Tag Archives: tacos

NY NY: Fat Radish, Lost Cheese and Beer Braised Tongue Tacos

Our first morning in New York we forced ourselves to get up so we could be at the Friday Union Square market to get some fresh sheep’s milk ricotta before it was all gone.   An eye-opening, creamy latte from coffee truck (no such genius coffee trucks yet seen in Toronto) was consumed en route.  It was a gorgeous day.  We wound our way to the very last stall but found no ricotta making in progress anywhere.  Disappointment was quickly squelched when this was unravelled…

The couple that sell their cheese at this stall have roots in Italy. Jody was a shepard and their traditional Italian cheeses are made mainly from sheep milk.  This one is covered in wine must sourced locally in New York.  The flavour of the grapes worked its way into the paste.

This Caciotta is made from cow (Jersey Cow-can you see how intensely yellow the paste is?) and their milk comes from an elderly farmer next to their farm.  Sadly it will soon be phased out as the farmer will be giving up his business.  After a lengthy chat we asked him if he knew who sold this incredible ricotta.   And guess what!  They are the ricotta makers-but they weren’t happy with the recent batch and thus had none.  Sigh.

There were a few other cheese stalls in the market selling fresh chevre, goat milk Camembert, Alpine style cheese and aged cheddar.  And if you care about stuff like  fruit, veggies, greens, lavender and breads, they had that too.

Market Stalls made us hungry for someone else to make us market-fresh food so we headed over to the The Fat Radish on Orchard Street.

Tad had the BLT with poached egg, crispy bacon and oven-roasted tomatoes.

And I had the Market Plate of veggies which featured heirloom carrots, turnip, kohlrabi, radish and  cauliflower all either steamed or roasted and seasoned perfectly and tossed lightly in a walnut vinaigrette.

Brown rice with crispy onions on the side and some carrot-ginger puree.  If this is vegetarian I am IN.

It was a day dictated by cheese destinations,  we walked everywhere and had a good tour of the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village.  Below is Murray’s cheese counter (Bleecker Street Location).  Take a number and try a whole bunch of cheese.  Everything smartly organized by style from soft and bloomy to blue.

Or buy some artisinal yogurt, cultured butter or chestnut honey from France.

And if you’re me, buy a 1 pd wedge of a cheese called Dante (plus wildflower honey) for your cheese club, carry it for hours and then forget it on some random steps in the city after stopping to reorganize your purse.

But when you lose cheese, buy more cheese!  We wandered over to Lucy’s Whey which is in the Chelsea Market and tried some amazing American artisinal wedges.

Dinner was at Empellon Taqueria in the West Village which will be 1 yr old next week.  Chef Alex Stupak (formerly of WD-50) has chosen to focus on tacos at this restaurant (and tequila if you happen to be handed the booze list).  He recently opened a more “fine dining” version of the restaurant called Empellon Cocina.

Damn iPhone can’t take stunning gorgeous food photos in the dark but imagine you were dining with us by candlelight…

You can order tacos in pairs or in threes.  The above is beer braised tongue with potatoes and Arbol chile salsa and we also had soft-shell crab tacos,  scallop tacos with cauliflower, capers and raisin puree and over-salted fried Yuca chips.  The service could have been a bit better, although had the waiter come by more often I would have drank way too many Margheritas.

Overall, it was fairly lip-smacking and Tad and I ended the summery evening on a lovely but touristy note walking around Rockefeller Plaza. (my request, I wanted to be surrounded by big NY buildings.  I love doing that.  Reminds me of the first time I came here and just kept looking up as I walked.)

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Trigger Happy- My slightly obsessed efforts to get a Momofuko Ko reservation

I’m going to New York this weekend with my husband.  The weather looks like it will be fabulous, we’re flying Porter so will avoid Air Canada nonsense and we found a great apartment to rent for 4 days in the East Village.  Yet despite all this and the simple pleasure of wandering New York itself, I am obsessed with getting a reservation at Momofuko Ko.

If you like to eat, and you like to to travel  then like me,you probably prepare your food itinerary before you do anything else.  I am slightly concerned that I overplanned but more concerned that I won’t be hungry enough to eat all things I want to eat.  And I do want to eat a giant pastrami sandwich which takes a while to digest–which could kill at least three hours without food.

We’re having dinner at Prune Thursday night,  Friday we are doing Mexican at Empellón Taqueria, Saturday lunch at Artisinal with friends (cheese and wine flights here I come)   and Saturday night was to be at Momofuko Ko.   I had it all figured out.  You can only reserve at Ko on-line 7 days in advance.  You get a password and enter the site, and then hold your finger over the mouse pad until the second hand hits 10:00 am and then you FIRE.  If you’re lucky you’ll see one slot in the 12-seat restaurant still showing a green check mark and not a BIG RED ‘YOU LOSE” X.

After already spending 1 1/2 hours on the phone (the Monday 5 weeks in advance that I was allowed to call)  trying unsuccessfully  to get a seat at the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare I was pretty turned off by the “cross your fingers and hope to eat” reservation system.  I had already rescheduled my day to phone Prune at the exact right moment.  But, this on-line thing seemed simple.  I tested my speed on the mouse button on the Momofuko site.  How fast could I be?

Like a gunslinger in the old West practicing to draw his six-shooter I was ready for this Sunday, March 18 which would hook me up with a Saturday night reso.

But then my son’s first soccer practise got scheduled for the same time on the same Sunday.  First as in, “first ever”.  He’s 3.   After a brief but serious discussion with Tad about which was more important (Felix might not like soccer, I was sure I would like dinner) we decided I would take Felix to soccer and he would stay home to make the reservation.  BUT HE HAD NOT BEEN PRACTISING.  I didn’t mention my concern as it seemed slightly….crazy.  But I left detailed instructions.

I got the call as we headed onto the filed.  ALL BOOKED.

I felt loss then anger–why did these stupid restaurants have to be so exclusive?  I could eat a hot dog and be happy–I  was lucky enough to be in new York!  And there was the Shake Shack to think about.

And yet, just this morning there I was, finger hovering over the the mouse pad, and I did it.

See how easy it is?  And only a $150 charge and loss of your reservation if you’re fifteen minute late.  This is my lucky day.

Only problem is Sunday night we were planning to have dinner at Colonie in Brooklyn.  They don’t take reservations there so maybe we’d get in, maybe not.   Sigh.  Maybe I should just go wander around  the MoMA.

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