Tech Takeover

This week I ordered dinner with an iPad, instead of a waiter for the first time. There was no waiter necessary, I just punched in the items I wanted, pressed ‘submit’ and my food magically appeared before me a few minutes late. I’m not going to lie, I was initially amused, even a little impressed. I mean, what is more fun than playing with an iPad until your food comes? That’s a trick question. The correct answer is: having a wonderful conversation with your boyfriend sitting across the table.

I started thinking more about the loneliness of using an iPad to place my order and realized this could be the start to a huge trend (if it hasn’t already started). This is more of a rant post than informational post so bare with me!

iPad in question:

Pros of ordering food through an iPad: 

  • You don’t go through that awkward thing of when the waitress takes too long to come to your table and you stare her down until she arrives.
  •  There is no way they will get your order wrong.Well…
  • You get to take silly Photobooth pictures or play Spider Solitaire while you wait. (Remember to delete them after you’re done!)
  • You’re in and out much quicker. (That’s what she said.) (Had to!)

Cons of ordering food through an iPad:

  • We are losing jobs to technology. The tech-take-over will not cease!
  •  The one waiter who is there isn’t as attentive to your table.
  • You don’t really get to ask for opinions and recommendations. That really sucks for someone like me.
  • Your friends may get offended that you want to play with the iPad
  • There is no button to request a refill on water.
  • You spend half your meal trying to come up with ways to steal the iPad. (Not me. Other people.)

As cool as ordering with an iPad was I can’t get on board with the whole idea. For me, one of the best parts of going to dinner is interacting with the waiter. I love dinner conversation and not to mention and being able to get the waiter’s attention when you need something like, garlic bread, another beerr, a side of melted chocolate, or a bib.

Marmalade and Soul

I thought that I had already found my favorite breakfast place in Melbourne, Australia. Ladies and gentlemen, I am writing today to assure you that I was wrong. Marmalade and Soul now has that special place in my heart.

I’m not sure if it was the atmosphere, the delicious food, the simple decor, or the fact I couldn’t stop wishing my family was in Australia to try it. I want them to fly from Florida to Melbourne just so I can treat them to Marmalade and Soul – I’d even be willing to pay. Maybe.

My boyfriend, Jack, and I ordered all our meals from the Specials board, but I already  know what I’ll get from the regular menu next time we go back.

First, let me talk about the decor. Exposed brick and white walls is about all a girl who has lived in New York can ask for. Then on top of that, they had about every kitchen decoration I have always wanted from Anthropologie, combined with cutlery and baskets filled with fresh fruit and vegetables straight out of a  Williams Sonova catalogue. The kitchen is clean, lovely, organized and most importantly open for all to see, which means I got to creepily watch the chefs as they assembled my meal to be. There is nothing I like more than watching people make food, well, other than eating the food they make. I felt at home. I wanted to run behind the kitchen counter and offer my help, but I know that would be considered rude and a little annoying.

Second, the atmosphere. We originally wanted to sit outside, but the place was packed when we got there and we had no choice.  That was a good thing in the end. I don’t think the staff at any other cafe have ever been as excited to see my face – something which I selfishly relish in every once in a while. Everyone eating looked so happy to be there. Sitting by the cashier gave us the perfect location to witness customer’s comments as they were leaving: “That was SO great”, “We are definitely coming again”, “Everything was PERFECT”, and the list goes on. The only thing that confused me a bit (I hate even bringing this up) is that I had no idea who our waiter was. We had about four, all very helpful and friendly, but we never knew who to signal for.

Three, the food! I’m not the type to just pick a meal and go for it. I’m the person that picks about three dishes then asks the waitress for help. Our waitress (the one I think was ours) described each plate I asked about as “so beautiful”, but said each is so different that it’s up to me.

I ended up ordering the Ricotta Hot Cakes with Banana and Honey Butter. After my first bite, I couldn’t help but feel butterflies as I was putting together each bite. A little bit of hot cake, with a some warn Banana and then I’d drag it across the honey butter sauce left over on the plate. It’s too good of a way to start your day. My boyfriend got the Granola, Yogurt and Fruit a long with the Peanut Butter Pop Tart. I didn’t try the Granola but oh boy, did I get to enjoy the pop tart. Contrary to, what must be, popular belief it wasn’t a like toasted pop tart from your local grocery store. It was a tall tower of deliciousness. It came with a side of strawberry  jam which I poured on every bite. Who would have thought jam and peanut butter were such a winning combination.

I must admit prices are a little higher than I was hoping for but sometimes a girl has just got to treat herself.

Bianca (The Restaurant not the Person)

In lieu of my mom’s birthday I thought I’d write about her favorite restaurant, which just happens to be called the same thing as my parents favorite daughter. 

It’s me! Bianca!  

Located down Bleecker Street (the best street in NYC in my opinion) this gem of a restaurant is beautifully decorated; simple and sweet. Everything is white, the walls are lined with a gorgeous, yet subtle display of plates and flowers. The space is small but you don’t have to sit as close to the table next to you as you would think. When you walk in you get the feeling that can only be described as “Coming Home’. That is, if your home is in Florence, Italy and your mom is known for cooking Italian feasts.

The first time we sat down at Bianca and looked at the menu we weren’t sure what to do. We wanted to try every plate there was, but how embarrassing that would be indeed! Instead we each picked a plate, three appetizers and a bottle of red wine. I’ll only list them out below because we’ve gone back over 5 times and always get the same thing.

Appetizers: Gnocco Fritto (You have too!), Chicken Liver Deglazed with aged Balsamic Vinegar TIMES 2. (I get that the word liver scares you but you also have too!

Entrees: Gnocci con Fromagio (Gorgonzola), Spaghettini al Pomodoro, Tagliolini al Frutti di Mare, Lasagna, Straccetti di Manzo (Filet Mignon).

Dessert: Tiramisu, Chocolate Mousse Cake glazed in a bitter sweet chocolate ganache. 

I have to admit the appetizers are our favorite part. The Gnocco Fritto is a very typical Italian dish but it’s rarely found in Italian restaurants. Especially this well done! If you like Gorgonzola cheese, you should get the Gnocci con Fromagio with extra napkins because chances are you will be trying to lick the sauce off the plate. It’s what I get/do and I’m not embarrassed to admit it.

Not one plate is ever left with food on it, or sauce for that matter. It’s amazing what a family of five can consume… or maybe it’s only our family. My Dad loves it because it’s guaranteed he’ll be able to use his favorite joke. ”We didn’t like it too much” he’ll say to the waiter clearing our empty plates. Half the time they get it, half the time they don’t but he always takes the chance and I actually do think it’s funny.

What I’m trying to say is go to Bianca. Now! Run! No, seriously speaking take your time but get there at 5pm when they open because it will be packed with people by 6pm and they don’t take reservations. Or credit cards, cash only. But don’t fret about the cash, as my mom always says as we walk home, “I feel like we just robbed them”.

Rustic Inn and Its World Famous Garlic Crabs

If you’ve ever been to Fort Lauderdale, Florida you probably didn’t go to Rustic Inn but you certainly should have!

It’s a World Famous Crab House with World Famous Garlic Crabs. I know, I know, this ‘World Famous’ adjective gets thrown around a lot in the restaurant Business (Elf scene comes to mind) but it really is the greatest crab related food I’ve had. I’ve only ever gone with family, in large groups and wouldn’t go any other way. It’s a place you go when you know you want to get your hands dirty. Don’t even try to check your phone because you won’t be able to (And if you do your phone will feel/smell like crab for a long time). Also it’s very hard to hold the cup of whatever it is you’re drinking so make sure to place your drink near by and ask for multiple straws. You will understand when it’s happening.

We have always stuck to ordering the Garlic Crabs in overwhelmingly large quantities with a couple of Ceaser Salads and Loraine’s Famous Linguini to share. I’m sure everything on the menu is great – but why fix something that’s not broken (Is that how the saying goes?).

One of my favorite parts of eating at Rustic Inn is using my eating utensils as hammers for some good ol’ noise making. Every so often you will hear an announcement: Birthday, Engagement, Graduation, a Lottery Win, whatever! All you need to do once the speaker comes on is find as many hammers as possible and begin slamming the table. Hard. I’m not sure why I love this so much but ugh, it’s good.

One last thing, please do wear your apron that is kindly provided by the wait staff. Have your friends/family/significant other help you tie it or do it your self if you can but do use it. You’ll need it, I promise. If crab meat isn’t flying toward your beautiful white shirt from the person to the front, right or left it’s coming from the table next to you or across the gorgeous back porch you’re sitting in. Actually, I recommend asking for two aprons: one facing the front, one for the back.

Good luck!