Casa Mono

Who on Earth gave Casa Mono only one Michelin Star?? I’d give them about 5! Just kidding, but obviously I just loved this place. It’s a small restaurant on Irving Place right above 14th Street with small tables and a bustling vibe. I had no reservations, so I just took a chance and landed a spot at the bar overlooking the kitchen, which only happens to be my favorite seat in a restaurant. I love watching the talented chefs go about their craft.
Casa Mono serves a variety of small plates with flavor profiles originating in Spain. I had already read about their Pan con Tomate, so it was my first order. It was amazing. Who knew something so simple could be so tasty? Next up were Scallops with Serrano Pepper, Green Curry and Minted Cashews. The scallops were perfectly cooked with a crisp sear on it, matching the cashews and the sauce just wonderfully. My third dish was Pork Belly with Spring Peas Three Ways and Pickled Celery. The pork belly was incredibly light, while still being perfectly crispy. I was in pork heaven. The dessert was as different as can be. Creme Catalana con Bunuelos de Laurel is a burnt vanilla custard with deep fried Bay leaves. No, this is not a typo. How awesome was this? Luckily I was instructed not to eat the Bay leaves, because I totally would have. So you kind of just pull the fried dough off the leaves while cracking through the sugary crust of the vanilla custard. It turns out to be the most delicious mess you will have made….

Mandolino

On Mothers Day my lovely son Nicolas took me out to a comedy show and dinner. My kids know me well, so my son let me pick the restaurant. I picked a fairly new Italian place on 13th Street named Mandolino. Their food always looks fresh and yummy on the pictures, plus they serve Brick Oven Pizza, how could we go wrong?
For my special day they served a 3-course meal, which of course I had to have. My appetizer was Salmon Tartare with a pasteurized egg and salted wine Zabaione, while my son picked Tagliere Mandolino, an assortment of cheeses with Prosciutto, Speck and Sopressata. We were both in awe of the freshness of our dishes. Next my son picked a Pepperoni Pizza, while chose the Filetto Di Branzino alla Livornese, which consisted of Cherry Tomatoes, Onions, Capers and Potatoes. I loved my dish, and I also loved the pizza that I stole of my son’s plate! Before we rushed off to see the comedy show at The Stand, we split a very yummy Tiramisu (which happens to be my favorite dessert).
I absolutely adore this restaurant and the people in it. It’s just a great vibe! And let’s not forget about their Pizza Wallet! Their pizza chef is actually from Italy and imported the concept of a thin crusted foldable pizza. This is without a doubt not only innovative and practical, but also some of the best pizza I’ve had!

Bien Cuit

On my recent trip to Brooklyn I found this amazing little French bakery in the downtown area. It’s a small and modern looking cafe with few seats and a mouthwatering aroma coursing through it. Their selection is small but impressive, and I decided on a loaf of Rye & Sunflower bread and a few pieces of their beautiful cakes. Unfortunately one of the cakes was damaged on the way home; I guess that’s the downside of being a New York City Foodie, the trip home from Brooklyn to the Bronx is lengthy and can be treacherous. I decided to post the picture despite the obvious flaw, just because it was that delicious! Please forgive my shortcomings….

I’m so grateful for my babies (that are actually adults….), and the great times I have with them. The three of us have been through thick and thin, and we grew strong and resilient together. We had a great Mothers Day as a family!

Until next time!