A Day of Fooding (mostly with Helen)
I apologize for not writing for a while, even though you see the photos from my Flickr photostream on my sidebar and the page itself, it’s just because I’m busy with work, studying for LSATs, and now my family is going through a rough time because my mother’s seriously ill. I’m just writing to you guys now for the sake of not focusing on my mother’s situation and keeping myself sane. So, here’s what happened on Monday, when things were generally mirthful.
It’s been an awful while for me to have a real day of fooding. What I mean is that I went to more than two places for the sake of food or drinks in one day. Where have I been to? Just read on.
During the morning, I went all the way to the Upper West Side for the sake of cookies. You might be thinking, “Cookies for breakfast? You must be nuts!” Well, for me there is no time restraints for the sake of sweets. Think about it. Some of us eats donuts, muffins (which sometimes taste like a cupcake), chocolate croissants, or danishes for breakfast. How can you tell me that eating a cookie is a ridiculous idea? Anyways, I went to Levain Bakery.
I seek shelter in this bakery since it was starting to rain lightly and thankfully they do have some seating inside. As I mentioned before I got myself a chocolate chip walnut cookie ($3.50). I know you think shelling out $3.50 for a cookie is ridiculous but you haven’t eaten a cookie like this in the city. It’s so gooey, chocolatey, packed with walnuts, and it’s so soft and chewy since it’s barely baked. It’s like eating an underbaked cookie that is baked…if you get my drift. I hope. Seriously, if you’re a woman who’s undergoing PMS, this will totally satiate that craving we all have during that time.
I ate only half since I know I’m going to have lunch with Doug and Helen at Bar Stuzzichini within a few hours. Eventually Helen ate a piece of this later on and she understands how this cookie could almost be considered the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.
Moving on, we all met at Bar Stuzzichini almost noon. Surprisingly, we were the first group of people to eat here, or at least seated but eventually there are more diners around 1 PM.
They do offer a prix fixe lunch for $20 but we were interested in doing a la carte. After we ordered, we were given the bread and condiments…and Helen took random photos of the place with my camera, but Doug’s portrait survived from my photo editing session.
Eventually the stuzzi (as the waiter kept calling them) came in 10 minutes later. Stuzzichini is an Italian word for small bites or snacks that is meant to be served with wine; think of it in terms of Italian style tapas.
As you can tell from the photos, these appetizers are tiny. Sure, they’re small plates and they can be shared but when I had my multiple tapas experiences from Alta and Salud, the portions were a bit more generous (well, maybe not Salud but you get the point). At least they were tasty and the main theme going on for all of these plates were tender (meant for the octopus) and light (everything else). The best of the five stuzzi (polpo (grilled octopus), arancini (fried balls of risotto), polpette (meatballs), crostini di ricotta pecora, and crostini di ceci) were the polpette and the polpo. The others were good but it didn’t tantalize my tastebuds when I was eating them.
After we finished our appetizers, it took them a looong to get our main courses out. I kept glancing at my watch wondering where the heck is our food and Doug’s boss called him soon enough that I felt awful for holding him back because of the slow service. But after waiting patiently for 15 minutes, our sustenance finally came out.
Doug’s chickpea fritter sandwich ($9) was pretty good; slathered on both sides of the sandwich bun with ricotta cheese. The chickpea wasn’t dense and somehow there’s fish in it. Strange. The negatives on this sandwich was the characterless, seedless, untoasted bun and I think the sandwich overall lacked seasoning.
Helen’s Braciole Alla Pizzaiola (short rib; $13) looked like something an Italian grandmother would make. It’s so rustic and simple in presentation that it looks like from a home kitchen. This short rib is basically a soft, slow cooked, boneless slab of beef drenched in thick tomato sauce. It was well seasoned but it’s really simple in terms of flavor.
My Gnocchi all Amatriciana ($14) was very good. It’s very light and not gummy. The tomato sauce was well seasoned with bits of onions and guanciale. I still think it’s a bit too safe, flavorwise but it is satisfying.
We have to skip dessert since our lunch took way too long for Doug to stay since we technically stayed there for almost two hours…and it’s not even a three course meal. Eh, I think Bar Stuzzichini has fine Italian food but for the sake of our time and the price for the food, I might not go there too often.
Helen and I are left to ourselves and hang out for the rest of the day. We have the plan of seeing a movie nearby and we ended up deciding to watch Bourne Ultimatum. I admit I haven’t seen a movie since Memoirs of a Geisha (I know, I’ve been living in a cave), it would be something Helen and I could waste our time and be entertained. We have another hour to until the next showing since it was playing by the time we bought our tickets, so we walked over to the East Village for some ICE CREAM!
Yep. I took Helen to Sundaes and Cones for dessert since it’s so hot and humid on Monday. Helen and I perused the myriad of choices of flavors they offer and eventually after trying the lychee and corn ice cream; I just went for a cone of corn. Helen was craving for green tea.
My corn ice cream was awesome! It’s creamy, not too sweet, with tiny blended bits of corn. Trust me if you like corn, you will like this frozen, dairy based form of corn. Mmm… Helen’s green tea ice cream, though I haven’t tried hers (but I ate it before) seemed very good since she seemed like a happy camper.
After we finished our dessert, we headed back to the movie theater in Union Square and watched Bourne. For the inquiring minds, I think the movie was ok. I really liked the action sequences but everything else besides that didn’t really intrigued me. Oddly enough when we’re about to leave the movies, Helen was craving for coffee. My insane, caffeine-dependent mind sparked the thought of Joe’s.
We both ended up ordering a large iced coffee since it’s still humid and hot. Helen being Helen, she bolted to the counter where they have all the different sweetners and lids for the drinks and she found her true love…liquid sugar (aka sugar syrup). So she shook, poured, and poured the sugar that it amounted to a seventh of the volume of that coffee cup. Yep. She loves her sugar.
We found ourselves a table in Joe’s, sat down and sipped our coffee. But when she tasted her coffee, Helen wasn’t satisfied with the sweetness level of her coffee. Yeah, can’t you believe it? She got up and added a couple more dashes of sugar syrup until her sugar-lovin’ tongue is content. It’s hard to believe that I’m still friends with her even though she’s destroying the concept and integrity of great coffee.
Once we’re finished with our afternoon coffee, we went home since the skies are threatening for rain and I have to do my typical evening routine…studying.
167 W 74th St
New York, NY 10023
New York, NY 10010
Sundaes & Cones
9 E 13th St
New York, NY 10003
Joe: Art of Coffee
95 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003