Ok, this blog be about, as indicated for the title, food. Most people, who known me for quite some time, know that I love food. So, this is going to be a little blog of the most recent places I have eaten around.
For the past few days (Thursday & Fri), I have been eating the food from Cafe Zaiya, a small Japanese cafe located in Midtown East, on E 41st St between Madison & 5th Ave. This place serves inexpensive food like sushi, bento boxes, sandwiches, Japanese baked goods, and Beard Papa cream puffs. Seating is limited and it’s really crowded during the afternoon.
On Thursday, I have tried their grilled ham & cheese sandwich ($1.75). I bought this during the morning since I was time restricted and it looked good. When I actually got a good look at it when I ate it for lunch with a few of my friends. It was a half sandwich, made of thickly sliced whtie bread (about 1″ thick), filled with a tomato sauce, cheese and some chopped ham. Obviously from the size, my mouth cannot open that wide to fit that sandwich; so I ate it open face. I actually found out that the cheese was not melted, it’s just shredded, and there were some slices of tomato and peppers. When I actually ate it, it was different than what I would perceive as a “grilled ham and cheese sandwich.” The bread was dry, the filling itself tasted like salsa. The cheese was almost indistinguishable from the taste and the ham’s flavor just comes out slightly. I don’t really like this sandwich but it’s not awful. I guess my palate is more Americanized or I just set myself up for what would be the American version of the grilled ham & cheese.
Yesterday (Friday), I tried their pastries; the Mochi-An donut ($1.50) and a white or green bean pastry (I forgotten the actual name, cost $1.20). They’re both pretty substantial as a snack, about 3 inches in diameter. The first one I ate was the white bean pastry. The exterior crust had a pale white, cream color. The interior had a very pale, translucent green bean paste (think of the color of the leaf of an iceberg lettuce). I thought it tasted bland. I don’t really like it even though I really wanted to like it.
The mochi-an donut is a misnomer. It looked similar to the previous pastry; it’s not fried and there is no hole, in what you would expect in a donut. The only difference is that the crust has a coating of sanding sugar (those of you who don’t know what that is, think pretzel salt but opaque white in color) and it’s a bit flakier. The interior has the sweet, red adzuki bean paste. This “donut” is really good. The sweetness of both the crust and the bean paste worked harmoniously well together. The only problem that it’s a mess eating it. You get sugared on your clothes.
Another spot I also ate yesterday, was Tisserie in Union Square; located on Broadway & 17th St. This place is a Venezuelan pastry shop but it serves European based goods with a Latin twist and they also sell savory foods as well. This is technically the second time I ate here. The first time I tried their mini Tiger cake and financier ($1.50 each) with a friend who ordered this and a quiche ($5).
The quiche was quite tasty and they give you a pretty large slice, too. The crust was flaky and the filling was good; it had a cheesy flavor, probably goat cheese or some type of soft cheese. The tiger cake is an oval shaped butter cake with chocolate flecks in it and the center was concave, filled with chocolate ganache. It was good; it had a almondy taste and the ganache was dark chocolate, which I really like. The complaint from my companion was that it was too greasy. The almond financier, a French butter pound cake that is small and rectangular; the way it’s supposed to be. It’s not bad but I don’t taste anything nutty and it’s not as greasy as the tiger cake. I should mention that their coffee was actually good.
Today, I ate the turkey and cream cheese croissant ($3.50) and a small coffee ($2.50). I found out that their coffee is actually organic and fair-trade, so I’m helping out the coffee farmers out there and the environment. It still tastes good, bold and robust, not bitter. The croissant is somewhat, what I would call, a grease bomb. The paper bag that held my croissant had a grease stain (medium sized), holding it for a minute. I think it’s mainly from the cream cheese. Anyways, the croissant had the right shade of golden brown and it was flaky to the bite. The interior is what is the name stated, turkey and cream cheese. To my disappointment, the turkey is something in what you would find from a deli or prepackaged turkey from a supermarket. But overall, it’s pretty tasty. I guess from the butter from the croissant and fat from the cream cheese made it all palate appealing.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the foods yet. But I’m working on remembering to bring my camera and take photos of my food with my phone.
I used to go to that Cafe Zaiya all the time when I worked near there. Those little premade sandwiches at lunch are cheap and, if not huge or spectacularly tasty, well put together. As in not messy bricks of food that you can’t fit in your mouth. (The lunch sandwiches, that is — I’ve never had the grilled ham and cheese in the mornings, like you did.)
I do agree that Cafe Zaiya is very affordable. I love their desserts more than their sandwiches though.
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