Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bits & Morsels eats less!

Pea risotto at Rouge Tomate.

Last week I went to Rouge Tomate with my good friend Barbara Regna.

Rouge Tomate, which is located in a stunning space at 10 East 60th, is a fabulous restaurant for people who do not like to eat. Yes, you read that correctly. The cuisine at Rouge Tomate screams healthy by offering a smidgen of meat on the menu, supplemented with lots of vegetables.

The motto of the restaurant is S.P.E or sanitas per escam (yes, that's Latin), which means health through food. Everything at Rouge Tomate from the cocktails to the dessert is health conscious. The cocktails, which are made using fresh fruit, are not to be missed. My pumpkin juice and sake cocktail was crisp and bright and might have been the most delicious part of the meal. Come to think of it, you could definitely make a meal out of the cocktails alone.
My dinner date, Barbara Regna.
After throwing back a few of those said cocktails, you would most likely pass out after stumbling home; and won't have to worry about late night snacking! All of the portions at Rouge Tomate are tiny, so remember, this not the place to bring a date that favors steakhouses. My great friend, Barbara, refers to herself as a "real skinny bitch." She is the type who eats like a rabbit and makes is look easy (she eats lots of vegetables and no meat). I like going out with her because I eat smarter. Of all the plates we ordered, we each took one or two bites just to give everything a try. And that is where we stopped (sigh). An excellent dish was the beet salad with Parmesan crisps. The plate itself was beautiful with a bouquet of colored beets, and the crisps made the salad a little hearty. For dessert we tried the almond crepes and the chocolate and banana plate. Of the two, the chocolate and banana was the winner. Even though I did not eat like I normally do, I felt satisfied and had an extra bounce in my step after dinner.

Rouge Tomate — 10 East 60th Street, http://www.rougetomatenyc.com/
Clockwise from top left: Cucumber soup; Winter Rouge — vodka, Campari, blood orange juice, lemon Juice; P. S. T. — sake, pumpkin juice, cucumber juice, celery juice, yuzu.
Beet Salad with parmesan crisps. Tuna poke salad with mushrooms and a delicious light sesame dressing.
Clockwise from top left: Inside Rouge Tomate; Caramelized banana napoleon, roasted banana sorbet, hot cocoa; Warm Almond Crepes — marzipan, grapefruit, pomelo, toasted almond milk sherbet.
This weekend I went to brunch with JH. We met up on the Upper West Side, which is brunch central. Seriously, we started at Nice Matin and walked up to the Mermaid Inn. Every place had a significant wait and clusters of people actually waiting outside. The wait at Nice Matin was a good 20 minutes and no, it does not move fast. I’m happy we ended up at the Mermaid Inn because it was busy, but not cramped.
It seemed every restaurant on the Upper West Side had lines out the door.
The Mermaid Inn is a fish restaurant and so, as one would expect, many of the brunch items include fish. I had the fish tacos which were very fresh and spicy enough to forego a bloody mary. Usually fish tacos are fried, but these were filled with grilled Mahi Mahi. I’m not really a fish taco kind of girl, but I would have these again in a minute. JH had some type of eggs benny that looked yummy and the home fries (which he kindly shoveled to me) were crispy and flavorful. It was encouraging to see so many restaurants this busy during brunch — hopefully this is a sign the economy is turning a small corner. [The Mermaid Inn]
Skillet baked frittata. Smoked salmon and crab eggs benedict.
Fish tacos. My brunch date, JH.
A fried chicken restaurant in Brooklyn has to change its name from Obama Fried Chicken to Popular Fried Chicken. Some Brooklyn residents are understandably upset with the name, protesting it reeks of racism. [Urbanite]

Say goodbye to Balducci's [NY Post]
Balducci’s is closing. At the end of the month (April '09) there will no longer be any Balducci’s in Manhattan. Balducci’s was one of the first truly high end food stores where one could find random gourmet items. Its most famous store was located in Greenwich Village from 1972-2003. At the time Balducci’s opened, many of its items were hard to find anywhere else, which are now for the most part widely available. [NY Post]

This is a great article for making sausage. The whole process is documented with helpful pictures which may actually inspire you to make some sausage. This is one case where you won’t mind seeing how the sausage is made. [Simply Recipes]

This is upsetting for white wine drinkers.
White wine can actually stain your teeth. The acid in white wine can create rough spots on your teeth allowing beverages like red wine and coffee to stain. Red wine is still worse for staining purposes, but this is something to ponder next time you drink. [Telegraph]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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