Bocca

Bocca

Uova Benedettine con Salmone Affumicato e Salsa Olandese al Riesling | Eggs Benedict, Smoked Salmon, Riesling Hollandaise

Beautiful weather is back and all I want to do is enjoy outdoor meals. This weekend, while out on a stroll,  I happened upon Bocca. Done and done. Puppy in tow, we were ready for our outdoor brunch.

The first thing to note is that they make a fantastic mimosa! (finally found one! YAY! It’s amazing how many restaurants simply can’t mix the two ingredients properly)

The second “must” is that you have order a side of fries. They are awesome with their perfect ratio of crunchy outside to potato filled inside. (I can happily go back for the fries and mimosas alone! YUM! What an awesome meal that would be! Hmmm.)

Bocca

Hamburger di Tonno | Fresh Tuna Burger, Chipotle Mayo, Baby Arugula, Seasoned Mushrooms

Both the brunch and lunch options are delicious (huge win!). While great, when the “Uova Benedettine con Salmone Affumicato e Salsa Olandese al Riesling” landed on our table my first note was that the star of the dish was a bit too small. Then the whites on the poached egg were a bit loose but I am truly holding hope that that is a one off and not a regular occurrence.  Again, the dish is really good. It’s a very fine line when the comment at the end is said in a disappointed tone, “I only wish it was a little bigger”—not enough food? OR, just so delicious that you want more.

It’s so rare that I go the lunch route at brunch, in fact I never do. Since I woke up way too early and made myself breakfast, lunch was on my brain. I’m so glad it was because the “Hamburger di Tonno” is awesome! The panini style makes for really great textures—biting in, you get a nice crunch, followed by the soft (not mushy) tuna burger patty and then the great flavor of seasoned mushrooms and chipotle mayo. It’s exciting! Paired with the rockin’ fries, this dish is great! (YUM!)

Next step is to try out their dinner (stay tuned). In the meantime, HAPPY (UES outdoor) BRUNCHING!

Bocca

Address: 1496 2nd Ave (corner of 78th St) NY, NY 10075
Phone: (212) 249-1010

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Chocolate Chunk Walnut Macaroons

Chocolate Chunk Walnut Macaroons
 
I had absolutely no idea that making macaroons was so easy! Oh my god! All I need is a bunch of seders to attend (and maybe a Jewish theme party—food inspiring thought, here) and I’ll be the best guest as I carry these guys with me in tow. Did I mention, they’re incredible?! (It is currently taking every ounce of my being not to sneak into the kitchen and devour them all before the seder.)

Chocolate Chunk Walnut Macaroons
 
INGREDIENTS

Egg Whites (3)
White Sugar (1/2 cup)
Pure Vanilla Extract (1/2 tsp)
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks (2 heaping tbsp)
Walnuts (2 heaping tbsp)
Sweetened Shredded Baking Coconut (14oz bag)

RECOMMENDED KITCHEN ITEMS

Mixing Bowl (large)
Wooden Spoon
Whisk
Measuring Cup
Baking Sheet (x2. 1 will work though you may have to do a second batch)
Parchment Paper
Cutting Board
Chef’s Knife

Chocolate Chunk Walnut Macaroons
 
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

2. In your mixing bowl, combine your egg whites, sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk them together until your mixture is frothy and smooth.

Chocolate Chunk Walnut Macaroons
 
3. Roughly chop your chocolate and walnuts on your cutting board. Mix them together.

Chocolate Chunk Walnut Macaroons
 
4. Add a cup of your shredded coconut and a third of your chocolate and walnut chunks into your mixing bowl. Use your wooden spoon to fold it all together. Little by little, repeat this process until all of your coconut, chocolate and walnuts are fully incorporated into your egg white mixture in your mixing bowl.

Chocolate Chunk Walnut Macaroons
 
5. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

6. Using your hands, take 2 tbsp sized lumps of your coconut-y mixture and put them onto your baking sheet. (when baking, these won’t spread like cookies do. Allow for some spacing, but there doesn’t need to be a ton of it.)

7. Put them in the oven and let them bake for 25 minutes. When golden in color, take them out and let them cool completely (this will allow them to firm up for easy grabbing and devouring).

THAT’S IT! Easy as pie (well, simpler, if you ask me!)

Chocolate Chunk Walnut Macaroons
 
Don’t hold back, EAT ONE (or seven)! EAT THEM ALL! Now, that we know how easy they are to make, you can easily make a second batch whilst eating the first. YUM!

Enjoy! HAPPY BAKING! And a have a great Passover! (unless you are making these in July because they were so good the last time and you absolutely needed to have them again—I TOTALLY GET THAT! I’ll be making them with you.)

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White Chocolate Mousse Deviled Easter Eggs

White Chocolate Mousse Deviled Easter Eggs
 
Eggs on eggs on eggs—two of which are made of chocolate (now,THAT’S my kind of recipe!). This is the perfect rich small—three bite sized—dessert for any classy Easter dinner. In advance, ENJOY!

White Chocolate Mousse Deviled Easter Eggs
 
INGREDIENTS

Heavy Cream (25 .5oz)
Toll House Premier White Morsels (12oz)
Egg Yolks (3)
Gelatin (1.5 tsp)
Kahlua (1 nip. If you are making these kid friendly, removing the Kahlua will change the flavor but it will still be a fabulous dessert)
Cadbury Creme Eggs ( x3. This recipe allots for a lot of extra mousse because it’s super delicious and great to serve on it’s own. So if you want to make more eggs, there will be plenty for that)
Cadbury Mini Eggs (12. Or more)

SUGGESTED KITCHEN ITEMS

Sauce Pan
Mixing Bowl (medium)
Mixing Bowl (large)
Ziplock Sandwich Bag (1)
Rubber Spatula
Whisk
Piping Bag
Piping Bag Tip
Tupperware Container with lid (large)
Cutting Board
Pairing Knife
Small Bowl
Teaspoon

White Chocolate Mousse Deviled Easter Eggs
 
Let’s make this happen! Let’s start with the boozy mousse.

1. In your sauce pan over medium heat, bring 5 oz of your heavy cream to a simmer. Add in your gelatin.

2. In your medium mixing bowl, use your whisk to beat your egg yolks until they become a pale yellow color.

3. Remove your sauce pan from the heat and let you heavy cream gelatin mixture cool for a minute.

4. Using your rubber spatula, little by little incorporate roughly a 1/3 cup of your heavy cream mixture into your beaten eggs. Make sure to whisk them together as you go. Then, in the same fashion, little by little, add this new creamy egg combo back into the remaining heavy cream gelatin mixture in your sauce pan. Instead of whisking, this time use your rubber spatula to stir it all together.

5. Put your white chocolate morsels into the mixing bowl that until recently held your beaten eggs. Go ahead and pour your hot thickened cream mixture from your sauce pan over your white chocolate morsels. Make sure to occasionally stir until your mixture is completely smoothed. Set this mixture aside to cool.

6. Pour your remaining heavy cream and your Khalua into your large mixing bowl. Use your whisk to whip it till you are able to get soft peaks when you lift your whisk out from the whipped cream.

5. When your white chocolate mixture cools to room temperature, use your rubber spatula to fold in all of your Kahlua whipped cream into it. (Make sure not to over work your mousse.)

6. Refrigerate your mousse in your tupperware container for an hour.

Fast forward this hour and let’s put it all together!

7. Put your mini Cadbury eggs into your Ziplock bag. Bang it a couple times on your counter and then, much like hard boiled eggs, remove the bits of shell from the inside chocolate and put them into your small bowl. (EAT or discard the chocolatey centers.)

8. Use your pairing knife on your cutting board to cut your Cadbury creme eggs in half. Cut a groove along the seam of the egg. Follow this groove with your knife over and over until you’ve gotten through all of the chocolate shell. Using your hands, gently twist and pull the chocolate shell away from its gooey center.

9. Dip your teaspoon into hot water and then use your warmed spoon to scoop out the sugary gooey inside of the egg. Discard these insides.

10. Optional: so that your eggs don’t roll around your plate, I recommend using your pairing knife to shave a little bit of the chocolate off of the rounded part of the shell (the part it will sit on).

11. Put the tip into your piping bag and then fill it with your refrigerated mousse. Much like squeezing soft serve into a cup, or better yet, making deviled eggs, squeeze your mousse in a circular back and forth motion until you have filled your eggs.

12. Sprinkle your mini Cadbury egg shells over the top of your Kahlua white chocolate mousse filled chocolate eggs.

AND YOU’RE DONE! Serve or refrigerate until you do. (YAY! YUM! SO EFFING DELICIOUS!)

HAPPY EASTER EATS! (from a chocolate egg loving Jew! PS. Is it OK that I used the word “Deviled” in an Easter recipe? Seriously. Still learning here.)

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Alder

Alder

PUB CHEESE | pistachio-white fig, Martin’s “potato chips”

I’ve heard several mixed reviews about Alder, so naturally, I had to go check it out for myself. Sadly, I am not able to help much with giving a definitive love or hate response to this restaurant. (sorry, in advance.)

The “Pub Cheese” is great. The flavors are fun, different, and tasty. Combine that with the interesting textures and there you have a great creamy and crunchy dish. That’s where the good in the first round of dishes quickly came to a screeching halt.

Alder

JALAPEÑO POPPERS | uni cream cheese, trout roe, ponzu (2 pcs.)

The presentation of the dishes is beautiful. There is clearly a lot of thought put into this aspect. Then, the next step is taking these artistic dishes and adapting them from their original classic styles. Let’s delve into the gorgeous “Jalapeño Poppers”.

This was the second dish to be placed in front of me. (The first was the “New England Clam Chowder” which I passed along to my husband because of the sunken lumps of pork that weren’t noted on the menu. This, to say the least, was disappointing.) The signature part of a popper is that crunch you get as you bite down into it. They went a bit too eccentric here for me (and I love a unique play on a dish). The trout roe is where you get the “crunch”—pop. Once sinking my teeth inside, there wasn’t an exciting flavor, nothing stood out. The dish fell flat. (I passed the second one away not wanting any more. Politely arguing that I should eat it, after trying it, my husband clearly and immediately had the same thoughts.)

Alder

FRENCH ONION SOUP RINGS | beef gravy, gruyere

Saddened by the experience thus far, I simply wanted to leave and walk the two blocks back to Saint Marks and visit one of the three pizza places I had passed on my way to dinner. (Grandma was ready to jump ship and join me especially after her experience with not finding a wine that she liked, trying several, getting exhausted and being pushed to try more. After specifically stating she didn’t want a margarita, that is what was placed in front of her. She was done-zo.)

Alder

HALIBUT | brussels sprout bulgogi, citrus relish

After all that talk, we stayed. I’m glad we did because the next couple of dishes were a far better experience. I now understood why all of the reviews I had heard were mixed. It truly depends on what dishes you order. The “Halibut” and the “Day Boat Scallops” are great. If you like seafood, order these—specifically the scallops (oh my god, yum!).

Alder

DAY BOAT SCALLOPS | black-eyed peas, butternut squash, mushroom, asian pear

The scallop dish is awesome. The addition of the Asian pear is the perfect touch; it gives a sweet light nature to the dish. Pairing it with butternut squash and mushrooms—YUMMY! These softer textures, combined with the (I don’t know) “bouncy” texture of the scallops, and then a hard peanut brittle styled crunch in the black-eyed peas make for a fun dish to eat.

Alder

CARROT CAKE SUNDAE | cream cheese ice cream, candied walnuts

I should have stopped there. The high note. While certainly interesting, the “Carrot Cake Sundae” was just ok. Little carrot cake cubes reside deeply submerged in cream cheese ice cream. It’s a bit weird. Then the candied walnuts have a flavor and texture that I immediately associate with Kashi cereal. (Don’t get me wrong, I like Kashi, just not candied walnuts masquerading as healthy cereal in my dessert. Again, weird.) All said, between three of us, we did eat through all of it. The textures kept me putting my spoon back into the old styled milk shake cup. It was like scavenger hunt for the carrot cake. The flavors were passable—just ok really. (none of us were wowed. That is until the bill came and it was way more expensive than one would want to pay for this kind of meal.)

When you go, think “Day Boat Scallops”, “Halibut”, and “Pub Cheese”. The rest of the dishes noted above are a hard pass. If you order something else, please leave a comment on this review with your thoughts about it. (THANK YOU, in advance!)

Best of luck! (and as always) HAPPY EATS!

Alder

Address: 157 Second Avenue. New York, New York 10003
Phone: (212) 539-1900

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Caffe Storico

Caffe Storico

Ambiance | entrance

In all my years as a New Yorker (so, yes, all of my years), I have yet to visit the New York Historical Society—until now! I had no idea what I was missing. I don’t think I knew what it was exactly. The experience is about what New York City is, where it comes from, the moments that make it special—is extremely enriching. (when you go, make sure to watch the 18 minute documentary. I went in expecting to feel like a bored second grader in a lecture. This was not that. It’s exciting, fresh and dynamic. You’ll love it.)

Caffe Storico

Bellini Stagionale | prosecco, pomegranate, rosemary

The artistic nature of the exhibits meld directly into the decor of their wonderful boutiquey restaurant Caffe Storico. White shelved walls with plates displayed as art encompass the restaurant. (I’m a bit obsessed! I am already thinking of when to reserve a table to try out their dinner.)

From the cocktails, to the meals, to the decor, to the vibe; it’s all stunning—works of art, if you will. What’s better is that the flavors are even better than the gorgeous appearance. (I know! Incredible!)

Caffe Storico

Polenta & Eggs | taleggio & mushroom ragù

The “Polenta & Eggs” is out-of-this-world delicious! (If I could be eating it right now, I would be. No questions asked.) The polenta is rich and creamy and somehow is able to get even better when the poached egg is broken and runs all over it. Pairing that creaminess of the polenta and the runny center of the poached eggs with the firmer mushrooms is extremely thoughtful (and clearly, well received.)

Caffe Storico

Eggs Benedict | prosciutto cotto & truffled hollandaise

The “Eggs Benedict” dish alone spurred a conversation about hollandaise. Hollandaise alone has a comforting simple flavor, we’ve decided that it should aways be a “something” hollandaise—a (fill in the blank with something flavorful and delicious) hollandaise.

In this specific case, the truffled hollandaise is incredible. (oh yes, I sneakily dipped some of the bread basket contents into it—DELISH!) We were told that this was the fan favorite go-to egg based dish.

Take a Saturday or Sunday and make an early afternoon of the New York Historical Society and either brunch before or after. (Ps. definitely make sure to make a reservation! It’s booked all day.)

HAPPY MUSEUMING & EATS!

Caffe Storico

Address: 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street) New York, New York 10024

Phone: (212) 873-3400

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