Monday Morning, Patisserie Claude

Monday breakfast at Patisserie Claude after a wonderful birthday weekend with Zubair…Po, Tartine, and En Brasserie…posts to come soon! ^_^

This morning, we had coffee and a quiche each, warmed to order, and then shared…

…a single brioche…

…and one very, very lovely apricot tart. What a way to start the day :)

Patisserie Claude
187 W 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 255-5911

Ciao for Now

Saturday morning brunch at Ciao for Now with Marie (who’s visiting this week all the way from Hawai’i!) and Ariel, who I have not seen in the longest time.

This new location of Ciao for Now on the north side of 12th Street (they used to be on the south side of the street) is sooo much bigger! There’s a ton of seating, lots of exposed brick, flowers on all the tables…so cute, so cute ^_^

On weekends, they offer a short brunch menu -> fresh squeezed orange juice paired with your choice of huevos verde, pancakes, french toast, BLT + avocado, or an omelette for $9. It’s a pretty fair price, imo. You order at the counter and they’ll deliver to your table.

Marie and Ariel went for the Almond Brioche French Toast…

…while I did the Huevos Verde. Those are little containers of sour cream and salsa off to the side. All brunch dishes come with a side of fresh fruit – today’s set included blueberries, strawberries, honeydew, and oranges.

I usually stick with drinks and pastries at Ciao for Now, but it was fun branching out onto their “real food” menu this morning. Can you really blame me for falling victim to their sweets? Look at those Maple Pecan Sticky Buns! Heehee.

My last Ciao for Now visit before this was to the Avenue A location with Diana. We met up one lazy afternoon, and tucked ourselves at a table way in the back of the shop.

I had the iced green tea with lemon, ginger, and honey…

…and Diana had an iced chai and hummus sandwich.

Dessert? A bitty pineapple muffin which I blogged here on Serious Eats New York :)

Ciao for Now
523 East 12th Street
New York NY 10009

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote

The other night, Robyn, Diana, Greg, Nick P. and I met for dinner at the Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote, the newest branch of bistro that originated from Paris. Read Nick Solares‘ coverage on SENY here.

There was a lot of dessert.

But we’ll get to that later ;)

The menu offers but one entree, and that is steak. Steak that comes with fries, salad and bread. You are however, allowed to order your steak black & blue, rare, medium, or well-done. Robyn, Nick P, and I had it rare, Greg went with black & blue, and Diana, well-done. First comes the (butterless) bread…

…followed by the salad outfitted with walnuts and a mustard dressing.

The steaks is served in two portions. What you see above is the first serving. As soon as you’ve downed that place, the waitresses, dressed in French maid outfits, sweep by with another serving. Those golden fries came cold the first time around and then piping hot the second time. Talk about inconsistent. The strip cut comes doused in a sauce which Nick reports is “…a closely guarded secret. Heavy on the butter, it reportedly incorporates blanched chicken livers, mustard, and thyme.” Nick offered more details on the steak in the post I linked above…but I’m here to tell you about dessert, heeeheee ^_^

First off, options are aplenty. APLENTY. Especially considering the fact that there’s just one entree, heheh. Second, none of the desserts are particularly good or satisfying. Some are classic, some are fun, none are memorable, and one is completely drowned in Grand Marnier. Excessively so.

My favourite of the bunch? “Le Vacherin du Relais,” pictured above, an alternating tower of crisp meringue and ice cream, all drenched in silky chocolate.

Creme Brulee – nothing extraordinary…simply forgettable

The Semifreddo must have been 80% Grand Marnier and 20% Semifreddo…I suppose these proportions could be a blessing for some…but skewed to such an extreme, I found it pretty inedible.

Six vanilla ice cream filled profiteroles come with a pour of the same chocolate sauce as the Vacherin du Relais. Swimmmmming in chocolate. Chilly two-bite numbers, it’s hard to hate profiteroles, even poorly made ones, though thank god these were decent.

And chocolate cake two ways – classic and flourless.

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote
590 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10022
(212) 758-3989

Perry St

Saturday birthday brunch for Zubair, right after he won a bunch of squash matches :D

This was my second visit to Perry Street – the food this time around was markedly better than my last visit just over a year ago. The one thing I distinctly remember about that last visit was just how terrible the desserts were. The worst way to end a meal is with crappy dessert. And that’s how we ended lunch in 2008, with meringue spikes over a lifeless pile of creme. It still remains in my head to this day as the crappiest dessert I’ve ever been served in a restaurant.

Luckily, this time around, dessert turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Strawberry and rhubarb shortcake, warm molten chocolate cake, both with ice cream. The savoury dishes were also much improved, though the aloof and sometimes confused service was still a bit lackluster. Have they done away with the amuse? The Spring Pea Soup with Parmesan Foam was nice touch. Nothing showed up this time though.

Regardless, between house made sodas and mimosas, this proved to be a rather enjoyable visit. Company played a big factor as always ^_^

Photos follow below:

Lilikoi-Chili Soda

Peekytoe Crab Salad with Champagne Mango and Asparagus

Crispy Calamari with Yuzu Dipping Sauce and Sesame…compare with last time.

Grilled Tenderloin of Beef with Crunchy Potatoes and Creamy Herbal Spinach…no potatoes in 2008, but there was “Liquid Gruyere“.

House Made Gravlax with Poached Eggs, Toasted Brioche…compare the same dish.

Strawberry Shortcake

Molten Chocolate Cake

Perry St
176 Perry Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 352-1900

Photo Splodge: “The Sweet Life with Jansen Chan”

Last Thursday, Zubair and I stopped in for “The Sweet Life with Jansen Chan,” a tasting of sweets from Oceana’s pastry chef. Location: Design Within Reach: Tools for Living. There were a total of nine different sweets, though my favourites were definitely a tie between the Chocolate Chip Custard Bars and the Raspberry and Lychee Panna Cotta with Toasted Angel Food Cake

Photos follow below :)

Blueberry Mochi Cake…

…the whole tray!

Miso Fruit Focaccia

Mini Maple Tapioca Pie with Chocolate Cream

Almond Meringue and Raspberry

Chocolate Chip Custard Bars

Raspberry and Lychee Panna Cotta, Toasted Angel Food Cake

Salty Honey Roule

Cookies: Shortbread, Snickerdoodle, Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

Salty Caramel Filled Doughnuts…more? ^_^