Brunch at Prune; Shake Shack, Ninth Street Espresso, and Picnick
As you can tell these past recent weeks, I’m writing pretty much an average about a post a week. It’s going to be like this for a while just because I’m snowballed with school and I’m dreading the LSATs! Good lord help me on the latter. I’m scared the wits out of me for this one test for the sake of law school. Anyways, I’m writing the aforementioned on the title but skipping out on Jean Georges just because that restaurant deserves its own post. Even though you see or seen the photos on my Flickr gallery.
On Saturday, I felt brunch-y and motivated to brave the mythical lines that one would face at Prune.
Once I got in the place is pretty much packed. Tables were close together, just barely letting a person fit in between each table. Lively chatter from the diners surrounding me. This place is charming. It has this old French country feel with worn walls, antique mirrors, and the open French doors of sorts where I was sitting. It’s unlike any other restaurant I’ve ever been in, in a good way.
The interior shots you see above are partial views since I’m siting all the way up in the front, looking past everyone’s shoulders. And they happen to be taller than me, which isn’t too hard since I’m petite anyways. Besides the atmosphere of this place, I’m here for the FOOD. But before we get to that, I ordered their “Prune juice.” It’s basically a wonderful blend of Meyer lemon, orange, lime and ruby grapefruit juices. A good balance of sweet and tart.
Now, here’s their brunch specials menu.
What really appealed to me was the most decadent, artery-clogging plate of them all: the Monte Cristo. Why? Here’s a few photos to show you what I mean…
If the photos haven’t given you a hint, the Monte Cristo is basically a savory-sweet, deep fried, stuffed (with meats) French toast. What they did is basically build a triple decker sandwich of ham, turkey and swiss cheese; dip it in a custard-style batter, and deep fry it. Oh yeah…if that doesn’t say HEART ATTACK, I don’t think anything else will. It also accompanied with an egg over-easy and red currant jelly.
Surprisingly, it sounds a lot heavier than it tastes. I don’t feel like a total slob after eating that since I felt just satiated. I asked for the check, and the cute thing to note is that they give a Scottie dog shaped licorice along the check. I paid and took the subway uptown to get to class. Yes, I have a Saturday class just because I don’t want to take a night class and commute the way home late every weeknight.
Since it’s considered the first day of the weekend class, my professor was kind enough to dismiss the class early just because it’s the Labor Day Weekend and she admits she wants to get out too. Somehow, I was hungry after classes were over and headed down to Shake Shack.
I normally would assume that 2:45 PM would be considered as off-hours but I was wrong. I was sent all the way back to the end of the line that reaches near the US Open booths in Madison Square Park.
I’m guessing since it is the Labor Day weekend, Manhattanites and tourists alike took advantage of the good, warm, albeit humid weather for some delicious burgers.
They had those signs up for entertainment, me thinks? It’s strewn along the path where everyone’s waiting and reading. It’s basic yoga stretching and balancing poses. Anyways, I ended up waiting about 45 minutes to order my Double Stack. Yes, for all that waiting I just want the Double Stack. No fries. No shake. No custard. I know some of you are shaking your heads at me in disgrace thinking that I was insane to both stand in line for that long and wasted that much time for one burger. But it’s not just any burger. It’s the burger of my dreams…
I wholly admit that the innards shot is a bit gruesome but it’s better than the few I’ve taken and deleted. Anyways, I’m in love with this burger. A fried puck of cheese sandwiched between two portobello mushrooms, another layer of American cheese, and their delicious Shack burger, all fit into this lovely, slightly fluffy bun. *sighs* I think I died happily in gustatory heaven. But my senses crashed down to Earth as my gut felt like a brick, which is typical whenever I eat here. I walked a few miles in the city and then ran on the treadmill when I got back home. That’s my usual remedy.
Over the weekend, my mother was craving for homemade noodles. I just know how to make pasta, not noodles, if you’re technical about the exact definition of both. Nevertheless, she wanted me to make a batch for her.
What she ended up pairing the pasta was braised pigs’ feet with onions. OMG. This is comfort food to me. The chewy, eggy strands of pasta mixed with savory, sweet (from the onions), melt-in-my-mouth silkiness from the collagen, pork meat, and pork fat. Yums.
On Tuesday morning I randomly walked into Chelsea Market. Just because I was thinking of having some carby goodness from Amy’s Bread but I got distracted since just next door or next stand practically, I saw a coffee bar. That coffee/espresso bar was Ninth Street Espresso.
As usual, I ordered their cappuccino. Since their espresso is pretty damn good compared to most places I’ve tried in the city. It’s robust, lovely crema, and it’s very smooth.
You might be wondering why the heck would I go all the way down there in the first place. To tell you the truth, I’m just curious about the dessert portion since it’s one of Will Goldfarb’s (the dessert chef of the recently closed Room 4 Dessert, which I missed out on) projects, and it’s environmentally friendly which intrigues me even further about this establishment. It sounds a lot like ‘wichcraft but I want to know if there’s any difference between the two.
Since it is almost 4 PM, all of their sandwiches were sold out except for the vegetarian option (as they’ve told me, but I didn’t care for a sandwich at the moment). All I ended up having was their pistachio panna cotta and their Seasonal Soda of the day.
The strange fact when I asked for a straw, the guy who worked there said, “Sorry. We are not allowed to give out straws.” He’s assuming that the park conservancy didn’t want people to litter the place with straws. Weird. But the interesting thing was their spoon is biocompostable. I’m taking it that it’s biodegradable. Um…to show you what I mean.
Usually, I’m not a soda drinker. But what I remember reading somewhere is that they make their own soda without those corn or fructose syrups that you usually find in the canned stuff. But I forgot to ask was the flavor. What I end up tasting was Meyer lemon and a subtle hint of orange. It’s more of a dry soda than sweet, and it tastes good. I need that refreshing, carbonated feel since I’m dying in this summer-like heat in NYC. Even though it’s September, summer’s hanging around for a bit.
The panna cotta…what can I say about this dessert? It looks pretty, doesn’t have that hideous, neon shade of green, and it has those small, ripe strawberries but does it taste good. I’m going to find out.
The panna cotta was creamy, not tough and gelatinous. It’s just sweet enough and the pistachio flavor was wonderful, it’s not artificial or alcoholic tasting, and the ripe, super sweet strawberries. Mmmm…I like this a lot. Admittedly a lot more than what I tasted from Eleven Madison Park when I ate there during Restaurant Week.
The good thing about being in Battery Park is the view of the water. I just sat at the table near Picnick, slowly eating my pistachio panna cotta, and sipping my soda, lounging for the next hour soaking in the views. That’s a good afternoon.
54 E 1st Street
New York, NY 10003
Madison Ave & E 23rd St
New York, NY 10010
Ninth Street Espresso
75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011