Dinner: Thursday, April 23, 2009

Every culture has some sort of hand-held food that comes bundled up in some kind of pastry or bread or rice-based wrap. And you can probably find just about every variation in one New York neighborhood or another. 

photo-39photo-211Which is how I came to eat a dinner of an Indian samosa filled with vegetables (left) and a Polish egg roll stuffed with pork (right).

photo60Now that the weather’s picking up and the light stays long, I’ve been walking home from work a couple of nights a week, scouting out restaurants, markets, wine shops, coffee shops and bars along the way (follow me on Twitter for updates en route, like this one).

photo-55Both Curry in a Hurry in the Flatiron (ish) and the G.I. Polish Delicatessen in the East Village — where I sourced my two-part dinner, respectively — ended up on my way home tonight. It was a nice coupling, indeed. 

COST: $1.25 (samosa), $2 (Polish egg roll)
PREP TIME: breezy 90 minute walk

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Linner: Monday, April 20, 2009

photo217

photo312Yeah. Linner. It’s sort of what happens when you end up not eating lunch until after 4p, it becomes some weird twilight-lunch/early-dinner hybrid.

When I finally did get around to eating a proper meal, I went for something nice n’ easy: The Fire Rock burger from Quantum Leap, which involves a veggie pattie that is comfortable being made of vegetables and grains (no faux meat taste or texture required), on a whole wheat bun with smokey chipotle sauce, jalapeno slices and mock bacon (salt quotient).

All Quantum Leap’s burgers come with a legitimate side salad (good greens) and housemade carrot ginger dressing, and either fries or another vegetable option.

photo50As I sat there waiting for my take-out, I was reminded that Quantum Leap has to have one of the coziest ambiances in the East Village for just the sort of day it was yesterday: Orange-hued walls, indoor greenery, big windows looking out at the rain coming down, the yellow cabs and occassional brightly-colored umbrella or golashes dots of color in the gray blanketing the world outside. It almost made me take my meal to stay, instead.

COST: >$10
PREP TIME: few lost minutes

Dinner: Friday, April 17, 2009

photo-61For anyone unconvinced of the merits of either the iPhone’s two megapixel non-flash camera, or of Papaya Dog* in general (*vouching for this location only, more on that later) — let me prove you wrong.

Or at least, let me start you on the path to baby steps.

photo-112photo-37Rule no. 1: For starters, don’t eat Papaya Dog often, and skip the dogs and fries which *might* have been sitting out on display for a while.

Rule no. 2: Go for made to order. Chicken strips? “Hold on a moment, let me throw some in.” Jalepano poppers? “So delicious, right? You’re going to have to wait a moment, I don’t have any ready.” Fish sandwich, “Yes! Great call!” 

Rule no. 3: Eat. Now. It tastes way better than after microwaved at home, and infinitely better than when discovered in the fridge/next to the bed/ hours later (to the Nth), and you realize you’re still hungry. Better to just get full first.

Rule no. 4: Go forth and be merry. You’re adjacent to just about everything … so go forth, and conquer! 

COST: $2.50
PREP TIME: (for my not real dinner: 5 min)

Bonus: Location of Twitter Wine Photo Revealed

Vaguely gratitious Twitter cross-promotion: 

photo-111I tweeted earlier that “A big day deserves a big glass of wine in this glorious afternoon sun!” along with this photo of a gorgeous tempranillo with the sunlight streaming through it

Here’s the answer key: Had southern-facing, afternoon sun exposure in the bottom of the East Village/top of LES. Really respectable beers and good wine for $4 and $5 a glass during happy hour. 

Answer: Simon Sips. Never been here before today, but I’ll be back. 

photo45

Simon Sips also requited the need I had for “real food” earlier today: I had a chorizo, dry Italian cheese (forget exact name, ending in -rigornio), roasted green peppers and spinach sandwich.

The wine, the food, the sunshine, my New York magazine: It all did me good. Although, I think honestly, the sitting in the sun part was the best. I’ve missed that. 

COST: $17
PREP TIME: As long as I could stay basking … I tried.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

photo-25photo-16                                                                                                                            I am beginning to live for weekend posts because there’s less of them and, frankly, they’re just fun

The big (food) goal for today was to get prepped for tomorrow when I’m semi-spontaneously hosting soup and smeeps: Polish Easter Soup (an Easter tradition in my family) and Smeeps, a smores/peep hybrid a la toaster oven (that’s about to become a tradition. I can feel it.) One enormous, double-smoked kielbasa sausage from the Polish delicatessen above is boiling away for the soup base. 

photo20But before I hit up Whole Foods on Bowery — going there hungry is a terrible idea — I detoured for what turned out to be an unexpectedly amazing meal at Thailand Cafe: The ambiance cozy, the food well seasoned and the beer good and cheap. For $21 pp the group of us split several appetizers, two pitchers of Stella, and each had our own entree. Fantastic

(That’s my Kee Mao, early-to-mid progress, at left.)

I was also on the lookout for pickling goods, and found this stray, unnamed, unpriced basket of what looked to be Kirby cucumbers … but I wasn’t about to buy 18-20 cucumbers at Whole Foods (also known as “Whole Paycheck” in certain circles) without knowing for sure either that they were the ones I needed or the price photo-33per pound. So the pickle project remains in pickle prep mode. 

Overall, as Ice Cube says, “Today was a good day.” 

COST: Who the hell knows
PREP TIME: Basically the whole day, between planning, procrastinating and execution.

Dinner: Friday, April 3, 2009

photo7Yakitori, Yakitori, Yakaiori!

For anyone that gets my kind of elusive reference to Dirty Rotten  Scoundrels … you’re good. I’m also referring to my fantastic meal at Yakatori Taisho on St. Marks Place last night. Really satisfied an itch I’ve been needing to scratch.

I took a lot of photos on the recommendation of my friend who runs a blog and takes a lot of food photos. He says it makes posts more “interactive.” So here we go:

For starters, Kimchi and soft tofu topped bonito flakes, ginger, scallion slivers and soy sauce (note instructional pose of chopsticks, all the better to eat you, my dear).

photo25Next up, sashimi tuna and avocado salad generously drizzled (is that an oxymoron?) with a creamy, mayonnaise-y white sauce. Perfectly cuts the acidity of the pickled kimchi and hyper salt (soy, bonito flakes) slash hot sensation of the soft tofu. Which would really be rather boring otherwise. (The tofu.)

In the background, really not bad cold sake for, on average, $15 a large carafe. We picked based on bottle pictures — Yakitori Taisho has a brilliant pictorial menu — and we decided on the pearly, opalescent one because it vaguely reminded us (me) of the blooming trees which were suddenly everywhere last night.

Don’t worry, I took pictures of the trees, too. And more food, including smelts, after the jump: Continue reading “Dinner: Friday, April 3, 2009”