Spent the day kickin' around Union Square and a chunk of the East Village. I hit the Strand bookstore - the main one, not the Annex in Lower Manhattan that I schlepped through several weeks ago. It was crowded and intense, so I left without buying a thing. How unlike me!
Since the weather was perfect, I headed east, poked around the street fair on 4th Avenue, then just explored the area. I had no particular destination in mind. I was paying more attention to taking shots of some of the buildings of interest, when lo and behold, I ran smack into S'mac!
Remember Sarita's Macaroni and Cheese that I posted about last year? Well, there it was, right before my eyes! Now, how could I possibly pass it up, especially since it was going on 3 o'clock and I hadn't had lunch? Hm? The place was just as mind-blowing as I suspected it would be. It was crowded, and I felt some pressure (from the crowd behind me, not the counter staff) to order quickly. I settled for the Gruyere/slab bacon s'mac, and worked my way over to a vacant seat.
Yes, friends, for around six bucks, I got my own little cast-iron skillet of mouth-watering mac and cheese (Gruyere, not cheddar) with luscious chunks of slab bacon baked in. Really. Where else can you feast like that for under $10? Gee, even a sack-full of Krystals costs about that much these days. The only problem was that I sat facing the menu board. As I read all the other offerings, damn! I saw about 15 other things I would've like to have tried! (Enlarge the picture above to see the menu.) I'll definitely keep S'mac on my list of cheap eats.
I continued my sauntering and passed St. Mark's in the Bowery Church, where my pal John Denaro is priest-in-charge. I know him because his office is around the corner from mine at the Church Center. He works with Episcopal Migration Ministries (refugees). Anyway, I wasn't sure where his church was, so it was nice to stumble upon it. Nice old thing (the church, not John) - built in the late 1700's.
Then I remembered that I had a $10 gift certificate for a little ice cream joint in the area called Sundaes and Cones. I won it last year in a church raffle at Church of Our Saviour in Chinatown. Anyway, I'd heard great things about the place because it offered some very interesting flavors: chrysanthemum, green tea, honey ginseng, lychee, tiramisu, wasabi, along with the standard vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. What a tough decision!
After a lot of hand-wringing, I opted for a two-scooper: red bean and ginger. The ginger was super creamy and had slivers of ginger throughout. YUM! The red bean was firmer and had more texture, so it was a good complement for the ginger. Next time (because I still have $$ on my certificate), I think I'll go for wasabi and chrysanthemum. Whadya' think?
I ended the excursion by picking up some lovely vine-ripe tomatoes and a fragrant bunch of fresh basil at the Union Square farmer's market. After giving my regards to the Gandhi statue near the southwest corner of the Square, I hopped on the uptown #6 and headed back to El Barrio - tote bag full of 'maters and basil, and a belly-full of s'mac and ginger ice cream. Ahhhhhhh!