Farm to table in upstate New York

The city of New York is home to some of the finest restaurants in the world. But if you want to experience real food that is served directly from the farms, head north within the state to Lake Placid, NY. Located near USA/ Canada border, Lake Placid is nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains and home to several cattle, dairy and maple farms.

Many of the restaurants in Lake Placid incorporate locally produced ingredients in their menu. Visit the Lake Placid Farmers’ Market to get an idea of what’s in season and who’s producing it. Even the chefs and restauranteurs pick up fresh produce daily from the farmers market.

Chef David Hunt at the Generations Restaurant which is adjacent to the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort is a strong believer of serving fresh and local. He pick up gallons of maple syrup from Uihlein and blueberries from local farms to create his signature pancakes for breakfast. Chef Hunt is also known for cooking the best cuts of steaks directly on a Himalayan pink rock salt stone, that is delivered sizzling to your table.

generations lake placid

Cheese plates serving award winning chèvre, feta and soft cheese from Asgaard Farms can be found on menus all over the city. Certified organic fresh vegetables are sourced from Juniper Hill Farm and  Fledgling Crow. Farmers in Lake Placid take great pride in producing good quality food without the use of artificial treatments or pesticides.

asgaard farm lake placid

Another good place to enjoy a delicious light lunch is at KANU located at The Whiteface Lodge.  Typical spa meals are bento-box style and include salads, fruits and grains. Its the perfect ending to any massage or facial at The Whiteface Lodge.

kanu spa lake placid

The fried Brussels sprouts at Liquids and Solids are to die for! The quintessential neighborhood hangout place serves a wide selection of local Ale’s, one of a kind cocktails and international inspired small plates.

liquids & solidePerhaps, the best places to eat in Lake Placid is the Artisan’s restaurant, located inside Lake Placid Lodge. The restaurant’s patio overlooks the lake and makes for a fine romantic sunset dinner. On a chilly night, you can bundle up with complimentary blankets and sit next to the burning fireplace and enjoy great views through the high windows. Here you can sample Chef Nathan Rich’s seasonally inspired dishes where local flavors blend perfectly leaving you wanting for another bite. 

lake placid lodge

 

Secrets of Lake Placid

The Lake Placid I am going to tell you about has nothing to do with the giant, 30-foot-long man-eating crocodile that terrorizes people as depicted in the movies Lake Placid, Lake Placid 2, Lake Placid 3 or Lake Placid: The Final Chapter. This Lake Placid is a beautiful vacation village located in the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York.

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Yummiest goat milk caramels

I’m having a caramel withdrawal. I brought back a box of fresh caramels from Asgaard Farm and Dairy in upstate New York, and am upset that I didn’t buy more! These caramels are hand made with goats’ milk (cajeta) and sea salt. They are soft, chewy and they melt as soon as you put them in your mouth. The only thing I don’t like about the Asgaard Farm caramels is that once you eat one, you cannot stop. Continue reading “Yummiest goat milk caramels”

Canada Day Picnic in New York City

Saturday, June 29 will be an unforgettable day in New York’s Central Park – with a free celebration of Canada’s best entertainment, sport and food. For the first time, Canada Day International, the organizers behind the hugely successful Canada Day London present Canada Day New York, a day-long festival with Canadian music legends Spirit of the West and Joel Plaskett joining award-winning electro-rock sensation LIGHTS on the main stage at Rumsey Playfield.

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Iron chef Morimoto

Yesterday, my friend Michael treated me to an amazing lunch at Morimoto, located at the Chelsea Market in New York City.  It is owned by Masaharu Morimoto, best known as the third Iron Chef on the Japanese TV cooking show Iron Chef, and an Iron Chef on its spinoff, Iron Chef America. Morimoto is known for upscale Japanese fusion cuisine, fresh sushi and a unique presentation style.

The restaurant had a very upbeat and modern atmosphere, with contemporary style decor. I can see it as a happening place in the evenings and late nights. There is a huge bar downstairs with sleek lighting and a wall made entirely of lit bottles. Even the bathroom are worth a visit to. The stalls have a three dimensional affect making you feel like you are outdoors in the midst of autumn.

We ordered non alcoholic beverage – ginger lemonade that came cocktail style. It was quite flavorful, but a little too sweet. A shot of tequila with it would make a perfect evening drink.

Our waiter highly recommended a toro tartar for appetizer. It was carved on a wooden board, served with caviar in a bowl of ice. It came with a variety of condiments (wasabi, soy beans, etc) some of which I could not recognize, but went well together.  The toro simply melted in my mouth.

Michael ordered the roasted black cod bento box. It came with miso soup, mixed greens, tempura and sushi.

I had the buri bop rice bowl. It was an interesting combination of raw yellowtail, steamed rice, raw egg, carrots and  seaweed, served in a hot stone bowl. The waiter mixed all the ingredients and cooked the fish on the side of the hot bowl, topping it with a soy ginger sauce. The table side preperation was unexpected. I liked the delicate flavors of each of the componenets of the dish.

For dessert, we were served a fruity panna cotta that was light and had strong tropical flavors (passion fruit I think). It was delicious! Morimoto has a number of traditional Japanese dishes on its menu, but also remains true to it’s fusion reputation. Along with sushi, rice bowls you will also find buffalo mozzarella, carpaccio and steaks.

Morimoto
88 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 989-9993

Pasta heaven at Babbo

It had been a wish for a long time to eat at Babbo Ristorante Enoteca in New York City. I have read a lot about this Mario Batali’s famous establishment. All famous food writers and restaurant critics have raved about the place over the last decade. Therefore, it seems only natural that I needed to experience it first hand.

My friend and I decided to test our fate one Sunday afternoon when we called Babbo for a dinner reservation. “We are completely booked but have 6 tables for walk-ins” they said. We showed up at the restaurant at 6pm and got a table right away. This was going to be a good night!

After an appertif of the cherry belini, we struggled through the menu. I finally made it here after many attempts and now have to chose what to eat? As luck would have it yet again, there were tasting menus. All we had to decide was if we were going to have the 8-course pasta tasting or the traditional tasting menu. We decided to go with pasta.

The first course was Black Tagliatelle with Peas and Castelmagno.For short, it was squid ink tagliatelle pasta with a sauce of green pea soup and Parmesan cheese. OK, but not my favorite.

The second course was far more interesting and colorful. “Casunzei”with Poppy Seeds aka a silky thin beet ravioli with caramelized leeks in a light olive oil and butter sauce, with sprinkled of poppy seeds. Now, we are talking!

There was Garganelli with “Funghi Trifolati” for the third course. Earthy truffled mushrooms with delicate homemade pasta, sprinkled with goat cheese was a delight to the taste buds.

The third course consisted of “Agnolotti al Pomodo,” a dense beef ravioli with tomato sauce. You could taste the fresh sweetness of the tomatoes against the al dente pasta.

My least favorite was the Spaghettini with Spicy Budding Chives and Lobster. Perhaps by this time I was too full to enjoy anymore pasta or the dish didn’t do anything for me. It was a regular spaghetti marinara with a few pieces of overcooked lobster meat.

The first dessert course (or intermezzo) was a delightful sweet and savory creation that I had not had before. The “Tipo Romano Fritto con Uvette” was a  soft creamy ricotta ball that was deep fried to perfection and served with a hint of sweetness from roasted muscat grapes. If I go back to Babbo, I will definitely order this again.

Next came Chocolate “al Diavolo,” a rich chocolate mousse with red chili flakes. Three words to describe this dish – to die for! The mousse was light, airy and had just the right amount of chocolate that won’t overwhelm you. The chili brought out the flavors even more.

The last course was an Olive Oil Rosemary Cake with Olive Oil Gelato. It was a dense sponge cake against a lucious olive oil and rosemary gelato. I just ate the gelato part of it.

I told you it was going to be my lucky day! We were served another complimentary  dessert – a Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Orange Sauce and Hazelnut Gelato. This was Mario’s version of a chocolate souffle. My friend seemed to have loved this dessert the best of everything we tried. I found the chocolate to be quite heavy (as expected to be) but the gelato was excellent. The orange sauce was a nice addition.

8 courses, 3 hours, 4000 calories and $200 later, I was so full that I couldn’t move. The meal was not only satisfying, it was an experience for all of the senses. Thumbs up for Mario! It is not something I would recommend you eat everyday, but worth a special occasion. We decided we could use the 30 minutes walk from the restaurant (near Washington Square Park) to Times Square and burn off some of that heavenly pasta and dolci.

Bite size art in the city

While walking down the streets in Manhattan yesterday, my eyes were magically drawn towards rows of colorful teeny tiny sugary treats against the backdrop of a stork white store. With the doors wide open inviting me in, I was intrigued and had to look closely at what I was seeing. There were cupcakes, but not just any cupcakes. These very colorful, tiny, piece of art cupcakes!

Melissa Bushell, the founder of Baked by Melissa questioned why should one settle for only one dessert and not have them all? So she ingeniously invented “mini cupcakes” which would satisfy the sweet-lovers appetite for a variety of flavors without packing all those extra calories. (See how tiny it is?)

When you walk into the store, it feels like an art gallery. With 12 flavors to chose from, you actually don’t really have to chose. A dozen of these mini melt-in-your-mouth in one bite cupcakes cost only $10. Or if you are really the decisive kinds, you can get 3 for $3, or 6 cupcakes for $5.50. Whatever you choose – cookies and cream, peanut butter and jelly, red velvet, smores, or tie-dye…you will not be disappointed! The cake is fresh and the icing not too sweet. The entire concoction is just enough for you to be able to enjoy the layers of flavors an d still satisfy your sweet tooth.

The cupcakes are individually suspended in a small white box. You wouldn’t want to carry your precision art any other way.

They have three stores in New York City and ship nationwide. Did I mention you can create your own cupcake at Baked by Melissa‘s web site? There are 10k submissions on the web site to get you inspired.

Celebrity dining in New York City

Visiting New York City has never been the same experience twice. This past December, I went for the filming of The Marriage Ref. While a full day was occupied at NBC studios, I had an agenda for the rest of my time there. As a die-hard foodie, I researched all the celebrity owned restaurants in the city and narrowed down to a few.

The first place I called, Rao’s did not even take my call! Their automated answering system said that they were fully booked and to call back in 2012. After being turned down by Rao’s, I decided to give Mario Batali and Bobby Flay a chance to feed me. Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill was very obliging in giving reservations only a day in advance.

My husband and I arrived at the (address) restaurant at 8pm and were seated only after 5 minutes. The place was bustling with locals and regulars. It had a nice vibrant atmosphere with an open hall, two-story ceilings, dim lights and the right level of noise. There were black and white blown up pictures of Hollywood actresses including, Bobby’s wife. Our check for two people was about $100.

The meal was one to remember. The tuna nachos made with sushi grade ahi-tune melted in my mouth. For my entrée I tried the cornmeal crusted chile relleno, a vegetarian dish. It was a whole chile filled with roasted eggplant and manchego cheese drizzled with a peppery balsamic vinegar sauce that made it look like artwork! The toasted coconut layer cake had the most perfect combination of moist cake, toasted coconut flakes and coconut cream.             

The following day I felt like I died and went to Italian heaven! Only I was at Eataly, a 50,000 Sq. Ft. Italian gourmet market by Mario Batali located at Fifth Avenue. This place had everything I ever wanted in life and I had no reason to leave. From made-to-order Paninis, Gelatos prepared with milk from local dairies, imported fine Italian wines, Illy coffee bar, to a wide selection of fresh produce (pasta, seafood, veggies, cheese, etc.) to take home.  There was even a wine bar and a sit down informal Italian restaurant where one could gather with friends after work to worship food. It was reasonably priced and so not uptight that you will forget you are in New York City. I didn’t make reservations, but sampled a number of items including the fungi Panini, cappuccino, cakes and gelato. Finally, my husband had to drag me out of there…


GO Airlink NYC