Yes, it’s time for another JustcookNYC crazy catch-up post. First up, a photo from the amazing red quilt show at the Park Avenue Armory. The American Folk Art Museum put this together, and the show is long over, but I still keep thinking about how great it was. I went with my mom — there had to be a story since it’s not my usual thing — and I’m really glad I did.
No trip to the city for my mom would be complete without a visit to 2nd Avenue Deli. We don’t even bother with the menu because we always know exactly what we want to order. Truth is, I’m not a usually big meat eater, but their pastrami on rye is irresistible.
This looks a little like New Orleans, right? I think that’s the idea behind Maison Premiere in Williamsburg. Great style, and despite how madly popular this place is, great service too.
You’re going to think I’m kidding, but they’ve got $1 oysters during happy hour. I’m not talking about crappy oysters either — they had at least 20 varieties (including all those awesome Japanese-sounding ones) when I went there with Jason and Mika, two people who seem to love oysters just as much as I do. This place is basically my idea of heaven now. Just expect it to be packed and try to go early. P.S. They’ve got a great beer selection too, and I love that they serve drafts in mason jars.
As good as those oysters were, we decided to wash them down with some Japanese food. Maybe you’ve seen Samurai Mama in Williamsburg before and wondered about it. Udon… no big deal, right? Well, this is now my favorite Japanese place in all of New York City. I was literally astounded by how good some of the dishes are here. The udon was great, apparently made fresh on the premises, but I’m talking about the small dishes. I’m no expert, but this was like no Japanese food I’ve had before. Intense, rich flavors. Fortunately my dinner companions did the ordering. If you know me, ask me to go here with you. Now. It’s that good.
Jennifer invited me out for breakfast recently and didn’t even have to look the menu at Clinton Street Baking Co. — she knew exactly what she wanted. But honestly, I usually avoid this place for breakfast because it’s too insanely popular. It didn’t take me long to decide though because the person at the table next to me was devouring this French toast. I did the same. In fact, I’m not sure Jennifer realized just how excited I was by this. I tried to play it cool.
We noticed this cake on the way out. It appears to be iced like a black-and-white cookie. Gasp…
The only reason we didn’t order a slice of that cake was because we’d already planned to hit Doughnut Plant for a treat. As you probably know, I go here quite a bit. Still, I’d never seen the toasted sesame doughnut before. Gasp again. This was outrageously good. If sesame seeds are your thing (you know who you are), then keep an eye out for this one.
Quick trip to Palisades Park, NJ for Korean awesomeness at So Gong Dong. They’ve only got a few items on the menu, but everything they do is perfect.
Speaking of Korean, I stopped by the new Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market Food Truck Bazaar on its opening day, a nice chance to check out some trucks I don’t normally get to visit. The Kimchi Taco Truck wasn’t open yet, so I got in line. About 30 minutes later there were at least 50 people behind me…
Then I did what any smart foodie would and ordered three different kinds of tacos. Definitely go with the pork.
The real highlight had to be the arancini. They’re are usually an Italian thing, but these are spiced up, Korean-style, with a couple of dipping sauces. I’m craving these often now.
A Kelvin Slush hit the spot to cool things down. Love these guys.
Fette Sau really deserves its own post on my blog, because it’s that great. First, how did I not hear about this place until just recently? Second, sorry for no photos, but it’s a little dark in there, and you won’t be thinking about taking snapshots when you get your tray of meat. Literally, they just pile your meat onto a paper-lined tray, toss you a couple of biscuits, and you’re good to go. Heavenly collards. Great beers too. The only downside is that this place is like the Grand Central Station of bbq. By 6:30 it’s totally packed, even on a weeknight, and people are lurking for your seat at all times, so you can’t exactly sit back and enjoy your meal unless you’re good at ignoring people. They could triple the size of this place, and it would still fill up fast.
Lunch at Prune… my first time there. My new author Jess was in town, and so I wanted to go somewhere nice with her. I didn’t want to bust out the camera during lunch, but the rumors of awesomeness about this place are true. And one nice thing about lunch is that you can actually get a reservation. I also picked up a signed copy of the chef’s memoir.
As good as Prune was, I’ve been saving the best for last. Some intrepid foodies told me they were heading out to Di Fara, because they’d never tried it. Neither had I! How can I call myself a New Yorker, a pizza expert even, and never been here before? I agreed to meet them at 1pm when it opened one Sunday.
Holy cow, it was already a mad-house. People standing everywhere. The guys behind the counter making each pizza from scratch, literally grating the cheese for just your pie and snipping the herbs. I’m gonna guess they’ve been making pizza this way for decades. Then the wait… the really long wait. Was it worth it? Yes, definitely. Di Fara is my new standard for pizza perfection. But like so many things in New York City, I could really do without the insane crowds. I guess it’s the price you have to pay for food this good.