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Navy – New York, NY

What a neighborhood gem!  So unassuming from the outside but cozy and sweet once you walk in the front door.  The staff couldn’t have been more amazing.  So accommodating and welcoming.  They truly made the experience twice as great.

Everything we ordered was outstanding.  The unique flavors stood out remarkably making each dish so interesting.  I kept taking bites trying to figure out what I was tasting.  I would order everything we had that night over and over again.  What a meal!  If only we lived there, they would surely know us by name.

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Crudo – coco-lime, avocado, pickled chili, cilantro

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Lettuces – puffed kasha, buttermilk dressing

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Smoked Mackerel – carrots, charred scallion, olive aioli

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Crispy Sweet Potato – olives, almonds, sumac yogurt

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Zucchini & Broccoli Fritters – nigella, mustard seed, dill

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Pork & Beans – smoked butterbeans, braised cabbage

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Carbone – New York, NY

Wow!  I don’t know where to start.  From the moment you walk into this restaurant you know you’ve made the right choice (actually, maybe the first clue was when the concierge at our hotel was shocked I actually got a reservation).  From the outside it’s completely nondescript.  You can’t see anything because there are drawn velvet curtains hiding what lies within.  When you open the door you feel as if you’ve stepped into an old Italian mobster hangout with some serious class.  The photos on the website do the decor and atmosphere NO justice whatsoever.

I loved everything about this meal.  The staff was great, the food was so flavorful that I had to tell myself to stop before I got too full and I loved the decor.

I have to mention that I had a little bit of order envy once I saw the woman next to me get her pasta.  I believe it was the Fettuccine con Fungi.  At first glance on the menu I assumed it was pasta with mushrooms when in fact it was fresh truffles on top…huge miss there but there’s always next time!  I highly, highly recommend the artichoke hearts.  They were the most flavorful presentation I’ve ever had and I could eat these all day long.  The Angel Hair AOP was loaded with flavor all the while being nice and light.  Tasty, tasty, tasty all around!

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Octopus Pizzaiolo

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Artichoke Hearts

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Angel Hair AOP

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Cheesecake

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Estela – New York, NY

We heard about this restaurant from our chef friends in Seattle and weren’t able to go last year so we made it a priority this time.  Definitely worth it.  Such a cozy intimate spot that makes for a relaxing dinner.

My husband LOVED the beef tartare.  There were crispy bits of sunchoke in it which gave it great texture.  I can never say no to burrata when I see it on a menu.  This one was topped on a delicious piece of grilled bread surrounded by bright salsa verde.  So good!

Our mains included the fried arroz negro with squid and romesco and the swordfish with avocado, Meyer lemon and almonds.  Both were outstanding.  Not one bit was left on our plates.  Dessert was just as incredible.  Panna cotta with vinegar and honey – perfection!

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Burrata with salsa verde and charred bread

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Beef tartare with sunchoke

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Fried arroz negro with squid and romesco

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Panna cotta with vinegar and honey

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Black Seed Bagels – New York, NY

What’s more quintessential New York than a great bagel?!  Well there are lots of things but I always try to find THE best bagel when I’m there.  Last year it was Russ & Daughters (delicious) – this year Black Seed.  Because I’m pregnant I couldn’t indulge in their homemade lox, however I tend to be a purist with my bagels anyway.  An everything bagel with plain cream cheese…it’s been my order for years.  This one didn’t disappoint and I would definitely go back.  Maybe for an egg sandwich next time.  Yum!

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Shake Shack – New York, NY

My husband and I try to get to NYC every year and after years of crossing off big hitters from our list of restaurants we finally indulged in Shake Shack for lunch.  Let’s just say we were disappointed we didn’t have more time in our schedule to go back.  It was that tasty!  Crinkle cut fries perfectly salted, a delicious cheeseburger (single or double) and the biggest mistake was not ordering wine and/or a concrete (frozen custard ice cream blended with whatever mix-in you desire).  Next time!  With 14 locations in New York alone, it’s not hard to find one close by.  I guarantee there will be a line out the door but it moves fast.

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Peasant – New York, NY

Our trip to New York this past December was different from our others in the past such that we didn’t have any agenda nor did I make any reservations ahead of time.  Typically I set my alarm for 6am 2 months in advance and call to get into whichever restaurant I have on my list and then I go back to bed.  We’ve done the 3 hour Michelin star meals, the fussy food where you debate grabbing some street food on the walk home.  This time we wanted to eat like locals, explore the different neighborhoods and that’s exactly what we did.

Our first night there we got in late and asked our concierge what they recommended for great Italian food near the hotel (The Mercer Hotel in Soho).  Immediately she said, “Peasant!” and off we went to dinner.  The ambiance is great, rustic but refined.  Chef Frank DeCarlo really prides himself on the kitchen which is meant to be exactly like a true old world kitchen in Italy or France.  Rustic brick wood-fired ovens, a rotisserie…the only gas is so they can boil water we were told.  Let’s not forget to give credit where due…he laid the brick himself!

The food…where to start?!  We couldn’t help ourselves and had to order the Burrata with wood-roasted tomatoes and the Polpi in Purgatorio (baby octopus, hot chiles).  Both were outstanding!  Perfectly presented, cooked, prepared…delicious and I would order them again in a heartbeat.  For our main courses we chose the Gnocchi al Funghi (brown butter, sage, mushrooms) and Tagliolini al Ragu di Vitello (homemade tagliolini, veal ragu).  I never use this blog as a forum to talk badly about a restaurant or dish (I just don’t write about them) but in this case I wanted to because I love this restaurant so much but this is where we felt there was something lacking.  Neither dish had much flavor which was surprising seeing as our starters were incredible.  The pastas lacked salt for one which probably would have made a huge difference.  This all being said I would most likely order one of the pizzas and/or meat/fish dishes next time (we were told by other locals after the fact that their pizzas are to die for).  For dessert we went with the Budino di Pane e Cioccolato Bianco (white chocolate bread pudding with almonds, figs and white chocolate gelato).  I typically stray away from white chocolate but I’m a sucker for bread pudding and I’m glad we tried it because it was incredible!

One more thing to note, I guess there’s a great wine room down below that wasn’t even on our radar.  Just something to note!

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