Archive for August, 2010

Russ & Daughters, New York NY

We had just eaten lunch at The Meatball Shop and were heading out in search of a coffee shop when we stumbled upon one of my old favorites. When I lived in New York,  Russ & Daughters was my destination for red licorice to take into the nearby movie theater. I also had a big thing for their caviar cream cheese. It’s the kind of cream cheese you dream about.

I hesitated for a moment. I had just eaten a plate of meatball sandwiches! But I was too afraid that I might regret passing on that second lunch and too tempted by the tantalizing display of cream cheeses to say no.  I surrendered to the call of the everything bagel slathered with that delicious caviar cream cheese.

It was everything I had been dreaming of.


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My favorite meal on our last trip to New York was probably the Meatball Shop, on the Lower East Side.

One of the problems with hanging out in New York is that you’re always surrounded by people who are far cooler than you are.

A nice touch: you check off your order with a marker on these laminated menus.

They pack the tables pretty tightly in there. Eliza couldn’t get my face in this shot because the camera would have actually gone up my right nostril.

We went with the sliders so we could try as many different types as possible. For each one, you choose both the meat and the sauce.

A surprising winner was also the salad you see here, a little greenery to go along with all that meat.

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A few months ago, I learned a great new term. Eliza and I decided to go up to NYC and hang out with Jeff and Elizabeth at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party. Hearing this, one of my coworkers remarked,”Isn’t that kind of a busman’s holiday?” (You see, living in Austin, we get our fair share of barbecue.) Fair enough, but this was really just an excuse to go to New York and hang out with some friends. Our first night there, we took Jeff’s advice and checked out the latest addition to David Chang’s Momofuku empire, Ma Peche.

Before dinner, we spent a few minutes at the bar, which overlooks the main dining room a floor below. It creates a nice effect, making the place feel huge.

We started off with the foie gras, in an effort to eat something not offered in Austin barbecue joints.

In keeping with the busman’s holiday theme, Eliza had a beer that was imported by an Austin company.

The ribs were nice. The meal was nice. The ambiance was nice. And maybe that’s why I wasn’t crazy about it. It felt like something was missing at Ma Peche, and I think that missing piece was attitude. In David Chang, we’re talking about a guy who makes a dessert called “Crack Pie.” But Ma Peche felt a little conservative.

We did stop at the Milk Bar on the way out for some of that Crack Pie, though. There’s a reason they call it that.

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This photo was not altered. It really was that yellow. This is the inside of the Courtyard Marriott in Culver City, CA (near LAX). Don’t look too long, or you might go blind.

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Phil’s Ice House

Two things probably determine whether or not you enjoy Phil’s: your feelings about Kolache buns and your tolerance of children. I’m okay with both, so I like the place.

I always get the 78704. I’m not normally one for hamburgers that involve any kind of toppings outside the basics (believe it or not, I don’t even like bacon on burgers), but the 78704 is a topping-laden burger that I love: Jack cheese, jalapenos, grilled onions, sliced avocado and chipotle mayo on a toasted jalapeno cheese bun.

On this particular trip, Eliza went with a corn dog.

Having an Amy’s Ice Cream next door is a bonus. I think I ate both of these. Eliza might have had a bite or two.

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