All in a Week’s Waistline

People often ask me if Brad and I eat out a lot – I suppose that depends on what you consider to be a lot. Most of the time we cook and eat 3 meals a day at home. And although we occasionally go out to breakfast or head out in search of a good sandwich for lunch, we try to avoid the convenience of mediocre neighborhood take-out food and save our restaurant wad for a once weekly dinner out.

Last week, however, all hell broke loose. I was feeling healthy and rested after my return from Utah, having spent 5 days active in nature and eating simple, satisfying foods. One week later, I was juggling my schedule to squeeze in extra morning workouts and questioning which of the dresses in my closet might fit for the wedding I attended this past weekend.

I don’t usually write about restaurants – I assume they’re of little interest to those of you outside of NYC, and I don’t usually feel comfortable taking photos (hence the crappy iPhone photo below) while dining in them. But perhaps my gluttonous appetite will impress, or appall, you. Here are some highlights from a delicious and decadent week of excess.

Cheese course: A Roasted Fig Tart with Roomano Pradera paired with Victory Helios Saison

Date night at Franny’s
Franny’s has been a long standing favorite Brooklyn restaurant of mine and last week Brad and I celebrated my return with a meal there. A plate of their salumi (which you can also find at their cheese and provisions shop, The Brooklyn Larder) is a heavenly celebration of cured meats. Seasonal antipasti are always inspired – this time we enjoyed Wood-Roasted Pole Beans with Shallots, Colatura (anchovy sauce) and Chilies, and for me, their clam pizza is non-negotiable. Simply topped with red chili, parsley and olive oil, I never go there without insisting we order one. Their list of Italian wines never disappoints and I will note that this time I passed on dessert for a flight of amari – Franny’s has an impressive selection of the bitter digestivo that I love so much.

Brunch at Mile End
Brad and I have been riding our bikes past this place for ages, always saying, “we’ve really got to go there”. When we finally had a chance to visit for a brunch date with our lovely friend Kate Joyce, I found myself wishing this incredible spot was in my neighborhood. Although maybe it’s better it isn’t, as I’d be visiting their takeout window all too often. Described as a “Montreal Jewish Delicatessen in Brooklyn”, that day’s special was an eggs benedict with duck pastrami. I enjoyed lattkes and smoked salmon and some insane brisket from Brad’s smoked meat hash. We washed everything down with some strong Stumptown coffee and I’m sure I used at least a handful of those calories on our 5 minute bike ride home.

Victory Beer Dinner at Colicchio & Sons
How to even begin to describe the delicious insanity that was this dinner… A few weeks back I purchased tickets for Brad and I to attend this event – we’re big fans of the Victory Brewing Company and I’ll get behind anything from the folks at Craft (especially a ‘wichcraft sandwich). We enjoyed a 5 course dinner in the Colicchio & Sons private dinning room, during which Brad and I happened to be seated across from Victory brewmaster Bill. Each menu item was inspired to be paired with a Victory beer – including some amazing seasonal specialties that you’re not likely to find far from the brewery.

While I might be tempted to name the Nieman Ranch beef sirloin with bone marrow and oxtail marmalade – or the milk chocolate ganache in a pretzel tart shell topped with a peanut butter mouse and served with a banana sorbet as my favorites (are you drooling yet?) – it was really a night about pairs. A beautiful piece of swordfish served with whipped yukon gold potatoes, fairytale eggplant, and a lemony herb puree brought all the nuanced flavors of the Victory Braumeister Pils to life in a way that left we wanting more for days to come.

Power Lunch at La Esquina

Brad and I have two clients in Soho right now, and we never leave a meeting in that neighborhood without making a taco stop at La Esquina (even if the previous night included the extravagant meal mentioned above). I favor the Cochinita Pibil (which inspired these tacos) – pulled pork, shredded cabbage, pickled onions and jalapeno. Brad’s favorite has long been the Pescado – grilled skewered market fish, shredded cabbage, red onions and salsa verde. We’ll both have one of each of these while we reflect on the afternoon’s events and sip on some ice cold horchata at the counter of the taqueria.

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Now I’m looking forward at the coming week after the all day eating affair that was yesterday’s Annual Bradley Farm Festival. Hot dogs, chili, clam chowder, grilled pork shoulder, turkey, and duck were all consumed in a day along with our friend Kurt’s incredible home brewed beers and a bit of banana cream pie. I’m thinking there ought to be some salads in my meal plans. But then again, what fun would that be?

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