Unlike a certain high-profile country crooner who shall remain nameless (Garth Brooks), i have friends who sit in places so high it would make your nose bleed. How so?, you may ask. Well, let me put it to you like this "I got friends who work at restaurants that make food taste real good." Yup, I am one pretty well-connected fat kid in this manzana city.
You see, among my circle of friends, we are basically divided into two camps. The first is that which I, sometimes unfortunately, belong to - those who started working in an entry-level office job after graduation, accepting the low pay and long-dreaded office environment as necessary sacrifices to be made for a higher ambition. A "career," if you will. The other half enjoy high pay, non 9-5 work hours, and incredible flexibility for vacation schedules, and mostly work in the restaurant industry. This wasn't really an option for me, though I learned that fact the hard way. (In college I had given it a shot, but soon discovered that my uncontrollable and incessant obsession with eating made working in a restaurant impossible for me. I would constantly hawk over customers' meals (especially the anorexic ones! I was so pro-ana.), making sure to rush off their untouched leftovers to the back and gobble it down as soon as possible. Needless to say, especially when I was working as a hostess in some retardedly chic soho restaurant that shall remain nameless (Thom, now Kittichai), this didn't really go over so well with upper management.)
But I digress. Last Wednesday, a couple of us went to visit our good friend and excellent waitress Lucy, who works at Olives in Union Square. She was cocktailing, and we thought we'd pay her a visit and protect her from the drunken lobby patrons.
Do you see how menacing we are? Grrr.
Dark & Stormy
Ginger beer + rum. Recently I realized that this summer favorite is actually a great winter drink, and probably spring and fall as well.
Gnocchi with duck sausage, grapefruit and celery root
Never content to have only drinks, especially at a restaurant as fine as Olives, I decided to order a snack. I'm not a huge pasta fan, but I chose this gnocchi dish (one of the night's specials) because I wanted something lighter (this is Olives, afterall), and because I wanted to try the duck sausage with grapefruit. The light and savory sauce was able to seamlessly blend the separate textures and strong flavors of the three ingredients into one robustly well-rounded dish.
I was so happy with the gnocchi that I made Lucy give my compliments to the chef. Reaffirming my suspicion that I love every single person named Sebastian, Sebastian the chef sent us this dish to try. Cheesy, shrimpy and mushy - perfect end of winter comfort food!
Jesse arrived late, fresh from a debate at Cooper Union's Grand Hall (that once hosted the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates) between Newt Ginrich and Mario Cuomo. Clearly, he needed some fresh french fries to wash down all those big ideas.
Fried to perfection, with parmesean and rosemary and bits of parsley, and garlic aioli for dipping. Everytime I eat them, I have to emphasize how much I love fries. Nothing like scrumptious simplicity.
Our friend Rachel recently started working at this Park Slope Restaurant (Bergen between 5th and Flatbush), and on Tuesday nights they have this genius five course tasting menu for $20. The best part of this is that it's a fixed menu, so you don't have to make ANY decisions, save for that of whether or not to get the fixed wines to go with the meal (an additional $20), and whether to get dessert.
Rachel and Lucy - servers extraordinaire!
Course #1 - Roasted red pepper soup and fried goat cheese ravioli
This was followed by a mesclun salad, which I failed to photograph.
Course # 3 - Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto with watermelon balls and a balsamic reduction
Course # 4 -
Course # 5 -
The owners of the restaurant are Swedish, which explained why these little guys (we got three of them!!) were so delectable. The fresh cranberry sauce also helped.
Everyone else was somehow "really full," but I really wanted dessert. It was a good choice. I melted.