EAT HERE NEW YORK! Cask Bar and Kitchen

I am an entertainer. But I only get paid to entertain about 20% of the time.

And in ridiculously overpriced New York City, that means I have to have a real job.

A day job. At a desk.

Luckily, I have a great day job that allows me to research restaurants I dream of going to insistently.

And my friends know that I am constantly reading up on the restaurant news in New York so I am usually the one that has to choose the place we meet for happy hour, dinner, brunch, or even a cup of coffee.

A lot of times, I meet people for imbibing around my work which is near the Gramercy and Flatiron areas of Manhattan so I pretty much have researched every restaurant within a 10 block radius of my corporate prison….I mean, ehem, workplace.

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And of all of my nearby go to’s, Cask Bar and Kitchen is one of my absolute favorites.

The ambiance in this place is perfection.

Tables made of elegantly dark wood, giant booths, perfectly dim lighting, adorable little mason jars filled with frilly carnations, leather bound drink menus, an upstairs and downstairs bar, and friendly service.

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Now. A rule I live by: always find restaurants that offer free bread when you are going out with people whom you know are going to be late. That way you can have a delicious nibble while you sip your wine and wonder where the hell your friends are.

The bread at Cask is just a standard multi-grain loaf but the olive oil with flecks of peppers and olives concoction that comes with it is a fine starter. But who am I kidding, I would eat a pile of Saltines if they were free.

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There are so many wonderful things on the menu but where there is a small plate option, there you will find me. You see, I am a snacker. If I could eat little tiny meals all day, every day, for the rest of my life, that is how I would choose to live. Well. I CAN eat that way. But I also CAN get super fat. It is in my genes. And I want to fit into my jeans. So I only indulge in my fantasy eating when presented with the option.

The Small Plates are fantastic at Cask. Everything from mussels to macaroni.

For my first plate, I chose the Carmelized Brussel Sprouts with spicy chorizo and creamy manchego ($9). Manchego is one of my all time favorite cheeses. It is so delightfully tangy, it sounded like a perfect addition to the creamy, sweet brussel sprouts and the spicy salt of the chorizo. And it is an absolute bargain for $9! It is almost enough food to be considered a regular sized plate. But….I couldn’t stop with just one small plate…..

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…..especially when I saw the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with smoked applewood bacon and parmesan cream ($10). And it was everything I had hoped for. The gnocchi was like biting into salty and sweet lumps of butter. The applewood bacon was not only a great textural contrast, but the salty power of the bacon deliciously cut into the gnocchi’s sweetness. The parmesan cream added another tangy dimension to the entire dish as well. Come to think of it, the technical complexity of flavors and textures were pretty similar in both of these dishes. And they both were just splendid.

So. Eat here. And you may see me, sitting, munching on free bread, repeatedly staring at my phone in anticipation.

Cask Bar and Kitchen

167 East 33rd Street, Manhattan

33rd Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenue

Run Porn: New Shoes Edition

I have lost track of how many runs I have had this year.

I knew that would happen.

I don’t remember to take pictures every time. And, well, if you read the last post, I had some difficulty there for awhile.

But now I have my new Brooks shoes and I was, kinda, ready to get back in the game.

I was super scared to see what my muscles would say.

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Well, my muscles said, “what took you so long!”

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It was a wonderful run.

And a beautiful day.

Hot.

But beautiful.

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Then I ran in to THIS in the park.

I have done musical improv for the last ten years of my life. It has been one of my greatest loves, one of my favorite things to do, and I can not believe that this is just sitting in a park I have been running in for 4 years.

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“Yes, And..” is an improv philosophy.

In improv, the number one rule is to accept any offer that your fellow improvisers hand you; “Yes.”

And once you have accepted their offer, you add your offer to it; “And….”

And so on and so on and so on….

That is how you construct an improv scene.

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And, like so many things in life, this can absolutely be applied to a run.

“Yes,” I will get out of the house “and” I will go for a run.

But I’m tired…..

“Yes,” I will get out of the house “and” go for a run.

It may be difficult…..

“Yes, and” you will get through it. You are strong.

I am strong.

And I am back again.

EAT HERE NEW YORK!: Nomad Hotel restaurant

Holy.

Crap.

You guys.

I had one of the best lunches of my entire life the other day.

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Actually, the day was Administrative Professionals day.

At night I am pursuing a pipe dream career in entertainment. By by day I am, in fact, an administrative assistant. Not sure I am capable of being “professional.”

So for my special holiday, my bosses told me to pick a restaurant for lunch. ANY restaurant.

And pick I did.

Ladies and gentleman, the restaurant in the NoMad Hotel.

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As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by dapper door men, passed Nina Garcia sipping her golden glass of Pinot Grigio (I totally pin her as a Grigio gal), and marveled at the decadence of the decor.

The incredible chandeliers, plush velvet chairs, and dozens of pressed and framed foliage on the walls made me feel like a modern day princess, I mean, a super rich person.

This poor kid was out of her mind.

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As soon as we were seated, our impeccably dressed waiter brought us our FREE bread. Topped with onions and rosemary, the bread was incredibly fresh and steaming hot. The sweetness of the onions were absolutely perfect on this salty and steamy loaf (really Rebecca……steamy loaf?) and this was just the FREE BREAD. I could not wait for the rest of the meal.

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My boss ordered the Tagliatelle ($20) as our appetizer. The fresh, homemade pasta with meyer lemon, black pepper, and king crab was absolutely delectable and totally big for an appetizer in this caliber of a restaurant. Generally the food is fantastic but you only get a teaspoon portion for $20. This portion could have been a meal. 

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Okay. Okay. We devoured that.

BRING ON THE MAIN COURSE!

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One of my bosses ordered the Scallops ($28). Seared with fresh chickpeas, pine nuts, and sauce amer…of course, they were absolutely perfect. Cooking a perfect scallop seems to be priority number one for any good chef and let me tell you, this was a great chef. Not the slightest bit  rubbery or fishy. Just melt in your mouth, velvety goodness.

My other boss and I thought, when in Rome order the thing every review of the restaurant tells you to order; the Roast Chicken for two ($79).

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Now. This presentation is outstanding but this is not the first glimpse that we got of the chicken.

Before they cut it up to be served (or so we are told) they bring out the entire roast chicken, completely intact, in a giant pot. As soon as I saw it (across a croooooowded room), I wanted to use my hands, like the pauper I am, to tear into it. But as soon as you see the beautiful animal, they whisk it away to plate it. You know. For civilized human beings.

We each got our white meat on this beautiful plate with grilled carrots, snap peas, and a potato puree. Under the crispy roast chicken skin is a layer of (drum roll) foie gras, black truffle, and brioche.

It. Is. Un. Be. Lieve. A. Ble.

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But Rebecca? Isn’t it a whole chicken?! Where is the dark meat?!

Well, first, that’s what she said.

Second. The dark meat is brought out in a  separate dish floating in a garlic cream foam and chives. The dark meat is so incredibly moist and soaking in the most ridiculous pile of salty, garlic heaven.

It. Is. Also. Un. Be. Well, you get it.

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Finally. We wanted something sweet to conclude our wonderful meal. But we are all super obsessed with trying to keep our sugar intake down to a minimum (e.g. I only had a few strands of that marvelous homemade pasta). So we asked if we could maybe get a fruit plate.

Ask. And you shall receive…..a gorgeous array of fresh fruit.

 

Needless to say, if you have the means, please go here.

Please.

I will be going back for dinner. A long dinner. With wine. Because I want to imagine that I am a princess as much as I possibly can. Well, just a super rich person.