Sunday, August 20, 2006

Run, Don't Walk, to L'Ecole

Would you let an apprentice barber cut your hair? Or do you prefer to watch Broadway shows with the understudy substituting for a lead star? Not that it matters. If yes, then you'd be right at home at L'Ecole, the restaurant at the French Culinary Institute. If no, after having a 5-course dinner there, you'd no doubt be impressed by the creativity and taste of the menu selections. Finding out that the same dishes were prepared not by top New York chefs but rather students of the institute would just add to your amazement.

As you can see from the photos during a recent visit, the food looks absolutely delicious and actually is. At $40 (increased from $35 recently) for a 5-course meal which includes BOTH a fish and meat entree, it truly is an amazing bargain. And the portions are not bite-sized, as the case most often is in Manhattan's French restaurants.

It is pointless to discuss specific menus here, as not only are the menu selections different for the 6pm and 830pm seatings, but they also change everyday (so you can conceivably dine there for an entire week without eating the same dish twice), but for more information check out the L'Ecole website here

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

La Carte sans Prix

Devoted readers of this blog no doubt would already have checked out the "NY Times Food Critic's Blog" (under Links), but for those who haven't done so, this recent post titled Disappearing Ink makes for some very interesting reading, not only the actual entry itself but more so the 100+ readers who have weighed in.

In a nutshell, the issue raised is that of menus which DO NOT show the prices of the food items contained therein. Why on earth would anyone request such? Well, consider this: If you happen to be taking someone to dinner on a date, and for some reason do not wish her to see how much money you're throwing away on her in the hopes of getting...never mind. Personally, I would opt for the opposing tactic. LOL

Here is the link again to the blog post.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Those farmboys in Omaha

Decided to skip my scheduled Brazilian group dinner and dashed home to load the latest shipment of Omaha Steaks into my freezer, of which is attached a snapshot showing some of the $158 worth of beef. Yes, it's fair to say that I've become a fan of their juicy, tender and most importantly, affordable corn-fed beef (Yes, I am aware of how destructive this is to our planet, and of the merits of grass-fed, free-roaming cows uninjected with hormones).

They first came to my attention when my company, in a rare fit of good sense, decided to hand out Omaha Steaks gift certificates as a holiday gift, in lieu of those monstrous Harry & David fruit baskets that often just sat outside my apartment door for days, waiting for my arrival from some foreign country. Boy, those filet mignons were good! So decided to order some more - six 6oz sirloin steaks, to be specific. Threw in a key lime cheesecake as well to maximize the order value given the tiered shipping cost. Those were promptly devoured over a weekend.

That only meant one thing - time to ramp up the stakes and put that "Add to shopping cart" button to good use. Unleashing my carnivorous instincts (not that any attempt has ever been made to hide them), the following items were soon ordered and arrived within a few days inside a giant foam box filled with dry ice.

4 6oz filet mignons
4 8oz ribeye steaks
12 7oz top sirloin steaks

Heck, Omaha Steaks even threw in 6 hearty gourmet steak burgers, as some sort of summer grilling promotion. Now I only needed a grill to make that happen. Lamenting about this to my friend J., she suggested that I throw a party to consume all that meat, to which I replied, "Yeah, let's throw a burger-eating party and invite only 6 people". Seriously, what better time to go on the Atkins diet, now that the craze has died down and beef prices are sagging due to an oversupply caused by mad cow malady fears?

P.S. And yes, Omaha Steaks is based in Nebraska, and has been in the biz since 1917. Those folks must be doing something right. Check them out.