Sunday, January 13, 2013

First Dining Blog

As I mentioned in the first post I've ever made, I said that this is a blog dedicated to everything related to food and dining. Since the last 4 post were all the foods I've made, I've decided to write a blog about dining. On this particular day, I came back home stuffed to a point of a "food coma". ("Food Coma" - the feeling that you cannot talk to anyone and trying to discreetly digest the food that you've so much enjoyed slowly) I will describe this exciting day only mentioning the restaurants with photos to accompany them.

Beginning with lunch, my friend (who's name shall not be mentioned) and I went to a place called Caracas Arepas Bar on E 7th street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A. The space is really small like a typical Manhattan 1 1/2 room apartment, but the decor makes up for it. The surrounding environment is comfortable and rustic as well. We went at the right time where we got bar seats (it is actually a good place to sit in; I'll let you know what happened). The photos were taken in poor lighting. I want to apologize in advance.

We order the following from the menu:
Sidekicks (Appetizer) Croquetas
Arepas - La de Pernil, La Surena (2), Leek Jardinera

Croquetas (We didn't take the picture because it was half eaten and we were hungry!)
These small fried potato cakes had a nice flavor, but there was a flavor that wasn't really pleasant. We couldn't but notice that the oil that they used to fry our Croquetas was old. I hope they changed it after our order. All in all its worth trying, maybe you wouldn't have the old oil like we did. Beside who doesn't like mashed potato formed in the balls and then deep fried with a thin crust. Reminds me so much of french fries but bigger.

La Surena (also didn't take the picture; We were too hungry)
This is my favorite! It has big flavor and a kick that makes it really delicious. At the end, there was large puddle of gorgeous flavor that was use to moisten the crusty corn flour buns.

La De Pernil
This was a mild flavored Arepas, it was also a bit spicy which made it very delicious but not as good as the La Surena. There wasn't juice that spilled out of it, but all in all, its worth a try.

Leek Jardinera
A vegeterian sandwich with a very mild flavor. The leek flavor was muted by the sun-dried tomatoes, but with company of the soft white cheese, the sandwich is pleasant. Not one of my favorites, but it is my friend's favorite.


The link to the menu is here, but you have to click on the Dine In Menu.

Now the good part about sitting at the bar, during our lunch, we watch the bartender mix drinks for the other customers and we mentioned that those drinks looked good. Little did we know, the bartender made more of one drink and gave us a sample of one banana milk shake with a touch a cinnamon. It was slightly sweet and the banana was fresh, but the cinnamon was what made it over the top. I think we just love cinnamon, which is good since it has a lot of good antioxidants.

After that somewhat large lunch, we went out for a walk and a few hours later we went to Eataly, which is E 23st between 5th and 6th Avenue. This place is always packed but the wait time for a table was only 20 minutes. The actual wait time for us was about 10 minutes. The service was excellent, except for the part where we didn't get bread and oil.

We had:
Papperdelle con Panchetta e Funghi
Tagliatelle al Ragu di Manzo
and 2 glasses of Barolo 2007

Both pasta were very hearty and filling. Paired with a good quality wine; the flavors were magnificent. The wine was surprisingly dry for a red, while still having the acidity, which gave it a well rounded body. My friend surely enjoyed it.

Tagliatelle had pieces of short ribs which made the dish hearty and very filling. The pieces of short ribs were about the same thickness, but not the same length, so the dish seems cohesive.

Papperdelle reminds me very much of Chinese Ho Fun, which is the same shape but its made with rice flour. The flavors were meaty as well because of all the Wild Mushrooms (Oyster mushrooms, Cremini mushrooms, and one more that I couldn't pinpoint). This pasta was good overall, but when it started to get cold, the sheets of pasta started to stick, so either eat fast or keep the pasta moving.

The menu for Eataly is here.

This whole day was enjoyable and I would go back to the two restaurants again and again for the foreseeable future. I will post more dining experience my friend and I have and review about. I also incorporate some of my friend's criticisms so you'd get more point of view toward one restaurant.

Let me know your favorite NYC restaurant and maybe we'll try it out. Til next time, I hope you give the two restaurants a try.