Archive for the ‘Sandwich’ Category

California Soul: Silverlake Edition (LA)

February 29, 2008

It’s all in the air/ You hear it everywhere
No matter what you do/ It’s gonna grab a hold on you

California soul… California soul…

— Ashford & Simpson

It’s in my bones, I can’t shake it off- California is IN me. Took a week off to attend a wedding in San Francisco, and detoured through sunny LA and San Diego on my way up. It’s been a glorious trip meeting up with old friends, and most importantly, voraciously eating through each day.

My bff Sara lives in Silverlake, in LA, which I absolutely adore. It’s hipster central, but not so annoying– lots of shops and restaurants and cafes that is totally walkable (very rare for LA, or California in general).

Every morning, I walked to a Chicago-based coffee joint called Intelligentsia- an authority on fine coffees and hot baristas. Good coffee, lots of locals, minimal interior and again, hottie central.

Right next to Intell is The Cheese Store of Silverlake, which is a fancy little fine foods shop (lots of imported condiments, chesses, olives and wine), that specialize in making awesome paninis.

Look at this wrapped panini- flat and compact, like a notebook!
Turkey, cranberry, cheese, and some mysterious green oozy stuff. Who you gonna call? C’mon, laugh.
A cup of cornichons
We went to El Conquistador for my first supper- gotta get your Mexican fix as soon as you land in Cali. This place was AWESOME. I stupidly forgot my camera, but the food was satisfying (I had the enchiladas, Sara had the ropa vieja), extremely friendly service, and flamboyantly kitchy decor. You have to go to see exactly what I’m talking about, but trust me, you will have a blast.

I was super skeptical about Pho Cafe: without a sign, overrun with hipsters, and with their orange Ikea chairs. Also, my friend, an LA native, had warned me that any restaurant in LA with an “A” rating is bogus (the LA Dept of Health grades all eateries, “A” obviously being the highest).

Boy, did they prove me wrong though- the food was excellent, the real deal (dare I use the word “authentic”). Worth the 15 minutes we waited for a seat (it seems this place is packed all the time).

Banh xeo: Crepe with shrimp, steak, shiitake mushrooms and bean sprouts

Bun cha gio tom thit nuong: cold rice noodles with egg rolls and beef

Pho tai gan: rice noodle soup with rare steak and tendon. The soup was very flavorful- a little sweet, lots of depth. I didn’t want it to end.

Possibly my absolute favorite part of Silverlake- the 99cent store. The window proudly displayed their offerings ranging from food, toilet paper, foil, to toothpaste. 99cents people!! There were 2 long aisles devoted to food– refrigerators packed with eggs and milk, condiments, dried foods and canned goods. I got Sara an awesome welcome mat here. A welcome mat for 99cents!!! GO NOW!

All the above spots are all within a 5 block radius from one another on Sunset Blvd. Can you imagine not needing a car in LA? All have a pristine view of the iconic Hollywood sign.
3922 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90029

The Cheese Store of Silverlake
3926-28 West Sunset Blvd.

El Conquistador
3701 West Sunset Blvd.LA, CA

Pho Cafe
2841 West Sunset Blvd.

99cent Store

3600 West Sunset. Blvd.

Mangiamo 2007: El Brillante

February 25, 2008

On my way back to NY, I had a stop over in Madrid for a few hours. Marta and Jose whisked me from the airport to take me to a dream lunch of my favorite Madrileño dish- Bocadillo de Calamares. Basically, a sandwich filled with fried calamari. GENIUS!!! It truly is a priceless invention- nothing could quite quantify how happy this makes me. El Brillante, above, is famous for this dish, although you can find it at any bar in Madrid, more or less. But El Brillante’s tagline is “Los mejores calamares de Madrid”- translation: the best calamari in Madrid. So you gotta go.

Fluffy bread filled with fried calamari, nothing else. It’s gorgeous.

Little squid, battered and fried. This wasn’t as good as I was hoping, but maybe that’s just cause I was in bocadillo heaven.

Can’t leave Madrid without having a proper tortilla!

A pint, a smoke, a Marta

And that’s it- my trip to Italy and Spain in a nutshell. All good things come to an end, I suppose. Thanks for indulging me, and letting me go on about a trip I took months ago (I lost all my pics when my computer broke, I’m tellin ya!). I’m in California now- I’ll try to deliver my eats in REAL TIME- I promise.

El Brillante (3 locations)
Atocha, 122
Tel. 91 468 05 48

Eloy Gonzalo, 12
Tel. 91 448 19 88

Eta. Carlos V, 8
Tel. 91. 528 69 66

Mangiamo 2007: Bar del Cappuccino

February 22, 2008

There’s nothing like walking into a coffee shop that makes the best cup of coffee EVER. That’s what happened in Rome- we happened to walk into Bar del Cappucino, without a clue that the barrista is a middle aged man named Luigi Santoro, who has won countless number of prizes for his cup o’ brew– on TV no less! He’s a cappucino superstar!

He uses only Danesi beans- an Italian espresso brand that I never knew was so good. Little swirly designs decorate this frothy cup of goodness.

There’s Luigi in his little barrista corner. You see him over there? The other guy may have been his son. The staff were all really cute and funny.

Incidentally, they also make bombass paninis too. They steam this special flatbread and fill it up with whatever you want- bresaola, prociutto, salami, even pastrami! This panini maker, a cute sassy blond girl, had a loyal following of regulars who would taut her as she made the sandwiches. The banter was fun.

One of these days, I’ll edit the video clip of her making the sandwich- it’ll make your stomach growl.

We returned the next day for our morning coffee. Why fuck with a good thing?

Bar del Cappuccino
Via Arenula, 50
00168 Roma
Tel. 06.68806042

Mangiamo 2007: When in Rome, Drink a Bud

February 19, 2008

The best thing to do in Rome is to just walk around aimlessly. You’ll stumble upon Bernini fountains, majestic cathedrals, and random marble columns and arches that have been around for thousands of years. This is my little lunch on Janiculum Hill, snuggled between Vatican City and Trastevere. Just me, a Bud (I must have been craving some Americana by this point, or this was all that was around), a panini, and sweeping views of the Eternal City. Does it get any better than this? I doubt it. FYI- I love shamelessly drinking in public.

The Wedding Cake:

If you look really hard, you can see the Pantheon:


January 21, 2008

Last month there was a gathering of sustainable purveyors in the space that use to occupy the historic Fulton Fish Market in NYC, near South Street Seaport- a place that, until recently, has held outdoor makets for New Yorkers since the 1600’s. An organization called New Amsterdam Public invited a group of local farmers, wild food foragers, producers, and cooks to create a happening called “Wintermarket”. It is hoped to be the 1st of many future outdoor markets held in this famous locale to help promote and support the “locavore” movement in the city. After a $5 donation, we were able to join the locals for tastings of fresh ricotta, organic honey, cranberry cider sorbet, liver pate, pine island oysters, ice wine from the upstate Slyboro Ciderhouse and Lady Apples from New Hampshire…to name a few.

Sheep Cheese from 3-Corner Field Farm

Hot Cider

Local Liver Pate

Scallops and other seafood from Wild Edibles

Local Nuts

Hot Cheese and Pickle Sandwich

Katz’s (NYC)

December 29, 2007

Screw WD-50, Katz’s is the LES’s finest food institution.

You start off light with some french fries.

Nibble on their two kinds of pickles, fresh cucumber and your extra vinegary deli staple.

I always get the matzo ball soup. A huge glob of pillowy, chicken fatty goodness.

Knoblewurst? WTF is that. I don’t know but it tasted good!

Of course, the pastrami sandwich. Slather that grainy mustard on!

Katz’s Deli
205 E Houston St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 254-2246

The Bánh Mì Taste Test: Boerum Hill

March 16, 2007

as Matt and I walked down Atlantic Avenue last weekend to browse their row of mid-century modern furniture shops, a Vietnamese sandwich, or bánh mì, at Nicky’s was definitely on his agenda. it was a beautiful day, people were out, indulging in as much of the springtime tease as possible (Saturday- warm, sunny; today- snow!)– it was the perfect day for a bánh mì for sure.

we found Nicky’s at the corner of Atlantic and Smith St., a tiny little place with just a few tables and a bar looking out into the street. this would be Nicky’s second outpost- their first being in the East Village on 2nd and A. Lydia (one of my favorite foodies who we just lost to the London fog- come back Lydia!) used to rave about Nicky’s in the city so this was exciting that they opened a shop in my borough.

i don’t know what i was thinking, but i completely forgot to take a picture of our sandwich at Nicky’s, so bear with me. we ordered the Classic, and for $4, it’s the best deal on Atlantic, as far as i can tell. the baguette was filled with pâté, ham, ground pork, pickled carrot, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeño, and mayo. Matt says that the bread was warm and crispy (i don’t remember this, but he said he watched them toast it). the ham was not as good as it could be, but i loved the contrast of the spicy jalapeño peppers and the sweet ground pork. Matt said that he likes his pork roasted, so he wasn’t so into this.

when we were done with the sandwich, i wanted another. i had stupidly not ordered one cause i thought i wasn’t hungry, which is always a HUGE MISTAKE (Matt agrees here). but honestly, i wasn’t bowled over by the sandwich so i had this brilliant idea to hunt down this other Vietnamese sandwich place in Boerum Hill i had heard about.

so i used NY Mag’s new text messaging feature to find the place– i typed in “Food Vietnamese Boerum Hill” (seriously, you New Yorkers need to program this number into your phones) and a second later came the words “Hanco’s, 85 Bergen St., near Smith St.” right down the block! what luck! we were on our way.

right off the bat, let me say that Hanco’s makes a better sandwich. we ordered the pork sandwich (above- this time, i didn’t forget to take a pic!) which included grilled pork, mayo, butter, pickled carrots and daikon, and cilantro. the baguette came out hot and crispy (i definitely noticed this) and the pork was sweet and tender. we asked for the “spicy” version, and it was VERY spicy- my mouth was on fire when by the time the sandwich came to the last sad bite, but it was worth it. for $4.25, it was absolutely worth the 5 minute walk from Nicky’s. they serve different bubble teas too, for you boba tea fanatics (Anmol). inside, there are a few tables, and a magazine rack full of new magazines, so it’s a good place to kill some time– grab a bargain meal AND get the newest scoop on which country Brangelina are adopting from this week in US Weekly. awesome.

i must say that i am incredibly impressed by the fact that there is not one but TWO bánh mì joints within a 5 block radius in Boerum Hill. Matt still says that he likes the place on Mott and Broome in Chinatown better, but i would say this satisfied our craving just fine (right Matt?). i am yet to go down to Sunset Park where there are supposedly these shops lined up, but i sure am happy that there is one closer to home. *k*

foot note: there is this new, cute little gourmet grocer around Smith and Bergen called Chop Chop that was very minimal and sparse, carrying fresh pre-packaged salads, fruits and veggies, and racks of dry foods, such as these spices (i’m such a sucker for Colman’s mustard).