Remember a while ago when I posted my Mushroom Chicken Marsala Chili for the Bush's Beans Chili Cook-off? Well, guess what? I WON!! I almost fell over when I got the email and probably re-read it a thousand times just to be sure I wasn't dreaming!
I still can't believe it myself. Nothing beats getting those kind of emails. I will never get tired of it!
So, I got the email that I had won and literally was supposed to be in New York within a week. I was nervous about getting everything squared away with the kids, but I am super lucky that my dad (who lives 8 hours away from me) is retired and dropped everything to drive in and stay at my house to take care of the kids and dogs while Louis and I were whisked away and spoiled in NYC!
We got to the Ace hotel and there was the cutest saying painted right on the wall and the Empire State Building was right outside our window.
The welcome bag was an unexpected nice touch! Bottled water, t-shirts, postcards, snacks and $1,000 in Visa gift cards! They really know how to spoil a person!
Once we dropped off our bags in the room I couldn't wait to get downstairs to eat. Lucky for us, the hotel's restaurant is The Breslin. I've seen it featured on Food Network and in magazines for years and couldn't wait to try it. I had a glass of prosecco, Louis had an Old Fashioned- perfect way to start our trip and calm my nerves from flying! For an appetizer we split the Seafood Sausage with Beurre Blanc & Chives. It was delicious, and we were both starving, so no picture of that. I peer pressured Louis into getting the Chargrilled Lamb Burger with cumin mayo, feta and thrice cooked chips and I got the BLT with Lamb Bacon, Guajillo, Fermented Green Tomatoes and Gaufrettes. We split both of them, and while they were absolutely delicious, if I had to choose, the BLT was the better.
That night we had tickets to see The Book of Mormon so we wanted to have an early dinner within walking distance of the theater. We ended up at The Paramount Bar and Grill. The hotel and restaurant is beautiful! We started with the Tuna Poke with Tarro Chips and Avocado. I was still pretty full from lunch so I got the Burrata with Heirloom Tomatoes and Grilled Bread and Louis got the Pan Seared Scallops with Pureed Carrots, Blistered Tomatoes and Crispy Shallots. Everything we tried was absolutely delicious but the service was painfully slow and the few questions I asked the waitress about the menu she just made up answers for so not sure I'd ever go back there.
After dinner we walked to the theater, I got my sippy cup of wine and we had great seats! After the show we went to The John Dory Oyster Bar, had a few snacks and then went to bed. I was exhausted and I knew the next day would be a long one!
Bright and early we headed over to The Daily Meal offices for taping! I was SO nervous. Like can't eat, sweating in 15 degree weather, pacing the floor nervous. The kitchen was gorgeous, and when I got there everything was prepped and ready to go for me. I was excited to meet and cook with Chef Jeffrey Saad and luckily he was such a pleasure to work with! He's just a down to earth friendly guy that really made taping the video easy and fun. I quizzed him all about his experience on The Next Food Network Star and loved picking his brain!
The thing that took us the longest was figuring out how to turn on the burners!
We taped one shot and all of the production people were really happy with the way it went, so I felt very relieved. They brought in lunch from Mario Batali's Otto- pizzas, salads, brussels sprouts, marinated olives, pasta. They had a ton of food, and since I was too nervous to eat breakfast earlier, I tried almost everything! On the schedule it was planned for me to be there for the taping until 6pm, but I was done by 2. They told us they were happy with what I did and for us to go enjoy the city, so we headed down the street to Eataly. I just love walking through that place! It's like a culinary Ikea- filled with everything you didn't know you needed and very hard to find your way out of. We had a drink at Manzo before walking back to the hotel
For our last night in town we made reservations at Scarpetta
The dining room is so pretty, warmly lit and feels very romantic. We got seated right by the front window and it was nice to watch the world go by outside while we ate. The only downfall was that we felt really rushed while there. We ordered a cocktail to start the night and the 3 course tasting with the wine pairing. Before we could finish anything they were attempting to take our plates away and bringing us the new wine pairings. Other than that, the night was perfect. The bread basket alone is worth going for! Since we were rushed I didn't even get to take as many pictures as I would have liked. For starters I got the Creamy Polenta with a fricassee of truffled mushrooms- totally decadent and delicious, and Louis had the Raw Yellowtail with pickled red onion. As our mains, I had to get the Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil. It's what Scott Conant is known for and it is the most comforting bowl of pasta ever. You can tell it's hand made and I cleaned my plate with no problem! Louis had the Black Cod with braised fennel and concentrated tomato- delicious, but I liked my pasta more. Even though we had ordered the 3 course tasting menu, I had heard so much raving about the Duck and Foie Gras Ravioli with marsala reduction, we ordered that as well. If there is Foie Gras written on a menu, Louis wants it. Unfortunately, he wasn't as thrilled with dish like the rest of yelp is and I thought it was just OK. For dessert, I chose the Coconut Pana Cotta- my least favorite dish of the night and Louis got the Valrhona Chocolate Cake. If you ever get a chance to go to Scarpetta, get the spaghetti and skip the dessert!
As you can see so far, we had an absolutely amazing time through this whole experience. I didn't realize that once I was home Bush's would have another surprise delivered to me!
I was totally blown away and I've already used the beans and the Le Creuset!
Now, to end the longest blog post ever, here's the link of the video we shot! I hope you like it!