Pastrami and Tongue Sandwich, Ginger, Chocolate and Mascarpone Ice Cream
2011/04/17 § Leave a comment
I love the Lower East Side.
That grittier (relatively, as even the LES have been much gentrified) part of New York that reminds me of the New York City I used to see in ’70s and ’80s film and photos. Not that I would really know. Those films and photos may have been taken in Brooklyn or Queens or the Bronx. But when I am in the Lower East Side [or The Plaza or Central Park], I am reminded of what I thought New York was when I was young and living in a faraway country. Unlike the more polished and glittery part of the city that can be cold and overrun with people perpetually in haste, the Lower East Side has so far retained the look of a lived-in neighborhood. Bit scruffy and worn but rather homely and real. I can imagine living there in low, pre-war buildings and going through heavy doors with old-fashioned locks and climbing narrow staircases to rooms of character and height. I can imagine having a favorite cafe or coffeeshop to go to in the morning on weekends and a favorite cafe or coffeeshop to hang out in in the evenings. It helps that it abounds with small, one-off places that serve specialty dishes or cuisine unlike the rest of the city filled with franchise eateries.
A friend from back home was here a couple of weeks ago and we took him to experience this part of New York. We went to a famous landmark deli, Katz’s, and to a relatively new gelateria, Il Laboratorio del Gelato. We of course had the incomparable pastrami at Katz’s (see second photo – leftover pastrami with tongue sandwich – taken at home as I did not take photos inside the restaurant) and had so much fun trying the numerous flavours at the ice cream shop across the street. I am constantly amazed at how the flavours remain true to the ingredient they are based on. I ended up with Ginger, Chocolate Hazelnut and Mascarpone. The mix didn’t make sense but it was super good anyway. I had three contrasting flavours that tickled my mind as it tickled my palate – because it seems strange to eat the three together in their real form. I didn’t like the mascarpone too much but I just chose as I had taken too much time trying so many that at some point I couldn’t decide anymore. I would dearly love to go back and get the olive oil and basil though. I can’t quite decide whether I really like the olive oil but I love that it tastes exactly like olive oil. And the basil was utterly refreshing.
Ah, the pleasures of the Lower East Side…