Olio e Piu’s Fall Menu

Restaurant Review: Fall in Love with Olio e Piu’s Fall Menu

Late last year, we had the pleasure of celebrating the launch of the Olio e Piú cookbook; this time, we celebrated their new Fall menu. Just as before, there were so many delicious dining options to enjoy. The new dinner menu items include Garganelli with braised rabbit; Mozzarella Di Bufala with imported buffalo mozzarella, grilled portobello mushrooms, and marinated roasted peppers; Vitello alla Milanese with fried veal cutlet, arugula, tomato, parmesan, lemon; and Trofie al Pesto with broccoli rabe pesto, lemon zest, and Pecorino Toscano; plus so much more.

Olio e Piu’s Fall Menu

Unfortunately, we couldn’t partake in most of the new fall menu items due to our mushroom allergy but we did get to enjoy quite a few dishes, including a favorite. Our evening began with some wonderful cocktails and hearty appetizers. We wanted to make sure we enjoyed cocktails we’ve never had before; below, we present the Belladonna (New Amsterdam Gin, Chamdor, Cinzano Bianco, and raspberries); Giardino (Tito’s vodka, Italcus, Cinzano Bianco, basil, and strawberries); Vulcano (Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Lunazul tequila, Aperol, aveze, lime cordial, and hibiscus).

Olio e Piu’s Fall Menu

The first item from the new fall menu we enjoyed was a hearty Buffalo ricotta, hot soppressata, and mozzarella Calzone. We hadn’t had a calzone in years and this Olio e Piu Calzone was the perfect reintroduction; piping hot and wonderfully cheesy, you will not regret ordering this at all.

Olio e Piu’s Fall Menu

From piping hot to crispy and heavenly. This light but satisfying salad boasted crisp apples, arugula, seared scallops, and a delicious vinaigrette. It was so good, we wanted seconds. Definitely a must-have.

Olio e Piu Salad

Our next dish was one of our favorites from our last visit to Olio e Piu, the Fritto Misto. A mainstay on the menu year’ round, we can’t help but indulge in the memory of the assortment of squid, shrimp, white fish, zucchini, with the creamiest Bombay aioli.

Fritto Misto

The next dish was Tagliatelle Bolognese, a perfect fall menu option, and one of the signature dishes of Bologna. While many places serve thinner ribbons of Tagliatelle pasta, we loved Olio e Piu’s wider size as you can enjoy more of the meat sauce.

Tagliatelle Bolognese

While we absolutely loved it, we had to save room for the next orgasmic experience, the Bistecca; a perfectly grilled hanger steak, crushed new potatoes, onions, and salsa verde. It normally comes with mushrooms but luckily this was one of the dishes where the mushrooms weren’t already added to the dish.

Grilled hanger steak

Finally on to the non-savory dishes from the fall menu, Dessert. We enjoyed Torta all’ Olio di Oliva, an Olive oil cake, vanilla cream, seasonal berries and a combination of Gelato/Sorbeto.

Olio e piu DessertOlio e piu Dessert

Olio e Piu gives you the option of three scoops/flavors, we decided on the Blood Orange, Lemon, and Vallutata di Gelato Alla Vanila. These refreshing scoops were the end to a blissful evening. We can’t wait to go back.

 

 

‘Check, Please!’ Restaurants Including Fee In Bills To Cover Employee Healthcare

Healthcare has been a part of the national conversation in the United States for some time. Different solutions have been a part of trying to figure things out, but one thing remains certain: not everyone has access to the healthcare they need.

It’s common for people to think of their own healthcare without much considering what others are going through. Many Americans receive health insurance through their employers, but this isn’t the case for all American workers. This is especially true of the service industry. Your servers, bussers, bartenders, barbacks, cooks, etc. don’t often receive healthcare benefits through their jobs. Obviously, this doesn’t make them need it any less, yet they remain in a difficult situation when it comes to accessing affordable healthcare. This can be particularly taxing when workers in these industries work peculiar hours or multiple different service jobs.

Group of Happy friends having breakfast in the restaurant

A little perspective: people can bill a 45 to 60 minute acupuncture session to their insurance company in the name of wellness, but large groups of service industry workers lack any insurance to cover even the cost of an annual checkup. Some restaurants are attempting to rectify this issue by passing a percentage of the cost onto the customers. As you can imagine, restaurants that have decided to do this receive all manner of mixed feelings, opinions, and comments. Let’s explore.

To explain how it works in the most basic sense, let’s say you’re out to eat with friends. The four of you have dinner, a couple of bottles of wine, and dessert. When it comes time to pay the bill and leave, your receipt breaks down the cost and you’ll see the typical things, but among them is one you haven’t seen before: healthcare tax, for instance. It’s not much, maybe even a few dollars compared to the rest of your bill. This extra tax is being added to your bill to help the restaurant pay for health insurance for their service staff. Some like the idea, others don’t.

With the average age of retirement at age 63, health insurance becomes an increasingly important consideration for everyone. By 2030, more than 20% of the population will be above age 65, and as age and time increase, so does the need for proper and affordable healthcare options. As such, closer attention is being paid to the healthcare access of the historically underserved restaurant industry. We mentioned the people who were adverse toward spending an extra percentage on an added health insurance tax at a restaurant, but there are many who support and champion the idea.

This isn’t a new thing, with restaurants across the country adding these provisions to their guest checks. Some help cover health insurance costs, others supply service industry workers with higher wages, paid time off, and the like. While some restaurants make this fee optional and give guests the freedom to remove such fees from their bill, others announce them as non-optional. A simple, small cost for the service provided and an investment into the community that serves. The move has been largely accepted by diners who, for the most part, aren’t going to cease frequenting a favorite restaurant for reason of paying a small percentage toward the waitstaff. Still, others aren’t so keen, saying that such fees rob guests while negatively impacting the tips that make a bulk of service worker wages.

Millions of Americans donate to charities every year, which are contributions that receive tax kickbacks. Nobody bats an eye at such things, but the same isn’t true for adding a small percentage to a restaurant guest check to help pay for an establishment’s waitstaff health insurance. There seems to be a disconnect there, thus the issue remains split. One thing, however, remains the same: people aren’t going to stop going out to eat and the service industry isn’t going anywhere. Where this brings us down the road remains to be seen.

As always, tip your servers and bartenders.

Restaurant Review: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

Restaurant Review: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

A little over a year ago we had the pleasure of attending the opening of Chefs Club Counter, the first “fine-fast” concept. Recently, we enjoyed dining at its counterpart, Chefs Club New York, an innovative restaurant concept which features a rotating cast of chefs as part of their Chef-in-Residence series. We love this concept because it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the culinary talents of multiple chefs without having to travel all over the country. Chefs Club New York is currently on its fourth Chef-in-Residence, Abraham Conlon, co-owner of Chicago-based Fat Rice. We had the pleasure of experiencing the menu from this casual eatery (founded in 2012) that focuses on a global food exploration of the modest traditions of Macau and prepared with a respect for ritual, custom, and technique. So join us as we explore the wondering cuisine of Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York.

Fat Rice at Chefs Club New YorkRestaurant Review: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

For those of you not from Chicago, Fat Rice explores and shares interpretations of heritage recipes from Lusophone cultures found along historic spice trade routes of the maritime Portuguese. To enjoy the full menu you’d have to go to Chicago but there are lots of delightful options to indulge in at Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York. to start things off, we found our way to The Ladies Room, an intimate setting where you can indulge in a unique drinking experience. This completely red room features cocktails that highlight both global and Midwestern flavors through house-made infusions, elixirs, and potions. You will find dishes from Macau, Malacca, Azores, Portugal, Goa, and Madeira.

The Ladies Room at Chefs Club New York The Ladies Room at Chefs Club New York The Ladies Room at Chefs Club New York

This gorgeous red room at Chefs Club New York offers a variety of creative cocktails, rare wines, and decadent sipping spirits. We love their concept of cocktail sharing between two and four people. The single-serve cocktails on the menu include Moonshoes (Ford’s Gin, Umeboshi Vinegar, Elderflower Tonic),  Side Hustle (Ming River Baijiu, St. George Terroir Gin, St. George Rye Gin, Punt e Mes), and O’Porto (Quinta do Infantado 10 year Tawny, House made Ginjinha, House made Shiso-Cumin Bitters). The large format (sharing) cocktails include the Thunderdome For Two (Cruzan Blackstrap Rum, Two James Dr. Bird, Allspice Dram, Fernet Branca, Gingerbeer) and the Burning Bird For Four (Santa Teresa Anejo, Cruzan Blackstrap Rum, Plantation Pineapple Rum, Contratto, Amaro Lucano). Since we were not a quartet, we decided on the Thunderdome (pictured below)

It was the perfect way to awaken our taste buds for the meal that would soon follow. Check out our Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York Instastories for more behind the scenes of The Ladies Room and this cocktail. We couldn’t help but think of (and sing) that 1980’s song “Meeting in the Ladies Room” by Klymaxx. You may be wondering why is it called the Ladies room, it turns out at the Fat Rice Chicago location, this not-so-secret room is right by the ladies room. It’s a fact that we women do go the ladies room in packs, so why not create a true escape, with cocktails, when we need one. Because this is a limited run Chef-in-Residence, the entire Fat Rice menu wasn’t available but we promise you will love the options.

APPETIZERS

Bacalhau da Vovó

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

This divine combination of house-cured salt cod (many know this as salt fish or bacalao) spread, topped with black olives, chili and mint, and served with Papo Seco (Portuguese bread) was something we were anticipating ever since we first laid eyes on the Fat Rice menu. And it did not disappoint! Every bite was a memory of growing up near the beach, carefree days in the Caribbean and home cooked meals. Seasoned to perfection, we hope to find a way to talk Chef Abraham Conlon into offering this as a main dish because we could have happily wolfed down a second or third helping.

Presunto + peaches

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

Don’t let the simplicity of this dish of Fermin Iberico ham, basil, and burnt vinegar fool you. It is bursting with a wonderful combination of sweet, juicy, and slightly salty flavors that both delight and entice your palate. Trust us when we say this will go down quickly.

MAIN ENTREES

Pork Cheek

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

If you’re a fan of Vindaloo, the Indian curry dish, you’re going to love this spicy vindalho eurasian achar with charred scallions. We paired it with the delightful coconut rice (see below) and every bite of this staple pork dish was delicious and wonderfully peppery. This is what our palettes were waiting for. If you love your meals with a kick, this is a must. We also loved the resulting flavor from eating it with the raba raba.

Po Kok Gai

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

If you are ordering this, make sure you order a side or two of the Portuguese bread to go with the coconut rice. Dipping that delicious warm bread into creamy, savory decadence is almost life changing. Those of you who don’t like spicy foods will be happy to hear it isn’t spicy although we’d love if it had a little kick. This dish boasts fall-off-the-bone chicken thighs with chouriço, potatos, tomatoes, a hen egg, coconut curry, sao jorge, and topped with black olives.

SIDES

Coconut Rice

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

The mild flavor and touch of slight sweetness of this rice, topped with fried shallots and sesame seeds, is a wonderful base to enjoy the multilayered flavors of Fat Rice’s dishes. The best part,it literally goes with everything.

Raba Raba

Food Photography: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

This earthy side dish boasts a collection of stir-fried mixed seasonal greens, balichāo, and trumpet mushroom (although we skipped on the mushrooms). Believe it or not, it’s is incredibly flavorful on its on but doesn’t compete with the flavors of the main dishes. Definitely a must. Vegetarians will especially love it.

DESSERT

Chocolate Mousse

Food Photography: Chocolate Mousse Dessert: Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

There’s nothing about this dessert that we can tell you that this above photo doesn’t showcase. It is as delicious as it is beautiful. If you’re a fan of coffee-based desserts, this is for you. The mousse features single origin são tomé beans, coffee streusel, and madeira gelée. It’s one of the most popular desserts at Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York. You can clearly see why.

Bebinca

Food Photography: Coconut Custard at Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

We couldn’t go to a restaurant with a Portuguese influence without trying the traditional baked coconut custard. Every spoonful divine (and licked clean). This is another dish you may end up getting two of. It is just that creamy and delicious.

DECOR

Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

Located in the iconic Puck Building, Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York is located in Nolita. In three months, another out of this world chef will take over the kitchen for several months to offer everyone a unique culinary experience.

Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York

One of our favorite design details of Chefs Club New York (aside from the breathtaking Ladies Room) is the humongous Pink Himalayan salt boulder encased in glass above the bar and the map showcasing all the territories that has inspired the Fat Rice menu. For more information about Fat Rice at Chefs Club New York, visit www.chefsclub.com and definitely make a reservation to indulge.

 

 

 

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