Cask Bar and Kitchen, Le Parisien Bistrot – New York City

On Tuesday Mike and I drove into the city to visit my cousin, Sumika, and her daughter Ema.  We brought Japanese curry rice for lunch at Sumika’s apartment and spent the afternoon playing with Ema.

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For dinner we met Mike’s cousin and his girlfriend.  Since I was still on crutches, we had no choice but to take a cab from Long Island City to Midtown.  I honestly thought I would have had no problem on my crutches in the city (last time I was on crutches I went in to Philadelphia on St. Patrick’s Day), but I did not factor in the heat this time.  It was sweltering, and so the cab ride became inevitable.

We knew we were meeting for dinner at 33rd and 3rd, so I quickly googled bars in the area and found the Cask Bar and Kitchen.  The reviews looked good, so we stopped in.  We were immediately hit by dim lights and cool air, which was extremely refreshing after being in the hot sun on the streets of New York.

The decor had a very rough finish – concrete slab bar counter and coarse wood paneling – but it also had a delicate nature to it with real tea candles scattered across the bar and on the shelves highlighting the liquor.  The music was soft but just right for the mood, and we were quite pleased to hear Mumford and Sons playing.  It seemed like a very classy establishment, and I was glad we arrived early in the evening because it soon became quite crowded.

Luckily we were just in time for Happy Hour.

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I ordered the blood orange margarita.  After the first sip, my brain and my tastebuds were thinking “WOW!”  Here’s why – the ingredients for this drink are: house infused jalapeño Sauza Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and blood orange puree.  This drink certainly shocks your tastebuds with the spiciness of the jalapeño, but it achieved just the right balance with the sweetness of the Cointreau, lime and blood orange.  The kick lingers in your mouth, but makes you want more at the same time.  I also really enjoyed this drink because the spiciness forced me to sip slowly and not drink the whole thing right away.
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For my second drink, I ordered the grapefruit mojito.  This was equally refreshing as the margarita, but significantly sweeter (of course, as there was no jalapeño in it).  The grapefruit flavor came as a subtle undertone to the drink, but you could still get the taste of it lingering on your tongue.

For dinner we walked two doors down (how lucky!) to Le Parisien Bistrot.

A small and quaint French-style bistro with an enticing menu.  The moules-frites (mussels and fries) as well as the duck confit were screaming my name, but I ultimately I decided on the salmon with fresh herb taboule and cucumber mint dressing.

IMG_2353I was pleasantly surprised at how satisfying this meal was.  The salmon was cooked perfectly – flaky center (not overcooked thankfully!) with a lovely hint of a crust on the outside.  The taboule and the dressing were extremely refreshing and the perfect complement to the richness of the salmon.  This is a dish that I would very much like to recreate at home.

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