Made it to the Union Square farmer's market this morning, stocked up on some fresh veggies, saw some interesting things (violet bell peppers? Exotic melons?) but not what we wanted (Vermont maple syrup, which was there at the Saturday market a month ago, drat.) Walked from there to Kalustyan's, which is the kind of place that kind of has to be seen to be believed. Every kind of spice you can imagine, every kind of oil, extract, seasoning, every kind of nut, all for sale. Probably the most memorable thing we didn't get was the gold (leaf) covered almonds ($29.99/lb, imported from France). Probably the most memorable thing we did get was the 32oz jar of capers. Between Chicken Picatta and Pasta Puttanesca, we go through capers pretty well. I'd never seen anything more than a 4oz jar. So that's like, totally exciting.
Did a little shopping in the afternoon. We're only 7 blocks from The Macy's, which is amazingly big (7 or 8 stories, and a whole NY city block). We figured it would be sensible to poke in and see what that was all about. There are definitely some neat things there, but mostly it just seems touristy, not a lot of great deals and ruder than average store people. Maybe its just us. We'll see, I'm sure we'll have occasion to go back, we're not writing it off completely.
By 6 we were getting hungry, and so we walked west out of Herald Square to 9th Ave, a neighborhood often known as Hell's Kitchen (although brokers prefer the less colorful "Clinton"). We had about 10-12 blocks of 9th Ave to get to our intended dinner destination, and I have to say that those blocks were easily the most delicious looking blocks I have ever seen. So many types of food were represented, from classy French to BBQ, Pizza, pub, Italian (red checkered tablecloth and fine bistro). The specials advertised on all of the sidewalk chalkboards were mouthwatering. Everything looked and smelled amazing.
And then we got to our planned destination: Galaza Palace. The menu here is filled with Med. favorites like baba ganoush, hummus, etc, as well as a collection of more unusual specials not on the menu that I couldn't try to remember the names of. We had a hummus variant with whole fava beans, the baba ganoush, a beautiful salad, and a buttery, savory pastry filled with goat cheese and spinach. All of which was magnificent. But the crowning memory of the dinner will definitely be the family-secret recipe: a potato cake, soaked in honey, with a light-flavored vanilla custard, sprinkled in pistachios. Unbelievable.