Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chinatown and Little Italy, January 17, 2010

I had my heart set on going to Jackson Heights today, but it was forecast to rain so we changed the plan to chicken soup at the Mee Sum Coffee Shop and a rice ball from Alleva Dairy.

We took the D to Grand Street and made our way to the Mee Sum Coffee Shop.

I've already written about the Mee Sum Coffee Shop, but to summarize, it's one of my favorite places for chicken noodle soup. It's cheap and chickeny, although not at chickeny as I first remember it (probably more to do with my recollection than anything else). They dry salt their chicken.

Mabel forgot about the generous portion size, and I'm always surprised by the price. Today it was $3.75 per bowl of salted chicken noodle soup.

I noticed that they don't actually have a coffee machine. They brew using metal funnels.

They started selling Chinese tamales, so I bought one. It reminded me of the closing of the May May Bakery across the street a couple years ago.

We wended our way across Pell, down Mott, and then across Mosco where we saw some interesting road work going on.

Looks kind of miserable doing that in the rain. I don't think they have a good union contract.

We made our way up Mulberry where this dog regarded us.

Then arrived at Tasty Dumpling.

That hotel building to the right wasn't there 3 years ago. Even though the neighbors have changed, the price has stayed at $8 for 50 frozen dumplings. We picked up 100 for our freezer. Another thing that hasn't changed is the gambling in the park across the street.

We continued up Mulberry untill we got to Alleva Dairy at Grand Street.

David R. told Mabel that we need to try their rice ball.

He also claims that the smoked mozzarella is the best in the land.

The mozzarella was way larger than we could hope to eat, but they happily cut it in half for us (still a lot for just the two of us). They microwaved the rice ball for us and we ate it right in the store.

It was really good. Mabel says, "You could taste the cheese but couldn't see it. That was pretty cool." I thought it was kind of chewy and nicely gummy, and satisfying. It was the best Italian rice ball I've ever had although the only other ones I've tried are from Faicco's. But I could believe that they are the best in the city. (Mabel's note: There was a lot of stuff mixed into the rice ball making it pretty tasty.)

When we got back home, we tried their mozzarella.

It was good, but not as evocative as Joe's Dairy's smoked mozzarella. The smokiness was there, but the texture was not as good as it could have been. I think it was because it wasn't as fresh as Joe's, being a Sunday and all. Of course, Joe's is closed on Sundays so they don't sell anything but fresh mozzarella. Mabel and I bought 2 big pieces of smoked Joe's mozzarella last Christmas and let it sit for a few days in my parents' fridge before eating it. It wasn't nearly as good either. So, not a fair comparison today. We'll have to come back during a weekday.

Anyway, after leaving Alleva we walked down Grand Street, on our way to the subway, debating whether or not to pick up some roast meats from Deluxe Food Market when we ran across this shop.

They were selling fresh tofu! We asked for a small container of it.

When we got back home it was still warm. Topped with a little soy sauce and vinegar, it was tasty.

Not as sublime as the tofu from En, but for $1 it was very good. I wouldn't make a special trip for it, but it was nice being able to buy tofu from a place that actually makes it themselves.

Just before hopping back on the subway we stopped by Ocean Star Market to pick up little bananas.

I don't think I've ever bought seafood here, only produce, and usually at the last minute like today.

So we didn't get to do Jackson Heights today, and the rain was kind of miserable, but Mabel deemed it "a highly successful venture" and I agree.

Mee Sum Coffee Shop
26 Pell St (between Mott and Elizabeth St)
New York, NY 10013

Tasty Dumpling
54 Mulberry St
New York, NY 10013

Alleva Dairy
188 Grand Street (at Mulberry)
New York, NY 10013

Tung Woo Co.
230 Grand St (btn Elizabeth and Bowery)
New York, NY 10079

Ocean Star Market Corp
250 Grand St (at Chrystie St)
New York, NY 10002


Anonymous said...

what, no bahn mi? (let me guess -- long line). Looks like a great walk, and you're pretty brave to take the GF-1 out in the rain! I'm glad the Arancini didn't disappoint.

David said...

Thanks for the Arancini rec! I didn't even know they were called Arancini. We walked right by the bahn mi place. If that chicken soup was a bit smaller I think I would have had room.