Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's been 5 hours since I last tasted anything. I am still full.

At 7 pm, I waved my friend Ren from Wind on My Back down into the bowels of Penn Station, and basically dragged myself back to the subway to head home. Her whirlwind 34 hour visit began with sushi and ended with fried pickles, and had many delicious culinary stops along the way. I have been stuffed silly for the entirety of today, and am having trouble imagining putting anything into my stomach for the next week or two.

One of the great things about our neighborhood is the food. Whether you're rushing to a fancy seafood restaurant in Winter's chill or ordering from the gyro cart outside of the beer garden at the end of a great Summer night, you can find something at just about any price point and a great variety of cuisines.  Being poor graduate students, E and I are still eating our way through our neighborhood's restaurants, but already we have a few favorites, which we visit with most of our visitors who blow through town.

Ren and I started at Kitaku which is across the street from our building. We each got a 2-roll lunch special that came with miso soup and salad, and we split an egg roll. The bill came to 15 bucks. Fifteen bucks! When E and I eat here, we can get a Bento box and a roll of sushi or 2 to split for under 25 bucks. Amazing. The fish is always fresh, and the other items we've tried have been great, too, though I'm not a fan of their Chinese food (aside from the egg roll). The only thing that the other sushi place we tried in our neighborhood has on Kitaku is that they forgot to charge us for a beer when we ate there. Not a reason to go back. Ever since Club 23 and its scantily clad waitresses (one Yelper says, "Not quite a titty bar, Club 23 nevertheless has varying levels of nudity happening, although none of the girls are very attractive.") vacated the space next door, Kitaku has had relief from the blaring techno that purportedly vibrated the wall it shared with the club of ill-repute. Business has seemed to pick up since then, so hopefully it continues.

For dinner (and after a disastrous attempt at wedding dress shopping) we headed down the street a block or so to The Sparrow, the bar we frequent most year-round. Across from the beer garden, it attracts a more laid back crowd, and the low light and decent beer and wine selection keeps us going back for more, not to mention the appeal of air conditioning in the summer.  We had devoured their amazing herb-encrusted french fries many an evening, but we hadn't made it down for a meal. I am very glad we finally did. I had fancy grilled cheese that was delicious, and E's mashed yuca was a great texture. Ren had a beet salad that I kind of wanted for myself, and we each had a couple drinks to wash all of it down. Deeelicious. Next time we'll try their brunch, which is supposed to be amazing.

Ren and I, full of false hope for a raucous evening, bought a big bottle of wine and came back to the apartment, where E settled down with his law school textbooks and we uncorked the bottle and started playing Mario Party. Half a glass each later, we were both ready to pass out in food/wine comas, which we did.

This morning, we got up much later than we planned, and headed to that perennial favorite, the Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company. A short 6ish minute walk away, this gem was actually discovered by a visiting friend of ours back in October, and now we can't stay away. If you want a New York bagel, come crash on my couch and we will get you a New York bagel. And it will be as big as your face. I successfully brought these home over Christmas (each in its own ziploc bag, as the internet instructed me) and my family also stuffed their faces with them with much delight. And the cream cheese. THE CREAM CHEESE.

We digested for a scant few hours while finishing our abandoned Mario Party game before heading back out for more food this afternoon. Not wanting to get on the subway again, we dragged our carb-filled bodies over to Mojave, a Mexican-y place around the corner, where my Caesar salad was GINORMOUS and the salmon on Ren's sandwich perfectly cooked. I don't know why we ate this meal. I can only speak for myself when I say that I was not hungry, but it was delicious anyway. I also got this fancy half-Dos-Equis, half-lemon-soda concoction that was pretty tasty, but only served to fill my poor stretched belly more.

Another game of Mario Party was in order to aid our digestion, so we forewent (is that a word?) our run and kicked some Wario/Waluigi ass. Soon enough it was time to head into Manhattan, so with time to kill we ended up at "FATS," or Fat Annie's Truck Stop near Penn Station. Neither of us could stomach (har har) the idea of more real food, so we hung out with some beer and an order of fried pickles. FRIED PICKLES! One of our favorite restaurants in Somerville sold fried pickles (in chip form, which is the best), and we've been looking for a decent fried pickle place down here since. Found! They were a little juicy for my liking, but still amazingly delicious. If only they had the chipotle ranch dipping sauce! Either way, the place was cute, if gimmicky, and I'm planning to drag E down there for more fried pickles, soon!

It was great to have Ren down here, and I was sad to see her go, even if the most excitement we had was her first viewing of TLC's Say Yes to the Dress. Seriously, if seeing me isn't a good enough reason to come hang out in my hood, come for the food. Come for the food!

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