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A Marathon Weekend of Eating Throughout New York

April 9, 2012

Another long weekend, another three days spent exploring food in all neighborhoods, with tons to report back.

Starting Thursday night with a quick dinner with MD at Flex Mussels in West Village.

A light appetizer of refreshing tuna tartare to start with lemon vinaigrette and crispy croutons and arugula salad.

Of course, mussels as main courses here at Flex.  I discovered a new favorite, the Little Neck, in addition to my perennial favorite, the Marseille.  The broth was chock full of clams and bread crumbs, permeated with the smokiness from the thick cuts of bacon.  This was the perfect broth to dip that order of truffle fries in.   The meal wrapped up with four homemade Flex doughnuts, s’mores, chocolate hazelnut, fluffernutter and salted caramel.  They all tasted kind of out of this world with the vanilla bean creme sauce.

Friday morning,  woke up barely early enough to grab a cup of latte from Cafe Grumpy before hopping in a cab to Essex Market in Lower East Side for a long awaited meal at Shopsin’s General Store.  I can’t even remember how many years I have been waiting for this meal. I think we literally almost missed the arbitrary closing time that Shopsin’s institutes on the kitchen’s whim.  Phew!   Apologies for the teaser but I do believe this epic meal deserves a separate post to come soon!

Because lunch was so incredibly filling, my stomach was in much need of a home cooked meal.

Asparagus simply grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper served over miso butter (recipe here).

And a big bowl of steamed sable with a medley of mushrooms, ginger and scallions.

Since I was so good with dinner, why not sneak in a little bit something decant to complete the meal?  An ice cream sandwich with a dark chocolate chip cookie and a chocolate chip cookie from Je & Jo’s.  The ice cream is a 99% Michel Cluizel chocolate ice cream, homemade from a recipe from Van Leewuven (the recipe to come!).

We woke up to a wonderfully warm and sunny day here in New York on Saturday.  I stopped by Murray’s Bagel around the corner to pick up some smoked sable for brunch with JZ.

While at Murray’s, I also picked up a flatz bagel with Murray’s fresh strawberry cream cheese as a sweet start for brunch.

Only a short wait before we were enjoying soft scrambled eggs with slices of smoked sable and a dollop of ikura and a simple salad of mizuna greens (recipe here).  This has really become my signature breakfast, so elegant yet easy to make.

Half way through a weekend long of eating, I hit the gym before dinner but not before enjoying a nice glass of iced coffee.

Still hungry, I polished off a bowl of steamed fresh English peas tossed with prosciutto bites, salt, pepper and olive oil before getting ready for dinner in Brooklyn.

Dinner destination was across the East River at the edge of Williamsburg in Brooklyn at the Dressler.  The bar at the restaurant was quietly elegant and it looked so handsome that we had to grab a drink at the bar.  A glass of prosecco for me and the Gretsch (Hendrick’s Gin with cucumber infused Vermouth) for MD.

While we sipped on the drinks, something from the snacks portion of the menu caught our eyes.  My stomach has such a weak spot for onion rings and these tempura battered onion rings hit just that spot.  Spicy mustard with mustard seeds that popped in my mouth put these over the top.  After lingering at the bar a few moments more, we made our way to our table to begin an amazing meal (more to come on this as well!)

Sunday brought another absolutely stunning spring day.  With a full day of plans, there wasn’t much time for sleeping in!

A quick train ride brought us to the Upper West Side for an early movie.  Before ducking into the movie theater, we stopped by Levain Bakery for a few sweet breakfast bites.  The second we stepped into the tiny bakery, we were greeted by the warm embracing smell of fresh baked goods.  It took a lot of will power to resisted the temptation of indulging in one of Levain’s famous cookies for breakfast.  Instead, I settled for a whole wheat dinner roll with Valhrona chocolate shavings tucked in the crevasse and MD opted for a raisin sticky bun.  Even though I wished the chocolate was more melted into the bread and MD was missing some nuts in the sticky bun, we barely made it two steps outside of the store before devouring the goods.  So much for saving them for the theater!

A quick brunch post the movie at Fairway Cafe.  The second floor cafe/diner was full of families and elderly diners, making it a good escape from the typical hectic New York brunch experience.  I savored every second of this before unwillingly heading to the office.

As a treat to myself after spending a solid afternoon in the office, I met up with JL for dinner at Pure Thai Shop House in Hell’s Kitchen.  After a short wait, we were starving and made the amature mistake of ordering with a growling stomach and ended up with the meal below.

An innocent looking salad of tender calamari and plump shrimp to start.  Various notes of herbs hit the palette, making each bite different than the next.  Be aware – this salad carried quite a punch!  We asked for it with medium spice but even then, I couldn’t help but guzzle down water in between bites.

Fried rice with plump crab was just what we needed to calm our mouths before moving onto our entrees.

JL went with the special of the night, a bowl of pork belly with shiitake mushroom and daikon and thin rice noodles.

While JL’s noodle soup was mild and sweet, my Krabi seafood noodle soup was just the opposite.  The broth is tangy and spicy, filled with flakes of rice noodles, shrimp and calamari.  This was a rather strong dish flavor wise so consider this a warning if you don’t have an adventurous palette.

To finish dinner on a sweet note, we shared the sweet mango over coconut sticky rice.  What joy it is to have mangoes back in season so we can enjoy this delicious dessert!

So that about wraps up my weekend of eating, spanning across 5 neighborhoods and 2 boroughs and so many different cuisines.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a long weekend, can you?

Flex Mussels | 154 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011 |

Shopsin’s General Store | 120 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002 |

Murray’s Bagels | 242 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 |

Dressler’s | 149 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211 |

Levain Bakery | 167 West 74th St. New York, NY 10023 |

Fairway Cafe | 2127 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 |

Pure Thai Shop House | 766 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10019 |

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