Trip Report -- Tia Pol, Izakaya Ten, Chelsea Papaya & Tartine
Thank y'all so much for the great recs for our trip to NYC.
We arrived home LATE last night after a delay at JFK (big surprise, huh?).
Friday we got a later start than we would have liked. We had tickets for Talk Radio and didn't make reservations. We were starving and on our way from the hotel in Chelsea to the subway, we passed Chelsea Papaya and had to stop in. My bf is from Chicago, so he's a bit of a hot dog snob. 2 dogs with everything, cheese fries, a strawberry banana juice and a Pepsi -- $8.35. The dogs were great, soft buns, tasty, particularly for $1.25! The fries weren't crispy enough for my taste and the juice was soooo sweet, but good! And Pepsi...argh, I'm not a Pepsi fan and it seems that everywhere in NYC serves Pepsi. Chelsea Papaya was just great to get us through the theatre to our late night eats! Classy, huh?
After the show we took the subway back to Chelsea and hoofed it to Tia Pol. As we suspected, the wait was 45 minutes at 10:30. We put our name on the list for a 45 to 60 minute wait.
We popped next door to Izakaya Ten for a drink and a bite. Their summer cocktail menu was lovely. I had the Charbasm -- vodka with a muddled peach, pear and cherry gin. BF had a drink with Hendrick's Gin and a muddled cuke, ginger, mint and lime. He described it as "a spa in a glass". It was lovely. We ordered a rainbow roll and it was great too. The fish was super fresh and the wasabi was good and spicy. One roll and two cocktails -- $41.
We got our table at Tia Pol in just 40 minutes and the place was hopping. It's a tiny place, but the space is well used. We were shocked at the people standing outside when they could have gone next door to Izakaya Ten for a drink. Poor Izakaya Ten, it's Tia Pol's red headed step sister.
While we were looking at the wine list, I asked for a small taste of the red sangria. It was a little too sweet for an entire pitcher. The server guided us to a lovely beirzo, I don't know much about Spanish wines, so it was nice to have some assistance. We ordered the special of roasted green peppers with sea salt and the pescado en adobo to start.
The peppers weren't what I was expecting...I was thinking bell peppers. They looked like jalepenos, but tasted like green peppers, the same color as a green pepper. They were great. Nicely chared and flavorful. The fish..wow, the fish! Three peices of firm fish with a very delicate batter and deep fried. The batter was so thin that the fish was barely crispy, but at the same time, not soggy. The fish had been marinated in adobo and was great!! Tangy and tart and cooked perfectly. With the squirt of lemon, it was heavenly!
Next we ordered the serrano ham stuffed with minced artichoke hearts and manchego cheese, served at room temp. The were perfect little triangles of deliciousness! Good balance of creamy and salty and chewy. I could have eaten a whole lot more of 'em.
Last we got the pork loin sandwich with roasted pequillo peppers and tetilla cheese on a baguette. The BF is always hesitant about pork loin, citing that it's so often dry. Well, this ended up being his favorite dish. The bread wasn't as crunchy as it looked like it should have been, but it was still very tasty! (Dare I say that I think it was nuked, instead of grilled or broiled?)
The were out of the ham croquettes, the squid ink and rice and a few other things we wanted to try. The four small plates and a bottle of wine were $79.
Finally, on Saturday, we had plans to meet my parents and aunt in the city. My parents are in town visiting my aunt in Suffern, so they came to visit with us. We met at Tartine in the West Village at 2 p.m. We were seated immediately. The BF and I had actually arrived 30 minutes prior to alert them to the party of five. We were seated at a corner table that accomodated us well. It was cozy, but not uncomfortable. This place is so cute!! Upon being seated, the serve immediately brought out glasses and the champagne that I'd ask them to keep in the fridge for me. Next arrived juice and the menus. Mom and I both had the French Toast, Aunt had the eggs Norvegienne, Dad had the benedict and BF had the Croque Monsieur. The Croque was the clear winner for me. My French Toast was good, but a little too eggy for me. I prefer my FT well done, and forgot to order it that way. Dad's plate was clean first without giving anyone else a taste...that means he liked it. Aunt loved her eggs, basically benedict with lox instead of Canadian Bacon. But that Croque...not your traditional Croque. It was challah I think, maybe brioche. Not an openfaced sandwich, but a proper sandwhich. Almost like a Monte Cristo. It was so tasty. We drank our second bottle of wine and sat and visited. The staff was super friendley, attentive and accomodating. I loved it. But the best part -- brunch for five was $98.95!!! You can't beat that with a stick!
We hadn't had pizza yet and BF had to have it. My parents are from Staten Island and I was born there. The barometer for ALL pizza for me is Denino's. God save me, I love that pie! We had not time to take the ferry and I called my aunt, (she's a retired NYC detective) and asked her. We were in Greenwich, on Bleeker street and she recommended John's. Mind you, she's been retired for 12 years. I was NOT impressed with John's at all. The crust wasn't what I was hoping for and the sausage was too fennelly (is that a word) for me. As we were leaving, BF said to me, "That's what we get for not consulting Chowhound."
Thanks New York, we'll be back in the fall for my birthday!!