Dining Desperado-The Good, The Bad and the YUMMY

Conquering the country one bite at a time. There are no foods I actually dislike, just foods I prefer. Bread, nuts, cheese, and dessert, are on the supremely awesome list.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Levain Bakery


Gather round. This is the story of the chocolate chip-walnut cookie from Levain Bakery. First of all it must be said that while Levain Bakery is a whole in the wall that is no excuse for native New Yorkers to know nothing about it. I was eating at the Pop over cafe on the Upper West side when it immediately occured to me that we were within blocks of the Levain Bakery..not that I had ever been, but I knew it was in this region. So I did what any logical person would do in my position, find the Levain Bakery. Yet, to my utter amazement my friend, who lived in the upperwest side his whole life, had never heard of it....Then to my utter complete bafflement the people working in the Popover hadn't heard of it. But I KNEW it was here. I remember the vicinities of important things, such as bakeries. Long story short, the Yellow pages eventually came to the rescue and we located Levain 74th st just off of amsterdam. When we arrived it was smaller than even I could have imagined. A little counter but HUGE cookies. In fact The HUGEST cookies in height and diameter I've ever witnessed. Just for scientific proof note the cookie next to the iPod: Cookie totally dominates 20Gb iPod.

Next note the cross section of the cookie. The chocolate chips are.......everywhere. How do they bake the cookies so perfectly?!?! They are huge and tall.....but soft inside...my first bite....soft...chewy...walnuts....a slightly bitter chocolate...the perrrrrFECT chewy inside! The walnuts almost made it taste like a banana walnut bread...for a minute and then just when you are like hey? what am I eating...the sugar kicks in and it's like 'oh right a delicious cookie!!!' I think it is one of the best cookies in the city but I don't know if it is my FAVorite. The city bakery is just too too too good. I think at this level of deliciousness it's just personal preference because each are superior in their own way.

Lupa


Warm olives. So good. Why didn't I think of that. Seriously though they were a great appetizer. I wish I knew the names of the olives...but alas I don't. I really liked the small mauve colored one, but they don't sell it at Zeytuna, so I will have to look at Whole foods. Next onto the pasta. If I may quote another person "In the beginning Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus and Mario Batali". But those of you who like cream pasta sauce, as I do, be warned. Cream pasta sauce doesn't exist here. I know, I know. I don't understand. Is there something about pasta that I don't understand? Have I been living a lie every time I've enjoyed a creamy alfredo? I don't know....So basically this was the best Gnocchi I believe I've had. Soft little plump bite sized ricotta filled pasta and a spicy tomato sauce.
This was the pasta of the day. A chicken pasta in a spicy tomato sauce. The noodles were a little too al dente for my taste and the gnocci was much better. Next a side of Potatoes...with lots of oil and chives. So good, if only they were good for me.
Next: Post Dinner. The best meal. The first dish is coffee gelato. A nice smooth texture but lacking in a concentrated flavor that bursts in your mouth the way real gelato does. But then again we are in america, so i'll say it was pretty good. Next the Tartufo. Cherry Ice Cream covered in Chocolate and Hazelnuts. It was awful. Just kidding, how can you put those things together and have them be bad? It's impossible. Tasty little hazelnuts really go well with the cherry, no wander it is a standard dessert. The atmosphere at Lupa was loud, dark, friendly, truly in the vien of an Italian trattoria. A good place for having a good time, but not neccessarily hearing everything the person(s) you are sitting with says.