Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sarge's Deli

I posted about Kaz's Deli some time ago, but there are definitely a few other players on the New York deli scene worth paying attention to. Sarge's Deli is one such place. Their pastrami may not be sliced as thick as Katz's but it definitely gives Katz a run for its money in the taste department. In fact, I'm even a little tempted to say that  Sarge's pastrami is a little tastier.

First come the customary pickles. I probably said so in my post about Katz, but pickles are definitely one of the best parts of the NYC experience!

Then comes a complimentary side of cole slaw, it is huge and it is delicious! It comes with a very simple dressing that just takes this salad to the next level. Wish they'd learn how to make a proper cole slaw here.

Ah... the star of the evening! Rye bread piled high with cured meat goodness! Just look at the perfect color on that meat... it was succulent, my friends! However, much like Katz, bread is kind of Sarge's weak point. It's a little crumbly to my liking. But I was under the impression Katz's bread was unseeded whereas Sarge's is definitely seeded as is evidenced by the photo below. If Katz's bread is seeded, I definitely didn't taste the caraway seeds which is a pity, because that is my favorite part of the rye bread experience. So while neither deli gets too high a mark on their bread, my preference still goes to Sarge's. Don't get me wrong though, Katz's Deli still rocks!

Also Sarge's pastrami is somewhat cheaper than Katz. I believe Katz's pastrami sandwich is around $19.75.

On separate visits, I tried a couple more items on Sarge's menu. I remembered eating macaroni salad in NYC many. many years ago, and I wondered if the taste I remembered was authentic or just a fragment of my imagination, so I gave the macaroni salad a try, and it was sweet and hearty just as I remembered! It's definitely good comfort food, but it's pretty rich so I couldn't finish it.

I also sampled the corned beef at Sarge's, and it was equally good. That time, I ordered the sandwich on a roll rather than on rye, but again the bread was nothing to write home about.

I thought I'd also give the cheese fries a taste. The portion was huge and, well, probably not the healthiest item to order on the menu, but we all know what to expect when we order cheese fries. Don't expect to be able to finish that either!

So that was my experience at Sarge's. Typical NYC deli fare. Not something I would recommend on a regular basis but on the occasional trip to NYC, it's definitely worth it!

Doughnut Plant

I like a good doughnut. Correction -- I love a good doughnut. And in New York City, you definitely have a wide array of doughnuts to choose from. I won't deny there was a fair amount of Dunkin' during my last visit, but sometimes you want to have something a little different. Enter The Doughnut Plant, a doughnut shop a baker started a twenty years ago with a family recipe.

I had been hearing about The Doughnut Plant for years and had even seen it featured in various food programs, so of course I was very curious to try the actual thing when I went to New York.

I had heard so much about Doughnut Plant's famous crème brulée doughnut, and truth be told, it is very good.

But even better is their tres leches cake. A doughnut which packs a delicious vanilla flavor and definitely makes it worth paying the Lower East Side repeated visits!

Les Dix Vins

I had been hearing about Les Dix Vins for a number of years. And even though I'm often in the Carouge area, I never actually got around to going there, not until sometime last month that is. The reviews I had heard were overwhelmingly positive and the meal I had certainly lived up to any expectations I might have had.

We kicked things off with this octopus starter. It was delicious, I would definitely want to go back to Les Dix Vins just for this.

I then moved on to my main course. a slow roasted beef dish that comes in a rich, hearty wine sauce with carrots and a couple of other vegetables. Again it was excellent. But the star here was definitely the amazing house mashed potatoes -- comfort food taken to unprecedented levels of perfection! And just for that, I'm definitely going to try to make another trip to Les Dix Vins

My friend had boeuf tartare which she said was one of the best she'd ever had. I don't usually have boeuf tartare so I can't really give a first-hand account. But I do trust her tastes.

Then came the dessert, a mille-feuilles the chef makes from scratch. Again another winner at Les Dix Vins! See when it come to dessert, I have two basic criteria, first how it tastes -- that's fairly standard I would think -- and second, nothing adds more to the experience of a great tasting dessert than a mixture of textures, and this mille-feuilles definitely delivered on both counts. It was simply delicious, maybe even the best mille-feuilles I've ever had, and the creaminess combined with the crunch just made for an amazing experience. I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mille-feuilles!

Xi'an Famous Foods

There used to be a time in the not too distant past when you'd find a decent neighborhood Chinese joint on virtually every street corner. Such times seem to be long gone and finding consistently good, reasonably priced Chinese food requires something of an effort nowadays. To help me locate the best Chinese fare, I relied on my trusty friend, the Internet. And that's how I came across Xi'an Famous Foods.. Yelp, Zagat, Forbes... Xi'an Famous Foods certainly seems to have made an impression on anyone even remotely involved in writing food reviews.

With locations all around the city, chances are if you're in NYC, you're probably not too far from a Xi'an Famous Foods restaurant. I looked up the closest location and it turned out to be just a few blocks away. I headed out one evening, and much like the reviews had suggested, found myself standing in a fairly long line waiting to place my order. Long as it was, however, I was very pleased with the surprisingly short wait.

Xi'an Famous Foods specialises in various soups and hand-pulled noodles. Great! I'm usually craving noodles when the Chinese food mood strikes. And hand-pulled? Well you just can't go wrong with that.

So I place my order and head to the room in the back of the restaurant which is minimally decorated to say the least. I then wait for my number to be called and I finally get my noodles on a styrofoam dish complete with a plastic fork.

Well this was clearly not a trip to Chateau-Vieux but those hand-cut noodles were as fresh as can possibly be, and that lamb cumin combo works amazingly well. Just writing about the experience right now makes me want to swim back to Manhattan and enjoy some more Xi'an Famous Foods goodness!

I definitely recommend this spot to anyone in the area.