Tag Archives: NYC

Unexpected Moroccan Flair: Claudette

Recently Faye and I decided to leave our glittering city to explore Morocco. I must say, from a cultural perspective, I haven’t been so taken aback by the sheer vibrancy of a people and place in quite some time. From the unique intersection of Arabic and French influences to the array of colors of zellij mosaics and endless courtyards with old-world intrigue to the simply breathtaking effect of the Saharan desert, Morocco is surely a place you MUST visit before you die.

As for the food, I have always I have loved the rich flavors of Moroccan cooking. Fragrant cumin, rich saffron, warming cinnamon, and so many more treasures fill the Moroccan spice souks. Yet, after 13 days of Moroccan cuisine I was sick of tagines, the traditional Moroccan stew similar to the Western method of braising. After having 3 course Moroccan feasts, nearly every day for BOTH lunch and dinner, Faye and I resolutely agreed no more Moroccan food for a while.

However, my first brunch back in NYC brought me to newly-opened Claudette with Naisha. Although I had anticipated mainly French fare, ironically we found Moroccan-inspired dishes on the menu. I suppose I shouldn’t have been too shocked since there is strong influence from the Mahgreb these days in France, so much so that couscous is commonplace in Paris. Nevertheless, the coincidence made me smile.

Claudette is located in Greenwich village, at the heart of it all on 5th Ave a few blocks from Washington Square Park. It’s that part of NYC that everyone would love to live in and the perfect place to brunch on a lazy Sunday. The interior is bright and airy, furnished tastefully, filled with all the laid-back charm that I seek in a restaurant. I had thought that we would have to wait on an endless line for this newly-opened hotspot but thankfully they accept reservations via OpenTable, because who really likes waiting an hour+ for brunch (I’m looking at you Good Enough to Eat).

For food, Naisha ended up getting the Harissa Baked Eggs (baked eggs, chickpea ragoût, tomato & flatbread). Harissa, being one of Morocco’s best known novelties, elevated this standard brunch dish by adding some spice. Definitely the healthier option, as I had Claudette’s Honey Pot (baked phyllo, almonds, rose water, golden raisins & spiced honey). All the sweeter flavors of Morocco baked into one dish. Both mains evoked flavors of Morocco with a nuanced, oh-so-New-York-City twist.

OK so clearly I have not sworn off Moroccan food because the image above clearly shows some traditional French options on the menu.  What can I say? I always like adventurous options. Sorry Croque Monsieur but I indulged on you during my Paris days, I’m good for now. Though these days, I am all about incorporating Moroccan flavors into mainstay dishes. The only souvenirs that I bought for myself were edible: Argan oil, rose water, Harissa, Mint Tea, and Ras el Hanout  – frankly all are wonderful to experiment with in the kitchen, wowing guests, or taste-tester cougars, with their aroma and depth of flavor.

Claudette is definitely a place that I’ll go back to as the menu is seasonal and I’m intrigued to see what the ambiance is like during dinner. For a discerning critic who dislikes trying a restaurant twice, I’ll say that’s a compliment.

Claudette – 24 Fifth Avenue – 212 868 2424

See more reviews at NYC Restaurants.

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C&C Dinner Party Series: A Perfectly Intimate Christmas

I’ll admit I’ve been quite the Scrooge this Christmas season. Seemingly no amount of sparkling lights, yuletide cheer, or Christmas shopping could lift my spirits. Maybe as you grow older and get extremely caught-up with work, it’s harder to stop and take in the holiday season. It also could be something about NYC – I avoid the touristy Christmas attractions like the plague. Rockefeller Center makes me want to die this time of year, which inevitably makes me somewhat aggravated with the heightened hoopla of it all.

But like all things serendipitous in the Nancy-Brian-Cub-Cougar story, our life together managed to snap some cheer back into my ice queen soul. I was all set to have no Christmas party this year but Nance and her daughters made a point of committing to a Christmas celebration, albeit intimate but always bougie. The petit soirée included picking out a tree, tree trimming, champagne, and baking cookies. Nance is recovering from a surgery (explaining her hiatus from the blog) so she lorded over all as we served her nom noms and decorated the apartment.

Perfect dish for a party such as this? Swiss fondue of course! I made an Emmental cheese variation with Swiss white wine (Nance’s go-to recipe) so we could all binge eat over a course of hours. Served alongside my favorite Maison Kayser baguette (New Yorkers – If you haven’t tried this yet, go NOW), apples, cornichons, and saucisson, you really can’t go wrong. Throw in some FOIE GRAS from Juju’s beau and our standard extravagance for dinner parties was achieved.

As I sat in our beautiful apartment looking out onto the Upper West Side, so very happy with my adopted Manhattan family, it dawned on me that this has become home. It’s funny how a transition like that happens gradually overtime but the sudden realization can catch you off guard. I guess home is where you choose to create your life, feel comfortable, and are the happiest. That has become our apartment in 14A, filled so often with betches and laughter, always brimming at the seams with real talk, big dreams, and small successes from our New York City life.

We wish you the very merriest.

Brian & Nance – C & C

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Confessions of an Ice Queen

1501597_968241743822_621430820_oI’m a self-proclaimed ice queen. They say the best way to get help is to admit that you have a problem, though I’m still on the fence on whether or not I have a problem.

What does “ice queen” mean? Well for one, I’m inaccessible. Yes I wear my sunglasses around frequently on the subway, have resting bitchface, and often come off as bougie and aloof. But hey I’m a gay New Yorker….

More fundamentally, I find it hard to fall for anyone and in turn it’s hard for anyone to readily read that I’m into them. When I let loose it’s with restraint. I don’t have a stick up my ass but I do have an inability to let all inhibitions go in order to connect with other people. Also sorry gays, I don’t want to go on Grindr and get Herpes. Seems like I’m in just the city to warm me up, no? WRONG. My iciness is perpetuated here.

Sometimes I think am I doing what trolls do, telling myself that I’m “focused on my career” because I’m simply not that desirable? But then I always think nahhhhhhh.

What would be worse: being 30, married, and unaccomplished, OR being 30, wildly successful in a dream career, and ready to meet someone for the long-run? I’d always have to choose option 2.

I’ve managed to avoid heartbreak from my previous relationships but to the same vein, I’ve never been in love. Yes I’m guarded – That’s not a surprise. Dear Cameron, who loves nothing but love, says that I can’t comment on things I don’t know about, but another friend once told me I’m the perfect person to comment on the affairs of the heart. Why? I’m removed, I think rationally, almost clinically, and I don’t let feelings get in the way. Who knows which perspective is correct? Though one thing I do know for sure: I will never again chase after someone I have to convince to like me.

Get ready for narcissism that I see as self-assurance: I am a catch. No one needs to validate that. It’s really a mentality I tell my friends that they should all embody. I don’t know if you personally are a catch but if you don’t believe that you are, then you are lost. If you don’t prize me then keep walking – at the end of the day the only constant is yourself. Assess your merits and find someone who thinks those shining qualities make for the ideal partner. Is it so much to ask to find someone who will court me, be enamored by my brilliance, and keep me interested? Maybe that last point is currently the biggest hurdle – Because hey, my iciness comes with high standards.

Getting it in more helped. Moving to a new job where gays abound is finally breaking my icy exterior. I do feel like I’m moving in a direction where I’m improving, career-wise and simply in regards to myself. Is the ice thawing? I can’t really say (probably not) but for the time being I’m embracing me while still thinking about ways to change for the better. I’ll try to work toward a softer countenance but frankly I think I’d rather continue to build on myself, building accolades and making myself a better catch for the man I envision finding down the road. I’m not one to wait but I guess at this point in my life I have the flexibility to do so.

I’m a self-proclaimed ice queen. Ice has made strong and I for one would rather be made of ice than silly betch tendencies. Is it something I need to fix? Who the hell knows, but for now it suits me just fine.

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Nouveau Korean: Hanjan

 

Do you need another reason to love NYC? Any cuisine you’re craving, you can find it in this cosmopolitan metropolis. For me, I get bored of most things in life and subscribe to a logic of why revisit a restaurant in NYC when there are so many others to try. Also having zeal to experience new cuisines and cultures, I love that something exotic is often just a block-a-way… in every direction.

On that note, I’m all about the Nouveau Korean trend, brought to life by Chef Hooni Kim. Now I’ve had Korean food in Koreatown before, but Kim’s take on Korean is truly inspired. I first tried Danji with Korean socialite herself, Faye, and the excellent dining experience brought me to its sister restaurant, Hanjan. To send-off the always-illustrious Eva before she flew to Ecuador (before coming back shortly after… this betch), we decided to frequent flat-iron for a out of character, low-key night for Eva, Naisha and I.

Hanjan was named one of the best new restaurants of 2013, and I must say I agree with the praise. Both Danji and Hanjan serve Korean food transformed in a modern way, offered tapas style. I’ve asserted I’m a fan of small plates and the Korean twist just adds to the flair. I enjoyed the ambiance of Hanjan more than the smaller Danji. Although both are rather intimate restaurants, there’s slightly more breathing room in Hanjan. Plus you can make reservations, which is always a plus in my books. The setting is laid-back and perfect for a late dinner or first date.

For dinner we started with the Scallion Pancake with Local Squid served with a soy dipping sauce. Fried, unique and rather delicious. Next up was the Fluke Sashimi Salad, simple and fresh as Fluke seems to be all the rage in restaurants these days. I always like to try the most interesting thing on the menu so logically so we ordered the Braised Pig Trotters with Squid Fermented Kimchi. The theory is correct: Anything braised is delicious… even when eating Pig feet. The Kimchi & Beef Brisket Fried Rice with Egg were just as those list of ingredients suggest: decadent, rich and oh so satisfying.

But let me stop and mention the Soji. Ummmm I’ve been missing out but I am a Soji virgin no more! We had the “50” SeJu, a house special blend of strong Jinro “24” and sweeter Bek SeJu’. I can describe it as a heightened sake, more floral and rather lovely. And at a bargain price! $20 for a relatively large bottle? Ok Korea, I see you.

For the record its Michelin-star rated sister restaurant Danji edges Hanjan out. I think Danji’s menu has a bit more intrigue and variety. I must say Danji’s Poached Sablefish with Spicy Daikon was one of the best-prepared fish I’ve had in New York and you can’t go wrong with those famous Pork Belly Sliders.

Alas with either restaurant you’re really in for a unique dining experience. From the interesting ingredients to the tapas style menu, if you’ve never tried Korean and are feeling adventurous, new fare try Kim’s NYC gems.

Hanjan – 36 W 26th Street –  212-206-7226

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C&C Dinner Party Series: Woodburning Oven Options

Well it’s official – I’m at a crossroads in my career trajectory. If you are an adherent to this blog then you can tell I love food. Whether it’s indulging in dinner at Michelin star gems or entertaining my friends with seasonal fare, there are limitless things to talk about when food is at the center of attention. That being said, lately I’ve been highly considering a transition into the food industry. Sorry mom and dad, I don’t want to be a patent lawyer or a cardiologist. I enjoy my job but I don’t think working in a science-focused industry can capture my interest for the long-run. Wouldn’t it be great to work at a job where food occupies my energy? (I realize this decision may ruin my hopes at attaining a 6-pack) Food-related brand marketing seems like  the first logical choice but I really don’t know if that’s the right move and I crave to learn the ins and outs of the profession before taking a leap of faith. Where better to network than a culinary capital of the world?

You see, the beautiful thing about this gleaming city is that opportunities are within reach if you’re diligent and persistent.  Having spread the word of my desire to explore the food industry, Nance’s daughter JaJa mentioned the possibility of connecting with Donatella Arpaia. Wildly successful restaurateur, Food Network personality and frequent judge on Iron Chef America, Donatella is a bonafide food celebrity.  In a New York minute, within a week actually, I was sitting across the table from Donatella, as she asked for my availability as well as an invite to our next dinner party… It’s funny how life works. 

So here’s the deal: I’ll be helping Donatella and her team – supporting on recipe creation, blog upkeep, food photo shoots, and whatever else my schedule allows. Although I’m not going to be reckless and quit my 9 to 5, I want to push myself to take full advantage of this great opportunity. The first assignment? Come up with recipes to be cooked in a woodburning pizza oven for an upcoming shoot. AMAZINGGG, though… I’ve never cooked a pizza, let alone in a wood-burning oven.

Needless to say I had to try recipes before giving my stamp of approval to an Iron Chef America judge. I did my research and essentially these ovens use very high heat so I cranked up our stove to its highest 500 degrees. I then invested in a ceramic woodburning slab from Zabar’s and had Ivanka and Faye over as guinea pigs (NOTE: Betches of NYC there will be many more upcoming impromptu occasions to come over to Chez C&C).

First thing I learned? Pick your dough carefully. I used a recipe that uses all-purpose flour which lends for a chewier crust (Bread flour apparently leads to a thinner, crisper crust). However I think I need a lesson in kneading because I failed to knead enough and the dough was entirely too sticky when I took it out of the fridge. However, I was resilient and added flour liberally to get it to the right consistency. Net-Net I’ll be experimenting with a new dough for the next round. I first served a traditional margherita with San marzano tomato sauce. It was adequate though I must say it suffered from the lack of a perfect crust.

I got the next recipe option from my sister. It’s a beet pesto pizza with kale and goat cheese. I’m all about the beets and all about the kale. Not to mention they’re two ingredients that are so IN VOGUE right now. I altered the recipe by adding orange juice instead lemon juice in the pesto for a sweeter variation and used the same dough used for the margherita pizza. Possibly due to sitting out longer, the dough on this round achieved a better consistency. This pizza checks out for a Donatella recommendation.

Lastly, I made a nectarine crostata. I used Julia Child’s sugar pastry crust, which was probably a miss. In the high heat the crust did not bake altogether evenly. Although all of the flavor was on point and the pie crust resembled a shortbread cookie, I think I have to cut the sugar in the dough for high temperatures. The filling itself was great. I soaked the nectarines in honey, freshly squeezed orange juice, cardamom pods, vanilla, cinnamon, and syrup of poppies. It can’t be a total disaster with ingredients like that.

Clearly I had some woodburning oven snafus but it’s exciting testing recipes, sharing time with friends, and working toward a change. My culinary prowess has always been by the books, stemming from my start in the regimented world of pastry. It’s good for me to try new recipes, fall on my face a little, and learn the “do-nots” for next time.

I realize that I’m about to give up most of my free time, but from my point of view, why not pursue the things you love? Don’t we all strive to do the things we truly enjoy, and at the end of the day call it work? As this is my year of clarity, I think what I’ve decided is that I need to follow a passion, trusting that with that passion as a guiding principle, success is just around the corner. And hey if all else fails, there will be a lot more C&C test kitchen recipes and extravagant dinner parties for all to enjoy.

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Betch Spotlight: Faye

 

Faye

Time for another Betch Spotlight. It’s been a while since a betch has graced these pages but it’s it time for Faye to get her due.

Faye. Effortless fashionista sporting Van Cleef as easily as she wears her affable and understated elegance. Ivy-league grad at home in NYC as the current pit stop for this jet setting bonne vivante.

We met at the frattiest happy-hour this side of college, and it was bougie love within the first hour of meeting. After moving to the city, Faye soon became a facet of C&C life, fitting in seamlessly amidst our purported extravagance. A friend through Ivanka, the three of us united comprise a virtual betchy trifecta (Stay tuned for our upcoming voyage… Are you ready Morocco?

She possesses an undeniable class, an attribute I can fully appreciate. Catch her having high tea at the St. Regis on weekends, possibly chatting up young savants. However don’t be fooled, she can transform as the night grows late, shedding inhibition with the start of dance floor (a few high fluted cocktails later of course). Because let’s make this clear: there is a large difference between effortless class blended with the ability to let loose as compared to high-society stuffiness. Schooled and brought up across Australia, British Columbia, Seattle, and Seoul, this betch comprises an East meets Pacific Northwest meets Down-under sensibility. How much more intrigue can you get out of a blend like that?

Faye and I share guiding man principles in common. You see, our core value is never to settle for less than what we know we deserve. I’ll take your criticism. It’s a mentality that comes with being alone at times. But hey, as I always tell Faye, wouldn’t you rather be alone at our age, then waste time on someone who’s just meh? I’m not holding out for a hero, but in the height of vivaciousness, with an “I-am-a-10” mentality, we can afford to be picky. This logic is Nance-endorsed so it’s essentially the bible. Until then Faye will await for her entrepreneur 30-something, dressed in a perfectly pressed suit who will take whisk her off to Perse for a Saturday night date. I fully affirm this uncompromising level of standard.

Alas it’s all merit for me to raise my glass to chère Faye. With you I know there will always be lavish pow-wows, laughter, and discerning taste. To life’s next great adventure with you because surely there are bound to be many memories together to fill the pages of this time of brilliant Manhattan indulgence.

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Old World Style: Brunch at Palma

Brunch. I’ve stated that it’s a New York obsession. Frankly, I’m catching onto the craze, not because I’m dazzled by the food options but long and lazy catch-ups on Saturdays and Sundays now trump raging until 4 AM (Growing up problems).

Alas when my friend posted a Harper’s-Bazaar-endorsed brunch list on my timeline (For the chicest restaurant garden brunch spots), I felt compelled to accept the challenge and check a few out ASAP. I was in the mood for the West Village, which brought me down to Palma for laid-back Italian fare.

Tucked away on charming Cornelia Street, the outside and even front dining area are rather unassuming. However step through to the back, canopied patio, and you arrive upon a brunch setting with distinctively old world charm. Rustic, well executed table settings, rose-lined walls, and authentically European accents create an undeniable appeal for any brunching betch.

Serving an Italian menu, the food is interesting but not over the top. I wouldn’t write home about my Shrimp Frittata but then again I’m still on this Paleo binge so what do I write home about these days? Cam’s Pancetta Eggs Benedict was an eyebrow raiser being a whimsical play on a classic. The portions are big and overall the pricing is reasonable.   (Real life: $8 cocktails are reasonable in NYC)

So you might ask, with a lackluster culinary review, why go? Well brunch should be all about the gab session with friends. The tell-all about the going-ons in our lives. During the throes of summertime, brunch culture seemingly becomes accentuated as it spills outdoors, with large open windows and pop-up sidewalk tables. Palma takes advantage of this New York summer blaze of glory. It does a great job of elevating brunch by serving up a wonderful ambiance, making you think for a second that you’ve left NYC behind. Perhaps Tuscany, perhaps Le Cote d’Azur? After all, often can’t memorable ambiance elevate food in retrospect?

http://www.palmanyc.com/ – 28 Cornelia Street – 212.691.2223

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Top Notch Summer Tasting: The Modern

Another weekend, another Michelin star rated restaurant.

A milestone anniversary for my parents found me at Danny Meyer’s stronghold at the MoMA, The Modern. My parents have always revered milestones, making sure we pay them due respect…I’m not really complaining. Old world traditions I guess, but us kids always took part in the celebration of their anniversary. After spending the afternoon at the MoMA, we walked over to The Modern to celebrate in style. The restaurant is actually a very similar concept to Jeans Georges, with the Bar Room upfront (like Nougatine) and the even fancier The Modern, tucked away, gloriously facing the sculpture garden at the MoMA. The atmosphere is just as its namesake promises, with class and design executed perfectly from the tall windows to the napkin rings.

Given the inside scoop by none-other-than native New Yorker, Nance, we got to the restaurant early and requested to have drinks on the outside patio. Apparently a best kept secret, the weather proved to be perfect for lounging about on the sofas overlooking the sculpture garden. Being the only people on the patio, the atmosphere felt special, if not downright exclusive. My mother being the extravagante that she is, soaked up every moment of the evening. (I got those same genes, so I did the same)

The drinks were expertly mixed, playfully named after modern paintings in the museum. I ordered the Blank Canvas (Framboise Apertif, Rye, Peychaud Bitters and Lambrusco) – light, fruity, yet maintaining a slight kick from the Rye. But of course my mother always unwitting gets the strongest drink on the menu, which caused us to switch. Not that I really minded. I wanted something a little stronger and the Vanishing Point (Rye Vodka, Vermouths, and Teapot-Hazelnut Bitters) was an elegant play on the martini.

But of course for dinner. We decided to go with the tasting menu, described simply by:

  • Caviar
  • Foie Gras
  • Black Truffle
  • Pink Snapper
  • Lamb
  • Chocolate or Apricot

I mean with those options how could you really go wrong. 1,2,3 then die of decadence with a lineup of Caviar, Foie Gras and Black Truffle? For me the Black Truffle stole the show – a ricotta tortellini with shaved black truffle served over top. By far the best pasta dish I have ever had.

If that wasn’t enough, the waiters roll around a chocolate and sweet cart after dinner. That pushed the engorgement factor over the edge but frankly how can you not keep eating The Modern-made chocolates, macarons, and other sweet delights? I have no self control so good thing I’ve started training for a half-marathon. The meal ended with the cutest, take-home boxes filled with even more sweets! I mean stop doting on me… just kidding The Modern can give me nom noms forever.

Now I mustn’t be all doe-eyed and gush completely over the meal. I mean, it was beautifully executed and the service, impeccable. However sometimes when you get such an extravagant tasting menu, the extravagant ingredients speak louder than the deftness of the end products. Am I crazy? Am I really docking points for truffles, caviar, and foie gras? Heresy?

I don’t think so. There is a reason those ingredients are delicacies, but I still maintain the ideology that it is when a dish transforms “normal” ingredients into something unforgettable, that that marks the height of culinary achievement. Don’t worry, The Modern still get’s the Cub’s “Inspired meal” stamp of approval.

In any event, maybe next time I’m at The Modern I’ll try the four course tasting where I have more flexibilit. Note the conviction in my voice that I’ll be back soon…The extravagance seemingly never ends. Maybe we all live above our means in this beautifully hedonistic city. I for one am not complaining. I just fear what my tastes will crave when I’m hitting 40, but then again that’s a problem for another beautiful Sunday. 🙂

The Modern – themodernnyc.com – 212-333-1220

See more reviews at NYC Restaurants.

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Michelin Star Secret: Lunch at Jeans Georges

 

There’s a reason why classic always remains in style.

 Michelin star-rated restaurants are the height of culinary achievement. A friend introduced me to the Michelin star ranking a few years ago and since then I’ve aimed to cross as many of these restaurants off of my culinary bucket list. Michelin ranks the best restaurants in the world with 1,2, and 3 stars. These restaurants serve what I like to call inspired meals; elevated from your run-of-the-mill “high-end” restaurants. New York being a culinary capital of the world, houses a long list of Michelin star restaurants, perfect for this food connoisseur in the making. They range from American new to Japanese to High-end French, but only 7 make the list for 3 stars (i.e. a veritable Oscar of the food world).

2014 Michelin Restaurants 

Clearly these 3-star restaurants accompany extensive tasting menus and rather high bills. Yes, I am young for such high taste in food and frankly my payroll does not sustain such extravagance (YOLO?). But don’t be too sad, there is a secret with one of these Michelin 3 star gems. Why not try a weekend lunch at a Jeans George? 2 plates for $38 – Practically a steal.

My parents were in the city in the afternoon a few weekends ago and we decided to visit Jeans Georges. Spurred by Nance’s recent visit for her birthday, it was the cub’s turn to give Jeans Georges a whirl. My mother, the perpetual critic, loved everything from the ambiance, the dining room, and the service. I agreed. Jeans George does a perfect job of blending of refined, innovative, and classy without coming off as pretentious.

But of course the food is the showstopper. I had a first plate of Santa-Barba Sea Urchin on Black bread with Jalepeno and Yuzu. How can you go wrong with Uni? It was cooked perfectly, served with fresh and bright flavors, delicately plated atop crostini. The perfect bite. My dad got an elegant Sashimi with Trout Roe and my mother won this round with her Foie Gras and Strawberry Torche. Or should I rather say that in this tough stand-off of decadence, Foie Gras trumps Uni. It’s a close call.

For our mains, I can only say that each dish trumped the next. My mother got the Slowly cooked Cod served with Lettuce Puree and Herba-Lime Vinaigrette – Elegant and light, interestingly spicy. My dad got my second choice of Crispy Confit of Suckling Pig with baby beets and ginger vinaigrette – Simply rich, perfectly paired with the sweet accompaniments. While I decided to go for something lighter with the Black Sea Bass crusted with nuts and seeds, sweet and sour Jus. Now I’ve cooked black sea bass before and it is a good piece of fish, BUT in all honesty I have never had a sea bass as masterfully executed as at Jeans George. I’ve always said that the key to a perfect dish is a good sauce and that sauce was perfectly balanced in every way. Jean Georges, I’m still dreaming of that that Sea Bass.

As dessert is my favorite, obviously Jeans Georges playfully serves a variety of tastings of dessert options. You can choose between Caramel, Citrus and chocolate. I made the easy choice and chose chocolate. Once again, I was wowed with the presentation, finesse, and mastery of ingredients.

Jeans Georges is the epitome of classic.  If you are not well versed in Michelin star restaurants, the dining at these top venues are on a different plane of excellence. Take my goo-goo-eyed blathering about the meal as testament to the height of culinary chops served at this Upper West Side landmark. The amount of flavor coaxed out the ingredients served, coupled with the world-class service and mother-approved ambiance, are simply masterful. Treat yourself, go have an extravagant lunch without  having to forgo your rent check. Our taste buds all deserve to be treated every so often. 

Jeans Georges 

See more reviews at NYC Restaurants.

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A Summer of Strategically Drinking

Strategically Drinking with champagne?

Strategically Drinking with champagne?

Oh NYC. It’s hard to match Manhattan in the late spring. Although we know what awaits us around the corner with unavoidably sweaty subway rides and a veritable sauna-esque backdrop, summer still heralds the promise of exciting things to come. You should know by now that it is a proven theory that Manhattanites come out of the woodwork when the cold lifts – Out of hibernation to frolic, have fun, and, frankly, fuck.

If you were wondering what caused the hiatus of the cub and the cougar, I was frolicking around with alpacas in Peru with Éva and Naisha while Nance has been busy giving us added inspiration (Even though that’s not really necessary), chugging away with finals, working toward her Master’s. As always, a break from my urban jungle supplied me with fresh fodder on how I can revamp in my life.

As Naisha and I sipped on Pisco sours in Lima on our hotel’s rooftop, I had a thought: This summer I aim to strategically drink and party with tact.  Is the real coming age of the young professional when one forgoes the endless nights of binge drinking to focus on more noble pursuits? I’m thinking…Invite-only parties, rooftop openings, tennis tournaments, training for half marathons. I mean I surround myself with only the classiest; it’s not a pipedream but simply something that I will now actively devote my time and attention to. I know I’ve always been ahead of the curve for my age, but it’s clear that I need to expand my gay circle, network more as I seek to switch careers, as always fill my life with extravagance… Oh and sure I’ll fit in a summer fling in there as well.

Last summer I learned that binge drinking and pissing away weekends at clubs has a short shelf life. Let’s be real, I’ll never find the man that can keep up with me at the Ritz/Metropolitan anyways. Don’t get me wrong, I‘ll still drag myself to Le Bain or the Electric Room if I really must 🙂

I should preface I am test-driving the Paleo diet for the month of June which accompanies this new summer philosophy… In any event, I guess my driving point is this: The singles of NYC complain how it’s hard to meet anyone in this city of excess (Me included). Well boo hoo – we’re young, vivacious, and beautiful. The only thing stopping us from meeting new men, and people and general, is ourselves. It’s not easy but we must put ourselves in new social situations. They may throw us off balance, but it’s those moments when you’re the most open to meting someone new. Sorry Tinder, you’ll be a backup for a mythical man creatures on standby, but I’m looking for first encounters other than swipes this summer.

Don’t get me wrong, my goal of strategically drinking is not about finding a man, but I think it’s a sound game plan for many a Manhattanite this summer. The year of the horse continues to be a year transformation for this cub. I feel new age, driven chiefly to shake my status quo and fling myself into the winds of change. After all, I did go on a 4 day trek when I learned  how to get over the alarming state of my hair without a blow drier… Who am I again?

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