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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Point to Noho

(Five Points, NYC 1827)

The trio of Cookshop, Hundred Acres and Five Points seem to be favorite brunch spots among many New Yorkers. The deep space is gorgeously decorated with ceiling tall seasonal floral arrangements. The lighting is just right. Not too loud. Just average food.

We sit in the very back room with a skylight near all the lovely stacks of freshly baked Balthazar breads. The housemade pork-fennel sausage and poached eggs atop a buttermilk biscuit, roasted tomato sauce and hollandaise fondue was tasty; but the Cookshop Scramble with eggs, caramelized onions, creme fraiche, and chives atop a buttermilk biscuit tastes identical. Fennel has distinct taste with hints of black licorice. I couldn't pick up any in the sausage, but at least it was hearty.

The three eggs in a crock tasted like the cast iron crock, but looked delectable with its slightly charred top with mozzarella baked in the white fluffiness.

This restaurant grouping is fair with heavy dishes to compensate for the lack of flair.

Five Points 31 Great Jones Street

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Fork in the Road: Huckleberry (Los Angeles, CA)

One of the best breakfasts I've ever come across is at Huckleberry in Santa Monica. The vibe feels pretty typical of a Southern California establishment: large, raw space with natural sunlight, people just finished working out and healthy, fresh food. While standing in line waiting to order, the breads, pastries and desserts looked the quality of a Parisian patisserie.

Erin told me I HAD to order the poached eggs with market vegetables, but because I'm used to ordering much heavier, I chose sunny side up eggs on rustic bread with Niman Ranch bacon, gruyere and crispy arugula. Once the yolk bleeds down the face, the colors become a striking blend against the green, white and brown. This tasted almost as good as Thomas Keller's BLT Fried Egg Sandwich looked in the movie, Spanglish.

As tasty as the sandwich was, I wish I had ordered the poached eggs and vegetables. A tip of the hat to Josh & Zoe Loeb! The combination of corn, snap peas, orange cherry tomatoes topped with pesto and breadcrumbs is exceptional! This wasn't a protein and vegetable that I thought would work well, but happy I was proved wrong. Sometimes simple just works.

I can count on one hand how many times I've had dessert at 8am, but this chocolate pudding was heavenly. The texture was velvety with a touch of cocoa and dollop of unsweetened whipped cream.

It's safe to say Huckleberry is there to stay...and I will be returning every chance I get.

Huckleberry 1014 Wilshire Boulevard Santa Monica, CA (310) 451-2311

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Mighty Burrito

Finally a decent burrito hath arrived in New York City! Two Northern Cali boys recreate a Cali taqueria to perfection (everything in this place is sustainable).
The pollo asado, or grilled chicken, burrito was so damn tasty I could have had another. Korin and I actually considered having 2.
It starts by warming a slice of cheese on the tortilla itself. The cheese further melts by smacking rice, black or pinto beans, salsa and sour cream atop before it is beautifully rolled together. If you add guacamole, they give you a fairly generous helping and you can actually taste the tomatoes, onions and cilantro used to make it. I, of course, brought my own hot sauce for extra kick.

The prices are unbelievable and the hipster staff gets along with just about everybody.

147 Fourth Avenue b/t 13th & 14th Streets

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Nothing beats ice cream on a cool evening...
Decided to head down the block to the famous Chinatown Ice Cream Factory after Cantoon. The shop is a little kitchy selling t-shirts, totes and hats. Then again, that's not what you're going for. I got the red bean ice cream in a sugar cone. Delish! Creamy, not too sweet and fresh red beans.

65 Bayard Street Chinatown