Olive oil gelato olive oil gelato oliveoilgelato.
Sarah, along with a million other people, just couldn't stop talking about Otto's olive oil gelato. Although I've been interested in trying it for a long time (hey, I love olive oil and I love gelato!), I...um, hadn't. Until Friday night.
There was no wait for a party of two at 7 PM. Sweet! Out first nibbles were the free breadsticks and bread. I don't think I've ever been to a restaurant that served breadsticks in packaging and bread wrapped in paper, but if it tastes good, who cares? Woop! I think.
I ordered one of the few pizzas that was seemed unworthy of an Italian translation: "potato, anchovy, and ricotta". If you've never had potato on pizza (I tried a version of it once at Sullivan Street Bakery—so awesome), then...put it on your list of things to eat. Otto's pizza was topped with a layer of ricotta cheese, thinly sliced potato rounds, a smattering of anchovies, and flakes of fresh, oil-drunken sage bits. Of course, the combination is freakin' awesome. While the pizza would've been find without the anchovies, the anchovies provided a much appreciated kick to what would have otherwise been a pleasant, but mildly flavored pizza. ANCHOVES KICK YOU IN THE FACE, YO! A delicious, salty sea-filled kick.
In true Slice fashion, I bring you the upskirt of this uber-thin, crispy crust. I think this is one of the best crusts I've ever had due to being...well, I just said it: uber-thin and crispy. I've tried other thin crust pizzas, but unlike the others, this showed no signs of floppage. Folks, the floppage must be stopped! Crispiness (while still retaining chewiness as opposed to breaking in a cracker-like fashion) is hot.
Sarah ordered the special pizza of the week, "ramps and bufala mozzerella". If you read other NYC food blogs (or others), you've probably heard about ramps season a gajillion plus one times by now. I'm afraid I'm not quite as excited about ramps as others are (although when persimmon season comes, I'll be all like, "HOLY SHIZZZNIT, PERSIMMONS ARE HERE!"), but Sarah really wanted to try the ramps pizza. And...IT WAS AWESOME. Duh. It was completely different from my cheesy carby fishy pizza with its layer of sweet tomato sauce, dollops of buffalo mozzerella, and little mounds of ramps, which made it all the more awesome to each in conjunction with my pizza. There were also some weeny thinly sliced chile peppers that gave the pizza that extra "kick", kinda like the anchovies on my pizza, but spicy and not of aquatic origins.
At the end of the meal when trying to decide which pizza we liked better, we found that we liked both of them, but we liked the ones we each ordered just a smidgen more than the other one. OUR TASTES ARE SO COMPATIBLE, it is frightening, indeedio.
I ate my entire six-slice pizza (we exchanged two pieces of each one), while Sarah had two pieces leftover. Damn. Once again, I ate the most. I could've eaten just four slices also, as I was quite stuffed by that point, but ye know...it was really good. Stomachs expand. My brain does not.
What do you do after you stuff yourself with pizza?
DESSERT. TIME FOR DESSERT. TIME FOR GELATO. TIME TO WRITE ALL IN CAPS.
After much indecisiveness that went along the lines of, "IdunnowhattogetwhatdoIget?", I ordered olive oil, caramel, and coconut in my metal cup of gelato joy. Before I get to the WONDEROUS OLIVE OIL GELATO OF EXPLOSIVE AWESOMENESS, I shall talk about the other flavors.
Caramel. This stuff has time-released flavor of heightened intensity. As soon as I put a spoonful in my mouth and swooshed it around with my saliva, I thought, "....hm...doesn't taste like much." But what I fool I was! A few seconds later a salty sensation hit the back of my inner cheeks. I kid you not; this flavor comes out in waves. Of salted caramel. Really good salted caramel. If you don't agree that this flavor is the shizz, you must leave, NOW. [points to the virtual door]
Coconut. It was good. Creamy with a not overpowering, concentrated coconut flavor (which is how I'd describe the flavor for any of the gelatos). Not as mind blowing as the caramel, but really good for coconut.
OLIVE OIL GELATO. There aren't many ways to describe this gelato besides that it tastes like sweet, creamy, ice cream-ified olive oil and that it's mega good. The first bite, topped with salt and olive oil, is the best. If I could put salt and olive oil on every bite then my head may have exploded from the yumminess, so I guess it a good thing I couldn't.
The olive oil gelato was the creamiest of the three—I suppose the fat helps with that. You like cream, yes? And olive oil? And gelato? Wellll then, this is the perfect dessert for you. I'd put this on the list of things you should try in NYC (figuring the list isn't too long, because that kind of list could go on forever) if you get the chance.
Sarah ordered olive oil, pistachio, and honey goat ricotta. The ricotta was most puzzling, probably because it was the least easily discernable flavor of the whole bunch. Pistachio was the best pistachio ice cream I've ever had, almost characteristic of peanut butter, but...well, pistachio. I'm afraid I can't think of a better description—you just have to eat it.
And thus ended a memorable dinner at Otto. I thought it may have been overrated since I heard so many good things about it, but...it is good. At least if you just get pizza and gelato.
Before we went to Otto, we roamed around Union Square and ended up at the small, cleanly designed Tavalon tea shop on 14th Street between 5th Ave and University Place. They had free tea samples outside that I surprisingly liked. It was mint plum something-or-other...which means it probably didn't taste like regular tea. But that's why I liked it.
I was surprised to find Balthazar canneles being sold there. Of course, I had to try one since my first (and only) cannele-eating experience from Bouley Market last summer. Unfortunately, this wasn't nearly as good. The caramel flavor wasn't as deep or striking. It still had that creamy pudding-cake texture, but...it wasn't that memorable. Sad.
We also tried a chai almond cookie by Amai (from the creators of Lovescool!). It tasted like...chai and almond. Good! Tender shortbread-ish cookies aren't my favorite kind, but the flavor was unique and I liked it.
For lunch on Friday after turning in my deathly research paper about honey for "Food and Nutrition in a Global Society", I strolled over to The Original Sandwich Shoppe of NY on Greenwich Ave. I had been interested in trying it for a while, but I never got the chance. I happened to cut back my work time that Friday and...man, it was hella beautiful. SANDWICHING, HERE I COOOME.
I'm not sure if I had ever had liverwurst before—all the more reason to try it, perhaps? The soft, creamy liverwurst came with dijon mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and roasted red peppers on crusty French bread. While I didn't like it enough to considering ordering it again, I enjoyed it enough to eat the whole thing. The problem for me was the mustard; it was eye-searingly strong. Ouch. It certainly had a lot of flavor, but it overpowered the liverwurst. And my tastebuds are wussy.
I'd definitely return to this sandwich shop if I were in the neighborhood. Prices are reasonable ($6.50 for my large sandwich), seating is spacious and cozy, and service is friendly. The French bread was also among the better sandwich breads I've had; chewy, crust, but not so hard that it scraped the roof of my mouth to bits.
On Thursday afternoon I strolled by Once Upon a Tart for some lunchin'.
I'm actually not a huge fan of tarts, so thankfully they sell other things that I do love. Scones! Muffins! Sammiches! All presented in a bright, yellow sunny room (with bright, sunny employees!...or maybe that was just the guy who helped me). ALL FOR MY STOMACH! Their sandwiches err on the expensive side, but I figured I may as well try it at least once.
Sarah kept pressing the deliciousness of their muffins to me, so naturally I had to try one. They didn't have flavors that I really wanted, but the apple cranberry muffin was one of the better muffins I've eaten. Large chunks of fresh apples made the difference between an okay muffin and a, "Whoa, this is pretty good" muffin.
I also tried the mozzerella sandwich with artichoke paste, roasted tomato and arugula on foccaccia. For $6.75, I felt like it should've been bigger than my fist, but it was yummy with freshness. I COULD'VE EATEN TWO OF EM.
On Thursday night, I also ate popcorn in addition to half of the sandwich (I split it half and half between lunch and dinner). I rarely eat popcorn, but Kathy gave it to me. I had been hoping to pop it when i could share it with some friends, but...hoho, Robyn has no friends, so I ate it by myself. Of course, this wasn't normal popcorn (because then why would Kathy give it to me?), but Hawaiian hurricane popcorn! It's better than normal popcorn because it has the extra flavor of salty seaweed flakes and the crunch of a smattering of rice crackers. Mmmm! It also came with a bag of mysterious "butter", but I replaced it with olive oil. There's no contest between "butter" and olive oil, is there?
...Oh, if I learned anything from eating the popcorn, it's that no one person should ever eat a whole bag by herself. You'll get sick of it. Guess how I learned this lesson? By eating the entire bag and getting sick of it by the end. If you don't overdo it though, it should be pretty tasty.
On Wednesday I went to the Vietnamese restaurant Bo Ky in Chinatown with Mary and Brad to semi-celebrate Mary's 21st birthday (wahoo!). Kathy mentioned it to me on multiple occassions; when she likes a place, ye know it's good.
I ordered the Cambodian rice noodle bowl, which had flat, wide rice noodles topped with fish and squid balls, shrimp, pork, and scallions. I made use of the free mystery condiments on the side of the table and dumped just about everything in at various points of the meal. Some sauces tasted spicy, some sour, and...really I had no idea what I was tasting, besides that it was delicious and that I really wish I were Vietnamese so I could go to Vietnam and eat stuff like this (but probably better) 24/7. It reminded me of the time in middle school that I mixed every soda in the school's soda machine, resulting in a blue colored concoction, which was odd considering none of the soda was blue.
...Chemicals, dude. It's the chemicals.
Unsurprisingly, I ate it all. Neither Mary nor Brad could finish their bowls of curry chicken noodle soup (yup, they ordered the same thing).
I tried a bit of Mary's and I liked it! They liked it! They just weren't hungry enough to EAT the whole damn thing. God, I'm a pig.
Naturally, I decided to top off my 150% full stomach with something from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Doh. Once again, I was the pig; Mary and Brad shared a scoop while I downed a cone by my ol' self.
Coconut is one of my favorite flavors from CIF. Can you see the uber-creaminess? CAN YOU? The photo was taken after I licked it into shape, but still...that's damn creamy, the creamiest flavor I've had there. When I saw that they had coconut fudge, I went all over it. There wasn't actually a lot of fudge, but it gave it a little extra chocolate yumminess not found in plain coconut.
On that note, I totally forgot that I had bought a Toblerone bar yesterday until writing about the fudge. I know; how does one forget that they bought a Toblerone? No freakin' clue. I could've eaten that instead of the crappy lunch of rice and random crap in a pot. This chocolate bar is much awesomer. The nougaty goodness brings back memories of flying and duty free shops