Working between Union Square and the West Village in Manhattan, I have a lot of lunch options nearby. Most are either too expensive, bad to mediocre, or just too noisy or crowded to relax. When in the mood to have a lunch date with a book, there’s one place I’ve preferred from the very beginning: a tiny Japanese-run French-style bakery, serving tea, coffee, soups, salads, sandwiches, and pastries.
On Tuesday I was singularly focused on writing a few holiday cards in silence over a bowl of potato leek soup and a Hungarian sandwich (baguette, Hungarian salami, melted cheese, pickles), but I arrived to find the riot gate down and a hand written farewell sign taped to the building. Nooooooooo! My heart sank.
Adieu, Thé Adoré, and thanks. Your calm ambiance, lovely staff, incredible scones and tarts, genmai-cha, lattes, well-worn wooden tables, picture window, and Japanese sensibility will be greatly missed. ♥
It has been a long time. I’ve been to Japan and back, again, and I don’t think I’ve even posted photos from last year’s trip here; somehow priorities shift. I became so consumed with another priority last year that I found myself uninspired even walking through a farmers market. Gah! Thankfully I’ve adjusted a bit, and I’m finding more of a balance. I’d say I’m more balanced and happy than I’ve ever been, really, which is bizarre, as I still only make pit stops at home and at times feel like I’m completely controlled by another being… my calendar. But food is more a part of my life again. Those were dark food times, last year. Ha.
Monday I redeemed a birthday dinner raincheck, and found myself at Blue Ribbon Sushi Brooklyn. Being inside there on that intensely foggy night digging into a cup of chawanmushi was divine (does anyone have a good recipe for it?). I found their offering to be better than what I had in Japan. We had a number of pieces of sushi and sashimi, notably the best uni I’ve ever had – it tasted of melon (pepino melon? couldn’t quite place it). Among the sashimi was delicious horse mackerel, served leaned up against its former structure which was beautifully sculptural, skewered with head and tail curved up as if in motion. When we finished the sashimi, they took the skeleton away, fried it, and brought back the crispy bits you see above. The bones of a horse mackerel are soft enough to eat when fried! Amazing. Really beautiful quality, presentation, and service, all of it, and the food was incredible. I’m thankful to have eased back into stateside Japanese food in such a manner.
I miss Japan so much.
By the way, the manager of BR Sushi Brooklyn was totally delightful to chat with, and my friend told me later that she makes beautiful ceramics. They’ve inspired me… I’ve been daydreaming all week about quitting my job and making art (or at least making more art when I’m not at work!).
Here we have another bento from the vaults, but one of my favorites. This bento contains (clockwise from right):
Leftover buffalo chicken
Cold pizza, cut to size: black olive, green pepper, and tomato (from Ideal Cafe, Jamaica Plain, Boston)
Golden beet sakura blossoms, red bell pepper and carrot ume blossoms
Fiddlehead ferns, steamed
Blue cheese dressing for the chicken, golden beet sakura blossoms
My friend just told me about his friend’s mission to try a slice of pizza at every pizza joint in Manhattan. He’s documenting this process on his blog, Slice Harvester. I believe my response was, “Whoa.” Probably followed by, “Holy f**k!” …and then some comment about how fat his friend was going to get. According to my friend, the deal is that he started at the top of the island, and he’s zig-zagging back and forth across as he makes his way down, literally trying out every pizza place. If I understand correctly, he hits a few in a night with somebody else, so they share the slices and he doesn’t have to eat all of every slice. Still, how can you not turn into a balloon of cheap cheese? I hope he has a gym membership.
I’m fascinated by this project and just started reading his blog tonight. I can’t wait for him to finish so that he can make a definitive call on the best place(s) to try. Check it out! http://sliceharvester.blogspot.com
My new mission (significantly less ambitious): I want to be the pizza eating helper on this most righteous mission sometime. Ryan, please make this happen. I’ll cover the cost of his pizza… and maybe yours if you’re lucky.
p.s. Are you as annoyed as I am that “za” is a legal Scrabble word?! Seriously, who says they’re going out for ‘za? I am vehemently opposed to this supposed slang.
When I was interviewing for my new job, a girlfriend of mine mentioned that she used to frequent a restaurant nearby. I tried it out yesterday, and had a yummy lunch of inari sushi with eel, ginger salmon, and tempura vegetables. I read Yelp reviews about the food being bland, but I think the reviewers must not have been familiar with simple food made with good ingredients. I could have used a little bit more of a ginger kick on the salmon, but I was able to appreciate the fish itself, and it was all really satisfying. I’ll definitely try it out again, as I was curious about some of the interesting food combining going on on the menu. At $22, though, I won’t be making a habit of it.
Anyone know where to get a bento lunch for less than ten bucks in the Washington Sq/Union Sq area? I really need to get back on the bento train myself, lest I spend all my money on lunches, or live at Murray’s Bagels…
My apologies for the dead silence on here of late. As far as cooking and dining implements go, I have exactly one spoon, one bowl, one fork, one pair of chopsticks, a butter knife, and a bunch of sharp knives unpacked. I haven’t even ventured into pots & pans. Tonight was the first night in almost three weeks that I “made” myself dinner, and it was just a bagel with hummus, sliced grape tomatoes, and baby arugula. It tasted so good to me that I ate it all standing over the counter. It strikes me as funny to have been so starved for what is typically a speed meal for me. I can’t wait to unpack everything else.