The Wanderer and Magic NYC Moments: Once Upon A Tart, Cafe Reggio, Kossar’s, and Doughnut Plant

When Amy Poehler farts on SNL, she turns to the camera and says with a lisp: “Jealous?”

That’s how I feel about living in New York. I want to turn to the world, lift up my leg and say: “Jealous?”

I love living here. Honesty, it’s so much better than where you live. I know where you live is nice, but it’s not as nice as New York. It’s not as exciting as New York. You can’t do what I did yesterday and the day before where you live. I mean, I suppose you can but it really wouldn’t matter. JEALOUS?

Ok, ok, enough bragging. What did I do? Well, on Monday I wandered. After lunch at Pepe Rosso I wandered in the gray drizzly air. I wandered next door to “Once Upon A Tart”:

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I’d seen their cookbooks in far away places and couldn’t wait to try one of their baked goods. So I bought this chocolate cranberry cookie:

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It was horrible! I hated it! What a terrible cookie!

Honestly, it was hard–and not even in a good crunchy way, but in a tough to bite through way. I suppose the chocolate cranberry combination was interesting, but all in all I give it a C-.

But that’s part of the magic, people. For every bad cookie there’s a good cookie and vice-versa. Jealous?

Then it started drizzling even harder and I stumbled into this place:

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Cafe Reggio. I sat in a shadowy booth near a pay phone. I pulled out my copy of Charles Dickens’s “Bleak House.” I’m on page 800–I am so close to finishing!

I read the little menu thingie that they put on the table. I learned two very exciting facts:

(1) The house across the street was home to Louisa May Alcott:

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(2) Cafe Reggio has America’s first cappuccino maker. Mr. Reggio, apparently, is responsible for bringing cappuccinos to the United States. When I read this, I got very excited. I asked the waitress: “So where’s the machine?” She pointed: “It’s right over there.” And indeed it was:

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I studied it for a moment then returned to my table. Naturally, I ordered a cappuccino. Unnaturally, she asked if I wanted whipped cream on it. I said “sure!”

Here it is:

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America’s first cappuccino with whipped cream on it. It tasted great. Louisa May Alcott and I totally agree on that.

Next day…

Met my friend Jason for lunch on the Lower East Side at a place called Rice. Since it wasn’t a spectacular meal, only an average perfectly acceptable meal, we’ll skip over that magic NYC moment. But then some more magic. More wandering. We wandered through Chinatown and saw dried shrimp and other dried fishy things:

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Next, we wandered over to Doughnut Plant. This place is amazing. I’ve already been there (as you can see from the “Adam and Lisa Eat The LES” video on the left). But this was my first time going back since.

For some reason, yesterday’s photos won’t let me link to small versions so I’m going to link textually to large versions.

Here’s Jason in front of Doughnut Plant: Click me.

Look at the two little old ladies. Aren’t they cute?

As you can see, the specials are Jelly Doughnuts, Marzipan Doughnuts, and Citron Doughnuts. Here’s a closer look. Looks amazing, no?

Jason and I both went with square jelly doughnuts (2nd shelf from top, on the left). It didn’t occur to me until we discussed it how remarkable these doughnuts are. They are SQUARE and they are filled with jelly. How do they fill them? Exactly. Thank you. These doughnuts are genius. Mine was filled with apricot and Jason’s was peanut butter and strawberry jelly.

As we left, I noticed Kossar’s bialys next door. I’d never had a bialy in my entire life. Here’s Jason standing in front.

Even though we’d just had a ricey lunch and then two big doughnuts, I insisted on trying bialys. They were only $0.50 each. Here’s what they look like up close.

Perfect. What a perfect ending to a perfect post. This bialy had flavor and jazz and poppy seeds and lots and lots of history. Where else can you wander around a city and end up with a bialy chaser to your square apricot jelly doughnut? Exactly.

JEALOUS?

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