Italian Saturdays

We had friends in town yesterday so we did what must be done. We ate. We ate well.

I love having visitors in the city. It’s the perfect excuse to walk and talk, explore parts we have neglected, get caught up in the city we live, and forget we live here. It’s the perfect occasion to enjoy lunch and dinner out. Ok so we indulge a little when a fresh face arrives, but what’s the fun in a routine if you can’t break it every once in a while.

Our friend Dave, and his girlfriend Eleni are Chicago folk. Dave is an amazing artist, here to show his work at Jack Hanley Gallery in Tribeca [note: the featured work for the exhibition Prolegomena is David’s!]. We were honored that this duo wanted to spend the better part of their Saturday with us.We strolled about the West Village, dipping in shops here and there, stopping for sidewalk chats, watching people, trying not to get stepped on by people. It was lovely. At around 2pm our bellies started to talk. They led us to The Meatball Shop.

I ordered the Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salad with the veggie meatballs and classic tomato sauce. I chose to have the Family Jewels applied because everything tastes better with an egg on top. The lentil-based balls, moist, slightly crumbly, and a touch earthy paired well with the roasted asparagus tips, seasoned chickpeas, pickled cucumbers, and punchy arugula. The salt from the egg yolk kicked the dish into high gear. I probably should have shared, but I just couldn’t. Sorry Dave and Eleni!

For dessert we all split an open-faced ice cream sammy. We chose the flavor of the day, house made buttermilk, slightly tart, very creamy, and rich. We enjoyed this atop a lemon pistachio cookie. The pistachio really brought the dessert together, a nice bridge between the sweet and sour elements.

Ok after this we were all full. We were really full.

But the funny thing about being full is that 6 hours later you’re starving again. Tourist legs will do that to you. We ended up at Lombardi’s Pizzeria, one of the only tourist hotspots worth its hype, where we waited a bit for a table. Chris and I have frequented Lombardi’s before so we knew the build-up was worth the follow-through. I apologize in advance for the horrendous photos but when your server places your pie down on the table there is no holding back. You dig in.

One small half pepperoni, half black olive pie, and one spinach and mushroom pie demolished. The best part about a Lombardi’s slice is the cheese to sauce ratio. The cheese is scattered artfully about, a none-overwhelming presence. The sauce here is that good, sweet, a little salty, good enough to stand alone. Toppings aren’t even necessary but excess is fun so we went for it.

The walk to the subway never felt so good. It turns out that meatballs and pizza may work better than a cup of coffee. I should have been Italian.

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