Monday, November 3, 2008

Two delicious restaurants

I had a fun time in New York this weekend. It was great to hang around in the city with my sister, and relaxing to hang around at my dads in Westchester. I had two absolutely incredible meals at restaurants while I was there. On Friday I went with Dana to a restaurant near Union Square, Casa Mono. Dana had been there before and raved about it, and it was pretty cool. It's expensive, but was really receptive to Dana and I being demanding about being gluten-free. Casa Mono is a Spanish tapas-type restaurant. We ordered 4 plates, and a dessert to split, and were totally full afterwards, even though it looked like we hadn't eaten much. 

When we were kids, Dana was the pickiest eater ever. She used to wash off chicken breasts in the sink if they had herbs or pepper on them. Now she's making up for it. Last time she was at Casa Mono she had a bowl of cocks combs. You know, the reddish wiggly thing on top of roosters heads. She said they had the consistency of earlobes. Gross. This time, we ordered razor clams a la plancha, which were grilled and served with a lot of garlic and something green (below), which were good and garlicky. The picture above is of duck egg with mojama in the background, a fried duck egg served over fingerling potatoes, with truffles, and mojama is like a prosciutto made of tuna. Mojama is really delicious. In the foreground of the above picture is duck hearts and fries (fries are testicles!!) surtido de calabaza. The fries were pretty good, I didn't really like the hearts because of the thick skin on them. These were served on a skewer over pumpkin (or squash?) three ways: crispy seeds, roasted cubes, and pureed, which all together were soo good. 
The best and last dinner plate we got at Casa Mono was goat confit, served with rainbow chard and goat cheese, drizzled with honey. Oh my god it was so good. The goat was so tender, and fell apart, and went perfectly with the honey, and the cheese, and the chard, and sigh. It was perfect. For dessert we ordered crema Catalina, which is Spanish creme brulee, served with Buneulos which we obviously couldn't have, since they're fried batter fritters. They served us our dessert accidentally with the fritters (a different server who we hadn't been talking to brought it out) and we sent it back and they made us a new one no problem. We also got to watch them make all our food, since the kitchen is open to the restaurant and we sat at the counter. So when we sent back our dessert, we knew they didn't just take it back and take the fritters away, we knew they made us a new one. Casa Mono was so delicious and I highly recommend it, if you're in the neighborhood and want to splurge. (Thanks Dana!!) Below is a picture of us trying on dresses and being cute sisters. 
When I was in Westchester where my dad lives, he took my sister, step mom, and I out for sushi. The place they wanted to take us was too busy so Dana and my stepmother, Nancy, did some research online and picked out a new place to go to. They chose Azuma, in Hartsdale. When we sat down and were ordering our appetizers (which I usually skip at sushi places because they usually have soy sauce), Dana asked if the seaweed salad had soy sauce. The woman immediately picked up what Dana was implying, and said "Oh, no gluten? Sure we'll just bring out some vinegar and make sure nothing has soy sauce for you." And I piped up and said "Me too!" She was really helpful with the ordering, making suggestions and making sure everything was safe for us to eat. 

We got our own little tea pot of rice vinegar, and when we were eating our sushi we mixed it with some crappy La Choy soy sauce I'd brought. The woman waiting on us rushed over when she saw us dipping our sushi into soy sauce, worried we were eating gluten without knowing it. It was super sweet. The sushi was incredible, I unfortunately couldn't get any good pictures but it was some of the best sushi I've had in a while. Yum yum. 

So check out Casa Mono if you're in NYC:
52 Irving Place (at 17th st)
NYC 10003

And Azuma Sushi if you're in Westchester:
216 E Hartsdale Ave
Hartsdale, NY 10530