La Fonda Del Sol


Met Life Building, 44th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, New York

Phone: 212-867-6767

Frank Bruni gave La Fonda Del Sol better rating than Txikito (2 stars vs 1 star) when the two restaurants were reviewed at the same time this past April. But after checking out La Fonda Del Sol last Monday, we have to say, Frank Bruni, we respectfully disagree!

The Pa Amb Tomàquet at La Fonda itself was enough to tell us that the restaurant's interpretation of Spanish/Catalan food just doesn't work. Pa Amb Tomàquet is a traditional Catalan comfort food prepared by simply rubbing tomatoes against the bread followed by sprinkles of olive oil and salt. La fonda's version of Pa Amb Tomàquet was a just piece of toast covered with chopped tomatoes, looked and tasted more like a bruchetta to us. The Salt Cod Croquetas and the rest of the dishes we ordered were also more about packaging than substance, and they were thoroughly disappointing. To us, the worse thing about La Fonda, aside from being too commercialized, was its waitress' lack of knowledge on Spanish food/tapas outside of what was listed on the menu. There's no way La Fonda Del Sol is better than Txikito!

La Fonda del Sol bar room

Pa Amb Tomàquet - toasted bread, tomato, fruity olive oil, sea salt

Iberian Serrano Ham, cured 18 months

Salt Cod Croquetas with romesco sauce

Garlic Shrimp “Cazuelita” - olive oil, chile pods, garlic chips

Spicy Potatoes “Bravas”

Potted Duckling and Pork - oloroso sherry wine, toasted bread

Churrasco Mojo Rojo - sliced sirloin steak, patatas aioli

Fresh Mango Salad with Lemon‐Basil Sorbet

Lemon Basil sorbet

La Fonda del Sol on Urbanspoon

Blue Hill at Stone Barns Part 2


630 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, NY

Phone: 914-366-9600

I can't believe it's been five months since we ate at Blue Hill in Stone Barns/BHSB. Our constant reminiscing of the memorable lunch at BHSB and our unforgettable day trip to Pocantico Hills lead to our second trip there a few weeks ago. And Thanks to our friend Oi yen for making it happen!

It's hard not to notice while driving that the landscape and scenery in Pocantico Hills had changed since January -- the ice on swan lake melted, the trees are in full bloom, and the road no longer icy and slippery. All these plus the chilly early summer breeze gave the area a totally different feel from the cold January month when we were there. This time around, Gan couldn't make it but we still had a group of six yaokuis making the special trip to Stone Barns for dinner.

I have to admit, the drive to the restaurant was not the easiest without Gan, especially when it got darker. We took a few wrong turns before finding our way there. Don't even think about jogging around the area in the evening, you might end up getting lost in the jungle of expensive mansions, just like one of our yaokui friend did ;P

Since I have tried the lunch menu at BHSB before, it was easier for me to compare between the two meals. To be honest, eventhough the dinner tasting menu was supposed to showoff the restaurant/chef's skills, we were more impressed by the lunch.

Snap peas was one of the fresh ingredients of the day but it was in too many dishes, resulted in lack of varieties. We had fresh snap peas and radish, pea burger, pea and Stone Barns yogurt and smoked rainbow trout with minted peas. And in case you haven't heard, there's no "real menu" at BHSB. Everything prepared by the kitchen is based on fresh produce of the day, and they will serve you based on what they have. But it turned out to be too much peas! Our friend Nan specially requested fish/seafood in place of red meat and she was served with a better mix of dishes, she even had a pasta dish that we were all hoping to get! (the truffle yam gnocchi we had for lunch the last time was AMAZING).

Dishes I really liked this time were the embryonic egg with speck, pea burger and smoked rainbow trout. According to our waitress, embryonic eggs are actually eggs with premature egg yolk harvested from retired chicken and had cured for 3 days. I can't taste the difference between embryonic egg and regular organic egg, but I enjoyed the half boiled egg wrapped with speck, especially the runny egg yolk that oozes out when sliced in half. Thumbs up for the egg dish for me! The mini burger, which was actually one of the amuse bouche, was also good - small but very satisfying. The smoked rainbow trout was another dish that I really enjoyed. The fish was very fresh and went well with the minted peas. It was very nicely done.

I almost missed out on desserts because I was too busy taking pictures. But thanks to Toro (my other friend), I got a taste of the delicious flourless chocolate cake and frozen marshmallow! The seven/eight course dinner lasted for about 3 hours and we didn't get home till 1am. Thankfully, it was a Saturday and coffee definitely helped keeping me awake after the heavy meal. I am already looking forward to our next pilgrimage to BHSB!

Chamomile Spritzer amuse bouche

Radish and sugar snap peas

Pea (pickled) burger

Hmoe cured bologna, bresaola and salami

This morning farm egg with speck and marmalade and corn bread with pine nuts.

pea and Stone Barns yogurt

Smoked rainbow trout with minted peas

Lamb neck and spring veggies

Chicken oysters with mustard green from the farm house

Berkshire pork with chick peas and chards

Frozen marshmallow with baked ricotta white chocolate lugo farm rhubarb sorbet and mint sorbet

Flour less chocolate cake with milk coco sorbet with toffee base

our fellow yaokui couple. The picture was taken near the farm, just too cute not to share



355 West 14th Street, New York (Near 9th Ave)

Phone: 212-691-0555

Gan and I didn't get a chance to try L'impero before it closed (and reopened as Convivio), so we were really excited about our dinner at Scott Conant's new restaurant, Scarpetta at the glamorous meat packing district. We wanted to see for ourselves, whether Michael White or Scott Conant cooks better Italian dishes. It's obvious that we are big fans of Convivio, but we've heard that Scott Conant's Scarpetta is equally impressive as well.

It's hard not to be charmed by the restaurant's sexy interior. The loft like dining area with retractable skylight, leather strapped rectangular mirrors and gorgeous flower arrangements all contributed to the ambiance and created a space that is elegant yet not overly stuffy. But the star of this place is still Scott Conant's dishes, and we thought the food certainly lived up to our expectation.

The creamy polenta with truffle mushroom was absolutely to die for; the smooth buttery texture and flavor will get you hooked as soon as you tasted it. The crispy fritto misto (with fried calamari, zucchini and baby artichoke) is delicate and not too oily. The pasta dishes were all amazing, and I would go back to Scarpetta just for its Black Maccheroni with seafood and Spaghetti with tomato and basil --- especially the spaghetti with tomato and basil. It's the chef's signature dish, and it could easily be the best spaghetti with tomato and basil we have ever eaten! The moist-roasted capretto (milk fed baby goat) was also one of the highlights. The meat was so succulent and tender that all the guilt we felt about eating baby goat was instantly vanished! The desserts were also incredible - two thumbs up for the coconut panna cotta with guava soup!

Now that we have eaten at both restaurants, do we like Convivio or Scarpetta better? The answer is, we like both. Trust me, we are not trying to be diplomatic or anything here, but we felt that both chefs are equally superior in making amazing Italian dishes, and we thought it all comes down to the price. Convivio (and not Alto or Marea) definitely offers more attractive deals with its prix fixe menu that you just can't say no to, while Scarpetta is slightly more pricey. But we can definitely see why Scarpette was listed as one of the best new US restaurants by Travel and Leisure magazine -- the food is quite awesome and the dining room is just gorgeous.

Creamy Polenta with fricassee of truffled mushrooms

Crispy Fritto Misto

Braised short ribs of beef with vegetable and farro risotto

Mushroom Mezzalune in Brodo with porcini mushrooms, capon broth and horseradish

Black Maccheroni with mixed seafood, sea urchin and bread crumbs

Tagliatelle with early spring vegetables, guanciale and truffle zabaglione

Spaghetti with tomato and basil

Moist-roasted Capretto with rapini and fingerling potatoes

Pancetta-wrapped veal loin glazed sweetbreads, turnips & butternut squash puree

Coconut Panna Cotta with guava soup, caramelized pineapple

Scarpetta on Urbanspoon

2nd Ave Deli


162 E. 33rd Street, New York

Phone: 212-689-9000

No other food screams New York more than the delis and its pastrami sandwiches. We used to eat at 2nd Ave Deli quite often when it was still at its 2nd Avenue location downtown. Recently, we started going to the deli's new location in midtown, which ironically is not on 2nd Ave anymore and we are loving the food there even more, especially the salad, matzoh ball soup and hot pastrami sandwich.

Nothing beats a bowl of handsomely delicious, hearty matzoh ball soup. To me, 2nd Avenue Deli makes the BEST matzoh ball soup in the whole city. I can have this soup everyday! Aside from that, the hot pastrami at 2nd Avenue Deli is also our latest addiction. Take one bite of the sandwich and you will know why -- the slice to order pastrami is just so juicy and flavorful!

Gan can't seemed to get enough of the deli's complimentary salad. We have to have two servings of the salad each time we are there because Gan loves it so much.

Half A Sandwich and Soup - we both picked Matzoh ball soup and hot pastrami.

We love adding this special deli mustard to our pastrami sandwich. The high quality fresh mustard makes the already amazing hot pastrami even more perfect!

Second Avenue Deli on Urbanspoon