24 November 2008

Hells Kitchen

This weekend was a whirlwind of food and drinking for me... it has been so cold here in NYC this past week but come Saturday afternoon I was ready to explore, even with the biting wind around each corner. A couple spots to note are below.

To start, we stopped off at Empanada Mama on 9th and 51st. I thought it was more of a walk-in counter kinda place but there are tables to sit and have drinks and great food. It was a little brighter than I'd hoped as we were looking for more of the relaxing, loungy atmosphere. The service was fairly quick and very friendly but not until after I ordered their drink special was I informed that they had sangria and a wine list. I much would've preferred the sangria over my concoction of the themed pumpkin cocktail they offered. But either way we stayed, enjoyed and I will return for more food in the near future.

Next stop was Casellula for some wine and cheese. I would say right off the bat that I loved this place except how condescending the host acted towards us. It is a very small space that allows for that warm fuzzy feeling to take over after having some good wine and great conversation with friends. After we sat for awhile though the host finally warmed up a bit and relaxed - not sure why the change but it did feel nice to not be so shunned for maybe not knowing about wine or whatever it was she thought of us. The space had the mini kitchen/bar and dish area all in the open in plain view of the tables. Somehow they make it work, kinda felt like I was in the kitchen at a friends house. We ordered a cheese plate and some apps and dessert and just enjoyed the wine and all the tasty food. The food and cheese selections were great! I will definitely go back but I do hope the welcome inside will be slightly more friendly next time; especially when it's already so cold outside.

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