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.

 

Hello SUMMER

Today is the official first day of summer and apparently Mother Nature wanted to remind us of this fact by giving us our first 90+ day. Thanks a lot. Anyone who lives in NYC or has visited NYC on a day like today knows that it is completely unbearable. The subway is about 20 degrees warmer than it is outside, it smells worse, it’s humid, and stuffy. It also kills your appetite. Who wants to even think about eating food when it feels like you’re in a furnace?

Food Kiosks at the Brooklyn Bridge

That being said, I sit in an ice box all day long, so I still get hungry. I decided that I would hit up the food kiosks by the Brooklyn Bridge because they’re so close to me. I had planned on grabbing a couple tacos from Taqueria Nixtamal but when I got there I saw that La Newyorkina had a little cart. They make Mexican paletas, frozen ice pops, and what could be more perfect on a day where it feels like 96 degrees out? They had quite a few delicious sounding flavors but I decided on grapefruit. I figured it would be fruity and acidic, which meant extra refreshing. And it did not disappoint. Nice and tart with just a bit of sweetness. I enjoyed it while watching all the tourists look at the bridge. At $4 it is certainly the priciest popsicle I’ve ever had but that’s NYC for ya.

My grapefruit paleta

Big Apple BBQ Festival

Hogs are smoked and ready at Scotts

I can’t imagine why this was my first year attending the Big Apple BBQ festival. I’m disappointed in myself. A weekend with some of the country’s best pit masters should never be missed. I didn’t grow up eating lots of bbq, I’m not from the South, I haven’t spent lots of time in the Midwest so my expectations are pretty much always blown away when I get to taste legit BBQ. My preference is for pulled pork, specifically from the Carolinas where they have a nice vinegary bbq sauce to go along with their melt in your mouth pork. That was my plan of attack for last Sunday. All I wanted was the pig and that’s what I got. I only made it to 2 vendors but it was enough to make me deliriously happy.

Scott’s pulled pork and cracklings

Rodney Scott was my first stop. He has a BBQ joint in Hemingway, South Carolina and I had read an interview with him at Serious Eats. It was enough to convince me to check him out. Like I said, I don’t know the first thing about good BBQ. There are crazy fanatics out there who know all the different regions and what makes good pulled pork or brisket etc etc. I just know what tastes good and Scott’s peppery, vinegary pork was delicious. You got a plate of the pulled pork, which I promptly doused with extra sauce, and side of their fried pork skins. It had a little bit of spice but not overwhelming by any means. One thing it was not short on was flavor.

Ed Mitchell’s pulled pork sandwich

Next we hit Ed Mitchell’s bbq, who’s from Raleigh, NC. The line for his station was exceptionally long but it moved quickly. Once we got our food it was clear why everyone was willing to wait for it. My God. His pulled pork was on a whole other level of delectable. It wasn’t dry, the sauce packed a punch, and it was ridiculously tender. I would have gone back and gotten another sandwich if I didn’t already feel sick from how much I had eaten. Everyone I was with agreed that his bbq (he also had turkey) was insanely good.

Whole Hogs

I wish I could have tried more places but I was just too full. Next year I’ll try to get a few more places in. I’ll definitely be going back to Ed Mitchell’s though. I’m still dreaming about it.