My darling parents love dining out almost as much as I do. So when I was offered the chance to treat them (and my brother and sister) to a gourmet Manhattan meal, I applied immediately. I was thrilled to have been chosen as a participant in the Tastemaker opportunity with Serve from American Express.
Serve is a pretty amazing service that allows you to send and receive money from a mobile device wherever you're enjoying a meal. Unfortunately, I didn't thoroughly enjoy the process. In addition to signing up on their website, I had to link up to a bank, debit, or credit card account which proved to be more complicated than I would've liked. Then, when it came time to pay the bill, their convenient app wasn't recognizing my email address (email@example.com) as valid so I had to promise my dad I'd pay him back a few days later online.Still, I do appreciate the concept. And the entire dining experience that came from this very generous promotion was absolute perfection from beginning to end. I chose to bring my family to Alloro; it had a OpenTable rating above most of the restaurants in my neighborhood. This innovative Italian gem did not disappoint.
We began with a bottle of Lis Neris Cabernet Sauvignon (which has since become my new favorite winter red), warm toasted Italian bread, and a trio of spectacular olive oil, tomato tapenade, and olives. My roommate and I also split the Insalata di Salvatore: 10, 20, 30 maybe more among them fruit, herbs, greens, seeds & other. It was, by far, one of the best salads I've had this year.
My mom was coming off of a cleanse and simply ordered a soup for her meal. But this was not just any soup, she had the zuppa di mais alla vaniglia con calamari spillo, olio al prezzemolo e germogli di barbarbietola: vanilla flavored corn soup with baby calamari, parsley oil & bull's blood. It was beyond incredible.
As for the other entrées: my sister chose the homemade fettucine with porcine mushrooms in a light tomato broth; my brother, the sliced ribeye in a red wine sauce, raw polenta, hazelnut butter brussel sprouts; and my dad, roasted sea bass, black truffle potato puree, eggplant croquette, amber beer sauce. I don't doubt that each bite was phenomenal, but I wouldn't actually be able to know.
I was far too caught up in my filet di salmone con salsa livornese piccantina, crema bruciata di cavolfirori e spinai saltati: salmon filet in a spicy livornese sauce, cauliflower creme brule, sautéed spinach. It was, like I said, absolute perfection. Now guess what?! You too can be treated to such a dining experience. As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a $250 stipend to try Serve from American Express. Sign up for Serve and receive a $10 credit towards your first use. Comment below within the next 7 days for your chance to win an extra $100 credit to your account! Official sweepstakes rules and regulations may be found here: