I wouldn't necessarily characterize my most recent trip to New York as a voyage of foodie discovery. I mean, of course I scoped out restaurants and bakeries and the like for weeks before flying up. However, I was so happy and anxious to see Chet after ten weeks of being separated from him that I couldn't eat for a couple of days. (See honey, when I said, "You make me lose my appetite," it was out of love.) Also, I tried to keep my shrewishness and control freak tendencies in check to a certain extent, so as to appear as a fun, carefree, spontaneous girl who had not already drawn up the trip plans like a dictator. Okay, I'll admit that there was a Google doc created to house a detailed itinerary, and I don't think Chet was fooled.
The first night I was in Brooklyn, we went to dinner at Black Iris (menu), a middle Eastern restaurant. We had babaghanouj as an appetizer. I ordered the Chicken Ouzi, a fragrant puck of flaky dough filled with rice, raisins, almonds, vegetables, and meat with yogurt sauce. The server was very nice and brought us some extra homemade hot sauce. Pretty good eats.
I had time during the day to myself while Chet was at work. I spent some time at Kalustyan's where I bought some Korintje Cassia Indonesian Cinnamon and Indian Tellicherry Black Peppercorns, among other things. I think most ground cinnamon tastes like dust, but I've used the Kalustyan's house brand in a couple of recipes (that I'll share soon) and it is wonderful.
One of my favorite finds during the trip was City Bakery at Union Square. It was snowing outside and I trudged in bundled up in my coat and scarf, toting my umbrella. I ordered a pretzel croissant and some hot chocolate. The croissant was flaky, buttery, sweet, and salty. The hot chocolate was thick and dark and topped with a fluffy homemade vanilla marshmallow. They were both really good on their own, but after awhile the hot chocolate started to taste funky after a bite of croissant. This was definitely a place I could frequent.
I met Chet for lunch at Momofuku Noodle Bar. We ordered pork steamed buns (I think) and some chicken ramen. It was good. Then I tried to add some chili sauce to Chet's bite of ramen and accidentally squirted it all over his pants. Because my moves are smooth. Then we went back out into the snow, and since poor Chet didn't have a hat, I tried to hold my umbrella over him, but just kept hitting him in the forehead. Because my moves are smooth.
We had some good pizza at a place near City Bakery. I ordered a slice with fresh tomatoes and goat cheese, and it put any pizza I could get in Lubbock to shame. We hit Bombay Masala again before a Broadway show.
We tried Grand Sichuan in the East Village. We got an appetizer of pork soup dumplings. Delicious! I tried those in Taiwan and I distinctly remember dropping the giant dumpling from my chopsticks into a bowl of soup, splashing my shirtfront in the process. No such bad luck at Grand Sichuan. I ordered the Gui Zhou Spicy Chicken for my entrée; Chet got General Tso's chicken.
I went to Jacques Torres' chocolate shop in Dumbo under the auspices of getting chocolate to bring home as Christmas gifts. Ended up getting a cookie, truffles, and chocolate bars, which were mostly consumed by me in NY. Look at these truffle flavors! I liked caramel best.
I spent a nice afternoon with an almond croissant from Choice Market, which was probably the best thing I ate on the trip. Also dragged Chet to a cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education, where a little Sicilian lady taught us how to make Italian desserts with Pan di Spagna (more on that later).
Okay, so if that wasn't a voyage of foodie discoveries, my standards are impossibly high. I'm glad I could manage to fit all that eating into my schedule, despite two days of butterflies in my stomach. My New York trip already seems like a faraway dream, even though I haven't even been home for two weeks yet.