Tag Archives: charles

Top 10 Noms of 2009

31 Dec

What is a New Year without a Top 10?  I have been blogging for exactly 325 days and have enjoyed every moment of it.  I love food… and I’m so happy that I have some very faithful readers who have joined me on this journey (THANK YOU!). With that said, here is my top 10 Noms from 2009:

10) Disney World stands out in my mind for a very memorable eating trip in 2009.  The dinner we had at Marrakash comes up often and I still can’t remember ever having a better sundae than the Ghiradelli one I had at Downtown Disney.

9) When Mike and I took the Culinary Walking Tour of Greenwich Village, we didn’t really know what to expect. It wound up being great for both food (we have gone back to these places a few times since then) and history. 

8) I actually wound up going to Becco twice this year (Becco 1 and Becco 2).  They are awesome for having an unlimited pasta tasting from their three pastas of the day and a pretty extensive wine list for under $25.  But their Osso Bucco is what dreams are made of.

7) Every time I go to Koi it is amazing.  It’s one of the very, very few restaurants I can go to over and over again (even multiple times in the same week).  The crispy rice is amazing and I credit the Miso Glazed Cod with having started me eating fish for the first time.

6) The short ribs at Charles were great (well… I thought so until I had #2 on this list). We first sampled them at a nice fund-raising food festival and then I won a gift certificate by bidding $60 for a $75 gift certiciate.  The braised lamb shank was exceptional and highly recommended.

5) Quality Meats had been recommended to me time and time again.  While the steak was great, but not my favorite, the corn creme brulee was so good that I dream about it.

4) Eating at Montenapo, especially on someone else’s dime so we could order multiple courses without guilt (well, except waistline guilt), was a HUGE treat.  It’s brand new and in the middle of an area that is known to wimp out on food.  The Osso Bucco was the best I’ve ever had (even though I just had a taste of someone else’s) and the desserts were sensational.  There wasn’t a bad bite in the entire meal. 

3) I have loved Keens Steakhouse since the first time I tried it, however, the bar is especially amazing and I’m so glad Lori joined me for my first time.  That potato and steak was heavenly and more restaurants should make merengue… especially if it’s that good!

2) The number two slot goes to a yet to be blogged about meal at Bottega (Michael Chiarello’s restaurant in Napa Valley).  Why was it so good? You’ll just have to read the blog to find out!

1) My birthday dinner at WD-50 was epic. It is hands down the best meal I’ve ever had.  We went whole hog and got the full tasting menu.  Each dish was a new adventure… and not just because it looked cool.  There were such wonderful flavors in everything and I really loved this place.  #1 for the year… probably lifetime #1 to date.

Runners up:

Happy New Year Nommers!

Charles Restaurant- ::EDIT::

21 Oct

When Mike and I went to Taste The West Village a few weeks ago, I entered into a raffle where you bid on a gift certificate to certain restaurants (it went to charity for the schools). After tasting the awesome braised short ribs at the Charles (234 West 4th Street on the corner of West 10th Street) stand, I decided it was totally worth it to bid $60 for a $75 gift certificate.  I really didn’t expect to win but it was my lucky day.

It said on the reservation email itself that photos were not allowed in the restaurant. Bummer!  I snuck some on my iPhone, however, until the light couldn’t hold out any longer. (Sorry for some of the blur)

We started the meal with some delicious flat bread and olive goo (aka tapenade).

For an app, we decided on potato gnocchi with squash, spinach, and pecorino romano. It was great.  The gnocchi was at a perfect consistency and flavor and the squash, cheese, and spinach gave it such a great, earthy flavor.  

We decided on the brussel sprouts as a side dish and they were okay, but nothing like the now infamous ones Mike and I make with pancetta (inspired by both Babbo and Guy Fieri).

I was tempted to go with the short ribs again, but when Mike said he was also leaning in that direction it opened me up to try something different. So I went with the Braised Lamb Shank which came with Israeli couscous.  It was a really marvelous dish. Great flavor to the lamb and the couscous was delicious.  I savored every bite.

The short ribs were just as good, if not better, than at the tasting.  I still think the celery root puree is too soft for the soft texture of the meat, however, it was definitely tasty.

For dessert, Mike made a good call and said the molten chocolate type cake sounded right up my alley.  WOW was it!  Perfect.

Mike went with the homemade ice cream sandwiches.  See that little bowl of warm liquid? I’m pretty sure that was nutella.  I wanted to put my entire face into that little bowl.

Overall our meal was very good.  That lamb was absolutely worth going back for.

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Funny… the same day this posted, Charles was in GrubStreet: http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2009/10/charles_names_jason_zukas_as_t.html

Taste The West Village (Pictures Fixed!)

21 Sep

(Sorry about the pictures in the original post.  Picasa seems to have a glitch in the html structure right now.  AKA “red x of death.”)

There was a fundraiser in the West Village this past Sunday to support two public schools (P.S. 3 and P.S. 41) called Taste The West Village.  I’m pretty sure I first heard of this through a new food blog I am reading: Wined & Dined.  I found out later that one of the schools is actually where the daughter of a friend of mine goes.  BONUS!

(Funny/dorky side note… some web coder either had a huge typo or thinks they’re funny.  If you open up the link to Taste The West Village, the tab/site name is listed as “Taste the Waste Village.”  WHOOPS!)

Upon getting there on the beautiful day, I noticed it was nicely set up in the open outdoors space (parking lot? play area?) next to the school.  Unfortunately, while my ticket package specified the deal at 20 tasting tickets (thank you AmEx incentives), it turns out that was a typo and was only supposed to be for 10 tasting tickets.  I battled internally between making a fuss and sucking it up (since it was a fund raiser and all) and did so just long enough that the guy at the table threw in an extra few tickets.  It wound up being very fortuitous as we used every single ticket and didn’t have too many or too few for everything we wanted to try. Perfection. 

Our first stop was the liquor area (hey, it was after noon!) and we began with a very refreshing St. Germaine Spritzer.  We first tried St. Germaine at a wine tasting this past winter and fell in love, so we were all too eager to have some on this warm afternoon.  It was quite delicious, though precarious to balance with tasting plates in one hand.  No worries!  We downed the spritzers and made our way through the food.

The Restaurant: August
The Chef: Terrence Gallivan
The Taste: Ricotta Ginepro Panna Cotta, Heirloom Tomatoes, Toasted Pinenuts, and Savory Honey Pearls
The Noms: I though the Panna Cotta would be a weird texture with tomatoes but I really liked them together.  Great flavors and very fresh for the warm day.  The honey pearls were cool but I didn’t find the flavor.
The Food Porn:

The Restaurant: Bobo
The Chef: Patrick Connolly
The Taste: Fried Oysters, Tartare Sauce, Celery Salt
The Noms: Delicious!  Seasoned perfectly and friend without too much batter yet still remained crunchy.  My close-up was WAY too blurry (thanks to the sun beating down, making my screen nearly impossible to see and turning many shots a lovely shade of indigo)
The Food Porn:

The Restaurant: Charles
The Chef: Kristine Mana-ay
The Taste: Braised Short Rib of Beef, Parnsnip Puree, Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts
The Noms: Wow!  I have come to realized braised short ribs are one of my favorite foods.  Mike and I both agreed that the parsnip puree probably could have used a bit more texture since both pieces were on the very soft side, however, the taste was great.  One of the few dishes we tried and said to each other that we MUST try that restaurant in the future (which, in my humble opinion, should be the goal of the restaurant at these types of events)
The (blurry) Food Porn:

The Restaurant: Barbuto
The Chef: Jonathan Waxman
The Taste: Eggplant Agridolce with Riccota on Ciabatta
The Noms: It was good.  Great flavors and perfectly seasoned and crunchy.  Good for a passed hors d’oeuvres but underwhelming overall. Didn’t scream “Come back for more!”
The Food Porn:

The Restaurant: Gusto
The Chef: ?
The Taste: Tonno con Melagrane Yellowfin Tuna, Pomegranates, Arugula and Saba on Garlic Crostini
The Noms: I liked the pomegranate seed with the the tuna, Mike did not.  Overall, nothing amazing.  It did make for some interesting conversation about this season of “Top Chef” really being “Top Ceviche” (“Thees ees notta toppa scallop!”)
The Food Porn: