Visit: The National

It's a rare day that I find myself anywhere above 20th street in NYC and an even rarer day that I find myself in midtown.  However, last week I was walking around 50th and Lex when I came across the restaurant, The National.  Based in the ground floor of The Benjamin Hotel, I was drawn in by the memory of Sam Sifton's article in the NYTimes where he recalled that the hotel was the subject of a painting by Georgia O’Keeffe called “New York — Night.”  While I haven't had the chance to eat there yet, I will say that their branding is spot on.  Created by the agency Love and War, the identity mixes a modern typeface with quirky playful images.  After a quick glance at the menu, I'm pretty sure I'll find myself in Midtown again, right about dinner time.

Yes Please: The North Fork Table and Inn

20091124_NYC_064 A few weeks ago we headed out to the North Fork of Long island with the mission of having a long and leisurely lunch at the beautiful The North Fork Table and Inn in Southold. The experience was exactly what we were hoping for; after nearly three hours of indulgence, we left with full bellies and big smiles. If you are ever in the Northfork or simply want to spend a day exploring the nearby vineyards, farm stands and beaches, stop by and enjoy an afternoon with these fine folks. They'll take good care of you.

The Meal:

20091124_NYC_032 Dill Marinated Organic Scottish Salmon with a Corn Blini, Assorted Radish and Horseradish Mousse

20091124_NYC_041 Alderwood Smoked Cod & Local Yukon Gold Potato Cake with Truffled Tarter Sauce and Micro Herb Salad

20091124_NYC_051 Housemade Ricotta Cavatelli & Roasted Satur Farms Cauliflower with Flat Parsley, Pecorino Romano

20091124_NYC_046 Slow-Braised Boneless Shortrib of Naturally Raised Beef with Wilted Baby Spinach and Local Yukon Gold Potatoes

20091124_NYC_058 Warm Sugar Donuts with Vanilla Anglaise

moment: Ace Hotel PDX


On a recent trip to Portland, we made an evening out of a delicious dinner at Clyde Common and a late night photobooth session next door at The Ace Hotel.

Dinner: -pork belly served on top of a fried green tomato, pocha beans and piccalilli -roasted beets with potatoes, boiled eggs, pickled carrots and touch of fennel -grilled flatiron steak accompanied by a smoked tomato relish -roasted peach shortcake with a maple-bourbon ice cream and a dollop praline cream

Cocktail of choice: East of Eden: Bombay Dry, lemon, elderflower liqueur, Gewurtzraminer reduction and an egg white served up

Summer perfection.

LA bound for a few days...

2299156819_569d03490a photo taken by Jen Maiser at the Santa Monica Farmers Market

I'm heading to LA today to visit some dear friends and take care of a few business meetings.  Every time I plan to travel, I spend far too much time researching new restaurants and adventurous chefs that are spicing things up.   We have so many great restaurants in NYC but, as it has been said many times before, there is just something different about California cuisine.

Here are some of the restaurants I'd like to try:

Rustic Canyon:  Their menu is Farmers' Market-inspired dishes with ingredients that come from local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen who practice sustainable agriculture.  I feel like we don't have enough of these kind of restaurants in NYC.

Huckleberry Cafe:  I'd get the Cumin roasted baby carrot salad with avocado, mixed greens and a citrus vinaigrette

Animal:  Look at this menu.

Fig: On their menu they list what produce has "just arrived," what's "in peak season" and what is "coming soon."  I'd sit at the communal table and order the local halibut with ramps, fava beans and a morel jus.

Lucques:  I think the Sunday Supper sounds like a perfect way to end the weekend and begin a week.

I won't have time to visit all the places I discovered but they'll certainly go on a list for the next visit.  However, one thing is for certain: a visit to the Santa Monica Farmers market.  They have the most amazing produce.  It makes me wish I had a farm, just so I could grow the beauties they do.