Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Plaza (Food Hall) & Strawberry-Jalapeno Prosecco

The Plaza (Todd English's Food Hall) - PLUS - spice up your Prosecco with a Strawberry-Jalapeno   mash recipe (Amy's creation)

The Plaza Hotel in NYC ( is known for two amazing things: one being a glamorous Cinderella-spot for weddings and the other being an amazing food castle sitting beneath the hotel.  Given my current state of affairs, you can guess that I chose the to be princess of the food castle rather than the fairytale wedding.

The Food Hall, opened in 2010, has an amazing restaurant as well as several (for lack of better terms) "high end, artesian food stalls" or small booths outside of the restaurant where you can mingle around and find some exquisite treats. It actually reminds me of the Food Hall in the ritzy Harrods's Dept. store in London (on a smaller scale). See below for pictures of this fun food-tourism adventure.

Todd English is the chef in charge of the Food Hall restaurant bearing his name. 

I know it's hard to see - but these are marshmallows! 

Strawberry-Jalepeno Prosecco (I asked the bartender to blend it for me) with Lobster Hush puppies and a truffle aioli sauce.  See below for how to make this drink at home! 

Gorgeous and zingy fish tacos - Slice & seared tuna, chili-lime aioli, jalapeños and a zippy radish slaw

Brick-oven baked pizzas! This is the fig & prosciutto with gorgonzola cheese - rich and delicious! 

Francois Payard: This delightful chocolatier blesses us with another french delight - Macaroons (in the food hall).  I  absolutely LOVED the violet macaroon. I find many try to make good macaroons, but few actually succeed in reaching their goal.  This place actually deserves the right to continue making them. My favorite macaroons are from a La Maison du Chocolat when I was in Paris (there is a La Maison in the Food Hall, which I did not yet try) and these were a good resemblance form the ones I had in Paris. Well done, yet again, to the French.

Give me the bubbly stuff any time.  But amidst the world of fancy cocktails, you will occasionally find some containing Prosecco (let's dare not desecrate true Champagne).  On the drinks menu, I found a fancy drink which had a strawberry-jalapeno mash and wanting to add a little creativity to my bubbly, I asked the bartender to add some of the mash to my drink.  What I found was a delightful little kick to make the sweet bubbly have a little more complexity.  It also gives a little visual appeal to the clear liquid.

Strawberry-Jalapeno Mash

1 c. chopped strawberries, separated
2 jalapeño  peppers* - finely chopped, separated
2 Tb. water
2 Tb sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Using your immersion blender (remember, I love this tool), blend together 1/2 c of the strawberries and 1 of the jalapeño peppers, water, sugar, and salt.  Blend until smooth. Stir in the remaining strawberries and jalapeños. For best results, allow the flavors to blend and equillibrate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but this will keep a couple days in a covered container. Add 1-2 Tb of mash to your bubby and enjoy!

You could also free portions in an ice cube tray (I would recommend only filling the standard ice-cube only half full) and then when you want a fun add to your drink - just place one cube in the bottom of a glass and add your bubbly on top. This will help keep the drink cold as well as allow you some extra preparedness before your guests arrive.

*I don't find jalapeños too spicy, but if this seems like it will be too spicy for you and your guests, feel free to only use 1 jalapeño.

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