I think I’m still feeling full from this weekend of eating! My foodie soul-mate, Dinner Party Wars partner, eating accomplice, and good friend Erin recently came for a visit. Being her very first time in NYC (I know?!) the pressure was on to not only show her the wonderfulness of this incredible city, but also eat the best food it has to offer. And you know what, I think I succeeded! What better way to welcome someone to the city then with some delicious corn cake sandwiches at Caracas Arepas, in the East Village. You know a place is good if I return to it for my THIRD time! Erin was fresh off the plane and starving and if you could have seen her face when she took her first bite of her beefy arepas choice…well, you’d understand why you need to go there STAT.
If breakfast pancakes met a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with a fried plantain…that’s how good this app was! A new to me dish at Caracas that I would order again in a second! No visit to NYC is complete with out dessert at my favorite ice cream shop…And I believe that Big Gay Ice Cream is now Erin’s favorite ice cream shop too.
After lots of walking we were surprisingly hungry again. Erin wanted to try NY pizza and I thought Paulie Gee’s was the perfect location…and I also really wanted to go back to try some more of their very interesting pies baked on perfectly chewy crusts. The almost 2 hour wait was made so much more enjoyable when Pauli Gee himself came around to handout slices of his plain pizza to everyone waiting…a really nice touch. He also made a return trip to our table and was really genuinely interested in us…he really loves what he does and it definitely comes through in his perfect pizzas.
There was also an un-pictured hellboy pizza consumed…spicy sausage, sweet tomato sauce, and mike’s hot honey…Erin said this was her favorite bite of the whole trip! We begged and begged Paulie for the recipe for these pickled grapes but to no avail. Anyone have any tips on how to make them because they were outstanding! And just so you know, we weren’t that gluttonous…Adam was at this dinner too! (ie. Erin and I DID NOT consume three pies ourselves!)
The next morning brought a brand new day of sightseeing and eating! With the goal of walking the High line, we wanted a brunch places that was nearby. Cookshop seemed like the perfect option and the line up outside before the restaurant even opened showed just how popular this cute Chelsea restaurant is. We already knew what we wanted to order prior to sitting down. Our waitress maybe gave us an odd look when we ordered the pastry basket just for the two of us AND two main brunch dishes but we were two girls on an eating mission and I think this was the best decision of the day!
Everything about this was delicious. The pastries were warm and fresh (best scone I’ve ever had!) and the eggs were soft, rich, and salty good. I think we have a new favorite brunch place! Fueled with food and LOTS of coffee (I think I had 5 cups…it was delicious coffee!) we walked all over the city…literally. From Chelsea Market up to Central Park, we were zonked by the time we made it back to Brooklyn. But we rested and rallied for our late and long awaited dinner at ABC Kitchen.
This restaurant is absolutely stunning…white lights, beautiful fixtures, and china that we just marveled at. And sitting in this beautiful setting made us ready for an indulgent dinner to come. Our waitress was helpful in deciding what we should order and after she raved and raved about the roast suckling pig, we basically felt like we had to order that for our main. And I am so glad we did!
If it was classy to lick the bowl, I would have picked up that tuna and licked it clean! The crab toasts were so fresh, with just the right amount of aioli…a terrific start to our meal.
Those beets…words can’t begin to describe the flavor of the perfectly cooked beets, with cold creamy house-made yogurt and tart and tangy balsamic. This was my favorite bite of the weekend for sure! The calamari was the one big let down of the meal. We did not taste pretzel at all…they were basically just fried calamari…and we both agreed we’ve had better at our local pub. But the service made up for this course…our waitress saw we didn’t really make a dent in this dish (vs. all the other ones where we practically licked the plate clean) and she took it off the bill. That is excellent service!
The kitchen split our entree for us…a very nice touch. Erin was practically begging our waitress to bring her a plate of crispy pig skin…unsuccessful again! The meat was so tender and that bacon marmalade was like no marmalade I’ve ever had before!
I don’t think I really need to say anything about this dessert, am I right? What an incredible dining experience, from start to finish. Waking up the next morning, we were both still so full!!! But we realized, we hadn’t had one pasta dish this whole weekend…Blasphemy! So where did we head to for lunch? Eataly of course! I had only eaten at their fish restaurant before and was eager to see how they handled pasta. Well…they handle it pretty well I tell you!
The pasta was cooked literally “to the tooth….” it still had that bite to it. Both were simple and delicious, just what Italian food should be. An amazing end to an amazing weekend! And yes…I am indeed still full!