Monday, December 1, 2008

Eating in NYC

I love New York. I love the feeling I have when I'm peaking out the cab window, coming from the airport. I love that everyone always seems so much hipper than me, no matter how hip I think I'm going to look when I pack my bags. I love that anxious feeling I have when I mentally scroll through the list of places I want to eat and realize there will never be enough time. I love a lot about New York and the food is certainly high on the list.

This was a Thanksgiving trip so, there was certainly no shortage of good eats. Our Thanksgiving dinner was stellar-a juicy, juicy turkey, cornbread stuffing with Italian sausage, tender slow cooked root vegetables, Peter's famous hummus, the list goes on and on....That night we left stuffed to the gills but, by the next morning it was all about the next meal.

The night before turkey day we ate Mexican at Mama Mexicana. The food was really fresh and tasty. The best part was their creamy roasted pepper and tomato salsa that they actually emulsify with olive oil. I've never had anything like it and can't wait to try making it at home.

For dessert we walked over to Chickalicious Dessert Bar. They have a sit-down restaurant on one side of E. 10th and a take out place across the street. We went take out as we were too full for the three course dessert menu (but I love that idea!). We tried everything from cute frosted gingerbread men to 'adult chocolate pudding' (basically crushed up chocolate cookies top with a big scoop of pot de creme) and house made hot chocolate filled with house made vanilla soft serve. The place was jammed packed-clearly people are not worried about their waist lines the nige before Thanksgiving.

The day after Thanksgiving, we hit Momofuku Noodle for lunch. It was packed and smelled like a combination of five-spice, fresh ginger, and and pork-yum. We had the Momofuku ramen noodles in fragrant steamy broth with juicy pork and topped with a perfectly poached egg (my son ate the egg and most of the noodles but, I got my fill too). We also had the house made pork buns, which melted in your mouth, and the smoked stick-to-your fingers-but-you-can't-stop-eating-them chicken wings. It's not to be missed, especially on a cool NY afternoon.

Dinner that night was at Scott Conant's Scarpetta in the Meatpacking district. This was post-Thanksgiving and the place was no where near full, although when we called we got the 'sure we can take 10pm' line. Oh well..we showed up at 8 and got in within a few minutes. The meal was delicious. We started with yellow tail crudo topped with crispy fried garlic then had two of the house made pastas: cavatelli with a ragu of rabbit and spaghetti with tomato and basil. Both dishes were clearly more than a primi-they were huge portions. The pastas were beautiful-perfect texture and well seasoned. The ragu was nice-savory, and rich. The spaghetti was out of this world. I know, spaghetti with tomato-how good could it be? It took on an almost creamy texture and it was just one of those dishes where each of the few simple ingredients were so perfect that when they came together they created an amazing sum. I'd go back just for that. We then shared an entree, which was tough after those giant pasta dishes. We had the black cod with caramelized fennel. The fish was amber brown and crunchy on top, perfectly seared. The sweet fennel cut the richness of the fish nicely. Overall, it was a really tasty meal but, I could get all of this in San Francisco so, with the exception of the spaghetti, there wasn't anything to draw me back.

We skipped dessert at the restaurant that night to detour a few blocks downtown and have a cupcake at Magnolia. Say what you want about the recent cupcake rage all over the country, I still prefer the homestyle version they make there.

The next meal of note was Saturday lunch. Have you been to Katz's deli? If not, GO! San Francisco is pathetic when it comes to good NY style delis. New York has many but, none are like Katz's. This is the deli from When Harry Met Sally and, while I didn't 'have what she's having', I did have a corned beef sandwich that was easily 5-inches high and brimming with tons of juicy tender meat. I slathered it with their briny Russian Dressing and old style coleslaw and quickly found myself eating the thing with a fork and knife. My son had Matzoh Ball soup with one giant ball, as big as his head. The place is loud, crowded, and a bit chaotic but, it is the quintessential NY deli experience and well worth it.

Tummies full, we got on the plane and made our way back to SF. It's good to be home. Both my husband and I realized we no longer had the burning desire to move to New York but, it will always be an amazing place to visit, and of course to eat.

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