As always, The Dealist‘s neighborhood food crawl, Tastes of Nolita, proved to be a deliciously delightful day! I went with my roommate Katie, Red Headed Correspondent (and photographer here!), and we had a great afternoon walking around Nolita, trying savory and sweet dishes from seven hot spots, and shopping for jewelry and other fun things (Katie introduced me to The Young Designers Market!). But on to the food (in the order that we ate it):
- Tacombi @FondaÂ Nolita: Â There were some changes to the food options (for instance at Tacombi the original flyer said a choice of chicken or short rib taco, but day-of it was a breakfast or chicken taco), but we happily rolled with them and didn’t miss a thing. Katie went with the breakfast taco (there was a choice of three) with scrambled eggs, peppers, avocado and other fun stuff, which she thoroughly enjoyed. I opted for the Pollo Locochon which was simply outstanding. I like my meat tender with lots of sauce (a la the Arepa De Pabellon from Caracas Arepas) and this had the right mix of spicy and sweet. It was perfect. I also loved the interior of Tacombi. As Katie said, it sort of reminded us of the backyard of a frat/football house from college, but nicer. Okay that maybe sounds bad, but it’s not and you need to go and see it.
- Asia Dog: Â Another favorite of ours, which surprised us since we weren’t sure what to expect. You get to choose a beef, chickenÂ or veggie hot dog with one of eight topping combinations. Torn between the The Sidney (relish with mango + cucumber + red onion +cilantro + crushed peanuts + fish sauce) and Mash (Spicy ketchup + jalapenomustard + crushed salt and pepperpotato chips), I went with the former on a chicken hot dog because Katie got the Mash on a beef hot dog. We liked both of them and the Mash had a nice kick to it, but we agreed that we liked The Sidney better. Perhaps it was because it was more unique, but it was a great combination of flavors. What I love about these food crawls is that they introduce me to new restaurants/eateries and make me try things that I may not otherwise. Asia Dog is a good example and I’m so glad I went! It’s a nice little gem to bring people to (but plan on standing or bringing it elsewhere since there’s practically no room to sit and eat).
- Lâ€™Asso:Â This was the disappointment of the day. Tastes of Nolita ticket holders had to line up at a window on the street to get the pizza (think walk-up drive through), and unfortunately it was cold and relatively bland. This was a shame because these kinds of events are great to make people aware of your product, and serving cold pizza isn’t a way to win new fans. I for one won’t be returning to L’asso. Was it terrible? No. But it wasn’t that great and with so many pizzerias to choose from in the city, why return to a subpar one? It could have been due to the overload of people attending, but our belief is that you don’t sign up to participate in a food event like unless you can handle the rush.
- Eileenâ€™s Cheesecake: We had a choice of any mini cheesecake, so I ordered the caramel and pecan topping and Katie had the strawberry. Both were delicious and we agreed that it was some of the best cheesecake we’ve had in a while. A definite winner in our book and we’ll be sure to go back! I was drooling just looking at the cookies they had (white chocolate macademia nut is always a weak spot for me). They looked perfectly gooey and almost undercooked (my preference!) and the mix-ins (chocolate, nuts, raisins) were big and rich looking. I’ll save those for another time.
- Billyâ€™s Bakery: Â Any combo of vanilla and chocolate cake and icing were on the menu, and we both went for chocolate cake with a vanilla buttercream frosting (that was dyed different colors). While it was delicious, it didn’t blow me away like Butter Lane did in the past. Regardless, it’s a must try for those on the hunt for NYC’s “best cupcake.” However, their three layer German chocolate cake with coconut looked absolutely out of this world. If I have the best (or worst) day ever, I’m heading downtown to treat myself to $5 of homemade deliciousness. Everything in there looked homemade like your mom or grandma would make it, nothing too “perfect” or glossed over like in most bakeries, so this was just my style!
- MacBar: Â Like L’asso, Tastes of Nolita ticket holders were given their samples outside, but in this case we were served warm mac and cheese. I wishÂ Laura was there to give her two cents since she’s the mac and cheese conneisseur between the two of us, but both Katie and I loved our generous serving of the original 4 cheese mac and cheese. Interestingly she preferred it later when it was cold versus when it first served hot (I guess some places can’t win with the temp!). It wasn’t too gooey, which was a blessing for my stomach, and the thick layer of cheese on top was awesome. I personally like a crunchy, breadcrumb topping with my mac and cheese, but I admit I didn’t miss it this time around.
- Saigon Vietnamese: While the flyer said we’d get a “tasting” banh mi, we were served a solid 6 inch sandwich. We both went for the original with pork and saved our sandwiches for later (although I stole a few bites on the spot). I loved the flavors and thoroughly enjoyed my sandwich, as I usually do with banh mis. Katie liked it too but had trouble with the texture of a few of the meats, so it didn’t make it to the top of her list.
All in all it was another successful food crawl and I have new places to add into my rotation which always makes me happy!