The line was to the door, but since the central focus of this task was to kill time, I didn’t mind the wait a bit. I finally arrived at the front of the line and informed the snazzily-dressed gentlemen behind the counter that I would like a medium decaf soy latte. I paid my buckerage and waited by the frontal floor-to-ceiling window for my piping hot beverage.
|What do you see?|
Unfortunately, my brother’s bus hit some traffic and ended up being 30 minutes late, but eventually, after many many games of Bejeweled Blitz 2 on my iphone, his goofy ass finally walked through the doors and into the lobby. Our weekend could officially begin.
My brother is a pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats seafood in case your google bar is broken) so initially I tried to find a great Southern Indian spot for lunch, but after much research I was left feeling frustrated and unsatisfied. So I took it upon myself to choose three restaurants and then let him pick. His choices were Momofuku Noodle Bar for ramen, Veselka for pierogies and latkes, or Taim for falafel. He said he wanted something warm and spicy so he chose ramen. Well shit. I told him that the only vegetarian ramen Momofuku offers is served cold. I stopped for a second to consider my options and when I looked up we just happened to be standing right in front of No. 7 Sub. I’d read good things about this place on Yelp and Serious Eats and said “Well this place is supposed to be really good, they have a General Tso’s Tofu sub” That was all he needed to hear. So inside we went.
|Pretty sure he was doing lines just before we walked in|
|Autopsy shot. I wish my innards tasted this good.|
|Big old slab of pickled ginger|
My brother is into model trains and shit (yeah, he’s one of those guys) and while the display at the New York Botanical Garden is the end-all-be-all of train displays, I wasn’t willing to spend half our day travelling up there. So I decided to check out the display at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex. Well google maps told me that the museum address was 40 East 45th Street, but after spending almost an hour poking our heads into random lobbies and office buildings and receiving the strangest replies and looks we finally gave up and moved on. While walking back to the subway my brother stepped into Grand Central Station and snapped a few shots of the pretty ceiling (he’s also a photography buff, among other things) while I waited patiently.
And, as is usual with all of my food-centric trips, we had to finish off our lunch with something sweet. After reading about “The Situation Dark” on Serious Eats NY I immediately set my mind on getting on from Dessert Club Chikalicious. We walked in and my brother brazenly ordered two. He was here to expand his stomach in ways he probably never thought possible. I was surprised, and proud. When the guy behind the counter overheard us talking about getting them to go and eating them with our espresso drinks at our next destination (more on that later) he told us they were just out of the oven and highly recommended that we eat them now. That was all we needed to hear so we made a beeline for one of the tiny open tables. We didn’t know what we were in for.
|Mah bro adding his patented Shocker Stamp of Approval|
I feel like I’ve been writing about “goo” an awfully lot lately, but that’s really what we encountered at the center of this cookie. It was like a slightly smaller, much more complex version of the much raved about cookies from Levain Bakery. Hmm, let’s see where to begin. Well first off I did encounter a few pieces of stale popcorn that lended an unpleasant chewy texture to the cookie. Then, while I could clearly see the pretzels on top, their flavor was completely masked by all of the other ingredients at work in this beast. Other than that it was pretty epicly delicious baked treat.
|Want a bite?|
|Peanut butter chips, liquefied|
Finally we got on the train and headed out to Brooklyn. Our next stop was a mecca for all coffee nerds—Blue Bottle Coffee Co. I really wanted to blow my brother’s mind with some exquisitely crafted espresso brews. Unfortunately, the only thing BBCC ended up blowing up was our bathroom later that night (Caffiene makes you poop). After taking a picture of the imposing squirrel street art on the side of the building, we entered through the doors and into the somewhat cramped interior.
|Apparently this is one of the best espresso machines in the world|
|Literally the only guy besides us without a beard. I guess we missed that memo...|
|A group discussion on the art of beard-growing and upkeep|
|That's the first brown ring I don't want my tongue to taste|
Fortunately our next destination would prove to be a huge success, but, I mean, how could a place offering a great rotating beer selection coupled with a dizzying array of old school arcade games anything but awesome? Yes, I speak of Barcade. Immediately upon entering I knew this was my type of place. Since we were there for pre-dinner drinks and not post-dinner drinks it was pleasantly lively without being crammed asses to elbows. We made a beeline for the bar and surveyed their chalkboard beer selection (not realizing they had a printed beer list until our second round). As soon as I laid my eyes on the Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter I knew that would be my first round.
|My type of place...|
|If only they had "newer" classics like TMNT, The Simpsons, and Knights of the Round!|
|Smoked Porter? More like Smoked Pooper|
I went back up to the bar to order another beer and this is when I discovered the beer list. Ah, yes lengthy descriptions of all their brews, that was exactly what I needed to choose my next beer. This time I went with the ridiculously named Chelsea Black Hole Nitro XXX Stout. Now this is what I’m talking about. It went down ultra smooth with a head that brought to mind a dark chocolate milkshake. I detected slight notes of coffee and caramel and it was sublimely drinkable. I was in love.
|My brother displaying the beer list a la Kilroy was here|
I killed my CBHNXS—again, what a retarded name—and after taking a recommendation from the bartender I went with the Anderson Valley Brewing Company Winter Solstice. It smelled like tangerine or Clementine and I detected faint notes of Dubble Bubble bubble gum. I was definitely starting to feel it at this point, but I felt it was nice and light on the tongue and it tasted like a liquefied Christmas cookie.
|A winter solstice in my pants|
Dinner was at Dirt Candy in the East Village. We arrived slightly early so we busied ourselves at some random candle and incense shop a few doors down until our table was ready. My brother found a few wonderful candles and I had to talk him out of buying them for his wife for Christmas.
|Add your own caption to this one|
Jesus, I feel like I got punched in the eyes… As you can probably guess I don’t write this entire article in one fell swoop, well not usually anyway, and this morning I feel like crap… I think someone exchanged my saline solution for superglue. I’m usually a morning person too. Now I feel like a peeved dragon ready to spit flames. Did this rant have a point? No, not really but it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want. And that’s the conclusion of our intermission folks, back to dinner at Dirt Candy.
|Dip dip bread|
|$1.20 per puppy. Ouch.|
|The butter melted seconds after application|
|It's like a Build Your Own Crostini kit|
The Portobello dish was quite successful. It was obviously a very earthy plate of food since we were eating mushroom on mushroom and the bright sweetness from the pears combined with the bold sweetness from the balsamic reduction really rounded it out nicely. I also really enjoyed the play on textures and the zing from the fresh ginger.
|I build it good|
|Hey, someone heaved on my plate...|
|The money shot|
|That's tofu, not salmon|
Ryan was really looking for some high quality gourmet vegetarian and I think Dirt Candy passed with flying colors. This place was the highlight of the trip for him, and I couldn't be more pleased that he enjoyed it. Pleased in the pants, that is.
The conclusion of our night was spent sampling single-malt scotch at Brandy Library in TriBeCa. I failed to make a reservation because I couldn't quite grasp the idea of making a reservation to drink at a bar, but luckily we were sat with minimal fuss at the bar mere minutes after we'd arrived. One of my bro's internet guy friends from Brooklyn met us there and we all enjoyed a nice evening of sipping and chatting.
|Bottles cleverly arranged to look like books|
|Ardmor Peated Island Malt Unchillfiltered 92 Proof|
|The bar, seconds before the "entertainment" arrived|
Did that really happen? I guess you'll have to trek on down to TriBeCa and find out for yourself. Tell 'em Mr. Micro sent ya. That's it for our first day in the city. Day 2 is coming up next. Until then, as always, go freakin' eat something fatty!