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Posts from the ‘Chelsea’ Category


I knew this would happen. My birthday somehow seemed to get lost in the shuffle this year. This was my annual celebratory dinner from way back in July. Now I've already gone on vacation and it's practically the middle of August. Barcelona is fresh in my mind and Cookshop seems like old news despite being a very charming restaurant.

Every time I've started to describe Cookshop to someone it ended up sounding mundane. Nice or interesting don't really cut it. To say, "I had a salad with blue cheese and bacon" doesn't really cut it. But I did have a salad with blue cheese and bacon. Simply, the food tasted like food…but better, and that's kind of novel. Rather than elaborate, I'll show some semi-pretty pictures.

Nice to see that carbs are back. I could've sworn the dip had tarragon in it, but supposedly it was a creme fraiche and onion blend.

Chile dusted fried hominy is a total appetite killer. I could eat the whole plate myself, though it's probably best suited for sharing.

Here's that bacon and blue cheese salad. I was thinking that it was iceberg, but I think it was butter lettuce. It was one pile of rich, creamy goodness.

Heirloom tomatoes, opal basil and fried cornbread chunks. This is a perfect example of the simple  food food approach.

Sea bass with zucchini and I'm not sure what else since this wasn't my dish.

Grilled rabbit with polenta, favas and salsa verde. This was the dish I was least crazy about. Maybe I'm not fond of rabbit as I thought.

Warm donuts, buttermilk ice cream and blueberry compote.

Brownie, caramel, cocoa covered almonds and what I think was coconut ice cream.

Cookshop * 156 Tenth Ave., New York, NY

Tia Pol

I had avoided Tia Pol for ages because I feared it was the type of place that would make me unhappy. You know, tiny, cramped, jostling, long waits. All of that was true, but it didn't bother me. Maybe it was the drinks I'd downed prior to dinner.

One of the main reasons I'd never been to Tia Pol is that it's just not on my way to anything. I finally found an opportunity when I decided to see Architecture of Density, a series of photographs by Michael Wolf at Hasted Hunt Gallery down the street. I never go see art, but I really love these images of Hong Kong and got an invite from the photographer after writing online about how I was just going to blow up color photocopies of images from the book since I couldn't afford the $8,000 (or so) price tags. I always forget that people actually read what I write occasionally, and it's probably not wise to talk about things like flagrantly violating copyright (or tax laws).

So, there's nothing like little bites after viewing large scale photography. There was about a thirty minute wait, and the bar area is narrow, but like I said, it wasn't unbearable. We eventually got a nice two-seater in the back away from the fray.

With tapas I'm never sure if I'm under or over ordering. Our strategy here was to order a decent number of the small sized servings (most items come in two sizes) and opt for more if necessary (I've never actually done this when using this plan of attack, for fear of seeming too gluttonous). A glass of Txakoli made a nice accompaniment.

Grilled sardines with a carrot slaw. There was a distinctive coriander seed sweetness to the shredded vinegared vegetables.

I can never pass up the gambas. My question is whether or not you're supposed to eat the shells. I always do, and the heads too. Is that barbaric?

Chorizo, chocolate and little chile strands. Yes, the combination is peculiar, though not untasty. I think it's just regular chocolate, possibly milk chocolate. I can see it working better with a darker more bitter permutation.

Classic patatas bravas. Weird how mayonnaise can be so blech, but aioli can be so addictive. That's garlic for you.

Blurry lamb skewers. Nice and cuminy.

I can never recall all the contents of a cheese plate after the fact. But there was definitely some marcona almonds, honey covered walnuts, quince paste, cabrales, manchego and idiazabal.

Tia Pol * 205 Tenth Ave., New York, NY


I dont really understand the catalyst for the bbq craze that seems to have swept the city in the past year. Not that I'm complaining, but I'm certainly neither bbq addict nor aficionado (duh, Ive eaten a Dallas BBQ by choice). I cant discern which wood is being used, or tell how the meat has been smoked by the color of the flesh, or speak at length on regional styles. But I do like barbecued meat, particularly anything porcine.

I had a Friday night urge and wanted to try someplace I'd never been. Smoked, in the East Village, seemed small-portion, big-prices off putting. RUB rankled me slightly with the Righteous Urban Barbecue acronym, but it has the Paul Kirk pedigree, which is more than many of the newcomers have to offer.

The Chelsea space is pretty bare bones, though hardly as no-frills as what youd find down south. I should've been trying the pork ribs, but they come solo, just ribs, and I like variety. While I do like barbecue, its not the sort of food that Ill eat till I'm breathless (like Thai food). I'd prefer lots of smaller tastes over one big entrée, so I tried a barbecue sampler where you can choose different meats and sides. I went for two and two and picked pulled pork, beef brisket, mixed greens (collards, mustard and kale) and baked beans, which were full of salty pork chunks. I liked the pulled pork best, beef brisket second and house made pastrami (that James ordered) third, but thats primarily because pastrami isnt one of my favorites in the first place. I prefer corned beef, even though I'm not sure what the difference is. It's definitely fattier.

In addition to the pastrami, other atypical offerings included szechuan smoked duck, which Ive heard is quite good, and deep fried ribs. Both are items I'd consider upon a second visit. You dont want to go wild on a maiden restaurant voyage, its best to assess standards first.

RUB * 208 23rd St., New York, NY

Trailer Trash


The latest addition to NYC's growing trash trend. I was kind of curious
about the place, and it was across the street from the theater where we saw
"The Good Girl" (the same theater where we had our first date ["Blair
Witch"] and hadn't been back to in almost three years). I would say Trailer
Park isn't trashy so much as kitschy. The place is overflowing with
'70s-'80s memorabilia like Dukes of Hazzard pics, which realistically you
wouldn't find in the average mobile home. I can see it being more of a
thriving bar scene. The burger wasn't bad, but nothing special. I did like
sweet potato fries, though–and you're not going to find those in a trailer

Trailer Park * 23rd St., New York, NY


OK, I'm a little confused. F&B stands for frites and beignets, right? So,
where are the Frenchie doughnuts? James and I swung by before heading to the
Paramus Mall for a quick sugar fix and the square fried goodies were nowhere
to be seen on the wall menu, and no one appeared to be eating them. The word
beignet is on the window, the trays and later we discovered, on the take-out
menu, but beignets clearly weren't going into anyone's mouth. Harumph. I had
the dog with chicken apple sausage and corn relish (love the sweet/savory
combo) and sweet potato fries. Both were tasty, but they were not beignets.
I don't know about that European street food.

F&B* 269 W. 23rd St., New York, NY