Tuesday, April 8, 2008

big food

foodies tell me that new york is a food lover's paradise. in fact, in the book 1,000 places to see before you die, there are several entries about new york's restaurants. not being one to doubt a book that i actually own, food was the priority as far as we were concerned. we mapped out the places we were going to eat and decided what other sights we were checking out based on that. no street dogs or pretzels here, though it would've been much cheaper no doubt.

stop one, joe's shanghai restaurant in uppper manhattan, home of the soup dumpling. soup dumpling, you ask? yes, soup dumpling. as in a dumpling that has soup in it. pork or crab, these were not to be missed. step one, carefully lift the dumpling into your spoon. step two, nibble a hole in the dumpling. step three, carefully sip the broth out of the dumpling after letting the steam escape. step four, eat the rest of it. marvelous. my search for these in the district has begun.

after the met, stop two was a cupcake bakery for a late-afternoon sweet treat. apparently, new york has quite a few shops that specialize in cupcakes. since i'm dating my very own betty crocker, she wanted to check out the competition and see what she's up against if she veers from her current career path. buttercup bake shop was a tiny little place, curtains and a simple glass case. she had the red velvet cupcake and wasn't impressed. not traditional in her eyes. i had a chocolate cupcake with marshmallow frosting. frosting was good, cupcake so-so. hers are better.

stop three immediately thereafter was a trendy joint in chelsea called the spice market. appetizers and drinks before the show. i think i might've enjoyed it more had there been some milder choices for her, and i'd actually been able to enjoy the conversations above the din of the restaurant and had normal seating. probably good for a small group, but not sixteen boisterous italians.

stop four followed the show. shila used to work there. no lie, it was called good. a misnomer, it was. better than good, but not quite great. broad range of dishes, diner-style seating arrangement. i had a pork chop with sweet potato homefries and bacon and pecans. very tasty. no one had a complaint about their meal, except for maybe portion size being overgenerous. go figure!

final stop was a nyc deli on sunday. carnegie deli had a line out the door, so that landmark will have to wait. fortunately, within sight was the stage deli. open for 70+ years, we figured it was a good bet too. sandwiches as big as your head. not being one for pastrami or corned beef, i opted for the howie mandel triple decker. chicken salad with a hard boiled egg. [bald joke?] i destroyed it. the turkey sandwich defeated her, i polished it off for lunch yesterday. the tiger woods reuben defeated max too. poor guy. the nyc cheesecake was six inches thick. i quickly protested that we asked for one slice, which prompted nearby tables to look and gasp at the size. that came home in a bag too.

so ended our gastronomic tour of the big apple. we quickly rolled out and were back in the district in the right amount of time. no need for dinner that night. salad last night. it's just not the same...

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