Friday, July 16, 2010

Lunch: Who Cares about the Mini Paninis, Give Me Chocolate Martinis!

 My boss Ana, had a birthday recently over the weekend, and since our team couldn't celebrate then, we decided what better way of celebrating then to go to a wine and chocolate bar during lunch! We picked Ayza, located in Murray Hill
They had large umbrella's in the outdoor seating area, so whether be rain or shine; people could still choose to sit outside.

We opted for the indoor seating since it was so humid out. Though I don't know how much it helped since they kept the doors open. The occasional fly came over to say hello at times.

Once seated, we each recived complimentary shots of their red sangria. It was fantastic, instead of the fruits being infused with alcohol (which is what usually happens); the alcohol soaked up all the flavor of the fruits. It was a thicker sangria, but the best I have tasted yet..... though after the shot, I felt very tipsy. A little sangria can really mess you up for the rest of the day!

Complimentary Bread Basket
The dip was olive tapanade accompanied with pumpernickel bread and baguette slices. The tapanede was tart and made my mouth pucker. 
Price: Free

Hummus and Smoked Chicken Panini
We all got the lunch special which gave you a choice of soup or dip, panini or  tartine. It also comes with a small mesculn salad. Donna ordered the "roasted marinated smoked chicken breast" it came with "irish" cheddar, cranberry mayo and dijon mustard.... all I have to say is WOW, that is a lot of ways to cook one piece of chicken. She got the side of hummus which was blended with parsley, black olives and olive oil.
Price: Lunch pri-frix $9.95

Hummus and Tomato Coulis Toast
Carly also got the hummus, but opted for the tartine. The "tomato coulis toast" was basically a pizza... they really like to create lavish names for their food! Mozzeralla cheese, basil, crushed pepper, sundried tomatoes and garlic. I tried her hummus, very creamy, you could taste every ingredient.
Price: Lunch pri-frix $9.95+ 1.00 (for all tartines)

Chilled Gazpacho and Smoked Salmon Tartine
I opted for soup, since it was so hot out. I have always had green gazpacho, so it was interesting to try the tomato based one. Acidic, tart  and with a hint of  dill and cucumber. They blended it so that you could still get some small chunks of tomato. The smoked salmon tartine was made with cream cheese, chives, red cabbage olives, shallot and tarragon. The cream cheese tasted very sweet; like marzipan. It complimented the salmon very nicely and I loved the touch of lemon zest on top.  Recommended for those of you who love salmon.
Price: Lunch pri-frix $9.95+ 1.00 (for all tartines)

Hummus and Artichoke Tartine
Ana ordered this. The tartine was made with bresaola, diced tomatoes, caper mayonnaise, cucumber and chopped dill.
Price: Lunch pri-frix $9.95+ 1.00 (for all tartines)

Hot Artichoke Hearts and Portabella Panini
Kristina got this one. The artichoke hearts were served hot and mixed with cheddar. The panini was made with roasted peppers and mozzarella cheese. It looked so yummy for the tummy.
Price: Lunch pri-frix $9.95

Twenty-Layer Crêpes Cake Brûlée
We finally move on to my favorite part of every meal (seriously; even breakfast needs a designated dessert slot!).....The sweets!
Holy moley, way better then a cannoli! This was ridiculously light and airy with a hard "brulee" top shell. It came with a raspberry sauce which I found completely unnecessary, and over powered the delicate texture of the cake slice. Worth more then the price of lunch? You betcha!
Price: $11.00

Italian Bomba Tartufo
Essentially a large Neapolitan ice cream scoop, dipped into a layer of dark chocolate. Standard ice cream, I disliked how the chocolate shell was so thick.
Price: $7.00

Belgium Chocolate Covered Strawberries
2 Massive strawberries with a chocolate hide thicker then elephant skin. It took 3 of us to pierce through the shell with a knife. I was actually very disappointed to discover the strawberries had been frozen, so when I took a bite, it was this mushy, soggy mess. Not the strong sassy texture a strawberry should be.
Price: $8.00

(From left) Donna, Ana, Carly, Kristina, Me, and Cherry

Verdict:  If you are going here to expect a large meal for lunch... then you better order double. But for those of you who want to keep "portion" control in mind( what the hell is that??!),this is the place to go. More of a romantic spot than anything else. Oh, and I almost forgot... they infuse the water with cucumbers! For some reason, that really made my day.... anyway, bottom line; fun, petite, high quality food.

*F.Y.I: I really wanted to try their chocolate martini's, but they were 15 to 17 dollars! I don't care if they were mixed with puppy and kitten tears, that price is outrageous!
Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar
11 W 31st St
New York, NY 10001

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