Tuesday, 30 July 2013

New York Series - Momofuku Noodle Bar


New York is a city that is filled with great restaurants, chefs and restauranteurs, many of whom are well known and/or celebrities in their own right.  David Chang is a chef that is transcending the current concept of a chef and taking on the world while doing so.  Chang is the owner of the Momofuku group, which is not only dominating the New York scene with various restaurants and cafes, has also started a worldwide expansion, with his Sydney restaurant Momofuku Sieobo winning three prestigious chefs hats.

While chefs hats are well regarded in Australia, it's Michelin stars that matter in this part of the world and Chang is well known for his East Village gem Momofuku Ko, which has two Michelin stars and has an outstanding three restaurants ranked in the top 100 in the world.  These are some serious achievements for a guy who is not even 40.

While we were not going to visit the better known and highly accredited Momofuku restaurants while in NYC, we did find Momofuku Noodle Bar in our travels.  (I had a general rule while here, if I could visit a restaurant in Australia, I would not do its equivalent here).  SC and I were wandering around the East Village and found a very nondescript restaurant and after careful inspection saw that it was a Momofuku.  It was early in the day and the joint wasn't open just yet, but I added it to our list of must dine places and we continued on our way, with a plan to return in a few days.

Monday, 29 July 2013

New York Series - Eataly la Birreria

Throughout our trip to New York I have had a pretty tight reign on the restaurants that SC and I have visited, but SC took the reigns for a while when she directed us to Eataly and in particular la Birreria.  Eataly is an institution in Manhattan and it first came to our attention when we were watching an Anthony Bourdain show called The Layover.  Its a show about what you can do in a city if you are just there for a 24 hour layover, it's pretty cool and shows you what sort of great things you can get up to in just 24 hours if you know the good stuff about a city.

Eataly is a pretty cool concept that is essentially a market place and dining area combined and they have a bit of a motto "We cook what we sell, and we sell what we cook".  It's a place where you can go to shop, taste and savour the high quality traditional Italian food products and beverages, along with local produce and artisanal products.  The concept was originally created in Italy by Oscar Farinetti, when the first Eataly went live in 2007 in Turin.  There are now Eataly markets throughout Italy and the concept has made a successful transition to New York.

It's also helped that there are some heavy hitters involved in the concept in New York, with US super chef Mario Batali and his partners from the B&B hospitality group Joe and Linda Bastianich.  The team have a string of successful and well loved restaurants throughout the US, so it was no surprise when they became involved in Eataly and helped drive its success in New York.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

New York Series - WD-50

There are few restaurants around the world that excite me as much as WD-50.  I love experimental chefs and restaurants that push the boundaries of food and one's perception of dining.  Of course there have been the better known restaurants that are seen as the absolute pinnacle of experimental dining, such as elBulli, Fat Duck and Noma, but I personally put Wylie Dufrense's self named restaurant, WD-50, in the same category.

Located in Manhattan's Lower East Side, the restaurant is named WD-50 after Wylie's initials and the street number, 50 Clinton Street.  It's not a huge restaurant, seating around 65 people, but it is a very intimate restaurant that is only open for dinner, seven days a week.  There is an exciting vibe in the area that feels gritty and real, with narrow streets and lots of action occurring at all times of the day and night in any of the great restaurants or bars and clubs.

I had always planned to visit WD-50 and early on in our trip to Manhattan, we had scoped out the restaurant when were were checking out the Lower East Side.  There is so much to explore, I was pretty stoked when we first 'found' WD-50.  It's very unassuming from the street with an exposed brown stone facade with the only clue that this was one of the cities best restaurants, a small neon sign that barely lights up in the daytime (but as I would find out, was like a beacon when the sun finally set).

Friday, 26 July 2013

New York Series - The Spotted Pig


Many of the restaurants I wanted to visit were well planned out in advance.  I had done my research back in Australia and knew which Michelin starred restaurants I wanted to visit and had them squared away and booked nice and early.  

The Spotted Pig is a restaurant that I stumbled upon by accident.  We had just moved to the Chelsea area after spending some time in Little Italy and were just exploring the local area (well, it was a bit of a hike the first day), and found ourselves walking through the West Village.  The West Village is quite different from much of Manhattan in that the streets are a little less planned and a bit chaotic.  There are lots of little side streets to explore and it was down one of these that we stumbled upon The Spotted Pig.

The West Village is a great spot and has so many hip places to look at and visit.  Known as 'Little Bohemia' from 1916, the West Village is the centre of the bohemian lifestyle on the West Side and has lots of classical artist's lofts.  There is the re-instituted High Line (converted from an elevated railroad track to people's space) which connects this historic district to the art galleries of Chelsea and beyond.  The West Village is also home to many of New York's rich and famous and as a consequence property values are astronomical.  There are also lots of great restaurants and dining spots, like The Spotted Pig.

The only clue that it was a restaurant was a little pig above the door and apart from that, it looked just like any other semi industrial building (all-be-it a moss covered building).  We had walked past it without realising it was a restaurant and then curiosity got the better of me, so SC and I walked back to the building and had a peek inside.  Wow, talk about a surprise, this looked just like an 'Ye Olde English Pub' inside and was packed.  I made a mental note to investigate this further and then come back for dinner.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

New York Series - Katz's Deli


As an Australian wandering around New York, there are so many iconic things to do and see that you almost become immune to them.  American culture has dominated our TV and our consciousness for a long time and pretty much everywhere you look, there is something that you have heard about or seen on TV.  One of the most iconic, both for international tourists and American tourists coming to New York, is Katz's Deli.  Most people simply know Katz's deli from that scene in 'When Harry Met Sally' (see it here).  This place is even iconic for New Yorkers!

SC and I first came across Katz's deli by accident when were were wandering around the Lower East Side, just getting a feel for the area by walking around the streets (we also came across WD50 the same way).  We had already eaten lunch on that day, so after taking a few photos we moved on, determined to come back another day to check it out.  One thing that we noticed when we wandered by was the large queue of people waiting to get in, which seems to be almost standard for any well known place of interest in New York.

The Lower East Side is a neighbourhood located in the southeastern part of New York and was traditionally an immigrant, working class neighbourhood that began to go through a rapid gentrification which started in the mid 2000's.  More recently, it has become home to upscale boutiques and hip restaurants, in particular along the well known Clinton Street 'restaurant row'.  The Lower East Side is just across East Houston Street from the East Village and is now considered one of the most dynamic and sought after neighbourhoods in Manhattan.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

New York Series - Eleven Madison Park


Every now and then I have a meal that is so good, so totally amazing, that I need to set time aside to reflect before I can start to write about it.  There are very few restaurants around that deliver on the promise, sure, you might have a dinner that is almost perfect and would have been if only they'd (insert improvement here).

When planning our visit to New York, I had always planned to get along to a couple of the best restaurants in the city.  This is a little harder than is sounds.  Eleven Madison Park was one of the three or four restaurants on my hit list and the fact that it has just been named as the 5th best restaurant in the world by the San Pellegrino top 50 restaurants in the Word made it al the more appealing.  The fact that it was just named 5th best restaurant in the world also made it a tad harder to get into!  After serveral anxious weeks of trying to get in, I managed to snag a lunchtime reservation on a Friday afternoon, score!

It's an amazing feat to be named as one of the top 5 restaurants in the world, but Eleven Madison Park is used to the awards, it's been in the top 50 list for some time (number 10 in 2012) and has held three Michelin Stars for a while too!  It has always been difficult to get a booking at EMP, but moving those extra five places in the San Pellegrino list made it much more difficult to find a seat.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

New York Series - Le Bernadin


Here we are in New York City, the Big Apple. NYC is one of the dining capitals of the world, so it was with great care that I searched through and listed out the restaurants that I wanted to visit.  There are no less than six 3 Michelin starred restaurants in Manhattan, along with seven 2 Michelin starred and about 50 restaurants with a single Michelin star, so I was almost overcome with the choices available to me.

The first of the mega restaurants that I was able to book into was Le Bernadin, which is arguably the best restaurant in Manhattan.  As the name suggests, Le Bernadin is a French restaurant, with the original Le Bernadin opening to humble beginnings in Paris in 1972 but quickly became a Parisian favourite, winning its first Michelin star in 1976 and its second coveted star in 1980.  Inspired by their many American customers, siblings and owners Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze decided to open a Le Bernadin in New York.  The risk paid off with Le Bernadin almost immediately winning a coveted New York Times 4 Stars, the highest accolade in NYC.

After the sudden death of Gilbert in 1994, disciple and close friend Eric Ripert took over as head chef in the kitchen and was able to maintain the very high standards that the Le Coze siblings had set.  Under Chef Ripert Le Bernadin has gone onto greater heights, earning and keeping the coveted 3 Michelin stars from 2005 and is currently ranked the 19th best restaurant in the world in the San Pellegrino worlds top 50 restaurants.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Off to New York City


FoodMeUpScotty is hitting the big apple!

After heaps of planning and saving we are finally off to the US of A and in particular New York and even more specifically, Manhattan!  For those of you who love my regular updates, don't fear as I will be continuing to post from New York and have lots of yummy American treats lined up.

I am pretty excited to be visiting some of the best restaurants in the world when I go to Manhattan so keep an eye out for posts from some Three Michelin Starred restaurants while I am away.  But it won't all be about fine dining (well, a lot of it will be) but some good old fashioned street food and American classics, like burger joints, hot dog stands and delis'!

If you have any favourite places in New York that you fondly remember and want me to visit then just leave a comment after this post.  I can't promise I will fit them all in, but I promise to try!

I will still be posting photos to my Instagram and Facebook accounts, so keep an eye out for photos of delicious looking foods!



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