Archive for September, 2009

La Riva dei Frati Prosecco di Valdobbiadene

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Lightly sparkling, fresh and with bright acidity, this is a veritable Bellini in a bottle even without the peach!

I first tasted this at a Wine Society tasting in sunny (ok it was a few weeks ago!) Manchester. I immediately placed a bulk order for, erm, quarter of a case.  As the dregs of the third bottle slip smoothly down my throat like a porn star’s underwear down her ample thighs, I now regret my meanness…..

prosecco - don't you love the Italian language?

La Riva dei Frati Prosecco di Valdobbiadene came from the Wine Society at £8.95.

Keens Steakhouse, New York

Thursday, September 24th, 2009
Keen as mustard (available with your steak...for some reason)

Is there anything that could make me feel more at home on my first night in New York, than an old fashioned English Victorian style chop house that has been around since 1885.  However, comparing this to, say, Sam’s Chop House, is a bit like putting The Oxo Tower up against the Empire State Building.

They are both fine examples of art deco architecture but one is dainty and proportioned, whilst the other is just f##king massive.  I am not sure I have seen a restaurant with so many rooms, so many more covers  than the ESB has floors (there are 102 since you ask and 1860 steps if you walk up – I didn’t).  Keen’s is enormous.  And they serve meat portions to match.


Esquive de Franc Maillet 2005

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Signs of ageing are mostly self generated and excepting wrinkles, are usually related to the people you socialise with, the places you go, and the material goods you consume.  I discovered what seems like yonks ago that BBC Radio 2 plays better music than Radio 1.  In fact it plays much the same music as Radio 1 did in the years when I used to listen in to Simon Bates and Noel Edmunds.  I swapped my exciting Toyota sports coupé for a boring Mercedes Saloon about the same time (and yes, the interior was beige).  Two cars later I have accelerated through an automatic gearbox, which took me a while to get used to, into full-on middle age – yes, a diesel automatic.

I like to think I have taken all this in my stride, but today I realised that I have just passed an altogether much more serious milestone.  I have never seen anyone under 50 wear Ralph Lauren but I looked in my wardrobe today and found five shirts by this venerable, if ageing, New York designer.  And what is worse, I actually like wearing them.

Timmy Maillet?  Ohhhhhh Nooooooo!


Grotta Azzurra, Little Italy, corner of Broome and Mulberry

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Far from grotty

Needing more of a brunch than a breakfast, we pulled in for a typical NY Italian, and I was pleased to see Eggs Benedict on the menu.  But it’s not exactly what you get in The Wolseley.  Firstly, New Yorkers need three poached eggs. Then replace the bacon with prosciutto and add fried potatoes and chillies, and enough pepper to bring dusk forwards by an hour and ten minutes.  Not going to win me the Fat Fighters Slimmer of the Year prize, but should keep me filled up until dinner time.

Gordon Benedict!!!!

Right.  Where are those 1860 steps up the Empire State?  I need exercise.

Grotta Azzurra, 177 Mulberry Street aka 387 Broome Street, Little Italy, New York 10013.
T: +1 212 925 8775

La Pizza Fresca, East 20th Street, New York

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Al fresco, Pizza Fresca

Browsing through the comprehensive wine list, I was delighted, and more than a little relieved, to find a section marked Under $75, full of interesting wines.  What is this New York obsession with pricing wine like its skyscraper condos – way out of the reach of the average man?


Postcards from New York

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Just in case you are casing my joint.  Just in case you are licking your lips, not at the food reviews, but at the prospect of raiding my home refrigerator to feed the dog whilst you pack my telly into my car and drive off into the night.  Just in case you were thinking of reneging on a debt whilst I enjoy a short break in the Big Apple, I must inform you that I have been home for a few days now.  I am just slow at writing up the notes.

Oh bollocks, that reminds me I left the lights on!

A few more postcards to come yet.

Wolfgang Puck, American Grille, Borgata Casino, Atlantic City, NJ

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Borgata is the newest and smartest casino in AC and way out of the reach of my meagre finances, so, naturally, I dashed there to see if I could find some decent tiffin. No such thing as cheap. Even the taxi from Caesar’s (tacky) Palace was $15 for a mere 3 minute dash across town.

Tucked away in a wee cranny of this Cathedral to St Cajetan is a restaurant that sounds like an ice hockey match being played to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.  It is one of about a dozen eating places in the casino, ranging in quality from Jack High to Four of a Kind.  We chose this one hoping for something better than soggy chips but cheaper than a Royal Flush. 

Wolfgang Puck Tavern - is that ice hockey on the TV?


Carnegie Deli, 7th Avenue, New York

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Deli belly - Carnegie Deli New York

An authentic NYC deli with authentic (abrupt) NY service, well worth 20% just for the Fawltyness.  Carnegie plays a bit too much on its considerable reputation, the walls being plastered in rarely recognised Very Important Patrons.  It is also expensive.


Yankee Diddle Dandy

Monday, September 14th, 2009

How can New Yorkers afford to attend Yankees matches?

Yee-hah - GO YANKEES!

In addition to watching the game, in true New York style, every opportunity is offered to lighten your wallet. Here is the full shopping list:


Carmine’s Waste Side Story

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Carmine's Waste Side Story

“This is a traditional New York Italian family restaurant” said our Pacific Island looking waiter pointing at a huge canoe full of pasta being delivered to the next table.  A random walk around the pleasant residential areas of the upper west side had allowed us to use the antiquated predecessor to to find an eaterie.