Don’t you love long weekends?? I know I do! And you know what makes them even better? Having your very good friends visit from Toronto and showing them all the wonderful food this city has to offer! Of course, I did show them more than just the amazing food…you must walk when you are with me to ensure you are adequately hungry for your next meal. We took a lovely stroll along The Highline and The Brooklyn Bridge, and Adam and I acted as tour guides through our very own walking tour of Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, and Park Slope.
But let’s be serious here…I was obviously most excited to catch up over brunch, dinner, and everything in between. Starting things off with a raw and vegan dinner at Pure Food and Wine. Probably not what you were expecting but this food wasn’t what I was expecting either. It was so much more than just raw vegetables, nuts, and seeds. And seeing as I was sharing this meal with a special friend…we went all out and ordered LOTS of special food! Favorite of this meal, and a contender for favorite bite of the entire trip, the philly maki rolls.
I know…a raw food appetizer could win for favorite bite of this indulgent weekend of eats? Yes my friends…this place blasts any myths or other bad raw food experiences you may have had in the past. Just one bite of their ice cream will change your mind about raw vegan ice cream forever (if you even knew that existed!). Oh, and all the hype I had heard about the lasagna before going for dinner definitely holds true. The sauces were so flavorful and rich and married so well with the freshness of the raw zucchini and tomato. Definitely a special occasion restaurant and definitely worthy of the splurge!
The next evening we were ready for some cooked food and ventured to the UWS for my first Greek dining experience in this city (Crazy, right??) Enter, Kefi…a surprisingly affordable restaurant among the dining options in the UWS. Well…hopefully Kefi won’t figure out that they could definitely be charging at least double what they do for the quality of their food. Dining with a large group of close friends means lots of sharing…
Second contender for the best bite of the weekend was the most tender octopus accompanied by a chickpea salad that I was trying desperately to use my bread to sop up every last bit of oily goodness.
One flaw…if we’re being picky…my tuna was slightly overcooked. But I can forgive Kefi this one time…I guess I will just have to go back and let them make it up to me! A mere 12 hours later our group was back together for brunch at Cookshop in Chelsea. Perfect fuel for a walk across The Highline (as I learned from my visit only a few weeks prior).
This return visit confirmed this restaurant as my favorite brunch spot. Good food, good service, good atmosphere, and GREAT coffee. With a Jesse Tyler Ferguson spotting, what more could you ask for?? The 5 hour walking tour worked up our appetite for our final meal at Pulino’s, where lots more sharing of food ensued. I had heard some mixed reviews about this Keith Mcnally (of Baltzahar, Morandi, and Pastis fame) Italian restaurant, but it seemed perfect for a large group and was conveniently close to an ice cream shop you may have heard of oh…once or twice here.
I would definitely say this is solid Italian food. They’re not doing anything that will knock your socks off but the pizza was good with a nice thin crust and rich sauce, the crudo was fresh, and the eggplant parm was definitely something I would return for. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meals…a definite crowd pleaser. And it was good enough for one Top Chef judge…my favorite celebrity spotting yet!
There may have also been some hot chocolate consumed, some milk shakes, cereal milk ice cream and compost cookies devoured, and some salty pimps and waffle cone goodness inhaled. I mean…what would life be without dessert shared among very good friends?