Confession: I have an addiction. A serious, debilitating addiction (surprisingly, NOT to bacon). It's an addiction to New York City! I can't get enough - I think about it all the time, I fantasize about living there, SO many of my favorite people live there, and let's not forget about the FOOD! I masochistically signed up for Tasting Table NYC just to hear about all the up and coming food spots I will not be able to partake in but for my sporatic visits a few times a year.
Anyway, between graduation and beginning bar review (uuuggh), I had about a week to just sit around and soak up the rare feeling of having nothing to do. Of course, a trip to NYC was definitely on my list, but I could only come in the middle of the week when most of my buddies/family had to work, so (with the encouragement of Mom and Lauren) I chose to come for a whirlwind, 24 hour trip!
Instead of the train, I took the Bolt Bus from Baltimore ($10 each way - can't beat that!) and arrived just in time to meet up with BFF Lauren in the West Village for a drink before we met up with cousins Ann and Steven for dinner. We ate at Malatesta Trattoria, a quaint Italian place right near the water with open windows and house-made pasta.
Highlights of the meal included the grilled calamari, which was so tender and had a nice added charred flavor, and the sauteed spinach with lots of garlic.
I also liked my dish, the pasta arrabbiata, a lot - had lots of heat and the sauce was not too heavy. The others also enjoyed their dishes: Steven got ravioli with pink sauce, Lauren got one of the specials, pappardelle with crab (and something else but I can't remember), and Ann got spaghetti with a tomato-based sauce (also can't remember -- all brain cells are being used for legal information at the moment, sorry!).
Ravioli with pink sauce
Spaghetti with tomato and...other stuff
Papardelle with tomato and crab
All three of their dishes were made with house-made pasta; the penne in my dish was unfortunately not, but it was cooked to the perfect al dente.
We did not get dessert at Malatesta because we had plans to go to Amy's Bread for -- what else -- CUPCAKES! We in fact not only got an assortment of cupcakes, we also got a few slices of their ridiculously good looking full-sized cakes!
We got red velvet cupcakes and a vanilla cupcake with lovely pink frosting. We also got slices of coconut cake, carrot cake, and German chocolate cake. Actually, we got everything but the German chocolate and as we sat down, Steven got back up and bought the GC slice - the man loves chocolate, what can we say?
Everything was so delicious! As for the cupcakes, I recall the red velvet was good but the frosting was more of a meringue buttercream (more butter than sugar), not the traditional cream cheese frosting. The carrot cake, however, DID have CC frosting and it was bad-ass! The pink cupcake was pretty perfect: not too sweet cake, pretty sweet frosting, good frosting-to-cake ratio.
Pink! And so delicious
Red velvet - we got the last two!
As for the cakes, they were all delicious. The coconut cake was probably my favorite - so moist and coconutty... [drooling]. Surprisingly (or, not so surprisingly?) I really liked the carrot cake! I had it for the first time a few weeks ago and loved it, so I guess I like carrot cake now.
Coconut cake...nom nom nom
Ann and Steven - love them! And they love cake
Me and LP! We love the pink one!
Steven with his secret extra slice of German chocolate cake
This is the face of a diabetic coma
After we had lapsed into diabetic comas, we stumbled home - Ann and Steven to their apartment in the Flatiron District, me and Lauren to her home in Brooklyn.
The next morning, I took the train into the city with Lauren as she went to work and I went to Madison Square Park, one of my fave spots in the city (which happens to be right outside Ann and Steven's apartment - alas they were at work, lame!). I read my book and enjoyed a Brooklyn bagel we picked up on the way to the train, and then my good friend Kerry arrived! Kerry, a fellow UM law grad (whom you may remember from our meal at Otto in NYC, amongst others), also had nothing to do before bar studying began, so we got to spend some QT together.
One of my and Kerry's favorite things about Madison Square Park is the fact that SHAKE SHACK is there! I've been there several times and just love it. We just happened to be strolling by just as they were opening, so we decided to get a wee snack just for kicks. We got one Shackburger (cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, shack sauce) and a small cup of frozen custard to share. One of the flavors of the day: salted caramel.
Kerry and shackburger - two of my favorite things
Hooboy - that was GOOD. The burger was great, as always, and the frozen custard just blew me away! First, custard has a great texture, different from ice cream or gelato, and it reminds me of when I lived in St. Louis and we got to enjoy Ted Drewes custard all the time. Second, salted caramel frozen custard?! I love salted caramel anything, and here it was fantastic: sweet, salty, creamy, melty, yummy.
After our snack, Kerry and I walked around for a while, I picked up some Ess-a Bagels for the family back home, and I got to see Kerry's new apartment - very nice indeed. Then, we parted ways and I met up with Lauren to have my farewell lunch at The Odeon Restaurant.
We ate outside and had a lovely lunch amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. (I believe we were in Tribeca?) Lauren got the tuna burger with a spicy wasabi mayo, and I got the tarragon chicken salad on grilled baguette, which was served with a watercress salad. I appreciated that they used baguette - most chicken salad sandwiches come on soft bread, which gets too mushy in my opinion. Here, not only did they use baguette, they grilled it, making it even more crunchy and delicious - bravo, Odeon, bravo.
Tuna burger with great fries
Now that's a happy girl
Chicken salad on grilled baguette
After lunch, I took the train (all by myself!) to Penn Station and got back on the ol' Bolt Bus. What a great 24 hour trip! I got to see many of my A-listers and ate a few good meals and snacks. Thanks Lauren, Ann, Steven, and Kerry! Love to you all, and hopefully see you in the City soon!
Happy NYC visiting,
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