Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Cafe Fledermaus at the Neue Gallerie

An Afternoon at the Neue Gallerie and Cafe Sabarsky

When I started this blog, it was a toss-up between focusing on food or books--I read nearly as much as I cook, if not more--Erin's Kitchen could have been Erin's Library.

However, graduate school not only severely curtailed my cooking, it also reduced my fiction reading to the occasional mystery novel over holiday breaks. Hence, after graduation a few weeks ago, my first move was to crack Roberto Bolano's 2666. Over the past two weeks I carted this 900-page book on the subway and to various coffee shops around New York, reveling in my newfound freedom.

One of my favorite stops was Cafe Fledermaus at the Neue Gallerie on the Upper East Side. Located in the basement of the museum, this lower-key sibling of the upstairs Cafe Sabarsky, is the perfect place to while a way an hour or two with a Wiener Mélange (espresso with steamed milk and foam) and a slice of sachertorte. The menu is the same in both cafes, but the basement cafe is less popular and therefore there's no pressure to give up your table--a perfect reading spot.

Cafe Fledermaus
Neue Gallerie
Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun 12 noon-6 pm
Closed Mon/Tues/Wed
1048 5th Ave (entrance on 86th)
New York, NY

Monday, June 01, 2009

Mango Salsa & Jackson Heights Produce


Yesterday my friend Kat and I headed out to Jackson Heights, Queens for the $10 buffet at the Jackson Diner (home of made-to-order dosas). After lunch, we stopped at Patel Brothers, a huge Indian grocery store, packed with amazing fresh produce.

The first thing that caught my eye? Eight limes for $1. Unlike their shriveled, juiceless, more expensive brethren found at groceries in my neighborhood, these vibrant green orbs remind me of California produce. I also picked up fresh mint, cilantro, eggplants, baby cucumbers, a chunk of ginger, and ready-to-make mini-papads--all for the low price of $6.48. Is the produce local? I don't know. I do know it's much fresher, tastier and cheaper than most anything found in Manhattan.

Mango Salsa

In addition to this bounty, I bought a box of sweet mangoes from the mango guy outside the store. Another great deal--$6.99 for 7 large, fragrant fruits. Later that night, I diced one up, mixed it with chopped mint, cilantro, green onions and a few squeezes of lime juice. Served over roasted red snapper, it contributed to a delicious dinner.

Like my feast for $5.58 last summer, this meal was a reminder that ethnic markets pack a lot of bang for the buck--had I been in need of spices, rice, lentils or any other Indian staples, I could have stocked up at Patel Brothers for much less than a trip down Fairway or Whole Foods "ethnic" aisles. Sure, Jackson Heights is a long subway ride from the Upper West Side, but I always like to remind myself that there's more to New York living than Manhattan.