Thanks for the answers to various questions for my 3.5 days in NYC. Had some good food while walking miles but nothing mind boggling. Actually, I think my best dish might have been the cheapest, 5 for $1 dumplings at Fried Dumplings at 99 Allen St. Barely noticeable storefront but I'm glad I searched it out. The roast pork bun at a place on Catherine St. (Happy Café?) was equally as good and cheap ($.70). And I liked the green tea & ginger flavors at Laboratorio del Gelato while eavesdropping on part of a Tenement Museum tour. Donut at Cupcakek Café on 9th and 39th didn't have the crisp greasy donut goodness that I like but maybe wheat was the wrong choice for that. Have had better croissants than the plain at Sullivan St. Bakery and while I was psyched to see the choc./almond combination at Bouchon Bakery in the Times Warner complex, not nearly as good as the bakeries in Paris and Montreal where I've only ever seen that combo before. Strawberry scone at Tompkins Sq. Bakery was authentic and thus, a tad dry. Miro Café on Broadway had great double choc. cookies and she gave me 2 for 1 for some reason. Hot dog itself at Papaya Dog on 9th and 41st was good, roll was cold and bordering on stale. Tomato & ricotta pizza at Patisserie something on Broadway by 43rd was good but $4.95??? And Times Sq. bagels does a decent egg bagel w/ scallion cream cheese.
As far as real food goes, took myself to lunch at Gotham Bar & Grill on East 12th for their $24.70 prix fixe which was very nice, 2 choices for each course. Started out on the lighter side w/ asparagus/beet/potato salad then mahi mahi with a good seared crust. Had to pick the warm choc. cake tho w/ an amazing espresso & walnut ice cream. Nice room, big bar where only 3 other people were eating but the dining room was crowded. Speaking of crowded, Schiller's in the LES was jammed on Fri., no surprise. It's a little too zoo like and I don't need to go back but it was fine and feels authentic (bathroom fixtures shipped from the old world?). Nice door guy and waiter, okay bread but surprised it was w/ olive oil instead of butter since they lean towards a French style. Had a fancy champagne cocktail and started w/ fried calamari which were just okay. Entree of braised duck was tasty enough served w/ mashed and root veggies and prunes. Friend got fish n chips that seemed nicely fried, came to about $60. We were too full from the nuts and snack mix at Thor to try dessert. Good cocktails there and a very friendly bartender who tried to accommodate my specific "martini" tastes.
Sat. was dinner at Blue Hill by Washington Sq. and while it was good, nothing on the menu really jumped out. They did have great bread sticks & butter and again, tried to find me the perfect cocktail (why does no one have mango puree at the bar?). The starters were kind of boring so just entrees and dessert. Two of us went with the pork dish served with spaetzle (which is what drew us in). Good but not very bold flavors and the cod dish was mild ($30 and $28). The choc. bread pudding was very good, more like warm cake tho w/ nice caramel ice cream. The pear dessert was microscopic. Excellent table, nice service, cool room (former speakeasy). Sun. was brunch at Mangia e Bevi on 9th & about 53rd which a friend said does cheesy b-day dinner singing or something, but it was mellow at noon. All dishes include a juice or brunchy cocktail (you guys have much better brunch deals than in Boston). Friend had grapefruit juice with a salad of greens, tomatoes and parm/reggiano. I had a Bloody w/ a scrambled egg wrap w/ tomato, bacon and what was supposed to be baby spinach but was frozen, served with home fries in the shape of French fries. Had an early evening cocktail at Pangea on 2nd by East 12th, nice loungy feel and $2 off drinks til 7 (you also have better happy hours, technically illegal in Boston). Friend's mojito seemed fine, the "Pangea" was a nice fruity "martini". Unfortunately, the bar at Red Cat was too crowded to eat at Sun. nite (dining for darfur nite) so I went very casual at the Chelsea Grill on 43rd & 9th, it was either that or the similar diner across the street. I wanted a sandwich and got the pastrami reuben but it was served open faced which I didn't expect, with globbed on cheese and sauerkraut and it just wasn't very appealing. Fries were plentiful and hot but basic frozen, cole slaw wasn't too flavorful, service okay with me but I heard him telling some guy (German maybe) he should tip 20%. I should have gotten a piece of banana cream pie for dinner there, the reuben wasn't a great way to end my NYC eating. I consoled myself with a cappucino crunch cone from Hagen Dazs. But three separate celeb sightings (R. Duvall, J. Goldblum, D. Carradine) makes me think I'll come back during the film festival next year.