. Spread it thickly with unsalted butter. The butter must be spread thickly and it MUST be unsalted. I always buy unsalted butter because it’s so easy to season your own butter to the saltiness that you prefer, and then you control the sodium. Also, keep that butter at room temperature when you are spreading it so you don’t tear the bread.  20140702_075109 3. Layer on your tomatoes, none too thinly sliced. The heartier the bread is, the thicker the slices must be. Also, the tomatoes aren’t fully flavored yet, so you need thicker slices to taste them fully. Come August, you can use a razor blade to cut those slices and still have the taste burst through.  20140702_075134 5. Top with your seasonings of choice – I prefer a spicy lemon pepper seasoning with red pepper flakes, salt, and dried lemon zest. 
20140702_075143 6. Eat openfaced, in front of the air conditioner and with an ice old root beer, if possible. 

This sandwich blew me away. The butter seems less important than the mayo is – it really lets the tomato be the star of the show. It is more of a barrier than anything else – it keeps the tomato’s juices from making the bread soggy. The bread was a good choice – a slightly sour bread highlights the tomato’s natural sweetness. And the seasoning was really exciting – tart and spicy and salty enough to make every other flavor sing. I really felt like such a rebel – who puts extra seasoning on their tomato sandwiches?! Who AM I?!

I’m jut a girl who was ready for a freakin tomato sandwich.

And it. was. good.

It’s Summertime – Here’s Where You Should be Eating Ice Cream!

It’s summer and it’s hot. I mean shorts wearing-sunscreen slathering-ice cream eating hot.

1. Shorts – cheap ones. So you don’t care if they get grass stains.

2. Sunscreen – at least spf 50 if you are a redhead, like me. Just call me Casper, the skin cancer-free ghost.

3. Ice cream – well, either of these will work:

20140529_145643 Oddfellows

This cult favorite import from Brooklyn has a tiny storefront in the East Village. I don’t think that the ice cream is worth a special trip, but if you are in the ‘hood and want a sweet, cold treat than come here. Though you could go for the very good, very rich chocolate ice cream, I suggest that you go for something a little more out of the ordinary.
20140529_145911 Thai iced tea ice cream

Well, there goes my of Thai iced coffee. This ice cream is so many times better than my favorite southeast Asian drink that I doubt I will ever order another iced coffee with my pad see ew ever again. This is smooth and dense but not hard – easy to eat with the plastic spoon. It’s very creamy and has a rich, buttery taste upfront followed by a light, herbal tea flavor. It’s refreshing but still indulgent and I would definitely get his again.

20140627_123824 Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

Destination worthy. The Salty Pimp is where it’s AT. Soft serve that makes Mr. Softee look like the fraud he is. Deeply chocolaty Magic Shell. And, best of all, a salt flecked drizzle of ducle de leche that is so buttery and sweet that you might propose to it.

20140627_123843 I dare you to share it with someone. You will each need at least 2.

Gotta love summertime. 

Soiree in the Park and Other Bites

So what have I been eating recently? Fine, I’ll tell you:

20140529_194519 I attended Soiree in the Park as press. This event is part of New Taste of the Upper West Side, and the proceeds go towards keeping Theodore Roosevelt Park clean and safe for the neighborhood – it’s hard to feel bad about spending money when it goes towards such a great cause! Though this year’s event was held on a very cold night, there were some great eats, including some of my favorite sweets: 20140529_195928 Oh Sarabeth’s. You don’t just do a good rehearsal dinner, you do a damned good cookie. The rugalech is buttery and flaky, the chocolate is fudgy and moist, and that apricot jam cookie. Um, yeah. That one is great. Very rich shortbread cookies, dipped in glossy chocolate, with a sticky sweet apricot jam filling. This is a rather pricey event,  but if you have the money to spend, you could do worse than chowing down on a barrel-full of these cookies! 20140607_124441 Huevos Rancheros at El Centro

How did I live in Hell’s Kitchen for 7 years and never come here? It’s a really fun Mexican restaurant with great margaritas that would be perfect for a birthday dinner with friends. On this occasion, I had an outdoor brunch with a friend and though the sidewalk seating is tight, it isn’t at all too cramped. I had the huevos rancheros and for the price and the portion – this is great! The eggs are sunny side up with rich yolks and a zingy, onion and tomato influenced enchilada sauce. Cubes of buttery avocado, melty cheese, and sour cream rounded it all off. Refried beans and crispy, freshly fried tostada shells…I mean, what more do you need? Oh, besides one of those limey margaritas, of course. Look, it isn’t Cookshop, but it’s delish in its own right.  20140626_083643 Smoked salmon tartine from Le Pain Quotidien

A chain so good that I hesitate to even call it a chain. Really, this place does fresh and seasonal better than most high end places that claim that they specialize in such food. The smoked salmon is pleasantly salty and firm – not mushy like lesser versions. It’s served with ripe avocado, fresh scallions, and some of the chewiest, sourest peasant bread around. An excellent light but filling breakfast.

Moroccan Turkey Kebabs

I haven’t posted a recipe since 1999, or so it seems.

Well, what can I say? I have been making a lot of old favorites that just haven’t needed repeating. However, I am now firmly back on the recipe development bandwagon and offer to you this – my favorite new recipe. It requires a bit of prep work, but then comes together very quickly. I love Moroccan food because it’s so complex – sweet, spicy, fragrant, crunchy, soft…it really appeals to all the flavors and textures that I crave. However, I rarely make it because just like the flavors are complex, the cooking methods can also be somewhat time-consuming.  This dish takes the best things about Moroccan cooking (the flavors) and the best things about American cooking (45 minute meals) and fuses them together for a dish that is unique enough for company but easy enough to make for yourself on a weeknight.

Moroccan Turey Kebabs

moroccan chicken Ingredients:

1 lb. ground turkey

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 onion, half diced, half sliced into rings

3/4 cup harissa tomato sauce

3 tbsp. cilantro

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (quinoa flakes or oatmeal also work)

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. Moroccan seasoning

1/4 cup orange juice

olive oil to drizzle
20140623_173945 1. Mix all of the ingredients together except for the sliced portion of the onion. The mixture will be very loose and moist. Preheat the oven to 350F.  20140623_174302 2. Put the sliced onions in a baking dish and form the turkey into large, quenelle shaped patties. Place them on top of the onions – it’s okay if they touch. Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil – not a huge amount, just enough to help the onions along since the turkey has no fat.  20140623_182057 3. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the turkey is completely cooked though (it may look a little pink inside even when it’s totally cooked through because of the harissa. You know that it’s cooked by using a meat thermometer or when the meat loses its mushy quality and becomes firm). 20140623_202258 4. Serve with tomato and cucumber salad and Greek yogurt. 20140623_202339 It’s hard to explain just how satisfying this dish is. It’s incredibly fragrant with the cumin, cinnamon, and various spices in that Moroccan spice mixture. Definitely get a spice mix if you don’t make Moroccan food a lot – it lasts a long time and adds an unmistakably North African feel to your food. The cilantro is bright and the orange juice lends a faint, sweet backnote. The texture is wonderfully soft and juicy, thanks to the breadcrumbs and mayo, and the outside becomes crispy and golden brown. Best of all is the harissa tomato paste…that takes this over the top. It’s quite spicy, so go easy on it if it’s your first time using this. It has the heat of cayenne with a low, slow burn like chipotle. Plus there is the added sweetness of the tomatoes…wow, it’s just delicious.

Best of all, this reheats really well.

Not that there will be any leftovers.

Sushi of Gari’s Unexpectedly Whimsical and Wonderful Omakase

I like to plan my special nights out on the town. I research restaurants, read reviews, and select my meal ahead of time. I pick my outfit, eat nothing but miso soup the day of the dinner, and mentally prepare for an incredible night.

However, sometimes, a truly exceptional meal pops out of nowhere on girls night. When you just wander into a sushi restaurant with your favorite gal pal and end up not talking at all – a rarity on any night – because the food is so mind-blowing.

It might not be Nakazawa, but Sushi Gari is a celebratory, destination worthy meal for those who want a combination of excellent fish and total ingenuity.

20140529_202433 Toro with ginger and yam paste

What a start to a meal. I’m not used to such a fatty fish starting omakase, but then -I haven’t ever had an omakase like this. Buttery, lush toro topped with a zippy, piquant ginger paste. It’s fatty, savory, and tart – already, I was intrigued.  20140529_202705 Salmon with jalapeno and yuzu

I have had this at least a hundred times before, and yet I felt as though I had never tasted this combination before. After the toro, the salmon seems less fatty than usual and its oceanic flavors stand out. The bright, citrusy jalapenos cut through those deep flavors and the slightly warm vinegared sushi rice adds sweetness and a temperature contrast. It might just be the perfect bite.  20140529_202933 Miso marinated cod

Not since the creme brulee has a blowtorch been used to such satisfying effect. The cod is just like miso marinated cod – sweet, salty, and irresistible – but with the added addition of pleasantly charred, crunchy bits from the blowtorch. It isn’t swimming in sauce, it’s just accented by the miso taste. If you like miso cod OR sushi, this dish will make you sit up and take notice.
20140529_203154 White fish with crispy lotus root, arugula, and basil oil

WHOA! Here is where the innovative part of the night really starts. Tradition has no place in the meal from here on out. The whitefish is sliced so thinly that it is translucent – slippery and very mild. It’s topped with crispy, salty lotus root that is like adding a potato chip to a sandwich  -ie, brilliant. The garlicky basil oil is warm and somehow accents the fish’s mild taste instead of covering it.  20140529_203501 Tuna with pureed tofu and chili oil

Once again, the chefs pair incredibly flavorful ingredients with mild ones to a surprisingly complementary effect. The tuna is tender but not too soft. The soft component is the tofu, which is so light and creamy that it tastes like it must be full fat yogurt. The chili oil is applied sparingly is intensely spicy – just a drizzle picks up the sweet flavor of the tofu and the meaty texture of the fish. Yes, yes, yes to this.

20140529_204041 Fried white fish with green tea salt

I mean, what?! This is fish and chips, Japanese style. Fish encased in such a light, puffy batter that it seems as though it might float away on a cloud. It has a fragrant, herbal green tea salt on top that acts as the vinegar of this fish and chips. It sits on the warm, sticky rice and wow…the crispy, flaky texture just works.  20140529_204950 Salmon with tomato, onion, and pepper

Um yeah, this is a showstopper. It’s Gari’s signature piece of sushi and I see why.  I can safely say that I have never before eaten a piece of sushi like this. The salmon is flame torched and then the skin is removed. It is laid hot on the salmon with savory sautéed onions and freshly cracked black pepper. It seems so weird, but I’m telling you..it works. It’s savory, it’s salty, it’s meaty, it’s soft, it’s tart, and it’s just a little bit spicy. This isn’t an overly fishy piece of sushi and I can’t think of ANYONE who wouldn’t love this.

I didn’t even photograph the fantastically fatty toro or the sweet salmon sashimi. I didn’t even comment on the engaging and delightful sushi chefs who talked and chatted with us at the sushi bar as if we were the only patrons at the restaurant. This is an expensive meal, but it’s a worthy splurge. Special occasion – head here!

Fulton – The Perfect Neighborhood Joint

I had a really great meal at a totally unsuspecting UES spot recently – y’all need to know about it.

20140608_122059 Fulton is a bright, spacious restaurant on the Upper East side that specializes in fresh seafood. It has a laid back vibe that is nice enough for a brunch with friends but casual enough for a brunch with friends who have kids. It hits that sweet spot of upscale but chill. It’s modern and clubby feeling – like a very updated version of a steak and seafood place.  20140608_124253 Fish burger

An underwhelming name for a fabulous dish. The fish burger is made of halibut and cod, and is bound loosely so it is soft and moist, interspersed with fresh dill and lemon zest.  The patty is made of large, meaty pieces of fish so it’s not mushy or homogeneous. It’s just like eating a light, fresh piece of fish but with a side of lemony, creamy hollandaise. And a soft, fluffy potato bun. And let’s be honest…eating things in burger form is just always a good idea. The accompanying salad is light and fresh (although the golden brown French fries are an even more craveworthy side), and the portion is enough to fill you but no enough to require Pepto Bismol.
20140608_124328 Smoked salmon tartine with roe and cucumbers

THIS is the ideal summer meal. A crispy crostini layered with a thin schmear of creme fraiche, thinly sliced and peeled cucumbers, and velvety smoked salmon. High on the lush texture, low on the smoky taste. It’s topped with briny pearls of salmon roe, taut and shiny with salty flavor. This is simple but well done and I would get it again and again.

20140608_124337 Shrimp and grits

The least inspired of the dishes that we tried. The shrimp are sweet and snappy and the grits are well cooked – creamy and comforting. However, they aren’t seasoned the way that I like shrimp and grits. Not enough butter, not enough garlic, not enough…N’alwins.

20140608_122054 Fulton is such a sleeper hit. It’s the PERFECT neighborhood joint. The prices are fair, the service is friendly and competent, the surroundings are comfortable, and the food is really great. I can’t get over that fish burger..it’s just phenomenal. I could totally come here if I was in the hood or looking for a large, family friendly spot where the food really measures up.

David Burke’s Fabrick Brings Flavor and Flair to the Garment District

David Burke has a new baby in town…that he gave up for adoption.

Let me explain:

His new restaurant, Fabrick, is part of the David Burke group. It has his name attached to it. It draws inspiration from him. But he isn’t in the kitchen - not now, not ever.

So…how does the fare fare?

Yes, I love dad jokes. Get used to it.

20140609_185603 20140609_190207 The restaurant, located in the garment district’s hottest new neighbor, the Archer hotel, is all industrial chic with pops of color. It’s casual and airy, perfect for a quick lunch in between shopping or a first date afer work. The high tables even have actual chairs with backs, which I totally appreciate.  20140609_191559 Though the menu descriptions aren’t online yet, go for the blackberry lime rickey. It’s tart and refreshing, mixed with a good kick of vodka and a floater of prosecco. 20140609_192822 Smoked salmon pizza

Yes, it’s done all over the place and has been since 1989, but who cares? This one is excellent and even a little more unique than I was expecting. First of all, the dough is served warm, like a pizza, so the thinly cut pastrami cured salmon melts into the bread. Second, it has pickled ramps for an unexpectedly garlicky pickled element. The horseradish cream picks up the spicy coriander and pepper rub on the salmon and the final sprinkling of sweet pea shoots finishes the pizza nicely. 
20140609_201554 Candied bacon

Boy, is this good! Sure, I make it, but when I make it, it doesn’t come on a cute little clothesline. Nor does it come with house pickled vegetables to add some lightness to the dish and cur through the fat and sugar. That fat and sugar is good though…sticky, crispy, meaty, and oh so sweet. A winner in my book.
20140609_205144 Lobster bolognese

Good, but not revolutionary. The thick pasta is cooked until it’s JUST past al dente, so it’s a little mushier than I enjoy, but still tasty. A chili-infused tomato sauce that is more bright and sweet than truly spicy, topped with a generous portion of buttery lobster claw meat. It’s good…not amazing.

20140609_205228 Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

Fabulous! This would be welcome at a steakhouse, let alone at a non-meat-specialty restaurant. The steak is charred outside and tender within. It has a beefy flavor, with a bit more chew than filet mignon but the hearty, meaty flavor really compensates for that. This is delicious with the garlicky, salty, verdant chimichurri sauce and the sautéed veggies alongside. I will absolutely get this when I return.
20140609_213539 Peach melba doughnuts

Oh Zac Young, how you make my heart melt. You are cute, you are a celerity, and you make DAMNED GREAT doughnuts! These are unbelievable. They come in a tin and then are unearthed like pineapple upside down cake. Then, a bow of creme fraiche is mixed with they syrupy, juicy peach topping so you can tempter the fluffy, bready, yeasty doughnuts with some tangy, fragrant, vanilla scented creme fraiche. This is an adult doughnut – it’s sweet and fruity but the doughnut isles isn’t too sweet – that’s why the peaches and the creme fraiche shine so brightly.

This place is a GREAT addition to the garment district. It’s not quite destination worthy, but in a few more months afer it gets is sea legs, it may bet there. The food is delicious, the prices are upscale but fair, and the service is great. I would come here any time.

Chef Burke, they done ya proud.

Disclaimer: This was a press meal. I was not required to write about my experiences, and my opinions are my own and unbiased.