Best Damn Dirty 30 Ever

My husband and I went to my favorite place on earth for my 30th birthday: New York City. We went to see some friends, hang out, eat great food, see the city, and drink beer. My husband had something more up his sleeve…he arranged with Charlie Palmer and his Chef at Aureole a special dinner menu based around all of my favorite foods. He invited three of my favorite people to spend the evening with us and mailed a bottle of my very favorite champagne ever: the Charlie 1985, so we could toast to me with this special wine. It was incredible. Every minute of this evening was special and filled with laughter.

We had a stunning five course meal that incorporated every single thing I love, some things in an obvious way and others not so obvious but very creative. I love carrots, watermelon, pot roast, ahi, foie gras, macadamia nuts, garlic, mustard, celery, truffles, and so many other things… my husband sent this list of what he knows I love and we were “awed”.

Some of the highlights:




















~Foie Gras terrine and pan seared…












~Wild Dover Sole with black truffles, celery root & apple puree, and whole grain mustard vinaigrette.











~Dry aged rib eye, braised short rib agnolotti {This was the ode to my favorite dish in the world: Pot Roast!} with roasted garlic and miso butter.











~My birthday dessert… WOW.











The food was all incredible, rich, artful, and made the entire experience one to remember. BUT one of the best parts of this whole meal was the simple efforts the chef made to accommodate my friend who doesn’t eat seafood and didn’t want to cause a scene by not eating it. They prepared two dishes for him that looked exactly identical to the rest of the tables, only in chicken instead of sole and watermelon instead of ahi, served him first and explained the dish, then served us all. My friends level of comfort wasn’t compromised by the thought of eating fish- it was awesome. We have dined at so many high-end restaurants and never had this personal touch- the chef is brilliant. Dining at Aureole is an experience everyone who has a passion for food should try.




Aureole on Urbanspoon

Heaven in Astoria

What could be better than beer? Beer paired with amazing cheese and grilled cheese. After a long day of beer tasting, we needed some grub and our favorite bartender in Manhattan recommended some great spots already so we decided to check out Astoria Bier and Cheese shop. It’s a small, long, narrow place- definitely cozy. They have about 15 craft beers on tap and a nice selection of bottles. We found Hopslam there among some other exciting brews from Maine Beer Co.

Their specialty is the grilled sandwich. There are several different variations on the menu. We tried the BMT {Basil, smoked mozzarella, and tomato} and the truffles schuffle {tuffle Gouda, fresh mozzarella, and raw honey}. WOW, the truffle and honey- truly epic combination. This is a great place for non-traditional pub food.

You can buy lots of different kinds of cheese, beef sticks, and meats there to go as well. A great find. Well worth the trek out to Queens.

Astoria Bier & Cheese on Urbanspoon

Eleven Madison

Eleven Madison was by far the best dining experience thus far. From the moment we sat down, not receiving a menu, being completely surprised, sitting next to my hubby and enjoying every single bite- this restaurant was like a dream!

The Picnic Basket of cheese made especially for the restaurant, as well as the craft beer made from Ithaca that is only available at this restaurant!

Each course was incredible, from the surprise in the box to the 140 day dry aged beef and the palate pleasing beef broth we were given to sip on to get us ready for the beef course! WOW.


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Eleven Madison Park on Urbanspoon

DBGB Kitchen

A recent trip to the Big Apple took me to some of New York City’s finest eateries. DBGB Kitchen was among these hot spots. My fiance is a well respected local chef in Healdsburg and is always yearning for some  culinary inspiration. Nothing more than simple perfection can be used to describe this place.

From the wittiness of the server whose red curly locks suggests she a NYC hip trendsetter and not only enjoys what she does but also dines in her backyard.The bartender and his pride for mixology; he carried out my Manhattan and expressed to me he had no more Maker’s Mark Bourbon but that he recommends Woodford Reserve. Yes, please! I giggle each time I recall that experience when he not only brought out my Manhattan but knelt beside our booth and waited patiently and eagerly while I took my first sip- I confidently gave him a genuine *thumbs up smile*.

To the unbelievably inexpensive Prix Fixed menu ($27) which included their famous burgers, your choice of three.

Listen to the magical tunes of Michael Jackson and one of my all time favorites, A Tribe Called Quest.

To the inside of the dinning room where you gaze up into a shrine of culinary brilliance: the copper pots and pans donated to the design of the restaurant by some of the worlds finest chefs.

See the restrooms lined with the measurement descriptions and conversions, knife descriptions, silverware explanations and the know all of cooking from a French culinary guide. The paper lining the restrooms are not only from a book but appear to be spilled on and soiled as though used by a renowned chef day in and day out- I fantasized that the one and only great Julia Child left her collections to such a project.

Taste the knowledge of the Sommelier through the ongoing list of micro brews that were carefully selected based on how well they would pair with the food.

Indulge in the brilliance of Daniel Bulud and his team. For a whopping $27 one can walk away feeling taken care of, spoiled with a fantastic meal and like we had just eaten at one of  New York’s finest restaurants- which is all true.

I ordered the Frenchie Burger: confit tomato, arugula, morbier cheese,
confit pork belly, bacon and black pepper bun (house made). A good rule of thumb is: Bacon makes everything better. It’s very true. So if it isn’t enough to stick to that, try dabbling in this: Pork belly makes bacon better. Forget the cheese and the house made bun; you’ve got beef, pork belly (confit pork belly, no less) And bacon! Okay, don’t forget the cheese or the bun. This burger is dynamite. A true expression of culinary creativity.

Great fries. Fresh, crisp on the outside and nice a soft inside. Lightly salted.

Black forest cake, phenomenal. Presentation is so thought out, the
flavors are balanced. After a filling meal, the last part- desert just cannot be missed, it’s beautifully done and every bite mirrors the image; perfection.



Truth be told, I know food, I am passionate about it anyway. <3

DBGB Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon