Last last Sunday I went to 7A with John, Pete, Aleks, Dean, and Madeleine (yes, that was too much LJ linkage) to celebrate's Aleks' birthday. It sits on the corner of 7th Street and Avenue A, so you can't miss it as long as you can remember the number 7 and the letter A. Or if you do, you're probably really drunk.
We started off with a giant plate of nachos, which is the best form of nachos there is ("giant"). Hamster-sized splodges of guacamole, beans, pico de gallo, sour cream and streams (because it ain't a river...er) of cheddar cheese suffocated the tortilla chips, which was great because without the toppings all you have is flattened ground corn, and no one wants that. Maybe. Unfortunately many of the chips couldn't hold up to the massive amounts of non-corny substances (damn you, gravity) and many chips shattered mid-dip, mainly brought down by the heavy hand of mashed bean. Poor things. They gave their lives for a good cause though—our stomachs.
Wait, that's not a good cause, nevermind.
I don't know enough about California to know how sliced avocado, sauteed mushrooms, cheese and pico de gallo made my burger Californian, but I suppose that's a better name that [insert other state] Burger. (Actually, what I'd love to see is a burger joint that has a burger representation for every state. Every state. Even the Dakotas.) I ordered rare and got a juicy, pink, squishy meaty patty in return. Sweeeet. The meat wasn't the most flavorful I've had, but it wasn't dry nor overly drippy, and the toppings were well balanced and didn't ungracefully squish out of the bun at any point. The bun was also slightly grilled, which is a plus in my book. I easily ate the whole thing. With the side of uber-crispy fries that still had the resemblence of potato-ness due to the skin remnants, it's a good burger plate for $8.
John ate his tuna avocado melt in 3.2 seconds out of extreme hunger. I assume that the sandwich was also pretty good.
Despite feeling the early effects of meat coma, I went for dessert (as though I would ever pass it up). John suggested sharing something, but I insisted I could finish a dessert by myself. Which was dumb. My life isn't a neverending eating contest, even if I treat it as such every now and then. The first bites of my beautiful slab of white and dark chocolate mousse cake went down smoothly until I reached the fatter end of the cake and realized, "Damn, this is a lot of cake. And it's probably just made of chocolate and dairy products and sugar and multiple forms of fat. Which would explain why, depsite the deliciousness, my stomach now crying. Maybe I can grow another stomach." It was worth finishing, but I couldn't do it. If you come across this behemoth after engulfing a huge burger, share it with someone. YOU CANNOT EAT IT ALL.
I probably could've finished John's chocolate fudge brownie cake with vanilla ice cream though. Its warm, sweet fatty goodness was somewhat buffered by the vanilla ice cream, not that ice cream isn't also full of fatty goodness, but frozen vanilla fatty goodness is totally different from warm chocolate cakey fudgey fatty goodness. Ye hear? They don't tell you this stuff in chemistry class. You just...know.
dough that is rolled
On what felt like the first real day of winter in NYC (because of the onslaught of snow and subsequent transformation of fluffy white powder into pools of poop-colored slush) I ate...a lot.
No, I didn't eat this bucket-sized bowl of noodles. I went to Roll and Dough with my former coworkers at the web development office at NYU Law School (I worked there last school year and during most of the summer) and this bowl of noodles was shared between one guy (my replacement!) and his girlfriend. Even then, it was probably a lot for two people. Egad.
I also ate too much in the form of a vegetable bun, two bings and a couple of dumplings. The vegetable bun was better than average. It was well stuffed with...stuff. Vegetables, methinks. It doesn't beat my favorite vegetable bun from Kung Fung Food Market in NJ, but no other vegetable bun has, so that's not a fair comparison.
I got a mustard greens bing and a sweet taro bing for dessert. Mustard greens will wipe out your sinuses, if that's what you're going for. I enjoyed every tear-producing bite—I guess I like pain. However, like other people have mentioned, the bings suffer greatly from sitting out for too long. Like. Mega. They may still be warm, but as the minutes tick by the dough becomes tougher and loses the crispiness that makes it so awesome when it's fresh. Little by little the soul of the bing goes to bing heaven and leaves behind sub-deliciousnes with the same number of calories. Oh well. It's still worth eating and makes a cheap meal, but you're missing out if you've never had a fresh one.
Thankfully the fresh dumplings are boiled to order so there's no risk of getting soul-less dumps. I'm sure these are the best dumplings you can get around the West Village...not that I know anywhere else you can get them, but it doesn't matter because you won't need an alternative. I loved the spicy pork dumplings. I mean, I love pork and I love dumplings, so it's only natural to love dumplings filled with pork. The spicy version isn't overly strong, but it's much more than a hint of hotness in case you have a low tolerance for spice. A 10-piece order will fill you up with juicy pork encased in doughy handmade skins that aren't too thick or thin.
If I had more lunch breaks around NYU, I'd go to Roll and Dough more often. For now I'll dream of fat dumplings and fresh bings.
overstuffed at Sticky Rice
After stuffing myself at Sticky Rice I stuffed myself at Sticky Rice with Charles and two of his friends. Since he got a new job that dangerously encroaches upon the time he gets to do anything that isn't work related, he wanted to celebrate by treating us all to dinner. Which means we ordered a lot of food.
Even though I'd be perfectly satisfied by good old tap water, I ordered the ginger tea due to it being heavily infused with condensed milk, also known as sugar or "the stuff Robyn likes a lot". I was all over it like my butt on this chair. Uh huh. The ginger is spicy-strong and the sweetness was just right for my palate...which means you might want it toned down. If you want to be a wuss. Or not get diabetes.
Since Charles is a vegan, he wanted to order a bunch of vegetarian appetizers. "A bunch" being all of them, except for the tofu soup. The fried, crispy, sweet and savory somewhat-sticky noodly things were kind of odd, but I liked the vegetable dumplings, rice paper rolls and spring rolls.
The spring rolls stuffed with bean noodles, tofu, shopped mushroom, shredded carrot, and probably other vegetable matter were my favorite. They were nothing like the heavy, oily, meaty standard versions that I've unfortunately eaten too many times.
I ordered pad-see-hew so that I could stuff myself with flat, wide rice noodles, one of my favorite kinds of noodles (any noodle made of rice being my favorite overall). I asked for them to make it extra spicy and I got my tear-inducing wish. With all the broccoli florets and slices of chicken atop the generous pile of chewy noods, I was about to explode...halfway through the plate. I ate more than half (but failed to finish, even though my tastebuds really wanted me to). You can probably figure out what my stomach felt like afterwards
Despite that, I got dessert. Yes, it was a bad idea—I think the gurgly burps that continued late into the night told me that. But dessert is the main part of the meal! For some of us. I probably would've enjoyed the tri-colored sticky rice parfait more had I not already felt like a comatose hippo, but this was an especially heavy dessert atop a full stomach. Um. Crap. I think I ate at least half of it and poked/deconstructed the rest as the night wore on. As someone who has rarely eaten sticky sweetened rice, I don't know how this compares to other similar desserts. It tasted good, just not to the point that I think I'd want to order it again. Unlike chocolate mousse cake.
They also had sweet potato flan. I don't remember much from the one bite I took, but Charles's friends said that it reminded them of pumpkin pie despite that it didn't have pumpkin in it. Maybe it was the spices. It tasted denser and heavier than other flans I've had, probably because of the potato. Not bad, just atypical.
Charles went with the jackfruit and banana spring rolls since it was the only vegan option (without the added milky sauce at least), but it was just alright. Maybe we were too stuffed from everything else; all the desserts felt too heavy.
Aside from the desserts and late night food coma (we waddled out of there around when they started closing the restaurant), it was a great dinner with awesome people that I'd love to hang out with again. It's okay to go overboard when you have company, right? Right. I swear there are weeks where I don't participate in group gluttony.