Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I'm seriously thinking of changing the name of my blog to "Michael White Runs New York". He owns major restaurants in New York from Osteria Morini to Al Fiori to Marea. Ahh, Marea. The queen bee of White's mini empire; Marea is hitting on all cylinders. I have not found one bad review on this place. It's literally packed every night and most importantly the food is some of the best I've ever tasted. Marea is interesting because you can't really pin point the exact genre of this restaurant; some argue Italian, some say seafood, others say their steak rivals Lugers. But who really cares with food this good.

Starting with the crudo (raw fish) portion, we wanted to try things we haven't tasted before. We ordered the geoduck clam, pacific langoustine, and Hawaiian blue marlin. I would have to say the blue marlin was my number one. I would describe it as toro (fatty tuna, for the idiots out there) times ten. It was so rich in flavor, it melts in your mouth like butter. Crudo is meant to be small portions, but because they were all so flavorful, it almost makes you more hungry. But you shall not worry folks, next on the list is the antipasti with their famed lobster burrata. Sliced Nova Scotia lobster (Maine, who?) with creamy burrata, tomatoes, and basil. I'm ruined for life now. I'll never be able to have a "normal" mozzarella and tomato appetizer again.

Now we get to the baller section of the meal....the pastas! This is was White does. He makes pasta, and more pasta and ridiculous pasta. These pasta concoctions are sheer genius. Screw Zuckerberg and Obama, White is changing the world. If you order one thing when going to Marea it has to be the fusilli. Homemade fusilli with red wine braised octopus and wait for it.....melted bone marrow. While devouring through this dish, you will also find pieces of fatty bone marrow which gives it its final punch into greatness.

This restaurant isn't cheap (thanks Phil), but it's not supposed to be. Needs to keep the riff raff out. And we all know, there is riff raff everywhere. Everyone please vote tomorrow. Romney, awful. Obama, who? Michael White 2012...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Industry Night

Just to solidify my notion that New Yorkers go out on real weekday nights, real as in Monday night, not just this Thursday crap everyone did in college, I introduce you to Industry Night. As some restaurant and clubs are closed on Monday, it becomes a big night out in the restaurant scene. Some restaurants have specials to promote going out on Mondays; and I think I just might have hit the jackpot.
Osteria Morini opened a few years ago in the old Falls space (I could devote a whole blog to the Falls, but I'll save that for another day), which brings old rustic Italian cooking to Soho. The big name behind this restaurant is the big guy, Chef Michael White. Big and burly, he hails from the Midwest, and has become an iconic name in the New York Italian dining scene. He is most famous for opening Marea on Central Park South, serving seafood and even richer pastas.
A few months ago, Morini started their own version of Industry Night which includes all pastas for ten bucks after 9pm on Mondays. Yes, please! Josh and I went last Monday around 915pm and the place was packed. We got a table by 9:45pm and ordered 3 pastas to share and a few bottles of wine, but no need to dive into that topic. They aren't huge portions, but looks are deceiving, they are extremely rich with either, butter, cream, prosciutto, truffle oil, or a combo of all four. The pastas were cooked perfectly and we literally licked our plates clean. Around 10:15pm, Chef White came through the front door with a roar from the packed dining room. I'm always hesitant of "celebrities" chefs as I think they stretch their name and brand too thin, but I was wrong with Chef White. He literally went to each table and greeted each customer. I remember shaking his hand and saying something dumb about my blog which he probably forgot in 1.01 seconds. Whatevs.
Is anyone free next Monday night? Its the new Saturday...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In DC, Apparently Women Rule

Since my little hiatus from New York, I've tried really hard to have an open mind and positive attitude towards Ugly Hollywood aka DC. And for people who know me, being positive and open minded are extremely hard things for me to do. I'm giving DC the benefit of doubt on a lot of things I would normally bitch about, but as it is my hometown, I let a lot of things fly. I think ladies and gentleman, the buck stops here! Let me explain.

I decide to go out to a neighborhood bar to grab some food and beers tonight to watch the Capitals hockey game. It is a huge game, almost equivalent to a playoff game. Walking from my house I was looking forward to a nice night chatting with the locals and bonding over some hockey. I get to the bar (no name needed) and post up and order a beer.

It was a few minutes before the puck drops and I get settled into reading the menu and scoping out the scene. The bar has two TVs and both were on commercials. I just assumed they were on the hockey channel. After a few minutes I look up and notice both TVs were on Women's NCAA tournament.

Obviously I just thought the TVs were on ESPN from earlier in the day and they just hadn't flipped over to the Caps game. I give the bartender a few minutes to figure this out but no one is changing the channel. This can't be right. I get the bartender's attention and ask to change the channel to the Caps game. No biggie, right? Yeah, I was wrong. She said people requested to keep ESPN on to watch the tournament. I laugh, thinking she's messing with me. There was no laugh back. Is this for real? Then I look around the bar and people are actually watching the game! Normal business-like men watching this awful basketball game.

This would NEVER happen in NY or Philly. (You know I'm upset when I give props to Philly.) I pay for my one lousy beer and leave. I think I actually cried a little on my depressing walk home...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wizards Game Woes

One of the few things DC has NYC beat on is its price of sporting tickets because DC teams are so painful to watch. But I am using this to my advantage to see as many star players from the OTHER team as possible. During these dog days of February, the NBA is in full swing and I started reading reports out of the Washington Post that people were going to games versus other bad teams for as low as 30 cents. I started grabbing up tickets for the Clippers, Knicks and Lakers. For the Clippers' game, my seats were up top but center court for $20. In comparison the same tickets at the Garden are going for $250! Granted the Knicks are abuzz with this Lin character but even without Lin they would still be $125 at least.

After the Clippers' game I now know why these tickets are so dirt cheap; and their record is only part of the answer. In general its a pretty awful fan experience. At least at the Garden you have the stadium entertainment factor. (see earlier blog post) First off, the lighting is so bright all around the arena it looks bad for entertainment value. The court should look like a stage. Also, the lady in front of us was so bored that she had her Ipad out the whole time playing Scrabble, not even Words with Friends! But the absolute worst part was one of the "Wizard Girls" was promoting Carmine's restaurant, which opened up down the street from the Verizon Center. But she kept pronouncing it Carmen and people were booing her. I now think paying a premium at the Garden is worth it. At the final buzzer, the Wizards lost by 30, but by that time we were already drinking the night away at the dark Carmine's bar.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Everything Is Better Fried!

Years ago, when going out to dinner with my friend Mike, our conversations about food would always end with discussing what types of food would be bad fried. These deep conversations started one evening while dining at R.U.B (Righteous Urban Barbecue) in Chelsea and we debated about ordering the deep fried Oreos for dessert. (Side Note - R.U.B. was one of the original BBQ joints in the city before the BBQ craze really started to hit the city. Its pretty damn good, not the best, but this place definitely gets props for starting the trend in the city.) Anyway, I'm not a huge dessert guy but we had to try 'em out. Woozers! Just proves our point that everything is great fried...

Fast forward five years, and I'm dining with my folks at Forcella on the Bowery. Brooklyn has made Forcella famous for deep frying their pizza and recently opened an outpost in the city. I was so intrigued by this idea, I bombarded the waiter with questions which he gladly answered. He explained that just the dough is flash fried with oil olive and finished off in the oven. Just hearing the words "flash fried" made me giddy, and I immediately ordered the Montanara, which is just the Margherita fried. This might be the best invention ever. Screw doctors, chefs are changing the world!

The pizza was not greasy at all and the dough tasted like a very mild funnel cake (obviously without the sugar). It almost looked like a blown up calzone but definitely not as doughy. I honestly didn't know what to expect, just like the fried Oreo, but I was not disappointed in the least. Just solidifies that everything is great fried! Mike and I did come up with one food that we thought would be bad fried. Any takers???

Thursday, January 26, 2012

DC This and DC That

Ok, so for the past few weeks I've been "living" in DC. I needed a little change from my New York City routine. But enough with the minuscule details. On to more important trials and tribulations. As everyone knows, New York celebrities are rich, pretty people, and DC celebrities are smart, ugly people. I have nothing against the Washington Post, I mean its no New York Times, but come on, what newspaper is? After the sports I dive into the style's reliable source section. For those New Yorker's out there, its the "equivalent" to the Post's Page Six. But unlike Page Six which is brainless, fun entertainment, the reliable source sucks. I literally haven't heard of any of the people and the sightings are awful! I think one yesterday was noting Elena Kagan (who???) shopping for celery. Wow, hold the presses!!! But I knew DC was like this already, and I'm dealing with it the best I can.

Because I'm such a good son, I've also been driving Sue to work at the butt crack of morning (re: 8am) to help her out. I can do that Mass Ave. drive with my eyes closed now. Well, this morning I am driving back up Mass Ave., drooling at the thought of crawling back into bed, and I see cops run out the back of the Vice President's mansion and onto the street halting traffic in both directions. At first I think something bad is going down, and I duck my head (DC is embarrassingly known for snipers) but then I see the gates open and a little blonde gal is jogging down the pathway. Yes, Jill "Bimbo" Biden needs to go out for her morning run; making hundreds of commuters late for work. Isn't this kind of selfish of her? I guess it's the law to have security detail, but don't freaking run during rush hour! DC is known for awful rush hours. Maybe I need to start listening to these Republican debates because if Jill keeps this up, my vote might sway OR Sue is going to have to start taking the bus!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Mutton

Holidays are always a good time for friends to get together for some holiday cheer. I decided this year it would be fun to round up the guys and have a nice steak dinner. Keens, which is the oldest steakhouse in New York City and famous for their "mutton chop" sounded like the clear choice. Made a reservation a few weeks ago and started dissecting the shit out of the menu ever since. All the reviews and blogs pointed to the "mutton chop" as the obvious go-to item to order. Just to clarify, the "mutton chop" they serve at Keens isn't actual mutton. Mutton is the meat of a sheep over one year in age. Back in the day Keens served mutton but changed to lamb, ten month in age, because it's tastier. Of course Keens kept its famous name. I was nervous to order the $48 "mutton chop" as I thought it might be to gamey and fatty. This is why I'm not a chef, because I was dead wrong.

I will come back to the mutton in a second but I want to discuss the corkage policy at New York City restaurants first. I just found this out recently, but many restaurants have a corkage policy which enables you to bring in your own wine for a minimal fee. The fee is usually anywhere from $20-$40 per bottle. Makes perfect sense if you have a nice bottles of wine, which Phil does, and you don't want to pay the premium markup of restaurant prices. There are a few caveats. Some restaurant only allow you to bring wine not served on their wine list and some places only allow a maximum of three bottles. Many restaurants don't advertise this option so please call to get their exact rules.

We had a 8:30pm reservation for Tuesday night. Phil and I got there around 730 to grab a beer at the bar area. This restaurant is huge. Three floors with private dining on the second and third floors. (I'm thinking reserved for Knicks and Rangers players after games, as the restaurant is a mere two blocks from the Garden.) The bar was packed for a Tuesday night as was the main dining room. After picking the bartenders brain regarding the mutton, I decided I'm going to forgo the Porterhouse and get me some mutton. We sat down promptly at 8:30 and were served awesome crudite and dip to begin the meal. I started with the bacon and ordered the "mutton chop" medium per the chefs request. Maybe the server knew I was a little nervous, but she smiled when I ordered and said you'll enjoy it. After sharing one magnum bottle of vino with the table (they charge double for magnum bottles of wine), our mutton arrives. With the chop measuring at three inches high and the wing-like sides (hence the name mutton chop) glistening with fat, I knew I made the right order decision. The meat was the tastiest I've ever eaten with the gamey hint of the lamb meat on the bone chop, plus the fat of the wing. I felt like a cheetah on the prey in the African wildlife, gnawing and face planting into the last bits on meat on the bone.

The sides of mushrooms, creamed spinach and hash browns were delicious but I couldn't stop eating the mutton. I wanted to take the chop home, cleaned of all the meat, to show my dad how I destroyed that prey. Just like they do in the Kenyan jungles, right???