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Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a NYC based food and travel website that views various dining scenes and destinations through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated thirty-something.

xoxo, 

Lindsay

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Entries in Parties you weren't invited to (21)

Tuesday
Apr172012

Sneak Peak: Rosa Mexicano to introduce delicious new menu items!

Last night, I had the pleasure of being invited to an "Exclusive Blogger Tasting Event" for Rosa Mexicano's new menu rollout!

 

Not to worry, my fellow die-hard Rosa fans, you can still enjoy all of the staples on the original menu.  It's just that, now, there's even more to love!  And best of all?  The new items are as delicious as they are reasonably priced. 

< Click here to view the new lunch menu / click here to view the new dinner menu! >

 

Tacos de Hamachi, $15  Mini hard-shell tacos filled with diced yellowtail, bacon, serrano chile, arugula, and truffle oil.

 

Tiradito de Callo de Hacha, $13  Marinated scallops, burnt orange-chile vinaigrette, grilled pineapple, poblano peppers and hazelnuts.

 

Vegetales Tacos, $9-$11 (lunch vs. dinner)  Local vegetables from Satur & BloomingHill farms, Burns Farms huitlacoche, silken tofu, pickled cabbage puree and Poc Chuc salsa.

 

Panza con Callos de Hacha Tacos, $14  Seared diver scallops, crisp Kurobuta pork belly, orange-habanero salsa.

 

Carnitas de Borrego Tacos, $12-$14 (lunch vs. dinner)  Roasted American lamb, marinated cucumbers, pistachio-habanero puree, mint salsa verde.

 

Pollo Yucateco Tacos, $10-$12 (lunch vs. dinner)  Spiced organic chicken, plantains, sweet peppers, chile de arbol salsa, crema.

 

Carne Asada Tacos, $12-$14 (lunch vs. dinner)  Ancho-rubbed Harris Ranch skirt steak, white beans, radish salad and cana de cama crema.

 

Pescado de Baja Tacos, $10-$12 (lunch vs. dinner)   Line-caught crispy local fish, jalapeno tartar sauce, flour tortilla.

 

Papas Fritas con Mole, $5-$6 (lunch vs. dinner)  Hand-cut garlic French fries with mole.

~

Now, as if all of the above wasn't enough to nosh on, Rosa generously provided us bloggers with two of the legendary menu items that originally put them on the map...

 

Frozen Pomegranate Margarita, $11.50  Silver tequila, pomegranate and lime juices, frozen to perfection.

 

Guacamole en Molcajete, $14  Famous tableside preparation served with two salsas and tortillas.

~

Here are some delicious tidbits of information that I learned at the event last night:

  • Now serving...Taco & Tequila Flights! 
  • The bar only uses fresh lime juice and agave nectar in their margaritas.  In *all* of their margaritas!
  • Rosa has a location in Panama City, Panama!
  • ...but NYC is the restaurant's birth place.  In fact, Rosa is headquartered right here in Midtown!
  • For 2012, Chef Jonathan Waxman is Rosa's Culinary Advisor.  Pretty cool, eh?

 

My favorite item on the new menu is:

  • Pescado de Baja Tacos

 

Did you know:

  • Rosa has an incredibly delicious and affordable happy hour program!  Click here to check out the menu/details.

 

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Thursday
Feb162012

Allow me to introduce...Georgetown Cupcake!

A step-and-repeat.  Famous photographers & flashing lights.  A live DJ!  Free-flowing pink Moet...

Was I at a fashion show?  A movie premier, perhaps?  No, and no.  I was invited to Georgetown Cupcake's pre-opening soiree at their first NYC location (111 Mercer Street, between Spring & Prince Streets).  Now, if you're not familiar with the latest cupcakery to plant itself on Soho's sugary landscape, here are a handful of facts that make GC (Georgetown Cupcake) legit.  Because, after all, there's some heavy competition in the NYC cupcake game, and you have every right to be skeptical of the new guy:

  • Opened in February 2008 as Washington DC's first cupcakery
  • Started by two sisters, Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne, who traded in their corporate careers for full-time baking gigs
  • ...and have done SO WELL, in fact, that they now have a cookbook and their own TV show, DC Cupcakes!  C'mon, you gotta love a sweet success story!

Between sips of pink bubbly, I made a point of trying at least one bite of every mini-cupcake that was offered.  My favorites?  Without a doubt, the "Lemon Blossom" (light lemon cupcake with *actual* nibs of lemon peel throughout, topped with a lemon cream cheese frosting and a candied lemon) and the "Cookies & Creme" (Madagascar-bourbon vanilla cupcake baked with Oreo crumbled and topped with an Oreo crumble-infused buttercream frosting).   

The step-and-repeatNote the cupcake motifs in the background!All of the table cloths were black sequined!A row of champagne glasses waiting to be filled......and for those who didn't drink champagne...

A delicious assortmentInside of the pink gift boxes...NYC-themed cupcakes!!!~

This was one of the most brilliantly-orchestrated preview parties that I have had the pleasure of being invited to and attending.  From the step-and-repeat, live DJ blasting today's hottest tunes, free-flowing pink champagne, and an endless array of cupcakes, GC certainly made a sassy, splashy and, most importantly, delicious debut on the NYC cupcakery scene.  Welcome to the Big Apple, ladies!

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Wednesday
Jun082011

CLOSED: Press preview: Milk Street Cafe 

**Opening to the public on Thursday, June 23rd**

Originally hailing from Boston, Milk Street Cafe's second and newest concept is an "upscale Food Hall" located smack-dab in the heart of NYC's world-famous financial district: in the Trump Building, on Wall Street, of course!  You can imagine how thrilled I was to be included at their "private press preview," which was held this past Monday evening. 

Within the last handful of years, the restaurant scene in NYC's financial district has dramatically improved.  As a 2001 summer intern at the World Trade Center, I can remember how bleak my meal options were: pizza, hot dog, the food court in the mall beneath the towers, or Burger King.  That. Was. It.  Luckily, things have changed.  And rightfully so, because I've always wondered how so many downtown employees were able to eat relatively healthy - and semi-tasty - breakfasts and lunches.  Not to mention the folks who actually reside in this up-and-coming neighborhood!   

Going back to the topic: aside from my obvious curiosity about the Milk Street's concept, food, decor, etc., my fascination was especially piqued when I began to compile a mental list of potential Midtown "food halls" that I could compare to Milk Street.  Why Midtown?  Because that's where I work.  Both Dishes and The Plaza Food Hall came to mind; the latter, for the sheer fact that its name actually *contains* the words, "food hall."  But I decided to nix The Plaza Food Hall, as I've only eaten there once, and that was on a weekend.  So how would Milk Street stack up against Dishes?  Read on to find out...

Exterior signage - I like the touch of "adding flavor and jobs to Wall Street."Marble entry way with customized signageFor Milk Street's preview, a red carpet was rolled out from the front doors to the street which, at least I thought, made guests feel extra special.

Step & repeat: The Luscious Lifestyle Diva and me, yours trulyA look inside the 23,000 sq. ft. spaceVarious food stations, grab 'n go setupThe first thing I noticed about Milk Street, aside from its "Hollywood Regency" cum beaux-arts decor, was how large its interior space was!  23,000 square feet, to be exact.  And don't think that all of it is dedicated to food stations and beverage kiosks - there is seating for approximately 100!

Decor splendorYummy passed plates and hors d'oeuvresAfter sampling numerous hors d'oeuvres, gulping down two chocolate chip mocha frappes, and taking a guided tour throughout Milk Street's interior space, here is what really stuck out:

  • As I said above, the sheer size of the venue: 23,000 square feet!
  • Amount of food stations: barista, made-to-order breakfasts, made-from-scratch breads/desserts/pastries, pasta bar, Asian specialties, sushi bar, two create-your-own salad bars (one vegetarian, one non), homemade soups, a grill, rotisserie, carving station, AND grab 'n go stands
  • "Line Busters," which is a hand-held checkout system to speed up the payment process for those paying with plastic
  • Produce Soak sinks, which are sophisticated whirlpool systems used for cleaning produce
  • Website: so user friendly, in fact, that it will allow customers to sort foods/meals by their personal dietary needs (ie: if a customer is vegan, it will automatically eliminate all non-vegan items from the menu)
  • 80 permanent jobs will be brought back to Wall Street!

So, how does Milk Street stack up against Dishes, thus far? 

  • Food: I only sampled a couple of Milk Street's offerings, but from what I did have, Dishes still reigns supreme
  • Space:  Milk Street is much bigger and offers more seating than Dishes, plus its aesthetic isn't as sterile
  • Options: Milk Street offers more grab n' go options, whereas Dishes only offers a few - good for those on-the-go
  • Service: Dishes is not known for having the friendliest of service.  The staff at Milk Street, on the other hand, was knowledgeable and kind
  • Hours: Milk Street stays open until 9pm (M-Th) and until 3pm on Friday's - Dishes closes at 5pm (M-F)

Bottom line: Wall Street doesn't know what it's in for!  I think that Milk Street's success will be monumental and I cannot believe that it's taken any company this long to bring the "food hall" concept downtown.

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Tuesday
Apr202010

Press preview at Lizarran

*NOTE: This restaurant has since closed.*

From chorizo and green-pepper pinxtos + sharing dessert and a wine-cooler with Pichet Ong, Thursday evening was jam (+ food & drink) packed.  My adventure began with a "press preview" at Lizarran, followed by a quick dinner at Mexican Radio, and finished with dessert at the Village Tart (now closed).  Whew!

*All of the photos from my evening can be viewed on Flickr

~

  • Restaurant: Lizarran 
  • Cuisine: Spanish, tapas y pinxtos
  • Atmosphere: railroad car (long and lean), tapas bar, exposed brick, dining room
  • Attire: smart-casual
  • Ideal for: small plates, sangria, authentic, interactive dining, first date
  • Price: all tapas/pinxtos under $9; all entrees under $20
  • Phone: 646-837-6580
  • Location: 45 Mercer St. (btwn Broome & Grand Streets)
  • Website: www.menupages.com/restaurants/lizarran
  • Directionswww.hopstop.com/?city=newyork

NYC's Soho neighborhood is the first state-side location for Spanish import, Lizarran.  The first half of the restaurant's space reminded me of the apartment in Hell's Kitchen that I once shared with four other roommates: long and narrow, similar to that of a railroad car.  Located out of initial sight, the spacious main dining room is illuminated by a vast skylight.  Aside from a list of 200+ pinxtos (bite-sized sweets/savories held together with a toothpick, most mounted on to slices of freshly-baked bread), Lizarran also serves traditional tapas, larger Spanish entrees, and desserts.  Of the pinxtos that I sampled, my favorites included the crisp and salty ham-wrapped chunk of sweet banana, and the juicy chorizo sausage paired with a slice of grilled bell pepper.   

I foresee Lizarran being the perfect "first date" restaurant, as its menu encourages interaction.

Lizarran: sangria barLizarran: jamon IbericoLizarran's pinxto counterLizarran: chorizo & green pepper pinxto