New York City Food & Drink
I headed down to the city Thursday to celebrate my mom’s birthday and ate and drank so much good stuff it’s not even funny. Made up for a Monday-Wednesday of zero to drink.
I got into town around 6 pm on Thursday and was absolutely starving. Felt like veering from my usual food and drink routine (which consists of Taby’s & Mario’s, kesté & Kashkaval Garden). Pulled up Yelp on my phone and looked for local farm to table places with stellar reviews. I chose The Rustic Root. I was a little nervous about it’s location. Woodbury Commons is a strip mall on Long Island. And while it’s a strip mall it’s Woodbury, which is fairly swank. So one one hand it’s a strip mall in Woodbury. But on the other hand, it’s a strip mall in Woodbury. I’m not one for mass consumerism, but I will be going back to this strip mall for more amazing food.
They don’t take reservations but we were sat within five minutes despite the fact that the place was PACKED.
We started with the blistered shishito peppers (on the right). They sit on a cilantro togarashi aoli. Incredible. I had the wings, which are dressed with honey, rosemary and sea salt (my new favorite combo). I enjoyed this with a glass of Bedell Viognier (2016) from the North Fork of Long Island.
Excellent North Fork wine. The minerality was the perfect contrast to the honey and the floral, stone fruit notes kept my palate fresh.
My mom had the burger (beef, not chicken) and absolutely loved it although the fries stole the show. Seriously, they were some of the best we’ve ever had.
Friday: Field Trip!
I follow Bushwick’s Fine Fare on Insta (you should, too!) and was psyched to see that Fine Fare was opening a shop on Long Island since Bushwick is kind of a pain in the ass to get to and parking can be a total nightmare. I won’t lie: I had to look up where Copiague was but was happy to see it wasn’t all that far (fairly close to where I went to high school, actually). Friday was gorgeous so in the late morning we took a drive out. The store is new, clean and well-stocked and full of awesome Long Island accents. Could you want anything else?
Pumpkin Beer is in full force on their season rack and since I was purchasing to bring back to Vermont I avoided checking out the fridge and stuck to the pumpkin stuff. The other stuff not in the cooler consisted of mostly things I can get here in southern VT or Kris can get in Albany/Troy. My haul was good, though. Two bottles of Cigar City Good Gourd, a bottle of Southern Tier Warlock, and some Downeast pumpkin cider. People always rave about Downeast, and I have never seen it around here. Also: I’ve never seen a pumpkin cider.
Saturday on the West Side
Kris arrived on Saturday morning and the three of us headed to 34th & 12th to walk the high line for the first time. The high line is a repurposed el train track on Manhattan’s West Side that displays plants and art. The views are stunning and it’s an awesome example of how we can let nature into even the most urban of urban centers.
Stops Along The Way
The High Line has lots of entrances along the way and one of the first was right near Death Ave Brewing Company. Talk about an unexpected surprise. Of course we hopped off the line and checked this out. They offer delicious Hellenic food and the space is beautifully appointed with Edison lights and ephemera including a skull that, of course, makes the perfect centerpiece for pictures.
The beers are all named Mr. [something or other]. Kris ordered the Mr. Chocolate, a milk stout and I went with the Mr. Glutton. Beers are true to style and damn, are those some clean lines. Fantastically clean. We enjoyed both and will definitely be back the next time we’re in town. We also split the margherita flat bread which had the most perfect sesame graced crust. Really stellar. Between my mom not being a mushroom fan and her and my food allergies, this was the only one that made sense. Kris and I will get a little more adventurous the next time we’re in town.
The Main Event
After completing our walk on the High Line we walked toward where we were having dinner and found a place for a drink. Then it was off to Cookshop NYC. Labeled as a hipster farm to table favorite it couldn’t be missed to celebrate my mom’s birthday, especially because she is really getting into the local food movement.
Staff was exceptionally nice and attentive but never overbearing. We gave our usual, “We’re kind of leisurely when it comes to dinner,” caveat and never had to remind anyone. We didn’t feel rushed. Not once. And man did that make me happy. Too often restaurants are all about getting people out the door. Cookshop did not have this vibe at all. But that is not to say they are slow. They are efficient and seem to meet the needs of each table.
We started with the deviled eggs taster which was four halves, each with different flavors. All were exceptional and the deviled eggs had enough paprika (too often this is lacking). The consistency was great and we really enjoyed all four.
We also got the pulled pork croquettes. They were also exceptional but don’t be surprised: the pork is definitely ground, not pulled. Who cares, because it’s delicious!
Our final pre dinner snack (we ordered too much food but everything was really good) was the Vermont burrata. It’s served on a bed of roasted peppers and eggplant and with toast. Perfect.
For meals, my mom and Kris both devoured the ravioli. I got the pork chop which was topped with berries: raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. The porkchop was overwhelmingly huge but made for great leftovers.
We were there for my mom’s birthday so we asked for the peach cobbler with a candle but they also brought out a slice of cake. So. Much. Food. The cake was dense and delicious and the peach cobbler was one of the best desserts I’ve had in awhile.
We had the Blaufränkisch (2011 | Carnuntum, Austria) to start and then Kris switched to the Albarino (2016 | Rias Baixas, Spain).
On Sunday morning we were up early and drove back to Vermont. There was a lot of water drunk but we couldn’t resist trying one of our brews. I made zucchini, black bean and kalamata tacos and we cracked the Good Gourd. It was a bit different from what I expected – higher astringency and low on the pumpkin (a good thing). I liked it as it warmed and appreciated the sort of bourbony notes and even some anise. We’ll save the other to trade or for when we have beer lovers in the house who are looking to try something new.