NYC Gourmet Comfort Food

Paul and I were recently in NYC, he travels frequently for business and  sometimes I accompany him, but instead of work I get to play!  Part of what I love about NYC is that there is so much fantastic food to be had at all price points; from food trucks to little holes in the wall to extraordinary Michelin star restaurants.

This trip there were a few standouts for us, the first, by far, was Per Se, Thomas Keller’s three Michelin Star restaurant at the top of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.  I’ll write the details of that experience in a separate post though because it was an epic journey of deliciousness.  The other highlights are much more accessible but no less tasty!

Keste Pizza & Vino is the official location in the USA for APN (Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani) whose mission is to protect and preserve the Neapolitan pizza tradition and promote the art of pizza making.  The organization also certifies professional pizza makers in the tradition of Neapolitan Pizza.  Keste is located in the West Village at 271 Bleeker St, it’s a tiny restaurant and there will likely be people waiting outside because there is no room to wait inside, don’t let this deter you though, the turnover is quick and it is worth the wait.  I had the Del Re with fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, prosciutto di parma, EVO and truffle creama, the crust was crispy, bubbly and ever so slightly charred, perfection.  Paul’s choice was the Funghi with tomatoes so fresh they tasted like they were plucked straight from the vines in Roma Italy, fresh aromatic whole leaf basil, oozy fresh mozzarella, and mushrooms.  Divine!  This is by far the best pizza I’ve ever had, so good in fact that we had it again later in the week and as I write this my mouth is watering and I’m craving the Del Re with much passion.

Next up on the tour was Socorrat Paella Bar in Chelsea, we went with a group of Paul’s work colleagues.  “Socarrat” is the fantastic delectable crust that forms at the bottom of the paella pan when all the liquid is rendered and the rice has reached its peak of succulence.  In other words, “socarrat” is the result of paella cooked to perfection and this restaurant is right to name its self such!  Paul and I shared the lobster paella which was amazing, huge pieces of lobster claws and tails, we were fighting over the last little bits!  I’m not usually a fan of tapas but Socorrat has a gourmet tapas menu that is definitely not your standard tapas.  The most memorable dish for me was ‘Tocino’ (braised pork belly, roasted potatoes with a date puree).  We will definitely be back to Socorrat the next time we’re in NYC.

Lastly, I found out about The Big Gay Ice Cream on the show ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’ on the Food Network, one of my favourite channels.  It began as the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, a summer experiment by founders Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff that started rolling the streets of New York City in June 2009 and became so popular they opened a fixed store in the East Village.  What sets Big Gay Ice Cream apart is their fun and unique spin on old-school soft-serve with imaginative toppings (like wasabi pea dust).  I ordered the ‘Salty Pimp’, which was the cone of choice on ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’; the cone is filled with dulce de leche, then with Madagascar vanilla ice cream which comes to a huge perfect swirly top about four inches above the cone, this is then injected and striped with more dulce de leche, sprinkled with sea salt and then dipped and coated in chocolate.  It was pure gluttonous sweet and salty scrumptiousness!  I now have weekly cravings for this and am somewhat glad there is no Big Gay Ice Cream in Toronto.  Paul had the ‘Bea Arthur’ with dulce de leche, Madagascar vanilla ice cream which is then covered with finely crushed vanilla wafers.  It was tasty as well, but I am definitely the Salty Pimps b*@^h!

Above are a couple pics to wet your appetite….sorry, I couldn’t resist diving into the Salty Pimp before I took a picture ; )