Tuesday, February 19, 2013



One Sunday night, we decided to try Beauty & Essex after reading something about it.  This is a restaurant located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan - meaning south of Houston Street (pronounced How-ston).

Earlier last year, while in the area, I looked for it but all I could see is a small shop that looked like it carried some old and new jewelry and "stuff".  The place didn't look much at all.  I have also read that it is a must to get a reservation at this place. So my curiosity to try this stems from having read reviews.

This particular Sunday night, with our luck, I made a phone call around 5:00PM for a seating at 6:30 and luckily we got it. We drove down right away.

The place that appeared to be a little questionable jewelry and junky store had a door that opened to a huge restaurant with high ceilings.  It almost appeared to be a secret private venue. The place has vibes and is definitely hopping!
The place is quite dark so it's not easy to take photos in here without a flash.

This restaurant's menu offers an array of small plates meant to be shared like tapas.  But they do have about 3 full-size dinner portions to select from as well.

Beauty & Essex is named after the street it's at, which is Essex Street.  It's located near Essex Street Market.  They also have another restaurant nearby called Stanton Social; and that is located on Stanton Street.  That restaurant serves tapa-size portions as well.

At Beauty & Essex, they make an excellent roasted bone marrow with braised shallot marmalade.  It is served with slices of light crisp sliced baguette-like bread.

On the left is sashimi of hamachi or what they call yellow tail crudo served with caramelized citrus yuzu, avocado and micro cilantro leaves.

Above is the air-dried beef carpaccio.

To end this meal, I ordered the Black Bottomed butterscotch Pot de Creme.  They serve it with 2 nicely crisp cookies shaped like spoons.

I highly recommend to try this place because it's not what you will expect looking from the outside.  The food is creative as well.  There are dishes they prepare that others don't make such as my dessert.

This is another restaurant I would try a couple of times more to taste other dishes.

146 Essex St
(between Rivington St & Stanton St)
New York, NY 10002
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
(212) 614-0146

Monday, February 18, 2013


Last weekend I finally ate at Marc Forgione's restaurant named after himself in Tri-BeCa.  Marc Forgione, is a New york native and winner of The Next Iron Chef in 2010. His restaurant is Modern American.  He uses bold flavors and very inventive - something I look for when eating out.

Stephen Wambach, who hails from Pennsylvania and the Executive Chef of Barclay Prime is now the Chef for Marc Forgione's.  It was a privilege to have met Stephen in the kitchen after our brunch last weekend.
Tribeca's Marc Forgione restaurant welcomes chef Stephen Wambach as its new chef de cuisine. Wambach comes from stints at the Four Seasons Beirut and Manrey Hotel in Panama City. [Grub Street]

As usual, I deviated from the regular menu list, whereas my companions ordered from it.

We had to order the quail and waffles.  This way I fulfill the craving for a quail and try his very light and crisp waffles.

The quail is lightly battered and deep fried (I think that's what he did with it) served on the lightest crispiest waffles ever yet.  A slab of bacon accompanies the dish.

We also tried the eggs Benny on the left.  It was served over potatoes instead of the usual English Muffin.  We loved it!

The special for today was a sandwich with foie gras, pork belly with crispy skin and 2 eggs on top.  It was hearty and as a foie gras fan, what can go wrong!
If I had more room to spare, I would have also ordered the lobster dish which was special for the day.

Will definitely eat here again.  I read that they do prepare a pig's head with crisp skin on Thursdays.  I should call in advance to make sure they're making it before I go.

I'm glad that Marc Forgione added Stephen Wambach to his restaurant!

134 Reade St
(between Hudson St & Greenwich St)
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhood: TriBeCa

Saturday, February 16, 2013


As we continue through my Pilgrimage in Israel, we drove north to explore the upper regions of Israel to the foot of Mount Hermon, overlooking Syria and the Road to Damascus. There was snow at the foot of Mount Hermon and here we stopped by a little place to eat.

As a foodie, I ordered something else other than a felafels for lunch.  I forget what it's called but I opted for this crepe-like bread that's made in front of you which she stuffs with cream called labne, drizzle what I think is olive oil, and sprinkle it with some condiments and spices.
The crepe-like bread is crispy and contains the labne with spices and olive oil inside.
One is free to get some pickles and vegetables on the side.  I ordered some dessert and they're tea.

This is where we stopped over to have our lunch at the foot of Mt. Hermon.
By the way, Mt. Hermon is north of Israel and where the spring water comes down to feed the River Jordan.

CIELO - An Italian Restaurant in Jerusalem

As I said in my previous blog, we went away for a Pilgrimage trip to Israel.  As a foodie, I enjoy the food of various countries.  But after having falafels for lunch and other Middle Eastern dishes, we decided to try an Italian Restaurant close to our hotel in Jerusalem suggested by our Italian tour guide.

We went to Cielo which was a small quiet and romantic little restaurant; pictured below.
The restaurant opened at 6PM and we asked to be seated then instead of 7:30 to give us time to go shopping at the Maimlla Mall nearby.  On Saturdays, the mall is open till 11PM.
I wanted to order the special dishes that were not in the menu and some dishes that were in the menu.
These were the dishes we had:

We were first served an amuse bouche of tapenade on slices of baguette with what appeared to be home made soft rolls.  The rolls were delicious.

This is one of the special dish for the night.  It's actually a seafood soup.  Underneath that green soup are pieces of squid and fish.  This is a light and tasty soup.  A great first course and something I've never had before. They should put this in menu as a regular choice!

The other appetizer we had was this scallop dish.  It was delicately flavored and tender. It was another special dish for the evening.

The main course was fish cooked in a very light tomato broth served with mussels.  The fish is fresh and well prepared.

We had to have the special prawns. It was cooked in garlic and the prawns were sweet.

Our dinner came with a side dish of vegetables: Sweet potato, sliced eggplant with tomatoes on top and mini squash.  Very healthy indeed!
I always order something new.  Above, I had some coffee cream with fresh strawberries and hazel nuts on top.

What Italian dinner be complete without Tiramisu.  This was excellently prepared!
This Italian Restaurant is definitely more Northern than South.  It was very good but a little pricey if you deviate from the regular menu like we did.

Ben Sira 18, Jerusalem, Israel
Tel. 02-6251132

Friday, February 15, 2013


I recently went to Israel for a Pilgrimage trip to the Holy Land.  This trip is most unforgettable since I am very well versed with its biblical history.  In fact, it is everything I have learned since childhood come alive.

With all my anxiety of what accommodations and food we may have, to my surprise, my first day experience proved to be awesome!

Due to the recent bad weather and flooding the week before, our hotel went under water and therefore was upgraded to a hotel by the sea.  What more could you ask for.  Our room had a balcony overlooking the parked boats and pool.  Most importantly, the food was well presented and deliciously prepared in an array buffet-style.

The new assigned hotel was called HERODS. 

There was the chef who cooked the lamb burgers, chorizos, duck breast and fish to dish it out fresh for you.

There were slices of peppers being grilled as well.  Do you see the duck on the left, chorizos in the center and the lamb sausages to the right?

They had chicken, stews, noodles and 2 more dishes on this side. 

There was stuffed grape leaf and a variety of yellow peppers to the left

Above, you can watch the array of desserts at Herods Hotel by the Mediterranean Sea in Tel-Aviv where we stayed.  And it's no surprise why I helped myself as evidenced below.
And you think this was dinner?  The following morning, I couldn't resist to try breakfast!  They had fresh baked pastries and breads.

 In the background was Challah type brioche bread and in the foreground was a very flaky apple strudel (that's what I thought it was).

On the right were more pastries such as mini freshly baked croissants.

How about some warm Herods chocolate sauce to pour on top of your waffles on the left.  Or eggs with savory tomato sauce.

We had a large choice of smoked fish to choose from including smoked salmon.  I liked the large sliced ones in the middle third from the right.
You can order eggs the way you want it as well.

Imagine 5-6 rows of these filled with food to choose from for breakfast.  It's like a Las Vegas buffet but healthier. (I think)

There were even cheeses to choose from.  So, next time you get bumped off a hotel, maybe you'll end up with one that's better than what you had expected!

155 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 63453, Israel
Ranked #24 of 78 hotels in Tel Aviv