Alphabet City Tour
Okay, so we were officially hip for ONE NIGHT of living in this city. Most of the time we are seriously homebodies, cooking up a storm and watching Netflix. Most recently, this tradition has been supplemented by an evening walk in the park or a foot rub, per my husband's generous heart. Bless that man for being so kind while I whip up a baby. But on this one amazing night, our dear friends Anthony and Jessica "showed us the ropes" and took us on the most fabulous foodie tour of Alphabet City, which is a super cool, semi-gritty, chock-full-of-delicious-restaurants-neighborhood in East Village. Anthony and Jess are serious about their taste buds. They cook. Like, they really cook. And they attend all these fancy city dinners and chef award celebrations and they're up on the poshest places to eat your heart out. So we really couldn't have gotten luckier when they offered to tour us around these Alphabet City gems. People, I was sampling cuisine I never knew existed. Tasting recipes with ingredients I had never heard of. How delightful it is to experience and savor the many ways pork can be served. Yum.
Please forgive the grimy iPhone pics. Just know that all this food rocked my face off, so if you're ever visiting this area and want a rec... this post is your pot of gold!
The Blind Barber 339 E 10th St, New York, NY 10009 blindbarber.com
Must Order Cocktails: Strawberry Fields, Batman, Blackjack
Impression: This place wins the chic/awesome/city-swanky award BY FAR. Guys, this is a speakeasy, hidden in the back of a real barber shop. Yes. There is a secret door that takes you to a back room, "the cocktail parlor", they call it, and in the parlor there are a series of rooms, including a library, where one can imbibe prohibition-style. Pretty stinkin' cool. Don't worry, I had a dressed-up lemonade, sans alcohol. But I still felt like one of the bad girls from the roaring twenties. And that was fun enough.
Momofuku Noodle Bar 171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003 momofuku.com/new-york/noodle-bar
Cuisine: American-style Ramen & Noodle Bar
Must Order: Pork Buns! PORK BUNS!!!
Impression: Since this was a progressive meal, we only did a quick appetizer here, but of course we could have stayed longer and indulged. Instead, because the restaurant was so packed, Anthony ran inside, ordered pork buns to go, and we scarfed on them in the dark, wonderful New York moonlight. While all the urban hipsters pushed passed us, huffing on their American Spirits and scurrying off to their uber-hip dinner plans. The bunsssssss. Deliciously juicy and seasoned, the pork is housed by a light, yeasty dough that is just. Perfect? Yeah, perfect. We scarfed in decadent silence. And sadly walked away from the thumping restaurant.
Porchetta 110 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009 porchettanyc.com
Cuisine: Slow-cooked Italian Fast Food
Must Order: Italian Porchetta Sandwich, Chicken Saffron Sandwich
Impression: This joint is tiny, and more akin to a souped-up food truck, with about 4 barstools crowding the front entrance. And that's about all the seating you get. But you don't come to Porchetta for the seating, you come for the MEAT. Porchetta is a Roman-style herb-roasted pork that will make you cry, it's so good. Seasoned with fennel, sage, garlic, rosemary and pollen... it's just out of this world. And the Chicken Saffron Sandwich? It was a special when we were there, and I hope it remains especially on the menu :) Those Italians. They even do their STREET FOOD right.
// We are disgusting. I already know. //
Somtum Der 85 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009 somtumder.com
Cuisine: Isan Thai (from the northeastern region of Thailand)
Must Order Entree: Pad Ki Mao Pork & Basil (flat noodles with diced beef, scrumptious), Pad Thai with Crab (it sounds kind of weird, but it's kind of awesome), Papaya Salad (everyone loved it, I'm not a huge fan of this kind of salad in general), Sa Poak Kai Tod Der (deep-fried chicken thigh, yes, you read that right), Fried Pork Basil with Egg (self-explanatory and soooo good)
Impression: Inexpensive food (nothing is over $15), and surprisingly delicious, with an excellent mix of sweet-savory in each dish. I've had some strange Thai food since I've been in this city and that have made me a bit gun shy at new places, so I came into Somtum Der with a critical palate - and was pleasantly surprised at how good everything tasted. And from what I've heard, this place is seriously authentic.
More to Come!
We continued to hit up some yummy places in East & West Village, but I will have to split this post up into several because there is just SO. MUCH. TO SHARE. So stay tuned.
Anthony & Jess, how can I best profess my undying love for you?? Thank you for being the hippest, swankiest, most "in-the-know" New Yorkers we know and letting us accompany you on this tasty tour of the town :)