Monday, March 14, 2011

New York City - Lunch and a Celebrity Sighting

I started day two of my market travel trip in New York city with breakfast at Eataly. Eataly is a 50,000 square foot retail and dining environment next to the famous Flatiron Building that is solely dedicated to Italian gastronomy. Look for an entire blog post on this amazing space in the coming days. I visited their Caffe Lavazza and just couldn't resist the brioche. They had brioche filled with apricot, cream, and nutella as well as plain and almond varieties. I went for the brioche with cream, which always reminds me of breakfasts eaten while standing at the bar in cafes in Italy. For anyone that knows me, I am a brioche fanatic!

After breakfast, my colleague and I decided to hit the major high-end department stores to see what was trending from the runways for spring. We started our day at Barneys New York and then crossed over from Madison Avenue to Fifth Avenue to the men's and women's Bergdorf Goodman stores (they are across the street from one another). While shopping inside the women's store, we made a reservation for 12:30pm lunch at the 7th floor BG Restaurant

Since we had some time to spare before our reservation, and because I was curious about the major renovation done to The Plaza Hotel, but haven't had time to check it out on previous visits, we headed over there to take a look. I was particularly curious about The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English in the basement of the hotel. I had heard it likened to the famous foods halls at Harrod's and my interest was piqued. The Plaza Food Hall consists of eight different dining stations, all with open kitchens, as well as a bakery and other food items for take-away. It was packed with a sizable lunch crowd, but certainly can't hold a candle to Harrod's.  It is a nice place in Midtown to get various types of cuisine all in one spot, but as I did not eat there, I can't comment on the quality of the food.
The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English

Back at Bergdorf's, we were seated at a nice table in the dining room for lunch. I just love the ambiance of the BG restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman, and what a view! From the 7th floor windows you can look right out onto the iconic Plaza Hotel facade and Central Park. The room is so tastefully decorated, you feel as though you are in someone's Upper East Side apartment. The staff are always very attentive, and in addition to lunch, they do a lovely tea service starting at 3pm in the afternoon.
Bergdorf Goodman BG Restaurant entrance and bar area
Bergdorf Goodman BG Restaurant dining room
Menu items are simply prepared and very well executed. The menu offers soups and salads, fish, meat and pasta and a few desserts for your sweet tooth. In addition, there is always a separate printed menu of three or four daily specials. I had the pan seared halibut with brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes, while my colleague had a salad of baby spinach with chicken breast, marinated artichokes, toasted almonds, chick peas, shaved carrots and a warm bacon vinaigrette dressing.
Pan Seared Halibut with brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes 
Roast Chicken Salad with baby spinach, chickpeas, toasted almonds, marinated artichokes, shaved carrot, warm bacon vinaigrette
For dessert I tried the Meyer Lemon Napolean with raspberry sorbet (a fresh lemon taste but the wafer layers were a bit too delicate and tasteless), and then we were presented with some macaroons as a sweet offered by the house with our check.

As my dessert was arriving to the table, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen waltzed right in and were seated directly in front of me. I was just complaining to my colleagues the day before that I haven't had any celebrity sightings recently in New York. I guess I spoke too soon! I am still not sure which twin is which, but I managed to snap this photo with my iPhone of one of them. What a fun way to end two days in New York City.
Is this Mary-Kate or Ashley Olsen?

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