Eating With a View

“Did I shut the refrigerator door after getting a late night snack?” is a question you might have asked yourself tonight. “Does eating with a view really make a meal better?” is another question you may not have asked yourself but is more relevant to this post.

I recently took a trip to Queenstown, New Zealand. Queenstown is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. There’s almost nothing to do but admire the breathtaking scenery ( well, except for all those action adventure sports). Don’t believe me? Fly to New Zealand and try to find a view that is not beautiful then come back here so I can virtually slap you silly and say “I told you so”!

On our last day of the trip we decided to finally go up the Skyline Gondola. We mostly wanted to experience the Luge Adventure but decided to make a day out of it and have lunch up there as well. Everything was beautiful: the gondola ride up, the views, the luge track, the company, the weather. Then we skimmed the lunch menu of the Skyline restaurant, not the nice one inside that cost $$$$$, but the one with the limited menu of hamburger, chicken tenders and fish and chips that still costs lots of $$$$. That should have been a sign.

Now, I never ever want to be Negative Nancy on here so this post isn’t about critiquing the food. The point of this post is that I barely realized how bad the food was, I barely even realized I was eating for that matter. I was having a grand ol’ time with the view, and my corona, and my sweater, and my boyfriend and the laugher and the luge and the music, and I blame it all on the view. There is no way you are able to complain about anything, especially food, when you are looking out into such wonderfulness.

Since then, I have started to (kind of) understand the restaurants that charge insane amounts of money for food, but deliver average plates. In my opinion a view helps make anything worth “it” (whatever it may be!), even if “it” is bad for your wallet and enemies with your taste buds.

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”.

Cookie Dough & Oreo & Brownie Yumminess

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Thanks to Netflix my roommate and I were hosting a marathon of “Ally McBeal” for ourselves (everyone should do this at some point, boys not excluded). We were up to the episode where you realize that Ally and Billy with never, ever be together. Yes, I know. We liked Georgina too but Ally and Billy were meant to be! Needless to say, depression set in. But being that I am from the Gen Y generation I was already browsing through the Pinterest Food and Drink section. Almost instantly I saw it. The only thing I knew would make us feel better after yet another meant-to-be-couple parted ways: a Cookie Dough and Oreo and Brownie Yumminess.
All you need to make it is cookie dough, Oreos and brownie mix. Easy!

We made our cookie dough from scratch (only because we were too lazy go to the supermarket) but anything works!

Note: Yes, we had Oreos and Brownie Mix just lying around the apartment.

Now, the process took less than 10 minutes total and is as easy as the steps below.

1. Butter the pan or Pam it, whichever you like best!

2. Make the Brownie Mix and keep it separated from everything else.

3. Place the sticky Cookie Dough on the bottom and spread it all out.

4. Strategically place the Oreos (we went with the classic) one by one, perfectly in line, as close to each other as possible so you fit more. Not one bit should be Oreoless!

5. Pour the Brownie mix on top. Beautiful, it’s beautiful!

6. If your roommate is like mine, at this moment he/she/it will try to stick their fingers in the mix while you’re pouring. Don’t let them! Not because it’s gross but because it’s not fair that you can’t do it also.

6. Take a picture of the “Before”.

7. Put a mitten on (safety first) and place the pan in the oven, I put it at 250 for 15 minutes but I like mine half-cooked. I know, I’m outrageous!

8. Wait around and do something super fun. Or be a grown up and start the dishes.

9. Bring the mountain of a dessert out of the oven, take an “After” picture and enjoy!

Be forewarned – it’s definitely too much food. Your tummy will hurt if you eat more than one square piece. But making it is definitely worth that one hot, slimy but at the same time hard dream of a dessert. Bring the left over to work the next day and you will get brownie points guaranteed (pun intended). You are very welcome!

 

For All the Valentine’s Days to Come

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You may have seen this beautiful picture above and thought to yourself ‘Oh, what a beautiful gesture Bianca made for her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. He’s so lucky to have her’.

You have my permission to go on thinking this if you wish, but you are just a little bit wrong. I didn’t make this. I wish I would have. What a marvellous thing to wake up to. I should get credit for trying though. I couldn’t find a gosh darn heart stencil anywhere even though I feel like I see them everywhere when I don’t need one. There’s always next year, and the year after that, and the following one after that!