Good to the bone and straight to The Marrow

Even though I’ll still only be a subway (or two) rides away from the West Village, these are the last few days that I’ll actually be a resident of the neighborhood where I’ve spent the last two eventful years. I’ve had some great times and some not so great times here, everything from career changes to heartbreak, to the many friends who’ve crashed on my couch to getting both locked out and locked in my apartment, to laughing to crying and to everything in between. As a final hurrah and farewell, I decided to have one last big meal out in the neighborhood (though I don’t doubt I’ll be back for more soon enough) at The Marrow, Harold Dieterle’s new restaurant.

Paying homage to both the German and Italian parts of his family, Harold Dieterle has another awesome restaurant on his hands (I’m a big Kin Shop fan) that instead of mixing the two cuisines, features them separately on the menu, like different branches of a family tree. Below, how my friend Stas and I celebrated my move across the East River with one more great meal in the West Village.

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Bone Marrow… c’mon, you know we had to

First out was the restaurant’s namesake, the bone marrow, from the Famiglia Chiarelli branch of the starters section. One giant bone halved and filled with a hearty mix of sea urchin, fried potatoes and meyer lemon aioli, with crunchy toast to spread it all on. The sea urchin was not what I was expecting, with a creamy consistency and sort of neutral flavor.

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Prosciutto wrapped dates

From the meat plates portion of the menu, we picked the dangerously tasty prosciutto wrapped dates with gorgonzola. Plump, tender and crazy flavorful, I could, no lie, throw back a dozen of these. Seriously, these guys could get me in a lot of trouble.

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Duck schnitzel

Moving on to main courses, we first picked from the Familie Dieterle branch and ordered the pan-friend duck schnitzel with a nutty spaetzle of hazelnuts and quark (a dairy product of sorts) with cucumbers and stewed wolfberries, which looked kind of like small red beans but tasted like sweet, cooked raisins. (I love beans and raisins so I was totally on board.)

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Stone Bass “Vitello tonnato”

Then crossing back over to the Italian side of the menu, we chose the sautéed stone bass with fingerling potatoes, cippolini onions, briny olives, a creamy tuna belly sauce and what turned out to be my favorite part of the dish, juicy, fried sweetbreads. Usually I feel just lukewarm about sweetbreads but these were tender and delicious, with a nice breaded coating.

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Chocolate budino

Finally, we were faced with a difficult decision: dessert. Everything sounded great, and while the waiter tried pretty hard to sell us on the ginger stout cake (he said it was far and away the most popular dessert), we were both in a chocolate mood and went with the budino with hazelnut brittle and mascarpone. Chocolate pudding can do no wrong in my eyes and this one, with it’s dense creaminess, was just about perfect. This is in no way a complaint, but the thing to note about this dessert is that it’s a pretty hearty serving of chocolate. The two of us, ardent chocoholics, split this and felt pretty satisfied with the amount we each got. (No fighting necessary.)

Like so many other meals I’ve had in the West Village, I walked out happy and stuffed. Which is basically how I’ll be leaving the West Village in general, happy and stuffed full of memories. Brooklyn, here I come.

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My kind of Sunday

There are few things I enjoy more on Sundays than having a huge meal and then being a lazy ass the rest of the day because of it. I mean, that’s what brunch is all about for me. Get together with friends, eat enough breakfast food to make up for all the breakfasts-on-the-run during the week, drink too many mimosas and Bloody Marys, and then head back home to do my best Jabba the Hutt impersonation. That’s Sunday bliss right there.

While it wasn’t brunch but instead a late lunch that turned early dinner (so, dunch you might call it), that’s pretty much how my Sunday turned out last week. A friend/coworker who’s way more in the know than I am about San Francisco’s million and one great places to eat suggested we go to  Suppenküche, a German restaurant in the Hayes Valley. I, of course, am always down for A.) food with friends, B.) eating somewhere I’ve never been, and C.) German grub, which as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of. Continue reading

Das ist gut!

Those Germans knew what they were doing when they brewed this up.

For my 24th birthday, while I was still living in Italy, a few friends and I went on a roadtrip to Munich. My birthday, which falls on the first week of October, also happens to coincide with the last week of the mother of all beer fests, Oktoberfest. Five of us loaded up into a van and drove the 7 hours overnight from Florence to Munich. When we got there, we spent three days drinking delicious German beer and eating nothing but pretzels, sausages and all sorts of other German carnival food. Needless to say, it was a pretty fantastic birthday.

I was sort of indifferent about German culture and food before going, but after those three stein-swinging, ein-prosit-singing, schnitzel-munching days, I became a fan of all things German. So this Friday, when Flaneur suggested we go to Loreley, a Lower East Side German restaurant and beergarden, I was all for it.

Loreley has a full menu of German eats and brews, and thankfully, lots of English explanations of what all the German means. Afterall, I do not sprechen sie deutch.

Beer and pretzels... simple pleasures

We started off with Drei echte Laugenbretzeln mit Senf which is German for uber tasty, fresh-out-of-the-oven warm and delicious pretzels with a side of spicy, golden mustard. And because it was Friday and time to unwind, we got beers to wash down our bretzelns. Gaffel Kölsch, a Loreley specialty ale from Cologne for Flaneur, and a Schneider Weisse Original, what the menu said was the “Queen of all beers,” for me.

Drinking good beer in big tall glasses really makes you want to swear off drinking things like Bud Lite and really makes you wonder how in the world you were ever able to guzzle cheap beer out of plastic cups all through college. Or at least that’s the effect it had on me.

After practically inhaling the pretzels and all but chugging the beers, we decided to go for round two. This time Flaneur ordered Hofbräu Bock, which is what we drank for those three days in Munich, and it even came in the same stein we had swung around so many times at those long communal tables of Oktoberfest.

Mulled wine and bratwurst.... JA!

I on the other hand, strayed from the beers and ordered a winter time traditional German drink, Glühwein, or mulled wine. Seeing as how New York had gotten pounded by snow the past couple of days, it just made sense to order something that menu specifically said was “perfect for cold days.” And when it came, the warm aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting in the air made me almost forget that I was in the  city and not sitting around a fireplace in a cozy German cottage. Mulled wine for some reason makes me think of cottages, fireplaces, and inexplicably, elves. There were none here, but I’m just saying.

To go with our drinks we ordered another appetizer, Bratwurst mit Brot, a juicy bratwurst sausage with rye bread and the same spicy yellow mustard that had come with the pretzels.

After we finished, full, toasty and warm, we braced ourselves for the cold street again as we put all of our layers back on —the scarves, hats and coats. It was a ways away but I started to wonder if it’s too early to start thinking about a possible birthday in Munich again.