Tag Archives: cocktails

Keeping Up with the Cocktails: Lantern’s Keep

18 Nov

So many things in 2011 have been cheers-worthy; I’ve had a major (excellent) career change and began working on a new blog professionally (you can still find my resto reccos here).  While I know it’s been a spell since I’ve had time to visit with you all, my recent trip to Lantern’s Keep gave me a reason to come out of retirement.  This classy little Midtown speakeasy is giving the cocktail shops Downtown a run for their money and giving me another reason to cheers.

On this particular cold and rainy evening, stepping inside the Iroquois Hotel (W 44th St btwn 5th/6th Aves) was a thoroughly welcomed escape.  Through the lobby, I spotted the lavish digs Lantern’s Keep calls home – the rich chocolate woods are complemented with plush blue Venetian-style seating and a fireplace nestled in the back corner will warm the crowd of cocktail enthusiasts during winter months.  The menu, which features selections crafted by head bar keep Theo Lieberman, stays true to the classics while infusing its spirits with creativity as much as the ingredients themselves.

My standout cocktail of the evening (like I was really stopping at one!) had to be the Wildest Redhead ($14).  Served in a lowball glass with a glacial-sized rock of ice, this scotch-based concoction plays on the warm aromas of all-spice with the belly-heating effects of its spirit base.  The drink is best when consumed through a chilled metal stirrer-straw, as provided by the Keep’s tender.  Another favorite was the Mexican Bouquet ($14), which leans heavily on blanco tequila while letting the St Germain Elderflower liquor and rose syrup whisper a lovely floral perfume.

The charcuterie plate featured an array of cheeses, meats, fruit and warm fresh bread served on a slate and smartly labeled so I’d never confuse my Vermont Shepherd with  the Tickler Cheddar (as if!)  This and other petite plates prepared by The Iroquois’ Executive Chef Jason Tillman are portioned perfectly to keep your worst hungers at bay.  And no, I’m not talking about that hankering for your next cocktail, there’s no helping that desire.  Not that there’s anything wrong with having another one when the drinks are flowing at the Lantern’s Keep  – and to that, let’s cheers.

Healthy and Divine: Pure Food and Wine

27 Jan

For a lot of people, the idea of eating vegetarian may conjure up bad childhood memories of being forced to eat brussel sprouts… but now that you’re all grown up (some of you, anyway), it’s time to put aside these silly veggie prejudices and give greens a chance. Here to prove, in 5 simple steps, that eating your vegetables can be healthy AND delicious is Gramercy’s Pure Food & Wine (Irving Pl btwn 17th/18th Sts).

Step one: cocktail yourselves. The drinks are well mixed + thought out creations that incorporate ginger, açaí berry, green tea and other anti-oxidant rich goodies. The White Light Tini is an infusion of lemongrass, ginger, green tea and unfiltered sake – I’d go back for that alone! Get one!

Step two: appetize. We actually opted to split an entrée as a starter. The deconstructed Spanikopita featured almond feta and cucumber “yogurt” (it’s actually vegan). I don’t know how they do it, but it was one of the most amazing things I’ve tasted in ages. The cauliflower and grapes complimented the dish but, my goodness, those sauces! Wow. Wow.

Step three: wine time. Grab a glass of wine to drink with your meal – their list includes bottles that are vegan, organic, sustainable, biodiverse and all taste really great too. I had a glass of the 2001 Crianza Tempranillo and after a good healthy “breathe”, it was spicy in the front and smooth in the back. Did I just describe a Wine Mullet? Moving along…

Step four: the main event. I honestly could’ve skipped to step 5, but in the interest of research, we opted to have an entrée and a small app as well. The lasagna was made with basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara and macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta layered Jenga-style between slices of zucchini + tomato. ‘Twas a little salty for my taste, but that didn’t stop us from cleaning the plate. We also had the mushrooms which were on a bed of pureed root veggies and topped with aerated thyme foam. VERY different!

Step five: dessert. Do it, this place has amazing desserts. We had the pumpkin cheesecake parfait with maple syrup glaze and candied pecans. Are you kidding me? Effin awesome.  Pure Food & Wine is a sexy spot where you can get adventurous, change up your routine and perhaps even surprise yourself at how good veggie-fiends have it after all; you, too, can indulge and still feel healthy!

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