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).

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.

 

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.

 

Central Park Saturdays

In college, spring weekends were reserved for day drinking at the downtown houses. Girls would wear sun dresses, guys would wear whatever because college guys are slobs. Everyone would gather to celebrate the nice weather, play games, and generally enjoy life the way only a college student can. We miss this spring tradition…we miss it a lot. And so, here in the city where none of us have outdoor spaces, we head to the park to do our day drinking.

Enjoying our picnic

We set up camp on Cedar Hill with our cheese, fruit, newly purchased Girl Scout cookies, and champagne. Of course, drinking isn’t technically allowed in the park but that doesn’t actually deter anyone from doing it. Just avoid making a scene or being too loud…or shooting champagne corks off all over the place….

Liz, demonstrating the proper way to open champagne

We had a nice spread of food. 3 different cheeses, (including stracchino, which was our favorite discovery in Italy), fresh fruit, salami, and fresh bread. Stracchino, also known as crescenza, is a mild, soft, cows milk cheese from Lombardy. Spread it on a good piece of bread, layer arugula, and prosciutto, and warm it up to create the best sandwich you’ll ever eat. You’re welcome.

Can't you just feel the happiness?

Anyway, it was a wonderful day spent in the park with good friends. I wish every weekend could be like this.

It’s Been a While…

View from our old roof deck

I’ve received a few comments about my lack of writing in the past couple months. I admit, I got a bit tired of writing but now I miss it and so I’m back. I’ll be changing it up a bit and not just writing about restaurants/food, seeing as how I can only physically eat out at so many places. I suppose it’ll be more generically about living in NYC. You know, the struggles of being a poor 20-something in a city full of struggling, poor 20-somethings. Yay for being creative!And what better way to get back into the swing of things than to write about all the reasons I love living here? I love living here, right? Right????

The Boat Basin is literally in a roundabout off the West Side Highway

I’ve lived in New York City for 2 1/2 years now. I’ve had amazingly happy times and some pretty terrible times. I’ve had moments where I can’t imagine living anywhere else and moments where I can’t imagine living here for 1 more second. I’ve praised the city, I’ve cursed the city. I love mass transit, I loathe mass transit. Tourists are evil, yet I think everyone in the world should visit. It’s the greatest place to people watch but it’s so crowded that most of the time you want to kill everyone within arms reach. There’s a million things to do but there are a million people who want to do those things.

The Fountain and Gas Lamps in City Hall Park

These are but a small portion of the things we go through living here. I’m not complaining. I grew up wanting to live here and I feel lucky that my dream came true. So here are a select few reasons why I love being in the greatest city the world (don’t argue with me).

  1. Bagels. Anyone who knows me, knows my love, obsession, and adoration of bagels. And anyone who knows anything about bagels, knows that NYC is the only place that makes them properly. You can keep your bagels Montreal, I don’t want them. And yeah, I made bagels my #1 reason for loving this city.
  2. The different neighborhoods. From my office I can walk to 6 neighborhoods within 10 minutes (Tribeca, Financial District, SoHo, Chinatown, Little Italy, Lower East Side). Each one is distinctive, has it’s own charm, and it’s own personality. Even though I’ve spent many hours exploring all of them I still don’t feel as though I’d ever get to know everything about them.
  3. There is a Duane Reade on every other corner. Let me tell you a story. In November we went to Philly to cheer Megan on in her ownage of the Marathon there. We wanted to make signs and thus set out in search of a drug/convenience store to buy supplies…we wandered for 45 minutes before we found ANYTHING. Let it be known that this would never happen in NYC, as you are never more than 3 blocks from a Duane Reade, and for that, I am thankful.
  4. Public Transportation. Most of the time you will find me complaining about the subway but I think it gets the short end of the stick sometimes. I overheard a girl on the L train describe it perfectly. She said that while commuting at rush hour sucked in NYC, it just meant that perhaps you’ll be delayed by a few minutes and have to deal with being crowded. But, in a place like LA, commuting at rush hour meant adding on an hour or two to your travel time. So really, we should stop bitching.
  5. As an addition to the previous reason: the MTA had to change the automated message on the subway from saying “We are delayed because of train traffic ahead of us, please be patient” to “We are delayed because of train traffic ahead of us, we apologize for the inconvenience” because NYers were annoyed at being asked to be patient. AWESOME.
  6. The people. NYer’s are a unique breed. This is demonstrated by NYMag’s “21 Questions” segment they do every week. The final question is always: What Makes Someone a New Yorker? And everyone has a different answer. My current favorite is Ana Gasteyer: “Anyone with the stamina to live here and love it.  Anyone willing to get rid of their stuff so’s to fit new stuff into an apartment. Anyone able to yell first, then be nice. A huge truck honked in traffic by us on the way to preschool this morning. My 4-year-old hollered “Oh go Beep Yourself!” at the driver, then they waved at one another all friendly. That’s a New Yorker.” Truth.
  7. 7th St between 1st Ave and Ave A. How can that many incredible food outlets exist in such a concentrated space? We love good food, that is the only answer. This is my way of putting in “restaurants” without being super boring about it. Of course New York is awesome because of our food.
  8. We’re packed in here like sardines, which means getting really creative with small spaces, and I’m often amazed by the solutions people come up with. I mean, what other place would be able to create a favorite drinking space in the hole of a roundabout?
  9. The fact that someone could make a video about “Shit New Yorker’s Say” and have it be so incredibly accurate. I’ve said 95% of the things on this video. Notice bagels play an integral role.
  10. The Parks. What would NYC be without it’s parks? I may have spent all winter cursing CP under my breath but walking through there on a warm spring day makes surviving the horrific winters here totally worthwhile. Every park, no matter how small, is a respite from the daily grind that can wear you down here. My favorite is City Hall Park. It’s tiny but when I’m sitting there listening to the water from the fountain and enjoying the gas lamps, it doesn’t matter that I’m surrounded by 2 of the busiest, loudest streets.

Obviously we have the GREATEST sports franchise in all of sports

And we have the Yankees. Enough said.