Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Day 1060 : Christmas Eve Celebrations

Each family celebrates the holidays differently -- some focus on Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, or just a classic New Year's, others have a feast of seven fishes on Christmas Eve or cookies and presents around the Christmas Tree Christmas morning, my family is the sort that does a celebratory Christmas Eve lunch. A home cooked meal, celebratory bubbles, delish nibbles, and of course cheeses!

So what cheeses were on the list today?

The bloomy rinded, raw goat's milk Midwesterner - Juliana. Dusted with Rosemary and thyme, it is festive in every which way. Bright and citrusy, with a airy yet dense paste, herbaceous yet milky, this is the perfect cheese for a glass of bubbles. Elegant and inviting, you can't go wrong here.

Next up, how about a morsel of the firm aged goat's milk cheese from Wisconsin, Evalon? Subtle yet delectable, rustic yet round, grassy with hints of hay and a nice goaty tang. A versatile pairing partner, you can't go wrong here!

And lastly, a morsel of Bay Blue hailing from the great blue cheese producers -- Point Reyes out in California. Spicy and piquant, with a milky roundness, this cheese is at perfection right now. And to me nothing says Christmas Eve like a morsel of blue cheese and a glass of port.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Day 1059 : Winter nights, neighborhoody haunts

The Upper West Side surely isn't lacking in wine bars - whether it's the Italian focused Barcibo Enoteca on Broadway or the flatbread pizza focused Riposo 72 or the classic combination of good wines, a warm atmosphere, and tasty nibbles at places like Vai, Tolani, and Bin 71 -- there surely is something for everyone. However, as of late, my favorite of all the choices is Dakota Bar. Opened earlier this year, this space is larger than its other neighborhoody counterparts with a warm and inviting feel. The wines by the glass selections are extensive and the nibbles are broad ranging. They have three cheese selections -- the white wine collection, the red wine collection, and the beer and spirits collection. Each collection features three cheeses meant to be enjoyed with the corresponding beverage of choice. 

Enjoyed with a nice California Cab, the red wine cheese collection is the perfect bite for a cold wintery night featuring Roquefort, Robiola due Latte, and Prima Donna. Three classic European cheeses that pair wonderfully with a nice glass of red wine. Served with caramelized walnuts and pecans, membrillo, sliced apples and pears along with a bunch of red and green grapes, this is cheese selection is plenty for sharing. 

What Dakota Bar does right is it achieves that delicate balance of comfort, elegance, and warmth which truly is what you look for in a neighborhoody wine bar. 

Dakota Bar
72nd and Columbus

Monday, December 9, 2013

Day 1058 - When in Miami for Art Basel Miami Beach

I read somewhere recently that Art Basel Miami Beach is like spring break for the art world -- the fairs, the parties, the dinners, the clothes, the cars, the opulence, the va va voom, all taking place at the beach. The crowds, the scene, the entire experience is completely surreal- it is conspicuous consumption in its ultimate form.

Over the next few days, stay tuned for the dining experiences, both good, bad, and just plain entertaining and of course much much more.

Day One - arriving into Fort Lauderdale airport from the chilly winter world of New York, gosh the sun feels nice! After a few wrong turns and a leisurely drive, I arrived at the Deauville Resort, the location of NADA Art Fair, the Beatles first concert in Miami, and my home base for the next six days. Unpack clothes, check! Unpack the booth, check! Time to head downtown for the openings of Art Miami, Context, and Miami Project down in the Wynwood Area of Miami. Two and a half hours later in traffic and in search of parking, it was time for the beginning of Art Basel Miami Beach week 2013. Check out those shoes! Gosh isn't that a nice Deborah Butterfield! The Prosecco was a-flowing, the buzz was a-buzzing, dealers were chatting away with new and old collectors, the red dots were appearing. People from all over the world were reconnecting here on this strip of the design district of downtown Miami. Three fairs later, with the hopes of other events scattered around Miami and Miami Beach, a few of us sat down for a bite and a drink at Michael's Genuine. Located not far from the hubbub of the Design district fair openings is Michael's Genuine - a long standing buzzy yet delicious joint that's known for its fresh and seasonal cuisine sourced from local farmers. 

A lovely glass of Zweigelt hit the spot and then Stracciatella served with heirloom tomatoes, basil tops, fleur de sel, and extra virgin olive oil. The classic preparation done elegantly and supremely well. Wood oven roasted Brussel sprouts and cauliflower were each rustic and flavorful and nice shareable veggies. Pizzas, mains, and larger appetizers were available as well - each with an inventive seasonal twist on classics in a new light. 

Miami dining experience number one was delightful, this was going to be a good week of food. Let's see what's up next tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Day 1058 : A little less cheese, a little more greens

It's that time of year again -- for holiday parties, mistletoe, champagne, chocolates, presents and plenty of holiday cheer! The food and drink options abound in this final month of the year...but sometimes you just want something clean, fresh, and healthy - food that makes you feel good after. Right?

If that is what you are in search of then I recommend you go to Ellary's Greens. A natural and organic cafe that's just quality good food in a relaxed calming environment. All about the ingredients and keeping them as true to themselves as possible, this is a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner during this season of holiday excesses.

So what did I have yesterday for lunch?

Their curly kale salad, hold the toasted barley, but with roasted butternut squash and cremini mushrooms topped with a cider vinaigrette. Fresh, clean, and delish, this is the sort of food that makes you feel good..

A lovely edition to the dining options in the West Village.

Ellary's Greens
33 Carmine Street

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