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.

 

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.

 

Sarong Party Girls at Masak

Masak Menu

Last Friday was our first monthly group dinner in a while. We wanted something a bit cheaper (it’s wedding season after all…) and in a fun location so we could grab drinks afterwards. Masak definitely fit that description. It’s a small restaurant in Alphabet City serving food from Singapore. It’s been getting some hype lately so we were happy to check it out. The first order of business was getting some libations. Masak has a pretty stellar drink list. It’s short but interesting. I got the Sarong Party Girl and man was it good. Bourbon, pineapple, and ginger is apparently a fantastic combo.

Chili Crab Dip with Mantou

We ordered 2 apps for the table, which came recommended by our very cheerful waiter: the Chili Crab Dip and their special Spring Rolls. The crab dip came with mantou, which are fried golden rolls. They’re dense but fluffy on the inside and perfect for scooping up the dip. Nothing to complain about here. They even gave us extra mantou when we quickly finished off the ones provided to us. The spring rolls were good and honestly I couldn’t even tell you what was in them. Spinach? There was some green leafy vegetable inside. They were fried to a crispy perfection.

Burger & Fries

Almost everyone at the table got the burger for dinner since I had read a review saying it was a good one. The burger was HUGE. This is not for the faint of heart. You must be hungry to devour this monstrosity. I’ve only recently begun to like burgers and my preference is for thin ones with less meat. This is not one of those burgers. It still tasted good, just not what I look for in my burgers.

Kim, Me, and Megan

Kim ordered the Spicy Rock Shrimp and Grits. It was good and spicy but in the best kind of way. Sometimes things are spicy just to be spicy but this was a good kind of heat. Not that I know the first thing about grits but these tasted good and creamy, which is what I suspect they should be like? Definitely enjoyable.

I had the soft-shell crab (picture to be added later), since I’ve been craving one for a while and didn’t get any while down in Rehoboth. Even though I ordered the appetizer portion they did not skimp. It was a hefty crab. It was light and crisp and definitely cooked just right. It came with mushrooms and asparagus over a chive sauce. Everything was good but there was definitely something on the plate that was a bit too salty. It started to overwhelm me by the time I finished the dish. For $15 I definitely got my moneys worth and even if it was a little too salty I enjoyed it.

Dave, Mari, and Liz

I’d like to go back and try some of their other main courses to see how they stack up. I don’t know much about Singaporean food but I’d like to experience more.

4 Year Anniversary at Gwynnett St.

Crazy to say but Rick and I have been together for 4 years. I can’t believe it myself. Time flies. To celebrate, Rick booked a reservation at new Williamsburg hotspot, Gwynnett St. The head chef is Justin Hilbert who worked previously at wd~50. Needless to say, he has a few culinary tricks up his sleeve.

Slow Poached Egg…and the shadow of my iPhone

Every review we read raved about their whiskey bread so we obviously started with that. It comes out warm and looks a lot like corn bread. It’s got a touch of sweetness and just a hint of whiskey and came in really handy with our other appetizer. We ordered the slow poached egg, which came with pork, peas, pecorino, and the most flavorful broth I think I’ve ever come across (save maybe Ippudo). Dipping the bread in that delicious concoction is about as good as it gets. Plus, it’s so pretty!

Chicken & assorted veggies

Rick decided on the Amish chicken with  Japanese cucumber, potatoes, and hay ash (apparently it is cool to cook with ashes?). From what I’ve read (NYTimes review) the chicken is brined with the ash but it didn’t taste overly smokey to me. Just incredibly moist and juicy. If you can use those two adjectives to describe chicken, then it’s been cooked perfectly. Rick and I loved it.

The Best Duck Ever

I ordered the duck and wild rice. I don’t think I’ll be able to order duck anywhere else because there is nothing that can possibly compare to this dish. The skin is crispy and under it is a layer of fat that has so much flavor it might make your brain explode from over stimulation. The duck breast is cooked to medium rare and is truly fantastic. This dish made my night.

Mint Sponge Cake & Pickled Green Strawberries

Then we got to dessert. It’s an experience. The menu in no way prepares you for whatever you’ve just ordered. My dessert was simply called, “Mint, milk, and green strawberries.” What I got was a mint sponge cake, with pickled green strawberries, ice cream, and some sort of crunchy salty concoction. It was totally different and felt light and refreshing. I preferred Rick’s choice though. He got the “milk chocolate, peanut, and black currant.” Essentially a slab of milk chocolate, with crunchy, salty peanuts, and black currant ice cream. As Rick pointed out, it almost tasted like a PB&J, except with the addition of chocolate. Yum.

Chocolate & Peanuts

We agreed that we’ll have to come back and try everything else out on the menu. It’s small and cute and the food is fantastic.

The Great Googa Mooga?

The Crowd at Googa Mooga

Oh Googa Mooga, I may never know what the hell your name means, but I shall look back fondly on our time together. Though the crowds were voluminous, the lines lengthy, and the wait for booze maddening, I don’t regret a moment spent at the festival. After all, it was free (not the food or booze) and it was a gorgeous day. Dave, Liz, and I arrived right after it started, which meant a manageable number of people. There were few lines and we got food quickly. By midday it was a different story but I’d say all things considered (it was the first year of the festival) the organizers did a good job. There were glitches: the people serving the booze showed up late and they didn’t have enough vendors for the number of people at the event. Hopefully these are things they rectify for next year.There was also no cell phone service but that’s sort of what happens when you get 20,000 people together in a small space.

The Slider from DuMont

Anywho, onto the food! We started at the Hamburger Experience. Liz wanted to try the DuMont slider. I’ve only recently become a burger fan and this was as good a burger as I’ve had in recent memory. Very simple, good, juicy beef with red onions, pickles, and tomato. Yum.

Mmm Roast Suckling Pig

After that we decided to divide and conquer. Liz got a brisket taco from Hill Country BBQ, Dave snagged the foie gras doughnut from Do or Dine, and I picked up a grilled cheese from Little Muenster. What to say about a doughnut filled with extremely rich foie gras and jelly? Way too big in my opinion. I don’t know how anyone could eat the whole thing. I had a bite and that was about enough for me. I loved my grilled cheese. They made it with Oaxaca and cotija cheese, corn puree, and tomatillo. Gooey and full of flavor. Right up my alley. It was so good that I didn’t even manage to get a picture of it before it was inhaled.

BLT From Landhaus

Next we tried the duck hotdog from Craft. It came with pickled cabbage slaw. I thought it was okay. The hotdog itself was quite tasty but as a whole I was not super impressed. Not my favorite bite of the afternoon. We then meandered over to the Hamaggedon area where Dave got a sandwich from Porchetta, which we all know is beyond delicious, and  Liz and I split the BLT from Landhaus. It was made with thick cut bacon and was definitely better than any BLT I’ve ever had.

Stracciatella Pizza from Co.

After a prolonged rest we decided pizza would be our last stop of the day (before hitting dessert obviously). I’ve been wanting to try Jim Laey’s Co. for a while. After all, his no-knead bread is legendary so I wanted to see what he could do with the pizza pie. We got the Stracciatella pizza, which came with stracciatella cheese, tomatoes, arugula, and a nice hit of spice. Good char on the crust, super fresh tomatoes, and the cheese was fabulous. I definitely have to get to the restaurant to try out his other pizzas.

Dessert was a horchata shake from Big Gay Ice Cream. I’m a fan of anything cinnamon so I was not disappointed by this. Cool and refreshing on a hot day. When we left, the park was completely packed, and lines were ranging from a 30 minute wait to an hour wait. We had all wanted to try to the soft-shelled crab sandwich from Vinegar Hill House but it consistently had the longest lines of the day so we didn’t bother. I had a great time though and I’m glad we went.