· October 16, 2013
Under: My Life
A few weeks ago, Ken and I were in Chicago for a beautiful wedding at The Ivy Room in Chicago. It’s in the city, very close to Angie’s apartment, and we were lucky enough to see all of our friends during our short time in the city. John met up with us at Pops for Champagne, a champagne bar right next to The Ivy Room in the city. We haven’t seen each other since the wedding so it was really nice to catch up (and we got brunch on Saturday with Angie and her fiance, Nat, too!) The three of us before Ken and I headed to the beautiful ceremony:
Alicia and Mat’s wedding was outdoors on a perfect evening:
And then their reception was indoors, which had a really cool layout with different sized tables (round and square):
With beautiful centerpieces:
Alicia looked beautiful and her husband, Mat, was very handsome, too! It was so nice to see all of Ken’s high school friends when we were at the wedding – and amazing how many friends Ken still has from high school!
My cousin, Andrew, drove into the city one Tuesday night to have dinner with me and Ken (kind of a last minute event so we didn’t have any solified plans before he came into town). I was craving Japanese curry, so we walked over to Katsuhama 55 to satisfy my craving.
We started with a shaved cabbage salad:
It’s literally shaved cabbage that’s been cleaned and piled high…you can pour the dressing on it to your taste:
I ordered one of the specials, a pork katsu with a soup with various root vegetables:
Andrew ordered with yakitori noodles:
And Ken ordered the beef curry:
I don’t think anyone was super happy with their meal; it was over-salted but didn’t have much depth of flavor. Ken was actually more disappointed in the meal than I was (which never happens)! There’s a Katsu-hama near me that is currently closed for construction and I was really looking forward to it reopening, but now I’m going to tread carefully because I’m not sure it’s going to be a good lunch spot! Very disappointing and definitely not worth revisiting.
Yuko, Nick and I needed to catch up after not seeing each other in a while so I suggested getting brunch at ABC Cocina. ABC Cocina is decorated beautifully because it’s part of ABC Home and their food is also pretty awesome because Jean Georges is their chef!
We started off with cocktails – this was after I went to AKTinMotion for an AKTease class and after Nick had taught two SoulCycle classes! Yuko ordered the Bloody Mary:
And Nick and I ordered grapefruit margaritas:
We decided to share everything, so we started off with the guacamole and chips, topped with sunflower seeds:
Then we shared fish tacos:
The fish tacos were definitely a miss – the tortilla was a bit soggy and the fish was too heavy, but the guacamole was very good and worth ordering.
Nick ordered the eggs Benedict:
With a side of deliciously homemade sausage:
Yuko and I shared French toast:
With a side of freshly shucked corn mixed with jalapenos, cilantro and cotija cheese:
The meal was excellent and great for brunch – we had so much fun catching up, having inappropriate conversations while Nick’s students were next to us at the communal table, and promising each other that we wouldn’t let so much time pass without seeing each other. The three of us after lunch:
ABC Cocina is busy during brunch, so I’d recommend making a reservation beforehand!
Last weekend, Kristen, Christine and I met up at RedFarm for lunch and to catch up since we haven’t seen each other in such a long time. We initially tried going upstairs but they were remodeling the upstairs portion of the restaurant, so we went downstairs instead. The hostess said there was either three seats at the communal table or we could sit at the bar and sit next to one another – we decided to sit at the communal table, but when she showed us the seats, two were next to each other and the third was at the other end of the table – that person would’ve been stuck by themselves! Luckily, the bar had a corner free so we sat over there instead.
The waiter said they didn’t have any hot water (so no hot tea was available), but they did have a lot of drinks, which was something he reminded us multiple times! The waiter eventually got the point that we weren’t interested in drinks in the middle of the day so he explained the menu to us and recommended some dishes.
We started with the Katz’s egg roll:
The skin of the egg roll is thick and very crispy and the pastrami that’s stuffed inside is pretty much perfect. We all liked this dish dipped with the mustard on the side.
Next, the pork and crab soup dumplings:
You had to eat these with a spoon (as you do with all soup dumplings) but it was all soup inside, there wasn’t any chunk of meat inside. Also, the price difference between the west village’s RedFarm and Chinatown’s Joe Shanghai is kind of ridiculous; 4 soup dumplings at RedFarm = $14, 8 soup dumplings at Joe Shanghai = $6. I thought the soup dumplings were okay, but definitely not worth ordering again.
We also ordered the shrimp and pea shoots dumplings:
These were very fresh and had large chunks of shrimp inside – definitely worth ordering.
The pork buns:
They steam the pork buns and then fry one side of them, then top it with a semi-sweet sauce. I thought there wasn’t enough flavor in the pork buns but I did like the texture of the fried part of the bun.
Finally, we shared the cauliflower and brussel sprouts with black garlic sauce:
This was very good – well cooked cauliflower and brussel sprouts with lots of garlic sauce.
We all enjoyed brunch/dim sum and thought everything was okay – I had a great time catching up with Christine and Kristen (so much to catch up on!) and I definitely want to return when they finish remodeling the upstairs (and when they have hot water again!)
Last week, Erika was in town from California for work; since we hadn’t seen each other since the wedding, we decided to get together for dinner! Erika keeps tabs on all of the new restaurants in New York (and every where she goes!) so she listed Lafayette as one of the restaurants she wanted to visit. I really wanted to visit, too, so it seemed like it was the perfect place to meet for dinner! I got there after my AKTinMotion class and Erika accidentally went to Commerce instead of Lafayette…she called me and asked if we were still meeting for dinner and I asked her where she was – she said she was at the bar (I was at the bar at Lafayette while she was at the bar at Commerce!) Luckily, we straightened things out and she cabbed it over.
We started with some freshly baked bread and butteR:
For an appetizer, we shared the octopus:
And then shared the tuna nicoise pasta:
The tuna nicoise had canned tuna and fresh tuna mixed with the spaghetti – I preferred the flakey canned tuna to the fresh tuna because the texture and temperature were much better with the canned. The dish was pretty good, but I don’t think I’d order it again.
For the main course, we shared the roasted chicken for two:
The chicken comes with onions and potatoes and has a vinegary sauce. We couldn’t finish so I took it home for lunch the next day (Andrew Carmellini really knows how to roast chickens!)
For dessert, we shared a blueberry dessert with pickled bluberry ice cream, cornbread croutons and a cheese-like ice cream:
It was delicious – a very light and airy dessert that wasn’t too sweet and very refreshing.
After dinner, we stopped by the bakery at the front of the restaurant to pick up caneles!! They sell mini caneles (3 caneles for $4):
They are very miniature but are definitely some of the best caneles I’ve had in the city. We both enjoyed our dinner at Lafayette and then walked home together (rather, I walked with Erika to 14th and then Citibiked home and she went to her hotel!) It was so nice to catch up and to try the new restaurant – I definitely want to take Ken there some time soon.
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