Go Here! Eat This!

A simple food blog to help the overwhelmed foodie in a crazy big food world

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Pizza: THIS is IT!

New Yorkers pride themselves on their pizza and I will be the first to tell you that there is no shortage of good, no, GREAT pizza in and around NYC. This is a fact. Because of this fact, it’s very hard to pin down the BEST pizza in NY as so many claim to have it. But let’s face it, there are so many different types of pizza as well, and we aren’t just comparing apples to apples (or in this case pizza to pizza to pizza). As I’ve posted before, my husband is from Italy and we’ve had the good fortune to visit on many occasions. In America, Pizza is considered inarguably Italian, but I’m here to tell you that Pizza in Italy is very different from what we are used to eating on fridays in our homes. Now in Italy, the BEST Pizza, supposedly happens in Naples. I’ve passed by Naples, but have never actually stopped for Pizza in Naples (on my bucket list). So, my post is going to focus on what I think is the best Neapolitan, i.e. Italian pizza in NYC: Keste’

Keste' Rest

Keste’ is located at 271 Bleeker St. The chef is from Italy, outside of Naples. It doesn’t get more authentic than this folks. Real Italian pizza has a very thin crust. It’s cooked like this:

Making Pizza

And each pizza is made for one person. My personal favorite is called Pizza del Re (Pizza of the king) and is made with truffle cream. Kill.me.now. If you haven’t met truffle, put THAT on your bucket list because your life will never be the same. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the Pizza del Re. It doesn’t look unlike the following pizzas which are all to die for.

Keste’ Pizza made with Buffalo Mozzerella:

Keste' Pizza

Prosciutto di Parma (my hubby’s favorite):

Proscuitto Pizza

Want a little spice in your life, try the Diavolo Pizza:

Diavola Pizza

You might be wondering what Keste’ means. It actually means, “This is it.” It’s a fitting meaning because it really doesn’t get much better. Good news is that they have a sister restaurant on 50th and 8th called Don Antonio by Starita with a similar menu. I took some friends there at the beginning of June and introduced them to my friend the truffle. We ordered the Pizza del Re along several others. They are still raving. So take my word for it, or better yet try it yourself. Whether Keste’ or Don Antonio, Go Here! Eat This!

http://www.kestepizzeria.com

http://www.donantoniopizza.com

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Their milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard…

Well not just boys…go by a Shake Shack ANYWHERE in NYC and there’s a line out the door. The good news is usually the line is for food and NOT just dessert. So if you pass by and you see a long line, double check the dessert line because chances are the line for just a sweet treat is the ticket.

I will admit that I’ve never had the burgers and fries at the Shake Shack. I’ve actually never ever had anything other than the Fair Shake which is what I’m posting about today. And if you know me or follow me on Facebook, you know how careful I am about my sugar intake and how I’m not one to stray too far off my regular high protein diet. BUT…if you are going to cheat…my motto is go big or go home. If you don’t enjoy the cheat…what’s the point?

So, if you like coffee (which I do) and if you like ice cream (only my favorite food on the planet), then the Fair Shake (100% Arabica coffee and their vanilla custard) is definitely for you. The good news is that it isn’t a crazy huge serving. It’s small – well in today’s super size world, and it’s sweet so, it’s really the perfect size. You can’t go wrong with this yummo treat.

I had mine on the UES last weekend. But luckily they are all over NYC and actually they have them in FL and CT and MA, and D.C. and I think even London. So check out their website and if you are ever near a Shake Shack and are dying for a treat…try the Fair Shake! Go Here! Eat This!

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http://www.shakeshack.com

The Tarts and the Puffs…an East Side Story

Once a year, my BFF and I spend one day in the city shopping and eating and just spending the day together without children or husbands. We started doing this a few years ago for our birthdays, as they are only about 3 weeks apart. It truly is one of our FAVORITE days of the year. We decided to start our day off with brunch on the Upper East Side (UES) and try the newly opened Brasserie Cognac East (963 Lexington). The original Cognac (1740 Broadway) is where we celebrated my hubby’s 40th this year with a big brunch and it was fabulous, so we decided to try the new spot on the east side!

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When we were planning this, I knew which dish I wanted and what I was going to blog about. Sometimes you eat out and you remember the ambiance and the conversation, but honestly a lot of times you simply do NOT recall a thing you ate! When food is memorable, you know it’s good. I remembered!

It’s worth mentioning that Brasserie Cognac has a VERY reasonable Brunch Prix Fixe for the UES. At only $32.95 you get a cocktail (we opted for Bellinis), an appetizer and a main course.

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Now I veered a little off course of the Prix Fixe because I ordered the Tuna Tart as my appetizer which isn’t included. But TRUST me, it was worth it. The Tuna Tart is a flambe crust, kind of like a flat bread, topped with sushi grade tuna, hot mustard cream and sprinkled with pickled ginger and scallions. It is a meal in and of itself and the flavors explode in your mouth. It is DELECTABLE.

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My friend always gets the Gougeres, a basket full of warm, moist cheese puffs that are a decadent treat.

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The chef, Florian Hugo, sent out a chilled tomato soup in between courses. It was a wonderful cleanse of the palate before my Eggs Benedict and her Quiche.

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Both locations are great brunch spots, but they do have a full lunch and dinner menu. I’m a big fan of French Brasseries and Cognac certainly has the feel and food that makes Brasseries so inviting. If you can’t get to Paris, stop in for the Tuna Tart or the Gougeres. Or Both. When on the Upper East Side (or Broadway)…Go Here! Eat This!

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http://www.cognacrestaurant.com

http://www.cognaceast.com

Go to Minori for Major YUM

Kind of ironic that a year ago tomorrow (4th) we were on our way across the pond to visit Nonno and Nonna in Italy. We have to skip summers now since we have 4 plane tickets to buy. My hubby and I are missing it terribly this summer, so maybe that’s why the trip down memory lane!

In 2004, before children, we had the good fortune to spend a week on the Amalfi coast with my parents. We hit Sorrento, Capri, Positano and by the time we got to Amalfi we were pretty tired. The Positano side of Amalfi is as beautiful as you see in the movies; however, it is a HOT spot and every American tourist is there. Last summer, the Italiano and I got away sans children for 2 nights down to the Amalfi coast again, but THIS time we hit the other side of the town of Amalfi. We got to see Maiori, Minori, Ravello and also got a better look at the beautiful town of Amalfi. We stayed at the Best Western, Hotel Marmorata and I highly recommend it. It had a pool and private access to the water and a spectacular view.

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I digress, my post is supposed to be about FOOD, right? OK Food. My hubby, the Italiano, has a long history in the restaurant and wine business and just has a way of sniffing out (and researching) the best places to eat. Not only that, but he has NEVER met a stranger. So he asked the parking attendant at the hotel about Giardiniello Ristorante and the guy happened to be the restaurant proprietor’s cousin, so there you go. Tell him I sent you and all of that, and off we went.

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Giardiniello is in the town of Minori on the Amalfi coast. It has a garden and the proprietor is a jolly man. I absolutely love when the fish is so fresh you don’t even see a menu. They have the fish caught that day displayed out front, you pick your fish, they bring it back and ask how you want it done.

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For the life of me I can’t remember the fish I got – some white fish – but I DO remember how it was prepared. It was done in a salt crust, pesce in crosta di sale,  (it wasn’t salty it was baked or steamed under this crust, see photo) and was drizzled with olive oil and lemon and so so tender, simple and delicious.

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Dinner was followed up with Cicerenella (some kind of anice and orange liqueur) and chocolate eggplant dessert…a house specialty. THAT was interesting.

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Nevertheless, if you ever find yourself on the other side of Amalfi, in the small town of Minori, definitely treat yourself to dinner at Giardiniello and try the fresh fish. Without further adieu, when in Minori, Go Here! Eat This!

http://www.ristorantegiardiniello.com

When in Rome…

Last year, when we were in Rome, after eating Cacio e Pepe, I posted the below photos on my Facebook page and came up with the idea for this blog. So, I thought it was appropriate that this be my first post! Enjoy!

My husband is from Italy and we have been blessed to be able to visit frequently. His folks live just outside of Rome, so needless to say, next to NYC, we have this place pretty well staked out. What we have learned is to NOT, I repeat DO NOT eat in Piazza Navona. The food is expensive and usually not made fresh. However, if you travel just a few blocks outside of Navona or the Pantheon you can get a great dish. One of my FAVORITE is a very simple pasta dish called Cacio e Pepe. It is creamy cacio cheese with pepper tossed in pasta. We found a nice little place outside a few years ago and we go back every time. It’s in a tiny little Piazza called Sant’Eustachio (oostakeeo) and the place is called Vernissage. The Cacio e Pepe is served in a bowl of baked cheese and is to die for.  The Carbonara and Amatriciana are also very good and when you are there are classic Roman dishes that you can’t beat…but take my advice, when in Rome…Go here! Eat This!

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