Monday, September 1, 2008

NYC Whoopee!

Finding places to eat in New York takes some planning. That's what I learned from our trip. There were times when we were tired and hungry and in the wrong area for food so we'd end up wandering aimlessly and desperately and settling for something disappointing. To me food is sacred and should always be enjoyed, especially while on vacation. So after a very depressing mazoh ball soup at Grand Central Station waiting for the train at 10pm, we resolved not to let that happen again.

As a food loving Jew, I had to make time for a pastrami on rye at one of New York's oldest and greatest delis, Katz's on East Houston. We stood in the shortest cutter line, as we were ordered to do. The cutter gave us a couple slices of the steaming hot, thickly cut meat before making the sandwich. Oh my god... Katz's is a must do. I didn't even care that for a sandwich and a root beer the bill was 20 dollars. Oy, it was worth it.

Sunday was our best food day by far. It was Kris' birthday and I made reservations for brunch at Five Points, a restaurant recommended to us by the owner's father who we met at the Charlottetown farmers market a week beforehand. It's a very popular place for Sunday brunch and it was buzzing. We were seated at the back under a huge skylight and in front of some very beautiful bread. We started by ordering peach and raspberry birthday bellinis, then breakfast! I had eggs benedict with smoked salmon and Kris had something similar but with fennel sausage. They both were beautifully and simply presented. Mine with two poached eggs on one big flaky pastry, and Kris' each on their own homemade tea biscuit. The flavours were delicate, the textures were perfect. I LOVED it. Then, two desserts, the piggies that we are, a warm blueberry tart with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a rich, but not too rich chocolate tart with creme fraiche on top. Oh boy oh boy. After that, we were ready to take on the city.

The next time hunger struck we were in Grenwich Village. A good place for us with record stores for Kris and lots of clothes for me. It was dinner time and there were lots of options. I had a feeling about this little tiny place I found called Hakata Tonton. We were welcomed by the calm interior, with nothing on the beige walls and red accents.  The bibimbap was carefully mixed at the table for us and the gyoza soup presented in a shallow cast iron pan with a wooden serving spoon that looked like it was from 400 AD.  There were flavours I'd never experienced before in this simple clear broth with sprigs of cilantro floating in it.  And for dessert, my personal favorite, spicy salmon had roll!  It was the hand roll of the gods.  The whole meal was magical.  It seemed like everything was too good. And it wasn't until I visited the washroom and read the New York Times article on the wall that I discovered the secret ingredient in everything on the menu was...guess what...PIG'S FEET!  No wonder we were the only white people there!  Suddenly all the menu items mentioning collogen made sense.  Collogen is abundant in pig's feet, apparently.  As we were leaving, the stunningly beautiful waitress opened the door for us and, in the street, offered us a candy from a pig pez dispenser.  She said that's just what they do at Hakata Tonton.  My new favorite restaurant.  

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