it is party season

Burger
I ate my way through the evening.  First I ate at home, just a little bit.  I had bought a pork roast that I put in a Dutch Oven (Le Cruset) and then filled the pot with a jar of cider.  I then took a small spice sack and filled it with fennel seed, black pepper, coriander seeds and two bay leaves and tossed it in.  Put the pot in the oven at 250 around 10am and just let it braise all day long.  I got home at 630 and took it out of the oven.  Voila.  Really good and couldn't be easier. 

After having a small dinner with the kids we made our way over to Porsena to celebrate Amanda Hesser and her six years work on the New York Times Cookbook.  Certainly a celebration is in order.  An incredible cookbook and a serious commitment both on the part of Amanda and her business partner Merrill Stubbs.  I was excited that the party was at Porsena because it just opened and Sara Jenkins has been a restaurateur in NYC for many years.  Porsena is her latest venture. 

The location is around the Bowery area on East 7th Street.  Two rooms with a brick wall in between creating a nice flow.  A long bar when you enter the room and then the other side is where tables are.  We tasted a few things that they had at the bar.  Super salty deviled eggs, a few crostinis and a heavy handed salt cod dip.  One had roasted cauliflower and the other had broccoli rabe.  Gotta say, nothing was very good.  It is too bad.  Certainly we were all there as friends of Amanda but you know that many of the people there were in the food biz and this is the crowd you want to be wowed. 

We left and made our way uptown to Settai which is the setting for Ai Fiori, Michael White's latest restaurant.  The space is pretty awesome.  Big, airy, large windows, etc.  Strange location.  36th and Fifth although there are plenty of offices in that area and not that far from the exploding area of Fifth Avenue between 23-28th Street.  On a nice warm night, it is an easy stroll. 

I didn't get to taste enough things but I was certainly looking for the small burger every time it passed me.  Someone from Feast, who used to work at Eater and couldn't have been nicer, swept me into the kitchen for a burger.  Nothing like going in the back room to see the action.  There had to be 10 guys back there in chef jackets just banging out the food.  Low and behold I was given two warm burgers for Fred and myself. 

I am not sure how they plan on serving the burger at the restaurant.  Tonight it was slider style.  Small burger with a piece of bacon that gave a hit of smoke to the slider with melted cheese, a slice of tomato and a pickled onion and a cornichon on top.  Kind of difficult to navigate the onion and the cornichon into your mouth when it was so small.  Regardless, quite delicious. 

I am looking forward to returning to Al Fiori for dinner.  Porsena, not so sure. 

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