The Back Room at One57 – Foie Gras for Breakfast?!

The title just says it all, doesn’t it?

I’ll quickly set the scene so I can get you to the good stuff without too much delay.

20150510_092116 The Back Room at One57 is the NYC Park Hyatt’s flagship restaurant. It’s modern and elegant with a cool, open exterior that feels upscale but not cold.  20150510_092123 Details like these sweet flowers and a huge display of fruit in the middle of the room keep the space from being too antiseptic. There are a fair amount of hotel guests eating here but I think that it will be popular with NYC dwellers too.

20150510_094117 Shakshuka with baked egg, merguez, and ciabatta

Excellent. Well spiced and fragrant with harissa and cinnamon-scented merguez. The eggs are ideally baked so the yolks are still runny and the only thing that you need is some more ciabatta to soak up that delicious sauce.

20150510_094137 Fruit plate

Not your standard melon and green strawberries. Sweet lychee, plump and taut blackberries, beautifully supremed grapefruit – this is worth ordering. Especially because you need something to lighten up your main dish.
20150510_094124 Seared foie gras with poached egg, creamy mushrooms, and black truffle butter
20150510_094322 Take that in for a minute. That’s fat atop umami atop buttery atop creamy. That’s thickly seared and salted foie melting into buttery egg yolk and some of the best mushrooms I have recently enjoyed. The truffle is subtle – it doesn’t overwhelm the foie, it accentuates it. If it isn’t for the tangle of vinegary greens, you might just have a heart attack then and there.  20150510_094653 What a way to go.

The Back Room at One57 is officially the most decadent breakfast spot in the city. It’s pricey but the service is great, the food is delicious, and the atmosphere is impressive. Sure, you need a Lipitor and a nap at 9 am if you dine here, but it’s SO worth it. 

Lamb Bacon at Navy

Quick drive by posting:

Have you ever been to Navy? Have you ever even heard of it? It’s an adorable cafe in SoHo that is almost hidden from sight. I went for a quick breakfast with a friend the other day and was utterly enchanted.


Fresh juice, check. Sweet staff, check. Small but on point menu, check.

A little expensive, but delish.


Harissa omelette with lamb bacon.


The omlette is soft and creamy, filled with a spiced (but not crazy hot) harissa paste that has the consistency of refried beans. It’s thick and velvety, just like the eggs. A tangle of peppery, vinaigrette-dressed watercress breaks through the richness.


And that lamb bacon.

Whoa. Fatty. Meaty. Grassy. Not at all salty or smokey. Pretty much addictive.

For one shining moment, being kosher seemed possible.

Then I remembered cheeseburgers.


Hit up Navy the next time that you are in SoHo. You won’t regret it!

Buvette Doesn’t Ring my Breakfast Bell

I have wanted to try Buvette for a long time. I have heard that it’s so Parisian. That the food is wonderful. That the space is cramped but comfortable. That it’s SO SO AMAZING.

Let’s see how it measures up.

First, the pros:

20150228_090414 1. Adorable.

This place is super cute – great for a breakfast with your love, a coffee at the bar, or an indulgent lunch all on your own. 
20150228_091838 2. The food

Downright delicious. Fresh, seasonal, well portioned. You get up feeling satiated but not stuffed. You can try several dishes, because you don’t feel overloaded with sodium or carbs. The beets are excellent – sweet, earthy, and toothsome against the tangy, cool yogurt.  20150228_091848 Avocado toast

A special that day, and clearly my favorite dish in my current rotation. This is a thick, nutty piece of brown bread topped with buttery avocado, a swath of vegetal celery yogurt, and more than a few pepper flakes. The radishes and dressed watercress, highlighting the fruity olive oil and the avocado. Certainly recommended.  20150228_092005 Bloody Mary

Delicious! Well balanced, none too alcoholic, freshly grated horseradish, and good enough to stand on its .own without any insane garnishes 20150228_093937 3. The service.

Excellent – friendly, prompt, professional.

Now, for the sad part – the cons:

1. Cramped.

I knew this going in and didn’t mind at all, but you won’t want to come here with more than 4 people MAX. I couldn’t imagine being comfortable with more than 2 people, honestly.

2. No reservations.

One of my biggest pet peeves. I hate showing up to a place  starving and then having to wait 45 minutes to get seated. I also hate having to wake up super early to beat the crowds because…dude…it’s the weekend. Luckily, we arrived right at opening time and had no wait, but this is a major downer in my book.

3. Expensive.

Like, way way expensive. This little meal was STUPIDLY pricey. I actually wouldn’t come back because the cost is – in my opinion – over the top.

Buvette is adorable, the food is delicious, and the service is great. But no reservations and lots of $$$ translates to me heading elsewhere for my Saturday morning avocado toast.

Weekday Mimosas at The Standard Grill

Weekday mimosas. 

Who doesn’t love ’em?

However, they can be SHOCKINGLY difficult to find in NYC. It’s like people only like to drink on the weekends.


That’s how I feel about people who don’t believe in a little weekday indulgence. 


Luckily, the servers at The Standard Grill feel the same way. That’s why they will bring you a mimosa with freshly squeezed orange juice and fizzy sparkling wine, even though it’s not on the menu. It’s so tasty that I didn’t even snap a photo until I was already halfway done – this is a fabulous mimosa. Not too sweet, not too watery, and not too stingy with the good stuff!

20150227_094418 Located inside The Standard hotel, The Standard Grill is almost unspeakably hip. It’s all tweed and plaid uniforms, models sipping espresso, and dark paneled dining rooms. However, there is also a casual, sunny front room that is perfect for a relaxing breakfast with friends. It’s spacious and well designed – I wouldn’t hesitate to come here with a crowd.

20150227_103210 Egg scramble with Gruyere and herbs on toast

THIS is how egg whites should taste

Soft and creamy – perhaps they lack the richness of whole eggs, but the texture need not be that of a rubber bouncy ball. The cheese provides both tang and a little fat, and the herbs are fresh, sweet, savory, and sharp by turn. Served atop thickly cut sourdough toast and adorned with bright, lightly dressed greens – this is a breakfast that is both virtuous and delicious. It’s so simple but it’s so often butchered by lesser restaurants.

20150227_103201 Mushroom omelette

My girlfriend got a goat cheese and mushroom omelette and was extremely pleased. On another note, the bread here is fantastic – hers is a seven grain. Thick, wheaty, a little sweet, and studded with nuts and seeds. Fabulous. 

20150227_094527 The Standard Grill is an AWESOME place for a chic, but not snobby or uncomfortable, meal. The prices were a little high, but it’s commensurate with the neighborhood, and the service was so attentive and sweet that I would come here before I return to other places nearby.

Plus, those weekday mimosas. YES.

Mile End’s Awesome Smoked Meat Hash

A little late to the game, I headed to Mile End for brunch.

20141109_100728 Upside of being late to the game: Now wait at primo brunch time. Walk tight in, grab a table, and order a TON of Montreal Jewish food.

They have poutine at 10 am, y’all. I serious regret not ordering it.

20141109_102308 Latkes

The only dark spot in an otherwise shining experience. These are properly crispy without  but much too dense, bordering on leaden, within. I want my latkes like crunchy flavor ninjas not heavy potato bombs.  20141109_102314 Montreal style bagel with whitefish

The bagel is almost a revelation. It’s fluffy and chewy within, with a slightly sweet, thin, properly crispy crust. It’s lighter than typical NY bagels but with a pleasant sour tang that Montreal bagels lack. It’s a fantastic hybrid. The whitefish salad isn’t my favorite – it’s not creamy enough or seasoned enough. I far prefer Russ and Daughters -but this bagel would be fabulous with a schmear and some lox. Destination worthy item for sure.  20141109_102320 Smoked meat hash

My favorite hash in town. Sorry, mom, this even beats yours. The smoked meat here – pastrami to us hooligans in NYC – is phenomenal. Fatty and thick cut, with a peppery, spicy edge that isn’t too salty or unnecessarily greasy. It’s paired with sweet onions and soft on the inside, cirsp on the outside, cubed potatoes. Oh yeah, and it’s topped with a lovely fried egg. Add some Sriracha (available on request), and you’re in business.

The shocking part about this isn’t that it isn’t crazy heavy – the portion is perfect for sharing and the flavors are balanced and tasty.  20141109_102330 Chicken liver with gribenes

It ain’t Sammy’s, but what is? Add some pickles to the light, creamy pate and you are in business. What it lacks in salt it makes up for in smooth texture and deep, mineral flavors. Those pickled onions are sweet, tangy, and really phenomenal. I would absolutely order this again – the soft pumpernickel bread ain’t no slouch, either.

20141109_100847 Mile End was worth the wait! Prices are on the high side, but portions are fair, service is great, and food is awesome! Head here for some smoked meat and a bagel. I loved this so much that my next stop might just have to be Montreal!

Corn-Coconut-Lime Muffins

So sorry for the tardy posting…I could have sworn that I pushed “publish” yesterday, but I pushed “draft!” Have a delicious weekend, all!

These are some super easy muffins based on my favorite treat from Amy’s Bread – their lime cornmeal cookies. These cookies bridge the gap between sweet and savory. They are perfect for breakfast or a snack – I guess that you could eat them as dessert, but I certainly never have any left over after dinner.

These muffins are a tribute to those, made with a sample of Zico that I was sent.

Corn-Coconut-Lime Muffins

coconut lime corn muffins

1 package corn muffin mix, including whatever is needed to prepare the package

Zest of 2 limes

2 cups shredded coconut

Enough Zico coconut water to replace the liquid (NOT THE OIL!) called for in the recipe


1. Prepare the muffin mix according to instructions. Replace the water with coconut water.


2. Add the lime zest and shredded coconut.


3. Put into greased muffin tins and bake according to package.


4. Serve.

IMG_1750 This is so easy…like, almost criminally so. It’s just an easy mix that is doctored up with a few ingredients and BAM! – suddenly it’s some artisanal muffin. It could actually be sweet enough for dessert with a powdered sugar and milk glaze, but I like it as a muffin. It’s light and fluffy, with sticky shreds of coconut and that fragrant coconut water flavor. Lime’s essential oils are all in the zest, so using the zest infuses the batter with tart lime flavor without having to juice the lime. Replacing the liquid with coconut water cuts fat and adds such a delicate tropical flavor. The texture is a little crumbly, but slap some butter on one and you will suddenly forgive its structural defects. Whip these up and you will feel like you are in the tropics.

Or at Amy’s Bread…def one or the other.

California Dreamin: The World’s Greatest Pancakes at Du-Par’s

I spent a lot of time at The Farmers Market on this trip to LA. Not some farmers market in the parking lot with some lady selling half rotten peppers out of the back of her truck. The LA farmer’s market on Fairfax, which has been there since the 1930s and is one of my favorite memories of my childhood. My mom took me down here to buy toffee from Littlejohn’s, a stall that has been here since Marilyn Monroe was Norma Jean. My grandparents bought me some of my favorite dollhouse furniture here – a small set of dishes that was white and had little blue flowers painted on it. My sister and I used to beg our parents to buy us mini water glasses, not realizing that they were shot glasses. It’s a large, winding outdoor area filled with wonderful restaurants and food stalls, retail food shops, and curiosity stores filled with souvenirs and kitschy items. It’s largely unchanged since my mom was a kid and if there’s one thing that I love, there’s some consistency.

If there’s another thing that I love, it’s world class pancakes.

Enter: Du-Par’s

This place has been around for as long as the Farmer’s Market has been here. I forgot to take an y pictures of the interior, but it looks like a  more spacious version of an East Coast diner. And from the outside, it still looks exactly like this:

20140929_090131 I know, it really IS to adorable for words.
20140929_091323 Buttermilk Pancakes


The reason you come to Du-Par’s. I would never call myself a pancake girl, but these…well, these make me a pancake woman. A crazed pancake woman. They are impossibly thick and light at the same time. I don’t know how they are so tall yet so fluffy…they seem to defy the laws of nature.  They aren’t too sweet, which is a major pet peeve of mine. They have a little tang from the buttermilk and the sweetness only comes through with the syrup. And this is the short stack – the portion is generous to say the least. Best of all, they come with warm syrup and warm melted butter, so you don’t have to tear your pancakes by spreading cold butter all over them. That melted butter is the bee’s knees.
20140929_091334 Bacon, jack cheese, and avocado egg white omelette

Avocados are just better in California. I’m not explaining or justifying, I’m just telling you the facts. Buttery, smooth, and sweet. The omelette is tasty, with rivers of me;ted jack cheese and tons of crunchy bacon, but the special part comes alongside… 20140929_091346 Homemade English muffin


Do ya think this place knows its way around a carbohydrate or what? This English muffin is the best I have ever had. Toasty and warm, slightly sour and with butter melted into its nooks and crannies. To say nothing of the homemade strawberry preserves served alongside; so juicy and sweet that they would seem artificial if they weren’t so obviously delicious.

Du-Par’s is one of my favorite LA haunts. The service is friendly, the prices are fair, and the food is memorable.

Not to mention, hearty and necessary after a week or 2 of eating sushi and quinoa salads.

Nighttime Brunch at Egg Shop

What’s a gal to do when the hottest brunch spot is not only way downtown and doesn’t take reservations, but also has a 2+ hour wait on weekends?

She has brunch for dinner, of course.

20140915_203241 Egg Shop is the latest darling of the brunch world. It is – as it sounds –  a sweet, small, retrofitted eatery specializing in one thing: eggs. In bowls, on toast, and in every incarnation you can imagine. Though it’s supposedly bumper-to-bumper packed on the weekends, on a weekday night, it was positively deserted except for the pleasant waitstaff and enticing, tiny open kitchen.

20140915_204526 Egg salt and pepper shakers…come on…this is adorable. 20140915_204609 Avocado toast with heirloom tomatoes and a poached egg

Thick, seeded toast smeared with buttery avocado and topped with sweet heirloom tomatoes and…


a gorgeous poached egg. Tender whites, gooey yolk. Warm and comforting atop those juicy tomatoes and that lush avocado. This is so simple that you could make it at home…but you know you wouldn’t. I doused this with the homemade hot sauce and it was such a satisfying meal that I may just make it for myself tonight, after all.
20140915_204619 Egg salad with fried chicken

The best fried chicken I have had in recent memory. I can’t tell you how good it is. Juicy with a thick, craggy crust and not too thick – perfect for eating between two slices of toast. The egg salad isn’t made with mayo but it’s still creamy and loaded with piquant, aggressive flavors like coriander, dill, and fresh herbs. It’s light and punchy instead of stodgy like egg salad often is.  It’s more of a spread, a backdrop, for that lovely fried chicken. This doesn’t need anything – not hot sauce, not mayo…nada. Just your mouth.

This place is kind of overpriced, but it was fun for a weeknight meal. The service is great and the food is delish. I would NEVER wait more than 20 minutes to eat here – 30 minutes max. But if I was int the neighborhood again, I would be happy to eat here again and try a Bloody Mary, too.

Long live evening brunch!

Creative Crepes at The Starving Artist in the Berkshires

If you believe that you dine with your eyes as well as your mouth, I know exactly where to send you for a lazy Saturday morning breakfast in the Berkshires.

20140913_091839 The Starving Artist Cafe seems at first o be just a cute creperie on Lee’s main drag. You order at the counter then go to sit down at a small table or a window-side bench…. 20140913_091843 and then get to look at the gorgeous art gallery in which the cafe is housed. You like it, you can buy it! Sure beats seeing football on 3 screens in the local bar.  20140913_092800 Hot chocolate

Gargantuan, incredibly creamy, and none too sweet. Be sure to get it topped with the barely sweetened whipped cream, which only adds to the richness. This might put you into a food coma. It’s such a decadent way to start your vacay weekend.  20140913_093027 Mexican crepe with scrambled local eggs, black beans, avocado, and scallions

Tasty, if lacking in the spice department.


A really good counterpart to that hot chocolate. The crepe is crispy yet tender and chock full of scrambled eggs with melted cheese, soft avocado, and chewy black beans. Don’t skimp on the salsa, because the eggs aren’t spicy at all. But they are wholesome and delish.

20140913_093033 Fruit cup

A good size, with delicious Asian pears and homemade granola. Win.

Loved this joint (though the espresso is dreadful). Fair prices, delicious food, and good service. Plus, decorations that can’t be beat.

Weekday Breakfast at Le Grainne

This is a short and to the point write up:

Le Grainne is a lovely weekday breakfast spot.

It’s on 9th avenue, in that stretch of Chelsea just above Chelsea Market – you know, that street where there are still graceful brownstones and cute boutiques, like NYC wasn’t about to become one big shopping mall.


There is a very small but pretty sidewalk seating area, and inside it’s cozy and Parisian-feeling. The perfect place to catch up with a friend over a bowl of cafe au lait and a crispy croissant.

20140911_093912 Goat cheese and leek crepe

Maybe this isn’t how Parisians do breakfast, but this is how they should do it. Because this is both delicious and wholesome – sure beats that chocolate croissant in the “keeping you full” department. The goat cheese is melty and soft, less dense than cream cheese and with an unmistakable tang. The leeks are a little crunchy for my tastes, so next time I might go with goat cheese au naturel. The crepe itself is expertly prepared – whisper thin and crispy, substantial enough to hold the goat cheese but not at all doughy. The salad alongside is lightly dressed in a mustardy vinaigrette – fresh and tasty.
20140911_093916 This place is charming! The food is lovely, the prices are fair, and the service is a little more laid back than I prefer, but hey…it’s faster than it would be if this place actually was in France!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!