Lisa’s New ‘Hood: Dinner at the Market Cafe

Remember the days when Lisa lived in Chelsea? We’d pad thai at Pongsri or hot dog at F&B before icecreaming at Ben & Jerry’s. Frolicking down 23rd street, not a care in the world: that all came to a crashing halt this past Monday when Lisa moved to Hell’s Kitchen.

For those not familiar with New York geography, let me draw you a map. These are avenues:

9th 8th 7th 6th 5th

I live here:


Lisa used to live here:


Now she lives this far over:


She also lives 20 blocks up. Hell’s Kitchen is a 30 minute walk from Chelsea. (Lisa argues 20 minutes, but she has jet-powered boots).

I am, however, a dedicated friend, so on Friday night I trekked up to HK (that’s street lingo for Hell’s Kitchen) and helped Lisa and Liz pick up a package from UPS and then joined them for dinner at a place I selected (some things never change!) from Robert Sietsema’s Best Ethnic Eating Guide called Market Cafe on 9th Avenue.

Funny thing is, I’ve been there before. With Ricky. He lives in HK too. All my friends are moving to HK, and I’m stuck in C. But if I were to move again, I’d move to GV. (Because you know I love the eating in GV.)

The food at The Market Cafe is, according to Sietsema’s book: “International.” I’ll agree with that. We did, after all, start with hummus:


Not a great picture, I agree, but it’s incredibly humorous. See, that’s the last piece of pita and I’m piling on the rest of the hummus because you can’t eat the hummus once the pita pieces are gone! Lisa is helping me and we’re finding this most amusing!

The hummus was good. Not my favorite, not my least favorite, just very decent hummus.

What was great–or at least interesting–was the grilled pizza:


The toppings were cherry tomatoes and radicchio which was carmelized and charred and mispronounced by me when I called it “raDICKeo.”

“Adam,” said Lisa, “I’m sorry to have to correct you, but it’s raDICHio.”

Shamed, I entered a penitential fast that lasted 30 seconds, long enough for me to photograph the pizza and then I dug in. It was tasty. I really liked the raDICHio. Cooking it that way makes it sweet–kind of like braising endive.

And that was that! Liz left us soon after, and Lisa and I went searching for a dessert place. Oh boy. Searching for dessert in the theater district (where we ended up) is a nightmare experience. We found nothing. We ventued back to HK and went to the Galaxy Diner where there were desserts in a glass case. “Good!” I said. Diner desserts are decent, usually, when you’re in the mood for dessert.

Ugh. These were horrible. Lisa and I later declared these “extraordinarily bad diner desserts.” My strawberry shortcake caused gastronomical turmoil that lasted through the next day. Then, when it came time to pay, I reached into my back pocket for my wallet and…where…is…my…wallet…

I had a long flip out session. We called the Market Cafe: they didn’t find a wallet. We searched the floor. Lisa gave me money for a cab home and I ran upstairs (ok I took the elevator) and ran inside and sure enough it was on my desk. (Lisa had paid for dinner to make-up for a dinner I bought her last week—in case you were wondering why I didn’t notice sooner.)

Hell’s Kitchen may have good pizza and Lisa, but let it be said that when push came to shove Chelsea had my wallet.

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