A week of gastronomical adventures of Paleolithic proportions starts at Tia Pol,
where everything is a little underseasoned, except these patatas bravas. Boquería and Casa Mono are better for the food, but TP is the place where you want to be a regular. And where they’ll know your name even if you just left it the one time late on a packed Wednesday night the week before and then ended up at Cookshop instead.
Then there’s Pacificana, the superlative Cantonese banquet hall in Sunset Park. You’re greeted with those nasty fried wonton skins with sweet-and-sour sauce and cheap fortune cookies (with, yes, that amazing fortune above) that recall a 1986, suburban St. Louis Hunan Empress. But every dish in between is better than the last, and you find yourself fighting urges to keep eating when you’re just TOO FULL ALREADY, it’s that good. Too many favorites, really, but that stewed pork with preserved vegetable (thanks for the rec, Ganda) is the winner. Also: seafood and veg in broth, Portuguese rice (which tastes an awful lot like Japanese curry), and crispy, meltingly greasy, pork-saturated, taro-stuffed tofu skins (I think, though this resembles no tofu skin I’ve ever had before). Best Cantonese I’ve ever had in New York.
Brunch at Stanton Social was as good as ever. The only thing that didn’t measure up, sadly, was the meatballs, which were mushy and flavorless.
And yes, between throwdowns at Marlow & Sons and Casa Mono with the out-of-towners, I found some time to actually cook a few things.
Finally, no-knead bread. This recipe is miraculous. And nearly unfuckupable. I was a little too free-and-easy with the yeast, unable to shape the loaf properly, and ultimately stuck a really flaccid pile of goo in the very hot oven, but I still got good crust and crumb (flavor was a little one-dimensional, but I’ll tackle that in the next round).