Saturday, 11 February 2012

New York, New York

No weight loss progress this week, nor any expectation of any.  Yes, I have survived my trip to New York, and after three days of meetings, conferences, lunches and dinners, I am simply thankful to be home, albeit exhausted, and with sore feet.

Rather than speak of weight loss that did not happen, let me talk about some of the fantastic restaurants at which I ate over the past three days.

First off was FELIDIA, the East Side restaurant of Lidia Bastianich, famed for her television shows and cookbook.  Although Ms. Bastianich herself was not in the house the evening I ate there, the food, masterminded by Executive Chef Fortunato Nicotra, was simply exquisite. I enjoyed the   Gamberi al Limone, aka salt-baked sweet onion with creamy lemon and and garlic shrimp.  Sweet, creamy and delicious, the onion itself was used as the container for the dish, sitting on a bed of rock salt, and it was to die for.

I also had the pasta special of the evening, Ravioli Margherita, or mozzarella ravioli. Similarly delicious, I left Felidia delightfully full, and well satisfied. My only tiny complaint came at the end of the evening, when I ordered a Spanish coffee, and was served ... well, something that was coffee, but definitely not Spanish.  I am willing to overlook that minor misstep for such an overall wonderful meal.  Located at 243 East 58th Street in New York City, I would recommend the restaurant to any fan of Italian food.   

Next on the list was dinner at the AI FIORI restaurant at the Setai Hotel at 400 Fifth Avenue.  
This meal was not the usual a la carte dining experience, but rather a prix fixe specially designed for a group.  The food was surprisingly good, although I may have had low expectations.  My starter was the cauliflower soup, served in a bowl with a pile of various things, and then finished with the soup proper at the table.  The soup was nice, but some of the elements in the pile of miscellaneous roughage in the bowl were a bit too strong for the overall dish.  Some bites were perfect, and some were too salty, which was a shame, as the soup base itself was lovely.  

For the main course I had a striploin, I think, with a layered potato dish.  Both the steak and the potato arrived in identically shaped and sized rectangles, making a wonderful presentation, sitting on a puree of, well, something beige.  Likely a root vegetable of some sort.  Although I was not asked how I would like the steak cooked, it arrived a perfect medium rare, and was absolutely delicious.  Dessert was a chilled mousse-like thing, which was fine.  Overall the dinner was good, although none of the individual elements were spectacular.  I would happily eat here again if I were in the neighbourhood, although there are better restaurants in the city.

My final New York City dining experience was a lunch at RISTORANTE ASELLINA, located at 420 Park Avenue South.  Another Italian restaurant - is there any other kind in New York City - the restaurant apparently takes its name from a freedwoman restauranteuse in Pompeii named Asellina.  Asellina's executive chef is Marco Porceddu, and his menu was light and delicious. 

For starters the table shared something unpronounceable, that appeared to be rustic mozzarella cheese and chopped cherry tomatoes and peppers.  The scallop special that my table-mates enjoyed was apparently delicious, while the shrimp pasta I ordered was lovely.  You have to really love Italian food to get full benefit from dining at Asellina, but we certainly enjoyed good food, prepared well.   Worth a visit if you're in Midtown.

And that, my friends, is why I did not lose any weight this week.  I regret nothing.  Except, perhaps, not having the chance to visit  Felidia again, armed with a recipe for Spanish Coffee.

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