Murray’s Cheese Bar

Since moving to NYC, I have grown to develop a terrible appreciation for 3 things that never used to be in my diet: burgers, pizza, and cheese. That just made me sound like a heart attack waiting to happen, but I promise that I maintain a pretty healthy lifestyle. Just because I like something doesn’t mean I’ll have it all the time. A cheese bar would have never sounded appealing to me 5 years ago. Now, my ears perk up, and I’m there.

I’ve bought cheese and tried the breakfast sandwiches at Murray’s Cheese before and really enjoyed the experience. Three doors down, they have an actual sit-down restaurant with a delightfully cheesy (heh heh) menu.

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The queso fundido was so delicious. It’s made of 3 different goat cheeses along with chorizo, tomatos, and jalapenos. The degree of yumminess was grossly disproportional to the size of the appetizer. We could have easily demolished two more of these.

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The burger comes with a rarebit cheddar sauce that sounded amazing. Seeing the struggle of trying to decide between the burger or the mac & cheese, they were lovely enough to give us a sampling of the rarebit cheddar sauce despite not ordering the burger. The rarebit cheddar sauce is the real deal though, savory and hearty with a mustardy tang.

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Mac & blue is topped with bacon and crispy fried onions.

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I went the simplest route with the Murray’s melt – grilled cheese with a cup of tomato soup. Perfect for a cold day.

Murray’s Cheese Bar
264 Bleecker St (btw Cornelia & Morton) New York, NY 10014

The Marrow

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2014 annual letter came out in January, and I’ve had it in my to-read folder for a long time. In this letter, Bill and Melinda Gates address 3 common myths about global poverty and aid:

1. Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.
2. Foreign aid is a big waste.
3. Saving lives leads to overpopulation.

I think this is a very well-written and inspirational document that should be circulated to as many people as possible. I know through my small experiences in fundraising for charities and volunteering, that working towards a charitable goal can be frustrating. The question in the back of my mind has always been “Am I actually making a difference?” What I love about this letter is that it is both incriminating in pointing out our shortsightedness and yet encouraging in showing us the life-giving impact that global aid can and does make. Give it a read and send it to all your friends.

Now onto the food part!

The Marrow brings us German and Italian food, representing the two sides of Chef and Owner Harold Dieterle’s heritage. For a restaurant in this price range, they serve a really affordable brunch. If you are not down for spending $40+ on a dinner, brunch is the perfect meal to come and try the food.

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Brioche pain perdu is basically french toast, and it is paired with duck liver mousse, plum compote, and vermont maple syrup. Duck liver mousse and french toast?! Surprisingly, it works! The combination was interesting and yummy. I would say though that the duck liver still had a bit of iron taste to it, which I would prefer it not to have at all. Also, this is a very sweet plate, so for someone like me, it was too much sugar to finish.

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My friend’s choice was steamed eggs with cauliflower creamed kale, gravlax, and grilled bread, and she really liked this dish. The portion size is just the right amount so you don’t feel unbearably full afterwards.

At the end of the meal, they bring out a little dish of homemade cookies, which is a lovely touch evoking all kinds of warm and fuzzies. I wish all restaurants did this.

The Marrow
99 Bank St (btw Hudson St & Greenwich St) New York, NY 10014

Risotteria

Another day. Another cute West Village spot. Risotteria is gluten-free heaven for anyone who needs or likes to stay away from gluten, although that wasn’t what brought me here. I just wanted risotto. Yummy yummy risotto!

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Instead of bread, you get gluten-free breadsticks, which were really crispy and light. They’re even better with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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We weren’t that hungry, so we split an appetizer and entree of meatballs and risotto. The meatballs are pretty hefty and sit in a bed of bolognese sauce.

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For risotto, we opted for the 3 mushroom risotto in chicken stock. The risotto was cooked well, but somone went to town with the salt. I would’ve enjoyed the risotto a lot more otherwise.

 

Risotteria
270 Bleecker St (btw Cornelia St & Morton St) New York, NY 10014

Las Ramblas

There’s nothing like a meal with friends that can cure all bad days, especially when the meal involves tapas.

Las Ramblas is teeny tiny, which is the opposite of what La Rambla actually looks like, but that’s taking the name too literally. The brick walls and candles do their job well in transporting you to the winding alleys of Barcelona. It felt like you were dining outside, perhaps at a sidewalk cafe, enjoying the Spanish breeze.

Service was a bit brusque, but that was quickly forgiven when our pitcher of strawberry sangria came to the table.

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I also had my eye on the Banderillas con Chorizo de Pato…

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…skewers of duck sausage, quail egg, and onions. So cute! I’ve never had duck sausage before, and it was really cool. It tasted like duck but had a sausage consistency, and paired with the egg and onion, this was a perfect bite.

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There was also Chiporones Fritos, basically fried calamari. The sauce was a little sweet and tangy – delicious with the calamari.

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We continued with the seafood pattern with the Escalivada Catalana con Bacalao – salted cod, eggplant, and peppers on top of crunchy crostinis. This was tasty! The cod was great, and the veggies complemented it well. I could’ve eaten more of this for sure.

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Last to come was the Pulpo con patatas – octopus salad with purple potatoes. The purple potatoes were intriguing and very yummy, while the rest of the salad didn’t fare so well. The octopus was extremely salty, while the veggies were tasteless, to the point of me stuffing my mouth with said veggies and gulping down water after eating the octopus. It’s ok though. Nothing a few glasses of sangria can’t fix 😉

Las Ramblas
170 W 4th St (btw Jones St & Cornelia St) New York, NY 10014

Rosemary’s

If I could live in any neighborhood, regardless of cost, it would be West Village. The cute storefronts, cobblestone walkways, and even the confusing geography…so charming. Rosemary’s fits right into the neighborhood. The space is gorgeous, illuminated by strings of fairy lights and big mirrors. When we went in the early evening, light was shining in through the doors, and you can just sit there forever soaking in all the prettiness.

The aesthetics immediately put a smile on my face, and I’m happy to say the food did as well.

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We shared a Caprese Focaccia to start. The foccacia was fluffy and topped off with tomato, basil, and melted mozzarella. Warm and moist with a slight crunch on the crust. I think we both could’ve easily eaten an entire order on our own.

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My friend chose their Spaghetti al Pomodoro – her second time ordering this, which is always a good sign. I took a bite too, and the pasta was perfectly al dente.

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I loved my Orecchiette – little ear-shaped pastas cooked with broccoli rabe, homemade sausage. It’s a really tasty dish, but I think what blew this out of the water for me were the red chili peppers that added a bit of spiciness. The slight heat was like the bow on top, the final pizzazz to this dish.

Rosemary’s
18 Greenwich Ave.(btw Charles St & 10th St) New York, NY 10011