Friday, January 30, 2009


This week was mostly uneventful on the food front, until dinner today, when I tasted one of the most satisfying meals...ever.
The restaurant: Taim.
How I discovered it: Once again, The food network taught me a valuable lesson. I look to the food network for recipe inspiration, entertainment, and general food faq's. Whenever I have access to cable television, I choose food network over almost any other show. Except perhaps top chef.
The main point is, I saw Taim on the Bobby Flay show Throwdown. The theme of the show was falafel, so Bobby went to the place that is deemed to have the best in America. I actually have not tried a very wide variety of falafel places, but in my experience, this was the best, by a mile.
Taim is located in Greenwich Village, in the heart of a foodie paradise. It's on 222 Waverly Pl, and probably cannot hold more than 7 or 8 people at a time. There is only counter space for about five to eat. I stood up at the counter next to Emily and ate.
The menu is cheap, with a really good sized falafel pita at about $5. There are three flavors of falafel to choose from- harissa (tunisian, mildly spicy), red (roasted red pepper), and green (parsley, cilantro, mint- the traditional). I had green, in a homemade whole wheat pita, which was so fluffy and perfectly chewy. It was definitely the best pita bread I've ever had. It came stuffed with about 6 falafel balls that were lightly crunchy and literally melted in my mouth. The flavor was perfect- not overly garlicky or loaded with tahini, but nicely seasoned and herb-y. It was a bright, round, and full taste...if that makes sense. It's hard to describe, other than just deliciously balanced. With the falafel itself was hummus, Israeli salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and lemon-mint dressing), green cabbage and tahini sauce. The salad was great too, not big watery chunks of vegetables, but nicely cubed and coated in the tangy dressing. The crunch added a cool contrast to the warm and soft falafel and fluffy pita. The tahini wasn't dripping out of the pita, but it wasn't dry by any means. Once again, this sandwich couldn't have had better proportions of any one element.
The "falafel and smoothie bar" also has, well, smoothies, made with fresh fruits. There's a small selection of other items, such as sabich sandwiches and platters, eggplant salad, moroccan carrot salad, marinated red beets, tobouli, and a soup du jour. The other most enticing item was the side of homemade french fries that came with a saffron aioli. It was a big portion of golden frites for $4. If you're not a falafel person, or want to stay away from fried stuff, you can still get the pita sandwich, but stuffed with hummus and two of the salads and tahini sauce instead.
I highly recommend Taim. And, if you're gonna go, call me. I want to go back ASAP.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So far...

My restaurant experiences have been great so far. A few stick out as exceptional places. One is Becco, an Italian spot on 46th street, between 8th and 9th. 46th is Restaurant row. I went there for Sylvi's birthday party during my first week working here. Sylvi characterized it as a place that's very swanky, for a price that's better than the usual swanky eatery. What's so unique about Becco is their pre fix dinner option, where you get either a caesar salad or a antipasti tray (AMAZING) and all you can eat of the three pasta specials of the day. seriously. The antipasti was great- an Italian white bean spread, selection of bread, olives (not a fan), fresh mozzarella, marinated tomatoes, some kind of marinated beans, and a few other things. It was really fresh and good. Then the three pastas. The waiters come by your table, each with a huge steaming pan of one of the pastas. I'm normally not a pasta person. I just think it's usually really heavy and not that exciting, but this was incredible. One was a flour-based gnocchi, with a light tomato sauce, one was spaghetti in a tomato sauce, and one was a farfalle with an amazing sauce...I can't remember what it was, and it was my favorite. There were just really great flavors and textures that made this pasta meal really worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Besides Becco, Sylvi has been my go-to guide for some of my favorite restaurants in NYC.
Silver Spurs was a great brunch spot. It was fast, packed full of people, cheap, and simply delicious food. Nothing fancy, just plain good. I had an egg white wrap with mozzarella, spinach, and tomatoes. I could eat that everyday.
Karen's on Astor, right near NYU, was a really cool cafe. They make a lot of vegetarian and vegan stuff- sandwiches, burritos, wraps, soup, baked stuff, salads. It's simple and fresh and cheap. A great veggie spot for a student budget. I originally got a veggie red bean chili, then realized that it had soy in it (allergic), and switched to a shitake mushroom and barley soup (free of charge for the switch- super nice). That was delicious.
The next meal I had with my favorite one yet. It's funny, because it was just a sandwich. Calling it just a sandwich is hard, because it was SO GOOD. It was Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop on the lower east side, between Norfold and Essex on Rivington. They maybe had 7 tables. They serve meat sandwiches and salads, but everything can be made veggie to order-with a meat replacement (like chick'n or fake bacon). I don't particularly enjoy fake meat products, plus they're usually soy filled. I ordered a create-your-own sandwich on 7 grain bread (toasted- this was key), sprouts, spinach, tomatoes, cheddar, green herb mayo, and hummus. It was so delicious. I can't get over it. Usually when I make or eat a sandwich with hummus, it's spread on the bread like a condiment, for a little flavor and moisture on the bread. At Tiny's, they PILE on the hummus. It was about 1/2" thick between all the veggies. It made the hummus the focal point. It literally changed how I think of hummus on sandwiches- it is the protein after all, not just an afterthought. The combo of fresh cold veggies, the herb mayo, and a fantastic homemade hummus, with toasted bread, was unbeatable. I encourage anyone to try this one out- just make the sandwich yourself, seriously. If you can go to Tiny's, do that too. I definitely intend on visiting this place again.
The problem with NYC restaurants is, almost everytime I go, I want to go back. At the very same time, I want to try some new place. There's so much to try, but so much that's worth a second trip. Decisions, decisions.
There have been more delicious places, but this post is far too long already, so I won't drag on any more.
Until next time.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gastroblog: A Foodie in NYC

Welcome, friends and family, to my first blog ever.
I have never been a blogger or blog reader, but I've had sudden inspiration from my older brother, Chris, to try it out.
"Why a blog?" you may be wondering.
Well, I'm a student in Seattle, but I've taken a leave from the ordinary routine of classes, clubs, rain, and general college life to work as an intern for a theatre company in New York City.
Although my original reason for coming to the big apple was obviously the internship, the foodie in me is overwhelmed by the utter incredibleness that is the New York City restaurant scene.
This blog is meant to record all the delicious (and not-so-delicious) encounters I may have while on the East coast. Although, I'm not so sure I'll really be paying much attention to non-delicious things, so the latter will probably not appear as frequently. I'll write about the places I eat it, how I found out about them, with whom I attended them, and what I think about them.
What other unique and significant things should you know as an occasional or frequent reader of my blog: I am a vegetarian. So, don't expect any gushing reviews of the filet mignon at Tom Colicchio's Craft Steak or carnitas at Bobby's Mesa Grill. (I don't actually know if these things are on the menus, but I can assure you that I will not be eating them, even if they do exist. I also just wanted to throw in some NYC celebrity chefs to hold your attention and remind you of my excellent reserve of important chef-y knowledge. In theory, this should coerce you into believing my taste is very good, if not highly refined, and my blog, well worth reading.)
So for now, that's all. I must consider my other task while in NYC, working in the morning.
There is much to look forward to, friends. Descriptions of tasty food, including the meals I eat while saving money for restaurants, lists of restaurants I've eaten at, lists of restaurants I can't wait to eat at, and fancy multimedia digital pictures!
I'll leave you all with an amuse busch of what's to come, with a description of my latest meal.
Salad of mixed baby greens and herbs with broccoli slaw, alfalfa sprouts, and rice wine vinegar dressing.
Toaster-oven broiled whole wheat tortilla, spread with Trader Joe's creamy Mediterranean hummus and shredded mozzerella.
Tomorrow, I'll probably eat out, so that little homemade meal will have been completely worthwhile.
p.s. Tasty D-Lite had peanut butter as a flavor of the day, so I definitely had a cup of half dutch chocolate-half PB while I walked to the subway (the long way) on my way home today. Even with all the amazing food around, Froyo is still near and dear to my heart, and will probably always top my list of delicious things. (Plus who can think of anything better than the combination of peanut butter and frozen yogurt? Nobody.)