May 20, 2009

NYC Part 2

Back to the NYC trip. Last Saturday we had reservations for a 3 hr food tour of SoHo (that's south of Houston Street) at Noon. We did one last year in Greenwich Village and it was Fab.U.Lous. Mrs M and I were bound and determined to find a costume jewelry store in the vicinity we'd been to a year or two ago and we decided to go on an adventure before the food tour. What I love most about NYC is that things are constantly changing - I go back year after year and there's always something new to explore. What I dislike most about NYC is that things are constantly changing - stores and restaurants come and go and shops I cherished or used to orient myself have moved or are altogether gone. We were not having any luck finding the jewelry store and thought perhaps it had suffered one of the aforementioned fates, but we soon determined I was directionally challenged. The subway trip was interesting though -

I think there were bottles in the bags on the floor. I wonder if he took the time to wrap them or if someone else did? He snored too. LOUDLY.

We made it to the meeting place for the food tour with not a minute to spare and the rest of our party had just arrived. We walked for 3 hrs straight with just a few stops for food tasting all around the Washington Square Park area. Our first stop was Yatagan on MacDougal Street. It was not much larger than my bedroom and a gentleman on his bike stopped at the window to order while we were there (I marveled at how he did the whole transaction while on his bike). We sampled Doner Kebab - lamb meat served with pita bread and a "white sauce" (same as greek cucumber or tzatziki sauce). The meat was stacked onto a vertical skewer over a heat source (didn't get close enough to see what kind) and they sliced it off with a big knife. I felt very adventurous. We also ate falafel. I'd heard of this before but didn't know what it was - it's a fried chickpea patty. Both were quite good. Our next stop was just down the block at Monte's, an italian restaurant. The tour guide said she recalled eating there as a child. We had penne bolognese and it was wonderful though I secretly wished we were sampling the ricotta cheesecake. We walked a bit further looking at architecture. The guide dazzled us with her knowledge of real estate - a brownstone in a desirable location was likely $10M while another smaller townhouse off a main street was only $6M. Next stop was Ali Baba where we sampled Halva. This is a confection made of sesame paste, honey and pistachios (there are likely other ingredients, but this is all I recall the guide mentioning). I thought I'd really like it as I'm a big fan of pistachios, but it was rather dry and not very sweet. We checked out a few clubs - Cafe Wha?, The Players Theatre, Next Door and The Blue Note. Evidently Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Prince have played at Cafe Wha? and it's quite the happening place. Our next sampling was at a restaurant called Cuba. I don't know that I've ever had authentic cuban food before, but I definitely will seek it out again. We had beef and chicken empanadas, yucca and a cilantro sauce that was so good I wanted to lick the bowl. The best thing I tasted however was the mojito. OMG!!! It was light, refreshing, not too sweet, with just a lot of mint and packed a punch!

Please note Mrs M's skull necklace - that was a morning jewelry purchase. My necklace was a birthday gift from my BFF :)

I think the only two photos of myself on this blog include an alcoholic beverage. Don't judge me.

Okay, continuing on. We stopped at Rafetto's for ravioli, Joe's Dairy for fresh smoked mozzarella, Pino's Meats for salami and Once Upon a Tart for a chocolate pear tart. AMAZING! I love the name - I think that might be a good name for my place if I ever open one.

There's so much more to tell, but I'll save it for another post. If you're on to me, yes I am trying to eek out as many posts as I can to achieve the all important #10 for the month of May. I probably need professional help.

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