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NYC blogger brunch extravaganza!

Neil and I are planners. A Virgo and a Taurus suffering from wanderlust need to have at least one vacation planned at all times.  So I have known about last weekend’s trip to New York since nearly before I was blogging. I have certainly known about it since before I met all the wonderful people that food blogging has introduced me to. So it was a wonderful end to my first year of blogging to be able to meet some new friends and reconnect with some I have already had the pleasure of spending some time with.

I first started blogging over on Blogger through a New Media course at Writers.com where I met the elusive and secretive K A B L O O E Y, whom those of you who read my blog regularly will know is a faithful and regular commenter.  We bonded over technical glitches and issues (and sometimes scratched our heads at how demanding and frankly, rude, some of our fellow classmates were towards the awesome teachers, Amanda and Mike).  In any case, we started commenting on each others’ blogs as part of an assignment to encourage our fellow bloggers and we kinda never stopped.  Over the past year we have become friends in that weird online way where you think you totally know the person but can never be quite sure.

I was thrilled when my secretive blogger friend agreed to brunch and excited to meet her husband (aka Phinneas) and her adorable daughter (aka Moochie – yes, they all have aliases on her blog!).  I tried to book a few places but in typical New York style, these restaurants either did not take reservations (and with a 5 year old, we kinda didn’t want to be waiting for ages for a table) or simply wouldn’t take reservations for “such a large group”. I kid you not – apparently 5 people is too large for a few places to accommodate.  I searched around for a while and happened upon the Stanton Social, on the Lower East Side.  Sounded perfect as 1. They would take reservations and 2. They serve small, tapas-style plates which I thought would be great for sharing and great for Moochie.

We started out with some glamorous and interesting beverages:

Left: Black Magic $10 – Guinness and Gaston Chiquet Brut Champagne (Neil’s – interesting. Not as beery as you would think but definitely a one glass kind of drink!)

Right: 1940s Champagne Julep $11 – Brut Cava fino sherry, lemon syrup, fresh mint & caramelized lime (Mine – I loved this even if it was a bit on the sweet side.  Very 1940s looking – made me feel très chic to drink it!)

Mooch was happy with her pink grapefruit juice “with a cherry”:

And the food?  We ordered a number of small plates to share and at the outset, it looks reasonably priced but it can add up, since some of the items are single (mini grilled cheese to share between 5? Errr… don’t think so!) so we ended up adding a few items onto our order making it around $200 plus tip for 5 people and 6 drinks.  So not cheap but I suppose by NYC standards, it was, well, standard…

Top row: Baby Benedict with grilled Canadian bacon & citrus kissed hollandaise  $8, Potato & goat cheese pierogies with caramelized onions & truffle crème fraîche $9, ‘grilled cheese’ with Jasper Hill Farms cheddar, house cured jalapeno bacon, fried green tomato & lemon aioli $7

Bottom row: Kobe beef burger  $7, Social mac & cheese – chorizo & oven-dried tomato $12, French onion soup dumplings $12

Not pictured: Red snapper tacos – creamy avocado & spicy mango $10, Armando’s huevos rancheros soft tacos – scrambled chorizo & eggs, black beans, ‘salsa fresca’ & aged cheddar $12

I think my favourite dish was the pierogies – might have had something to do with the truffled crème fraîche! And I found the French onion soup dumplings fascinating – it was like balls of deep fried soup in cheese. You definitely didn’t want more than one or two of these – very rich!!  The place has a funky vibe about it – there certainly were a lot of very hip people enjoying brunch well into the afternoon – but I loved that they welcomed our 5 year old guest with just as much respect as anyone else.  Not all restaurants are like that.

It was fun trying out all the different dishes and watching Moochie enjoying pretty much every bite – she certainly is an adventurous eater! – but mostly it was fun to meet my first ever blog reader and commenter who is not a family member (!) in person!

After brunch, we headed to a nearby hole in the wall gelato place that K A B L O O E Y had earmarked to bring us to:

Delightful flavours (basil!) and reasonable prices – a “small” scoop – more than enough for most people – was $3.

Mooch polished hers off nearly before her dad had finished paying!

So, was this meeting just like I had expected it to be? It sure was!  Meeting my secretive friend felt like meeting up with an old friend. Which I hope she will become!  You can read K A B L O O E Y ‘S version of our brunch here.

The Stanton Social

99 Stanton Street
New York, NY 10002-1405, United States
(212) 995-0099

Stanton Social on Urbanspoon

Laboratorio del Gelato

95 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002-3112, United States
(212) 343-9922

Il Laboratorio Del Gelato on Urbanspoon

On the Sunday, I had arranged to have brunch with the lovely Andrea who was the first blogger I met at the Foodbuzz Festival last year, and it evolved into a “blogger brunch” involving a couple of friends from New York City – Christine and MaryAnn – and Lauren, who was a fellow Bertolli chef at the Foodbuzz Festival last year and who was in town for her Grandma’s 80th!

On Andrea’s recommendation, we met at Northern Spy Food Co., again on the Lower East Side and just open since November 2009. According to their site, Northern Spy is dedicated to serving and selling the best products sourced from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. They believe that this corner of the United States is filled with outstanding vegetable and fruits, incredible artisan foods,  sustainably produced meat and fish, and more than a few great things to drink. Their mission is to hunt down these delights and bring them to Northern Spy for their customers to enjoy.

Here we all are (except MaryAnn who had to dash off to work!):

Christine, Lauren, me, Andrea.

The interior of the tiny restaurant is quite charming: (Errr… yes this is a sugar bowl. It’s cute. I thought it needed a photo. Lauren totally got it!)

The food…  We only ordered four different dishes between the eight of us, and some sides (biscuits and corn bread – to die for!) and a salad to share.

Top row: Blood orange mimosa ($8), Beer Float ($8) with Keegan Ale’s Mother’s Milk and a vanilla semifreddo, House-made biscuits & jam, $3

Middle row: Griddled cornbread & sweet onion yogurt, $6, Slow-whisked scrambled eggs, $13 – House-made breakfast sausage, potato flatbread, Polenta & eggs, $14 – Two baked eggs, braised mustard greens

Bottom row: Kale salad, $11 – Clothbound cheddar, kohlrabi, almonds, Chicken & egg sandwich, $12 – Crispy thigh, poached egg, chimichurri, Corned-beef hash, $14 – Heritage beef brisket, confit potatoes, poached eggs

The food was all very tasty, very fresh and beautifully presented.  My scrambled eggs was a huge serving and I only ate probably half the eggs.  The potato flatbread was delicious – like chips on bread :-)  Neil and the other guys enjoyed their “brisket” though it was not the shredded meat we were all expecting – more like lardons, but still apparently VERY tasty going by how fast it was devoured by each of them!  LOVED the kale salad and it’s on my list of things to try when I get more kale in our organic delivery box than I know what to do with!  The polenta with mustard greens was delicious (thanks Lauren for the bite!) and again, something I would like to try at home.  Andrea’s chicken and egg sandwich, whilst tasty, had an overly cooked egg and I think it would have been a better dish with a more runny yolk.  I really enjoyed the blood orange mimosa and whilst Andrea and Lauren’s husband’s were brave enough, Neil chose coffee over the beer float which apparently was more like a dessert than a beer.

A great brunch all in all lots of photos and laughs and even a recap of the New York Dolls the previous night from MaryAnn for Neil who didn’t make it out to Brooklyn for the show!  Bonus!  Would definitely go back here for brunch if I lived in NYC – go early, it’s tiny, but definitely worth the wait.

You can read Andrea’s recap here and Lauren’s version here!

Looking forward to seeing Andrea in a few weeks in Toronto where I will get to show off my little neck of the woods and hopefully I will get to see the others sooner rather than later!  Thanks ladies and gents for coming together to celebrate my birthday!!

Northern Spy Food Co.

511 East 12th Street,
New York,NY, United States‎
(212) 228-5100‎

Northern Spy Food Co. on Urbanspoon

Did you check out my latest article for Food Network Canada all about the fabulous cooking workshops at Art Home Paris?

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41 Responses to NYC blogger brunch extravaganza!

  1. bunkycooks May 28, 2010 at 07:28 #

    What a great time in NYC! I love it there and wish I could get to visit more often. The food is so awesome. Isn’t is fun to meet bloggers that you have “met” online? That was one of the best parts of Camp Blogaway! Glad you had a big time for your celebration.

  2. A Canadian Foodie May 28, 2010 at 07:41 #

    What a wonderful post, Mardi. The first part was written with such depth of feeling that I was touched. The second was just a delightful gift to all of you. I have already seen Andrea’s post and knew you had all spent time together. What a wonderful fun time. Food does bring us all together. You gals can now have that foundation to grow from and with and who knows where it will take you? Maybe on a travelling tour or a joint website….
    :)
    Valerie

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 29, 2010 at 06:23 #

      Well nevermind the lofty projects – I am just hapy to have made such great friends through blogging!

  3. Sharlene (Wheels and Lollipops) May 28, 2010 at 07:46 #

    Sounds as though you had a lovely time. Its great to finally put faces to conversations :)

  4. Belinda @zomppa May 28, 2010 at 07:56 #

    How fun! I’ve never been to a Camp Blogaway…it sounds so wonderful to meet everyone in person. You guys are definitely Virgo and Tauruses with those planning skills! Not me…=)

  5. Andrea@High/Low May 28, 2010 at 09:08 #

    I guess I’m a Cancer, but a Taurus at heart since I’m always planning our vacations too! Loved getting together with you and meeting Neil in person too! Can’t wait to see you and meet Conor in Toronto!!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 29, 2010 at 06:21 #

      Thanks for organising Andrea – and I cannot wait to show you some of Toronto that you don’t know!

  6. Cat May 28, 2010 at 09:15 #

    wow, what a fun weekend! so glad you got to meet some of your online bloggers friends – i’d have loved to have been at a table with all of that foodie expertise in one place. and such delicious looking dishes to try. i laughed when i read what you’d written about tapas and the final bill – i always feel the same way – “what? how could we have spent $140? we only had a few small plates . . .” ;)

  7. viviane bauquet farre / food & style May 28, 2010 at 09:32 #

    Wonderful post! It’s great to see everyone together… That’s the spirit of the food blogger community… Will have to try Northern Spy Food Co!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 29, 2010 at 06:20 #

      Yes you will have to try NSF – so delicious! And yes, the food blogging community is really wonderful!

  8. Daydreamer Desserts May 28, 2010 at 09:37 #

    Nothing like a Food Blogger meet-up! :) I love those, and in NYC none the less… the possibilities are endless. Looks like you had a blast Mardi, perhaps you should start planning a trip to California?

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 29, 2010 at 06:20 #

      Oh I am really working on a way to meet you this summer. Even if that is not possible, we will meet soon!!

  9. Jen Laceda May 28, 2010 at 09:48 #

    Hey, what about one in Toronto? There’s you, there’s me, anyone else?

  10. Patrick May 28, 2010 at 12:45 #

    wow this sounds soo cool! there should be a convention or something in NYC with all the food bloggers here!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 29, 2010 at 06:19 #

      Well yes, we’re all a bit upset that there are not food blogging events on the east coast this year… So we make up our own!

  11. penny aka jeroxie May 28, 2010 at 19:38 #

    What a fantastic way to spend time in NYC. totally envious and will want to be there!

  12. The Housewife May 28, 2010 at 20:35 #

    That’s so great to get together and meet other bloggers! Looks like so much fun!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 29, 2010 at 06:16 #

      It really is wonderful to meet with such like minded people and have them bee exactly as you expect them to be!

  13. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction May 28, 2010 at 20:36 #

    Looks like such a fun time! I absolutely love NYC… Have to take a day trip up there again soon.

  14. K a b l o o e y May 28, 2010 at 20:39 #

    What a terrific post! From that first beautiful photograph, to shots that really captured my daughter, to the montage of our dishes, revealing them to be a complete and utter drippy cheesefest (although my favorites were the two non-cheesiest: pierogies (any conveyance for truffled creme fraiche would have made the cut, though) and the fish tacos. Oh, yeah, and the mac and cheese. OK, so I’m a cheesewhore. Forgive the vulgarity, friends of Mardi, would you? I think the Northern Spy get-together was a bit less caloric, but it certainly looked just as fun.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 29, 2010 at 06:16 #

      Errr.. yes – I was not so aware of the high cheese factor of our meal until I was looking at the pictures again! LOL! Thanks for making it over for brunch – so fun to meet you!

  15. Jason Phelps May 28, 2010 at 21:16 #

    Thanks for the big bump for someone who is wondering where all this is going. Cool friendships! I just met a couple people at a winemaking conference last weekend that I am hoping to stay connected to. Having a passion can lead to wonderful things.

    Jason

  16. Chou May 28, 2010 at 21:40 #

    So fun!

  17. 5 Star Foodie May 28, 2010 at 23:23 #

    Such terrific blogger meet-ups! Sounds like a wonderful time! I loved seeing all the pictures!

  18. Simply Life May 29, 2010 at 07:10 #

    wow, so many fun new things to try!

  19. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best May 30, 2010 at 23:56 #

    It was such a pleasure to meet you in person.

  20. Mr. Neil May 31, 2010 at 13:23 #

    I wonder where the New York Dolls went for brunch? :-(

  21. Conor @ HoldtheBeef May 31, 2010 at 18:28 #

    Now you’ve got me even more excited about coming to visit! WOO!

    I really really want to like Guinness, and try some every now and then to see if I’ve magically developed a taste for it. I never have. Still, I’ve never tried it in such a champagny drink, perhaps this is what I need!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 1, 2010 at 21:08 #

      Oh see now Conor there WILL be Guinnessy champagney drinking in the Hammer pants. You just know there will!

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