Riverpark - My Featured Restaurant for March

Riverpark - a new Tom Colicchio restaurant is in a random NYC location, but well worth the venture out.

I visited this gem during its soft open, again during a major blizzard, another time for the lunch crowd and yet again with baby-in-tow for a family night out. 4 out of 4 times, we had a great meal and service was also just as commendable.

Even their Restaurant Week menu didn't disappoint -like so many do during this "get 'em in and out" promotion. Talk about a pleasant surprise.

For starters, (and I say that with a quirky smirk since that's really not pun-ny!) -the appetizers are terrific. Even their potato chips... yes, potato chips! They are served with a Gorgonzola-based dip that is so yummy, I am salivating like a rabid dog thinking about them!

The seasonal butternut squash soup is also approachable and has been a welcome addition to the table on a cold winter's day/night. (We've had a lot of those in the city this year!)

I've made a point of working my way through all of the pasta dishes on the menu. 3 out of the 4 times they were perfect. Only the last time when I ordered the short rib ravioli, they were a tad too al dente. In fact, I'd say they were undercooked... but they still (yes! still!) had flavor.

I've also sampled the duck. That was really perfection. It was very delicate and simply delicious; the trumpet mushrooms were paired well with the dish.

The atmosphere is inviting -once you're indoors. First, you have to FIND the restaurant. Then you walk into a convention-center-looking abode before getting to the entrance. The lighting behind the bar area does really funky things to my optical lenses -and I do not wear glasses, contact lenses or a moniker. I just get a little dizzy when looking at the lights too often. So the cure: don't look too long and maybe get a table that faces away from the light show.

Don't misunderstand, as the interior is welcoming and has a bit of cool funkiness to it -but for me, personally, it makes my eyes go wild when I am staring into the space for too long. Just sayin'.

Wait staff and front of the house personnel are also very good and attentive. They smile and act like they really care.

I'm going back soon to try the Rack of Lamb or maybe they'll have another pasta special to sample (because pasta always wins out in my book!), but first, the potato chips must be served.

You won't be disappointed to check out Riverpark. It's a big win for Tom Colicchio and the surrounding neighborhood.You know, as Charlie Sheen would say, "Winning!"

Annoyances: A Sound-Off

It seems to be a trend: parents in public places not knowing how to properly discipline their children while dining and thinking that going out is an excuse for an episode of "Kids Gone Wild" at a table near you. UGH. I hate those parents.

And through Twitter, I had people respond to my previous blog posting about just this issue, too. (BTW, are you following me? @NYCfoodieblog) I can't believe there hasn't been some sort of public uprising about this very bad parenting problem. I know Dr. Phil needs more material....

Anyway, I thought I'd do some more sharing....although it's not all about food, I thought I'd discuss some other general annoyances with you. So... here we go....

Ten Random Things That Annoy Me (on any given day, not in order of preference - and by no means is this a definitive list....):

1. Buffets. Two words: Sneeze Guard. I don't want to eat at a restaurant that has an all-you-can-gorge kind of atmosphere - ever - much less, just the fact that someone INVENTED something called Sneeze Guard is enough to make me vomit just a little when I think about it.

2. Mosquitos flying around my room when it is late at night -you don't know where they are but you can hear them buzzing by your ears! (I had the book, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears as a young girl... it annoyed me then, too.)

3. Anything song that features Mariah Carey... I pray for the day that her vocal chords just come to a complete stop.

4. Pompous people with too much money -it's one thing to be rich. It's another to be an ass about it.

5. Powdered cheese. (WHY?! We're not astronauts that need to eat freeze-dried food. I also don't need cheese that is artificially colored with Red #32. Just curious - what's wrong with FRESH and/or natural cheese?)

6. Seamonkeys. Not from the sea when you hatch them in your aquarium at home. Not monkeys.

7. Hangnails. Ouch.

8. Lines to get in (restaurants, theme parks, banks, theatres, etc.)... just because the English refer to them as "queues" does not make it any more charming to be standing around waiting for your turn. I'm just not a patient person. That's why some theme parks with the Fast Pass or VIP pass system really get my money right up front... I'm paying to cut in line. No waiting and getting a sunburn.

9. Children without proper supervision (or the ones who cry incessantly while others are trying to eat, or while at the movies - just children in general with parents who act like they are living in oblivion). I already talked about this, but feel free to vent or post comments about what to do with the offending parents at will. For example, I propose that we bring back public flogging for bad parenting.

10. Stale crackers or cookies. If I am in the mood for some Chicken in a Biscuit and the LAST person didn't close the package the proper, seal-tight way.... ARGH! I've tried to ignore a stale cracker and tell myself that it was just fine.... but I knew that wasn't right. Nothing's worse than a stale Chicken in a Biscuit.

Venturing Out Again... (The Hibernation Period Has Finally Ended!)

Hibernating for too long when you're a food blogger is like putting food for too long under the warming light... Just not a good thing to do. Ever.

But I have a really good excuse. Yes, I said, "Excuse." Pardon me for having a baby!

Really - it was quite the feat. I'm proud of me. I'm also proud of my husband, my doctors, nurses and anyone who had to deal with me the past few months.

I was no fun, had a bad, limited diet (because OH! Guess who had Gestational Diabetes in December when food really gets good and interesting?!) and was so big, I no longer could sit comfortably in a restaurant's banquette. And I LIKE sitting on the benches instead of a chair -any day. Trust me.

I was not a case of misery loves company. I was simply miserable and wanted to be left alone with my really bad sugar-free cookies, decaffeinated beverages and modified Atkin's diet-based existence. It was major suckage.

But now it's over. And we're actually venturing out of the apartment -and back into restaurants that have good food rather than be slaves to delivered food from the local sushi or burger joints.

And don't fret: we will continue to dine in good locales in spite of new parenthood. Taking the baby out now and getting him used to haute cuisine and how to behave in some of NYC's finest restaurants is paramount to our very livelihood.

We are also responsible parents who believe that children, of all ages, need to know how to behave while dining and in public spaces. Screaming, unruly children annoy the hell out of me. I don't want one of "those" children... or to have "that" kind of lifestyle. We need to ensure the child behaves, and not put that job upon the other diners, waitstaff or random people on the street.... as WAY too many people do, too often, IMHO. (As a general rule, I'll be frank: I really do not like other peoples' children... at least, when they are psychotic, screaming and/or acting like little brats while I am trying to enjoy an outing of any sort. Watch your own kids, people! The world is not your unpaid babysitter!)

Anyway... I digress....

I'll tell you about our first adventure to Riverpark very soon. Promise.

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