October 28, 2009

Madison Avenue, lots of Chocolate, and a Red Tomato

I love New York – there is excitement and energy in the sights, the sounds, and the rush of the street. We spent our first afternoon on Madison Avenue, walking from 87th Street (where the Franklin Hotel is located) south to 60th Street (the location of our dinner destination). We walked, checked out the shops, looked at the architecture, and felt the energy of being in New York.

One of the stops we made along Madison Avenue was at the Upper East Side's Vosges Boutique. I have always loved the exotic flavors of Vosges chocolates and wanted a hot chocolate. The boutique is great with whimsical white and purple décor. I got a vanilla hot chocolate (La Parisienne Couture Cocoa) and Jonathan got a spicy hot chocolate (Aztec Elixir Couture Cocoa). Both were excellent! The intense bittersweet chocolate flavor was complemented by either Madagascar vanilla (for my cocoa) or chillies and cinnamon (for the spicy cocoa). This is a very cool place to visit for a cup of excellent hot chocolate!

Our next stop was la Maison du Chocolat. This is a great store – selling delicious chocolate confections and pastries. Of course, in addition to chocolate shops we perused clothing and shoe shops, pharmacies, and many other places along the street.

Now on to dinner! We met friends at Rouge Tomate at 5th Avenue and 60th Street. This restaurant is an impressive space – large upstairs and downstairs dining rooms, dark wood floors, and clean décor. And the food is equally magnificent. The menu is not very long – but the descriptions of each food item sound fantastic and it's hard to decide what to eat.

After sitting down and ordering we were served some very nice bread and a small taste of a creamy harvest soup – a perfect start to a meal on a chilly fall evening. Next we shared the brussels sprout and pear salad. It was very good – the brussels sprouts had been blanched and chilled and paired perfectly with the pears, nuts, and balsamic vinegar. I chose the winter squash farrotto entree. The flavors of apple, parmesan, and sage blended superbly with the hearty farro. It was outstanding! The wine was great and paired well with the food. Others at my table ordered the duck and said it was also very good. It was an amazing meal! I want to go back and try more of the items on the menu!

Rouge Tomate was recently awarded a Michelin Star – definitely well deserved! Congrats!

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