Tapa’ing in the village – Las Ramblas, Alta and more

Before I talk about the recent food crawl, I have an announcement.  Arirang, the popular Hibachi chain has added a new act 😯  Yes book  now before it catches on!!  Now when they do the snowman thing, they add something that resembles hair on top of it, call it Lady Gaga and proceed with a quick Bad Romance rendition.  It was my oldest’s wish to go to Arirang for her birthday the other day  and no I’m not going to shock my 3 loyal remaining readers by reviewing Arirang.  I mean what professional food blogger or reviewer even goes to Hibachi steakhouses.   Somehow I just cant imagine the New York Times reviewer frantically moving his head from side to side with his mouth open to catch the shrimp tail and then write about it.  But if I would write about it, I would write about the deteriorating meat quality, shaky service and the weaker than usual volcano eruption.  But I digress..

The other day, me and my [perhaps] only foodie friend who for the purpose of this blog is called the Hummus Whisperer (HW) went on a little food crawl in the village.  Here’s what we did…

Las Ramblas – This tiny Tapas bar on west 4th dishes some pretty good stuff.   Gambas San martin, 4 sizzling large juicy shrimp cooked with garlic, lemon, finely chopped peppers and white wine – Simple and delicious.  Warm mushroom salad was perhaps the weakest dish but tasty nonetheless.  Nicely grilled octopus with salad and purple potatoes was so good you overlook the too charred parts.  And then there was the spanish classic, the Patata Bravas, paprikad fried potatoe cubes with allioli sauce.  Tender garlicky deliciousness, nicely done. We’ll be back to try these again (except perhaps the mushrooms) and some more.

Porto Rico Importing Co – This is the place to go for your home coffee needs.  Or if you have a slight hearing deficiency and want to go somewhere that smells really good to satisfy your strong sense of a smell.  That is the case with HW who’s now taking truffle searching courses.

Alta – A repeat for me and still one my favorites in the city.  A huge array of mediterranean tapas in a dimly lit, multi level converted townhouse.  The menu is large and fairly diverse with influences from all over the mediterranean.  Try the bacon wrapped dates with Olives stuffed with Almonds dish but order it with the just the dates, no olives.  Even the waitress said many do so.  I’m not a huge bacon fan but this is really good stuff. 

HW was really impressed with the Brussels Sprouts.  Nicely crisped with granny smith apples, pistachios and a tasty sauce.   This is the dish that made us (wife and I) start cooking Brussels Sprouts!! 

The Grilled Merguez sausage is house made and comes with couscous and dates, Harissa and lebne.  We both agreed this was more about the accompanied goodies rather than the sausage itself.  The fried goat cheese balls of deciousness with lavender infused honey is the perfect ending.  The lavender is what makes this dish. 

In the past we also enjoyed the scallops and lamb meatballs.  And there are easily 10-20 other dishes I would like to try like the octopus and the chicken wings.   

Murray’s Cheese – For some.. you guesses it… Piri Piri sauce.  I know there are other branches as well but this is a pretty nice store.  I bought everything but cheese and enjoyed some of that Piri Piri (pleassant but not as fiery as in Portugal) with Boston Market chicken today.  Boston Market review coming up 😉

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Categories: New York City, West Village | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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