Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Gnoshing on the Big Apple...Again

It's soccer season again.

This means two things: hurriedly scheduled trips to random MLS cities (Salt Lake City, Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, Dallas, San Jose, etc.) and one or two amazing trips to the city where my heart and appetite reside— New York City. For the record, I have never lived there, but my stomach, yearning for street food and drippy pizza, has always been a New Yorker.

The New York Red Bulls will be opening the season at their new stadium against the Chicago Fire (who have the most clever team name in the MLS), which also means that my Cliff and I will be there, in New York, later this month.

My heart starts to race as I think about exiting the subway and stepping into the five-spice-scented air of Flushing, Queens, biting down on pillowy char siu bao. I yearn to slather some mustard on a dirty water hot dog and crown it with kraut on Houston St. and fold my pizza in half as I walk down the sidewalk in Central Park. The problem this all presents is where to eat sitting down.

All the foodie hype about Chef David Chang decided the first place to visit when we take the International Express 7 train from Queens to Grand Central.

Momofuku Noodle Bar seems like the perfect fit for us. We’re both suckers for pan-Asian cuisine, and to taste ramen broth and noodles that take 5 cookbook pages and 3 days to explain and create sounds like a bowl of heaven to me. First stop: David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar (and probably Momofuku Milk Bar—the dessert wing—next door).

Since the Travel Channel has unofficially changed from “where to travel” channel to the “where to pig out” channel, my Cliff and I have become mildly addicted to the show—no, the train wreck—Man VS. Food, hosted by chef Adam Richman. Adam travels the country (that’s where the ‘travel’ part comes in) in search of the biggest and most disgusting food challenges across the fifty states. It’s something to watch a 40-something man devour a liter of vanilla milkshake. It’s something else to watch him hoark down SIX of them and then watch him race to the restroom. Food wins.

Regardless, we watch this show. On a trip to Manhattan, Adam visited a New York landmark: Katz’s Deli. I’m a sucker for bagels and lox. According to my mother, I have some Polish Jew blood in my veins. I can’t pass up a chance at a pastrami reuben (Again with the sauerkraut! Mazel tov!), and the one from Katz’s looks too good to ignore. Second stop: Katz’s Deli.

Here comes the hard part. Last year, we ate at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole. The picture below is excatly where we sat! The seven-course tasting menu ran us about $125, but included wine, petits fours, and chocolates as well as a delicious green apple sorbet as a palate cleanser and salmon crudo for amuse bouche. It was one of the best meals of my life.

Now, I have do decide where to go that will equal or top that meal. Per Se? wd-50? La Grenouille? Bouley? Les Halles? Gilt? Le Bernardin? I have no idea. I’ve made reservations at Babbo and Perilla so far – should I make a third? This is the million-dollar—or at least the $300—question. Feel free to chime in. I’ll be scouring OpenTable.com for a table for two.

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