My favorite place on earth (besides my home)

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to spend an entire afternoon and night in NYC.  I LOVE THAT CITY.  Very few cities come close to the amazing, kinetic energy of the city.  I grew up going there, and I just love all of the discoveries I find each time I’m there.  This was kind of girl-centric trip and I had the entire day and night planned.  My friends called me the cruise director for the day and that kind of morphed into a dream career for as Cindy, the “Experience Planner”.

Anyway, on to the food.  I do A LOT of research before going into the city because I do not want to leave that place without having at least a few great meals there.

For lunch, we headed to Despana in Soho.  It’s a Spanish/gourmet market/restaurant.  It’s freaking so good. Next time you’re in the city, get your butt over there.  You will not regret it.  I ordered the Picante Bocadillo (sandwich).  It was their own home made chorizo, with Mahon (cow’s milk) cheese, spicy guindilla peppers, tomato slices, and aioli.  Before I get to the inside of the bocadillo, let me talk about the bread. It was a revelation, really what all bread should aspire to be.  So crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, fresh, and such a delicious bread flavor.  It also wasn’t hard to bite off or chew (a pet peeve of mine for bread).  Now on to the filling, because that was so damn delicious as well.  The chorizo and the peppers really gave a nice spicy kick.  The chorizo was so flavorful and just salty enough.  The tomato really added a nice freshness to the entire sandwich.  I finished the entire thing and enjoyed every minute of it.

I also ordered two tapas: a Tortilla Espanola and a Jamon croquette.  The tortilla was really well done, the egg and potato were perfectly balanced and the onion gave it a nice subtle flavor. Plus the texture was nice and firm.  The croquette was perfectly deep fried and the cheese and Spanish ham inside were nice.  It was a little salty, not the best croquette I’ve had but better than most I’ve had in the US.

Okay, so in between lunch and a late afternoon dessert, I scheduled in a 60 minute reflexology massage at Golden Yan Foot Spa for $35! Yes, you saw that number right!  It was great, very, very Chinese, just like the massage parlors in China.  For the $35, you get a nice 15 minute, shoulder massage and then a wonderful 45 minute foot reflexology massage.  My feet felt like clouds afterwards.

Then we had a our late afternoon dessert at Chikalicious, a tiny little restaurant on East 10th Street completely devoted to innovative desserts.  It’s adorable and Chika, the mastermind behind the desserts, was there herself.  We sat at the bar and were able to watch all of the dessert making in progress.  It’s a $14 prix fixe menu – you get an amuse bouche, a dessert entree, and petits fours.  I also sprang for the $7 wine pairing.  The amuse bouche was creme fraiche with some type of Cherry gelee. It was sweet and delicious; the cherry was firm and fresh tasting.

I ordered the Panna Cotta (forgot what the flavor was) with a peach sorbet and some fancy gelatin cubes.  OMFG.  I discovered Panna Cotta back in January and now order it every time it’s on a menu and have even ordered a baker friend of mine to make it for me.  Yes, I do love it.  Panna Cotta was so smooth and light and creamy.  Then the peach sorbet was really just like eating fresh, pureed peaches; it tasted like summer. The entire dish was so delicious.

My sister ordered the cheese cake “cloud” as she called it. She liked it, but it was more like a cheese cake mousse than a traditional cheese cake. Very rich, and I think it would have been better had it been paired with something with a different texture because it was kind of like eating a big ball of cream.

The other girls all ordered the chocolate tart with a red wine reduction and a peppercorn ice cream.  The votes were mixed on this one, mainly because of the peppercorn ice cream.  All three agreed the tart was extremely tasty. I tried it and the chocolate was so rich and it was lava like.  I like the peppercorn ice cream and thought it added an interesting twist to the dish.  My friend really enjoyed the entire dish. I believe the menu changes every day and it’s so worth a trip because it’s such a city experience.

We hit up a Thai BYOB called Sticky Rice that was so mediocre I don’t want to even talk about it.  It was a fun atmosphere but let’s just say I got rubbery chicken, weird, should not be sweet appetizers, an inedible fake tasting spring roll, and way too peanutty pad thai.  I don’t recommend it.  It was cheap and you can bring your own booze and those are it’s only redeeming qualities.

I also had a fantastic dirty martini at Minetta Tavern (a supposedly amazing restaurant for steak and burgers, which I couldn’t afford).  The martini was so well balanced; all the flavors blended so well together and it was so smooth to drink.  The olives were so good, meaty, and smooth tasting as well. My friend ordered the best Cosmo I’ve ever tasted! The juices were fresh and it was delicious.

So I got totally spoiled in NYC.  I highly recommend doing that every once in a while. It really soothes the soul.

I’m out in Denver for the next two weeks so I will soon be reporting on some of the already great food I’ve had out here…

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