I’ve started eating cereal and soy milk for breakfast. This week I picked up a box of Special K Red Berries, not because the commercial claims eating a bowl for two meals a day will cause weight loss in two weeks (duh, a serving size is only 1/2 cup. It’d be hard not to lose weight, eating a cup of cereal in place of two regular meals) but because it was on sale. Actually, the reason I started eating cereal was the result of some other quack study reporting people who ate cereal for breakfast on average weighed eight pounds less than folks who ate other things or even skipped breakfast. Whatever, the point is red berries. I saw the picture on the box and was like “bullshit, there’s real, juicy berries inside.” What is inside are thick, weird, freeze-dried, chewy strawberry slices reminiscent of an old Weight Watchers snack from the early ’80s. I wonder if anyone currently obsessed with counting points remembers those packets filled little nuggets of dried apple. It’s the kind of crap my mom would pawn off on me pretending it was better than candy. However, rehydrated with milk, the red berries aren’t half-bad. Not candy, but edible.
Restaurants housed in stores can be scary like Little Caesars in K Mart, but of course, ABC Carpet and Home is no blue light special. Though after facing a sold out showing of "Y Tu Mama Tambien," tapas, across the street, seemed like a good second choice.
It was Saturday night, there was a long wait, the Gipsy Kings were blaring, but by the end of the evening, I was happy as a clam (or maybe that was the giant pitcher of sangria taking effect). We ordered way more food than we should've: shrimp and crab-stuffed piquillo peppers, shrimp in garlicky olive oil, a hearty salad with machengo, Serrano ham and the sweetest-ever sun-dried tomatoes and a dish called "lamb rice" filled with olives, figs, more of those tomatoes, topped with little lamb chops.
Though I didn't see the bill, I have the feeling Pipa is one of those places where little things quickly add up. Tapas have that way of sneaking up on your pocketbook.
Pipa* 38 E 19th St., New York, NY
Hmm, strange that I've never mentioned the re-birth of HOPAC. They closed last summer around this time and got me scared, so I ran over and bought a bunch of deep fried calzones (I live down the street now). But then they re-opened with new owners who seem to be doing things the same way where the food is concerned and unlike the old way where everything else is. And that's a good thing. They're actually open on weekends and after 5pm and have coupons and delivery menus and all that. (7/27/05)
No fan of spaghetti and meatballs, I gave Aunt Suzie's a whirl anyway. This
big portions, small pricetag red sauce joint straddles the line between
old-school and tongue in cheek. Lovers of standards like chicken parmigiana,
fried eggplant and baked ziti won't be disappointed. Everyone else should
prepare to bust a gut.
Aunt Suzie's * 247 Fifth
Ave., Brooklyn, NY