Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NYC Overindulgences

Ippudo's Akamaru Modern.
The garlic oil and berkshire pork were awesome; love the broth and spring-y noodles

I was recently in NYC, my old stomping grounds, for Easter and a wedding reception in Philly. Aside from seeing old friends, the highlights were of course the food and drinks. The following were some noteworthy stops:
  • Milk and Honey: we used to go to Milk and Honey all the time, particularly when I lived in Noho, which was just a short walk away. We caught up with Bruce & Cara who are now members. I had two delicious seasonal fresh blackberry and strawberry cocktails, and K. had a twist on a old-fashioned with peach bitters that was perfect. Still no other cocktail bar compares with M&H
  • Lupa: in addition to Babbo, Lupa is one of my must-visits when I'm in town, particular for a catch up night with Z. We sat at the bar as usual (almost no wait) and split the salad with warm guanciale dressing, rabbit pasta special, a special ravioli and the bavette cacio e pepe. Loved the salad (warm porky dressing!) and the first two pastas; the cacio e pepe was just a little too peppery for me (ok probably my fault). As usual, we had each dish paired with a different quartino of nice Italian reds recommended by the bartender. I also love how Lupa (and Babbo) actually splits the dishes into two separate dishes and brings the plates out one at a time (so you aren't trying to eat three pastas as once). Also, so nice not to have to think about driving home after a great meal with many glasses of wine!
  • Tia Pol: I wish Los Angeles had good tapas! We sat at the bar after almost no wait and ate til we were stuffed. Highlights included the razor clams and cockles, the blistered padron peppers, and the patatas bravas. Almost as good as the tapas Sarah and I had in Barcelona at the Bar Pinotxo at the amazing Boqueria market. We had a nice bottle of white from Catalunya. While I love riojas, spanish whites are some of my favorites, particularly paired with spicy and / or highly seasoned food
  • Company (Co.): I totally agree with Anthony Bourdain, I LOVE the popeye pie. It was just perfect: the lovely mound of just slightly cooked fresh spinach flavored simply with olive oil and sea salt, over some gruyere, pecorino and mozz, on a perfectly charred, while still fluffy crust, is perfection. We also had the veal meatball pie which would be noteworthy in any other restaurant, but was overshadowed by the Popeye pie. I will definitely be recreating the Popeye at home!
  • Ippudo: after a day of walking around soho and the east village, I stopped by and had the Akamaru Modern. Rich, delicious, fragrant dish, with perfectly toothsome thin ramen. This is how ramen should be. The closest I can find in Los Angeles to Ippudo is Santouka ramen. Noodles are better at ippudo and the broth and quality of the pork are just a little better.
  • Supertaste: My favorite Chinatown cheap eat. It's too easy to spend way too much money in NYC, particularly when you are catching up with lots of old friends. I haven't found any similarly great hand-pulled noodles (la mian) in Los Angeles. We ate at Supertaste before our $16 cocktails at M&H. We had the usual pork bone la mian, and slightly spicy beef hand cut noodles (dao xiao mian). With sodas, the meal came out to way less than one cocktail at M&H.
  • Prosperity Dumpling: another great cheap eats in NYC; you just can't beat 5 dumplings for $1. The sesame beef pancake is also cheap and delicious. The dumplings are fried as you wait, as are the sesame pancakes. I also bought 50 frozen dumplings for $8 to make at home
Other notable stops during our visit to NYC: Bobo, which was in a quaint brownstone in our 'hood, the West Village, to celebrate MK's bday; Perbacco, in alphabet city, for a nice, relatively reasonable Italian meal in a cozy, typically East Village / Alphabet City setting, with some of our oldest NYC friends, Dan & A. and Colin & L.; Norwood, a private club near the meatpacking where we had way too many cocktails (great setting though) with J.; Schiller's Liquor Bar, for some quick cocktails with an old colleague, John; and Jim's Cheesesteaks, (ok, not in NYC) but perfect for some Philly post-wedding reception cheesesteaks with Sarah and Jim.

I found the Union Square Greenmarket in March to be a little depressing. Very little fresh produce. Lots of apples though
Prosperity Dumpling's chef making the sesame pancake

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