I was not about to spend Friday night moping around the apartment about being past my due date.
Carbone had opened, early reports were positive… and reservation or not (not) I decided to head down for doors at 5:30 and see about snagging a table before all I could do is read about this place, green with envy.
And green with envy I would have been. I think we all know by now that Rich and Mario would turn out exceptional versions of the familiar comfort Italian dishes we know and love. I can confirm this.
What really shines about this place is the service and the vibe that is so tongue-in-cheek-that-its-not-tongue-in-cheek-at-all. Never has “that’s amore” been so perfectly placed in my life – right in between forkfuls of delicious spicy rigatoni a la vodka.
I read an article somewhere over the summer about the “extras” being planned – they came early and often. Clumps of delicious Parmesan, A slice of ham, “Grandma’s Bread”, House made pickles in olive oil, fried bowtie cookies (cenci alla fiorentina), housemade limoncello, housemade grappa, and the most aw-shucks of them all – Sambuca, which the “wine advisor” (sommelier does not feel right in this instance) left on the table saying – “have as much as you want”. You can only have so much Sambuca, but it was appreciated.
When asking where is the bathroom, I was not given directions. I was told “right this way ma’am”, and then led there.
Perhaps the most unanticipated delight of this meal, given they were kind enough to seat us without a reservation (please call ahead on walk ins vs. taking my experience for the norm) was the comfortable pacing and especially towards the end as we became friendly with the couple next to us – while drinking low margin coffee. And then at just the absolute perfect time, instead of bringing over the cc billfold, our server came over and asked “can I get you anything else?”
No thanks. Just the check. And that private reservation # please. I know it exists.
NOTES ON THE FOOD:
^^Aged Beef Carpaccio^^
Had 2 Starters - the ceasar salad with strips of anchovies & the aged beef carpaccio.
^^The Spicy Rigatoni Vodka & Ravioli Caruso with liver and bacon^^
Shared a Meat - the veal marsala
Shared Dessert - the blackout cake (OMFG) with two americanos
Perfect amount… if you plan on walking to the east broadway F after.
Lies. Yesterday was not the day. And neither was last Friday when I felt strong, low braxton hicks and a significant drop in the babies location. Feeling like we were close, Gabe and I ran for dinner at La Vara - one of the last places on our “before baby comes” list - and yes, I am serious. This list existed and we knocked off most things that we wanted to do on it. Over dinner and braxton hicks contractions, I had a glass of wine and we looked at each other excitedly over the table and said - “This could be it! She could be here soon!” Then…nothing. Not a thing. And it has stayed exactly this way for a week.
My midwife had been warning me to expect to be a week to two weeks late. I was in denial at the time, however in the present state, I have made peace with it. In the meantime, I have been doing some things to 1. relax and 2. maybe, just maybe help move things a long (just a little bit).
So what did I go and do on the day of my due date? I had acupuncture for the very first time. The experience with Kong Tang in China Town started with a full body massage and then a focus on my targeted areas for targeted concerns (anxiety, swelling and labor). The feeling of the needles took a bit of getting used to at first and then I was able to zen out and just relax. I had to test my mental state of being able to lay very still (and not itch my ankle, shift, roll over, etc). It reminded me of meditation.
No contractions afterwards, but the swelling in my foot that was making it hard to walk had dissipated. I was able to then stroll for a few hours through China Town and eventually Soho, but not before thinking to myself, Yes, I have come full circle. The day of my due date and here I am walking around China Town - of all places.
^^34 weeks ago, loved Beijing Peking Duck soo much we had to eat it for dinner two days in a row.^^
^^March 14th, debated on stopping into Kam Man for some China Town Beijing Duck. But didn’t.^^
I had an incredible meal at The Bazaar. A humungo fan of Zaytina in DC, when in Miami going to The Bazaar was a no brainer for this New Yorker.
Stand out favorites were the foie gras ‘capuccino’, the bagel and lox cone, the frozen blue cheese sandwiches with lemon marmalade and walnut bread.
^^Foie Gras ‘Capuccino’^^
^^”Not Your Everyday Caprese”^^
The “Not Your Everyday Caprese” with cherry tomatoes and liquid mozzarella was incredible. It was the best dish we had all night. So happy to have been able to have some bites of gastronomy - the type of thing you see talented and experienced chef’s doing on television.
We also tasted the Kueh Pai Ti listed as “Singapore’s favorite street food” with shrimp, peanuts, chili sauce” and raw shrimp. Another twist as shrimp is not consumed raw in Singapore.
^^Bone Marrow Caribbean & Papas Canarias^^
We were underwhelmed by the Bone Marrow Caribbean with white truffles, citrus, capers - there was also a technique to the preparation of this dish but there were minimal pieces of marrow and too much other “stuff” on the plate included “extra” hearts of palm that were freshly shredded over our marrow and did nothing for flavor or texture.
We wanted to balance out our meal at The Bazaar by ordering from the more traditional Spanish style tapas side of the menu, but really, nothing is “traditional” here. The Papas Canarias are salty wrinkled new potatoes, with a mojo verde, mojo rojo sauce for dipping. Fun and tasty.
Each dish made us say,
“holy sh*t! this is: awesome/creative/inventive/original/delicious.”
Such a fun night of eating. I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant.
Widely recognized as the czar of Cuban food in Miami - the clientele speak for the restaurants authenticity. It’s jam packed at 2pm on a random Thursday.
Not shy, massive amounts of food for two were ordered including the “special” Cuban sandwich, the pork, sweet plantains, rice and beans, tostones and yucca croquettes.
The pork was oh my gawd amazing. I wish there was more of this pulled pork in my Cuban and a little less ham but I created my own beautiful pork masterpiece of a sandwich with what was on the table.
The plantains were sweet and carmelized and perfect. Tostones crisp and salty. Rice and beans are an excellent side. I had food ADD and as I looked to my left and right, I felt envious about what delicious plates other people were eating around me. Alas, there is only so much space in my stomach. Versailles put me in a Cuban food coma.
a little surprise trip a-la-miami in the middle of january.
A Gender Reveal
closest friends and our parents gathered for a gender reveal party back in october. a trend of late, gabe and i decided that we wanted to share the news with our nearest and dearest in a more celebratory way than in a small room at carnegie imaging with a stranger.
we dropped off “the envelope” with the gender written on a slip of paper to One Girl bakery and asked them to make a cake with a pink/blue middle, depending on what was inside the envelope.
a few days later, we hosted a brunch of bagels and lox, seasonal vegetable quiches, assorted salads, breads and jams and were sure not to forget the bloody marys, peach bellinis and hot toddies (ginger beer - a favorite while pregnant - for me). we had a variety of sweets for dessert - the mystery cake being at the center of it all.
this was an awesome way to find out the gender of our baby to be. everyone was so excited - casting votes, picking teams, and anticipating the cake cutting through brunch. i get that finding out in such a “public” way is not for everyone, but it was a perfect, happy unveiling for us. plus - who doesn’t love a good party?! Weirdos, that’s who.