Muumuu-wearing update: An '80s oversized nightgown t-shirt has been glued to my corpse for the past three daytimes.
Happiness levels: SOARING HIGH, in conjunction with my cholesterol after eating so many fantasmical meats.
Now that you're caught up on me, let's hop to everything else that's been through my digestive track. Korean pozole and lady food, cotton candy and lamb parades too?! A true fiesta of nummies:
There is nothing more embarrassing than ordering the Spa Eggs at Peels. Shitting your pants in front of your softball team? An accidental but natural bodily function. Accidentally calling your significant other someone else's name? Eh, you get easily confused.when you're not on your ADD meds There's no excuse for going to a Southern-style sausage hut, waiting for an uncomfortable ninety minutes and then getting a folded disc of egg whites with some goat cheese smeared in between. Attempts at dieting are always a bitch. (Good thing, as you'll see, that didn't last long.) If you want to know how I feel about their biscuit sammies or Parker House Rolls, back from the days when my pants fit, go on and get it.
Peels, 325 Bowery, Bowery
Behold: a rice pudding my rice pudding-despising self adores. A cotton candy poof dusted with freeze-dried raspberries and caramel crunchies did the trick, but I wrote all about this restaurant's good parts and bad parts for a publicaycaytion, so I'll hold out on all the descriptives 'til then. But, if you want to dip one toe into the world of carney snax while feeling decidedly rich and financial, this is your jam.
Manzanilla, 345 Park Avenue South, Flatiron
April Bloomfield complimented me on my purse! That is, of course, a sentence that most people will only understand one half of, but the good news is I'm now one step closer to her adopting me as an honorary year-long Secret Santa and delivering me brown paper packages tied up with string and pooling with grease on the bottom since they're filled with meaty leftovers from the night before. Or we could just be flatmates. Wouldn't that be a fun TV concept? Like Don't Trust The B—, only we'll actually eat and there won't be a wardrobe budget and the Nielsen ratings will remind us that Americans don't understand British accents? Ok, maybe that wouldn't work out so well, but, the food here was incredible — and if I lived two miles closer to its upper Murray Hill locale, I'd chug their insane cinnamon-vanilla topped, horchata-reminiscent cocktail on the reg. Their guacamole is exactly what you dream the stuff up to be, and the kimchi pork belly pozole is confusing and wonderful. So, yes, there may be a time in my future when I accidentally have avocado dip smeared all over my face at a dinner table and pretend it's a skin cleansing mask as an excuse. Just heed that warning.
Salvation Taco, 145 East 39th Street, Murray Hill
This is the best restaurant I've been to this year. Cancel your dinner plans, make a reservation here, wear a sweater, order everything, go immediately to sleep. That is the game plan you must use for a flawless experience in this gilded bistro of French perfection. Let's take it step by step, Coach Taylor-style. Make a ressie, because this place is worth looking forward to for weeks on end, and for kicking yourself for not coming all those times you said you would last fall. The seats are tight, so passing a patchwork fur over plates of Parisian splendors could ruin other diners' dinners, but seats near the window are mad chilly, so pop on a knit. Order FUCKING EVERYTHING, because it's all more incredible than the next. (Specifically: the hot and sour braised lamb neck that's truly the Victoria's Secret model of dinner entrees. Top of the line!) And then, go immedaitely to sleep, because if you do this right, you'll need to hibernate to process it all through your organ parts. I was debilitated for the entire next day (sorry, employers) because I stayed out riding the lamb n' whiskey high for a few more hours. Verdict, though? Worth it. Totally.
Calliope, 84 East 4th Street, East Village
While Souen's forever been my land of reliable health bounties and Jack's Wife Freda my breakfasttime go-to, Lucky Strike has become my default dinner. Salmon, mashed taters, veggies, boom. I've eaten from here easily five times since moving to SoHo, and never strayed from this exact same order. It's like the perfect homemade meal, if only your mom knew how to knock French bistro fare out of the park and also happened to be married to Keith McNally. Can you even imagine the teenage arguments? "Mo-om, you can't go to Balthazar tonight, Iiii'm going to Balthazar tonight!!" Damn, that would be a complicated household. But, then again, so is one where I love Lucky Strike mostly for its minor appearances within the plot of the first season of Felicity. Those college kids were cool and stalkery beyond their years.
Lucky Strike, 59 Grand Street, SoHo
I don't know why Ed's Lobster Bar has always given me a case of the heebie-jeebies. I think it's because, to no fault of their own, I ate there after a wacky, weird work event and I'll always associate it with the uncomfortableness I felt playing publicist for a day with an unnamed musician. But, after walking past time and time again, I wound up on their doorstep wanting to dig directly into a perfectly cooked fish, and did so much more than that. Sometimes picking through the bones of an aquatic beauty is a piece of work, but this one was so on point, so perfect that the tiny task was no big thang. This really isn't an "oh hey look, an entree!" fish — this is totally a "Oh, Ed caught this when he was out on the boat this morning. Hope you enjoy!" offering. Translation: Fresh as fuck, people. Looks like that old, shitty memory had been entirely replaced by a flaky, flavorful new one.
Ed's Lobster Bar, 222 Lafayette Street, SoHo
King Gabriel Stulman can do no wrong. I'm impatient to the point that I won't wait for a toilet with a full bladder or a hot meal at a summer festival, but for a new addition to the Little Wisco empire? I'll wait all night. I never thought you'd be able to feel it in the walls that he's moved out of his little neck of the woods in the West Village to Chelsea, but there's something decidedly different about this one, vibe-wise. It's almost dressier than his other spots, with dishes requiring inquiries to waiters, a few unknown words across the menu, and unexpected flavors popping through. Despite dying mid-meal of a ravenous hunger-turned-nausea stomachache (that's what I get for wearing tight jeans and holding out on snacks, I suppose), the Lamb Testaroli was spectacular, as was the brick of sweet, pork-filled Sticky Rice. Oh, and my drink had a fucking flower in it, like we'd made a pit stop in Hawaii to have a cocktail and just hopped a plane back. I'll never say an ill word about the man, but I will say this: if that glass-paneled wall and garden sign tacked to the rear door are false indications of a potential al fresco paradise out back, I'll be gravely disappointed.
Montmartre, 158 8th Avenue, Chelsea