[October 14, 2013]
Dear softrice fan:
Plans boil in the background until they become action. Prima and I wanted tacos in Chinatown for the longest of time, and tonight was our night of fulfillment. The two of us align the stars to visit the snaking Doyer Street, an iconic battleground for Chinatown gangs of a bygone era.
11 Doyers Street
New York, NY 10013
Pulqueria is a subscriber to the anonymous restaurant club. Other than a flickering neon sign of a Mexican plant, there are no indications of a legitimate eatery. We explore down a dark stairwell, reaching three choice doors to open. Given the neighborhood history, Prima and I have no interest in uncovering past closets of hidden skeletons. Our safest bet was the door closest to a mandatory posting, an “A” from their Sanitary Inspection.
A different world welcomes us after opening the third white door. Pulqueria operates in a cavernous environment. Damp lighting, barely enough to assure visibility, fails to educe romance. A dragon carving on the wall and one stick of burning incense greets us alongside the hostess. In a picture I took of the room, a woman in the far left background glowed white like a ghost. Maybe it was best that Prima and I sat closer to the exit rather than a more spacious table further inside the belly of the underground beast.
When you open shop in Chinatown, the easiest criticism is the overpricing and under-delivering of goods. Pulqueria is unable to squeeze clean of this judgment. Our example was their Guacamole Clasico, a house-made classic guacamole with tortilla chips. (A spicy version is available as well, but Prima cannot handle too much hotness, so we stuck with the classic.) The house-made guacamole serves as a sufficient snack, but its taste is nothing out of the ordinary, while I can replace and acquire much more in quantity at Whole Foods.
Where I focused on price, Prima obliterates its value. She knows of a better place for guacamole in the Lower East Side. Although Chinatown offers cheaper and better food, I prefer to conquer the Lower East Side.
I am unable to offer anything new to lover in Chinatown. My value comes from photographically plundering other neighborhoods (and countries). Only then am I able to be her window to a brave new world.
My drink of the night, the Pistachio Margarita, slips in for a timely interlude. Its nutty flavoring is deceptively acceptable on the lips, effectively masking the alcohol for a boomerang sneak attack. Yet it is far from replacing the sugar highs from lover’s smiles or dessert wines though.
A big fan of raw fish, Prima lines up the Atun for our bellies. The three open-faced tacos were filled with whitish pink sashimi-tuna, avocado, chipotle mayo, and crispy onion. The bite-sized snacks quickly became crispy goners.
Unlike the immediate fate of our appetizer, the box of Prima’s favorite childhood cereal, Oreo O’s from South Korea, still remains at home. (A portion of which is reserved for my sampling test.) I offer to smuggle more boxes back from other visiting amigos, but she has already found a steady supplier. It turns out that Oreo O’s are available on Amazon for $8 a box. The pricey foreign export will have to be saved for only special occasions, such as when Santa visits.
On world financial news, regular and modest dents are smashed into Prima’s college loans. An end is in sight to her debt situation, currently targeting for next March or April. Then Prima will be able to save and spend on world tours with the one and only softrice!
To alleviate her nascent traveling itch, an upcoming reward is a week away in Chicago. The funniest detail about her trip is that Prima does not like the wind, and yet her first time out of the East Coast is directly for the Windy City. I instantaneously demand Prima to order the white truffle fries at MK. Surprisingly, the restaurant was already on her list as one of the Top 5 Steakhouses in Chicago. She updates her instructions to try my singular must-have item there.
Our culinary treasure hunt ultimately lands us with the Tacos de Gringas. Two soft flour tortillas wrap generous helpings of citrus and chile chicken, queso chihuahua, crema, avocado, and chunky salsa. Eating them requires messier hands than expected, while the tomatoes actually pack quite a one-two punch and a kick to the fiery levels. Thankfully, the spiciness falls on the tasty category, and precariously escapes a red hot flaming Hell.
A meal at Pulqueria robbed $60 from our bank accounts. For a drink, two tacos, and three quick bites, there was no justification for that ransom. The ingredients had no wallops, the decor is a deficit scam, and nothing of the experience spoke to us. Depressed from our bloodsucking dinner, Prima and I elope to a happier dessert world.
eight turn crepe
55 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012
Good cheers come from Japanese dessert crepes. Eight Turn Crepe is a small crepe factory in Nolita, establishing itself as the new and cool kid on the same block against another historic competitor. Their Oriental spin on the treat seems to have won many converts; I am not one of them.
Prima’s crepe is the Chocolate Nut Party. It is a fresh warm wrap of almonds, crushed hazelnuts, crushed walnuts, crushed pistachios, vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate custard cream, and chocolate pocky sticks. Because Prima does not like yogurt, she switched out their whipped yogurt for banana slices. My feline companion immensely took to their housemade dark chocolate, which was subsequently banished by me to a disfavored bitter categorization.
My crepe was the Lychee Valentine. It was meant to be a fruity crepe bound only by romance. Participants include lychees, raspberries, whipped yogurt, rose custard cream, edible rose pedals, and almonds. The display have an actual rose in the crepe, but mine came deflowered with a mere two out-of-season petals. Their misleading marketing also led me to order a crepe lacking in the ice cream department. My stomach consumed a medicre crepe, while my heart filled with a hefty disappointment.
In its relatively short lifespan, Eight Turn Crepe has built a remarkable fanbase. Even Wenky makes a brief cameo on softrice by running in on a late night crepe refill. (I actually learned of Eight Turn Crepe through her.) Among the loyal addicts was a man with a scrunched up LV bag behind his back. Prima already dislikes the brand in general; his overload of femininity toppled Prima’s prided sense of liberalism.
To prevent the dominoes from continuous free-fall, Prima and I pick up allergy medicines at Duane Reade on the walk home. Lover would be happy to know that in Prima’s eyes, I am always healthy and able. Meanwhile, allergies persistently stalk and attack Prima’s innocent defenses. My boyish good looks and a right dimple are ample distractions for the temporarily relief. The true cure though is international travels, to build your body a stronger immune system. We have to plan the next elopement!
Always in a puff of smoke,