New York: A Tale of Two Dinners

2007 heralded in the brightest in vegan and vegetarian cuisine. And then 2008 rolled around. All of a sudden welcome back poultry, meat, succulent porcine by-products.

It was the worst of times. The David Burke at Bloomingdales menu offered too many enticing choices. What is a girl to do on a cold New York evening? Perhaps the chilli taster might chase the chill outside. Imagine a black baby dutch oven with two chilis vying for first place. Chicken and mushroom chilli on the left hand side with traditional beef and kidney bean chilli on the right, separated by a trench of sour cream and cheddar cheese. Let’s talk about the texture of the ground beef. I seriously almost stopped chewing because I thought it might be veal. The chuck was ground so fine that it passed over my tongue easily. Instead of the spicy chilli Texas tastebuds have become acquainted with, his tasted more like a fine Italian ragu- just with kidney beans. The chicken mushroom was incredible too, but I was hooked on the beef chilli. The secret I learned is the grassfed beef of local New York ranch Cherry Creek Farms. Admittedly, this is on my list of favorite repeat visits when in town. Glad to have shared it with Kim.

It was the best of times. A week after a restaurant opening can be dicey. Will it be hard to get a reservation? Will all the quirks of the kitchen be resolved into seamless service front-of-house? Local friend and foodie W. suggested dining at Broadway East. Amazingly earlier on Monday, a vegan food writer soulmate of mine stopped by the restaurant show and said Broadway East is on her short list. I knew I was in good hands at this point. W. and I decided to order multiple dishes to split. The meal started with amazing olives with rosemary. The market salad featured winter lettuces from Satur Farms with slices of kabocha squash and pepitas. Additionally, we tried the pate de champignon with crostini. The richness of the mushrooms combined with the other ingredients gave the pate a very authentic albeit vegan sensibility. Entrees included sliced portobello mushrooms with tomato preserves and polenta for W and a spiced chickpea squash b-steeya. Instead of the flaky phyllo dough typical of b-steeya, this one featured a thin crispy wafer resembling a black and white- half powdered sugar, half cinnamon. The heartiness of the savory stuffing paired well with the sweet and spiced notes of the wafer. W. and I thoroughly savored her mushroom dish, relishing the crunchy crust coating the portobello slices and resembled panko. Though full, we couldn’t pass up trying the chai-spice bread pudding with housemade sour cream ice cream or a mini scoop of the Riesling sorbet. Delish. Oh this uber-chic and scrumptious restaurant will stay at the top of my list for quite some time… even their businesscard included golden beet seeds.

Both yin-yang of these restaurants were a perfect way to cap off a great and furious tour of New York. Other notables included talking to Thomas Keller at the restaurant show and a ravishing experience at Bobby Flay’s “Mesa Grill”- the pulled duck crepes were incredibly seasoned and spiced with an unexpected and delectable texture!


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