My Hungarian friend Gabriella has been bugging me to check out Andre’s Cafe in Yorkville for authentic Hungarian eats but it wasn’t until last week that I walked through the doors and realized how I should listen to Gabriella more!
It’s teeny tiny of a place, that serves lunch, dinner and desserts of all kinds. But I was here for one thing and one thing only… strudels. Walking by its almost impossible not to want to look and drool over the pastries in the windowsill and stare at the giant poster that simply says….STRUDELICIOUS. They offer nearly a dozen sweet and six savory strudels served warm or at room temperature.
*Spinach and Potato Strudel*
I ordered the spinach and potato strudel to go as I was running late to work. When I finally got the chance to sit down was able to see what I had just paid nearly $8.00 for. Before taking a bite, you’ve gotta take it all in….a heaping portion of cut strudel with spinach and potato narrowly flowing out. The light flaky pastry manages to somehow keep it all together but with each bite or cut of the knife, it starts to get a little messy….in a good way.
The savory strudel was so good that I fear for the time I try one of their sweet strudels. If it’s even half as good as the spinach and potato strudel… then I may find myself eating more than a few 😉
1631 2nd Avenue (between 84th and 85th Streets)
I ate a lot during my little vacation to London and Barcelona over the past week…so much so that just a day shy of heading back to NYC, my body started to reject me and I encountered very bad stomach pains that took me out of commission for a few hours. But before it all went south (probably due to the richness of the food I was enjoying), I was able to fall in love with my latest obsession…..Melton Mowbray Pork Pies.
Now you can’t get these in the states (at least not the “official” ones) but they must be known here so that someone can make them for the masses! I believe that pork pies could single-handedly cure a very late night drinking with just a few bites!
A pork pie is a traditional British meat pie and the best ones can be found from a particular region in the UK called Melton Mowbray. Normally eaten cold (trust me, it’s amazing cold), they are a tasty snack that consists of roughly chopped pork and pork jelly sealed in a hot water crust pastry. Now some people may shiver at the thought of cold meat but it’s basically a terrine stuffed into a delicious flakey and buttery savory pastry crust. I was a little skeptical to eat one just plain (doesn’t this need a mustard or savory chutney? I thought) but to my surprise it is simply perfect when eaten on its own.
On my first night in London I caught sight of one at the local grocery store and became intrigued. While asking the counter lady what they were, many Britons jumped in to our conversation and told me I had to get a taste. Well, if everyone agrees that I should have one…I might as well. While walking back to my friend’s place I took one bite and wished I had bought a handful more (these were tiny little things- unlike the above I found at Harrods). I then couldn’t get them out of my mind and was determined to get my hands on another before I departed for Spain. Unfortunately I didn’t get another until a few days later when I was touring the city on my own and happened upon one of my favorite places in London…the super-expensive but absolutely amazing Harrods Food Hall.
It’s been a little over a week since I had my last bite and I am CRAVING one. Guess I’ll either have to head back to London soon or find a way to make them on my own although I reckon they won’t be the same!
I walk by Little Cupcake Bakeshop at least three times a week (en route to work) and every time I walk by, the cakes displayed in the window taunt me with their delicious looking gloriousness. After managing to keep the dessert monster at bay for the better part of two months, I couldn’t resist the temptation any longer and headed inside to tame the beast in my belly.
The place looks innocent enough from the sidewalk…but inside lurks danger, delicious danger. You walk in and are bombarded by sugary sweetness in basically every form. Don’t let the name fool you…this place has much more than just cupcakes and something sweet for everyone (some items are even gluten-free!). From cakes to pie, ice cream, pudding, cookies, cheesecakes, breads, dessert bars and a coffee bar… you are guaranteed to find something to love at Little Cupcake Bakeshop.
And find something I did. I was having a hard time choosing what to indulge in until I zeroed in on their gooey coconut square shining bright from the middle of their display case. In just one bite I became hooked. It was roughly the size of my palm (I would like to think I haven normal size hands so…) and was a big old gooey mess of greatness. It’s a simple bar with sweet shredded coconut mixed together with what must be the most delicious evaporated milk concoction ever, which is then slathered onto a buttery wafer and topped with toasted almonds. It’s coconut crack and I’m addicted. I’ve had two in the last week, only because I have a feeling it’s a few hundred or so calories and don’t want to feel worse than I already do for eating it twice in one week 😉
Head to Little Cupcake Bakeshop and treat yourself to one of their just made desserts. Important to note….they are really “green.” Not only are they wind powered and carbon neutral, but they use locally-sourced ingredients, and practice other ways of maintaining a sustainable environment. For a little bakery, that’s pretty impressive!
Little Cupcake Bakeshop
30 Prince Street (at Mott Street)
It’s the beginning of soft shell crab season and I’m on the hunt for the city’s best. You’ve probably seen them popping up on menus cooked in various forms as these briny and tasty little delicacies can be pan-fried, deep-fried, sautéed, baked or broiled.
The season goes from late April to mid September and I got my first taste at North End Grill at the beginning of May. Since then I have eaten soft shell crabs in some form or another at least five times at various restaurant in the city (for those wondering that means in 20 days I’ve eaten soft shell crab roughly every four days). Most of them have all been sautéed but this past Sunday I had the most wonderful deep-fried tempura soft shell crab sandwich at The Odeon and cannot stop thinking about how good it was, and how much I want another!
Unfortunately for me, and everyone else who is reading this, the sandwich was a special but it better be making frequent comebacks this summer. Deep frying anything is a skill because if you use too much batter you lose all of the flavor. Well, whoever is making these at The Odeon is a fry master as the tempura was just perfect. When the bartender brought the plate over the soft shell crab looked like the crustacean version of The Hulk hunkered down on thin slices of avocado, tomato and a soft brioche bun. I went at it placing the bun on top, smashing the thing together and digging right in. Each bite brought out crab juiciness and the avocado helped to offset the fry of it all. It was crazy crunchy but also tender as the each component melded together to create a soft shell crab sandwich done right.
It’s only the beginning of the season, so I’ve got a lot of chances to enjoy soft shell crab as much as I want and given that I walk by The Odeon many times a week, you can can bet I’ll be checking in every time to see if it’s back on the menu.
145 West Broadway (at Thomas Street)
Last night I had the pleasure to dine at Little Prince, the new french restaurant in the South Village/Soho from Chef Paul Denamiel (of Le Rivage) with my dear friend Susan. This little square of a space near the west end of Prince Street has a very contemporary feel, white washed brick walls, painted tile floor, plush tan banquettes and huge windows that open out onto Prince Street. Serving classic bistro fare with a few twists, THIS is the place to be.
The menu is full of french classics such as moules frites, sole meuniere, frisee aux lardon salad, etc but I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the one dish everyone was talking about…..the French Onion Soup Burger! It’s a thick medium rare patty served on a toasted English Muffin and topped with Caramelized Onions, Emmenthal Cheese and Dijon, and then capped off with a French Flag sticking out from the top of a pickled onion and gherkin.
When I love eating something I normally scarf it down like a crazed lunatic but for the first time in, well forever, I savored this burger. I took a few bites, then set it down and ate a few fries or the side of glazed carrots we ordered, then went back for another bite or two, repeating the process until the entire thing was gone (which happened in roughly five to six minutes). I can’t wait to see my friend Rev of Burger Conquest this weekend and tell him all about it because he has to drop everything and check this thing out asap!
While I’ve only been there once, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it….Little Prince is my idea of the perfect restaurant. From the hug I received from the maitre’d (he remembered me from when I enthusiastically made a reservation in person last week), to the super friendly service, reasonable prices and unbelievable food…Little Prince is going to see a lot of me. They open up for lunch and brunch in the next week so, in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’LL BE BACK!
199 Prince Street (between Macdougal and Sullivan Streets)
Finally! Ice cream season is here! But I’ll admit my guilty pleasure has me carrying a cone on both the coldest and hottest days I love it so much. I have some favorite ice cream shops in the city (Emack & Bolio’s, Blue Marble, Ample Hills, Van Leeuwen, and Sundaes & Cones) but love finding new spots to enjoy this icy treat. After happy hour drinks with friends at The Pitch & Fork (2 for 1 drinks!) on the UES, a friend suggested we hit up Sedutto.
Sedutto’s blows Baskin Robbins away with their huge selection of unique ice cream flavors which aren’t just limited to what is in the front cases as they have even more hiding in the back! The flavors are bold (wine ice cream anyone?) and there is something for everyone. The service is great….we had a nice chat with the owners friendly brother who gave us the rundown of the operation and let us taste whatever we wanted (I only had four samples!).
For my first Sedutto’s experience I went with cookie dough on the bottom and a crunchy peanut butter on the top of the waffle cone. For just $4 this thing was HUGE. And this is how I like my ice cream…. hard enough so you can bite into it easily, full of flavor, and oh so creamy and smooth.
How are there not lines out the door for Sedutto? Last night in Chelsea there was a line 20 person deep for 16 Handles which I know isn’t technically the same thing but ??????.
Sedutto’s is a classic ice-cream parlor, meaning no gimmicks, no themes, reasonable prices, and absolutely no pretension. They are known for their ice cream but they also have frozen yogurt (some that is mystifyingly non-fat?), and milkshakes. My only gripe is that I wish there was a location downtown so I could enjoy it more often but since I go uptown twice a week for work I will have to make a Sedutto’s trip a weekly thing!
1666 1st Avenue (between 86th and 87th Streets)
1498 1st Avenue (between 78th and 79th Streets)
Yes the photo you see above is ‘grammed so it looks all artsy and stuff but no amount of filters will ever do this sandwich photographic justice. See taking photos without a flash in a dark restaurant is hard work when you have to move candles around like you are crafting a séance or something and it is that much harder when you are trying to capture the perfect shot of the best thing you’ve eaten all week.
For a girls dinner last week we hit up Swine in the West Village. With a name like that you walk in prepared to go heavy on the meat (especially pork) and we definitely did sharing pork belly and spicy pickled cabbage, bacon braised rabbit leg with creamy polenta, deviled eggs and the FG&J sandwich.
I know you’re thinking….what is an FG&J? Well, it’s basically the most decadent version of a childhood classic that my world has ever known. Swine took two slices of thick brioche, toasted them lightly and spread strawberry jam on one side and foie gras on the other! Each bite was smooth as silk and just enough for my taste buds to handle. Thank god there were two other people with me to share or else I would have devoured the entire plate and felt a little bad later on…. only just a little 😉
I don’t eat foie gras all the time but when I do I want it to be as deliciously smooth and silken as the foie that was slathered onto my new favorite sandwich. The way our society is going our future children will be such food snobs that instead of peanut butter and jellies….they’ll bring foie gras & jellies to school and no one will bat an eyelash. Ok maybe not my kids…..but definitely my girl Sarah Spigelman’s!
531 Hudson Street (between Charles and West 10th Streets)