Sunday: Pancakes. Giant, Blueberry-Saturated Pancakes. (the “2x a Year Pancake Craving” Post)

Pancakes. Giant, blueberry-saturated pancakes. That was my first conscious thought this morning — so weird, but not entirely surprising. It happens a couple times a year. And because it’s so rare, I am immediately inspired to go on a pancake quest.

photo(2)photoSo I hear that Clinton Street Baking Co. has really excellent ones, but it was a little too far away in today’s torrential downpour — the summer equivalent of winter’s occasional, intense snowstorm — both of which have the same effect on pedestrian traffic (it disappears).

The Sullivan Diner was suggested, and I bit: Closer? Definitely. Dutch pancakes, what?! I’ve never had them:  Dutch lemon, Dutch bacon, Dutch Nutella …

And they’re going to have to remain a cliff-hanger. I got a little intimidated by the Dutch pancakes, which came alone. Instead, I ordered the Classic Pancake Breakfast ($13): Pancakes, two eggs, potatoes, bacon or sausage, coffee or tea. $1 more to substitute blueberry banana pancakes.

In terms of a balanced, pancake breakfast, this option hit the spot. Two fluffy, fruit-laden pancakes smeared with butter and sopped in syrup were about all I could handle. Plus, the bites of syrup-y sweetness were tempered with bites of the other good stuff, which was protein-rich and filling.

Dutch pancakes, I’ll take a rain check.

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Dinner: Time for a Round of Kitchen-Sink Leftovers (aka the “English Breakfast Sausage/Fried Rice Experiment” Post)

photo(4)Finishing the feast we ordered on Sunday from Sammy’s Noodle Shop & Grill was never even an option, although we gave it a good run:

— har gau, steamed crystal shrimp dumplings (4 ct.)
— pork and shrimp shumai (4 ct.)
— roast pork, Cantonese style
— roast duck, 1/4 duck
— house fried rice (chicken, beef and shrimp)
— sauteed mixed vegetables

By Monday night, the only remnants of the feast were the fried rice and the last of the sauteed vegetables, the perfect contestant for a game of … (drumroll, please) Kitchen-Sink Leftovers! Also known as: What Else Is Hiding in that Fridge?

photophoto(2)What happened to be hiding was a package of English breakfast sausage from Meyers of Keswick, a British specialty foods store in the West Village that makes sausages and other pork items (i.e. pork pies) that are so, so good. If I had to rank my favorite foods in the city, these are Tier One-caliber goods. Lucky day! Also, some loose leaf spinach, half a zucchini, eggs, the end of a bag of frozen peas.

photo(3)In the end, we had: Fried rice spruced up with peas, English breakfast sausage, fried egg, and tossed with the fresh spinach at the absolute last moment. Plus, a side of warmed, saucy sauteed vegetables, to which we added the end of the zucchini, which was spooned over bowlfuls of rice. Absolutely delish.

The final score: Five stars: I’d make it again, on purpose. In Kitchen-Sink Leftovers, you can’t get a higher mark than that.

Dinner: Let’s Pause for a Moment of Silence and All Say, “Mmmm … Pizza” (The “John’s Pizza OMG” Post)

Yeah, yeah. John’s Pizzeria. In Greenwich Village. West Village-ish. Whatever, on Bleecker Street, yeah, best pizza in the city.

At least, so I’ve been told by multiple friends whose taste I trust, although maybe not entirely subscribe to without a little bit of “personal” validation. It hasn’t won a gold star from me yet.

photo2Finally got around to it. Oh … my … god. John’s truly is the opposite from that old standard, the reheated to luke-warm plain cheese slice:

Doughy, fluffy, hot through-and-through; generous portions of toppings like large, thick slices of meatball and sausage crumbles (truly a meat lover’s pie); sweet sun-dried tomatoes, whole basil leaves and sliced black olives on a second pie, which was the one I dug into.

Something about the exact combination of our second pie — it kept surprising me with a subtle photoheadiness of flavor I can only compare to popping a handful of popcorn into your mouth and getting an unexpected hit of truffles, from the dash of truffle-flecked salt that’d been sprinkled on it. Not to say that John’s uses truffle-infused olive oil in making its pizzas, but the flavor combination was just on.

Best in the city? I’m not there, yet. But hell yes I’m giving John’s it’s gold star. It’s earned it. What a fantastic reminder that there’s so much more to pizza than the thin-crusted, ultra-lightly-cheesy, blush of a tomato sauce, slice?

Dinner: The Simple Steak Dinner Post

Q: Do you want steak for dinner?
A: Who doesn’t want steak for dinner?

photo(8)photo(10)And just like that, dinner plans fell into place. I was responsible for the salad: a butter lettuce mix and ultra-thin slices of red onion, so thin they were translucent, tossed in Goddess dressing and topped with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice, a little lemon zest and some shaved parmesan.

The steak was sourced from Ottomanelli and Sons, a fantiastic Greenwich Village butcher shop. An hour-plus marinade in some olive oil, salt, pepper, lime juice, before being thrown onto a flat grill pan, which is responsible for those gorgeous char lines.

Like I said: Who doesn’t want steak for dinner?

Lunch: Enlightenment by Way of Murray’s Bagels

Probably my second-favorite thing about food (my favorite thing being the eating part), is the learning about food part. In particular, realizing the nuances, a fuller range of possibilities, to an ordinary food you thought you thought you had pegged.

photo-1This happened for me recently with the lowly bagel. I’ve never been totally wild about bagels: Too hard, too dry, too much bread. When I do get the stray craving for a bagel, it’s got to be fresh from a first-class bagel shop — such as Murray’s Bagels on Sixth Avenue — and stacked high with cream cheese, lox, red onion, capers, a squeeze of lemon. Preferably the bagel is toasted, not to revive freshness but to just to give it that thin layer of crisp, toast-like crunch inside. 

photo-2I’ve been bemoaning the lack (more accurately, my ignorance) of a good bagel shop in Midtown West, which lead me on an Internet quest, where I discovered that there is, in fact, a whole lexicon to describe bagels: “Doughy” and “large” are the opposite of “chewier,” “small” and “dense.”

Two good things came of this discovery: First, the light-bulb went off and I realized of the types of bagels that I’ve ever had, I have a preference and there’s even words for it. The other discovery is that now that I know the typical words used, I can use that establishment as a launching point into my own creative ethos. Standing feet firmly planted on “doughy” and “large,” I can start to play. And, as a bonus, I’ll never have to order a small, dense thing again.