Sometimes, the universe is subtle and coy. And other days, it literally hits you over the head and asks why you have your eyes closed.
I was walking home last night and had an insatiable craving for a grilled cheese sandwich. Now, I went on a grilled cheese kick about a month ago, where I couldn’t get enough of artisan sourdough, whole-grain mustard and a delicious mixture of Gruyere, Emmenthal and caraway Havarti.
Last night, I was craving a grilled cheese sandwich made of Wonderbread and Kraft Singles. Thankfully, the grocery store was closed. Another disaster averted.
And this afternoon on Ye Olde Twitter? @fizzpoptweet asked people to name their top guilty pleasures. Okay, universe, I get it. Guilty pleasures.
Read more about it in my post for Foodists.
The thing with travelling is that sometimes you can’t be picky. Sometimes you’re surrounded by tourist traps and fast food, and you just want something good. Not fancy, not expensive, just good.
Well, if you’re in New York City, you can rely on ‘Wichcraft. I thank my stars that Tom Colicchio started this chain of shops that serves fresh, tasty soups and sandwiches at a great price point.
When I was there, I ordered the tuna sandwich on baguette. They manage to toast the baguette without making it all crunchy and painful to eat. The tuna was nicely accented with thinly sliced fennel and lemon, which made the whole thing fresh and bright. I also had a cauliflower soup with parsley oil. The taste and texture were exactly what they should have been.
They serve bread sticks on the side, which is cute. The walls are covered in giant food photography (can you say food porn?), and there’s a great selection of pop culture, fashion and food magazines to read while you’re munching away.
I wish I had tried the grilled fontina with morels and truffles, but oh well.
Note that the location at 60 E. 8th Street is dangerously close to Broadway Panhandler. Broadway Panhandler (65 E. 8th Street) is a fantastic kitchen store – one that I could easily spend hours in.
New York, NY (also San Francisco and Las Vegas)
Posted in Restaurant reviews, Travel
Tagged cauliflower, cheese, fennel, lemon, mushroom, new york, parsley, sandwich, soup, truffle, tuna
For months, I’ve been meaning to go to Social at Le Magasin. It’s a two-part restaurant, with a little bistro on Water Street and a butchershop/deli facing West Cordova. I keep walking by the bistro and seeing signs for oysters and cheap martinis. I haven’t even been in there, and they already know what I like!
I’ve heard great things about their sandwiches, so it was about time that I tried one. They’re good value – I got a small sandwich for $6.75 and only managed to eat half of it. Each sandwich also comes with a bag of homemade potato chips, which are delightfully salty and ever-so-slightly burnt. It’s a daring but tasty move.
If I were to open a restaurant, I would have opened Burgoo. It’s comfort food from all over the world, but done properly and with a gourmet twist. The presentation is beautiful but not pretentious, the food is simple but well executed, and the prices are excellent. Best of all, the menu changes seasonally to reflect what’s available, and what people normally crave in certain seasons.
Their current menu has a heavy emphasis on cheese. Their grilled cheese sandwich is no ordinary grilled cheese. Rather, it’s four giant slabs of bread sandwiching four kinds of cheese, and the whole thing is grilled to perfection. It’s ever-so-slightly greasy, and your cholesterol will probably be through the roof for the next few days, but it’s worth it. I suggest splitting the order with a friend so that you can also try something else – eating both sandwiches would probably be overkill.
They also make a mean macaroni and cheese. It’s even better than mine, and it takes a lot for me to admit that.
I had the world’s best sandwich (no joke) while in New Orleans, at this hole in the wall restaurant called Pascal Manale’s. It was a barbecued shrimp sandwich, served in the requisite squishy bread. New Orleanians really have it figured out: the bread is soft enough to absorb any juices from the filling without falling apart, and the crust doesn’t hurt the roof of your mouth. It’s brilliant.
Back to the sandwich: this was shrimp, perfectly barbecued, sitting in shrimp juices and clarified butter with lots of cracked black pepper. The bun was hollowed out and then stuffed full of shrimp, and that’s why it’s the world’s best sandwich. See, nothing falls out. You take a bite, and anything – shrimp, shrimp juice or butter – that didn’t make it in your mouth just falls further into the sandwich. By the time you’re at the end of the sandwich, it’s completely saturated with shrimp and butter goodness.
I ate this with two other foodies, and the three of us went dead silent after the first bite. We could only stare at each other over our sandwich, eyes wide open in amazement.
1838 Napoleon Ave
New Orleans, LA
I was in New York for five days. This is what I ate on day five.
-Pickles from the Lower East Side Picklefest (no joke).
-A croissant from a random Italian cafe.
-A giant lox bagel with scottish smoked salmon from Russ & Daughters, a high-end shop(pe?) that sells caviar, smoked salmon, handmade cream cheese, and chocolates.
-Sandwich fixings from what is reportedly New York’s most famous deli/grocery store, Zabar’s. It was packed full of people, no matter what aisle I chose.
–Matzo ball soup from Katz’s Deli. For some reason I was expecting several little matzo balls in soup, and not the giant softball-sized matzo ball that I was served. Katz’s Deli is where the, ahem, diner scene from When Harry Met Sally was filmed.
I was in New York for five days. This is what I ate on day three.
-A ginormous sandwich from Salumeria Biellese, which smokes and cures all its own meats. Four bucks gets you a foot-long, 6-inch high sandwich stuffed full of meat and provolone.
-Two mini-eclairs from Fauchon, one coconut (delicious and creamy) and one coffee (yum). The eclairs cost more than my giant sandwich. In an attempt to combat the ridiculous rainstorm outside, I also had a French hot chocolate. I don’t know what made it so French, aside from it being made at Fauchon, but it was pretty tasty.
-Shanghainese noodles from Shanghai Cafe.
–Vegan coconut layer cake from Atlas, which was almost passable. That is, as cake it was just okay, but as vegan cake it was pretty good.