Inspired by the recent ‘My Perfect Saturday in London’ feature on blogs of note in the city I am reporting on the favourite day of our trip to NYC.
Setting off from the hotel at around 10am we strolled through Gramercy Park and the East village in search of Porchetta, a place brought to our attention by Noy (thanks Noy!). The East Village is my favourite of the Manhattan districts and we would have spent more time wandering around had it not been so cold!
Porchetta’s speciality is pork, as the name suggests, taken from the Italian ‘[Por’ketta] n. roasted pork with a crispy skin.
We ordered 2 sandwiches to go as the seating area is very compact. The pork was succulent and satisfying but for $9 a pop the sandwiches are a bit on the small side. The bread, technically making this more of a roll than a sandwich, was crispy on the outside and lusciously soft in the middle, it was more than a decent match for the meat and, were this my neighbourhood, I would no doubt be a frequent visitor.
However, we were glad to be left with plenty of room to try out some of New York’s other culinary offerings. 1 block down we stumbled across Crif Dogs. Their speciality is deep fried hotdogs wrapped in bacon with all manner of extras ranging from usual onions and mustard, to the less common teriyaki and pineapple. I plumped for the ‘Chihuahua’ an interesting combination of guacamole and sour cream recommended by our server Jess as one for the ladies. Thomas opting for the more manly ‘Spicy Redneck’ with chilli, coleslaw and jalapeños. We shared a vanilla shake.
Upon arrival the food was pleasing to the eye and at first bite we fell prey to that initial junk food high and declared them to be fine examples of the classic American hotdog. The actual dog (beef, not pork) was crispy, thanks to the process of deep-frying, the bun squidgy and the toppings suitably oozy and indulgent. The vibe of the place was kind of hip and fun with games machines for tables and this is it’s main appeal. Thinking back to the food now the initial satisfaction is short lived and before the last bite I was bored.
The main attraction of the place is the oh-so-secret (and gimmicky) bar next door, PDT – Please Don’t Tell – is a cocktail bar to which entry can only be gained through a telephone box situated in Crif Dogs. Feeling fuller we left, walked about 10 steps down the street and were charmed by the quaint appearance of Sympathy for the Kettle. We shared a pot of earl grey and enjoyed a game of scrabble (it was a draw!), I loved this place and could quite happily have stayed all afternoon.
We then ambled trough Little Italy, perused some thrift stores and stopped for cappuccinos at Falai on Lafayette St as recommended by Nibs. The food here looked amazing but we were still full from lunch. I wish we had eaten here as being seated at the bar, we could see the kitchen clearly and the bread (freshly made) and baked eggs smelled wonderful. We walked along Bleeker St on route back to the hotel and for dinner we once again turned to the trusty Zagat guide.
We opted for a Mexican seafood restaurant in Midtown, a short stroll from our hotel, Pampano. Guacamole (made spicy as requested) to share, Lobster Tacos and Pechuga con Mole (chicken with mole sauce, a dark, beany sauce) for Thomas and Red Snapper Quesadillas followed by Mariscada, a coconut flavoured, all fish paella type dish. The stand out dishes here were Thomas’ starter and my main. In all this was an interesting meal, we were curious about the concept and it really works. Zagat gives Pampano 24 for food and I agree it was very good and I was also most impressed by the service.
The perfect end to a perfect day in New York!
101 East 7th St, NY
113 St. Mark’s Place, NY
Sympathy for the Kettle
109 St Mark’s Place, NY
265 Lafayette St, NY
209 East 49th St, NY