Thursday, June 9, 2011

the new easy button

Photo courtesy of Insatiable Critic


Dining in New York City is tough.


Now, hear me out. In any big metropolitan area, it’s hard to argue with the fact that hype can often get in the way of truly enjoying a restaurant. High expectations or any at all, almost always lead to disappointment. It’s why I’ve trained myself to expect the worst in high stress situations to lessen the blow of defeat. Like wondering if he’ll call (he won’t) or will I land that dream job interview (keep dreaming) or can I handle XYZ (the answer, quite simply, is no). I’ve come to realize that I seek some sort of masochistic-type solace in moments of panic. Problematic? Yes. Exhausting? Understatement. But if anything, this uncanny (read: deranged) defense mechanism has allowed me to be truly appreciative of the beauty of life's unexpected miracles.


In short, expect nothing. And be happily surprised on a daily basis. You heard it here first.

New York City boasts an intimidating number of dining destinations. So intimidating, in fact, it becomes a chore to even wrap your head around the enormity of its seemingly infinite and legendary restaurant scene. This is a first world problem in all its gluttonous glory.


But in a city of over 18 million people, when a new hot spot gains serious notoriety, it can feel like all 18 million are jonesing for a chance to experience it at the same time. This makes getting in on the action a near impossible feat.


There’s also this: I’m not a fan of crowds. I think it’s why I don’t bode particularly well in large groups, either—something about the fear of getting lost in the shuffle. No, I’m not insecure. Why do you ask?


This notion of neglect can rear its gnarly head in the food world, too. All the hype and hysteria and tweets and tout can swallow a restaurant whole and spit it right back out for everyone on the corner of 6th and Carmine to see. The focus turns to the scene and the stereotypically flashy clientele while the food, devastatingly, gets moved to the proverbial back-burner. Because who cares about a pressed ficelle with a gorgeous schmear of fresh uni and powerfully piquant Korean mustard when the distracted diners prefer shrimp cocktail and a never-ending glass of Pinot Grigio. And could I get some ice on the side?


The first time I noticed the unassuming Vietnamese restaurant, Co Ba, was one day during lunch when I was hurriedly walking by on 9th Avenue in lower Chelsea, only to stop abruptly in my tracks at the sight of a Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwich). While the Banh Mi could easily be considered another one of New York City’s crazed trends du jour, it was one that I hadn’t yet indulged in. But it was, however, one that I’d admittedly been dying to try.

The narrow and dimly lit space is modestly decorated with calming jade walls, small dark mahogany tables and a pseudo art installation made up of Vietnamese straw conical hats. A sweet and smiling waiter happily handed me a menu to peruse when I noticed an old Lisa Loeb album, reminiscent of my childhood, was playing. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I immediately decided I liked the place. But first, it was time get into the Banh Mi Thit ($7).


I unfolded the neatly wrapped parchment paper to reveal a generously sized baguette, bursting at the seams with fresh cilantro and matchsticks of vibrant sweet-pickled carrots and daikon. Inside, an unobtrusive swipe of mayonnaise was topped with tender and slightly charred pieces of grilled honey plum glazed pork followed by slivers of Vietnamese country pate and finished off with paper-thin slices of jalapeno. At the first crunch of the baguette, getting a bit of each and every component in one bite, I couldn’t help but smile as I chomped and chewed. The sandwich was a mélange of unexpected combinations of textures and flavors. And yet, somewhat mysteriously, it all worked magnificently. Not a single element missing; not a single component out-shined by the next. It was a lesson in perfectly orchestrated balance.


The next time I visited Co Ba was during the dinnertime rush. It had been the answer to the much-dreaded question(s): "Where should we go for dinner? Who can accommodate us? Do we need a reservation?" Typically, on a Friday night the answer is something along the lines of "Nowhere." The thought alone of trying to weasel our way into a bustling restaurant during primetime only to get slammed with a two hour long wait made me want to shimmy on out of my skinny jeans and hide under my down-laden covers. Make it stop!


But this time around, I was armed with a confident answer. And one that was, ever-so-conveniently, a mere two blocks away.


Co Ba was not empty. Nor is it ever, really. But no matter what or when, there always seems to magically be a table available whenever a craving strikes. We waltzed right in and were greeted, as always, with a warm smile and a right-this-way gesture to our table. Typically, when I'm dining at this price-point (which, by the way, is affordable), my service expectations are not very high. It should be noted, however, that the wait staff is so genuinely kind and inviting. There aren't many places where I'd feel comfortable requesting a table for one. But here? Safe. Unpretentious. Welcoming.


A great advantage to Co Ba's dinner menu is their selection of small plates, all of which beg to be shared. An order would not be complete without a plate of Goi vit where shredded ginger poached duck tops a crunchy cabbage salad with basil, shallot crisps, and a lime ginger dressing loaded with chilies ($7). Grilled prawns wrapped in delicate rice paper with rice noodles, basil and lettuce sing once dunked into the peanut dipping sauce served alongside (Tom con $7). Then move your chopsticks over to some refreshing green papaya salad dressed with basil, shrimp, coconut-braised pork belly, crushed peanuts, and a spicy lime dressing (Goi du du $6). A safe and less daring choice, perhaps, are the shrimp, pork, and vegetable spring rolls (Cha Gio $6) but when they're served with lettuce and fresh herbs and a sweet and sour lime dipping sauce, it's hard to turn down at least one crispy, fried morsel. Less successful was the wok-seared lemongrass curry monkfish with basil, chili, onion, and peanuts (Co bam $8). Sadly, what sounded so promising left much to be desired. Thirsty? They've got a few by the glass options but I urge you to go with a bright and zippy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The citrusy acidity is the perfect match to the heat levels here. Prefer a cocktail? The kumquat margarita on the rocks will do you more than just fine. I promise.


After grazing through a lively selection of small plates, it's time to move towards the more substantial. The Banh Mi makes a dinner-time appearance with grilled five spice beef topped with watercress, house-made sweet pickled carrots and daikon, red onion, and jalapeno (Banh mi bo, $8.50). Cut neatly into thirds, this transcendental steak sandwich will have your table for two eyeing one another for that third and final piece. The charred, almost sugary pieces of tender beef paired with the peppery bite of the watercress make for a truly special moment—it just makes sense. What doesn't make sense, however, is why the Banh out thit nuong noodle dish is described on the menu as “house-made ravioli.” Imagine instead, a rice noodle pappardelle. Grilled honey glazed pork and julienned Vietnamese country ham top wide ribbons of rice noodles with basil, cilantro, chunks of cool cucumber, bean sprouts, shallot crisps, and finished off with the ever-popular chili-lime sauce ($15). The combination of textures and flavors and temperatures playing on this plate are nothing short of a stroke of genius. That's the thing about Vietnamese food—the balance is unlike anything you've ever experienced. Inventive and exciting in a way that never bores.


If you're still hungry, the pan seared red snapper in a spicy lemongrass-pineapple sauce ($19) is handsomely presented with sprigs of cilantro and a side of Jasmine rice. It's crisp and sweet and the fish is fall apart tender and without warning, the heat chilies pull a sneak attack on you. But, a sip of that Sauvignon Blanc, heavy with grapefruit and green-grass notes will put that fire out in no time. And leave you grinning. For days.


After the table has been cleared and I swirl that last sip of wine around in the glass, I notice Norah Jones's sweet and slightly raspy voice and smile. Trendy? Well, maybe eight years ago. But I'll take calm and nurturing over swanky and trendy any day of the week.


And it's not just because there's no line to battle to get in but because of the downright deliciousness of the food being served. Unassuming and unexpected.


In short, expect nothing. Perfection will soon follow.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

ladies who easter brunch

I use the term "ladies" loosely here. Particularly (and singularly) when referring to myself. You see, when the barometer abruptly hits 79 degrees Fahrenheit--albeit welcomed with arms wide open--and your oven is cranked up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and you're buzzing around your apartment and you're joined by five other human beings who are also buzzing around your apartment, things tend to get...hot. And not in a Girls Gone Wild type of way. I assure you. Although, clothing was admittedly removed. By yours truly. More than once.

Three times. I had to make a costume change three times over the course of one Easter Brunch. Why, you ask? Again. Things got HOT.

Even with the AC coursing an arctic chill on full blast, the lack of air circulation throughout my apartment failed to deliver any relief for my glistening--no, dewy--guests and me. So after a round of Kir Royales, we poured generous glasses of ice, cold Puerto Ricans (a light beer-based mimosa. don't ask. just try.) and kept 'em coming. What? Something had to cool Mama off.

And then we ate. And ate. And ate some more. Discomfort ensued. And then a round of Apples to Apples. And then? Well, then we ate again.

Happy Easter, "Ladies" and Gents!

[kir royales to toast the man]

[the handsome, albeit massive, spread]

[smoked salmon pizza with dilled sour cream and red onion]

[pizza with parmesan béchamel, sautéed mushrooms, spring onion, and egg]

[naughty, naughty, naughty things]

[a crème brulée donut that will make you--amongst many other things--blush]

Monday, April 18, 2011

[last] weekend's dinner party: happy birthday ing


I could not have conjured up a meal more catered to each and every one of my Mom's strongly opinionated epicurean taste-buds if I had tried. I mean really, really tried. And so, I didn't.

You see, the Birthday girl herself picked out the meal for her very special day. And straight she turned to her favorite chef, Suzanne Goin and Sunday Suppers with Lucques. If there's any day that you deserve to have exactly what you want, just the way you want it, it's your Birthday. And this year, Ing wanted to celebrate with Wild Striped Bass with Farro, Black Rice, Green Garlic, and Tangerine--amongst a gaggle of other delectable goodies--and all prepared the day of, while various family members and friends lent their hands and mouths to the preparation of one epic meal of equally epic proportions.

Word to the wise (from the admittedly not-always-so-wise): This is a menu best suited for a smaller crowd. Smaller, perhaps, than even Suzanne's suggestion of six. And yet, we had ten. Because cooking batch after laborious batch of seared Sea Bass while trying desperately not (without succeeding) to melt out of your clothes (if you can't stand the heat...) and simultaneously "entertaining" a guest or two while tasting for seasoning and pouring that extra glass of gloriously chilled Sauvignon Blanc, was not exactly the easiest of tasks. In fact, it was downright daunting. Perhaps pushing a bit more towards masochistic. But hey, it's all for the best of causes. And silver lining? We became the entertainment.

Because understand this: This meal is so spectacularly special, refreshing, lively, I'd shutter at the thought of anyone not being able to treat themselves to it--if not but only once--to fully experience the mélange of textures and flavors that come together here. Each and every note pronounced and yet, with certain inexplicable subtleties that can only come from the most professional and well-seasoned of chefs.

And from the Birthday girl with the impeccable eye and taste to spot a phenomenal menu--the phenomenal menu--when she sees it.

"Sooo...should we, like, start soon?"


Wild Striped Bass with Farro, Black Rice, Green Garlic, and Tangerine
Recipe Courtesy Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin
Serves 6

6 wild striped bass fillets, 5 to 6 oz. each, skin on
3 tangerines, zested, plus 1-1/2 cups fresh juice
1 tbsp. thyme leaves
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. granulated sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
farro and black rice with green garlic pea shoots (recipe to come)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season the fish with the tangerine zest, thyme, and parsley. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Remove the fish from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking, to bring it to room temperature.

Slice the stem and bottom ends from the tangerines. Stand the tangerines on one end and, following the contour of the fruit with a sharp knife, remove the cottony white pith. Work from top to bottom and rotate the fruit as you go. Then hold each tangerine over a bowl and carefully slice between the membranes and the fruit to release the segments in between. Discard all the seeds. You should have about 1/3 cup tangerine segments.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Swirl in the olive oil and wait 1 minute. Carefully lay the fish in the pan, skin side down, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Turn the fish over, lower the heat to medium0low, and cook a few more minutes until the bass is almost cooked through. Be carefully not to overcook the fish. When it's done, the fist will begin to flake and separate a little, and the center will still be slightly translucent. Remember, the fish will continue to cook a bit more once you take it out of the pan.

Wipe out the pan and return it to the stove over medium-high heat. Add the tangerine juice and sugar and bring to a boil. When the juice has reduced by half, turn the heat down to low and quickly whisk in the butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of freshly ground pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the tangerine segments. Taste for seasoning.

Place the farro and black rice with green garlic and pea shoots on a large warm platter. Arrange the bass on top, and spoon the sauce over the fish.

Grilled Pizza with Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese, Currants, and Pine Nuts
Recipe adapted* from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques

1 ball of fresh pizza dough
1 large bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, center ribs removed
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1 extra-large egg yolk
1/2 cup crème fraiche
6 ounces semi-aged goat cheese
currant-pine nut relish (recipe follows)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tear the chard into large pieces. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the shallots, and the thyme. Sauté a few minutes, add half the Swiss chard. Cook a minute or two, tossing the greens, and season with a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until the greens are tender.

Spread the greens on a baking sheet or platter to cool. When they've cooled, squeeze the excess water out with your hands.

Place the ricotta, egg yolk, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth, and remove to a mixing bowl. Gently fold in the crème fraiche, and season with a healthy pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface and place on pizza peel. When grill is up to temperature, brush olive oil onto one side of the pizza dough and place (oil side down) dough onto grill. Brush the other side of the dough with olive oil, close the grill, and allow to cook for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, flip the pizza dough onto the other side and close the lid for another 3 minutes. Remove cooked pizza dough from the grill, turn it down to low, and bring pizza back inside.

Spread the ricotta mixture on the grilled pizza base. Arrange the greens on top and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese. Place back on grill (just before serving) for two minutes to heat through.

When ready to serve, spoon some of the currant-pine nut relish over the pizza and cut into slice with a pizza cutter or large knife. Pass the remaining currant-pine nut relish in a small bowl for anyone who would like a little more.

*The original recipe calls for making this into a tart with puff pastry. This was our alternative.

Currant-Pine Nut Relish
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 sprig rosemary
1 chile de arbol (or a sprinkle of chile flakes)
3/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/3 cup dried currants
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat a small sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium, and add the olive oil, rosemary and chile. When the rosemary and chile start to sizzle, add the onion nad season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Turn the heat down to low, and let the onions stew gently for about 10 minutes, until tender. Transfer to a small bowl to cool and discard the rosemary sprig and chile.

While the onion is cooking, place the currants in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let the currants soak for 10 minutes, and then drain well.

Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan the onions were in, and reduce it over medium-high heat to a scant 1 tablespoon. Stir the reduced vinegar into the onion mixture.

Add the toasted pine nuts, currants, and parsley to the onion mixture, and stir to combine. Taste for balance and seasoning.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

move over morimoto

What happens when two sushi-centric fanatics (read: addicts) unite to try their hands at making their own? A whole lot of smiling mixed with moments of silence with equal parts laughter by means of pure astonishment and highlighted by "shut-up-right-now-I-can't-believe-how-freaking-delicious-this-is" exclaimed over and over and over again.

I will admit, making my own sushi has never been something that's really interested me before; something I argued I'd much rather leave to the professionals; mysteriously missing from my perpetual culinary To Do's. But when an eager-to-try and decidedly handsome fellow expresses great interest in whipping up sliced hamachi with jalapeno and ponzu, you politely accept the invitation. Then promptly start hunting for the perfect serving plates, platters, and appropriate accessories.

With impeccably fresh fish, an extraordinarily sharp knife, and a little creativity--by which I mean plenty of hot sake for the sushi chef(s)--you too, will be well on your way to a DIY project that is guaranteed to yield euphoric and wholly fulfilling results. Even if they don't end up exactly as planned. I assure you, this is a trial and error-type experiment that you will be more than willing to try over and over and over again.

fresh hamachi loin

professionally sliced paper thin and fanned out on an expertly chosen platter

topped with equally paper thin slices of jalapeno, shaved scallions, and a thoughtful splash of ponzu sauce

a well-deserved love pat to your sushi chef on a job well done

a spicy tuna roll with scallion, avocado, and cucumber, while perfect in conception, yielded a much--for lack of a better word--fatter result after rolling (silver lining: I make damn good spicy tuna tartar)

Not pictured: gorgeously thin pieces of tuna draped over sticky sushi rice and a tiny dot of wasabi were consumed entirely too quickly. Sorry I'm not sorry for snapping a picture in time. I was far more interested in getting them into my mouth as swiftly as possible. Par for the sushi course.

Friday, March 25, 2011

weekend wishes

Wishing you at least one (if not two or...three) of these this weekend.

Cheers!

Monday, March 14, 2011

tartinery

Call me biased but I'm partial to any place where the entire waitstaff speaks to each other in lyrical French and greets you with Bonjour! Such was the case upon entry into the impeccably styled Tartinery in Nolita. So I smiled real big and let out a le sigh and promptly ordered a Kir. Ah, c'est si bon la vie.

Might I suggest you treat yourself this weekend? Perfect bites and sips will ensue. And you'll feel, even just for a moment, that you've transported yourself to Boulevard Saint-Germain. And as soon as you've finished your long, leisurely, and fashionably late lunch, you'll stroll home along the Seine, arms linked with ton amour, grinning in sheer awe and unadulterated happiness to be surrounded by a city with more style, history, and culture than you ever thought possible.

And then you make a left on Spring Street and start heading home.

kir with a lemon twist

jambon brie

smoked salmon, poached egg, hollandaise

saint marcellin, prosciutto, arugula, olive oil

209 Mulberry St.

dorot frozen herbs

Trader Joe's never ceases to amaze me with its inventory and quality of products. I look forward to my weekly (and sometimes bi-weekly) visits with way more excitement than I should probably be willing to admit. But during my past over-zealous visit, I spotted these in the frozen section: Dorot frozen herbs. At $1.99, I inevitably and curiously tossed a basil one into my cart. Inquisitive experimentation, you see, is one of the best parts of my Trader Joe's routine. That and their cheese section. And pizza dough. And frozen mini baguettes.

So the Dorot verdict? Have one of these in every herb variety (basil, cilantro, and parsley) in your freezer at all times. Not only are they phenomenally (and surprisingly) fresh tasting but they take convenience to a whole new level. While I wouldn't use them to substitute the real deal in certain applications (i.e. pesto or gremolata, ceviche, etc.), they're perfect to pop into sauces and any other recipe which calls for fresh herbs to be stirred in at the end.

And the gnocchi with tomato basil cream sauce I haphazardly and inexplicably put together late last night after I had cooked dinner? Divine.

And perfectly basil-y.

Seek these out at your soonest convenience. You'll sleep soundly knowing they're tucked away in your freezer. Or at least they seem to have that kind of calming effect on me. Nothing scarier than a last minute dinner guest and no fresh herbs in sight. Make that no fresh herbs and no wine. Nothing. Scarier. Exists.

For a look at Dorot's full product line, click here.

whale's rib

When it comes to seafood, I like it one way and one way only: unadulterated. You can have your fancy sauces and ornate garnishes. I'll take mine dead simple with minimal add-on's. I want to be able to taste the salinity and purity of the ocean with each and every bite. Steamed Maine lobster with drawn butter. A whole fish, stuffed with orange slices and a few sprigs of fresh thyme, thrown onto the grill with nothing but a healthy sprinkle of crunchy sea salt. A freshly shucked Bluepoint with little more than a squeeze of lemon. A glistening piece of salmon sashimi, sliced nearly paper thin, chopsticks hovering in anticipation of its blissful entry. It's served in a respectful manner; showcasing its glorious and unrivaled freshness.

Which is why when it comes to the ambiance of my seafood dining experience, well, I'll take that dead simple too. And bring on the kitsch, please.

Enter: Whale's Rib, Deerfield Beach, Florida.

A basket of rock shrimp, simply steamed (hold the Old Bay, please) with a few lemon wedges for squeezing and a side of drawn butter for dipping. Toss in two frosty mugs of beer alongside and you couldn't wipe the smile off my face if you tried. And the poor service? Well, I can turn the other sun-kissed cheek on that. We're cozied up at a seafood shack dive bar and I'm distracted by my rock shrimp, ice cold beer, and charming company. Simple food. Simply delicious.

Just as it should be.


Whale's Rib
2031 NE 2nd St.
Deerfield Beach, FL

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

weekend dinner party

Photo courtesy of Vietnamesegod.blogspot.com

Have you seen Luke Nguyen's Vietnam on the Cooking Channel? I caught a marathon one Saturday a couple weeks ago and it completely paralyzed me. I couldn't peel myself away for a solid two and half hours (at least). The food in Southeast Asia really excites me. The combination of flavors challenge your palate in a way that, I would argue, no other cuisine can. It's complex and fresh and vibrant and leaves your lips tingling and your mind racing. The street food, in particular, is what I find the most interesting. That in the median of a busy road, a woman is methodically shredding papaya for salad with bags upon bags of fresh mint at her disposal and little more than 12 inches of workspace (if any at all). Or deeply marinated meats with lemongrass, sugar, fish sauce, and cilantro, are skewered and slapped onto a makeshift grill, all from an unassuming cart, while traffic furiously buzzes by. It's proof that good--no, great food is only as good as its ingredients. And the person crafting them together.

I desperately need to go to Vietnam.

In the meantime, here's a Southeast Asian menu to hopefully hold me over.

spicy green papaya salad
grilled chicken with garlic, lemongrass, and cilantro
2009 Jean Ginglinger Riesling

Check out a clip of Luke Nguyen's show here.
Recipes:

Spicy Green Papaya Salad
Recipe Courtesy of Zak Pelaccio for Food & Wine

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp. Asian fish sauce
2 tbsp. sugar
2 Thai chiles, minced
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp.minced peeled fresh ginger
2 pounds green papaya*--peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/4-by-1/4 inch sticks
1 firm, barely ripe mango--peeled, sliced off the pit and cut into 1 1/4-by-1/4 inch sticks
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup shredded mint leaves
salt

1. In a blender, puree the lime juice with the garlic, fish sauce, sugar, chiles and ginger. In a large bowl, toss the papaya with the mango, cilantro and mint. Add the dressing and toss. Season with salt, toss again and serve.

*If you can't find green papaya, you can substitute with using all mango or jicama or celery.

Serve with sticky rice.

Monday, February 21, 2011

filipino brunch at maharliko

After catching a glimpse of SeriousEat's experience at Maharlika, the new Filipino pop-up restaurant in the East Village, I immediately sent out a desperate email to the management, begging for a chance to indulge in some Filipino fare. After reading and re-reading promises of poached eggs and grilled prawns and coconut milk and lime and shrimp paste and more, I wouldn't settle for anything less than a reservation. Because that eggs iMelda needed to be presented in front of me sometime in the immediate future.

And so this past Saturday, with three gals in tow, we dove head first into a Filipino brunch and toasted with calamansi mimosas and a killer playlist to boot.

calamansi mimosas (filipino lime)

eggs iMelda: pandesal (filipino bread) topped with laing (taro root leaves, coconut milk, shrimp paste, and chilies), grilled prawn, poached eggs, calamansi hollandaise, and kamote (sweet potato) fries

eggs benigno: pandesal topped with thinly sliced spam, poached eggs, calamansi hollandaise, and kamote fries.

ilog breakfast: sunny side up quail egg served over rice with garlicky pork sausage and a cucumber salad.


maharlika
351 e 12th st. (b/w 1st and 2nd ave.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

bar tables and a whole lotta DIY

[my favorite mod and super tall champagne glasses, a brilliant find snagged from the salvation army]

There are pros and cons to my recent DIY/design kick as of late. Pro: It keeps me busy. And the feeling of instant gratification is one that I crave. Often. Con: It keeps me busy. And I can't focus on anything else but finishing the (what feels like) hundreds of little projects I've started (and with some, failed). My posting regularity has suffered terribly. And for this, I apologize.

But one of my many DIY projects that is actually relevant to Eat and Greet is my bar table which is still a work-in-progress but well on its way to fabulousness. In the before photo (seen just below), you can see that table had caning underneath the glass top. Do I have a thing against caning? Absolutely not. But for whatever reason, the color of the caning against the Wild Truffle wall yielded an unappetizing combination. It got to the point where I couldn't stand looking at it anymore. Something had to be fixed. And after sifting through inspiration photos that I'd pulled from here and there, I started to make some changes. And the first thing to go was inevitably going to be that caning.

Enter: a piece of cream burlap, cut down to size and placed underneath the glass. Instant improvement. Snarls be gone.

Also? A bottle of Bombay Gin which my thoughtful roommate picked up in Duty Free on her way back from Switzerland. There's something about that iconic blue glass bottle that adds a finishing touch to any bar area. It's beautiful. And legitimizes the spot for me. Nevermind the fact that blue glass is a bit of a recurring theme in our apartment. It pops up, well, everywhere (see top left corner of the following photo).

A few shots (all pulled from Remodelista) of inspiration I love for your bar area...
Cheers! TGIF.

Oh, and allow me to indulge you (but really, me) with a sneak peak at another DIY project that was started and completed this past weekend. Never, ever underestimate the power of paint. Particularly matte charcoal paint. Yum.

Before
After
Nothing in our apartment is safe anymore.

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