Taste of the West Side

Sunday, April 6th, 2008 | All Things, Family

With just a few hours left for our West Coast visitors to explore (or is that: devour?) our city and its delights, the question was raised over brunch: What is New York City food? We didn’t attempt to provide an exhaustive answer this afternoon, but we spent a good part of the day walking — lots of walking! — along the West Side, sampling the wares of a few local representatives.

Our first stop: Alice’s Tea Cup to purchase a hostess gift — and okay, one warm pumpkin scone. Just me and BY, though; the place was deemed just a bit too twee for the men, who opted to wait for us on the sidewalk. (LL later claimed not to realize that men were allowed inside the cafe.)

A few blocks north, we spied Thomas DeGeest’s cheery yellow Belgian waffle truck (license plate: WAFEL) parked in front of Fairway Market. A hot (albeit premade and imported) waffle seemed like a perfect lead-in to sorbet and gelato from Grom, which was thankfully free of lines this chilly afternoon.

One $115 parking ticket later (ouch!) we set off to meet J & J at Chelsea Market. Presented with all the food options inside, we ended up devoting the next couple of hours to a graze-fest of sorts: brownies from Fat Witch Bakery, (more) gelato samples from L’Arte Del Gelato, a surprisingly tasty lime cornmeal cookie (and an ultimately underwhelming brioche loaf) from Amys’ Bread, a perfect cappuccino from the Ninth Street Espresso kiosk…

While BY and IC considered the prepared foods display outside Buon Italia market for reinforcements to take onto their impending flight, I picked up mangoes at Manhattan Fruit Exchange -– for a curried chicken salad — and a tub of farmer’s cheese from the Ronnybrook Farm Dairy Milk Bar. (J ordered a “Moocachino” from their menu of milky treats.)

Errands done, we wound down the clock in the Meatpacking District — far less objectionable this late Sunday afternoon than on most weekend nights. As we carefully made our way along the uneven, cobblestoned streets, I entertained (or perhaps: disturbed) our guests with the storied, not-so-ancient history of the space currently housing upscale Italian restaurant Vento. Well, as Sam Sifton notes (in the last paragraph of The Times writeup), it was “a different time.” Yes indeed.

The entire neighborhood is changing. Soon, The Hog Pit will be gone, and much-loved late night fixture Florent will be shuttering its doors after 23 years on Gansevoort.

Another sign of the times: the tri-level MePa Apple Store, which opened to great fanfare last December. This corner of 14th Street and Ninth Avenue was once home to supermarket Western Beef (now on Tenth) and then to Belgian brasserie Markt (which moved to Chelsea). Unlike its predecessors, Apple probably has the deep corporate pockets to afford the reported $5-6 million annual rent. (Neighbors Moschino and Hugo Boss coming soon.)

I made the tactical error of first checking out the shiny new Macbook Airs while shopping inside for my laptop replacement. Compared against the Air’s super-slim silver sleekness, the Macbook had the heft and clunky feel of a Zack Morris cell phone. *Sigh*

There are 2 Comments ... Taste of the West Side

May 2, 2008

Nice SBTB reference. What teenage boy didn’t have a crush on Kelly Kapowski?

May 2, 2008

Jessie Spano scared a whole generation of kids off of Vivarin.

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