If you’re planning a trip to New York City…

October 17, 2012

OMBob do I have a coupl’a tips for yoooou!

The Modern: its the restaurant at the MOMA. I’m feeling giddy just thinking about the food, wine, service and ambience. A must… if you’re ready to splurge! There’s a set menu in the “fancy” restaurant area, and I would go for wine/beverage pairing if I were you. You could also opt to hang out and eat in the bar area. More casual menu, but just as delicious!

The Americano at Hotel Americano in Chelsea – they’ve done a good job renovating this place. Americano Hotel Restaurant - day timeThe dining area is right behind the reception and serves a scrumptuous meal. I went there in the evening but I imagine, with that huge window, this place would be lots of fun during the day. In fact, I just Googled it. This is what daytime there looks like.

Forty-Four Bar & LoungeForty Four bar and lounge located at The Royalton Hotel, takes you back to the early 1980’s. What a place! I haven’t eaten there but love hanging in the bar or lounge area for a delicately made cocktail… or two…

And since four seems to be the lucky number at the moment, you must try Four Seasons Restaurant wow… oh wow… oh my Bob!! Why haven’t I heard about this place before?!! Can I live here? Please? Four Seasons Restaurant Pool Dining area

OK, I can’t begin to tell you how this place, that opened back in 1959 and was designed by Philip Johnson and Mies van der Rohe, is a celebration of the genius of creative design. As for the food, it is an exceptional culinary voyage… and I would go with pairing beverages with your food in this case too. All I can say is that you must experience this place at least once in your life. I know I’ll be experiencing it a lot more… says the hedonist in me.

The Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Station. How many times has Deedee been to Grand Central unaware of this place, and how right C was when he said, “I know you’ll love this”… Put on your flapper dress, your cloche hat, your long bead necklace and take a step back to the 1920’s! A hidden jewel of the good old times!

The Spotted Pig is always a must…. at least once a trip. Don’t forget to order the Gnudi’s… sometimes I wonder what life would’ve been like had I never tasted those succulent little balls of wonder… sigh…

Tala, this one’s been on the shelf for a while and it’s going public just for you, sweetie. Enjoy the city! I want to hear all about it!


Round two… ping!!

December 7, 2010

You guessed it, Deedee was back in the Big Apple for round two of her food orgy, and get ready cuz I’ve got a couple of new hot tips for you!

I have to admit, I get giddy with the flawless service at restaurants and bars in NYC. Yaani, pretty much everywhere in the US was impressive, bas NYC has an alternative take… a new dimension of professionalism, sophistication, and refinement in dining and service.

Spitzer’s Corner, located on the Lower East Side, serves around 40 beers on tap!! So I had to drag my beer drinking buddy, RLM, along. Not much of an adventurer, RLM had the Weihenstephan Hefe-weissen and stayed there. A South German wheat ale that tasted and smelled of tropical fruit, citrus and cloves. Deedee on the other hand, had to try as many different beers as she could handle. To start with, she had the Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner from NY. A light beer with earthy hoppiness, hints of herbs and honey. Next was the Lagunitas A Little Sumpin Wild from CA (if you say it fast enough it sounds like a little something wild… get it?), a pale ale with notes of pineapple, mango and melon. By that time, we’d ordered their Pork Fat Edamame to nibble on while we waited for our Kobe Burgers (made with 100% Kobe beef and medium rare, akeed) and the Hand Cut French Fries. After that, Deedee had to try that Allagash White from Maine cuz she couldn’t believe the description of that witbier: Banana, grassy wheat, creamy, and balanced… they were right! Last, but not least was the Pretty Things Baby Tree from MA: big plum, red wine, cinnamon raisin bread, and brown sugar. Thanks for the tip Cha, it was a hop-pennin’  experience!

Later Deedee miraculously found herself at The Spotted Pig… it’s a must, after all. M & M joined her. Hog Island Oysters, I couldn’t help myself, from northern California, these babies are sweet, tender with a briny finish. Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Gnudi with Basil Pestooh my Bob! The way these melt in your mouth is so sensual, they should be forbidden from consumption in public! Whatever you’re eating, you can’t not order the Shoestring Fries with rosemary. This time Deedee tried the Grilled Skirt Steak with Roasted Beets & Horseradish Cream, the slices of meat are cooked medium-rare and so tender you barely need your knife. The beets are roasted with kale, and drizzled with Horseradish cream… life is good.  (btw, for those of you who read The New Yorker, there’s an article about the chef in the November 22nd, 2010 Food Issue. Read Burger Queen. She really makes the best burger in the world… amongst others. A Deedee must-have.)

We were around 7 for dinner at Public, another one of Deedee’s regular do’s, so it was the perfect opportunity to try many items on their menu. As we waited for the gang to assemble, we had an aperitif at the bar. Deedee was curious to try The Chook NV, a sparkling Shiraz from SE Australia. The bubbles on this dark ruby red were subtle and light, the nose and palate are cherry, ripe berry and herbal spice ending with a tangy kick. We were then seated and the feast began. For starters: Grilled scallops with sweet chili sauce, crème fraiche and green plantain crisps; Pan-seared foie gras on spiced french toast with mango chutney, maple glaze and crispy bacon; Fried green lip mussels with shiso, sansho pepper, and wasabi-yuzu dipping sauce; Lavender cured ham with a salad of frisee, mirin glazed pecans, pear, pomegranate, and truffle dressing; Beet gnudi with whipped lemon ricotta and a smoked almond and celery leaf pesto. We ordered two different pinot noirs to go with our appetizers: Four Graces 2008 from Willamette Valley, OR a light/medium bodied ruby red, with vanilla, flowers, and light oak aroma, rounded palate flaunting red berries, fruit and light tannins. The other Pinot Noir was the Neudorf “Tom’s Block” 2008, Nelson, New Zealand, a lively bright red with hints of lavender and licorice, this wine is svelt with a mineral palate and fine tannins. With our main courses, we had the Craggy Range “Te Kahu”, Gimblett Gravels, 2007 a Bordeaux blend from Hawkes Bay, NZ. Deep crimson red and has complex aromas that hint at cinnamon, ripe fruit, and pine forrest. The body is full and layered in the mouth. Well rounded and tannic. A good transition. We culminated with Lang and Reed, Cabernet Franc 2008 from North Coast, CA, with aromas of ripe plum and sage, this Cab Franc is dry and tannic but well balanced with dark cherries. Altogether a selection of robust wines that were exquisite with our gamy main course choices. Deedee went for the New Zealand Venison loin, Cabrales dumplings, oyster mushrooms and salsa verde. Oh Bambi, you taste so fine!

Stay tuned… the NYC dining extravaganza isn’t over yet!

Start spreadin’ the news…

November 28, 2010

… cuz Deedee just ‘touched-down’ in the Big Apple. (It’s football season, I couldn’t help myself!)

Upon arrival at Penn Station, I headed straight to the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle to meet up with CL. We went up to the 3rd floor and landed at the Bouchon Café. Deedee wanted to nibble on something, so we ordered the Rillettes aux Deux Saumons made with fresh steamed & smoked salmon, served with toasted crôutons, and to die for. We had a couple of Ommegang Abbey Ales to go with that. That dark amber ale had a dried fruit and spice flavor that was just perfect in the cold weather and married with the Salmon Rillette, which I confess we devoured instantaneously.

Later that evening, Deedee met up with JA at their usual spot: OTTO. A nice change from the summer menu, their updated menu had delicious winter vegetable dishes waiting for us to choose from. “Me, me, me” cried the Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Beets & Saba. So we picked both. Then we moved on to a Cured Fresh Bacon and Red Cabbage salad and for pasta we had the Rigatoni with Spicy Cauliflower which had chili flakes, garlic and pecorino cheese. The sommelier picked out an elegant but young full bodied oaky dark red wine from Tuscany: Il Gentile di Casanova 2005. The palate has smoky, balsamic tannins with dark cherries and plum. A fine well rounded finish.

A great start for round one of my food orgy in the city.

More later…

Casa akil, casa service, casa ambience…

October 30, 2010

… w Casablanca. Located on the second floor of an old Lebanese house in Ein Mreisseh, this place opened back in 1997, and Deedee’s been going there since. I have to give kudos to Johnny & Cyn Farah, consistent in food quality and standards… and you certainly pay for it.

The staff is well trained and most have been around for a long time, so that makes a difference in the ‘knowing your diners’ domain. Mind you, they’re not perfect, but pretty good for Leboland.

I like having my business lunches there cuz the sunlight enlivens the place and the view to the Grand Bleu is mervellieux. The other day Deedee O.D.’ed with lunch and dinner at Casablanca… ma ‘am bithadda!

The wine list is not too long and has a well balanced selection. The usual European choices (French, Italian, Spanish), and a medley of New World wines. Deedee blesses the list. Lately I’ve had whites, the Sancerre is fresh and crisp and the Gavi di Gavi is wunderbar, as you’ve read several times in Deedee’s previous blogs. It hasn’t been time for red yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s one thing I really enjoyed the other day… Casa actually makes a bloody good Bloody Mary! OK, it was missing horse radish, but “Honey, whatever you put in there, just write it down cuz you nailed it!”

Their meals are preceded by a plate of olive oil with dried fresh zaatar sprinkled in the middle.

Deedee enjoys the “Lunch Box” for lunch. Her other favorites are: Summer Rolls (shoo refreshing and light); Calamari Salt & Pepper; and Grilled Octopus. There was a delicious Unagi Roll on special the other day.

The Organic Greens salad is a crisp combo of peculiar leaves straight from Johnny’s garden; the pasta dishes are generally fun; and the Stir fried seafood with veggies was palatable… inno btittékal.

How bizarre, though, I just realized that I haven’t had meat there in a while!

For dessert, I salivate over their cheesecake… some like the créme brulée, but it doesn’t really do it for me.

They always have distinctive art on rotation. I liked the four Maboumga’s on display. That crazy man from Congo really brings out the twisted in me.

Casablanca’s open Tuesday through Sunday (yaani closed Monday). Sundays they serve brunch and you’d better book in advance. For reservations: 03-856111 or 01-369334

His, her, your, and…

September 6, 2010

… you guessed it: My Bar! What kind’a name is dat?! I don’t know about calling it the latest hotspot, but seems like “everybody’s” going there.

One look at their website and Deedee begged L not to put her through it. L said, “Yalla, mnitsalla.” So, Deedee dragged Madame Mrad along and we went out for a culture shock.

We had booked at the bar cuz all the tables were taken: “Sorry bas ma fee mahal illa ‘al bar”. Service was not bad. Quite a few familiar faces in terms of the service staff, so Deedee knew their backgrounds and approved. Besides, being with Deedee the girls got special attention… even the DJ came by to pay respects.

We had Edamame for starters, akeed. Then the Tuna Tartar which came on a rectangle of crispy rice, Salmon Tartar on a lettuce leaf, Salmon and Scallop sashimi, Gindara – a white fish filet drizzled with a sweet yet tangy sauce and served with a bit of seaweed on the side, the Unagi sushi was good but cold by the time it got to us, and Glasgow Salmon Maki which L said was “OK”. We devoured all that with lots of Sake!

Those few things we shared were overall satisfactory. There are a lot more items on the menu that Deedee would like try, however, how she’s going to do that is a mystery to her. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, we had the Shrimp Balls Salad which had mayo in it… a disappointment.

Sorry Khawéja, feeni ékol min doun ma iftas, please? Yaani, what’s up with men and cigars in sushi bars? I mean, don’t we all know that even in Japan they ban that phallicness in their sushi bars? Or as one bartender put it: “Iss confuzing wiz za sticks, eh?” (That’s for you, L ;-))

Overall, the place is worth a try, at least out of curiosity. For reservations: 01-999608 or 70-608999 (cheesy #’s, ma heik?)

I’m comin’, I’m comin’….

July 25, 2010

… and I’m back from my food orgy in NY city. Wow… wow… did I say ‘wow’ already? Whether its the exquisit food, wine, and beer, or the immaculate service, NYC knows its gastronomy and boy do they put on a great show.

My first meal was at Otto!! Everything Italian, this Enotica Pizzeria in New York city is one of my favorite places. I like to sit at the wine bar and have their ‘mezza-like’ dishes.

JA and I thought we’d start of with a pink bubbly, so we had two glasses of Flor Prosecco Rosé  from Veneto. A blush redish-pink color and so refreshing in the summer heat, Flor tastes of citrus, peach and pears.

We moved on to food…

Sformato di Parmigiano – a parmesan flan/pudding that sinfully melts in your mouth. Then Figs “Agrodolce” (a sweet and sour marinated figs – I’ll talk about that in another blog entry) to die for, especially if you have it with Prosciutto. The Roasted Beets & Saba was succulent, the Cucumber, Watermelon & Ricotta Salata – so simple and refreshing – and we had our usual assortment of three cheeses that Denis, the bartender/sommelier, recommended with our wine, which was a 2006 Domenico Clerico Dolcetto Visadi Langhe – a full bodied and very tannic Italian red from Piedmont. The grape -Dolcetto – tasted of dark berries, prunes, licorice, chocolate and was velvety in your mouth. Though it’s summer, this red was pleasant and smooth company to our food.

The Spotted Pig, another one of my faves came next. I just couldn’t get myself to stop eating those Shibumi Oysters! From Washington state, these are medium to small in size and are sweeter and creamier than the ones you get on the East Coast. Washed that down with a Harpoon UFO White, which is a white wheat beer, foggy yellow color, easy to drink and refreshing with an orange and spice palate and made in a micro-brewery in Boston, MA.  Interesting how many micro-breweries are popping up in the US. When M arrived, we had another dozen oysters (can you imagine the state I was in by then?!? :-)). We decided to share their Burger (medium rare akeed) with Roquefort accompanied by their delicious Shoestring Fries seasoned with garlic and rosemary (yaani, á la Deedee).

Next day, K and I went Public!  Usually my dinner hotspot, it was the first time I ‘brunch’ there. Of course, we had a pink bubbly. This time it was Taltarni, a sparkling Rosé from Tasmania, Australia. The color is rosy pink and the palate is dry and spicy but refreshing with peach and berries.  We shared a few dishes: a Salad of Herby Lentils with Pomegranate Molasses (they went a little too heavy on the Pomegranate), Roasted Boudin Noir (blood sausage) a strong flavor with nuttiness, and finally Tea-smoked Salmon with spinach and poached eggs (my favorite of all and went the best with the bubbly).

I was a Double Crown virgin – same owners as Public. We were 3 and shared, naturellement! Started off with Oysters (surprised?) and a glass of Riesling, then moved on to a Gerard Millet Pinot Noir 2008 from Sancerre – a little too light bodied, but went well with the Crisp Pork Belly, Steamed Mussels, and Singapore Style Lobster. I would certainly go back there.

Overall, service was fabulous everywhere. It was an orgasmic experience eating out in NYC…. but then again, isn’t it always?

Could it be? Possibly? Perhaps? Maybe?

June 22, 2010

a decent meal in Leboland? And decent service, too? La’ mish ma’oul!! I almost fainted right there at Le Gray – Beirut, but I decided to spare W and M the embarrassment.

We started off at the Cigar Lounge. Both W & M had a Martini Rosso – which came with an orange slice (garnish!) and I had a Campari Soda. When the waiter arrived, I couldn’t believe my eyes… he brought the Soda on the side, and I didn’t even have to ask him!!! Bravo!! I wanted to give him a standing ovation.

Then we walked over to check out the pool area… WOW! I want to swim in that pool (naked ;-))! I’ll definitely go back to have a drink at the Pool Lounge one afternoon.

We decided to check out Indigo on the Roof restaurant. We saw the menu and immediately decided to stay for dinner. What a wonderful idea that was! The service was impeccable and the food delicious… This gang is actually trained!!

Rosé was the mood at dusk. I ordered the Coeur de Grin 2008, Domaine Ott, but they were out, so we went for the cheaper version, the Moncigale, Côte de Provence 2008. The nose is strawberry and red cherries; the palate I got berries and citrus, W got licorice and Halle Berry!

The bread comes with olive oil… nice. Tangy and citrusy, this oil was very similar to an olive oil from the Hermel that a friend and her husband make. So I ask the server, and it turns out its an organic olive oil from Akkar!!! Zejd. I have to find out where I can get this stuff – will keep you posted.

I’m enjoying my seared scallops (nice big ones, on a bed of mashed potatoes garnished with a few chive straws) listening to the jazz in the background and having a conversa… what? what? I can’t hear you!? I can’t hear anything! It’s an orchestra of braying muezzins. Does R2D2 really have to be this loud???

When the boys quieted down, we got our second course. Turns out we all ordered the Filet, which is aged for 18 days, and melts in your mouth. I had mine with sautéed mushrooms (a combination of portobello, shitake, and Oyster) and the three mustards (grain, English, and dijon); W had his with the grilled veggies and Bernaise sauce; and M took it straight up with mashed potatoes. 

Out of respect for the filet, I asked for a glass of red wine. The sommelier came over to recommend a few. I decided on the Chateau D’Archambeau Grave 2003. I took one whiff of that and told the boys they had to try it. We decided to go for the whole bottle. Tannic, metallic and earthy nose, mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, the palate was velvety with deep dark berries and plum. As it breathed, the body took shape and rested at a comfortable medium to full. Exquisite!

For dessert: we shared the Lemon Tart with a scoop of Mascarponi ice cream… there was something orgasmic about that ending and perfectly refreshing after the meal.


Mabrouk Ammo Gray, you’ve taken Leboland a step further. Cant wait to try the rest of the place (i.e. Bar ThreeSixty).

For reservations: 01-971-111 or email: reservations@legray.com