Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the World Cup kicked off this past weekend. While I cheered for the USA because, well… I am an American, I don’t feel a strict allegiance to any team. I find myself pulling for the underdog in every match, despite my heritage, and therefore could NOT root for Germany on Sunday when they played Australia. They’re so mean! And the Aussie team is nicknamed The Socceroos. Can you stand the adorableness?
Despite my disdain for the German team, I am 25% German and therefore showed a tiny bit of support by spending 25% of my Saturday eating German food and drinking a ridiculous amount of Spaten Oktoberfest. Don’t worry, it was ALMOST noon.
The colors got weirdly wonky in this picture, but many, many thanks to Ben for capturing them at all, since I am a terrible blogger and forgot my camera
1648 Second Avenue, between 85th St and 86th St, New York, NY. This place has been around since 1964, in a neighborhood called Yorkville that used to be predominantly German. The food is traditional German fare, and the beer is served in pints, half liters, liters, or 2 liter boots. That’s right. Two. Liter. Boots. And you thought the boot was a mythical figment of Beer Fest‘s imagination. The decor is pure kitsch (the waitstaff wears lederhosen and dirndl…) but so enjoyable.
On the menu:
Bratwurst with sauerkraut and potato salad
Sauerbraten with red cabbage (not pictured)
Verdict: Jawhol! As a small aside, I dubbed this the year I will learn to love the foods I have typically shunned. On that list: sausage. I ordered a bratwurst because I felt like ordering potato pancakes was too safe, and I wanted to try a differently prepared type of sausage. Holy, holy mackerel, am I glad I did. This brat was lightly fried and spectacular; like a deep fried hot dog, with tangy sauerkraut and cool potato salad to smooth it all out. I did taste a dining partner’s potato pancake and it was SUBLIME. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and the size of my face. Did I mention I like pancakes? The sauerbraten was perfectly cooked and unbelievably tender, and I can not wait to go back to Heidelberg and order it for myself.
The remnants of a pesto/ham and tomato/marinara bowl of love
One of my favorite New York Deals comes in the form of pasta. All you can eat pasta, to be exact. On the 29th of every month, Piola in the East Village offers an all-you-can-eat special in which they walk around serving from giant bowls of their handmade gnocchi with different sauces that include traditional marinara, chicken and broccoli alfredo, four cheese, pesto, and a magical ham-tomato red sauce that I believe also includes unicorn tears and fairy dust. Yes, it’s that good.
Tell the waiter you want the gnocchi special and let the games begin. If you want more pasta, you leave your little card on green. If your pants are about to split, maybe consider turning the card over to red and the pasta man will stay away from your table. I know gnocchi seems like a heavy dish to offer endless bowls of, but there is a little story behind this. From Piola’s website:
“The story begins with a missionary arriving in a small village in Italy on the 29th of an unknown month. He arrived upon a very poor house asking for food. He was welcomed to their house and was offered the only thing they had on the table, ‘Gnocchi’. The missionary was very thankful for their warm reception and wonderful food. Soon after the missionary left the house, the poor family found some gold coins right under their Gnocchi plate…
Since then the ‘Lucky Gnocchi Legend’ has gained recognition all over the world. Families gather together every 29th of the month and enjoy Gnocchi in order to have luck and prosperity in their lives. PIOLA has adopted this beautiful legend, ‘Lucky Gnocchi Day’.”
Piola also offers a plethora of other deals, and the food is incredible. Let me tell you, dear readers, February is a sad, sad month.
Unless it’s a Leap Year. Then we’re cool.
Country Ham Biscuit
This was a weekend chock-full of amazing eats. So for the next three days, I’m going to regale you with stories of what I ate in a two day span. Prepare yourself. It’s a lot of food for one small lady, but I ate so I could report back to YOU. Seriously, you should be thanking me. And sending donations for a gym membership.
Egg 135 N. 5th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. Egg is a tiny white-walled hallway of a restaurant with a focus on Southern-style dishes. My lovely friend Sasha has been raving about this inexpensive brunch spot for months (“the biscuits! my GOD, the biscuits!”) so her sojourn into town from DC was a perfect excuse to make the trek to this neighborhood I otherwise steer clear of. Too much ironic-disheveled-Salvation-Army makes me itchy.
On the menu:
Eggs Rothko (easy-cooked egg in a slice of brioche, topped with cheddar, served with broiled tomatoes and kale)
Country Ham Biscuit (thick cut ham, fig jam, and cheddar on a country biscuit, served with grits)
French press coffee (NOTE: Egg serves each table its own French press; how swank is that?)
Verdict: Hipsters, be damned, I am going back to EGG! Oh, the beauty of salty, thick-sliced ham paired with sweet fig jam and salty melted cheddar. I feel I have to discuss the filling and THEN the biscuit because they are magic alone and perfection together. Some might tell you I peeled away the top of the biscuit to save for later and eat slowly at the end of the meal with fresh raspberry preserves… but those people would be liars.
The wait at Egg will run you at least a half hour if you go during typical brunch hours, but it is worth the wait, my friends. Sasha did not tell a lie: the biscuits are to die for. Everything tasted like it was straight out of your Kentucky grandma’s kitchen: farm fresh, made on premises, and prepared with love. More than once my fellow diners and I cried out, “Man, that is SOAKED in butter!” But y’all know that’s just fine with me.
If you live in New York, you want to see this…
This weekend I’m taking off and I’m leaving my computer behind. I’ll be back on Tuesday with brilliant posts about Garbage Plates and sweet cheese Belgian waffles (you can hardly stand the wait, right?) but in the meantime I leave you with this list of things that I would be doing if I was staying in town this weekend. So…
Why Don’t You…
Get your drink on all sneaky-like at a speakeasy like Dutch Kills
(27-24 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City) or
Please Don’t Tell
(113 St. Marks Place).
Or, opening this weekend and offering free hot dogs (I said FREE HOT DOGS! Go people, go!) in the old East Side Company Bar space on the Lower East Side, Painkiller. 49 Essex Street at Grand Street
Take a culinary vacation from impending rain, use whatcha got, and pretend you’re in Australia while you eat
Fairy Bread in bed whilst watching
Feed your sweetheart little dollops of heaven via chopsticks at
Blue Ribbon Sushi
. 119 Sullivan Street
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
, both available instantly on your
Bask in the lusciousness of a $26 pre-fixe lunch menu at
Nougatine by Jean-Georges
(1 Central Park West); none of the wallet strain, all of the succulent flavor that this famous French chef is known for.
Nurse your Sunday morning hangover with a stack of sour cream pancakes, heavy on the syrup, at
(120 Hudson Street). Just don’t look too ragged. It’s a notorious celebrity hangout and you wouldn’t want to miss your chance to woo Justin Timberlake, now would you? Thought so.
Happy weekend, kiddies!
Is that Spanish? Who even knows. And that post is misleading because Cinco de Mayo is today, a Wednesday, and these deliciously cheap tacos are only available on Tuesdays. But don’t be sad: you can go eat $1 tacos next Tuesday and pretend like it’s Cinco de Mayo all over again. Don’t worry. I won’t tell anybody.
Fish tacos! Apologies for the wonky color... clearly my camera has a mind of its own.
Wharf Bar and Grill
3rd Avenue, between 38th Street and 39th Street, New York, NY. Located amidst other bars boasting specials and deals for Happy Hour, Wharf is lovely because it’s spacious, there’s an area upstairs that can accommodate big parties, and it’s an easy going vibe. There are always drink specials and the staff is incredibly friendly.
On the menu:
Shock Top beer
$1 Tacos (fish, chicken, and beef)
Verdict: Did I mention each taco costs $1? How could this possibly be anything but incredible? Each taco is served on a corn tortilla that measures about 5″ in diameter, and you have to order in groups of 3, but truth be told: I ate 6. And I drank 2 delicious summery Shock Top beers (it’s like a Blue Moon). And I was comfortably full. I’d imagine if you’re a large man, you could probably eat 12 tacos and not eat for the rest of the night, but that’s still only $12! The protein of your choice (ground beef, shredded chicken, or fried fish, of which persuasion I’m not sure) is tucked into its shell with shredded lettuce, chopped red onions, a generous helping of shredded cheese, and a spicy salsa verde.
So this month, in honor of… um… the Fifth Day of May (seriously, what IS Cinco de Mayo?), have a taco! Because it’s only a dollar! And it’s delicious! And you just don’t need any more reason than that.