In case you’re wondering where I’ve been, Rob and I just got back from a week in NYC. While we did a lot of the touristy things, shopping and general sight seeing, I was (secretly) most looking forward to the good eats that awaited me. You could’ve easily called this: How Polly Ate Her Way Across Manhattan. Though there were a few misses, I brought a lot of hits back with me. If you’re ever in NYC, check these places out.
On our first day, we stopped by the Union Square Green Market to admire the fresh produce and to sample what we could. We found gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, shiny plump eggplants, and succulent small strawberries. I just wished I would have had the time and supplies to cook up a good meal with all these excellent ingredients.
We consumed what was probably the most memorable meal of our trip early on at Il Fornaio in Little Italy. It’s located on Mulberry Street in a pack of other small Italian eateries, but let me tell you, this place is worth searching out. On recommendation from a coworker, I ordered the Gnocchi Napoleana and OH-MY-GOD. This stuff was pure heaven. The elements were pretty basic–gnocchi, a light tomato based sauce, lots of mozzarella and a touch of fresh basil. But the combination was out of this world.
The bowl is deceptively small, but the hubby and I managed to polish the entire thing off. I think I actually left there with my jeans unbuttoned. hehe
Rob ordered the classic spaghetti and meatballs, and while the sauce was a good standard tomato sauce, the meatballs were what really made this dish. Perfectly seasoned, tender and juicy. The gnocchi did a good job of filling us up, but we made sure we ate every last but of the meatballs too.
Monday night, we had reservations at The Gallery at the SoHo Grand Hotel, but after taking a look at the disappointingly uninspired menu, we cancelled them and wandered around the neighborhood till we found something that looked more appealing. The Cupping Room (on Broadway not too terribly far from Kate Spade) fit the bill with their prix fixe dinner that was both economical (3 courses for $16.95) and delicious.
Rob opted for the salmon with mango curry and basmati rice. Ever the sucker for the cream, I went with the spinach ravioli with basil cream sauce. Both were excellent and neither of us could decide which was better.
But the highlight of the dinner was dessert. The prix fixe menu came with an ice cream topped brownie, but after we saw something called “The ‘O’ Cake” on the regular menu, we decided that was the only thing that would do. Luckily the waitress was able to trade two brownies for one “O” Cake, and we were presented with this delectable treat:
I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, especially the last one. But let me say that the thing was basically NY cheesecake (yum) topped with chocolate mousse (double yum) and then covered with a chilled chocolate “wrapping” (OOOOooooooo). I must find a way to replicate this, no matter how difficult.
Because everyone said that we had to try it and out of sheer curiosity, we stopped by Gray’s Papaya on our way to Central Park one day. The hot dogs weren’t too bad. Better than your average dog, but not nearly as good as a ball park dog. The store’s signature papaya juice was….an interesting addition to the meal. It was pretty subtle in flavor, almost to the point of tasting watered down. It’s supposed to “aid in digestion” according to the guide book we relied on during the trip. I disagree, as I had my whole glassful and still had a bit of a belly ache. My advice is to skip this place unless you’re a serious hot dog connoisseur.
Our last day brought with it a new standard for one of my favorite foods–pizza. Going again on a coworker’s recommendation, we had lunch at John’s Pizzeria on Bleeker Street. Guys this seriously has to be the best pizza on earth. The crust was thin and crispy, but still thick and sturdy enough to support the toppings. The sauce was, in a word, perfect. Not too sweet, not overly laden with spices, and spread evenly over the entire pie. The cheese was incredibly fresh tasting with just the right amount of saltiness. The pepperoni was obviously of high quality because it tasted rich and flavorful without being overly greasy. All together, it practically melted in your mouth. And to continue the week’s tradition of overeating, Rob and I polished off a 16″ pie all by ourselves, licking our fingers and smacking our lips as went.