It’s 10 P.M. — Do You Know Where Your $1 Blue Point Oysters Are? (aka the “City Crab Weekend Happy Hour Win” Post)

Half-priced appetizers, $1 Blue Point oysters, $3 beers.

If a better Friday or Saturday night deal exists in downtown Manhattan, bring it. For now, City Crab‘s late-night happy hour, which is available at the stately restaurant bar between 10p and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, is the golden ticket. (City Crab also runs its happy hour from 4p-7p daily.)

When four of us stopped in on a recent Friday night, we started with a round of Coronas and a dozen Blue Points. Squeeze, sauce, slurp, repeat — these oysters, meaty and lightly briny, are some of the best specimens I’ve had yet, although it should be noted that oysters are still new to me.

(After many years of “trying” oysters — e.g. swallowing the slippery thing as fast as possible and hoping I wouldn’t feel it too much or taste too much — lately, I’m slurping them down with the best. This epic night of all-you-can-eat oysters at Bondi Road in LES was the turning point.)

Onto the hot foods — and mas cerveza s’il vous plait.

First impression: These portions are not for the faint of appetite. The crab, spinach and artichoke dip ($6.50/hh) comes out bubbling in a metal cauldron, a basket of thick pita chips ($6.50/hh); both the dip, and the basket of Southern fried popcorn shrimp ($6/hh), went on and on — even among four of us. The lightest option, a pound of steamed PEI mussels ($6/hh), comes in a beautiful tomato broth laced with garlic and fresh herbs.

For next time, I have my eye on the lobster mac n’ cheese and crab cake bites and … of course, more oysters. (The chef at the raw bar said he shucks 1,000+ oysters a night!)

City Crab, 235 Park Ave. S., near 19th Street, 212-529-3800.

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Friday: Ahh… Brooklyn. (aka the “Dick Chicken Popcorn/Exploratory Post”)

photo-6It’s probably never the best idea to embark on a Brooklyn (art) excursion when you (unintentionally) miss the first stop, which turns out to be food. …

In this case, I missed out on supposedly delicious, fifth year anniversary-priced ($5) Margherita Classica pizzas at Fornino’s in Williamsburg — a pizza geek’s pizza place, if I ever saw one. Just missed them by about 10 minutes.

So when I later came across rows of bags of popcorn (with seemingly normal popcorn inside), labeled as “Dick Chicken -flavored Popcorn” at an overly-hyped event at the art space known as the 3rd Ward … well, yeah, I grabbed one. (Granted, the boxes labeled “Dick Chicken Nuggets” were selling for serious double-digits a piece — but they didn’t have any nuggets inside.)

photo-7photo-8…I took one and stashed it in my satchel, unsure if  I was planning on eating the Dick Chicken Popcorn or … archiving it. I had my own (free!) Dick Chicken souvenir … that I was waffling about eating, well, until, I saw two grandmotherly-aged women eating Dick Chicken-flavored Popcorn in the exterior hallway.

“Excuse me, I really hope not, but is there anything “Dick Chicken special” about the popcorn?”

photo-10“Nope, seems fine to me,” one replied.

And then I took the plunge. My estimation, air-popped, could have used a little more salt.

(And yes, I saved the bag as a souvenir. And later fashioned this still life…)

End of message.

Dinner: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

photo-57This wasn’t what I intended to eat for dinner tonight, but isn’t that just what happens sometimes when you find yourself with good company at some post-work social event at Arctica Bar that involves $4 pints? 

I might take just a quick moment to ruminate on the craft of nachos. At the time of this photo, we’d eaten a good half of them, only to reveal a pile of chips. I hate that. Because chips alone are not nachos. Don’t get me wrong. I love chips. Just don’t try to trick me into thinking they’re all nachos when they’re not. 

Anyhow, good nachos don’t necessarily  need to be huge. What’s key is that the toppings are proportional to the volume of chips, so you can have a different sort of savory bite every time, and not wind up with a pile of chips and nowhere to go (not quite the same as being all dressed up with nowhere to go, but not so different). 

There’s more to nachos, but I’ll save that for another post … it’s inevitable there will be another nachos post. 

COST: $8 nachos, $4 pints
PREP TIME: A lovely few hours