Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Excellent Lunch

Monday I had the wonderful privilege of finally meeting the hilarious and talented Sue in person. We had lunch at the Spice Market, one she recommended, in Chelsea (right near the Food Network studios). I have to tell you this is a great restaurant.

Here it is from the outside. It's quite large and very airy with plenty of open-air seating.

This is the section we ate in.
After the rapturous few minutes of seeing each other in person for the first time, we got down to the business of drinking. I had a raspberry and lychee bellini. Sue had a Singapore Sling. I had heard of them, but never drank one before. I took a taste and found it was a great drink. Sue said they're normally not made with so many fresh juices and tend to be sweet and chemical-laden. I am now thinking I must try a chemical-laden Singapore Sling in the future. My raspberry cocktail was quite delicious.

Onward to lunch. We opted for the Bento Box, which consists of soup, salad, and some small bites.

Here is why my lunch was so extraordinary. See that object in the lower, left-hand corner. That's a piece of cod. I ate that piece of cod. I didn't just take a bite and push it aside. I ate that entire piece of cod. Believe me, when you put fish on my plate, the likelihood that I will take more than a bite or two is really small. This cod was wonderfully crispy on the outside, was served with a tasty sauce, and the fishiness, while certainly present, was faint enough that I could tolerate it. I think it was the best piece of fish I have ever made myself eat. I would never order it in a restaurant and I would be a little upset if a friend tried to serve it to me for dinner, but I am happy to say it was actually edible.

The rest of the plate consisted of sate skewers, squash soup, papaya salad, and a small spicy vegetable salad. Each box comes with two skewers of your choice of meat, so Sue had the chicken and I had the pork and we swapped one each. They were really good. Sate can be such a throwaway dish in many Thai restaurants. The meat is often dry and it's just meant to be something you dip into sauce for an appetizer. This is not true at the Spice Market. The meat for both skewers was tender and delicious. The soup was also very tasty, and that's something pretty special too because squash is not my favorite vegetable and if you want to serve me squash soup, you had better do a really good job. The papaya salad was also amazing with lots of cashew nuts.

Lunch came with their speciality soft drinks. Mine was cherry yuzu and Sue had a homemade ginger ale. I liked the fact that neither of these were too sweet and both had powerful flavors. I had never had yuzu before. I really loved the floral taste in the soda.

Next was dessert. We opted to each order one of the dessert options and split them. There was Ovaltine kulfi and Banana-Macadamia ice cream. The kulfi was interesting. I think of kulfi as more ice-cream-like. This was served almost at room temperature. It was like malty fudge. The caramelized bananas it was served with were wonderful.

The ice cream was also delicious. It had a powerful banana taste with a hint of cinnamon. Unfortunately, it only contained two macadamia nuts. I had both of them. Poor Sue. She never got a single nut (unless you count the company).
The ice cream came packaged in a cute little takeout container.

We took a stroll through Chelsea Market after lunch. I had never been there before. I go into the city pretty often, but I really hadn't been in that neighborhood for years. There isn't much there as I might have hoped in terms of food and cooking shops. There is this cool fountain. It's a big water spout that empties into a wishing-well-like bottom that goes down pretty deep.

We found a cookware supply store. There was plenty of cool stuff in there.

Need a tagine?

How about stock pots on the ceiling?
Excellent day all in all. There is nothing like sharing good food with other food bloggers.


Sue said...

It was sooo fun. I love you even more since I met you! AND you're quite speedy. You'll see my pictures too. Soon...ish

The Duo Dishes said...

Ahhh, food and fun in the city. Jealous, jealous. That cookware store would see a rampage if we were in there. Love buying gadgets!

Adam said...

Oh man that sounds like a blast! I would of loved to to actually eat with a food critic, it's fun to chat and compare with someone :)

Glad you guys had a great time, those bento boxes are really neat. And congrats on digging the fish... I like cod because it's meaty and not too fishy... good for you Rach :)

CookiePie said...

What a fun time! Love Spice Market, LOVE Chelsea Market. Great day!! :)

The Blonde Duck said...

What fun! I'm sure she didn't mind sharing the nuts! :)

Complaint Department Manager said...

It's funny, I get my best food ideas when going through a cookware store or at a store that has a huge cookware section.

Is my inner foodie just so lazy that it needs to be inspired? Hmmmm.

Donna-FFW said...

Lucky you, I so envy meeting other food bloggers!! The food looks great too and in the city, FUN!!

Emily said...

Aww, I wish I could have gone with you guys! That would have been so much fun. I loved Spice Market when we went there last year.