A few weeks ago I traveled to the middle of nowhere, aka Algonquin, to review the Italian family style restaurant Mandile's. It's not often that you'll find this die-hard city girl in such far-away environs, but as a journalist I often stretch the borders of my limitations. The food, like the overly romantic decor, doesn't skimp. Pasta dishes tend toward the heaping. I had the gnocchi with Alfredo sauce, a satisfying dish on a cold evening. Mandile's is a good place for a date, a family outing, or if you'd like a reminder of gargantuan American Italian portions. Of course we took our food home, how can one consume such a large plate of pasta in one sitting? In Italy, as you may know, the pasta portions tend towards average, but keep in mind they're usually followed by meat, chicken, or fish as a second course.
This week I realized once again the unusual element of our American super sizes, over a business lunch at locavore haven Farmerie 58. The woman dining next to us, who as it turned out is from Toronto, remarked on the hugeness of the plates. "Event the salad is big!" she noted. My lunch companion and I each had the butternut squash veloute soup-- velvety smooth and exquisite. Then we split the smoked trout appetizer and wild barley mushroom salad. The soup did a good job of impressing, but I what I really love is the serene atmosphere with its spacious and urban sophisticate decor. Perfect for a business lunch or mid-afternoon interlude.