Shot of Brandi* Restaurant Week

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Last week, I had my very own mini-restaurant week. I totally indulged in an array of foods that I’ve never tested before and others that were just fabulously executed classics. Here’s a recap and rundown of some awesome eats.

La Madia: I love truffle oil so much I could marry it. First I loved truffle oil on French fries (thanks Rockit). Then on steak (thanks Spiaggia). Now…pizza. La Madia is perfect for a date or for a night with friends. I totally recommend the Triple Pepperoni, Tomato Sauce & Mozzarella Cheese, finished with White Truffle Oil. Hands down awesome.

Graham Elliott: My lust for truffle oil was satisfied yet again thanks to Graham Elliott. I think the best way to describe this place is casual atmosphere, upscale food. Rather than giving you bread to snack on, the waitstaff brings over popcorn covered with truffle oil and parm cheese. Brady and I shared a number of small plates and one main dish and we were comfortably full. I’ll write about my new drink obsession later, but the cocktails are pretty awesome too. Graham keeps you coming back by changing the menu with each season. Oh and you may have seen the young, hip Graham Elliott on Top Chef before!

Pop Burger: Reader Amy and I met up in New York for lunch while I was visiting for work. We visited the perfect lunch spot – Pop Burger. This place is a posh burger joint with not much on the menu to choose from but what else…burgers! Amy went with the beef, while I settled on the turkey. Pop Burger gives you two mini-burgers, which I enjoy (I always cut my burgers in fours anyways). I totally recommend this place for a quick NYC lunch!

Rouge Tomate: The site of my work event, Rouge Tomate is one of the most eco-friendly dining establishments in New York. The staff here is amazing and whipped up six cocktails and appetizers for our cocktail party. My favorites of the night included the Ramos Fizz cocktail (more later) and the mini-ice cream sandwiches. The ice cream was such a hit, our spokesperson ate at least 3 (and he is a fitness expert). I’d recommend this place for cocktails – the beverage director is amazing and knows how to make a good drink with fresh ingredients. You’ll be hearing a lot more about this place – they have a powerhouse PR firm assisting them now and they were recently featured in an episode of Gossip Girl (Blair and Serena were dining here).

Bar American: While we indulged in some apps at Rouge Tomate, the real dinner was at Bar Americain. A Bobby Flay establishment, Bar Americain is in a great location for business trips and reasonably priced for a New York dinner. The menu features upscale comfort foods like ribs, barbeque and steaks. I went for the pork and I would recommend it; however, I don’t think I would pick this place again to eat or suggest it to friends.

Well there you have it folks. Seven nights, five good eateries from Chicago and New York. Bon Appetite!

P.S. – Due to rain in New York, a planned dinner party with reader Amy at Tao had to be canceled. I’m still sad. There was going to be a slumber party after dinner too! Sigh.

(Photos: La Madia via serious eats, popburger via Flickr, Rouge Tomate via NYTimes)