Tuesday was my 34th birthday. Since I’ve never really celebrated with anyone by taking the day off work and going someplace for my birthday, I decided it was high time to do so. Amy poked around on the internet and found a great food and cultural tour of Greenwich Village for us to take. I highly recommend the tour – the guide, Todd, was really knowledgeable and funny, and the food we found was excellent.
We started off by meeting at the Greenwich Village Bistro. Amy got a coffee before the tour started.
Then it was off to Joe’s Pizza, for a slice of New York pizza. Apparently, this the place in the Spiderman movies, and also claims to be Ben Affleck’s favorite.
Next we hit a pastry shop, Rocco’s, for the best cannolli I’ve ever had in my life.
Rocco’s is right next door to Bruno’s. Fortunately, they specialize in different Italian pastries. Rocco’s focuses on southern Italian pastries, seen in this case.
Then we wandered down a side street and found several great little restaurants. Apparently Home Restaurant has the best lunch burgers this side of … someplace! Scuttlebutt has it that the lunch chef is leaving soon (shhhh…) so get yours soon.
Cornelia Street Cafe is very cute and has spoken word and music performances nearly every night for inexpensive. Their beer seemed cheap too, and the bartender was quite nice-looking.
At Faccio’s Italian Specialists, we were treated to deep-friend rice/cheese/ham balls called arancini. It doesn’t sound very appetizing in English, but Oh. My. God. they were good. Amy had two. 😆
Inside Faccio’s were all sorts of canned and bottled Italian goods, as well as more homemade sausages than you can imagine.
Right down from Faccio’s is Aphrodisia. Spices, herbs, potpourri, soaps, smelly things, and more! They distribute chocolates from a local candy-maker. I loved the cinnamon-dusted pecan chocolates so much I had to go back later to buy some for my knitting gals this weekend!
At this point, we began doing some heavier walking. We went to lots of places, saw the “Friends” building (the one they show in the exterior shot), wandered through a speakeasy, noted some architectural details of homes and buildings, and saw the city’s narrowest house (at 9.5 feet wide!) where Edna St. Vincent Millay used to live. But we also walked through the Blue Mill Tavern, and I about died when I saw the great old bar.
Seriously – it’s wonderful!
Next we hit Murray’s Cheeses and ate some fantastic cheeses and olives. Later, I went back and got some of their goat gouda (not goaty at all!) and Italian piave. Amy picked up some really incredible cheddar. Yum. Cheese is life. That is all.
Our next food-tasting happened at a small store-front kebab place. We had falafel and doner kebab. I felt like I was back in Istanbul again, it was that good.
Our last taste of the day came from the other pastry store, Bruno’s. If you go on the tour, you’ll find out all about Bruno and Rocco, and why there are two Italian pastry stores next to one another in Greenwich Village.
But what you really need to know is that their inventory hardly overlaps, and that Bruno’s has amazing tarts. We had an apricot-dream tart that was the perfect way to end the tour.
After the tour, Amy and I did some shopping (coffee and tea from Porto Rico Imports, cheese from Murray’s, chocolates from Aphrodisia), and headed up to Washington Square Park for some sitting and sun. NYU’s graduation was happening two days later, so we have the nice temporary wooden fencing in the background of this photo. Oh well, we had a great day and a wonderful time in NYC!
The train ride home was long, so we stopped as soon as we got back at World Cafe Live Upstairs for dinner. Amy had gnocchi with tomatos, asparagus, and artichoke hearts. She enjoyed it a ton. My chicken taco salad didn’t photograph well, but tasted excellent.
The day was wonderful. It was all I could ask for in a birthday – to be out doing something fun and unusual with an amazing woman. Maggie, however, was less than pleased with us for leaving her to her own devices all day long.
Fortunately, she got over it and all is well in that little beast’s world now.