Eating good in the Big Apple

This past weekend, I headed down to Brooklyn, New York for one of my best friends baby showers, and boy was it a good food filled weekend! Not the best for the health kick I have been on (I stopped tracking my WW points – whoops!) but I figured, you have to splurge sometimes. My boyfriend and I hit the road at 7 am on Saturday and thankfully I was there right before the party started at 12:30 pm.  Lunch at the shower was filled with Italian favorites prepared by my glowing pregnant friend’s father, caterer Peter Spungin (of CT). There was an antipasto platter, pasta with marinara sauce, eggplant rollatini, asparagus, Caesar salad, and so much more. Plus there were crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, homemade hummus, and fresh bread.

Italian Buffet

And for dessert, my friend’s sister picked up a cake filled with strawberries and whipped cream, in the neighborhood.

Strawberries and Cream Cake

The party favor was frosted sugar cookies, in the shape of baby feet, with blue icing for the little baby-boy-to be!

Cookie Favors

All and all, it was a delicious afternoon, filled with perfect unexpected warm, sunny weather, gifts for the happy couple, and a great time to catch up with high school friends, the expecting mother’s family, and her neighborhood and college pals too.

The High School Crew

That evening, a few of us met up for dinner at a hidden gem in Brooklyn, River Deli (32 Joralemon St) for more Italian cuisine. We sipped prosecco and wine (minus Angela my pregnant friend of course!) and started off with the grilled, marinated vegetable platter. Featuring bread to eat with oil, olives, vegetables like eggplant and zucchini, and a variety of cheeses, it was a great way to start the meal on a tasty note.

Grilled Veggie and Cheese Platter

The Cozze in Umido (mussels) came sauteed with olive oil, garlic and a white wine sauce, that we completely devoured. A crisp Insalata Di Finocchi (fennel salad) came lightly, simply dressed, with thin slices of fennel atop a bed of mixed greens. I indulged on the very inexpensive ($11) Ravioli Di Ricotta E Spinaci Al Burro E Salvia, which featured homemade spinach and ricotta cheese ravioli in a butter and sage sauce, with parmigiano cheese. The sage added just a hint of flavor and they were not heavy handed on the butter, so the ravioli and cheese could shine through.

Spnach Ravioli

Another notable pasta dish was the Pappardelle Ai Funghi, featuring homemade fresh pappardelle with mixed mushrooms ragu, in olive oil and garlic sauce, also not doused in sauce, so the earthy flavors of the mushrooms and the homemade perfectly prepared pasta were the star of the dish. My boyfriend ordered the Orata ($20), where he was served a whole grilled fish, with criss-crossed grill marks, potatoes, and veggies on the side, while another favorite dish within my group was a special addition to the menu, the seafood Cioppino, or fish stew, with shrimp, mussels, calamari, and other seafood, with a tomato broth and thin bread to enjoy with it.

Seafood Stew

Tiramisu was the finale to the meal, served in a chilled small cup, with each layer boasting flavorful mascarpone cream and notes of liquer, though the top layer of powdered cocoa/mocha was a bit thick for our liking. All and all it was a tasty meal, within a cozy spot, in a laid back, warm atmosphere, without the hefty price tag of many NY restaurants.

We woke up bright and early Sunday to play with my friends (who we were staying with) one year old Ava and sipped coffee and juice, along with warm cinnamon buns.

Warm Cinnamon Buns

Once lunch time came around, we decided to pick up meats and veggies to create our own kosher sandwiches at my friends Midtown Manhattan apartment. The 2nd Avenue Deli (162 E 33rd St), though a bit pricey (we spent over $100) had some of the best hot pastrami and corned beef I could have ever asked for.

Warm Corned Beef and Pastrami, fresh from the Deli

We made our own sandwiches with Russian dressing and tomato slices, and meat, on soft rye bread. On the side we enjoyed their homemade pickles, cucumber dill salad, pasta salad featuring cherry tomatoes and oil, and macaroni salad.

Kosher Make Your Own Sandwich Bar at Home with The Chernoff's

We chatted a bit and digested our food before hopping in the car to make our trek back to Boston. Until next time New York!

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