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Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Demarchelier French Bistro

Tucked away around the corner of Madison Avenue on 86th Street is a little bit of Paris. Even if you weren’t looking for it, you can’t miss the red awning and the white curtains that draw you into the warm and inviting bistro, Demarchelier French Bistro. Since its opening in 1978, the family-owned and operated restaurant has brought authentic French flair to the Upper East Side.

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

It was a welcome respite from a cold winter night. Stepping inside the cozy establishment, you’re greeted by the convivial energy emanating from the bar. Unlike many of New York City’s too-crowded watering holes, this one had enough room for everyone and wasn’t overly noisy. Amidst the socializing patrons at the bar was the sweet and friendly Emily Demarchelier, greeting everyone with a smile. Emily runs the restaurant and is the daughter of the owner, artist, and restaurateur, Eric Demarchelier, and not to mention a niece to famed fashion photographer,
Patrick Demarchelier. With that said, it is no wonder that the walls are filled with colorful original abstract and figure paintings by Eric Demarchelier. They’re all for sale should you wish to take home something quite special with your leftovers.

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

CHRIS: Unlike a lot of so-called French establishments that either offer Americanized versions of French meals or experimental fusions with French inspirations, this place offers up the hearty traditional dishes like bouillabaisse, duck confit, coq au vin, Moules Mariniere, quiche, and escargot. It’s also good to note that many of the meat, poultry, and vegetables are organic and sourced from nearby farms. There’s also a prix-fix menu paired with a glass of wine or sparkling French cider as well as a daily special. While we wished our stomachs would expand to try the whole of the menu, here were our picks for the night.

GLASGOW: It was an amazing pleasure to see so many authentic French dishes available at one restaurant in both the entree and dessert menus. We couldn’t remember the last time we saw Pot au feu and Cassoulet (the latter is only available on Thursdays) on a dinner menu. Dessert-wise, both tarte Tatin and Crepes Suzette have been equally elusive on menus as well.

COCKTAILS

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

The Purple Blossom
GLASGOW: I love pea flower so this libation immediately caught my eye. This cocktail was very fresh and heavy on lemon juice. It may not look like it but the lemon juice really comes through in the Purple Blossom. There is a very light dash of simple syrup, so if you’re expecting a sweet drink, this isn’t it. Fans of gin cocktails, this is a must just to experience the Empress 1908 Indigo Gin.

Grapefruit Rosemary Mule
CHRIS: I’ve been on a mule kick lately (pun absolutely intended) and have been trying out all the different iterations of the Moscow Mule. I was skeptical about this one as I am not a fan of grapefruit. Surprisingly, it was not a bitter and tart drink. Made with Deep Eddy Grapefruit vodka, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer with a sprig of rosemary, this refreshingly simple concoction went down easy. The rosemary added a lasting aroma that perfectly accented each sip.

Empress 75
GLASGOW: I swear my color coordinating cocktails were not planned. I selected this cocktail because French 75 is one of my all time favorites and I wanted to see what how different champagne (as in the French 75) and sparkling wine (as in the Empress 75) would make the two. I must say it is very different. The dry sparkling wine is a noticeable difference but I still enjoyed the Empress 75 very much.

APPETIZERS

Moules Mariniere

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

GLASGOW: Diana Ross has an old song where the chorus starts with “I want muscles”; granted she’s talking about muscles on a man, not mussels but that song nevertheless describes our obsession with mussels. I want mussels and I want it all the time. The sauce was heavenly and you better believe we had to refrain from lifting the bowl to our mouth and drinking the incredible sauce. Thank goodness for the bread.

Avocado Crab Salad

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

CHRIS: Not at all what I expected, but in a very good way. I was thinking I’d get the typical mixed greens with a few pieces of crab sprinkled in and drizzled with a light dressing. Instead, what is set before me is a decent sized tortilla bowl in the middle of a plate heaping with crab meat on top of fresh guacamole and topped with arugula. I love crab and this was a lot of crab. While the layered concept makes for a clean aesthetic presentation, it is much better when thoroughly mixed in the edible bowl.

ENTREES

Duck Confit

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
CHRIS: I like duck confit but it’s always a gamble because it can be hard to cook it properly. While deceivingly simple, it takes some time to preserve the duck in its own fat. However, Demarchelier’s duck confit is nothing short of amazing. The two juicy duck legs were served on a bed of white beans stew. This traditional French dish has ample flavor and melt-off-the-bones goodness. I was baffled when the waiter put a steak knife by me since I can peel the meat off with barely a tug from my fork. The beans were just right – not mushy with just a good amount of firmness.

Ribeye with Pepper Sauce and Cream Spinach

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
GLASGOW: I don’t know if there’s anything that beats a great peppercorn steak from a French restaurant. If there is, I haven’t tried it yet. My medium-well steak (pictured sans peppercorn sauce) was very tender with a juicy interior and a subtle char. The pepper sauce was mild, not very peppery – perfect for those who are not used to a spice heavy palate like ours. The cream spinach was flavorful, very creamy but light on the thickness of the cream. We personally love a thicker sauce but that didn’t take away from how delicious this was. Those on a low sodium diet will appreciate the light hand of salt.

DESSERTS

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
CHRIS: This was the perfect ending to an already gastronomically satisfying night. The cake part is perfectly moist and soft while the mousse layered in between is light, fluffy, and wonderfully chocolaty. Sitting atop a plate of strawberry sauce with a dollop of whipped cream, this cake was sweet and heavenly. A wise choice for a chocolate lover who didn’t want to go over the edge of full.

Crepe Suzette

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
GLASGOW: Thank goodness for Demarchelier. You hardly see this indulgent dessert on menus anymore. We greatly appreciated the restaurant for bringing it back into our lives. We highly recommend being extra nice to your server so he will giddily douse your crepe in a waterfall of Grand Marnier before it’s engulfed in the flames. Every bite sinfully divine, especially as we had more than enough Grand Marnier left over to make this dessert even more intoxicating.

Demarchelier is a neighborhood fixture for a reason, you can clearly see why in the photos above. Whether you’re in the area for a quick bite or a romantic local for dinner, we recommend heading to 50 East 86th Street to sate your palate.

 

 

 

Written in Collaboration with Christine Ongsueng

Demarchelier Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kumana Avocado Sauce: A Twist From the Ordinary Superfood

The growth rate of avocado’s popularity has been mindblowing. We can’t get enough of it and we’ve seen so many ways we’re enjoying it. We’re happy to introduce you to yet another way to add this delicious and healthy fruit (yes it is a fruit) to your meals. Say hello to Kumana Avocado Sauce, a range of fresh and vibrant avocado sauces that are amazing on just about anything you love eating. These delicious sauces are crafted from veggies and fruits such as avocados, fresh onions, bell peppers, cilantro, garlic and just a splash of white vinegar. Kumana Avocado Sauce adds a punch of flavor to anything you put it on.

The range of Kumana Avocado Sauce is inspired by a beloved Venezuelan staple, traditionally drizzled on grilled meats, sautéed vegetables, and regional sandwiches. Kumana Avocado Sauces are available in three palate awakening flavors:

  1. Be Original: The truest recipe to the Venezuelan avocado sauce that inspired the Kumana line.
  2. Be Mango:  Blended with mango puree which adds a hint of sweetness, much like mango salsa.
  3. Be Hot: Takes a splash of mango and finishes it off with just the right amount of habanero heat.

All three avocado sauces are plant-based, gluten-free, non-GMO verified, has no added sugars, and is the first shelf-stable avocado sauce. Since our love of avocado begun in our childhood, we couldn’t wait to try these sauces. We cooked a wonderful piece of Mahi-Mahi over brown rice and topped it off with the Be Original Avocado Sauce.

The Be Original gave our fish dish a wonderful, slight kick and enhanced the freshness. Next, we tried it with a bit of the Be Sweet and loved the combination of the fruity sweetness of the mango with the savory fish. This was actually our favorite flavor combination. Last but not least, was the Be Hot Avocado Sauce, and although it was really enjoyable, we felt the flavor intensity overpowered our Mahi-Mahi. We think the Be Hot would work amazingly with a more flavorful fish. Next, we did try the Be Hot with chicken the next week with absolutely fantastic results. Whether it’s fried or baked chicken, you’ll love the flavor.

Kumana Avocado Sauce is a great addition to your pantry. Whether you’re a meat eater, vegan, or on a keto diet, this will wow your taste buds. Get all three flavors the Safeway, Acme Supermarkets, Albertsons, and United Supermarkets.

Restaurant Review: Greenwich Steakhouse in the West Village

We hope you’re ready to discover another amazing NYC restaurant because we have one for you. Welcome to our culinary journey of one of New York City’s leading steakhouses, Greenwich Steakhouse. They recently announced new brunch, lunch and dinner menus prepared by the new Executive Chef Oscar Reyes, which we had to experience for ourselves.

For those not familiar, Greenwich Steakhouse is a three-story restaurant located in the West Village. Casual diners can take a seat at the bar on the first floor. The second floor, the Blue Velvet room boasts beautiful, blue velvet high back chairs, seating for 40 and dreamy wall-sized artwork, and The Grand Reserve Room, located on the third floor is reserved for private parties. We settled on the Blue Velvet room for our foodie adventure. For this culinary journey, we enjoyed four courses and cocktails – starters, entrees, dessert, and a digestif.

COCKTAILS

Greenwich Steakhouse offers cocktails in a variety of categories: fruity, light and refreshing, light and smoky, stirred and boozy, and non-alcoholic. Our goal was to try cocktails from a few of the categories. We started off with the Lady Luck, a sweet and fruity blend of vodka, fresh raspberries, lemon, St. Germain, and champagne; the Greenwich Swizzle, a light and refreshing concoction that may look tropical but boasts a fall-ish flavor thanks to bitters, and is served in a frosted glass; the almost rustic Sazerac, a rye whiskey-based cocktail with an absinthe rinse; and the non-alcoholic and very refreshing Perry St mocktail.

STARTERS

PAN FRIED CALAMARI

Great calamari never disappoints and you’ll love the crisp yet succulent texture of this flavorful starter. Complimented with a warm, tangy sauce, you’ll devour every bite.

GREENWICH COLOSSAL CRAB CAKE

What you’re seeing above is half of one of the crab cake. Served sitting on a bed of creamy avocado, the combination of flavors was intensely phenomenal. We topped ours off with a bit of black pepper for a slight spark.

MAIN ENTREES

NEW YORK SIRLOIN

We have been thoroughly enjoying dry-aged steaks lately and this one was no exception. We requested our steak prepared medium well. The result was a tender steak with exquisite charring; it was mouthwateringly juicy yet and not at all chewy. In other words, perfect. We paired it with Greenwich Steakhouse’s Lobster Mac & Cheese and Creamed Spinach (see our Sides highlight below).

DOUBLE CUT VEAL PARMIGIANA

The delicious aroma rising from the dish was a clear indicator that this was about to be an unforgettable experience. Each tender bite of veal drenched in layers of sauce, aromatic spices and cheese was wonderfully satisfying. This is a must-have dish for any veal and cheese lover.

SIDE DISHES

LOBSTER MAC & CHEESE

We hope you’re ready for lobster mac and cheese with huge chunks of lobster in it because that’s exactly what you will be getting. Every spoonful yields lobster baked right in. The perfect fusion of down-home goodness with sophisticated flair.

CREAMED SPINACH

Sadly we didn’t get to get a photo of the spinach by itself but for good reason. the staff is so attentive that as soon as your food arrives, they begin to serve them on your plate. We caught the servers in time for the other dishes but the lobster mac and cheese distracted us. However, the Creamed Spinach definitely deserves its own fanfare. We loved that the Spinach wasn’t overly creamy or cheesy. The flavors, texture, and consistency were delightfully balanced.

GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

Rich in flavor, extra creamy in texture, this traditional side will have you reaching for multiple spoonfuls. The garlic was perfectly balanced without overpowering your other sides or main.

DESSERTS

TARUFO

If you’re going to try anything for the first time, this is the experience you want. This was our first time ever having a Tartufo and it was dessert heaven. The mash-up of two ice cream flavors, frozen cherries, caramel sauce, and the chocolate shell was almost too exquisite to devour, but we did.

TIRAMISU

An Italian dessert and coffee lover’s dream. If you love your ladyfingers truly soaked in coffee, you’ll love the Greenwich Steakhouse Tiramisu. Get ready for an explosion of rich flavors from the layers of mascarpone cheese, cocoa, and liqueur.

LIMONCELLO DIGESTIVO

After such a decadent meal, a digestivo is a must. The Limoncello cordial, an Italian lemon liqueur, is not only delicious, but it also aids in digestion. Though we may have had room for something else, ending our magnificent Greenwich Steakhouse journey with this cordial was sublime.

We highly recommend adding this upscale to your culinary list. Greenwich Steakhouse is located at 62 Greenwich Avenue; they are open Monday to Wednesday 5pm – 10pm, Thursday & Friday 5pm – 11:30pm, Saturday 5pm – 11:30pm, and Sunday 5pm – 10pm. For reservations, call (212) 553-5000 or book your table here.

 

 

Greenwich Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Perfect Pumpkin Recipes

Perfect Pumpkin Recipes To Use Well After the Fall Season

Pumpkin is a harvest classic and shows up in many iconic fall dishes. But just because pumpkin is frequently used in autumn dishes doesn’t mean you can’t use it later in the year as well. Here are a few ways to make use of this healthy vegetable in baked goods throughout the year, even in some dishes that might not be quite as healthy, but just as delicious. Keep reading for three Pumpkin recipes to enjoy well past the fall season.

Pumpkin Rolls

Pumpkin Roll Photo from Food Network

This take on a dessert classic is perfect for a rich treat the whole family will love. Pumpkin rolls incorporate pumpkin puree into a layer of pumpkin cake, spread with a layer of ice cream, and then rolled to create a swirl in the center of the dessert. It’s great for the holidays, but there’s no reason you can’t indulge in this sweet year-round.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Photo from POPSUGAR

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic dessert that is sure to please every palette. Adding pumpkin and a bit of pumpkin pie spice takes this common cookie jar staple and adds a bit of a harvest flavor to it. Experiment with the spices if you’re not a fan of pumpkin pie to find a combination that’s perfect for your personal tastes.

Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits

Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits Photo From Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen

Not all pumpkin foods have to be sweet to be utterly delicious. Parmesan can add the perfect savory taste to accompany the pumpkin in this hearty side. The flavor pairing is complex but goes perfectly with the many hearty main dishes of winter.

Before doing any baking with pumpkin, make sure to account for the high water content of this ingredient. Pumpkins are 90 percent water, so be sure to properly prepare your pumpkin ingredients before incorporating into any baked good, or it might throw off the moisture content of your final product.

Even if pumpkin is typically used for fall classics, it can be an excellent ingredient to make use of year-round that adds excellent depth of flavor to many baked goods. What are your thoughts on these Pumpkin recipes? How will you make use of this unique vegetable in your future baking?

Center-Cut Filet Mignon

Restaurant Review: Boucherie West Village’s 2nd Birthday

There’s a lot to celebrate during the holiday season but for traditional French brasserie and steakhouse, Boucherie West Village, the holiday season is also a time to celebrate their anniversary. We had the wonderful pleasure of celebrating their second birthday with them in a family-style meal of French holiday classics and timeless bistro favorites. Since they opened two years ago, Boucherie West Village and Chef Jerome Dihui, have been captivating the palettes of fans.

Boucherie West Village Boucherie West Village

The 320-seat Boucherie provides a diverse array of dining options. It boasts a spacious dining room, a seat at the butcher counter, and an intimate second-floor gallery with private dining and outdoor cafe, where we were seated. With chic french cocktails, timeless French classics, and dry-aged steaks, our evening at Boucherie West Village, was filled with more than holiday magic. Join us on our culinary journey below:

COCKTAILS

Boucherie West Village Cocktails

We enjoyed two wonderful cocktails at Boucherie. We couldn’t begin our traditional French foodie adventure without having the classic French cocktail, French 75. So delicious, we ended up having two. We followed soon after with Boucherie’s Old Cuban, a blend of Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Cartron, Gingembre, Lime, Mint, and Sparkling Wine. It was our first time enjoying this cocktail and we have to say it’s a truly sophisticated rum drink.

STARTERS

MOULES NORMANDES

Boucherie West Village Mussels

French cuisine is known for the use of creams, cheeses, and wine; so what better way to begin than mussels cooked with white wine in a heavy cream sauce and bacon as a first course. We thoroughly enjoyed this classic dish, it’s wonderfully hearty without feeling stuffed.

RAVIOLIS AUX CHAMPIGNONS

Boucherie West Village Mushroom Ravioli

A wonderful, mushroom ravioli with black truffle beurre fondue, and burgundy truffles. We couldn’t partake because of our allergy to mushrooms but the consensus of the table proved that it is as delicious as it looks.

ENTREES

CHATEAUBRIAND POUR DEUX

Center-Cut Filet Mignon

You will swoon over this perfectly grilled center-cut filet mignon with assorted vegetables and bone marrow bordelaise. We tried to save our appetite for our own dry-aged steak but we just couldn’t resist this succulent cut. We highly recommend this perfect for two steak dish.

SUPREME DE POULET ROTI JUS DE BALSAMIQUE

Roasted Chicken in Balsamic Sauce

This divine chicken dish arrived at the same time as our main, so we didn’t enjoy a lot of it. The little we did try….wow!! The perfectly crisp skin and juicy inside were as we said, divine.

STEAK FRITES AU POIVRE

Pat LaFrieda New York Strip Steak

Alas, our Pat LaFrieda New York Strip steak with four peppercorn cream sauce and french fries had arrived. Every rustic bite of the rich flavor of this dry-aged steak was incredible. If we hadn’t mentioned before, Boucherie West Village is known for their exquisite steaks. One bite and you’ll know what we mean. We cannot recommend this restaurant enough, whether you love steak, French cuisine, and great food.

Boucherie West Village is located at 99 7th Avenue South in New York’s West Village. We’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve visited.

Boucherie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Holiday Sneak Preview: The 2018 Holiday Menu at Rosa Mexicano

Rosa Mexicano knows how to create a perfect celebration menu for each and every event in your life. Which is GREAT – because every month brings forth a new exciting reason to celebrate!  December is flush with holidays with meals suited for gatherings of friends and family, and Rosa is fully prepared for you to leave the meal planning up to them this year! You may recall the beauty of their Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) menu we highlighted back in October. Those rich flavors! The aromas! The bright florals decorating every course of the meal! The deliciously spooky and flavor-packed punch! If you liked that menu, you will love that we were invited to a very first taste of their December Holiday Menu – at my very first and most-favorite Rosa Mexicano location – Lincoln Center!

I love the Lincoln Center location so much because it was my very first Rosa Mexicano experience. It was here that I first fell in love with Rosa Mexicano. The restaurant is beautifully and classically designed with a modern, colorful twist. Large portrait windows on both floors let the bright light of the Lincoln Center area in. Framed by a beautiful staircase connecting two floors with ceramic divers leaping from 30-foot iridescent water wall. The ambiance is absolutely everything when it comes to holiday dining experiences. We had the pleasure of meeting Rosa Mexicano’s Regional Executive Chef Joe Quintana whose holiday menu was a delight to enjoy.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

The Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu is designed to feature the authentic flavors of Mexico around holiday time. Pulling traditional Mexican meals from local areas, that will delight your guests whether they be friends in town or visiting family joining you for the holiday season in New York City.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

This special menu begins with one of the best holiday punches I have had in some time. Ponche de Granada is an incredibly flavorful sangria-style punch that mixes smoky mezcal with pomegranate,  a touch of vermouth, a generous dash of Campari for a citrusy note, and cava wine. The spotlight of this cocktail comes in the form of a glass generously rimmed with avocado leaf salt. Avocado leaf salt has so many interesting additional notes of citrus and exotic spices well-suited for the pomegranate and mezcal that the punch is a firework of flavor that carries you throughout every preceding dish offered on the menu.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

Our first course – a zesty Pozole Rojo – features a delicious braised pork and Hominy soup in a clear tomato broth base, infused with chile, green herbs, and roasted garlic. The clear tomato broth is poured onto the hominy and pork after it’s placed at your table. For those not in the know, Hominy is a type of corn that I found was the perfect showcase item in this soup. As a hominy first -timer, I was pleased. It added a hearty level of comfort to the soup without taking away from the robust pork, chile, and tomato flavors.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

Crunchy El Jefe Fish Tacos were the up next – a promised crowd favorite – Mini tacos featuring a White flake fish sprinkled with the most flavorful bits of bacon, tiny chunks sweet potato, topped with mildly pickled, not-too-intense red onion that adding sweetness and crunch to each bite. Perfection with a squeeze of lime.

As we continued to the third course, sampling of each entree, we were impressed with how distinct and delicious each was.  Each complimented the next. You’ll want to try a bit of each yourself, and your friends and family will definitely want to share in the experience!

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

The first entree, Filete con Hongos, is a perfectly prepared Filet Mignon, served on a bed of mushrooms sauteed in a tequila cream sauce. Our knives sliced effortlessly through the filet with each bite; sizzling on the outside and a warm and rosy pink center.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

If poultry is your preference, the Mexican style achiote rubbed half rotisserie chicken Medio Pollo Pibil is for you. Generously rubbed with smoked paprika and achiote, a red seasoning traditionally used in Mexico, throughout South America and the Caribbean.  The results were so juicy and tender that I very boldly asked the chef for his secrets! Served with a side of A-MA-ZING paprika dusted roasted potatoes in a cream sauce, and an ample amount of habanero red onions for every bite of the meal, made this a hearty and flavorful option.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

This final entree is a personal favorite because It reminds me of many family gatherings in seasoning and presentation. A delicious fish dish, Pescado a la Veracruzana. Featuring a generous amount of pan seared white fish, smothered in a classic sauce of tomato, fried capers,  garlic, and roasted peppers. It is so good. Paired with grilled asparagus, this dish hits all the right notes of Old World, and New World – savory but not too heavy, with a bright snap of grilled greens and olive oil.

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

For dessert, Mexican Cookies and Milk; featuring traditional house baked Polvorones, traditional Mexican cookies in two flavors, Pomegranate and Chocolate, paired with chilled Horchata, a delicious nog-like Mexican drink sprinkled with cinnamon and vanilla!

Rosa Mexicano 2018 Holiday Menu

Since we enjoyed the Ponche Granada so much, we had to pay our compliments to Courtenay Greenleaf, the Master Mezcalier who curated the exotic punch. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa or year’s end victory, Rosa Mexicano wants to put the ‘Feliz’ in your celebration.  Happy Holidays Ahead!

The Rosa Mexicano 2018 holiday menu is available exclusively on December 24th and 25th, from  12-9pm.

 

 

 

 

 

EDITED BY GLASGOW SKINNER
Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving

Giving Thanks to Friendship: Celebrating Friendsgiving with Basil Hayden’s

It occurred to me the other day that I’m the only one in my immediate clique that lives in New York City. The others in my caravan live across the pond in Jersey. While the city unites us for various events and revelries, quite often there has to be a good reason to stay late in the city, venture out into the depths of lower Manhattan or justify a late night uber home. Now while the very natures of our friendships are enough, let’s face that with the annoying hustle and frustrating bustle of our day-to-day, some days you have to relinquish your good intended presence to just being there in spirit. Outside of just hanging out, some people may be cajoled to find further justification in dancing the night away, seeing a sold-out show or catching a must-see movie. However, my friends all have seasoned palettes and nothing gets us together more than good eats, great energy and anchoring the deal with top-shelf cocktails.

Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgivingBasil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving

So when I got the invitation to spend the birthday of one of my dearest friends with one of my favorite whiskey brands, the pot was sweetened and the seal of approval was stamped. The satisfying Basil Hayden’s, that beloved and delectably slick bourbon kicked off the season on November 1st with a pretty amazing Friendsgiving in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Held at the posh event space 501 Union, upon entering I knew why the trip to BK for this Bronx guy was worth it. The bar was serving up unique cocktails curated for the event that showcased just how wonderful Basil Hayden’s is. Their Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey is very smooth, has just the right amount of sweetness and packs enough weight to flavorfully hold its own when paired with other cocktail ingredients and spirits. However, don’t just take my word for it. Here are the cocktails that were on tap for that memorable evening:

Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving

First up was the Basil Hayden’s Boulevardier. I tried it with their bourbon and combined with the bitter Aperol and the herbal sweet vermouth it made for such a balanced drink. The mild espresso-like bitterness of the licorice-like Aperol played up to the bourbon so nicely. Next up was the Basil Hayden’s Highball, which I also requested with their bourbon. The lightness from the club soda and the citrusy sweet kick from the lemon soda created a light and refreshing almost summery cocktail with a herbal grown edge from the presence of the basil.

Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving

After two bourbon-centered cocktails, I needed to try one of their latest offerings, Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye. Perfect on the rocks, the dark rye has less sweetness naturally and more of a distinguished oaky spicy weight, but no less smooth and delicious. This was a perfect wind-down of a sipper before dinner.

Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving

Dinner featured two new cocktails for each course. The Ward Eight wonderfully combined their bourbon, the citrus power of grenadine, lemon and orange together with the refreshing cooling pop of mint for a clean sipper that evoked a great spiked Summer lemonade. Finishing up was the Havoc In Nelson County, a surprisingly island-fresh cocktail that took the wonderful rarely seen flavor of banana and mixed it with orange bitters for a flavorful, diverse drink that hits several areas of the palette pleasantly with soothingly familiar notes. Speaking of dinner, our culinary journey, heralded by Chef Paul Donnelly, boasted offerings similar to the Basil Hayden’s Friendsgiving at Peachy’s: an appetizer of Strange Flavor Burrata; a first course of Steamed Baby Branzino and Northern Chinese Style Roasted Golden Beets; a second course of Crispy Lamb Ribs and Salad of Watercress with assorted vegetables; and Chocolate Mousse for dessert. Feast your eyes on these delights below:

APPETIZER

Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving

FIRST COURSE

Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving

SECOND COURSE

Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgivingBasil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving

DESSERT

Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving

What the evening with Basil Hayden’s recreated was the makings of classic friendship lore. The drinks were flowing, the food was stellar and the energy was upbeat and positive. How comforting to know that the sweet sip & the relaxing savor, the honest pleasantries & the communal savorings can all conspire together to recognize an evening of old and new friends.

Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving Basil Hayden's #BHFriendsgivingBasil Hayden's #BHFriendsgiving

All in all, when Friendsgiving happens, good spirits in both physical and social forms, must ensue. Basil Hayden’s Bourbon and Rye varieties are available now at your finer wine & spirit retailers.

Sheila G's Thindulgent Chocolate Bark and Brownie Brittle Bites

Chocolate Indulgence: Treat Yourself to Sheila G’s Decadent Holiday Snacks

Do you know what Thanksgiving week means? It means the holiday season has officially begun and it’s time for all thing merry. So we’re beginning our holiday season with a sweet treat. Last year we had everyone drooling with our Brownie Brittle Releases Decadent Holiday Snacks feature, and today we’re doing it again. With some new flavors under their belt. Join us in a little chocolate indulgence with Sheila G’s Thindulgent Chocolate Bark and Brownie Brittle Bites, the perfect snack for the true chocoholic.

Sheila G’s sources and uses Fair Trade Certified cocoa, and pairs it’s rich, creamy, chocolate with a mix of savory, crunchy, chewy ingredients Thicker than a sliver, thinner than a candy bar, with a bit of snap to it, every bit of Sheila G’s Thindulgent Chocolate Bark delivers richly satisfying flavors and textures. This goodness packed slithers of indulgence are available in four flavors: Cashew Toffee, S’mores, Caramel Pretzel, and Dark Chocolate Almond. Each bag of Sheila G’s Thindulgent Chocolate Bark retails for $4.49 each.

 Sheila G's Thindulgent Chocolate Bark and Brownie Brittle Bites

What makes Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle Bites so amazing? Sheila’s Chocolate Chip Brownie Brittle is baked to crispy perfection, cut into bite-sized pieces, and covered in rich, creamy chocolate. They are deliciously snackable, wonderfully indulgent and so addictive. Brownie Brittle Bites are the perfect pop-in-your-mouth snack treat! We’ve been indulging in the very popular Brownie Brittle Bites, are now available in milk chocolate caramel and peppermint dark chocolate flavors for $4.49 per bag.

Sheila G’s decadent holiday snacks are perfect for you to share with friends and family, or to  enjoy all by yourself.  Indulge yourself in the sinful yet divine combination of chocolate chips, caramel, chocolate, and peppermint delights. The choice is deliciously yours.

The Sheila G’s holiday products are available now and sold at retailers nationwide as well as online on www.browniebrittle.com. Grab a bag or two and enjoy.