Saturday, May 27, 2017

Food Blindness

The vibrance of New York often makes me forget the interesting places I've eaten. But I think I just get a little blind sometimes. Here are some things I'm looking back at now that were great, and I just haven't given credit where it's due.

Village Yokocho is up a set of ominous-looking stairs inside a glass-doored vestibule that's mysteriously always open and just sort of beckon you from Stuyvesant Street. It's actually the restaurant in which famed cocktail bar Angels' Share resides, but it's also a bustling spot in its own right. Village Yokocho serves Japanese food, not sushi, though you can get some sashimi. HanOre and I strolled in there one night craving some tasty treats, and we were not disappointed. There are pages upon pages of goodies to choose from, in small plates and large. We shared an eel bowl, marinated octopus, salted clams, and beef tongue with bean sprouts and left happy, with our wallets still in tact. 

There have been pickle joints on the Lower East Side since time immemorial, and The Pickle Guys is perhaps the most well-known today. SE and I took a brief trip there recently and were greeted by barrels upon barrels of deliciousness, from the traditional (half-sour pickles) to the sublime (pickled pineapple). We ended up with both the traditional and the sublime, and ate them as we walked through the neighborhood. The pineapples were spicy sweet; they made my hands a little sticky, but it was totally worth it. 

Maybe I'm supposed to tell you about Fig. 19, and maybe I'm not. But here goes. It's a cocktail bar in the back of The Lodge Gallery on Chrystie Street. I had been in the gallery so many times, and when HanOre suggested we go, I had no idea she was talking about. We showed our IDs to the bouncer who asked what we were doing there. "We're here for the bar," HanOre said. "What bar?" The bouncer asked. "Fig. 19," I responded, and he nodded and let us in. I had a drink with egg whites, vanilla, cinnamon-infused gin, and some other delicious things I can't remember right now, but it was fantastic. Sometimes speakeasy bars can be gimmicky and awful, but the drinks here were actually good. 

I had heard about Springbone Kitchen a while ago, entranced by its healthy options--cauliflower rice instead of regular rice, zucchini noodles instead of pasta, and countless others. SE and I went one evening and sidled up to their counters, eventually diving into hearty bowls of goodies. I had the Meatballs and "Spaghetti" which was made with those aforementioned noodles and a hearty tomato sauce, and it hit the spot. I left with a cup of vanilla mushroom tea--yes, that's tea made from mushrooms--which was so weird and wonderful, sort of nutty but earthy but very subtly sweet. 

At the French-Hungarian spot Cafe Dada in Park Slope, AR and I ordered tea. But it was what they call their Immuni Tea, so it was hot water in a tumbler with lemon, mint, honey, fresno chili pepper and fresh lime juice. At the time, I opted for just the lemon, mint, and honey, but it was a soul-warming experience nonetheless. We chatted while a jazz band played, surrounded by the restaurant's dark, wood-paneled bar. 

Dear Sweet Jesus. These cookies are so good. Thick and soft with huge chunks of chocolate, Bang Cookies are usually baked to order. When I had them, they were being sold at the Coffee and Tea Festival in Brooklyn. I had only the smallest sample of the Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk cookie at the festival and I thought my brain was going to fall out. I stood at their booth saying "Oh My God" for about five minutes. In between breaths, however, I found out the company is based in Jersey City, and every so often will come in for a street fair to sell their wares. I'm hoping to track them down soon, or have some delivered since it's really just that (dangerously) easy. 

Also at the Coffee and Tea Festival SE and I found ourselves at the Chai Mookie booth sipping cups of chocolate chai tea blended with milk. It was all the great things about chai and hot chocolate but not weird together and not exploding with calories. I had never sipped anything like that in my life, and bought myself a cup after tasting it. SE went for a full bag. It was the perfect antidote for a day of shitty weather and now, months later, I can still taste it. 

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