This past weekend, my very good friend Ilana came to visit in Brooklyn. You know what that means…a lot of good eats! But I think this one tops out as the most indulgent yet…after she left I realized I didn’t eat one fruit or vegetable all day Saturday (unless you count one spear of deep fried asparagus and half a roasted tomato!) But let’s back up one minute. Anticipating a fantastic weekend of eats, Adam and I created a delicious and healthy vegetarian meal before our guests arrival. I used this stuffed squash recipe and just substituted soy ground round for the turkey:http://aggieskitchen.com/2009/10/19/stuffed-acorn-squash/
I used a hubbard squash because that looked the best, but really any squash would be delicious. Now onto the weekend eating marathon! First night dinner was at a restaurant I’ve been dying to try in the East Village….Northern Spy Food. After waiting an hour to be seated (which wasn’t so bad as we found a lovely wine bar called Terroir near by that I’d highly recommend), we immediately ordered two appetizers to share for the three of us.
The kale salad was absolutely delicious…one I will soon be trying to recreate. And the gnocchi…we all couldn’t believe how tender and light they were on the inside and crispy and delicious on the outside. We all agreed that next time, we would order these two dishes as our main meal. But don’t get me wrong…the entrees were quite good as well.
Adam and I went with the fish upon high praises from our waitress. That puree it came with was out of this world…like the world’s best hummus and mixed with the sweet peppers…words can’t describe. Ilana’s chicken was super moist and rich and quite the large portion. I say this is one of my new fave restaurants in this food filled city! While we were all pleasantly full, if you’ve been following my blog long enough you know there’s always room for ice cream…especially when it’s big gay ice cream!
The classic salty pimp did not disappoint and Ilana was also in heaven. It’s a really good thing I live a subway ride away from this place! The next morning, we had plans to meet some friends for brunch in Park Slope. The location…Stone Park Cafe. An American restaurant with southern twists…and it was the southern part of the menu that I was drawn to.
It was my first “shrimp and grits” experience and I can tell you…these were good enough that it will not be my last. Such a comforting breakfast with the creamy grits, melted cheese, and gooey yolk. This brunch held us over throughout a lot off walking! But come 3:30 and we were craving some sort of snack. I had wanted to take Ilana to the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene and what perfect timing!
The last time Adam and I were at the Flea, this fried dough stand was sold out. This time, we were in luck! Dough makes AMAZING doughnuts in very interesting flavors like passion fruit with cocoa nibs and dulce de leche…and it was this flavor that we were after. Sadly, they were all sold out but our two doughnut choices were still good. We went with the classic glazed doughnut and cafe au lait. And being the nice wife I am, I brought home a blood orange doughnut to Adam (one of his favorite fruits).
Now I can’t remember the last time I had a doughnut, but I still know a good one when I have one and these were some of the best. They were so fresh and the flavor really came through and they melted in our mouth upon first bite. After more walking and some gossip girl watching, we were ready for our next eating experience. I normally really research every restaurant I go to and especially when I have visitors…I want to give them the best food experience possible. But this dinner was kind of on the whim. We really didn’t know what we felt like but I stumbled upon Barbone, an Italian restaurant in the East Village, while reading my Zagat. The reviews were good, we were in the mood for Italian, and our friends we were meeting were in as well. This cozy restaurant was a fantastic new find! Very reasonably priced, delicious homemade Italian food…I highly recommend it. We shared three appetizers to start:
That pesto ricotta mixture was out of this world! The asparagus really wasn’t anything special, but it did help to give me one vegetable that day! The calamari with breadcrumbs and lemon was so different than any other calamari I’ve had before and I would definitely go for it again! The pastas on the menu sounded amazing so we all went with one of the handmade pastas.
Both were just solid and flavorful pastas. A great new find! You would think this is where the eating weekend ended…but we still had one last morning together which meant one last brunch. Ilana could not stop talking about the 9 dollar orange juice at Norma’s, so this is where we shared our last meal together. Norma’s is located in the Parker Meridien hotel and is definitely more of an upscale brunch (if you couldn’t tell by the 9 dollar glass of orange juice…though it is fresh squeezed and refilable). The menu at Norma’s is over the top with ginormous portions…there wasn’t one person finishing their meal! We were both surprisingly still full from the day before (I know that’s hard to believe) but still managed to put a good dent in our huge frittatas! For some reason, my camera seems to have lost the picture but let me tell you…these were huge frittata’s topped with shrimp, roasted tomatoes, and spinach. It was very good but was it worth the price tag and 7 dollar coffee? Not sure. Ilana definitely enjoyed her orange juice and the table next to us had pancakes and waffles that looked incredible. So maybe I’d come back for a special occasion one day.
I had such a fantastic weekend with Ilana and am still semi-full!! Can’t wait for her next visit! Now it’s time to go and eat a salad and fresh fruit!