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Quick(ish) (who am I kidding - LONG) report from a thankful hound visiting the LES

One last piece of the report - Babbo. We reserved a table upstairs, and found ourselves seated next to a family with 2 young children. Crying, banging silverware, and eventually placated with tablets playing Dora the Explorer...without earphones. HONESTLY. Luckily, they left soon after we were seated.

We composed our own menu of the greatest hits, and discussed a quartino wine "pairing" with the charming sommelier. Everything, was wonderful, the tangy and savory chickpea amuse, Armandino's extraordinary culatello, the octopus (limoncello vinaigrette was revelatory), carciofi, lamb's tongue (actually - while delicious, I found it a bit unbalanced when the yolk permeated the rest of the dish, and the serving size a little large), pig foot milanese (ahhhh.... what a wonder of concentrated porkiness, crispiness and gumminess), black spaghetti (my favorite thing of the night), and beef cheek ravioli).

One misstep, which unfortunately was rather significant and came at the end of the meal, leaving us with a bit of a let-down feeling. Our server got in the weeds...and I think the sommelier did too. When the runner served the ravioli, it seemed to have already been sitting for a bit. We had agreed on the (not inexpensive) barolo quartino to accompany this last plate, because the truffle notes in the wine would pair beautifully with the truffles in the pasta, according to the sommelier. Well, the wine didn't come, and we didn't see the server or sommelier. We nibbled at the pasta, weighing the options of experiencing the pairing, or eating our food warm. Finally, someone else completely dropped the quartino of barolo. We decided to give it a shot instead of refusing it, poured it ourselves, and by that time, the pasta was pretty done.

All in all though, it was a remarkable, delicious meal, and a memorable one.

Jul 21, 2015
saticoy in Manhattan

Quick(ish) (who am I kidding - LONG) report from a thankful hound visiting the LES

Le sigh indeed...all about DF next trip!

Jul 21, 2015
saticoy in Manhattan

Quick(ish) (who am I kidding - LONG) report from a thankful hound visiting the LES

Yelp is good for food pictures too ;-)

Jul 21, 2015
saticoy in Manhattan
1

Quick(ish) (who am I kidding - LONG) report from a thankful hound visiting the LES

And I thought the potential for a few young people perhaps trying to perpetuate the greatness of Zucco (tipping their hat by keeping 3/4 of the name), plus the charm of its size and open kitchen, might make it a find. The website indicates that there is a female chef, but she was not there when we went. Also, I just noticed that the menu on their website is from December. Something seems to be amiss...

Jul 21, 2015
saticoy in Manhattan

Quick(ish) (who am I kidding - LONG) report from a thankful hound visiting the LES

Yes, it was a tough call, based less on food and more on a flight of fancy about a small new place (LFD) trying to carry on a lauded tradition (ZLFD), vs. an imperial expansion (DF). Epic fail, although I never tried the food at LFD. FWIW - we sat in the curve of the banquette in the bar area at Minetta on a Sunday night, and there was no noise issue at all. Just walking by DF in the hotel hall on Monday afternoon was startling! Perhaps there was some kind of echo effect in the hall - we never actually entered the restaurant. We loved the Ludlow, and will absolutely put DF at the top of the list for the next trip!

Jul 21, 2015
saticoy in Manhattan

Quick(ish) (who am I kidding - LONG) report from a thankful hound visiting the LES

High praise indeed, thanks! You all made it possible. Yes - I read a rec about LFD on this board, and their website intrigued me...I got wrapped up into a romantic fantasy about the little guy vs. the big guy, and perhaps finding an under-the-radar gem. Sometimes you gotta take one for the team ;-) !

Jul 21, 2015
saticoy in Manhattan

Quick(ish) (who am I kidding - LONG) report from a thankful hound visiting the LES

Deeply felt thanks to this amazing board - it is possible to plan an amazing eating visit without necessarily posting questions. My research was 100% from this board, and we had a great few days.

Day 1
Katz's - stayed at the Ludlow, and before we put the chowpup on a plane to see his grandparents, we introduced him to the wonders of the pastrami. He asked for a salami sandwich in case he didn't like it, but after one bite of pastrami he tried to hog the rest. Have to say, the salami was less than captivating, as were the pickles, but the pastrami and the experience were terrific.

Minetta Tavern - my kind of old school atmosphere, but the service was pretty atrocious. We got the huitre/crepinette appetizer, which was fabulous. Followed it with the dressed prawns, which was a lovely, cool, crunchy salad with meaty shrimp. Finally, split the famous black label burger. Ordered medium rare, it came out quite, quite rare, and although it was good, it was not the transcendent experience I had hoped for. Still, loved this place.

Day 2
Black Seed bagels - although the style of the bagel is a little, I don't know, dense and dry (?) the sandwiches we picked up were just delicious. Beet-cured salmon made visual impact, but the horseradish cream cheese and fresh, vibrant herbs made this poppyseed bagel memorable. Outrageously delicious bacon and wood-fire roasted eggs did the same for an everything bagel. Yum.

Our walk around the LES/EV took us by Artichoke Basille's for the sicilian slice. Not sure what they put in that thing...if it is the sauce, the cheese, the crust....but together, it is magic. Happy to wash it down with light and dark beers at McSorley's.

Blue Ribbon Izakaya - wow. Start to finish, this was an incredible meal. Actually, we felt there was one, just one hiccup - that was over-pickled pear in an otherwise perfect dish of duck breast and grilled napa cabbage. Small quibble, when everything else was beyond superlative. For a couple of meat eaters, we both found the goma ae startlingly addictive, and the special of grilled local corn with miso butter (even though it was served without the advertised togarashi) was umamilicious. The beef short rib yakitori was wonderful, but oh, the smoked pork belly yakitori. I admit to being slightly jaded about pork belly, but my husband is all about it. I acquiesced, and boy am I glad I did. Amazing, with the lightly pickled onions providing contrast of temperature, texture, and tang.

(Rambling diversion - Dirty French is in the Ludlow where we were staying. I had a reservation, but after walking by a few times the ear-spitting din was off-putting. We were headed to the Rockwood Music Hall, and I had read some intriguing things about Le French Diner, which was on the way. We stopped by in the afternoon and asked for a reservation for later that evening - the guy looked at us like we were slightly off. Indeed, when we went to eat, 5 hours later, the same three guys were hanging around the bar talking and laughing. No one else. We sat at one of the three tables, but the guy had to clear it of glasses. He waved at the menu, and disappeared. After an uncomfortable wait, during which we realized that they were a cash only establishment, we bailed. And, happily, crossed the street to the Blue Ribbon Izakaya).

Day 3
Our plans to visit Eataly the next morning were waylaid by the late night watching Jim Campilongo, and my unfortunate decision to then watch West Wing reruns on my laptop until the wee hours. Hey - kid-free, right? Anyhow, realizing that we were going to have a late start, my husband took the massive .10 mile trek to Russ and Daughters, returning with a bagel and scallion cream cheese, with nova lox. No bells and whistles, no new-millenium artisanry, just utter perfection as it has been for a century.

Kathryn was kind enough to remind me that Maison Kayser was another breakfast opportunity, and when we finally headed out, we stopped at the Bryant Park location before taking in the exhibits at the NYPL. I got three baguettes (they were my favorite after a semi-serious comparison study in Paris in 2012), a croissant, an olive roll and a cheese roll. Had some of the baguette fresh, and it remains a wonder of crunch and chew, of crackle and pillow, of flavor and structure. FWIW - the rest of haul lasted through a final 24 hours in NY, 8 hours of travel, and some days of freezing. Good stuff.

We had a light lunch at the Grand Central Oyster Bar - an absolutely enchanting experience. We actually got half East Coast oysters and half clams, since clams on the half shell are a rarity in Austin. The knowledgeable server steered us toward an array that left us very, very, happy.

That night was the destination dinner - at Babbo, to celebrate my big Five-Oh. I have dreamed of this for almost a decade. I have planned for this for almost a year. I have memorized Kathryn's "beginner's guide," and internalized many, many reports. It was incredible, and, almost, perfect. I will post my report about this meal tomorrow, I'm getting tired!

But I will wrap up the report by saying that my husband and I had another pastrami sandwich for breakfast the next morning, and it was as miraculous as the first - or really, as all have been at Katz's. We stocked up on sable, belly lox, peppered mackerel, whitefish salad and half-sours at Russ and Daughters, and awaited our Uber away from a beautiful, delicious, happy segue into the half-century mark.

Nice to know some things don't just last, but flourish after 50 years!

Quick question re: Eataly Lavazza Sandwiches

Hi Kathryn! Thanks for this. We opted to "settle" ;) for a bagel and lox from Russ & Daughters - 1 block from our hotel. Definitely going to Maison Kayser to pick up some goods to take back tomorrow.

Thanks also for all your great advice on this board - you and the other Manhattan 'hounds made it easy and fun to plan this food-centric jaunt, and so far we are 6 for 6...all meals have been absolutely delicious.

Going to take advantage of the late arriving rain and head back out!

Jul 07, 2015
saticoy in Manhattan

Quick question re: Eataly Lavazza Sandwiches

Visiting from Austin, TX, and having a memorable time thanks to this board. Will write a trip report soon, but Katz's, Minetta Tavern, Black Seed, Artichoke Basille's, and Blue Ribbon Izakaya have been just wonderful. Looking forward to the Grand Central Oyster Bar, Babbo, and Russ & Daughters soon.

So, has anyone had the colazione sandwiches at the Caffe Lavazza in Eataly? Yes or no? Or should I say - on what is supposed to be a rainy day...do we make the extra effort to get to Ess-A-Bagel or David's Bagels, and then to Eataly, or can we go straight to Eataly and have breakfast before we shop?

Jul 06, 2015
saticoy in Manhattan

Specific questions re: London (researched!)

Back to the FEB...E. Pelicci is, indeed closed that week. Sigh. So, I have a question about Maria's Borough Market Cafe. Do they serve breakfast all day? If we got to the market around 1, would I be able to get my FEB?

May 27, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

Hello,

Errrmmm... my husband is professional guitar player who hails from Norway. I am a professor of history who claims Italian, Finnish, and Puerto Rican ancestry, raised in San Francisco. Along with my son, we are seasoned travelers, and eaters, and hardly identify with the Griswolds - if you are referring to the National Lampoon family.

I believe zuriga1 was directing me to a business called Cornwall Pasty, at Waterloo station, where I plan to investigate the possible procurement of a Cornish pasty (their spelling). I plan to check out how they look and smell, and to be prepared to experience them through imagined beer goggles. I am also prepared to dive into and relish the "Big One," should the opportunity present itself.

McD is nowhere on my itinerary. However, if it should prove to be the only viable option during my visit, which appears to fall in a time of mass business closings, the sting will be lessened by my interest in examining foreign McDs for cultural differences, as I have done in Japan, Norway, Sweden, France, Netherlands, Germany. The Burger King in Puerto Rico had exemplary coffee.

Pie and Mash is on my list...but not high. I'm traveling with two other people whose interests factor into my planning. If we find ourselves near M. Manze, I will certainly remember your recommendation, which is shared with many others on this board, both local and visitors. Perhaps even Griswolds.

May 26, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland
1

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

So noted - thanks, Harters! Can't wait to see what, exactly, the "Big One" is!

May 26, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

Thanks tnb - sheesh! It will probably be longer over the holidays. I'm going to see if I can talk him out of it...but if not, I will be searching this board for lunch near Kings Cross!

May 26, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

Hi zuriga1 - I replied to this hours ago, but it seems to have disappeared...so glad to know the M&S situation at Waterloo, and was hoping for some direction on which pasties in particular you might recommend at the Cornwall Pasty place? Also, I like going to McD in other countries to see what, if any, cultural variants they might have!

May 25, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Specific questions re: London (researched!)

Thanks for weighing in - it has migrated to the "must-do" list!

May 25, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

Excellent, Foxeyblue - thanks for this! I think oat porridge might be just the thing considering all the FEBs I plan to eat! Sounds like we will have some decent options, and that is a relief.

May 25, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

LOL!

May 24, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

The Red Lion looks amazing - just the place after a wintry trip to an outdoor destination.

Hm. I should look into renting a car for this day trip.

Was also thinking that we might be able to stop at Ottolenghi Spitalfield for a quick breakfast and pick up some of their their salads and cold meats and sandwiches for later.

May 24, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

LOVE this. I am forcibly restraining myself from researching Cambridge...the trip to Salisbury takes about twice that, each way, plus the bus/cab to Stonehenge. Plus the cathedral.

So, sounds as if I should rely on M&S, with perhaps some snacks set aside for true desperation. Will keep up the hunt for a Salisbury pub and I think we were planning on Needo for dinner upon our return.

May 24, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

This sounds like an excellent plan...help me locate an acceptable pub in or near Salisbury/Stonehenge!

May 24, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

Thanks! Glad to have a second for M&S...will check to be sure it is open. Waterloo-Stonehenge it will be, for us...although my son has requested a stop at King's Cross for the obligatory Harry Potter photo op.

May 24, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

Gah - I mixed up greedygirl's suggestion to take the train from Stansted to Liverpool station with the train from London to Salisbury, which clearly leaves from Waterloo.

Great to know that pasties are readily available, and best consumed in the warmer light of late evening! Also very happy for the suggestion of M&S as a train-station takeaway option.

Stonehenge is a non-negotiable for my son who loves TV documentaries and my husband who loves Spinal Tap. So, we are off to Salisbury, where we also hope to visit the Cathedral that apparently houses one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta.

So, I found a couple of possibilities in Salisbury... how are bank holidays in towns like Salisbury? Any input on Harbour Fish & Chips, or Henderson's Bakery? Or other options?

May 24, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Another specific question re: London Liverpool Station and Stonehenge on a bank holiday

Hello all,

Thanks for your excellent guidance in my last round of questions. This question is manifold:

1. With only Sunday-Sunday to visit, would it be wisest to take the train to Salisbury and visit Stonehenge on the bank holiday the Monday after Christmas?

2.
a. If so, we would like to grab breakfast for the train, and takeaway lunch for Stonehenge. SO.... is there anything good to eat at the Liverpool station? We were thinking of pasties to take away - any input on the vendors at L station? OR.... is the Borough Market closed on every bank holiday, or is there a chance we could grab stuff there? OR.... should we just load up at Tesco the night before?

b. If not, any ideas on best-bets for bank holidays?

Thanks in advance!

May 24, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Specific questions re: London (researched!)

gg - that sounds like a plan. FEB at Maria's, walk it off scoping the Borough Market and down to the museums & Globe, on the way back, either pick up delectables to take away, or hit Sweetings.

I think my "for certain" FEBs will be at Maria's, and Hawksmoor Guildhall(thanks for that pic, mikey8811!) ...although I am still confounded at what "plum pudding bacon" could be...

The backup list will include E. Pelicci, the Wolseley, the Bridge, and Roast.

Of course, I only have half a year to change my mind... ;-)

That museum looks wild! I haven't seen the Knick, didn't even know about it - definitely interesting. I can't wait for this trip to come!

May 21, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Specific questions re: London (researched!)

Lordy me. That's about all I can say. Lordy me.

May 21, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Specific questions re: London (researched!)

Oh no, I mean, yay...another one for the list! The Simpson's Sins looks amazing. And I'm crushed to hear about Diana's. They couldn't have waited a few months more for me to get there? Sigh.

May 21, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland
1

Specific questions re: London (researched!)

What a conversation - I love this. So, is a potato scone a "tattie" scone?

And,

the much-lauded FEB at Hawksmoor Guildhall includes "plum pudding bacon" - what is this?

And,

it also includes hashbrowns...???

And,

I'm afraid my platonic ideal of this breakfast comes from a (gulp) memory of (steeling myself) a FWB in 1980. My first trip to the UK. US was boycotting the Olympics, but I got to see it in the charming inn where we woke up and ate breakfast for three mornings...by the second, the server asked us if we wanted "more toast" before we could ask her...by the third, she winked and brought it mid-meal without a word.

That remains one of the most potent food memories of my life...that mixture of textures, flavors, and aromas...that pool of glory left after the solids were consumed - left to be sopped up with toast. I realize this is quixotic, but I want to get sort of close, while respecting English and Londonish traditions.

Would you all weigh in on what you think should be my top choice for FEB, given the parameters? I'm feeling like I just need to do 4 greasy spoons and 4 hightone FEBs, but we are only there for 7 breakfasts, and there is more, so much more to eat!

Gotta make some critical absolutes on meals, to be vetted by the board soon, but as a sneak peek - Rules, St. John B&W, Ottolenghi, Dishoom, Needoo, Museum Tavern, Golden Hind, Diana's Diner, Sweetings, the Bridge, the Wolseley, Regency Cafe, the various Hawksmoors, Brawn, Maria's Borough, Roast, Qasida (close to the hotel)...

...so where can I get the FEB that will rock my proletariat, not averse to well-sourced and fresh ingredients, poorly founded with FWB, world?

PS - I wasn't into bubble & squeak until I read the review in the blog Harters posted - the description of B&S for Maria's cafe was very, um, inspirational!

May 20, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Specific questions re: London (researched!)

The tomato is essential for me, for at least one of them!

May 20, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Specific questions re: London (researched!)

OK - I won't stress as much, especially since I saw the E. Pelicci plate, and since we are planning to get at least one or two more during that week!

May 20, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland

Specific questions re: London (researched!)

OK - after some thought, the turkey feast seems a less unique food option than the Sunday Lunch, FEB, or the gazillion restaurants I'm considering!

Mmmm bacon sandwich and tea...sounds like a vote for B&W over the original one...at least that's how it worked for me!

May 20, 2015
saticoy in U.K./Ireland