Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Casa Mono, NYC + 4th Blog Anniversary!

First, let's get this out of the way: Wow, four years of Tuna Toast! Four years ago today, I started this little blog with a post about chocolate macarons, and it's been sporadic postings about food, wine and travel in varying degrees of quality ever since! So thank you to everyone who has ever read this blog, I couldn't have done it without you.

Do any of you "tweet?" I suppose if you know what that means, you do. If you don't, you've either been living under a fairly large rock, or have taken a stand against social networking replacing in-person communication. Although I do, at times, empathize with the latter group, I have joined the masses on Facebook and Twitter and have come to the conclusion that we, as humans, may never have to speak using our voices to anyone ever again. Pretty soon we'll be hugging on Twitter or kissing over Facebook. All you have to do is purchase a lips avatar, and there you go. Virtual kiss, delivered right to your Facebook wall. Smoochie goochies!

Ok, I'm over exaggerating, and I certainly don't want the human race to cease all physical contact with each other. Sure, there are downfalls of social networking, but there are some pretty cool benefits. Case in point: while preparing for my recent trip to the East Coast, I asked the Twitter universe where I should eat in NYC. I did get many good recommendations, but a certain food writer sent me numerous restaurant recs, all via direct messages on Twitter (for those not in the know, a direct message is something intended just for you, not everyone on Twitter). Who was it? Well, none other than Pulitzer Award Winning writer and author Jonathan Gold. In what alternate universe is Jonathan Gold going to see my question, much less answer it? Welcome to Twitter, where stars, well, they are just like us. Take that, US Weekly!

In all seriousness, I felt Mr. Gold was very kind (as he is to many Twits, Twitterers, Tweeters, whatever you want to call us) to answer my query and of course wasted no time in making reservations to Casa Mono, a place he mentioned. J and I were meeting good friends for dinner so we made our way to the small tapas joint which was just a short stroll from our hotel in the East Village.

Casa Mono's menu is quite large, and we decided that each of the four of us would choose two dishes, then we'd share the bounty. My friends K and P ordered the duck egg, foie gras, pork belly and bone marrow. I look at them and say, "Uh, don't you want any veggies?" and K looks at me like I just stole her firstborn baby. "No, WHY?" seemingly exasperated at the horrid thought. What makes it worse is that K and P always look like they stepped out of the pages of a J Crew catalog, all blonde hair, flat tummies, clear skin and perfectly pressed clothes. Disgusting, isn't it? Don't get me wrong- I love eggs, never met a foie I didn't like, everyone on earth loves pork belly and bone marrow is going to be my Last Meal, but I generally try to balance out the fat with something other than more fat. Not to say I didn't toss a phat dish into the ring by ordering the pork croquettas, but I did get the scallions with romesco to add a bit of green, while J went with the scallops and skirt steak. We also all decided to finish off the order with some razor clams. At least they're sort of healthy. Here's the damage:

Duck Egg with Mojama

Veal Cheek Tagine with Sweet Potato Cous Cous

Skirt Steak with Onion Mermelada

Scallops with Blood Oranges and Rainbow Carrots

Scallions with Romesco

Razor Clams a la Plancha

Bone Marrow with Radishes

Foie Gras with Cinco Cebollas

Hudson Valley Pork Croquetas with Green Tomatoes

Crispy Pork Belly and Apple Salad

Everything was muy delicioso, particularly the razor clams which were steamed and swimming around in a mix of garlic, brine and olive oil; and the foie gras which melted on my tongue like good, rich chocolate. The scallions were delicious as well- I'd seen them on the Spain episode of No Reservations and had always wanted to try them- charred scallions are stripped of the black outer layer and served with romesco, a sauce made of roasted red peppers and almonds. We finished off the meal with a cheese plate and some sorbetto.

When you end up with a table filled with empty plates and so many corks that you aren't sure how many bottles of wine you went through, it's the sign of a great night. Thanks to Mr. Gold for the recommendation, and thanks to K and P for teaching me that any friend who insists on ordering pork belly, bone marrow and foie gras together is the best kind of friend a girl could ever have.

4 comments:

Daily Gluttony said...

That looks like a fantastic meal.

Happy 4th Blogiversary, TAG!

Mickey said...

Happy anniversary! :)

Diana said...

Congratulations on your fourth blogoversary! What a perfect post to celebrate it with too! J Gold once DMed me on Twitter and I squealed with excitement. Pretty cool that he is such a down to earth guy.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Yes, Happy Anniversay TT!

I see JG regularly here in Pasadena so I don't even give it a second thought.