Tag Archive | Food

Brasserie 8 1/2 Scores a 10 For Fine Dining in NYC!

View of Atrium Lounge from Dining Room
All Photos By Gail

A commitment to enjoying life in Manhattan means taking advantage of the many finer things that New York City has to offer. One of those fine things is visiting unique restaurants where you can linger over a delicious meal in a relaxed and beautiful setting, with gracious service that elevates you from the daily grind, and creates a memorable experience. Because you only live once! Recently, the Worley Gig was invited to dine at Brassiere 8/12, a true hidden gem in the heart of midtown: and when we say hidden, we mean it, as the restaurant is tucked away just below street level in the famous Solow Building on West 57th Street (you know, the one with the big red 9 out front)!

Brasserie 8 1/1 View from Street

Just enter through the revolving door and follow the spiral steps down the your destination, where a lovely evening awaits you!

View Down to Lounge

While our visit to Brasserie 8 /12 was all about tasting the excellent French cuisine of Chef Franck Deletrain, my dinner date and I were instantly charmed by the restaurant’s classy-cool décor.  The Solow Building was built in the mid-70s and the décor pays homage to that distinctive era of design . If Mad Men had taken place in the ’70s, you might have seen this place used for more than a few 3-Martini-Lunch location shoots! Please enjoy our many interior shots, along with highlights of the food we enjoyed on or visit!

Front Bar

Whether you’re enjoying a cocktail while waiting for your party to arrive, or  having after-work drinks, there’s lots of room in the spacious cocktail lounge/bar area to sip or sup. Take a seat at the bar, grab a small table or sit back and relax on a plush leather sofa. You won’t be waiting long before a friendly waitress arrives to take your drink order, and they also have an appetizing bar food menu with items to please a range of palates. Happy Hour, which includes a $1.00 Oyster Special, runs weeknights from 4:30 to 7:30 PM.

View of Dining Room from Front

Extending naturally from the circular, atrium-like anterior lounge area, the dining room maintains an  expansive feel, and the open stairway design adds light and warmth to the space. Already a popular spot for a midtown Business Lunch, Brasserie 8 1/2 is an absolutely ideal date destination.

Booth View

Along with well-spaced, round tables (for ease of conversation)  the many large booths are luxuriously comfortable and spacious enough for party of four to enjoy lots of elbow room. The  booths also offer more privacy for business discussions or cozy encounters, but a mirror mounted high on the wall adds a sense of openness.

And now to the food!

Royal Bourgeois Cocktail
Royal Bourgeois Cocktail

The first order of business is the cocktail order, and we started off with the special Cocktail of the Day, the Royal Bourgeois. Made with 2 ounces of run, orange juice, sparkling wine and a little grenadine for color, it tastes as good as it looks: fruity, tropical, and very potent! The bartender creates a different off-menu cocktail each day, so be sure to ask what he has concocted on the day of your visit!

BYOB Lobster Dinner
Click Image to Enlarge for Detail

For Lobster lovers, Brasserie 8  1/2 offers a BYOB Lobster Dinner on Sunday and Monday nights, which includes your choice of appetizer and a main course (each featuring lobster prepared in a unique way way) for just $45 per person. Bring your own bottle of wine and enjoy no corkage fee! Additional sides and desserts are not included in the price, but with the cash you save on drinks, you can afford to splurge!

There is also a regular Prix Fixe menu, which is very reasonably priced at $42, that includes three courses. I liked the look of that, while my dining companion chose to order à la carte from an extensive array of Angus Beef steaks and French specialties.

Mushroom Soup

While we waited for our appetizers, we were served a delightful amuse-bouche of creamy Mushroom Soup!

Asparagus Risotta

My appetizer was a rich Asparagus Risotto with Tomatoes, Black Truffle Essence and a generous shaving of Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. It was excellent.

White Asparagus

My friend chose the White Asparagus appetizer ($17.00) featuring tender steamed white asparagus, Chanterelles Mushrooms, a tiny Fromage Blanc Flan, and a very generous portion of slice Smoked Duck in a flavorful broth. I snagged a slice of the duck, which was perfectly cooked, juicy and tender with a tantalizingly crispy skin! This is a very hearty starter which you might even order to share.

Filet Prix Fixe

It is true that I can never resist a prime cut of meat, so I had to choose the Filet Mignon au Poivre Vert: a Roasted 6-ounce Petit Filet, served with  Bordelaise Sauce, Potato Lyonnaise and possibly the most delicious Green Asparagus I have enjoyed to date. When it comes to scrumptious tenderness, it is hard to go wrong with a filet, but that does not mean that meat quality is to be taken for granted, and Brasserie 8 1/2 serves only prime, grass-fed Angus beef. So good! This entree can be ordered accompanied by a Half Lobster on the prixe fix menu for an additional $12.

10 Ounce Filet

For the serious red meat craving, choose a generous 10-ounce Filet Mignon au Poivre ($45.00) which comes with Pommes Frites and Béarnaise Sauce. Brasserie 8 1/2  is famous for this french fries, which have a reputation as being among the best in New York, but when our waitress overheard my dining companion mention that she was counting calories, she  cheerfully offered the option of  substituting a salad for the fries, which was very accommodating and much appreciated. (I will have to order those fries for myself on a future trip!)

Field Greens with Oranges
A Field Green Salad with Fresh Citrus

Macaroni and Cheese

I also could not resist ordering a side Macaroni & Cheese with Truffle Butter ($8.00), which is a steak house go-to side dish for me.  Served straight for the oven, all golden brown and crunchy on top, tender and creamy inside, this Mac & Cheese is made with small shell pasta, which cradles the creamy sauce for an extra rich flavor. This side is sized to share, but since I was with a calorie counter, I got to take half of it home to be enjoyed the following evening. It was amazing!

Tarte Tatin

For my dessert, I chose the classic French Tarte Tatin, made with generous layers of  tart Granny Smith Apples in a delicate Puff Pastry, a Caramel Drizzle garnish, and Caramel Ice Cream on the side. This dessert manages to be both light and decadent!

Pear Tart

Even though I suspected I would be eating it by myself,  I couldn’t resist ordering a second dessert, which was the Pear Tartelette ($9), baked on an ultra-rich Almond Frangipane filling (so delicious), also drizzled with Caramel and served a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. If you are fan of any dessert flavored with almonds, this is the choice for you. I did end up enjoying all but two bites of it at home the next night, and I am still thinking about it.

Table Scape with Glass Mural
The Restaurant is Filled with Lots of Cool Art, Including This Glass Mural at the Rear of the Dining Room Depicting Marlon Brando from the film The Wild One

Rear Bar
The Dining Room Has its Own Bar as Well!

We had a wonderful evening at Brasserie  8 1/2 and, while it is not in my neighborhood, I will be adding this plaice to my list of preferred dining destination in the future, for sure. Their Sunday Buffet Brunch is also garnering rave reviews on Yelp, so we may have to plan a return visit to check that out sooner rather than later!

Front of Restaurant

Brasserie 8 1/2 is located downstairs at 9 West 57th St (in the famous Solow Building) between 5th and 6th Avenues in New York City. Phone 212-829-0812 for reservations or visit them on the web at This link!

Table Top with Menu

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Product Review: Rudi’s Organic Bread!

Loaves of Rudis Bread
All Photos By Gail

Do you like bread? I sure do, and I am fortunate to have no intolerance to wheat flour, so I can eat all the bread I want – yay! I recently met up with folks from Rudi’s Organic Bakery at an Editor Showcase press event here in the City, and they sent me four varieties of their delicious organic bread (pictured above, lounging comfortably on my duvet) to review for you on The Gig! Here are my findings.

Rudis Whole Wheat Bread

Rudi's Whole Wheat Bread Detail
Rudi’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread: See The Goodness

Rudi’s 100% Whole Wheat has cracked the code on cracked wheat bread! This classic bakery treat blends whole wheat flour with a hint of molasses: an old world recipe that’s become a modern favorite!

Tuna Sandwich on Whole Wheat
Tuna Salad Sandwich on Rudi’s 100% Whole Wheat Toast: A Crowd Pleaser!

Rudis Honey Sweet Whole Wheat
Rudi’s Honey Sweet Whole Wheat

For added variety, Rudi’s Honey Sweet Whole Wheat is lightly sweetened with organic honey. All Rudi’s breads stay fresh in the bag for about two weeks, but can be refrigerated and defrosted slice by slice as needed with no loss of quality and taste — convenient!

Rudi's Soft Wheat Kids Bread
Rudi’s Soft Wheat Kids Bread

We have already established that I like bread, but do you know who really likes bread? Kids. Kids love bread. But sometimes, they can be a bit finicky, like wanting the crusts cut off the sandwich and blah blah blah, kids! Do you know that I once watched a Wonder Bread sandwich actually melt in the sun? Yes, it happened. Point being: There is a fine line between bread made to appeal to children, and Bread Not Found in Nature. Fortunately, back in 2015, Rudi’s introduced a Kids Bread that gets everything right.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Soft Wheat
Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Soft Wheat Kids Bread

Rudi’s is the first nationally available organic bread specifically for kids, made with simple organic ingredients that you might find in your own kitchen. Available in both white and wheat varieties, Rudi’s Organic Bakery Kids Bread is unique to the market. And it’s important know that the recipe for this incredibly soft and fluffy bread was developed to appeal to parents as well as kids. It is my favorite bread for sandwiches. When grilled for the traditional favorite, Grilled Cheese, the wheat bread takes on an irresistible nutty flavor that will make kids go insane.

Rudi's Soft White Kids Bread

Rudis White Kids Bread
Rudis Soft White Kids Bread in its Natural State

To be made on Rudi’s White or Wheat Kids Bread  is every sandwiches’ dream !

Rudis White Kids Bread Toast

Rudis Soft White Kids Bread is also my go-to bread for the most delicious toast!

Find out more about the family of quality products of Rudi’s Organic Bakery, including where to find them in your area, and get a money-saving coupon on your purchase, at This Link!

Gangnam Style Dumpling Korean BBQ Beef

Gangnam Style Dumpling 1
All Photos By Gail

After seeing a play on Saturday evening, Geoffrey and I walked by this Asian take-out place in the Times Square Adjacent / Theater District and I just had to stop and take a picture of their window ads, featuring a cartoon version of Psy, singer of the worldwide, viral hit “Gangam Style” from a few years back. Psy is pimping what looks like a pretty serious soup dumpling.

Gangnam Style Dumpling 2

I couldn’t tell you if these dumplings are any good, as we did not stop to sample them. If you’re intrigued enough to try and find it, the restaurant is on the west side of 8th Avenue in the vicinity of 45th and 46th Streets. Sadly, I did not catch its name.

Delicious New Products from Bumble Bee Tuna!

Bumble Bee Tuna New Products
All Photos By Gail, Except Where Noted

Warmer weather is finally here, and it’s time to start planning lighter meals as we move towards summer, which will arrive any minute! Tuna is surely a favorite food that many have been eating since childhood, but there are lots of new ways to enjoy tuna besides the familiar tuna salad sandwich. Bumble Bee has just introduced several new products to its line of top quality albacore tuna, which are ideal for easy snacks and light lunches, and as key ingredients in hot or cold summer entrees. Let’s take a look at what’s new on the supermarket shelf!

Cheesy Tuna Melt Snack

Bumble Bee’s Snack on The Run line of ready-to- eat snack kits introduces a new flavor, Cheesy Tuna Melt, which will appeal to both kids and adults.

Cheesy Tuna Melt Out of The Box

Cheesy Tuna Melt Snack includes a 3.35 ounce can of cheesy tuna salad with pickle relish that kids can safely and easily open. The kit includes a small spoon for scoopig the tuna onto 6 buttery round crackers for a no mess, tasty snack or school lunch. Everything you need is in the kit, for minimal fuss. It is literally a grab-and-go snack!

Cheesy Tuna Melt Serving Suggestion

Behold: My very tasty Cheesy Tuna Melt on Crackers light lunch that I enjoyed while working at my computer. There was still more tuna in the can when I took this photo!

Cheesy Tuna Melt Sandwich

You could also enjoy this Cheesy Tuna Melt sandwich on toast!

Lemon Sesame Ginger Tuna

Bumble Bee also has line of seasoned tuna varieties that come conveniently sealed in a pouch, with a spoon included! You can enjoy this flavorful Tuna — the one I tried was seasoned with fresh Lemon, Ginger and Sesame — right from the pouch, or use it as the main ingredient in a healthy Mediterranean or Asian themed sandwich, wrap or salad.

Pesto Tuna in Olive Oil

If you wish that making a fresh and delicious dinner from scratch was as easy as opening a can, may I introduce you to Bumble Bee’s new Prime Filet Albacore Tuna with Pesto and Olive Oil! Mangia!

Pesto Tuna Angel Hair Pasta
Image Source

This decadent looking Pesto Tuna Angel Hair Pasta (Recipe Here) is fifteen minutes from prep to plate!

Find out more about the Bumble Bee family of fine seafood products, and get easy and innovative recipes that feature Bumble Bee Tuna at This Link!

Cooking With Gail Presents: Amira Smoked Basmati Rice!

Amira Smoked Basmati Rice
All Photos By Gail

Do you like Rice? I sure do. I especially love fragrant, long grain  Basmati Rice from India. India! Seriously, it is the most delicious rice. Maybe you have shied away from making Basmati Rice in your home due to the additional required preparatory steps — such as rinsing, and then soaking the rice prior to cooking  — which can seem a bit daunting if you are used to the no fuss approach of throwing rice in a pan with some water, bringing it to a boil, and then forgetting about it for 40 minutes, which is a no-brainer.  I understand how you feel.

Amira Smoked Basmati Rice

But when you break it down, Basmati Rice preparation and cooking time takes maybe 10 minutes longer than traditional rice, so it can hardly be argued that it is a vastly longer or more labor intensive process. It just takes a little getting used to. I was recently sent a package of Amira brand Smoked Basmati Rice and I had fun making it and taking pictures of the process so you can see  that you don’t need to be scared to try something new. Come along and let’s have a little culinary adventure, shall we?

Basmati Rice Prep

Besides a spoon and a pan to cook it in, you will need a measuring cup and colander or strainer. Measure the rice (a general guideline is one part rice to two parts water, but the exact directions are printed on the bag so zero guesswork is involved) and pour it into the strainer. Next, run the rice under cold water from the tap for a minute or so, shaking it slightly to expose all grains, which will remove the excess starch.

Soaking Rice

That was fun, right? It gets better. Now transfer the rinsed rice to the pan and cover with water. Set a kitchen timer, or keep an eye on the clock, for 25 to 30 minutes while the rice soaks. You can either do prep on other parts of the meal during this time, or watch TV or play Words With Friends, which is something I enjoy doing.

Basmati Rice is a long grain rice by nature, but there is a very noticeable quality difference with Amira’s Premium Rice, which is extra long grain.  Amira smoked basmati rice is an all natural extra long grain rice, which is smoked in the ancient Persian tradition, resulting in an aromatic, smoky rice.

Once the rice is done soaking, drain it, and then add it back the pan with two cups of fresh water, bring to a boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat and cook for ten minutes. While the rice cooks, your kitchen may smell like you are baking a ham, but don’t be alarmed. After ten minutes, turn the heat off, move the pan to a cool burner and let it rest for ten more minutes. When you remove the lid, the rice will look something like this:

Amira Cooked Rice

Oh my, isn’t that beautiful! You can’t really tell from this photo, but the rice grains are so long that you may even freak out a little. It is really quite extraordinary.

Meal on a Tray

Here is a photo of my delicious and super easy-to-prepare single ladies dinner of two Trader Joe’s Masala vegetarian burger patties and huge pile of fluffy Smoked Basmati Rice, seasoned with little salt and some butter, because I love butter on my rice. What I discovered is that, after cooking, the smoke essence remains more in the fragrance than the actual flavor of the rice. So you do not need to be afraid that the rice will have a harsh, overly smoky, or meaty taste. It will just taste like delicious rice. Find out more about the Amira brand at Amira Dot Net.

Amira Rice Serving Suggestion

Jubilee French Restaurant: C’est Si Bon!

jubilee-french-restaurant-logo
Above Image Courtesy of Jubilee, All Other Photos By Anne Raso.

Do you like French food? I sure do. Recently, I was invited to dine with a couple of friends at Jubilee, an authentic French eatery that’s just a short trip up First Avenue from my east village flat. Owned and operated by Eric Macaire, head chef Luc Holie (formerly of the late, great L’Absinthe) and his amicable wife Ilda (the couple hail from Montpelier and Paris, respectively),  Jubilee is a neighborhood gem whose warmly decorated interior is elegant while remaining comfortable, cozy and charming. I felt welcome right away.

Jubilee has a huge following for its fresh Mussels (Moules), prepared with your choice of  sauces including Marinière, Curry, Poulette, Catalane, Dijonnaise, Citronnée, Tomato Basil, Asian and Calvados (or choose  a trio of sauces). Mussels are served ala carte for $17 or with French Fries or Salad for $23.50. Keep that in mind if you have friends who are mussels fans!

Enjoy these photos of our menu choices!

Terrine de Foie Gras

As a first course, I enjoyed the Terrine de Foie Gras de Canard avec Compote de Fruit ($19), Chef Luc’s Homemade Terrine of Duck Foie Gras with a Balsamic Reduction and Fruit Chutney. The generous portion of this buttery Foie Gras is ultra creamy and mild, with the tart balsamic presenting  a nice flavor counterpoint. The bright sweetness of the fruit chutney is also nice complement, and adds welcome texture. This dish is very rich and I suggest sharing so as not to dampen your appetite for your main course.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Both of my dining companions ordered the Salade de Tomates d’Heritage avec Mozzarella et Vinaigrette au Balsamique ($13). This fresh  Heirloom Tomato Salad with Mozzarella and Balsamic Dressing arrives drizzled extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with fresh basil, with a toasted baguette “crouton” garnish.

Striped Bass

Fish lovers might enjoy the Loup de Mer aux Tagliatelles de Courgettes, Bouillon de Tomate Séchée ($29), Striped Bass, Zucchini Tagliatelles and Sundried Tomato Broth. The fish arrives with a gorgeous, browned crispy skin!

Black Angus Steak

Meat lovers have plenty to choose from on Jubilee’s extensive menu. The Steak de “Black Angus”($35) is a Grass Fed 10 oz Black Angus Steak, served with French Fries and Salad, with  choice of Green Peppercorn or Bearnaise Sauce. One of my friends chose to substitute her fries for a side of fresh sauteed  Brussels Sprouts, as she was watching her carbs. The requested, off-menu substitution was made with a smile!

Côte de Boeuf

Take a look at this luscious Côte de Boeuf ($40), a Grass Fed 14 oz Rib-Eye Steak, which was my entree. Also served with French Fries, Salad and a choice of Green Peppercorn or Bearnaise Sauce, we asked for both sauces and shared them. Divine! The meat was perfectly marbled with an excellent exterior char, and the crispy french fries were plentiful. The classic French bistro meal of Steak Frites surely does not get better than this.

Profiteroles

I finished off a very satisfying meal with a favorite French dessert that was too tempting to resist: Profiterolles au Chocolat ($11), a trio of perfect profiteroles, consisting of ultra-light and delicate choux pastry balls filed with vanilla ice cream, garnish with toasted almonds, and served with a dish of warm chocolate sauce to drizzle over the top. So indulgent! Other delectable desserts on the menu include Molten Chocolate Cake with Caramel Ice Cream ($11), Classic Crème Brulée with Cointreau ($10), and a delicious baked dessert made with fresh berries, Gratin de Framboises (Raspberry Gratin) for $11, among many more sweet choices.

Cheese Plate

For those with not so much of a sweet tooth, Jubilee offers a cheese plate with your choice of three cheeses, accompanied by sliced fruit, nuts, field greens and an assortment of homemade breads — which would almost be ideal as a light lunch or afternoon snack! At the end of our meal, we were also presented with a small plate loaded with tiny homemade Madeleine cakes, still warm from the oven and dusted with confectioners’ sugar – what a very special treat!

Jubilee has an extensive menu with dishes to please every palate. They also host a popular weekend Boozy Brunch ($28.50) that I would love to try with a few friends. I’m excited to have discovered Jubilee,  my new go-to place to enjoy all of my favorite French dishes and great service! Bon appetite!

Jubilee is located at 948 First Avenue (at 52nd Street) in Manhattan. Phone: 212-888-3569. For reservations, menus, and more information, visit This Link!

Ridiculous Super Bowl Party Dessert: The Snickers Cheeseball


Okay, I admit that the idea of a Snickers Cheeseball is kind of, well, gross, until you see what goes into it, and how super easy it is to make. And then, it gets kind of exciting don’t you think? Also, I bet it tastes delicious. If you end up making this for your Super Bowl party, or whatever, leave me a comment and tell me how it came out.

Snickers Cheeseball

Thanks to Delish for the Tip!