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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers Day Weekend

A few months ago, my two girlfriends, Emma and Whitney, told me they were planning a mother's weekend for Mother's Day here in NYC.  They are both from Tulsa as well and my Mom knows their Mothers. So, the weekend was planned and we have been counting down the days. Well, it is finally here and actually almost over. Today is Mother's Day and my Mom and I are trying to recover from a long busy weekend. 

In preparation, Wednesday night Emma and I decided instead of celebrating Cinco de Mayo, we would get mani pedis. Whitney had told me a few weekends ago, while pursuing SoHo for things we would like to show our Mothers (we like to be ready) about the new "it" nail polish, Jade is the New Black. I mean come on, Rachel Bilson was even wearing it. So, I had to do it. And, I did. 

....and I love it! 

My Mom got in on Thursday afternoon. I met her for lunch during a busy day of shopping with a client. That night we went to dinner with my good friend Silvia at Tartinery NoLita.  Tartinery just opened a few months ago and I have been walking by for months waiting to eat there for the first time with my Mom. When it first opened I blogged about it.

We each tried a different Tartine. Silvia got the Mozza, Mom got the Rattatouille, and I tried the Steak Minute. A Tartine is basically an opened faced toasted sandwich.  You had an option between two different breads, organic multigrain or a rustic sourdough. Silvia and I tried the sourdough and Mom had the multigrain.  

The food was good. You could either eat it piece by piece with your hands or you could cut smaller bites and eat it with your fork and knife.  I believe I did both. The Tartines are each served with a small starter salad that had a delicious balsamic vinaigrette dressing. 

The Tartines are a nice change of pace. They are comforting and filling but not your normal meal.  I enjoyed it. Great for sharing as well. 

But, I have to tell you, the best part of the whole place is the Architecture and Interior Design of the space. What an amazing design with a space. It is probably one of my favorite interiors in all of New York City. Of course it has exposed brick, which is my favorite, but they changed it up by adding a metal grid over the brick. I love the design of the stairs with the use of the steel and wood, it reminds me a lot of my parents place.

I also love the use of the tree in the center of the central table. There is also a triangular fireplace on the West wall.   

In the bathroom, they have painted all of the walls with the chalk board paint. I left behind my mark! 

Balthazar Bakery

Friday morning we both work up early. I was trying to convince myself to go workout since it was a known fact that I would be eating like a champ for the next few days. Well, that didn't happen. Instead we found ourselves munching on pastries and lattes from the Balthazar Bakery! Of course Oliver came too! 

I love how they engrave the Balthazar "B" in their bread! They have some amazing mouth watering sweets along with wonderful breads, quiches, teas, and coffees. 

They even deliver! There is also a little secret about the bakery at Balthazar. I guess I like you guys enough to share....

The last hour they are open, everything is half off. Yes, even their delicious cakes! 

I believe two years ago on this exact day, Mother's Day, my friend Brittany, who was visiting from Chicago, and I had dinner at Balthazar. We decided we needed a little treat and went to the bakery. They told us that everything was half off! 

So, what did we do? We bought an entire cake that happened to say Happy Mother's Day. So we knocked on Jen and Jeff's door and had a wonderful after dinner dessert with the best people in NYC. 

We sat in the park and enjoyed our pastries and coffee. 

On Friday we had reservations to eat at Commerce.  I had heard about Commerce from my coworker Jen. She spoke highly of it and told me it would be the perfect place for Mom. 

The building has been around for years. It used to be an old Speakeasy. In 2006 Harold Moore and Tony Zazula bout the space and in 2008 Commerce opened it's doors (we asked the server).

The service was wonderful. Our server was delightful, and very educated on each dish. She helped us with portion sizes for sharing dishes, recommended dishes according to our likes and dislikes and was very attentive.    

The decor is Art Deco. Everything from the floor to the ceiling. One of the most interesting aspects that my Mom picked up on was that the space looked like it had been there for years. That is what sparked us to ask the server how long Commerce had been open. 

Commerce has one of the best diverse bread baskets I have had in NYC.  The best part was the mini soft pretzels. They also had a stuffed bacon roll and a normal hard role.  The butter was this light and fluffy butter infused with spices. It was delicious. 

We shared the Salad of romaine hearts, vine ripe tomato, red onion & Oregon blue cheese as a starter. They split it for us on two plates. It looked very small but when we were finished, we realized that there was way more food on that plate than we thought. It was a very good salad. 

It looks like the menu has changed a little because my Mom got Veal Meatballs that was a top some sort of polenta with asparagus. The flavors of the meatballs with the sauce was delicious. I had the Fettuccini with one hour tomato sauce and house made ricotta.  There were slices of parmesan on top also. The flavors were great and the pasta was homemade.  

For dessert we shared the strawberry rhubarb cobbler that was topped with ice cream. We were so full we couldn't finish it but it was delicious. 

Saturday morning was our Mother's brunch. Emma, Whitney and I decided to take our Mother's to our favorite brunch place, Blue Ribbon Bakery on Downing and Bedford Streets.  You can make a reservation for parties of five (or six, I can't remember) or more so we did. Blue Ribbon Bakery is always busy and it is really hard to get in if you don't have a reservation so we were lucky we were a party of six. 

Blue Ribbon Bakery makes all of their bread right there in the restaurant basement floor.  The bakery kitchen is wide open. You can see everything including the shelves and shelves of bread cooling.  It smells divine. 

I already knew what my Mom and I were going to get before we got there. Actually all three of us had it planned weeks ago. 

Because I need a little sweet after everything brunch, I decided it would be a good idea for my mom to get a savory dish and for me to get a sweet dish and we could share. Of course she agreed and it worked out perfect. 

I ordered the Challah French Toast with fresh Berries and Mom got the Blue Ribbon Eggs Benedict. Of course it was insanely delicious. Every plate was practically licked clean. We had a wonderful time. The drinks were also fabulous. I believe there were a few rounds of Bloody Mary's, Mimosas and Bellinis! It was the perfect morning, perfect restaurant and perfect company. 

Because we were seeing a broadway show, we had to eat dinner fairly early. Just to be safe we made a reso at Cookshop. Am I glad we did. Even at 5:30pm the place was packed. But, we were seated immediately and still had time to dine. 

I had heard about Cookshop from my friends Kristen and Mike who live about two blocks away. They said everything from brunch to dinner was amazing. I am so glad we went. Dinner was fabulous. 

For a started we split the Lolla Rossa, Bosc pears, blue cheese, roasted almonds and pinot noir vinigerette dressing salad and the Farro Risotto. We also got two items for the snacks section, the Deviled Eggs and the Chicken Drummettes.  They were all amazing dishes but the one that stood out most was the Risotto. Oh my gosh was that dish unbelievable.  It is now truly one of my favorite dishes in all of New York City.   

The flavors in the Lolla Rossa salad were wonderful. Especially if you added the pear in with each bite. The Deviled Eggs were your traditional Deviled Eggs but they were topped with a relish which was a delicious combination. The Chicken Drummettes were also wonderful. I had never eaten a chicken that came off the bone so easily.  

Mom also ordered the Mahi Mahi which she said was wonderful. 

Of course we decided to have dessert. Mom had the Carrot Cake and I had the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Both were delicious but mine was absolutely fabulous. Nothing like I had ever had before. It was basically a cake with a pudding around the exterior. Actually, I am craving it right now. 

After the Broadway show, Billy Elliot, which was amazing, we stopped by the Tequila Library La Biblioteca at the newly opened restaurant Zengo.  My good friend David, who is the GM of Zengo, has put his life into this restaurant. I never get to see him anymore unless I go to Zengo. So, it seemed like the perfect time.  Emma and her Mother had just gotten out of the Opera and we met at Zengo.

La Biblioteca is a great space designed extremely well. It is dark with comfy leather sofas with candle light. Perfect place for a romantic date as well as a fun time with Moms. 

My first drink of the night was the La Tuna which is a prickly pear-blueberry infused tequila with a hint of citrus. It was more tart than sweet and had a great taste. 

David sent over a special round of tastings. This one was a chocolate infused tequila that had a coco coffee vibe with an after blast of heat. It took a second for the heat to kick in but it definitely did. 

Thanks David for such a great evening. 

What a perfect Mother's Day Weekend it has been so far! Today is our last day. The weather is perfect and we got to sleep in after our late night out on the town last night. Our Mom's are quite the rock stars! I believe it was 2am by the time we got home!

I am looking forward to lunch with Jen, Jeff and Ty at the Standard Grille! I'm sure you will hear all about it! 

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