Tag Archives: the nomad

Food & Wine Best New Chefs Award Party 2015

27 Apr

I have amazing perks with my job.  One of them is going to some excellent media events and I was very excited to get a coveted invite to the Food & Wine Best New Chefs party.

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They awarded the best new chefs their honors, but first, they fed us.

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And they fed us well.

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I really enjoyed the Johnnycake from Chef Linton Hopkins (without the spicy greens).

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And it was fun to be able to taste a dish from Chef Mei Lin (most recent Bravo Top Chef winner)

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Her pork belly paté egg rolls were quite divine.

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Chefs Joe Ogrodnek & Walker Stern (two of last year’s best new chefs) had a dish I would never have ordered from a menu…

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A buttermilk parfait with vegetable muesli.

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But this little dish was actually packed with flavor. It looked so simple, but it was refreshing and flavorful at the same time.

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Upstairs, there were 2 tucked away tasting areas and another bar.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Chef Daniel Humm, seeing as though Eleven Madison Park remains my #1 favorite restaurant in the city and I’m slightly obsessed with The NoMad (especially for breakfast).

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He served “The Humm Dog” which was a bacon wrapped hot dog with gruyere cheese with black truffle mayonnaise and celery relish.

I thoroughly enjoyed this hot dog!

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Among the many celebrity chef tasting tables, they also had passed little bites.

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Chef Koren Grieveson had a tucked away area where she was hamming it up with her staff

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She was so incredibly friendly and welcoming and you could tell she was just tickled to be there.

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Her confit chicken was so light and I loved the pairing of orange with it.  I wish I could have this for lunch every day.

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Back downstairs, the longest line was for Chef Stephanie Izard (first female Top Chef winner and current Chicago restaurant owner, who runs one of my favorite places, The Girl and the Goat).

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I enjoyed her personalized chopsticks teasing a new restaurant, Duck Duck Goat, coming to Chicago this spring. (I’m dying to try it! Peking Duck by Stephanie Izard? I’m in!)

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And mini goat greeting us.

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The dish was a spicy noodle dish, which I couldn’t have.

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She sadly sad that they could give me a plain noodle dish and apologized that I’d be missing out… but there was NO missing out! Even these “plain” noodles were packed with flavor. Super delicious.

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Before they gave out the awards, we were treated to an aerialist show that was beautiful.

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Then it was award time.

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They listed out the names of the honored chefs and New York Chef Bryce Shuman (of awesome restaurant, Betony) was last and VERY excited to be there.

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The reason I got to attend is because one of my clients, BelGioioso Cheese (awesome cheese in your grocery store if you haven’t tried it) was one of the featured sponsors with a yummy dish.

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After the awards and the food was served, the music got cranked up and everyone let loose.  The celebrity chefs were having a blast on the dance floor and we spoke to a few (including Chef Stephanie Izard, who could not have been nicer).  It was at this point that my slightly inebriated husband decided to set up a fun photo shoot with any chef who was game… The sell: “My wife is pregnant and we want to take a picture of chefs pointing at the belly.”  After I swallowed my ever so slight embarrassment at asking all these lovely people to pose, we actually wound up with a great set of pictures:

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Thank you for humoring us, Chefs Stephanie Izard, Marc Murphy, Elizabeth Falkner, Ilan Hall, and CJ Jacobson… and of course Food & Wine.

Awesome event!

 

New Opening: THE NoMad BAR

21 Jun

We caught the news that The NoMad had opened up a new space called The Nomad Bar, attached through a semi-hidden passageway to their current space, The Library. It seems this came as a surprise to many, as I saw nothing leading up to it prior and it just kind of appeared one day with an entrance in the middle of the block on 28th Street (look for the Nomad logo on the door).  The space has been described as “sexy,” which it undeniably is, even down to a sexy promotional video. (And lots more sexy photos from Eater)

We went in at about 5:45pm on Friday evening and were told it would be about an hour wait for a table (as expected).  We put our names in and saddled right up to the sexy bar.

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We loved the food at The NoMad restaurant, and I actually find myself there nearly once a week now for breakfast meetings since it’s right near my office (and they have the super awesome granola from Eleven Madison Park).  We are huge fans of basically anything from Daniel Humm and Will Guidara after falling in love with EMP, which is our #1 restaurant in Manhattan. And when we heard that Brian Canlis, our gracious host from our fantastic honeymoon dinner at Canlis in Seattle, was lending a helping hand, it was all the more reason to visit at the first opportunity we had.

Mike and I had arrived early and were waiting on another couple friend to join us.  As we waited, we perused the menu and noticed that there were so many delicious sounding cocktails that it was going to be hard to choose.

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They have a section for “Reserve Cocktails” (read: very expensive with very good liquors), but they did mix a less premium version on request.  They also have an entire section of “Cocktail Explosions” for $90 to serve 6-8 people. It’s even labeled as “be careful” on the menu. We saw a few come out and they were like a super sexy scorpion bowl.  Could be great for a party.

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Our friends arrived shortly thereafter and as they ordered their drinks, the hostess came up to us and informed us that there was actually a change in another party so our table would be ready shortly.  Great!

We got our drinks and were led up the stairs to the second level, which is like a U shaped balcony with tables all around, looking down on the bar.

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They even light their stemware in a sexy cabinet with sexy lighting.

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What was a little less than sexy? The fact that they serve their “Forbidden Dance” in this slightly ridiculous, slightly awesome tiki glass.  I quite proudly carried this around a few hours later (more on that soon), but it was certainly a talking point (more on that later soon, too)

I have to say though, every single drink was amazing.  Perfectly balanced, perfectly constructed.  Really stand-out. This is truly a craft cocktail bar first and foremost.

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After ordering, our table was set with this cool box of silverware.

And then Brian Canlis stopped by and we said hello and told him that we were at his restaurant almost exactly 1 year ago to the day on our honeymoon.  He was so friendly and so warm.  He seemed genuinely happy to have us there and talk to us.  Brian Canlis knows hospitality and knows how to make guests feel special.

He also asked our opinion about the giant tiki glass sitting on our table.  Our dining companion informed him that she was a bit embarrassed by it and he told us that management is discussing whether it’s awesome or awful.  I think we all agreed that it’s a little of both.

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We started with the flat bread, which came with spring onions and fingerling potatoes.  We all enjoyed this but agreed that a little dipping sauce would have been good with it, perhaps a rosemary olive oil or olive tapenade.

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We also tried the Scotch Olives with lamb’s sausage and sheep’s milk cheese.

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It was like a scotch egg but with an olive.  I really enjoyed this.  Fun flavors and combination of textures and meat with salt and fry.

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Our final appetizer was the Swiss Cheese with beer mustard, pretzel chips, and pickles.  The cheese was absolutely phenomenal. I don’t know where they are sourcing this cheese, but it was some of the best swiss I’ve ever had.  I’m not a mustard fan, however, the two boys at the table sang its praises.

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Onto the entrees!

Two burgers on the table, and thank goodness.  This was a fantastic burger.

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The meat was cooked perfectly and the brioche bun was hearty without distracting from the main meat event. It was listed as dry aged with cheddar, red onions, and pickles.  So simple, yet so good.  One of my favorite burgers I’ve ever had.

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We got fries for the table and these were fan-freakin-tastic fries.  They were crispy and had lovely herbs on them (rosemary and parsley).  I gobbled up every little piece.

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We also tried the pork schnitzel on foccacia with tomato and pickles.  Of all the entrees, this was probably our least favorite. It was good but it didn’t sing with flavor like the other dishes.  It got a bit too muddled.

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I got the duck sausage with pickled ramps and cherries.  I was a bit concerned that this was the same mustard as the cheese, but it was more of an aioli, I think?

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The sausage itself was great.  Really nice combination of flavors and a nice snap to the outside.  Very enjoyable.

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With The NoMad restaurant serving one of my favorite desserts of all time (Milk and Honey), we were glad to have room for dessert.

We started with the Cookies & Cream, which was yummy vanilla ice cream rolled in cookie crumbs.  I loved that you could eat these with your hands and the texture was just right.  Delicious nibble.

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The banana pudding with rum & brioche was not how we expected it to look, but I really enjoyed this dessert.  I also enjoy how this picture wound up looking like that famous photo of Queen from Bohemian Rap City.

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And we had to try the candy bar, which was labeled on the menu as “literally, with dark chocolate and caramel.”

Literally indeed.

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Unwrapping it felt like Willy Wonka.

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And it was an awesome balance of the bitter dark chocolate with the sweet, dense caramel center.  A fantastic end to the meal.

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We had a few drinks throughout the evening, and all were great.  We decided we would end our night in The Library Bar for a night cap.

On our way down the stairs, we ran into Brian Canlis again.  We told him that we really enjoyed our meal and he asked us if we had ever been to the roof.  Why no… we had not.  He told us to hold tight and we told him we were going to head to The Library Bar.  That is when he informed us that the deal was that The Library Bar was now for hotel guests only. Apparently, the bar had become so popular that guests could never get in, so The NoMad Bar was opened up for the public now, in trade for The Library Bar being exclusive (in the late evenings anyway).  Interesting! So we grabbed our drinks at the sexy bar and waited for Brian.

We ordered a few things, including a repeat of a drink I had and enjoyed earlier in the evening, which was “The Shaman” (Pisco Acholado, Salers, Pineapple, Lemon, Cinnamon, and Angostura Bitters). Unfortunately (or maybe fortuitously) the bar tender heard incorrectly and thought I ordered “The Forbidden Dance.” And that is how I accidentally wound up carrying a huge Tiki Cup through The NoMad dining room, up the elevator, and to the roof with Brian Canlis.

But that’s okay… we named him Ted. (and he was delicious… and the bar tender took it off the bill… which was very, very nice of him).

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The roof of The NoMad was beautiful.  There is a special room up there in a circular turret-like construction where you can have a private meal, and I think all of our ears perked up at the thought of having a special meal up there.  They used to do a tasting menu up there, but with the weather and the financial opportunity of private parties, it is now a permanently tented space that is truly stunning with indoor and outdoor areas and a view of the Empire State Building and a world of beautiful buildings you would never know existed from the ground.  (If you have a lot of money, and a small guest list, this would be a dream wedding venue).

Overall, I really enjoyed our time at The NoMad Bar.  It is a well executed “more casual” version of The NoMad restaurant.  All the food was very good, if not great, and the cocktails were some of the best I’ve ever had.  We drank quite a few over the course of the night, so our tab was a bit hard to see, but for the caliber, it didn’t feel too nuts for NYC.  It is definitely as sexy as it has been billed, and if you are looking to impress a date, this is the place to go.  Looking forward to going back.

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

 

Top Noms of 2013

13 Jan

2013 was truly the best year of my life.  And most of my best memories of the year include (or entirely revolve around) amazing meals.

It was really tough to narrow it down to the top 10 this year with so many amazing meals, so I’m cheating a bit.  (To see the Top Noms of years past, check these links: 201220112010, and 2009)

Second Runner Up: After a lot of buzz and rumors of impossible reservations, we were lucky enough to walk in and get a seat at the bar at Chez Sardine.  This sticks out in my memory both for the amazing, creative food and for the fun of watching them construct it while peering directly into the kitchen from our bar seats.

Chez Sardine

First Runner Up: After two amazing meals at WD-50 (still in the top 3 of all time meals) we were excited to try Chef Wylie Dufresne’s more casual new restaurant, Alder.  Our entire meal was creative and great, but the chicken liver toast was a huge stand out that I still think about all these months later.

Alder: Chicken Liver Toast

#10: Our honeymoon was filled with a bunch of absolutely amazing meals, but our meal at Le Pigeon in Portland, OR really stood out for its freshness and unique use of ingredients. The trout lox paired so incredibly well with the raspberries. An unexpected match made in heaven.

Le Pigeon: Trout Lox

#9: We couldn’t wait to try Betony when it opened since it was from alumni of one of our absolute favorite restaurants, Eleven Madison Park.   We fell in love with the “Tuna Melt” with melted fontina cheese and there was sculptural beauty (and flavorful beauty) in the Marinated Trout Roe. Any other year this could be a #1 restaurant, but not in 2013.

Betony: Marinated Trout Roe on a puffed rice cracker with cucumber

#8: While we couldn’t take pictures of the Brooklyn Fare Chef’s Tasting menu, you will have to trust me that it all looked and tasted delicious.  We were very excited when they opened up a grocery store near our apartment in Manhattan and can’t wait to try their restaurant.  The Uni with White Truffle was so incredibly amazing and made me fall in love with uni (after a lot of “what’s the big deal?” in the past).

Brooklyn Fare Chef's Tasting

#7: For our date anniversary dinner, Mike took us to Del Posto, where we enjoyed the beautiful place almost as much as we enjoyed the near flawless meal.  It has certainly earned its stellar reputation as being a top restaurant in New York.

Del Posto: Lobster

#6: In what world does The French Laundry in Napa Valley, CA come in as #6 for the year?  I still am in a bit of disbelief that we didn’t love this famous restaurant even more.  In the end, it was probably one of the most perfect meals I’ve ever had, but it just wasn’t surprising.  But the oysters and pearls have truly earned their place in culinary history.

The French Laundry: Oysters and Pearls

 

#5: Coming back from the honeymoon, we had one last hurrah at The NoMad in NYC.  We tried the famous chicken, which had the audacity to not just be perfectly cooked with impeccably crispy skin, but also stuffed with foie gras and black truffle.  It was every bit as good as I hoped it would be, as was the rest of the meal.

The Nomad: Roasted Chicken

#4: Blanca was another Chef’s Tasting menu that didn’t allow us to take pictures of the meal (bummer), but this private room behind Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick, Brooklyn offered surprises around every corner. There were more than 25 meticulous courses, including a stand-out king crab with plankton butter sauce and not a single bad dish in all 25.

Blanca: Chef's Tasting

#3: Anytime someone asks where they should go in NYC if they want a nice meal, I recommend Colicchio and Sons.  It never fails to impress and we went back to see if the Tasting Menu could live up to our opinion from the previous time.  Each dish built upon the last and they were all expertly crafted. I have especially fond memories about the uniqueness of the potato bavarois dome with Hackeback caviar and vodka cream with homemade potato chips.

Colicchio & Sons:  Tasting Menu

 

#2: A huge surprise was how much we fell in absolute love with Canlis in Seattle, WA during our honeymoon.  Every dish was great and service was so warm and so welcome.  It’s hard to pick a favorite part of this meal, but I still remember how much I enjoyed their preparation of foie gras with homemade brioche to spread it on.

Canlis: Foie Gras

#1 (THE #1): I was so excited to finally try Chef Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago, IL at the very end of the year.  Every moment of this meal was special and fun and incredibly delicious. Even if it hadn’t been as entertaining and creative, the taste of the food alone would have made this the meal of the year.  The rest, and especially the cleverness, made this the meal of a lifetime.  The best meal we have ever, ever had.  The white truffle risotto that they brought out as a special treat was hands down the most amazing thing I have ever eaten.  It is worth a special trip to Chicago just to have the good fortune of eating here.

Alinea: White Truffle Risotto

 

Alinea: Scallop

 

We are so incredibly fortunate.  Thank you, 2013.