When I lived in New York, I swore off brunch. “Brunch is for idiots!” I declared. “You wait forever, you spend a fortune, and for what? Food you can make just as good at home for way less money.”
That’s why there are so many entries on my Breakfast Recipes page: I mostly make brunch at home. But while in New York, this last time around, I ate two brunches so good, they put me in my place. I couldn’t make food THAT good at home.
I want to tell you about a sandwich. It’s a very special sandwich. You get it at a place famous for another special sandwich, but we’re not going to talk about that other special sandwich. We’re going to talk about the original sandwich I was trying to talk to you about earlier. Seriously, will you stop changing the subject?
I’m not one of those “where must I eat when I go back to New York?” kind of people, though I did Tweet a week before our trip something along those lines. The responses were fascinating to me–apparently Acme, which I knew as a fairly mediocre sandwich and sweet potato French fry spot near NYU, has been transformed into a restaurant-of-the-moment. Also: Isa has all the food bloggers buzzing. But, I don’t know, I wasn’t in the mood to be fanatical about new restaurants. I decided that, when it came to food on this trip, we’d wing it.
My Twitter followers are a fervent bunch. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was in the East Village, getting a haircut at Sei Tomoko (the best haircut deal in town), and thinking of going to Porchetta for lunch. “Ooooh!” they cheered, “you’ve gotta go!” “I’m jealous!” “Porchetta is AMAZING.” Then, later, when I confessed that I skipped Porchetta for Hummus Place–where I had a lighter, healthier lunch–the Twitter crowd was not happy. “Boooo!” they booed. “Grrrr!” they growled. “Hiss!” they hissed. (Wow, this post sounds like a children’s book.) I thought they’d unfollow me and spurn my name forever, but now they should be appeased: I went with Diana to Porchetta for lunch last week and now I get what got them so worked up.
I’m getting a little rusty in my old age. In the early days of the blog, I was the one dragging my friends to obscure hole-in-the-wall joints in the East Village–now I’m perfectly happy to go to Grand Sichuan over and over again.
But Mark and Diana have my number, both literally and figuratively. We had plans for a double date on Saturday night and as I texted with Diana about what we would do, she ignored my suggestion to return to the home of Gui Zhou Chicken and Dry Sauteed String Beans and, instead, told us to meet her and Mark at Elvie’s Turo-Turo on 1st Ave. and 12th Street. “It’s a Filipino place,” wrote Diana. The old adventurer in me perked up: “See you there,” I wrote back as I grabbed my camera (or Craig’s camera, rather: mine’s been in repair for eternity), excited, once again, to try something new.
If you live in New York and you’re a food blogger who writes about restaurants, it’s inevitable that, at some point, you must visit and write about Momofuku Ko, David Chang’s most celebrated and impossible-to-get-into restaurant. So many food bloggers, in fact, have visited Ko–among them, The Wandering Eater, Food in Mouth, The Girl Who Ate Everything–that the restaurant now has an official “no pictures” policy. This, I must admit, was a bit of a relief when I surprised Craig on Sunday, taking him there for his birthday; now I wouldn’t have to spend half the meal adjusting the aperture and manually focusing over plates of rapidly cooling food. For great pictures of dinners at Ko, click any of the links above. For a brief account of our time there, click ahead.
There are cold days and then there are really cold days and on those really cold days you probably want to stay at home, under the covers, and never get out of bed. But then you have to get out of bed and, more importantly, you have to eat and if you’re in Manhattan running errands, you may find it difficult to find the cold weather comfort food you crave. Sure you could snarf a burrito, you could scarf a sandwich, but will that really warm you up? No, it will not. But here are two N.Y.C. dishes that will.