L.E.S Eats Continued …

The Meatball Shop

I had soft fluffy chicken meatballs in classic marinara over creamy polenta. Hearty and refreshing at the same time. The vegetable meatball slider had an earthy mushroom flavor. Small place, great service. The homemade ice cream sandwich was well worth it. The mint ice cream center tasted of actual mint…not artificial mint flavor. Giving the ice cream sandwich, like the meatballs surprising lightness. Love NYC contradictions on a plate.

I CE NY Ice cream Speaking of ice cream. Here is a different perspective in the smashed and rolled ice cream. The frozen treat is created before your eyes on a cold metal plate through a process of folding, smashing, folding again. Human labor powered ice cream churning. I had the Thai iced-tea flavored ice cream with Lychees and condensed milk.  It was the unique performance that was worth paying for. Crowded tiny store, like so many NYC establishments.


Like so many others, it was Chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s words in Blood, Bones and Butter,  that drew me to her restaurant. I was not disappointed. Her food was just as elegant, clear and raw, as her writing.  We had her classic eggs benedict, oyster omelet, and an unusual breaded, soft poached egg over a light chickpea curry. I want to try and taste her perspective in all her menu items. I bet even the toast will be fantastically precise. Tiny elegant yet unpretentious dining room, almost hidden residential neighborhood. Again, NYC contradictions of elegance and intense personality. The outdoor light fixtures say it all..literary, nostalgia, simplicity, clear and feminine. The potato rosti speaks the same language of crunch and softness, buttery richness and technical lightness in the shredded potatoes. Perfection.

A good place to walk off a good brunch is the High Line.

Chelsea Market: Tukomi Taco

Tuna tartare over nacho chips, no cheese, refreshing, crunchy, smooth, spicy…who knew! Apparently, Tukomi Taco did. Ironically, I didn’t enjoy the namesake, taco as much as the nachos.

La Contenta

One of the most beautiful and memorable meals this trip was brunch at La Contenta. Notice the care in the ice-coffee alone. Three beans perched on a layer of frothy milk over coffee. The chicken enchiladas, guacamole, shrimp and spinach and fish tacos all showed the same care in preparation. This was not heavy cheesy Mexican fare. Here again, NYC strong flavors meet elegant approach in a tiny unassuming space. No grandeur, all skill.

The Metropolitan Musem of Art is another good place to walk off a uniquely delicious brunch. I like to think that my yoga efforts help me convert from this………….

To this…………….

In NYC we embrace that we are always both, struggling and serene. The food shows that duality of effort and skill, beautifully plated and served to a crazy diverse crowd.

Wishing you all serenity and deliciousness,


Tasting the L.E.S

Hungryphil reporting from NYC this week. I’m visiting my  daughter interning on the Lower East Side. Here is what I have tasted so far:

  1. Katz’s Deli: Respect. Just has to be done. Due to my late night arrival, we opted for the latkes and matzo soup. I know, I know, the pastrami sandwich is glorious. Another day.
  2. Dominique Ansel: Cronut. Flaky, fried, jelly-filled, sugar dusted, glazed…it is everything. For me…. a lot. The cannele  are my favorite. Great spot to chart out a day wandering through the SoHo galleries.
  3. From Rice to Riches: All shades of rice pudding. I had the mango with shredded coconut on top. Very nice. I think, I might like the containers even more.
  4. Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich Deli: Warm crusty bread, tasty fillings. A lot of food. I still have a half in my hotel refrigerator. IMG_3447
  5. Eataly : An elaborate and decadent celebration of Italian eats. The cannelloni was so delicate and the marinara was light and happy.
  6. Indikitch: A fast food, less intimidating version of Indian food. Choose your base and meat…easy. And, spicy tasty.  The tea made me feel at home. IMG_3451
  7. Vanessa’s Dumpling House: Best lunch for five bucks. Hot, steamy dumplings. Didn’t get a picture. I gobbled the dumplings down between tours at the Tenement Museum. LOVED the museum. Worth a day of exploration. Urban history and immigrant stories combine to offer a living evolutionary picture of how we live with each other. All the fears, hopes, the moments of unity and disparity. Fascinating. Is there an immigrant who doesn’t love and respect NYC? IMG_3452
  8. Il Laboratorio del Gelato: Unusual gelato combinations for the gastronomically curious. I tried black pepper and avocado gelato. Perfect snack on a hot city day…..noisy jackhammers, smells of steamy asphalt, pee, passing perfume, dripping high-rise A/C units, alterations of tree and building shade, hot sun….everything happening…and then this strangeness melts in your mouth. It makes sense. Here. IMG_3455
  9. Xian Foods: Hot spicy noodles. Slurpy. Got delicious red chili oil all over my dress. Well worth it. Spinach dumplings in spicy chili sauce would be a satisfying vegetarian meal any day….look at the size of the dumplings! The lamb cumin noodles reminded me of Indian curries, Moroccan tagines,  and Mexican stews…. a warm comforting spicy almost universal taste.
  10. Mcnally Jackson Books: So civilized. Books, coffee, and baked treats. What could be better? This might be my new favorite bookstore in NYC (Sorry Strand). Rosemary currant scone with butter and jelly, people watching, day planning, book browsing…..these are a few of my favorite things…..IMG_3465

There is still so much to explore… in a five block radius! The diversity is humbling. Today Srilankan and Moroccan food are on the menu. And, maybe an indie movie if it rains. If not, let the wandering and wondering continue.

Wishing you happy tastings wherever you may be,