Cooking Eating Dining Sharing

Friday, October 23, 2009

New York, New York

Yes, it has been a few days since I have been blogging, however, I have been tasting my way through New York City the last couple of days and what fun it is!  Narrowing down the choices is the most difficult part of any trip to New York.  There is never enough time, money or energy to do everything and so something must always be left behind for next time.

This trip is no exception.  Two nights in NY is really just a tease, but one we will willingly take.  So, it starts when we settle in at the Washing Square Hotel, a charming and reasonable hotel near Washington Square Park and very near Greenwich and SOHO.  A perfect spot to people watch and to meet our kids when they finish their afternoon classes.

Babbos is directly across the street and that is where we are heading tonight before seeing Superior Donuts. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Yesterday we arrived in NY via train from NJ, about 45 minutes out.  What a great convenience the train is! Anyway, we headed to meet a friend in Midtown and off to Sarabeth's.  Sarabeth's (   is famous for their housemade jams that can be found nationwide. But the restaurant is in a prime location directly across from Central Park.  It has something for everyone, including the energetic children we were with.

In the afternoon, we met our daughter, who hadn't eaten lunch and so off we were led to a taco truck hanging out on Mercer called Calexico.  After she gobbled up a delicious looking burrito, made to order right in front of us on a flat grill, we walked to our favorite spot for a treat, Vosge Chocolate.  It has something yummy and interesting always.  Like Chocolate with Bacon (sounds gross, but the salty sweet goodness is addicting or Dark Chocolate and Black Sesame Seeds with Wasabi.  Their Hot Chocolate with Chilies is sensational.  A South American/Mexicana tastiness.  Very satisfying and lifting at the same time.

After window shopping for a bit, our feet and our heads led us to MercBar.  A cozy, dark and tribal bar with a beautiful large red inviting window that looks out onto Mercer Street, near Houston.  A too sweet Margarita and a too sweet Elderberry Gin (Sweet 16), made us wish for something else and we walked our way back up to the lower east side and eventually to Momofuku, a ssam bar.  So what is so unusual about this restaurant?  Some of the food is unrecognizable and in my humble opinion, not very tasty.  I digress.  A restaurant experience is very individual, and with that are very individual tastes, however, having said that, the experience needs to be pleasant (if they want repeat customers) and delicious (if they want repeat customers) and lively or interesting (if they want repeat customers).  Momofuku is casual with dark wood tables and wood blocks to sit on.  Not comfortable for sitting, so they move people along.  The food is interesting, I will give them that, but tasty is stretching it.  Our Beau Soliel Oysters with Kimchi were doused with the acrid, briny kimchi liquid, but no cabbage in site and no lemon either to balance the taste or wash it away.  Spanish Octopus was off tasting, with a marinade only made more bitter by grilling.  Again, no garnish of lemon to balance out the fish, and the whipped avocado and mini square pieces of melon where unrecognizable in taste.    We were excited to try the soft boiled egg with summer beans, bacon and pumpernickle.  It sounded beautiful and so we ordered.  It came with a piece of pumpernickle so thin, that was not suited to picking up but rather broke off if you tried to use it as a scoop.  The egg was delicious, but the beans with the bacon was so over salted that the flavor was compromised.

So, you win some and you lose some, but the experience has a lasting impression.  The overzealous water pourers only make one feel that they are unwanted guests and time to move on and so we did, but not until we had paid the $$$ bill.  YOW!

You would think that our evening was over a this point, but we were so close to a little desert place that we had once gone to that I suggested it as a treat for the disappointing dinner.  Chikalicious ( is a sweet dessert bar that is stylishly french feeling.  Chika is a Japanese pastry Chef and her sweet husband Don run the show.   It is a dining experience like no other, with the graciousness of the host and chef greeting and serving the tiny room.  On our night, the offerings for the three courses were Tomato and Vanilla Gelee with a scoop of Basil Sorbet.  I ordered the Pumpkin Mousse, Caramel sorbet and a dense but light pumpkin financier.  Scrumptious and beautiful to look at gracing simple but beautiful pottery.   More to come from Babbo's....soon.

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