The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Grom, The Spotted Pig and Salud


Drippy not what I said out loud because then other Grom-goers would've looked at me funnily while pulling their children away from my field of vision lest I lash out and foam at the mouth in a crazed state of gelato hunger.

Yes, I finally went to the famed Grom...about a month after it opened. It took an invite from Carol, blogger of delicious and beautiful Parisian treats and watercolors, to get me there, after which I waited a week or more before emailing her back with, "YES LET'S GO GET THE 'LATO!" It only took me about 15 minutes to get to the Upper West Side from the Serious Eats office. I'm remarkably lazy, folks.

they are filled with joy
thar be gelato

The line wasn't long at 7PM (at least, it didn't snake around the corner of the block) and we soon found ourself staring at metal canisters filled with tasty stuff. I think the only downside of going to a gelateria known for being overly awesome is that it probably won't display their gelato in the form of large, fluffy dairy-filled mounds, the sight of which automatically transform an adult into an excited sugar-hungry 5-year old. Like Grom, San Crispino in Rome and Pozzetto in Paris also shield their gelato away from the destructive burning stare of the human eye. don't really need to see the gelato to be enticed. You know it's good. Or it better be damn good for $5+.

two cones..for two people, not just myself, duh
two cups

Carol and I took our cups to the seating area in the back (which few people seem to use) to savor our fast-melting gelato. My cup started to resemble the bib of a baby with an exceptional drooling problem, causing me to catch the drips with a napkin "bib," as Carol called it. :)

cinnamon and pistachio
cinnamon and pistachio

The first bite I took of my cinnamon and pistachio made me emit some kind of random sound (maybe something along the lines of, "Mrhheaueh") in a failed attempt to convey the awesomeness of eating something that ended up tasting yummier than its core flavor to the point that it's like tasting the flavor for the first time. If that makes any sense. Maybe not. You can find cinnamon in a lot of foodstuffs, pistachios too, but their tastiness(es?) excel in the form of gelato. Aside from the flavor, the gelato was creamy, smooth, rich, and not overly sweet. I wouldn't say this gelato changed my life—perhaps I've eaten too much gelato already for that to happen—but Grom is probably the best place to get gelato in NYC right now.

Carol eats!
Carol eats!

Methinks Carol thoroughly enjoyed her cup of cinnamon and hazelnut. I copied her idea to get the cone on top.

mm choc
Carol's painting

Carol and I chatted for a long time about life and stuff, in particular her multi-talented past that has led to her being a portal for Paris breakfasts (and more) for the Internet-surfing public. While she showed me some of her beautiful watercolors, I wept inside knowing that I probably couldn't even make something as nice as her "rejects." But we all have our strengths; I eat the gelato and related creamy things of awesomness, while she paints them.

Tasty sandwich inside...the piggy

Last Tuesday Ed sent me on a lone mission to photograph the cubano from The Spotted Pig...and eat it as my reward. Bwahaha. He profiled the porkalicious sandwich in the debut Serious Sandwiches post, which received a bit of backlash since the Spotted Pig's cubano is not, "authentic." A real cubano probably wouldn't cost $15, for one thing. He later appended his post with the comment,

Let's call it an incredibly delicious sandwich inspired by a Cubano. It has all the elements and characteristics of a Cubano elevated by superior ingredients and cooking techniques.

So what's this cubano made of?

mm, sammich

A Balthazar roll, slow roasted heritage pork shoulder that has been brined for three days and cooked in duck and pork fat, pickled jalapeno peppers, Prosciutto de Parma/speck, and aged gruyere.

Let's take a closer look...

cuban sandwich
in yo face

See the gooey cheese drippage? And the chunk-o-pork? And the chopped peppers? And speck that poketh from the edge of the roll? Ohhh baby, it's good. Even if the pork weren't infused with the deliciousness of DUCK AND PORK FAT (I can feel my arteries harden just by typing that) and then covered in melted cheese, the roll's toasted crispy crust and chewy innards would make whatever happened to be stuffed inside taste awesome. Of course, the slow roasted pork made it 200% deliciouser. I especially liked the pickled peppers. More sandwiches could use a hot 'n spicy kick. And slow roasted pork. And cheese. ...Yeah.

nother piggy

While you sit in the restaurant the likenesses of countless pigs, whether they be in the form of a photo, plush, ceramic, plastic, painting, etc, stare at you from all angles. They're above you. Next to you. Possibly below you. You could even be sitting on one...or not. I probably should've felt more weirded out that a statue of a smilin' pig was looking at me while I chomped into my sandwich, but the tastiness of pork kind of obliterates all other uneasy thoughts, such as the guilt of eating such a cute, oinkly, delicious creature.

Two days later Ed had gotten a cubano from a nearby cafeteria for lunch. He asked if any of us wanted to share half of it. Adam and Raphael declined. I said nothing. Instead, I just glanced at Ed and...

cuban sammich
oh god, another sandwich

HE KNEW I WOULD EAT IT, OH HOW HE KNEW. Luckily I hadn't eaten much for lunch and I could use my lack of cubano eating experience as an excuse to try a "real" one. It may not have been as tasty as the Spotted Pig's version, but loaded with roasted pork, ham and cheese meant it was still hella awesome and earned a spot on my list of sandwiches I would eat more than once. My fingers were infused with the smell of pig fat for the rest of the day (and if you're wondering, yes, I do wash my hands...but not with industrial strength cleanser), but it's a small price to pay. Or maybe my nose was just more sensitive that day.


Last Friday I went waay downtown for the first time in nearly a year to go to the free Animal Collective concert and meet up with Tina + Tina's posse for dinner. But the concert idea kind of dropped out when the concert proved to be...

People watching Animal Collective
people! Lots of!

So. Crowded. Which wasn't really a problem for Tina because she was in the front row, but it was a problem for me because I was, as you can see here, not anywhere near the stage. Thankfully Tina decided to head out early because the show was kind of lackluster and she had no desire to made her eardrums explode.

Tina, Ariel, Helen, Seungmi, Julie and I went to the tapas bar Salud for dinner. You know it's been a while since you've visited a place when IT LOOKS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Yeah. That'll happen. When I lived downtown more than a year ago there was a shizzload of construction going on around Front Street and not much foot traffic since...well, there was nowhere to go. Never did it occur to me that someday (sooner than later) the construction would actually finish constructing whatever it was meant to construct, resulting in a hip-ish looking block of bars, restaurants. and perhaps even a non-food related place, not that those ever register in my mind.

It wasn't a very Robyn-ish scene. Not that there is such a thing. My scene = a bakery. Or my bedroom. And you're not invited there. There's no fun to be had watching me sit in front of my computer all day.

Tina has already written a descriptive post about our dinner, so I'm going to steal a lot of what she said. But lemme get permission first...HEY TINA, CAN I STEAL YOUR DESCRIPTIONS? KTHNX! ...Yeah, she totally didn't hear me.

Alright, I'll give a quick rundown of what was consumed on that fateful night...


The table shared a pitcher of sangria. Except for me, since I don't like alcohol. Ariel refused to believe that people could actually dislike alcohol. Well, I'm not your average person. I am...part robot.

plantain chips
plantain chips

We started with plantain chips. They taste like...crunchy, starchy things.

fried codfish and potato balls fried codfish and potato balls
mm, fish balls

Next were these bacalitos, fried balls of mashed salt cod and potato. They reminded me of brandade de morue—one of my favorite dishes I ate in Paris—but in a spherical form. Mmmm. I likey the spheres.

a tasty salad of some sort
salad of some sort

The ensalada de camaron featured shrimp. And lettuce. And 'cado chunks. I actually liked this a lot, although I forget why. Tina said it was dressed with coconut vinaigrette, so I'll take her word for it.

grilled chicken salad
grilled chicken salad

The grilled chicken salad wasn't as interesting. Maybe I would've liked it better if I had eaten it before I ate the other salad.


The ceviche was kind of odd; we weren't expecting a cup of salsa speckled with a few seafoody bits. Maybe this is how it's supposed to be done, but I hope not because that would suck. I mean, it tasted like...salsa. With a hint of ceviche.


Our interested was piqued when the waitress presented us with a bowl on a bed of flaming salt. What the hell? I didn't recall seeing "flaming salt" on the menu. It's very fitting that the tequilaso (shrimp sauteed in tequila & spicy chipotle pepper sauce) was surrounded in flames because after one bite, out of our mouths felt the same way. It was tasty, but I can't say I'd be dying to get it again because JESUS CHRIST, IT BURNS LIKE A MOFO. There's your warning.


The paella was good. Or rather, the rice was good and I'll assume all the seafoody bits were good. Although I don't mind eating it, I'm not a fan of shellfish. I know, cake.

yucca fries
yucca fries

I thought an order of yucca fries would entail a plate messily piled high with gloriously fried starchtastic sticks, not what looked like a game of Jenga in its infancy. Thankfully there was a stick for each of us so we didn't have to fight to the death for a taste. The fries were good. But you know what would've made them better? MORE OF THEM! I like quantity and quality, dammit.

a seafoody soup
seafood soup

Our last dish, asopaito (seafood soup), was...alright. I'm not a good judge of soup as I tend to be indifferent to most of them. Not bad, but as Tina said not remarkable either.

Tina refused to let us take photos of her lest her tipsy visage find its way onto the intarwebs. However, Ariel won the nonexistent award for "most tipsy person at the table." He just looked so damn happy. It was kind of endearing. And then for dessert he chugged a chocolate coconut martini (granted, it's a small glass anyway) and we were like, "...Whoa dude."

Salud felt overpriced, but the restaurant had a comfortable atmosphere and it was a fun night to spend with a bunch of friends. I was social! I GET A GOLD STAR!!!

Thanks for being awesome

I cannot thank you guys enough for all the great traveling advice you've given me. My plan is to make little guides to certain cities and whatnot based on the comments you've left me. This would be easier if I had an intern, but since I am my own intern, you can expect these pages to appear sometime next...year. BWAHAHAHA!

Okay, I'll try to go faster than that. This site is highly unorganized; I don't know where to begin. I don't want your knowledge to be hidden in the depths of my blog entries, left to fester and develop gangrene. Hopefully now that I've told you my plan, that means I'll actually have to follow through on it.

Have a minute to spare?

One of my friend's friends from ASU is asking people to fill out a super simple survey about Asian bakeries (one page, should take you about a minute) for one of her classes. I don't think it's for the purpose of actually opening one, but it could only help if lots of people filled it out. And maybe SHE WILL OPEN ONE, OMG, that would be sweet. Thanks for your help!

In the press!

This is somewhat random, but a few months ago I contributed an article about Paris to Malaysia-based Oxygen Magazine. And I only found out yesterday that it was actually printed! Which is quite nice. I suppose if anyone in Malaysia actually noticed and read my blog they would've said something. It was in the May issue, so even if you could buy the magazine it probably wouldn't be available anymore. Hm. Well. Er. [scratches head]

I suppose this paragraph is kind of useless. Um.


Speaking of for something random

I will use almost any excuse to write something about Paris. Jodie left a comment on my last entry to link to the Take-Away Show's episode featuring I'm From Barcelona. I think it was...relevant enough in an entry about Barcelona. ;)

The Take-Away Shows are one-shot videos of awesome bands playing in a (usually?) public spot in Paris. You may not realize how beautiful this idea is until you watch it in action. I'm sure many of us wished that we could come across one of these concerts while roaming the streets of Paris, but I guess that would take something away from the performance. Screaming fans, I mean. You wouldn't have been able to stop me from following Andrew Bird:

#45.3 - Andrew Bird - Spare-Oh
Uploaded by lablogotheque

Sigh. Oh yes, I will also use any excuse to write something about Andrew Bird.


2165 Broadway

The Spotted Pig
314 W 11th St

142 Beekman St


Morten / June 10, 2007 11:15 PM

Just wanted to point out that I'm From Barcelona is actually from Sweden. Just so you know (if you didn't already).

Oh, and could you make the math at the end a bit harder? Wouldn't it be cool if people would actually have to think?

Or perhaps not. No one would probably take the time to comment if it ment 30 minutes of calculations. Still, I'd think it was cool :p

roboppy / June 11, 2007 1:26 AM

Morten: Oh, but the band looks so Spanish!...yes, I did know. ;) I love it when bands name themselves after places they're not from. ..Okay, not really. It's kind of confusing. But I suppose a band from Barcelona wouldn't actually call themselves I'm From Barcelona, or if they did it wouldn't be in English!

If my readers had to do calculus to leave a comment on my site, no one would do it! And I've forgotten how to do calculus. A more straightforward way would be to say, "Write the number 4", but ye know, I made you think for about half a second first...

Marvo: Oh, it would look like the painting of a mentally disturbed 5 year old.

Rose: If I had any Taipei recs, I would make one... :(

jodie / June 11, 2007 2:18 AM

oh, my name in an entry! awesome. i'm glad it was useful as an excuse. (Y)

the gelato pictures are super appetizing, by the way! they'd be a good definition of food porn, methinks. hmmmmmmmm.

mj / June 11, 2007 2:18 AM

I don't like alcohol too! I think I'm made of the other half of the robot you are made of.

c / June 11, 2007 5:45 AM

i've been reading your blog for a year.. first time commenter. ahh, andrew bird!! i was grinning so much at the end of that.

your previous posts made me curious, when did you start going to live shows? i've just turned 16, and i've never seen an artist live. D: i don't know why, but i've always felt a little intimidated?

also.. great blog and pictures. :)

janet / June 11, 2007 11:59 AM

gimme that sandwich!!!!!

methinks I got the not best flavors at grom. i will have to give it another go some time.

Sera / June 11, 2007 12:29 PM

"Tina has already written a descriptive post about our dinner, so I'm going to steal a lot of what she said. But lemme get permission first...HEY TINA, CAN I STEAL YOUR DESCRIPTIONS? KTHNX! ...Yeah, she totally didn't hear me."

Ohhh man Robyn. That had me in stitches. My boss was wondering why I was laughing so hard. I couldn't explain.....

susannah / June 11, 2007 1:05 PM

I wanna go to Grom!! AND EVERYWHERE.

Quick question: I know Build A Green Bakery renamed themselves Birdbath, but where is it?? It's like a secret or something, the address isn't posted anywhere! Doooh.

YAY Andrew Bird!!

Kay / June 11, 2007 3:09 PM

I think GROM has really good gelato too, and I'm finding it a problem that I ordered a large on a cone and having to eat it in a cup instead.

Hey I saw you talk about that tapas place, I haven't had tapas in nyc and would like to go this week, do you know which is the restaurant in nyc for that?

Tina / June 11, 2007 3:44 PM

Oh man, I'm reading this at work. Boy, don't I need the humor...

Anyways, you could've used my descriptions of the food, if I knew about your photos first and borrrowed them. I totally agree with you that Salud is overpriced.

Ariel was drunk (you can tell when he's smiling for a ridiculous amount of time) but not red-faced as I was. Technically, my body is so freakin' sensitive to alcohol but I wasn't drunk. Basically, half a drink or glass of wine will make me turn red and even though I'm not tipsy.

Tina / June 11, 2007 3:58 PM

In reply to Kay's comment, I highly suggest you to go to Alta! It's SOO awesome, well at least most of the food I ate was pretty darn good. Here's my post about it.

Other tapas places I've heard that are pretty good but I haven't tried are: Casa Mono, Tia Pol, Boqueria (expensive but tasty), and other places I can't name at the top of my head right now.

Paris Flirt / June 11, 2007 6:22 PM

I didn't think you'd do it!!
Word from a friend recently returned from Florence where GROM just opened, is they are HOT HOT HOT!
The Florentines are mystified by the closed lidded gelato bins as well and the lines are VERY long!
Go figure...
That Paella looks terrific!

roboppy / June 11, 2007 10:45 PM

Jodie: YOU MADE IT INTO THE ENTRY! You and your music loving ways.

Gelato is always food porn. Kinda.

MJ: Together we harness the power of one sober robot.


I started going to live shows when i was...14 maybe? With my mom, I mean. Sans parental guidance wasn't until 16 or so. I think it's fine to have not seen anything when you're 16. I had to, beg my mom to take me places. The first "real" concert I went to was a Beck show at MTV studios and I needed my mum to drive me to NYC. :P

Oh, I STILL feel intimidated at concerts, somewhat. Kind of dumb. There is a certain image for a concert-going person and I've never fit it. But I still go, kinda (not nearly as much as before).

Janet: Try it again! ...And if you still don't like it, that's okay, you'll just have to go to Italyyy.

Sera: WOO, I CONFUZZLED YOUR BOSS, kinda. :D It's okay, most of what I write is

Susannah: If you wanna go everywhere, ye better start NOW.

Birdbath is at 7 Ave South and Charles Street. Their website does suck. Blech.

Kay: I don't know much about tapas, but Tina recommends Alta. One of my other friends said she loved it too. Mmmmm.

Carol: Wow, it's a huge deal there too? They have so much gelato to choose from, I figure there must be stuff better than Grom...oh god I wannit. .__.

tom / June 12, 2007 12:08 AM

I bet that gianduja flavor is great at Grom. I absolutely loved that flavor in Italy (my favorite gelateria in Rome was Giolitti's).

Those tapas looked great!

You are absolutely right, the Spotted Pig's cubano is not quite authentic; it actually is a little too upscale in its ingredients. When I ate cubanos in hole-in-the-walls in the Caribbean (made mostly by Cuban exiles), they would never use prosciutto or gruyere. But that's fine, different interpretations on a classic are always welcome.

I always find that the delicious marinade used to cook the pork in Latin America and the Caribbean gives it a great kick. We in the States have also bred the fat out of our pigs...our pork is too lean (and and therefore dry and tasteless, IMHO)in general, so I'm sure the Berkshire pork is an exception, which would be closer to what would be used in a true cubano.

Boots in the Oven / June 12, 2007 6:23 AM


OMG, Grom finally opened in NYC? It was one of our favorite gelaterie in Florence! Though I wouldn't say it's "just opened" there - it was well established when we arrived there last August.

Do they do the awesome seasonal flavors at GROM NYC like they do in Italy? I think my favorite was August's blueberry... though some of their fruit flavors leave a little bit to be desired. They actually taste dead on like the fruit, which is strange when you're talking fig.

Love your post!


Eric / June 13, 2007 11:40 AM

You can get pretty good Cubanos from the LES. There's this one place in Rivington (i forgot the name) that has them for less than $5!

roboppy / June 13, 2007 3:43 PM

Susannah: I am interested! Although for the time being I am more interested in eating as cheaply and delicious as possible. Without having to cook my own food. :) (I totally broke that rule today though...went to City Bakery to buy some cookies for a friend. And, ye know, one for myself.)

Tom: Oo Giolitti waws fun! I remember being amazed mostly by the...SIZE...the VOLCANO OF GELATO THAT SAT BEFORE US.

Funny you say that our pork is too lean; that's kind of what the national pork board is going for. They want to give the image of pork being NOT a fat bomb. But that's what makes it so tasty! Silly pork board. :P

M. Girlie: I think they have seasonal flavors here too...but I'm not keeping close enough watch. Blueberry sounds awesome though. Ahhhh.

Eric: Oo...uh...any more info about the place? :) I know El Castillo De Jagua has cubanos, never tried it though.

laurie / June 13, 2007 7:19 PM

love your posts too.
I came across one of your reports about Pozzetto in Paris where I just had the seasonal fresh Melon.
I basically ran into a pile of fresh melons which were sitting in front of their kitchen ready to be processed.
I realised I never had REAL melon ice cream before, and it is faboulous!

PS I was told pozzetto is actually the name of that fancy old style freezer where they keep their gelato

Grace / June 14, 2007 6:22 AM


Awesome posts on NYC! Been reading your blog for about a year now, first time posting though! Would actually be going NYC for a month this August! Looking forward to try out the million and one places you wrote about (stomach permitting) :P

The sandwiches look awesome!

Steamy Kitchen / June 14, 2007 9:05 AM

You know what just might be better than pork cubano? DUCK CUBANO! What did they do with the duck that the duck fat came from?!?

yumyumyum....(kicking myself for landing the stupid dart in Florida instead of NY when we chose where to live)

Eric / June 14, 2007 11:40 AM

El Castillo is it! Ding ding ding! Thats the name of the restaurant I was thinking of.

Their pork cubanos won't blow your mind, they're solid and hit the spot if you're craving one. And again, it only costs about $4 or so.

roboppy / June 14, 2007 6:46 PM

Laurie: Thanks for reading!

Ohhh man I wish I got to try the melon. Sounds heavenly. :|

Grace: FIRST TIME POST, not your last I hope. ;) You should be able to cover a lot of fooding ground in a month, woohooo.

Steamy Kitchen: You are so right. Duck. Duck confit. Yeah. Sammichified. Someone should totally make that. Preferably not me.

Eric: Wow, I guessed right? Now I HAVE TO TRY IT OUT! I like the cheap foods.

Kathy / June 14, 2007 7:04 PM

Everyone in the world has gone to Grom except me!!! bwhahaha. boo. There's only one place in Hawaii that sells Cubanos, but they're incredibly salty and not so awesome...I can't wait to move back in the fall. You are going to be there yes? :) cause eating wouldn't be half as fun without you! =)

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