Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bits & Morsels

The familiar walls of The Palm.

This past Saturday night I went to Beacon, which is located in midtown at 25 West 56th Street in proximity to a cluster of media offices. Beacon is currently offering a three-course fixed menu for $44. It was not busy on this Saturday night but Fox News anchor Brit Hume was dining there.

Beacon has an impressive wine list and they offer half bottles of white burgundy wine. White burgundy is similar to burgundy but it’s a lighter and less intense choice. They have a pumpkin soup appetizer that is served with cinnamon croutons and spun sugar. As soon as the sugar is placed onto the surface of the soup, it dissolves, contributing a mellow sweetness to the dish. For a side, we had brussels sprouts cooked perfectly with roasted chestnuts. A meal appropriate all autumn long. [Beacon]
The pumpkin soup being poured and topped with spun sugar ... which then dissolves into the soup.
Half bottle of white burgundy. Wood roasted salmon with wilted watercress.
Brussel sprouts with chestnuts. Fall vegetable risotto.
Mixed green salad. Chocolate cake.
I went to The Palm last week because I was craving a satisfying steakhouse dinner. Funny enough I don’t eat steak, but the right steakhouse tends to have a succulent filet of fish and sinfully delectable side dishes to accompany. Located at 837 Second Avenue, The Palm has been here since 1926. Unfortunately, the food was not as good as I remember. Now it all looked delicious, but saying the food was bland is being generous. However, nothing can take away from The Palm experience; the atmosphere, the colorful walls, the old-timer crowd. The drawings on the walls are famous. The tradition began when the Palm first opened and the owners had no money to decorate the interior with. When a cartoonist would come in for dinner they would pay for their meal by drawing a cartoon on the wall. It’s something to see. Really. A veritable collection of notable people have been added to the wall and it's just plain old fun to look at them all. [The Palm]
Cesar salad. Chilled pickles and radishes.
Warm onion rolls. Seared sesame tuna.
Hash browns.
A trio of steak knives. Halibut, simply prepared.
The dessert platter. Our selection: strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
Last week I went to Washington D.C. with my mother to celebrate her birthday. For lunch we went to Nathans to see Chris Matthews at the Q&A Café. Chris is the host of Hardball and he is a fascinating guy. He was much gentler in person than he appears on air. Seeing him a week before the election was an exciting way to end this long election season. For dinner I went to Café Milano with my mom and Washington Social Diarist Carol Joynt. Café Milano is to D.C. what Michael’s is to New York. It is the place in D.C. to see and be seen. It's located in Georgetown and pretty much all the politicians, celebrities and diplomats dine there when they're in town.

What makes Café Milano so spectacular is the energetic scene paired with food and service that is above and beyond; but where it's still easy to unwind. Sounds simple but it's not. They have televisions on the bar where they serve straightforward and unpretentious food like crispy pizzas. From the moment we sat down at the table, our glasses were never empty and we never had to search for our waiter. Manager Laurent Menoud is a true professional and it was clear by how smooth everything went that he runs a tight ship. The best way to start off the meal is with the focaccia bread. It is served like a pizza with a fresh raw tomato sauce. Café Milano offers inventive salads like endive with goat cheese and grapes as well as the classic tomato and creamy mozzarella salad. Café Milano makes fresh pasta each day and they have a pumpkin ravioli that I'm longing for as I write this. For dessert we had a beautifully decorated chocolate birthday cake with ricotta frosting. Café Milano is truly at the top of my list; the bad news is it's not in New York. [Café Milano]
Endive salad with grapes and goat cheese. Pizza with arugula.
Tomato and mozzarella salad. Halibut with butter sauce.
Clockwise from top left: The ceiling of the private room at Cafe Milano; Butternut squash soup; Our dinner guest, Carol Joynt; Cafe Milano manager, Laurent Menoud; Laurent Menoud in action.
Focaccia bread. Pumpkin filled half moon ravioli in a sage and parmesan cheese sauce with crumbled amaretti cookies.
Wendy's chocolate birthday cake.
We stopped at Furin's bakery in Georgetown before we hopped back on the Acela train to New York.
If hunting is your thing ... then you should read this article. Game meats are actually nutritious and very lean. You can hunt once or twice for enough meat to last you throughout the year. Once you get a gun and a license, you can hunt everything from deer to wild turkey in areas around New York. [The Daily News]

Here is a list of places to eat and drink that have working fireplaces. When it gets cold outside nothing beats the cozy feeling of eating alongside a warm fireplace. [Citysearch]

Thanksgiving is coming up and if you don’t feel like cooking, here is a list of spots offering thanksgiving dinners. The restaurants range from Eleven Madison Park, which offers dinner for $135 per person to Supper, which will cost you $35 per person. If you want to stay at home, you can order a smoked turkey with all the fixings from Hill Country or a bo ssäm (a whole roasted pork shoulder) which serves eight people from Momofuku Ssäm Bar. [Zagat Buzz]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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