Friday, January 31, 2014

Nothing Like New York (Part Deux)

The Guggenheim Museum
As day 2 of Kate and I's NYC quick holiday trip was upon us we planned out our day during a breakfast of fruit, yogurt and a latte from our hotel (The Franklin). After , we checked out and headed to The Guggenheim Museum , just a few blocks away.

The Guggenheim is wonderfully stylish building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and founded by American business man and art collector, Solomon R. Guggenheim. It is home to a constantly expanding collection of Impressionist, Post Impressionist, early Modern and Contemporary art. As we wound our way to the top we took in every nook and cranny of art work along the way....Cezanne, Degas, Gauguin, Kandinsky, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh, and Vuillard as well as the featured exhibition focusing on the work of Contemporary artist Christopher Wool. Wool is known for his large black stenciled letters on white canvases...somewhat provocative and thought provoking in nature. As we descended once again to the base of the rotunda we sighed with satisfaction, looking back up at the breathtaking view of the museum's glass dome. Happy and satiated spiritually we departed.

Off we were to our final, but highly anticipated destination of Eataly. What is Eataly you may ask? It
 is a high end Italian food market/hall comprised of restaurants, specialty markets and retail. Owners
of the New York location include such talents as Mario Batali, Lydia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich. As anticipated, Eataly was packed with people. We swam through the crowd and quickly decided we would venture to the top floor and have lunch at their roof top Birreria.

Birreria is a restaurant and brewery that includes Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head as one of the head brewers that has a delicious menu full of Italian food with Austrian and German influences. Kate and I ordered our beers... I the Chestnut Brown and Kate the Thyme Pale Ale. For our lunch we ordered a plate of Speck ( mouthwateringly delicious smoked Proscuitto ) and an Italian cheese plate ( Robiola Bosina, Taleggio, and Gorgonzola Dolce ) accompanied with Frangelico Honey ( 1 part Frangelico to 3 parts honey topped with roasted hazelnuts )..... heavenly!

After lunch we ventured back downstairs to the hall where we grabbed glasses of Franciacorta
( sparkling Italian wine made in the Champagne method ) as we shopped picking up imported Italian chocolates, teas, spices and amazingly fresh pastas. Being that December is truffle season we  selected some white truffle and ricotta stuffed pasta to go that was ethereal then we were off to the wine shop!

Eataly's wine shop was full of any Italian wine I have wanted and gave dreamed of... A wall of Franciacorta and sparkling wines ... they even had Batali's La Mozza Perazzi Morellino di Scansano ( delicious Sangiovese from coastal Tuscany ) in a magnum! Kate and I bought what we could carry and headed merrily to Grand Central station to catch our train back to the Berkshires.

Next trip that takes you to New York City I hope that you treat yourself to macarons from Laduree, roasted chestnuts at Rockefeller Center, Champagne at Corkbuzz and artisanal Italian meats and cheeses from Eataly.

Cheers and happy travels!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nothing Like New York (Part 1)

As the holidays have come to an end, I sit back and reflect on a quick but fantastic little December trip into New York City with my best friend, Kate. After a easy drive from the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts to Wassaic, NY we hopped a train and NYC bound were we! As I now live in San Diego I eagerly anticipated snowfall and snowfall we got indeed


As we exited Grand Central Station, snowflakes danced around us and we began our wintery walk. Our first stop was to a place dreams are made of... Laduree. Anyone who loves ( and obsesses ) over macarons knows about Laduree. They originated in Paris, make the best macarons in the world and now have their first stateside store on Madison Avenue. As we entered I (and I'd take the liberty to say that Kate too) were enamored with the beauty of the store, it was as if we were transported into a tasting salon in Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon. There were multitudes of colored macarons shipped in from Paris almost daily, candles, teas and chocolates...color me a happy girl!

After Laduree we were off to check into The Franklin Hotel , our stylish little home away from home for the night on the Upper East Side. It's a charming little spot that offers European breakfast, an evening wine & artisnal cheese reception and 24 hour tea, latte and cappuccino. The Franklin is in a great location; just around the corner from Zabars, a delicious gourmet food and deli, truly an institution in New York and just a few blocks from The Guggenheim Museum.

The Franklin Hotel

Our evening packed with an ambitious agenda we were off to a chic wine bar called Uncorked Wine and Tapas first where we shared a bottle of  J.P. Chenet Sparkling Rose from France with Marissa Ain, the fabulous founder of Plate + Decanter , a Culinary + Wine Event Company. Next as it was the  holiday season we just had to get a look at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. We snacked on roasted chestnuts as we walked to the subway to meet up with our friend Thea at Corkbuzz Wine Bar & Studio, a place I had heard great things about. Corkbuzz was even better than I anticipated...we apparently arrived with impeccable timing as we were greeted with the question "So are you here to enjoy our Champagne Campaign?"  As a lover, or rather a slave to Champagne, I perked up and inquired further. Kate and I were informed that every night at 10pm-close Corkbuzz indulged their guests offering 50% off any and all Champagne. We were off and running!

Corkbuzz Wine Bar & Studio

NV Chartogne Taillet Rose Champagne
I ordered us a bottle from one of my favorite producers, a NV Chartogne Taillet Rose Champagne , a glorious Champagne that is impressively complex offering notes of rhubarb, red cherries, strawberries, ginger and brioche. Kate ordered the Lamb & Pappardelle Pasta dish while I selected  a side of Brussels Sprouts with Pecorino and an order of housemade Duck Proscuitto...all of it magical with the Chartogne Taillet Rose.  After we wished our goodbyes to Thea, Kate and I hopped back on the subway to The Franklin where we grabbed a cup of Harney & Sons Tea and headed up to our room to rest up and plan for our next day's  New York City adventures...Part 2 to follow!