The #domesticphd does NYC: Gastronomic Highlights

We certainly kept up with our indulgent eating habits by clocking an average of 20km on the pedometer each day! Here is a spectacular view of the city during a morning stroll through Central Park. 

We certainly kept up with our indulgent eating habits by clocking an average of 20km on the pedometer each day! Here is a spectacular view of the city during a morning stroll through Central Park. 

Spotted: The #domesticphd taking in the sights (and tastes) of New York City. My love of Gossip Girl and Sex and the City had created a strong yearning to visit 'the city that never sleeps'.  Not surprisingly then, upon arrival, everything felt oddly familiar. I felt like I belonged casually sitting on the steps of the Met, drinking fancy cocktails in a trendy downtown bar, and strolling through Central Park. The energy of the city is electric and while the sights are amazing, the food was even better! Read on for a little run down of the places we ate and drank on our four-day getaway!

Fun Fact: Ever wonder why NYC pizza tastes unlike any other pizza? The water! Apparently the high mineral content of NYC water leads to the unique dough taste- in fact, pizza chefs around the world have been known to import NYC water to lend to the authenticity of their own pies! We learned this while on the Greenwich Village Food Tour. This three hour, 8 stop tour of Greenwich Village was amazing- from cheese to olive oil, hand-filled cannoli, pasta, pizza, the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten and risotto with quail eggs- the tour was both delicious and informative. Greenwich village is famous for its' 'mom and pop' style shops serving specialty, high quality ingredients. My favourite stop was a restaurant called Home- a farm to table style restaurant who sources each of it's ingredients from the local shops, bread from one, meats from another etc. 

Mushroom and wild rice risotto topped with a quail egg and truffle oil from Home Restaurant

Mushroom and wild rice risotto topped with a quail egg and truffle oil from Home Restaurant

Enjoying Pizza from Joe's- a Greenwich Village institution since 1975! 

Enjoying Pizza from Joe's- a Greenwich Village institution since 1975! 

Other highlights from the food tour include the Milk and Cookies Bakery. I kid you not, the place literally smelled like a combination of sweet milk and fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies! While I don't have a picture of the cookie (because I actually inhaled it!), I did buy the bakebook, so stay tuned for recipes on the blog later.

While finding out about all of these amazing restaurants would not have been possible without the tour, it also provided another (unadvertised!) benefit: later discounts at many of the restaurants. We took advantage of this on our last night in the city and made a reservation at Ristorante Rafele, where the head chef Raffaele Ronca, is a recent 'Chopped' champion! We enjoyed a 5-course fixed price dinner (upon briefly perusing the menu- this was definitely the cost-saving option!) which included an antipasta course, pork and beef meatballs in the most delicious tomato sauce I have ever had (the tomatoes actually tasted like sunshine), two homemade pastas, stone-oven baked chicken and an unexpected cauliflower side (see recipe below- cauliflower like you've never tasted it before!- Cavolfiore Palma). After our meal, Raffaele himself stopped by our table to make sure that we had enjoyed our meal!   

As for places to drink, the Nomad Hotel tops them all! The cocktails were the most beautiful I have ever consumed and while we were definitely out of our league (in bank balance and designer labels), a few drinks was a sure cure! The bar is prohibition speakeasy in style with mahogany bars in a network of various small rooms. We sat right at the bar and had the best night ordering the exotic drinks, watching the bartenders effortless mix and shake drinks in an art-form manner and eavesdropping on the hotel's otherwise luxury clientele! It was all very 'upper east-side' Gossip Girl and I have never felt more cool! 

One of the bars at the Nomad Hotel. I wish I had taken more pictures including ones of our drinks (one of mine literally had an entire head of mint in it to simulate a palm tree!), but when you're having fun...

One of the bars at the Nomad Hotel. I wish I had taken more pictures including ones of our drinks (one of mine literally had an entire head of mint in it to simulate a palm tree!), but when you're having fun...

After 4 days of non-stop sight-seeing and eating, I am happy to be home (in a significantly less busy, if you can believe it, Toronto), but I can't wait to visit NYC again. Despite our vigorous vacation pace, we really only scratched the surface on everything there is to see and do! Our getaway inspired me, like travelling always does to try some new cooking and recipes. At the top of the list is definitely cookies from my new bakebook, but also homemade pasta- stay tuned for these adventures! 

xo Kath 

Cavolfiore Palma

(From Chef Raffaele Ronca) 

1 small spanish onion

1 head cauliflower, broken into tiny pieces (no stems)

1oz pine nuts

1oz black currants

Pinch of salt and pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp toasted bread crumbs

  1. Preheat the oven to 380 degrees F. 
  2. Put 1 tbsp of oil in skillet over medium heat and add onion, cooking until caramelized. Set aside. 
  3. Spread pine nuts evenly on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 3 minutes (keep an eye on them as they will burn very quickly!). 
  4. Add cauliflower to skillet with caramelized onions, stirring continuously. Add currants, pine nuts, salt and pepper. 
  5. Once cauliflower florets start to brown, add remainder of oil until nice and crispy. Put in a serving bowl and top with toasted bread crumbs. Serves 4-6.