After the Night of the Manatee, Alex and I met up with Kathy at Alpha Donuts to help her with her epic Donut Hunt of 2008. The donut hunt is for an upcoming post on Serious Eats: New York, so I won't reveal too much besides that we're pretty sick of donuts and New York City is not a good donut town. Alpha Donuts was alright—nice if you live nearby, but not worth going out of your way for. Imagine that I'm doing that see-saw motion with my hand, the one that says, "Ehh, you know." (At least, that's what my hand says. It speaks to me. It's perfectly normal.)
Unsurprisingly, my stomach hurt after that. I think it wanted "real food," or a vitamin, or salt, or something.
I brought Alex to Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop for a cheap, vegetarian-friendly lunch. Unfortunately, my faith in the Pesto-rific, sautéed portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, and tomato with pesto on a 7-grain baguette, was misplaced. What tasted amazingly good the first time I ate it tasted disappointingly boring the second. Not bad; just underwhelming. For a sandwich named after pesto, it didn't have much of it. On the upside, there were plenty of mushrooms and other fillings. I thought maybe the bread was different since this time it overpowered the flavors of the fillings with its nutty wheatiness, but after comparing photos it looks like the same 7-grain baguette from before. Either the flavor was off or my taste buds were off.
Grilled cheese, though, I would recommend—it was good as always. An oozy triple whammy of cheddar, provolone, and mozzarella between two butter-laden slices of bread sandwich a heart of tomato, making it one of the few times I endorse the inclusion of raw tomato in a sandwich. I usually dislike raw tomatoes, sometimes to the point of having to remove their slippery remains from whatever I'm eating.
After lunch, we went to Uniqlo, Alex's preferred clothing shop in New York City (as is mine). After much debating between colors and styles, he finally settled on a simple blue cardigan and a white collared shirt. Or maybe he got a t-shirt. Whatever he got, it looked hot. And that's all that matters.
We passed The Modern in a failed attempt to visit the MoMA (we got there less than half an hour before closing). I've always been interested in eating at The Modern, but not to the point where I felt like coughing up the dough for it. The display of flashing angular neon lights over a yarn "painting" by the door was especially cool, even if I had no idea what it was supposed to represent. I'm guessing "neon lights" and "yarn."
Tristan and his friends made vegetable soup that night for dinner. We all stayed in the apartment that evening to get ready for our house party, the point of the party being to drink all of Tristan's homemade beer. I stupidly forgot to take a photo of our fridge full of beer—above is a photo of the beer during the fermenting process—but I got a photo of THE ICE CREAM TABLE.
It's a rather anticlimactic table, but for my first try, it could've been worse. I proposed the idea of making hot fudge sundaes as an alternative to drinking beer (me being the key non-drinker). While the initial response seemed nonexistent, as the party date got closer I found out that people actually wanted ice cream, thus giving me a good reason to buy all these ingredients aside from indulging in my own gluttony. I waited way too long at Trader Joe's to get that ice cream (two quarts each of dairy and soy, the soy possibly being better than the dairy), chocolate syrup, and whipped cream, and failed to think about how to display the ingredients in some sort of organized fashion. The final arrangement was haphazard, to put it nicely—there were cups (in their original plastic bag), there were spoons (also in their original plastic bag), and there were open pints of ice cream; I trusted that people could connect the dots between these visual cues and no Ikea-like diagrams would be needed. Preferably they would also eat all the ice cream so I wouldn't have any leftovers to worry about, but in the end only a little more than one quart of dairy and one quart of soy were eaten.
On the bright side, all of Tristan's beer was consumed. Unsurprisingly.
Some photos from the party, whittled down for your lack of boredom:
- Random girl! DJ Tristan! Marcine!
The party was a success because everyone who came was awesome, especially CJ, who came from New Jersey and showed up somewhat lost at 1:30 a.m. (man, I felt so bad for him). I didn't dance, but I watched semi-drunk Alex dance and sing Kylie Minogue, which is the definition of an A+ party.
The next day after spending one and a half hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alex and I met up with his friend Thane at Otto for a quick lunch. So quick (because Alex had to catch a bus back to Philly) that, for the first time, I didn't order dessert. No. Dessert. No gelato of perfection to end the meal with. That's almost not a meal at Otto, but in the end I was satisfied because my plate of penne with sweet Italian sausage, garlic, and swiss chard was awesome. It's a simple dish, but it's those kinds of dishes that leave the greatest impressions on you when they're done right—when each component perfectly balances the other. Otto cooks their pastas to the point when they're a little hard in the middle (I'm not very knowledgeable about pasta, but I'd label that slightly before al dente). Apparently, this is my favorite level of done-ness in pasta, and it's been the same every time I've gone to Otto.