Restaurant Review: Ristorante Morini

A typical day for me involves taking a rather long, but not arduous, journey uptown by way of Madison Avenue. There are worse avenues to travel. And every day, for quite sometime, I pass Ristorante Morini and make mental notes to eat there. Thanks to Gilt City, I finally got my chance. Being of the kind that spends hours reading Yelp reviews and following food blogs, I was well aware that Ristorante Morini was not only one of the restaurants belonging to Michael White’s Altamarea Group but also that it had a pretty darn good reputation. And judging by my experience it’s a reputation that’s well-earned.

Ristorante Morini BarRistorante Morini

Upon entry, the first thing you’ll notice about Ristorante Morini is their gorgeous bar, which adds character to the white tablecloth atmosphere. The restaurant does consist of two levels, with the top accessible by elevator. Drawing a fair, but not crushing crowd, their prix fixe lunch menu is one of the better ones that I’ve seen in the city. For our appetizers my guest, Rosemary from NYC Style & A Little Cannoli, had Bocconcini – tomato-braised chicken-eggplant meatballs with mozzarella di bufala and garnished with torn basil.

Ristorante Morini Chicken MeatballsRistorante Morini Meatballs

The meatballs were insane – perfectly tender, and packed with flavor. They tasted like they had some kind of sausage in them, but I’m not certain. I had the Tonno – bigeye tuna tartare, crispy fingerlings, radish, and parsnip crema. I’m a massive tartare fan, so I eat tuna pretty often. This tartare was fresh, and I loved the texture added on by the crispy fingerlings, but the most spectacular addition to this tartare was the crisped capers. They tasted like they had been briefly pan fried, which gave this instant pop of saltiness that enhanced the whole dish.

Ristorante Morini Tartare

For our main, she had grilled sea bass, served with cauliflower, pine nuts, golden raisins, and saba. The dish was plated beautifully, and according to Rosemary, very delicious. I had the Milanese, a crispy veal cutlet wrapped in bruschetta, and served with aged balsamico and cream spinach. I loved it, it’s so filling that I couldn’t even finish all of it (which rarely happens, haha!).

Ristorante Morini Sea Bass

For dessert we had the Budino – a sweet italian custard or pudding – this one featured Gianduja, chocolate crema, banana, and hazelnut gelato. Rosemary had the Panna Cotta, one of my favorite desserts, this was a vanilla panna cotta with citrus, pistachio, toasted meringue, and blood orange granita.

Ristorante Morini DulceRistorante Morini BudinoRistorante Morini Panna Cotta

The toasted meringue were so tiny and perfect! They were really reflective of the entire meal which was clearly executed perfectly and done with attention to every detail. I cannot wait to bring my friends and family here – next time I’m definitely trying their pasta, which I’ve heard nothing but good things about! Want to dine at Ristorante Morini yourself? Right now Gilt City had an amazing deal for dinner and brunch at Ristorante Morini – check them out here! While you’re there be sure to check out Gilt City’s other local offerings!

May 11th Event Alert: The Village Voice Brunch Eats Tasting Event!

The Village Voice Brunch Eats Tasting Event | read more at nyctalon.com

Happy Friday! I’m kind of bummed because today is absolutely gorgeous out and I’m stuck at home ridiculously sick. Leave it me to wait until the beautiful beginning of spring to get monstrously sick. Well done immune system, well done. But enough of my complaining, I’m super super excited to share about this amazing event with you guys. The Village Voice, which if you don’t know throws quite a few exciting food events every year, is hosting their FIRST annual The Village Voice Brunch Eats Tasting Event!

The Village Voice Brunch Eats Tasting Event | read more at nyctalon.com

This is the first year of what I expect will be an extremely popular event – I’ve written about it before, NY’ers LOVE their brunch food! The breakfast-for-dinner food event will be held on top of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s Flight Deck & Space Shuttle Pavilion and will feature 20+ of New York City’s top restaurants and bakeries lauded in the Village Voice. Expect their best bites, mouth-watering brunch dishes plus themed cocktails like bellinis, mimosas, bloody marys and (naturally) coffee – all while enjoying music under the stars.

Plus, the Voice has just released the first round of 8 participants including The Black Ant, Butter & Scotch, Calle Dao, Le Fond, Nha Minh, Osteria Cotta, Streets BK, and Underwest Donuts!

VIP Guests will receive a VIP gift bag and have access to the VIP Shuttle Pavilion, while all guests will sample and sip from 20+ attending vendors aboard the top of The Intrepid’s Flight Deck, amongst properller planes that were used during World War II, guests will also enjoy full access to The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum ($22 Value).

Tickets on sale here!

Also, Brunch Eats is accepting volunteer applications until April 27th to assist the Voice team on-site at the event. All volunteers will receive a free general admission ticket to the Village Voice Brooklyn Pour Craft Beer Festival. For more information and to apply, visit here: http://microapp.villagevoice.com/brunch-eats/2016/volunteer.php.

Sponsors for Brunch Eats include: Califia Farms, Whole Foods Market, Vita Coco, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Frames NYC, John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Polar Beverages, and Green Mountain Energy.

EVENT DETAILS:
The Village Voice’s First Annual Brunch Eats Breakfast-For-Dinner Food Event
DATE: Wednesday, May 11th 2016
VENUE: The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s Flight Deck
    12th Ave & W. 46th St. | Manhattan, NY 10036
TICKETS: On Sale: Wednesday, March 30th @ 10AM — http://bit.ly/BrunchEatsTix
General Admission Ticket – $60 | VIP Ticket – $85
TIME: 8PM – 11PM
For the latest on “Brunch Eats” please visit:
www.bruncheats.com

Best for Brunch: Dominique Bistro in the West Village

Brunch is pretty much a NYC staple. It seems like we’ve altogether abandoned the idea of “lunch” for a menu featuring both breakfast and dinner hybrids, and I’m sure not complaining. Brunch is my new favorite meal (followed shortly by dessert), and finding great brunch spots is sort of a personal mission of mine. A couple of weeks ago, with fork in hand, my friend and I were invited to stop by Dominique Bistro over in the West Village. Located on the cutest corner, you can’t help but feel like you’ve stepped away from the bustle of everyday busyness when you arrive at Dominique Bistro.

DOms NYC

 

That relaxed kind of energy is maintained throughout. The inside of Dominique is modern, but relaxed and the service is attentive, but not overwhelming. You won’t be bothered by persistent servers here. In the mornings quite a few people stop by just for the coffee, and when we arrived there were already a few couples brunching. Dominique Bistro does sport an open kitchen set-up, but it’s all very well done and you definitely don’t hear the clatter of plates or pans coming from that corner. In keeping with that elegant Parisian feel, the actual restaurant is pretty small, but tall ceilings and large open windows open the space up in such a way as you don’t feel crowded at all.

Dominique Bistro in the West Village, NYC | read more at nyctalon.comDominique Bistro in the West Village, NYC | read more at nyctalon.com

The brunch menu is ideal – you have savory options like Truffle Eggs, Eggs Provencal, and the classic brunch stand-bys Eggs Benedict and Avocado Toast, as well as a sweeter option in the Belgian Waffles served with fresh berries and chocolate mousse. I opted for the Duck Hash, boasting duck confit, potato, poached eggs, lardons, and arugula, while my friend had Eggs Benedict with prosciutto cotto.

Dominique Bistro in the West Village, NYC | read more at nyctalon.comDominique Bistro in the West Village, NYC | read more at nyctalon.com

I’m not going to lie, I should have stopped half-way through the Duck Hash. It was insanely filling, but the flavors were so on point that I had to restrain myself from licking the plate. The Duck Confit was perfectly tender, and the lardons were crisp, a perfect accompaniment to the poached eggs (also done perfectly). There was no part of that dish that I didn’t love. My friend loved her Eggs Benedict. “This is exactly how brunch should be” she said, sipping her expertly made cappuccino “great food, done well enough that it almost feels too decadent for breakfast”.

Dominique Bistro in the West Village, NYC | read more at nyctalon.com

Since then I’ve been poring over their menu, making plans to eventually head back to dinner. With entree options like Bouillabaisse, Duck Confit, and my personal favorite – Beef Bourguignon, Dominique Bistro is perfect for brunch, but definitely sounds like a sound option for dinner too! I can’t wait to head back!

Dominique Bistro
14 Christopher St
New York, NY 10014
(646) 756-4145

http://www.dominiquebistro.nyc/

La Morena Chipotle Honey Garlic Game Time Wings

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #VivaLaMorena #CollectiveBias

Believe it or not, I used to play little league when I was a kid. I was assigned to play either shortstop or outfield and abhorred the precious weekend hours that I spent practicing, or worse, sweltering in the boondocks of the baseball field wearing the world’s itchiest uniform. Surprisingly, I did not make a career out of playing America’s favorite pastime. While I didn’t enjoy playing sports as a kid, I really do enjoy watching them. Football season has always been my favorite, I don’t know why, but football parties tend to have way better food, at least in my house!

chipotle honey garlic game time wings

My family are sports people – especially the guys, during certain games we’re known to throwdown when it comes to food. My brother even does these potato skins for whichever team is playing – for instance he’ll make Texas chili potato skins if a Texas team is playing, or something with apple if a New York team is playing, etc. It’s really cool and super tasty.

La Morena at Walmart

But my favorite part of game day eating is the chicken wings! I am obsessed with them – buffalo, barbeque, fried, baked, you name it and I’ll definitely eat it. My mom and I have been using this great wings recipe for a while, and have begun to tweak and test it out with other flavors and recently we hit upon a chicken wing recipe winner! I had stopped by Walmart to pick up some ingredients for our game day party, when I spotted La Morena. If you guys have seen my Chipotle Honey BBQ Ribs Recipe then you know, I’m a massive fan of La Morena’s sauces and peppers. Craving some of that savory heat that the chipotle sauce lends, I popped it in my cart.

La Morena Chipotle SauceLa Morena Chicken Recipe

After two rounds (one may have been completely gratuitous), I nailed down this recipe. These Chipotle Honey Garlic Wings are pretty much addictive. If you’re like me and love sweet and spicy flavors, you are going to love them. The sauce used for these wings has a sort of asian base – with the addition of soy sauce and mirin, then La Morena chipotle sauce comes in and gives it this great kick. They are so, so good. Here’s a fun fact: did you know that La Morena has been around for over 25 years! It’s the only brand I use for chipotle sauce, and I had no idea they’ve been around so long!

Chicken WingChipotle Honey Garlic Chicken

You can cook these wings covered or uncovered, but I recommend uncovering it halfway through to thicken out the sauce and allow the wings to crisp up. Also, I like to use onion powder instead of onion, simply because if you dust this on the top of your wings after applying the sauce, it dries out the skin a bit and gives the sauce something to stick on to. But this is purely a case of preference, you can add your onion powder directly to the sauce/marinade or just use one small finely chopped onion instead. Once the wings are done and you’ve removed them from the pan, if you find the remaining drippings/sauce to be too thin, just quickly boil it up with a teaspoon or two of cornstarch. If it’s too thick, just whisk in a quarter cup of boiling hot water directly in the pan.

Honey Garlic Wings

These wings make for epic game day food! What are your favorite game day snacks? How would you use La Morena to add more flavor to your game time celebration?

Chipotle Honey Garlic Wings
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Ingredients
  1. 2-3lbs Chicken Wings
  2. 4-6 Cloves of Garlic Minced
  3. ⅓ Cup of Soy Sauce
  4. ⅓ Cup of Ketchup
  5. 4-5 tblsp of La Morena Chipotle Sauce
  6. ⅓ Cup of Honey
  7. 1 Tbsp Mirin (rice wine vinegar is also an alternative)
  8. 1 ½ Tbsp Brown Sugar
  9. 2-3 Tablespoons of Onion Powder (or one small onion, finely diced)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°. Place your chicken wings in a deep baking dish.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the garlic, soy sauce, ketchup, chipotle sauce, honey, mirin, and brown sugar. Spoon over the chicken wings. Dust the top of your wings with onion powder.
  3. Bake covered at 375° for 20-30 minutes, uncover and continue to cook for an additional 20-30 minutes or until done.
  4. The leftover drippings should be a thick sauce. If it’s too thick, whisk in ¼ cup of boiling hot water. If it’s too thin, transfer to a saucepan, add 2 tsp of cornstarch and boil until it has reached the thickness of a sauce.
  5. Pour the sauce over your wings and serve. Garnish with cilantro (or even sesame seeds) if you like and enjoy!
The NYC Talon http://nyctalon.com/

Salted Caramel & Pear Oatmeal

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BringYourBestBowl #Target #CollectiveBias

I have such fond memories in regards to oatmeal. Every morning, when I was in pre-k, my teacher would start off our day with oatmeal. I can still recall sitting at the tiny table with all my friends, while my teacher doled out small bowls of fragrant Quaker® oatmeal and passed around bananas and bright oranges. I have countless memories circling the unforgettable oatmeal raisin cookies that my mom makes. They’re perfect plucked fresh from the oven and served with a frosty glass of milk. Now, admittedly, I’m something of an oatmeal nut. There is something so comforting about the creaminess and warmth of a bowl of oatmeal. It’s quite literally the perfect breakfast, and its versatility knows no bounds.

Salted Caramel and Pear Oatmeal Recipe

The inspiration behind this oatmeal goes back about four years ago, where a friend of mine introduced me to the magic that is pears, draped in caramel, and sprinkled (liberally) with crushed hazelnuts. You could, of course, add hazelnuts to this recipe too. In fact you can add all sorts of add-ons from hazelnuts to almonds, dried cranberries, walnuts, or even freeze dried strawberries – I definitely encourage taking this recipe and making it your own! Like those fateful caramel pears, this oatmeal features salted caramel, pears, and brown sugar cinnamon. Yum!

Oatmeal PrepQuaker Oats at TargetThicker Oatmeal

There are two ways to make this recipe, dry or creamy. I’ve detailed the creamy recipe in the space below, but to make it dry (like in the image above) you just toast the oatmeal in the pan beforehand, which brings out a more nuttier flavor, and cook it for half the time, with half the wet ingredients. You can add milk or cream post-cooking if you like. I picked up my Quaker® Old Fashioned Oats canister at Target, so it’s big enough to make plenty of breakfasts or snacks with enough left over to experiment with too. They actually have end cap (end of aisle) displays with some oatmeal inspiration, things like nuts and dried fruit are perfect additions to your Quaker® Oats bowl!

Quaker Oats OatmealSalted Caramel Pear OatmealDelicious Salted Caramel Pear Oatmeal

The creamy version is a recipe perfected by my mom. It’s simple, but by cooking it longer you get an oatmeal that is seriously to die for. I’m not even kidding, we’ve fought for the last spoonful over here, haha! And if you want an extra special, very rich treat, you can use half and half instead of milk which will give your oats a “special occasion” sort of decadence.

Do you have an amazing or simply delicious oatmeal recipe? It’s time to Bring Your Best Bowl with Quaker® Oats! Quaker® Oats is actually holding this epic National Bring Your Best Bowl Contest where you can enter your favorite oatmeal recipe for a chance to win $250,000! And the top recipe entries will be created and sold in stores in time for this fall! Your oatmeal bowl recipe entries should have between 2-5 ingredients. The Bring Your Best Bowl contest is running from now until March 12th 2016 – so grab your Quaker® Oats and get cookin’! This contest is for US residents only, you can view contest views and more details by clicking here. Good luck!

Salted Caramel & Pear Oatmeal
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For the Oatmeal
  1. 1 Cup of Quaker Oats
  2. 1 Cup of Water
  3. ½ Cup of Milk (or half-and-half)
  4. Pinch of Salt
Topping
  1. ¼ Cup of a Pear, cubed
  2. Caramel Sauce (I have salted caramel, you can add a pinch of fleur de sel yourself for the same flavor)
  3. Cinnamon Sugar (1:1 Brown Sugar to Cinnamon ratio)
Instructions
  1. In a small sauce pan set on a medium flame, place water, salt, and oats.
  2. As soon as mixture comes to a rolling boil lower heat to a low flame so that the contents of the pot do not boil over.
  3. Stir mixture frequently until liquid becomes thickened (this will take a few minutes).
  4. Cook for three more minutes stirring frequently. The mixture should begin to look opaque.
  5. Add milk to pot and continue stirring and cooking on low flame for three more minutes or until thickened.
  6. To serve place oatmeal into bowl, sprinkle cubed pears, and drizzle salted caramel and cinnamon sugar to taste. Enjoy!
The NYC Talon http://nyctalon.com/

The Coffee Connoisseurs Gift Guide

Let’s face it, we’re all coffee connoisseurs. I know my morning cup of coffee is a highlight of my day, and when I don’t get my mitts around a good cup things tend to go downhill, haha! But there are those hardcore coffee people – passionate people who are all about coffee, from bean to brew. I like to pretend I have all this snazzy coffee knowledge, but the truth is that there is so much more to coffee than a favored drink – and beyond that knowledge is the ability to put it to use and make an amazing cup of coffee. A friend of mine is like a coffee expert, he geeks out over beans, roasts, and brewing equipment. It’s pretty cool. If you’ve got a friend like that, then I’ve pulled together the perfect little gift guide for your coffee connoisseurs – I’d say giving a gift like this practically guarantees you a perfect cup of coffee from your giftee!

Pour Over

KitchenAid Pour Over

With a sleek, functional design, KitchenAid’s Pour Over coffee brewer will be the sleekest object on your countertop. Easy to brew with one-touch custom settings, KA has totally brought the coffee house experience home. The Pour Over precisely heats and pulses the flow of water, steeping in the same manner as the manual pour over process, allowing the grounds to “bloom.” The result is bright, clean and full flavored coffee without diluting due to over-soaking.

Stir & Sip

mugs

A gorgeous mug is a great addition to the Pour Over – serve up your coffee in the prettiest way possible! These mugs are from Anthropologie, but finding a mug that best represents you or has some sort of sentimental significance is also great.

Siphon Brewer

KA Phase 2-4

Ready to serve up the perfect cup of velvety craft coffee? For the more dramatic, holiday host, KitchenAid has simplified the science and traditionally complex method of siphon brewing (full immersion vacuum brewing) to an approachable (and entertaining) process at home. Produces a medium-bodied and complex yet velvety cup of coffee.

Precision Press

2015Jun23-KA-Precision-Press-017-uncropped

Love a bold and full-bodied coffee? We do too! KA has developed a French press that gives coffee lovers precise control over every part of the brewing process through the integrated scale and timer. Convenient, and a sure-fire amazing gift for coffee lovers everywhere!

Grind It

KicthenAid Grinder

Now that you’ve got the equipment for a perfect cup of coffee, make sure your beans are getting the proper treatment too! The KitchenAid Burr Grinder allows you to choose your ground size with 15 different grind settings – including a very fine grind to French press grind, how amazing does that sound?!

Alright, who else is ready for an amazing cup of coffee now?! I can practically smell the beans! To check out all of KitchenAid’s craft coffee appliances click here. Also, you can totally follow KitchenAid on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for new updates and product discounts!

So, do you know anyone who’d like to see one of these under the tree? (*raises hand*)

KitchenAid Logo*This post is sponsored by Single Edition Media on behalf of KitchenAid*

Beer & Cheese at Beecher Cheese with Gilt City

Cheese is basically one of my love languages. I have an overwhelming fondness for cheese that manifests itself by way of weekly cheese-eating sessions complete with a hipster-approved marble and slate board towering with Gouda, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Goat, Buffalo, grapes, dried fruit, nuts, the works. So, naturally, when Gilt City asked if I’d like to attend a Beer & Cheese Class at Beecher Cheese I said “yes”!

Beecher Cheese NYC Gilt City

I have to admit, prior to the class I had heard a lot about Beecher Cheese, especially about their mac & cheese. But I was totally unprepared with how drool-worthy the store actually smells. When you walk through the doors you are instantly hit with the most comforting scent of butter and cheese – it’s pretty amazing (especially if you love cheese, mac & cheese, and anything decadent and comforting). As I’m writing this I am literally kicking myself with regret (okay, not literally) because I didn’t get any of their famed mac!

Beecher Cheese NYC Gilt City

Despite my pasta-less evening, I had an amazing time at the class. I am not a beer aficionado. I couldn’t tell you what a hop was if my life depended on it, I probably can’t even pour a beer correctly (assuming there is a right way to pour it). But you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy these classes – the “instructors”, or as I like to call them “genius food guides”, are obviously experts in their subjects but they are so personable that you don’t even notice that you’re learning!

Beecher Cheese NYC Gilt City

I learned the difference between an ale and lager, found out so many interesting beer history tidbits, and – thanks to Beecher Cheese’s resident Cheesemonger – I also found the answer to one of my most pertinent cheese questions ever – what exactly are those crystals that make my favorite aged gouda so darn amazing? Turns out those crystals are neither salt nor sugar as I had suspected. They’re actually composed of tyrosine – non-essential amino acids that form with age, and they’re often added into the cheese during the cheesemaking process. I also found out that there’s pretty much an underground group of cheesemakers that are not only incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about everything cheese, but they also meetup at a warehouse (usually in Long Island City) for an epic cheese competition with competitors from around the globe. Um, cheese experts, where can I get a ticket?

Altogether it was an incredibly fun evening, I learned so much. Even if you’re there just for the beer & cheese, it’s so great to listen to people who are passionate about what they do, plus the cheese was amazing (of course). I love that Gilt City features these sort of experiences – it’s such a great way to get out, get to know your city, and do and try new things! Thanks for having me Beecher Cheese, I cannot wait to return (and finally try that mac)!

Find your next adventure with Gilt City here! Use my link to get $25 off your first Gilt City purchase of $50 or more.

Recipe: Sweet Chili Garlic Wings

Sweet Chili Garlic Wings Recipe | read more at nyctalon.com

I LOVE chicken wings!!! Yes, I admit it, chicken wings are my thing. However, my favorite sort of wings – crispy and dosed in a good amount of great sauce – can be rather high in carbs. While perusing through the interweb looking for a possible alternative to frying and battering I came across a genius idea by the people over at the Serious Eats food lab where they used baking powder on their wings. By some mystical quizzical science that I am not going to pretend I can explain in this post, it turns flabby wings into deliciously crispy wings! No frying! No flour! What is not to love? I mixed the baking powder with my own proprietary seasonings that I will share below (fear not, this is not some list of 16 spices but rather a paltry 4). For those who may worry about any kind of aftertaste left by the baking powder, no worries, I’ve made these two times in the past week and there is no detectable aftertaste. Aluminum free baking powder can definitely be used as well for those with more sensitive palates.

Sweet Chili Garlic Wings Recipe | read more at nyctalon.comSweet Chili Garlic Wings Recipe | read more at nyctalon.com
I took this recipe a step further and added a spicy sweet garlic sauce to bring these wings to a whole other level. Trust me these are amazing and delicious, and best of all they’re low in carbs! You can conversely use any kind of sauce including plain ole’ hot sauce as an additional accompaniment to these beauties.

Bon Appetit’!

Sweet Chili Garlic Wings Recipe
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For the Crispy Chicken Wings
  1. 2 lbs of chicken wings separated at the joints
  2. 2 tablespoons baking powder
  3. 1 ½ teaspoons of smoked paprika
  4. 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  5. 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  6. ½ teaspoon black pepper
  7. ½ teaspoon salt
For the Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce
  1. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  2. 4 cloves of garlic finely minced
  3. 6 tablespoons sugar substitute (I used Splenda)
  4. ¼ cup soy sauce
  5. 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  6. ¼ teaspoon molasses
  7. ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  8. 7 ounces chicken broth (1/2 of a 14.5 oz can)
  9. 2 tablespoons water
  10. 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
For the wings
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with coconut oil or Pam spray.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Place wings in a large bowl and sprinkle dry mixture over wings and mix thoroughly with hands. When all wings have been coated in mixture place on prepared cookie sheet. Make sure there is room between wing pieces depending on the size of your cookie sheet you may need to use two.
  3. Place wings in oven at 350 for 15 minutes and then increase heat to 400 and cook for 35 minutes.
For the sauce
  1. Place small saucepot on low heat. Heat sesame oil and sauté minced garlic. When garlic is golden at the edges add soy sauce, white vinegar, chicken broth, molasses and red pepper flakes. When liquid begins to simmer add sugar substitute. In a small cup mix water and arrowroot powder. When the sauce begins to boil add the arrowroot water mixture and stir. Turn off sauce. This makes a lot of sauce so I usually save half, it freezes very well.
  2. Garnish with chopped cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.
  3. Enjoy!
The NYC Talon http://nyctalon.com/

Brunch with Gilt City: Catch NYC

I don’t think there are words that describe how relaxing and fun it is to have brunch with one of your closest friends (okay, my sister) on a rooftop surrounded by the city sights and sounds of the Meatpacking District. But I’ll try. This weekend, thanks to Gilt City and Catch – a trendy restaurant in the heart of the Meatpacking District – I was able to try Catch’s exclusive Gilty Menu.

Brunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.comBrunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.com

To start we both ordered the Catch Roll, which features tender crab, salmon, and miso-honey. My sister and I adored this roll – we eat a lot of sushi, and we could tell right off that the salmon and crab were fresh and we loved how they torched the roll whilst serving it. As a party of the Gilty Menu, you also get a glass of Chandon Delice – which is delicious by the way!

Brunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.comBrunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.com

You get about four options for your entree, and trust me it is hard to pick with tasty brunch opportunities like Blueberry Pancakes with orange segments and blueberry butter or Organic Chicken Breast salad with Tuscan kale and caraway seed vinaigrette. Alas, we both settled on the Lobster Roll, served with old bay chips. There’s something irresistibly decadent (and dare I say New York) about eating lobster while sipping bubbly on a roof downtown.

Brunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.comCatch NYC Rooftop Brunch

The lobster roll was hands down the best lobster roll I’ve had in the city. I’m not kidding, and I’ve had quite a few rolls. There was a generous portion of meat (and ample claw meat at that), but not too much that it becomes overwhelming. The lobster salad had a delicate citrus flavor and benefited greatly from the presence of chives, a buttery potato roll, and a side of old bay potato chips.

Brunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.com

For dessert we were served a chocolate cookie sundae with caramel chocolate sauce and the ice cream of the day – there definitely was a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and the green colored scoop tasted of either matcha or basil – it was literally the most perfect dessert for our brunch. Honestly, Catch served up one of my most favorite meals that I’ve had this summer – I definitely recommend that you pounce on their deal with Gilt City!

The Gilt City Catch offer is a part of Gilt City’s Best of Gilt City collection! Snap up your next NYC experience by checking out the entire collection here!

Best of Gilt City Collection | read more at nyctalon.com

A New Chapter at NYC’s California Pizza Kitchen

Having only ever experienced California Pizza Kitchen via their pizzas in the frozen food aisle, I was more than intrigued when I was invited to experience their (currently, only) NYC location. Located on 30th and Park, it’s definitely an ideal space. Upon entry I was immediately taken with the decor – it’s very open, while also being very inviting. I can easily see having lunch with friends or dinner with coworkers here. Now it’s time to prepare yourself for food overload – don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;)

California Pizza Kitchen NYC Review  | nyctalon.com

In time for their 30th anniversary, California Pizza Kitchen has recently added some exciting new items to their repertoire as a part of their Next Chapter menu. While known primarily for their pizzas, CPK offers a plethora of other meal options that are absolutely not to be missed. My guests (crazy food lovers that they are) and I were able to try quite a few of these. To start off we had their Maine Lobster Flatbread – the lobster salad itself was creamy and involved generous portions of lobster meat, while the flatbread provided a buttery and crunchy contrast. After tasting that we kind of figured things could only go uphill from there, and we were right.

California Pizza Kitchen NYC Review  | nyctalon.com

We ordered their new Fresh Strawberry Mango Cooler – which is non-alcoholic and ridiculously delicious and refreshing – it was so good that I would go back for it alone. But we also got to try their Seasonal Harvest Sangria, Blueberry Ginger Smash, and California Crush – which were all amazing. CPK’s drinks are definitely all on point.

California Pizza Kitchen NYC Review  | nyctalon.com

Next we had their Crispy Thin Crust Pear & Gorgonzola Pizza, Chicken Tequila Fettucine, and their new Hearth Roasted Halibut – wild caught Alaskan Halibut roasted on a cedar plank with grilled asparagus, butternut squash, farro, and baby kale. The Halibut was so tender, it really tasted as if it was cooked sous vide because it was so perfectly done. The same goes for the pasta – as someone with Italian roots and who loves to cook, I abhor overcooked pasta – but my fettucine was full of flavor and perfectly al dente.

California Pizza Kitchen NYC Review  | nyctalon.comCalifornia Pizza Kitchen NYC Review  | nyctalon.com

We also tried their new seasonally inspired Roasted Chicken + Seasonal Vegetables – deliciously crispy-skin chicken breast in lemon garlic sauce with roasted vegetables and mediterranean herbs. It’s actually my favorite item on the CPK menu now – the chicken was tender, had a crunchy exterior and the vegetables were sweet and buttery. We also tried some of their signature pizzas, the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza and the Jamaican Jerk Chicken.

California Pizza Kitchen NYC Review  | nyctalon.comCalifornia Pizza Kitchen NYC Review  | nyctalon.com

Not quite finished, we also had their new Fire-Grilled Rib Eye which is 12oz of USDA choice ribeye grilled with housemade Pinot Noir sea salt and topped with creamy bleu cheese butter and served with roasted fingerling potatoes and lemon-garlic wild arugula salad. I’m a massive steak fan, and I have to say it was pretty epic – it had that excellent fire-grilled flavor and was ideally cooked (and served, I might add). Our last main course was the Cedar Plank Salmon – North Atlantic salmon roasted on a cedar plank in an hearth oven with smoked paprika and lime and served with white corn & spinach succotash and topped with Feta. Also another winner – I loved that CPK has such a great variety. If you’re looking for chicken, steak, fish, pizza or veggies – they have it!

California Pizza Kitchen NYC Review  | nyctalon.comCalifornia Pizza Kitchen NYC Review  | nyctalon.com

For dessert, we ordered Key Lime Pie and at the recommendation of CPK Marketing Manager Brandon, we tried the popular Butter Cake. Oh my goodness, that butter cake. I don’t think my guests have stopped talking about that cake yet. In fact, I don’t think I’ve stopped talking about that Butter Cake. It’s pretty much like the most ideal dessert ever – it’s buttery, it’s sweet, it’s creamy and oh boy, well, you just have to have it. Trust me.

California Pizza Kitchen NYC Review  | nyctalon.com

If you haven’t yet stopped by a CPK then definitely do, and if you’re in the city I definitely recommend that you stop by our California Pizza Kitchen and give their New Chapter menu items a try. To check out their New Chapter menu and to find a CPK near you click here, also be sure to follow California Pizza Kitchen on twitter & facebook to stay updated on their newest promotions and menu items!

*Thank you California Pizza Kitchen for such an amazing experience – we can’t wait to return!*