National Lobster Day

America always finds a great excuse to celebrate. While everything starts turning into the colors of the US flag, each day has its national celebration.The East Coast has some local specialties, and the lobster from Maine is one of them. It is a lot easier and cheaper than in France to eat lobster. Order it, they cook it, prepare it, just eat it! One of the local think that actually just hit Paris is the lobster roll. What is it? Lot of lobster meat served hot with melted butter or cold with mayo on a roll (yes the same bread than the one for hot dogs…).

Last Saturday was National Lobster Day and what a better place than the Hamptons to enjoy this day? Montauk is the eastern village on Long Island and we stopped by St Peter’s Catch, a seafod market that has outdoor sitting apart of the road. You can get fish tacos, lobster rolls or fries and salads. However, the best deal was the lobster lunch special made of a full lobster with its butter sauce, mussels, corn, coleslaw and fried potatoes…for $21.
St Peter’s Catch
58 S Erie Ave
Montauk, NY 11954
(631) 668-7100
IMG_0617Even though you will never find the quality and quantity of the lobster roll at Neptune, Boston, two places caught my attention in the city.
Neptune
63 Salem St
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 742-3474

Lobster Joint opened last fall in the LES. As the name says it, it is a joint, but that offers nice options and even has an alcohol license. The lobster roll is served hot with its salad and pickles. It tastes good and is bigger than the Red Hook Lobster Pound. And if you want to try really good fish tacos, head there on Tuesdays where they have the special. This place is rarely packed and should be known since it is a great joint.
Lobster Joint
201 E Houston St
New York, NY 10002
(646) 896-1110

IMG_0913Luke’s Lobster has several joints in the city. The portion is not big but it tastes really good.
Luke’s Lobster
93E 7th Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 387-8587

 

 

And finally if you are not scared to make a mess, go to The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market. Recently renovated, you can order your size of lobster and eat it directly in the market. And it is so good. They also offer lobster rolls but they are not as great as the two other options above. And it is served with chips, not fries.
Lobster Place in the Chelsea Market
75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 255-5672

August

August is a tiny spot in West Village. If offers only a few tables on the front and the surprise comes when you can be seated in the courtyard since it is covered and open all day long. It is really calm so having brunch on weekends is very relaxing.

The oeuf cocotte was really tasty, especially when you order the Alsatian option with bacon, onions and cream. And it comes with bread. If you have a big appetite, think of it as an appetizer. They also offer classic egg benedict or even a burger that I unfortunately haven’t tasted.

The food is good without being outstanding, the service is all right without being super friendly, but the relaxing courtyard is the added value to the spot.

August
359 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 929-8727

For desert, stop by the food-truck Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream on Bleeker Street. They offer artisanal ice cream in a nice crunchy cone. The mango chili tasted nice on the first bite, with all the flavor of the fruit flavor, but the use of chili was too intense so it overwhelms the palate. For pistachio fanatics like me, this one was the best I had for a long time. I am not a big fan of ice-cream, but this truck could get me come back faster than usually.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

L’Apicio

I usually do not go to Italian restaurant for brunch because what is the point of eating eggs when you can have carbonara? However, since we could get a reservation we ended at L’Apicio. There is a small outdoor space but the décor inside is so outstanding I would not recommend to stay outside. The restaurant has different areas, comfy couches for a drink, a bar to get a cocktail experience, a wine room that made me think they must have a great wine list.

The brunch menu is pretty small but offers from italo-americano dishes like pancakes with ricotta to Italian pasta like the carbonara. The parmesan French toast served with prosciutto and egg is pretty and tasty. The toast is crunchy on the side and melts in the middle, which ads a lot of value to this dish. If you are craving for a side, try the Tuscany fries served with their cold spicy dip.

Another excellent Italian restaurant in Manhattan despite the non-fresh squeezed orange juice…

L’Apicio
13 East 1st St
New York, NY 10003
212-533-7400

The NoMad Hotel

If you want to impress your parents or a date, the restaurant in this hotel is the perfect spot. Divided into different areas, you can have brunch in the atrium, or by the fireplace or the parlour, or just having a drink at the bar waiting for the library to open later. Try not to be in the highway that are tables for two, but I would strongly recommend the living room for a quiet, comfy brunch.

Otherwise, the food is delicious and if you think you can’t have a chicken sandwich for brunch you are wrong. It is not exactly like the same preparation than the $79 chicken for two served for dinner. The roasted chicken stuffed with black truffle and foie gras is served in a brioche, and the smell of the truffle is so intense the waiting time to take the picture was really tough.

If you go classic for the crabmeat egg benedict, you will get the finest you can have in the city, served with crabmeat. Yes, they were damn good. Yes it is my favorite brunch spot in the city. Yes, you definitely have to go. Period.

The NoMad Hotel
1170 Broadway
New York, NY 10001
(212) 796-1500

Eric Kayser

It is a bit the war between Uptown and Downtown people, but some of them are almost crying that Eric Kayser takes so much time to open its second location at Gramercy. So in the meantime let’s say you have a good excuse to come to the “suburb” and visit a museum between the brunch and the “goûter” to try everything my Parisian bakery has to offer to New Yorkers.

IMG_0573

They serve breakfast, lunch, brunch, snacks and dinner so you have plenty of options, mostly offered all day. When I came for the opening, the quiche lorraine was several inches high, which I love. But a couple of weeks later it was thin like most of the quiches found here. I am not sure if they realized the American palate preferred this version or if the cost was too high but I would recommend them to go back to the first one. It is not really the season anymore but the foie gras is at least not this duck mousse but has the same consistence that the French one and tastes as good. And bonus every meal is served with a bunch of bread, including my favorite turmeric-hazelnut bread.

Ask for a tea or coffee, they serve it with their adorable mini-financier, but you can also order the full size pistachio one that is to die for.

My favorite desserts on earth are tartes… and Eric Kayser has everything I could dream about. Just watch them and you will understand why French chefs master the art of pastry. It is almost the only time I had real shortcrust pastry covered with either the raspberries or the a creamy, rich chocolate ganache and not this frozen dough bought in grocery stores that almost every pastry has when it comes to pies.

And do not leave the place without your old-style baguette that will keep fresh longer than one day. Trust me, it tastes exactly like the Kayser bakery in France.

Eric Kayser
1294 3rd Ave 74th St
New York, NY 10021
212-7444-3100

Moods of Rhône

Last wednesday night, Inter Rhône was having its largest trade event of the year. With more than 50 wines featured at Gary’s Loft, the association of professionals representing Producers and Traders of Rhône Valley AOC wines did think big!

The venue was this bright midtown loft that was converted into an apartment.  Trade could switch between 8 rooms and experiencing different ways to enjoy Rhône Valley wines. My favorite room was definitely the kitchen where you could enjoy a formal dinner with 6 wines matching. Uncommon appellations were featured, like the Condrieu by Vidal-Fleury, the star of the room. However I did not understand the lack of Chateauneuf-du-Pape (‘too common’) when Côte-du-Rhône was in almost every room.

Besides eating the chef’s recipes, his cooking demos taught me how to cut veggies and make spring rolls without them to blow up.

The funniest part was probably the rooftop. With summer that finally hits the city, the BBQ was the best element the party could have offered us. Reds were chilled; whites and rosés were more than welcome. The guitar singer, the view on the Empire State Building, the ‘almost’ photo booth and the mini sliders reminded me how much I will miss this city and working for such an industry.

Dessert was served in the living room, were cheesecake pop-tarts and (too sweet but very well done) macarons were matching a glass of Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise.

And I obviously did not leave empty-handed. The raffle made me choose a bottle of Rasteau, Domaine Grand Nicolet, from the rack. Unfortunately the last people asking for their price did not get the best choices but the sommeliers helped me choosing the best possible.

With my gift bag, my BBQ kit, my bottle and my belly filled, I had such a blast and was definitely in the Mood of Rhône…

Gary’s Loft
28 W 36th St, New York, NY ‎
(212) 244-0970