This is Robert Sietsema, food writer for the Village Voice. I saw him in a panel discussion Monday. He wore a disguise so he wouldn’t get recognized in restaurants he’s reviewing.
During the Q&A, one girl said, “I’m from California and am looking for any Mexican food recommendations in New York.” It was totally off-topic for the panel subject (DIY Food Artisans) but God bless her for asking. I am always on the hunt for Mexican suggestions, especially from a pro.
Mr. Sietsema suggested a tiny takeout place called Dos Toros, which was created by two dudes from the Bay Area. It also happened to be walkable from the panel discussion! I decided to follow my stomach and skip the other two panels of the day.
My carnitas burrito, with cheese, rice, beans, guacamole and sour cream was just fine, nothing to complain about. Or write home about. Conclusion- people in this city are so starved for good Mexican food that even something passable seems exemplary. (I’ve had better burritos in Boston!)
The theme is “places SK never wanted to go.”
This photo does not capture the true gravity of the situation
When she told me Thursday morning she was craving a BLT, I took her to this Astoria deli, where (oops) they don’t have BLTs. They do have The Bomb, a jaw-droppingly insane sandwich that includes every single meat and cheese (except bacon) and a few veggies and oils thrown in for health. SK shared all eight pounds of it with me in the park next to the East River, but to be fair, much of her meat was picked off and left in a heap on the greasy wax paper.
Groupons are not a reason to bring your visiting girlfriend to a different restaurant than she has specifically requested for a date. Friday night, SK asked if we could go to one of her favorite New York haunts, a Vietnamese restaurant in Chelsea. “No way,” said the romantic boyfriend, “I have a coupon!” So we went to the discount place, and had an experience that ranged from mildly disappointing (me) to downright irritating (SK). It was a humid night, and the place was more of an open-air sandwich shack than a legitimate sit-down restaurant. The air was muggy, the tables and chairs were cheap plastic, and the speakers were bumping techno grooves.
I will say that I enjoyed my spicy catfish sandwich (bahn mi), with cucumber relish, pickled red onion, jalapenos, cilantro, Sriracha and honey mustard sauce quite a bit. I also thought it was a handsome sandwich, though opinions were mixed on this.
It has been a blast reflecting on the best things I’ve eaten for the last ten days so I’m going to keep it going.
This afternoon I consumed a tuna sandwich, leftover from a work luncheon last week. It was sitting in a plastic bag in my freezer until I defrosted it yesterday. Comments:
-The lettuce on the sandwich was an alarming black color. I scraped it off as best I could.
-The bread was soggy because I defrosted a ham sandwich in the same plastic bag and it got covered in pork juice.
-There were two sad, pasty little tomato slices clinging to the clumps of wet tuna.
-I ate it in three to five minutes, on my way out the door to an event.
Stay tuned for more of my last new york meals!
On the same day I left my day job’s New York office, I signed a contract to write my first Wall Street Journal article. It’s about cows. That’s all I will say for now.
I also just discovered that the WSJ has a San Francisco bureau.
On the way back from a beach weekend in Rhode Island, my friends and I decided we should stop at the legendary Frank Pepe Pizzeria in New Haven, Conn. This place is world-renowned (among food nerds) as being the inventor of the white clam pizza, a thin-crust no-sauce affair with grated cheese, olive oil, fresh garlic and oregano. After a prior night of over-drinking and an over-long car trip, we were a bit punchy by the time we got to Pepe’s, and were not pleased to learn they were OUT OF CLAMS. However, being the troopers we were, we ordered two other “special pizzas” (circled on the menu below) and had a picnic in the rain.
Verdict? Effing phenomenal pizza.
Um, did I forget to take pictures of the pizza itself? I was not in top form.