Single (and cooking) in the City

Food, life, love, and fun recipes



The Best of 2010

New Year, new eats. Aleady off to a amazing start: New Years Day, as we were checking out of the Ace Hotel, as we were polishing off our first breakfast of 2011 at The Breslin, as we licked the last couple crumbs of croissant off our fingers, we decided — ROAD TRIP!! To Rhode Island!

But before I post the photos taken on the trip with Kel and Randal and myself (as the 3rd wheel), I wanted to recap the most memorable dishes I’ve had towards the end of 2010…

Since I am nearly in love with all things uni.. first there was the fattiest, most decadently prepared piece of uni I’ve ever had – uni, resting on a slice of crunchy toast, peeking out from under a warm and melting blanket of glistening lardo.

Uni and Lardo Crostini at Marea

And then there was the roast suckling pig dinner at The Breslin for Kel’s birthday – juicy with crackly skin, we tore that sucker apart.

Everyone knows what a roast pig looks like… this is what a delicious roast pig looks like.

This is what the most beautiful (and delicious) piece of oyster sushi looks like at Sushi Yasuda.

You know a savory dish has to be good in order for me to get that in lieu of the usual sweet breakfast/brunch I prefer. The pasta at Michael White’s new place Osteria Morini is that exception. Gramigna – photo taken when there was actual light in the place!

Something I can eat over and over again… if I could get a table at ABC Kitchen at a decent hour! Crab on toast.

Did you think I’d forget dessert? The best one – a pear cake studded with chocolate chips at Al Di La in Park Slope. It’s a good thing that this restaurant is all the way in Brooklyn and up a steep hill that used to have me breaking out a sweat in the dead of winter.

And homemade – a tiramisu cupcake that was just as amazing on day 4 in the fridge as it was hot out of the oven. I’d make this more often, but baking up more than a dozen at a time, when I am hardly in the mood for sharing, is a bad idea.


Osteria Morini – Opening Night

I really should have just gone home. Gossip Girl wanted me to be a couch spud. Even Mother Nature was doing her best to make me uncomfortable, spray misting me in the face with the cold rain, and yet, after work I felt unbelievably compelled to just take a peek around the corner on Lafayette Street, just to see if Michael White’s new place had opened as promised on numerous food blogs.

I started across the street, and upon noticing the warm glow from the restaurant’s windows, I walked a bit closer. There were some empty tables towards the front of the restaurant, and the atmopshere was buzzy, so I made a quick phone call, “Kel! Come back out to Manhattan! Guess which restaurant is OPEN?” The hostess informed me that a table would be available at 9:30, so I took a walk around the corner to do some window shopping, snacking on a truffle that my coworker had bought me as a Thank You gift. (Isn’t that sweet? Thank you for saving my stomach from ingesting itself.)

An hour later, waiting with Kel at the front of the restaurant, Michael White stopped by and said a quick a hello, I tried unsuccessfully to check in on foursquare so I resorted to yelp (achieved duchess-ship!), we had a glass of sparkling wine, and a table was ready for us! 8:30 – perfect.

Michael White. Pasta. An already perfect combination creates yet another temple for me to worship in — the rustic Osteria Morini. This will be for when that pasta craving hits, and I have less than a subway stop’s time to get my fix before the shakes take over.

anxious to eat!

amazing spinach and cheese beignets

strozzapreti – priest stranglers!! uh oh. will the various religious institutions out there be burning my blog now?

tagliatelle in a delicious ragu

of course there would be a side of roasted brussel sprouts

…and no shortage of dessert. This is panna cotta.

And this.. I forgot the name of! I think it was their version of a floating island mated with a parfait.

Nothing works better than a big plate of meaty and homey pasta to warm up a damp and cold night. Thanks, Michael White! I am filing this favorite right under Marea.

Pulino’s Inspires a Disaster

(photo from google search)

It was a buzzy night as usual at Pulino’s Bar and Pizzeria. Surprising for a Sunday night, but it seemed everyone inside the warmly lit restaurant had decided not to let the impending Monday Glumday affect their boozy plans for the evening. Situated on the corner of Bowery, the giant glowing red letters and the large arched windows contained a copy of the interior one would find at Balthazar and Schillor’s Liquor Bar – all stamped with McNally – and the festive decor held a promise of a damn good time with friends.

Be prepared to offer your liver as a sacrifice for a table for 5, without reservations, and if you are a Bloody Mary fan, you’ll be rewarded with a section of variations on that theme. If you are boring little old me, you’ll be quite happy after a couple of glasses of sparkling rose. And then the wait doesn’t seem so bad.

It was close to 9pm by the time we got seated, after an hour and a half wait at the bar. We ordered liberally, 3 different pies, and started with something I’d had before and could never forget – roasted sugar snap peas with hen of the woods mushroom salad. Another app of smoked sablefish, and that was enough to keep us satisfied between bites, slurps, and conversation.

A week later, I was bit by a bug who convinced me it wouldn’t be too hard to recreate a part of that memorable meal. After work that night, I stopped by Dean & Deluca to purchase a bunch of frisee, hen of the woods mushrooms, garlic, shallots, a lemon, and baby brussel sprouts to sub the sugar snap peas, which disappointingly, were not in stock.

Quick toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, the shallots, mushrooms, and brussel sprouts were roasted. The frisee rinsed and laid into the bottom of a dish. Breadcrumbs were sauteed in olive oil with chopped garlic. Everything was combined and drizzled with some lemon juice. And then a taste…

Maybe the cat will eat it.

Disaster. Way too tart and salty, not at all crunchy and refreshing like the one I’d had at Pulino’s. A sad waste of great ingredients, I could barely finish the plate. The half of leftover ingredients I saved were sauteed for lunch a couple of days later, a more traditional and comfortable preparation, but still nothing like the magic I had tasted. Looks like another trip out is in order!


Tudor City Place is this teeny tiny little street over on the east side of Manhattan, perched high overlooking the United Nations building and the East River. It is unusually quiet compared to 2nd avenue, only a block over, where you will find a smattering of Grown-Up-Frat-Boy dive bars. What sorts of people live on this street? I’ve often wondered. The apartment buildings are tall, with stone bases and brick above, and beautiful windows gridded with mullions. If you aren’t specifically looking for an address in this location, I doubt many would often visit this neighborhood. The change in elevation from the avenues below is enough to make any un-chauffered fashionista cry foul. And the day someone actually finds parking on the little 3-block long (and riddled with reserved and illegal spots) Tudor City Place will be the day I give up eating pasta.

Of course, one of Michael White’s gems would be hidden on this quiet little street. During the night, the sidewalks are completely deserted save for the sunken patio in front of Convivio which is turned into a little outdoor dining area, glittering by candlelight and lively with chatter. Open the heavy wooden door and draw back the thick velvet curtain and everything is instantly red – the color of the dark bar directly in front. Turn right, and you’re in another space altogether. The drastic change from dark to light is like entering heaven… a heaven that allows you to gorge yourself on pasta and wine until you are giddy and overwhelmed and would swear you’d never be hungry again. The $62 4-course prix fixe is amazing. And completely worth it. In fact, you could argue that it is quite the bargain!

Not pictured: my feet sitting in a pool of blood later that night, the flood contained only by keeping on my heels, the lipstick matching red Louboutins.

Polpettine en Brodo – pork meatballs, an excellent start

Cornish Hen wrapped with Bacon – melts my heart, and I usually dislike chicken.

Malloreddus with saffron, sea urchin, and crab – amazing, for a stronger seafood flavor, I prefered the pasta at Marea.

Maccheroni alla Carbonara – I once made carbonara which tasted exactly like its ingredients : raw egg, salt, and pepper. It was disgusting. This almost makes me want to try my hand at it again. But I’m still scared.

Perfectly cooked rare steak.

Even more amazing were the lamb chops!

I’m starting to fall in love with Semi Freddo. Much like ice cream, but the cold doesn’t hurt my teeth. Believe it or not I’ve never had figs.

Budino. Dark chocolate. Hazelnut gelato. No other words.

It was a celebration with his family. I do not want to look at that check.

Little Pigs at Maialino

I had come so close to cancelling a reservation the day following a feast at Mermaid Oyster Bar and awoke early and groggy last Thursday morning. With one eye barely open, I was lucky I managed to find some clothes to pull on before hopping on a nearly empty train downtown. The hostess greeted us brightly as we were escorted past a thick wood counter bar and a glass display case housing pastries sitting on pedestals. Suddenly, my mouth was watering and I was hungry again.

The exposed wood beams in the space channeled many of the restaurants you can find in Italy, except here everything still appeared new. And after a moment spent reminiscing about my time spent in Rome many years ago, I knew what I wanted to start with – un cornetto e cappucino. Then followed a moment of indecisiveness generated by nothing less than pure gluttony. Baked eggs in tomato or the fruit, granola, and yogurt made exceptional with a drizzle of vin cotto? Luckily I didn’t have to choose!

Tasting Table was offering subscribers an amazing deal at Maialino – a prix fixe breakfast for only (I know, I’m now officially spoiled) 21 dollars. And so tacking on that extra order of fruit/granola/yogurt was no big deal. After all, I’d be a fool not to order as my heart pleased, since I was already the fool who would wake up an hour earlier than is necessary for work, on a weekday, to go out to have breakfast.

We went whole hog, by normal breakfast standards. Our order included toffee glazed brioche, cornetto, baked eggs in spicy tomato, poached egg on crispy pork terrine, spinach pecorino sausage, thick cut bacon, and oh, that last grasp at healthy eating – granola and yogurt with fresh fruit. Everything was beyond amazing. And I was so stuffed I walked the 20+ blocks to work.

Glazed Cornetto

Amazing Toffee Covered Brioche

The Best Yogurt Granola I’ve Ever Had

Baked Eggs in Spicy Tomato Broth

Poached Egg on Crispy Pork Terrine


We Cleaned Up