Friday, December 30, 2011
Specials of the Night: Bearded Hipster with Big Fish and side of Old People with Pastry.
Last night—date night—my wife and I went to the cozy, candle-lit, Moroccan staple in the East Village: Café Mogador. Our 45 minute wait at the bar—a Stella for me, a glass of aged-red grape for Brooke—bunched up against a bunch of twenty-year-olds sporting their first beards, was well worth the taste bud-kicking dishes that would soon appear.
For apps, we got the spicy carrots, some scrumptious humus with warm pitas, and these amazing sardines—yes, I had the spine, the tail, and the head. You could eat anything in that secret sauce. For entrees, Brooke had the Chicken Tagine (long simmered chicken stew seasoned with a traditional blend of herbs and spices) with chickpeas, raisins, and onions. And for me, I had the special fish of the day—one of the most special fishes I’ve ever eaten: The Whole Dorade. I had no idea that the grilled fish would be so plump, and juicy (it was marinated in garlic/lemon olive oil¬¬¬) and the size of my left foot. Served on a bed of delectable grilled fennel, surrounded by a tiny army of tasty olives, and a side of majestic French fries with a lot of ketchup, it was definitely the winner on the menu. As I picked away the bones, and my wife got lost in her tasty bowl, we chewed more than we spoke.
Venieros. It’s a pastry shop café, founded in 1894. And it looks it. Stamped metal ceilings, etched glass doors, highly polished wood mirrors, and the ornate marble floors were the original ones your grandma's grandma probably dropped some cheesecake crumbs on.
But when my wife and I entered, we were shell shock. It was so bright. So gaudy. Everybody was either old, came with kids, or were tourists hungry for a tasty landmark. Brooke hesitated sitting down. “C’mon, you wanna run, I said.” But it was too cold outside. I wanted coffee, so we decided to stick it out. The menu was enormous. It had every kind of miniature pastry, flavored cheese cakes, and hand-made Italian butter cookie you could imagine.
We were definitely out of our element. We may have not been cool and had tribal tattoos and face piercings in our lips, but we weren't coffee and cake late night pasty eaters—or were we? But we enjoyed the moment. I had this massive chocolate raspberry truffle made with Rum (I was living on the edge) and Brooke had a bite of one of Rocky’s homemade cheesecakes, served by Marie.
We visited two different worlds last night—date night—and we had a great time. We were stroller free. No kids. And I got to spend time with my wife—the one I created the cute little fuckers with.