Whenever B and I come back to New York, our mealtimes eke out a tender balance between returning to our favorite college haunts and keeping up with new restaurants. It makes the list quite long — indeed, often too long. A trip to Motorino is made at Grimaldi’s expense; breakfast at Clinton Street Baking Company likely means postponing the Donut Shop again. But there are some non-negotiables.
For Billy, it’s Pommes Frites, a tiny shop on Second Avenue that attracts out-the-door lines of nightly visitors. They fry the thick-cut potatoes in two vats of boiling oil directly behind the counter, toss them with seasoning salt, and pack them into paper cones for on-site or take-away consumption. And the sauces, of course. They are the point. Dozens ranging from basic mustard to Vietnamese Pineapple Mayo and Parmesan Peppercorn. The Sundried Tomato Mayo is our favorite, a sort of gussied-up, glossy ketchup.
For me, it’s dessert from the Dessert Truck — which began as an actual, roving truck about four years ago, but soon after switched operations to an actual brick and mortar store. I’m sure business has only gone up since, but I selfishly hated their move. The truck always parked on Third Avenue (extremely central), and the store is in deep into the Lower East Side (less so). But last night, as B and I crossed Astor Place, there was that little truck, making an exceptional appearance in its former stomping ground for this week only. Their chocolate bread pudding makes me cry. It’s warm and dense, surrounded by a moat of creme anglaise and a hat of whipped cream. No ordinary creme anglaise custard, mind you: get the bacon flavor, which won the Throwdown against Bobby Flay and imparts a smoky flavor to the whole thing, balancing the sweetness of the chocolate and pushing the entire dessert beyond.