Wednesday, April 28, 2010

week 17: risotteria {and caffe vivaldi}

{and the time i was a total diva}


i recently went to see a performance by the famed/illustrious
zoogmadon
at caffe vivaldi
in the west village {around the corner from kesté, john's pizzeria, risotteria, etc, etc, etc}


in enjoying fabulous and hilarious music,
i decided the only thing that would make my life better,
was if my tummy wasn't so growly and begging for dinner...


so i made the terrible and uneducated decision to order
what was advertised as 
"house made ravioli"


*calling something "house made" on a menu
is about as sad and ambiguous as calling something "gourmet"


 as i experienced, "house made" could very easily translate into
a dish reminiscent of canned poop.
{that i won't even waste my energy describing}




do you know how painful it is to be eating a bad meal when you are spitting distance from kesté?!


i left.


but first i subtracted twenty from the amount of minutes it took to get my food,
divided that by two,
and then deducted that amount of dollars from the proper tip amount.
i go back and forth between embarrassment and pride for tipping so little, but i'm leaning towards pride because i think i would have done a disservice to future victims otherwise.


anyways,
in a mad dash, i fled around the corner to the intersection of kesté and risotteria,
and since i've been to the former, decided on
risotteria


where i was immediately able to sit at the bar,
and within minutes,
have a bowl of piping hot,
burn-your-mouth {meaning bonus points in my book}
comforting,
gooey,
rich,
heavy,
hit-the-spot


mozzarella and pesto risotto 


oh it was heaven.


i recently learned my lesson with pesto
{to me it always seems like a really good idea until the second bite when i realize it in fact is not usually a good idea, due to oil, etc}
but when waitress recommended it, i decided to give it another chance.
and i'm so glad i did.


it was so rich and heavy that i saved some for lunch the next day.


 comforting
is the one word i'd use to describe it.
not just because it saved my evening from being culinarily awful 
but because, it was so simple and cuddly and non offensive. 


the rest of risotteria's menu looked delicious as well.
everything is gluten-free,
and it is abundant in herbivore-friendly options.


the vibe was cozy,
and the view of phileo yogurt across the street was just too tempting
{pistachio fro yo with mochi was my dessert}


risotteria,
i am forever indebted to you for saving my evening.


i have 35 restaurants to go, lovelies


xoxo




yeh



risotteria is on bleecker between 6th and 7th ave
open noon to 11pm every day
caffe vivaldi can suck it

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

xenakis, wee ones, second dinners

most commonly
when i am home
i am here.

at the counter in the kitchen
{keeping mum company as she bakes, cooks, etc}

i sit on my computer,
i glance up at whichever suburban obsession is on the tele 
{dancing with the stars graced my life today}
and i nibble on whatever of mum's creations are on her 
beloved aqua cake stand
the current tasty is a dark chocolate orange zest cookie bar


today i broke the monotony 
of my butt-glued-to-chair-noshing-aimlessly routine by playing a recital for
{my favorite}
wee ones!
there aren't many things i love more in life than playing for itsy bitsy kids.

they are so curious!
and
they love loud things!
and have you ever seen a kindergartner pronounce "marimba?"

oh tickle me, it's just the cutest thing.

...

i took them on a little time machine trip
starting with bach
and moving up to xenakis....

i really really hope that a five year old goes home and tells his mom he wants a xenakis cd for christmas.
that would be precious and all the way legit.

all of that playing with kids takes a lot out of you.
so i naturally had to ravage some dumplings.
the ones at dragon inn north in glenview, il
continue to be some of my favorite.

 the uuuuber doughy texture
and the mass quantities of ginger
make them xtra special.

whenever i eat them i get nostalgic about my little kid days
when i'd go here and have a whole order of them for dinner,
but only the dough {never the filling}


and of course there's always room for a second dinner

sister stoop came over

and we made
risotto


and it was delicious.

except so much of me wishes right now that the part of new york,
where you walk a bunch after you eat a big meal,
{or where you walk a bunch even when you don't eat a big meal}
was true for the chicago suburbs.

i guess i'll just submit to food coma instead. 


xoxo


yeh

Sunday, April 25, 2010

home for the weekend!

to play a recital
and 
eat some pizza


and to recall that in some places in the world,
pizza is actually cut into squares
{?!?!?!}

does somebody want to explain to me the reasoning behind this?

other than,
1. so that the cheese can slide off reeeeeally easily
and 
2. so that eating just one more piece is so easy to do that you eat the whole pizza without even knowing it


thankfully,
the stupidity of square cut pizza in this region
is balanced out by the genius of
 deep dish.
{with my current accessory of choice, the green pepper}


and how about some caramelized crust with your slice?

#whychicagoansarefatsos


wish me luck in my recital/digestion, everybody!


xoxo


yeh


tonight's pizza was from pequod's in morton grove, il
{pequod's has another location in lincoln park}
m-sat 11am-2am
sun 11am-12am

Thursday, April 22, 2010

volcanoes and ice cream trucks


dear icelandic volcano,

thank you for delaying all air travel to and from europe,
causing gergiev and his chorus to land in new york
{via tel aviv and philly}
about way too many days late,
causing the new york phil to reschedule their rehearsals,
causing my teacher to need to cut studio class an hour short
{in order to make rescheduled rehearsals}
giving me a whole extra hour of my day,
with nothing else to do
other than visit 

the ice cream truck.

with jeremy:


and sammy:


and davey:


my ice cream cone had 
rainbow jimmies.
and it was delicious.
and it made me feel all summer-y.


my only request, 
mr. volcano,
is that, 
since you somehow have a way of affecting peoples' lives in the most random and oddest ways possible,
{i.e. more friends that could come to my mustache party because their concert was cancelled because bang on a can was stuck in europe...}

can you somehow begin a string of events that will result in ice cream trucks around the country selling
 pistachio soft serve?



that's all, mr. v

i love you.

xoxo


yeh


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

week 16: umi no ie


a very wise man once added the shortened form of "bourgeois"
{"bougey" {büzh-ee}}
to his everyday vocabulary so that he could more easily use it as a way of classifying eating places,
usually in the negative sense.
{ex. "even the waffles truck is a little bougey"}

this wise man {ok, we'll call him chris}
came to the city, like me, with the zagat top lists memorized and had every intention of trying all of [them bougey places] until, 
as legend has it,
he discovered 
the other places. 
the authentic,
hole-in-the-wall
make-friends-with-the-owner
no-reservations-needed
other place.

and so when chris,
our friend
jeff
{whose claim to fame is that he once made the bold, and possibly quite genius claim that jj's hot dogs is a better culinary experience than per se}
and
luke
pardon me
saw that my restaurant list was all momofuku-ed and jean george-d out, they said,

"we're going to umi no ie."
”海の家に行く”














and the rest is history...


{if chris and luke and jeff made a cd of percussion trio music this might be the cover.}

ok 
so let's talk about food.

uminoie is japanese.
it is not sushi a go go or whatevs,
ゴゴカレもでわない
it is not bring your prom date to benihana,
but rather, 
it is the japanese equivalent to your jewish mother's matzoh ball soup and the challah bread {holla!} she baked fresh to dunk in it, and, of course, the brisket. 

it's comforting and it's home style...


and these udon noodles are what "homegirl's grandmother taught her to make when she was seven." thanks, chris

...

now since we literally ordered every single menu item,
i'll discuss the highlights.

first to come out was the
shiokara
塩辛
squid marinated in its own liver sauce.
{this is not an april fools' joke}

when my first instinct was to run the other way,
i was immediately harassed by jeff 
who informed me that,
because i have a {mostly} food blog,
will be trying everything that they order
and i will not have a choice.

and he was right. 

and so on the count of three
i ate squid.
いか食べた
and it was reminiscent of a gummi bear that had been sitting out for a day,
with the flavor of licorice,
and then a strong little punch at the end.
enjoyable indeed,
albeit a little scary. 


next up was
eihire
エイ鰭
dried fin of manta ray, served with mayo

chris is convinced that, 
whereas americans use pretzels and chips simply as a vehicle with which to eat salt,
manta ray fins are an excuse for japanese people to eat mayonnaise. 
because apparently 
mayonnaise:chris::mustard:molly
マヨネーズ:クリス::辛子:森
i imagine that if i were a 14 year old japanese boy,
washing up on the beach after an afternoon of surfing,
i would reach for these instead of doritos. 
森=モリー、ごめん はは
they had the consistency of fruit leather,
and the taste of salt, a hint of fishiness,
and a glob of mayo. 
yum!!


another fave
was
karaage
空揚げ
fried chicken

{thankfully/sneakily jeff got two orders...}

there's not much to say about it,
(超おいしい!)
except that, if my memory serves me right,
i'm pretty sure this sparked a conversation on the kfc double down. 

these two photos are further evidence that the japanese really enjoy their omelets.
as a youth,
my protocol for going to a sushi restaurant was ordering about 50 pieces of tamago.
loved the stuff.
but these omelets just took it a few steps further:

the top had bitter melon,
tofu,
and bonito flakes

and the bottom had eel
{yes, another food virginity broken}

...if you've never had bitter melon,
i highly suggest that you forget about the fact that it's called "melon,"
maybe rename it to "bitter weird carroty thing,"
or something,
and then try it.
there's really nothing like it.

another source of tastiness was 
meatballs + eggs
didn't dare ask what kind of meat these were made out of,
but they were very similar to their italian counterpart.

luke, jeff,
some
"divine"
egg rolls
春巻き

...and the pièce de résistance...
pork belly.

let's get a close up on the top left, shall we?


i assure you two things:

1. my obsession with this dish was not just because it was served with hot mustard
2. this sad little glob was not the limit to my mustard intake,
because, thankfully, friends don't let friend deprive of mustard
{not pictured: xtra side of mustard}

i mean,
this pork belly,
while it looks like a total mess,
was one of the tastiest,
juiciest,
dissolve-in-your-mouth
pieces of meat i've ever bitten in to
{keep it appropriate, boys}

it was like meat,
in marshmallow form.

i couldn't get enough of it.
except for when i accidentally ate a whole chunk of fat.
but that's besides the point.
the point is,
it was delicious,
and one of the main roles in why 
this meal was one of the most satisfying meals i've ever had ever ever ever ever ever
おにぎりワイワイする!

{the plum rice balls helped too}
(おにぎりワイワイする)


キープボットルです
did i mention we sat on the floor with our shoes off?
and that in the back,
there is this shelf where customers who don't finish their bottle of shochu can label it and store it for next time?
and that this place is open late?!
{an ode to restaurants that are open late, part 2 perhaps...}


this place is the greatest.
it's probably one of new york's best kept secrets.
no joke,
if most of you readers didn't hail from other states and australia and england,
i might not have even posted about umi no ie. 
ニューヨーク大好き
 if this post gets into the wrong hands,
we may all be in trouble,
so keep it on the down low, people,
and go here as soon as you can.

...36 to go...


xoxo


yeh



and a special thanks to chris for adding the japanese characters!!!

umi no ie is located in the east village, at e. 3rd and 1st ave
open m-th 7pm to 1am, f-sat 7pm to 2am, sun 7pm to 12am
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