Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Restaurant Week Series Part I: Butter

Foodie Fish

Butter is a chic restaurant that attracts a young crowd. However, the amazing food attracts all sorts of people. Butter has a very modern, yet still pleasant atmosphere as well. There is a vibrant bar scene, with many unique and refreshing cocktails—including a virgin cocktail that changes each month. Although the waiter seemed rude and rushed, the rest of the staff are still very polite.

To begin your fixed-price three-course meal, the market salad was a bed of fresh, crisp lettuce over a generous amount of quality Vermont goat cheese. The mixed charcuterie plate had succulent and flavorful sausage that had quite a unique taste. Each sausage comes with a balanced pairing, such at duck rillettes with pickled cherries.

The main course is what really blew me away. The grilled pork is extremely tender and cooked to perfection; it went perfectly with the warm potato salad. The whole grain mustard in the potato salad with pork really gave the dish a German rustic flavor. Barbequed short rib is also an excellent choice. The barbeque sauce has a strong, smoky flavor. They were definitely cooked low and slow, judging by the melt-in-your-mouth texture.

To finish with something sweet, chocolate-lovers would love the rich dark chocolate and walnut torte. Decedent, with a strong dark chocolate flavor and almost creamy texture. The shortbread, however, was disappointing. Not flaky, buttery, nor sweet. It had almost a savory peppered biscuit flavor, but it lacked in the great texture of a southern biscuit.

Overall, the great main dish outweighed any disappointments.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Levain Bakery

Foodie Fish

Most people marvel at the density and size of a legendary 6-ounce cookie from the famous Levain Bakery in New York City. My experience with their cookies may be record breaking and considered a bit out of the ordinary…

I literally spent months constantly obsessing over these giant cookies from Levain Bakery, New York ever since they were featured on an episode of Throwdown With Bobby Flay. I also happen to be a ‘cookie monster’ of sorts. I had been back and forth from the city plenty of times to visit La Mode Mare (yes, our beloved fashion blogger), but I never got the chance to go try these cookies. Okay, that was a lie. As you all may know, I always make time for some good eats. However, whenever I felt the cookie calling when in New York City, I headed straight for the amazing Macaron CafĂ©. Those rose lychee, coconut, and lavender macaroons kept distracting me from my mission: to try a 6-ounce cookie from Levain.

Finally, I get to spend the night with La Mode Mare, which meant more time in the city. The next morning, I was sure to head directly to the Levain Bakery in downtown Manhattan.

After waiting so long for these cookies, I was ready to dig in to a cookie that didn’t make me have to keep longing for more. I reached into the paper bag they were in and pulled out the original chocolate chip walnut cookie. I will admit that it is a pretty decently sized cookie. You can feel the thing weighing down your hand a little.

Many may disagree with me, but it was actually smaller than I expected. During the times that I obsessed over the 6-ounce cookies, I read reviews such as, “I find it difficult finishing half,” and, “I’m a big guy, but one of these cookies makes a meal for me.” I thought that for the first time, I wouldn’t need at least a half a dozen cookies to leave me satisfied, that one would do just like it would for a normal person.

The cookie disappeared in my hand quicker than I had expected. So to my surprise, I did have to reach in for the next cookie. This was the oatmeal raisin. (It is delicious and packed full of raisins, by the way.) I finished that one almost just as quickly. My hand unexpectedly went in for a third 6-ounce cookie. This one (the dark chocolate peanut butter chip) turned out to be my favorite. Still, with a little room left in my stomach, I tried their last flavor: dark chocolate chocolate chip. I was not the biggest fan, for I found the double chocolate overwhelming, so I only ate half.

At the end of it all, I had consumed 21 ounces worth of Levain Bakery cookies and tried all 4 flavors. Overall, I thought they were good. Flavor-wise, the oatmeal raisin lacked cinnamon/overall seasoning. It relied completely on texture. Texture-wise: all 4 were incredible. Crisp on the outside, moist on the inside. The sweet-meets savory-meets intense chocolate flavor cookie was my personally favorite as I mentioned before.

I jokingly complained on Levain Bakery’s wall about how these cookies were not nearly as big and filling as I had hoped and was forced to consume 3.5 cookies to reach a full stomach. Later, they replied and asked what was the largest amount of 6-ounce cookies anyone has had in just one sitting. For a woman, usually only a half. For a man, usually just one.

They told me and congratulated me that I had beaten a cookie-eating record for their Bakery. They also said not to feel bad about the amount I ate since Pam Weekes (one of the owners) has 2 at a time. Unlike her though, I’m not an Iron Man Triathlete, I’m just one ravenous fish.