A Public Space

27 06 2007

Teehee I am so witty and punny (A Public Space is also my favorite literary magazine). M, a friend who recently graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education, was very adamant that we go to Public, only a few weeks after he went for the first time, because he was craving their all their food.
I’m a little bit lazy, and I have much catching up to do, lots of posts backed up, so I will try and minimize my editorials. Public is an airy space, leaning on the cavernous side. But it’s beautifully lit, according to M, it’s by the same people who brought you the pretty lights of Sapa.

Marinated White Anchovies quinoa croquettes with spicy saffron aioli – really flavorful, as you can imagine, what with the anchovies and all. The croquettes had the texture of a softer falafel ball. I loved the pickled red onions that came with the dish, their acid cut right through and brought everything together.

It appears they’ve taken this dish’s description down from the website, so I will just have to give you what I remember, which is fried sweetbreads. They were a bit heavy and large. I like the sweetbreads at Momofuku Ssam Bar and Trestle on Tenth better. M was daydreaming about them since the last time he went, though.

My main dish, on the other hand, had me dreaming about it for days after – Snail and oxtail ravioli with pickled shiitake mushrooms, oven dried tomatoes, pea shoots and smoked paprika oil. I love love love oxtail dishes in general (especially when my momma makes them in a stew), and this one was definitely one of the best I’ve had – it was meaty and the ravioli had a thicker wonton wrapper feeling. Yes, it’s heavy, but are you starting to see a trend here? Everything, at least to me, is high-end comfort food with a twist, so I wouldn’t go if you’re not super hungry.

Chocolate chili mousse with passion caramel sauce and golden nuggets – VERY rich. It’s like eating a huge hunk of pure chocolate essence, but with a bit of kick from the chili.

Sticky toffee pudding with Armagnac ice cream and hot caramel sauce – best dessert out of the ones we had. It was like eating a gooey mess of happiness with each bite, L definitely gobbled that baby down. Sounds just as intense as it tasted.

Yuzu cheesecake with macadamia nut crust, blackberry sauce and basil seeds – a little lighter than the other two desserts, but no less flavorful and it came with the best dessert wine pairing.

I would definitely go back to Public. They also have a bar scene, but a romantic vibe going on, so it’s good for lovey dovey dinners and bigger, more boisterous groups. Plus, they give you free house-made soap in their bathrooms! I mean seriously, why wouldn’t you want to go? (Good call, M! We will return whenever the cravings start. I feel a quiet rumbling already)

210 Elizabeth St. (near Prince St)


I love me some snacks.

14 06 2007

I get hungry fairly often throughout the day. I’m not really one of those people who can just eat 3 square meals and be a happy camper. I need to be munching every few hours or so, like a cow chewing the cud – a beautiful image I know. I thought I would share a few of the things I’ve been snacking on, since they’re mighty tasty.

I strolled by the Blue Ribbon Bakery (the little shop near the restaurant) and engaged in a impromptu honey tasting. And boy, was it fun. They had four types of honey, each one either from a different flower, processed differently or from different seasons. I decided to go with the autumn flower, because I liked the grainy texture and it wasn’t as cloying sweet as a couple of the other ones. It does have a really intense flavor, though, and a little goes a long way.
Continuing deeper into the Village, I stopped by Murray’s Cheese, and picked up this kooky yogurt from Iceland. The label looked homemade-ish and slightly more ghetto than your regular Dannon. Damn, that stuff was thick and a bit sour, which is how I like my plain yogurt, because the honey balances it out. But I could only eat half the cup, because the texture was so thick (and even thicker with the added honey) that it was almost like eating glue – in a good way, if that’s possible. Since then, I’ve tried the honey with other yogurts, and I’d say greek yogurt, specifically Fage, is really great with it.

Looks yummy, though, doesn’t it?

On one of those steamy summer days, I decided to drop by Vosges because I saw a peanut butter ad in their window. Visions of chocolate-peanut butter ice cream were floating through the bottomless stomach in my mind as I entered their Soho chic store. I didn’t see any peanut butter, but the skinny (how do you work in a chocolate shop and stay skinny is beyond me) lady behind the counter offered me a sample of their bacon flavored chocolate. And HOLY PORK GODS, it tasted like bacon and chocolate and it was pretty fantastic, actually. I know, my first reaction was EW? But I was instantly converted.
They also let you try their ice cream before you buy it. The skinny (seriously, how?!) hipster guy said wattleseed was his favorite, wattle-what, I’m sure you’re asking me as I asked him. I don’t think he actually explained what it was, but it tastes a good deal like coffee ice cream AND it has little chunks of macademia nuts in it, so can it really be that bad? I really enjoyed it and the flavors got better as I ate more of it. Ah, I just looked up wattleseed in wikipedia – it’s in the Australian Acacia family and apparently has a high nutritional content. I knew my body was getting something else out of the ice cream besides a happy, warm feeling inside. I didn’t sample it, but they had an Indian curry flavor that sounded intriguing and I’m sure I’ll be back soon to try it.

My health trend continued when my stomach insisted I find chocolate chip cookies immediately. From my office to Milk & Cookies was quite a hike, much longer than I anticipated, but boy, was it worth it. It was a cute little shop with a little kid feel (they host parties for children and adults) and relaxed vibe. After choosing the chocolate chip, I was trying to decide between the oatmeal raisin and the mint chocolate, when the woman helping me said they were both her favorites and that I should ditch the chocolate chip cookie for those two instead.
And as you can see, that is just what I did. No regrets here, none at all. The mint chocolate was better by a smidgen. I could use one of those cookies now.

Blue Ribbon Bakery
35 Downing Street (at Bedford)

Murray’s Cheese
254 Bleecker Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues)

Vosges Haut-Chocolat
132 Spring Street (between Green and Wooster)

Milk & Cookies Bakery
19 Commerce Street (between 7th Ave and Bedford)

In case you didn’t know, it’s time for Season 3 of Top Chef

14 06 2007

On Tuesday, Bravo decided Top Chef Season 3 needed just a leeeeetttle more press, so they pimped Sam and Ilan out to have a little rematch in Union Square. I could barely hear a thing and I still don’t even know who won this contest, but everything smelled tasty as hell. Below are some photo ops that I managed to take advantage of. I’m not really a celebrity whore who loves to take pictures with them, etc (except for that one I took with Mario), but I decided hey why not, they’re here. Unfortunately Tom Colicchio ran away before I could grab one of him.

Lee Ann Wong from Season 1 works for Top Chef now, so she was there, chilling. She’s so cute!

Ilan’s so full of it. Winner of Season 2. I don’t know how.

Everybody’s favorite diabetic hottie chef, Sam. The girls were swarming him. I will say that in person, he is pretty hot. I felt like he was irritated by his good-lookingness or other people’s (read every straight woman and gay man within 50 ft) reactions to his looks – like I know I’m good looking, you know I’m good looking, let’s move on. But hey, you agreed to be on TV, so deal with it.

Now I will stop adding to the Top Chef furor. Thanks for letting me borrow your camera, J!