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.
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
95 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002-3112, United States
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.
Christine, Lauren, me, Andrea.
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.
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
Did you check out my latest article for Food Network Canada all about the fabulous cooking workshops at Art Home Paris?