Feast of the Senses at the James Beard House

Nobody forgets their first. Maybe it’s a cheeseburger, a lover, a car, a shitty job, or a dinner at the James Beard House. Maybe it’s beautiful or terrible or it lasts into the dregs of the night, but you don’t forget it, not easily, not in a lifetime. It’s an endless evening of piqued courses amidst weeks that turn up the same surroundings, over and over again. It’s a commercial break from a loop of Groundhog Day. We may be the same idiots we were when we walked into the James Beard House, but we were bracketed by strange and wonderful things.20160210_182306 Continue reading “Feast of the Senses at the James Beard House”

Wagyu & Wine at the Capital Grille

A few weeks ago we descended upon the Capital Grille like two children in tuxedo jackets and stock market shorts and polo shirts taking aim on the Chuck E. Cheese ball pit and ordered a gazillion calories’ worth of food for the sake of science, market research, and to drum up social curiosity about the new and amazing promotion out there, Wagyu & Wine, running until the 22nd. There were burgers, oh, the glorious burgers. But first, let’s order some cocktails on an iPad and talk about the omnipresent table mini-lamp that all restaurants should adopt into their optimal food photo structure. Get ready for some mad mac gifs, baby.20151016_195509-ANIMATION
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Alinea, Chicago, IL

It was magic in the middle of September. It was everything I’ve been hoping for and dreaming of for the better part of my adult life- a culmination, of sorts, an ascension into an adulthood that came with an ache in my wallet realizing that I was at the helm of this experience. Just me, the Bedfellow, and Grant Achatz one night for a few brief hours, a reservation made on a giddy whim in the heat of July in a sparsely decorated sublet. Alinea came and went as smoothly as its service. We were seated next to the worst dinner party, as it were, a guy and his three prisoners. Someone asked how many times he’d been there- “Oh, probably a dozen,” before he accosted the sommelier. For Alinea, I would easily do the same.20150917_211606Down the dark red hall, the world opened up into the well-oiled wizardry of the kitchen. I can’t remember a time, not the Macy’s Christmas displays, not Bloomingdale’s, not Sadaharu Aoki or Pierre Herme, that I have pressed my nose up against a glass panel with such wonder like this, and certainly not with a glass of champagne. There we stood watching the orchestration take place before we ascended. Continue reading “Alinea, Chicago, IL”

Hash House A Go-Go, Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT

I’m calling it now; you haven’t eaten like a champion until you’ve had a meal that has been accompanied with food groupies. That’s right- our recent meal at Hash House A Go-Go at Mohegan Sun came with not one, but four food groupies, replete with oohs, ahhs, and cameras flashing from the table next door, eager to see what we were feasting on.

Hash House bills itself as twisted farm food; but you don’t have to be a farmer to eat here. Far from it- we encountered Jets fans, families, and more, all converging around manhole-sized pancakes. Hash House occupies a unique space in the market as it dazzles its guests with enormous portions served up creatively. Thanks to the crew at the restaurant and at Mohegan, we were served up a week’s worth of food and a ton of fun before the BrewFest.20151003_094054 Continue reading “Hash House A Go-Go, Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT”

Wuji, Scarsdale, NY

A few weeks ago, John and I took a meandering drive to Scarsdale (including a drive through a residential area holding no promise of any restaurants, Chinese or otherwise) for dinner at Wuji, the latest restaurant from cb5 Restaurant Group out of Greenwich, CT. Wuji combines fresh, local ingredients with traditional Chinese recipes and a hell of an eye for decor. We came, we sat, we ate the entire menu.IMG_20150819_193456082_HDR Continue reading “Wuji, Scarsdale, NY”

15 in 30: Top Eats in Pittsburgh, Month 2

wpid-img_20150727_110023353_hdr.jpgWelp, I’m home. Hartford hasn’t changed a bit, but there’s something to be said about being alone and in a real bed again. I’d like to thank Intex and Xanax for keeping me sane and asleep this summer. You’re the real heroes! And without further ado, the last fifteen favorites on the last leg of my summer in Pittsburgh. Continue reading “15 in 30: Top Eats in Pittsburgh, Month 2”

15 in 30: Top Eats in Pittsburgh, Month 1

It’s been a fast month here in the Steel City- too fast! I’ve been acclimating to work, commuting like I casually memorized the bus schedule, and have been writing bench briefs like it ain’t no thang. It is a thang! And it’s hard! I’ve also been casually eating my way through the city, enjoying the most of each neighborhood. wpid-img_20150626_200613061_hdr.jpgI’ve spent the most time in Lawrenceville in the last two weeks, overshadowed only by Squirrel Hill, my own neighborhood, and Shadyside. In that time, I’ve had amazing treats, from homemade pierogies to beautiful burgers to macarons that taste like they’re straight out of Paris. Continuing my on-the-road tradition from last year, albeit souped up (disclaimer: this article contains no soup), here’s my Top 15 in 30. Continue reading “15 in 30: Top Eats in Pittsburgh, Month 1”

Brick + Wood, Fairfield, CT

Ain’t no party like a Neopolitan pizza party, because a Neapolitan pizza party is held five feet away from a 1,000 degree oven. Oh yes. Brick + Wood in Fairfield is the latest pizzeria to grace the Gold Coast, and a mighty good one it is indeed. We attended a press dinner a few weeks ago, full of hijinks, Italian cocktails, and dessert in Fairfield. DSC_1410 Continue reading “Brick + Wood, Fairfield, CT”

The Generous Pour at the Capital Grille, New York, NY

A few weeks ago, The Bedfellow and I went to the Capital Grille in Times Square for an evening of wine, steak, and complaining after an insane job conference. This was my third time sampling the Generous Pour, and we had an excellent evening. The Times Square location, one of three in the city, is sprawling and cavernous, with numerous alcove-like dining areas throughout the restaurant and staircases leading to private dining rooms. The acoustics were terrible and it was difficult to have a conversation without shouting across the two-top, and halfway through dinner the lights went slowly dim and then bright again like a geriatric light show for about a half hour, making for a weirdly disconcerting dining experience.DSC_9374-2 Continue reading “The Generous Pour at the Capital Grille, New York, NY”

Three Michelin Stars, Table for One: Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas, NV

When you laugh, the world laughs with you. When you dine alone at a three Michelin star restaurant, the world is cold. It started when I stepped in the limo, the sky unusually dark for a hot Vegas night. Sitting in the back, the car was familiar, tastefully gilded in a sea of black. Leg room and Fiji water for the taking. Silent. In traffic, I looked out onto the people, close enough to touch, and I knew they couldn’t see me watching. DSC_9292-2The dignity of lingering in the atrium, watching the lights go on and off in the villas at the private mansion entrance is offset by a gentle hand at your elbow as you are seated in the lounge. They expected a party of two and are modifying a table, a plush velvet banquette in purple and gold, very Deco Paris. You can ask women to do many things with you in Vegas, but none of them will accompany you to dinner. On the plus side, now you have more elbow room. It is my last evening in Las Vegas, and I am dining at Joël Robuchon. Continue reading “Three Michelin Stars, Table for One: Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas, NV”