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Archive for the ‘new york*: west village’ Category

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La Palapa Rockola
359 6th Avenue
New York, NY
(212) 243-6870

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La Palapa Rockola got a Critic’s Pick review by the NYT in 2003, so I decided to check it out. It was a slow Tuesday night when I went, and my waiter led my friend and I to a table snuggling a dark corner. We ordered guacamole to start, because regardless of how many times I am consistently shocked by $9 handful-sized portions of restaurant guacamole, I somehow cannot resist ordering it. La Palapa’s guac did not disappoint: true to my fears, it was served in a tiny bowl. But, it was spiked with sharp-sweet cumin, which accented the buttery avocados. It tasted like the guacamole we make at home, so I scraped up every last morsel of it with the warm corn chips.

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We decided to share two vegetarian dishes for our main meal. I ordered the Tamal de Rajas con Queso Cotija Anejo Y Pipian Verde, a corn cake baked in a green pumpkin seed and tomatillo sauce and topped with onions and cheese. My friend ordered the Crepas de Huitlacoche, baked crepes stuffed with “corn mushrooms,” that were smothered with cheese and poblano sauce. I didn’t take to my corn cake dish and at first I couldn’t figure out why. The pumpkin seed-tomatillo sauce overwhelmed the dish, but it was too nutty and creamy for my taste, and didn’t provide enough contrast to the thick corn cake. I couldn’t identify the onions or the cheese in the dish, and after a few bites, I realized that the corn cakes had an after taste of the freezer. I asked my friend to confirm and he agreed: they tasted like they had been thawed, topped with sauce, and served. Totally disappointing. The mushroom crepes were better, since the mushrooms were very sweet and fat. The smoky poblano sauce ran through the dish like an earthy river, but the amount of cheese topping the crepes was, again, overpowering and unnecessary. In fact, we were full after three bites but dutifully ate on, since we had ordered so much food.

Guacamole: $8.95; Tamal de Rajas: $8.95; Crepas: $11.95

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[sublimely sexy]

Ciabatta, toasted, insides scooped out, filled with 2 egg yolks and fontina cheese, baked, drizzled with truffle oil and sprinkled with black pepper and salt. Cooked, sliced asparagus forms a crown for this gem of a dish. The truffle smells and tastes so good, especially when blended with runny egg. The black pepper is accents the salty cheese and earthy truffle, and the crusty bread is the perfect edible bowl. Asparagus provides the relief from the intense decadence that is ‘ino’s Truffled Egg Toast with its bright, mildy sweet flavor.

Truffled Egg Toast: $8
ino is at 21 Bedford Street, between Houston and Downing, New York, NY. (212) 989-5769.

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I finally went to Il Laboratorio del Gelato. We went around 5 pm on Saturday and they were out of many flavors. We tried the avocado (it has celebrity status apparently, but who really likes to eat Avocado ice cream?). It was fine, creamy and a beautiful pea-green, but not unlike the avocado ice-cream at Christina’s in Cambridge. We tried a host of the available flavors- I was intrigued by the Blackberry-Port, – it was a beautiful red-purple and tasted strongly of port with the tartness of blackberries- but it was a sorbet, and I wanted something creamy. I ended up settling for the Coconut and Mexican Cinnamon, both of which were mediocre. My dad got the Espresso, which was fantastic! It tasted just like a cold cup of excellent coffee, and it was so satisfyingly creamy, without giving up on any of the flavor. My mom got tangerine, which I didn’t try. Anyway though, both my parents liked Cones on Bleeker St. in the West Village a lot better. So did I.

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This lovely item is a Thai spring roll in apricot sauce. The sad part is that the spring roll had shrimp, so after one bite, I stopped eating it. But the sauce was excellent.

yummy spring roll (but it had shrimp)

I also tried vegetarian duck at this restaurant. Vegetarian duck is so good because it’s not rubbery like normal tofu or soft and squishy, (like tofu, and also how I imagine fish to taste). It has this ribbed texture and nice chewy, salty taste. My dining partner told me it tasted like real duck. Although I am a vegetarian, I like eating fake duck because it tastes so good! And affirms my belief that I don’t need to eat meat to have a full culinary experience… though Kobe beef sounds pretty delicious (although I’ve never had real beef). The duck was in this flavorful, thin brown sauce. Here, you can see a picture:

duck

This Thai food was eaten in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on the corner of Kent & Manhattan (I can’t remember the restaurant’s name).
The next night, I went to dinner at a little bistro-type Italian/Spanish restaurant called Cafe Condesa.. dim lighting, delicious wine, big windows opening out to the evening… very romantic, all in all. My dining partner ordered the Fresh Fettuccine and it was so amazing… I get tired of eating bad pasta at Italian restaurants. More often than not, the pasta is overcooked and drenched in some creamy but tasteless sauce…and it’s not fresh, and tastes chewy and starchy. This pasta dish, however, was fresh, and was perfection:

yumminess

The pasta, which was fresh and tender, was topped with wild mushroom ragout, manchego cheese, and broccoli rabe. Broccoli rabe is a slightly bitter, leafy green vegetable popular in southern Italy. It is often steamed or sauteed in olive oil. Ragout is defined as either a stew, or a sauce for starchy products, such as noodles. Manchego cheese is sheep’s milk cheese from Spain that is aged for at least 3 months. It is creamy and slightly salty, and very delicious.

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