I still can't stop thinking about this five course seafood tasting menu lunch at Marea, a two star Michelin restaurant. So memorable, with every bite leaving me wanting more. Marea specializes in Italian and seafood and the lunch tasting menu is $80.
Here is everything I ate:
1/ From the bread tray I started with this pumpkin seed focaccia. Then proceeded to have 2 more pieces of bread during the course of the meal to get the last bits of sauce.
2/ Assaggio di Tre, a tasting of three crudo of sliced raw fish and shellfish. The Sgombro, a jack mackerel, tomato, fennel, potato chip, and trout roe was especially amazing.
3/ Astice: a Nova Scotia lobster with burrata, eggplant, and basil. Oh My God. I wanted to lick the plate.
4/ Strozzapreti: crab, sea urchin, and basil. So creamy and the pasta was perfect.
5/ Capesante was the final savory dish. Seared scallops, napa cabbage, chanterelles, lentils, and greens. I didn't know scallops could taste so good.
6/ I'm not a huge fan of panna cotta, and think it's a cheap way for restaurants to cop out of a real dessert, but THIS changed my mind about that. Caramelized goat milk panna cotta with almonds, anise hyssop, and melon granita. Lovely and light.
7/ Not a part of the tasting menu, but I ordered a green tea to end the meal. Loose leaf tea from Harney & Sons. Tea was served with thin, square cookies.
8/ And the last bites were these colorful, fruity, and nutty nougats. One for me, one for my friend Queenie.
INFO: Marea | 240 Central Park South | New York, NY 10019 | 212.582.5100
COST: $80 Five Course Seafood Tasting Menu Lunch
The afternoon tea is served in the museum cafe on the main floor and is run by the Hester Street Café. If you're visiting the museum just for the cafe, no need to pay the museum admission. The space seats 40 people with a mix of tables for two to four to communal benches. I opted for the table for two since I prefer chairs with backs to bench seating.
There isn't table service so orders must be placed at the cafe counter. The staff was friendly and brought our afternoon tea set over to us once it was ready.
TEA & TEA SELECTION: ★★★☆☆
Not a bad tea selection of seven loose leaf teas from McNulty's Tea & Coffee Co. considering the afternoon tea is just $20/per person. I got the Pan Fired Green Tea which was good.
Since there were two of us, we got the Afternoon Tea for Two for $35. Teas arrived first, then a little while later, a three-tiered tray with food for two.
The menu showed a selection of four tea sandwiches, but only two were available -- the Cucumber and Chives on White and Tarragon Chicken Salad on Wheat. You can pick three of the four tea sandwiches (or two in our case) per person. We got two of the Cucumbers. I thought the chicken was a tad dry, but the cucumber tea sandwich was very good. Everything tasted freshly made; no stale or cold bread which is always good. I had wished all four tea sandwiches were available though.
Didn't love the scone (we got one each) since they were on the dry side and very small portions of butter (not clotted cream) and jam were served. Plus, it was odd only one knife was given for the both of us.
The macarons were definitely a miss but the tea cake, mini bundt cake, and shortbread tea cookies were good, although forgettable.
The afternoon tea is priced just right for what you're getting. If you're visiting the New Museum or just downtown and looking for an afternoon tea break, the New Museum Café is a good casual option.
LOCATION: New Museum Café | 235 Bowery | New York, NY 10002 | 212.219.1222
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS: Served all day during cafe hours
COST: Afternoon Tea for One, $20 | Afternoon Tea for Two, $35
Instead of crowded and noisy cafes with tables that are too close to each other, I much prefer the quiet and luxurious setting of hotel bars for tea breaks in the middle of the afternoon, around 3PM.
A reader of the blog, JoAnn, told me she loves to go to Bar Pleiades, Chef Daniel Boulud's bar within the The Surrey hotel for warm madeleines. WARM MADELEINES.
So I'm kind of obsessed with these madeleines. And this obsession goes back to the time I had dinner at Daniel years ago and they were served as part of the dessert course. Freshly baked and warm, fluffy, and miniature in size, the madeleines were so good that I couldn't stop talking about them for months. I was so happy when Dominque Ansel (who was the executive pastry chef at Daniel) opened up his bakery and started serving them. (See my post on the best madeleines.) But the presentation of the madeleines is completely different (and way better) at Bar Pleiades and Daniel. Instead of a dinky little paper tray, they're served like this...
Nestled in a floral origami napkin, they're best when they're eaten as soon as they land on the table. With tea, of course.
Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, tea isn't on the bar menu but they do serve a small selection of teas from In Pursuit of Tea. I got an oolong, which was very good.
But really, go there for the heavenly madeleines in a gorgeous setting with fantastic service.
INFO: Bar Pleiades at The Surrey | 20 East 76th Street | New York, NY 10021 | 212.288.3700
For each Fashion Week, Lincoln Center sets up a temporary building to house the fashion shows. As I was walking towards the entrance, a Bill Cunningham spotting! The legendary fashion photographer for the New York Times (he's the one in the bright blue jacket) was busy taking photos while everyone was taking pictures of him. (Have you seen his documentary Bill Cunningham New York? YOU NEED TO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW.)
Inside the show space, I was floored (ha!) by the runway! Absolutely stunning. Tiles made up of images from themes and looks from Lie Sangbong's previous collections.
And at the end of the long runway was a huge cluster of photographers all ready to start clicking away.
The lights dim, the music starts, and the show begins! The spring collection is bright, airy, and ethereal. Structured pieces mixed with loose, flowing ones walked the tiled runway. (See entire collection.)
The room was packed with people standing in the back rows and everyone had their phones out, snapping away.
And just as quickly as it began, it was over. It's unbelievable how much work goes into the 15-20 minute show. MONTHS of preparation.
After the show, I took a couple of shots of the room and the runway.
And went backstage to get a look at the racks where the clothes were organized for each model. (Vita was busy with 3 looks!)
If you're in New York City, Lie Sangbong is opening up a new store in the Meatpacking District on 30 Gansevoort Street and they are having a pop up sample sale this Thursday, September 11th from 11AM - 8PM. I'm totally going!