Foodie Fridays: Beauty and Essex

I’ve decided to post all the food based posts on Fridays because well, I like the name Foodie Friday :).

In February (yes forever and ever ago) I took an HTML class.  During the class, my biffle, Jen, texted asking if I wanted to do dinner in the city afterwards with my roomie, Russell (all common characters in my blog).  She chose the restaurant, Beauty and Essex.  Beauty and Essex is owned by Chris Santos, one of the Food Network chefs and a frequent Chopped judge–one of my faves!

Let me just say the restaurant was OUTSTANDING and the decor was so cool!  I definitely need to go back there.  The restaurant is actually kind of hard to find.  It’s on the corner of Delancey and Essex but is fronted by a pawn shop.  It looks like it’s in an industrial building and I honestly would have walked right past had Jen and Russell not been standing there waiting for me.

Because we had reservations we were taken in very quickly.  As I said, the front room is an operational (I think) pawn shop.  Then there is a grand foyer that looks like the entrance to a house.  There are apparently many different rooms.  We were in a room right off the bar.  The dishes are all meant to be shared so we went through and picked a plethora of dishes that at least two of the three of us found appealing.

Jen and I started off with drinks that were delicious.  Russell had a beer that he accidentally dropped but still managed to enjoy most of.

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Jen had a drink called Broken Blossoms with bourbon, vermouth and lemon.  I had a Ruby Mojito which had rum, St. Germain, lemon, mint, and raspberry-lemon soda.  Yum!

They then brought us a pre-appetizer:

Cracker with beet puree and creme fraiche

Cracker with beet puree and creme fraiche

The menu tends to follow along a general meal idea so you started with the cold bar, followed by hot appetizers, followed by heavier items followed by dessert.  Here are the amazing dishes we tried:

Cold Appetizers:

Smoked Pepper Crusted Beef Carpaccio-housemade beef marinated in hearts of fire

Smoked Pepper Crusted Beef Carpaccio-housemade beef marinated in hearts of fire

Tuna Poke Wonton Tacos-micro cilantro, wasabi kewpie

Tuna Poke Wonton Tacos-micro cilantro, wasabi kewpie

Hot Appetizers:

Classic Pan Con Tomate with fresh burrata

Classic Pan Con Tomate with fresh burrata

New York Pretzel-shaved NY strip, mustard aioli and crispy shallots

New York Pretzel-shaved NY strip, mustard aioli and crispy shallots

Crispy Eggplant Pizzetta-charred san marzano tomato sauce, whipped ricotta, chile oil

Crispy Eggplant Pizzetta-charred san marzano tomato sauce, whipped ricotta, chile oil

Wild Mushroom Pizzetta-roasted garlic-green peppercorn puree, robiola

Wild Mushroom Pizzetta-roasted garlic-green peppercorn puree, robiola

'Chle Relleno' Empanadas-poblano, manchego, jalapeno-lime crema

‘Chle Relleno’ Empanadas-poblano, manchego, jalapeno-lime crema

Vidalia Onion Ring Tempura-homemade blue cheese dip

Vidalia Onion Ring Tempura-homemade blue cheese dip

“Main Courses”

Oven Braised Chicken Meatballs-sheeps milk ricotta, wild mushrooms, truffle

Oven Braised Chicken Meatballs-sheeps milk ricotta, wild mushrooms, truffle

Beauty and Essex Burger-spicy roasted garlic aioli, beefsteak tomato, goat feta, crispy bbq fries

Beauty and Essex Burger-spicy roasted garlic aioli, beefsteak tomato, goat feta, crispy bbq fries

And desserts:

Molten Chocolate Bread Pudding-hazelnut ice cream

Molten Chocolate Bread Pudding-hazelnut ice cream

Hot Chocolate Affogato-espresso ice cream, dried cherry biscotti

Hot Chocolate Affogato-espresso ice cream, dried cherry biscotti

Peanut Butter and Jelly Creme Brulee-raspberry peanut butter macaron

Peanut Butter and Jelly Creme Brulee-raspberry peanut butter macaron

Black Bottomed Butterscotch -coconut chantilly

Black Bottomed Butterscotch -coconut chantilly

Each of us had our own personal favorites.  I personally LOVED the PBJ creme brulee–PB&J for grownups!!!!

Every piece of the restaurant was well thought out, down to the restroom:

Fancy Bathroom

Yes, there’s a bar in the lady’s room!

Awesome Flower Wall Sculpture

And awesome art throughout the entire restaurant!

I told Jen that I definitely want to go back there for my birthday this summer–I loved the ambiance of this restaurant and also would like to try Chris Santos’ other restaurants as well!

On My Bookshelf: The Promise of Stardust

The_Promise_of_StardustReading is one of my passions-ever since I was a little girl, I always escaped into the world of fiction.  Since it is such an important part of my life and because I started blogging about books, I decided I would bring over my book review from my first blog over a little at a time.

I received this book from Librarything.com’s early reviewers.  Over the years, I’ve actually received some very good books through this.  The only thing you have to do after receiving the book is to post a review on their site and anywhere else you may write reviews.  They require that the reviews be a certain length but don’t look at content necessarily.

The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley is a phenomenal novel, and echoing many of the other reviewers, amazing that this is Ms. Sibley’s first novel.  The novel tells the story of a couple who has known each other their entire lives–families are completely intertwined–who are desperate to have a child. Sadly, Elle, the wife, has an accident and is declared brain dead.  Her husband, a surgeon, then discovers that she is pregnant.  The novel then tells the struggle Matt goes through, against his own mother, Elle’s former boyfriend, and society to keep Elle alive long enough to deliver the baby.

One of things that was interesting to me in this novel was the choice of professions that characters in the novel had and how that played in the choices that they made.  Elle was an astronaut and had created a living will when she went into space (which is where the interplay of her ex-boyfriend comes in-he was the one she had given her living will to), Matt is a neurosurgeon who is unable to save his wife from her brain injury.  Matt’s mother is a neo-natal nurse who is pushing for Elle to be taken off machines because of Elle’s own mother’s struggle with, and ultimate death, from cancer.  His mother was also given a copy of a living will from when Elle’s mother died.

This book was extremely well written, full of twists and multiple times I had to put the book down as I was on the subway and didn’t want to cry!

Swap: Mug O’ Comfort

Super excited to be participating in my first ever swap!  I found this through one of the amazing blogs I read.

The swap is all about coffee, hot chocolate and TEA!  As you all know, I am currently obsessed with tea so this should be a perfect match!  Check out the following link for more information to get involved:

mugocomfortswap

I can’t wait to send a package of all my favorite mug-worthy drinks!!

My Latest Obsession: David’s Tea

I know that I’ve been AWOL lately.  There are a lot of things going on and a lot of things I’m in the process of deciding . . . stay tuned for things to come.

I have been reading more and more amazing blogs and really hope to become a part of the phenomenal blogging community that exists–any current bloggers out there: I would love a mentor as I navigate trying to make this into a consistent part of my life.

David's Tea

I am a lifelong coffee drinker.  I blame my Italian genes!  I remember when I was ten years old or so, my mother saying to my brother (three years younger) and I that if we drank a cup of black coffee that we could start drinking coffee. Oh boy oh boy!  I drank that cup of coffee (it may have taken me an hour) but I drank it!  Sadly it was another couple of years before I was truly allowed to start drinking coffee.

BUT after that, all bets were off.  I was a coffee connoisseur!  Over the years I have drunk lots of coffee from your crappy drip to small roasted brews.  In fact, my favorite small roaster brewery right now is Blue Kangaroo Coffee Roasters in SE Portland, Oregon.  I do drink coffee but mostly because it’s consistent here on the East Coast where I have yet to find amazing coffee.

Over the last few years I’ve realized that caffeine in coffee can be NO fun for me, especially if I drink it after three PM, forget about sleeping that night!  But I do love sipping something at my desk or throughout the day.  So I’ve decided to really embrace tea.  It’s a struggle because as a kid, it was the stuff you drank when you were sick and not many other times.

But tea, as I’m sure many people know, is so varied and not just the packets of earl gray or lipton’s.  About a year ago I was wandering around the West Village when my roommate and I found a place called David’s Tea.  We went in and were floored with the number of different teas.  I had a blast smelling my way through the store.  I ended up leaving with two different teas: Read my Lips, a yummy peppermint chocolate tea and Glitter and Gold, a cinnamon black tea that sparkles.

I was hooked.  A few months ago, they opened up a David’s Tea in my neighborhood of Park Slope Brooklyn.  Since then I’m on a constant quest to discover new teas.  This winter I fell in love with Cookie Dough which surprised me because it’s the first non-black tea I’ve liked.  Then about a month ago I discovered Red Velvet Cake–yum!  Add a bit of milk and some sweetener (or not) and it’s a low-cal dessert in a cup!

I happened to be near there today and decided to stop in for a container of Red Velvet since I’m running out and was devastated that they were out.  But one of the fabulous things about David’s Tea is how knowledgeable the staff is.  They are totally fine with you spending hours sniffing tea and love talking about their teas.  One thing I’ve been always impressed with is how knowledgable they all are about tea and about finding different flavors you may enjoy.  Even though I went in expecting to leave with one thing, I left with many others instead!

I ended up leaving there with a sampler pack called the chocolate box which includes: Red Velvet Cake, Read My Lips, (yes, two oldie but goodie favorites), chocolate rocket, mint chocolate rooibos, chocolate orange and love tea #7.

I love the reusable mini tins!

I love the reusable mini tins!

 

I also picked up 2 oz packets of Salted Caramel, Stormy Night, and Birthday Cake.

I will definitely be in tea heaven for awhile!

I know that David, the owner, wrote his business plan for this company while in college in Canada and then made it come true–super inspirational!  There are stores around Canada, the East Coast, and the Bay Area.  I personally think one should open up in Portland, OR!

In the meantime, I will do my best to do better about posting on a regular basis.