"GELATO, AH'MUH GONNA GIT YEWWW!"
...is 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.
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. But...you don't really need to see the gelato to be enticed. You know it's good. Or it better be damn good for $5+.
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. :)
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.
Methinks Carol thoroughly enjoyed her cup of cinnamon and hazelnut. I copied her idea to get the cone on top.
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.
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 exactly...eh, "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?
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...
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.
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...
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...
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.
We started with plantain chips. They taste like...crunchy, starchy things.
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.
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.
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 prefer...ye know, cake.
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.
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.
Dear Malaysia: SOMEDAY I WOULD LIKE TO VISIT YOUR COUNTRY AND EAT YOUR DELICIOUS FOOD.
Speaking of Paris...now 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:
Sigh. Oh yes, I will also use any excuse to write something about Andrew Bird.