Tag Archives: bottega

Top 10 Noms of 2010

31 Dec

I had a blast doing the Top 10 Noms of 2009 last year and referenced it many times throughout this past year.  2010 was a fantastic year in so many ways.  I mean come on… I was on TV for my baking!  I feel very accomplished after this year, in part due to how much I have grown this blog.  I also lost a lot of weight without sacrificing my love for food thanks to Weight Watchers.  Granted, I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit these last few months, but hopefully the new year will bring me luck in jumping back on.  It is a pleasure to have this little outlet outside of my “real job” to contribute to.  So without further ado, here are the top 10 Noms of 2010:

10. The Popover Cafe is a surprise to the top 10.  My sister had been raving about it, and I recently found out it’s a favorite of my cousin’s, but how good could a little cafe be?  Turns out… great.  It was just excellent comfort food with damn good popovers.  And I LOVE popovers.  Head to the Upper West Side for this gem of a brunch place.

9. When Mike’s family took us to La Masseria in Times Square after a Broadway show, we weren’t expecting much.  We live in the neighborhood and egotistically assumed that if we hadn’t heard rave reviews, it couldn’t be a TOP NOM.  Boy were we wrong!  The food was simply excellent.  Elegantly plated, fresh ingredients, and excellent preparation.  A contender to my usual Theater District Italian favorite, Becco.

8. We had the pleasure of dining at Ilili during Restaurant Week (it’s 2nd post in the Restaurant Week Wrap Up).  While most restaurants participate in Restaurant Week in a half-assed way, Ilili did an amazing job of letting us sample most of the menu and we found some INCREDIBLE dishes.  I have been back a few times since and can’t wait to go back again.

7. Lori and I took ourselves to Ma Peche for our birthdays.  You all know how much I LOVE David Chang, but I had heard mixed reviews about his newest establishment in midtown. The whole meal was really different and delicious, but this gets a top nom for those incredible crunchy noodles that I still dream about every day.

6. Ippudo is probably the restaurant I tell the most people about.  The ramen is just so spectacular that I can’t get enough of it.  I’m not a huge broth person, but I even slurp up every last drop of broth after eating the delicious noodles at Ippudo.  It’s SOOO good.  This place may have single-handedly ruined my diet… well… except for the Maine vacation(s).

5. The #5 spot goes to the full adventure of Nomming through Maine (Portland Day 1, Portland Day 2,Acadia/Bar Harbor Part 1, Acadia/Bar Harbor Part 2, The Coach Stop Inn B&B, Moody’s Diner & Young’s Lobster Pound, and Midcoat Maine).  The top Noms on this vacation were definitely the lobster at Beal’s Lobster Pier, our delicious meal at Primo in Rockland, and especially our FANTASTIC meal at Fore Street in Portland.  If you were wondering why Portland was named “America’s Foodiest Small Town” by Bon App in 2009, go to Fore Street.

4. I’m thrilled that Lincoln Ristorante got enough buzz that I decided to take a chance and schedule a reservation for 2 weeks after it opened for Mike’s birthday.  The food is sensational, but the ambience just sets it far above and beyond most places.  It’s a very special place, and if you want a special meal, go to Lincoln immediately.  And get the gnocchi side.

3. Another Nom that happened at the end of 2009 but didn’t make it onto the blog until 2010 was Bottega in Napa Valley. It did make it onto last year’s top 10, but it’s worth repeating.  Mike and I have the propensity to be celebrity chef sluts, but boy were we glad that we were when we opted for Michael Chiarello’s hot spot.  From first bite to last, this place was one of my all-time favorites.  It’s a meal I will always remember.

2. My birthday dinner at Le Bernardin was one of the best meals I have ever had.  Every detail was attended to and the service was impeccable.  The food was sensational with wine pairings that put this place off the charts.  I was so impressed with all the depth of flavors in these dishes.  Another very special place that really makes you feel like your are fortunate to dine there.

1. My love for David Chang was furthered by our opportunity to finally dine at Momofuku Ko.  To dine at Ko, you need to catch one of the handful of reservations that come up online about a week in advance.  It’s not an easy task (though much easier now than it used to be) and I was even more thrilled to learn that they were now accommodating allergies, so I wouldn’t be wasting my time and (large amount of) money by not being able to eat most of the food.  This restaurant is why chef tasting menus exist.  We had no idea what was coming next, but we got to watch it all unfold in front of us at the little intimate restaurant where the chefs prepare everything within 5 feet of your seat. If you have the opportunity to go, don’t miss it.

Honorable Mentions go to:

  • Uncle Jack’s on Valentine’s Day for having dependably great steak
  • Zuni Cafe for inspiring us to make the famous chicken at home on many occasions.  (This special chicken will actually be served tomorrow at the annual Chrismukah Family Celebration.)
  • LA Times Food Festival for allowing us the opportunity to finally try The Nom Nom Truck
  • Nanoosh for having one of my new favorite lunches, their Garden Salad, which keeps me coming back
  • 5 Napkin Burger for having burger eggs benedict for brunch
  • Father’s Office which is Mike’s choice for “Best Burger of 2010” (I’d have to agree with him)

What a year it has been!  Happy New Years Nomming everyone and here is to more wonderful Noms in 2011!

Bottega- Napa Valley

10 Feb

Well… we’ve finally made it.  The #1 question I was asked upon my return to the East Coast was “How was Bottega??”  Well… in case you didn’t get it from the Top 10 Noms of 2009, Michael Chiarello’s restaurant did NOT disappoint.

The ambiance was beautiful, though Mike and I were both surprised that the restaurant was in the middle of what we would term a “strip mall” (though much nicer).  I guess land there is so valuable that all of the places have to be on the same space!

We ordered Burrata Creamy mozzarella burrata with roasted butternut squash, caramelized mushroom & shallots, brown butter vinaigrette, balsamic caviar.  Um… HELLO!  I would like to go back in time so I can eat this again.

But then the entrees came.  Mike got the short ribs.  The flavor of these was so incredible that I had a tough time not asking for additional bites!  They were sensational.

I went with Wood Grilled Grass-Fed Lamb Rib Chops fresh figs with tarragon, fennel seeds, white balsamic vinegar, California olive oil, creamy ancient grain  .  OH SO GOOD! 

The hotel (which made the dinner reservation, and that we REALLY liked) had asked me if we were celebrating anything.  I tried to think of a good thing to say and mentioned we were celebrating our 2 year anniversary (it was 2 weeks prior).  I guess they really took it to heart and even told Bottega who did a lovely yet reserved nod to our celebration on our dessert plates (see photos below).

Looking at the menu is conflicting with my memory and the picture.  I THINK I ordered the chocolate and caramel tortino with espresso stracciatella gelato and milk chocolate peanut butter bar.  But now I see bananas in the picture below.  Hmmm.  Either way, it was REALLY good. If I hadn’t just had the tart at lunch from Mustards, it probably would have shined even more.

Mike got the apple and honey panzerotti with apple grappa mash, vanilla bean gelato, and pink peppercorn apple pearls.  Another hit!

Overall, this meal was just so enjoyable from first bite and every bite there after right up until the very sad moment when it ended.  They took such care with every little detail and it showed in every morsel of their food.  If you go to Napa, go to Bottega.

Total Nom Points: 9 out of 10

Top 10 Noms of 2009

31 Dec

What is a New Year without a Top 10?  I have been blogging for exactly 325 days and have enjoyed every moment of it.  I love food… and I’m so happy that I have some very faithful readers who have joined me on this journey (THANK YOU!). With that said, here is my top 10 Noms from 2009:

10) Disney World stands out in my mind for a very memorable eating trip in 2009.  The dinner we had at Marrakash comes up often and I still can’t remember ever having a better sundae than the Ghiradelli one I had at Downtown Disney.

9) When Mike and I took the Culinary Walking Tour of Greenwich Village, we didn’t really know what to expect. It wound up being great for both food (we have gone back to these places a few times since then) and history. 

8) I actually wound up going to Becco twice this year (Becco 1 and Becco 2).  They are awesome for having an unlimited pasta tasting from their three pastas of the day and a pretty extensive wine list for under $25.  But their Osso Bucco is what dreams are made of.

7) Every time I go to Koi it is amazing.  It’s one of the very, very few restaurants I can go to over and over again (even multiple times in the same week).  The crispy rice is amazing and I credit the Miso Glazed Cod with having started me eating fish for the first time.

6) The short ribs at Charles were great (well… I thought so until I had #2 on this list). We first sampled them at a nice fund-raising food festival and then I won a gift certificate by bidding $60 for a $75 gift certiciate.  The braised lamb shank was exceptional and highly recommended.

5) Quality Meats had been recommended to me time and time again.  While the steak was great, but not my favorite, the corn creme brulee was so good that I dream about it.

4) Eating at Montenapo, especially on someone else’s dime so we could order multiple courses without guilt (well, except waistline guilt), was a HUGE treat.  It’s brand new and in the middle of an area that is known to wimp out on food.  The Osso Bucco was the best I’ve ever had (even though I just had a taste of someone else’s) and the desserts were sensational.  There wasn’t a bad bite in the entire meal. 

3) I have loved Keens Steakhouse since the first time I tried it, however, the bar is especially amazing and I’m so glad Lori joined me for my first time.  That potato and steak was heavenly and more restaurants should make merengue… especially if it’s that good!

2) The number two slot goes to a yet to be blogged about meal at Bottega (Michael Chiarello’s restaurant in Napa Valley).  Why was it so good? You’ll just have to read the blog to find out!

1) My birthday dinner at WD-50 was epic. It is hands down the best meal I’ve ever had.  We went whole hog and got the full tasting menu.  Each dish was a new adventure… and not just because it looked cool.  There were such wonderful flavors in everything and I really loved this place.  #1 for the year… probably lifetime #1 to date.

Runners up:

Happy New Year Nommers!