On to New York.
After our delicious little bread basket adventure...
We hit an old-school Tiki bar. It seems like one of those places that's been in the same location for decades, doesn't really change, and if it has a name, you don't know what it is. It probably doesn't have a website. It's just there, in a weird little big city time warp.
Unfortunately for my sense of romanticism, it does have a website, and it's only ten years old. But we're going to pretend it isn't.
My drink came with a monkey! I was very excited about this, and also the spangly straw. Alas, the pours were extremely generous, and we came to it both too early and too late in the evening to really appreciate massively alcoholic cocktails. Next time.
Then we got pizza.
Nice lamp. But the pizza frankly sucked.
Artichoke is generally well-regarded, and our friend loves it. I don't know what happened. It's only once or twice a year that I order something so awful I think about not finishing it, and this was one of those times. I did choke it down, but only because I was starving. Imagine thinned spinach-artichoke dip from someplace like T.G.I.Friday's (too salty, too mayonnaise-creamy), spread on strange bread. The crust didn't bother me, actually- the top two-thirds was spongy, and the bottom was crisp and a little charred. Weirdly thick for pizza, but not bad by itself. It was the dip that almost made me nauseous.
The next morning, we kicked off Part I of our Lower East Side round-carby-things crawl with a visit to Russ & Daughters. I don't even know what to say. There's a ton of great food in New York, but I could probably wake up every day and eat here. The options are boggling: different kinds of lox! smoked fish! cream cheese options! I very nearly got my lox bagel topped with salmon roe, but resisted the temptation. That this is a suggested option meant I was in the right place for decadent salmon lunacy. I ended up with an onion bagel, belly lox, scallion cream cheese, and more onion on top. A tomato would've been advisable, but I always forget how good tomatoes are with lox.
Then there were soup dumplings in Chinatown. SOUP DUMPLINGS!!! I will talk about those in Part III, but in the meantime, if you see them somewhere, just think SOUP DUMPLINGS!!! and grab some. And bring me some, too.