+ margherita pie. una pizza napoletano. slipped in for a birthday-eve meal during the soft open. too bemused to have snagged a table, I didn't mind the slow suffocation from lack of air circulation + wood fired oven heat + unseasonable 90 degree humidity. I did slightly mind the $28 price tag? Funny how that changes things, but i'm working on not relegating pizza as dish unworthy of high-end treatment.
In any case, if Artichoke Basille's signature slice is akin to soup in a bread bowl, consider Anthony Mangeri's pie a concisely calibrated broth nestled in artisan bread. Ok, it's not actually not soupy at all; but the dough is less pillowy down, more feathery silk. Dreamy, if crust could ever be. it won't pull at your teeth, tmj friends.
+ scallion fried rice. little pepper. lushly scented, verdantly hued.
+ macaroni and cheese with chicken cutlets. robkes country inn. a heaping portion of cheesy baked noodles somewhere between fetuccine alfredo and mac and cheese depending on how long you let it sit (and pool and congeal) in front of you, which could be long long time because it is truly midwestern in size. this is real and it is heaven.
+ cubano from cafe versailles (miami) yielding the perfect crunch-melt ratio of pressed sandwich goodness. i could've eaten three.
+ special cubano. enriqueta's (still miami). at first bite croquettes shaped like a mini-hotdog gracefully puncture to yield something like thick red-eye gravy. very different than the aforementioned classic sandwich above.
+ steve's key lime pie. swingle and non-swingle versions. so good I did eat three--on three separate occasions.
+ muffuletta. archestratus books. more sandwiches! salami, ham, mortadella piled three inches high. I tried to shove it in my mouth sideways before conceding and disrespectfully donating a few slices to my boyfriend. The proprietor of this bookstore-cafe, concerned in earnest about the dryness (homemade bread! nicely seeded), made the rounds to spoon every guest some extra tapenade. no apology necessary, I thought, and did not turn down another helping of pickled antipasto.
+ fat mango ipa. finback brewery. successfully exudes "tropical sticky-rice dessert" taste. non-cloying.
+ everything at frankies 457 always.
+ everything but in particular these messy-abstract dishes from Nur:
- scallops/gnocchi. pesto, ricotta, spinach cream, EGG YOLK, coriander seeds - palestinian tartar. eggplant puree, yogurt, tahini, sumac
By appearance, less tweezered, more dolloped paint and weaponized-by-plastic-squeeze-bottles, everything is half-liquid, meant to be dipped and swished around the shallow plate. Layering of flavors/textures more than superseded the single-digit number of the actual (solid) main food component. Highly addictive.
Most intriguing though: panipuri filled with yuzu foam, topped with tuna ceviche/ dried apricots / almonds/ habanero. Fried indian bread elegantly reconstructed to taste like a fancy taco, which espoused my epiphany that I do possess an appetite for fancy tacos, but this is the only way. Dressed up tacos are the e p i t o m e of chichi, and so an innovation of form makes my brain and tastebuds more willing to accept. But yes, argument could be made that these are decidedly not tacos at all!
+ mixed half-dozen donuts from donut pub couried over from someone who cares in the rain and inhaled together at five minutes to midnight. love is red velvet cake.