Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bread, 2/28/06

After getting fitted for our bridesmaid dresses for Vicki's wedding, Laura and I felt like eating. We thought we should eat as if we were the actual size that we had to order our dresses in. What better name for a restaurant in this situation than: Bread.

Avoid the carbs no more, Bread is the perfect excuse. This tiny restaurant on Spring streetin Nolita is an Atkins nightmare.

The carbs, of course, outweigh the dietetic options.

We started with a salad - arugula and parmeggiano. Boring and healthy.

The eponymous bread was delicious, although it took awhile to come.

We each had a pasta dish, tortellini for me and lasagna for Laura. I think Laura won. While my tortellini was flavorful, it bordered on too oily. Laura's lasagna on the other hand was meaty and delicious. Lucky her.

Service was slow...but the space fun and the crowd, your typical hipster. I'd go again, if I didn't have a work deadline. Like I do tonight.

Until we eat again, KLB

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mac and Cheese Off, 2/24/06

Our friends Kimberly & Matt decided to do something a bit strange for us this weekend, have people over instead of going out. This night had a twist - a contest,a macaroni and cheese contest to be specific.

4 teams of two squared off in the competition. We were judged on four categories: presentation, individuality, texture and taste.

Here's how it shook out:

- Mini-Mac: Our entry was a basically Annie's Cheddar M & C with a lot of Old Bay Seasoning. We knew, or rather I knew, that since it would be basic, we should beef up presentation. We decided to put some of our wedding gifts to good use and brought espresso cups that we stacked into a pyramid each with an individual serving.

- Suck My Elbows: This elbow casserole dish had way too many onions. Seriously, who puts onions in mac & cheese?

- Cheesus Christ: Obviously, this entry had the best name. In addition to an abundance of cheese, there were crisped breadcrumbs on the top giving the dish amazing texure.

- 7th Heaven: 7 different cheeses made up this overwhelming dish. I only tasted one and it was strong. Everyone else, however, seemed to love it.

In the end, we got third, but we won hands down for presentation. 7th Heaven was a clear winner, followed by CC. Suck my elbows brought up the rear.

Although we didn't win, it was a fun event and different from the traditional going to dinner and drinking lots of wine. Thanks to our hosts and event creators.

Watch out, next year, the Bergers are going to win.

Until we eat again, KLB

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Almondito (Wainscott) 2/19/06

We are still loving the Hamptons in the winter and the dining bargains to be had. This weekend was especially great because the offer we found is available all year round and we cannot wait to get it again soon.

Almondito is a cavernous Mexican eatery just on the outskirts of East Hampton. As we pulled up in the 15 degree weather I could imagine 100 people hanging off the deck in the 85 degree weather margaritas in hand. This is a great party place. And they have a great deal. Order by 7 and 3 courses are $19.95. No joke.

OK, entree selections are limited, chicken, salmon or pork, however appetizer choices are varied and portions are HUGE. After eating the delicious chips and salsa (two baskets, we'd skipped lunch) I couldn't finish half my tomato soup with chorizo and corn dumplings. JB on the other hand polished off every mussel on his plate. We both had the chocolate-y chicken mole devouring the bird, spinach, rice and beans. And a simple ice cream scoop for us both.

Dinner, with a large margarita for JB and a pinot noir for me, was just $60! Now that is deal. I'd do the Mexican hat dance to make it my regular place.

Until we eat again, KLB

Valentine's Day Special: Via Emilia, 2/14/06

Many years ago, JB and I had our first date at a restaurant called Trattoria I Pagliacci on Park Avenue South. I still remember what I wore (grey skirt, black sweater, black boots) and what I ate (minestrone, grilled calamari) which is a good thing because the restaurant no longer exists. Instead, Via Emilia is in its place. And for the past few years, JB have headed there for Valentine's Day.

It is small, no reservations, cash-only type of place. Most tables are two tops, so it should be romantic, but there is a lot of light and bare walls. Yet, the food is consistently terrific.

Their specialty is stuffed pastas. Perennially, I get the pumpkin torteloni and this year was no different. It was as sweet as I remembered it. JB mixed it up with lasagna, that he loved, and we both mixed it up with an oysters appetizer. Come on it was v-day.

Dessert was the downfall, the berry pastry was still frozen, but by then we'd had enough Italian wine that it did not matter. I think we'll skip dessert next year and just get an extra order of torteloni.

Until we eat again, KLB

The Bergers Hit the Road! San Diego, 1/27 - 1/30

This entry we're expanding beyond food into travel. It is called Bergers & More after all.

So here goes.

JB & I decided at the last minute to take a weekend trip to San Diego. We wanted to see a new place, get some sun, oh and there was a golf tournament. Thanks to American and Hilton for the miles and points respectively, we were able to get free airfare and 2 of 3 nights of our accommodations.

Here are the highlights:

Friday, 1/27 - San Diego/Coronado

Mission - This plantation-styrestaurantant fed us one of the best meals of the trip. We wanted to start out with the Mexicali flair and here we could. JB ordered a breakfast burrito my urging and I ordered breakfast quesadilla that I had read about. Major YUM. My breakfast quesadilla had bacon, cheese, tomatoes, beans and lots of cilantro.

Hotel Del Coronado & Moo-time - We spent the day exploring San Diego, the gaslamp district, where we stayed, and Coronado, an island just off the coast of SD. We headed to the famous Hotel Del Coronado and walked on the beach picking up purple sand dollars (yes, purple!). Since we'd had a late, and large, breakfast we each just got a scoop of amazing ice cream from the Moo-time creamery. Get the vanilla.

Rama - San Diego has a lot of asian restaurants and Rama is one of the best. We stuck to basics here, spring rolls and pad see yew, in a very trendy setting.

Saturday, 1/28 - San Diego

San Diego Zoo - This is the best place to spend 5 hours. Buy tickets online and save a few dollars. We walked around the whole zoo and then took a bus your to make sure we didn't miss anything.

Little Italy - I guess every city has a Little Italy. SD's is still developing but we found a great shop, Niche Boutique and a cafe for a mid-afternoon snack.

The Beach - And every city now also has a W, where the bar is also bound to be trendy. The SD W bar is literally a rooftop beach with heated sand where you can almost see the sunset. The roof is really only three flights up, but the eye candy is really the view.

Chive - We had reservations at Candelas, a haute Mexican restaurant, but they could not honor our reservation. We found ourselves wandering around the Gaslamp district and fell upon a Chive. A newish spot that had one of the best chicken dishes stuffed with goat cheese and on a bed of risotto. JB got mini-burgers (of course) and feta fries, which were stellar.

J Bar - Stiff competition for the Beach, this rooftop bar had an even bigger roof and crowd.

Sunday, 1/29 - La Jolla

Buick Invitational - The main point of our trip. This was six hours of unadultarated golf, Tiger to the max. The Torrey Pines course is beautiful overlooking the Pacific, but the crowds were horrific. (Note: On Tiger Woods golf on xbox, they have a much smaller crowd)

George's at the Cove - The most romantic restaurant of them all is in La Jolla hanging over the edge of the Pacific. We sat upstairs on the less expensive Ocean Terrace. Fish tacos were a mandatory. Worth the trip alone.

Monday, 1/30 - Old Town, La Jolla

Old Town Mexican Cafe - We thought it was a necessity to visit Old Town San Diego, the birthplace of San Diego. I'd skip it next time. Although the chorizo breakfast quesadillas were not half bad.

Roppongi - We spent our last afternoon driving through all the beach towns and ended up shopping and gallery hopping in La Jolla. Our final dinner was at Roppongi, a renowned Japanese restaurant with a renowned early dinner special, half-price off all small plates. We cleaned up the ribs, tuna and more.

As I mentioned, this was a points trip so we were married to Hiltons, San Diego Gaslamp and Hilton Torrey Pines, respectively. They both had nice pools with views. The Gaslamp had huge complimentary breakfasts. TP had the benefit of golf course and Pacific views, plus JB saw Sergio Garcia in the elevator.

We used two great resources planning our trip that I would recommend:

Foodtv.com - The Food Network's website. They have a specific travel section. We took recommendations from both Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray, FYI Bobby's recs were better!

Nytimes.com - Lucky for us, the 1/20 Escapes section featured 36-hours in San Diego. We didn't follow it to a tee, we had about 84 hours after all, but we came pretty close.

Until we eat (and travel) again! KLB