Jam Packed Post-A-Rama: Restaurant Crazy

March 1, 2012

I feel like I have a lot to get to this week, but maybe that’s what happens when you actually get a few days off to stop and smell the…Daterra coffee from Irving Farms. Seriously good coffee. We had dinner at the lovely (and tasty) Blue Hill one night, and the after dinner coffee was so good we asked where it came from. A few days later I hit their small shop on 7th avenue, right below 14th street. (They also have a main store over on Irving Place.) only drawback is that Daterra doesn’t come in decaf. You can also order it online here — it’s $14 for a 12 ounce bag ‘o beans. And by the way, Blue Hill is great for a special occasion — it’s a cozy vibe with a market menu utilizing the very best of what’s being grown right now. You may remember the Obamas went here on their date night to NYC a couple of years ago. They picked a good place. (Blue Hill is at 75 Washington Place)

We hit Zampa Wine Bar the other night, which I also really liked. In addition to an extensive wine list, the food is truly tasty. The crostini is a must – the tuna with hot pepper oil for sure. There are all sorts of small plates. On the large plates, the lasagna doesn’t disappoint. I like that you can order a little or a lot, depending on how hungry you are, and share with your dining partner or a whole table. Small tastes of everything add up a to a much more satisfying meal. It’s a much more modern way of eating, and perfect for a neighborhood joint. It’s comfy/cozy, which means that you should make a reservation. (306 West 13th Street)

Let’s just finish out the week with another new place that I had been wanted to try for a long time: The Dutch. For those of you who follow this type of thing, The Dutch comes to us from Andrew Carmellini, the chef who also brought us the hot spot Locanda Verde in Tribeca. Because these hot spots tend to attract a see and be scene kind of crowd, and they are almost impossible to get into, I tend to want to ignore them, but then they go and wind up on the New York Times‘ list of best new restaurants of the year and I feel like I must go and check them out! So we went with some friends and I have to say it was truly worth the hype. The space is larger than I thought it would be, but broken up into different rooms so it doesn’t feel cavernous. The mini oyster sandwiches are a good place to start, and the eggplant dip makes a nice accompaniment. One thing I liked about the menu was that I didn’t feel like I could get a lot of the choices other places — it felt special. The black cod with sticky rice was delish. Others at the table had the peking duck, the cod and the roasted chicken, which were all satisfying. Desserts are generous and definitely split-able. The devil’s food cake with black pepper boiled icing was amazing, as well as the Dutch apple pie a la mode. A good time to be had by all! (131 Sullivan Street)

I’d say that’s a pretty tasty post this week, no?

Etc.

Did you watch the Academy Awards? Can anyone produce that show in a way that makes it more entertaining? I don’t know…at one point there was a montage of old movies and I felt like I had seen the montage a thousand times before and I found myself wondering what in the world the purpose of including it was. And Billy Crystal, while at times funny, just seemed so old school. I did love Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech. It’s not easy to be self-deprecating but confident, and heartfelt without seeming forced or schmaltzy, but she deftly managed it like the pro she is. I think they need to cut the awards given back to just the ones people really care about, get a good host, put in a little more entertainment and call it a day at 2 hours. Amen.

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