Posts Tagged With: west village

Not Your Typical Village Food Tour

BrigadeiroWe are well into January, mucus season here in snowy New York City.  Its also the beginning of the end of resolution season, where we start to forget about all the resolutions of the new year.  Normally the end of resolution season coincides with Cassoulet Week which starts on January 10th, but with the news of obesity rates going up, resolution season has been extended a few more days.  This is after all the season where we ask ourselves that all important question, “Did I gain weight, or am I just bloated”.  Well, you’ve been bloated for 4 weeks, hence its time to take a break.  Reflect, relax, hibernate, and come up with a sensitive plan for this new year.  Food, travel, what else is there to plan.  Maybe babies.  Food, travel, and babies.

I personally haven’t eaten anything noteworthy for almost a month, and my left leg is starting to shake.  Actually its my left thigh really, my Culatello.  So instead of featuring one player today, lets grab our selfie sticks and take a walk in one of the best eating areas in the country, West Village, for a little food tour.  Part of it is in Greenwich Village actually, but for the purpose of this blog its West or East, so if its not East, its West, Kapish?  Lets eat..


Taboonette – Lets start the walk in Union Square.  Close your eyes while crossing 14th st and Mazal Tov, you made it to the village.  On 13th st, you have tiny but deadly Taboonette which can be described in 3 different ways.  A pocket food place, fancy street food, or Middleterranean (Middle eastern with Mediterranean touch) hole in the wall.  Contrary to what it may say on its site, No Falafel For You in this baby Taboon.  But its time to try something new anyway, like the Sabich (with a jewish spitting on your phone ch), a pita sandwich of fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, Tehini and more, invented in Ramat Gan Israel.  More Israeli veg options like the Kruvit, (roasted cauliflower) fill the menu, or try some of the platters like the Chicken Sawarma (below) or the “Kebab” which is more like hefty delicious Lamb cutlets.

Taboonette Shawarma

AmorinoAmorino – We are breaking all the rules here on EWZ and heading straight to Ice Cream for stop #2.  Normally I start my Gelato relationship with Nocciola and this was love at first Nocciola.  Every cone filling is done with a lot of love and to prove that love they shape it like a flower.  Or perhaps the dude took a fancy to me.  Since then I also discovered the sick Amareno flavor, but only because the Nocciola has been absent.  The ingredients here are top notch, as you taste every fruit and every nut.  A chain in Europe, but quite possibly the best Gelato in NYC at the moment.  At this point a walk in Washington Square Park is in order to kill some calories, or you can head straight west to the next pit stop.  I wanted to recommend Forbes Galleries but I just noticed they are permanently closed

Lumpia Shack Snack Bar – You know what they call a food tour without Lumpia?  A food tour without Lumpia!  These are Vietnamese inspired spring rolls and this Smorgasburg veteran is a good place to try them.  Try all three kinds and guess which is my favorite (hint: its the truffled mushroom).  And while you ate it don’t leave without trying the garlic chips made from tapioca starch infused with tamarind powder.  Yes I said “ate it” on purpose.


Bar Sardine – Time to share a not so average burger.  The $10 Fedora burger is generating some buzz and for good reason.  A well crafted creation featuring smoked cheddar, sweet barbecue mayo, cucumbers, and a shoestring fries loaded inside the burger to give it that crunchy bite.  Fries on the side are an extra $7, but if you really want to try something else, go for the Octopus Hushpuppies.

Bar Sardine BurgerEmpellon Taqueria – I wasnt about to include this one but its practically across the street from Bar Sardine.  The Beer Braised Pork Tongue Taco will run you at $7 a pop but its arguably New York’s best taco.  Just like Bar Sardine you can sit at the bar and be in and out in no time.

Percy Pizza – An exception to the rule, a dollar slice that doesn’t suck.  Very popular with university students, and underpaid professors.  You can go to the more famous Joe’s nearby for a $2.50 slice, but for a dollar slice this is as good as it gets and the smaller size is perfect for this itinerary.Percy Pizza

Brigadeiro Bakery – We end our tour in this spanking new hidden gem where I almost got arrested.  Mariana 1 and Mariana 2 were selling their Brazilian Truffles (Brigadeiros) from a basement in a restaurant around the corner until they finally found this spot.  And according to the feminine inner Ziggy, this little shop is adorable.  Fantastic spiced hot chocolate, and a wide range of freshly baked Brigadeiro.  I’m partial to the bright ones over the chocolate, but try as many as you can.  Last time I left with the feeling that I forgot something until I finally remembered 5 blocks later..Paying!  Yes, I went back, ask Mariana 2.

Brigadeiro2 Brigadeiro Bakery

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Lumpia Shack – Here Lies Love!

Lumpia Shack Rice BowlI’m risking a lot with this one, and I’m already feeling it.  Wait, till mrs Ziggy reads this, she’ll never forgive me.  It took us 13 days and 17 hours to finally erase from our head the theme song from Here Lies Love, the quirky off off Broadway musical about the life of first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos.  I’m singing it as I’m typing, with the same hand gestures and all as before.

Lumpia (LOOM-pee-ah) is a Filipino snack, like spring rolls.  Lumpia Shack is a stand in both Brooklyn Smorgasburgs created by a Manila born husband and wife.  Lumpia Shack Snackbar is the 3 month old brick and mortar simple hole in the wall shack in the West Village.  The place is almost as tiny as the Smorgasburg stand, but the creativity and offerings more than quadrupled.  In fact I would even venture to say that.. wait for it…Here Lies a lot of Love (oh boy)

Lumpia ShackLumpia the snack, slipped overnight, from being the bread and butter to just about the least exciting thing on the menu.  A testament to the rest of the items.  Even the garlic chips, made from tapioca starch and infused with garlic and tamarind powder reminiscent of the sickest BBQ rice puffs you will ever encounter is more thrilling for my palate.  They even have a Ramen Burger which the Hummus Whisperer proclaims better than the original.  The burger utilizes the same Keizo Shimamoto noodles but instead of beef you got a Soyfull, soulful Adobo Pork Belly.  This has the power to transform Pork Belly haters to lovers.  The mushroom Lumpia still rocks, but I’ve had these before a few times.  The rice bowls offer more excitement with a mix and match protein and sauce combinations.  My chicken with the coconuty Bicol Express could have used more oomph and juiciness but satisfying nonetheless.  I’m looking forward to coming back this weekend to say you had me at “Halo-Halo”

Lumpia Shack Ramen BurgerLumpia Shack Garlic Chips243

Categories: New York City, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Annisa – Eating Without Borders (and Dictionary)

Annisa SquidSo I finally shaved and went to Annisa.  Anita Lo’s “Baby” has been on my list for a long time now, but not until the New York Times awarded it its third star, I figured its time.  Besides, I couldnt think of too many places that can match the elegance of birthday girl Mrs Ziggy on this rainy night (Awwweee! Ok enough).  Lo’s career reads like a movie script.  Highly acclaimed internships, Iron Chef win over Batali, a cookbook named Cooking Without Borders is just a small sample of Lo’s accomplishments.  But what separates this NYC food celebrity from the rest for me is instead of trying to build an empire, she’s staying put and concentrating on one place, her 14 year old “Baby”, Annisa.

AnnisaCooking without Borders means you cant quite categorize Anita Lo’s cuisine.  Hence, the default  American (New) title is applied for Annisa.  The menu includes influences from her French training, Middle East, plenty of Asian, and yes there’s even some American (New).  It also made me feel culinary dumb, (what the heck is a Satsumaimo).  Not as dumb however as I felt after I got a little tipsy and forgot where I parked the car after dinner.  Mrs Z thought it was Jones St, I said Waverly, while a homeless gentleman who overheard us talking kept yelling “WAVERLY” and pointed to it in case we didnt notice that Waverly was right in front us.  At some point we gathered for a brainstorm session with me, wife and the homeless guy who just kept saying “Waverly”, trying to figure out where we came from.  We finally found the car on Waverly as I and homeless guy predicted

I love coming to a place with a sound ordering plan.  Sometimes it doesn’t work too well, but this was not one of those times.Annisa Sashimi

Black Sea Bass Sashimi with trout roe, Yuzu Pearls and Shiso – Delicate, expertly cut Sashimi with the mild caviar that’s not overpowering.  We shared this one as our first course before the next two apps.  While I thought I ordered just enough or a little too much food, the couple near us who apparently was there a few times in the last few weeks ordered 4 apps, and 4 mains.  The waiter tried to convey that its too much food but quickly lost the argument.  These were some true Anita fans!

BBQ Squid, Thai Basil, Fresh Peanuts and Edamame (top) -Perhaps the dish of the night.  You just cant get more tender, better tasting squid than this.  With the peanuts probably getting boiled the heck out of them until their texture pretty much matches the Edameme, the sweetness from the Howisin sauce and minty hints, you got yourself a great dishAnnisa Dumplings

Seared Foie Gras with soup dumplings and Jicama – Very good as expected from one of Lo’s signature items that’s been on the menu form day one.  Since you get three dumplings we added one more which amounted to $28.  Sitting on top of vinegar reduction, you pick up the dumplings with your spoon, bite one end of it and suck out some of the soup much to chagrin of your 4 apps, 4 mains neighbors.  Then you eat the rest of the dumpling that includes plenty of crunch from the Jicama.  An enjoyable dish but despite the Foie presence, the few bites dont live up to the price tag in my opinion

Broiled Spanish Mackerel, Garlic fried Milk, Satsumaimo, Korean Chili.  A lot going in this one.  The fiery Korean Chili sauce balanced out nicely the strong Mackerel flavors.  Small cubes of Satsumaimo which is Japanese sweet potato and more ingeniousness from the Garlic Fried Milk balls.  Nice dish!Annisa Mackerel

Pan Roasted Chicken – There are those places where you simply must order the chicken (the NoMad, KFC) and this is one of them.  Something Lo picked up from her work in Chanterelle.  Tender, juicy, perfectly crisped skin, stuffed with pigs’ feet and chanterelles and sitting on a bed of creamy puree of White Truffle, Sherry and roasted onions.  This dish was sensational!

And what a fitting finish for us to end this one with what I call “The NOLA duo” (which confused the Maitre d a little).  From the Beignets of the previous post to the great little Pecan and Salted Butternut Beignets with Bourbon Milk Ice.  Although I was full I could have had another dozen of these.  The airy and scrumptious Bread and Butter pudding with lemon curd would fit nicely with the bread pudding behemoths in New Orleans.  There’s all sorts of mediocre bread puddings all over town, but this is certainly not one of them

13 Barrow St
Recommended Dishes: BBQ Squid, Black Sea Bass Sashimi, Pan Roasted Chicken, Beignets, Bread Pudding, Dumplings if you dont mind the priceAnnisa Chicken Annisa Beignets Annisa Bread Pudding Annisa Out

Categories: New York City, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Spotted Pig Burger – Its the Fries, Stupid

Spotted Pig Burger

The Russians have a saying that loosely translates to “like sunflower seeds” which basically means “I cant stop eating this”.  In a culture obsessed with sunflowers seeds, its not unusual to see it served as an after meal snack, and if you don’t hold a bag full of seeds on the Brighton Beach Boardwalk, you risk being frowned upon.  And its not that they think sunflower seeds are really that special.  They just enjoy eating sunflower seeds, and since its not that filling they have trouble stopping sometimes.

Such is the case with the fries at the Spotted Pig.  They don’t seem that amazing as you first eat them, but you soon discover that you cant stop eating them.  The fries are shoestring cut (very thin as you can see) which I don’t normally love as I prefer them “meaty” like Belgian style.  But all the seasoning, rosemary and garlic chips make SP’s fries truly addictive.  Like eating Sunflower seeds!

The burger itself was very good.  Especially if you like burgers with Blue Cheese.  The Roquefort here is slightly overwhelming for my taste as any blue cheese would, but I still enjoyed it.  The meat was cooked well (medium rare, leaning toward rare) but I had to send the first one back after getting it practically well done.  While not quite in Minetta’s Black Label territory, a solid burger overall and I can see why its consistently ranked as one of the city’s best.

I don’t know why it took me so long to get to the Spotted Pig, the mother of all the city’s gastro-pubs.  The place was busy on Friday lunch time.  Two teachers to my right were talking about the teachers favorite subject these days, lice.  A Dutch couple to my left was very eager and excited about the meal.  And judging by some of the items they ordered they did their homework well (deviled eggs one of the specialties here).   My waitress was running around holding my bill for a few painful minutes (for me), forgetting that final crucial step of actually handing it to me.  We had a good laugh.  She was I must say, very friendly and knowledgeable.

Spotted Pig

Categories: New York City, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ziggy does West Village

Dominique Ansel“Its 10:00 PM do you know where your children are?”  One of the perks of living in America.  Television, not only brings us great entertainment and news, and Kardashians, but it also helps us with the daily challenges we as parents face.  Laundry, food shopping, making sure you didn’t forget the kids somewhere, work, cooking, remembering that you have kids, bills, Facebook politics, are just some of things we need to constantly worry about.  So thank goodness we have our broadcasting system to remind us that a) We didn’t forget our kids in Home Depot,  and/or  b) We have kids, and at this moment we have no idea where the hell they are and its for our benefit as a family to find out where they are at this late hour.  Maybe call them or something?

“Its 10:00 PM and you have just decided to take a day off tomorrow to spend the entire day in the city with the family.  Do you know where you will eat?”.  Sleepless night follows.  If only my kids were missing instead!  Woke up next morning and had about 90 minutes to come up with some sort of a plan that involves eating, drinking, site seeing, and walking (a lot of walking – sort of a test drive before the big Italy trip.  Test drive failed.  With all the current cool inventions we get these days you would think they would invent comfortable shoes for women by now).  Hence, the second annual Father’s Day Eating With Ziggy in a NY neighborhood.  Last year it was the East Village.  This time we move cross town, all the way to the West Village and Soho.  And since we cant do it on Fathers Day this year, we did it a few days earlier.

We started with the one place just outside of the area, The Anne Frank Center.  It feels sort of odd to mention this place in this post and context but it was indeed the first stop.  Although we were somewhat underwhelmed by the small center since we visited Yad Vashem, and the actual house in Amsterdam, we were impressed by the amount of history packed here.  It seams like the focus here is on bullying and discrimination, things kids today can relate to.  There’s a 25 minute video which we missed.  If you cant make it to Amsterdam and you have kids, it may be a good idea to pay a visit

We moved on to the Soho area and the first food stop, Dean And Deluca, one of New Yorks premier food stores.  Really a pioneer in its industry.  We sampled some delicious spicy Gumbo, and a lentil soup.

Dutch - BurgerWe then visited The Dutch, a 2 year old with a menu that falls neither here nor there hence “American” but since it deviates from your normal “neither here nor there” its “New American”.  From the team that owns Locanda Verde, the Library at the Public, and the newly opened Lafayette who’s generating all kinds of buzz now.  The food was good.  The Dutch is known for some of the best Fried Chicken in town and it did not disappoint.  Lightly fried, not greasy whatsoever, perfectly crispy exterior and a  juicy delicious interior.  Ducth - PastaThe burger with the 28 day aged beef from the legendary Pat LaFrieda (Minetta Tavern’s Black Label) was perfectly cooked, flavorful, and their tangy secret sauce provided even more palate excitement.  Not as thrilling as the Black Label, but not bad at all.  Malfatti pasta was ok.  Sort of a cross between open faced ravioli and broken lasagna sheets with spring peas, bacon and pesto sauce.  Although the pesto was mostly at the bottom and wasnt very evident at first, so perhaps a bad mixing job.  Although Malfatti basically means “badly made” so I guess it was a success?

Dutch - Chicken

UPDATE:  Yesterday I saw this feature on the cooking channel about the Dutch.

Before lunch we enjoyed the walk toward D&C, especially some of the architecture on Greene street.  We passed the site of the “Massacre of the Butchers” where in 1854 the Butcher housing complex on Greene street was targeted by an angry mob of NYU students demanding better cuts for lunch (look I’m not a tour guide and my history of the area ranges from shaky to none existent so I had to make stuff up and make it sound interesting and slightly terrifying.  They bought most of it, especially the little one)

Dominique AnselMore stuffed than I was hoping we move a couple of blocks south to Dominique Ansel.  If DA wasnt the most famous bakery in NYC before, perhaps now it is after their latest invention, the Cronut.  Ansel, formerly with Daniel keeps coming up with sugary inventions from time to time but I dont recall every seeing a craze like with this Croissant/Donut thing.  It takes them 3 days and a lot of man power to make the Cronut.  The batch went from 30 items to 300 in a relatively short time, and you may have a better chance getting one of the oh so many copycats than the real thing   Dominique AnselThe lines start forming at around 7 am, an hour before open, and so if you count 150 people standing on line, you are not guaranteed to get one with the 2 Cronuts per person maximum rule.  I fully expected them to be out of the Cronut when we showed up around 2, but I didnt expect them to be out of so many other items they are known for, i.e., the DKA and the Paris-NY.  But we still enjoyed a chocolate croissant, a chocolate mousse cake and some mango/coconut tart thingy – I think that’s what its called.Dominique AnselDominique Ansel

ArchWe proceeded to walk on Thompson street toward Washington Square Park.  Thompson street is known to me at least for its chess shops/clubs although I learned that the oldest one, the chess forum has closed doors 6 months ago after being open for 40 years.  It looks like there’s only one chess club left.  One of those NYC nostalgic things going extinct.  The park was buzzing with life as usual with many musicians and youngsters.  One of New York’s icons, the Washing Square Arch standing there in all its glory, built of course in honor of Horace Washington, the lone surviving butcher who triumphly (is this a word.  oh well.. see tagline on top) escaped to this area riding a NY pedicab

While eating at The Dutch I got a return call from the Forbes Galleries that they are open today (Officially on Thursdays they are open only for private tours).  To be honest I had forgotten that this free hidden gem is not as gem filled as it used to be.  During the economic downturn the Forbes family has sold a big chunk of its collection including the Faberge eggs.  For the most part now the gallery features the great cartoonist Ronald Searle, who spent about 4 years in a Japanese prison during WWII.  Some rooms included Searle’s drawings along with poems by Robert Forbes.  Another room had “Space Jewelry” which was interesting.  But the highlight for me was seeing an old friend who still works for Forbes who came down to see us (I used to work for  The realization that it was working hours and I’m at a place I used to work for resulted in a very quick exit.

Jefferson Market LibraryWe then moved on to the Jefferson Market Library, a courthouse in the 1800’s, and a public library today.  This is one of New York’s least known and underrated landmarks.  The tower of course is known as the site where Horace Washington leaped to his death after accumulating a large gambling debt and losing a fortune during the market crash (last one I promise)

TaimA few blocks away we reach another underrated historic NY landmark, Taim Falafel.  Pronounced Ta-eem which means “tasty” in Hebrew, this is one of the best and certainly most popular falafels in the city.  I have been here a few times before.  While there are some falafels in town like Azuri in midtown that may give Taim a run for its money for their sandwiches,  there’s no question in my mind that Taim’s platter is more impressive than Azuri and many others.  Pita with Za’atar (nice touch) and 9 (small) falafel balls along with hummus, tabbouleh and fresh Israeli salad.  However, I again voiced my objection to the way they spell S’hug, a Yemenite hot spread that I love.  For some reason they spell it S’rug with an R.  The English language is complicated enough.  Why make more unnecessary complications.  Mayor Bloomberg, are you reading?Taim falafel

FriendsWalking toward downtown we pass the “Friend’s Apartment“.  Just the building they used to show before each Friend’s episode.  Or was it???  The girls were not interested in the Fire House Museum I had planned (women schwomen, you know what I’m saying..)but were extremely interested in “one of the best chocolate chip cookies” in the city courtesy of Jacques Torres.  My youngest, the cookie monster of the family was not impressed, and certainly not impressed by the hot chocolate.  I drank some and it was so rich almost to the point of being undrinkable.  Not rich in a good way.

I had a few more ideas like RedFarm as another snack but everyone got fairly tired and so we opted for a terrifying cab ride back to the car.  So there you have it.  Perhaps not exactly as planned, but it was nice to be out with the family… a well fed one…  well for another 2 hours or so until I had to order sushi

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

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