Yeah, yeah. I know. I fell off the planet.
Got sucked right out of the blogosphere into a frenzied–albeit pleasant–black hole of packing, daydreaming, tying loose ends, and selling gobs of our stuff to strangers. I’ve shirked my food scribbling duties (though I’ve continued to take countless low-quality photos of slightly above-quality dishes and scrawl well intentioned notes on napkins and receipts), and I’m not proud of it, but I’m BACK I tell you. For good. To regale you with gastro adventures galore.
Also, by back, I mean that I’m once again a displaced Texan. This time, however, I’ve side-stepped a return to the Midwest and instead landed in a hustlin’ bustlin’ nabe of the Bronx. That’s right folks. This little foodie scooted off to the Great Big Shiny Apple. It’s been almost a week, and now that we have crappy Internet installed (yes, there is an ethernet cable surging Web life into my MacBook), I figure I’ll jump back in the dining saddle with a whirlwind wrap up of our taste bud travels thus far.
After a disgustingly early flight, feeding my kitty tranquilizers (vet-approved, mind you), a connecting flight in Philly, and an anxious taxi ride, we managed to find ourselves on the corner of Eastchester Road and Morris Park on the grounds of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where the male counterpart will continue studying gray matter. We giddily picked up our keys at the security desk (yes, mom, there is a 24-hour security guard on duty) and road the left of two 28-story elevators up to the ninth floor. Ta-DAH! An empty studio with a view of… well, the Bronx isn’t exactly gorgeous, but you can see a ways off. Look below, and there are three or four eateries across the street. Starving, Joshua? Me, too.
Unfortunately, when we swung ourselves into Coals (famed campus hangout of AECOM students), we were informed we’d paraded our weary selves into a private party, so we pulled an about face and took a right past Remedies (a bar that claims to cure what ails you) to Good To Go, which offers a long list of Italian and American comfort foods, including lots of hot sandwiches and incredible cheesy garlic bread.
When the waitress, (who bypassed refilling our teeny water glasses to set up the bar), brought out my meatball parmesan, I gaped unabashedly as she slid a sleek, curvy serving tray in front of me that bore no less than THREE six-inch subs. Next to it, she placed a platter piled with soggy sweet potato fries. E. GAD. Don’t get me wrong, the french bread was fresh, the meatballs were nicely seasoned, and there was an appropriate layer of marinara and mozz, but whoa dang. I ate one of the sandwiches, or what they would have you believe to be a third of my meal.
The rest served us well as lunch during the day of unpacking that followed. (I enjoyed the second half of Josh’s Italian sausage and broccoli rabe panini the next day.) So Good To Go, I figure, is actually an abbreviation for Good To Go For A Few Days (but that’d make for some pricey signage). In other words, the place is very affordable for the portions… next time, we’ll split a plate.
On day two, we made a run to Pathmark, a grungy-looking, mediocre supermarket whose most enticing qualities are these: it’s open 24/7 and located two blocks away. We will need to search out establishments better stocked in fresh produce and specialty items, but for staples and quick runs, it’s handy.
Back to eating out, however, because I can’t get the meal we had Sunday off my mind. Our first romp into the city included a meet up with a couple fellow Spain study abroaders for dinner and drinks. After meeting them for a quick drink in a pricey coffee and cocktails bar on Union Square, we Yelp‘d some Asian dining options, which led us across the square to Republic, where I fell in love. The Asian fusion noodle house, which embraces a variety of Far East cuisine, claims that the secret of each menu item is all in the specially created sauces. I would have to agree.
Mr. Starving Foodie and I split a bottle of cold sake, which we sipped while chomping on an Asian variation of calamari that boasted a perfect crunch and was appropriately paired with a sweet-chili dipping sauce. While it wasn’t the hands-down best squid offering I’ve ever had, the Crispy Tofu served with a peanut-sesame and mustard sauce was definitely in the running for best tofu yet. The texture was spot-on and the sauce delish. After waffling over a main course to split (Josh and I have made a pact to split Asian dishes from this point forward, as we’re consistently resorting to toting home doggie bags of defeat), we opted to bypass the Pad Thai for a more interesting selection: Curried Duck Noodles.
I felt a swelling of foodie-snob pride as our easygoing waiter commended us for our choice, mentioning he planned to have the same after his shift. I’m sure he wasn’t just indulging our egos because of how vigorously it managed to compete with the awesomeness of the tofu. Tender shredded duck meat danced merrily on the tongue with a nicely balanced curry sauce and lo mein. And the best part: the portions and price tags were both reasonable. No doggie bags for us.
Republic may not exactly be around the corner from our outer-borough domain, but we will without a doubt be back to try out the Vietnamese sandwiches and unique variety of Bento boxes. I am more doubtful, however, that we will soon make the .7-mile hike north under the six train to return to Carvel’s, the nearest ice cream stop, for so-so Butter Pecan. Though perhaps I’ll run down to catch the ice cream truck that has sing-song’d its way down the street every day since we’ve arrived. I wonder if he’s got Screwballs…
Anywho, more adventures soon to come. (Cross my heart!) I’ve been reading up so I can explore and share in more detail.
Until next time,