Category Archives: Meatpacking

Catch: global seafood in trendy meatpacking

catch

I spent my first years as a restaurant-goer in NYC dining where I could most easily imagine myself as a cast member of Sex in the City. Straight out of college, I wasn’t looking for cute hole-in-the-walls — I got the biggest thrill wearing heels and strutting into exclusive spaces pumping dance music, offering $15 specialty cocktails, and turning tables like clockwork. Buddakan and Stanton Social were my locations of choice. Fortunately I’ve now moved on to less trendy pastures as a more seasoned New Yorker, but every now and then I’m dragged into the high concept restaurant chains of my past.

Catch last week was one such occurrence, but it helped me remember why I like menus intended for broad audiences. I admittedly went into it with low expectations, but I left impressed with the service, the food, the drinks and the experience overall. As a seafood lover with menu anxiety (it’s difficult to narrow down to one item after eating a Google buffet for the last five years), Catch’s food selection is perfect for me. They offer a small delectable sushi rolls, a raw bar, a ton of hot specials, family style platters, or a variety of fish simply prepared for those not as adventurous. Think of this place as the steakhouse for fish. It keeps that well-known, roomy corporate feel, but maintains a relaxed, light-hearted vibe with light colored furniture, good lighting, dance music, and fun cocktails. Waiters aren’t as formal, but the service is spot on.

The highlights of the many dishes we tried were the MrC roll with tuna, tempura shrimp and ponzu butter, the soft shell crab roll, the crispiest crispy rock shrimp I’ve ever had, and the tuna tartare crispy rice cakes. These dishes aren’t necessarily unique to Catch (find similar variations at Koi, Bond Street, Nobu, etc), but they’re done exceptionally well. The showstopper visually was the crispy whole snapper that comes out deep fried with an asian style saute, positioned as if it’s about to swim away. The sauce was definitely needed to add flavor. Chinese food lovers would die over the salty cantonese lobster tails; I’m just not a fan for thick brown sauces. The overly buttered mushroom pasta was the only disappointment, but that came as no surprise given it was one of the only pasta dishes on the menu.

warm pretzel rolls with mustard butter

warm pretzel rolls with mustard butter

crispy shrimp

hot, buttery crispy shrimp

hamachi tartare

hamachi tartare

salmon belly carpaccio - yes we did get all of this.

salmon belly carpaccio – yes we did get all of this.

scallop dumplings

scallop dumplings

fried whole snapper

fried whole snapper

cantonese lobster - photo from Zagat.com

cantonese lobster – photo from Zagat.com

banana brulee spli

banana brulee split

Dessert at Catch and its sister restaurants are remarkable, and that goes a long way for someone like me. The strawberry shortcake with a large buttery biscuit brought me straight back to my childhood. The banana brulee split was beautifully prepared, but given the tiny scoops of ice cream and difficulty of scooping up all the ingredients off the flat dish for an ideal bite, I would have preferred a less stylized version.

Despite the hiccups in food, I left hoping to plan my next work event or dad’s visit to town at Catch. It’s a crowd-pleasing special occasion restaurant that sets you up well for a night out – there’s not surprisingly a club upstairs, and it’s situated smack dab in the center of the Meatpacking.

Grade: A-
Location: 21 9th Ave above Sephora, entrance on 13th street. Also one in Miami.
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Filed under American, Bread Basket Breakdown, Meatpacking, Parents in Town, Seafood, Sex & The City Swank, West Village

Chelsea Thai: the Meatpacking’s answer to quick, affordable and flavorful

Chelsea Thai

Despite passing by Chelsea Thai on my walk home every day for almost four years, I’ve never been compelled to stop for takeout; Buon Italia’s glass case of glistening pasta and bruschetta is just too distracting. But tonight, I was handed the opportunity to break my habit when my yoga buddy Emily suggested we eat there before parting ways. Thai isn’t exactly the type of food I crave after sweating out my angst and toxins in a therapeutic yoga session, but I’m trying to live on the edge a little more in 2013. So, I said boldly, “sure, why not.” Walking on the wild side if I say so myself!

Chelsea Thai sticks out like a sore thumb amidst the many modern and pristine little shops in the immediate vicinity. The steel walls covered in menu-photos are the only “decor” that add color to the place, and the minimal Thai products for sale sit lonely on an industrial shelf smack dab in the dining area. Fortunately, there are a few tables just outside the door in the Chelsea Market passage-way that are tolerable as dining tables for a quick meal on the run.

chicken pad thai

pad thai*

 

The place was closing up shop around 9pm as we were walking in, but we made it just in time to place an order for their hot chicken soup with rice noodles. A little disclaimer here, I’m on a semi-cleanse for the next few weeks, so had I been eating normally, I would have had Pad Thai or one of the other gloriously pictured noodle dishes on their menu. I know they are good because even free-food endowed Googlers order the stuff during lunch breaks. Still, Thai soup is admittedly much more entertaining than regular chicken soup because of the interesting sweet and sour flavors that pervade every molecule of broth. This soup was no different. I ordered it with extra vegetables and chicken, and it was unveiled as a bounty of “innards” (as my friend’s boyfriend likes to call it) in a delicious sea of earthy, lightweight but rich-in-flavor soup. A touch of sriracha brightened the flavors enough that I actually felt like I was indulging in something non-cleanse friendly (which truthfully and ironically is the goal when you’re trying to survive on a cleanse).

So my rotation of Buon Italia, Lobster Place or Hale & Hearty as dinner takeout must now make room for the occasional Chelsea Thai treat. While I wouldn’t think twice about eating inside the shop for a “feel-good” meal out, my soup has me convinced that I should permanently consider it as a dinner option on my nightly walks home.

Grade: A
LocationChelsea Market, 88 10th Avenue between 15th & 16th streets
*photos from voiceplaces.com

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Filed under Asian, Cheap Eat, Chelsea, Meatpacking, Thai

La Bottega @ The Maritime Hotel

outside at lunch

Today, my manager was kind enough to take me out to an impromptu lunch to enjoy the sun and get out of the office, something we rarely do given we have 4 cafeterias at our fingertips as Google employees. We’re spoiled, but there’s really something priceless about exiting the building and disengaging for an hour for lunch. In Brazil, sitting down for lunch is not even a question – no one eats at their desk. They sit for a proper 1.5 hours, with an appetizer, main course, dessert, and coffee, and no one dares talk about work. Welcome to the US where eating at your desk is the new answer to efficiency (but really, who can really eat a delicious meatball sandwich and think strategically at the same time?).

Anyway, we decided to go to La Bottega, which is not only steps from my office, but also has a beautiful outdoor space for optimal sun exposure. I’ve been here countless times and the main thing that keeps me coming back is the ridiculous complimentary hot rounds of garlic and cheese-covered pizza dough that arrives to the table right after sitting. The pizzas are also delicious, but today we ordered two salads – the artichoke with radicchio and white truffle oil, and the farro with mozzarella, orange, and mint, both flavorful and delicious. The artichoke was served like a slaw – raw and thinly sliced, flavored with thin shavings of parmesan. The farro salad was lovely; the grains were dense, generously dressed with balsamic and olive oil, and tossed with large hunks of fresh mozzarella. Divine!

salads combined on one plate – tables are tiny

We then moved on to the tramezzini: italian finger sandwiches served with mixed greens. We got the bresaola (our waiter hardly knew what this was) with parmesan and arugula, and the tuna with mashed garbanzo beans. The sandwiches are served as three sections on soft, grilled white bread. I was a little disappointed by the straight up bagged-sliced bread, but I loved the tuna sans mayo – the mayo in most tuna is SO unnecessary, and this tuna had texture and flavor without being an oily mess. The bresaola was a little salty with the parmesan – I would have preferred it with mozzarella, but it had a flavorful bite that many cured meat and aged cheese lovers would have flaunted over.

tuna sandwich

La Bottega is the bomb. It has quick service, a beautiful al fresco setting for outdoor eating, and solid, affordable italian food. Our entire lunch was only $40. It’s also great for after work drinks – try the champagne cocktail!

Grade: A-
Location: 88 9th Avenue between 16th & 17th
Website: 
http://www.themaritimehotel.com

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Filed under Chelsea, Italian, Meatpacking

Beaumarchais – brother in law bday brunch

Since my sister’s wedding I’ve been nonstop. I’m not sure if it was the residual excitement from the Miami weekend that has motivated me to say Yes to every possible event, but I’m paying for it now by confronting my outdated blog and uselessly fighting an illness that’s slowly taking over. Yes, I deserve it, and yes, there’s  part of me that is happy to have an excuse to sprawl on my couch and stare at the TV.

But, it doesn’t mean I can’t re-live the good moments that have happened in recent past, one of which was my brother in law’s birthday bash at Beaumarchais. He and I happen to share May 7 as a birthday, but turning a big 3-0, he decided to reach for the sky and planned a Meatpacking brunch the same day as Cinco de Drinko, the Supermoon, and the Kentucky Derby. All stars were aligned to make it a day of insanity.

pre brunch festivities

After starting the day off at my sister’s apartment with my world-famous white sangria (Amy I give you permission to sue), we skipped three blocks to the infamous Beaumarchais, where day turns into night the second you enter. Sure enough, we walk in, and in close-to-pitch black dark there are strobe lights competing for stardom with a mariachi band and a techno DJ. Our group of 15 really had no choice but to put our party hats on. We were seated at a large table, and over the course of 4 hours, we were served appetizers, entrees and magnums of vodka all while dancing on our chairs. We really didn’t have a choice – there’s not much room to dance on the ground, and with everyone around you elevated, you feel like a straight loser ignoring it. Before the end of the day our entire table was standing – some even with plate and fork in hand – rocking out to Jay Z and Techno.

table getting down!

But, this is a food blog so I must focus. For $200 a person, it had better be good, right? Fortunately, it was, and with the experience included, it was worth it. Eating in the dark is not my favorite, but with sparklers flying around we were able to get a peek every now and then. We started with foie gras that was surprisingly delicious and served with toasted brioche, and tuna tartare served with plaintain chips. Large bowls of butter lettuce salad and caesar dressing were brought to the table, but those struggled to catch the eye of the crowd. Most impressive was the truffle gnocchi – little dumplings of creamy goodness. All together this could have been a meal, but we needed course number 2 for survival reasons. Many chose the burger which I tasted – nothing too impressive, but edible. My goat cheese omelet with spinach was delicious, but I had no intention of eating the whole thing. Dancing was on my mind.

Foie Gras

gnocchi

tuna tartare with plantain chips

omelette

For a large group brunch at Beaumarchais, you get a 2 course prix fixe menu. The birthday boy was sent out a massive Sundae (by a woman dressed in a Superman costume who flew out to the Superman theme song). But despite the food being semi-reasonably priced, expect to pay a ton for the alcohol – about $800 a magnum. And when you’re in that environment, don’t think you’ll be able to make rational decisions. I remember turning to Eli and saying, $800? That’s not that bad! Well, it was…

So, do you go to Beaumarchais for the food? Absolutely not. Why would you when there are dozens of other restaurants where you can hear your conversation? You go for the spectacle. It’s like the Euro-New York version of Tony and Tina’s Wedding – you’re part of the show. You go if you feel like raging in the middle of the day and spending like you’re a man at a club for the night. You go if you want to watch women dancing in bikinis at 3pm on a Saturday.

I wouldn’t do this every weekend, even every month, but an annual visit for that slap-in-the-face reminder of why New York is so unique is almost obligatory.

Grade: A for all around experience.
Location: 409 West 13th Street between Washington and 9th
Website: http://www.brasseriebeaumarchais.com

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Filed under Brunch, Meatpacking, Sex & The City Swank, West Village

Morimoto

lounge

Yes, there may be a $10 markup on every menu item at Morimoto considering this Iron Chef’s recent rise to celebrity, but that doesn’t mean the food isn’t worth it. My friend Jillian and I had an amazing meal there last night in the lounge. Though our server was forced to divide his attention between us and ten other tables, we seemed to get our food in a timely manner and enjoyed a calm, steadily paced meal. We started with the toro tartare, which I learned is the highest grade of bluefin tuna possible. Along with a mini bamboo tray of perfectly piped wasabi, creme fraiche, avocado, little crunchies, and dark fish paste, each little spatula scraping of the fresh, melt in your mouth fish is a new experience. With a dollop of rich black caviar, this dish couldn’t be more luscious.

toro tartare with the fixings

We then shared the crispy calamari salad, which I expected to be a wilted green salad beneath a scraping of delicate calamari. Instead, I was presented with copious amounts of fresh greens that lay on top of perfectly fried garlic and the crunchiest calamari I’ve tasted. It was quite an impressive rendition of such a commonplace dish at high-end Japanese restaurants.

amazing calamari salad

We then moved onto to the king crab legs, which were served with a tobiko aioli that we had asked to be served on the side. The crab legs were massive and cracked just enough to allow us to easily remove the delicious meat with our chopsticks. And though I am horrified of mayo, the aioli was garlicky and subtly creamy – a perfect partner to the large chunks of crab.

King Crab

Along with our delicious premium sashimi and a $6 side of rice, we had a meal made up of high-quality ingredients in the environment one would expect for the restaurant of a world-famous Japanese chef. As long as my 25% off Googler discount applies, I’ll make it back when I’m craving quality sushi, which is the most devastatingly lacking food in the area.

Grade: A

Location: 88 10th Avenue between 15th and 16th street

Website: http://www.morimotony.com
*pictures via flickr

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Filed under Japanese, Meatpacking, Sex & The City Swank, Special Occasion

Scarpetta

This past week I had my third meal at Scarpetta, but this time was the first one on my own dime. I have to admit, the food is fancy and obviously professionally prepared, but it just doesn’t taste as good when I am forking over much more than necessary for a good italian meal. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – quality italian food is easy to find on a budget. Malatesta, Frankie’s Spuntino, and Buon Italia in Chelsea market are just some of the many places I frequent to get my italian fix on the cheap. So with that in mind, it was an enlightening experience to pay $30 for an unnecessarily rich pasta in a sterile environment where I couldn’t even pour my own wine without the sommelier grabbing it out of my hands. My meal at Scarpetta was a turning point in my relationships with fancy restaurants. When I first came to New York, I would really look forward to a refined meal where no crumb on the table went unnoticed by the servers. But when I walked into Scarpetta, I was wishing I had picked the other spot where I could be myself and relax. Fortunately I was with great company, and I am usually happy in restaurants no matter the type.

Bread Basket

I can’t complain too much about the food – I can never get over the variety of Scarpetta’s bread basket, which includes salami and cheese foccacia served with whipped butter and eggplant caponata. I am a sucker for truffles so I decided to order the tagliatelle with truffles, guanciale and autumn vegetables for the table, and the pan roasted branzino for myself. When the pasta arrived, it looked like the most perfect pile of fresh pasta I had ever seen, with hints of roasted vegetables peering through the dense mountain of noodles. But before I could say stop, the waiter poured a vessel of frothy, buttery sauce that instead of enhancing the dish, made it almost impossible to stomach. One or two bites were great, but the combination was far too heavy for what, in my opinion, a simple italian meal should be.

tagliatelle

The fish, on the other hand, was simple and light, but I would have been just as happy with the crispier version served at Cafe Minerva (for $20 less) down the street.

branzino

The dessert at Scarpetta stood out for me the most in my past visits, so I made our table commit to ordering one. With my ex-Londoner friend Sarah in town, we ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding that came with a delicious Guinness ice cream. The portion was unfortunately only enough for us to each have one or two bites, but it was definitely enough for me to judge it as one of the most delicious and light versions of the pudding I’ve had. The salted caramel gelato, however, literally tasted like salt water, so much that we couldn’t even dent it. Fortunately, they were nice enough to replace it with more of the Guinness flavor.

dessert

My experience at Scarpetta taught me a few things, but most importantly, it made me realize that I will only come back here on an expense account. It definitely fills the requirements of any classy, upscale restaurant, but I don’t think I’ll be spending much more time at places like these unless it’s an obligation.

Grade: B+

Location: 355 West 14th Street at 9th Ave

Website: http://www.scarpettanyc.com

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Filed under Italian, Meatpacking

Fig and Olive

When I lived in New York the summer of 2007, I shared a one bedroom the size of a closet with my friend Sarah, no air conditioning, miles and miles uptown on first avenue. Despite the close quarters and arbitrary location, I found solace in my close proximity to a well stocked Food Emporium and restaurants in an area I wouldn’t otherwise explore. One place we discovered was Fig and Olive, a much smaller and quainter version of the bustling one in the Meatpacking I visited last night. I remembered loving the menu and my meal – light, mediterranean dishes, various crostinis, crudo, and carpaccios, and an array of simple fish dishes. Time has swept away since then, but I finally had a chance to test out the downtown location last night to celebrate the arrival of my Brazilians amigas.

communal table

I was alarmed by bumping techno music and overbearing background noise – a stark contrast with the elegantly modern space, pristinely white splashed with marble, small potted plants and eclectic bottles of olive oil. This place is incredibly vast compared to the local West Village cafes, but fits well with the go-big-or-go-home club scene of the immediate area. As a group of 8 we were seated at a long communal table pointed toward the kitchen. One plus was that we could sit as an incomplete party as the rest of the group trickled in; one major minus was that it took us about twenty minutes to get our waiter’s attention, who seemed to be running away from a fire the entire night.

pristine decor

After practicing the virtue of patience we finally ordered and were served in a timely manner. First arrived my avocado soup, which was described as a crab and avocado soup but was actually a cup of chilled, beautifully green avocado puree with a side crab-piled crostini. I loved the crab salad on the side and the deep flavors of avocado and coconut in the soup. It was refreshing, but I was hoping the soup had incorporated more texture.

chilled avocado soup

I thought that for sure my main course of filet of sole en papillote would be an easy win, but the thyme seasoning completely overwhelmed the delicate subtlety of the fish, and tasting the rubbery squash and zucchini with my eyes closed brought me straight to in-flight dining. Fortunately, a few bites of the delicious (yet excessively oiled) penne pasta tartufo helped fill my void of hot food, as well as the orecchiette with broccoli rabe and halibut – definitely what I’ll order if I’m ever convinced to come back.

fish en papillote

penne with truffle oil

halibut orecchiette

The fruit crostini, shortbread cookies topped with marscarpone, strawberries, and basil, was most definitely the best part of the meal. Not my typical dessert (no chocolate), but it was buttery, creamy and beautifully plated.

fruit crostini

To make a long story short: love the variety of the menu, the food is not thrilling, the volume level is excessive, service is inefficient and inattentive. I could see Fig and Olive being a great option for lunch when the techno vibe isn’t bumping through its veins and a lighter meal is expected. But for dinner in the area, pass it up and look no further than a few blocks down where you’ll find my restaurant soulmate, Barbuto.

Grade: B-

Location: 416 W 13th St between 9th and 10th Avenues

Website: http://www.figandolive.com

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Filed under Meatpacking, Mediterranean

5 Ninth

Exterior

After three years of passing and peaking into 5 Ninth on my walk home from work and even planning a few events there for my old managers, I finally made a reservation for myself, which was incentivized by a Google-provided 20% discount. Looking like a quaint cottage in an area with modern storefronts and rooftop bars, with three narrow stories and plenty of outdoor space on both ends of the restaurant, this place definitely stands out as breath of fresh air in terms of aesthetics. I can’t say that the restaurant shares the youthful, upbeat energy of the Meatpacking in which it resides, but some may consider this a God-send when it feels like eating elsewhere requires aggressive advanced planning or elbow poking crowds.

back patio

The menu is American and somewhat unadventurous with its variety – it has the classic roast chicken, one or two fish dishes, a couple of pastas and a small selection of salads and appetizers. Mike, Sonia and I split the greek salad, which we were convinced could not go wrong. And while it didn’t fail, the tomatoes and cucumbers were sort of…depressing. Served look warm and over-dressed, the vegetables lacked crunch and the feta had more of the texture of a creamy blue cheese than a crumbly white one.

limp greek salad

My next dish was fairly simple – a grilled striped bass served with swiss chard and white beans. I was pleasantly surprised that it arrived hot out of the oven and traditionally prepared, but the swiss chard was so tough and stringy it was nearly impossible to chew. Mike’s roast chicken had crispy skin but excessive fat, and was served surrounding an overwhelming abundance of “mojo” sauce, a sweet and sour salsa that made the spinach and lentils look like an afterthought.

black bass

roast chicken with unidentifiable sauce

Despite the stale bread that we had only received after asking, I was close to leaving 5 Ninth satisfied, though not impressed, by my experience. The manager gave us a special thanks for coming and the scene outside was quite serene. But just as we were exiting, I couldn’t help but suddenly notice vigorous rustling in the black dumpster situated to my left. And once we realized that the sound wasn’t coming from a person, but from some kind of live animal, all positive memories vanished.

Yes, I know I’m living in denial to think that most restaurants in New York aren’t plagued with infestations, but the last thing I could ask for is to discover them mid-meal. It’s too bad that I left disappointed because the restaurant definitely has potential – it just needs to clean up its act, starting with the obvious – no seating customers next to garbage cans. That said, apparently they have a great deal for Happy Hour, so for such a beautiful setting, and I think it’s safe to assume that the rats aren’t focused on the booze.

Grade: C

Location: 5 Ninth Avenue at Gansevoort Street

Website: http://www.5ninth.com

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Filed under Affordable Date, American, Meatpacking, Mediterranean, Romantic Date

Italian smorgasboard at Buon Italia Food Stand

*photo taken from Stuyspectator.com

I’ve worked above Chelsea Market for over a year, and though I longingly look at the Buon Italia stand on a daily basis, I regret to say that I’ve only been a patron there twice. As a cash and take-away only establishment, it rarely fits my criteria for a leisurely experiential meal after a long day of work. For a quick weekend dinner, however, it’s perfect, so I decided to give it a whirl on this past rainy Saturday.

It could have been the weather, or it could have been my attempt at recovery from a measly bike ride, but something in the air kicked up my craving for a hearty, homey, italian meal. Food shopping while hungry is the worst idea for the money conscious, but for some reason I find it amusing – the options tend to seem endless and I end up trying things I wouldn’t normally if my stomach grumblings were control. So, in the display masterpiece of all the pasta, salads, grilled vegetables, and seafood, I zoomed right in on the chicken eggplant parmigiana sandwich. And just to really round out my review experience, I decided to throw in a salami and cheese calzone. Right then and there I knew any potential of going out was shot – but I know my priorities.

I warmed the sandwich and calzone in a 375 degree oven at home and waited no longer to dive in. The bread of the sandwich was hard and crusty, a little too much for my liking, but the salty, juicy eggplant and crispy chicken were an easy distraction. The sandwich could have benefitted from a heartier helping of fresh mozzarella, but after eating one half I realized that the sandwich untouched was filling enough.

more chicken parm variations

The calzone, however, turned out to be a deep fried mess. Yep, it tasted like a cheese and meat filled funnel cake. And the cheese wasn’t the typical mozzarella you would expect in a calzone, but a lighter, crumblier version of ricotta. After one bite I couldn’t get over the amount of grease on my fingers and lips, so I decided to go no further. This calzone is not for the dainty or mild, so hard-core New York italians, step right up.

I love Buon Italia, but I’ve re-assessed my evaluation. It’s not the best place for calzone and your typical italian sandwich – better quality pizza and hero renditions are easily found elsewhere in the hood. This little stand truly serves its purpose for a quick deceptively-prepared meal if you’re having guests, or a fabulously hearty italian dinner to go. Or, if you’re making a cheese plate and want a few out of the ordinary additions, grab some marinated artichokes or olives to sprinkle around. But make no mistake by skipping the massive market inside – it’s actually the best italian shop I’ve seen in the city, and the cheese selection is phenomenal.

Grade: B

Location: Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave between 15th and 16th street

Website: http://www.buonitalia.com

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Filed under Affordable Date, Cheap Eat, Chelsea, Italian, Meatpacking, Pizza

The Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck

One winter’s night my freshman year at UC Davis I became crippled by some of the most severe stomach pains I can remember. Curled up on my bed in a ball, I called on my friend Polly to help the helpless and requested that she bring the only imaginable remedy: a pint of ice cold chocolate Haagan Daaz. When she arrived ice cream in hand, I dove right in. And believe it or not, I came back to life and suddenly realized I had discovered the cure to an upset stomach.

Fast forward 7 years later (frightening) and not much has changed except that I’ve become my own care taker. Last night after eating mashed potatoes on top of raisin bread (don’t ask) at my sister’s apartment, I felt undeniably ill. The memory of the ice cream treatment occurred to me, and I walked straight to the butter yellow Van Leeuwan truck outside the Standard Hotel that’s been tempting me since the start of summer. Though over 5 flavors were out of stock, I was thrilled to try my two scoops of hormone and preservative-free ginger and pistachio ice cream. I’ve always associated Van Leeuwan with the excessively gourmet, but I soon learned I had been too quick to judge. While they may not offer chunk monkey or cake batter flavored scoops, Van Leeuwan happens to have the truest untouched form of classic ice cream possible. Their product is created from just three ingredients: hormone-free milk, cane sugar, and eggs. The ginger flavor, mildly spicy but perfectly creamy, tastes so pure it’s enlightening. You never realize you’ve been eating the bad stuff until you try the good, and I’m not sure if I can ever go back to buying Ben & Jerry’s at the corner bodega.

3 gorgeous generous scoops in 100% renewable cup

I savored every last bite of the ice cream so slowly that for 20 minutes, I completely lost all consciousness of my stomach pains. I can’t say that I was 100% cured right after (or even this morning), but the memories of the unadulterated, perfectly crafted goodness of pistachio and ginger ice cream definitely served the purpose of a worthwhile distraction. Good thing it’s positioned just two blocks away in case of an emergency.

Grade: A+

Location: various; check website

Website: http://www.vanleeuwanicecream.com

*pictures courtesy of Etsy.com and theyoungandhungry.com as I was too mesmerized to photograph

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Filed under Meatpacking, Sugar Surge