JASONSUDEKISANDOLIVIAWILDEWHEREHERE. Phewwww. I know I said I wouldn't say it, but fuck it, I can't help myself, life is short, they were here. I should get a job as an informant for US Weekly because my never-ending nosiness would instantly cover the bill, which this time was full of $7.50 veggie soup (not as good as the wild mushroom miso I typically get) and a plentiful platter of glorious fish parts that were so soft they actually broke apart. Broke apart!
My inadvertent Chrissy Teigen two-day food tour started with this and ended with the restaurant below, though her selection of thin-sliced amberjack with yuzu pepper (AKA slivers of fish with DIY pepper plops) was solid, but not my steez. I prefer plunging gums-first into an open bowl of sea urchin and other deep sea wonders, but hey, the girl knows how to eat and finally got me to stray from the exact same order I always place, so I'll color it worthwhile. I'm too lazy to do a side-by-side investigative report on what makes this so much better than with Whole Foods sushi, but this really is the good stuff, whether or not you top the meal off with a deep-fried skeleton of a mackerel. More on that, in the story I'm writing for income next week.
Blue Ribbon Sushi, 119 Sullivan St, SoHo
The place is decorated like a decadent wooden ship, something my boyfriend reiterated no less than three times, all of which were completely lost on me. I guess I've spent too much time huddled up in blackout interior rooms on Royal Caribbean SARS-ridden Fiesta of the Seas-style boats to know the difference between "yachting" and "boats that have 24/7 frozen yogurt machines you can put your mouth under if you're drunk on Disaronno and no one on staff is around", but the stuff churned out from their restaurant's non-galley kitchen was pretty solid. Their drinks are on the high end of the vaginal spectrum — basically, they're pretty much the same as doing a shooter out of a sugar cane — but the entrees and their unconventional pairings (pumpkin risotto + Branzino , raisins + capers + cauliflower over a whole Daurade) for the most part work. Though, really, who ever wants more than five capers at most? Is there anyone out there that always asks for more capers? Are capers the next kale oh god please don't let capers be the next kale.
Lure Fishbar, 142 Mercer St., SoHo
Im lucky to be alive. Not because of my weak immune system or inability to cross streets correctly, but because in the ramen-worship world we live in today, it's blasphemous — and even jarring and upsetting, to some — to admit that you don't like noodles. A few bites here and there are good, sure, and I recognize how delicious a high-end hand made pasta dish can be, but it's just not for me. This is probably my way of self-actualizing that I have a small dose of gluten intolerance since I hear it's not normal to want to die after eating spaghetti, but either way. Not my thing, not my meal, Not my style. (But, since I started writing that, I've been unable to get the tantalizing image of Velveeta shells and cheese out of my head. That shit is my crack, and the reason I get so excited to get the stomach flu: it was my childhood recovery meal. Is everything about my eating habits starting to make sense yet? It should.)
Having now moved within walking distance to Chinatown, though, I met up with my old friend Mike Pace (formerly of this wonderful band), to talk about his hilarious new podcast and be schooled big time by way of handmade noodles. I will give it to him — knife cut was the fucking way to go — and being full for six straight hours afterwards was a miracle that my life had not yet been privvy to. (Mini-meals every 90 minutes is my jimmyjam.) There's always something magical about the juxtaposition between walking past a handful of boutiques you can't even afford to look inside of and then ordering the most expensive thing on the menu at $7.25 a few blocks down. I can't wait to start poking my head through the winding streets and dumpling houses of the greatest neck of the woods of all.
Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles, 1 Doyers St., Chinatown
I've been picking up pre-errand coffee at Le Pain Quotidien for a few weeks now that La Colombe hasn't been fulfilling my necessary high-level alertness (and requires a cross over Canal that I'm usually too tired to think through), but this week I took an hour and change to sit down at an actual table (obviously non-communal, suck my wheeze Alain Coumont) and drank a cappuccino out of a bowl. I'm sorry, let me rephrase so you accurately understand what I'm trying to say: I drank a cappuccino out of a motha fuckin', straight up, no-handle, nose-in-foam BOWL. There finally is an answer to my never-ending "Can i just get a bucket of coffee the size of my face?!" question, and it resides here.
Le Pain Quotidien, multiple locations.
Only a place like this could seat a fussy future grandma like me at a folding chair with slats and distract me with enough good food to not notice the ass gnocchi being formed from my butt pushing through each wooden section. It's also the type of place you run into Icelandic crazy genius person Bjork and your Grub Street editor at; it's just that multi-faceted. Since I wanted to slalom directly into the fucked-up fantastic bread basket, I settled for a ramekin filled with soft boiled eggs and a bit of salty fish somethin' on top, but the crowd pleaser here was the Short Rib Sandwich, which is as good if not better than their infamous dinner entree of the same cut. Slathering anything with cheese and putting it between two pieces of bread instantly takes it up three notches to heavenly, but when it's done like this, it boosts that straight towards wing-wearing, cloud-hopping, harp-playing naked golden cherub status.
Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, 53 Great Jones St., NoHo
At this point, I'm pretty much just going back until I get the teapot shaped like a little house, because I've been shafted with flowers and a weird British ceramic rectangle the past two times. God damn it, if I can't afford to buy a small house in the outskirts of town, I'll buy a tiny one I can Honey I Shrunk my way into...if I don't perish from scalding hot tea temps on the way in first. (Worst diving lesson ever, I assume.) Their Vietnamese French Vanilla was unexpectedly caffeinated — oops only slept three hours because I was eyes wide open — but having only been here for hilariously heavy, delicious dinner foods previously, the tea sandwiches and scone niblets were so cutesy and kind of the perfect early evenin' munchmunch with a couple of friends in lieu of a standard chicken-and-white-wine dinner. I think that's what I love most about this place — it's just so bizarrely different from every metal-and-glass, open kitchen, sparkling-or-tap, repurposed-wood restaurant in the city, and feels so much more special because of it. And, also, the Brits deem it acceptable to plop straight up cream on a bread pastry and call it sustenance, and you gotta respect a mother for that.
Tea & Sympathy, 108 Greenwich Ave., West Village
[Photo 1 by Steve Hill, all the rest of these bad boys by yours truly.]