July 16, 2011

World Tour: Europe

Brunch at Marseilles [a less exciting {and shorter version} of Midnight in Paris]

Love, love, loved Midnight in Paris. If there was a ever a feel good movie that made you all warm and fuzzy inside - this would have to be the movie of choice. Although I've never been a big fan of Owen Wilson, Mr. Allen wrote the perfect role where Wilson could exhibit his usual wide-eyed confused look with ease.

Ironically, we also had brunch only the day before in nearby Hells Kitchen locale called Marseilles. I have no idea how closely the restaurant resembles an authentic Parisian eatery but who knows how accurately Midnight in Paris actually reflected reality as well?

[Toast, Muffins with fixings, Coffee] An adorable complimentary platter of pumpkin flavored mini-muffins, raisin bread and rye bread served with a very small side of jam and very big heap of butter. 
[Poached Eggs and Ratatouille, Scrambled Eggs] Now I finally know what ratatouille is. You would think that after watching the movie countless times on HBO, I would have figured it out by now. They really weren't kidding when they say its literally just a bunch of vegetables in a bowl. Why is it that the moment you make a dish French, it automatically sounds fancier? 

[Banana French Toast, Applewood Bacon] Cooking with bananas is like trying to find good sushi in a land -locked city, very hit or miss.  I know of people who absolutely hate the pungent and recognizable smell of over-ripe bananas but then they love the taste of banana bread. I like a mildly ripe banana once in a while but never in a dish as heavy as banana pudding. But that's just me.

Manzo at Eataly [Eataly is Italy! Thanks Mr. Batali] 

Yup, that man is an Iron Chef for a reason. Amazing olive oil, amazing pasta and of course as Italian as you could possibly get.  Dubbed the start of a new wave of high-end European food markets, Eataly is the classy New York version of Reading Terminal Market and somewhat akin to Chelsea Market although much much much more Italian.

[Bread, EVOO, Crispy Zucchini Flower] Talk about Italian. My friend who spent a summer in Italy last summer instantly recognized the Zucchini Flower on the menu. I personally don't understand the appeal besides the fact that something battered and fried is obviously going to taste good. The anchovies on the bottom were a nice accompaniment, not too fishy and appropriately salty. The olive oil was also divine - it has got to be one of the fruttiest and purest tasting olive oils I have ever sampled.
[Lamb Loin, Pork Sausage with Broccoli Rabe and Pork Belly]. Delicious pork belly that was cooked and seasoned very nicely.  The sausage was good too but not life-changing. Can sausage be life-changing? I always viewed sausage as a comfort food that will taste good regardless of if you are buying it from a street vendor or ordering it in a five-star restaurant. Always comforting but never life-changing.
[Orchiette with garlic scrape pesto, Tortteloni with braised beef and mushroom butter] Pasta on the other hand can very life-changing. This was one of those dishes were you every bite was just a burst of pure happiness. 

The Green Table at the Chelsea Market 

Another trend, farm-to-table cuisine, is making a big splash all over the city and naturally we had to get in on the fun. Everything at The Green Table from the wooden park tables to the fresh flowers decorating the wooden park tables reflected the theme of the cuisine.

The best aspects of the menu and the restaurant itself were appropriately the simplest: filtered water in green bottles, candied figs and big cups of organic coffee. Of course, me acting like the usual impatient person I am rushed off and bought a cappuccino while we were waiting for a table and missed out on the life-changing coffee. Yup, a lot of life-changing food in the past two weeks.

[Flowers, Water ]

[Candied Figs, Butter, Syrup, Milk]
[Bah Minh Sandwich with Duck Pate] Naturally as soon as I saw the word duck, I was sold. Tasty sandwich but nothing spectacular. There's a place in Chinatown I read about from NY Mag recommended by Ann Bushnell which has $3.75 Bah Minh sandwiches. NOM.

[Chicken Pot Pie] If you are going to eat chicken, then it should be fried. If you are going to eat peas, then it shouldn't be with carrots (seriously, its not a good combination!). If you're going to have some pastry dough, then let it be an actual pastry.  I am sure if I actually gave chicken pot pies a real chance, I would fall in love with it like everything else but for now, I'm just going to keep being stubborn.
[French Toast]  The way french toast should be: a modest slice, perfectly golden with some really good maple syrup. 
I can't believe it is the half-way point already. Speaking of which, I think the one year anniversary of my blog is coming up! ...unless its passed already. haha, I'll have to go back to my first blog post and see. Anyways, I got one more big post to put up on Korean eats and then I'll see if I can think of or find something special to do for the 1 year anniversary post. :)

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