Food + Drink / Insights

Dinner Plans: Paris, by Way of The Carlton Hotel

With an oyster bar and cabaret, Millesime proves its expertise in romantic French dining.

August 17, 2012

Michelin-starred chef Laurent Manrique brings classic French cuisine to New York with Millesime, a seafood brasserie located inside The Carlton Hotel. Named after the French word for vintage, Millesime specializes in classic French fare like lobster pot-au-feu with scallop sausage and sauce choron, and roasted chicken with garlic and thyme jus.

Executive chef Alan Ashkinaze has also incorporated his travels to the West Coast with a Caesar grillée, made of grilled romaine lettuce with smoked black cod, Parmesan, and lime; a calamari carbonara; and a tuna tartare with berbere spices, dates, and mint.

Not just the eclectic menu, but the sumptuous décor, too, will transport you to Paris at Millesime. In the dining room, which seats 150, there is a 100-year-old mosaic floor, a Tiffany glass dome, and a marble oyster bar where you can take advantage of Millesime’s raw bar. In addition to the main dining room, you can enjoy cocktails in the Bar Millie, or go to a cabaret in the Salon Millesime, with its nightly music program. 92 Madison Ave., 212-889-7100

—Jessica Ferri

 

Agave Nectar, Now a Liqueur

Try this more floral substitute for simple syrup at your next summer fête.

August 03, 2012



FROM LEFT: Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur, Velvet Wings, Mariposa Mojito, Viceroy Daiquiri

Widely acknowledged as “the new honey,” all-natural agave nectar is made from the sap of the agave tequilina plant, which is also used to make tequila. So naturally, the first-ever agave nectar liqueur, Mariposa, packs plenty of tequila. The ultra-versatile new liqueur has been crafted with 100 percent agave tequila and premium vodka to mix with any base spirit—from Champagne to gin to whisky. Accented with heady hints of rose oil and gardenia, Mariposa hits the palate with notes of orange blossom honey, pomme fruit, and juniper berry. Try using it as a luxe substitute for simple syrup, or in these summer cocktail recipes by brand mixologist Jared Schubert. 

Mariposa Mojito
SERVES ONE

1 ounce Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
1 ounce silver rum
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
2 sprigs mint
4 ounces soda water

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a Collins glass over fresh ice and top with soda water.

Viceroy Daiquiri
SERVES ONE

3/4 ounce Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
1 1/2 ounces silver rum
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup

Combine all ingredients into a blender with one cup of ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a hurricane glass. Lime wheel and cherry garnish.

Velvet Wings
SERVES ONE

1 ounce Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
5-6 ounces chilled brüt Champagne
1 sugar cube
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters   

To a Champagne flute, add sugar cube and top with bitters. Pour in liqueur and Champagne. Orange twist garnish.

Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur is available at MacAdam Buy-Rite. 398 3rd Avenue, New York, 212-679-1224; americaswineshop.com

—VICTORIA HINOJOSA

 

Unfussy Fusion at Chop Shop

The team behind Bottino brings unassuming Asian fusion to Chelsea.

August 03, 2012


Braised short ribs at Chop Shop

Danny Emerman and Mah Chan of unfussy Italian restaurant Bottino have teamed up with Jason Li and Robert Wu to bring you Chop Shop, now serving Asian fusion cuisine in Chelsea. The straightforward menu focuses on fresh ingredients and natural flavors. Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, Chop Shop is the perfect place for a quick lunch on your way to The Highline or for a laid-back date night. Go for an assortment of small plates like summer rolls, pan-fried vegetable dumplings, and pork belly buns, or mix and match with larger offerings like the braised short rib, chicken curry, or Chilean sea bass with pan-fried with soybean purée and spicy peppers. Enjoy the minimalist décor inside or sit outside in the bamboo garden, perfect for an early dinner. No alcohol so far, but at the moment they are BYOB. Chop Shop, 254 10th Ave., 212-820-0833

—Jessica Ferri

 

Stick&Pop Elevates Cake Pops

The new-ish Chelsea bakery crafts pops with fresh fruit and a gourmet touch.

July 20, 2012

Among the catering and event planning set, some might say that cake pops have surpassed cupcakes as New York’s most ubiquitous sweet treat. Vying to be the Sprinkles of the cake pop world is Stick&Pop, a cake pop bakery that opened this past February in Chelsea. “We use gourmet elements like fresh lemon curd, raspberry reduction, and candied lemon,” says Jacki Caponigro, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, when asked what sets hers and co-owner Christy Nyberg’s cake pops apart from the rest. “We have a menu of 11 original flavors based on our favorite desserts, childhood favorites, and everything in between,” she adds. Fan favorites include the vanilla cream cheesecake Moonpop with dark chocolate and crushed Oreos and the s’more-inspired Griswald pop. Most recently, Stick&Pop re-imagined their cake pops as “cups” (cake in puck form) available in all 11 original cake pop flavors. Elegant specialty pops are available for weddings and showers—think sugared lace, pearl, and edible flower flourishes. This fall, the bakery will launch a flavor duo of the month club offering members new seasonal selections each month. 233 W. 19th St., 646-481-4767

—VALERIA BOUCAS

 

True Neapolitan Pizza at Ribalta

This Greenwich Village newcomer is more than a pizzeria, it’s a pizza university.

July 13, 2012

Stepping into Ribalta pizzeria is like being in a pizza atelier, where master pizzaiolo Massimiliano Crocetti (hailing from Florence, Italy) and his crew of white-smocked chefs bustle around three fiery pizza ovens in a modern workroom designed by Studio Costa, the firm responsible for Eataly. A bright, tonal backdrop is only enhanced by fun touches like a bar made out of wooden pizza peels.

The restaurant’s vibrant and crisp design translates directly to its pizza preparations. Ultra-fresh ingredients yield clear and distinct flavors up and down the menu. Although the pizzas are the obvious go-to here, Ribalta also serves excellent antipasti and insalate. Try the finocchietta salad with mixed greens, fresh fennel, Pantelleria capers, black olives, orange slices, and orange vinaigrette. Of course, Ribalta’s twenty-plus varieties of pizza are its true stock-in-trade.

While the more traditional Classica and Napoletana preparations are worth their weight in Ribalta’s specialty pizza flour—a collaboration with premiere Italian dough-maker 5 Stagioni—the real star here is the twice-baked pizza en pala. Meant to be shared, these creations have thick crusts with a crunchy exterior and pillowy inside. Of the pizza en pala pies, most notable is the ciliegino pizza, which marries cherry tomatoes, basil, and bufala mozzarella.

And with Ribalta’s plans to host New York’s branch of the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli, an international pizza school with 31 locations throughout Italy, we can only hope they’ll be willing to share a workshop secret or two with more new and delicious pies. 48 E. 12th St., 212-777-7781

—John Vilanova

 

City Harvest Celebrates Summer in the City

See what The Meatball Shop, Ditch Plains, Luke’s Lobster, and more put forth for the annual tasting event.

June 22, 2012

Hundreds of foodies came out for City Harvest's eleventh annual Summer in the City event on June 20, 2012 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo, crowned just two weeks ago, claimed, "This is the most delicious event I've ever been to!" With more than 30 of New York's notable restaurants in attendance, there was no shortage of innovative, delicious small bites like tuna poke wonton tacos from Beauty & Essex, summer tomato soup from L'Artusi, and crab tostadas from La Esquina. Sweet treats included mini cakes from Ron Ben-Israel and Earl Grey tea whoopie pies from Oceana. Beer, wine, and cocktails were flowing from the bar at the center of the space, while guests bid on silent auction items from summer purses to sports events and wine classes.

City Harvest's young professionals group, Generation Harvest, hosted the event (their largest of the year), which was co-chaired by Alissa Dicker Schrieber and Lisa Hurwich. Dana Zukofsky, a leadership council member, circled the room meeting old friends and said, "What is better than a room full of great food and cocktails, knowing that all the money raised goes to a great cause? This year's event will raise over $280k!"

New York chef and Chopped judge regular Marc Murphy was dishing up mini hot dogs with macaroni and cheese from his restaurant, Ditch Plains. A City Harvest board member, Murphy noted, "There's a huge passion behind City Harvest and there's no better organization in the city for being on the ground and redistributing food from our restaurants." 

—ANNIE FITZSIMMONS
Photography by Annie Fitzsimmons (slide 1, 4, 6) and Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for City Harvest (slide 2, 3, 5)

 

2012 Aspen Food & Wine Classic Highlights

We give you the most memorable moments of Aspen's 30th annual food and wine bonanza.

June 19, 2012

—marcia frost

 

Luke Kirby's Favorite Cocktail

The star of summer’s indie sensation Take This Waltz likes a kick of excitement with his favorite fruity cocktail.

June 04, 2012


Enjoy your hurricane with New Orleans-style crawfish

“I was having a wonderful time with my girlfriend in New Orleans,” reminisces actor Luke Kirby about his favorite summer libation, the hurricane. “It was one of those twilight evenings in the French Quarter, with a fireplace and beautiful old courtyards.” (At home in Brooklyn, he enjoys the Double Windsor’s take on the sweet, fruity concoction.) But there’s a reason why Kirby calls the cocktail, which packs a one-two punch of light and dark rums, a “dangerous pink drink.”

“People introduced a friend of mine to hurricanes, and he was the happiest kid in the candy store,” he recalls. “Then something horrible came over him.”

There’s a similar tension between sweetness and danger in Kirby’s new movie, Take This Waltz, written and directed by the acclaimed Sarah Polley and starring Golden Globe winner Michelle Williams as a winsome writer slowly suffocating in her candy-colored world. Kirby’s performance brings a prickly volatility to the story. “There’s an immediate heat between them,” he says of his and Williams’ characters. “But there’s a marriage involved; they can’t just do what they want.”

Asked to explain his affinity for this complicated story of desire and denial, Kirby says, “I’m generally thought of as a nice, shy person. But whatever you’re holding in has to go somewhere. Where better than the land of fiction?” Take This Waltz opens June 29 in theaters citywide; The Double Windsor, 210 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, 347-725-3479

PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILLIAM BRINSON; STYLING BY MARIANA VELASQUEZ FOR BIG LEO

—jennifer demeritt

 

Modern Mazels for Sweets Lovers

Innovative Manhattan eateries serve Jewish traditions with a twist.

April 16, 2012

Chocolate-covered Matzo
Jacques Torres Chocolate transforms bland unleavened bread into delectable desserts with his dark chocolate-coated matzo, available in April for Passover. Torres uses freshly made matzo from the historic Lower East Side bakery Streit’s and sometimes adorns the crackers with peanut butter, but always with its famous high-end dark chocolate. 285 Amsterdam Ave., 212-787-3256; mrchocolate.com

Latin-Jewish Fusion
Born in Mexico City but a convert to Judaism, chef Julian Medina explores both cultures with his Mexican-Jewish entrées and special Passover menu at Toloache, one of his six New York City restaurants. Medina creates dishes such as brisket tacos, a specialty year-round, as well as a matzo ball soup from the Passover menu featuring Mexican root vegetables like chayote squash and jalapeño. “I wanted to make my family something different for the holidays that brought both cultures, traditions, and flavors together at the table,” Medina says. 251 W. 50th St., 212-581-1818

Flavored Challah
The Upper East Side’s Orwasher’s bakes challah with chutzpah. Owner Keith Cohen created Orwasher’s Christmas challah two years ago with dried cranberries, golden raisins, pistachios, and candied oranges, topped with powdered sugar. Since then, he’s introduced other festive varieties such as a Valentine’s Day chocolate chip challah and St. Patrick’s Day Irish soda challah. This spring the bakery debuts its ciabatta challah, a rustic rendition that merges the recipes of its two best-selling breads. 308 E. 78th St., 212-288-6569

—allison polster

 

Underground Tippling: The Vault at Pfaff’s

Imbibing in the shadow of Walt Whitman at a New York drinking institution.

March 19, 2012

In a city full of bars and restaurants, it can be difficult to get the attention of New Yorkers, but The Vault at Pfaff’s has done so with style, history, and exceptional cocktails.

In 1855, Charles Pfaff opened The Vault at Pfaff’s, then known as Pfaff’s Beer Cellar, in a basement space below Bleecker and Broadway. Frequented by Walt Whitman and The Saturday Press publisher Henry Clapp, The Vault was a cocktail den—oft referred to as the “dim cave”—for artists, actors, and writers. 

Today, in the same historic space, The Vault at Pfaff’s has been reborn and restored by interior designer Mark Zeff, who kept some of the original fieldstone and brick archways while integrating new colors, textures, and a bar made of 100-year-old white oak. Bar staff sport uniforms with old-fashioned touches designed by Christian Siriano and menus resemble vintage newspapers.   

Of course, the purpose of settling into one of the plush antique chairs and couches is to enjoy a well-made cocktail, of which there is no shortage. The cocktail menu, like The Vault itself, riffs on the old and new in its ingredients and originality. No less than a dozen choices ($16, each) are offered. One of the most popular is The Big Bird, a blend of Plymouth Gin house-infused with two berries, Marie Brizard Apricot Brandy, and fresh sour mix. The signature Pfapple combines Christian Drouin Calvados, house-infused cinnamon vodka, muddled apple, and fresh nutmeg. 

In addition to its array of cocktails, The Vault has a large selection of wine, beer, and spirits that include local favorites such as Brooklyn Gin and Ommegang beer. There’s also half a dozen options of sparkling wine and Champagne offered both by the bottle and the glass.

To soak up all of that alcohol, The Vault serves small plates, such as a sampling of artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, a maitake mushroom melt, served finger sandwich-style, and skewered filet mignon medallions. For dessert, try the decadent chocolate mousse. As the cocktail menu changes seasonally, so does the small plates menu.

Visit during the nightly cocktail hour (6–9 PM) or on Tuesdays, when spirits company ambassadors stop by to offer complimentary drink samples and small bites. 643 Broadway, under the Corner Shop Café, 212-253-5421

—Marcia Frost

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