Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bits & Morsels

Crunchy bar snacks at San Pietro.

This past Saturday night I had dinner at San Pietro, located at 18 East 54th Street (212.753.9015). What enchants me about San Pietro is its spacious outdoor terrace. Most outdoor dining in New York is cramped and noisy. Many restaurants are quick to put tables outside. The result is uninspired. Sitting outside San Pietro under the red umbrellas: now that's dining al fresco.

These oversized red lawn furnituresque umbrellas seem to block out all of the city noise and distractions. San Pietro is named for St. Peter, and the logo of the restaurant is of St. Peter’s keys to the kingdom of heaven. The clientele of San Pietro is mainly uptown New Yorkers and their midtown location also makes it a popular business lunch destination.

San Pietro's cuisine focuses on the healthy, vivacious tastes of Campania, in southern Italy with an emphasis on fresh seasonal vegetables. At the bar they offer carrots and celery sticks for nibbles as opposed to the usual salted mixed nuts. The special on Saturday night was the John Dory with lentils and other beans. John Dory is a mild white fish, which is just right for a hot summer night. The Eggplant Parmesan is also a delicious choice, like a medley of warm, stewy flavors and textures. It’s offered both as an appetizer and a main course. I had the appetizer size and in hindsight I should have ordered the entrée portion. For dessert, San Pietro gives you a complimentary plate of cookies to linger over your coffee with.
The entrance and dining terrace at San Pietro.
Clockwise from top left: Caesar salad; Eggplant parmigiana; John Dory with lentils and other beans; Penne with mushrooms and peas.
Inside San Pietro. A view of our table.
Marinated olives. Cheers!
Clockwise from top left: Gilled sardines over salad; Veal with tomatoes and olives; Ziti with fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce; Chocolate mousse.
Cookie plate. Tiramisu.
On Sunday, in need of some culture, I headed over the Neue Galerie to see the
“Wiener Werkstätte Jewelry” exhibition and have a light breakfast at Café Sabarsky. Usually a lengthy line juts out from the entrance, but Sundays in July are not busy. Café Sabarsky stops serving breakfast at 11:00, so unless you want to start your day with goulash, I would head somewhere else for breakfast and settle for a cup of coffee and dessert at Café Sabarsky. Keep in mind that coffee and a danish at Café Sabarsky is not your every day Amurrican version. The coffee at Sabarsky is presented on a silver tray with a glass of water. They offer many cakes with marzipan and a selection of strudels. The cheese strudel was the winner in my book. Like a lighter version of a cheesecake wrapped in a flaky crust.
Clockwise from top left: Chocolate marzipan cake; Apple strudel; Cheese strudel with vanilla sauce; Espresso with steamed milk and foam; Mozarttorte cake with pistachio ice cream.
The Amity Restaurant located on Madison Avenue between 84th and 85th Streets is a convenient place to grab breakfast before going to the gallery. It is exactly what it should be: an unpretentious coffee shop serving breakfast all day long.
Corn flakes with sliced banana. Omelette with onions and mozzarella.
Smoothies at Starbucks? Starbucks recently introduced a line of smoothies going by the name "Vivanno." Starbucks has not been doing so well these days and this is an effort to get people back in the stores. One of the Vivanno flavors is chocolate and banana with a whole banana and an optional shot of espresso. [Starbucks]

I am sure everyone ran to bake those ultimate chocolate chip cookies that were featured in the dining section of the New York Times last week. If you didn’t, check out Orangette for a recipe breakdown and some useful baking tips. [Orangette] & [The New York Times]

"Staycation" is the word of the summer. Now is the time to take one to Brighton Beach. You can visit Russia and Central Asia all in one day. Here is a photo tour of Brighton beach with an emphasis on very reasonably priced eats. [Metromix]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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