Tuome - Hitting all the High Notes

The process of trying out a new restaurant is familiar to all of you in varying degrees.  Most people assess the merit of Yelp reviews or ask their friends for suggestions on what dishes to order and ignore. Some dive deeper by reading reviews on Eater, Chowhound, or Grub Street. A few may even research the menu ahead of time and figure out what they want before stepping foot in the restaurant. All this due diligence for what? To make sure you don't order the wrong thing and waste your hard-earned money in one of the most expensive cities in the world. 

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Virginia's - New American in Alphabet City

My coworker Peter first introduced me to his friend, Reed Adelson, a few years ago when he was the manager at Locande Verde. I remember hanging out there for lunch and enjoying the most tender meatballs and pasta while chatting with Reed. Always the consummate host, he always accommodated my group (he handled last minute changes to a coveted reservation for the renowned Trufflepalooza dinner back in Nov 2013 with ease) and always treated everyone with respect and courtesy.

When I heard he was branching out and opening up his own restaurant with chef Christian Ramos, I was incredibly happy for them. You can't help but notice the airy vibe when you walk into Virginia's, (named after Reed and Christian's mothers) with the open windows and natural sunlight pouring in.

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Degustation: Intimate Innovation

Back in October 2014, my roomie and I met up for dinner at Degustation, where the Iberian, French, and American influenced cuisine is served as “tapas” styled dishes meant for sharing.

This shared intimacy extends to the open kitchen where the chefs bare their soul on a plate that is prepared merely 3 feet away from the counter. Every movement precise and full of purpose and every dish assembled gradually from seemingly disparate components that magically meld together at the last minute like a Christopher Nolan film.

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Jeepney: Hands-On Heaven

Christine was the first foodie I met way back in 2007 before I knew anything about food. I remember the casual potlucks at her apartment where she would cook elevated dishes that nobody appreciated at the time (like cauliflower puree) since her friends' college diets consisted of Popeye's and Chinatown porkchop over rice.

Her Brooklyn apartment was nicer than the closet-sized "apartments" of my other friends and had a proper kitchen with utensils, All-Clad pans, and fancy things like bottles of balsamic vinegar glaze. Lastly, I enjoyed hearing her talk about her favorite restaurants and what places to avoid. We lost touch for a few years but recently reconnected last December when we organized a Scrumphsus Supper at Jeepney, a Filipino gastropub located in the East Village.

Our group was there for Kamayan Night, a family style feast where you get to chow down on two appetizers and three entrees that you have pre-ordered a week in advance.

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Hearth: New Year Brunch

I recently had the fortune of enjoying a delicious brunch with two of my favorite people at Hearth, a restaurant I read about in Timothy Ferriss’s book, the 4-Hour Chef. In the book, Timothy emphatically describes the culinary prowess of Marco Canora, the chef-owner of Hearth and Terroir. After seeing many positive reviews about the brunch, I booked a table shortly after the new year.

There was still snow on the ground when Anna and I stepped out of the cab. We were running 10 minutes late and Miho had already texted that she was close by. We gingerly stepped over newly formed slush puddles, a result of New York’s bipolar weather.  

The entrance to Hearth isn’t where you think it is. The correct entrance can be found around the corner on 12th street. The first thing I noticed was a beautiful bookshelf filled with cookbooks, memoirs, and Marco’s book, Salt to Taste.

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