My friend came up from DC to visit me this weekend for a purely foodie weekend. He got in Friday night and left Sunday in the early afternoon. We crammed in as much food as possible while he was here. We basically went from food establishment to food establishment until going to sleep the entire time he was here. Below is the rundown of everywhere we went. I mean this less as a review and more just to write out all the places we went to (it's an impressively long list). I've been to the vast majority of the places but several were new to me (starred). Do you guys think I did a good job giving him a taste of New York?
Katz’s Deli (LES) – We arrived at 8:45 pm and began our night with a bang. We had a hot pastrami on rye with mustard and it was amazing. Also introduced my friend to Dr. Brown’s (I had cel-ray and he had black cherry) and he loved it.
Yonan Shimmel (LES)– After Katz’s we stopped at Yonah Shimmel. He’s never at a knish before so we stopped in and had a basic potato knish. Enjoyed with mustard, it was the best knish I’ve ever had but still nothing remarkable. After all, it’s just a knish.
Blue Ribbon Brasserie (West Village)– We walked right in without a reservation around 9:45. The couple that came in right behind us had a 30 minute wait though. We had three items: shrimp cocktail, clams on the half shell, and the bone marrow with oxtail marmalade. The shrimp were beyond unimpressive, they tasted like frozen shrimp and we only got 6 tiny ones with the $15 order. The clams, on the other hand, remain the best raw clams I’ve ever had. The bone marrow and oxtail marmalade is absolutely amazing. So rich and so unique, it’s truly a one of a kind dish that should not be missed.
Kati Roll Co (West Village)– We got a beef and egg Kati Roll, extra spicy of course. Absolutely amazing. Greasy, portable, spicy, “bready”, the Kati Roll is the best drunk food ever.
Momofuku Milk Bar (East Village)– We had the pork buns which were as good as always. My friend wasn’t too impressed though. This is partly because they had been tremendously hyped to him so he was kinda let down. He also just wasn’t thrilled by the quality of the pork belly. We also got a few cookies at Milk Bar. That bakery has the best cookies in the world (in my opinion) and my friend agreed. Finally, we also tasted the new soft serve flavor, rosemay, and it was excellent.
Arepa Lady (Jackson Heights)– I’ve been wanting to come here for forever. It didn’t let down. We got the sweet corn arepa. They are preformed and she fries it up after you order it, adding a light touch of butter and a couple fistfuls of queso blanco. The cornmeal “skin” of the arepa was so delicious it could have been a dessert and was perfectly complimented by the salty, slightly tart cheese that was melted inside the folded arepa. A very delicious snack, something I would love to eat more often and would if it wasn’t so inconvenient.
Sabor Latino (Crown Heights)– We left my apartment at 10:00 in the morning and headed here first for a Morir Sonando. It was incredible as always, my friend fell in love (he’s never had a morir sonando before).
Rico’s Tacos (Sunset Park)– My favorite taco spot in the whole city didn’t let down. We got a taco de lengua and a taco de cecina. We both agreed the tongue was better but they were both great. Also got Horchata here (largely to try to compare it to the morir sonando) but it wasn’t very good.
Vesuvio (Bay Ridge)– We stopped by here for a slice of great Brooklyn pizza. We got a regular slice and a white slice. While I much prefer the regular slices, he white slice is fantastic as well. Instead of large dollops of ricotta unevenly spread, they put a layer of it under the mozzarella (as if it were tomato sauce). That, combined with the fact that the ricotta is not too rich, makes it the best white slice I’ve ever had. While DiFara’s is my favorite pizza in the city (world), Vesuvio is not too far off and still has the best crust.
Royal Crown Bakery (Dyker Heights)– Stopped in for the best cannoli ever and it was as good as I promised. Best cannoli imagineable, especially during the week when they’re made to order only. We also picked up a loaf of Prosciutto Bread which would have been great if it weren’t overshadowed by the far superior Lard bread described below.
John’s Deli (Bensonhurst)– We got a roast beef and mozzarella sandwich. It comes with fried onions and their special house gravy of which we also got a bunch extra on the side for dipping. The gravy is dark as oil and just as thick and just as popular. Unfortunately, I was not a fan. My friend liked the sandwich but I much prefer the Roast Beef, Mozzarella and Fried Eggplant available at Defontes. At John’s, we also got a Rice Ball with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese melted on top. It was good but not great but I also don’t go crazy over rice balls.
Ferdinando’s Foccaceria (Caroll Gardens)– Came for the Manhattan Special (which they have on tap) and stayed for a Vastedda. My friend had a very limited agenda coming into the weekend but one thing he wanted ws to try a lot of offal. To that end, I decided we had to stop for a Vastedda Special which is Spleen on a small roll with lots of ricotta and parmesan. I’m a huge fan of Vastedda (especially at Ferdinando’s as compared to Joe’s of Avenue U) but my friend didn’t like it.
Mazzola’s (Carroll Gadens)– Picked up a couple loafs of Lard Bread. This is so incredible, I recommend to everyone that you come out to Carroll Gardens and grab a loaf, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a loaf of bread with salami throughout the middle. It’s so oily and filled with delicious salami and incredible, go buy it and eat it. Also, Mazzola’s version is way better than any other I’ve had so I recommend you go there.
Flushing (Flushing)– We now went to Flushing (around 3:30) and had several things. Started off with the single serving Peking Duck on the street under the overpass. For those who don’t know, they sell Peking Duck for $1 and it has he skin, duck, scallion and hoisin sauce. Instead of the standard crepe though, they use a bun similar to momofuku pork buns.
Flushing Mall (Flushing)– We then went to Temple Snacks and got the Gua Bao (Taiwanese Style Pork Burger) which I used to love and now find a bit too rich but my friend was obsessed with it. He liked it way more than the Momfuku pork bun. It’s a very similar sandwich, same type of bread and also a big slab of pork belly but it’s about twice the size and has crushed peanuts, pickled cabbage and sugar on it instead of cucumber and hoisin. We also got a Pork Chop over Rice dish from Ay Chung Noodles in Flushing Mall. The pork chop is outrageously good, deep fried for a couple minutes to give it a great crispy outer texture. While I prefer the dish at Excellent Pork Chop House (because of the ground pork and pickled cabbage), the pork chop by itself is far better at Ay Chung.
Flushing (Flushing)– We then got an order of Pot Stickers from my favorite place on 41st. It was good as always but at the end of the day are just good potstickers so nothing to really write about.
Minetta Tavern (West Village)– The only planned meal of the weekend, we made reservations for 3 at Minetta Tavern over a month ago. When we arrived, we lucked out to find that the third person in our party was also not hungry enough to eat a whole burger (we all wanted the Black Label Burger) so we worked it out perfectly. We got three appetizers. The first was an assorted tar tar consisting of Veal, Lamb and Beef. While all good, the veal tar tar was truly exceptional. We also got a head cheese app that was amzing and finally a squid stuffed with cod which was incredible. We then split two black label burgers between the three of us. They were very accommodating for us to split it, they even cut each burger into thirds (slicing it like a pie in thirds) which was awesome. We got one rare and one medium rare. My two friends with me at the dinner both thought it was the best burger they ever had. I wasn’t a fan. It’s not that it was too rich or too much of a steaky flavor, I just simply wasn’t a fan of the patty blend. The flavor wasn’t too appealing to me. We capped this meal off with a Grand Marnier Soufflé which was outstanding.
Amy Ruth’s (Harlem)– After Minetta, feeling like we needed more food, we went to Harlem for chicken and waffles. I had never been to Amy Ruth’s and I was very impressed. Perfect fried chicken and a perfect waffle, it was a great meal.
Tacos Coatzingo (Jackson Heights)– Off to Queens, we went here for a Torta. We got the Res de Milanesa which was phenomenal. The beef was great and the combination of flavors was executed in perfect propotion. A thin layer of refried beans comes to mind when I think about the delicious complexity of the sandwich.
Kabab King (Jackson Heights)– We split an order of the Bihari Kaba which we enjoyed with Paratha Bread. I love Kabab King and last night was no different. The Paratha might have been a bad choice, Naan would have been a little better as a vehicle for the various meats.
Ray’s Candy Store (East Village)– Went here for a Chocolate Egg Cream. I’ve never been here before and I think this might be the best egg cream in the city.
Momofuku Ssam Bar (East Village)– Met my brother here for a great lunch. We had Szechuan Beef Tendon which was great. It was sliced incredibly thin to give it a lardo texture and was very delicious. We also had scrapple that came with a fried egg and some Benton bacon. The scrapple was as good as scrapple could ever be which means it was mediocre. The fried egg was awesome. The poached it first and then fried it which was awesome. Lastly, we got the Rice Cakes with Chinese Sausage which was also amazing.
Blue Marble(Prospect Heights) – After Ssam, to conclude our foodie weekend, I took my friend to Blue Marble Ice Cream. He had a cup of the Sweettart Cherry and It was great. It is my favorite Ice Cream in the world and he had a hard time disagreeing.