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Oh, How Civilized contains ad banners and sometimes uses contextual affiliate links. This means that a small commission may be made if a product is purchased through a link. The commission earned goes toward providing original content for this blog. 

I only write about things and experiences that I genuinely like. Anything gifted is noted with a c/o or courtesy of.

Monday
Jan272014

Matsunosuke

A new Japanese bakery, Matsunosuke, opened up recently near me, on 8th Street. The twist is that this Japanese bakery specializes in apple pies. 

I was about to get a slice of one of their pies, but then this Japanese Chiffon Pancake sign caught my eye.

It's a small place...

and they had a very small variety sweets to choose from. Basically all they had on the menu was an assortment of pies and the Japanese Chiffon Pancake.

There are two pancakes you can order, and you can only order them to eat in. The Japanese "Azuki" pancake ($13), and a Banana Caramel pancake ($10). 

There's no table service. You order, and pay at the counter. I got the Azuki pancake and a small hojicha tea ($3.50). I was given a little pin with a number on it for my pancake. The pancakes are made to order, and takes about 15 minutes.

And it's ready! Light, fluffy, with a dollop of whipped cream and red bean paste on top. It's served with a syrup, which they recommend you dip the pancake into, instead of pouring on top. This is to keep the pancake from getting soggy.

A side shot, so you can see how fluffy this pancake was.

Next time, the apple pie.

INFO: Matsunosuke | 58 West 8th Street | New York, NY 10011 | 212.529.5888

Thursday
Jan232014

Amedei Chocolate

Thanks to Abby, I got introduced to Amedei, a chocolate company based in Italy, in the Tuscany region. Abby invited me to join her at Amedei's event to celebrate their first, albeit tiny, shop in New York, near Union Square. What a find!

Stepping into their little space, we take a look at the chocolates on display. 

Neatly arranged under the glass case, chocolates, and more chocolates. I couldn't wait to try them! 

We headed to the private event space upstairs where there were chocolates everywhere!

If there was a raised flat surface, there was chocolate. All different kinds, and all really decadent. Blocks of chocolate cut into caveman sized chunks, dainty pralines, chocolate fondue (with carrots and celery for dipping!), I tried them all.

The flavors were so complex, and the textures so smooth, the chocolates just tasted luxurious. 

Along with the chocolate, they served bite-sized savories made with chocolate, like this white chocolate and cauliflower soup. Who knew cauliflower could taste this good?

And before heading out, a couple of more bites of this Toscano Nut Brown, a gianduja based chocolate, a blend of chocolate and hazelnut. So creamy, and rich with the perfect amount of sweetness.

INFO: Amedi Store NYC | 15 East 18th Street | New York, NY 10003 | 212.982.8005

Wednesday
Jan222014

Soup and Sandwich Lunch Special at Gramercy Tavern

I knew about the secret (not on the menu) lunch special you can order at the tavern section of Gramercy Tavern, and I finally went in to get it last week. $16 gets you a soup and a sandwich, which changes daily. Check out Gramercy Tavern's twitter feed to find out what the soup and sandwich are for that day. 

My friend and I sat at the bar and ordered the soup and sandwich special, not asking what kind of sandwich and soup was being served that day. 

Bread and butter came out first, then the lunch special arrived.

First the sandwich: House-made Pastrami with Reading Cheese, Sauerkraut and Smoked Onion Aioli on Caraway Rye Bread, served nice and warm. With that, Celery Root and Apple Soup with Brussels Sprouts and Bulgur. Delicious and filling. Best lunch deal ever!

INFO: Gramercy Tavern | 42 East 20th Street btw Park Avenue South & Broadway | New York, NY 10003 | 212.477.0777
COST: $16, for soup and sandwich lunch special 
LUNCH HOURS: Tavern section of Gramercy Tavern: Monday - Friday, noon - 3:30PM 

Friday
Jan172014

The Best New York City Hot Chocolate // FP Patisserie vs Dominique Ansel Bakery

There wasn't even a competition this week. FP Patisserie's hot chocolate ($5.00) blew Dominique Ansel Bakery's Chef's Hot Chocolate ($4.25) out of the water. Speaking of water, that's what Dominique's tasted like. Super thin chocolate water.

FP Patisserie's was nice and thick, without being too syrupy...just wish it was served with some whipped cream.

»»»
See all Best New York City Hot Chocolate posts.

Thursday
Jan162014

Lunch at Eleven Madison Park

Everyone I know that has gone to Eleven Madison Park has raved about it, so I was super excited when I finally made the reservation to go. A confirmation email was sent to me by the Maitre D' letting me know that the lunch would take about three hours, and to plan our day accordingly. My friend Rachel and I were there for THREE HOURS AND 45 MINUTES. No joke. Good thing we planned accordingly. File this meal under Ladies who Lunch.

Interestingly, lunch and dinner cost the same at $225 per person.

No menu is handed out when you're seated. Everything served is from an extended tasting menu where everyone pretty much gets the same thing.

No doubt, this was THE BEST MEAL I'VE EVER HAD. From the food, portion sizes, to the service, and the presentation, it was all AMAZING. ALL CAPS amazing.

Here's what we had...

1/ Starting off with a blue bakery ribboned box with savory black and white cheddar cookies with apple. A nod to the class NY black and white cookie.

2/ Oyster with grape, bulgar wheat, and sorrel. 

3/ Marinated shrimp with sea surchin, foie gras, and chervil. 

4, Part 1/ Sturgen sabayon with chive oil served in an egg.

4, Part 2/ Continuation of the egg, sturgeon served smoked in a glass dome with everything bagel crumble, homemade pickles, and caviar. 

5/ Foie gras terrine with potato, greens, and black truffle. There was another option with this dish in that you could have gotten the foie gras seared instead.

.../ Bread with two types of butter. Bread was flaky, and more like a croissant than a roll.

6/ Carrot tartare with rye bread, and condiments. They bring out a grinder, which they attach to your table and the carrot goes through the manual grinder in front of you. You mix all the little condiments with the carrot and have it on top of the toasted rye bread. Who knew carrots could taste so good?

7/ Poached lobster with brussels sprouts and guanciale.

8/ Roasted squash with cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and sourdough.

9/ Roasted duck with turnip and huckleberries. We had an option to get venison, but we went with the duck.

10/ The picnic course! They bring you a packed basket, and you get to unpack it for an indoor picnic. Inside, Greenward cheese, pretzel bread, mustard, and Champagne grapes. 

11/ Egg cream with vanilla and seltzer served tableside from a bar cart. This kicks off the dessert courses.

12/ Apple sorbet with bay leaf crème brûlée and hibiscus. A candle for my bithday!

.../ High Mountain, Ali Shan oolong ordered off a separate tea menu. This was $10 extra.

13/ Sweet potato cheesecake with honey and chestnut.

14/ A card trick is a huge part of this course. The server shuffles playing cards with different flavors on each card. I got to split the deck, and move some cards around, and eventually, two cards were selected, and placed face up. You open up the box, and inside, the flavor illustrations on the playing cards match the flavors of the chocolate inside. No idea how it was done, but it was pretty fun. One was passion fruit, and the other, mint.

15/ Chocolate covered pretzel with sea salt.

16/ To bring things full circle, black and white cookies, but this time, sweet with cinnamon.

At the end of the meal, homemade granola in a glass jars were brought out for us to take home, along with a menu to take home, listing everything we ate. 

So memorable; I'm so going back.

INFO: Eleven Madison Park | 11 Madison Avenue | New YorkNY 10010 | 212.889.0905
COST: $225 lunch tasting menu 
LUNCH HOURS: Thursday – Saturday, noon–1:00pm