The American Non-American food – Betony, New York

New York is officially one of my most favourite cities in the world. It’s difficult to describe, but there’s just this vibe, which it makes it such a fantastic place to visit. The yellow cabs (which increasingly are being taken over by Uber), Manhattan Skyline.. and the Manhattan Skyline!

I’d asked my friend to book a table for lunch, something American I suggested. As I was staying near Central Park, he’d found a place nearby via Opentable. As we were walking towards the restaurant I had images of burgers, ribs and chips crossing my mind .. I wonder what are we going to have? Definitely something with a lot of ketchup, mayo and BBQ sauce.

And then we stepped in to Betony.

I have to say that I had a very pleasant surprise. ‘American’ was not what I had imagined at all. The restaurant looked stylish, with an amazing ceiling that looked like something from 100 years ago. We were seated at a cooled air conditioned room and I was provided with a little chair (!) for my handbag. Such a  wonderful idea I thought.

The whole concept of the restaurant was very different from what I’ve experienced before. To begin with, there was the menu, which consisted of five starters, five mains and five desserts. There was no thorough explanation of each dish, so it was left to the staff to explain the options to us. Before we had to make up our minds we were welcomed with a little amuse bouche of pea mousse, which could be scooped up with a green leaf. It tasted divine and gave us a little taster on what was coming up next.

As a started I chose the ‘Toasted Grains, Labne, Sprouts’. It contained everything that I consider healthy – mix of grains that included quinoa, toasted as well, which brings out the goodness of the grains and makes it easier to digest, labne and sprouts. It was accompanied with bread bun made with dill. I love dill so I had no shame after this meal of goodness to have another bun for my next course.

As a main I chose the seared scallops, stinging nettle and lemon. Again I wasn’t disappointed. The scallops were cooked to perfection and the accompanying sauce fitted beautifully. I believe it’s a good sign in a restaurant when people are actually discussing the food they’re eating and I went as far to take photos of the other main courses that I also had a taste of.

  Below the poached lobster with blood orange and fennel..

  .. and the poached skate wing with snap peas and steelhead roe. I hear that the skate was extremely well cooked and comes highly recommended.

  As both the starter and the main were so healthy, there was no discussion (read guilt) about having a dessert.

Obviously, they were equally as awesome. As I’m a lover of rhubarb, especially during the summer months, I went for the rhubarb, crème fraîche and marjoram. But if you don’t really have a sweet tooth, there’s also the option to have some cheese. Surprisingly was called Hudson Flower Strawberries and Lemon Thyme, so it was actually difficult to figure out on the menu, what it was, however the staff explained it would asking. The wild strawberries with this dish were wonderful. Just like from the forest in the countryside.
 I was very surprised to end up in a restaurant like this in New York, it surpassed all my expectation and if that’s what you call American food, then I love American food. Healthy, tasty and reasonably priced. The lunch menu for two courses is $38 and just an additional $10 to add a the dessert. It’s the kind of food and service you’d expect at a Michelin starred restaurant, so I would hope that Betony will or has been doing very well.

Betony
41 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019

Brighter summer skin: Odacité Wild Carrot Serium

I have been a little bit naughty writing mainly about the food that I’ve recently been eating. So it’s now time to turn to one of my favourite bits of my daily facial routine – seriums. There just seems to be this little bit that gives my skin the additional moisture it needs, hopefully helping me look younger for many more years.

  
(the image has been borrowed from Cultbeauty.com)

Odacité Wild Carrot Serium became my favourite instantly after I’d smelled it. The scent of carrot perhaps isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, however it smells divine to me. Just the right mixture of earthy, yet natural and high quality. I base a lot of my views on the scent and at the moment anything natural is exactly my thing. Like the tomato vine perfume at Miller Harris or similarly scented candles at Daylesford to give you an idea.

Odacité wild carrot Serium has been prepared  with highest quality cold pressed wild carrot seed oil and also contains vitamin E. It has been prepared in a French village where the same method has been used for 200 years.

I love the way the serium is applied, by mixing it with a daily moisturiser. Since I’ve been using it, for around a month, my skin has definitely started showing signs of glowing proved by compliments from my hubster. The serium is all natural, vegan and cruelty free, which comes as an added bonus.

I will be buying another bottle once this one is finished, however might only use it has a special treat as the price of £45 for 5ml bottle makes it just that.

Gumbo Gallery New Orleans Supper Club in London

Quite a few months ago, when I was looking for some different restaurants to visit before my trip to Paris I stumbled onto a website called Eatwith.com. It’s not a website for restaurants, but an opportunity to ‘dine beyond restaurants.’ It features chefs from 150+ cities, however only 4% of all the chefs interviewed by the website have been accepted.

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I spotted a funky supper club called the Gumbo Gallery and finally managed to try it out last week. Gumbo Gallery is run by Nataleigh, bubbly and friendly girl from Louisiana. She was also a great host throughout the evening and thoroughly explained the dishes and a few stories about Louisiana. I learnt that the stories I’ve heard of people floating around in rubber boats on rivers and drinking beer is indeed what they do.

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The dinner was served at a lovely secret venue in central London, which you shall receive just before the event.

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We were welcomed with a cocktail Pardon my Peaches with peach vodka, Lillet Rouge, fresh peach juice, lemon juice and spices, which is currently trending in New Orleans.

After a little chat with fellow diners we were seated and shortly served some New Orleans Cream Tea, cornbread and buttermilk biscuits served with homemade bread and butter pickles, roasted garlic butter and spicy pepper jelly. Have to say that these breads were divine, especially the cornbread. Unbelievable texture and spicy flavour.
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This was then followed by Gumbo and rice rich and spicy Cajun stew with mushrooms, gumbo file and mixed grains. All vegetarian I have to say. It was very filling, so it was actually very tricky to have some space for next dish.

IMG_20150529_194610Fried tofu a southern tasting plate of grits, which is basically New Orleans version of polenta, smothered greens, pimento mac and cheese, fried tofu, roasted pecans and chill herb pistou sauce. There you go, a lot of choice and little bits to eat. I didn’t finish all of it though as I was very much looking forward to the dessert..

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.. which was strawberry lemonade cake with homemade strawberry lemon jam and strawberry cream cheese frosting. It was very tasty and quite light. A sort of feel good cake I would say.

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Coffee and Chicory, which is a root of a plant grown and harvested much like sugar beets, finished our evening.

If you are a vegetarian or looking at something different to do, then I would really recommend dining at Nataleigh’s. However, is you’re a meat lover, you might crave for something else.  I’m really glad I went, still cannot forget the taste of spicy New Orleans cornbread… mm.

Afternoon tea at Dean Street Townhouse

Afternoon tea is something I always thought is such an English thing to do. The same way I thought many years ago that everyone in England drinks tea, visits castles and drives around in a Mini Cooper. Well, imagine my surprise when I landed in Newcastle in the North of England for my first trip on this island finding people drink Newcastle Brown Ale, go to St James’ to watch football and no not all of them drove around in Mini Coopers.

After 10 years of living here, I finally had a chance to try out the afternoon tea at Dean Street Townhouse. For £19.50 you get a wonderful selection of finger sandwiches, scones and fancy cakes and a pot of tea of your choice. For Central London, it’s a pretty good deal.

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Even if the cakes look a little tiny, they are just the right size for sharing and nibbling those took us more than 3 hours. Incredible how fast time passes when girls are having a good old chat.

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The townhouse itself has a great atmosphere, I’d imagine it being especially cosy on a cold winter day. The people look trendy-glamorous and the vibe of the place is relaxed, and just enough sophisticated.

Not bad for the first afternoon tea.