Monday, April 6, 2009

Please Don't Feed the Shiksa

I am a very fortunate girl in that, by dating The Bunny, I am able to feast on Jewish delights several times a year. Since I am using WW I have to carefully ration my "points," and with two Passover seders and my birthday dinner on the schedule for this week, I have to reaaaaaaally scale back my intake on the non-special days. To curb my hunger, I have decided to blog about some of my favorite restaurants; this mission has a near 99% chance of utter backfiring failure.

In my various friend circles, I tend to be the planner/concierge. I LOVE researching the latest things (restaurants, shops, museums exhibits, events about town) and dispensing advice on a customized basis. I would happily make a career out of being a personal NYC tour guide if I didn't fear that the reality of the job could in no way match the fun of the idea in the abstract.

At any rate, this tendency of staying in-the-know results in a lot of eating out. It seems frivolous (paricularly in this economy) but NYC is famous for its food and, as far as I'm concerned, there isn't much point in living here if you don't take advantage of it.( I extend this philosophy to most aspects of NYC in general, which explains why I'm often broke but almost always ecstatic to be living here.) So here's a recap of some of my dining experiences of the past week (yes, week...shame on me):

Little Giant.
The best restaurants in the City tend to be the small places that specialize in truly great dishes. In my opinion, the quieter they are, the better they tend to be.
Little Giant is a tiny spot on the Lower East Side with BIG gastronomic treasures.

GAS ordered Beet Salad for his starter and Pork Loin for his main.

I ordered Orecchiette (in Italian, "little ears").

As you can see, I really struggled to get it down.

A sweet little West Village spot. The food didn't take my breath away, but the ambience was cozy and calm--a nice contrast at the end of the workday to how busy life in Manhattan can be.

I wasn't very hungry (this NEVER happens) so I ordered the Beet Salad and the Herb Spaetzle.

My lovely friends, CCR and ESG trekked to the WV to dine with me. They are the best. They ate the Pennslyvania Chicken and Top Sirloin of Lamb, respectively.

We ended the night by sharing the Southern Banana Pudding (I told you they're great friends!), and the resto gave us scones with Brunch menus attached as a parting gift.

Afterward I had the most pleasant walk home (about 25 minutes meandering from the WV to the East Village), and reflected on how fortunate I am to live here and partake in the pleasures of NYC.

Clinton Street Baking Company.
This is a real gem of the Lower East Side. It's nearly impossible to get in for brunch here, since it is consistently rated the Best Brunch in the city. But The Bunny and I enjoy many pleasant dinners on this quiet LES street.

If you love carbs, this is the place to go. I have never had a better biscuit in my life. They say that a simple omelette is the best test of a chef's skill, and I think a biscuit is the Litmus test for a bakery. Clinton St. passes with flying colors.

I also think you can tell the quality of a restaurant my how choosy they are about their ingredients. If they serve a burger on a boring sesame bun, don't expect great things. If they serves Celestial Seasonings tea: RUN. But Clinton Street serves Harney and Sons tea (always lovely) and makes their shakes with Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory supplies. They don't waste your time, calories or taste buds.

The Bunny ordered the delicious black angus burger and a Lime Squash, which was oh-so-freshing on a nice Spring day.

I had the special Heirloom Tomato Salad and the Grilled Pizza starter (duck bacon, gruyere, fresh thyme, and onion confit on housemade dough). I was overstuffed and happy at the end of the meal.

All that and I managed to lose 1.8 pounds! THANK GOD FOR THE GYM!

Oh, did I mention that E(B)AC and I are dining at 10 Downing tonight? WHOOPS.

More food tomorrow!



Patrice said...

you couldn't be more on the nose on the tea issues. celestial seasonsings scares me, and harney and sons is DIVINE. the kennedy center used H & S for all its fancy events, and we'd hoard the leftovers.

taking to my roomie recently about her passover travels home, i realized that i barely knew what it was when i was in high school. happy to say i've partaken in some delicious seders since.

rae.ozanne said...

Christine, you would make an excellent paid tour guide. I know from receiving your professional services pro bono! I'm excited to hear that you're doing well on WW. You know I support it. I followed it this semester to get back into my old jeans. Works every time! xo!