Saturday, February 22, 2014

Farm-to-Table Comes to Jersey

Finally a farm-to-table restaurant that resembles those in the Hudson Valley region has come to northern Jersey! Everything is sourced from within 300 miles and most is organic. It's a little on the pricey side, but totally worth it. Plus, eating farm-to-table is always pricey so it's not like it's a surprise! My boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary here, but it could definitely be a spot for just going out with friends to catch up at a nice restaurant instead of the usual pizza joint or diner that so many resort to. It's also byob and out of the 10 tables of people I was at the only table without wine. It's one of those restaurants where everyone brings a bottle apparently.

There were two of us dining there, so our bread basket had two bread sticks (I would assume the more people you have the more bread you get). One was a pretzel stick and the other was multigrain. Aside from the fact that the presentation was so nice, the bread was so good.

We ordered two appetizers and it was beyond difficult to narrow it down from all of the options. Because I'm obsessed with beets the roasted and raw heirloom beet salad was a must. The beets were over mixed farm lettuce, peppercorn fromage blanc, brown sugar, and were topped with smoked paprika almonds. The dish is big enough for two people, but one person could definitely finish it by themselves (you know I did). It was so worth it. The flavors all worked extremely well together and the beets were amazing.

The one app was a special- beet fusili mac and cheese with truffled crumbs on top. The pasta came from Sfoglini Pasta in Brooklyn where they source many of the organic ingredients in their pasta from NYC's rooftop farms. This should be added to the regular appetizer menu because the dish alone was delicious and the truffle crumbs on top were exceptional. You could definitely split this between two or even three people.

My boyfriend ordered the GUS root beer braised Rosenkrans Farm short ribs, which comes over roasted brussels sprout petals with cauliflower, braising greens, and crushed potatoes with sour cream and bacon. Terre a Terre sells the GUS root beer when you first walk in, along with other items from local places, such as pasta, tomato sauce, crackers, and salsas. GUS stands for Grown-up Soda, based in NYC. You can also order the sodas to enjoy at the restaurant. Matt loved the dish and regardless of the fact that he ate a decent size portion of mac and cheese, he almost cleaned the plate.

I hate to even write about my entree because it was so amazing and it was a special, so chances are it won't be an option when you go. Sorry for the tease! I've recently become a fish person (at 20 years old I had never tried fish..ever), so now I'm into trying different fish dishes at restaurants because I prefer it over any other meat. Who would have thought we'd see the day? Any who, I had a line caught halibut fillet with heirloom carrots served over wheat berry and sun dried tomatoes and topped with this sauce that the waiter described as a "bisque." It was a shellfish something that sounds like "soo-buy." I've never had halibut and this was a great first intro to it.

Our server was fantastic. He had almost every single special memorized (he rattled off about 6 and then goes "and now for the entree specials." I couldn't get over how many there were!) and when he had to check the details for two he apologized. I was impressed he could remember as many as he did! I introduced myself to the chef afterwords because it was completely necessary to compliment all of the dishes and he seemed like an awesome person. I'm pretty sure he used the phrase "right on."

The atmosphere is super cozy with dim lighting and a warm, neutral color palette. The lights hanging above the tables are made from mason jars and I must have mentioned how much I loved them about 6 times. I'd say the restaurant only seats around 50 and it's tiny but isn't loud at all. I'm excited that it's almost spring to see what the new seasonal menu has! Out of 5 stars I would give Terre a Terre 4/4.5. It's definitely worth it to give this new restaurant a shot!

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Overrated Oscar vs. Impressive Indie

Last weekend was definitely a movie weekend in the tristate area. It seems that every day is becoming like that since it snows constantly. Now when we hear we're getting 6 inches no one even reacts. I was home in Jersey for the weekend, so my mom and I did a little brunching, watched some Netflix, and went to the movies.

My school paper, The Quadrangle, has a "This Week in Netflix" section which highlights a show or movie every week. A couple of weeks ago the movie was Safety Not Guaranteed. I almost just skipped over the section, but then when I saw that fans of Fox's New Girl might enjoy this movie I kept reading (I love New Girl and if you don't watch it, catch up on Netflix!). Originally on Saturday night my mom and I wanted to watch an old black and white movie, but after searching for a decent amount of time without success I remembered that I put a movie in my notes on my "to watch when you can't find anything on Netflix" list. Every time someone recommends something on Netflix I put it in there because we all know how hard it is to find something to watch when you have no idea what you're in the mood for.

Safety Not Guaranteed is about two interns at Seattle magazine and their boss' trip to find a peculiar individual, Kenneth. Kenneth publishes a classified ad in the magazine that reads "Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed." The best part about the ad is that someone actually put this ad out in the late '90s and that's where the idea from the movie came from.

The three depart from Seattle and head off to find Kenneth to write a story on him, and the movie is all about their journey and what is uncovered on it. Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation is perfect for the role of Darius, a cynical individual who is stuck in a rut and has given up on mostly everything and everyone. Jake Johnson from New Girl plays the role of the boss who doesn't care much at all about anyone else and is very egotistical. His story that evolves throughout the movie is engaging, too.

I highly recommend watching this movie because the plot is thought out really well and the character development is great. You end up getting wrapped up in the movie instead of checking the clock to see how much longer you have until the movie ends (I find myself doing this a lot, even if I'm kind of into the movie). Additionally, won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

On Sunday we saw Gravity. This was a movie where I was constantly checking the time to see how much longer I had left of it. I can't understand why it's nominated for awards. The whole movie is just one problem after another, and at a certain point you just think to yourself "there's honestly no way Sandra Bullock could survive all of these issues." The whole thing takes place in space and it's basically a one character movie. There's also no character development, so you could basically care less if Sandra Bullock's character dies or not because you have no emotional attachment to her.

I saw the movie with my mom and her friend and we all agreed that we wouldn't recommend it to anyone. If I was watching it at home I would have definitely turned it off. There's no way I could have made it through the entire movie. My friend at school saw it in theaters and said he couldn't stay awake. Quite frankly, he wasn't even sure how it ended and didn't seem to care too much.

Manhattan College's Quadrangle didn't fail me with the Safety Not Guaranteed suggestion, so I'm excited to see what else is to come this semester! Happy movie watching!
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hollywood Legend: Shirley Temple Black

It's been three days and I still can't believe that Shirley Temple passed away. I almost fell out of my chair when I heard it on the news Monday afternoon. Even those that have never seen anything she starred in know the name because of one of the most famous non-alcoholic drinks that is named after her. How did that drink get its name anyway? TIME did an article about it, so I figured I'd share with all of you in honor of the gorgeous star's life.

While at a restaurant with her parents, legend has it that Ms. Temple was very upset that she couldn't partake in the fun of sipping old-fashioneds, which often include a cherry (probably the reason that it seemed so attractive to the young starlet). The waiter whipped up a non-alcoholic "old-fashioned" for Shirley Temple and the drink was born! Of course the exact ingredients are disputed, as is where this drink was first created. As for ingredients, grenadine and a cherry are a must, but the soda used can be ginger ale, lemon-lime, a mix of both, or sometimes orange juice is substituted. Possible restaurants where this drink originated are Chasen's or the Brown Derby in Hollywood or the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

In the late 80s (1988 to be exact) there was an attempt to make bottled versions of this soda with the name "Shirley Temple." Ms. Temple filed civil lawsuits to stop this because she claimed that her name wasn't a "generic term," therefore making the use of her name on a product an invasion of her privacy. "All a celebrity has is their name," is what Shirley Temple told the New York Times, and she was correct in saying this. She wanted to make sure no one has ever made money off of her signature drink by using her name.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Monday! Surprise Kate Spade Sale

I'm getting really serious when I say that Kate Spade seriously knows how to efficiently market and make sales. A surprise sale!? Who wouldn't want to wake up to that email on a Monday? It's better than my usual Monday emails with the subject: "This Week at Manhattan College". You can save up to 75%, which is beyond fab. The sale ends Thursday at midnight, so hurry over! Here are some things that may or may not (I'll leave that to you to interpret however you want) be in my shopping cart.
Alice Court Celina $99
Kennywood Neda $69
The Great Expectations Book Clutch $129

The Great Gatsby Book Clutch $129
Primrose Hill Little Kaelin $129
Cooper Wrap Strap $107
Flats Mini Necklace $69

Kate Spade Round Lever Back Earrings $25
Cinema Bloom Drop Earrings $29

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Restaurant Review: David Burke Kitchen

This past Saturday my wonderful boyfriend turned 22. We celebrated with dinner at David Burke Kitchen in Soho, a comedy show at Subculture (definitely a place to check out.. they have all different kinds of performers from comedians to folk singers depending on the night) in Noho, and a night at the beautiful W Hotel Downtown in the Financial District. Who could complain with a view of the Freedom Tower?

I can't get over how absolutely amazing David Burke Kitchen was. I had bookmarked it on Yelp who knows how long ago and was looking through my bookmarks while trying to pick somewhere to make reservations and chose to go there. Awesome choice. The waiter was fab and was incredibly knowledgable about everything. There's an entree for two that's called "Bronx Beef" and our server was telling us how David Burke owns the right to this cut of meat and was describing it in detail and what makes it different from other cuts. Pretty cool, huh?

We started with the tableside kale salad (it's made right at the table if you're wondering because I couldn't figure that out from the name). So delicious. It's so simple, but the dressing is amazing and the portion sizes are perfect. It's kale with apples, farro, pickled cashews, and currants over a tahini yogurt and topped with cheese.
Preparing it right at the table, hence tableside
The finished product
I got the grilled salmon over quinoa, roasted carrots, and an orange mustard glaze. I hate mustard so I was very nervous to get this, but since I love salmon I couldn't pass it up. The carrots were cooked perfectly so they still had a crunch to them, the quinoa had shredded carrots, scallions, and maybe corn(?) in it and it was very tasty, the glaze (that's what's spread on the plate) was so good. I couldn't even taste a "mustardy taste, and the salmon, oh my.. amazing. I'm so glad I ordered this.

The birthday boy got the short rib, which is served over cavatelli with foraged mushrooms and truffled mousse. I'm not going to tell you that "he said it was so good" because that wouldn't do it justice. Matt's exact words were "if I had to choose a last meal.. this would be it." So there you have it folks. The short rib was beyond good.

For dessert we ordered the hazelnut crunch bar. It isn't listed on the online menu, nor is it listed on the dessert menu at the restaurant. It was actually drawn under the drinks and they described it with little arrows pointing to each part of it. If my memory doesn't fail me I believe it had a coconut cake on the bottom with a chocolate hazelnut mousse on top of that (it had actual hazelnut pieces in it), was covered with chocolate ganache and toasted coconut, and was placed on some blueberry something or other. Some gelato came on the side, too. Matt was in heaven.

Safe to say we'll be returning to David Burke. There's a location in Aspen so maybe I have to take up skiing! Burke also owns a restaurant uptown, David Burke Townhouse, that I also want to go to, but it's much fancier (actually, he has a bunch of restaurants that you can check out on here). The ambiance of David Burke Kitchen was perfect for a dinner with friends (or a friend). I'd say the way to describe the attire was business casual. They dim the lighting at night so it makes it feel more intimate and cozy, but during the day it would probably appear very bright and more casual. It is quite noisy, but that's expected in such a big restaurant with so many people.

The restaurant is definitely up there price-wise, but it's so worth it. 5/5 stars for David Burke Kitchen!

And again, happy birthday to the most amazing best friend and boyfriend I could ask for. Keep checking back to see where we celebrate Valentine's Day and our 4 year anniversary on February 21st!

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Designer Pronunciation Cheat Sheet

NYFW is here again (I can't believe it.. September feels like yesterday). There's more hype about fashion week in September than in February, but personally I like this one better because it's all fall stuff and from previous posts you can clearly tell that I love fall fashion. Boots, scarves, sweaters.. what's not to love?

Photo courtesy of Vogue
Harper's Bazaar (one of my many monthly magazine obsessions.. but Harper's Bazaar is definitely high up on my favs list) gives us a cheat sheet on pronouncing designer names because how many times have you heard someone that's relatively fashion savvy say "ya-ves saint lorent" or "her-mes"? It's impossible to nail all of these foreign names, so we're lucky Harper's is on top of things! There's part one, which is comprised of the most mispronounced and well-known designers, and then part two because we still couldn't get it right. This list is shorter and has less-known people, but it's good to know! You never know who you may run into *cough* Tim Gunn *cough*. I wish. You wouldn't want to be caught dead in a conversation with someone like that and pronounce Marchesa "mar-chess-uh".

How to Pronounce Designer Names: Part One
How to Pronounce Designer Names: Part Deux
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Restaurant Review: Friedman's Lunch

I joined the mentor program at my school with hopes of being paired with someone halfway decent that I could just talk to about marketing and different career options. Luckily I got more than that! In the fall of 2012 I was introduced to my mentor, Amanda, who graduated from Manhattan College (the school I go to) in 2010, so we're close in age and have a ton to talk about. Over a year later we still meet up for coffee and lunch to catch up.

We met up for lunch today in midtown and I chose a new place that I've been dying to try, but haven't gotten around to going to. Friedman's Lunch has a location in Chelsea Market (the one I've been trying to get to), but I just discovered that they also have a place in midtown! It's right on 31st St between 7th Ave and 8th Ave, making it really easy to get to by train. According to our server they've been there for about 5 months now.

It's a tiny place, but people are in and out constantly so it doesn't seem like you'd ever really have to wait more than 15 minutes or so. I got the veggie bowl, which has japanese eggplant, carrots, edamame, bok choy, bean sprouts, a sesame lime dressing, your choice of either brown rice or quinoa (I went with quinoa), and then you can add on tofu, chicken, or salmon, so I chose to add salmon. It was so good. The portion sizes are big, but of course I finished my whole bowl. The salmon was cooked perfectly and they put the perfect amount of dressing so you can taste it but not see it. Meals are the worst when they're drowned in sauces/dressings in my opinion.

I ordered a coffee, too, since it's so cold in NYC. Really though, who needs an excuse to order coffee? I was surprised at the size of the mug because it was quite big and the coffee was very good.

Our server was very nice, wasn't too on top of us, and didn't keep coming back too much. Sometimes overly-friendly service just makes it seem like they want you out of there asap. The one server overheard Amanda and I talking about the Chelsea Market location so he threw in a complimentary side of the shaved brussel sprouts out of appreciation for our loyalty. I definitely recommend trying them! They're cooked in an aged sherry and honey mixture and then there's shaved pecorino on top. Super yum. It's like he knew me because I love brussel sprouts, so he picked the perfect side to throw in!

While I was reading the menu I knew that the veggie bowl sounded familiar. Then I realized that Friedman's recipe in the Chelsea Market Cookbook is for the veggie bowl and I just made it a few weeks ago. I really suggest this cookbook if you're ever searching for one. It never fails to satisfy every need. 

Everything that the other customers had looked so good. I can't wait to go back and try out more dishes!

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