Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bits and Morsels goes Broadway

Baked Alaska from Strip House.

Saturday night I went to see a preview of “Bye Bye Birdie” at Henry Miller’s Theatre. The theatre is brand new and LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), making it the first of its kind in New York State. This was my first time seeing “Bye Bye Birdie,” and for a show that debuted in 1960, it was relevant and fun, sweet and upbeat.

The production, starring Gina Gershon and John Stamos, is filled with classic songs like “Put on a Happy Face” and “A lot of Livin’ to Do." The show is in previews and opens on October 15th, 2009.
“Bye Bye Birdie” at Henry Miller’s Theatre.
"Bye Bye Birdie" concessions.
Times Square on Saturday night.
Before the show I had an exceptional meal at Esca, located at 402 West 43rd Street (not technically in the theater district, but close enough). Esca, owned by Mario Batali, Dave Pasternack and Joe Bastianich, is an Italian restaurant with a serious focus on fish and seafood. I was impressed with the service and every dish I encountered, from the whole wheat focaccia to the plum tart. The atmosphere is also lovely and comprises a garden for outdoor seating when the weather permits.

I was planning on having a glass of pinot grigio, but I couldn't find one on the menu. I have noticed a trend where Pinot Grigio is slowly disappearing from wine lists around the city. Our waiter suggested a Friulano made by Joseph Bastianich. Medium bodied and zesty, it went beautifully with my halibut with squash. Esca is off the beaten path but directly worth a trip whether you are going to theater or just seeking an excellent dining experience.

402 West 43rd Street
Clockwise from top left: Great bread; Whole wheat focaccia (half-eaten); Esca's garden; Bottle of Joseph Bastianich Friulano.
Salad of roasted corn, chanterelles, toasted walnuts and aged goat cheese Pasta with golden beets and beans.
Halibut with spaghetti squash. Rustic plum tart.
Thursday night I went to the Strip House at 13 East 12th street. The Strip House is a no-brainer when meeting friends -- they've got all the steak house classics plus a sexy and casual atmosphere. "The Strip" refers to the steaks and the restaurant's sultry red walls lined with photos of old-fashioned strippers.

My dinner dates were Tim Morehouse and trusty dining companion, Sam Hamadeh.
President Barack Obama attacks Tim Morehouse with a lightsaber at a White House event to promote Chicago's Olympics bid (Getty Images).
Besides being a classy and cool guy ... Tim has competed in two Olympics, is a silver medalist, and the number one ranked fencer in America. Fencing is as sophisticated a sport as exists, dating back to about 1200 B.C. So much of the language and the art of fencing appears in our everyday life (how often do you say touché?).

Still, the sport is not as mainstream as it should be. Tim is constantly promoting the sport to raise its awareness.
Digging into the crispy goose fat potatoes.
Our topic of conversation ranged from Tim's visit to the White House to rally the troupes for the London 2012 games to his daily routine and how he is getting ready for the Fencing World Championships currently taking place in Turkey. All of this was discussed over hot garlic bread with Gorgonzola cheese fondue, steaks, lamb chops, sesame crusted tuna, truffle creamed spinach, potatoes, creamed corn and baked Alaska. Is there anything better than a steakhouse dinner with good company? [Tim Morehouse]

Strip House
13 East 12th Street
(212) 328 -8000
The Strip House, 13 East 12th street. Cabernet Sauvignon -- check out the label.
Tim Morehouse and Sam Hamadeh fencing ... friends again.
Tim's Olympic rings from Athens and Beijing. Hot onion rolls.
Warm garlic bread with gorgonzola fondue.
Black Truffle creamed spinach. Creamed corn.
Sea scallop with edamame succotash. Crispy goose fat potatoes.
Filet mignon.
Rack of lamb with a white bean stew. Sesame crusted tuna in a green peppercorn sauce.
Fried chicken is the rage in kitchens all over New York. I don’t know if it’s because of the financial woes many are experiencing or if it's just a question of offering comfort food, but in the past few weeks fried chicken has gone from a rarity to seemingly every menu. Here is a comprehensive guide to getting your fried chicken fix. [New York Magazine]

Probiotics are in just about everything these days. Probiotics are healthy bacteria which can restore the bacterial balance in your intestines and aid digestion. Many products simply use the label probiotic, but they are not specific enough as not all probiotics have the same effect. If you want the benefits of probiotics: look to see if the specific strain is on the label. [The New York Times]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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