Sunday, February 24, 2008


I had a funny realization last night: I have eaten nothing but sandwiches for the last three days. Sure, there was a half-pint of raspberries, chocolate nut candies, shortbread cookies and a ginger scone in there too, but mostly, nothing but things between bread for me.

This came up because of a conversation about the Sandwich Party, Lisa Davis's annual make-a-creative-sandwich-to-share picinc event. I am very proud to say that Lisa even named a sandwich in my honor last year when I was unable to attend (I think it involved brown-sugar bacon and fig jam with brie and watercress).

Thursday was a chicken salad sandwich from 'wichcraft—I usually love 'wichcraft, and find that it's a reliable spot for really good, if overpriced, sandwiches. I am always happy when I have a job near Bryant Park and get to go to the kiosks there. Still, the best thing they make there is that peanut butter sandwich cookie. A cookie, I know, but still a sandwich! For dinner on Thursday I made a Molinari dry salami and arugula sandwich on an English muffin. And then I watched Lost and went to bed, the end.

On Friday I had a flank steak sandwich from this lovely gourmet to-go spot in Chelsea called Brownstein's. I was working at Martha Stewart Weddings way over on 12th Avenue and 26th street, and the lunch options around there are slim. I ended up at Brownstein's two times last week, even though, like 'wichcraft, it's crazy expensive. It seems all wrong to spend $18 on soup and a sandwich for an office-break lunch, y'know? Dinner on Friday was a global interpretation of the theme, with my favorite street cart treat of Kwik Meal falafel. I stood in the rain on Sixth Avenue eating my falafel on grilled pita and killing time before a performance of Passing Strange. (Go see Passing Strange now!)

Yesterday I kind of forgot to eat except for half of a deliciously spicy-sweet Vietnamese sandwich from Hanco's on Bergen St. I asked for it extra spicy and they definitely indulged me. Bahn mi are so damn good—I got their classic version, with its array of odd spongy meats and salty pate, lots of cilantro and carrot and hot hot chilies. I just finished the other half for breakfast.

Tonight: a square meal, promise.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Current favorites

Some favorite dishes of late:

Jerusalem artichoke soup at Shorty's.32
This was served at brunch, a ridiculously flavorful and rich puree topped with basil oil. We thought there had to be lots of brown butter in there, but the waiter demurred. No matter, I would order this soup again and again.

Gruyere gnocchi at One If By Land, Two If By Sea.
I enjoyed a nice opportunity to eat there last night, at a press dinner to showcase the new chef, Craig Hopson, who is Australian and quite hunky, truth be told. My favorite dish of the night was the gnocchi, which reminded me more of a cheese fritter than anything else. An outside crunch, a super creamy center with no doughiness, and very satisfying. I could have eaten 15 of them in a bowl, alone.

French ham on a baguette at Amy's Bread.
I Imagine that if I lived in Paris this would be my daily breakfast. Nothing complicated about it at all—a few thin slices of ham on a fresh baguette smeared with a healthy layer of butter. There are a few pickles in there too. Perfect. I don't know what took me so long to adopt this as my favorite snack.

Fried chicken at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill.
Blue Ribbon's created a strange amalgam of all of their restaurants at the new Columbus Circle location. They brought their coveted fried chicken recipe to the sushi bar—when I saw it on the menu I expected a fried cutlet, a sort of tonkatsu preparation, thinly pounded and crispy. But instead, this was a good ol' Southern recipe, dressed up for a Japanese setting with a dusting of paprika and chile powders; the dish comes with a ramekin of wasabi infused honey to drizzle over. Sticky and greasy, good attributes both, in this case.

The brussels sprouts at Spotted Pig
This is not a new revelation to most people who eat well in New York, but man, oh man, are those brussels sprouts great. I had never ordered the sprouts there until New Year's Day, where I went with Anthony for the world's best first-day-of-the-year meal. If 2008 proves to even remotely resemble the rich, buttery joy of those brussels sprouts, it will be a good year indeed.