Thursday, February 25, 2010

Athos, Porthos, Aravind and....

D'Artagnan! More perks of being a lucky little intern at Restaurant Business magazine!

D'Artagnan, if you aren't familiar with this FABULOUS company, is a leading purveyor of foie gras, pates, sausages, smoked delicacies, organic game and poultry. A lot of NYC restaurants and gourmet stores carry their products, and though I have drooled over them many times, foie gras is not on my usual shopping list, so I'd never tried their products before. Until now! You see, they invited my editor to their 25th anniversary party this past Monday and unfortunately she was going to be out of town. Dedicated employee that I am, I was quick to offer my party-going services.
Boy, do these people know how to throw a party! They were very accommodating and even let me bring a plus one, which always makes these sort of shindigs 100 times more fun.

First of all, the place. The soiree was held in a stunning event space that is actually built into the Queensboro bridge. Gothic and cavernous, it was decked out and amazing.

Everyone was told to dress in their red and white best, and by jove, everyone complied!

Have you ever bobbed for prunes in Armagnac? I passed on this particular pass time, but it sure looked fun... maybe next time.


I loved seeing Lillet have such a dominant presence here. Personally, I am a bit of a Lillet fanatic, and it's not just because they have those neat looking ads with paintings of tipsy ladies. It's a darn good bevvy. I always have it in the fridge, especially in summer.

I stuck with Lillet Rouge, while David found he had a little preference for the Blanc. Lillet flowed freely all night long.

When Tom Colicchio took the stage, I decided it was time for yet another Lillet...

Speaking of celeb sightings, I totally saw Ming Tsai, but I'm apparently not devoted to you enough to be a creepster who takes pictures of random famous people... Tom C. was sort of different because he's on TV all the time, and he's sort of a ham. I feel like Ming is a little shy. I didn't want to scare him. How about I appease you with some more pictures...
Cassoulet anyone?

White veal stew?

Foie gras? Don't mind if I do!

Cured Mangalica legs, Prosciutto-ish but a deeper, richer flavor. Love those woolly little piggies.

More Lillet? Plus some funny French people? Yes please!

More awesome funny French people!

I sort of wish I could be this girl, have all that great Little Mermaid hair, and the guts to pull that dress off with a belly full of foie gras. Incredible.

Le Pimp?

I sort of loved this next guy, he basically seemed three sheets to the wind and just sort of wandered between the food tables having a taste here and a bite there. Circling, circling back. Drink. Taste. Drink. Drink more. A little more. Swagger. Taste. He was so cool.

When, after hours and hours of liver products and Lillet, David and I started to relate to the aforementioned 3 sheets guy, we decided it was time to call it a night. It was raining out, and really very wintery. But in our slightly clouded, party-warmed souls, it might as well have been June!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Anatomy of a Snow Day

As two born and raised Portland kids, we know what to do when it starts to snow and they say a blizzard is coming. Run outside and look at it, even if its 2 am! Better yet, walk to the pub and see who else is excited and talk about it with them! Excited! About snow, and going out for drinks at 2am! Point 1 for NYC!

When you wake up the next day, you don't have to go to work because it snowed so much! Ohh, wait, this is New York. Actually, a lot of people have to go to work. But I remedied that by calling in sick. Yep. When life gives you a blizzard, take a Snow Day! We head out in search of breakfast as the blizzard picks up...

Hello, snowy friend!

Just a few blocks and a lot of snow-walking away, we get to the good old Purity Diner! Our first time visiting an all-day breakfast place just 4 blocks away?! What the heck is wrong with us?! Well, all was soon to be set right.

Diner breakfasts are very reassuring. Everybody knows that. Ahhhhhh....

David wasn't that hungry, so he just ordered the "Lumberjack".

Pancakes are better when they're wrapped around ham.

Cloudy-headed and warm-bellied, we wandered back out into the snow, which had continued to cover the world in its chilly blanket. Brrr.

But on the upside, right as we wandered out, David's phone rang and he was told he didn't have to come into work because Starbucks-Starbucks!- was going to close early due to the weather! Whoo hoo! This is the back of his head, so it's hard to see how excited he was, but I'm not generally allowed to photograph him in the face so it'll have to do.

Coffee? A little productivity? Yes please! I love graduate school, where sitting at a coffee shop and reading a really interesting book is called "productivity".

We had a nice view of the "WINTER BLAST", which was super cool. We also had a nice view of a cluster of park slope mafia types. Which was less cool, but sort of funny. Check out this mom-diss that I overheard:

Alpha Mom: Wow hi it's nice to finally meet you!
Scared, new Mom: Hi! This is *insert silly babyname here*!
A.Mom: Awww. How old?
S.Mom: 3 months
A.Mom: Wow, its really brave of you to bring her out in this weather.


After a pleasant little snow walk, we decided that the sun was heading in that downward direction which meant but one thing. Homeward!To the Couch, to Blankets, to Mad Men, to whisky! To one terrific Snow Day!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Flushing Field Trip!

Since David started working at Starbucks, days off together have become few and precious. Today was one of those glorious days, and after a good sleep-in we rallied ourselves and Brennan (our dear P-town friend) towards Flushing and food! Carrie, our super awesome new friend who a)sleeps in as late as we do and b) has a car, not only came along, but offered us a ride too, saving us a good 90 minute subway ride! Amazing!

After a rather lengthy ride, we found ourselves at last in the infamous Flushing! Oh my goodness, we may as well have been in Beijing! It was a total-immersion sort of experience. Every sign was in Chinese, red lanterns hung from anything you can hang something on, and we were the only caucasians in sight, all of which I found at once comforting and dislocating. Oh, and it gave me VERY good feelings about what we were about to eat....

Xi'an Famous Foods is pretty famous in the Yelp circles I move in-digitally speaking of course. Located in the uniquely-titled Golden Mall, Xi'an got its big break with Anthony Bourdain touted its virtues on No Reservations. The little stall had about 3 tables and teeny little stools, and the friendliest proprietor ever. We felt REALLY out of place, but he not only welcomed us, pointing to the picture of Anthony Bourdain shaking his hand, he also started telling us what to order right away; "D1, B2, D4. You like!" We stopped at three to save room for tastes from other stalls, but we could have gladly sat there eating all day long.

These hand pulled rice noodles were served cold and spicy with lots of crunchy bean sprouts and slivers of cucumbers. They were refreshing and hot hot hot! Yuuuum.

Next up, these equally sinus clearing lovelies are the same rice noodles served hot this time with cumin and lamb. Oooo yes.

This "lamb burger" was a must have according to my fellow yelpers. Tasty though it was, I think it's not a must. Very delicious though!

In the aftermath, I used the handy little spoons to slurp up that spicy stuff that was left. Mmm hmm!

Next up, fried pork dumplings, with plenty of chives. We meant to have just one order, but they didn't understand us AT ALL and vice versa so we ended up with two orders. At 12 for $3, it wasn't really a problem, except maybe for our waistlines...

Scallion pancakes. Fried Dough, can you ever go wrong!?!? If I lived closer to this neighborhood, these are the things that would do me in because I would get one every time I walked by. Carrie orders like a pro- 4 steamed buns for $1.25, yes! Fresh Scallion pancakes for $1 a piece? We'll take 4!

The pancakes were almost too hot to handle, but that didn't stop us! Steam billowed out as we ripped into them, and they were crispy on the outside, doughy, scallion heaven.


Happy People! Ready to head home...