Sunday, May 23, 2010

New York New York

For our anniversary Dan took me to NYC for the weekend to do some sightseeing and take in a show. Above is actually the view of the city from Jersey--from our stint in Hoboken. This post is just about a few of our stops (mostly dealing with food...naturally!)

Our first stop in the morning was to Murray's bagels. The city is full of great bagel shops but I had heard this was the best and had never been before so we gave it a whirl. I am picky about my bagels and have always wished that I lived somewhere with a bagel shop on the corner. Anyhow, Murray's has GREAT bagels--soft on the inside, chewy crust, smooth cream cheese. Dan had his the traditional way with lox...I had an everything with plain shmeer.

We were a bit lazy and had our bagels and then started walking around. We were determined to walk as much as possible; we walked the whole day (we're thinking 12 miles total) but we took cabs when it started to get late and we were tired!

For lunch we went to Katz--a former co-worker of mine made me promise to go here at some point during our trip--I love pastrami, so I figured why not. Above are the Half and Fully Pickled Cucumbers from the deli--the "full" pickles were a bit much for me--if you dig straight up vinegar kind of twang these are for you. The Half variety (bright green above) had a little tartness combined with some sweetness along with a fabulous crunch.

I ordered a Pastrami Reuben on rye...the thing was time Dan and I will share, but it was by far the best Pastrami Reuben that I have ever tasted; the Katz family know how to do meat right.

We passed the cathedral at a time of day where the spire was reflecting on the building adjacent--I thought that the contrast was intriguing.

I was trying to get a pic of Dan in front of Rockefeller Plaza...can you tell that he was thrilled about posing for me?!?!?! caught!

Dan being a huge hockey fan and general lover of ice skating and hockey rinks, we spent some time just watching folks skate--it was quite amusing and fun. We didn't skate because I didn't have the proper attire (I know...what was I thinking...I had to stop and buy a jacket at one point because it became quite chilly in the evening.)

They had some weird lampposts; I'm not sure if it comes through here but the one above looks like a spider. I was standing in the middle of the sidewalk trying to get this shot...Dan was next to me apologizing to folks passing by for my standing in the way...whoops.

Last stop, Grand Central Market (which is in the train station) for McClure's Pickles...I am a pickle fan and had to grab some while we were in town...yum! I could spend hours in a market; the rows of beauiful produce, meats and cheeses, I'm like a kid in a candy store.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Charrito's Restaurant--Hoboken, NJ

I could eat Mexican food probably every day of the week...maybe not, but it's certainly one of my favored food genres. Thus, during a recent visit to NJ, while walking downtown in search of some good grub Dan and I settled on a small place called Charritos.

This is not exactly the greatest picture but they hung fiesta flags from the ceiling creating this fun/inviting space when you walked in. Their hostess stand is a rustic wood and they seat you at a table with a mortal and pestle sitting out and they hand you a beat up looking menu (photo number 1), which was more like an eclectic piece of art rather than a menu. The restaurant was tiny and narrow on the whole (or the one we went to was at least...Charritos is a chain with 4 0r 5 restaurants total), but the setting was intimate and our waiter was friendly.

I have a mild obsession with textiles; one thing I greatly appreciated about this restaurant were the authentic touches throughout--above is a seat cushion--a very subtle touch. They used Mexican embroidered cloth (I couldn't tell if these were originally table cloths or what; they reminded me of Mexican dresses quite honestly).

The tablecloths were the only odd man out in my opinion...the rest of the decor was detailed and clean...then the tablecloths seemed more like something you would see at El Chico...something like you might find at a 5 and dime, or at Le Marche on the streets of Mexico. Authentic in its own regard. On the whole they mixed bright colors with sophisticated Mexican staples.

I know that an old fashioned Coca-Cola isn't all that special, but Charrito's come from Mexico...where to my knowledge they still use good old fashioned cane sugar (which makes anything more tasty!) I would equate it to a Dublin Dr. Pepper; those Texans know that the best Dr. Pepper comes from Dublin because they make it the way it used to be made and for whatever reason it makes all the difference in the world. If I had a cafe...I'd fly my DP in from Dublin.

Dan ordered one of the combos, which I must admit that I cannot remember which but I do recall that every part of his dish was pretty fantastic. This doesn't say much about flavor considering Dan has been known to eat just about everything, but he now has a more refined palate and the man polished the whole thing off.

Above is my dish, the Los Chilaquiles, which is basically something similar to an authentic King Ranch casserole (it has corn tortilla strips cooked in a salsa verde type sauce along with sauteed onions and topped with what seemed like a queso fresco and then slices of avocado. It also comes with a protein...I chose the spicy pork; it had great flavor, but a bit on the tough side.)