Indiana Jones – Our New Kitten

We got a kitten!! As I’m sure all of you who know me are aware, I’ve been wanting a cat since I graduated from college so needless to say I am extremely excited. He is the sweetest, cutest, little trouble maker. We named him Indy because of his proclivity for exploring and subsequently his ability to get into all sorts of trouble.

He loves his catnip filled mouse

We got him because our friend Rebecca told us about what a sweetheart he is. She had taken her (very wonderful and sweet) cat, Prince, to the vet last week and they were fostering him after finding him on the streets of Brooklyn (hipster kitty!). I went in on Friday night to “meet” him and walked out 15 minutes later with him in my arms. After a quick run to Petco for all of the necessary supplies, he settled in and I am already in love.

My boys

Of course, being a kitten he manages to get himself into all sorts of mischief. He’s already knocked over a couple glasses, almost broke one of our lamps, and loves sprinting from one end of the apartment and catapulting himself onto our bed in the middle of the night. I know Rick especially appreciates that last bit. He’s too cute to be mad at and is already very well trained with the kitty litter so I can’t complain. He’s my little munchkin.

He’s so angelic when he sleeps

All Good Things & Cavaniola’s

A new food marketplace just opened up in Tribeca (Franklin and Church). It’s called All Good Things and as of now has 8 different vendors. They include Blue Bottle, Blue Marble, Dickson’s Farmstand, Orwashers, and Cavaniola Gourmet Cheese Shop. I was, of course, most interested in the cheese. The original shop is in Sag Harbor.

Stinky cheese is the best

To make a long story short, I walked up to the counter and was immediately asked if I’d like to try some cheese. Why yes, yes I would. I tried a mild Gorgonzola, an aged Pecorino, a French cows milk cheese, and a Scharfer Max, which comes from Switzerland and is stinky and delicious. I got a wedge of that to bring home.

Mmm gooey cheese & spicy meat

They also have a small variety of sandwiches, which you can choose to have heated up on their panini grill. I went with their sopressata, sun-dried tomatoes and fontal. It was incredibly good. The sopressata was cut thick and had a mild spice to it. The cheese was gooey and creamy. The tomatoes cut through the heaviness with their acidity. It was also a large sandwich.

I’m glad this place opened so close to where I work because I’ll definitely be stopping by soon to try some ice cream at Blue Marble and grab some bread at Orwashers (even though there is a location by my apartment that I still haven’t gone to).

Smile – To Go

I’ve been wanting to check out The Smile for a while now but haven’t gotten around to it. I did, however, finally make it to their take away outpost Smile To Go. It’s close to my office and always has delicious sounding sandwiches and salads. It was busy when I got there at 12:15 but not crazy and the line moves quickly. This is probably because their sandwich selections (which are updated daily, though seem to always be the same) are pre-made. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as I found out. They also roast their own chicken, make their own salads and have generally tasty looking pastries available. I had trouble deciding what to get but made a last second decision to go with the mini maple bacon sandwich with a side of their kale salad.

Kale with pickled apples

Delicious indeed. The kale salad comes with pickled apple slices and light coat of vinegar and olive oil. Very simple and refreshing, especially on a beautiful summer day like today. It was exactly what I was hoping for. It tasted very…green and fresh. That’s the best way to put it.

Bacon Sandwich

The mini maple bacon sandwich has frisee and date mayo on an itty bitty buttery bun. Did you like that alliteration? You can never go wrong with a bacon sandwich and this was one was a solid choice. It’s small enough so you don’t feel gross for eating a sandwich almost entirely comprised of fatty meat but just enough so that you feel satisfied. I’d definitely say you need one of their side salads or a pastry to go with it though. Not quite enough for a full lunch. At only $4 it was worth every cent.

Tasty Dumpling

Tasty Dumpling is a tiny hole in the wall dumpling place on Mulberry in Chinatown. I can see the yellow awning from my office window, making it incredibly convenient. Luckily, it’s not only convenient but also DELICIOUS. Don’t be fooled and/or freaked out by the crappy interior – they make a mean dumpling and one hell of a pork pancake. I don’t have any pics of the pork and chive dumps (5 for $1.25) but I do have a picture of the pancake, which is essentially just a giant dumpling ($1.50).

Mmm Tasty

Looks tasty doesn’t it? That’s because it is. The filling is pork and cabbage. It’s juicy, meaty, and gets an added kick from the Sriracha I doused it with. The dough is definitely thicker than the dumpling skins but that’s a good thing because the pancake is extra juicy. It’s big enough to fill you up but not so big that you feel sick afterwards and for $1.50 that is an extremely cheap lunch. Booya.

 

In-N-Out

Oh Hey Pacific Ocean

This past weekend I was lucky enough to be in Southern California for one of my very good friend’s wedding. It was beautiful, we stayed at the Ritz, and it was the first time my college friends have all been back together since we graduated. Definitely a good way to celebrate.

Worth a trip to California

Obviously, a trip to California means a stop at In-n-Out. I only had my first one 2 years ago but I dream about their burgers. In fact, it’s probably what made me start liking burgers in the first place. On our drive from LAX to Dana Point Rick, Ivana, Kate, and myself stopped to get our fill. We each got Double-Doubles Animal Style. Animal Style means they add thousand island dressing, grilled onions, pickles, and grill your burger with mustard. Everyone knows about In-n-Out’s “secret menu” but for a run down of every single thing on it, Serious Eats did an awesome and hysterical article about it (I totally recommend reading it).

3 Double-Doubles Animal Style

The burgers were just as good as I remember. Fresh, tangy, salty, addictive. I wish I was eating one right now. Their fries always disappoint me, though I’ve never tried those Animal Style so perhaps that’s next! Anyway, it was the perfect start to an incredibly great weekend. I just wish we had those burgers over here.

Hooray for Pizza Day!

In NYC there is always a new pizza place to try. It’s virtually impossible to keep up with them all. My friends and I love pizza. I mean, how could you not? We talk about trying all these new places but with a group as large as ours it rarely happens. Last week Ivana and I decided that we were going to try Don Antonio’s this week, no matter what. Friends be damned, we were going to have our pizza and eat it too. We set the date for Wednesday, sent out an email inviting anyone who wanted to tag along, and counted down the hours until we could dig in.

Don Antonio’s is run by Robert Caporuscio, of Kesté fame, and his teacher, Antonio Starita. Both are well known in the pizza world and for good reason – they make a mean pizza. Kesté is probably my favorite pizza in NYC, though Motorino has really grown on me (they deliver to Rick’s apt), so I was incredibly excited to try out Caporuscio’s new place.

Burrata & Fried Dough Balls

Ivana, Dave, Emily, Rick, and myself arrived at 6:45 and were seated immediately (something that would never happen at Kesté, where waits can be very long). The 5 of us did not mess around when it came to ordering. 3 apps, 5 pizzas, 1 dessert. Bring. It. On.

We obviously had to try their homemade burrata, which came with prosciutto and a drizzle of some really excellent balsamic. This is the best burrate I’ve ever had. Granted, I never had it in Italy and I assume it would be better there, this was the best I’ve had in NYC. So creamy and delicious. It’s also a HUGE portion. The 5 of us each had plenty of it. We also opted to get 5 of each of the fried dough balls. One was topped with tomato sauce and the other with caramelized onions. Frying is something they know how to do here. They also have a fried pizza but I’ll get to that later. They tasted like savory zeppole, only airier and lighter, with no grease.

Prosciutto & Arugula, Pizza del Papa, and Montanara

As for the pizza, we ordered the Montanara Starita, which is the fried pizza they do. There’s now a couple places in NYC doing this but this was my first experience. They fry it, top it with sauce and cheese and then put it in the oven. It was delicious. Really smokey, which I didn’t expect, very light, and not greasy at all. It didn’t have an overwhelmingly fried taste but it was crispier than the rest of the pizzas. Really good. We go the Pizza del Pap (the Pope’s pizza), which had zucchini, squash, roasted peppers, and smoked mozz. I really liked this one. It was one of my favorites. Again, smokey, thanks to the mozz. All the vegetables were cooked perfectly and not at all soggy. Next we had the prosciutto and arugula pizza. I am always a fan of this combination. Peppery arugula and creamy salty prosciutto is never a bad combo. Enjoyed this pizza but not quite as much as I thought I would. I don’t know why. It was delicious but it didn’t blow me away.

Regina Margherita & Diavola

After that came the Regina Margherita and the Diavola. You always have to get the margherita when you go to a good pizza place because it’s the best way to judge it against other places. They use buffalo mozzarella and their incredibly fresh, bright tomato sauce. I approved of their sauce (one of the reasons I love Kesté). The diavola had the addition of soppressata, which is a spicy salami. Another quality pizza, though the spice was minimal. Usually when I think of diavola, I think of a spicy tomato sauce but the onyl spice from this was from the meat. Still, I would happily eat it again. My only complaint about the pizzas was that after sitting out for a few minutes they became incredibly soggy. I realize this is the case for any Neapolitan style pizza but this seemed especially egregious. Right out of the oven though, this dough knows no equal. It was awesome.

Hello Nutella, I’ve missed you

Finally, though we were completely stuffed and had passed our leftovers to Kim and Billy after they showed up, Ivana insisted on ordering dessert. What could be a better ending than fried dough covered in the good European Nutella? Nothing. It brought me back to Italy when I had Nutella every morning. And yes, there is a difference between the US version of Nutella and the European one. Ivana has done the taste test to prove it. The European is nuttier and less sweet.

That concludes my analysis of Don Antonio’s. I can’t wait to go back. It’s essentially Kesté without the wait.

 

Day Two: The Heat Wave Continues…

Dear Diary,

Day 2 of being held captive by this heat. It hovers over the city and blankets us with sweat. I do not know if we will make it out. It is relentless and the city is restless. I fear we may be on the brink of a meltdown. Those who venture out into the heat have a strange look about them…as if they know they cannot escape. I believe we have descended into the bowels of hell and God has forsaken us. “When will it end?!” people cry out in the street. I have no answer for them. Mother Nature can be cruel.

…we cannot get out…the heat is coming.