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Becoming the student …

And so it went on … I was going to learn about the restaurant industry in one of the major hospitality schools in Belgium:
Hotel and Tourism School Spermalie in Bruges.

Since the school was about 1 hour away from my home town, my parents sent me off to their boarding school.

Want to know how to create a routine? Boarding school.
Or how to decide what to wear every day? Strict uniform policy takes care of that.
How to serve guests and how to behave like a guest yourself? Daily meals in the school restaurants.

It all sounds like a military drill but to be honest, I would do it all over again and most likely send my kids too.
Besides all the ins and outs of the industry, I also gained major life experience.
Some of them are still in use today.

“I still need to hear the story about that super model that was discovered in her yoga pants!” Yep, teachers can be very persuasive when it comes to uniform standards!

They say your time is school is the best time of your life …
I wouldn’t call it that way, but I sure am cheering for their education program!

Xo – Ann

Photo credit: Pinterest
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Maison Premiere – Keeping it raw

Working in high end restaurants has it’s perks.
Yes, I know, the pressure of delivering constant high quality service can be challenging.
On the other hand, it creates a bond between the team that can be extremely strong.
So when I made the decision to come to New York, couple of those friends took that as an opportunity to visit me and obviously discover the ‘next-best-places’ to eat in New York.

Finding those new exciting places takes time and a feel for quality.
There isn’t a formula that will tell you: If you do this, put this on your menu, put those plants on the table and hire only young girls with tattoos, you will be successful.

You need to have a great concept, and that’s exactly what they had at Maison Premiere.
So when a bunch of us old co-workers decided to try the ‘raw-bar-Sunday-Brunch’, we went for the complete experience!

I agree, sitting at the bar is fun when it’s just the 2 of you.
With 6 people, logistically not the best choice.
But that was the only place where we could order the complete set of oysters, uni’s and clams! And be sure they have A.LOT!

But even if you’re not a party of 6, I would still choose a seat at the bar.
It’s just so much more easier checking out the bartenders!

Go and enjoy!

Maison Premiere
298 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Photo credit: restaurantgirl.com

Tetsu – it’s not Masa

Every Spring I get really excited!
New season! Yay!
Great for fashion lovers, flora enthusiasts and beach addicts!
It’s when they all prepare for summer time! Even the city does!

Not that I am a fashion lover – I do appreciate nice summer dresses though.
I’m more preparing for my friend Mr. P. to come back to New York!
After a long, cold winter, it’s always such a pleasure seeing him again.

So when I got his text:
Hi Foodie Friend, Back in the City,
Where to go for our ‘Welcome, Happy-to-be-back-in-NYC’ dinner? Let me know!
I got all excited and pulled up my hit-list!

The exact same week as I got this text, a friend of mine told me he had applied for a new job at this amazing Japanese neighborhood restaurant called Tetsu.
I had never heard about it, but did some research and made a reservation.

You know, New York is a city full of opportunities, where it’s great to share idea’s, concepts and experiences. And that’s exactly what we did at Tetsu.
We shared our food – YAY! Wagyu ragout! – had a nice bottle of wine, caught up on life and where amazed by their goat cheese cheese cake.

A place like Tetsu will make you happy.
And that’s more then enough reason to go!

Tetsu
78 Leonard Street
New York, NY 10013

Photo Credit: Dacia Pierson for Tetsu

Momofuku Noodle Bar

Quite some time ago, I ran into this cute guy.
Happens in New York.
He was fun to spend time with and he lived in East Village.
He also showed me some great Asian spots but none of them could match up my all time favorite around his corner: Momofuku Noodle Bar.

I can’t even remember the amount of times I’ve had their Ramen Bowl.
It’s really that good and worth the trip.
Even if you’re coming from the Upper East Side after cheering for runners of NYC Marathon.

Or if you want to impress your date or a friend who has never had noodles before.
You have got to set high standards. Always.

And no, you don’t need to be seeing a cute guy to enjoy the experience of their hospitality, you’re more then welcome by yourself too.
Ask for a seat at the counter and take a glimpse of what happens in the kitchen!

But even if none of the above matches yours, just go.
You won’t regret it!

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003

Photo credit: Momofuku Noodle Bar

The Fat Radish – Vegetarian Heaven

Where would you take a friend who knows something about food and is an architect? You take them to The Fat Radish, order the Fat Radish plate, the Pot Pie and some doughnuts.
You share a bottle of wine, some life lessons and great experiences and you call it a day.

One of the places I love to recommend to friends visiting New York.
The industrial setting is perfect for a great night out.
And after all those American burgers and T-bone steaks, vegetarian options are more then welcome!

Waiting for a table or craving another drink after dinner?
Just cross the street and visit The Leadbelly.

Sometimes it’s just that simple…

The Fat Radish
17 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002

Photo credit: Our Little Black Book 

Desnuda – Ceviche 2.0

The first time I had a ceviche was when I was working in a Michelin star restaurant in the Netherlands. The chef there had a Ceviche recipe from his mother.
It was amazing! I absolutely loved it!

The first time I had the Ceviche from Desnuda, it blew my mind!
This was even better than what I had before!

I ran into this place randomly, I was looking for dinner while strolling in the East Village. All places around looked good, but none of them looked as appealing as Desnuda. It was really a secret whole in the wall, hard to find – unless you knew it was there – the menu looked good and all the people inside seemed to have a great time.

I ordered Oysters to start with and the Salmon Ceviche.
A glass of white wine and pretty nice company.
Want to impress your date? Take them to Desnuda!

Desnuda
122 E 7th street
New York, NY 10009

Photo credit: NY Time Out Magazine 

Delaware & Hudson

Mutual interests are always good. Especially if these interests are traveling and food. That’s why my friend M. and I ended up here at Delaware and Hudson couple weeks ago.
Just to catch up, planning our next trip and relaxing after a busy week. (Sounds familiar?)

This small restaurant doesn’t ask for a lot of fuss.

The decor is rather industrial to really keep the focus on the food.
Not a long list with difficult preparations but a delicious summary of all available seasonal products.
And if you say Mid Atlantic – American cuisine, there is no reason not to order the crab cakes!

Whether you come here with friends, family or lovers, the experience is always on point!

It didn’t surprise us at all that Michelin had discovered this hidden gem before us…

Delaware & Hudson
135 N5th street
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Photo credit: The Infatuation 

Roberta’s – Here to stay!

Want to eat Pizza? Roberta’s.

Want to eat Pizza and have a great time? Roberta’s.

Want to have a great experience without the Pizza? Roberta’s.

In the last case, go for the Coppa, Oxtail Ragout, seasonal salad and a sticky bun.

Hang out in the garden while you wait for a table, have a glass of wine, watch the cool crowd, be part of what people call a hype.
Don’t worry about that, they’re wrong.
A hype will fade out after a while, Roberta’s is here to stay!

Roberta’s 
261 Moore street
Brooklyn, NY 11206

Photo credit: The Infatuation 

La Vara – Escape to Spain …

Without a doubt one of my personal favorites!
The first time I visited La Vara, I was just wandering in the streets of the cutest Brooklyn Neighborhood ever, Cobble Hill. With a city guide in one hand and a refreshing drink in the other, I parked myself on one of the benches in Cobble Hill Park while I was looking for a nice place for dinner.

La Vara was listed as one of the To-Go spots in this area and was just next to the park.
This Spanish Tapas restaurant creates the perfect vibe for every occasion.

Want to grab a cocktail and a quick bite? Ask for a seat at the bar.
Date night with your boy/girl friend? A table for two please!
Girls night or meeting with the in-laws? The 2 benches by the windows will make sure everybody’s having a good time!

Sharing is caring and all of the plates are prepared perfectly.
No need to make it harder on yourself, just order everything!
In case you do need to make a decision: Go for the CARABINEROS!
This delicacy alone is worth the trip!

Whenever you are in dire need of some really good tapas, La Vara…

La Vara
268 Clinton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Photo credit: La Vara

The Musket Room – Free flights to New Zealand

Imagine living in New York and having all the flavors of the world around.
Feels like heaven!

Now imagine being a sommelier and your favorite grape variety – Pinot Noir – from your favorite wine region – Central Otago, New Zealand – is listed in this restaurant… You’d come here every week.

Not that I have been here every week, but all of the times that I have been visiting The Musket Room were amazing.

The first time I came with M., one of my colleagues and food/design lover, I knew exactly why she had chosen this place. The interior is rustic, a lot of wood, raw brick walls with a beautiful bar. Every accent is important without taking away the focus of the food.

When I came here with Mr. P., we were blown away by the atmosphere!
This was an experience on a whole other level!
We’re still raving about it every time we meet!

New Zealand cuisine, in New York.
Yes please!

The Musket Room
265 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10012

Photo credit: Zagat