Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Colorful Side of New York

Photo courtesy of  SEANQ6

New York is always deeply colorful.  The color can be literal, such as in this outstanding photo from SEANQ6's blog, or as in having a lot of character, but maybe not so "pretty" as some may define.  Mark and I appreciate both types and I realized after coming home with a selection of snapshots, that we focused in on just that - the true character of New York and how it speaks to us, be it from the food we ate, to the sites we saw. 

We only had a couple of days, but managed to pack a bit in, although comfortably.  On our first evening, we headed to a standby for us, the Waterfront Ale House.   I always find the menu there quite interesting.  They have the basic bar/pub fare, but then will throw you with a twist on their specials.  On tonight's menu, Ostrich Burger with caramelized onion and balsamic relish, amongst other items.  They also had an Ostrich steak, but I opted for the burger.  Ostrich meat is a red meat that is lower in calories, cholesterol, and fat than skinless chicken and turkey, while remaining high in iron and protein.  It supposedly has a sweeter and richer taste than other meats, but in all honestly, I couldn't tell much of a difference.  Maybe with the steak, it may have been different, but the burger tasted like a regular burger.  I was a bit disappointed.  Mark ordered the Niman Beef & Oyster Stew, which was quite flavorful and filling.  I should comment that the main reason this is a standby for us is due to their enormous and well put together craft beer menu.  They always have something interesting on tap to try.  I went with the Goose Island Honker's Ale and Mark had a Duvel Green
With our bellies quite full, we headed to the subway station on our trek out to Brooklyn (Lorimer St Station).  I wanted to take a minute to comment on the subway.  The sounds and sights of this underground world are mesmerizing to me.   I'm sure a lot of it has to do with being from San Diego where the thought of public transportation is unheard of, but even though I've ridden the trains several times, I still find the whole process an experience to be enjoyed.  
I recently saw the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three movie (and the remake - don't bother watching the remake), and it was thrilling to see a train pass by that actually said Pelham!  Even a little spooky, I might add, which probably only makes sense if you've seen the movie.  

Upon reaching our Lorimer Street stop in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, we headed into one of Mark's favorite places, Barcade.  What could be better than craft beer AND classic video games?!   As you walk into the open freight door, there is an eye-capturing wall, adorned with bottle caps of all different colors and grouped in interesting patterns - some even representing video game characters.

Loaded with a full beer and a respectable stack of quarters, we wandered around making stops at some of our favorite games.  Tempest, Q*bert, Galaga, Joust, and ultimately, Robotron 2004. 

Maybe this is a good time to mention that Mark holds an official World Record on Guided Missile, documented by Twin Galaxies (official supplier of Video Game Scores to the Guinness Book of World Records).  It actually might last since there are probably very few Guided Missiles (circa 1977) in existence, let alone, functioning!  So with knowing that, you may not be surprised to know that we have a collection of classic arcade games in our garage, one of which is Robotron 2004.  One of the hardest games, I've ever played, but ever so addicting.  Maybe there's another world record in Mark's future :)

Here's another aspect of New York that you just don't see everywhere else.  This was the woman's bathroom ceiling in Barcade.  Those are actual wads of paper (toilet paper, I presume, and yes, unused) that have been stuck to the ceiling.  Not necessarily pretty, but definitely colorful in character.  Although I have to admit, I'm always nervous one is going to fall on me. 

On our next evening, we spent a vast majority of it simply enjoying the evening lights from our room with a view.  Since having a late lunch, we hadn't planned on eating dinner until much later.  When that time came at 11pm, we ended up at a Greek restaurant, Pylos, in the East Village.  I was blown away at the amount of people still capturing all they could out of the late evening.  The restaurant was full, romantic, and the food, delicious.  Please forgive the lack of pictures, but the atmosphere just didn't lend itself to me snapping flash-filled pictures of our food.  I sometimes feel uncomfortable, like I'm infringing on other patron's enjoyment of the experience, and this was one of those times. 
The next day we were headed to the airport, but not before an early lunch at Mario Batali's Otto Pizzeria in Greenwich Village.  I had actually been there at a work function earlier in this trip, but fell so deeply in love with their Olive Oil Coppetta dessert, that I couldn't leave without having Mark share in this experience.  To start with, we ordered both a Carni and a Formaggi plate.  The cheese plate comes with three accompaniments, of which I have to highlight one - honey with truffles (the dish of golden honey with the black specks of truffle above).  It is nearly impossible to imagine the taste of this, but it literally does taste like honey infused with truffles.  An amazing sensation for the palate.  
Finally, we've come to my new favorite dessert, Olive Oil Coppetta - olive oil gelato, candied clementines & kumquats, lime curd, tangerine sorbet, and fennel brittleFennel brittle?  Seriously.  I know some folks are probably still stuck on the olive oil gelato, but who would have thought to put fennel seeds in a brittle?  This dessert had such a burst of flavors, that it was actually overwhelming at first.  However, once you figure out the tastes, the savory and the sweet, and let them all infuse together in one bite, it is a beautiful symphony in your mouth. 

Until next time, NY!


  1. Can't wait to drink some good beer with you guys!

    Olive oil Gelato? Wow.


  2. Megga Food Review...Wow! No Sizzler or Apple Peddlers for you guys! The produce shot was neat. Quite amazing NY has that kind of selection. Looks like a Farmer's Market!

    Well, you know there is an old saying for Mark.
    "There'aint no machine he can't clean" (a left-over from the days of ATARI).

    Olive oil a-what?