This Saturday we set out with the best intentions: exercise, clean the apartment, pick up our Bike New York packets, eat at a little taco place we read about and relax. Very quickly we got off track with pasta and a banana split at Neptune diner in Astoria on Friday night – I figured it was ok, “I’ll run it off tomorrow,” I thought. Saturday the plan was get up early and go for a run but after a little discussion we decided to save the run for that evening and finish up our errands first. Off to SOHO we went in search of what the New York Magazine called “the best breakfast taco” and to pick up our Bike New York packets. Here’s what happened instead… (if you are interested in how we ended up having to take 4 trains rather than the normal 1 to SOHO then read my earlier post otherwise proceed).
We found Fonda Nolita! It felt like a converted garage there was even a taco truck inside which we were told is used during lunch. The place had a “this is where the cool kids hang out vibe” and I don’t know if that’s really a good thing. The place as it turns out is cash only – thank goodness we had cash! It’s a bit confusing at first – we wandered to the back where the food was and eventually figured out that we had to order up front at the drink/hostess stand. You tell them what you want to drink and how many food items you want – not what food you want just how many – they give you your drinks, and after you pay the cash they give you one poker chip for each item you asked for. Note there isn’t a menu anywhere near the drink counter so you either know what they offer (the cool kids probably just know) or you have to go check out the menu at the back of the restaurant first. The poker chips are then exchanged for food at the food counter/kitchen. This means my rice and beans cost the same as my taco? hmmm.
The restaurant felt like a place you might go to because it’s cool, hip or artsy but not really where you go for a super delicious taco fix. Granted I am looking for my beloved Tex-Mex flavors but still. The tacos really did look like tacos though & the tortillas were pretty good but the actual taco filling was kinda bland save for the single red stripe of spicy sauce they topped it with. I really appreciated that they also put a slice of avocado on both of our tacos – avocado can save almost any meal. The rice and beans were plain white rice (it looked like instant out of a box to me) and black beans plopped together in the same plastic container. it was all very cute but not very functional and the hostess projected a air of disinterest. She wore a bright orange mechanic-style jumpsuit, had little to no energy, and never smiled. She dragged her feet around the place picking up empty trays. I suppose if I had to wear that jumpsuit I’d be grumpy too though. The awesome taco search continues.
Anyway, after the tacos we at least weren’t starving anymore so we took our time and wandered into a few shops, Paul Frank yielded a gift for Starr! at the Converse store I found out you can have your shoes printed with a customized logo/word-art! I didn’t get it done – I figure 4 pairs is probably enough chucks for one girl? and if I get new kicks they should be the running variety after a proper fitting of course! We got to Eastern Mountain Sports before the rush. One lonely guy stood at the Bike New York packet pick-up prepared to distribute 30,000+ packets solo! He said reinforcements were on their way and had a great attitude – nice way to start our Bike New York experience. I was happy to find EMS despite their size they offered a really nice array of all things outdoors much like my hometown favorite REI (which I just found out is opening a new store in Manhattan at the Puck building later this year!).
All morning we joked about going to get 2nd breakfast but instead we opted for 1st lunch at Lombardi’s. For the first time ever we didn’t have to wait in a line one hour long! There was no line whatsoever! So by this point in the weekend we’d eaten ice cream, pasta, tacos, and now pizza. I didn’t think I could possibly run it all off so I ordered a salad to balance it a little. As usual Lombardi’s was great but I still want to hit up some of the other celebrated pizza joints in town. All in good time. Ridiculously enough I made a friend while waiting in line for the facilities!
Post Lombardi’s we kept walking north to run a few errands: Adidas store; Old Navy, Bed, Bath & Beyond; The Body Shop; & finally the Union Square Farmer’s Market – one of my favorite places. It was full of people and some awesome produce. I bought apples, bacon, carrots, garlic and perused some of the other offerings like mushrooms, flowers, honey, and of course the art. I love how varied the offerings are and enjoy just milling around all the people. There is always something going on in Union Square and this weekend was no different. The vibe was extra electric with people raising money for the Japan Red Cross. The penguin-tambourine guy pictured above danced for cash, others hosted double-dutch jump rope for charity, and another group tapped-danced and drummed for Japan. I gave a few dollars here and there. It was all very positive. I’m glad we stumbled upon this.
By the time we were done perusing and shopping we decided to head up to Hill Country BBQ for 1st Dinner! Definitely not running any of this off but after the tacos didn’t offer the flavors we sought we figured BBQ wouldn’t fail us. I took it easy and ordered their new “Pitmistress” plate (1/4 chicken and 1 pork rib). The food is always so plentiful that we have leftovers for a couple of days. As usual they rocked it on the food but the service was terrible! We’d never experienced this before. We were seated and then someone took our drink order and after the drinks were delivered no one ever came near our table again. Bummer. We did have plenty of leftovers though.
Needless to say the running never happened. But Sunday we did drop off our bikes at a local shop for a spring check up (of course we did grab waffles and french toast at Igloo Cafe afterward) then later I made a nice pot roast which lasted until Tuesday and I skyped with my mom as I made flour tortillas. Good weekend.