Classy Eats for Relatively Cheap: Sam Reviews Babbo

Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca

110 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10011

www.babbonyc.com

Adventures of a Hopeless Foodie Rating:  5/5

The Background

Hello everyone,

I know I haven’t posted in a while.  My fall break just started, so in preparation I’ve been busy packing and traveling.  Expect an awesome Chicago series to come soon.  But first, I’d like to share the meal I ate for lunch the day I left NYC.  The other day I was walking to one of my classes from Starbucks when I stopped to reminisce about the last time I went to Babbo, so I went to look at the menu posted outside.  My mom, our family friend, and I had all gone to eat there around Mother’s day last year, and it was one of the most amazing and unforgettable meals of my life.  However, I cannot afford to spend my entire budget going to Babbo whenever I feel the need for some amazing food, because that’s basically how crazy-expensive dinner is.  But I noticed something amazing when I walked up to look at the menu wishing I was rich.  It said lunch over the menu, and most of the entrees were between $20-25.  Oh my god.  You mean I can eat there and just not eat anywhere else the rest of the day and still basically be within my food budget for the day?  So the very next day, I brought my nicest dress in my purse to class with me (I like to dress up in my fancy “pretend-I’m-rich” clothes when I go to a really nice place alone, even though the dress itself cost me $20), and headed there for lunch.  I figured I’d only need to eat one meal that day anyway since I was getting on the plane later on.  However, I had been debating if I wanted dessert or not.  I knew it would cost almost as much as my food, but I remembered it being incredible.  And then I got some amazing news, and decided I needed to celebrate.  I’M GOING TO LONDON NEXT SEMESTER!!  Yay!  I had been waiting for this news for almost two weeks after my best friend found out she was going, because they decided to open up a new study abroad site for science majors and wanted us to indicate our preference.  I had been panicking that I wouldn’t get in.  And anyone who’s seen my dorm room knows how much I love London.  I have a huge Union Jack hanging above my bed, and I have about ten London postcards lined up on my wall.  I love London, and I can’t wait to blog about all of my London foodie adventures!  Anyway, this prompted me to get the dessert and spend twice my food budget for the day.  Whoops.  At least it was worth it.

The Atmosphere

So one of the things I found amazing the first time I went to Babbo was its layout.  You walk through the door and behind these curtains at the doorway, and it feels like you’re entering an entirely different world.  The lighting is dimmed, and everything feels very intimate, but the restaurant is actually pretty large.  It’s really amazing because it looks like you’re on the inside of someone’s house, and there really aren’t any houses in the middle of Manhattan.  There’s a wide staircase leading up to the second floor right in the middle of restaurant, and carpeting on the floor.  It’s really a unique dining experience that’s very difficult to describe.  However, this time I sat at the bar up front, which is also very nice.  If you ever want to eat at Babbo for dinner but don’t want to call one month in advance to the day at opening and be on the phone the entire time, just eat at the bar.  It’s a little less comfortable, but at least you’ll probably get to eat there that night with a lot less of the hassle.  Both times I’ve gone all of the waiters were EXTREMELY helpful.  The food comes out promptly, and they always make sure everything is alright and to refill your drinks.  Not only did the bartender ask me how I was enjoying everything, but so did the back waiters.  They really try to make you feel like your opinion is important.

The Food

How can I describe the most amazing food in the world?  I mean, it’s just spot on with perfection.  And one of my favorite things they do at really nice restaurants is bring you out little things for free.  ImageI got z little appetizer, and while it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever had in my life, it was still pretty good, and I never knock anything free.  It was a little slice of a baguette with some chickpeas on it.  I got the beef cheek ravioli as my entrée, because I remembered last time I had it, I was really impressed, but since it was five months ago, I couldn’t recall exactly what it tasted like.  I got my food, and it was like heaven on a plate.  Seriously.

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And it was only a $20 dollar plate, which is not bad at all for this caliber of food.  The ravioli noodles were made to perfection, just the right amount of light sauce, and the stuffing for the ravioli was perfect.  The meat was utter perfection, tender and perfectly cooked, the absolute best cut of meat made in the most amazing way.  The cheese on the top was delicious, but sometimes it felt like there was a little too much cheese piled on top.  Still, it never detracted from the flavor.  Then I sprang for the dessert, the gelato and sorbet sampler.  Last time I ate it I got twice as many flavors, but this is also because for dinner the dessert costs a bit more.  Still, I was a little mad at first when my dessert and it came out with only three scoops for a $12 dessert. Image Then I started eating it, and the regret melted away.  I think the flavors were cream cheese sorbet, espresso gelato, and hazelnut gelato (if there’s one problem with Babbo, it’s that the servers’ Italian accents are so thick it can be difficult to understand them when they explain things to you).  I honestly couldn’t even pick a favorite.  Each time I’d get bored of one flavor I’d move to another, and each time I went back to a flavor I would remember everything I liked about it in the first place.  The cream cheese was so strange, but amazing.  I’ve had cream cheese ice cream, but never sorbet.  It was packed with flavor, and almost had an acidic biting kind of flavor.  The espresso was strongly packed with coffee flavor, but balanced with the creamy flavor.  And the hazelnut was primarily soft tasting with an occasional punch of hazelnut flavor.  Everything was perfect, and I treasured every last bite.  So that’s how my meal ended up being $32 plus tax and tip.  But I thought I kind of deserved it because of my amazing news.  And for the record, I ended up having to buy more food at the airport anyway, so guess that plan of not going over budget wasn’t going to pan out.  Another memorable dish that I’d recommend that I had last time is the octopus, which is so flavorful, delicious, and meaty that it tastes almost like lobster.  I’d highly recommend saving up your money and having just one dish here.  It’s worth every penny.

Until next time, eat up!

~Sam

The Best Burger in New York: Sam Reviews Shake Shack

Shake Shack

Madison Square Park (10 Madison Avenue) New York, NY 10010

http://www.shakeshack.com/

Adventures of a Hopeless Foodie Rating:  4.5/5

The Background

My boyfriend and I always have the same argument every time he comes to visit me in NYC.  He always tells me how much better Bareburger is than Shake Shack.  And I always tell him how wrong he is.  I guess we’ll never be able to come to a decisive conclusion; we’re just too set in our ways (even though I took him to both restaurants, so I feel like my opinion should weigh a little more).  Both are chains with several locations around the city, and although I do love the fact that I can order an Ostrich burger, along with several other kinds of nontraditional patties, I can’t get over Shake Shack’s amazing resemblance to In-and-Out Burger; a slightly inferior and much pricier version of the west coast classic.  As the very first place I went to when I was alone in the big apple, it holds a special place in my heart.

The Atmosphere

I still can’t visit Madison Square Park by itself.  As soon as I walk in I see the Shake Shack, and I feel like if I’ve already walked all the way there, I might as well stop at get a burger (well, it’s literally 3 blocks over, but I really can’t resist the Shack).  When you visit the Shake Shack, you’ll immediately spot their little hut in the southeast corner of the park.  Then you’ll notice the huge line stretching all the way to the southwest corner of the park.  Now, the last time I went it took me half an hour to get to the front of the line, and then ten to fifteen minutes to get my food.  That can be a really long wait.  When I went, I was absolutely starving, and it was torture.  If you really want to try the Shake Shack for the first time but don’t feel the need to visit its iconic Madison Square Park location, I urge you to head on up to Times Square.  Despite being in one of the busiest neighborhoods in Manhattan, it only takes about ten minutes to order, and five to ten minutes to get your food.  It’ll cut the time it takes you to get your food in half, and you can enjoy the theatrical SHAKE SHACK lights sitting above the building.  However, if you want to find a seat, you’re more than likely going to be out of luck.  The one good thing about the Madison Square Park location is that even when there are no seats available, you can always sit on a bench in the park.  Not to mention the canopy lights outside look magical at night.  Just don’t go at lunch hour, or you’re likely to be waiting for over an hour, and that’s just to place your order.

The Food

I seriously think it’s amazing.  The patty is juicy.  The bun is a perfect texture and just the right size so you aren’t getting a “bread sandwich” (as my mom would say), but it has plenty of coverage for the patty.  The special “shack” sauce is absolute heaven, and the cheese melts into the patty so well you can’t tell where the cheese starts and the patty begins.  And the lettuce and tomatoes are perfectly fresh, but not so abundant that they get in the way.  Yes, this is the way burgers should be.  It tastes perfectly fresh without being bogged down with grease.  I did a burger taste test with my dorm, and not one even came close to this burger’s quality.  If you’ve seen the HIMYM episode “The Best Burger in New York” and watch the way Marshall describes the amazing burger, that’s pretty much how I feel about the Shake Shack.  And I haven’t even gotten to the fries.  Oh my god.  I know I said Pommes Frites were some of the best fries you’ll ever have, but these truly stand on the same level.  They’re perfectly seasoned with some kind of special seasoning, and they’re slightly crunchy to add a bit of texture but not so much that they taste overcooked and burnt.  I can never stop myself from finishing off the entire thing.  If I had to choose just one, I honestly think I’d choose the fries.  Now, I have to say, I’ve had their shakes before, and I’m really not that impressed by the chocolate, although the vanilla is actually pretty amazing.  And the few custard flavors that I’ve had are really delicious as well, and definitely had a unique taste.  Now, I’ve heard from many people that the quality of the burger waivers from time to time, but I can say that I’ve never had a bad experience.  My suggestion is to head on over to Times Square, because you’re more likely to feel like the wait was worth your time than if you have to wait for over an hour.  Even when I waited that long the very first time I went, I remember being less impressed, but I’m just about positive it tasted exactly the same.  However, I’m not going to deny that In-and-Out burger has mastered the perfect burger, although I do think that Shake Shack doesn’t leave you feeling as greasy.  Not to mention that the cost of a burger at In-and-Out is only around $2, or $3 if you want to make it a double.  Shake Shack’s iconic ShackBurger starts at $4.55 for a single, and rises to a whopping $7.10 for a double.  The cheapest burger, a hamburger, is still about 50 cents more than the most expensive In-and-Out burger.  However, the fries are only about a dollar more at Shake Shack, at $2.65, and they are definitely superior to In-and-Out.  On a final note, I think that a place called “The SHAKE Shack” should have better milkshakes.  Not that they’re bad, but they certainly aren’t the best shakes I’ve ever had, and I rarely ever order them.  Because of this inconsistency with the very name of the chain and the fact that they cost twice as much for something that tastes even better, I can’t give them a perfect score.  However, I honestly believe they are without a doubt the best burgers in NYC.

Until next time, eat up!

~Sam

Sam Explores the East Village: Reviews of Cha-An, Pan-Ya, and Pommes Frites

Cha-An

230 East 9th Street  New York, NY 10003

http://www.chaanteahouse.com/

Adventures of a Hopeless Foodie Rating:  4/5

Pan-Ya

8 Stuyvesant Street New York, NY 10003‎

Adventures of a Hopeless Foodie Rating:  1/5

Pommes Frites

123 2nd Avenue  New York, NY 10003

http://www.pommesfrites.ws/

Adventures of a Hopeless Foodie Rating:  4.5/5

Review 1

The Background

This weekend, I was really craving tea time.  I had this awesome experience at the Russian Tea Room (which I’ll talk about some other time), and I really wanted to experience afternoon tea again.  So I looked up tea places, and found Cha-An.  At $23 dollars for food and tea (plus tax and tip), Cha-An has the cheapest afternoon tea in the city (at least of all the places I looked up), and a very high rating on Yelp (although I don’t put too much stock into Yelp reviews anyway).  And it is offered from opening until 7pm, which is nice to have such a large time frame.

The Atmosphere

The atmosphere here is amazing.  I was a little wary at first, because the entrance is a tiny door on the outside, and it immediately leads up a cramped staircase.  However, once you finally make it upstairs, you find a beautiful restaurant.  I felt like when I walked up the stairs I was transported to a little Japanese town.  What is most amazing is one seating area that looks like the outside of a house with a little booth underneath.  There is also another room that is an entire little hut
built in the middle of the restaurant, which I think is where they do their tea ceremonies.  The noise level is fairly quiet but not dead, and they play the kind of relaxed music you’d expect at a tea house.  Overall, the entire atmosphere is very different in an impressive way.

The Food

So I got the tea set, as I mentioned, with the Crimson Chai tea.  The tea set came with two bagel sandwiches (smoked salmon and raspberry butter), two scones (I believe they were either black sesame or tea flavored, I’m not sure), and a few sweets (an almond and apricot jam loaf, a berry macaroon, and I think some kind of banana loaf).  The tea was very good.  I’ve heard the mark of a good tea place is one that does not use tea bags but rather loose tea leaves, and Cha-An does just that.  The presentation was beautiful, and the quality was very good.  I’m actually not a big fan of tea, and so I was a little upset that they didn’t offer sugar and/or cream like I’m accustomed to, but tea was still good enough to be enjoyed on its own.  The bagel sandwiches were pretty good.  The smoked salmon was satisfying, but not all that memorable.  It tasted like every other smoked salmon on a bagel.  However, the raspberry butter bagel sandwich was incredible.  It really tasted like raspberry-flavored butter.  It melted in my mouth.  I was surprised I liked it as much as I did, because I really didn’t think the raspberry would go with the bagel taste, but I was proven wrong.  The scones were seriously amazing, and they were still warm, definitely a plus.  I really don’t like many traditional scones.  I always feel like something’s wrong with me, but I tend to think they’re often too dry.  These were amazingly perfect, almost like some kind of sugary muffin.  The flavor was unique and memorable.  With the cream and preserves they were even more delicious and flavorful.  The two little bread loaves were decent, but I didn’t really feel like they were all that memorable.  The macaroon was surprisingly delicious, and packed with flavor.  Usually bigger macaroons are a sign of inexperience in macaroon making and tend to taste cheaper and more gooey when compared to their smaller counterparts, but this one was actually pretty amazing.  I was very pleased with all of the food, the tea, and the service was also good; they brought me everything in a reasonable amount of time.  However, I did have one problem.  Tea is supposed to be a good mix of savory and sweet.  Traditionally you get roughly an equal amount of savory little finger sandwiches as you get desserts.  But here, the only savory thing was the one smoked salmon bagel sandwich.  So when I left, I still felt hungry for real food.  I wasn’t intending on eating dessert for lunch.  Part of this was because there wasn’t all that much food to begin with, but obviously when paying less that’s more likely to happen.  $25 dollar tea is going to provide half as much food as $50 dollar tea, but at least it didn’t provide half the quality.  Overall, quite delicious for the super cheap price, even with its flaws.  It is a really cute place though, and I definitely recommend it to any college student that wants to go for a spot of afternoon tea but doesn’t have the $35-50 that most tea places charge.

Review 2

The Background

In my search for something savory and cheap, I wandered a little way down the street and came across Pan-Ya.  Now, I’ve see this little place before, and I promised myself if I found it again I’d go in, so I did.  It’s a little Japanese cafeteria with prepackaged food, premade baked goods, and an ordering station for sandwiches and other things.  It had a big “Zagat Rated” sign on the door, so I was impressed from the start.  I walked in and noticed the refrigerator full of all kinds of prepackaged meals.  I’m usually wary about these kinds of things, and I’m really not a fan of cheap crappy sushi, but with the promise of that sign in the window, I figured the food had to be pretty legitimate.  And I found these cute little rice balls with fish in the middle, wrapped in seaweed.  And they were all between $1-2, so I thought to myself, Sweet deal! and picked up the Unagi, because Eel is my absolute favorite fish in sushi.  I went on my merry way with what I hoped to be a $2 meal.

The Food

As soon as I tried it, I regretted the purchase.  It was really unappetizing.  It tasted a little worse thanthe average cheap crappy sushi you’d find anywhere.  It was probably worse than our school cafeteria’s cheap sushi, especially because it was a 3:1 rice:fish ratio.  I mean, let’s be honest, I should have expected this for $2, but I was really hoping for some new cheap find.  And that Zagat rated sign was really misleading.  Apparently their rating is a 21/30, but I’m pretty sure this doesn’t count their prepackaged food.  To be fair, I haven’t tried anything this restaurant is particularly known for, apparently their baked goods are their draw, but I really feel like no restaurant should sell anything they aren’t very proud of.  Do not go here looking for a delicious prepackaged meal.  I threw out the food after a few bites, and it takes a lot to make me throw out an unfinished meal.

Review 3

The Background

So I was trekking through the village in search of this supposedly amazing Polish Deli on 1st ave and 8th street, and when I finally got there, it wasn’t even open.  I probably should have expected this kind of thing on a Sunday.  So I looked up one of my favorite haunts I knew to be nearby, Pommes Frites.  And it was only one avenue over, directly on my way home.  Well, one block down, but I definitely needed the extra walking with the ton of fries I was about to consume.

The Food

Pommes Frites are Belgian-cut, thick fries, but the place is especially known for its dipping sauces.  The list is extensive, but I have one favorite that no other one could possibly replace:  Truffle Mayo.  I am obsessed with truffle flavoring.  Anything with black or white truffles/truffle oil/truffle salt, and I’m in heaven.  They say you need to be careful not to overdo it with truffle flavoring or it’s completely overpowering, but I always want more, so a part of me doesn’t believe that rule.  Anyway, since truffle is expensive, the price of that one sauce is close to the price of getting three normal sauces, but it’s certainly worth it.  Some advice I have is to make sure the fries sit a little bit before stuffing your face, because I’ve burned my mouth on them before.  These thick, juicy French fries some of the best you’ll ever have, and once you have one you’ll be stuffing them in your face, too.  A lot of fries that are thick-cut have the problem of being too dry, but these are an exception.  And their selection of sauces is really unique.  I have one complaint, however.  The last time I had the truffle mayo, I’m positive there was more truffle flavor in it.  This time it tasted like 90% mayo, 10% truffle.  I understand that truffle is expensive, but I’d pay $5 for that dip if it tasted right.  The last time I went to Pommes Frites, they didn’t even have that sauce.  I’ve had decently large selection of their sauces, and I personally haven’t found any other as good as the Truffle Mayo.  And the mayo is amazing quality, because it needs to be as the basis of all their sauces.  Seriously, if you ever feel the need to splurge on your calories, go to Pommes Frites.  It’s amazing, and definitely worth that extra pound you’ll gain from eating them.

So I hope you enjoyed the stories of my rainy Sunday trek through the East Village!

Until next time, eat up!

~Sam

Sam Bakes: Cultural Food Night

The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake

http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2011/09/ultimate-vanilla-cupcake-test-baked-by.html

Adventures of a Hopeless Foodie Rating:  5/5

The Background

I am obsessed with cupcakes.  I have to try them everywhere I go, and compare them, and know where I can find the best one.  I’ve had them all over the country.  I know all of my favorites.  And just recently, I decided if I was going to be such a major cupcake critic, I had to start making them, too.  And thus began my love of baking this summer.  However, I had a big problem:  even though I would make only about 6 cupcakes at a time, I still would end up eating more than half of them.  I had no critics albeit my mom and my boyfriend, who of course I wasn’t going to trust with giving me honest reviews (they love me too much to be mean).  So once school began, I stocked up on baking supplies and began cooking for my roommates.  And to my pleasant surprise, they loved my baking!  So now, of course, my dream is to drop out of school and become a baker.  But I currently have no plans of actually doing that (yet).

The Recipe

My absolute favorite, go-to recipe for any occasion is The Cupcake Project’s Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake Recipe with her Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.  Now, I made a lot of vanilla cupcake recipes over the summer, and this one was by far the best that I or anyone that I know has personally home baked.  In fact, it’s better than just about any bakery I can think of.  And to top it off, I bought my dream ingredient to start off the school year, Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract by Nielsen Massey.  ImageNow, they say that the average person can’t tell the difference between real and imitation vanilla extract, but I really believe this product adds a whole new dimension of flavor to your baking.  At around $18 for the entire bottle, it really isn’t all that much more expensive than normal vanilla extract which comes in a bottle about 1/3 of the size.  Go pick some up at your local William-Sonoma today!  Or I think a lot of supermarkets in NYC actually have it in their spices section.

ImageNow, I have a few concrete examples of just how amazing this recipe is.  I have a friend, she absolutely HATES anything vanilla (I’m sure she’d tell me this is untrue, but I can’t think of any time I’ve ever seen her eat vanilla voluntarily).  She LOVES these.  She thinks the frosting is to die for, and she jokes that I should just make her a huge bucket of frosting.  Well, I think it’s a joke.  Seriously, this recipe is amazing.  I’ve also received compliments from my friend who works at a bakery and two of my roommates that cook on a regular basis.  So if you’re going to make any one cupcake recipe, choose this one.  It’s simple and delicious.  The cake is moist and densely packed with flavor, and the frosting is like buttery-vanilla heaven.  Now, I didn’t feel like buying any vanilla beans, so I substituted with the 1 vanilla bean=1 tsp. vanilla extract rule, and for the vanilla paste in the frosting, I just used an equivalent amount of vanilla extract.  I really don’t think it detracts from the flavor.

The Event
ImageSo why was I making these cupcakes?  Why, for cultural food night!  Several of my friends and I got together to cook some food from each of our cultures.  Because all I can do is bake, I made “American” cupcakes (lame excuse for a cultural dish, I know).
My Jewish friend made delicious potato latkes and matzo ball soup, both great.
My Greek friend made amazing little spinach-cheese pie-like things in filo dough, and brought these amazing cookies that were covered in powdered sugar, and she got some baklava.  I love Greek food, but I’ve never really been into baklava.  But the ones she bought at this Greek bakery were amazing!  Image

Someone that we didn’t even know was coming brought garlicky green beans and potato salad from Whole Foods, which were both amazing, as one can expect when eating just about anything from Whole Foods.  And finally, my southern friend couldn’t find buttermilk (In NYC.  Somehow.)  and ended up making biscuits out of a can (still tasty, though).  Then we had our friend who always shows up to everything, eats all of the food, and brings nothing.  But we love him anyway.  It was tons of fun, and I highly recommend that if you have a bunch of friends with varying cultural backgrounds to throw your own cultural food night!  You seriously won’t regret it.  Even if you’ve had the food before, there’s nothing like having home cooked food by someone that was raised eating that culture’s cuisine.

Until next time, eat up!

~Sam

Sam’s Guide to Going to Brunch Alone: Sam reviews The Bluebell Café

The Bluebell Café

293 Third Avenue (between 22nd and 23rd Streets), New York, NY, 10010

http://www.thebluebellcafenyc.com

Adventures of a Hopeless Foodie Rating:  4/5

The Background

Like everyone in NYC, I love brunch.  And my love for brunch stems from one place in particular.  If any of you watch How I Met Your Mother (and you should, it’s amazing) and you remember the episode “World’s Best Couple” (one of my favorites), you can begin to understand why.  Marshall is desperately lonely in his post-break up depression and misses being able to go out to brunch, an activity for two.  Indeed, the host simply stares at him when he requests a table for one.  He decides to start hanging out his friend Brad that also just experienced a difficult break up, but this soon turns weird when they become more like a couple and less like friends.  After their lengthy discussions about the “eggs benny” being “delish”, I decided I needed to try the dish for myself.  Thus was born my deep love for the dish, and it became one of my favorite things to eat.  I didn’t really used to like breakfast, but eggs benedict made me change my tune.  So I’m always hypercritical of any place offering eggs benedict (although I’ll eat it even if it tastes like junk).  I have to get it every time I can so I can see how it measures up to the others I’ve had.  I’m also exactly like this about cupcakes, but I’ll go into that some other time.

Thus today I decided to go to brunch at The Bluebell Café, less than a one minute walk for me.  I read that its brunch is supposed to be delicious, and it has a Zagat rating of 25, very good for a rather inexpensive place.  This was actually my second visit to the restaurant, my first was the other night when I got one of their grilled cheese sandwiches, but it was my first time dining in.  The best part is it’s a socially acceptable place to eat brunch on your own, if you can’t find anyone that wants to go with, or if you just aren’t in the mood to be with others but still need your brunch fix.  So without further ado, my review:

The Review

The Atmosphere:  So the place is overall rather homey and cute.  It’s sort of like a diner/café mix, because there are a bunch of wooden tables to the right when you walk in, and there is a counter/bar that you can eat at to the left, which is where you sit if you come to eat alone.  It’s a pretty narrow place, only one column with tables and the bar, so when you walk in it feels a little cramped, but I actually got seated pretty quickly, and it doesn’t look like they ever had a really long line.  They played a lot of top 40 hits, which was slightly amusing because most café’s don’t play that kind of music, but I actually enjoyed it.  It’s not one of those uptight overly-fancy brunch places, just a casual kind of restaurant with a lively but not overly-loud volume of background noise.

The Food:  So of course, I had to go with the Crab Cakes Benedict, being the Eggs Benedict connoisseur that I am.  What I really enjoyed was that even though I didn’t order anything to drink, it came with a small glass of orange juice.

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The orange juice was pretty good quality.  It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it certainly had a lot of flavor and tasted fresh.

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As for my entrée, I really enjoyed it.  It is by no means my favorite eggs benedict in the city, but it was a solid meal and I didn’t have to walk very far to get it. The crab cake was really flavorful, and I really enjoyed it, which is saying something because I don’t always enjoy crab cakes, but this one was delicious.  The egg and the bread were good quality.  My only complaints were that I wish there was a bit more sauce, because I really enjoy sauce on my eggs benedict and I like to mix leftover sauce with my potatoes, and my other complaint is that English muffin was slightly burnt, but it was only a tad on the edges.  Also, they didn’t give me a sharper knife to eat it with, which most restaurants usually give you.  But don’t get me wrong, the dish was overall phenomenal.  I don’t think I’ve ever had it with crab cakes instead of Canadian bacon.  Everything really balanced each other out so that no one part overpowered the dish.  The potatoes were actually pretty amazing.  A lot of the time potatoes that come with eggs benedict can feel greasy and heavy, but these were refreshingly light and weren’t greasy at all.  The onions mixed in actually made it a little sweeter.  It was a nice light side to accompany my dish.  Even the fruit, although a very small portion, was all very good quality.  I left feeling extremely full, which surprised me and made me extremely happy.

Overall:  It was a bit pricey, the food cost me $16 plus tax and tip, and that’s basically my food money for the entire day.  And I’ve had better eggs benedict in the city for cheaper (namely Alice’s Teacup).  But for me, I can’t beat the convenient location, and how nice it is to be able to eat alone without feeling awkward.  And the service was prompt, they asked me plenty of times if I needed anything and made sure to refill my water when it was getting low.  The food didn’t take all that long to come out, either.  In my opinion, The Bluebell Café is a worthy brunch location, but by no means the best or the cheapest.  For me, it was simply the most convenient.

Until next time, Eat Up!

~Sam

Hello world!

Hello, and welcome to my fun fantastic foodie blog.  Here I’ll review some of my experiences at NYC restaurants (with some occasional posts from other cities that I visit).  I’ll also be reviewing some dessert recipes that I make, because if there’s one thing I love as much as trying new restaurants, it’s baking desserts.  Maybe one day I’ll even come up with recipes of my own to bake.  Until next time!

Eat up!

~Sam