Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NYC Food

Two weeks ago I traveled to NYC with my boss (and friend), Lila Anna, to attend a conference on child poverty & homelessness.  This is the promised post about what we ate:
Mexicana Mama front door

Mexicana Mama- West Village.  Amazingly nice owner spotted us "loitering" outside, waiting for it to open, and invited us in early...guess she could tell we weren't used to the cold!  We had some amazing guacamole, really yummy margaritas, (that kept me warm for the rest of the afternoon), and authentic, fresh, bomb-ass food.  I had the house specialty- fish tacos (pescadillos) & Lila Anna had a chile relleno. 


amazing, spicy pescadillos
If I lived in the West Village, I would probably eat here weekly.

Casellula Cheese & Wine Cafe- Clinton.  Small, dark, semi-casual and cozy spot for cheese and wine--yes please.  Probably my favorite meal of the trip (and the one I ate solo).  I enjoyed Prosecco, an endive salad with bleu cheese, pears and a sherry viniagrette, and then a plate of 3 cheeses.  They had over 40 cheeses to choose from, and each came with a "complement condiment."  I apologize that I don't remember the exact cheeses I had, but the complements included cherries, pickled fennel and caramel popcorn. 

cheese (sorry so dark-trying to covertly take a pic w/ my phone)
They also sent me on my way with a complimentary dessert- a goat cheese and hazelnut truffle- divine.  If you like cheese and you like wine, you will love this place.  Seriously, one of my favorite meals. Ever.

Co. Pizza- Chelsea.  This place is what I would call "trendy."  There were lots of NYC locals sharing pies at the communal tables--couples, singles, and groups of friends.  The rustic-feel of the decor and the communal tables made it a cozy space.  I kinda made a fool of myself when we were seated: I grabbed what I thought was a communal bottle of water and poured myself a glass, only to realize seconds later when our waiter asked (with a confused look on his face when he saw my water glass already filled), if he could get us some water...that it belonged to the gentleman seated next to me who was dining alone.  I apologized profusely and luckily he was very sweet about it, just laughed a bit and said I was welcome to his water.  (I did buy him another bottle, too).  Then and there I felt like a tourist.  And the waiter thought I was an idiot, but oh well.

The meal was great.  I had the Bibb lettuce salad with pumpkin seeds and butternut squash, and then Lila Anna and I shared a Popeye pie (pecorino, gruyère, mozzarella, spinach, black pepper, garlic) and a Flambe pie (béchamel, parmesan, mozzarella, caramelized onions, lardons).  The Popeye pie was our favorite--I am going to try making a pizza with those ingredients at home--so yummy.

Ruby Foo's- Times Square.  This was the only corporate place we ate the whole trip, but it was pretty good.  Our server was the sweetest guy--he told us his story of coming to NYC, being homeless for a while, but making it work to get out of Ohio.  His name was Trent.  I wish I knew his last name so I could Facebook-friend him...oh well.  Anyway-- the atmosphere is cool--it's a huge restaurant. 

We had goat cheese tempura (yum!) and a spicy tuna roll to start the meal, and then I had teriyaki chicken (not my favorite) and Lila Anna had some noodle dish--hers was much better then mine. 
For dessert I ordered some cookies and they wrapped them up for me to take to the theatre.  They were much-enjoyed as a complement to my $7 Amstel Light in a can later that evening...

Cafe Blossom- Upper West Side.  My traveling companion, Lila Anna, is vegan, so I made sure to include at least one vegan spot on our restaurant list.  We went here for brunch on a snowy Saturday morning- it was the perfect thing!  I had coffee, a mimosa, and vegan chocolate chip pancakes.  Lila Anna had a tofu scramble that was so good I almost ordered some for myself after trying hers. 

Highly recommended, even if you're not vegan!

So, that's it.  One of my great pleasures in life is experiencing a city through its restaurants and food, so this trip was a dream. 
Post about what we did (other than eat) while in NYC coming soon...

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