Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pinche Taqueria

227 Mott St. & 333 Lafayette St.

I don't want to get ahead of myself with the Mexican thing, because we still haven't been to Cascabel Taqueria and they have some seriously special sounding oyster mushroom tacos waiting for me there. But since two nights ago I started eating fish again (for the first time in over 5 years!) I've got fish tacos on the brain and I'm looking for the best ones in New York City. On Thursday I sampled those at La Esquina, on Lafayette and Kenmare. Those were utterly delicious, but these sound pretty amazing too: fried tilapia served on a soft tortilla with cabbage, onions, cilantro, cilantro sauce, and guacamole.

Also, Eric Ripert writes in a 2008 review: "When we entered they were playing Mariachi music; it was charming. Mini coronas."

Join me as I savor my return to the sea.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gina la fornarina: We Went to There

     A visit to Grandpa is always soothed by a cousinly luncheon, and this visit around, we went to Gina la fornarina (the baker's daughter).  We stood on 2nd Avenue in the 80s between two Wants--Gina, and Cascabel--and choose the former since our last Want in Grandpa Herbland was a mexican joint and we wanted a little variety.  The place was, as their logo suggests, super cute, and pretty, and girly, and pink.  Crisp white tables and chairs, against a lovely magenta-like pink.  It was the perfect place to consume a lady-like lunch of fritatta with spinach and fontina cheese with a side of greens.  The fritatta was as dense as a quiche--like a nice, thick slice of pie.  The greens were delicately dressed.  I also had a green tea, a fair amount of which I managed to spill on my (pink) pashmina scarf during a small fit of conversational excitement.  We wished that we had been served some of the grilled bread the lady across from us was served, which came in a rolled down paper bag that suited a certain rustic sensibility of mine.  On our way out, we stopped to gaze at the delicious looking noodle dishes as well as some flatbread pizzas and thought that we might like to come back for an early dinner and a glass of wine.  They had no cookies but we were prepared.  Last week at Northern Spy, we picked up a sweet treat made by the Brooklyn based Liddabit Sweets called The King.  And, oh, how he rules.  He was really a glorified Twix--but when I say glorified, I mean exalted, beatified.  And it was wrapped with a green silk ribbon--chocolate and ribbons? A girl can only take so much.  What made The King so so so so good was this delightful combination: brown butter and brown sugar cookie, peanut butter nougat, and fresh banana ganache. The list of ingredients informed us that the ganache is made with the local Ronnybrook Farms heavy cream.  The dude at Northern Spy told us this bar was so intense that it took him six days to eat it.  After the 72 seconds it took us to enjoy this candy, Helen called him a name I can't mention in polite company, but I can say, as Helen would, that The King is without a doubt, my jam.   
      A brief note on the bathroom: it was pink too, and pleasing.  It was one of those rooms you'd like to linger in a bit--the lighting is nice and you look good in the mirror.  You take your time with the soap and the washing and drying of the hands.  You admire the painting of a half naked lady titled "La Fornarina."

Joseph Leonard

170 Waverly Place (Grove St.)
Greenwich Village, (646) 429-8383

"Gabriel Stulman, once a manager and partner at the Little Owl and Market Table... makes the backward glance by naming his new restaurant after his grandfathers, Joseph and Leonard, whose portraits hang in vintage frames. The tables are set with cut-glass salt cellars and curlicued flatware. You get the feeling that if you walked by Joseph Leonard at the right time of day, you might spot the iceman" -- Pete Wells for The New York Times, 9.30.2009

Allegedly out-of-this-world hash browns, Grandfather love, and all the old-world decor notes that Adam Platt seems to think are out in 2010 -- put them together, and you have Joseph Leonard, our new destination brunch spot. Of special note: the egg sandwich ($12) combines a croissant, manchego cheese, and brussels sprouts drizzled with Sriracha. I'm there.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vinegar Hill House

When I first moved to Brooklyn, one of my favorite little finds was the relatively abandoned Vinegar Hill neighborhood past Dumbo and the mysteriously romantic navy yard.  I've always loved a ghost town--abandoned things really get me going.  Think of all the history these empty homes and shops have and of all the promise they offer for renaissance.  The Vinegar Hill House opened amidst the vacant buildings over a year ago now, and I've wanted to go to there just as long.  I'd like to try the roasted octopus and the farmstead cheese and salami with homemade crackers to start.  Then I'd move on to the roasted pollack with brussel sprouts, pistachio, apple, and mint.  Or what about the beef cheeks wth chestnut honey?  Chestnut honey?  Yes, please.

Gina la fornarina

This very new restaurant does not yet have a functioning website, so I don't even know what they will feed me.  But I know I want to go to there anyway.  Why?  The damn cute logo and, I must admit, the pink.  I love the pink.