No, I didn't forget about my trip to NY! Well, I kind of forgot I was writing a series on it...but I'm back on it now, and that's all that matters, right? Right. I'm pretending you're nodding along.
Anyway, our second day in NY (12.07.10) held one of the most awesome decisions we made for the trip--a Foods of New York Tour around Greenwich Village. Our tour guide was wonderful, and the food was delicious. I still crave some of the items we had while on the tour, even though I know we're way too far away to get them! Get ready for a picture heavy post, because this was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
Our meeting place. Right away I was hoping and crossing my fingers that we'd go in here for a tasting because....
...they had GIANT CHEESE WHEELS IN THE WINDOW. If you know me, you already know that I was drooling just being in the presence of those cheese wheels. If you don't know me, let me introduce myself. Hi, I'm Joy. I love cheese. Pleased to meet you.
Okay, I will admit to being super excited that as we began walking through the Village, this Gunther bus passed by. I immediately took a shot of it while exclaiming, "Oh my gosh! Look! It's Gunther! In Greenwich Village!" Twenty dork points for me! :-P
Our first stop on the tour was Joe's Pizza. They're famous for making pizza "the right way" since 1975. They're also famous for being in the Spiderman movies.
No tomato sauce here. Just Italian crushed tomatoes (I want to say they use San Marzano tomatoes, but don't quote me on that because I'm not 100% sure). That's their "sauce". As for toppings, you can get cheese or pepperoni (they also offer Sicilian, but I will be honest and say I don't remember what that is). The end. Was is earthshattering? No. Was it delicious? Yes. Clean flavors, wonderful texture with the crisp yet doughy crust and the melty cheese. I still crave this, simply because you can't find clean flavored pizza like this in Northern CA. If you know where I can find some, point me in that direction!
Next stop was Faicco's. Because the patron space in the shop is so small, we waited outside while our guide grabbed the goods.
Those are fried risotto balls. Delicious. Creamy, cheesy risotto with a light, crisp, fried exterior. They weren't greasy at all. Just yummy. mmmm...I want.
See? A thinks they're good!
In between tastings, our guide gave us the rundown on the history and culture of the neighborhood.
There's something significant about this door, but I don't remember what. I do remember thinking, "Ooo! Red door!" Honestly, that may very well be it's only significance.
There is also something significant about this building. I think it had something to do with horses being housed on the second floor a long time ago. I do remember that the contestants of some food show were recently housed there. Was it Top Chef? Next Food Network Star? Something like that.
Checking out the sites. When I look at this picture I feel like the man in the foreground is thinking, "Ha! You can't trick me into looking over there!" :-P
Our next tasting spot was Home Restaurant. If I remember correctly, one of their claims to fame is their home made ketchup. We didn't try that.
This was also a nicely framed shot until this girl (I believe it was above frame ruiner's sister) stepped in.
Little pots of home made macaroni and cheese! These were definitely tasty and warm and melty, but I've had/made macaroni and cheese from scratch many times, and this wasn't all that impressive. I did taste good, though. It just wasn't the best ever.
Look! It's me! Note to self: remember this angle. It's bad.
...but we did head downstairs to get out of the cold and hear a little bit about the place and the performances they hold down there.
This is Mario Batali's "first restaurant". Apparently, he started this place with a partner before he became famous. As he gained popularity, he and his partner decided not to associate Batali's name with this place in order to avoid having it turn into a "celebrity chef restaurant".
Those are my aunts pretending they're not posing for the camera while our guide tells us all about Po. Red Coat Girl is thinking, "OMG, these Asian tourists..."
Across the street from Po is this family owned Cuban restaurant. I wish I had a chance to try it. It sounds great!
We stopped by Faicco's again to take a quick peek inside. Since the shop is small, they only allowed a few of us in at a time. I wanted to buy all those olives. All of them.
Whew! We're only halfway done with this tour, but this post is getting long! I'll cut it short for now, but stay tuned for Part 2 where we pick up some vegan bites, have dessert, and absorb a bit more culture from the area...including Greenwich Village's big claim to becoming a household name!