new year’s eve at rose water

I’m well-aware that I’m a tad tardy on sharing the food side of New Year’s. It’s more than justified, but that’s a story and explanation that will come later. Besides, I’m a believer it’s never too late to talk about a fabulous meal.

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True to what’s become our tradition, T and I made reservations for a nice dinner in Brooklyn. This year, we opted to visit Rose Water in Park Slope, having previously only been there for brunch. We were both big fans, so I took a bit of a leap of faith, booking us a spot for two menu unseen. Hey we’re serving a six course paired tasting menu just for the evening. A quick email to the manager confirmed that they could accommodate a mushroom allergy, so other than that, we had no idea as to what to expect when we arrived.

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The restaurant was nice and cozy when we arrived. We quickly received the first course – a Medjool date, stuffed with Fourme d’ Ambert and wrapped in bacon. It was paired with a Méthode Champenoise Brut from Domaine St. Vincent (New Mexico). For us, bacon wrapped dates are a fave, so this was a nice take on a staple

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The next course was fresh and super light – a simple raw scallop with finger lime. It took me out of the cold climate for a little bit as this one felt almost like a summertime dish (not that I was complaining). This has me excited to come back for dinner once the warm temps return as this bodes well for what the menu might include!

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We then were served a seared yellowfin tuna, accompanied by maitake, gold beet, and fresh wasabi. It was paired with a Muscat – “Exsultate” Domaine du Chapitre from S. Rhone. The sear on the tuna was nicely done and I liked the pairing of beets and wasabi with the flavors of the tuna. It was a slightly unexpected combination but worked perfectly.

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I believe the next course was my favorite – cider glazed pork pelly, with quail egg, cabbage, and mustard. From a prior brunch, I knew going in that their pork belly is delicious, so I was pleased to find it made the New Year’s Eve menu. The wine was also one of my favorite wines, a Riesling (Kabinett Halbtrocken “Zeltinger Himmelrich” Selbach-Oster from Mosel). If you’re ever lucky enough to be at Rose Water and pork belly is on the menu, this confirms it’s almost guaranteed to be a winner.

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The next course, the final of the savories, was seared venison, with chestnuts, black trumpets, and black truffles accompanied by a Barolo – Riserva Giacomo Borgogno from Piedmont.

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Dessert was a chocolate custard cake, with eggnog anglaise, vanilla ice cream, and hazelnuts, accompanied by a Quinta do Infantado LBV Port from Portugal. I only wished the eggnog flavor was a bit more prominent in the dish, but the mix of flavors here overall was great. The ice cream was a nice balance to the denser chocolate cake.

Following dinner, it was another lovely New Year at Amber’s… with many a fun photo to capture the evening. Here’s to more wonderful in all of the days ahead in 2015!

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Rose Water – 787 Union Street (at 6th Ave) – 718.783.3800
Reservations Recommended (No Reservations at Brunch)

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new year’s eve at kiwiana

To me, New Year’s Eve is a night to get dressed up. Something sparkly – so doesn’t even have to be crazy fancy – and be surrounded by some of my favorite people (along with one special guy, naturally). Unlike last year, T and I decided to keep it local – an “off year”, if you will, where battling for cabs wouldn’t be necessary and we could enjoy ourselves the whole weekend in our chosen borough.

I came across a list of restaurants offering New Year’s dinners on the Twitter account for Park Slope Stoop. Their list had a bunch of great options from which to choose. T and I took a look and chose Kiwiana, a New Zealand restaurant which had an interesting looking 5 course option.

It’s a small restaurant tucked into the northwest side of 7th Avenue and Union Street in Park Slope. We were surprised to find that the menu differed somewhat from what we had read online, but were still looking forward to seeing how it was seeing as we had read so many great things about it.

The first course only had one option – seafood chowder. Chowder was a bit of a misnomer as it was more of a soup. After the chilly walk over in heels, it was hard to mind anything that was so warming as a starter.

For the second course, we both went with the Octopus which was served with chorizo and smoked potatoes. I was surprised when this dish came out to find it was prepared cold! The flavors were good though. The spice of the chorizo and the smokiness of the potatoes nicely balanced the octopus. The presentation was also interesting, with the octopus sliced thinly similar to pepperoni. First time I’ve seen that. The other option on the prixe fixe menu was white bait latke with tartar sauce.

For my third course, I chose the pork belly, earth cooked yam, boiled kale, and bacon. The pork belly was a leaner cut than I’ve typically had. It was nicely seasoned though and I like what they did with the kale. I often find it too bitter, but they managed if soften it a bit. The other option was foie gras torchon, blood orange marmalade, and toast. I’m not a huge fan of foie gras, but could appreciate in my small bite that it was nicely prepared.

For my fourth and main course, I had to try the NZ venison, which was served with a poblano sauce, rice and butterscotch beans. I can’t say I’ve ever had venison before (so had to give it a try). Their preparation was excellent. Super tender and the sauce was a nice slightly spicy addition to the mix. The other option was the lamb chop, which was accompanied by lamb empanadas and a radish salad. The flavors were great, but the lamb “chop” was much more of a lamb “lollipop”. The portion size was much more appetizer than fitting of the more entree round of the courses.

For dessert, we both chose to go with the sticky date pudding over the pavlova. After we ordered, I started to see plate after plate of the pavlova – which was big and fluffy and made me wish we had gotten one of each! The sticky date pudding though was sweet and filling. A perfect end to a wonderful meal.  I will definitely be back – next time for brunch and the chai French toast!

Kiwiana – 847 Union St. (at 7th Ave) – 718.230.3682
Reservations Recommended

new year’s at the third man

Figuring out what to do for New Year’s is always involved. Of course, the most intriguing of things always hit the wallet the hardest. There’s always some great options for staying in, but since we stayed in last New Year’s Eve, I was sort of set on heading out for the evening. One option which caught our eye was highlighted in Zagat’s NYE picks on their blogThe Third Man, a new spot that just opened on Avenue C by the team behind Edi and the Wolf. $85 – food, drinks, and an actual seat (something which definitely comes at a premium in NYC). While at home in Alabama for the holidays, I made it my mission to finally connect to book this – as their phone went straight to voicemail and the page the article linked to was not live. After a few days of Facebook stalking, emailing, and the like we were booked.

When we got there, we weren’t sure what to expect. None of us had ever been there – which made sense, as we learned due to delays from Sandy, they’d only been open for about a week beforehand! When we got there, it looked really empty so we thought we might be having an accidental personal party. It ended up being that one large group had booked for the evening, so it would become quite full later in the evening.

They had made a cocktail list just for the evening – one called the past, one the present, and one called bijou (we never figured out why). They were quite good and we were impressed that even though it got busier throughout the evening, the service was still amazing.

We were expecting some light bites, but what we had ended up being so much more. I haven’t seen their usual menu, but I sincerely hope that some of the things from NYE are a part of their regular menu. The first thing we had was a flatbread pizza, which was seemingly simple but the flavor combinations were just amazing. Dates, onion jam, and gruyere… so good.

There was a plate of farmer’s cheese served with a paprika spread as well as a pumpkin seed oil (something we understand to be a bit of a signature offering here). The spreads were so different from each other – the paprika much bolder and the pumpkin subtle yet a wonderful addition to the bread. The dish above – the house cured speck – was a wonderful meat course. It was light, and only slightly salty. The mustard with a touch of spice was a nice addition to the pork, as well as the pickled vegetables.

There was also an autumn salad with roasted pears, hazelnuts, arugula, turnips, camembert cheese, with a cider/sherry vinaigrette. And finally we were each treated with a full-sized dinner plates for us with wiener schnitzel (pictured above), accompanied  by housemade potato salad.

It ended up being a perfect way to ring in the New Year with friends! I think I speak for us all when I say we can’t wait to go back for another visit.

Where’d you ring in 2013?

The Third Man – 116 Avenue C (at East 7th) – 212.598.1040