Eat & Tell with Annette Tomei
Winter in NYC with all the layers of turtlenecks, sweaters, scarves, and down-blanket-sized coats give us a certain sense of privilege when it comes to indulging in comfort foods. The girls and I have spent most of the winter pandering to our personal cravings for delicious coziness – snowy days and nights, comfort foods, and winter cocktails – especially the ones that are “bad for you.” And, anyone who reads this regularly knows that I have a particular affection for sexy things that are “bad for me” – especially, but not limited to, bad boy chefs.
Though this past year has been relatively uneventful on a personal level, it has certainly been full of great times, even wild times – and definitely, thanks to great luck in my career sector – full of an endless stream of extremely hot chef-types! Fun as they may be to look at and to play near, they are in the end, for viewing pleasure only and rarely even make it to the daydream-y place that makes a winter afternoon at home so yummy.
Imagine my surprise when a post-Valentine’s Day (or Black Saturday in my world) sojourn outside my normal little universe delivered a belated treat – a sweet secret crush steaming up a cold winter night and inspiring my jaded heart to daydream of delicious indulgences of the most sensual kinds.
So now, I am snuggled up with a glass of Niner Syrah and plenty of time to reminisce about some of my favorite sexy pleasures of this cold winter: stolen kisses; snuggling; guilt-free fantasies – especially the ones that come true… Hmmm…. Daydreaming is one of my favorite indulgences, regardless of what reality holds, daydreams are sexy. Shameless flirting is another wonderful indulgence – ask any bartender… most of them have made a comfortable living from mastering that artful indulgence.
On that note, two of my favorite winter food and drink extravagances are courtesy of some of our favorite NYC bartenders. For the first I don’t even need to bundle up – just slip down the stairs and a long day at work comes to a close. The second is well worth the chilling walk – the calorie burning seems to justify the treat.
The first, the girls and I call the Flaming Dave’s (bourbon or ale) after their creator but their real names are the Red Hot Manhattan (Sazerac, Dolin Vermouth, bitters & lemon) and the Red Hot Ale (Ommegang Abbey Ale, cognac, lemon & orange bitters). These decadent drinks are based on an old-school tavern method from the 17th century of plunging a red-hot poker into a cocktail to warm it up for chilled travelers. David Arnold, the Director of Culinary Technology at The French Culinary Institute, invented a contraption that brings the red-hot poker into the hands of 21st century mixologists. And hints of the aroma of crème brullee into some already tasty cocktails at L’Ecole, the restaurant of the FCI (http://www.frenchculinary.com/lecole.htm).
Once the cocktails are mixed, a 1500+ degree rod is submerged in them frothing the drink like milk for a cappuccino then sending flames shooting out of the glass before it is served to the gasping patrons. (Sound crazy? Reference photo above). No matter who’s making them, the Flaming Dave’s are always a great treat but we are partial to the ones made by adorable barman with the British accent, Gene — isn’t everything’s better with a sexy British accent?
There are no British accents at Daddy-O (http://nymag.com/listings/bar/daddy_o/), but there are hot bartenders, delicious cocktails and the best bar food ever. Not only do I daydream about the sweet, sexy owner of Daddy-O, Daddy Phil, I also spend many a moment fantasizing about his… tater tots. Not your basic high school cafeteria tater tots here – you can taste the love, served steaming hot with a Tabasco-spiked ketchup for additional aphrodisiac kick. The exterior is of perfectly salted crispness. Then, once in your mouth, the rich creaminess takes over. They’re small bites so each one, like a teasing lover, leaves you wanting more.
Fortunately, there are plenty more where they came from – Phil does not disappoint! If you’re looking for more substantial lovin’ from the kitchen, these guys make the best wings this side of the State of New York and quite possibly the best burger as well (and it’s served with tater tots!)
Here are a few of our other favorite NYC indulgences…
- Just a couple blocks from Daddy-O are the best cookies ever at Milk and Cookies http://www.milkandcookiesbakery.com/ (Tina rocks!)
- Macaroni & cheese at Schiller’s Liquor Bar http://www.schillersny.com/
- Anything with pork belly at any of the Momo’s – the devil knows what he’s doing! http://www.momofuku.com/
- decadent pastas and the hottest chef in NYC at Allegretti http://www.allegrettinyc.com
- blow-out steak dinners at Quality Meats http://qualitymeatsnyc.com/
- and last but not least, cupcakes at Sugar Sweet Sunshine http://www.sugarsweetsunshine.com/
Winter has not left us quite yet, so for the cold weeks that remains, my advice to you is this: Whether you are indulging in daydreaming a fantasy or digging into a fantasy bacon cheeseburger, do it with unbridled passion and use both hands.
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