Mr. Bing, Broadway Bites – A new (to me?) stall popped up this summer, which serves jianbing, a Beijing street food. It’s a bit like a crepe, filled with egg, scallions, sauces, crispy wontons, and a whole bunch of other things. This one was much bigger than the one I had in Beijing, and it was given to me in a takeout box rather than wrapped in paper for me to snack on as I walked, but it was pretty good.
Lupulo – Finally visited their lunch window and tried the new piri piri chicken sandwich. It was spicy, but the tang of the pickles and a creamy sauce hidden inside tamed the heat. At $8, it’s also one of the most affordable lunch items on the menu.
Making pesto – I found garlic scapes at the Union Square Greenmarket and made this pesto, which I then proceeded to use on sandwiches and over pasta for the next week. If you don’t love garlic, beware – it certainly leaves you (and the kitchen) a little fragrant. Here’s one version: pesto over farfalle with cherry tomatoes and extra Parmesan.
No. 7 Sub – This little spot in the Ace Hotel feels like a well-kept secret. There’s never a line out the door, which is so amazing when it’s humid and 90 degrees at noon. I had the Caprese there recently, which would have been unremarkable except for the shallot vinaigrette! A brilliant addition to a classic combination.
Raffetto’s – Stopped by this fresh pasta spot to pick up some ravioli and ended up with some fresh pasta as well. The garlic scape pesto over the fresh lemon-red pepper pasta was an easy weeknight dinner.
Degustation – A hidden restaurant in the East Village, Degustation has a gorgeous open concept with 15-20 seats built right around the kitchen. It’s a treat to watch the chefs cook and plate, and the tasting menu felt like a steal at $85 for seven creative courses. Standouts were the fresh corn salad, with fried shallots and Parmesan, crispy octopus with cucumbers and scallions in a spicy Thai sauce, melt-in-your-mouth tender duck with sweet dates and confit, and their signature dessert, the torrija. Add to that good wine and good company and you’re in for a good night. Take a look at some of the food here.
Park Avenue Summer – The month closed out with a Restaurant Week dinner at Park Avenue Summer this past weekend. Between the three of us, I got to try a few more dishes than usual – the burrata was lovely with the peaches, and the corn gnocchi had a wonderful flavor. I had the branzino as the main course, which was good but not terribly memorable, and for dessert, I do recall the berry tart hitting the spot, although I was a bit fuzzy from the wine by then. I will say that they have more options available than the average RW menu, so if you’re looking for a spot to go, this would be a good one. Added bonus: The atmosphere there is perfect for summer dining.