I know this blog is subtitled ‘Food in Philadelphia’, but it really should be ‘Food in My Life.’ If only because, sometimes, this food-blogger sets forth to other places to sample their gastronomy.
This past weekend, I hopped on the Penn-to-Penn bus to New York City, to visit a very dear college friend, J. She and I lived next door to each other sophomore year, and have remained very close. I finally made good on my promise to come visit her, her boyfriend, and her kitten in their tiny apartment in Queens. On Friday last, I would be the first to tell you, I am no fan of New York City. Now, I would amend that statement to say I am no fan of Manhattan, but the rest of boroughs? Probably fine by me.
When I arrived on Friday, we went to a relatively new restaurant around the corner from their Astoria apartment, called, wittily, Rest*au*rant. A small, dark eatery, it is much like a less-sophisticated, deconstructed Tria. They had beer, wine, and cheese, as well as salads and paninis. I had the mozzarella, basil, and avocado Panini and it was delicious. The wine and beer list were disappointingly short, but the full bar and cocktail list made up for the dearth. I had a peach cosmopolitan that was just as bubbly and fresh as one could wish.
On Saturday, J. and I grabbed bagels and coffee from her neighborhood bagel place and hopped on a train over to the Bronx. We were aiming for Arthur Avenue, an ethnic Italian neighborhood that has also been called Little Italy in the Bronx. Arthur Avenue is a few streets, just a stone’s throw away from Fordham University, that is covered in ethnic Italian shops, businesses, restaurants, and cafes. There’s the covered market that reminded me of Philly’s Reading Terminal, just smaller and more Italian. We lunched at the Arthur Avenue Café, home to the best eggplant parmesan in New York City (the chef even beat Bobby Flay!). It was pretty good too. As was the mozzarella caprese (oh my goodness, REAL balsamic vinegar! I’ve never seen its equal) and the Caesar salad I had. But, my friends, the cannoli. The CANNOLI! Our waiter claimed that it was the best on Arthur Avenue, and boy, was he right! I ate half a dozen all by myself (though not all at once).
That evening, we changed our cuisine of choice, and dined at the Café Henri, in Long Island City (Queens). The Café Henri is a little, ex-BYOB filled to the gills with ambience and tasty Bellinis. I had a sweet sausage and chevre crepe. It was delicious. The goat cheese was warmed to almost melting point as it hit my tongue and disappeared in a haze of delight. We followed dinner up with drinks at the LIC Bar, where there’s a photo booth, good music and beer, and fontina and sage grilled cheese sandwiches!