Monday, 23 November 2009

Junior's, New York

Our last night in New York we were on a hunt for cheesecake and asked the hotel's concierge for recommendations for the best cheesecake in Manhattan.
We were advised to go to Junior's that is just off Times Square. They started in 1950's in Brooklyn and now have four restaurants, three in New York and one outside the city, in Foxwood casino, Mashantucket.
The place is huge, with additional seating on a patio as well and it was busy when we stepped in, but managed to get a table for five with no waiting at all. Their menu has got everything from salads to seafood, steaks to burgers, pastas and sandwiches, all very reasonably priced.
I wanted a burger so I got a juicy cheeseburger with onion rings and chips, burger so huge that I could not fit it in my mouth but I had to use knife and fork, and the portion so big that there was no chance of finishing it all.
Mr Lovable's meatballs were size of oranges!
And the cheesecake then... we ordered the no.1 original cheesecake to share and it was delicious, thick and creamy. To our surprise it had a sponge base instead of a bisquit one, maybe this is what they do in America?
And you guessed right, the slice was huge and we were struggling to finish it...
They have a shop next door where you can buy more cheesecake and other desserts.
If you go to New York you must have dinner in here, it's an experience and they say that "you haven't really lived until you've had cheesecake from Junior's".
proper american diner with nice atmosphere

'hall of fame', pictures of famous customers

super efficient waitress

West 45th st. between Broadway and 8th ave, New York
Junior's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Plaza, New York

Something different for sunday sandwich: the Plaza Hotel in New York!
So afternoon tea in Plaza's champagne bar it was. It was amazing to see a place that I have heard so much about and seen in so many movies, and to actually have a bite to eat in there.

Smoked salmon, cucumber, egg&olive and parma ham&asparagus sandwiches.
Freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
Pecan pies, chocolate strawberries, macaroons, shortbread and chocolate tart. All perfectly made, mouthwatering and delicious.
Indulgent and elegant interior with super comfy chairs that we did not want to get out of, and did not for once feel that they wanted us out of there in a hurry.
toilets, oh the toilets

amazing experience

lovely staff

Fifth avenue at Central Park South, New York, NY10019

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Shelly's Trattoria, New York

Shelly's Trattoria was recommended by our concierge for good steaks and we managed to get a table straight away, even though it was a Saturday night.
Their menu is a bit of a mish mash with seafood and oyster bar, steaks and chops, pasta and pizza.
As we had tickets to a show we were struggling with time and had to rush our food down. This is the type of place you would like to take your time and really enjoy your food...
I ordered double pepperoni imported & domestic, mozzarella, plum tomato and rocket greens pizza while the rest of our table had steaks. My pizza was probably one of the best I've ever had, crispy, super thin base with lots of flavour in the filling and the steaks got lots compliments as well.

It's a shame that we didn't have enough time to have dessert, they looked amazingly good!
clever wine storage system along the walls

big bowl of jellybeans at the door!

olive and pepper focaccia

41 w 57th st, New York, NY 10019
Shelly's New York (Tradizionale) on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Puttanesca, New York

Puttanesca is an Italian restaurant with beautifully decorated dining room in midtown west New York. Five of us went there for a dinner on Friday night without booking and managed to get a table without any wait.
Our waiter explained the specials and took our orders, then brought white wine that was room temperature instead of being chilled and he somehow managed to spill it on the table every time he poured a glass. Ouch.
When our dishes arrived after a short wait there was only four plates instead of five! It was quite a wait until we all had food in front of us and when it finally arrived no apologies were made. Eh?
My ravioli alla vodka was goats cheese& sun dried tomato stuffed ravioli, asparagus with pink vodka sauce and it was absolutely gorgeous, perfectly cooked pasta, though the sauce could have done with another splash of vodka in it...
Food better than excellent - service bad, such a shame.

everything seemed to be cooked to perfection

nice bread basket selection

perfect portion sizes

859 Ninth avenue, New York, NY 10019
Puttanesca on Urbanspoon

Friday, 20 November 2009

El Cantinero, New York

El Cantinero is a Mexican restaurant located in New York's Greenwich village and it was our pick for lunch after walking around Manhattan from early morning hours.
The interior is really fun and inviting, with Christmas lights and Mexican themed pictures hanging on walls and the staff is friendly and attentive.
I think I'm going to give up Mexican food for good, eating out that is. The thing is, that they all taste and look pretty much the same, no matter if it's fajitas, enchiladas, burritos or whatever. There does not seem to be much difference between the dishes.
Combination platter of tostada and burrito that was served with salad, rice and refried beans was lacking flavour and the presentation was pretty poor. Nothing to write home about.
I was really looking forward of having Mexican food in America as I thought that it would be better and tastier than in UK, but I was wrong. Mr Lovable says that the way I cook Mexican food is way better than in any place we've eaten and I humbly agree.
Or maybe it's not meant to be spicy and tasty, maybe it's me who's got it all wrong?

free, strong margaritas

real Mexican feel interior

Christmas lights all year round

86 University place, New York, NY 10003
El Cantinero on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

ASK Italian, Livingston

Something that I rarely do these days is go for a meal alone. Since I met my beloved Mr Lovable we have been pretty much inseparable and always go for meals together, but today I was hungry, tired, freezing and there was no Mr Lovable around.
I was in Livingston shopping centre and chose to go to Ask Italian that is a chain of restaurants scattered across UK, 120 in total. After seeing their sign amongst all the other restaurant signs I immediately had an image of a big, steaming hot bowl of pasta in my head and that was my decision made.

It was fairly quiet when I walked in and I was greeted by really nice, cheeky waiter who looked after me in a way that made me feel like I was something special, without making me feel uncomfortable.
Polpette al forno was in front of me in less than ten minutes: oven-baked rigatoni pasta tubes with beef meatballs, green chilies, roasted peppers and caramelized onions in a pomodoro sauce, served with side salad. It was perfectly spicy and warming for a cold, rainy day like today.

I just wish that there had been more food on my plate! This seems to be a problem with Italian restaurants, I always have to leave slightly hungry. Or maybe it's just me being too greedy...

freshly shaved parmesan

super fast and attentive service

open kitchen

The Centre, Livingston EH54 6GS - 0150 643 0891