Friday, April 27, 2012

Ricotta Pancakes and Brioche @ Maialino

Following Piggy KL's advice, I stopped by Maialino for brunch last weekend.  While we ordered an assortment of dishes, there were two stand-outs that I just had to share with you all (in addition to Piggy KL's favorites of course):

Toffee Glazed Brioche
Toffee Glazed Brioche (pic from Serious Eats)
Ricotta Pancakes

Ricotta Pancakes(pic from Serious Eats)
As usual, I was so into the dishes that I didn't remember to take a picture until it was all gone.  Both were unbelieveable, ESPECIALLY the Ricotta Pancakes!  These were so ah-mazing that I really encourage you all to go and give it a try.  The pancakes were perfectly crispy on the outside but melt in your mouth fluffy and soft on the inside.  The flavor was perfectly balances with the ricotta and syrup.  If you haven't made plans to stop by, definitely make that reservation and give these wonderful dishes a try!  I already can't wait to go back next weekend!!

Piggy was Yes (for the pancakes)!

Thanks for reading - Piggy KK

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Pan American

With Piggy KL vacationing in France for the last week, this Piggy KK is trying to cope with the envy loneliness by the usual: emotional eating.  For this go 'round, I stopped by The Pan American in Nolita for cocktails and dinner.

When you walk in, you're greeted with a very colorful, fun, and modern interior.  Take a look!

Loving the feel of the bar area
Dining area is really fun too
I loved the nice red menus - they open up!  Sometimes its the little things that make my meals extra enjoyable.
Love the red menus...
They open up!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Saxon + Parole

I'll admit it - I judge a restaurant by its cover.  If I pass by and it looks totally cute, I'm pretty much interested in trying.  Its not a guarantee that I'll like it, but it does get me in the door.  Walking home from SoHo one day, I passed by Saxon + Parole, sister restaurant to PUBLIC, and immediately put it on my list of "to-try's".

When you walk into Saxon + Parole, it's just as cute on the inside as the outside!  Think shabby chic French chateau meets farmhouse.  There's a decent size bar area in the front which feeds into beautiful dining rooms.

Bar area (pic from
Dining room (pic from
 Dining compadre and I really lucked out with these awesome seats next to the fire candle-place.  Check it out:

Friday, April 20, 2012

While I'm wining away in Burgundy...

Bonjour! I'm currently exploring Burgundy, France, walking around town, soaking up the local sights and drinking some wine.  In the meantime, I'll leave you with these fitting words...

Have a good weekend!

Piggy KL

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Torrisi Italian Specialities

Chicken Parm sandwiches by day, fantastic dinners by night.  While my office is too far way for me to come and give Torrisi Italian Specialities famous Chicken Parm sandwich a try, I was able to snag a reservation for their prix fixe 7-course dinner.

Torrisi's embossed wine menu - the little things still impress me
To give you a little history, Torrisi did not used to take reservations.  If you hoped to dine at Torrisi for dinner, you would go on the day of your choosing at around 5pm and put your name down on a list.  The Maitre d' would then give you an an estimated time to return if you were able to snag a spot for that evening. 

Now, they take reservations up to one month in advance either via their website ( or over the phone - take note, these spots fly fast!  Sadly, I didn't know this until I showed up at their door at 5pm one day in February and was told the next available dinner slot was in March.  Super sad. forward one and a half months and I'm back WITH a reservation this time!

I've made it inside!  Yay!
Our seats at the bar offered a view of the chef's at work!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Brunch: Vin et Fleurs

What a gorgeous weekend we just had!  It just put me in the mood for a nice long brunch followed by some [window] shopping.  I'm pretty sure everyone else had the same plan in mind, so I decided to avoid the crowd at the mainstream brunch places and headed for the path less traveled.

This past Sunday, my eating compadre and I settled on brunch at Vin et Fleurs.  Located in the Soho / South Village area, this little French bistro and wine bar was calling us with their immediate seating availability and bright open space.  I especially loved that the whole front of the restaurant was open to the sidewalk and enjoyed the fresh flowers on each table.

Inside of Vin et Fleurs
They offer a simple, but very well priced brunch menu.  Their regular menu is also available during brunch.  Take a peek:

Friday, April 13, 2012


This post is a sad one for me to write.  I actually loved the food at this restaurant and went back for a second go (within the week no less!), but my experience was soon ruined by the manager himself.  And I can no longer feel positive about a restaurant that treats their customers in this way.  I don't usually feel this strongly against restaurants, so I urge you all to take a look at my post and understand why (I'll start my story from the top, but will put ** next to the meaty parts of my story for those wanting a quick read). 

A Neapolitan pizza place originally located in Williamsburg, Forcella opened an outpost in NoHo on Bowery just last year.  I was mixed after trying the Williamsburg location, but still wanted to stop by the new Bowery location for a taste.  I wasn't disappointed and my eating compadre and I enjoyed our meal at the Bowery location.

Forcella's great store front on Bowery
Big pizza oven
The space was nice on the inside with brick walls and chandeliers.  Loved the variety in terms of seating - tall bar tables up front and more regular tables in the back.  My eating compadre and I choose to sit at the tall bar tables on both occasions.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ramp Toast (by ABC Kitchen)

A few weekends ago I was brunching at ABC Kitchen and had some fabulous toast, and it was green!  We weren't even exactly sure what was on it, or what was green, but it was memorable and intriguing.  My dining friend looked it up and uncovered that the green spread on top was actually Ramp butter.  I didn't even know that existed, nor have I cooked with the green veggie before. 

Walking through the Union Square Greenmarket this week, I stumbled upon a vendor selling bunches of ramps.  Perfect! It was a sign to finally try it.

Ramps! (all nice and clean, after 45 minutes of washing...)

I searched the internet for recipes on how to make the Ramp toast from ABC Kitchen (which Piggy KK wrote a great review for) and found a short how-to video from the restaurant's chef, Dan Kluger.  It was helpful in uncovering the ingredients - ramp butter, pickled ramp bottoms, goat cheese, and sourdough bread.  But unfortunately it didn't really give any details on how to actually make the butter or pickled ramps.  A few rounds of trial and error, and I finally wound up with a somewhat passable replication of it!

My attempt at Toast with Ramp Butter, Goat Cheese & Pickled Ramps

Monday, April 9, 2012

Numero 28 Pizzeria Napoletana

Thursdays...sooo close to the weekend which makes me too lazy to cook!  Ok ok I'll take any excuse to eat out, but I'm always on the look-out for low key dinner spots for Thursdays.

I recently scoped out Numero 28 Pizzeria Napoletana - they have a couple locations in the city including Soho and the West Village.  There's also one a couple blocks away from me in the East Village and it's just the spot for an easy dinner!  They are cash only though so make sure stop by the ATM before heading to Numero 28.

I love the atmosphere inside.  Exposed brick walls lined with simple chandeliers perfectly complement the low hum of lively conversations by your fellow diners.  The brick oven in the back just begs for you to order pizza!  And I loved that the table next to us AND behind us ordered in Italian.  That may not be a guaranteed experience for you should you decide to stop by, but it def made me feel like I was back in Europe!

Inside of Numero 28
Brick oven in the back
To start off our dinner, my dining compadre and I shared the Prosciutto and Fresh Mozzarella.  This was a pretty large portion - look how much came with the order!  The prosciutto was on the thicker side so not really a favorite of mine, but my dining compadre enjoyed it.  The mozzarella tasted great though and paired well with the prosciutto. 

Prosciutto and Fresh Mozzarella

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blue Smoke

There is no shortage of establishments catering to the barbecue-loving New York crowd. Heck, we even have the annual weekend-long Big Apple BBQ where some of the best pitmasters congregate in Madison Square Park and smoke some delicious 'cue. It’s a true meat-lovers paradise! (This year, it's June 9-10. Mark your calendars!)

One of NYC’s local pitmasters, Kenny Callaghan from Blue Smoke, represents every year.  While I love Fette Sau, and Hill Country BBQ is pretty solid too, Blue Smoke ranks as my #1 favorite spot for several reasons: they’re consistent, they take reservations (so no waiting for 1 hour+ for a table!), and aside from the delicious ribs, the sides are a sure hit.

My piggylicious meal at Blue Smoke! YUM
 I’ve been going to Blue Smoke for years and love that every time, the food and service are great. They also have a full bar and whip up some great cocktails, including Mint Juleps! Be sure to make reservations ahead of time on, otherwise you may be in for a long wait!

Mint Julep Cocktails
My favorite appetizer to get is the Chipotle Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dip. The flavor and juiciness to these wings is amazing, you won’t be able to stop!

Chipotle Chicken Wings

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rice to Riches

Just this past weekend, I happened to be in SoHo / Nolita for dinner with a friend (post to come soon on my dinner at The Pan American!) and we decided to stop by Rice to Riches for a little dessert.  Turns out my friend, who also went to NYU with me, had never been to Rice to Riches before although she had heard of it.  So it made me think...have you been before?

I know I know...Rice to Riches is an oldie and has been around for a while now.  But have you been??  Last year, I thought I was the only one who had never tried and so I secretly took the subway to Spring Street and bought myself a rice pudding from Rice to Riches.  After the events of last weekend, there must be more Rice to Riches newbies out there!

While I'm not really a big rice pudding fan, there is something about Rice to Riches that I enjoy. Maybe it's the fun atmosphere.  Maybe it's the fancy containers and spoons that come with your order.  Whatever it is, I keep coming back for more!

Looking bright and totally out of place on Spring St, Rice to Riches just calls your attention - especially if its at night.

As you enter, you'll see entertaining phrases placed all over the walls.  Here are some of my favorites:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


A few months ago, I wrote about my second favorite izakaya spot in Midtown, Donburiya.  Today I'll finally share with you which restaurant takes the #1 place!

Sandwiched among other small restaurants and bars on East 52nd Street, it's really easy to miss Ariyoshi.  You've got to go up a few steps to enter through a wooden side door.  Inside, it's a tiny little place with wood tables, chairs and benches. It looks very unassuming, but the food is amazing and traditional Japanese, and the prices are reasonable.

There is a very loyal lunch following, so on some weekdays you can find yourself waiting 10+ minutes for a table during lunch hour.  In addition to their regular menu, they have a lunch set menu which is pretty popular - you get a lot of food!

It's not as busy at dinner time, but I've noticed that the service is significantly slower and the food takes a lot longer to come out.  There is usually a steady light stream of people throughout the night though, as they are open until very late at night.  You'll probably notice more mugs of beer and sake carafes as the hours tick on.  Try out some of the Japanese snacks and join the fun!

These are a few of my favorite dishes at Ariyoshi:

Tori-Kara Ponzu (Fried chicken with grated radish in ponzu sauce)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Birthday Steak and Creamed Spinach!

It's hubby JL's birthday today! Happy happy Birthday :)

Hubby JL is pretty easy to please - good food, good wine, good bourbon, and he's a happy man.  We have 10 bottles of really really nice red wine that we collected along our trip to Napa Valley last year.  They have stayed safely nestled in our wine fridge, waiting for special occasions to break them open for.  Well, unfortunately there weren't many blockbuster events this year to commemorate, so there they have stayed. 

Hubby's home-cooked birthday meal
I definitely wanted to open a bottle for hubby JL's birthday, and figured a nice, juicy, rib eye steak would make a perfect pairing for the Frank Family Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Frank Family Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Saugignon