“Espresso’s New Wave Hits Town”
Another excuse to go back to NYC….mmm.
“Espresso’s New Wave Hits Town”
Well, ok, we only went to NYC but it still involved alot of time on the road (including a 6 mile span of the Cross Bronx Expressway that took 2 HOURS to drive through, grrrrr1). We were in NYC for the day to see a taping of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (awesome, by the way!) and then we went out for dinner afterwards. After driving down to the West Village, we parked and Celeste and I led the way to La Focaccia! We could have easily wandered around the Village and found something equally tasty, I’m sure, but our hearts and stomachs were set on Focaccia- our beloved, cozy Italian place. To make the evening even better, we scored a sweet table for four outside and enjoyed the best weather the Northeast has seen in weeks!
Celeste, my favorite dining partner (and I, hers), discovered this little jem of a restuarant last Spring-ish and it has been a favorite of mine ever since she took me there. Which is saying alot, since I’m not usually a huge fan of Italian (not really a pasta person). But their Gnocchi is to die for, and I always get it with Pesto, quite possibly my favorite thing ever. Creamy and delicious as always, delicate and garlicy and filling.
Mom had Grilled Herb-Crusted Salmon, since she is not a pasta person either.
A’s Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce.
BUT we had to save room for Magnolia Cupcakes! Conveniently located just around the corner from La Focaccia, we sprinted over before trekking back to the car. I had missed out on Magnolia last time I was in the city, so it was absolutely a must this time around. I’m not gonna lie, I bought 2 cupcakes for myself. Ate 1 in the car, and the other when we got home. And man, it was totally worth the sugar tummyache- I think I would drive to NYC just for those cupcakes. Ok, maybe not…but they are addictive and delicious. Of course, as luck would have it, I dropped the box when I got home. Frosting side down. Squished, but still good!
I realize that I’m posting like crazy today, but that’s what happens when I don’t have my laptop all weekend. All in all, I had a good weekend. But I didn’t get to go to Magnolia, one of my favorite places in the city because it’s so cute and they make all their pastries from scratch in the tiny basement bakery. The best part of going, besides the eating, is watching them frost the cupcakes in the window while you wait in line (you’ll probably be waiting for awhile, it’s pretty damn popular but so worth the wait). Ok, so the cupcakes are nothing special (haha I don’t even like cake) but the frosting is possibly the best thing EVER. And trust me, I know my frosting, I am a conossiuer of frosting. It’s super sweet, creamy, topped with sprinkles and there’s tons of it! I’m not gonna lie, I make sure to always pick the ones with the most frosting…because I just like to lick it off. They have other good sweets too- cookies, cakes, brownies, etc- but everyone goes for the famous cupcakes. I have the recipe for them so maybe I’ll make cupcakes @ some point this week. Mmm cupcakes….
2. La Focaccia is a wonderful, cozy Italian restuarant that’s perfect for a romantic date or special occasion. I went there for my birthday dinner last year. They have a large menu of pasta and other dishes, freshly baked bread and an extensive wine list. Keep your eyes out for the specials, often utilizing seasonal ingredients- last time I had the Pumpkin Ravioli with a light white wine sauce of tomatoes and zucchini and it was perfect. I also like the classic Gnocchi with Pesto and Tomato and Mozzarella Salad. 51 Bank St. b/w 7th and 8th Avenues
3. Karen’s on Astor is a great lunch spot, if you can find a seat. They have a healthy assortment of soups, sandwiches, salads, and smoothies. The prices are a little high, but the food is yummy and alot of it is organic. I especially like the Carrot Ginger Soup and Chicken Curry Wrap. I also had a Coconut-something soup last time I was there, but I don’t remember what else was in it. 1 Astor Place b/w Broadway and 4th Ave
4. I like to go to Peanut Butter and Co. because it brings me back to 3rd grade…or yesterday. I realize that I could easily make my own PB sandwich, but it just tastes so much better when someone else makes it for you. They have 6 or 7 different PBs to choose from, milkshakes and cookies, and sandwiches come with carrot sticks and chips. The restaurant is cute with antique Fluff and Coca-Cola ads on the walls. My favorite sandwiches are the Cinnamon Raisin Swirl (cinnamon-raisin PB, vanilla cream cheese, and apple slices on whole wheat) or the Peanut Butter Cup (PB and Nutella! It doesn’t get any better than that!). You can also buy jars of their creative PBs at the store, or at Whole Foods. 240 Sullivan St. b/w W. 3rd and Bleecker
5. If you like Indian food, you should check out “Curry Row,” basically anywhere on E. 6th St. between 2nd and 1st Avenues where every restuarant is authentic Indian. The food is really cheap (we’re talking ~$20 or less average for 2 people, including appetizers and tip) and pretty good if you’re in the mood for Indian. I always get Vegetable Curry and Garlic Nan, which are pretty much the same anywhere. All the restaurants along here are basically the same quality and look/taste the same, but the only name I can remember is Raj Mahal, just because it’s so cheesy. Avoid the ones playing live music though, it just gets annoying when you can’t hear your date speaking. If you want more upscale Indian, go to Tamarind, which is more expensive and fancier. I had Vegetable Curry there too, but it was better. E. 22nd b/w Park Ave. and Broadway
6. My friend Celeste (my usual dining partner) introduced me to Venezuelan arepas at Caracas Arepa Bar. We call it “the arepa place.” Arepas are like pitas, only thicker and made from cornmeal. You can get them with a variety of fillings, including meat, cheese, veggies, or guacamole. Venezuelan guac is not what you might expect- it’s chunkier, with more tomato and less avocado, and not as slimy as the usual guac. I don’t really like guacamole but I liked this kind in my Cheese and Guacamole Arepa. The restuarant is really small, so you might have to wait or sit at the counter. E. 7th St. b/w 2nd and 1st Avenues
I’m sure that I will add to this list later but that’s all for now folks because I’ve had to retype this post 3 times now because Blogger hates me.
My first experience with fondue and it was delicious! On Saturday night, we went to this tiny wine bar/fondue bar in the East Village called The Bourgeois Pig (E. 7th St. b/w 1st Ave. and Avenue A). The place has maybe 6 small tables, with comfortable chairs and a cozy atmosphere. The portions are generous and yummy, we had more than enough for the 6 of us. First, we ordered the Five Italian Cheeses fondue, which came with garlic bread, proscuitto, fries, and an assortment of fruit. The cheese was flecked with oregano, thyme, and rosemary–very tasty, especially good with apples. Then we ordered dark chocolate fondue with caramel, which came with slices of brownies, some sort of chocolate chip bread, strawberries, and other fruit. SO GOOD. Why had I never had fondue before? I was missing out! This would also be easy and fun to do at home.
Last night, inspired by the Food Network’s Good Deal with Dave Leiberman, we made an elegant dinner for 3: Braised Hoisin Beer Short Ribs, with Mashed Potatoes and Sesame Sugarsnap peas. I don’t even eat meat, and the short ribs smelled amazing while they were cooking for 3 hours–the recipe is super easy, you basically just let the ribs simmer in beer so it’s not labor-intensive. I had a tiny little bite, and I have to admit it was pretty tasty (as I’m sure those who actually ate them would tell you). I haven’t really ventured to cook meat before, but this one was so easy I may try to make it for my boyfriend sometime. The potatoes and peas were also yummy, those I did eat.
Spending part of my Spring Break in NYC, visiting some friends @ NYU. The one thing I miss about living in NY is the plethora of restaurants. Not that I ate at any classy, 4-star ones, but I just miss the selection. The city has so many to choose from, amazing little hole-in-the-wall restaurants with food that you can’t beat.
But I have a confession to make. I got in around 8 o’clock last night, and really really wanted Chipotle after passing one on the bus. I’m talking insatiable craving, here. I know, I know, shame on me! Generally, I don’t like fast food– in fact, I hate it. But Chipotle was addictive, delicious, and totally hit the spot. For those of you who have not been exposed to Chipotle (I know they have them in Manhattan and DC, but I don’t know where else), they are a fast food chain with massive burritos (my friend claims they are not fast food, but an “epicurean delight” as she’s reading this). Their burritos weigh at least 5 pounds- they’re enormous! And they are so bad for you, but completely worth the tummyache. I had a veggie burrito with black beans, lettuce, mild salsa, and jalapeno salsa. My friends, who had eaten dinner a couple hours before, also had to indulge. These burritos are like crack, seriously.