I love NYC for many reasons, among them because you do not need to go to a vegetarian restaurant to find plenty of vegetarian, healthy alternatives to eat. I mentioned this a bit in a previous post of my last visit to NYC.
I went to NYC to spend the weekend with my friend AnnieMariel. We wanted to do something exciting so we hopped on a plane to visit “the city that never sleeps”. AnnieMariel is an almost vegetarian and loves good food just like me… so here’s our recount of where we ate deliciously in NYC last weekend…
I have read about this place on the internet and then saw the chef, Jim Lahey, the guy behind the no-knead bread, make their Popeye Pizza on the Martha Stewart show recently. I was staying in the Chelsea area so we had to go and try it.
As an appetizer, we had the Winter Salad with butter lettuce, roasted butternut squash and roasted pumpkin seeds. I always like to have a salad when eating pizzas so I feel I am not being that bad.
As main course, we shared the Margherita and the Popeye… both awesome!! They both have enough sauce and enough cheese to match the thin crust. The crust is whole-grain, thin but with some chewiness. It comes with a few sections burned, but it tastes very authentic.
The restaurant is super cool… with these communal tables where people seat next to you – great when traveling and in the mood to meet new people. We met the sommelier at Per Se restaurant and saw Andrew Knowlton from Bon Appétit magazine – super cute in person, by the way. Our server, who happened to be Puerto Rican, told us Martha Stewart always seats in the seat next to me every time she has visited Co.
I mentioned we met the sommelier at Per Se, so he invited us to Bar Jamón after a night of music at the Fleetwood Mac concert. (Thanks Chris for the wonderful tickets…) Bar Jamón is the Spanish tapas place by Mario Batali. It’s a super small place, but great for a late night snack with friends. It’s very dark so that’s why I do not have any pictures of what we had…
We had Pan con Tomate and a selection of cheeses with their condiments – Garrotxa with Tomato Jam, Valdeon with Figs, and La Serena with Oranges. That was enough for a late night snack, but I wanted to try out a few other options – like their Coach Farm cheese-filled Piquillo peppers, Beets with Valdeon cheese and their Cauliflower with Salsa Verde.
LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN
AnnieMariel recommended this place for breakfast. We did not know this is actually a chain, because it sure does not feel like one. We had the Cut-Steel Oatmeal made with organic milk, fresh fruit salad and the Five-Grain Tartines with organic butter, their Red Fruit Jam and Brunette Spread. This Brunette Spread is a nut butter made of pralines - loved it!!!
We wanted to buy the oatmeal, but out of everything we had for breakfast, that’s the only thing they do not sell separately to make at home. What a shame… but I will definitely come back and look for every time I travel.
We went to Allegretti by invitation of a very good friend and our host for the weekend, Chris. He’s relatively new to the city, moving there from Philly. So far, this is one of his favorite restaurants and knowing the passion AnnieMariel and I have for anything French, he invited us here. Allegretti is a Provencal restaurant, just like its chef/owner Alain Allegretti.
The menu is not very inviting to vegetarians at first look, but after mentioning I was vegetarian, they immediately offered suggestions. I had the Casolette of Provencal Vegetables with black truffles, extra virgin olive oil and maldon sea salt. I had it with a side of the Olive-oil crushed potatoes. The combination was awesome, super delicious.
And just like in the clip in this link, Alain, the chef/owner came over to talk to us and many of his other guests that night. We had a chance to speak to him in French and some Italian too. He was very gracious when we congratulated him on the meal. And he’s very easy on the eyes too… I must say.
Le Bernadin is one of the premier fine-dining restaurants in NYC. It’s famous for its seafood menu and celebrity chef, Eric Ripert. We wanted to dine at Per Se because we were told by our new friend James the sommelier that it has a true vegetarian tasting menu, but unfortunately, we were not able to get a table, even with our newfound connections…
Le Bernadin, just like a lot of these expensive, fancy restaurants has either a Tasting Menu or a Prix Fixe Menu, the latter being that you pay a fixed price to choose from a selection of dishes in four different courses. I loved the fact they have a vegetarian option in each of the courses. We requested a French-speaking server, and we got to order in French, but we would have rather had a French-native as a server.
Again, I do not have pictures because the restaurant lighting was dim. The place is so fancy, I did not felt comfortable shooting pictures with flash, plus they never come out pretty.
From the Almost Raw section I had the Mesclun Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette. From the Almost Cooked section I had the Cauliflower “Couscous” with a Warm Salad of Seasonal Vegetables and Argon Oil Vinaigrette. And from the Upon Request section I had the Buffalo Mozzarella Pasta with Wild Mushroom consommé and Parmesan Emulsion. They were like little purses of cheese with a great mushroom broth. I really wanted some more… For dessert, I had the blood orange sorbet and a mint tea leaves au naturel infusion. They brought it in a French press so you can see it’s really only mint leaves in hot water. Their raw sugar was awesome.
Even though I prefer to eat in vegetarian places, it’s also nice to know that chefs and restaurants in a city like NYC are open enough to recognize that vegetarians are legitimate customers and they should be accommodated as much as our meat-eating counterparts.
This was certainly a very exciting and delicious weekend… we’ll see where we end up flying and eating next.