Category: Nat’s Restaurants

When my best friend and his man came back from their vacation, we all decided to go and have dinner at Pravda. I have to say my best friend/hubby and I, LOVE Pravda. This Russian restaurant, that means “Truth” and Justice”, is one of New York’s oldies but goodies… First of all it is an underground bar/restaurant, so if you don’t know about it, no chance to see it. The staircase opens to cavernous room with some tables and some booth. You have a bar on your left, and access to the second level at the end of the room. The top floor used to be the smoking area once open a time… now it is just the toilets and a mini bar.

The menu is basically Russian appetizers (you have main courses as well, but let’s focus on the most important), and each dish is tastier than the previous one…. As I was with my boys, the food went quicker than my camera, so you need to use your imagination.
From the top of my head, the absolutely have to taste dishes are: “Crispy Potato Pancakes (as we call them roestis in Switzerland) with Scottish Smoked Salmon”, “Scrambled Eggs with Caviar, Ham and Cheese Croquettes”, their “Homemade Potato Chips with Crème Fraiche and Caviar” and their “Roasted Eggplant Dip” (Lebanese call it “Baba Ghanoush” or “Mutabbal”, and French “Caviar d’Aubergines”), I just call it yummy.

For drinks, if it is your first time, I suggest you “Pravda’s Iced Rack of Six Selected Vodkas”, trust me you will see life differently after tasting them. Pravda is famous for its Martinis as well; I personally love their “Russian Mary” (Horseradish Vodka, Tomato & Lime Juice).

I think the bar scene is perfect for the singles; lots of cute boys at the bar and tables… the girls are not terrible either.
Pravda is also a good spot for big groups.

Great food to share, great music, great people to watch and all this while having great drinks… and guess what? not too expensive either!!!!
I think I have never been disappointed by their food (and God knows how easy I can be bitchy). The only problem I had there was the bad service, but it seems they corrected that.

As usual we had a fantastic time.
What can I say else? Besides : “I loooove Pravda”.

When we say Mexican food, the first thing that comes to our minds is tacos, tortillas, guacamole or even fajitas… when someone tells me Mexican food, I start salivating thinking about my dish at Rosa Mexicana.

I know that Mexican food is not the most delicate one, and let’s be honest Rosa Mexicana is not the best Mexican restaurant in town. Their queso fundido is the best I have ever had in my life.

There are few Rosa Mexicana’s in New York, tried them all, and the verdict is the best queso is the one by Union Square.

What is a queso fundido? You will think that it is just a regular melted cheese dish, but Rosa Mexicana uses a different cheese called Chihuahua cheese (not the dog, the cheese) is a soft white cow’s-milk cheese of Mexican origin available in braids, balls or rounds.

So they melt this yummy cheese, grate some chorizo and peppers, and the result is to die for. You eat it with tortillas (corn or flour), and you don’t forget to add some more spicy sauce.

I can sit and talk about their other dishes; true their guacamole is great and they prepare it in front of you… but let’s be honest, you go to Rosa Mexicana for their queso fundido, and if you are still hungry, you order another one.

So it is what we did with my mom and sis…. And once again it was yummy yum yum… we went for lunch (so we could have the afternoon to digest) and usually it is pretty empty at lunch time. But at night it is buzzing with people. And it has a fun bar scene.

As I have a bad story with tequila, I don’t approach it, but if you are into it, I know they have a wide selection.

If you are craving Mexican cheese “fondue” or you are hangover, don’t hesitate go to Rosa Mexicana… and think about me when you eat, cause believe me I will be jealous ;)

Daniel Boulud is considered as the kitchen royalty in the States. This chef, originally from Lyon, truly mastered in NY the dining scene.

I even remember at a “Top Chef “ episode (TV reality show where chefs compete for the title of top chef) where he was the guest judge, Padma said, if you don’t know who this chef is, you can leave the kitchen now…

I had dinner in several of his restaurants, but was never that impressed. Especially his latest restaurant in the city DBGB, where you have only burgers and sausages…

As my mom and sis are in town and they want new stuff, we decided to go for lunch at Café Boulud. The room is pretty, and the crowd is a mix of tourists and locals.

The menu is divided in four groups: La Tradition (the French classics & country cooking), La Saison (winter flavors), Le Potager (Inspired by the farmer’s market), and Le Voyage (world cuisine).

While sipping our bubbles, I ordered the “Wild Mushroom & Farro Soup” and the “Vadouvan Marinated Lamb Rac”. My mom started with the “Chanterelles Risotto” and took the lamb as well. My sister started with the “Beet Cured Scottish Salmon” and had the risotto as the main course.

Everything was delicious, and the service was excellent. My only problem was the quantity of the portions. I agree about the nouvelle cuisine bla bla, but don’t push it. When I order a lamb, don’t give half of lamp chop, with few veggies running around for 37$. Also, don’t charge the smoked salmon 19 $ for literally four very thinly sliced salmon…

I understand Daniel Boulud is the king among the chefs… so he should serve you as the king, and not give you amuse – bouche (which doesn’t truly amuse me) as main course….

Anyway, at the end of the day, we had good time, good food… and thanks to the small quantities even place for some chocolate cake and house made madeleines :)

As I have mentioned in my previous posts, in New York at 3 – 4 pm, there is a cab shift so finding a cab is mission impossible.

So you have few options: you can take the metro (and as we know I don’t do that), beg for out of duty cabs to take you (and if you are on their way they will), get a town car (which will cost three times more than a regular cab)… or go to a bar and drink until the cab shift is over.

Today besides the cab shift we have the snow factor as well, so instead of killing ourselves we decided to make a stop at the St. Regis Hotel. Last time that I was at St Regis was to have dinner at “Adour” with my friends.

When you enter, you turn on your left for the tea room that they call “Astor Room”, “Adour” is on the right of it, and at the end of the room you have the “King Cole Bar”.

Before talking about the bar, let me tell you about their Astor Room. They have this pretentious person presiding empty tables, who thinks he is the king of the Astor Room. We told him we are three, looked at us and decided that we shouldn’t sit at the front, so brought us to the back at a tiny table for two.

When I had only a not happy face to my question: where the third person is supposed to sit? On my lap or at another table? We decided to leave him alone, with his empty tables and white clothes and go to the bar.

The bar was buzzing; we waited 10 minutes and finally got a place to sit. My mom and sis had a glass of bubble, and me a bloody mary, or as a friend of mine will call a “happy meal” (you have your fruit, your vegetables and the carbs).

The service was good; the crowd was composed of hotel guests and some other tired shoppers. Just the perfect way of finishing our day.

After few drinks, we were ready to fight the cold and the snow and find a cab!!!!

Perched on the ninth floor of Barney’s store, Fred’s is one of the perfect lunch spots in the city. While you eat a delicious meal, you can watch the ladies, dressed in Chanel and Prada, with all their shopping bags taking their lunch break from their busy shopping day and some suited men, who came for a quick lunch.

You have few random tourists with the family, sharing a pizza while they ask their kids to behave.

That day, my mom, sis and I represented the ultimate shopaholics, at a well deserved break from our mission. While we sipped our bubbles to celebrate our “hard work”, I shared a winter salad with my mom and ate my eggs benedict… come on it is Sunday and I have to have my eggs benedict fix ;)

She had the Marsala sauce veal; it was very tasty but the portion was too large…

My sister, started with the lobster bisque followed by a burger. You know the kind of burger that looks juicy and yummy.
The only low point? Their crispy bacon, it had no smoky taste, actually no taste at all!!!!

The star dishes of the restaurant seemed to be the pizza and the french fries. I guess i will need to taste them next time :) .

The service was correct, not exceptional. It would have been better if our waiter didn’t disappear all the time. The crowd was composed of professional shoppers like us and some families…

Overall, with the risk of repeating myself, Fred’s at Barney’s is one of the best spots for lunch while you shop in upper east side NY!!!!

Like most of the cities in the world, every store closes on December 25th in New York. The good news is, the sales start on the 26th. Some leading stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Barney’s, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s have intensive sales for few days.

For me to go to Macy’s, I need to be forced at gunpoint. It is so big, and there are so many people, that I need an oxygen mask to survive on a regular day, so imagine during the sales….

Saks Fifth Avenue already had no merchandise left since the Thanksgiving sales, and I am not at Bloomingdale’s since the bedbugs decided to use it as their home…

So I started at Bergdorf Goodman shoe salon on the second floor… When you arrive at the floor, you have the feeling to be in a war zone, where women are fighting over shoes that varies between USD 600,- and USD 2’000,-

This is off course when there are no sales, go figure why these ladies shoe shop as if no tomorrow. We know that in Las Vegas, Casinos put a gaz in the aeration system to keep the players awake, so does BG found a gaz to make women want to shop????
I guess it will be another unresolved mystery, but I let you imagine the effects during the sales period!!!

Imagine a room full of women fighting to get a seat to try the shoes on, and the next room filled up with racks of Prada, Chanel, YSL, Louboutin, Manolo and Gucci (all my best friends) divided by sizes. In the middle of this madness, a young boy, collecting the unwanted shoes in a paper bag to put them in their shelf again… All this surrounded by some security guards (in case someone wants to run away with a shoe;) and sales who run like headless chickens to make their well deserved commission.

Thanks God, I have a masters degree in shoe shopping; cause I directly went to get what I wanted, found a sales associate, fought for a seat and adopted few pairs of shoes at 40% discount.

The next step was Barney’s where we first ate at Fred’s (will give you all the details on my next post), then off course went to see their shoe sales. I made a friend at shoe level, and his name is Dejan. Ladies, you have to ask him whenever you want to shop at Barneys. He is the shoe fairy… he will find you shoes and sizes that nobody can, and will always give you an honest opinion.

My shoe shopping day ended because of the snow storm, you know the blizzard that you heard in all the news… I guess it was a message from the Gods to make me realize they were not happy ;) )))

When my mom and sister arrived to New York for the holidays, they have a list of restaurants that they want to go… and Nobu is on top of my mom’s list, so I made a reservation for their first lunch.

I have to admit, I am a “Nobuholic”… when I lived in Milano, spent every happy hour there… and tried almost all the Nobu’s around the world. In New York, there are two locations, the one on 57th street is my favorite.

The first reason, is because I was there when they opened it and it used to be my neighborhood (so spent most my evenings there), and also I prefer their staff and food to the one in downtown.

As it was Christmas day, the restaurant was empty (rare to see Nobu that empty). Although it is a Japanese restaurant, I never really liked their sushis, I prefer ordering their specialties… “Rock Shrimps with Ponzu Sauce”, “The Lobster Salad”, “The Kobe Beef Tataki”. And yes I am not a big fan of their most famous dish “The Black Cod”.

Normally, the “Lobster Salad” has not that many lobsters… This time there were so many that I asked the waiter if he made a mistake and brought us two orders.
Lucky us it was just the chef feeling generous with the Holiday season and all.

My “Rock Shrimps” were yummy as always… and the “Kobe Beef Tataki” was to die for, better be with the price that you pay per ounce ;)

My sister ordered some sushis with soft shell crab and shrimp tempura and also a California roll.

Our waiter was great, the busboy (the person who cleans your dishes and fills your water glass) was probably new in the States because didn’t understand one word of English… which made him pour tab water, on the paid sparkling one, lol.

Well you know my policy, I think they work harder than the waiters (and are paid less), so we let it go.

Once again, a good experience at Nobu, I just wished there were more people to watch while we were eating our dishes ;)

The Iconic Tree Event is the Kick-Off for the Holiday Season in New York. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit for the first time with live and taped performances. This event happens the week after Thanksgiving (November 30th this year), and it is watched by thousands of people on the sidewalks for the event, and broadcast live across the globe.

Everybody believes Xmas is magical in New York. How can we not think that? We keep watching these movies where everything is beautiful and perfectly snowed; where the villains become compassionate and generous, people fall in love, and problems get solved just because it is Xmas….

You hear Xmas carols and see Santa Claus at every corner of the city; and off course, there is always a “real” Santa” among them who helps the poor orphan girl or the misunderstood lovers to get together…

Ohh and let’s not forget the lovers ice skating in Central park or in front of The Rockefeller Center…

Let me tell you the reality…. First of all the decorations are not that spectacular.

The Rockefeller tree? Well it is a gigantic tree, but besides its Swarovski crystal star, it has nothing exceptional. I didn’t see one Santa, or heard one carol… the only thing I saw was tourists…

I love the city, don’t get me wrong but you don’t really feel the Holiday spirit. It is true that most of the New Yorkers who celebrate Xmas leave to join their family, so the city is left among tourists who fascinated by every light, take pictures of everything….

Result, lots of traffic and annoying people…

Most of the restaurants are closed on Xmas Eve, so if you didn’t plan to cook your only option is to order delivery… and as most of the restaurants are celebrating Xmas…. Only Asian food restaurants work.

The night of December 24th, all the Chinese restaurants have a record of deliveries… I guess they should thank Jesus ;)

So voila, if you want to enjoy New York don’t go during the Holidays…. Everything is overpriced and not worth it.

After my brother and sister in law left New York, I thought I should make a mini break from restaurants before my mom and sis arrive for Xmas and New Year…

The mini break literally lasted 3 days… Come on I am in New York, what should I do? stay home all day???? So I decided to join Lady Fleur and ma Rose Bon Bon for some shopping. After visiting a fur store, we off course ended up having lunch. This time we were at Bar Pitti. For the ones who don’t know this restaurant, it is located in West Village by Da Silvano. If you don’t know Da Silvano, well then open a gossip magazine to read which celebrity had lunch or dinner there or pass by to see the celebrities yourself and enjoy a delicious meal!!!

Anyway, back to Bar Pitti that serves Tuscan cuisine, and the menu is on a blackboards.

We had some appetizers such as “the Melanzane alla Parmigiana” (eggplants with cheese and mozzarella), some vegetables and a “Puntarelle Salad” (Catalonian chicory). Ok I am hungry again…
Then we shared a pesto pea risotto; I like risotto, I like peas, and the pesto sauce… yummy, but the combination of the three of them just didn’t work for me. I have to say the star dish for me , and I advise every single person to taste it; is “La Torta dellla Nonna”. It is a Tuscan custard pie with pine nuts and almonds, and it is just to die for…

The restaurant was as usual full. There were no celebrities this time (off course besides us ;) Lol) The crowd was composed of some regular customers and people living around looking for a delicious comfort food.

The service was good I guess. But then again how can you complain about Italians, even if they do something wrong, they smile, tell you some Italian words… and you forget why you were not happy.

Another successful lunch with my girls, delicious food and amazing company!!!!

This Saturday we decided to get all together and have dinner at Cipriani downtown. My brother and his wife couldn’t make it, but my Lady Fleur, ma Rose Bon Bon with her man (the Diamond guy), the Russian (or Ring Ding for close friends), my Gal, and the Carlyle Group (Gros Minux and the Photographer) were there.

In NY, there are several Cipriani’s and my favorite is the one in Soho… I know New Yorkers consider it as a eurotrash spot, and there are lots of dady’s kids and show off people… but guess what I like the food and I am a eurotrash after all ;) and between us I think people who don’t like Cipriani are the ones who cannot get a table.

Normally even if you have a table, you might be waiting a long time to be seated . Thanks to the Russian Ring Ding, who is a very good customer, we didn’t wait that much. What can I say, besides; it is beneficial to know connected people ;)

To start with, we ordered some grilled artichokes, tuna carpaccio, artichoke salad with shaved parmesan and avocado, and calamari to share… it was yummy, and the food disappeared in seconds.

To continue we wanted they famous “Radicchio Risotto”, unfortunately, they couldn’t make it that night. So we ended up taking a “Risotto al Pesto”, their “Rigatoni Alla Genovese” and “Tagliata of Prime Beef Sirloin”. My least favorite was the risotto and i died for the rigatoni, and the meat as usual was great quality!!!

Sorry no pics available this time cause I was busy sipping on my grey goose on the rocks when the food arrived.
Yes I know, no bubbles for once… but we all know my other favorite drink is vodka (especially Grey Goose) on the rocks.

The place was packed as usual, no celebrities (besides us) people waiting at the bar were not quite happy with us, because we were taking our time; finally, we decided to head to B.E.S. for a last drink.

You know B.E.S. is my new favorite place: for dinner or for drinks… It feels like home, and the fact that my new sublet is a block away really helps 

Let’s say I had a very looooong night… one of those when the following morning you regret bitterly, and no alkazelser really cures  but it was damn worth it, I had a blast!!!