the first night my mom arrived we ordered delivery from nyonya on grand street.
we ordered the 'curry fish head'- very tasty with lots of vegetables
'roti canai pancake' with the curry chicken dipping sauce. i LOVE the flavor of that sauce. best thing on the menu i've tried thus far. we also ordered a soup called 'curry mee with young tao foo' (egg noodles in a spicy lemongrass coconut curry, with tofu and fish) was pretty boring and i didn't enjoy the noodles at all. the yam rice is strange. the first bite i wondered what the heck could be in there, but it grew on me and i ended up really enjoying the flavor and the little bits of chinese sausage. for dessert we had the fresh coconut pudding inside a coconut and a peanut pancake. the coconut pudding was refreshing and a great texture.
the next morning we made our way up to sylvias in harlem for their famous gospel sunday brunch. mom ordered the fried chicken, candied yams, and mac n cheese. i had fried catfish, collard greens, and potato salad. all were delicious and authentic to good soul food cuisine. for dessert i couldn't resist a slice of red velvet cake with vanilla frosting. i had never had it before...did not like the flavor at all! do all red velvets have a strange taste or was it just sylvias? also the peach bellini's were yummy!
it definitely felt like a tourist trap, but the food was actually very good!
for dinner we headed to the 2nd ave deli. they put a plate of pickles and coleslaw on your table as you sit down. the coleslaw was great! chrunchy and a good balance of vinegar and sugar.
i had half a pastrami sandwich with mushroom barley soup. hearty soup with great mushroom flavor. my mom had chopped liver and said it had a lot of little tough parts in it from maybe over cooking the liver?
the next evening we ate at ukranian restaurant on 2nd avenue. we started with a cup of hot borscht. tasted just like grandmas. and we shared the ukranian sampler plate with stuffed cabbage with a mushroom gravy, kasha varneshka, smoked sausage, and varynekies with carmelized onions. all were very good and for such a cheap $9 price! we finished with a slice of apple cake. it was good but it came with a drizzle of some cheap chocolate syrup that was unnecessary and ruined the cake for me.
the next day we had lunch at my local favorite dominican spot called el castillo de jagua. we shared the fish fillet castillo style in a white wine sauce with roasted garlic. perfectly cooked fish in a delicious rich sauce. YUM! a cubano sandwich (the best in the city i've had) perfect and fresh roasted pork, ham, cheese, mayo, and pickles on amazing bread. the pink beans are delicious too. one of my favorite restaurants in the city, hands down!
one evening we arrived at 5pm for babbo and got seated immediately. we decided on the traditional tasting menu. i enjoyed the pastas VERY much but everything else left me wondering why the place was so packed at 5pm. i'm hoping to find better italian in the city! so we had:
chickpea bruschetta as the amuse. average in taste.
duck bressaola with cavolo nero -least favorite dish by far!
pappardelle with chantrelles and thyme- delicious perfect pasta with a touch of butter.
duck tortelli with sugo finto- tortelli filled with a duck mousselline sort of thing. delicious but my mom hated it.
grilled venison with acorn squash caponata and black truffle vinaigrette- perfectly grilled venison but i really didn't like the accompaniments it came with. too salty (and i'm a salt fiend)
coach farms finest with pink cranberry moustarda- GREAT cheese.
warm chestnut honey spice cake- very tasty and nicely spiced cake.
bittersweet chocolate crema- too rich for me. if you love deep dark chocolate, this is for you.
pear semifreddo with pecorino dolce- excellent. a perfectly balanced sweet dessert. very light and flavorful.
i saw the gelato tasting be given to a table near me so i had to ask if they would substitute a gelato and sorbetti tasting for my pear semifreddo. so i had a tasting of ricotta, quince, chocolate, green apple, toasted almond, and vanilla. the ricotta was amazing...the quince was also very delicious. the rest you could pickle. nothing special at all.
i also took her to the doughnut plant. we had a coconut cream donut, marzipan, and a new cinnamon and sugar CAKE donuts they are now serving. i liked them, but have definitely had better donuts in my lifetime. they are a little too doughy/tough for my taste. i prefer my glazed donuts very light and almost airy.
then for a light dinner we had bagels from kossars bialies, nova salmon and scallion cream cheese from russ and daughters for dinner. doesn't get much better than that!
thanks to all who recommended everything. there wasn't enough time to go out to queens and brooklyn unfortunately. :( next time!