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Need help with new restaurant ideas for V Day for new parents!

Hi,

My husband and I have a seven-month-old, and haven't been out to dinner in a WHILE. We love our daughter and are having a blast with her, but fancy restaurants aren't as much a part of our lives anymore. We went to a lot of good restaurants before our daughter was born, and I want to take him for lunch on the Saturday after Valentine's Day (lunchtime is when we can get a babysitter) at a great restaurant that we haven't been to before. I'd prefer not to have brunch, but am pretty open. Price is mostly unimportant. I wouldn't consider Per Se or Brooklyn Fare because if we want to spend that kind of money, I'd rather do it at dinner. We have been to the following:
EMP, JG, Marea, The Modern, Scarpetta, WD-50, Peter Luger, Scalini Fedeli, The Odeon, Balthazar, Artisanal, Del Posto, Babbo, Daniel, Torrisi, Craft, Perilla, Kin Shop, Saul, Momofukus Noodle and Ssam, Le Bernardin, and a few others that I can't remember.

I haven't looked at restaurant news in a while and I'm having trouble finding inspiration.

Thanks for your suggestions!

Jan 11, 2013
alysonlaurel in Manhattan

First date (technically, 1.5, I guess) recommendations please! Great food + beer options!

I think the food at Resto isn't special enough for a person who's expecting a great food experience. It's pretty inconsistent.

May 23, 2012
alysonlaurel in Manhattan

Recommendation for husbands birthday - we are foodies but i am pregnant

I am nearing the end of my pregnancy and we've had great meals the whole time. We're doing the standard no raw meat/fish/eggs, no high-mercury fish, no unpasteurized cheese (which is easier to adhere to than you'd think). My husband eats everything.

We went to Babbo, and I called ahead and told them I was pregnant and they said they could accommodate pretty much anything. We did the pasta tasting with friends, and that whole menu was pregnancy-friendly. They didn't need to make any changes at all. They were super-nice about making me mocktails from the bar and just being generally nice.

We went to Daniel and they were also great. We didn't call ahead, but when we got there and realized we wanted the tasting menu, we asked if substitutions could be made. I chose something I wanted, and they said they'd be glad to do it. They gave me a dish that was totally off the menu to replace the foie course, and it was my favorite thing there. They also gave us a baby bib that said, "I'd rather eat at Daniel." They were really generous.

We also went to Del Posto just a couple of weeks ago and they have such a wide menu that it was easy to choose things that worked well for me. They were sweet about my ordering non-alcoholic cocktails and sent us an extra basket of warm orange cream-filled zeppole at the end.

We have been to a few other restaurants that did a great job, but those meals were the highlights. I have felt completely cared for and not at all deprived while at those restaurants.

Keep in mind that EMP and the Modern are Danny Meyer restaurants, and that part of his ethic is great service. I have no doubt that they'll take great care of you at either one of those places.

May 14, 2012
alysonlaurel in Manhattan

What to bring to birthing class last night?

I'm looking for something in individual servings, but great suggestion!

Apr 20, 2012
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

What to bring to birthing class last night?

Hi there!

My husband and I are having a baby in about 4 weeks, and we are nearing the end of our birthing class. We have class on Wednesday nights, and I thought it would be nice to bring some sort of snack for the last night. We haven't gotten all that close with the rest of the couples, but we all do enjoy each other's company and the teacher is really sweet.

I'd love some specific recipe suggestions for things to bring. I'm thinking cupcakes or bar cookies or any individual treats like that. I have to carry them on the subway, so no big, luscious cakes that will topple over.

I want something that's pretty and festive-looking, but that still tastes great. I have seen all the ladies at least eating various things, so I don't think anyone is gluten-free or vegan. If they are, then I guess they'll have to be out of luck.

Thanks for your help!

Apr 20, 2012
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? March, 2012 [old]

I make these triple citrus bars from America's Test Kitchen, and they are just what I need every single time. They have animal crackers in the crust. I could probably find a link to the recipe if you want.

Mar 11, 2012
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

How Do I Make My Brownies More Over the Top?

I like to just melt chocolate chips and peanut butter to make a kind of frosting. Delicious and easy.

Jan 06, 2012
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

Two questions- one about country ham and one about dressing...

Why don't you buy an aluminum one at the grocery store or Target?

Dec 21, 2011
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

5 "Meals" Even Cheaper Than the Toast Sandwich

I read "Cheerios" as "Cheetos." I was only slightly relieved when I saw that it was "Cheerios."

Dec 08, 2011
alysonlaurel in Features

Thanksgiving 2011 -- the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

They sound great! I do them with just prosciutto. It's like asparagus candy! Adding puff pastry is a great idea.

Nov 29, 2011
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

Nice bar for cocktails and maybe some snacks in Park Slope?

The wine bar behind Al di La is nice, and they have good apps. I'm not sure if they do cocktails, though.

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Al Di La
248 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Oct 21, 2011
alysonlaurel in Outer Boroughs

Help for Christmas dessert for in-laws, please?

Now I really want to make ALL of these! Thanks so much for everyone's input so far!

Oct 04, 2011
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

Help for Christmas dessert for in-laws, please?

Oooh, yeah. That's been on my list, too. Thanks for the reminder!

Oct 04, 2011
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

Help for Christmas dessert for in-laws, please?

Those both look great so far! Thanks!

Oct 04, 2011
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

Meals/snacks for a grieving family

I'm so sorry to hear that.

I feel like folks really need foods that require zero preparation, and things they can easily offer to all the folks who come by. Nuts, fruit, etc.

Also, in my experience, it is really helpful to bring over things like coffee, paper coffee cups, napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, and stuff that you just can't bring yourself to worry about when you're feeling that raw.

The main thing is that you're concerned. They'll so appreciate that.

Oct 04, 2011
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

Help for Christmas dessert for in-laws, please?

My mother-in-law and step-father-in-law are likely coming to visit for Christmas. We had originally planned to visit them, but I broke my foot over the summer and need to work more around the holidays than I thought I would.

I am good with the rest of the Christmas menu, but would really appreciate some help with a showstopping dessert.

I work in retail, so the days before Christmas will be extremely busy for me. I will have some time to do things ahead of time, but not a lot of time. I sadly won't have long afternoons to spend doing super elaborate things. That being said, I really want to have a dessert that is beautiful and can be done ahead of time. There will be enough cooking with the dinner that I won't want to make dessert on Christmas Day as well.

On Christmas Eve I'll do a nod to my in-laws' tradition of having appetizers for dinner. My husband makes this great ham, and I'll have make yeast rolls ahead, which I'll parbake and freeze and then bake off and serve with the ham for sandwiches. I'll also have veggies, dip, a really good shrimp cocktail, spiced nuts, and maybe one other little bite of something.

On Christmas morning we'll have donut muffins (we did them last Christmas and they were amazing!), fruit, and bacon. After breakfast and presents, we'll go sightseeing a little.

When we get back I'll make dinner. We'll have leftover ham, cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, and maybe two other sides. I have made all those things a hundred times and I can make lots of the components ahead.

I need a really decadent, gorgeous dessert to serve after Christmas dinner that can be made ahead and stored in my fridge. I am hoping to have something with lots of rich chocolate, since that's my mother-in-law's favorite flavor. I am open to other flavors, though.

Can y'all help? Thank you so much!

Oct 04, 2011
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

What's a REAL banh mi roll supposed to be like?

I don't know what's actually traditional, but I've never had a banh mi on a soft roll. In both the hole-in-the-wall type places and in the more fusion-y places, it's always on a baguette. The baguette is usually softer on the inside, with a more delicate, but VERY crispy outside than a traditional baguette, but it's a baguette nonetheless.

Sep 30, 2011
alysonlaurel in General Topics

Scrambled eggs - add dairy?

I always add sour cream or creme fraiche, but I will sometimes add cream or milk if I don't have other dairy. I have even added water in a pinch.

I think it's better to add a little liquid to the eggs, but I don't think it absolutely has to be dairy.

Sep 28, 2011
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

Best Puff Pastry to purchase?

Dufour, for sure. Also, I've found that the Fresh Direct brand is good, too.

Sep 15, 2011
alysonlaurel in General Topics

Autumn Dinner Party Menu Ideas??

I just made prunes stewed in red wine served over mascarpone and it was AMAZING and would be perfect for fall.

Sep 13, 2011
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

Sunday Brunch near St. Patrick's Catbedral

How close to St Patrick's? There's Sarabeth's on Central Park South between 5th and 6th.

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Sarabeth's
40 Central Park S, New York, NY 10019

Sep 13, 2011
alysonlaurel in Manhattan

Parents in Brooklyn for 8 days

Sounds like you're getting good advice on your BK questions. I would also suggest Applewood for brunch. Also, Clover Club on Smith Street has a FANTASTIC brunch that I just tried for the first time yesterday.

As for B'way, we went to a show after work a couple months ago, so we had to eat around the theater. We discovered that La Silhouette has a good pre-theater menu with great food. Pre-theater menus are normally not our style, but it worked out really well. Check it out and see if it might work for you.

Good luck and have fun!

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Applewood
501 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Clover Club
210 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Sep 12, 2011
alysonlaurel in Outer Boroughs

Kiwiana

We went to Kiwiana a few weeks ago, and loved it completely. The folks at our table tried the salmon ceviche, pickled mussels, the steak tartare, and the beet salad for starters. The standout was the mussels. They were really delicious. Vibrant pickle flavor with the touch of smoke that rounded out all that acid and made them so rich.

We did the fried chicken, snapper, and ribs for entrees, and were really pleased with everything. Everything was well-cooked, with great twists on classic flavors. The broth on my snapper was fantastic, as were the perfectly cooked vegetables it was served with.

We had a mango dessert special that we all really liked, too.

The service was warm, friendly, and attentive.

We live right around the block, so we'll be back a ton. It's nice to have a restaurant of this quality so close!

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Kiwiana
847 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Sep 12, 2011
alysonlaurel in Outer Boroughs

Finding Old Gourmet Magazines

It looks like this website sells them, and has a good collection from the 80's, but if you don't know which one it is, then it might be hard.

I Googled the heck out of Chinese chicken salad from Gourmet, and had a hard time finding a recipe from the 80's. Do you remember any of the ingredients? It must be out there somewhere!

Good luck!

Sep 03, 2011
alysonlaurel in Food Media & News

"If I have _______ in my kitchen, I can eat."

Eggs and some kind of cheese. Always.

Sep 01, 2011
alysonlaurel in General Topics

Critique My Gastronomic Adventure Plans for Labor Day Weekend in NYC?

Yes, I've been for lunch. I agree with Barcelonian that it's great for lunch, but that it's a totally different experience. The turkey really is the best turkey sandwich ever.

Aug 30, 2011
alysonlaurel in Manhattan

And it Was Absolutely Delicious.

I made Magnolia vanilla cupcakes with my grandma's recipe for fudge frosting, and we ate them for days and everyone who came over got cupcakes. A lovely treat to have on hand.

Aug 30, 2011
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

And it Was Absolutely Delicious.

I do a similar thing with creme fraiche, which is delicious, but mayo is so much cheaper! Thanks for the tip.

Aug 30, 2011
alysonlaurel in Home Cooking

14th St. Faves?

Grey Dog is great. I also like Dos Toros on 4th Ave between 13th and 14th. It's cheap and delicious.

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Dos Toros
137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

Aug 30, 2011
alysonlaurel in Manhattan

Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, gets her own show

I think it's not supposed to be literal. I think it's supposed to be tongue-in-cheek funny. Now whether it's funny is a whole different matter. :)

Aug 30, 2011
alysonlaurel in Food Media & News