Eating my way through NYC – Day 3

Sorry for the lack of posts. I’ve been pretty busy being a real adult and balancing things out. I recently got dental surgery so that requires me to be on my butt all day. I’ll try to be better with them though 🙂

We started our day looking at the WTC Memorial and walking down to Battery Park. Next we spent an exciting morning biking over the Brooklyn Bridge and trying not to hit tourists as they crossed over into the bike lane. Frustrating and fun at the same time.. probably would not recommend. Our friend goes to Brooklyn Law School so we met up with him over there to check out the sights.

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First stop at Luke’s Lobster right by the pier! We got this sampler – MUCH smaller than it seems. Definitely for one person. It was delicious but I could have used more.

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Part II of lunch includes a Shake Shack chicken sandwich. Always a classic yummm. I would recommend the Stack shack (deep fried mushroom filled with cheddar, beef patty, cheddar, lettuce, and tomato).

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Last meal of the day was at Roberta’s Pizza. Got a lot of recs for this place so we went out of our way to try it. The wait was around 1.5 hours, not bad – so we walked around the area to kill time. I HIGHLY recommend the bee sting pizza – which is the first one pictured. It has mozzarella, pepperoni, drizzled with honey.  Sounds simple but this combination is perfect. We tried to replicate it when we got home too. The other pizza was also great but the bee sting just was mmm. Brooklyn day was a success!

I’m so fancy, you already know.

For my four year anniversary, my boyfriend and I went to Staple and Fancy located in Ballard. It’s located near the popular Walrus and Carpenter, known for their juicy, fresh oysters (post coming soon!). Staple and Fancy is part of the Ethan Stowell Restaurants. This particular restaurant has more of a specialty in Italian food.

Atmosphere: It’s nestled next to two other restaurants in Ballard at the end of Ballard Ave. It has a very rustic, romantic vibe with some outdoor seating. They have some bar seating located in the front. There are 4 person tables along the wall with 2 person tables lined in the middle. We sat at one of the 2 person tables and I thought it was private despite being in the middle of the room. You can see right into Walrus!

Pricing: We had to go fancy for our anniversary so we did the chef’s menu. They also highly recommend this on their menu. It’s $50 per person and the whole table must choose to participate. This consists of 4 courses – antipasta, 2 entrees, and a dessert. There were 6 antipasta dishes to start!

Service: We had a main server who continually checked in on us, described each dish as it came out and had a pleasant smile on his face. I could tell the staff had good communication because they worked as a team and a different person would serve our dishes and clean up when we were done with a plate.

Food:
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Started off the night with this chilled heirloom tomato soup. Out of all of the chilled soups I’ve tried, this is probably my favorite so far. It’s not too tomato-y, but had a nice fragrance to it.

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Another tomato heirloom dish with their house made mozzarella and crackers. This combination actually worked really well together.

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Fried oysters with chili aioli. Nice texture to the crisp outside and soft oyster inside.

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Buttermilk eggs, blue cheese, and radish salad. I thought overall, this was my least favorite antipasta dish.

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Spicy coppa! Cured meat with micro greens and olive oil. This was deliciousssss, especially with their bread.

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Fried squid with fennel, olive, cucumbers, chile, and avocado lime juice! Tasty dish that was well balanced with the fresh, light greens from the heavy squid.

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I know that was a lot of antipasta, onto the first entree – gnocchi! (I was feeling pretty good by the time this came around). This is the potato telefono gnocchi with basil, tomato, and mozzarella. You can see the trend of staple products they use throughout the meal.

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Entree #2 – rib eye with summer veggies and onion puree. This was mighty tender with fatty parts at the edges of the piece. I really loved every single bite of this.

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Finished the meal with chocolate terrine. When I first saw this, I thought, oh man this is going to be super rich. Surprisingly, it wasn’t! The cake was delicious right down to the very bottom. It had a thick layer of crunchies on the bottom that was kind of hard to separate with a spoon, but was sooo worth it. The combo of cake, ice cream, and toffee crumbles in one bite was the perfect combo and a great way to end the meal and night.

Overall: I couldn’t be happier with my experience! We had a filling meal and the last two dishes were certainly my favorite. They left a memorable marker in mind by ending the meal with a bang. The chef’s menu is a great way to get a taste of the restaurant. I recommend making reservations just in case. It was pretty busy when I went, which was around 6:30p on Sunday. Happy eating!

Staple & Fancy on Urbanspoon

Pretty sure this is what pasta is supposed to taste like

There’s this great spot in Pioneer Square that serves deliciousssss pasta! Bad news though, it’s only open during lunch time M-F. It’s called Il Corvo. If you get a chance to try this place, I would definitely recommend it! It’s a hidden, delicious gem. This post will consist of my 2 visits 🙂 I apologize for the iPhone quality pictures!

Atmosphere: Upon walking in, you’ll see a marble community table on the right with small tables everywhere else. It’s a small space that is always bustling with people.

Pricing: $9 for pasta. There’s usually 3 different ones to choose from. They also have some antipasta.

Service: You order at the counter, they’ll give you a number, and they’ll deliver your pasta to you when it’s ready. I’ve found that everyone is generally smiley and nice. They will give great recommendations and answer any questions you have.

Food:

IMG_2680Cavatelli in veal sugo and house made sausage. This was so delicious!! I wish there was a little more sauce, but I was still really happy with the sausages (I wish there was more of that too…).

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Bucatini with pancetta in tomato sauce. Great texture to the bucatini. I’m not a huge fan of tomato sauce, but this was very classic and I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSquid inked gigli in spicy clam sauce. Gosh it doesn’t get any better than this. I’ve been wanting to try squid ink and I finally came on the right day! This was taken at my 2nd stop to Il Corvo.

Overall: This casual pasta place will definitely just give you the right amount of fill for lunch and not put you over the edge to food coma. I’m never disappointed when I come here. I can’t wait to come back and try their pesto pasta. That is by far, my favorite sauce. They change their pasta menu on a daily basis. You can check their blog for more info and past dishes.

Il Corvo on Urbanspoon

Deep Dish Round 2

Next  stop was Lou Malnati’s! This was located on a busy street with lots of cute restaurants, shops, and tons of people walking around. This is towards the end of the Magnificent Mile past the John Hancock Tower. It was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel.

Atmosphere: Upon walking in, I noticed that there is a lot of seating outside on their patio as well inside. I wouldn’t peg it as a pizza place at all. It looks a little fancier than your average pizza parlor.They even have some couches by the entrance they use for seating! They also have a bar in the middle of their restaurant and beyond that there is more seating in the back, some seating in a large room, and a couple of private rooms for events.

Pricing: Pretty comparable to Giordano’s. Our small that we ordered was $14 (we finished that between two people.. for three you’d for sure have to order a medium and possibly have leftovers). Personal pizza is ~$7-9, small ~$11-5, medium ~15-20, large 20+.

Service: Our server was very attentive, friendly, and helped us choose our delicious pizza.

Food:

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We of course had to have a salad to balance our meal. This was the Malnati salad and it was EXCELLENT. It was probably one of the best salads I’ve had and beats Gio’s by far! Romaine lettuce, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, salami, gorgonzola cheese, and their sweet vinaigrette dressing (which made the salad so good). $9 for this size and there is also a family size for $13.

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A slice of heaven. We ended up getting the Malnati Chicago Classic, which had a layer of their lean sausage, extra cheese, and vine ripened tomato sauce on their special buttercrust. My oh my. This crust was much tastier their Gio’s! It was flaky, easy to eat, and crisp to perfection. Their pizza was quite simple with just sauce, cheese, and sausage, but still very satisfying and tasty.

IMG_1287 IMG_1289 Overall: I think this is a great alternative to Giordano’s. It’s different even though they’re both deep dish pizza. If you want a little more complex pizza with toppings I’d go with Gio’s. Lou’s only features a few deep dish pizza’s on their menu like cheese, sausage, pepperoni, the Chicago Classic, the Lou, and crustless (but really.. who wants to get that!?). Not many choices, but they’re quality is what makes it so good.

It’s a tough decision over which deep dish I liked better.. they both have their pros and cons. Gio’s has better selection and more toppings, but the crust at Lou’s is flaky, crispy, and buttery. I would have to say I liked Lou’s a little more due to the crust (I also like sausage, too). If you’re ever in Chicago, I’d say try both and give it a go! Let me know which you liked better 🙂

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Deep Dish Round 1

When I went to Chicago, I heard of two rivaling deep dish pizza spots. Even though I was only there for the weekend, I knew I had to try both! The first restaurant I went to was Giordano’s. It was only a couple of blocks away from our hotel. The one I went to was located on North Rush Streeth, near the Magnificent Mile (huge shopping area). The wait averages around an hour, so you could keep busy by visiting some nearby stores like Zara or Nordstrom Rack.

Atmosphere: Upon entering through the revolving doors, the place gives a cozy, homey feel with Chicago based decor and wood everywhere. There are two floors, with a small and cute elevator lift to the next level. There was a TON of seating. Our wait was probably ~35-40 minutes for a group of 3. The first thing we did after putting our name down was picking out a deep dish pizza and pre-ordering it. I suggest this for everyone! It’ll cut down your wait time when you get to the table because a pizza takes about 30 minutes to cook.

Pricing: Our small pizza was about $20. This includes 6 large slices. Prices range from $15+ depending on the size and toppings. A medium specialty pizza is about $25.

Service: It was excellent! Our waitress kept coming by to refill our water, checked on us, and even poured our sangria carafe for us. She was very smiley and had a cheerful attitude.

Food:

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Busy corner where this particular restaurant was located.

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This delicious sangria tasted like juice. $17. I loved all of the fruit in each glass.IMG_1064

We got the house salad to split among us to feel slightly less guilty for our stuffed pizza. A pretty standard salad with light vinaigrette.
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Here it is! The Chicago classic – green peppers, pepperoni, mushrooms, and onions. It was stuffed with cheese. This thick crust was a little difficult to cut through with a knife and only got thicker and harder towards the edges. I noticed most people did not finish their crust. It was definitely overwhelming to eat all my two slices. This small pizza was very filling and definitely shareable between 2-3 people. We for sure wouldn’t have been able to finish the medium! IMG_1068

My lovely pizza model and tour guide!

IMG_1069Overall: I thought this place was a great first experience of deep dish pizza. This is exactly how I imagined deep dish would be. Although it looks like there is a ton of sauce, it was not too saucy, but tasted more cheesy, I’d say. They also have frozen pizzas you can take home. I believe you can also order online and have them ship it to you! I would recommend that you try this if you’re in Chicago. It’s a chain so you’ll most likely find one nearby.

Giordano's Pizza on Urbanspoon