(Blurry) Truffled Egg Toast at ‘ino

First, an apology for this picture: it’s blurry. I’m not sure why it’s blurry, must have been in the wrong mode, or not enough light, or whatever it is that makes a picture blurry. Forgive me. (If you click it, it gets bigger but even blurrier. That’s a choice you’ll have to make on your own.)

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What the picture lacks in focus it surely makes up for in content: this is the truffled egg toast at ‘ino. I’d heard many things about this dish. Amanda Hesser writes about it in “Cooking for Mr. Latte.” (She has a recipe that recreates it, which I’ll soon attempt.) My friend Alex B., when she heard I went to ‘ino a few weeks ago, said: “Did you have the truffled egg toast? WHAT? YOU DIDN’T HAVE THE TRUFFLED EGG TOAST? ARE YOU CRAZY?”

So today, when stumbling around the Village, looking for a place to lunch, I suddenly realized: “Why Adam! This is a perfect opportunity to have truffled egg toast at ‘ino!”

And so I did and it was a sublime experience. I don’t use the word sublime lightly. I wouldn’t use the word “sublime” to describe, say, the pecan bars I made the other day. Those were just tasty and comforting and sticky and gooey but surely not sublime. The Thai food I ate for dinner was really good—peanut and coconut curry—but still not sublime. If you want sublime, go to ‘ino. Get the truffled egg toast.

This paragraph will put to the test my abilities as a food writer. I am going to try to describe, the best I can, the sensation of eating truffled egg toast. So first you have this thick toast—it’s ciabatta bread they bought from down the street at Blue Ribbon. It’s hefty and has weight to it, but isn’t difficult to cut through–like really crusty French toast but crustier and not as buttery and no maple syrup. On top of that is some kind of cheese. I don’t know what kind of cheese. I am failing as a food writer. (Acually, on second thought, I’m not sure there was cheese. Maybe the cheese was egg?) Let’s talk about the egg. Is it poached? Is it fried? I think it’s poached. Again, I’m a failure. But then there’s a drizzle of truffle oil—you can see it melding with the yolk. Around the plate is scattered cut-up asparagus and then all over it, as if matter from another planet, is sprinkled salt and freshly cracked pepper. I say “from another planet” because the salt and pepper really stand out here in a peculiar otherworldly way. You’ve put salt and pepper on eggs before, sure, but here they feel (dramatic music plays)…different.

It’s the melding of all these flavors—the truffle oil, the yolk, the pepper, the salt, the egg, the toast—that makes this unlike anything you’ve ever eaten. It’s bizarre. It’s exciting. It’s food you never knew existed that once you eat it you can’t remember a time that it didn’t exist. It’s that good.

And that’s truffled egg toast. I’ve eaten it, now. Why haven’t you?

Taste Everything’s 2005 Food Awards: Most Soul Satisfying Bowl of Pasta to Eat After Buying A Backpack in the East Village and Walking to the West Village in 8 Degree Weather When You Think Your Face Is Going to Fall Off and Life’s No Longer Worth Living

OK, so a while ago (January 6th, to be exact) I was asked by Hillel Cooperman of Tastingmenu.com to participate in his inspired creation, The 2005 Independent Food Festival and Awards. The idea was simple: food bloggers get to give an award to something they feel passionately about in the food world, that they feel should be recognized. Here is their graphic:

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So with a proposition like that and a graphic like that, how could I say no? I was drunk with power—I get to give an award! I felt like an Oscar voter only more capable (honestly, Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction? Come on). So it was settled. Now only one problem—who should I give an award to?

There’s something you need to understand about me. I’m a total fraud. I have no idea what I’m doing. The very idea that I was asked to give an award is an affront to the entire food community. I have no real training with food, I have very little eating experience. I wrote a post once praising the Olive Garden. I am so inadequate it hurts. Why me, then, why?

But enough self-doubt. I was chosen to give an award and I would give one.

At around this time, there was a blizzard. It was a big blizzard. You may remember it? There was all that snow and all the other vestiges of a good old fashioned blizzard. Well around that time I needed a new backpack. My old backpack was positively coated in cat hair. There was no pouch for my computer—I’d developed the habit of putting my computer in a flimsy leather computer case and sticking that in my backpack along with heavy books and other heavy machinery. It wasn’t a great system.

Then, through some online maneuverings that aren’t that important, I discovered Crumpler bags which are bags built especially for Apple Powerbooks. I found the bag I wanted and I ordered it online. Shipping would cost $16.

Days passed. There was no notice that it had shipped. So I decided to look up the store’s number online so I could ask, “Yo! Hey! Where’s my bag?”

It was during this search that I made a startling realization. Crumpler was located in NEW YORK. In the East Village. (Actually, it’s on the Lower East Side, but I already submitted my post title to Hillel so let’s pretend it’s the East Villlage.)

I called the store immediately and I said, “Hey! Yo! I ordered this bag online and I had no idea you were in New York. I paid $16 for shipping. Did it ship yet?”

The guy looked me up. “Nope, it didn’t.”

“Phew!” I said. “Now then—can I come get it in person?”

“Sure,” he said.

And so I took the train down to Prince street and started walking east. It was wildly cold out. My face hurt the way your nose hurts when it gets hit with a tennis ball. By the time I found the store I was seriously wondering if I hadn’t frozen a mile back and it was only my ghost entering the store, ringing the bell.

I told the guy who I was. I took out my credit card. He said, “Listen–buying it in the store is actually more expensive than buying it online. The same bag you were going to buy online is $20 more here. So here’s what we’ll do—we won’t credit you the $16 back, we’ll just give you the bag and keep the original charge on the card.”

I was so cold I would have believed anything. I took the bag and walked out.

Now (and I realize this is a long-winded story but I’m an award giver and I HAVE RIGHTS) I was hungry and I had a coffee date in the west village. I had to walk from the East Village (OK, FINE, THE LOWER EAST SIDE) to the West Village and eat something along the way. What would I eat? What could sooth my soul at this desperately frigid moment?

There, on Sullivan street, I made a right turn and walked up towards Houston. On the right was a trendy restaurant, then Once Upon a Tart and then—hiding in the corner–Pepe Rosso, home of some of New York’s best and most reasonably priced Italian food.

There are only four tables in Pepe Rosso. At the time I entered, two were occupied. I threw my new backpack down on an empty one and shot my eyes up to the huge menu on the wall over the counter. I needed something warm and savory and comforting and filling and all those things you want when you’re frozen and you just bought a backpack. For whatever reason I chose Penne A La Vodka with Pancetta. I sat down and stared at a wall, like an angry character in an Alaska novel. I could barely muster the energy to read the New Yorker magazine I brought with me.

Time passed. And then the following was presented to me:

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The picture is small (I took this with my old camera) but the moment is big. The award is for the “Most Soul-Satisfying Bowl of Pasta” and this surely was it. It was warm—the steam rose to my face and hinted of tomatos and garlic and onions and bacon. I let it rise and then I dug in and each bite went right to the places in my soul that were diminished–that needed replenishing. This pasta replenished them. By the time I finished the bowl (mopping it clean with the bread) I was restored. I felt ready to face the world again.

As silly as this award seems, let’s not forget that context matters. We rarely hear about the day Frank Bruni’s having when he goes and reviews the new upstart Moroccan restaurant on your block. Maybe he was beat up that morning by gypsys and he has a bone to pick. Maybe his sister-in-law just won the lottery and is going to buy Frank a boat. You never know.

Here, I was cold. I needed warmth. I needed comfort. I needed my spirits raised. Pepe Rosso did the trick and for that I deem them worthy of the highest honor I have ever been allowed to give: a 2005 Taste Everything Food Award. Congrats, Pepe, on a job well done. [And thanks, Hillel, for organizing this!]

May My 26th Year Be Like Lunch at The Spotted Pig

26 years ago at this very moment my mom was panting in a hospital bed as angelic music played and I made my way into the world, fork and knife in hand, lobster bib already in place. Stories are told of me at a young age: I was a glutton for food. Mom says that when the baby food jar was empty I’d start sniffling a little and then break out into a huge wail. She worried very much that I would be fat.

Well I’m not fat (yet—I’m getting there). But I still love food. And today, after getting a haircut in the West Village (at a place my friend Alex recommended) I realized, quite accidentally, that I was two blocks away from The Spotted Pig. I walked past and it was nearly empty inside, but it was open. This was shocking to me because every time I’ve been there it’s been packed to the gills. I felt fate on my side and made my way in. This is the story of what happened thereafter.

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I took a seat at the bar. Sunlight crept in and I watched as the waitress/bartender (she was a one-woman operation) served a table a large plate of scrumptious skinny french fries. She came to me and asked what I’d like to drink. I ordered Prosecco. I don’t know why I ordered that–this was 3 hours before class on a Thursday and, also, I’d never had Prosecco. I think it was the fact that I spied it on the large chalk board hanging over the bar. And that it was cheap. $7. So Prosecco.

“I love Prosecco,” she said. “I seriously drink it all the time. It’s like champagne only sweeter.”

I felt incredibly validated. She popped the cork on the Prosecco and poured me my glass.

“Ready to order?” she asked.

“Well,” I said, and pointed to the gnudi on the menu. See, first some explication: The Spotted Pig is a gastropub based on the cuisine of The River Cafe in London where Jamie Oliver got his start. And the chef at The Spotted Pig, April Bloomfield, worked there before doing a stint at Chez Pannise. She knows her stuff. (I later found out that my bartender/waitress is April’s roommate.) Anyway, at The Spotted Pig April’s most famous dish is gnudi—it’s a dish I’ve read all about for the longest time and have craved, for the longest time, to try. So then. I asked the waitress: “Is gnudi enough for lunch?”

“Well,” she said, “It’s substantial, but I’d also get a salad.”

So I looked at the salads and asked her which was her favorite. “The pumpkin,” she said, “Definitely the pumpkin.”

Pumpkin salad? I’m sold!

Now then–prepare to feast your eyes on the following images. I’m uploading them especially so you can click them and feast. This is the first time you’ve truly feasted vicariously through my new camera and what you are about to behold is so visually sumptuous you may be tempted to lick your screen.

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This salad is truly one of the most dazzling salads I’ve ever eaten. I spent a good part of the rest of my day conjuring back this salad in my memory–trying to remember the individual pieces that made it so great. There was the pumpkin, yes. It’s a strange textural component to have in a salad but it totally works. The pumpkin is roasted with…with? I have no idea. But there’s pine nuts in it and it’s sweet and snappy and savory and perfect. It’s balanced against the arugula which is peppery and coated in a lemony dressing that made everything bright and dancey. Then there was the pecorino which added a creamy component and a few drops of balsamic which were like perfect angel drops of tartness. This salad is earth-shatteringly good. I scraped my plate clean and begged for more. But then came the gnudi:

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Oh my God, the gnudi. Can you smell it? Can you taste it in your head? Can you feel it? Feel the magic? Look at that. Is it not a work of art? What is it exactly?

Well, let’s defer to Josh’s post on it on The Food Section: “Gnudi are ‘nude’ ravioli whose fillings have been shorn of their pasta clothing. The gnudi (pronounced with a silent g) are made of sheep’s milk ricotta and fried to a golden brown and served with crispy sage leaves.”

Additionally, the gnudi sits in a brown butter sauce that is so decadent and comforting, I wanted to float away in it. Instead, I gobbled the gnudi up. You hear certain metaphors used over and over again when describing food (we might call these “tired metaphors”) and so please forgive me when I say the gnudi was pillowy (haha, tired metaphors–pillowy!), that it tasted like eating a cloud. But it was the combination–the combination of that glorious texture and the butter and the crispy sage and the cheese grated over the top. It was SERIOUS perfection. I nearly died of pleasure.

Instead, I got the check and resisted the urge to eat dessert. I know, I know–Adam, how could you, the King of Dessert, not eat dessert at a place with such brilliant food?

Well, for starters, I was stuffed. But secondly, I’m totally going to go back–I must go back. I must eat my way through their menu. I must move in to The Spoted Pig.

And so we conclude this post by linking it back to my birthday and to the post’s title: May my 26th Year Be Like Lunch At The Spotted Pig. May it be filled with surprise and wonder, with light and color, with personality and flavor, with crispy sage and roasted pumpkin, with decadence and balance and hominess and cozyness and spontaneous glasses of Prosecco. Cheers to a year that promises to be well lived!

Eating With My Peers: Osso Bucco and Sharaku

Eating around NYU is often a treat. You’re near the East Village, you’re near the West Village. You have many options available. Sometimes you make good choices, sometimes you make bad choices. But you make choices. Except when you’re force fed in which case you had no choice. But most of the time you aren’t force fed.

So last week was the Marathon Festival of Student Work for my class and we each had to present 30 minutes of material. This was a stressful time—I presented 30 minutes from my play “Bethany” and had to fine-tune it several times to get it where it needed to be. My piece was the last one to show on the last night, and so I invited Lisa along to see it. She enjoyed it. At least she said she did.

Afterwards, we joined my classmate John (who also went up that night and did a great job) and his sig oth and distinguished actor Ben for dinner. We also went with John’s co-workers Kristen and Ryan. Where would we go? We were hungry. We stumbled upon Osso Bucco on University. Let’s eat there, we decided.

To explain our dining experience, I’m going to use math.

Great Food, Great Atmosphere, Great Service X dismal company = mediocre experience

Dismal food, noisy atmosphere and hostile service X great company = fun fun fun

The latter explains our dinner at Osso Bucco. I think this place is a huge rip off. It’s family style, you pay a lot of money for it, and the food is a hair above The Olive Garden. Seriously. In fact, I think I prefer the Olive Garden because they don’t pretend to be fancy when they serve you iceberg lettuce in a bowl with an onion and a tomato. Osso Bucco does and charges you $12 for it.

Anyway, though, here’s Ben and John saying cheese with cheese:

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Afterwards, we somehow ended up at The Duplex, and upstairs there was this weird piano bar place where they let audience members come up and sing show tunes. Lisa wanted to sing “Suddenly, Seymour” with me. The piano player didn’t have the music for it. I knew it, though, so I asked if I could play. They said all right. Here we are—the Captain and Tenille, Kiki and Herb:

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That was a ton of fun.

*****

Then, Tuesday night, after our Adaptation class and before our Play Lab, I joined Patty, Colin and Alex for dinner at a sushi place in the East Village–Sharaku. Here’s a picture that I felt insecure about because it seemed blurry but which James Felder praised and said, “It’s great! It looks like they could be in Rangoon.”

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[Can I ask you tekkies a question? Ok, so I upload these pictures to my .mac homepage, right? You can see the page I loaded it on here. Now when you click the individual pictures, they blow up into much larger versions. So, for example, the picture above is way big when you click here. So how can I use that fact to make the pictures I post on my site bigger? Like when I link to the picture you see above I type in the HTML the open carrot thing (<) then img alt="IMG_1.JPG" src="address of the image." close carrot(>). I guess I’m asking how to use the fact that I’m using lots of space to host a big fat image to improve the girth of what I post on my site. Haha, I said girth.)

Where were we? Oh yes, Sharaku. This place is good. We had saki, edamame (I almost choked on one), some kind of shrimp dumpling, and then I ordered this sushi platter:

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I was way stuffed afterwards. And it was a tiny bit pricey. But the saki was reasonable. And the company was great. And as we know, when it comes to dinner math, great company is like pi r squared. (The area of a circle?) Yes. Exactly that.

Chomper Romper Room: Jacques Torres’s Chocolate Haven

There is the kid in all of us and then there is the kid that’s not in all of us. The kid in all of us loves chocolate and Willy Wonka and brightens at the very idea of Jacques Torres’s Chocolate Haven:

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Located in TriBeCa, this new chocolate factory actually involves the pure production of chocolate–from the cacao beans themselves. The atmosphere is classy and magical. Like this scene from the hot chocolate bar:

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Classy and magical, that is, except for that other kid mentioned above—“the kid that’s not in all of us.” That’s the kid that’s outside of us, running around and screaming and throwing a fit and toppling over chairs and throwing hot chocolate. Now multiply that kid by 10 and you’ll know what it was like inside Torres’s shop today.

I realize some of you have children. I applaud you—children are really important. Without children, who would keep Michael Jackson’s bed warm while he sleeps on the floor in a sleeping bag? [Ok, sorry for that. Too easy.]

So anyway, my point is, that if you have kids–that’s great–but I’m sure you’re better parents than the parents in the chocolate shop today. These kids were exploding all over the store and it was chaos. Not fun! Kids were banging into me and crawling past me and singing in falsetto voices: “One two Freddy’s coming for you…” It was horrifying.

But that aside the chocolate was great. Lisa, John and I (who you will meet in a moment in Chinatown) each got hot chocolate. Lisa and John got the wimpy kinds, but I got “Wicked Hot Chocolate” which has heat and spices. Here’s mine:

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And if you ever plan on going there and you’re scared to get this because it’s too spicy, it really wasn’t. It was perfect and had lots of flavor. Lisa liked mine better than hers.

Then John bought a chocolate chip cookie:

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It was awesome. I love cookies like this. I’ve never made a cookie like this. How does one make a cookie like this? Big and crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. Perfect!

Hey, look at this guy roasting cacoa beans:

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Won’t see that in the Hershey store in Times Square, that’s for sure. [And what’s the deal with the Hershey store in Times Squre? (I sound like a failed stand-up comic tonight. “What’s the deal with failed stand-up comics?”) (Did you ever see that Molly Shannon skit where she goes: “Don’t get me started!” It’s really funny.) Anyway, Hershey store–what’s the deal with it? Why do tourists line up to buy Hershey t-shirts and kisses caps? Don’t get me started!]

As a final treat, I bought Lisa, John and myself each one chocolate treat. Mine was the heart in the middle with passionfruit inside. Lisa’s had apricot and marzipan. John’s had cappucino:

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We all enjoyed them immensely. Then we trampled 8 children and made our way out into the blistering cold. Don’t get me started!

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?

Leffing New York: Pepe Roso To Go

Last summer (as in 2003, not 2004)–is that the summer before last?–I went through a huge Chowhound phase. I was living in LA at the time, working at a law firm, and many an hour was spent clicking through the huge message boards trying to discover new and interesting hole-in-the-wall places to eat. Along the way, I purchased Jonathan Gold’s “Counter Intelligence”–a book with a Chowhound-like ethos–and drove with my friend JC to strange, obscure locations to eat chili cheeseburgers and chicken mole.

At the end of that summer, I came to New York for 8 days to stay with my friend Lisa. (This was when I still lived in Atlanta.) Before I came, I went on Amazon and purchased this:

[NOTE: (1/9/04) Since posting this link, Jim Leff himself has contacted me and asked me to remove it. He says this book is way out of date and that no one should buy it. So don’t buy it! (I’ll do a larger post above on this…)]

What is it? It’s “The Eclectic Gourmet Guide to Greater New York City” by Jim Leff, founder of Chowhound. I flipped through its pages eagerly, excited to eat at obscure hole-in-the-wall New York eateries no one knew about it. Then for some reason, I don’t think we really used this book in those 8 days. I think we went to some pizza place in it and Lisa had an allergic reaction to the olive oil. I left the book at Lisa’s and forgot about it.

Fast forward two years, and I’m in Lisa’s apartment and I ask: “Hey! Remember that book I bought a few years ago? ‘The Eclectic Gourmet Guide to Greater New York City’?”

“By Jim Leff?”

“Yes.”

“Founder of Chowhound?’

“Yes.”

“I think it’s over here.”

Lisa dug under her bed. It was under there.

Now that I have my hands on this book, I’ve created a new category for this site: LEFFING NEW YORK. Meaning: I am going to let Jim Leff guide me through the city and then blog all about it. Fun fun fun!

I started on Monday, with Pepe Roso To Go. This place isn’t so obscure or strange–my classmate Ian always raves about this place. He says it’s the best Italian food in the city, hands down. Jim Leff says, “Pepe Roso does profound, unpretentious Italian homestyle cooking.”

I could hardly wait. So I went:

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It’s basically on the corner of Sullivan and Houston in the Village. It’s right next to “Once Upon A Tart” (which I will blog about momentarily). There are four tables inside, and a kitchen with more people working than there are people eating in the restaurant. There’s a counter and a huge menu overhead. A sign says: “Do we look like your mama? Bus your own table!” (Or something like that.)

Most of the tables were already taken. A jovial man behind the counter asked for my order. I remembered Jim Leff’s recommendation: “a sandwich of air-cured beef (bresaola), goat cheese, arugula, and tuffle oil…. [it conveys] Deep Ideas via the extraordinary balance of these few ingredients.”

Sounds good!

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And, indeed, this sandwich was perfect. Earthy, pungent, fresh-tasting. The bread was crusty, the goat cheese was goat cheesy and the bresaola was thin and savory without being obnoxious.

As I was eating, Chloe Sevigny walked in with a director. More people piled in. This place is popular. No longer a secret, I imagine.

But I’m definitely going back. I loved it! Let the Leffing begin!

Sticky Business: Peanut Butter & Co.

Here is a quagmire. When does a cute concept become a rip-off? Take Peanut Butter & Co, for example:

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This cutesy SoHo spot sells peanut butter sandwiches in many variations. Peanut butter and jelly, for example. Or the Elvis, which I bought today (peanut butter, honey and banana on white bread):

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When I told someone tonight (whose name is Burny, you’ll meet him later) that I ate there today, however, he gave me a look like “are you nuts?” “I can never bring myself to go in there,” he said. “How can you justify paying $6 for a peanut butter sandwich?”

Usually such an argument would irritate the spendthrift gourmet inside me. “Fine food is worth extroardinary prices!” I might say. “How can you put a price tag on perfection?”

But with Peanut Butter & Co. I think Burny’s camp wins the color war. The place is very cute. It’s probably fun to go to with friends. They have fun and interesting sandwiches. But, between you and me, it’s a scam. No one should pay $6 for peanut butter, banana and honey on white bread. Even Elvis.