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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Pumpkin, pudding and Prada

It was a day in the Lower East Side today, starting off with brunch at Balthazar, a popular semi-classy bistro. Service was extremely efficient, starting off with beautifully fresh slices of artisan breads. I had the New England clam chowder followed by the pumpkin ravioli with walnuts in burnt butter. The ravioli was divine, plump and soft with bright orange pockets of smooth creamy pumpkin. The walnuts were toasted and gave a pleasing bitter crunch to every mouthful.

Next stop was Rice to Riches, an eatery which sells every variation of rice pudding imaginable. Flavours included apple cinnamon, rocky road, caramel, white chocolate, gingerbread and white chocolate. The rice puddings are set out in sunken tubs much like an ice creamery and can be topped with granola, nuts, choc bits, coconut etc. I had the gingerbread rice pudding, warmed and topped with walnuts. The decor is clean, crisp and funky but it seems like New Yorkers haven't yet caught onto the rice pudding craze (despite being recently lauded by Ellen DeGeneres on her late night chat show).

We wandered around Soho - the flagship Prada store was amazing. It's set in the old premises of the Guggenheim and remains much like a museum with a spectacular cascading slope of wood that greets you, and modern art installations throughout. The clothes, shoes and handbags seem much like an afterthought and although it's all completely over the top, it's a cool place to wander.

Full of ravioli and rice pudding, I could only browse and drool inside Russ and Daughters (the smell of smoked fish is incedible), Katz's Deli (giant deli of When Harry Met Sally fame) and Yona Schimmel's Knishery. I did take home a sweet potato knish and an apple strudel from here. This knish definitely had a pastry coating (unlike the takeaway street version I had previously) and flecks of sweet potato throughout the mash gave it sweetness. The apple strudel had nice fat chunks of apple too.

We finished up with a tour of the Essex Market, a covered market area which is primarily populated by Spanish, it seems. Plenty of cheap vegetables, meat and seafood and I am constantly amazed that here you can buy a stack of 25 tortillas for only 99 cents!

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6 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 12/14/2005 11:59:00 pm


  • At 12/26/2005 9:32 am, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AG,

    Sounds like you've having loads of fun. Can't wait to hear more!

    Happy Holidays!

  • At 12/26/2005 1:15 pm, Blogger Robyn said…

    Oo, I've wanted to try Balthazar!...still haven't found someone to go with though. :\ I loooooove clam chowder!@@#$!#@$ Never been inside the Prada store either, although I've passed it...FIVE BILLION TIIIMES!

    Mm, pudding!

  • At 12/26/2005 3:35 pm, Blogger FooDcrazEE said…

    merry xmas helen

  • At 12/27/2005 10:22 am, Blogger Rose said…

    Rice to Riches as been an "munchie" stop for me on a couple of less than sober night out :-)

  • At 12/28/2005 4:43 pm, Blogger R said…

    Merry Xmas Helen!

    It's wonderful to read all your foodie adventures, and I can't wait until you upload the pictures too.

    I am intrigued by knishes. I even looked them up in Claudia Rodan.

    Write more, we miss you!

  • At 12/28/2005 4:53 pm, Blogger DiveMummy said…

    Sigh...if only smell-o-vision or taste-o-vision had already been invented...I will have to content myself with imagining all those delicious and exotic foods you have been tasting...you've provided us with a fantastic armchair visit of NY...I don't suppose you are going to any sports games are you...just to experience an American sports outing.


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