New York

m.-wells-dinette-300x225That’s a loaded statement so let me describe the dish before we go any further. It’s a pot of clam chowder — with a light cream base — with succulent, dinner-sized hunks of pork, rosy-pink and tender as a clam, floating in the broth. You spear the pork onto your plate with a fork and then ladle up the soup from the bottom of the pot where the spiced and diced potatoes, clams and vegetables are lurking. Oh baby, oh baby.

This all took place at MoMA P.S.1 in Queens where we caught an early dinner at the M. Well’s Dinette, which serves as the museum’s commissary. It’s not easy to catch dinner there because the Dinette is not open for dinner, but I guess we qualified as a very late lunch.

Whatever.

The M. Well’s Dinette is the second incarnation of this concept from Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis, who are partners in life and business. Hugue came to New York via Montreal’s Au Pied De Cochon and first opened M. Wells, where he dazzled and shocked New Yorkers with his fun, fat and filling take on the eating experience.

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cricketsNestled under a nail salon, down just a few stairs, there lives an outpost of delicate seafood, with a touch of unexpected spice.

The thing most people will have heard of from Chef Andres Figueroa’s Mexican-inspired tapas menu is the crickets. I think most of the conversations will go something like this:

“It’s a new place where you can get crickets!” “Crickets? Really, did you try them?” “Sure did, and they were great, you should totally eat some.”

As the chef told us, it is part of his goal of bringing some of the (unfamiliar to most Americans) flavors and textures of Mexican street food to the streets of New York. Crunchy and salty with a hint of lime, crickets turn out to be an excellent hot sauce delivery vector, and one I hope my local sports bars stock in the future.

Still, a snack of crickets seems to be more a gimmick to get you in the door than an end in itself. And if the gimmick works on you, you’ll be glad it did, especially if you order heavily from Figueroa’s seafood offerings.

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kyotofudessertOK fine. I'll admit it. I'm the person who studies the menu online before going out to eat. I devour every edible word and let the taste bud anticipation work its magic.

The moment I knew I would be meeting up with a friend at Kyotofu, a Japanese dessert bar in NYC, I quickly jumped over to their site to take a peek at their online menu of tea infused sweets. Within seconds the matcha green tea crème brûlée had my heart skipping a beat.

Although when the plate met the table, the ginger/pear sorbet seemed to steal the show. Let me just say that they were a harmonious pair. As I broke through the delicate, caramelized top layer, a vibrantly bright green mini pot of matcha creme stood before me.

The richness of the matcha creamy treat was balanced by the airy, refreshing bites of ginger, pear. Matcha crème brûlée was a down comforter on a chilly winter night, while the ginger/pear sorbet was linen on a summer afternoon.

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bisous1.jpgI've never been the type to have a candy drawer or crave chocolate. Growing up, I would rather have a savory snack than give myself a sugar rush. There was one sweet spoonful that sent me swooning, ice cream. But as my love for tea grew, the chilled scoop wasn't always the best companion to a hot cup.

A few months ago I stumbled on a very special petite treat, a macaron. It was love at first delicate bite. Whenever I'm craving a nibble, my Miss Macaron Mode guides me to the nearest bakery for a sweet fix and a steeped sip.

Although during a recent trip to NYC, my macaron moment was carefully planned as I followed my GPS to bisous ciao.

As soon as I stepped into the sweet shop, the glass case of jeweled sweets seemed to lure me over with its beautiful rainbow glow. Telling myself I would be back again soon, I restrained and ordered the two flavors that made my heart sing, Lavender & Honey and Jasmine & Green Tea. Each fragrant bite sent me on a floral journey as the petal parade marched about on my taste buds. Delicate and enchanting, I savored the macarons until I was only left with an empty wrapper and a few photos.

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serendipity cocoTrips to New York City have become scarce over the years.  (Maybe non-existent is a better description.)

I don't have family, friends or business in New York.  All past trips have been purely hedonistic, with food always at the top of my list.

I visit all the tourist traps.  I can't help it.  I am a tourist when I'm there, a downtown poser in every sense of the word.  Every trip has consisted of visits to the Empire State Building, Tavern on the Green, a carriage ride through Central Park and Serendipity 3.

Serendipity 3 reminds of a place you would celebrate your sweet sixteen.  A glorified malt shop with faux Tiffany lamps, long lines, marginal service and so-so food.  However, they won't let you make a reservation for just dessert...you have to eat a meal.  So we would eat....just to get dessert.

There is only one reason I patronized Serendipity 3...for the Frozen Hot Chocolate.  It's out of this world. 

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