November 16, 2011

Financier Patisserie

My friend Carlota & I met up a while back in the Financial District for a late afternoon coffee break. We decided to stop at Financier, the French pastry stop where ABF's office so often gets their birthday cakes (which I get to hear about but NEVER sample!) ABF & I have walked by this spot countless times, but we'd never stopped in before. Enough taunting stories of delectable birthday pastries--time for me to score some yum on my own!

Bright, bustling, busy, and bursting at the (display case) seams with gorgeous, painstakingly-crafted goodies.

It was still mild enough to sit outside, so we took our iced coffees and a mini-sized raspberry-white chocolate eclair outdoors. Each of our drinks came with a bite-size madeleine--adorbs!

The pastry was delightful; even though I don't normally care for white chocolate, it paired nicely with the fresh, succulent berries.

Surprisingly, though, the coffee was terrrrrrrrible. Feh. I barely drank 3 sips before deciding I really couldn't bear the bitter, ashy flavor. Shame. I've heard from others that their drip coffee is pretty awful, so if you go (and their pastries/desserts are worth the trip), get something espresso-based!

Financier Patisserie
62 Stone Street
New York, NY 10004
(212) 344-5600

November 12, 2011

Telegraphe Cafe

On our way to the annual NYC Chocolate Show (or "Halloween for Grownups," as we like to call it), Jen A & I decided to get some real food in us before hitting the sweets. Telegraphe is just a few doors down from the exhibit hall, so we followed the delicious aromas on 18th street and went inside.

We each ordered the same sandwich: avocado, goat cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and balsamic vinaigrette on a fresh baguette. Jen opted for the pretzel baguette (first photo in this blog) while I got the sourdough. Fresh, soft, with just a perfect bit of crunch on the outside.

We each ordered the same thing, but for some reason the young woman ringing me up assumed I was to go, so my cafe au lait was in a paper cup, and my sandwich was wrapped to go. Jen's food was plated AND her tea was in a big oversized mug, perfect for warming one's hands on a chilly day.. Um.....odd!

Our sandwiches also looked completely different--clearly made by 2 different people with very different ideas of how this sandwich should look & taste--no roasted red peppers on mine (sad face) and very little avocado. Weird, but not worth waiting to get it fixed this time.

Despite the inconsistencies, this was a delicious, refreshing sandwich, nice and light and layered with flavors. The coffee was good, too.

There were plenty of pretty, tempting (pretty tempting!) treats on the counter, but we'll have to go back for those--with a MUG of cafe au lait on the side!

Telegraphe Cafe
107 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 488-5810

November 11, 2011

CT: Cocoa Michelle

Jen A & I took a quick trip out of NY to Westport, Connecticut. While the hotel's location and offerings were not quite what we expected, we made the best of it. One of the bright spots on our trip was in the final moments in that town, as we stopped into Cocoa Michelle for a drink and bite to take on the train ride home.

It's a very commuter-friendly spot--it even features a timetable of the weekday train schedule so you know how much time you have to get that coffee/chocolate fix!

The main room has the espresso machines and some take-away treats (sandwiches, yogurt, chocolates), but walk through the middle seating area and there is a whole room dedicated to chocolates that are (almost) too pretty to eat!

It was still pretty early, so we opted for a caffeine fix first--I ordered a sugar-free peppermint latte to go! Jen got sugar-free vanilla. She didn't care for the vanilla flavor, but I was quite happy with my mint!

The woman behind the counter was very friendly and helpful--service was as warm as the coffee!

We also got some chocolates: chocolate ganache for me, and apple pie for Jen (mine's the blue one in the first photo in this post). The ganache was good--rich, warm, satisfying, but OMIGOSH that apple pie chocolate!

If you're looking for a warm drink and tasty bite to take with you on the go (by train or car), Cocoa Michelle is a fabulous place to start!
Cocoa Michelle
54 Railroad Place
Westport, CT 06880-5912
(203) 221-0020

November 10, 2011

CT: Eramosa-- Breakfast

We still had a credit leftover from dinner the night before at Eramosa, so Jen A & I decided to start the day with a healthy breakfast.

We shared the homemade cinnamon scone--it was a good size and tasty, but not out of this world. I could have skipped this part, but it was fine.

The granola jumped out at both of us--plain yogurt, homemade granola, dried golden raisins and cranberries. It looked gorgeous, and I ignored my normal temptation to separate all of my food items from each other and just mashed it all together. Good move. It was tangy, crunchy, chewy, sweet but not too sweet, and all-around scrumptious.

They also offered milk to go with our granola--the milk AND yogurt combo struck me as a bit odd, but I figured it was a great chance to bone up on some extra calcium.

We used up the rest of our dining credit and paid another $14 (including a good tip)--we definitely got our money's worth on this deal.

On a completely non-food-related note, how much do you love this table? It's a re-purposed door and I LOVE IT.

Now overall, our trip to Westport was not quite the waterside getaway I felt they advertised it to be, but the food at Eramosa was pretty darn good, so if you already happen to be in Westport, drop by and have a bite.

Eramosa at the Westport Inn
1595 Post Rd E Westport, CT 06880
(203) 259-5236

November 09, 2011

CT: Eramosa

My friend Jen A & I took an overnight trip out to Westport, CT for some get-out-of NYC time. We bought a Travelzoo deal at the Westport Inn, and a main draw to this deal was the $100 dollar credit to their on-site restaurant, Eramosa.

The restaurant is literally right inside the wide hotel lobby, to the right of the spacious, fireside seating area. It's almost more of a bar area with some tables, with the open layout making it feel less 'restaurant-y.'

We each ordered a glass of white wine, reasonably priced at $9 a glass. It was a Ribbonwood Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. It was delicious and light.

We shared an app of spicy maple-roasted shrimp with bacon and jalapenos--very good! The smell of maple syrup is not my favorite, though, so as soon as I'd had a few bites of this dish, I wanted it to go away. I just cannot handle that smell for more than 5 minutes or so (walking into an IHOP is a version of olfactory torture for me).

We also shared a app of spicy macaroni and cheese, and what we received was an entrée-sized crock of cheesy, melty, comfort-y deliciousness. This was honestly enough for 3, but we managed to take care of it on our own.

We shared the main dish, as we certainly weren't starving at this point. We split the baked salmon with tomatoes and arugula. I don't know what it is, but salmon + tomatoes just does not work for me. Somehow it always ends up tasting metallic to me. I love salmon (LOVE) and I love tomatoes, but please do not put them together. The salmon was delicious and soft and not dried out, but I just wasn't wowed by this part of the meal.

Did you think we were done yet?? Silly you. We shared a slice of chocolate cake, and it had more layers than I've ever seen on a cake! It was dark, rich, and that icing was intense, but it was so good. I also had some peppermint tea (they had a great tea selection), hoping that would help speed up the digestive process.

Despite what felt like a voluminous buffet of food, we still had money left over on our $100 credit! Stay tuned for breakfast!

Eramosa at the Westport Inn
1595 Post Rd E Westport, CT 06880
(203) 259-5236

November 01, 2011

Cafe Cluny

I hear all the time about how chefs hate brunch and it's overblown and blah blah blah--- well, then this is not the blog for you! I love brunch, and my friend Laura & I just tried out a lovely spot in the West Village for an easy breezy late-morning meal.

We actually met a little early for 'brunch,' 10:30, breaking my own rule of 'Before 11am, you might as well just call it BREAKFAST.' But the circumstances warranted an earlier meeting, so there you have it. Bring on the coffee--and they did---refill after (free) refill of rich, hearty coffee. So far, so AWESOME!

I don't have the story on the bird display on the wall, but I sure do love it. I'm a sucker for birds. Birds & brunch--2 of my favorite things!

The menu has sweet, savory, and everything in between. I settled on the short rib hash. At $17, it is a bit pricier than I'd normally splurge for lunch, but it sounded amazing--poached eggs with a Bearnaise sauce over short rib hash--yes please! It was soooo good--the eggs still had runny yolks, were beautifully presented, and I ate every single bite of that dish. Gorgeously tender forkfuls of savory short ribs were tossed in with crispy, crunchy, salty bits of potatoes and scallions.

Laura got the omelet as a scramble, as she likes her eggs scrambled very dry. The potato galette on the side looked equally yummy.

Despite the packed room, bustling conversations, and growing line of waiting would-be brunchers, Laura & I had a lovely, self-contained, private-feeling start to our morning. It was a lovely, savory, expertly-executed brunch, with excellent service and great people-watching, and just a short walk from 14th street and 8th avenue. Anyone who poaches eggs that well gets a return visit from me!

Cafe Cluny
284 W 12th St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 255-6900

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