Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pizza! Brunch! Thai! Oysters! Chinese! & MORE!!

Jess and I are in the process of moving in together (!!!) so we have a ton of expenses to deal with right now. As a result, we have not been eating out at as much recently and spending all of our money on food.

Instead, we've gotten our eats from take-out, pick-up, etc... And since we are fortunate enough to live in New York City, the options are plentiful AND delicious. Here are some notable spots for good, quick, cheap food:

Yummy House - With so many grimy Chinese take-out places, YH is refreshingly just the opposite. Their food always delivers (no pun intended, well, maybe it was) and this past occasion was no exception. Orange Chicken, Chicken w/ Cashews, & Shrimp Lo Mein were enjoyed by all who got involved. Plus, their dinner pick-up special is one of the best around. Check 'em out!

Gracefully Market - This is a go-to favorite of mine when I want something healthy & hearty. They have a grilled chicken & vegetables salad that is MORE than enough for one person and it only costs $6.99. It comes with your choice of dressing & I suggest trying out the Sesame Ginger. I will have this salad anywhere from 1-2 times per week. They can be found on 1st Ave btwn 18th & 19th.

Kati - Jess and I tried their Thai food for the first time and were both impressed. It was delivered in no time and was very affordable (less than $10/person). The Pad Thai & Curry Tofu dishes were exactly what you'd expect... yummy!

Artichoke Pizza - If you haven't been here, do yourself a favor and go right now! It can be argued that their famed artichoke slice is more similar to artichoke dip than it is to pizza, but that's for another time. The slice is phenomenal & can fill you up for a mere $4.50 (recently raised from $4). The simplest description of this slice is artichoke dip topped with parm & muzz cheese placed on top of thick pizza bread. It will make you melt!

The Sicilian & Margarita slices are some of the best I've ever had, and this comes from someone who grew up eating LI/NYC pizza (yeah, I just tooted my own horn). They skillfully combine marinara sauce, parmesan & mozzarella cheese, and basil on their pizza to stand out (and way above) almost all of the other pizza joints in the city. The best part of their Sicilian slices is its crust - crunchy, crispy, & oily!

Oh, and I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't make mention of a few more things:

1) Aside from a couple of benches in front of their shop, it's all take-out.
2) There's always a line in front of their small pizza shop (14th St btwn 1st & 2nd).
3) The service is unfathomably bad so expect to wait & don't get frustrated. It's hard to know if they don't know how to efficiently run their store or if they like the buzz they get from the line. Either way, grin & bear it cause the pizza is well worth the wait!

Our one splurge of late was a brunch we shared at Cookshop last Saturday morning. Our friend was in from out of town (of course I took him to Artichoke to have New York's finest). So, we went out hard the night before (to my favorite bar, Hi Fi) and woke up needing a hearty breakfast to aid in our recovery. Plus, we wanted to get there one last time before Jess moved away from the neighborhood. I got their pancakes, and since they are big, light, & fluffy... they are perfect for a wicked hangover. They come topped with caramelized bananas & a cinnamon butter. I requested some chopped walnuts on top for an added crunch. Plain & simple, these flapjacks are some of the best NYC have to offer.

Jess followed suit by ordering one of her brunch staples... the egg white frittata. It comes baked in a small skillet filled with fresh vegetables, cheese and is nice and crispy on top. It's healthy, filling and delicious.

Did it cure our hangovers? Pretty much, yeah! Did it give us the necessary fuel to enjoy a sun-soaked day in this great city we live in? You're damn right it did!

We're sad to move away from Cookshop but I got a feeling we'll be back sooner rather than later.

And to celebrate a friend's birthday, Jess recently went to Mermaid Oyster Bar down in Greenwich Village (our new hood!), a sister restaurant to the Mermaid Inn (East Village and Upper West Side)...

It's a casual joint that serves up a variety of fresh oysters and yummy treats from the sea. We started with some drinks and the seafood tower, which comes packed with oysters, crab and other goodies. For four people, it was the perfect way to go. I also got the the sauteed calamari with shiitake & cremini mushrooms, feta cheese, and frisee lettuce, which has got to be one of my favorite dishes in all of NYC. It's a starter but is enough for an entree if you get something else as a starter. The calamari is complemented by the flavors of the mushrooms and cheese - everything melts together. It's a nice change from fried calamari or an Italian calamari with tomato sauce - it's definitely something you should try!

And so is Mermaid Oyster bar - with their cute complimentary cup of chocolate pudding and red fortune teller fish at the end, it's a fun eating experience!

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