A few weekends back, we were able to attend the Cook. Â Eat. Â Drink. Â Live. event as bloggers (first time for us!). While we sampled glasses of wine, dined onÂ snacks from restaurants and tried some specialty foods, we thought we’d share with you some of our favorites (Laura thought’s in regular font, Caryn’s thoughts in italics):
- DeBragga Meats: Â This butcher shop served us the most amazing slices of beef. Â With some salt and pepper, I was in heaven. I’m not usually a huge steak fan, although I do indulge a Â few times a year, but my God was this outstanding. So perfectly cooked…we went back for seconds.
- Ricardo Steakhouse: Â With a little sample of beef and some green beans, we were in love. Â We were even more in love when we realized this place is in borderline Spanish Harlem and a porterhouse for two (with three sides!) will only set you back $74. Â Put me back in Murray Hill and I’m paying at least $80 and sides aren’t included. We also entered a drawing for a free dinner for two. We’re hoping that we’ll score this romantic dinner so we can report back to you on what else they have to offer.
- Brotherhood Winery – Surprisingly, we bought olive oil at this winery. Â I’ve suffered through an olive oil tasting in Italy (where you do shots of oil) and trust me, this stuff was the real deal. I don’t know if I can tell the difference between top-of-the-line olive oil and Bertolli olive oil, but I did like it..so much in fact that I bought a bottle for my dad for Christmas…which is really going to be a gift for me.
- Mix My Granola – Pretty cool concept if you are picky about your granola. Â You can log on to this site and custom pick what you want in your granola – more than 50 items are available.
- The Great Spirits Baking Company – This was so delicious. Like a baba au rhum, these cakes are soaked in potent liquors…but in a really good way. I sampled the dark chocolate cake infused with rum and it was so moist, rich and intensely packed with flavor. They’re pretty small…a bit larger than a CD maybe?…but they’re filling enough that one could easily satisfy a group.
- Grandma Pete’s Sauce - We sampled marinara, garlic, meat and vodka. Â It was a unanimous choice – vodka sauce was number 1. My mouth still waters when I think about that damn vodka sauce.
- Ferrara – I’m not a fan of cream-filled things like Boston Creme donuts or cannoli, but when I walked by this stand the chocolate covered cannoli caught my eye. I rationalized that since it was free, I should give it a shot and I’m glad I did. It was easily the best I’ve had and I’d recommend it to anyone. But when I told Laura about it she quickly retorted that Ferrara was too expensive. I did some research and it turns out that 12 large cannoli are $27.50, which means they’re a little over $2 a piece. I’d probably pay it considering cupcakes (my personal favorite) are easily $2 anymore.
- Di Palo Selects – We were in love with this Italian specialty foods store, and even more delighted when we learned that they have a brick-and-mortar store in Little Italy. I’m fairly certain that we tried so many samples of cheese, bread, and meats that we lost count. A gift basket from this place would make an excellent holiday gift.
- Eagle Crest Vineyards – If you like sweet wines, this place had the best tasting sweet wine – Solar Flare. Â It smelled like the ripe grape barber in my grandparent’s backyard. I’m more of a dry wine kind of girl so Solar Flare didn’t do it for me, but I did appreciate this vineyard’s easy-to-understand Â “wine lingo” which helped us identify wines that we would like. And of course I liked the price tag – bottles ranged between $9-14.